Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

I Heart Robocop

I do.

I saw Robocop for the first time during one of our annual family vacation trips to Upper Michigan. Mom was cool enough to take us to the theater (1 screen, of course) in Ispheming, Michigan. To this day I recall that one of the trailers they showed prior to the movie was for a re-release of Disney's "Snow White". And then they showed one of the most intensely violent movies I had seen in my young life.

The movie has aged a little oddly. Some of the fashions thought no further than 1988. A good chunk of the technology barely surpasses 1990. But the movie's wink-and-a-nod look at corporate control of public trusts and the interstitial TV bits feel a little bit on the nose... Especially the Yamaha artificial heart commercial which seemed absurd in 1987, but now...

I also dig the story about Murphy recovering himself despite what's been done to him by crooks, OCP R&D, and what befalls him when he tries to move beyond his programming.

Robocop shoots a ton of people in this movie

The action sequences were cool if not a bit pre-dated by Terminator's equally nuts robot stop-motion and crazy gunplay sequences. The villains were some seriously evil, evil dudes, played by guys who would go on to star as Eric's dad on "That 70's Show" and another guy who wound up as a doctor on ER for a while (Jamie informs me his character lost an arm to a helicopter. I'm not clear on the specifics.) Plus, a young Miguel Ferrer, one of my favorite guys in any TV show or movie.

Dead or alive, you're going with Robocop

Peter Weller rocks as Robocop/ Murphy, and manages to make the transition from man to machine and back again in a way a lesser actor might have stumbled. And, darn it, why doesn't Nancy (Officer Anne Lewis) Allen get more parts? The last time I saw her was in "Out of Sight", I think, playing a supporting part. (And speaking of Allen's... why don't we see more Karen Allen? I know she isn't in Robocop, but I like Karen Allen, too).

Plus, you know, ED-209. Oh yes, ED-209.

You have 20 seconds to agree that ED-209 is totally awesome

Like many Verhoeven movies, Robocop is exceedingly violent. Not Wild Bunch violent, but its got its moments. So if you've just seen the movie once, and all you remember is a lot of squibs bursting open... I suggest you check the movie out again and note that there's a very sci-fi but kind of sad story about a dead cop, corporate corruption and a world slowly going nuts beneath the heaped upon layers of smoke and bullets.

Verhoeven also directed Total Recall, another sci-fi action flick/ satire that ALSO becomes more enjoyable on multiple viewings (and, to a lesser extent, Starship Troopers. A movie which always makes me cackle.). Total Recall also throws in a heaping dose of Arnie, so it's just a big stew of the stuff I loved in the late 80's.

Anyhow, I salute you, Robocop! Your sequels and TV shows got steadily goofier, but the first movie is still a good movie to stumble upon on a Friday night.

I dunno. I just really like Robocop. I thought I'd share.

Still, it is no R.O.T.O.R.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson was hit by a car driven by Mary Dodgen on the night of July 3rd, 2006. Jason found out in the early hours of July the 4th and returned to Austin. He was not at the concert when Jeff was hit as he was visiting with Jamie and me at our parents' house in Spring. We were supposed to be coming into town to tell my folks we were moving back to Texas, but had let it slip beforehand.

Kim and Sigmund Bloom were also struck, as well as two other men. Jeff passed on July 10th, 2006.

There's an article in today's Statesman about the current status of the case.

It's been a long year for Mandy, Jeff's parents (Don and Jajuan), Kim, Sigmund, Jason and a whole lot of people in Austin.

Jeff occasionally commented on these pages. He maintained his own blog. He assisted with the briefly lived media blog "Nanostalgia", with which many a-Leaguer participated. I knew Jeff mostly through e-mail, online, and a few times we'd visited while I was in Austin.

I didn't know Jeff as well as most folks, but I know Jeff is missed profoundly by all.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July the 4th, EoD

I've run this once before, but in the spirit of the holiday...

Beware, this video has naughty, naughty words.

We didn't do much. I slept late, did some stuff for work, it rained, went to the store. Returned a clock/weather radio I'd bought as (a) it wouldn't tune in to the weather frequency, and (b) if it lost power, despite battery back-up, the radio would turn off (but it would keep the time). It's a weather radio. Seriously, Timex... what the hell? What, exactly, were the criteria you assigned the engineers working on this piece of junk?

I'm not 100% positive I need a weather radio, but I'm also not 100% certain I DON'T need one.

Anyhow, we cooked some burgers with Matt. He ate my hotdog without permission, but we had plenty of food, so no big deal.

Went and bought fireworks and set them off in Buda. Never buy 48 jumping jacks, even if they are only $4. Do buy the artillery shells. Matt put on quite a show.

More dull days need to end with fireworks.


I actually grew up with this picture hanging in our hallway. I have no idea what happened to it.

Hey, Leaguers! Happy 4th of July!

Today's the day 231 years ago when we threw off the shackles of King George and went full tilt towards becoming the Robosaurus loving nation we would one day become.

The League of Melbotis salutes our nation, our troops, our first responders and, of course, the Red, White and Blue.

I hope everyone has a fantastic 4th!

And, if you get an opportunity, punch an Englishman in the face for not just giving us our independence when we asked for it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jill solves dog energy crisis

Arden puts cute doggy in inescapable death grip

Of course! If the dog is hyper, obtain a child. Apply child to dog...

It's really the only way I can think of to get Lucy to quit trying to sit on me when I'm playing Wii or on my laptop. I'm totally going to the Mall and looking for a lay-a-way plan for a kid this weekend.

Transformers Plus Robosaurus = Awesome x 1 Zillion

Tonight was Transformers + Robosaurus = Awesome. Peabo, if you heard lots of roaring of both crowd and robotic dinosaur from your home, you were right to tremble with fear and awe.

We were joined by JackBart and his fried, Tara. We also caught up with Denby (and hubby Mike) as well as Amy C. Steanso, of course, was in attendance.

The Alamo South promised a transformative experience

I am afraid I am at a bit of a loss for how to describe "Transformers". Some parts seemed set for an adult crowd, and then, literally the next moment, you would be reminded "ah... this is for kids".

Little boys will love this movie. And big boys, like myself, will be severely disappointed one moment and then rapt in amazement at the craziness I am seeing on screen. If nothing else, Transformers delivers a superhero picture on a scale worthy of the Transformers franchise. It's a bit tough to convey how amazing some of the sequences really were. It's also a bit stupefying how utterly goofy I found much of the movie.

I've decided to come down on the side of "Wow, what a crazy technical achievement". But I still think Michael Bay is one of the most questionable talents in Hollywood. As much effort as he was willing to put into the movie, it wasn't that he didn't seem to take the characters seriously, it was almost as if he was experiencing some of that embarassment that directors used to feel making big budget superhero films in the 80's and early 90's, before Spidey made it respectable.

But, as Jason said, "What did you want? A grown up movie about a line of toys for kids?" I dunno.

Pair that with some of the most incredible stuff I've seen on film in quite a while, and I have to state that it's at least worth seeing on teh big screen for the damn spectacle of it all. And... Optimus Prime.


But if you're looking for 4th of July viewing, I'd probably still recommend Ratatouille first, which is a cartoon about a rat which is probably better suited to adults who like a good glass of wine than kids looking for fart jokes.

But let's get real... we came for the movie, we stayed for the Robosaurus!

ROBOSAURUS!!! He's destroying cars for the Spirit of 1776.

Apparently folks who landed tickets for the 8:45 show got rained on and Robosaurus spit no fire. We were dry and got two shows' worth of fireballs and amazing carnage. Add in a live band, wanton destruction, the fire department (on hand in case an audience member spontaneously combusted from sheer awesome overload)and the most baffled MC to hit S. Austin in many a moon...

The poor MC was clearly used to Monster Truck shows and dirt bike rallies and seemed a bit confused by the fact that the mention we were in Texas did not elicit applause, nor when he went oddly jingoistic and declared (with no trace of irony) that Robosaurus was tearing cars apart for the 4th of July and the The Spirit of 1776.

What did get applause? Fireball.

Okay, you guys got my cameraphoen shots, and I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

The car-nage

Monday, July 02, 2007

Robosaurus Chaos

I received an e-mail from the Alamo South in regards to the Transformers/ Robosaurus event. After seeing the chaos at Alamo South for just a regular showing of Ratattouille this evening (totally awesome movie, btw), I can only imagine the chaos which shall be associated with Transformers. They're actually opening the doors at 1:00 PM for this event, so I have no idea what to expect. Chaos, I think.

I plan to be at the theater prior to 6:00 if I can help it.

I guess if you see me, give me a shout. I'll also have on my phone if you wish to coordinate.

Thanks to Carla and David

Before I forget... a special thanks to Carla and David for having us over for dinner on Friday. Or to Carla. I don't think David knew we would be there when he arrived from the airport. But he was still willing to talk turkey about Galactus and other important topics when he did arrive.

Carla made sloppy joes, which sounds less exciting than it was. I don't know where Carla gets her recipes, but these sloppy joes rocked the casbah. Well done, Carl.

We shall reconvene in the not-too-distant future.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Interview I forgot to do

This is a blog game, courtesy of Amy C.

Here's how it works:

I answer the questions from my 'interview' here. Then if you want to play you do this:

1. Be one of the first five people to reply with INTERVIEW ME.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions (not the same as you see here).
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

1. Who would win in a fight: Wolverine or Batman?

Batman. Please. And if I have to explain it, I'm taking away your comic geek membership card.

2. How do you like your new vehicle?

I like it just fine. It drives forward and backward. It gets me to work, and it seems to have better fuel efficiency than the Forester. I have adorned it with a Superman sticker, so you know it has my seal of approval.

I have realized that one in every four vehicles on the road in South Austin is an Element, so I do not feel as if I shall be cast as a trend setter in this matter. According to a salesman at Honda, the car is sold largely to people who own dogs.

3. If you had to choose between cutting off your right index finger or your left foot, which one would get the chop, and why?

My right finger would go in a heart beat. While my usual method of making accusations might be confusing at first as I waved a four fingered fist at the accused, I am certain I could get a novelty rubber finger to attach to the stump for particularly meaningful blame sessions.

4. What's your favorite food?

Anything that doesn't still have enough fight left in it to bite back when I begin chewing.

5. What's your theme song?

Probably "Send in the Clowns" or "Turn on Your Heart Light". Curiously, this is the second time I've been asked this question in an interview. I find this odd. Perhaps others perceive a musical quality about me, or, more likely, see me as a supporting character in a mid-range budget summer comedy in need of a theme. At the time of the first interview I thought "Bastard Wants to Hit Me" was fairly accurate.

Today, I am unsure.

There just aren't many songs about chubby comic collectors.

Also... I believe I am now duty-bound to interview five people who ask to be interviewed. So, drop a note in the comments.

Happy Way Late Birthday, Randy (aka: anonymous)

Austin Books is my Secret Mistress

So recently a book was released entitled "I Shall Destroy all the Civilized Planets", and, surprisingly, it is not the memoirs of JMD, it's a collection of features by comic creator Fletcher Hanks. "I Shall Destroy all the Civilized Palents" is a fairly geeky comic to want to get your hands on as its reprints of third rate comics from fourth rate publishers, but Hanks' work has been one of those secret hand-shakes of comic geeks for a while, I guess. It just hasn't really been reproduced in any way that I'm aware of.

Anyhow, I was unaware the book was actually coming out quite yet until I found out from Amy C that not only was the book out, it was sold out at Austin Books and had already been re-ordered. By the time I got in touch, much to my dismay, even the re-orders had been sold out.

But that didn't stop them from seeking out the book for me. I think they talked to three or four distributors when they finally found it and got it in for me on Thursday.

That, Leaguers, is customer service.

I did pick up two issues of Jimmy Olsen as well, and the new issue of Black Coat (Black Coat...! Think masked mystery man in service of the Patriots in 1777 or so) and a comic about outlaw Belle Starr.

I'm now looking forward to the Labor Day Sale at Austin Books. I need to assemble a list of some sort for maximum effieciency as I figure out how much Jimmy Olsen is too much Jimmy Olsen and if the 4th volume of New Gods is really a comic I want to get into.

I salute you, Austin Books. Thanks for finding my book for me.

Sweet iPhone Justice

I know I said I had no plans to get an iPhone, but that doesn't mean I think it's okay for other people who DO want one to get gouged by eBay speculators...

And because I can't think of anything else...

Here's Lynda Carter

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

No iPhone for me

It hasn't even crossed my mind yet to get an iPhone.

It doesn't help my chances of getting an iPhone that I have a phone contract to which I'm beholden for another 18 months, and I feel I'm getting decent service. And, of course, my phone was free with my contract. The phone is the LG Chocolate, which also stores music and takes pictures. And the phone sucks, in no small part because it ALSO has a faux-touch screen capability that goes off when you stick the phone in your pocket. It likes to call whomever was the last person I intentionally dialed, a feature I can't find when I actually want it, of course. I suspect Jason gets a call at 8:00 most mornings when I'm putting keys and phone in my pocket.

I keep looking at the touch screen of the iPhone, and it's a real turn off. I ponder how scuffed the screen was on my iPod (I couldn't keep it in the protective sleeve and take it running in my arm band, so I quit using the sleeve). And how messy it looked with fingerprints all over it. I look at the iPhone and I just imagine a grease-smeared box which will keep calling Jason every time I put the damn thing in my pocket, if it will even fit. The Chocolate fits in the change pocket of my jeans. It doesn't seem the iPhone will fit in that pocket, which means at some point that glistening surface will come in contact with my keys, and that will be that.

I'm intrigued with the varying capabilities of the iPhone, but, honestly, do I really need to see the skateboarding dog YouTube video while I'm standing in line at the grocery? (That's sort of what they're pitching in the commercials for the iPhone). If I want to check e-mail, I can get the Motorola Q for a few bucks on my existing plan, or surf the web from a Treo. All without the awkwardness of tiny touchscreen buttons.

Yes, I prefer rubber buttons. There's nothing more frustrating than poking at a touchscreen that's decided it no longer wants to recognize your electrical field.

the only time you'll see the damn thing without thumb prints all over it

iPhone is contractually bound to use AT&T as their carrier until 2012. Not my current carrier, and so I would necessarily have to change services to a service not of my choosing for five years (most likely six as contracts usually run in two year cycles.)

Also, with the luck I've had with my iPod, I don't like the idea of losing all of my music, phone numbers and videos of skateboarding dogs should the thing decide to take the silicon-dirt-nap.

I know its totally un-hip not to salivate at the iPhone, but there's nothing in my lifestyle that makes me think that I need one. I have a free phone. I'll continue to get free phones with a series of upgraded features. Heck, in 18 months I can probably expect for my mobile provider to carry a competing product. Hopefully one lacking a touch screen interface.

Right now I get the feeling the Apple-Zombies have bought into Jobs' hype hook, line and sinker when a cost benefit analysis offers no real benefits. I was a bit appalled to hear a report last night about how plans of action are being circulated by Apple-geeks to contact the BBB, etc... with false claims regarding their cell-phone carriers so they can wrongfully be released from their contracts (hint, Apple geeks: by telling NPR's Marketplace this was your plan, you just screwed every person with a legitimate complaint out of any hope of being released from their contract for the next year).

The iPhone is sleek looking, but in that EPCOT "in the future we'll all use video-phones" sort of way. I'm just not seeing the value in this doo-hickey.

POST EDIT: I had mis-spelled Treo as "Trio". This is what happens when one does not do their research and hasn't thought too much about PDA's in a year.

I also mis-identified the carrier as Sprint. This was horribly wrong. The carrier is AT&T/ Cingular. I have no experience with AT&T or Cingular, but I have been known to get grouchy about Sprint.

I shall include my original rant, anyway, as I sort of think Sprint's customer service stinks:

Further, I have nothing nice to say about Sprint mobile service, who dealt me a list of offenses between 2000 and 2001 (including the now unheard of practice of "slamming"), and whose call center staff has the single worst customer service I've ever experienced, including dropping calls after an hour, not correcting charges after literally a dozen tries, refusing to believe I couldn't get coverage at my house in Chandler and turning off my phone on the day I was moving out of Austin thanks to their screwed up charges, which wound up with me having to pay the charges just to reinstate service so I could find my damn moving van.


On the touch-screen front... while I foresee an ocean of blue-screened gaming tables in Vegas, I can actually get my head around the practical usage for the new Microsoft touch table.

That's not to say that consumer apps will make sense quite yet, unless you're Batman, but I can visualize a couple dozen educational uses, advertising, gaming, menu's at restaurants and all kinds of Blade Runner/ Diamond Age good stuff.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thanks to Randy for sending this along. No, Arden has not finally escaped from Jill. Spike Jonze is making a movie of "Where the Wild Things Are".

Not much going on here. Last night Jamie and I had a lovely dinner with Lauren at Chuy's. Steven was traveling, so she came on back to League HQ and hung out for a while. She's a swell dame, and while we never did get around to firing up the Wii as planned, we still managed to stay entertained.

Found at Lauren's blog... Watch as a morning show host/ journalist actually tries not to cover the Hilton story. Not just a wink and a sigh... I mean, really tries not to cover the story...

I'm still trying to get my head around what happened there. But I know I just saw something that tells us a whole lot about cable news... and I'm sort of afraid. Not in a "I'm being snooty" way. I'm genuinely a little freaked out by how her co-hosts and the producers reacted.

This evening Jamie met up with Amy C. and went to go see Henson's "Labyrinth" at the Dobie and I tried to clean up my office for the first time since before I got a job. It was a @#$%ing mess.

I spoke briefly with JimD (aka jmd) who had been to the first meeting of the S. Carolina Longhorns. Anyhow, apparently Jim saw there was no Texas Ex org and put one together. So, essentially, Jim just found his drinking buddies for Saturdays from August to December. Well done JimD!

I then walked the dogs, reached the farthest point in the neighborhood from the house, and it began to totally pour. Like, not a drizzle and then some rain. It was like someone turned on a shower. Mel flipped out and pulled out of his collar and leash and Lucy was straining horribly at the end of her leash.

Jamie came and tried to save us. She'd just made it home. Sadly, it was too late. I was drenched like I'd jumped in a pool with my clothes on. Hopefully my "Say No to Kryptonite!" shirt will survive.

This is the story of that planet...

I thought I posted Planet Unicorn back in May. Apparently not. People keep sending it to me. Anyhoo... thanks to everyone who sent me Unicorn Planet.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Just some stuff

Another Blood-Sucking politician...

Randy sends this bit of news regarding a sword wielding vampire running for president. Really, when you have that going on, the jokes just write themselves, Leaguers. I invite you to compare and contrast to your favorite candidate.

Steanso actually covered Sharkey when he ran for Governor of Minnesota.

Total Awesomeness abounds...

Now, for $20 per hand, you can stab people like Wolverine! Or, for $16, like Spidey! Or Batman! (you know... for kids!)

There are so many totally awesome weapons at the Swords of Might Ye Olde Onnelynne Sword Shoppe that if I think about it too long, I forget to breath.

It's great to know exactly what I can get Jamie for Christmas so early on in the year.

Also, maybe a little something for your toddler?

We'll Always Have Paris... whether we like it or not...

So I guess Paris is getting out of jail soon and there's talk of her agent or whatever trying to make good on Paris Hilton's few days in lock-up by seeking bids on her "story". Which is odd because (1) I mean, didn't she just sit in a room with people she didn't know for a few days? and (2) is there even a remote chance that we'll get anything resembling the actual story?

I could care less. But what struck me was how once Hilton's face was gone from news sites, from cable TV, etc... as we were forced to live in a world without Paris Hilton for just a few days... I didn't even notice she was gone. Did you?

Really, until I heard a story on NPR's Marketplace last week (prefaced with a disclaimer of "We feel we have to cover this because the networks are covering this, and we're embarrassed)" I had managed to get through a few weeks without thinking about Hilton at all. Not once.

This isn't too bash Hilton, but rather a passing thought on how, like it or not, because I use websites with basic levels of news service, I inadvertently follow every minute of this person's life. Not exactly the Truman Show, as God knows what's actually going on half the time when she isn't paying people huge salaries to ensure she remains in the spotlight...

But without Paris, services like Yahoo News actually seemed to contain news regarding topics like Gitmo, Bloomberg's resignation from the GOP, and stuff that resembles, well... news, all without links to Paris-related news. It was weird.

Well, CNN of all @#$%ing outlets seems to have ponied up for the first interview with the heiress, which should be a real meeting of the minds as Larry tries to figure out who this young lady is sitting across the desk from him while simultaneously putting the last nail in teh coffin for both his reputation and that of CNN, which officially just became InTouch Weekly on TV.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why We Wii

Because it makes Pat happy

Because Jamie strikes a pose while bowling a strike!

And sometimes Jamie bowls a 172

These pictures were taken the other night at Shoemaker Manor where the fighting forces of our extended circle of pals had assembled for Pursuit of Hoppyness.

Earlier in the evening we'd attended a Roundrock Express game, which was, seriously, a ton of fun. I highly recommend a game to anyone looking for a nice night out, some bad beer, worse hotdogs and some surprisingly exciting baseball (our pitcher, with a .063 average, hit a double or triple. I forget which. I was jumping up and down and shouting too much). Anyway, the Express trounced the Nashville Sounds 6-1. Mangum and Nicole came along. According to Mangum, the $5 Nolan Ryan hotdog was... not so good.

Special thanks to Mr. Peek for the tickets. And to Peabo for suggesting Mr. Peek send them our way.

After the game we headed down to Shoemaker's, and the evening continued. We played Wii.

I don't know what Matt did here, but everyone looks pretty excited.

FYI: I didn't take any of these photos. Pat has a remote on his camera and I was always sitting just out of range.

Here's Mrs. Shoemaker, Laura Ryan (who I hadn't seen in, like, 5 years) and the British dude she just married. I think his name is Simon. And, since I know nothing else, I'll also guess he can move objects with his mind.

And as the night drew to a close (we'd already left) Jeff offered a hops-fueled benediction

Thursday, June 21, 2007




That's right... for one night only, ROBOSAURUS + Transformers = SO MUCH AWESOME I WILL BLEED OUT OF MY EYES

For details, look here

If all you see in the spot above is a blank spot, its because your eyes are not programmed to handle all the radness

I'm not sure I want to live in a world where I've by-passed an opportunity to see Robosaurus. Throw in a Michael Bay movie featuring OPTIMUS @#$%ing PRIME, and I think it's no exaggeration to say that this will be the best thing that could ever happen, ever. Like, ever. So...



Yeah, I've already got tickets! Do you...? Can you really afford NOT to see Robosaurus (and Transformers?)

EDITORIAL ADDENDUM: We will be attending the 7:00 show! It seems the Alamo was aware of the onslaught of folks who would want to see Robosaurus, plus Transformers. Anyhow, we're doing the 7:00 show so I can go to work the next day with as much time between me and Robosaurus as possible.

It seems a number of you are also down for the awesomeness, so I will be posting soon in regards to a potential meet-up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Superman/ Doomsday Trailer,German Krypton, Drama Chipmunk

I like how the voiceover narrator basically breathlessly tells us:

"More bad ass and less of a wuss than you tend to think of him! It's Superman gettin' killed and that makes him extreme!"

You kind of get the feeling the marketing person who wrote the copy more or less didn't like Superman to begin with. Awesomely, the Supermullet remains intact.

I am very nervous about this flick.

Mostly because it can never be as good as German Fanboy Krypton. Also featuring a Supermullet. The planet may be exploding, but at least those Kryptonian trains are running on time.

but can anything rival the awesomeness of... Drama Chipmunk?

It's Gonna Blow

I wasn't really paying attention to the TV while I was doing other things, but AMC will be running the much panned volcano film "Dante's Peak" from about ten years ago. Apparently the guys in production who are tasked with making promo spots have a pretty good grasp as to the quality of some of AMC's movie choices.

In big white letters on a lime green screen were the words "IT'S GONNA BLOW".


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More Batman

Der Batpod

More interesting stuff coming out from the new Batman flick. Looks like how the last film's Batmobile was ostensibly a car, this must be a Batman moped.

Also, I just remembered that Maggie Gyllenhaal is in the upcoming film. I know Gyllenhaal is one of those polarizing forces for dudes... She's just not everybody's cup of tea. But I come down on the pro-Maggie side of the fence.

Viva la Gyllenhaal. And the Batpod.