Saturday, May 02, 2009

GI Joe Trailer is Go

So, I am not actually excited about the upcoming GI Joe movie, other than seeing The Baroness as something other than a cartoon animated at 8 frames per second.

G.I. JOE trailer in HD

Calvin of Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool is pumped, but I look at this and I see.... Transformers. Big, expensive set pieces, when nobody did the obvious thing and tried to decide if what they were doing (a) was actually reflective of the source, and (b) whether it was stupid or not in the first place, and whether they'd made it somehow stupider.

I don't know. I look at this trailer, and I'm just not sure I can make myself care about this kind of stuff anymore. CG has meant an open gateway for me to think something will be good, but then find myself entirely disappointed. (see: Transformers. Which was stupid.)

Speaking of, here's the trailer for the Transformers sequel, which looks every bit as dumb as the first movie.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Hey, Leaguers!

Tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, the annual event which attempts to lure you into the nasty habit that is comic buying with the promise that the first one is free.

It was the second choice of the retailers association, but somehow "I'll give you a Spider-Man comic if you get in my van" didn't get the traction they were looking for.

Nonetheless, its a sort of festive, carnival-like event at many comic shops, and for those of you with kids, there is lots of free, kid-safe material.

I'll be at Austin Books in the morning (gotta go early, because we gots a baby shower to attend), so if you're not in Austin, I recommend looking up a shop in your area.

Click here for info and to search for a shop.

I am a genuine fan not just of superheroes or Superman or the genre of science-fiction or leotard-clad do-gooders. I'm a fan of the medium.

Here are some books you can look for that may not be free, but that might be worth reading.

Queen and Country.
Now collected into 4 novel-sized-ish volumes, Greg Rucka's UK-based espionage series is brutally smart, relevant, and full of all manner of internal and international intrigue... I didn't read the series until they collected it in these compact volumes, but its quickly become one of my favorite comics.

In the Shadow of No Towers.
You were either with Art Spiegelman on Maus or you weren't. Spiegelman tells his first-person account of being a New Yorker in the days, weeks, etc... after 9/11. Beautifully rendered, whether youa gree with Spiegelman's politics or not, there's little denying that his mastery of the form, a la the styling of Winsor McCay and other predecessors.

Tells the story of the little Russian dog first sent to space in Sputnik II.

Which I'd pair with:

First in Space.
The story of the first Chimp in orbit.

First Flight of the Phantom Eagle.
Marvel attempted the Vertigo War Stories approach under Warren Ellis and Howard Chaykin, and for some reason it wasn't a bigger seller. But I loved this comic. This book collects the series, of a young American joining the British Air Forces in World War I, and realizing that being a pilot may not really be the equivalent of the modern-day knight.

Tales Designed to Thrizzle.
I highly recommend this title. It is funny. And brought us the great concept of "Snake and Bacon".

Apocalypse Nerd.
Also strangely appealing. If you're into stories about IT guys and the fate which awaits them after N. Korea nukes the US.

The Great Outdoor Fight.
One of the greatest tales ever put to the comic medium.

and many, many more...!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jon and Kate plus 8 plus "Mystery woman"

Oh, man. There is no way for me not to come off all judgy and jerk-like on this one, but its my theme of the week, so here goes.

Who called it just a few months ago?

Jon was, apparently, spotted with a "mystery woman" sans wedding band. Here and here.

I watch the TLC show "Jon and Kate Plus 8" religiously while blogging on Monday nights. It's masochistic, and I admit, I watch for all the wrong reasons. TLC either is unaware of, or knows and doesn't care, that its been documenting a show less about a couple struggling to raise 8 kids than it's been documenting a man's slow emotional evisceration. Its not a great reason to be hooked on a show, but hooked on it, I am.

And I wanted to be there when he cracked. And crack, he (apparently) finally did.

Jon and not Kate

Sure, Jon TOLD the crew on the last episode of the most recent season that he didn't want to do the show anymore, and he's taken to staring without blinking for entire episodes... And, possibly partying with co-eds. But Kate loves doing the show, loves being famous for being herself, loves being told she's a great person, and loves having the platform for her celebrity and associated benefits/ money.

Jon will, of course, be vilified, and people will ask "how could he do it?"

I shall tell you!

1) Jon married a terrible harpy of a woman who takes pleasure in emasculating him at every opportunity. If you identify with Kate, I highly recommend standing up, walking to your spouse and apologizing. Because its possible you're a terrible, terrible person. Kate is.
2) He mistakenly gave birth to 8 children, 6 of them at the same time, all of whom communicate by screaming and crying every minute in which they are awake, if the show is any indication. As part of the show, he has to stay home all day with these kids he accidentally made with whatever fertility treatment Octomom must have used.
3) He hates being on the TV show, and being the object of constant, unwanted attention. He said so right on the show.
4) His income, needed to support the 8 screaming children and the horrible harpy lady, stems from being on the TV show. Whatever IT career he supposedly has is a shell of whatever it was.
5) The ratio of screaming kids and wife berating him at every turn versus anything resembling kindness or gratitude or anybody noting that he's involved in this, too, is about 100 to 1.
6) Ever see Jon with friends or family other than Kate? Think maybe there's something to all that?
7) Also, Kate is awful.
8) Jon is in a living hell of his own making. And I pity that man every day.

Does all of this pressure mean Jon is entitled to cheat on his wife and bring shame upon his children? I'll leave that for another person to determine. I know the "right" answer is to say "no, he shouldn't do that", but... have you watched that show? They're lucky that picking up co-eds is all he's doing and they can actually find him when they look for him.

Also, not Kate.

Here's a lesson to take home, Leaguers: if you treat the person you married with no ounce of love or respect (especially in public/ on TV), eventually, they are going to decide they don't respect you, either.

And if they don't respect you, and you have put them in a position where you're making their life a living hell? They won't really care about the consequences of their actions and how it reflects on either of you.

In February I said:

I look forward to the day when we all find out Jon fled on a very special episode of "Kate Plus 8 (minus Jon and his Income)".

Indeed, that day is already here.

I guess I'm sort of interested in the cult of personality Kate has built of people who think she's a good enough idea that they buy her books and whatnot. I assume many people raising young ones feel a certain kinship with Kate, especially those who may imagine themselves or relate to Kate's pithy comments at a husband who seemingly just doesn't get it.

There's a lesson here somewhere about fame, fertility drugs, etc... but there's also a lesson about two people who very publicly want different things and its led to one of them not caring about their marriage, and I'd question whether either of them care, but for different reasons. And why you shouldn't ever really want to be on TV.

A show about the joys of family has turned into sort of the opposite. And there are eight kids who are going to be able to buy the DVD set of the dissolution of their parents' marriage.

Also, that Matt Roloff dude on Little People, Big World? He totally got picked up for a DUI in 2007ish. Apparently it was his second.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trek Showing

For Your Information:

This is a confirmation email from LAMAR
3 Matinee Tickets
For STAR TREK showing at Sun May 10, 2009 2:00p

Jamie, Jason and I will most likely be seeing Trek on Sunday, May 10th at 2:00 at Alamo South Lamar.

I have no idea what the movie will be like, but I'm going. You're welcome to join us there.

Here's a link.

Is the new Uhura more fabulous than the original formula? Only one way to know.

Original formula: still the best.

I would put babies in a corner (and run away)

So its not enough that Jamie and I don't have kids. Most of the folks we know either (a) don't have kids, (b) have kids but we weren't nearby during the earlier days/ birthing of kids, or (c) have not added us to the mix for their baby showers, etc... So I'm never around babies or people having babies.

Letty and Juan are due fairly soon, and as they're good pals who we see regularly, we're involved in a baby shower this weekend. Which... Jamie and I don't know anything about babies. I mean, I know they're small people with no bowel control and that people have created this whole fiction about the joys of a baby when the sleepness nights, added expenses and trips to the ER, etc... sort of seem to speak otherwise (Your Unkle League isn't here to mince words tonight), and that it usually means a major, major lifestyle change for the happy parents.

creeps me out...

But on a practical level... I don't know anything about babies. I don't think I'd ever been into a Babies 'R Us before this evening. I have no idea what the hell any of that stuff is in there. I literally have no idea what one of the items we bought for the baby is for, and there's a picture of it in use right there on the package. And that's more or less how I felt about 90% of the baby goods we looked at. I assume some of this stuff existed when I dropped into existence, but who knows?

Most of the stuff seems like its based around trying to make the leaking fluids and other bio-byproducts from your bundle of joy under control, which is a noble reason to own stuff, indeed. Its also priced very reasonably. Mostly because your kid is going to outgrow it or somehow destroy it before too long, I guess.

I did learn that Jamie and I would cross swords, were we to decorate a nursery. I mean, I know I'm right. Puppies are a better option than jungle animals, right? It is probably socially unacceptable to own a "puppy lamp" intended for a nursery. So, no, I did not buy it for myself. Even if it was adorable.

Anyway, kudos to you people who do the whole baby thing. It still totally freaks me out.

But I am very happy for Juan and Letty. They're a happily married couple, and I know they will raise a kick-ass kid. They really want to be parents, and I see no reason they won't do a phenomenal job. Should be a blast watching what they do, given a little mind to mold.

And I will enjoy sleeping through the night. Except when Jeff the Cat wakes me up like he did last night.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

3000 Posts

yeah. Roughly 3000 posts. How messed up is that?

At this point, we should be 1-5 posts just over 3000 total. With drafts, etc... its tough to tell.

Rather than put myself in a mood by trying to be reflective, I sort of want to pop the cork on a bottle of the bubbly.

So here's Barbarian Sarah Palin attacking the Barbarian Commander in Chief. With an elephant.

From the upcoming series,( I am not making this up) "Barack the Barbarian".

Its this kind of stuff that keeps me going, Leaguers.

It's been absolutely fabulous thus far, and I guess, for good or ill, there's no real end in site.

Sometimes its tougher to find ways and reasons to post, sometimes its easier.

after a hard day at the office, The League ponders his next post.

So for those of you who bother to pop in any more, and especially to those of you who take part in the interactivities, etc..., I can't thank you enough. The sense of community and general palling around is incredible.

You guys are the best, and its no secret I wouldn't be doing this at all if it weren't for the e-mail, comments, etc... I do secretly really like keeping up with all of you, and my life is but a hollow shell when I do not hear from you.

I'd planned to do a post celebrating the Man of Steel for my 3000th, but I'm not going to do that tonight. But if it makes you feel better about the lack of lack of a Super-Post, I'll peel back the curtain a bit. I'm wearing a Superman T-shirt and Superman flannel pajama pants as I write this post. No, seriously.

The current unofficial emblem of League of Melbotis.

I also want to take the moment to remind you Leaguers of our pal, The League's own namesake: Melbotis.

Buddy, we love you and miss you so, so much.

9 Years

In case you missed Jamie's post (featuring a lovely photo from our wedding), Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 Marks our 9th Wedding Anniversary.

Between Doug and Kristen's impending nuptials and a co-worker of mine getting hitched up this summer, its difficult not to want to dole out wedding and relationship advice when you see you've been married for nine years and its going swimmingly.

I think we were lucky to have each had terrific role models for how a marriage can work, and family and friends who support us in our shenanigans.

But, really, what can you say about someone who works with you to make a good life, who is your best friend, your biggest supporter and who is the one person who doesn't think you're totally insane, even when she has to put up with you 365 days a year?

Leaguers, I tell you, the lady deserves a medal. I can barely put up with me, and I have to live with me roughly 18 hours a day.

I was going to give you a list of Jamie's finer qualities, but we'll bypass that. Let's just say she's the light of my life, she makes me a better person in the most sincere way I can mean it, and that every day is a welcome gift. All of this, i assure you, she will feed back to me sarcastically on Saturday when she's trying to wake me up and I'm grousing at her.

So... thanks, Jamie. Happy Anniversary.

Nobody rocks the @#$%ing Olive Garden the way Team Steans rocks the OG

Monday, April 27, 2009

6th and Lamar

This weekend I watched "Slacker", the circa 1990 movie from Richard Linklater that more or less made the Austin film scene.

From the opening scene, its clear its an Austin that many in the town today will have found plowed under and turned into condos. Even the opening shot, looking out the window of a bus headed north on I-35 at dawn passes the location of what was Robert Mueller Airport, where today we have tract housing, Best Buy and a sea of chain retail. I think the only thing still standing and the same today in the extended shot is the McDonald's at Capital Plaza.

As a movie and cultural artifact, Slacker is a curious item to watch. I've come to have more personal feelings on the thing than I usually associate with a movie. Its a time capsule from an era of my youth when I was coming of age. Its a time capsule from a period in Austin that most of the people I know in Austin don't recall, or weren't in town for yet. It may also be responsible for some of the image making of Austin, which has led to the flood of people into Austin, which, in turn, has greatly changed Austin. In some ways for the better, and in many ways...

There's a scene about thirty minutes into the movie where a guy is buying a newspaper (a USA Today, I think) and he's at the GM Steakhouse, and the horizon is flat. The high rises of the intersection aren't even imagined yet. Traffic on Lamar is moving fast headed south. There's an auto dealer, Charles Coffey Motors, I think, that had been there for decades.

Today, Les Amis is gone. That whole area has been bought by real estate developers and they put in a Smoothie King and a Panda Express.

The entire film is, in so many ways, the same rush of sense memory you get when you step into your parents' house after being away too long. Or, perhaps even more, when something smells exactly how your grandparents' basement smelled, a place you would have to dig deep to recall when was the last time you spent time there.

Sure enough, time goes by. The town has always been transitory to an extent, memories are short. And those places were houses and other things that people may have lived in before I was imprinting on them as record stores and cigarette shops. Time waits for nobody, but that doesn't mean, I think, you can't be nostalgic. Or that you can't feel a bit of melancholy that time has marched on, especially when you wonder how you suddenly got so old.

Intentional or unintentional, there's something to the young faces of the film living in the old, unpolished parts of the city. In houses left over from grander eras, walking past the burnt out and unused warehouses that once made up several blocks of Austin (and which, from what I've read, on that land may have been brothels and bars before the warehouses took up the space).

Seeing people as I remember them from that era, not as how they appeared on TV from studios, or how they looked in catalogs, or taking their fashion cues from either. Texas accents. All that. It makes it tough to separate nostalgia (and what was at the time, recongnition) from any objective viewing of the film.

The content of the film, is, of course, the 2:00 AM-over-a-beer academic discussions of the 20-something quasi or pseudo intellectual, that rarely appeal to or fit in with the hours available in a life once you've rolled into a job, paying taxes, etc... Even when or if you fundamentally still agree or find yourself arguing with 20-something you. Its distended out to two hours, and at times its a bit much, and at times you want to slap the characters, but its also still a bit like slowing down and listening as you walk across campus. Students will always be students, and Linklater was just out of school (or maybe still in?) when he was working on Slacker.

And that's not going to do a lot for a lot of people. And I appreciate that. Or, I guess, I am aware of that. And the undercurrent of anarchy that's romanticized will drive some nuts. But, as I said, its a time capsule. And its not indicative of many people's time in this town, even lifelong residents.

My favorite scene is still that of the old revolutionary/ anarchist who takes a liking to the young man pointing a gun at him. That's going to be Jason in 30 years, so help me.

Admittedly, at one point, I was fairly certain that was pretty much what I'd be doing in my mid-20's (I was about 15 or 16 when I saw the movie the first time), and had I not jumped in that taxi, who knows where I would have diverged and seen this life as a dream, right? One does not work towards a history and film degree because one's life's plans are centered around financial security, 2 kids and a house in the burbs. It wasn't so much an aspiration as much as what seemed like a likely trajectory when you really have no clue what you're going to do with yourself beyond your 21st birthday.

Anyhow, its a movie I find odd in what a gut, emotional reaction I have to it for reasons that aren't necessarily tied to the content, although that certainly plays a part (at least as echoes of old voices).

Since the movie was released, the term "slacker" was co-opted, most egregiously by the movie "Slackers", which was sort of a gross-out comedy of no redeeming value. Various websites, properties, etc... have tried to take on the term. But, whatever.

All part of it I suppose.

It's like getting a little closer to the rock goddess herself.

Wednesday Comics

When DC's 3rd weekly series, Trinity, ends in a few weeks, DC is trying a new format for a few weeks as a weekly series. They're calling it "Wednesday Comics", and I think this could be one of the most straight up fun comics to come out of either of the Big 2 in a while.

They're allowing top-flight talent to run rampant across the DCU in non-continuity stories (I think). It's being printed on big ol' newsprint sized pages, I think, so its a lot of comic per comic.

Paul Pope released some panels from his take on Silver-Age Sci-Fi hero (who really harkened back to 40's and 30's era sci-fi) Adam Strange.

I've not been a huge fan of Jim Starlin's take on the DC Cosmos (with the exception of "Mystery in Space"), but I think its because I wanted less Starlin and more of what Pope is doing here:

click to embiggen

There's going to be all-new Sgt. Rock, Karl Kerschl on Flash, Gaiman and Mike Allred on Metamorpho, etc...

Something for you kids to look for.

Pig Flu


I'm not going to say this right, and I'm going to be taken the wrong way, but here we go.

I am aware that the flu/ Spanish Influenza/ Swine Flu/ Avian Flu, etc.... are all very serious.

But before we start saying "pandemic" and "epidemic", we should keep this in mind.

According to NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory, something like 100 people die from lightning strikes each year in the US, and about 500 are injured.

There are roughly 300 million Americans.

While lightning does not travel like a virus, before we all believe we're doomed from pig flu, let's get a handle on the statistics. Or else I suggest we start treating lightning as an epidemic.

As of today, they found 40 non-fatal cases of the flu in the US. You are more likely to die from lightning as of today in the US than you might from Pig Flu.

That could change tomorrow, but the number of cycles being lost as everyone calms everyone else and explains basic hygiene is sort of nuts. And I sincerely hope we don't see a return of La Grippe. I'm just not sure we're there yet.

That is all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Always and Forever

ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm sorry to report to all you ladies out there in Leaguer-Land that one Douglas Foster McBride is now off the market.

Doug is, of course, Jamie's brother (and has been for some time now). He's a fantastic person, and we're all very lucky he hasn't turned on a one of us yet.

Yes, this weekend Doug and his very special lady-friend, Kristen, decided to become engaged for marriage. Reportedly, Doug liked it, and, thusly, put a ring on it.

Our congratulations go out to the happy couple. We wish Kristen the best of luck with living with Doug for the rest of her life.

No details on the wedding yet, but we know those two crazy kids are just meant for each other. May they find all the wedded bliss Jamie and I have found.

So, congrats to Doug and Kristen, to the McBrides and Boney families. And to me, and my hopes for an open bar.

And because I know this is the sentiment Doug is feeling in his heart right now...

Watch Napoleon Dynamite - Kip song (always and forever) in Music | View More Free Videos Online at

"Always and Forever"
(by Kipland Ronald Dynamite)

Why do you love me?
Why do you need me?
Always and forever

We met in a chat room
Where love can fully bloom
Sure the World Wide Web is great
But you, you make me "salvavate"

Yes I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever

Our love is like a flock of doves
Flying up to heav'n above
Always and forever
Always and forever

Yes, your love is truly great
Always and forever

Why do you need me?
Why do you love me?