Saturday, June 11, 2005

So, The League returns from Vegas.

The League's last visit to Vegas bridged 9-11-2001.
During a visit which occured prior to 9-11, I was watching CNN with a co-worker while Harris and Klebold changed what it meant to go to high school.

So, you know, The League was sort of wondering what national tragedy was going to light up the headlines while we were away. Looks like we got off lucky.

In truth, it was a very un-Vegasish Vegas trip. No walking of the Strip or Freemont street. Virtually no gambling. No shows. Only a handful of hookers and drug deals gone bad.

Due to circumstances beyond The League's control, instead of leaving Tuesday after work as planned, The League didn't get out until Wednesday morning.

On the flight, I was trying to mind my own business and read my book, and ended up sitting next to a guy hitting on a married woman for the entire duration of the flight. Even more creepy, I think she was going for it to some extent. Both were dumb as dirt, and the woman made it very clear she'd spent her adult life living off of a series of wealthy men while the guy lied about being in the Marines (I'd heard him talk about his 2003 discharge on my way down the ramp to the plane).

Conference was nice. Took place at the Hilton and the Convention Center. Ran into folks from my employing university and a few other folks I know.

The League was nominated for an award, but we lost. The pain quickly subsided as The League's evening was paid for by the company sponsoring the awards in the first place. First, we watched the Spurs defeat the mighty Pistons in a hard-fought contest and drank a lot of beer. Then we moved on to a steak house which looked like a cheesy set from Miami Vice and had a really good meal and some wine. Then we went to the Ghost Bar atop The Palms casino.

You know, it doesn't matter how much money you spend or how how much time has passed. I always feel like odd-man out at the 8th-grade dance when I go to a club. It just makes me want to crawl out of my skin. The League has a few social issues he's working on, but large crowds and having to scream to be heard makes us want to run for our life.

I stayed down at the far-end of The Strip, and the truth is, Circus Circus is a really weird place. It's not a high-end expensive-type place like the Bellagio, and it draws a different clientele. Nice folks. Less flashy. Folks who enjoy a good clown-theme when they see one.

Vegas, itself, smells bad. It's a city which makes money off of getting as dirty as possible 24 hours a day. The air in the casinos smells awful and is weird and recycled. I'd say it's what the guys must be breathing on the ISS, but astronauts don't contend with millions of retirees puffing on their Kools. Outside, once it gets a might-bit warm, it always sort os smells like someone might have cut one just and you walked right into it. I can only guess where the smell comes from, and it seems confined to the far-end of The Strip. But it's there.

Today The League conferenced again. Then we went to the midway at Circus Circus for about an hour, then we flew away. Luckily, this time I sat with a 10 year old girl who spoke no english, but was really very nice. We looked at the SkyMall catalog together and she told me about a few products in Spanish. She wound up getting the stuffed dog I won for Jamie on the midway for not being obnoxious like the folks on my flight in.

My folks are in tomorrow.

Gotta go check e-mail.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Some odds and ends before I depart:

1) While not a contest, Leaguers sent in some great names for Nathan's new blog.

We now have:

Attack of the Cones
Send in the Cones
Mr. Blog
Nathan's New Groove
The Wrath of Cone

And my personal favorite: The DaVinci Cone

I do believe this one somehow crossed the line from giddy silliness to certain sublime absurdity. Is Nathan the sacred feminine? An inverted Cone, if you will?

Nathan has suggested, himself: I Like Cold Water

This title also seems like a good fit for Nathan. Of course, there is no guarantee of a blog appearing at all, but I think Nathan has to be happy to know that maybe he'd get some spillover readers from The League if he did, indeed, launch his own journal. That, and Nathan routinely broadcasts his own voice to the greater San Antonio area, so he's got a better chance at drawing folks in. This is in contrast to The League who can't even keep the attention of a puppy.

2) Heroes and Villains

I felt as if we had acceptable participation in the "who do you like for a villain" sweepstakes.

Jim felt the need to bring up MadCap, and has been dealt with. The very fact that I can't find a decent bit of reference on MadCap should tell you something.

The League will be working on a Top 10 villain countdown. We may even do a top 10 Marvel Villain AND a Top 10 DC villain countdown. But that all depends on comments posted below.

3) Site redesign

So, what do you chumps think? Telling you guys how long this took would be totally embarassing as it would reveal exaclty how much I don't know about html.

You may recall the former color-scheme. Some time ago, when we were ready to leap head-first into blogging, The League had sort of picked the least offensive template we could find and just stuckw ith it. But recently, we'd begun to feel a little down about an orange, red and green scheme. It just didn't scream "HEY, KIDS! COMICS!" Also, the many, many items tossed into the html gutters around the daily copy had sort of left The League feeling as if the site was looking like a yard sale.

So, anyway, MAKEOVER!!! (You must all find a copy of Clone High, Season 1. Do it now.)

Masters of site design, Jim D. and RHPT, have been making suggestions. I've taken them all under consideration, and the ideas have really worked. I think. Randy's suggestion to make all of the text scrolling blink tags is still in the works. You can expect to see animated gifs of torches here soon.

4) Saw Madagascar this weekend. I wasn't expecting much, but it was pretty funny. Most kids' movies have a sort of sappy moral homily buried under the fart jokes and grannies falling down. Madagascar is mostly moral-lesson free. That is, unless you want for your kids to be prepared with a moral compass should you guys ever get stuck on a trip and suddenly you realize your dinner reservations are under "Donner, party of four... no, three!".

Anyway, maybe not something for which you'd pay full-price, but it's a decent renter, or maybe worth matinee price.

5) Batman Begins was screened at a comic convention in Philadelphia. Reviews have been universally glowing, which is extremely rare in the nitpicky world of comic geeks.

I'm excited. Expect a full "Batman and Me" post in the near future.

6) I read "Mage: The Hero Discovered" over the weekend. While aspects of 80's comic storytelling linger, it's an enjoyable read with classic Matt Wagner art. I kept thinking Jason would have liked this series during it's initial run, and I'm not sure how he missed it.

7) Ring a ding-ding

Off to Vegas. Jim D. called to let me know of a targeting range off the Strip which works on an hourly rate. Apparently, under close supervision, one can rent an M-16, an uzi, or any number of firearms. Then, one buys a box of ammunition and unleashes a lot of frustration upon a helpess paper target.

The League isn't nuts about guns in general, but this, Leaguers, sounds right up our alley.

Also, Lt. LT chimed with some Las Vegas ideas. Well, one idea: El Cortez Casino. Sounds like exactly The League's sort of place. Not much appears to have been updated since the El Cortez's booming 1960's success. If the low-fi website is any indication, it seems a swell time.

8) Return to Comics must be reading The League. Which is good. We're reading Return to Comics, and we highly recommend it.

Return To Comics also brought up Halo, who The League probably had some sort of twisted crush on back in the mid-80's. Alas, Halo was much older than me, sort of dead/ sort of a cosmic entity, and a fictional character. It just didn't work out.

It was the 80's. I was 11. I have no further explanation.

9) The League was meaning to react (or, more accurately, opine) to The Beat's recent postings about the perception of women in comic books as well as the role of women working in the comics industry.


and here

I do want to get to this, because I do think it's an important topic and not much discussed. When it is discussed, the topic of women in comics is usually addressed on comic fan sites and message boards with all the maturity you would expect out of grown men who think they can never get too close to anyone, because if their enemies ever learned who they really were...

But rather than dwell for too long on social issues, The League turns to the schadenfreude you've come to love and respect.

Here, Heidi notices The Invisible Girl is wearing an invisible dress. This one's for Jason.

10) Ya'll entertain yourself while The League is away. Mayhaps Mrs. League will materialize and fill in for The League while he confers with other folks working in his exciting new field. (Apparently if I can get five of MY friends to sell these exciting products, and they can each get five of THEIR friends to sell these exciting products...)
This person really knows not only how to hold a grudge, but really committed to her fairly unimpressive plan.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Comic convention season is upon the comic geek community. Wizard World Philly is currently going on.

The cover art to Jim Lee and Frank Miller's "All-Star Batman and Robin" was released.

Looks like it's going to live up to the promise.

No major Superman news to speak of.