Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Horror, The Horror (Movies)

I know, I know... it's two months until Halloween. But as League HQ will be throwing a Halloween party this year (we are! Be here after 8:00 on 10/31) I am trying to handle the cost by purchasing a few decorations early online, and last night I received a box with some stuff that should help set the appropriately cheesy/terrifying tone.*

And then Caffeinated Joe posted this gem, which I know more than a few Leaguers should be able to enjoy.

I sort of suspect Caffeinated Joe is in the Halloween Spirit all-year round.

I'm thinking ahead a bit, as last year I was a bit distracted by ending a job and starting a new job, etc... and just didn't really bother too much with the whole Halloween business. In fact, had Team Roth/ Harms not shown up spontaneously, I would have probably been in bed by 10:00.

When Jamie and I first moved in together, starting in October, I'd start watching horror movies as often as possible. Eventually we dwindled off the practice. Jamie's tolerance for horror is pretty low, and my own tastes for horror are fairly narrow.

Give me a good black and white movie with Karloff, but do not expect me to sit for "Hostel". I've seen James Whale's 1931 version of "Frankenstein" a dozen times, but I don't remember the last time I went to the theater to see a "horror" movie.

Its probably part of why I keep schilling for this Wolfman movie that's never actually going to arrive. I understand why people like a good slasher flick, but I also like the 3 types of monsters embodied by the classic trinity of Dracula, Wolfman and Frankenstein's monster.

1) Dracula - The Monster who walks as a man. These days, vampires are seen largely as dangerous, sexy women or men. Or, if you're any number of the women in my family, as sparkly eternal-teen-agers with super powers.

But Dracula represents the hidden danger of a monster who wears the face of the gentleman but who, frankly, wants to drink your blood and maybe taint your eternal soul. That's some creepy stuff.

Let's shoot this @#$%er...!

2) Wolfman - The man who is helplessly becoming a monster. The horror is just as much for the Wolfman as it is for the folks he winds up turning into dinner.

Wolfman spots the Alpo wagon...

3) Frankenstein's Monster - The unwanted side effect... OF SCIENCE (and man's hubris). Probably the most replicated of the horror and science-fiction concepts, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was dubbed "The Modern Prometheus" for a reason. We tend to think only of the lumbering, inarticulate Karloff creation of the first film, but both the film series and book know the horror belonged in equal parts to a monster brought unwanted into creation and the guy whose hubris led to his own ruination.

Frankie says: Relax

Anyway, good stuff.

It doesn't mean I don't want to see Jamie Lee Curtis do battle with a dude in a bleached out Shatner mask. Or Bruce Campbell take on the Evil Dead. And I've gone on record that I still believe that the original version of "The Haunting" is the most genuinely scary movie I've seen (because that @#$% can happen, man). The occasional zombie movie, of course. Or Julie Adams in "Creature from the Black Lagoon". Hubba Hubba.**

And I would like for someone to finally create a "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" movie half as scary as I found the cartoon when I was 7.

While I understand the visceral appeal of something like "Funny Games", it feels a bit more like a trick. If my movie has a scene where a villain is shooting puppies, of course its going to be fairly horrible, but so what? Its just horrible. That's not a good story so much as telling the audience that you can dream up ways to make them uncomfortable. I think I get enough of that sort of thing from the paper.

So as autumn falls, I'm going to be putting together a movie-watching schedule. If you have suggestions, or want to have a "Film Club", let me know.

(ed. note: It IS a Halloween kind of day. Leaving Subway with my Black Forest Ham sandwich, KMFA was playing "Night on Bald Mountain".)

*As I was writing this, Jamie came down the stairs with my old lab coat I wore a Halloween or two. It's just a very Halloween sort of day...

**or my girl Elsa Lanchester from the Bride movie. She knew how to work a fright wig and medical gauze.

Offered Without Comment

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The "Ideal" Bowie Song?

I think you may have seen this at io9, but...

This honest-to-god scientist analyzed Bowie's popular work and cooked up a song based on what he felt were the common elements of the tunes. There's a lot of explanation at the beginning, but its sort of an interesting notion.

The guy is not, however, Bowie. So we will never know. Except that, seriously, you gotta think Bowie's going to give this a shot...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Roller Derby stuff

In the run up to the release of "Whip It!", I expect to see a bit of buzz around Roller Derby.

Pop Candy is a pop culture blog where The League has actually received at least two mentions in the past. Blogger Whitney Matheson is on vacation, and so called upon her pals to fill in for her while she's getting tanned, rested and ready for Fall '09.

One guest blogger was an Austin-area Roller Derby Queen of the Flat Track.

She gives you a primer on what to check out before you check out "Whip It!".


Batman, Possible Power Shift, GL Promotion

Subject: Batman and Robin #3

Dear Rest of the Batman Books,

On the topic of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's "Batman and Robin #3".

decidedly not for kids

That is how you make a Batman comic.

Try harder.

That is all.


The League

Shifting Tides at DC Comics

Word on the street is that DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., is shifting offices within the mega-corp that is Time-Warner. While remaining within the moive side of the business, rather than the print and publishing side of the business, it sounds as if DC will now be under Diane Nelson instead of Alan Horn.

I've not worked in Hollywood, but its my assumption that Ms. Nelson has got to be toughest of the sharks to have become head of a division at a company like Warner Bros.. This is all good news.

1) I don't know anything about Alan Horn, but I do know what DC Comics has been like as an entity under his watch, and the movie production schedule has been shoddy at best. As Marvel spits out 2 - 3 movies a year, DC is getting one every two years or so to the silver screen.

Not to mention WB's inability to exploit anyone but Batman for kids' entertainment. That is completely ridiculous.

2) Horn has said, under oath, that he doesn't think the character of Superman is worth anything. Ie: he doesn't know how to bring it to the big screen, so it must not be possible.

Hogwash, says I and a whole lot of other Super-fans.

3) DC is probably unaware of how contentious their relationship is with their female readership. What may pass unnoticed on comic covers, in the overt sexualizing of DC's female charatcers, etc... may get a very different read from Paul Levitz's new boss.

Anyway, I would not want to be the Publisher having to explain the Guillem March Power Girl covers to the new boss.

4) New bosses mean new blood. While I do like Paul Levitz, in so far as I can tell, it would be nice to know that complacency is not the go word at DC. At minimum, even with no risk of turn over, it seems likely that everyone will be trying a little harder, and maybe actually worry a bit about the new executive looking over their shoulder.

I do hope this news is true. DC could use someone from up top looking down on what they're up to. I don't want anyone in particular to lose their job, but it'd be nice to see DC try a little harder to make less of their line so easy to dismiss.

Blackest Night Ring Promotion

Okay, this tidbit of marketing news puts a smile on my face.

I'm enjoying the heck out of Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi's epic over in the Green Lantern books "Blackest Night". In fact, as I type this, I'm wearing my official Blue Lantern shirt. Why, because these dudes are my new favorite dudes in comics.

Thus far, two key things have happened:

1) A whole spectrum of new colored Corps have begun to appear. Red = Rage, Blue = Hope, Yellow = Fear, etc...
2) The Black Lanterns have appeared. From an unknown source (so far) black rings have crossed the DCU, finding dead superheroes and those significant to our living superheroes, and raising the dead. Only, you know, EVIL.

It's some messed up stuff.

At any rate, DC will soon have a give-away promotion in which you can collect what will be cheap, plastic versions of the rings.

insert amazed/ delighted gasp here

In high school, I still remember DC putting out a Green Lantern ring, and I'm STILL mad I lost that thing (I bought one at a comic shop for $3 years later). So, yes, this sounds like a great idea to me.

Rings, please

I shall require, of course, a Blue Lantern ring for my everyday wear as well as one for display purposes.

Maybe when the new Flash ongoing materializes, we can see something similar for Barry's ring?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Patrick Henry Preddy Enters Existence

Congratulations to fellow KO alum Marshall, and his lovely wife, Jordan.

Today they welcomed their first child, Patrick Henry Preddy. He arrived a bit after 2:00 PM.

Welcome to the world, kid. You got a heck of a set of parents there.

Pics and more here.

Meth & Comics, Admiral in Africa, Desertification of Austin

Superman would punch you in the face for that

It appears that some losers in Denver were using a collectible comic business as a front for trafficking drugs and laundering the dough. I don't know. It's all shady, and the fact that these guys were most likely using comics about costumed do-gooders to do bad is upsetting, but not quite as upsetting as the rest of what they were up to.

Here's a blog post from the Denver paper.

I don't expect drug dealers to be classy folks, but what is it with meth? Everyone involved with meth always looks like 20 miles of bad road and they do such weird stuff.

Leaguers, Superman would not approve.

The thing is, these guys could have legally been trafficking in iffy merchandise with the whole vintage comics business and done just fine. The fuzz seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of comics in this deal. Why not just take advantage of the nerds on eBay and live the good life with the comic business you've got?

Now all these great comics are off the market and entered as evidence. And that's just wrong...

The Admiral in Africa

Got my first e-mail from The Old Man, as he globe trots once again. He's apparently shaking down folks in Nigeria this week.

Sounds like he's got plenty of folks around him that know how to use a gun, which is kind of kooky. Mostly he's freaked out by the lack of discipline when it comes to traffic, which sounds exactly like him.

The Admiral in African urban sprawl doesn't equate in my head, but I guess he's doing okay.

Monsoon Season?

It's hot in Austin this summer, and has been since June 1. We've had record breaking temperatures both in how high the mercury is rising and the sheer duration of the period of 100+ days.

I had beers last week with some folks I don't know, but they work in environmentally friendly landscaping. They mentioned that Austin is being re-zoned as being more "deserty", and one of these folks wasn't a transplant but a lifelong Austinite. She's seeing the changes, too.

Anyway, two days in a row isn't a pattern, exactly. But the past two days, in the hour before sunset, we've had rain. In Arizona (which I think we can all agree is a hot desert) in late summer, they have something called Monsoon season. Right around sunset, rain would blow in from the east. I guess it was some mix of wet air from that gulf east of the Baja Peninsula and the hot, still air that had been hanging around all day.

Again, its just been two days of similar weather, but its starting to freak me out a little...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Meme of Firsts

Well, this is easier than coming up with new, original content. Its time for another meme.

1. Who was your FIRST date?

Miss Shauna Cross, she of the "Whip It" feature film.

I was 14, KareBear drove us to the Showplace 6, and we saw the Kris Kristofferson/ Cheryl Ladd Sci-Fi epic, "Millennium". I had no idea what I was doing, or, pretty clearly, I wouldn't have pitched "Millennium". More than likely, I probably tried to make her pay for herself. I don't remember.

I do recall Jason and his pals thought it was hilarious that I was having the KareBear drive me around on dates. But it seemed uncool to make her sit on the handlebars of my Schwinn.

Also, I had a date and they did not.

Shauna was one of the first girls I ever met who could dish it out as well as take it, and at 14 or 15, that's a rare commodity. We went to Homecoming a few weeks later, and then I don't know what... I honestly have no recollection. But obviously it wasn't too traumatic as we remain chummy to this day. And that, Leaguers, was almost exactly 20 years ago.

I am old.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

Uhhhhh... I don't know how to answer this question. Sure.

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

The Admiral, being a wise man, gave me a taste of his beer when I was five. I was a grabby, persistent kid, and since The Admiral seemed to enjoy having a cold can of Miller when he was cooking up some burgers. He must have decided to cut this off quickly and let me have a sip so he could just have a beer in peace. Can't blame a man works hard for a living when he shuts a kid down.

He must have known exactly what was going to happen, because I was completely horrified and didn't touch beer again until I was up to no good years and years later.

The first drink I ordered and finished was a margarita ordered at a restaurant in Cozumel called "The Fat Grouper" at 14 or 15. I was sort of non-plussed. And also under parental supervision.

4. What was your FIRST job?

The much discussed gig at Chuck E. Cheese.

As of this posting, the 6th hit one gets on Google when you search for "working at Chuck E. Cheese".

5. What was your FIRST car?

Ah... The Badger.

A 1983 red and maroon Honda Accord. 4 cylinders of justice, no power steering, and, in the end, no AC, either. The name was given to the car when we decided that it was "dangerous when cornered". It was a great little car.

Not "The Badger", but more or less the same thing

I loved that car the way you love a dog or cat, and had the cost of repairing the car not become a bit crazy, I would have gladly driven it for a lot longer.

6. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?

I have no idea. My guess would be Marquette, Michigan from Dallas, Texas. But I don't know. It may have been from Michigan to Florida, too.

7. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?

We moved around a lot as kids. I don't know if I have any idea who my first best friend was. The answer is probably no.

8. Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?

My mother's sister, passed before I was born. Her husband, my Uncle D, re-married when I was little enough that I remember looking around in wonder at all the people in sport coats at the wedding. From about 3' high. I remember knowing the event wasn't aimed at kids, because people kept standing up, and then I couldn't see.

9. Tell us about your FIRST roommate.


Peabo and I had been buddies since 4th grade, when I moved to Austin, so maybe that answers that "best friend" question.

Anyway, we were terrible roommates. We'd known each other too long to try to be polite from day 1. I was messy, loud, constantly making coffee. He listened to Billy Joel's Greatest Hits on repeat for an entire semester.

We're still pals, and I don't recall more than a few arguments, but we wisely decided to be pals and not roommates when it came time to re-up. And because of that, we're still talking to one another today.

That was also the year that Peabo BECAME Peabo. Because, as we sat watching TV one evening, Peabo Bryson was on, and thinking out loud, my roommate said "I wish I had a cool name like PEABO. Peeeee-boh."

And I said, "All right, Peabo."

Thus, Peabo was born.

10. If you had one wish, what would it be (other than more wishes)?

An end to disease sounds great in theory, but I suspect that we'd create more problems than solve them all. An end to want?

A better hair cut? Maybe "The Kirk"?

11. What is something you would learn if you had the chance?

How is this a "first?" This meme has gone off the rails.

Fine. I'd learn Spanish. I don't know what half the people are saying 90% of the time.

Or else I'd learn accordian, because that would be awesome.

12. Did you marry the FIRST person you were in love with?

Sure. Dude, these memes are trouble.

13. What were the first lessons you ever took and why?

Tumbling. Man, I have no idea. Don't all kids take tumbling?

I also really remember swimming lessons.

14. What is the first thing you do when you get home?

Get assaulted by lovely dogs, put down my computer bag, say hello to the cat, find Jamie, get some smoochies, and say "How was your day?"

It's not a bad thing to come home to, I tell you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Food Meme

The League loves a good meme.

Here's another from Calvin's Canadian Cave of Coolness. It's food-related.

What food makes you sick?

It depends how you mean. I have enjoyed Indian Food with disastrous results. I practically wept my way through a traditional Scandinavian meal of Lutefisk (cod soaked in lye. I @#$% you not).

But if I had to pick one thing that makes me cringe just to think on it, its brussel sprouts.

I also really don't like corn dogs.

What is a food habit that you can't stand?

Asking me to go "family style" after we've ordered. I ordered what I wanted to eat, and planned to eat all of it. I know people like to take small bites off each other's plates and make little happy sounds, etc...

I may not WANT ginger-soaked brussell sprouts or whatever you ordered. And then I'm down part of what I did want to eat.

You can either ask ahead of time or live with the choice you made when you ordered.

That said, all bets are off if you're talking BBQ. In fact, you may want to hide your hands under the table lest I mistake them for part of the meal.

What food habit did your sister/brother used to have growing up that you couldn't stand?

I'm sorry to reveal this, but Jason used to slurp when he ate his cereal. Every damn bite. God help me, it drove me nuts.

Apparently my tongue would occasionally appear when I ate. This I learned one dark morning when I broached the subject with a classy comment along the lines of "why don't you quit eating like a G-D troll and quit slurping your cereal?"

What food cracks you up?

Asparagus. It doesn't look like food at all. It looks like something out of a swamp. And its sort of is fun to wave around inappropriately. And yet, with lemon, oil, salt and pepper? Delicious.

What vegetable couldn't you live without?

I have no idea. Corn is a grain. Lettuce is more of a filler. I love broccoli, but I also only ever get it when we go out (Jamie can't eat it). So, maybe tomatoes? But they're technically a fruit...

I have no answer here.

Food gadgets you remember as a child?

For some reason, monkeying with The Admiral's egg poacher was verboten. But it was round and yellow and looked like fun.

I also recall the popcorn popper which was in odd shades of orange that disappeared from consumer goods with the close of the 1970's.

Later, I was a fan of a sandwich "maker". Basically, it fried your sandwich.

Food that was hidden, then discovered on the top shelf of your room?

I honestly don't think this ever happened. I did show enormous willpower in 7th grade by hanging onto my Halloween candy, eating only one piece per night so it would last.

This ended around Easter, when I realized a lot of candy was about to appear, and I just finished off the candy and threw some away.

Without mentioning robots, how do you think cooking in the future will be better?

Futurama introduced the idea of "Bachelor Chow", which seemed sort of like cereal, but maybe not. It was just a food-like substance one could pour in a bowl and eat with a spoon.

Sometimes you're hungry, and it would be nice to eat something without going to the trouble of having to add cereal AND milk to the bowl. Sometimes you're just hungry, and it would be nice to not think too, too much about what it was you were going to eat.

Anyway, I'm holding out for Bachelor Chow.

What is an annoying thing that bothers you about women and food?

I see no real way to answer this question without getting in trouble, and after years together, our habits are sort of invisible to me. But here's one thing:

If you insist on increasing your carbon footprint by taking a plastic or styrofoam container home, eat the food at lunch the next day. I might be wasting food by not taking home those pizza crusts, but I always doubt you're ever going to eat that left over chinese, and no matter what, you're creating extra trash.

Also, why did you order more than what you were going to eat to begin with?

Food you once projectile vomited after being wasted?

Well, goodness. Two standouts I remember are Doritos and Kerbey Lane pancakes.

Less said about that, the better.

What would be your last meal?

Well, geez. I guess I'd have finally really botched things to be in a position where I wasn't just getting food from a tube and know its my last meal and be able to write up a menu.

There used to be a site that listed last meals, and it was oddly fascinating. Several are in Texas. What do you know about that?

I think I'd seriously just ask for eggs, toast with butter, and a gallon of hot coffee. And the morning paper.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after all.

What is your funniest family food memory?

Me laughing at Peabo at the dinner table while eating spicy tacos. Taco meat went up my nasal passage, the same way you usually see milk head out. Taco spices scorched my nasal passage as I rolled around on the floor, eyes watering. As I worked the ground beef out of my sinuses, my family just went back to talking and eating.

That, Leaguers, was growing up in the Steans House.