Saturday, April 30, 2005

Friday, April 29, 2005

Jackass.
I have a love/hate/non-existent relationship with Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld. I hate the way he invaded a country on false pretenses and/ or bad intelligence. But I love his wacky spirit and penchant for tech-vests.

Now, I have one more reason to love the man. Rummy is slumming with Marvel Superheroes.

Marvel is a pretty hip company, and they're doing the right thing by printing 1 million free comics created specifically for our troops around the world. As one would guess, reading material can be hard to come by in the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq, so Marvel is doing what it can with the limited resources of what their company can provide.

Read up on it here at Newsarama.

I might add that this is not quite the same sort of hokey side project that comic companies are famous for. Example: Jeff Shoemaker once gave me a "Spider-Man meets the Dallas Cowboys" comic which I still treasure. Apparently it was a give-away at Cowboys games in the early 80's. However, you can just imagine how much effort was actually put forth by Marvel on THAT one. (I love the Cowboys... I love Spider-Man... What could go wrong? Oh, I see.....)

An extra special note for Doug: Marvel isn't flying solo on the hokey give-away comics. Superman once required the assistance of a pair of kiddies and their TRS-80 in order to save Metropolis. Really. A TRS-80.

This new comic is written and drawn by Marvel's top-flight talent, so bully for Marvel for putting on their A-game for pro-bono work.

Aside from Marvel showing their genuine appreciation to our brave soldiers around the globe, the other good spilling forth is that the whole thing has given Rummy a chance to hang with Captain America and Spidey.


You know, I wish more superheroes would join me on stage when I have to make a presentation.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Mrs. League here, crawling out of bed to post this edition of:

COSTUMES THAT SHOULD NOT BE

Thanks to Doug for the link. Slinking back to bed now....
HAPPY 5th ANNIVERSARY TO MR. and MRS. LEAGUE

In honor of the 5th anniversary and 5 years of wedded bliss, I present to you the lyrics to "In Spite of Ourselves", by John Prine and performed by John Prine and Iris Dement. Be forewarned, oh Leaguers of a gentle constitution, some of the lyrics are a bit racy, but it's all in good fun. And if you aren't still a bit racy after 5 years of marriage, it's going to be a long, long marriage.

In Spite of Ourselves

She don't like her eggs all runny
She thinks crossin' her legs is funny
She looks down her nose at money
She gets it on like the Easter Bunny
She's my baby I'm her honey
I'm never gonna let her go

He ain't got laid in a month of Sundays
I caught him once and he was sniffin' my undies
He ain't too sharp but he gets things done
Drinks his beer like it's oxygen
He's my baby
And I'm his honey
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.

She thinks all my jokes are corny
Convict movies make her horny
She likes ketchup on her scrambled eggs
Swears like a sailor when shaves her legs
She takes a lickin'
And keeps on tickin'
I'm never gonna let her go.

He's got more balls than a big brass monkey
He's a wacked out werido and a lovebug junkie
Sly as a fox and crazy as a loon
Payday comes and he's howlin' at the moon
He's my baby I don't mean maybe
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.

(spoken) In spite of ourselves
Not much to report, and I'm not feeling particularly creative today.

Now Jamie is down with my cold from last week. She's trying to be a trooper, but, man... bad colds just ruin you. Not being able to breathe is a total drag.

My brother (Adventures of Steanso) is headed off to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. It's sort of a big roving party across New Orleans as near as I can tell. He's wanted to go for years, so I wish him luck. His legal scheming only works in Texas, so he must be more careful than usual in the great state of Louisiana.

I'm finally back at work. I feel like I haven't been there much lately as one of us is always sick. Luckily, it's not my busy time, and I've been there long enough to be familiar with the ebb and flow of some of the stuff which used to give me hives.

I was reading Maxwell's recent entry regarding her struggle with a prose work she's dealing with outside the world of blogging and her online public persona. Sounds like she's tearing herself up working on thsi thing, and I think that's a good sign. If writing were easy, we'd all be reading Golden Girls scripts.

It got me to thinking about a prose bit I mess with once in a blue moon. I started work on it in roughly 1996 or so. School, work, marriage and smelly dogs have all conspired against me to keep me from ever really completing the thing. Let alone getting past the turning point for Act I.

I am most certainly struggling with many of the issues Maxwell describes (albeit, in no way in such a colorful manner as Maxwell), but just hearing her describe the specifics of what she's struggling with informs me that her story already sounds much, much better than my own. And while that drives me mad with jealousy, after following her NYC based adventures, learning maxwell is crafting what sounds like a fantastic story comes as no real surprise. She can write, she can.

I confess that I have often pondered how much further along I might be with the prose-thing if I spent an 1/4th of the time on the prose-thing as I spend entertaining you jerks. In addition, thanks to the the extremely long period of time I've spent dinking with this nonsense, I've been in an odd situation of passing from goofy college-guy to goofy working-guy, all while working on the same tale.

Experience has provided me with a wider view of the world, which certainly helps to color characters and situations in a different hue. But "maturity" (or whatever you want to call it) also makes you take a step back and look at what you wrote, and wonder "Did I really think that? Was that a situation I would ever write today?" So in a lot of ways, I'm glad I started when I did. And I'm glad I have a different perspective to bring to the table than I did in 1996, 1997 or whenever I first started.

I like to think it's all about character motivation when you're trying to tell a story. You can't tell any story without knowing exactly what every character in every scene is looking for or wants. It's not just a nifty acting tip, it's what writes your dialog for you, it's the weirdness that occurs when you hear writers saying "I don't know. The characters just started talking to me and acting on their own."

It's probably the number one thing to drive me beserk when I'm watching a movie or television program (because I don't think it happens nearly as much in books or plays as those are usually written by a single person). The verisimilitude is broken when characters simply act, but not in a way which serves their stated motivation. Especially when that act is a lynch-pin for carrying a story forward... ugh. Really, I think series television such as X-Files, Smallville, etc... are probably the worst offenders, but that's due to a bullpen of writers and changing technical staff week after week.

But after this extended period, it's tough to remember the motivations I started with, especially as you start imagining lumping in story element after story element. And unlike writing a screenplay, narrative economy is not the watchword in prose. Nor should it be. But it's also tough to balance what is necessary story, what is interesting flourish, and what is a precious baby you dreamed up which you're going to have to kill to make sure the story keeps moving. Prose certainly gives you more of an opportunity to keep those darlings around, but it's tough to know when you're really enhancing and when you're just babbling.

Like most writers who aren't real writers, I've flatly refused to allow anyone to read the damn thing as I'm an overprotective freak, and I take criticism only so well. Jamie looked it over, but she knows she has to live with me, so she's got to be nice.

So two weeks ago I handed the thing over to Steanso, who cares not a lick for my feelings, and who is going to know best where I'm going with the whole thing without a treatment or outline in his hand.

His review?

"Dude, I keep sitting down to read it and then I fall asleep."

Not exactly inspriring, but it speaks volumes. I have not written a gripping tale, but he's a nice enough guy to at least TRY to finish reading the pages.

I do await his comments, because it's worth knowing whether or not what you've slogging away on is tolerable to the average literate mammal. You can't take a little comment like "and then I fall asleep" to heart. You have to find out WHY he's falling asleep. And then decide if it's worth fixing or wandering off to move on to a different project (I've always wanted to try widdling).

I should say: Jason is also known to take his sweet-assed time to do everything, from returning movies to reading your latest opus. And if you can't take the honest word of your own brother, Sweet Christmas... who can you listen to?

I'll probably continue after hearing his input. At this point, I feel almost a biological need to push this mutant baby out. But one thing I learned in school, you can't just write in a vaccuum and assume your words drip with genius. You need brutally honest folks around who aren't afraid to tell you exactly why you suck. You need to listen, decide if what the critic is saying is worth a damn, or if they brought their own troubles to your work, and then move forward.

And sometimes, you need to realize you might not be the genius you thought you were and move on with your life.

Anyhoo, this has turned into a fine little entry.

In other news, despite a luke-warm performance, The Phoenix Suns are once again victorious. But they have to start playing real defense if they plan to finish this series, let alone succeed in the next round.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

In a fascinating turn of events, Maxwell has stumbled into the weird, wicked world of the internet and current events.

Check out this most recent entry from Cowgirl Funk.
BATMAN BEGINS NEW TRAILER

Hey, kids...

MTV.com has a new trailer up for Batman Begins. The trailer is only Windows Media. So get out your Bill Gates emulators, Mac Users.

Read up on the movie and view the trailer here.

Thank God Batman didn't have to go up against Wesley Willis. We all know how that turns out.

In other Bat-related events... after the Rockets victory last night I attempted to watch the 1949 serial of Batman and Robin, which i re-joined Netflix specifically to check out. That, and I want to see House of Flying Daggers without paying full price for a DVD.

Let me begin by saying: The suit worn by Batman in this serial isn't nearly as menacing as it is sort of adorable. It looks like it was made by a second grader. Instead of Bat-ears, Batman sort of has these goofy cloth pegs coming off of his head. "Menacing" was clearly not the direction they were headed. You can't really get the full effect without seeing Batman in profile.


Batman and Robin ponder moving their secret headquarters out of a cave and into the sunroom out back

Also, it becomes painfully clear in the first fight scene how unweildy capes would be in an actual fist-fight.

I am not sure I have the stamina to make it through all 15 chapters of this epic. After all, each chapter is quite a bit longer than I figured on. Nonetheless, it is an interesting bit of archival Bat-fun, and the serial is closer to the comics of the time than I would have guessed.

The guy who plays Bruce Wayne is pretty good and certainly looks the part. His convenient excuse whenever he needs to slip away and become Batman? "I'm quite tired." The frequency with which he uses the excuse would, in today's world, have Bruce's friends insisting he receive treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.

The plot revolves around a mad-scientist type called "The Wizard" who is using an amazing device which can control any vehicle by remote. He's using it, of course, to steal diamonds, which the machine needs to run (no explanation given on how that works, but it is also, coincidentally, the same way Mr. Freeze's Cold-Suit works). So, The Wizard has his machines and minions out stealing diamonds in order to make sure the machine will run. Circular logic, I assure you, but the Wizard seems to have something even more sinsiter up his sleeve.

The girl who plays Vicki Vale is a cute, spunky photographer who, we are told, suspects Bruce is Batman, but doesn't get suspicious when he, say, dumps her off on the roadside after hearing an explosion, saying he must go catch a quick nap.

Robin is there, but, honestly, the actor seems either distracted or drunk. He's sort of a goofy looking guy, too, and probably 5-10 years too old to be anybody's ward. He also looks liek he's about to get his ass handed to him every time a fight scene breaks out.

Anyway, it's all in good fun.

Monday, April 25, 2005

So today sucked.

Lucy is having tummy trouble, and so I had to take her once again to the vet. I'm several hundred bucks out after an X-ray, medicine, blah blah blah...

And that's the tough thing about puppies. You can't ask them what's wrong, you just have to sort of hope the vet can put all the pieces together. Anyway, the x-ray came back fine, which means she didn't eat a rock or something. She's had lab work done, so now I'm waiting for that blood work to come back. Apparently she also had a worm of some sort, so she needed medicine for that.

Man.

She's an expensive little bug.

Anyway, she seems to be doing better, but she's going to spend tonight and tomorrow in her kennel. I'm just a little too overprotective.

Thanks to my second trip to the vet in as many working days, I missed ANOTHER day of work. I hate missing work this much. It's so hard to keep up and make up what you missed.

At least my cold is getting better.

Jim has confirmed Flash Gordon for the movie screenings in Beaumont on July 23rd.

Leaguers, if that can't get you there, I don't know what will.

Honestly, I never saw Flash Gordon until I was in college. And in a lot of ways, I'm glad it took me that long to see it. I think it took a little perspective for me to really just sit back and enjoy that flick.

Anyway, 2:12 left in the Dallas/ Houston play-off game #2 in Dallas. No surprise I'm pulling for Houston. Although Sura still bugs me for some reason. Why is that?

Oh, and there was an ad on during the game for some cellular service, and Top Notch Burger from Burnet in Austin was in the ad. They framed the shot so you couldn't tell it was in the middle of suburbia and were suggesting, if you are at Top Notch, you can't get cellular service. I suppose it doesn't matter that they picked an Austin landmark in the rest of the country, but it did throw me off. Hope I catch the commercial again, because I couldn't figure out where the next shots were done.

Damn, this game won't end. Time-outs never feel this long at the actual game thanks to the Gorilla and the cheerleaders and whatnot.

2.2 seconds left, and T-Mac made an incredible shot. Will Avery Johnson just punch Van Horn in the head? I would.

Ha ha... I hate Mark Cuban. What a dork.

Here's his blog.

Hey, the Rockets won! Dallas is sad. Perhaps the ball on Reunion tower will quit spinning. I went there once when I was six. My parents kept giving me shrimp. I love shrimp.

T-Mac is hilarious. He always looks bored, even when he's destroying Mark Cuban's good humor. Oh, happy Houston fans still hanging out with dejected Dallas fans.

Yao kicked ass tonight. He is a happy genetic freak.

Hurray, Rockets!
So, this past week will surely go down in my personal history as The Week of General Annoyance and Chaos.

Returning home from last weekend's wedding, I felt a bit drained. Tuesday by lunch, I pretty much knew I was not going to make it to work on Wednesday (especially when, in the middle of sentences, my throat would sort of quit making noises, and I sounded like someone was turning my personal volume up and down).

Wednesday I stayed home, tried to take it easy, and generally felt pretty lousy.

Thursday I went to work, felt awful, skipped out early and I have no idea what I did or said Monday, Tuesday or Thursday while I was in the office.

Thursday night around 4:30 a.m., Lucy began hacking with a horrible cough. She's a puppy, and, naturally, I totally wigged out. But at the same time, my vet's office doesn't even open until 8:00, and aside from the hacking cough, she seemed fine. "It's Kennel Cough," Jamie and I decided and went back to bed to try to sleep.

At 8:00 I finally got ahold of the vet, got an appointment for 11:30, realized I was still pretty sick, and flopped on the couch.

By 9:30, Lucy was now no longer coughing. She was just hopping about in the yard looking happy as a clam.

At 11:10 I tossed her in the portable kennel and got her to the vet. The only coughing she would do was when she would pull too hard on her collar. "Oh, it's kennel cough," they said. Told me it's viral, sucks to be me, and told me to wait it out. I got an anti-biotic (in case it wasn't viral) and was told to give my puppy robitussin. Seriously.

Lucy hasn't coughed since.

That didn't keep her from crying for no reason at 12:00 Friday night, which got her butt kicked outside until the next morning.

Saturday Jamie got up before me, made pancake batter, woke me up, told me it was pancake time. We had lovely pancakes.

I was still sipping my tea when she leaped up and began cleaning the dishes. After washing and drying the large, class cutting board, she took a sharp left turn from the sink to put the cutting board onto the island and turned directly into the open dishwasher door. This has the effect of putting a massive hole in her leg that was gross and bloody.

To her credit, 1) Jamie put the cutting board down square on the counter. 2) She never yelled, or cried or passed out. And believe me, this gash was worth yelling, crying and passing out about.

Long story short, we lost Saturday at the emergency room while Jamie got sutures in her leg to make sure she didn't unravel like a cheap sweater.

After we got back from the ER, we more or less took it easy.

Last night we saw Kung Fu Hustle, which is, Leaguers, the best entertainment for your dollar in the cinema at this moment. Great action, very funny, and a pretty good story.

I never saw Kill Bill (either Vol. 1 or 2), and I sort of got the feeling that the scenes with Lucy Liu must have lifted bits from Kung Fu Hustle. If anyone has seen both movies, let me know.

The day, today, went fine. Ran some errands. Bought some pants (khaki and olive) and a belt (black, leather, gold finish belt buckle) and an official Amare Stoudemire jersey I found on sale for half off.

And how did this come in handy? Leaguers, Mr. and Mrs. League spent this glorious evening witnessing Game 1 of Round 1 for the Phoenix Suns in the 2005 NBA Play-Offs.

Boo-yah.

The Grizzlies played a good game, but just didn't have it in them to defeat the mighty Phoenix Suns in this game. Game 2 might be another story. Tonight, however, The Suns landed a 114-103 win.

(What the @%$& happened to the Spurs, man? Let me tell you, The Purple Palace went beserk when they heard that score announced.)

Sadly, our seats were surrounded by many more children this time than the previous game, and some sweet, white haired ladies two rows down, so I felt compelled to self-edit before shouting at the refs, Grizzlies, and the Gorilla.

And, before you ask... no, the half-time show was not the Blues Bothers again. But, they did keep a theme of blue. This game had The Blue Man Group at half-time. These guys were actually pretty fun. Unfortunately, nobody will ever get me to pay for Blue Man tickets in the future now that I have seen them more or less for free.

Anyhow, my voice is gone and I'm still in a good mood, despite my otherwise jacked-up week.

Suns in the play-offs. Hurray!