Saturday, December 02, 2006


Turkey Day is almost upon us. This year I shall do my part to make the Holidays totally rad for all. This year, I pledge not to:

-consume an entire 23 lb. turkey by myself
6% 1-vote

-collect a $7 cover charge at the door
0% 0 -votes

-keep asking if we can watch something other than football
6% 1-vote

-mention a single, solitary time how much Katie Couric bugs me if she hosts the Thanksgiving Day Parade for CBS
6% 1-vote

-hold Doug hostage
0% 0-votes

-teach the young ones about the circle of life by killing the turkey with my bare hands before their terrified eyes
19% 3-votes

-let Mel serve dinner
19% 3-votes

-force Jamie to dress as a turkey
6% 1-votes

-insist we pray for the success and safety of the Justice League of America as they protect our shores and skies from the Legion of Doom
13% 2-votes

-stay sober through dinner
25% 4-votes

16 votes total

Friday, December 01, 2006


Thursday, November 30, 2006

It is cold

It is cold in Austin. We were something like the 2nd to last place in the contiguous 48 to get the cold front, but there you are. I headed to the Target today to buy a hat, gloves and a scarf. In Phoenix you don't need those items (or an umbrella) so much, so I'm having to purchase cold weather gear all over again.

The dogs are nuts. They don't want to go out in the cold (although they were happy to go for a brisk afternoon walk), but they also don't want to remain inside and calmly behave. So there's been a lot of following us around the house and attacking one another. I had to hide Lucy's ball so she would quit dropping it on me. It's kind of sad.

We hung out and talked to the neighbors last night for a while. It's sort of nice knowing our neighbors, versus our recent experience in Phoenix where we sort of guessed at who everyone was. We had "The Kansas People" who moved away and were replaced by "Successful Single Mom" and her BMW. Flag Guy. Arizona-Reed. Weekend Dad. The Crazy Nemesis Nurse, and "The House with an Indeterminate Number of Residents".

Here, we actually know some people's names, and even talked to Steve (with the stroller) for a while, finding out he's a bit of a recovering comic-geek, and he wants to set up a community rental system for DVD's on our block. Neighbor-Jason feels we've one-upped his Christmas deer as our deer lights up and is quite large. And then Chris apparently bought me a deeply discounted Superman Halloween Candy pail and gave it to me last night. I was shocked.

Grand Oaks isn't as weird a place to live as you'd believe when initially driving through.

Last night I just didn't have much to mention, and I was neck deep in new and old comics, so forgive me for taking a night off to catch up on my titles a little. (I need to start pushing comic reviews again. Go read Ex Machina.)

The weather yesterday was a mild high-70's with winds from the south. When the artic air hit, we got a heck of a storm. Jamie was already in bed when we lost power for a few seconds. The short popped the GFCI outlets where we have the Christmas lights plugged in. I, of course, had just entered our tiny hall bathroom when the lights went out, and was fairly certain there was no way this was going to end well vis-a-vis me exiting the restroom succesfully, when the lights came back on. I emerged into the living room, and proceeded to scream like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween upon seeing Jamie standing on the stairs. Usually I hear her moving around, but this time, no such luck, what with the buckets of rain and howling wind rattling the windows.

Yesterday evening we went to see "For Your Consideration", the latest from Christopher Guest and his troupe of improvisors. It's okay. It's NOT in the faux-documentary format which is the basis of most of Guest's movies, but it sticks with the same sort of bitter-sweet narrative arc that you've seen in the past two or three movies. Make no mistake, Catherine O'Hara is at her best in this movie, but the movie seems too full of unnecessary elements, and the actors don't share enough screen time to decide whether they're making a wacky movie or a movie on a bit more pensive note.

My personal feelings aside, every person considering acting for a living should be given a copy of this DVD and be forced to watch it once a year for the duration of their career.

I finally saw "Rocky" on Spike TV. It was pretty good, and I can see it winning awards in the 70's. As I suspected, the movie has been copied so many times (including the five sequels) that, like many films that launch a stylistic genre, the movie no longer is appealing simply for its too-often repeated story. It's the performances and details which remind you why this movie was thought of so highly that why it's been infinitely imitated, but rarely matched.

Oh, and I watched JimD's film "Pleadings". JimD wrote and produced the film (with his friend Alistair directing). You know, it's not easy telling your friends they've made a colossal mistake. Luckily, in this case, I don't have to do that. Jim's film is a tight, taught drama with well developed characters. Ah, hell, you need to just see it. I could talk it up, but it's going to be silly as I don't want to give much away and I don't want to sit here blowing sunchine up Jim's skirt. Well, I will say the space battles were impressive and the 23-minute homage to "Willow" was totally sweet, but I still don't understand the bit with Jim dressed as a penguin walking through the desert "pleading" for a sno-cone. Anyway, well done. Professionally executed. Worth seeing at your local multi-plex.

Short bits:

4 year old Power Ranger foils crime

Someone else YouTube's their Jones Soda Holiday Soda experience

Some awesome animation

Bad Superhero Names (yes, they are all actual characters)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More on Dave Cockrum

I hope I have some Superman jammies when it's my turn to merge with the infinite...

heck, I think I'd like some now...

second announcement

Hey, Leaguers!

This here is your second announcement regarding the 2006 Holiday Spectacular.

The tree is up. The lights are bright. We're filled with Christmas Fever. It's time for me to re-announce the 2006 Holiday Spectacular. We're begging for RSVP's, so please send one by clicking on the Justice League image at the top-left of this website or posting to the comments section. (definite "no's" are also welcome)

Where: League HQ (if you need directions, send me an e-mail and RSVP by clicking on the picture of the Justice League at the top, left-hand corner of the website)

When: December 9th. We open the doors at 7:00.

What: A festive holiday gathering.

What to bring: It's not a requirement, but we're suggesting that you BYOB. Sorry. I think we have a healthy number of people coming, and I can't afford to fill all of you with the Holiday Spirit. We will have some stuff on hand, but we appreciate a little extra help.

If you want to bring a snacky thing (as some have mentioned), go nuts. It's a party. Nobody is turning down any food.

What to wear: The temptation for Holiday parties is to get a little dolled up. I am not going to stop you, but if I have to guess, I think I'll be wearing jeans, a novelty t-shirt under a button down cotton shirt, and some sneakers. If you want to look fabulous, that's your call.

What not to do: Burn my house down, do anything to draw the attention of the authorities (such as burning my house down), declare S. Austin an independent state, pick a fight, let Mel drive. We will also be happy to call cabs for anyone who needs one.

Who should come: You. You're reading this, so I'd like for you to come. Maybe. And we're kinda-sorta cool with a friend in tow, but inviting the whole accounting team from your office is generally discouraged. The whole accounting team tends to draw the cops.

Some extra incentives for showing up:

-Jamie has been practicing some carols, so we hope folks will join her in singing some Christmas ditties. If you have requests, send them in now. Keep it clean.

-Door prizes! We will hit the "Dollar General" and have a drawing at some point in the evening

-Firelogs on DVD

-my iPod will have a rockin' Holiday-themed playlist

-It will be Cousin Susan's 29th Birthday

-If we're lucky, it may be Ellie Gamble's Birthday

-There is the possibility of a pair of extra special guests from out of town

-See Mel and Lucy in their Holiday Finery

-Steven Harms performs 1-Man, 8-Act version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

-We can even conference call in RHPT

-After too many eggnogs, Jason will make an awkward pass at a yet-to-be-selected girl, but give up half-way through

So RSVP!!! Let us know if we can expect to see you joining in the merriment and festivities. It's the @#$%ing Holidays! Let's get together and have some fun.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Super Lit Up

The house is about 65-70% done for Christmas. However, we are experiencing a Christmas Light gap. It seems our house, though well covered in lights, may be a bit dull by Grand Oaks standards. In my walk this evening, I noted that the traditionally "classy" plain white lights (with which we have wrapped the mighty columns of League HQ) have been supplanted in our neighborhood with color, strobing, chaser lights, changing colors, shapes, and all manner of lit nonsense. Sure, I still have to add the "snow globe" and our newly obtained animated deer to the yard, and perhaps that will give us a bit more character. But we have a Christmas Light gap.

As I understand it, we can expect the slow-driving light-peepers in our neighborhood. I suspect the war of the Christmas lights is just beginning. I am choosing to lose the battle this year.

Well, I am betting nobody else has as many Superman decorations on THEIR tree...

Normally The League is a big supporter of giving the gift of Superman, as well as decorating your home with the bold visage of The Man of Steel. However, Nathan sends this along.

From the article: Incredibly, families are further instructed to "[un]plug the product when leaving the house, when retiring for the night, or if left unattended."

I don't like to speak for The Last Son of Krypton, but I assume he'd be upset if he knew there was a product on the shelf sporting his face which not only MIGHT burn your house down, but pretty much promises it's going to leave your home a smoking cinder.

Hey, here's a Superman fan in the news that we can all feel proud of.

A ton of Superman stuff will be released on DVD on Tuesday. This will include the Donner Cut of Superman II and Superman Returns. Be a Loyal Leaguer. Pick up a copy. Or pick up the 14-disc uber-collection. I have been given instructions NOT to pick up any Reeves or Routh Superman stuff, and, thusly, shall wait until Christmas.

I, personally, am awaiting the arrival of the Kirk Alyn Superman serials (with a young Noel Neill) and the final seasons of The Adventures of Superman with George Reeves in glorious color (and a slightly more seasoned, if no less fabulous Noel Neill). I had forgotten that a very tired League had purchased these items on Amazon long ago, and was reminded with a "your package has shipped" e-mail.

Oh, and Action Comics #845 was really good. Actually, it was very, very good. Hope you're picking up this run.
You Leaguers know I don't normally post cat pictures, but this is so cute, I may need some insulin...

The cat looks remarkably like Jeff the Cat, except Jeff knows nothing of shame or remorse. And, in fact, would bite you just to spite you after eating your cookie.
Hey, fellow, KO Panthers!

Apparently the Klein Oak Panthers are making a go of it with the football team this semester. It seems that the football team is no longer a source of shame!

The KO Panthers have entered into the state play-offs. If you went to KO in the 90's, then you know that just batting a .500 for the season is a victory in and of itself.

Read some here.

more here
Dave Cockrum Passes

Dave Cockrum, former X-Men and Legion of Superheroes artist, has passed away after a lengthy illness.

RIP, Dave.

more here

for a gallery of Dave's outstanding work, go here

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas time is here...

Thanksgiving fell early, and traditionally, in the days after Thanksgiving, one must start thinking about Christmas (well, if you are of the Christian or secular-present swapping Christmas variety). So, I guess we're sort of stretching the Holidays a bit this year, but that's okay, provided I am not totally sick of Christmas by the 24th.


So today I made some Kirby Lane gingerbread pancakes for breakfast, then we inventoried a bit as to our Christmas Decoration stash. I tell you, Leaguers, it is hard to maintain my war on Christmas, what with my love of the season.

Anyhoo, we were just supposed to head to Lowe's and pick up some lights, but after living in Austin for close to decades, I decided to finally head to The Famous Christmas Store. The FCS was pretty neat, but I was surprised how limited the merchandise was at a store which had dedicated itself to Christmas decorating. There was just a lot of repetition of themes and a lot of stuff that was surprisingly expensive. We did, however, find several bulb ornaments which will live on our tree.

We then went to Hoover's Cooking for our big meal of the day. Some people love snails or fish eggs. Some people love a fine cheese or an elaborately prepared sushi dinner. Not The League. Give me Hoover's Cooking any day. Half of a perfectly smoked chicken, green beans, okra and delicious sweet potato pie... Sure, I didn't need all that coming off Thanksgiving, but it was my first trip back to Hoover's since getting back to Austin.

Unfit to do much more, I headed to Lowe's, picked up several strings of lights, a garland/light combination, a red bow and headed home.

We've got the tree up, undecorated. The garland is hung on the stair-rail. We've got stockings over the fireplace (including Jason's stocking), but we still have quite a bit to do, especially outside.

Seem early? A lot of houses in the neighborhood already have lights on (including three on my street) and several had lights partially or fully up, but not on. I am hoping we are NOT a neighborhood that people will drive through to see all of the lights, but I am not planning to be a house-light slacker. At the same time, despite the weak effort put in during Halloween, these folks are stepping up to the plate in a way I am not sure I am ready to go bankrupt outdoing.

Jamie's been practicing some carols, so hopefully all who attend the Holiday Spectacular will be able to gather round the 'ol piano and sing along (JAL will be solo'ing with "Christmas in Holis").
Lt. Larry Lee (atty. at law) Reports Out From the American Music Awards

Hey, Leaguers. Larry Lee is an old friend of Jason's and Steans' in general. He's a former Marine, a lawyer, a father of three, a husband and a coach of some sort. In short, he's already done more with himself than The League shall probably ever accomplish.

LL loves him some music, and somehow scored seats at the American Music Awards (an achievement as I don't think he's been involved with music since quitting the trombone in 9th grade). When word of this opportunity came to light, Lt. LL suggested he take the opportunity to share. An opportunity I jumped on.

Reposted from the comments section (Lee, I have e-mail, man...)

Still waiting for Reed Shaw's report on the final Phish tour from three years ago.

Here is my report from the American Music Awards:

1) The seats: I was fourth row, center stage. They were phenomenal. Face value of $750 each, though nobody pays for them, so who knows how much they really cost. Most of the show I sat two rows directly behind the dudes from Nickelback, who seemed genuinely happy to be there and to win an award for best something or other. To my left, only a couple seats away, was William Shatner and his wife. In front of him was Mario Lopez (Saved By The Bell/Dancing with the Stars) and in front of him, Snoop Dogg. That's right...the D.O. double G himself. Odd to me that Mario Lopez had better seats than William Shatner, but good to see things were corrected with Snoop Dogg's seating. I sat in front of Tori Spelling (she's five months pregnant) and a few seats to the left of Paris Hilton, who was text messaging furiously for most of the time that I saw her. At one point, Nelly Furtado sat immediately in front of me. The stars rotate seats depending on their performances and if they win, etc. The coolest celebrity sighting was Beyonce (she sat front row), who I saw walk in on the red carpet and then later, when she and her entourage nearly ran me over backstage on her way to the stage for the opening act. She was amazingly beautiful to see in person. She seemed to be a star in every sense of the word. Only her and Jamie Foxx were like that out of every celeb I saw. They just had something about them that nobody else had in terms of sizzle.

2) The live performances: Mary J. Blige was the best, hands down. She was amazing. I've never heard a better voice live. Next, Jamie Foxx. He's got the chops, man. Honoring the history of the AMA's was Lionel Richie, who sang All Night Long and the crowd went absolutely nuts for him, including yours truly (I was on t.v. briefly shaking my booty during Lionel's performance). He's still got it and looks great, too. Another throwback artist was Barry Manilow. His voice was still good, but he's had waaaaaaay too much plastic surgery. Jay Z was good. I got a big kick out of watching Beyonce dance to her man's music while he was onstage and she was in the audience. Also very good and extremely pretty was American Idol Carrie Underwood. Dixie Chicks couldn't have looked less interested to be there, but the biggest letdown was probably Tenacious D, though Dave Grohl gave them a sweet introduction. They just didn't rock like I thought they would. They did have lots of fireball effects in their show and said their song was about their battle with Satan, so they were kinda funny.

3) The venue. Held at the nearly falling down Shriner Auditorium in Los Angeles, near the campus of USC (which is basically in the middle of Compton). A total dump. It was filthy and disgusting inside. Probably sat 5,000 or so, with a balcony. I understand that next year they are holding the AMA's in a new theater being constructed across the street from

Man, I guess I wrote too much. The only other cool story is that I met Weird Al Yankovic at the after party. He was walking by with a plate of food, stuffing his face, when I saw him and said, "Loved what you did with 'Eat It'". He stopped, paused for a moment, got the joke, and then laughed genuinely, saying, "That's pretty funny, man". Somebody with us asked for his picture and he happily agreed, but our camera battery died an extremely untimely death, so Al scooted off to finish his food and alas, no photo was had. Such a bummer. It would have made for a great Christmas card.

All in all, good times. If you ever get a chance to go to a music award show, don't miss it. And wear a jacket. With the exception of the musicians, all the men wear jackets to award shows, even in Los Angeles. But don't wear a tie. Only the body guards wear ties.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Where we're at

I'd post on the Thanksgiving weekend a little more, but Steanso is doing a terrific job over at his site.


I'm still reeling from the UT game. They just looked awful, like the whole team came down with the flu but felt like they had to go out there and put on a game, what with all the people who showed up. As unhappy as I was with the offense, the defense just couldn't wrap it's head around A&M's admittedly spirited offense.

The late hit on McCoy at the end of the game, and the helmet-to-helmet hit he took before being carried off did quite a bit to sow some ill-will in what has become a lackluster rivalry.

A&M fans may be sad to hear this, but one of the revelations I had coming to UT from A&M-centric North Houston is that UT doesn't consider A&M to be it's primary rivalry. Sure, they want to win, but the OU game is the big kahuna of football rivalries. When I both went to and worked at UT, the A&M thing was great if we could win it, but mostly the lead up to the weekend involved being a bit mortified at A&M's pathological behavior as the game approached.

This year, of course, was a HUGE exception with bowl games still in UT's grasp. That said, a loss was unexpected, and hardly desirable. In a way, though, I think a lot of UT fans were just waiting for the other post-Vince Young foot to drop.

It's my impression from the post-game coverage that the consensus after the game was that the real concern wasn't over the score, but over McCoy's health (he's apparently okay and expected to recover). When your QB leaves the game on a stretcher, it takes whatever fun was left in the game and makes it all seem sort of dumb.

McCoy wasn't supposed to be this year's hero... he was our red-shirt promise for two years from now... Plus, you know, people seem to genuinely like the little guy.

Congrats, A&M. It's too bad your two cheap shots stained an otherwise impressive win. And it's too bad UT's entire team was apparently suffering from a massive turkey overdose.

I have to start decorating for Christmas.

I know this, because we have a Holiday party coming soon. Even JAL is coming. And he might even bring his long-suffering wife.

I also know this because (a) one house in our neighborhood already has up lights, (b) when I bought a pair of jeans today the store was blasting Holiday tunes, (c) News 8 has launched a new feature called "Sounds of the Season" where they show local bands playing Christmas songs, (d) the grocery has made the full conversion to festive Christmas mode, and (e) I've begun to crave nog. Nog is not something I seek out in July.

I suppose by next weekend, the house may be fully decorated. And that will be weird.

I took The Admiral to the comic shop today. There's nothing like bringing your old man to the comic shop to remind you how completely off-their-nut most comic shop patrons really are (grammar). Sure, I occasionally get irritated with the "it's our clubhouse, not a store" mentality some patrons seem to have, and the inevitable crude and crass conversations some folks seem willing to have without actually knowing the other patrons... But there's a whole subsection of the comic-shop audience that is a few more degrees skewed from the center than the average bear... the good folks who get involved in Cosplay, the sweet natured geeks who go to the parks and dress up as wizards and throws tennis balls/ "spells" at one another on the weekend, ...and the staple of the comic shop: the guy who believes he's a bad-ass because he reads titles like "Wolverine" and "Ghost Rider".

This guy ALWAYS knows more about EVERYTHING than ANYONE around him. Usually harmless, he physically cannot turn his voice down below 80 db's, and usually will ignore anything said by store managers, other patrons, or police officers who bring up any point which might contradict the reality he has carved out for himself. This might include topics as far reaching as the origin of an obscure comic character or the inner-workings of the NSA.

You never know what you're going to get in a comic-shop, and today we had The Expert, and "the Role-Player" (a lady wizard, I believe). Luckily, The Admiral is a pretty open minded guy, plus he was mostly interested in finding out why they don't publish Sergeant Rock anymore... so I don't know how much he actually had to listen to the two conversations going on in the shop, but it was all I could do to get the heck out of there my comics safely in tow.

I am fascinated with folks who voluntarily separate themselves from reality by creating elaborate scenarios that do not just exist within their heads. The folks who dress up as elves and wizards and run around in the woods are doing something that I have about fifteen mental signal lights warning me not to get involved with, and I think I've fallen pretty far down the rabbit-hole when it comes to aberrant social/fantasy behavior. I literally CANNOT imagine making the leap from bags and boards to "This weekend, I am going to buy this red material, make a cape, and go fling tennis balls at my friend at Pease Park". Yet I could watch these folks for hours if Jamie would let me.

I don't honestly see a lot of difference between the geeks in the home-made wizard capes and the folks who dress up as a soldier on the weekend to "re-enact" Civil War battles, people who build elaborate dioramas of long-ago fought battles, the guys who know waaaayyy to much about Japanese feudal society, folks who become "serious" Beatles collectors, the ladies who collect thousands of porcelain cats, guys who spend weeks of their lives managing their "fantasy" sports teams, and the millions of people who spend energy keeping up with the lives of celebrities as a hobby through magazines and by keeping Mary Hart of the air. It's all about cutting up reality and pasting it back in a way that works for you.

Heck, in a lot of ways, I sort of think that at least those folks are doing something that they probably know doesn't really jive with "reality" rather that being a stick in the mud who assumes their way is THE way.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the inhabitants of my LCS, I constantly waver between trying to be a "live and let live" sort of guy , and wanting to shake them and say "YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE NSA OPERATES! YOU ARE A BUS BOY AT EL POLLO LOCO!!!".

And that, Leaguers, is why I will never own or manage a comic shop.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day Re-Cap

Last night I went to bed with what I would describe as stomach cramps. There has been some speculation that I was tense and nervous regarding hosting Thanksgiving. I, personally, attribute it to my exhaustion from the previous night's journey to the Doggy ER, mixed with possibly a case of indigestion and/ or food poisoning from Short Stop (which I had for lunch).

So, anyway, Wednesday night my folks came into town, followed closely by Heather "Daredevil" Wagner. Wagner is staying at my house as part of her Turkey Day Holiday, back from Lubbock where she is attending grad school.

We had dinner last night with the parents, Wagner, Jason and Mandy, chatted for a while, and then played a game called "Balderdash" (FYI: The League totally dominated).

This morning I woke up not feeling right. I had some coffee, some coffee cake, etc... but mostly I just wanted to lay there and watch the parade. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I felt pretty bad, but as I didn't think I had the flu or anything, I wasn't too concerned. People kept trying to get me to help, but when I'd stand up, I just wanted to sit back down and maybe go to sleep. Jason arrived fairly early with Cassidy in tow.

Eventually, around 11:30, I gave up on the lame/rain-drenched Macy's Parade and crawled back into bed with Jeff the Cat.

I was up and showering by 12:30. About 1:30 our other guests arrived. Tom and Marlene Leih, Cousin Sue, then Juan and Matt, followed closely by DK and Liz (Jason's friends have become Steans Family friends, and Liz and DK are now a Steans-Family Thanksgiving staple. Like yams. If they ever skip out on us for Thanksgiving, it just won't be Turkey Day.).

I felt sort of out of sorts, and had felt queasy in the morning, but I love deviled eggs, and DK had brought some as an appetizer. I figured they were a great way to see if my stomach would hold for dinner. After I ate two, I decided I was in the clear, and began to attribute my fainting feeling to a lack of food since the Short Stop meal.

We had a CRAZY amount of food. Including the stuffing Jamie had made, whichw as enough to feed a battalion. She had doubled her family recipe, and somehow this equated a metric ton of stuffing. At least it was good. We're just going to be eating stuffing for the next four weeks.

Turkey turned out well. Nice company. No real awkward pauses. Nobody went off the rails into discussion of sex/religion/ politics, and by the end of dinner I was right as rain.

So, anyhow, after that was lots of chatting, playing with dogs, and eating of pie. All very Norman Rockwellesque.

Eventually our guests departed, only to resume the festivities tomorrow for the UT/A&M game.

We're going to be serving stuffing. Come on by.
Casino Royale and The Prestige Review

Normally I think Owen Gleiberman, movie critic for Entertainment Weekly, is a colossal dork. He will give a movie a phenomenal review, but knock off a full letter grade to a letter grade and a half simply because the movie is a genre flick (ie: sci-fi or fantasy film). Conversely, he falls into the movie reviewer trap of giving extra points to a lot of movies merely for being foreign language or indie films. And I have never forgiven him the "F" he gave a prescient "Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy".

However, I thought his review of Casino Royale said pretty much what I wanted to say, so why should I write up my thoughts when he has done it for me?


Last Friday night Jamie and I went and caught The Prestige. Directed by "Batman Begins" director Chrisptopher Nolan and featuring an all-star cast, including Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Piper Perabo, David Bowie (as Nikola Tesla, no less), Andy Serkis, and, human special effect, Scarlett Johansson.

The movie is beautifully produced, wonderfully acted, well shot... and I guessed the ending at least half an hour before the end of the movie. Which, in a suspense story like this that fancies itself to be a magic trick, in and of itself, is sort of like seeing the wires making the magician float during their big show-stopper.

I noticed the book from which the story was taken was written by a Christopher Priest, and knowing a Christopher Priest writes occasionally for comics, and then noting several comic-like plot elements, I did some quick checking. Same guy.


Anyway, it has Scarlett Johansson, and I might pay to see her sit in a chair and chew gum for 90 minutes. So, there you go.

I hope your Turkey Day is full of thanks, giving and giving of thanks.

I am sort of out of commission while the family is here. In the meantime, you can read an interview Jason did with me last week.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Exciting Evening

Well, tonight we went to dinner with Stuart and Hilary down at Threadgill's on Barton Springs. We had a nice chat and caught up a little. Hope to see them at the Holiday Spectacular.

We were departing town via S. Lamar, in the lane to turn west on 6th (and then out to MoPac). We'd pulled up to the light, and I was having a thought I was about o express when I heard two loud bangs. It took me a split second, but I realized the car next to me in the right lane had been hit by the car behind them. Hard. However, the second car was not at fault as the second car had originally been struck with tremendous force by a third car. The third car must not have even slowed down as they approached the intersection.

As Jamie rolled down her window to ask if the woman in the car next to us was okay, for some reason, that lady rolled up her window. Her car was bad damaged, but I honestly didn't get a good look.

The damage to the second and third car was enormous. The second car was, of course, crushed in at both the front and rear. The front of the third car was flattened, the car had bounced back a few feet with the impact, and had some sort of steam seemed to be shooting out of the side of the third car.

It's amazing what you see in a few seconds when the adrenaline kicks in.

You may not know the Lamar/ 6th Street intersection (just South of Waterloo), but it's largely penned in. There is no shoulder to pull off on. There is no way to do anything but remain in your car. I couldn't get out and safely check on the other drivers without blocking traffic and thusly blocking routes for first responders. I was fairly certain the person in the second car MUST have sustained at least minor injuries.

So, feeling more than a little guilty, but grateful we'd been turning left, we drove off. We were glad to see EMS already en route when we reached the turn off from 6th to MoPac, but it definitely left a question mark over our heads as to the condition of the drivers.

We were home for a brief while, and I was talking to Jason on the phone regarding the Holiday when Jamie came bolting down the stairs shouting that Lucy had eaten one of her pills. Normally, I wouldn't care a whole lot, and my first inclination was to suggest we let Lucy ride it out, but this was one of Jamie's big, blood-pressure horse-pills. Jamie has very high blood pressure (no kidneys will do that), so the pill is a fairly serious dose.

We called the 24-Hour vet clinic, who, in turn, had us call Animal Poison Control (who knew there was such a thing?). I then drove to Walgreens and bought a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide, which we mixed with peanut butter in order to induce vomiting.

Lucy, unfortunately, has a stomach of cast-iron, and was having none of our induced vomiting. But she was getting very droopy. We called Poison Control back, and they had us repeat the procedure. Meanwhile, we knew the pill was dissolving in Lucy's stomach, so every time she didn't puke between 10-minute puke cycles, things were just getting worse. Unfortunately, not only did Lucy NOT puke on the second attempt, she wouldn't go anywhere near the Hydrogen Peroxide/ Peanut Butter shooter we'd prepared for her. I tried shoving it under her nose, hoping the smell alone would do the trick, but was getting no luck.

You cannot force feed a dog a liquid without a turkey baster.

Note to self, we're about to have Thanksgiving: go buy a baster.

So, anyway, we called back, and, of course, we then zoomed to the 24 Hour Clinic on Frontier and 71 to get Lucy taken care of.

Unfortunately, en route, I remembered we'd left the last peanut butter/ hydrogen peroxide mix on the floor where Mel could get it (and thusly induce vomiting). So I had to drop off Jamie and Lucy and return immediately home, pick up the bowl (which Mel had missed while he snoozed happily on the sofa), and returned to the Pet Clinic.

They gavce Lucy some injection to induce vomiting. I guess she barfed up part of the pill, and the outlook is good. She's there now being closely monitored.

BUT... for some bizarro reason this clinic does not hold a pet until the pet is better. They hold the pet until 6:30 AM when the pet can go home or go to their usual vet. So, yeah, now I have to be back at the clinic with the sunrise to pick up my dog.

Why did Lucy suddenly eat a pill, which she's never done before?

My guess is this: About two weeks ago Lucy was put on a pill to help with her allergies. She loves this pill. She thinks it's delicious for some odd reason, and likes it so much, she sits for the generic Benadryl I give her in eager anticipation of the other pill.

So, my dog now thinks pills are candy.

Jamie is on, like a hundred and eighty medications. We have pill bottles all over the house. We look like a pharmacy/ pushers'-haven. Now we have to worry about Little Miss getting into all kinds of dangerous stuff. Hurray!

This is, I think, the third time Lucy has been to the vet for eating something she isn't supposed to eat. At least this time it's not a rock.

So, I hope you will forgive the brief list for Interactivity Day 4. It's all I can muster.

I'm going to bed so I can get up and reclaim my ridiculous dog.

Things can come at you fast. Even right before Thanksgiving.


I went to pick up Lucy this morning at 6:30. She is doing very well. They tell me her blood pressure stayed very constant all night, so she got to come home immediately this morning. Mostly she's just very happy to be home and being a bit of a baby. She's usually a bit of a baby, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

Right now she is outside in very cold weather with Mel. I am hoping they will both go whizzle and go to sleep so I can get a little more shut-eye in this morning before people start to show up.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Interactivity Day 4: Good Movies that Never Really Did Anything for me

The League is not too hard to impress. We're easily distracted by balloons, shiny objects, and once got a "C" in Intro to Italian because there were squirrels in the tree outside the classroom window.

So we're always a little befuddled when a movie comes out that we're supposed to like, but which does absolutely nothing for us. This doesn't mean it was a bad movie, or that I think OTHER people are dumb for liking the movie. Nor does it mean I think I must be dumb for not getting the genius of the movie. Just movies I saw, shrugged, and sort of dismssed.

Gosford Park (I know. Awful timing.)
The Rules of the Game (often said to be the greatest movie ever)
Shrek 1
An American Werewolf in London
The Toxic Avenger
Finding Nemo
Shakespeare in Love
The English Patient
Top Gun
There's Something About Mary
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
A Beautiful Mind
Dial M for Murder
The Wild Bunch
Sleepless in Seattle
When Harry Met Sally
Apollo 13
Cape Fear (remake)
Jerry Maguire
Dazed and Confused
The Truman Show

What movies did you see which you just didn't think quite lived up to the hype?
Interactivity Day 3: Movies I am only now fessing up to watching and enjoying

Some of these may ruin whatever preconceived notions you have of me, others may confirm sneaking suspicions you've had all along. This list is: A partial list of movies I knew were bad when I was watching them, but which I secretly enjoyed.

This does not include movies that were "so bad, they're fascinating" (ie: ROTOR).

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Little Shop of Horrors
Superman IV
The Shadow
The Hulk
Josie and the Pussycats
Smokey and the Bandit
Cannonball Run 1 & 2
Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
Pootie Tang
Robocop 2
A Life Less Ordinary
Godzilla 2000
Six Pack
Gremlins 2
Red Sonja
Not Another Teenage Movie
The Last Dragon

Movies I've seen that I'm simply embarassed to tell people I've seen:

American Cyborg: Steel Warrior
Mortal Kombat
Street Fighter (no, not that one. The one based on the videogame. So bad, it killed star Raul Julia)
Man's Best Friend
Jingle All the Way
The Sixth Day
End of Days
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie
Beethoven's 2nd (but, curiously, not the original)
Johnny Mnemonic
Robot Jox (twice)
Space Truckers
Barb Wire
The Flintstones
From Justin to Kelly
No Holds Barred
The Phantom
Dungeons & Dragons
Dude, Where's My Car
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

These lists are just a jumping off point to get you to think (believe me, if I really put my mind to it, there are probably scores more for both lists).

What movie are you embarassed to admit you like? Or what movie are you just ashamed to tell other people that you displayed the poor judgement to actually sit all the way through although you knew it was bad?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Marvel Comics teams up with The Guiding Light

I keep forgetting to talk about this, let alone watch it...

Apparently Marvel Comics entered into some deal with the soap opera "Guiding Light". Now there's a superhero on Guiding Light, which seems weird, but "Days of Our Lives" has had supernatural storylines, "Passions" is full of this kind of stuff, and that's just the stuff I know about...

Anyway, in a post down below, Peabo was pointing out how his mother and I both like to follow serialized stories in which characters don't ever seem to change much (his mother with soaps, me with the comics), and it reminded me of this debacle.

go here, if you dare...

Interactivity Day 2: Movies I have never seen, but probably should
AKA: Stump The League

A very partial list of movies I should probably see at some point. Assembled with some help from the AFI 100 Years of Film lists. I'll revist the lists in a different Interactivity post.

The Ten Commandments
The Greatest Story Ever Told
In the Heat of the Night
Sullivan's Travels
The China Syndrome
A Hard Day's Night
On the Waterfront
The Hustler
El Cid
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Third Man
Roman Holiday
The Conversation
The Pride of the Yankees
A Raisin in the Sun
Blow Up
True Grit
The Grapes of Wrath
Double Indemnity
East of Eden
Animal Crackers
How the West was Won
Tora, Tora, Tora
The Thin Man
The Thing (original. I totally saw the Kurt Russel version)
The Last Picture Show
The Man Who Fell to Earth
Fail Safe
To Sir, With Love
Solaris (original version)
The Sting

and pretty much anything made in Europe. Sorry. I've seen like one Bergman movie and one Fellini movie. I have nothing against either filmmaker, I just haven't quite made it through their repertoire as of yet.

What other movies can you suggest? I will let you know if I have seen the movie. Now, let's use some hard-hitting criteria. I'm trying to make these the sort of movies that are award winners (no, "Kid's Choice Awards" do not count), have either stood the test of time, or are such a familiar touchstone to our movie-watching zeitgeist, that it's probably a good idea to see them.

So, you know, it's great that you loved "Legally Blonde", but let's wait a few years before we list that one.