Saturday, January 06, 2007

Spiders on drugs

Mayhaps due to recently seeing "Charlotte's Web", Jamie has recently been a bit fascinated by spiders and their webs.

Apparently, some time ago, scientists from England got some spiders doped up and decided to let them spin their webs. Check it out.

The results in the photos are fascinating. I'm sure someone with more brainpower than me would have something more enlightened to say about all this.

Wanting to see more trippy "spiders on drugs" photos, Jamie did some googling and even found something on YouTube. For some weird science stuff, check this out.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thanks, JimD!

Special thanks to JimD for his assist and for forwarding a link to my Comic Fodder story to The Beat. Much to my surprise, Heidi posted a link to my first CF post.

Jim is wise in the ways of blogging.

ComicFodder: First Post

Can you tell I'm nervous?

here's a link to my first post for ComicFodder

Ah, nothing like a dry, whiny tirade to get the audience rolling in.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dr. Atkins ruined my breakfast

So today Jamie woke me up and said, "The toaster is broken."
This news did not come as a complete surprise. The toaster oven had, reportedly, burst into flames the other day during an english muffin incident.
"Let's go get breakfast," she declared after I'd rolled around in bed for a few more minutes, even trying to get Mel to join my cause of remaining in the comfy, warm bed.
"We have cereal," I said.
"Nah, I want to go out. We can even go get bagels."
I love bagels. Like all the best foods, bagels are round. They have a convenient hole in the middle for better gripping. You cover them in delicious cream cheese. And in Phoenix, we had three good bagel shops within a few minutes of the house, so I ate a lot of bagels.
Not so in Austin.
I am told, the "no carbs" movement led by Dr. Atkins has meant that the suburbanites which once filled bagel shops have given up on the notion of a bagel shop. Somehow this has not stopped them from filling Starbucks to overflowing and eating sugar drenched and fat-injected pastries while chigging down venti mochas (which obviously have no calories in them).
Thus, bagel shops aren't anywhere near as popular or numerous as they once were. In fact, there really aren't any in my part of town.
But, Jamie promised me a bagel.
We headed to Central Market, which, oddly didn't appear to have bagels in their cafe. Lots of other stuff that's crappy for you, but no bagels. Then we headed to Kerbey Lane, knowing bagels were on the menu, even though they were not the most exciting bagels in the world. But, Kerbey Lane being Kerbery Lane, we waited around for fifteen minutes (on a weekday morning), had a table which was then swiped from us, and I made my twice annual "I shall never wat at Kerbey Lane again!" declaration as we got irritated and left.
I never got a bagel. I made some eggs at home.

I've done a Google-search. I can't find any bagel shops anywhere near the 78745. We have Mexican restaurants which serve breakfast coming out our ears, including Casa G's and a Maudie's not too far away. The closest bagel shop, however, is an Einstein Bros. on 12th and Lamar, and one does not go willy-nilly into the Lamar Shopping Zone of Doom without damn good cause. But I love frikkin' Einstein Bros., so maybe on Saturday.

I suppose I could buy bagels at HEB, but the Lender's type bagels you can buy in a bag are doughy and weird and don't even taste like regular bagels. And, they don't come in any varieties other than cinnamon, whole wheat and plain at my grocery.
I haven't tried to pick up their "fresh" bagels at HEB, but rarely are grocery store bagels out of the grocery store bakery all that exciting.

I'm just a man who wants a good bagel, and I don't want to drive to 12th and Lamar to get it. I resent the abandonment of the bagel so that people could move on to the next fad. We had a good thing going with the bagel. People could agree on the bagel. It could be served toasted or cold. It could be plain, or salted, or oniony or with raisins embedded. It could even be pumpernickel.

And, you usually got to drink a hell of a lot of coffee while enjoying your bagel.

I am not even particularly bothered by the knowledge that there is not a bagel shop in the '45 (or the '04). But what bugs me is that the selection at the grocery store is returning to the slim, pre-bagel craze offerings which once shamed the good name of bagels.

Damn you, Dr. Atkins. Damn you straight to hell.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Superman IV: The Quest for Mark Pillow

Can you read my mind? Do you know what it is you do to me?

Ah, Superman IV. I am uncertain as to how Superman falls into my development as a Superman Fan. Well, that's not true. I honestly think my viewing of Superman IV is a crucial portion of that tale.

I was already a huge fan of "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman II". I had seen "Superman III" numerous times, but when "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" was released, it came and went from the theaters before I could peddle my bike to the Showplace VI to catch it. Obviously the release of the film couldn't have had me sitting on pins and needles.

So one Sunday afternoon my Sophomore year at UT (a year which shall live in infamy), I was supposed to be doing homework and running my laundry, and, instead, flipped on the afternoon movie on KBVO. I had never seen "Superman IV", and now seemed like a heck of an opportunity to watch the film. Maybe just a little bit of it. And three hours later, I was slapping my forehead and rolling my eyes in shame.

But I am uncertain if it is a coincidence that my Junior year was when I began to take an interest in Superman and Superman comics (although I wouldn't begin collecting in ernest for years). Could "Superman IV" have drummed up additional Superman interest in my mind?

A quick review of the back-up materials on the Superman Ultimate DVD Collection will tell you that nobody involved with the production of Superman IV was happy with the results, including the actor who played the heavy of the film, Nuclear Man, who had two more roles before returning to Spring, Texas... just a few miles from my parent's house, in fact.

I just finished watching Superman IV, and I am unsure if it's coincidence or not, but I have a raging headache. It's sort of just north of the orbit of my left eye, and feels a bit like I've been struck with a ballpeen hammer. Sure, it could be the weather, or allergies, or a lack of caffeine. I think it's Cannon Film's half-baked treatment of the Superman franchise.

A quick IMDB search will further provide details to tell you that the theatrical release of the film was 90 minutes, but the original cut ran more than 130 minutes. At 90 minutes, the film is choppy and nonsensical, yet I cannot imagine welcoming 40 more minutes of this film into my life.

Sure, the cast is back. Christopher Reeve actually seems pretty chipper to be back in the Superman suit, and gets a little more room to play with Clark in this movie. Whatever happened to Margot Kidder had really started to sink in by the time this installment rolled around, and at age 38 or 39, she comes off like one of my goofier middle-school teachers rather than Lois (keep this in mind when you complain about the current Superman cast being cast so young). Jackie cooper is back as a Grampa-ish Perry White, and Mark McClure is in a lot of wide shots as Jimmy Olsen. I don't know what they paid Hackman to reprise his role as Lex Luthor, but apparently it was enough to make him show up, and that was about it.

Additions include an early, almost non-existent part of a slim Jim Broadbent as a weapons-dealer, John Cryer playing Luthor's ha-ha-stupid nephew, Lenny, and, of course, Mark Pillow as Nuclear Man. A little bit more interesting is that Mariel Hemingway appears as a pre-Cat Grant suitor for Clark Kent (not Superman). And I realized she sort of looks like one of my old bosses if my old boss wore dresses with enormous shoulder pads.

A quick browse of the trivia on Mark Pillow's IMDB entry tells us that there were supposed to be two Nuclear Man's in the film, but the first was cut for time. If the deleted footage of the film tells us anything, it's that it may have also been cut for taste. Now, here's the curious bit: I think that they may have left the first Nuclear Man in the TV-version I watched on that sunny Saturday those many years ago.
A) that movie went on forever, and B) there were a few things which seemed somehow familiar, including plot points. I may be halluncinating all of this, but there is a 134 minute version listed on IMDB, so it's possible that's what I saw.

The plot of the movie is as follows:

-Superman is a friend to all nations. This is illustrated with an opening sequence of Superman saving Godless communist cosmonauts when they are hit by space debris.

-The Daily Planet is sold to character actor Sam Wanamaker and Mariel Hemingway (his daughter). They turn The Daily Planet into a NY Post-style tabloid overnight. Seemingly without Perry White or any of his staff knowing what's going to print.

-Peace talks between the US, and, I assume, a pre-Glasnost USSR breakdown. Or maybe France. It's hard to tell. There's some mention of France. Both sides declare they will be "second to none" in how many nuclear missles they have.

-A young boy in serious need of a good orthodontist and a serious crush on our Man of Steel fails a class assignment by writing a "no nukes" letter to Superman instead of his Congressman.

-Luthor escapes jail with the aid of John Cryer.

-The new tabloid folks force Superman's hand by writing a "Superman tells kid to 'Drop Dead'" story.

-Superman reveals his secret to Lois for absolutely no reason. She says that "she knows", but it's not clear if she's always known or just remembered. They fly around the world at speeds that would surely tear Lois into shreds. I guess the producers were trying to recreate the magic, but it now looks like Superman is flying with someone's mom. He then kisses her and supposedly makes her forget. I have no idea what we were supposed to get out of that sequence but a brief opportunity to hit the can.

-Superman goes to the UN-set (which looks every bit as tacky as the real UN) and tells everyone he will now rid the world of nuclear weapons. He receives a standing "O". The viewer laughs aloud, trying to (a) imagine the UN agreeing to anything, (b) deciding that the right thing to do is let an alien with no oversight and an unknown agenda disarm the Earth.
Now, in the deleted scenes, prior to the UN scene, there's a bit where Superman tells the kid "I'm really not supposed to disarm all of humanity". The kid whines. I seem to also remember this from the TV version. All of that also breaks up some awkward moping that Superman/ Clark does for a while prior to the UN sequence.

-The kid is never seen again. Rightfully. If I were him, and had just had that kind of success with a letter writing campaign in 1987, I probably would have begun writing letters to Amanda Pays.

-Superman "disarms" the entire world. Sort of. I recall seeing statistics for how many nuclear weapons the US and the USSR each had on a graph in Time, circa 1983. I think Superman may have shorted himself by 100,000 weapons on both sides. He throws the nuclear weapons into the sun. Now, this is an interesting bit as nothing is made of either the US or USSR going completely monkey-crap about their nuclear stockpiles being swiped by an alien being. Really, this should have been "The Day the Earth Stood Still". But all of that is pushed aside so we can focus on...

-Luthor's idiotic plot. Luthor schemes to get in bed with some arms manufacturers who will continue to build nuclear weapons. Or something. We learn that Luthor is actually cloning a Nuclear Man from a strand of Superman's hair. But he needs the power of the sun to make his Nuclear Man work. So what he's really doing is conning a seemingly fully complicit nukes dealer into strapping a shoebox full of silly-putty and a doll-dress to a nuclear missle, hoping Superman will intercept it and throw it into the sun. Which he does.
I think (though it's never said out loud) that the idea is that the guy KNOWS what Luthor is doing, and will go along with his Nuclear Man plan to kill Superman, so he can re-arm the world, and Luthor gets a cut.
Dropping California into the ocean for a real estate swindle now seems so quaint.
-One of the guys from Ah-Ha, fresh from Studio 54 party, emerges from the sun.

- Superman fights the nuclear guy. For some reason, the nuclear guy has press-on nails that maybe poison Superman for some reason. Which is never made clear as both Nukie and Supes get their power from El Sol. Radiation?

-Lois comes to Clark's apartment and gives an awkward speech which leads you to believe she knows Clark is Superman. This goes nowhere. I think maybe we were supposed to gleen that this is Lois making peace with the knowledge she has. I don't know. Nobody is bad in the scene, it's just that nothing really comes of it and it's a big ol' matzah ball to leave in the middle of a movie like this.

-Superman uses his last crystal he grabbed early on in the movie and heals himself from the poisoning. Why he waits is never made clear, but he goes from having the chills to looking like the Crypt Keeper in two scenes.

-Supes fights Nuclear Man. the fight necessitates that Superman push the moon out of orbit to block Nuclear Man's line of site to the sun (which Nuclear Man needs to have access to his powers). Curiously, the Earth is not shorn in half by the gravitational disruption, and nobody seems to notice the moon moving out of orbit.

-Mariel Hemingway is taken into space by Nuclear Man at some point. Apparently Mariel Hemingway is immune to absolute zero temperatures, the rigors of a vaccuum, and the rough ride out of the Earth's atmosphere and gravity. She is one tough cookie.

-At some point, Mariel Hemingway, Lois, Clark and Superman partake in an awkward sex-farce style scene in which Clark and Superman keep coming and going from Mariel Hemingway's apartment. It isn't funny, and for some reason, Lois makes a duck in the oven.

-Superman throws Lex back in jail and let's the world re-arm itself

-we learn that a very 20-something looking John Cryer was supposed to be an impressionable teenager when he is placed in "Boys Town". Literally. It's his last scene and leaves a lot of questions.

-there's some talk of a narrowly averted nuclear incident. I don't know what nuclear disaster the news-guy is talking about. I assume it was yet another element cut out of the film, like the first Nuclear Man. I am trying to puzzle what why a war was imminent if nobody had missles, but nothing is coming.

-for some reason, Nuclear Man is very interested in Mariel Hemingway after seeing her on the cover of a British edition of The Planet. We know it is British as "Favorite" is spelled "Favourite" right on the cover. I assume this is how they spell "favorite" in the UK, and not just a type-o. Anyway, there's some explanation of Nuclear Man's interest in Mariel Hemingway on Mark Pillow's IMDB entry. In the context of the movie, it makes no @#$%ing sense, but does lead to a moon-fight and to Superman replacing a moon-flag, looking like a disgruntled suburbanite cleaning up after kids ran through his yard.

-Apropos of nothing, Mariel hemingway learns the value of journalism with integrity. I assume this is part of a subplot which has been cut. At the film's end, Perry White takes an escalator and announces he's taken an enormous loan to buy out Wanamaker. Which is amazing, because they clearly state at the beginning of the film that the Planet hasn't turned a profit in three years. Metropolis' banking system must be a shambles. Also, there's something very "Monster-A-Go-Go" about a character telling us about all sorts of action which took place off-screen, but which we never get to see.

This movie cost $17 million, which is roughly 5% more than just Brando's salary on the first picture, I think. It's written with the best of liberal intentions, what with the strong "no nukes" stance. I understand that it was actually Christopher Reeve who suggested Superman tackle the real-world issue of nuclear disarmament, but I think it's safe to say that he did not anticipate the endless goofiness which would saturate the film.

I don't think any of the ideas in the film are necessarily bad ideas. There is just a layer of abject failure of execution which permeates every frame of the movie. What happens when Superman tries to save all of us from ourselves in one enormous display? That's an interesting question. The movie asks the question, but is derailed by Mark Pillow in a cape before it can give a coherent answer. A walking, super-powered dirty-bomb as an enemy for the man of steel. Did he need to be a clone? Can Mariel Hemingway survive in a vaccuum? Only scientists really know.

And what must Hackman have thought of Cryer's idiotic turn as Lenny Luthor? Surely he asked him to tone it down... We may never know.

All of that said, this movie still makes more sense than Supergirl.

I kind of want to see if I can find Mark Pillow's house, as it can't be more than 10 minutes from my parent's house. Maybe he'd sign my copy of Superman IV. You never know.


A while back, Doug's friend Shannon alerted The Doug to the fact that the media review site she works with was looking for a comics blogger. (Did that sentence make any sense? I challenge you to diagram it.)

Anyway, I took a look at the site, saw their tone and format for media review, and was very interested. But I was also moving. I contacted the site manager to see what the expectations might be, and, frankly knew I couldn't swing it. Not with a move on.

So a few weeks ago I was talking to S. Bloom, who is (was? There's an "R" next to his name on their staff list) a contributor at (oh, man, I need to add that link), and he was talking about really enjoying his work as a sports blogger. So, I thought to myself, "Gee, The League, you blog several times a week. Could you swing that sort of gig? You know, if a comics sort of context?"

And then I did my year-end comics round-up, back-to-back with the Vaughan and Cooke post from a little ways back, got a little encouragment... and, anyway, I started thinking about the FilmFodder site all over again.

So, just prior to Christmas I took a look to see what FilmFodder had been up to in the comics arena. Their coverage was interesting, but had fallen off since Novemeber. I got in touch with the site manager, did a "remember me?" e-mail, and was redirected to the gentleman who is, essentially, the editor for ComicsFodder.

Long-story-long, The League should be joining the ranks of FilmFodder, down in the ComicsFodder subsection.

I am now responsible for Comics content on FilmFodder a few times a week.

What will this mean for LoM?

Probably not a lot. The comic posts that you would see here will probably now just exist as redirects to ComicsFodder. I probably will not rant over on ComicsFodder regarding Superman as I have editorial responsibilities.

I think the deal I've made is more or less to be the DCU blogger. A post or two or three a week, featuring comic reviews. Columns of commentary. That sort of thing. Stuff you see here and ignore on a regular basis.

I'll still be posting a lot of that top-notch, high-quality navel gazing that you're used to. At least the sort of stuff that tends to draw comments.

I will alert all Loyal Leaguers when I have my inaugral post. In the meantime, I have some ducks to get in rows with the editor and site-manager.

Wish me luck.

RHPT, Mysterious M combine DNA. Logical product expected.

Randy knocked up M. They're gonna have a kid.

Well done, RHPT. I look forward to you being disappointed in your infant's inability to set Feedburner into his/her blog.

M, congrats. I do not believe I am alone in hoping that the child inherits your looks, wit and wisdom. And, of course, RHPT's DNA can offer... RHPT's... I am sure Randy has many good qualities that would somehow help. Maybe. Well, best of luck with that side of the helix.

All righty. Let's stay positive.

So... yeah. Kid. For RHPT. Wow. Luckily, M had babyproofed the house years ago for RHPT, and she has to cut his meat for him, so she is probably very prepared to bring a child into the world.

Congrats to the lucky couple.

Monday, January 01, 2007

OU, I am sorry

I really thought you would win. I sincerely did. You played your heart out, especially Mr. Peterson. Dang.

But that proposal... that was pretty sweet. That's a dude who knows how to utilize a moment.

more here

Dreamgirls (aka: Never Again to the Metropolitan 14)

Wow. You know, I remember when they built the Metropolitan 14. It's a gigantic movie theater just South of the Motor Mile on I-35, tucked a ways back from the freeway as the handful of acres between the theater and the parking lot is sort of a run-off/ swampy area. But you can't miss it. The theater is four stories tall, with a gigantic tower poking up from the trees another several yards. The tower is adorned with neon rings humongous silvery statues of nude dudes, like something out of a Joel Shumacher Batman film. Inside there are statues of nude ladies, so there's equal opportunity for abso-ludicrousness.

But, since day 1, The Metropolitan has been bad news. I saw "Unbreakable" there, and was distracted for the duration of the film by a weird, stagnant swampy smell which, I assume, came from the swamp or something foul going on with the pipes. The cavernous theaters give the illusion that nobody can hear you, and thus the knobs of South Austin all flock to the theater (now that Riverside is closed down) and, seemingly, find the movies the BEST place to hold a conversation.

And, so it was with Dreamgirls. I kinda-sorta knew we were in trouble when folks were drifting in to the movie as it began (after 20 minutes of trailers, so, you know, these people were committed). Then were stunned to learn Dreamgirls was a musical, and thusly laughed and laughed whenever anyone broke into song. Which was pretty much continuously. We gave the evil eye, and both Jamie and I shushed (I resorted to the "quiet!" shush). All of this seemed to just egg on the couple who was certainly old enough to know better. So, maybe 45 minutes in, we finally moved.

I doubt our departure from our seats achieved the desired effect of somehow shaming these folks as I heard the guy laugh again two or three more times.

In the interim, a trio of teenagers who had been loudly chatting mid-theater up and left. I have no idea what spurred their departure. I like to think someone tried to shiv them.

And then the capper was when, during the FINAL scene of the movie, a family of morbidly obese folks loudly waddled their way into the row behind us, and began an involved conversation. Our quick "shush" was met with laughter and a quick discussion of how they were upsetting people. Of course, the final scene is not really the time to throw in the towel, but I seriously considered quitting as there was no new information to be gleened.

Unfortunately, most of the things I can usually think to say which probably WOULD make folks hush up are generally fairly offensive and could, potentially, lead to gun-play. The League is not ready to ruin a movie by bleeding out in his Milk Duds, so we do our best to just "shush". Further, the few times I have summoned an usher, the usher really, really DOES NOT want to get involved, and the folks have invariably been quiet as churchmice until the usher departs.

I guess I probably would have been upset if the movie were awful, and, in fact, I probably would have left. But I sort of liked Dreamgirls. Yes, it's a musical, but I will cop to enjoying a good musical now and then. A lot of love went into the movie, and unlike several recent period movies, they actually do the hairstyles and clothes of the era fairly decent justice.

I'm just going to get this out of the way: Beyonce Knowles is freakishly beautiful. When I look at Beyonce in the film, I am unsure of what I am looking at. She consistently appears to be either computer generated or air brushed. I don't want this note to detract from her acting or singing, because both are swell. She's SUPPOSED to be beautiful in the film, and obviously the DP had a good time working with her as a subject. Make of that what you will.

The rest of the cast is very good as well. Eddie Murphy pulls out his long-lost singing talents, and occasionally channels his old James Brown SNL-persona, but never inappropriately. Jamie Foxx plays the most complicated character of the film, but I don't think it's a huge surprise to say he handles both singing and acting just fine, what with he owning awards and all that. Jennifer Hudson plays a surprisingly large part in the film, and aside from a few moments which weren't nailed, her voice easily carries her through the part.

I guess not every single song was my sort of song, and I had expected something a little more of the early-"Supremes", but instead you get a "Behind the Music" career spanning tale of a fictional band, told in the musical format. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you're someone who looks at R&B or rock history as modern myth, and if you dig the songs. But at somewhere just over two-hours, the narrative's arc is only rarely surprising, especially when character arcs echo real-life talent or standard tropes of "makin' it" flicks.

Do I recommend the flick? Man, I don't know. if you're the bonehead who was heartily laughing behind us, then no. It's a musical. Would I buy the soundtrack? I don't know. I liked some of the songs, but as a good musical, the songs are focused on expressing character's thoughts and moving the action forward, just... you know, in a decades-spanning R&B format. So...

It's probably nothing I'm ever going to buy on DVD, I don't think. But, heck, it was a fun movie. I'd send the KareBear and Admiral to go see it.

Our New Year

We had to turn down an invitation or two as we'd been extended an invitation early on for New Year's (nice change of pace after 4 years of solo-New Year's), and headed to The Bloom's.

Sorry to Steven and Lauren. We'll catch up next weekend.

And to Hilary (who I do not believe actually visits this site). We'll catch up ASAP.

Thanks to the Bloom's for inviting us.

Finally was able to get Andy his replacement mit (a lobster claw mit, to go with the Mr. Pinchy theme. It's a long story). Met the famous Rosa. And even Jen Shaw made a rare appearance.

Jason can fill you in on the rest here.

As for today:

We really didn't do much. I eventually woke up, let Lucy out, and fell asleep again on the couch. So Lucy froze outside for an hour. Poor Lucy.

At some point this morning, Jeff got out again. We just hear him crying somewhere, and Jamie headed off to find him. I went to make coffee and saw the poor little fella standing at the backdoor, freezing his tail off.

High-School chum Scott Wiser came by (on his Harley. Damn you, Scott) and we hung out this afternoon. It's been a long time since Scott and I hung out (something like 13 years), but it was great to see the guy again.

Tonight we're off to see "Dream Girls". Because, I confess, I am willing to spend two hours watching women in slinky dresses. And I suppose with Beyone, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx, the music should be a-ok, as well as most of the acting. Still, it shall be no Eragon.
random comments, December 2006

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Adios, 2006

Hokey Smokes.

It's the end of one of the most tumultuous years in League history. Apparently, like a lot of other people, I've decided NOT to do an exhaustive Best of 2006 list. Honestly, this year has been so nuts, and I've been so pre-occupied since mid-June, I don't feel that I'm qualified to talk about movies, music, books or anything else. Life took over this year, and that means that a lot of media-review navel-gazing took a back seat to having a life.

Year in Superman

As a Superman Fan, I think it's definitely been a good year. With a new movie released (and one I enjoyed the heck out of), lots of reprints on the shelf, excellent creators on the core titles, fantastic creators on the ancillary titles, and Superman starring in a major cross-over event, two dedicated action figure lines, a great Silver Age action figure set from DC Direct, some nice DC Direct statues, lots of other new licensed product, tons of great material on DVD (from Kirk Alyn to Brandon Routh)... yeah, 2006 was a good year for The Man of Steel and his fans.

But, mostly, with the release of the Superman film, the usual Chinese Water Torture of journalists trickling out the same "Superman is Irrelevant" op-ed column completely evaporated. If Singer and Co. managed to do anything, it was remind the public of Superman's relevance.

The Move

I will always remember that moment in which I decided it was time to skip town with crystal clarity. I was sitting at my desk on a Friday afternoon, pushing some digital paperwork around for the millionth time, and thinking about how this was the same paperwork I could, potentially, be pushing around until I retired, and a little light went on in my head.

The move was a tremendous pain. As I knew it would be, it was expensive. It was risky. It was frought with complications. It was entirely worth it.

It's funny, because I DO miss friends and co-workers from the old place. I miss aspects of my old job (as The League loves it when a plan comes together). But the words "regret" or "second-thoughts" haven't popped up at all in relation to the move. No matter what issues Jamie and I have dealt with, or are continuing to deal with, it has absolutely been worth it. If anything brought that idea home, it was seeing so many friends at The League 2006 Holiday Spectacular.

I love this town.

Friends, new and old

It's avoiding the obvious not to mention the passing of Jeff Wilson, which, within our family and the circle of friends which Jeff was instrumental in establishing, has overshadowed the year. I don't know what more to say on this than was already said by folks who knew Jeff better than I ever did, and who feel the loss more acutely.

After years of hearing their names, upon arrival we met many new folks through Jason (and through Jeff), including Andy, Rami, the Blooms, JackBart and more. We've caught up with the Shaws and their addition. We've had the unique opportunity to become chummy with Steven and Lauren after years of e-mails and comment section postings. And, of course, we've reconnected with a lot of good folks in Austin.

We'll miss folks in Arizona, including my old office mates (hello OH), and some folks we met through Jamie's office. Hopefully we won't drift away until we're only exchanging Christmas cards.

We've been very lucky to see so much of Doug this year (but have a certain Kristen deficit we need to correct), are glad to be reintegrating Jason and Susan into our Austin-life, and are, of course, very happy that both sets of parents are now just a car-ride away.

I'm going to miss somebody in this, so I'm going to stop while I'm ahead.

Thanks, so much for a good year, everyone.

UT Football

So the 2005 UT Longhorns were sort of, technically, the 2005 team. But they won the Rose Bowl in 2006, so... Anyway, just wanted to bask in that one last time.

So long, 2006

Name Dropping

Ah, there's nothing like tuning in and seeing seeing your name associated with the Wonder Woman Museum on your local 24-hour news network. Thanks, Andy! May the subscribers to Time-Warner Cable in Austin all become loyal fans of the Maid of Might.

This is pretty much it


You may have noted some differences in the look of the site. I was more or less forced to update the blog thanks to changes within Blogger. Yes, it seems Blogger may have implemented new features since I first posted, lo, those many years ago. They now have some neat tools, and so I'm trying to integrate some of that.

One of the big things I'm going to try to work with is the "labels" or "topics" dealy. I think this will help me organize the archives in a manner more effective than trying to guess the date of a post. That said, I'm not going to backtrack and link EVERY Superman related post (though I gave it the old college try), comic book review, etc... Or at least I don't think I'm going to do so. Nor does this mean that I'm going to start writing specifically toward categories. I think. I hope.

I hope you like the basics of the new look. If not, sorry. This is the third look for the site, and it's stripped of a lot of the color, etc... which I assume longtime readers should be familiar. I played with a lot of templates and color-schemes, and this is the one I've settled on for the next several months, anyway.

As of now I am also not including links to sites which are not personal sites or comic/comic-related sites.

If you're missing something in particular, let me know.

Oh, I am also putting the monthly poll on hiatus. I'm not really sure how much anybody is really getting out of it.

Sayonara, Saddam

I stayed up watching the news last night as the news networks went into a sort of countdown to Saddam's execution. Since someone finally found him in a hole in the ground, the whole thing has had an air of inevitability to it.

Of course anyone would be pleased to see Saddam face a court in his own country, especially with the endless line of witnesses who could provide testimony. The question now is what legacy Hussein will leave upon the country he must have had some affection for as the nation's leader.

I don't want to talk about this guy. Too much blood and ink have been spilled in his name, and I don't intend to spend anymore time writing about him.