Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dark Knight Photos

Jamie randomly wanted to watch "Batman Begins" this evening. Which reminded me of a link Randy sent me earlier today.

Photos from the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight

go here

The photos reveal that the Batsuit may be the first functional looking Batsuit in any live version of Batman I can think of. For once, Batman can turn his head, and he's not wearing an ill-fitting unitard.

Add in an oddly pragmatic looking Joker, and... yeah. Sure, why not.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I am stuck at work.

I am waiting for other people to do things so I can see that they are done. When they are done, I can go home.

In the meantime, here I sit. Alas.

My job is sort of unpredictable that way. It makes for long days sometimes. Especially when i came in early to address other issues and never managed to see daylight at any point. Because its been that kind of day.

Also, Steven Harms has gone dark.

Es Muy Mysterioso.

Just want to go home. Please, co-workers, quit screwing around.

It's been a long week.

And I have another day of it tomorrow. The job is okay, it's just moments like these that I miss actually being somebody else's manager and being able to give my co-workers a moment of pause when I ask if we couldn't be doing something faster or better. Or, at least, quit screwing around and just finish the darn thing.

I am paid to keep things in line. This is something my family is shocked by. They tend to think of me as sorta screwy, so the idea that at work my job is keeping the ball rolling gives them a moment of disconnect.

hey, good news. Jonathan just fixed something for us and he wasn't even on our project. That's rad.

Stuff like that is why I dig working here. Everything is sort of a team effort. Everything at my last office was also a team effort, but we were mostly working on the same projects, as it was a smaller office. Here, you never know when one of 60-odd people is going to wander over and say "Hey, I'm going to fix that. I've got a few hours" when they could totally be heading home.

Still sitting here though. I just want to release the project.

Release! Release!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The New Flash Gordon on Sci-Fi

...totally sucks.

Wow. Monday evening I made poor Jason and Jamie sit through this no-budget train wreck.

Flash Gordon has successfully existed as a comic strip, 1950's TV show, radio serial movie serial, 80's camp classic, 90's cartoon, reprint series, whatever...

Yet somehow with a household name at their fingertips, untold hours of reference material and a public perception regarding the franchise, the geniuses behind this show decided that what they really needed to do was scrap all of that, make up a bunch of nonsense that's never plagued the concept before, and then spend most of the pilot in a Canadian suburb. It seems that, faced with a non-existent budget and a casting director with a pretty specific taste in women, the creators apparently had something other than Flash Gordon in mind and just borrowed the name of the property.

Seriously, nothing resembles anything you know about Flash Gordon.

A list of offenses includes:

-All of the women are thin brunettes with sort of almond eyes. I couldn't tell Dale, the princess or the bounty hunter apart in close-ups
-Flash's mom is, like, three years older than him and sort of uncomfortably attractive
-The show sorta takes a line on Latino immigrants that could be construed as racist
-Ming is the least threatening villain ever. Seriously. Ever. It's like having a record store manager mildly miffed with you.
-they've ditched the now well established, crazy, space opera look of Mongo for generic Sci-Fi channel BSG and Star Trek costuming rejects and bland hip design with no eye to the gilded age wonders of the comics and movies
-the pacing is glacial, nonsensical and meandering
-Flash is given a token black sidekick so someone can say "That's whack!" a lot
-The acting is uniformly awful
-Lines clearly intended to be played for laughs are played straight. Whether this is the director or actors' fault, I have no idea
-No Hawkmen
-No Lizardmen
-No awesome football game
-clearly filmed in a lush Canadian suburb
-Mongo: Also clearly the exact same suburb. Plus a water treatment plant possibly used in several "sci-fi" films from the 80's seen nowhere else but on MST3K
-Zarkov is now a quirky guy who will be play "The Professor" to Flash's "Gilligan"
-The girl who plays the princess seems puzzled as to what show she's on. Maybe the OC?
-absolutely no action to speak of
-And Flash can hop between a field near his house and Mongo at any time. pretty much defeating the point of the entire Flash Gordon concept

On every level possible, the program fails. If you're going to claim you're giving me Flash Gordon, Sci-Fi Channel, then give me @#$%ing Flash Gordon. Don't try to "update" a concept that's been honed and perfected over the better part of something like 70 years. You and your crappy budget are not smarter than the millions of folks who already passed judgment on the idea the way it was.

Leave it alone. Sometimes aliens just need to dress like color blind Prussian generals, weird Eastern stereotypes, pirates and barbarians.

The show is crap in a hat.

Slacker Cats

ABC Family, the network which was originally a religious network, then owned by Fox, before ABC bought it out.... is putting on a cartoon about two sex crazed, drug using cats. In prime time.

The League is no prude, but... I guess ABC means it when they brand their programming with "A New Kind of Family".

Anyhow, it appears to be in the mode of Family Guy or perhaps some of the Adult Swim programming on Cartoon Network. And it is on kind of late.

Nonetheless, there's something almost oddly meta-satirical in the commercials, as if these spots are meant to exist as part of the background in some film about a dystopian future more than actually pitching ABC Family's new Fall line-up.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Maybe it'll be great. Who knows?

Child-Free American

So the other night we were at dinner with Steven and Lauren and were seated across from Steven's friends Forrest, Marina and their kid, Blaze. Blaze, you must understand, looks like he should be in grape juice commercials, is talkative without being annoyingly precocious and had not an ounce of bratty in him. In short, a good kid.

Unsure of what else to chat about, Blaze seemed like a good option. And in the course of the discussion someone accurately described Jamie and I as "childless". But that person was quickly shot down in favor of what must be a new term: Child-Free.

Apparently this term was cooked up to spare the feelings of those who would like to have children, but do not. I am both amused and horrified that, for the first time in my life, as a middle class white male I've had a PC label applied to me. My feelings must be mitigated through semantics. I am to be described in a way that suggests I have made a valid choice of alternative lifestyle, and that choice is recognized and appreciated by all.

Were Jamie and I the same age we were when we left for Arizona, the question of the number of children we had left behind with Gorton's fish sticks and Kraft Mac'n'Cheese would never be addressed. Young, recently married, we'd be expected to be having a great time, going to shows, travel the world, etc...

But now...

Now we are in our 30's. In March and April, it will be semi-accurate to describe us as being in our mid-30's. We are past the age when we've gotten our careers going, have had our youthful fun, and its time to bring the next generation of Leagues into existence. For the rest of my life, it will be presumed I'm hiding a couple of fishstick-eaters somewhere.

For anyone who has followed this blog, its not a secret that this is not going to happen. I like kids. Despite all the jokes I make at the expense of folks who are now wrestling with sleepless nights, dirty diapers and paying for college in 17 years... And as much as I like sleeping in, not having dirty diapers and spare money enough to buy Jimmy Olsen comics... Having kids just isn't in the picture. We didn't make the choice, but it's also never been in the cards, and so was never been given much consideration any more than "wouldn't it be neat if we had hands where our ears are".

I want to be very clear here: In no way am I offended by assumptions that we should have kids. I don't think folks who have kids are suckers. I was just left reeling at the idea that I had moved into a category which I had not been aware existed.

Now, here's what I dig about my valid lifestyle choice as a Child-Free American... It may keep me from going through the battery of questions all child-rearing folks (AKA: Breeders) have:
-when we plan to have kids
-why we don't plan to have kids
-why we don't press on and adopt, because, you know, we'd make swell parents (a topic which is sorely up for debate, and would require experiments that no western government would allow. Jason's hypothesis: Feral Children.).

As Child-Free Americans its like we decided on a different path in life. Like, say, we decided to live in a dymaxion home or done something else slightly unconventional, but, you know, it's just something you let slide.

As a Dog-Saddled/ Child-Free American, unfortunately, you have a great love for your pets. And people really, really do not like you matching their stories about how their kid smiles when he farts with how your dog wakes you up in the morning when she's hungry, or how your cat has figured out how to open the pantry door. Still, I must remind everyone that your kid will be in diapers for years and my dog learned to go to the door before she was six months old when she had to pee. I'm just saying.

Pretty sharp, my dogs.

Mike Wieringo, RIP

The comic fan community was rocked today by the news that Mike Wieringo, age 44, has apparently died of a heart attack.

Wieringo's work has appeared for the last several years in DC and Marvel comics in titles such as Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Flash and many others.

Thanks to the DC title, "Impulse" and several issues of Adventures of Superman, I was familiar with Wieringo's work prior to his run on Fantastic Four (with Mark Waid writing), but that was when I grew to really appreciate his work. I loved his depiction of the the Richards clan, and his Von Doom.

You can read more here.

I'm really going to miss Wieringo's art and the spirit it brought to any title.

Thanks, Mike. You'll be missed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Night Post

Folks were here this weekend. Hi Mom and Dad!

Here's a creepy video.

Here's a fun video, thanks to JimD. Requires sound.

My advice that I learned this evening... avoid the Steak 'n Shake on I-35 when headed south out of town. I still feel queasy.

I thought the Steank 'n Shake would be small, cheap steaks (crazy me) and maybe steak fries, but no. Instead it's a chain of lo-fi, incredibly greasy burgers teamed with shakes featuring fake banana flavoring.

Apparently Steak n' Shake is some mid-western transplant that has decided to become even more of a corporate giant and so has set up shop in the new ginormous shopping area that has taken over the land once oocupied by music venue "Southpark Meadows". As goes Austin, Soutpark Meadows is now a huge strip mall with BOTH a Wal-Mart and Super Target. But it has a Jason's Deli, so I forgive it (mmmmm... Bird to the Wise...)


Anyway, Steak 'n Shake is not too far from our house, and I was sort of glad to be trying a new place with only Jamie and myself as the victims. But... It's been 3.5 hours and I still don't feel well.

And I'll eat anything. Seriously. I'm like a goat.

I salute the folks who ate there and didn't feel funky afterward. It was packed, so I assume Steak 'n Shake is going ot make it. It's just unlikely they'll get any more of my shekles.

I honestly think we do a little better than the actual burgers in Texas at places you think of as a last resort such as Shortstop. And, honestly, Shortstop's fries are better. I think I'm just used to a better cut of meat. And Californians who love them some In 'n Out Burger would be more than slightly appalled.

The weird part if that this place is basically a fastfood joint with waitresses. There seems to be no real reason this place isn't an order at the counter sort of joint, but you have to be seated, which seriously raised my expectations for the quality of meal I was going to have. The really weird part is that the price of the food is low enough that I had to round way up to feel okay about the tip I left our waitress (who was hustling, man).

Anyhow, it seems unlikely Steak 'n Shake will see the likes of the League once again. Until some night when I decide I really want a banana shake.

I am weak.

Birthday for Harms

Happy late birthday, Harms!

Last night we wound up at Manuel's up on Jollyville in N. Austin. (I know! I can't believe they let people in N. Austin eat anything but Lonestar Cafe, either Well, time marches on.)

It was a celebration of Stephen moving into his 30th trip around El Sol. We met some nice folks, re-met Steven's sister and her newly minted husband, had a margarita or two and had a dandy evening.

All in all, a succeful evening for Steven, I think. Unless he was really unhappy, in which case he did a good job of disguising it.