Friday, October 24, 2008

I Work in A Sci-Fi Landscape

Today I woke up early, so I just showered and headed into work, arriving around 7:30, rather than 8:00. Apparently traffic flow at 7:00 on a Friday is completely different from 7:20 on a Thursday, which took, I might add, a lot longer (I made up the time yesterday. Shut up.).

UT alum will recall that the entryway to the PCL opens into a high and wide area, befitting UT's main library (the UGL no longer folds books and is now, actually, the Flawn Center). I was surprised to see that, apparently while most UT staff is off-site, the library is given over to janitors from THE FUTURE.

It was impressive enough to see two dudes walking around with huge Ghostbuster-style contraptions on their backs, that I realized were vacuums. They looked a bit like this, or this, I guess.

But I also saw a device so magnificent... it defied description... It's called the Chariot Vac.

The Chariot Vac is a sort of riding vacuum, with a superior turning radius. I sort of had this vision of getting on one of those while wearing a helmet and carrying a mace to see if you could even get the grad students to look up from their books.

But, mostly, it was seeing the Chariot Vac in motion beneath the twinkle and hum of the flourescents in the lobby of the PCL and its dream of what a huge university library of the future would look like as designed in the 70's projecting to the year 2000.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

update, B&B, Changeling, Watchmen

Rudy Ray Moore RIP

This is pretty much for Shoemaker, but...

Yeah, dude. Dolemite is dead. Sorry about that.

Long live the Dolemite.


Hey, Leaguers. Not much to report. With the new job in hand, I've been taking it easy of late. Ran by Austin Books yesterday and picked up a mess of stuff (I recommend picking up the latest Superman books, including the New Krypton Special.

It's official. The Superman books are the best they've been in recent memory.

I' m getting to know people at work, and while the Austin branch of my team is small, at least I really like everyone. If it were a small team full of jerks... well... It'd be bad news.

I'm digging my office space (it's quiet, so ADD boy here can focus!). It's just a weird shade of green.

The weekend will be good. I'm going to the UT/ OSU game, and then hitting "Hops Fest II: The Hoppening" at Shoemaker's on Saturday. Sunday will be more of the bringing crap downstairs stuff we've come to know and love. I also need to take a look at my Supersuit for proper Halloween candy distribution.

I do find it odd that, aside from 1999, I don't know if I've ever been involved in anyone else's Halloween activities. Somehow that's the one holiday where my pals seem to wind up hanging out with friends where I don't fit on their Buddy Venn Diagram.

No worries. We like handing out the candy. Speaking of... I need to get:

a) candy
b) apples
c) caramel

Batman: Brave and the Bold

Here's the show's website (with audio... so turn down speakers if at work). The show premiers in November, I think. I saw images from ComicCon, and, yeah... Jamie, I'm buying the Blue Beetle toy they're going to make.

Here's Beetle fighting space pirate Kanjar-Ro.


That new Clint Eastwood movie with Angelina Jolie? It seems to have been written by J. Michael Straczynski. JMS is probably most famous for 90's era sci-fi show "Babylon 5" (which hasn't really done much on DVD or re-runs). JMS is also now a pretty popular comic writer, and had what I thought to be a good run on Spider-Man.

Anyway, good for JMS. Glad he's got movie work going on as well as the comics.

Watchmen Stuff

I recommend Television Without Pity's new feature "Trailers without Pity". Their Watchmen discussion is your perfect breakdown of what both fanboy and non-nerd alike may wish to know about the upcoming movie.

What Omar and Pedro either missed or oversimplified was their comparison of the Watchmen characters to DC characters (Dr. Manhattan to Superman). The fanboy in me must point out: this is wrong.

Moore had initially intended to use characters owned by Charlton comics, which DC had purchased in the 1980's. However, DC decided to fold those characters into the DCU rather than let Moore do his thing, so Moore just changed who was who. But if you know those characters, it kinda makes more sense than Dr. Manhattan equals Superman.

Night Owl = Blue Beetle (including the generational aspect)
Dr. Manhattan = Captain Atom
Rorschach = The Question (which, in turn, informed how the JLU Question was portrayed)
Comedian - Peacemaker (now in Blue Beetle at DC)
Ozymandias = Thunderbolt
Silk Spectre = Most likely "Phantom Lady"

May I get my nerd-card stamped and get my free sandwich? Thanks.

Also, Zach Snyder cut together another Watchmen trailer, which is pretty much the first trailer all over again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Problems with Flashbacks

Mike Sterling at Progressive Ruin posted this clip, which triggered a memory left untapped since... God, I have no idea.

This fits somewhere in the swirl of memory from my formative years of:

The Letter Men
Sigmund the Sea Monster (recently optioned for a feature film, btw)
Banana Splits
Gigglesnort Hotel
The Great Space Coaster
The New Zoo Revue (which they were still airing in Houston on Sunday mornings as recently as last year)

and all the other forgotten children's programming of the 1970's that was being generated by counter-culture deadbeats with a budget.

Seeing this clip, which I had completely forgotten about, caused such a rush of memory that I got a bit nauseous, and not just because of the liberal use of color and frames rate in the video.

It's all still trapped up there. Sometimes something jars it free when you least expect it.

Austin Books, Terminator, Job, Werewolves, Superman and Batman

Special Thanks to Brad @ Austin Books

Service, Leaguers.

It's not something you expect in this day and age of dead-end call centers and box-store "it's against our policy" wage-slave assistant managers (screw you, Target).

Anyway, a while back I mentioned to Brad at Austin Books that I'd like a copy of the Middleman collection, as Jamie and I were both fans of the TV show. Brad knew it was sold out in the store, and double-checked to find that it was also out at the distributor. Alas. What's a comic geek to do?

I should mention, I looked elsewhere online afterward, and it was sold out. Everywhere.

Today I got an e-mail from Brad. I don't know how he did it, but he landed a copy for me and Jamie.

Once again, the hat is off to Austin Books.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I'm still watching the Terminator TV show. It's still one of the better things on TV.

As per other shows like "Battlestar Galactica", mixing the episodic with the serial and an adult's perspective has led to a far more engaging, character driven show than, say, the original Knight Rider.

Shirley Manson (the singer from Garbage) is now on the show as a Terminator, and she's increasingly creepy. For someone without an extensive acting resume, she's impressing me.

In general, the whole show feels very well thought out. They haven't perfected the issues with time travel (which would drive JimD mad), and its occasionally a somewhat hopeless experience as, unlike T2, they're not trying to stop the future from happening, they've sort of accepted its an inevitability, so its much more about just surviving until they pass some certain point in the timeline when the Terminators won't be coming for John Connor.

The Job

A few people have asked what I'm doing for a living. I'm working for these guys as a program coordinator. It's not exactly too technical to explain, but I won't bore you with details.

It's a pretty cool project, and I feel lucky to have found something like this. Still getting my head around all the moving parts, and I have a LOT of people to meet and get to know across the great state of Texas, so the ramp-up is going to be interesting.

The Howling

Jason already mentioned we watched this movie over at his blog, but I also dug it. Sure, the FX are about what you'd expect for a 70's horror flick, but the story was surprisingly engaging and the movie well directed (story by John Sayles and directed by Joe Dante, so go figure).

It's always interesting to see a movie that you can point to as a start of a trend in genre, no matter how niche that genre might be, and even if modern creators aren't aware that's where the trend began. But... anyway...

Some Superman and Batman Stuff

Batsignal humor

A nice cartoon about why Superman is a bad fit for a Batman movie

Thanks to Randy for both.

With the Morrison/ Quitely All Star Superman wrapped, Grant Morrison does a multipart interview with Newsarama.

Here's part 1

I'm going to quote liberally here, so go to Newsarama and click on a bunch of ads so they don't sue me.

But, anyway, I see a lot of why my vision of Superman jives so well with Morrison's (and keep in mind, we both love Batman, too). There's also a bit of a spoiler, but... oh, well...

I immersed myself in Superman and I tried to find in all of these very diverse approaches the essential “Superman–ness” that powered the engine. I then extracted, purified and refined that essence and drained it into All Star’s tank, recreating characters as my own dream versions, without the baggage of strict continuity.

In the end, I saw Superman not as a superhero or even a science fiction character, but as a story of Everyman. We’re all Superman in our own adventures. We have our own Fortresses of Solitude we retreat to, with our own special collections of valued stuff, our own super–pets, our own “Bottle Cities” that we feel guilty for neglecting. We have our own peers and rivals and bizarre emotional or moral tangles to deal with.

I felt I’d really grasped the concept when I saw him as Everyman, or rather as the dreamself of Everyman. That “S” is the radiant emblem of divinity we reveal when we rip off our stuffy shirts, our social masks, our neuroses, our constructed selves, and become who we truly are.

Batman is obviously much cooler, but that’s because he’s a very energetic and adolescent fantasy character: a handsome billionaire playboy in black leather with a butler at this beck and call, better cars and gadgetry than James Bond, a horde of fetish femme fatales baying around his heels and no boss. That guy’s Superman day and night.

Superman grew up baling hay on a farm. He goes to work, for a boss, in an office. He pines after a hard–working gal. Only when he tears off his shirt does that heroic, ideal inner self come to life. That’s actually a much more adult fantasy than the one Batman’s peddling but it also makes Superman a little harder to sell. He’s much more of a working class superhero, which is why we ended the whole book with the image of a laboring Superman.

He’s Everyman operating on a sci–fi Paul Bunyan scale. His worries and emotional problems are the same as ours... except that when he falls out with his girlfriend, the world trembles.

New Trek

Lock Phasers

So, before I forget again, here are photos of the new Trek movie coming our way soon (at Warp 10! snort snort)

EW pics here.

I think Kirk looks a lot young to be a Star Fleet captain, but that's ignoring the legend of the Kobayashi Maru, which probably will be ignored by the new films.

I was never a full-on Trekker, or even a Trekkie. And I sort of lost interest in Trek except enough to know who the Captains were of the various ships/ shows. And, honestly, the Next Generation movies just weren't very awesome. So... Yeah, I'm down with new Trek.

I can only hope they bring on The Gorn.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Started, Merchandising, Baby Bug


New job started today. Looks like its going to be really interesting. Anyway, expect short posts this week until I get my feet under me and am no longer adjusting to getting up a bit earlier.

My office is a curious shade of green. It's sort of like the same green as Jamie's home office, but a smidge brighter. I also have huge windows that open onto... a long, white hallway. Luckily, I also have mini-blinds which I will never open. My office is in the basement level of a huge, windowless building (UT people will remember the PCL as a large, cement block).

I have need of going up two flights (long flights, if you recall PCL) ona frequent basis, so I will try to use the stairs and see if I cannot become slightly more healthy.

Also, my bosses seem cool. Smart, smart guys and they've got a plan I can get behind. The guys I'm sharing space with in the basement are both pretty cool so far, too.

Help Me Update the LoM Store

I haven't really updated the League of Melbotis shop at Cafe Press in a long, long time. Mostly because I don't remember anyone actually buying anything from the shop.

But I'm going to mess with the store again here fairly soon. After all, who doesn't want to think of League of Melbotis as a lifestyle product?

When you think "League of Melbotis", what is the first thing that pops into your head? What might look good on the side of a coffee cup? What might be good on a t-shirt?

In short... help me make a mint off your ideas.

Erica (Bug) Foster has a kid

KOHS alumni and the Trinity crew will be interested to know Erica Sevigny (formerly Foster) and her husband, Scott, have welcomed a new lil' gangsta into the world.

From the e-mail: Isaac arrived October 20th at 12:08 p.m. weighing in at 6 pounds and 13 oz. and 20 3/4 inches long

I hope Erica still found time for a good lunch.

Bug will make a good mom. Plus, next week is her birthday. So happy B-day to 2/3rds of the Sevigny's.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ends, Starts, Football and Hollywood Glamour

End and Start

So Friday was my final day as a contractor with Enspire Learning, my employment home, more or less, of the past year and a halfish. I'll miss the scrappy little elearning company that could, and I wish the company, its leadership, and my friends who I leave behind the best of luck. May you continue to give learners better product than they're expecting.

Monday I start with a new venture, but I'll save that for later when I can speak more intelligently about the folks I'm working with. What I can say is that I am lucky to have found the position as it matches pretty much exactly what I was thinking I might like to try as a career path should I eject from the world of eLearning (although I'm staying in education).

I am considering how I can approach this new position without becoming an overbearing freak for my supervisors to deal with, but I am honestly so excited, I am looking forward to really digging in and making the absolute most of the opportunity.

Lunching with the Hollywood Elite

So I've been friends with Ms. Shauna Cross since I was about 14 and we shared Mr. White's Geography class at Westwood. At this point, that means I've known the lady for something along the lines of two decades, which makes me feel insanely old.

Anyhoo, Shauna's script "Whip It!" was produced this summer with Drew Barrymore directing and Kristen Wiig and Ellen Page co-starring. I guess there's a phrase she's been using or has been used in Hollywood (I missed wre it originated), but "after eight years of working she's an overnight success". The message being, of course, she's been working her butt off to get to this point, and now she's seeing he fruits of her labor.

She was in town this weekend for the Austin Film Fest where I guess she was on panels and whatnot. I was to meet her at the Driskill on 6th and Brazos, but I got a call while en route to swing by and pick she and a friend up on South Congress and race them back as the friend was supposed to be on a panel in a few minutes.

Turns out the friend was a/ the screenwriter of "Legally Blonde". Go figure.

I was also excited to meet Shauna's kid, Roscoe, who I think is 6 months (you people keep having babies, and I can't keep track anymore. You're lucky I remember their names). Roscoe was really very good. I also met Shauna's Significant Other, Fred, who does work for a music label. Very cool guy (which is good. You always hope that your friends are not married to/ getting serious about some twit).

It was fun to catch up and hear about Shauna's past year with everything going on, and also her next project (which isn't listed on IMDB, so I'll remain mum as I don't wish to jinx anything).

So, anyhoo... go see "Whip It!" when it comes out.

UT Plays like the #1 Team

Sadly, I had to ditch team Cross to meet up with Jeff, Keora and Patrick for a pre-game slice of pizza and a beer before we hoofed it over to DKR Memorial stadium. Patrick lives much closer to DKR than my previous parking spot, so from now on Pat is getting all my spare tickets.

I don't know if you watched the game, but... if there was any doubt about who should be at the top of the Big 12 (at least this week), UT played like it was the Rose Bowl. Mizzo, sadly, didn't show up until the second half, when they proceeded to disassemble our secondary and put 4 touchdowns on the board.

cough... Heisman... cough...

The crowd was going CRAZY, and I don't think I've ever high-fived people that much in my life. Also, my voice is kind of shot today from the 3 hours of straight yelling. (I think when I yell "Go Horns!" repeatedly, or "Go TEXAS!!!!", it really influences their play.)

I am now looking forward to OSU and Tech, where I'd sort of dreaded those games before. We have the opportunity for a legendary season with UT Football. So here's to Colt, Jordan, Ogbonnaya, Muckleroy, McGee and the rest staying healthy.