Friday, April 01, 2005

Loyal Leaguer Nathan Cone gets a write up in the Trinity University Alumni Newsletter.

Do you call The League a liar? Read here.

The League does not see such praise for himself coming anytime soon in The Alcalde as The League refuses to benefit mankind in any way shape or form. Truly, The League is a leech on society.

Yes, The League is officially a Texas-Ex. Shut up.
I have Spam in my pocket.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


I just spent like half an hour working on another installment of "DITMTLOD". But I clicked the wrong dealy and it disappeared into the ether.

I blame only myself.

I confess if I were more focused and not trying to blog and watch the new program "Kojak" starring Ving Rhames, I might not have lost my posting.

Oh, well. What are you going to do?

On the plus side, I kind of like this Kojak show. I never watch cop shows, but I like Ving Rhames, and I sort of like catching up with this show from the first episode. If I come in even part way through a show's first season, I have trouble doing the work to catch up.

Alas, the DIMTMTLOD will have to wait for another day.

It should be noted that I also couldn't think up anything clever for April Fool's, so... uh... I feel as if I really dropped the ball.

Somehow I suspect you'll all get along fine for a few days until I get my act together.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Grenade Bot
There's no way this can be dangerous.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Happy Birthday, Peabo!

The 26th of March marked the 30th birthday of Jeffrey "Peabo" Peek. Peabo is a great guy with a lot of hare-brained ideas, and a whole lot of moxie.

I met him in 4th Grade after moving to Austin. He told me the entire story of "Red Dawn", scene for scene, the day I met him. He also didn't mind that I ate all the food in his pantry, so I sort of stuck tight for the next several years.

Jeff is a buddy, a pal, and also one of my crack team of legal experts I keep on retainer just in case. A short while ago he married Adrianna, a girl I assure you who is far too good for him. They recently adopted a schnauzer named "Homer," and, I assume are enjoying their new home.

Back in our youth, Peabo had a multitude of wacky ideas which probably should have gotten one or both of us killed, but despite our best efforts, we're still alive today.

I certainly do miss the guy, and I don't get to talk to him nearly often enough.

Happy Birthday, Peabo. I didn't get you anything.

A scene from the childhood of Peabo and The League
The League Presents:
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Sin City Special

Friday will see the release of what is sure to be a divisive movie among fans of pop culture. Frank Miller's Sin City is finally coming to a theater near you.

I am not going to guarantee you will enjoy Sin City. The content of the stories is minimal, hard-boiled stuff. The look and feel are stylized enough to be alienating, and the characters are not going to be immediately sympathetic. Nobody is clean down in Basin City.

By now you've heard all about how Robert Rodriguez was so committed to retaining the integrity of Frank Miller's work that he decided to bring Miller on-board as a co-director, and thusly had to give up his membership in the Director's Guild as it is against Director's Guild rules to allow for two directors on a single movie. Maybe you've heard how Rodriguez financed a short, which ultimately became the movie's opening scene, out of his own pocket.

You've probably also seen publicity stills and whatnot of green screens and artificial backgrounds.

Lots of crazy stuff. And all to make sure that Miller's work didn't just make it to the screen in spirit... Rodriguez wanted to make sure the books made it to the screen word for word, panel for panel.

This sort of thing doesn't happen for anything adapted for the big screen, comic book, novel, play, whatever... No matter what, the folks at the studio who know better always insist upon adding their own spin, changing storylines, adding or subtracting characters... there's always something. Even Spider-Man, a comic adaptation which truly captures the silver-age essence of the Spider-Man comics, brings Mary Jane in dozens of issues before her first appearance. It changes the Goblin's origin and costume. And, heck... they gave Spidey organic web-shooters instead of his wacky little mechanical web-shooters.

Let's not even get into where the Batman films took a detour and became their own unrecognizable entity.

It would have to take a fanboy of uncompromising spirit to do what Rodriguez has done, and it would take somebody like Miller to get him to do it. It's the ultimate gamble, but also the ultimate leap of faith.

Miller gave us some of the best comics of the past twenty-odd years, comics which opened up our young minds to new and better ideas. But to get there, Miller wrote and drew comics which took existing ideas and figured out why the ideas were brilliant, burning off the fat, tearing away the weakness and reigniting the fires of old fantasies, not just into a comforting glow of nostalgia, but into a raging inferno of the possibilities of genre and character. As much as a craftsman as he might be with Batman, he could just as easily turn in something like 300.

It was guys like Miller who put the thoughts into the heads of starry-eyed kids like Rodriguez back when he was a kid. He told us all the stories hadn't been told yet, and that maybe there are new ways to tell the ones which we already know.

We all have heroes growing up, and for better or worse, for a lot of us geeks, Frank Miller was the man. Even if it was just his Batman work, or, for a lot of lucky folks, his Daredevil work, or the classic Wolverine limited series.

And, if I'd been smarter, I'd have picked up Ronin back when I saw it on the shelf at B. Dalton when I was thirteen.

These days it's fascinating to see comics movies shed the stigma of being this medium where the producers seem vaguely embarassed of their own projects. In the hands of the geeks, at least the movies have a shot at reflecting the maturity which has been blossoming in comics since the 70's. Between guys like Raimi, Rodriguez and Goyer, it's the first time the film creators are able to stand up proudly and talk about the guys who had a hand in shaping their world.

You're lucky, you lucky bastards who don't love comics. You haven't spent year after year watching the characters you know and love come to the big screen as pale, diluted versions of the books you loved, each one more apologetic than the one before it as producers chased dollars before even trying to understand why a property had survived for thirty or more years.

Even with all that, misteps will always occur. Two of Miller's triumphs have been turned into films in the past few years, and both failed to capture much more than the wardrobes of the characters Miller breathed life into. 2003's Daredevil was a shadow of Miller's original storyline, and 2004's Elektra seemed to do anything but recognize why anybody had ever loved the character.

But Miller didn't own Daredevil, or Elektra. Marvel Comics owned them, and they could damn well do as they pleased.

His script for Robocop 2 was diluted and diluted until Miller's fingerprints were only there if you knew where to look.

So if he was a bit skeptical of turning Sin City into a movie, a project which has no voice in it but Miller's own? Who can blame him?

Luckily for us, Rodriguez got what it was Miller was doing, and decided if he would adapt it, he was going to do it right. He was going to bring Sin City to the screen, and he was going to do it panel by panel, and he was bringing Frank along to keep him honest.

In addition to the readings I've linked to above, I'm also suggesting the entire Sin City run. In particular, I'd turn you onto the books which you'll see highlighted in the movie.

1) The Hard Goodbye. The first (and some say, best) Sin City story tells the tale of poor old crazy Marv.

2) The Big Fat Kill. "You gotta stand up for your friends. Sometimes that means dying. Sometimes it means killing a whole lotta people."

3) That Yellow Bastard. Hartigan is maybe the last honest cop in Basin City. And in Sin City, that doesn't come without a price.

4) Booze, Broads and Bullets. A collection of short stories.

So when you go to see Sin City, I hope you enjoy. This movie isn't going to be capes and tights. If you're going to need a non-comic inspired reference, it's Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet refracted through a broken whiskey bottle. It's going to be a crazy, hyper-violent thrill ride, and I hope you can sit back, relax, have fun and try not to take it all too seriously. Frank would be disappointed if you did.

It's some ways, this movie is nothing but the biggest thank-you one could ever think of giving Miller. We all just get to be in on it.

For the previous Suggestions, click here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Hey Uncle Bob!

So. It appears that my uncle, "Pentagon" Bob, has been lurking here at The League for quite some time. And by quite some time, I mean, at least a year.

"Pentagon" Bob earned his name by working for the military for years, and this meant his office was right there in the Pentagon. Which, of course, meant that all of my friends were convinced Bob was some sort of secret agent. I am still not convinced Bob is not a secret agent. He lurked here at The league for over a year, and I had no idea he was here. Pretty sneaky, eh?

Bob is married to Linda, who is one groovy chick all on her own. She may also be a spy, but we'll never know, will we?

Bob once took me on a tour of the Pentagon, and I tell you this: I have never seen so many urinals in one, single men's room. That, and these urinals were spotless. That's a fine example of either military discipline or precision, and I have not yet decided which it truly represents.

The other thing you need to know about the Pentagon is this: It's huge. Any enemy forces planning to infiltrate the Pentagon are completely wasting their time. They're going to get lost and end up having to ask for directions.

Thanks to a wicked combination of a derth of vacation days and conflicting family vacation events, I very rarely get to see Bob and Linda these days. It's tough to get all of us in one place at the same time. That, and Bob's constant spy work keeps him busy.

Anyway, it appears that, thanks to Pentagon Bob, my folks located not just my blog, but they also recently located that of Brother Dearest. I assume Jason will now be far more paranoid about what gets posted over at AoS.

I am curious what illusions Bob might have once had about his two cherubic nephews that we've managed to shatter, tread upon and then toss in the dust-bin. Ah, well. Hopefully they'll keep sending nice Christmas cards.

But you gotta love Bob. I shall never forget that when everyone else failed me one bleak Christmas, it was Bob who provided us with Nerf Boomerangs. Those things rocked.
In case you missed Doug's comment:

Not all of the escaped Gorillas were violent:

Yes, the League enjoys a good photo-op as much as the next guy. Perhaps even more so.

I can't help but look at this photo and think: I'm an idiot.
People always say to me: League, why don't you like going to the beach?

As a child, I loved going to the beach. And then one day when I was about 9, I realized that I no longer liked the beach.

I sunburn. I am one pale, highly flammable bastard, and the slightest bit of sunlight turns me lobster red. Not only do I burn, but I always felt sick from dehydration. Whatever fun I had for a few hours grew to be ruined by a) the constant worry of burning b) getting out of the water every fifteen minutes to apply more suntan lotion c) the horrible, greasy feel of suntan lotion caked on, mixed with salt water and sand d) in 1997 I finally REALLY misjudged, and after an hour and a half in the sun, I was burned so badly that I got the blisters. That SUCKED.

and the real kicker: Everybody has to take a bug-eyed at you and exclaim, "Boy, are you sunburned! Didn't you use sunscreen?"

Yes, yes I did use sunscreen on my trip to San Diego. But I did not use it yesterday as I didn't realize I would be outside for any duration.

I own a mirror. I know I am sunburned. I do not need to be told by each person who walks by my office that I am sunburned. I do, in fact, know that sunscreen exists and I am used to applying it in liberal quantities. Sometimes it is difficult to judge if you need it, and yesterday I misjudged.

I am now going to print a sign and tape it to my monitor to inform my co-workers that I know I am sunburned and that I do not need any help or instructions for future exposure to sunlight.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Stay classy, San Diego!

Well, we're back. Let me say that San Diego is a lovely town with friendly people and a lot to offer. We had ourselves quite a time, and I would very much liek to go back.

We stayed at a loverly hotel just off Balboa Park, The Balboa Park Inn.

It was made up of several former small apartment buildings, and each room was given a unique theme. We stayed in The Orient Express.

Jamie poses in our fabulous suite

The evening we arrived we went on a harbor tour and got a good look at some naval vessels, some cargo vessels, Coronado Island, etc... Very nice. The tour guide was deemed controversial, but all in all, it was an interesting tour.

The next morning we got up early, got breakfast, and headed for the San Diego Zoo (only a few blocks from the hotel).

Gorillas rampaged all about the park. We feared for our very lives.

Joining us on our trip were Jamie's brother, Doug... His lady-friend, Kristen, and Jamie's pal, Heather "H" Wagner.

Doug, Kristen, H, Jamie

The best transit at the San Diego Zoo? Skycar!

Heather spots a loose gorilla in a passing Skycar

San Diego is also home to a few Giant Pandas. These guys are terribly endangered.

This Panda is trying to sleep one off after yet another night out with the hippos.

Jamie was delighted to see the Pandas. It was a highlight of our visit to the San Diego Zoo. Especially with all the loose gorillas causing so much trouble.

Jamie is delighted to have seen a Panda. Up until this point, she's usually only eaten them.

Toward the end of the day, we paused at the Elephant Exhibit.

Nothing finishes off a day like an elephant.

We didn't have a shot at finishing seeing the whole zoo. The place is enormous and very hilly. I could have easily done another whole day at the zoo, and hope to return soon to see the rest of the exhibits.

I didn't take too many pictures after this, but we went for a lovely dinner last night at Prado restaurant. It was a lot of fun, and it was significantly better than the dinner at the tourist trap we'd gone to the night before.

Today we got up and ran over to Coronado Island. Very nice place with a lot of history.

At any rate, hope you all had a good weekend. We sure did.