Thursday, May 24, 2007

Batman is crazy

I confess...

I am still not sure I got Frank Miller's "All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder". At least not until issue 5, which came out last week. And I'm still not sure I get it.

But Miller's decision between "Batman: Year One" and "Dark Knight Strikes Again" to portray the Justice League as a bunch of maniacs is sort of interesting, even when you feel like the comic is mostly out of control. And, no, I don't think Jim Lee is the right choice to draw the book. Except when he is. But I still sort of wish Miller had drawn this page himself.

Click on the pic to see the page full sized.

Anyway, for some reason I went from "?" to "...really?" on this book last week.

Because somehow the Justice League all being a bunch of nutjobs is a good idea, even if it doesn't work in Earth-1 continuity. It's sort of like getting in a car with a bunch of guys you don't really know very well and driving around at 100 mph on dirt roads. It's probably a terrible idea, and you start out kind of freaked out, but after a while, you either start laughing with everyone else or just make yourself miserable.

Like it or not, comics needs Frank Miller's Batman.


It's been an odd couple of days.

Today Doug and Kristen will be here to visit Jamie and me. I think we're also soft-selling them on Austin, but I'm not sure that's still the plan.

For the past two days Matt Mangum has been staying with us. He's waiting for his new condo to be finished, and is trying not to wear out his welcome with his girlfriend's roommate/ landlord. It's nice to have Matty around, but it also puts a huge, glaring spotlight on the odd behavior Jamie and I have come to expect as normal. Example: Last night I had to complete bagging, board, sorting and inventorying five months worth of comics, plus back issues.

This was in order to get the house "tidied" for Doug and Kristen who probably don't care, but I wanted to do it, anyway. Anyhow, that sort of procedure is usually something that I do on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, or when nobody is looking. So it was an odd feeling to let my creepy, obsessive side out in the open.

I have no idea what Matt is going to do with himself while Doug and Kristen are here. We do have an inflatable mattress, so it might involve that.

Also, my Uncle had some health issues over the weekend, so I've been worrying about him a lot. Especially as the folks are out of the country (they're touring Italy). So for about 24 hours I thought that maybe I'd be flying into Dulles to go see him in the hospital. The good news is that he's out of the hospital, doing okay and has a plan for treatment. He just managed to give us and Aunt Linda a nasty scare.

We're pullin' for you, Bobbo. Stay healthy.

Anyhow, that's about it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Harvey Dent and Answering Questions

Hey, Leaguers.

Would you vote for Harvey Dent for DA? If this means anything to you, I'd click on the link and then let the image roll over.

The weekend was very busy as weekends tend to be when one is employed. Friday was dinner and margaritas with Matt and Nicole. Saturday was Spider-Man 3 with the Shaws. And Saturday night I began Wii Quest '07. There are no Wii's for sale in South Austin.

Sunday we did some serious yard work, I hung my flag for Memorial Day, and then crashed for a bit. We wound up at Nicole's house for dinner with the Garcia's. It seems Letty is now sporting dual French/US citzenship. So Letty is now one of us Amerikaners. God help her.

And that was it. Busy weekend. I ot four months worth of comics bagged and boarded, but not sorted and entered into the database (that has top happen sooner or later this week). Matt might be staying at our house in the evenings as he sorts out his condo/living situation.

And that's about it.

I am amazed at all of the traffic from my short post asking for questions.

1) Que tegusta hacer cuando jugar con unicornes?

I like to take them in the tub.

2) What's wrong with your stats? An average of 244 visitors/day not enough for you?

The high number is deceptive. It's literally a 95+% looking for pictures. Mostly of naked Supergirl. (Hello Google pre-verts!)

3) Why do you worry so much about how many people are reading your site?

I don't worry about how many people are reading. I worry about people returning. And participating. Or just saying "hi".

4) It all comes down to: do you enjoy it?

Sometimes. Most of the time. But sometimes not.

5) I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the new CBS show, Kid Nation.

I think it's a concept that should have been explored with Survivor, but instead they turned Survivor into Double Dare.

6) The bit about the girl who I couldn't date because she was really into mountain biking....

I know it was confusing, but Jamie + mountain biking = unlikely.

No, that was a my analogy for my former, short lived job. We had very different ideas regarding what I would be doing for a living.

7) I think the RSS stuff has worked itself out.

8) If the only people that read are your Loyal Leaguers and a few randoms that stumble across it, does that make it less fun?

I guess I would compare hosting this blog to, oh, say... dinner theater. It's kind of hacky and dumb, but people show up, if just for the spaghetti. But I'm sort of flying solo up here on the creaky stage, trying to put on a performance every evening. I don't know how many of you have been in a play, but when you're in a show, you can't see the audience. All you can see are the lights. And that's sort of what it's like running this joint. I have no idea who is out there, if I know the people, what sort of people they are. Sure, a few friends said they'd show up, but I can't see them and I don't know where they are.

And every once in a while there's a stretch where the audience doesn't give you so much as a polite cough to let you know they're out there. You think you can kind of see the outline of a few heads, but you finish a big show-stopper, and all you can hear is yourself breathing a bit too hard. Or else you can hear someone in the audience arguing with the wait staff.

That's not to say I'm seeking applause, but as I often say, it's the Leaguers who make it all worthwhile. And sometimes when you've gone for a stretch and you have no idea if anyone is even showing up (or else the place is being flooded with senior citizens for the Tuesday Night $2.00 special, who aren't going to watch the show, anyway), you sort of want to say, "Okay, let's not run the show tonight."

And, anyway... Blogging takes time. And it's work, even when it's fun.

So, yeah, sometimes you want to take a look out form behind the curtain to see how many are in the house before you bother to get into costume.

9) Maybe you should have guest host, like they do occasionally on the Late Show or Tonight Show. So you start to feel burned out...turn it over to Stephen Harms for a week. Or Randy or Jim D.

I dunno. It's sort of a personal journal. That's a bit like letting your borther fill in your diary because you're out of town for a few days.

So, anyway, I hope this answers some questions.

Hope everyone is doing well.

From All Star Superman, which you should be reading...

Sorry for no Monday post. It's late and I had Comic Fodder work to do.

Hope your weekend was good.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Too Close to Home

Sometimes you see something on TV that makes you sort of do a bit of soul-searching, even when it was never intended to cause that bit of soul-searching. Or not.

As I mention here upon occasion, I am well aware of my low-level, basic social dysfunction, but part of that awareness is also the awareness that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

And so I was watching VH-1's Acceptable TV a while back, and saw this sketch. And as funny as I find it, when I mentioned to Jamie that maybe I identified a bit too much with Gar, she certainly didn't argue.

So, as it turns out, I'm "Gar the Unbearable".

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Questions Para El League

Okay. I don't feel much like blogging for the next few days. Such is the fate of checking your Sitemeter statistics.

So I open the floor to you, the readership, to ask any and all questions of The League of Melbotis. I will answer them when I return.

Go nuts.

Also, this show will be on in the Fall. I think it looks pretty cool.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I just saw 28 Weeks Later, and it got me thinking. There are many reasons I might make a good Zombie.

1) Team Player. Let's face it, one zombie on his or her own isn't usually that scary. That's why you have to work as a team. I'm no complainer, so I think that if all the other Zombies want to drift toward some boarded up house and I didn't want to, I'd probably still help the team terrorize the victims within just to let my fellow Zombies know I'm there for them at such a challenging time.

2) Not a picky eater. It's no secret that the Bros. Steans like their food, and part of that means enjoying trying new things. Most Zombies enjoy brains, but I'd be willing to try an ear or leg so everyone could have a shot at our victim.

3) Not a stickler for staying super clean. Part of being a Zombie is drooling your own blood down the front of your shirt, as well as getting splattered with the blood of your victims. This might bug some Zombies, but not me.

4) Not much of a runner. The League likes to walk at a brisk pace, but we think we've already got the ambling pace of a zombie down pretty well. Now, I guess if we were one of "the infected" as per "28 Weeks Later", we'd have to work out some sort of undead workout regimen to keep up

5) Able to use a claw on a hammer. Many Zombies burst through boarded up windows using their body mass and either shoving or getting a mass of like-minded Zombies pushing with them. I would use the claw side of a hammer to safely remove nails so as to avoid injury to my rotting flesh

6) Can walk off injuries. Zombies are famous for wandering about with bits of their bodies missing, from limbs to eyes to gaping chest cavities. One nice thing about playing sports as a kid is that when the team needs you, you can sort of shake it off and keep moving. I think i can bring that to Team Zombie when someone puts a machete into my sternum.

7) Lots of mass, big guy. I'm a sizable fellow, and every crowd of Zombies needs a hulking Zombie that looks really menacing in the establishing shot. Sure, my natural good looks might keep me from appearing too menacing, but I'm sure after a few days of flesh sloughing off in sheets, I'd make a swell Zombie to really demand attention when our troupe first appears.

8) Well manicured teeth and strong jaws. Sure, I've had a few cavities here and there, and I suffer from a small under bite, but I think that when I'd go into a Blood Frenzy, other Zombies might really admire the way I can rend flesh and bone with my well cared for choppers and powerful jaw muscles.

9) Can take criticism. Everyone was new at being a Zombie at some point. And, heck, most Zombies that appear are only on the job a short while before they recruited you. But that doesn't mean that I can't hear what they have to say about my technique and form as a Zombie. No one is such a good Zombie that they can't learn a little from some constructive criticism.

10) Long term strategy. Look, you can go ahead and invade the shopping mall or try to overtake London, but what then? Zombies owe it to themselves to think long-term and really organize. Otherwise it becomes embarrassing after a while when you're just drifting around the streets saying "More brains..." when you know darn well there are no more brains. If the vampires know how to keep their food supply going, so should we.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd be a goal oriented Zombie. Some are going to say that Zombie's are misunderstood and that the undead are a wide and diverse bunch who defy stereotyping. That may be true, but I'm not afraid to recognize that a Zombie's primary functions are to:

a) terrorize the living
b) eat brains
c) make more zombies

So with the 10 factors above, I think I could really make a bang-up Zombie.

Bonus Feature:

Also, I asked Jason tonight if he were armed only with an umbrella and had his choice of facing down a Zombie from 28 Weeks Later or a Gorn from the Star Trek episode "The Arena", which he might pick... Can you guess which creature he thought he could take?

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother-In-Law Day

Hey, Leaguers!

I gave my own Ma some props for Mother's Day, but I failed to give a shout out to Jamie's mom, Judy.

Judy's had a rough Spring as she had a weird scare with what appeared on her CAT Scan as a sort of Brain Cloud. We were all pretty nervous as they had to perform some surgery on Judy's noodle in order to figure out what was going on. Well, the surgery went pretty well and Judy is recovering nicely. And now she has a metal plate in her skull and the ability to bend spoons with her mind.

Judy has gone above and beyond in her mothering duties, and not just because she didn't run me off with a pitchfork (though I am sure she was and continues to be sorely tempted). Judy's always really helped us out with managing Jamie's complicated health paperwork, come up with creative ideas for our unique lifestyle situation and never hesitated to run to wherever we are when Jamie's been under the weather.

We're glad Judy's recovering. We just hope she's following orders and not lifting anything heavier than one pound.

So, today we salute you Judy! It's just really creepy now when you get mad and all the metal in the house starts flying out of the drawers and off the shelves.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day, Baseball, bad pants

Hey, Leaguers!

Happy late Mother's Day to all you Ladies of the League who have some kid depending on you for shelter and food.

My mother is in Italy. Or headed there. Anyhow, I didn't get to see her today, but I did see her yesterday. We were both at the Astros/ Daimondbacks game, but we'd separately bought tickets, so we didn't sit together. It wasn't intentional.

Jamie and I had decided to see a game or two this year, so I'd called up Josh some time back and we got some tickets. And not two days later my mom called and asked if we wanted to go with she and my dad to the game.

Anyhow, this weekend we went to the 'Stros game and watched them defeat the Diamondbacks, which is okay. We sort of turned on the Diamondbacks last season and I sort of knew I would throw in with the Astros once we were in Texas. After all, We were going to be getting a lot more Astros games here, so it was sort of a practical thing. Plus, I don't care for Eric Byrnes. I don't know why, but the man bugs me.

I was impressed with the Astros' new guy, Hunter Pence, which is a terrible name for a pretty good player. he had a good hit last night and caught one of Byrnes' flyballs this afternoon in that game (which I watched part of on TV).

Anyhoo, it's baseball season, plus NBA playoffs, so I've been watching a lot of sports.

Friday night we had dinner with Joanne P, in from Florida, and her lovely sister nancy, in from Michigan. They were here to surprise their mother for Mother's Day, which is pretty nice, I think. Nancy has a cottage in Lower Michigan if anyone is interested in renting a cottage for a week or so in the summer.

It was great to see Joanne, who I hadn't seen in the flesh in five years or so. She looks eerily the same, even as I progress in my role as "the guy who is aging badly".

Saturday we jumped in the car and left Wagner here to take care of the dogs (and see her brother and nephew) while we headed to Houston.

We grabbed lunch then headed to the game where we caught up with Sarah H, as well as my folks.

So I was all sqaured away with my new Astros cap and was ready to settle in for the game when I got a little too excited about the beer guy. I was seated fifth down the row and decided to expedite the transaction so I leaped over the empty row of chairs in front of us. I was mid-air when I heard a horrible shredding sound. My pants had split along the interior seam from the bottom of the shorts up to the crotchal region, thus exposing my red and blue striped boxer/briefs to the world.

The annoying bit was that the shorts were literally brand new. I bought them last week as I own only two or three pair of shorts for some reason, but I also paused for a moment upon realizing what had happened to my pants to recall the scenario in which I'd purchased the shorts.

"Oh, these are $8.00 less. I'll get these," I said to Jamie, a little too proud of the bargain I'd found.

You get what you pay for, Leaguers.

So, yeah, I wasn't so much standing up for the good plays, but I did spend a lot of time sitting with Jamie's sweater in my lap. Jamie's pink sweater.

Anyway, I managed to make it from the top section of the stadium all the way to our car without getting arrested, nor anyone catching much of a flash of my translucent white thigh.

Next time I will just pass the money to the beer guy like a normal person.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crisis with Multiple Dogs!

Randy sent me this link. This physicist has a series on his blog in which he discusses physics with his dog.

And discusses how we live in a multiverse

DC was right all along...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Reporting in

Our pal Heather is off from her studies at Texas Tech, and so she's using League HQ as a sort of base of operations for the week she'll be here. She's studying speech therapy, which sounds incredibly complicated. Perhaps unduly complicated.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to catch up with a blast from my screenwriting class past as Joanne P. is dropping into town. Joanne was in my screen writing classes with Jim D. She's a swell dame, a nifty writer, and she helped us find our realtor in PHX. So we like Joanne.

Then Saturday we're leaving the house and dogs in the capable hands of Heather as we head off to Houston to see the Astros defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks. We should be back early Sunday afternoon, and then back to work.

I'm still adjusting to this whole "weekend" idea again. It was so much easier to stretch out fun over several days when you're kicking it unemployed style. Now they expect for me to work a few days a week, and that interrupts my flow.

Anyhow, hope Leaguers are doing well. All FOUR of you with babies are probably spending the weekend changing diapers. To which The League enjoys a hearty chuckle. Until one of the animals throws up on the carpet.

Oh, and I finally may have turned a corner on ABC's "Lost". Not only did the network promise a conclusion this week, but someone finally (FINALLY) took action in figuring out what the hell is going on.

That said, and this is sort of a spoiler so...


I sort of hoped Jacob would be the cute little white bunny from the flashback sequence. But that's just how I roll.


Add in some background fill ins, tie some scenes together that didn't need to be tied together (but they are, so it's kind of cool). Anyway, Lost is back in my good graces.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sam and Max!

Here's a look at Nathan C's kids, Samantha and Maximilian in their latest adventure!

Ah, I kid. Here's the real deal. Samantha and Maximilian share a moment.

Samantha plans out the next 16 years of psychological torture which she is duty bound to inflict upon Maximilian as the elder sibling.

Walt would be so proud...

"Mickey Mouse" teaches kids to attack Israel and to hate the US.


Owen strikes a pose

Obviously several days late. Anyway, here's Peabo's kid adorned in the proper attire for impressing the whole gosh-darn world.

Rock on, Owen!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Marvel'ing at The Leagues other choices

As many readers of League of Melbotis will note, my interests skew largely toward the comics published by DC Comics.

The other powerhouse on that end of the comics spectrum is Marvel Comics, publisher of titles such as Spider-Man, Avengers, Iron Man, Fantastic Four and more.

As much as I love my DC, I'm not immune to the charms of the Marvel U. Recently I've been reading the "Civil War" cross-over and mega-event, as well as some of the fallout titles, such as "The Initiative".

Leaguers such as Peabo and Reedo will recall my former interest in X-Men and X-Men related titles. Sadly, my interest in Marvel's Merry Mutants hasn't been terribly high since Claremont left the X-Books in the early 90's. I enjoyed a brief resurgence with Grant Morrison's "New X-Men" and have followed that series and Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men" as trade paperback collections. Both Whedon and Morrison told the kind of mutant-centric tales I enjoy, although Whedon seems to skew too far into generic superheroic tales.

I also pick up the Ultimate Spider-Man collections (which Jamie reads before I do), the Ultimates collections, and the Supreme Power trades (although I've not picked up the new Squadron Supreme books).

With "The Initiative", I'm once again picking up monthly Marvel titles as I try to suss out what the new Marvel universe will look like. For those who don't know, the Marvel U recently passed a law asking all the superheroes to register as federal agents, quit, or become outlaws. It's a fairly major seismic shift, and it's piqued my interest.

My other Marvel reading includes two of the Spider-Man books (as my love of Spidey comes and goes, but never really fades all together). I'm having a hard time picking up Peter David's "Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man". Something about Peter David has never really worked for me, although I don't react exactly negatively to his work. The issues I have picked up have been okay, but...

Black Panther has been on my pull list for a while. I love the idea of the book (king of a highly advanced African nation who uses super-intellect, super-tech and herbal supplements to defend his nation in both combat and "the hard stare" diplomacy), even if I do not always love the execution. I'm also picking up "Fantastic Four" while Black Panther enjoys a short stay on the team. We'll see if I stick with it.

Daredevil is a must-read (no, really. I think there should be a law), but it reads best in a collected format. Whether you're picking up Bendis' amazing run, or Brubaker's equally fascinating stories, I prefer to have a full Daredevil tale that I can sit and read in an evening. That said, the recent runs of Daredevil from Bendis and Brubaker are some of the best "superhero" comics out there, and fall in an interesting gap that looks a bit more like "the real world" than most comics. And it's generally far, far better than the movie from a few years back.

Marvel is also dipping into the world of literary adaptation. I picked up the first issue of "Last of the Mohicans" last week, and was pleasantly surprised. The dialog seems as if it was taken from the original book, and the art is okay, if not always great. The adventure genre translates very well to comics. However, I don't know if I like the multi-issue format, especially as I know that once the series is collected I'd proudly keep an illustrated "Last of the Mohicans" out on my shelf. So, yeah, I'll be picking up this series as a collection, as well as the upcoming "Treasure Island" (actually, especially "Treasure Island" which I loved reading when I was 10). Now, lets' get an illustrated "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

In many ways I'm not a fan of Marvel's Cosmic adventuring, such as Adam Warlock or even Captain Marvel. The concepts are usually much more interesting than the execution. I attempted to get into "Annihilation" limited series from last year, but just didn't make it past the second issue. But it looks like Marvel has sucked me back in. How, you ask?

Cover by NIC KLEIN
Annihilation: Conquest continues here - - with the war book that brings back cosmic cult faves from throughout the decades! Peter Quill is once again Star-Lord - - but what could possibly make him take on his former identity? And what brings together the motley crew that includes Bug, Captain Universe, Deathcry, Mantis, Groot and Rocket Raccoon? Grab your blaster and say your prayers as Keith Giffen (ANNIHILATION) and soon-to-be star Timothy Green (Rush City) deliver a sci-fi twist on Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

You didn't read the above solicitation, so let me point you to the two words that have me sold on this comic: Rocket Raccoon.

In middle-school I picked up the Rocket Raccoon mini-series from Austin Books (two owners ago). You either love/get Rocket Raccoon or you don't. Surely this book was never going to appeal to 80's comic fans seeking even more ninjas, but it DID appeal to those of us who liked the idea of a laser-pistol wielding raccoon with rocket-skates. Oh, yes. It did.

And it still does.

To explain the plot would be nothing but a grave injustice to the mayhem of the series, so i won't try. But after two decades of cooling his heels (and rocket skates), Rocket Raccoon will be appearing in a comic once again.

Let's all hope they collect the mini-series in some sort of prestige format.

And to get my current dose of RR, I'll have to jump into the middle of a massive cosmic cross-over that I abandoned some time ago. Go figure.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Small Items


For your dog.

Thanks to Randy for the link.

More Spinal Tap

New Spinal Tap Video

from JimD

Stok Caffeinated Coffee Creamer

A caffeinated coffee creamer? Seem redundant? That's because you don't know how to ride the Pony Espresso, Leaguers. WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Yup. I put this in my 7-11 coffee this morning. Sure, some extra jolt of caffeine was entirely possible, but I couldn't really tell. Perhaps tomorrow. Anyway, adding caffeine to your coffee is a novel concept. I'm no longer the caffeine junky I once was (Vivarin is a cruel mistress), but I still like the idea. Why be just a little peppy when you could be vibrating your way to Earth-2?

I'm just a little sad I never found a can of this little marketing error.

Steve Nash's Nose

I don't really care who wins the Spurs/Suns series. But I also think it's a fun series, and it may be one of the best in this year's play-offs. Sure, I'm pulling for the Suns as the Suns have been my team for the past few years. But I've always enjoyed the Suns/Spurs/Rockets tri-fecta.

And the Suns might have pulled it out had Steve Nash not been a bleeder. Poor fella.

Paris Goes to Jail

Is there any greater feeling that the one you get when you hear Paris Hilton's prosecutor sent her to jail? No.

And I'm not sure that hoping someone hits her with a lunch tray makes me a bad person.

Lost to End

Apparently ABC has decided that running a show into the ground may not be a great policy. Looks like Lost will actually build to a conclusion.

Mellies '07

Someone asked about the '07 Mellies.


Every time I sit down to think about The Mellies, I really can't think of any good questions. I've had a lot less time for pondering the imponderables of pop culture and the human heart this year, and usually I ask questions that somehow reflect topics that are on my mind. I also sort of have a "been there, done that" feel about a lot of the media/ pop culture questions, but I think those questions are a sort of necessary evil.

I dunno.

Steven's also been working very hard on the application which will collate the responses into a usable format. And then he got busy with work and school. So probably sometime after Steven finishes the semester and after I come up with some questions.

It IS a Small World After All

So yesterday I was making a mention of some of our Saturday Free Comic Book Book day adventures, and I used some unfortunate grammar that made it sound as if Austin Books had not provided some of the free Steve Rude's Nexus comics. Let me assure you, Austin Books had a really nice FCBD set-up which included the comic in question.

At any rate, today I received an e-mail from Brad, the proprietor of Austin Books, who was very concerned that I hadn't found the Nexus comic, and who promised to place a copy aside for me for my next visit. THAT, Leaguers, is customer service.

Realizing that I had, in fact, made a grammatical error which not only confused my message but might lead folks astray, I quickly rewrote the offending sentence. I hope that set things square.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Austin Books does a heck of a job, and it was kind of cool to see the owner doing his due diligence to see how their event did in the public's eye. And when he found waht looked like a dissatisfied customer, working to resolve the problem. I assure you, Leaguers, this is not the industry norm for comic shops.

After the recent adventures on this site and Saturday night's beer-fueled conversation about the Clambake Jake incident from recent posts, I've been thinking a bit about how the world is a shrinking place. And, sure, Google's relationship with Blogger is most likely shoving LoM posts closer to the top of the Google search results. A bit of blogging now seems to lead to contact with businessmen in a manner which I would never consider communicating in a face-to-face. After all, unless I have a question, I don't usually start telling shop owners what I'm thinking. How business owners will learn to engage bloggers is probably an open question, but I look forward to seeing how it plays out here at the League.

I'd be curious to see what the algorithm might be for size of city, likely number of customers/ attendees, readership of a blog, content of the blog in question, etc... for how likely a business owner is to actually contact the blogger.

Is this a new mode for a more democratic mode of consumer awareness? Or is the ability for any jerk with an internet connection merely the new nightmare for any business smaller than a Big Box Store?

I dunno. But it's a trend to watch. After all, this isn't the first time we've been found by the very subjects we've mentioned in a blog post. Which is why The League will be name dropping Lynda Carter a lot more in the future.

Anyway, thanks to Austin Books for caring about a Nexus-less comic geek!



How was your Free Comic Book Day weekend?

What? FCBD isn't treated as a Holiday in your home? You're an anti-comic-bookite.

Saturday we rose around 9:30, Jamie made some breakfast and we puttered around for a while.

Finally about 1:00ish we left the house and headed to Southside Comics where Ty pointed us toward the FCBD offerings, and then said "back issues are by the game tables. Oh, and if you want to look for more, they're in that room behind the yellow door."

So poor Jamie had to stand there for somewhere near 45 minutes while I rifled through the backstock Ty had put out, and then passed through the yellow door where many, many more boxes remained.

I found some interesting back-issues of The Flash, Green Lantern, and some copies of Kirby's "Eternals". All in all, I had quite a stack, and noted that none of the issues were actually priced. My plan was to have Ty put them somewhere safe, and I would buy the issues up slowly (this is how I got my run of Mister Miracle, some of Kirby's Forever People and an issue of "The Demon" featuring the first appearance of Klarion the Witchboy). Instead, Ty decided to give me the stack at a deeply discounted flat price, as he said, "I want to get rid of that stock and knock down that wall". Well, Ty's impatience was my gain. I paid literally a fraction of the value of those comics.

Next we headed to campus/Lamar for lunch, then picked up Pat Sanchez, and headed down to Austin Books to see their offerings. Austin Books had set aside a separate area for local comic creators to set up and hawk their wares. I bought two comics from a local artist whose stuff I found sort of dreamy and pretty. I'll be reviewing her stuff either here or at Comic Fodder at some point.

Pat picked up some stuff from two guys whose spiel was kind of annoying me, but he liked it, so... you know... they made a sale.

Inside Austin Books I picked up Adventure Comics 364, which features one of my favorite covers in all of comicdom. I think it may end up framed in my reading room.

Plus a handful of MORE free comics.

Typical of Southside, they had not ordered any FCBD copies of Steve Rude's "Nexus", which is slated to make a comeback. (editor's note: I DID find a copy at Austin Books!*). I missed Nexus the first time around, so I'm hoping they begin releasing the old issues in a format I can afford and not just the $50 HB editions (come on, Steve Rude!).

All in all, a fun FCBD.


And Juan Diaz hosted a cookout! It was very nice. Matt was back from Colorado, but is holding up pretty well, I think. I played fetch with Levi, met Juan Diaz's lady-friend, talked a bit about work with Pat and Matt, and generally had a good time.

Well done, Juan Diaz.

We shall host the next. Levi will be welcome.

Getting healthy, '07

Among many other tasks, today Jamie and I joined Gold's Gym. After having a less than satisfactory experience with Fort Fitness (aka: Lifetime Fitness), we've opted for the straightforward, more economical model of Gold's Gym. Plus, their equipment has the TV built right in. That's cool.

I've gotten really out of shape, which has led to an increasingly odd body shape which is beginning to resemble a ham perched atop sausage legs with floppy sauasage arms. I don't think it's readily apparent unless you're me seeing me in the mirror en route to the shower, but... man...

So, okay. I was assigned a standard chair at work in Day 1. A week and a half ago, I heard the chair's plastic arms (and back support) make a loud "POP", as the plastic gave away in one location, making the chair uncomfortable but mostly okay.

Wednesday my co-worker was in a phoen conference and I was quietly working on a schedule when a second loud "POP" occured, and the whole left side of the chair gave away and I yelled "WOHOOOOOOAAAHHH!!!" into her conference call as I listed severely to the left.

So Thursday afternoon I bit the bullet and asked for a "big boy chair". "This chair must sipport more weight than the average chair," I explained. "My girth is trememndous and must receive support or I will break the next chair."

Working with the office-runner, I found a chair in the "Big and Tall" section of the Office Depot website. "I'll have to check with Anne," Cassie told me. "We can't just buy a chair this expensive."

"We can either pay the money now," I warned, "Or go through two or three more chairs, and then end up buying my Big Boy Chair."

So it went to Anne, who runs Internal Relations. Anne looked a bit nervous. "It's over $100," she explained. "I need it approved by (The VP)."

"Fine," I sighed. "They saw my girth when they hired me. They had to know this was coming." Nothing like the cumulative effects of your fat ass drawing the attention of the VP. But such is the fate of The League.

Bear in mind, I share an office with two people, who welcome a constant stream of co-workers. So, yeah, any hopes of doing this quietly or on the sly were long gone as I had to explain to a great number of people (a) what the conversation was about, and (b) why i was sitting on the floor.

The good news: The new chair will be here this week. The bad news: Week three and already I'm breaking furniture.

Grande Ryan strikes again.

So, yes. I joined a gym today. Shut up.

*Editor's Note: Apparently Austin Books is concerned with customer satisfaction. Brad from Austin Books somehow found the post, contacted me and promised to set aside a copy of the Nexus FCBD book. THAT is customer service, Leaguers. I already picked up the copy on Saturday, and my poor grammar is to blame for the miscommunication. It was my usual shop that had no copies of Nexus.

I just want to point out what a class act they are at Austin Books. Three huzzahs for Brad and his shiny new sign!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Welcome Maximillian Jude Cone!

Samantha Cone has a brother!

Congratulations to Nathan and Renata Cone! Maximillian Jude Cone came in at 19 inches and around 7 lbs. 14 oz's.

It sounds like the birth went pretty quickly from contraction to MJ's arrival, so you probably can't complain about that. The kid just isn't patient.

Anyhow, mom and baby are okay, Nathan sounded all giddy when we talked,

Of Loyal Leaguers, Nathan seems to be increasing his voting power on the League Board of Directors at a greater rate than the rest of you.

Welcome, Max! We're happy to have you onboard!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

#1 Son

So this evening we headed over to Casa de Peabo to bear witness to the miracle of DNA recombination that is Owen Jefferson Peek.

As expected, 01 is quite small. He's a week old and his primary interests seem to include sleeping, occasionally thrusting his arms around as if he suddenly had a good idea, and then getting some more sleep.

He's got quite a head of hair, this kid. And he looks quite a bit like his mom. Which is probably all for the best.

Adriana's parents were there, and being parents, in the brief time we spoke, they tried to feed us. Nice folks.

Overall, it's an interesting thing seeing this crossing of the generations. Both Peabo and Reed are people I've known for a long, long time, so seeing your friends as parents, when you've also seen them in the hallways of middle or elementary school, is an odd, odd thing. You have to take that moment to think "Yes, this is the same guy who wanted to go capture rattlesnakes by hand, but we're going to have to trust that his judgment is now a bit more sound." Even when you know darn well that we may all have jobs and a mortgage now, but we're essentially the same goofy people we were in middle school. And it wouldn't surprise us if, tomorrow we were to find ourselves in the woods again being berated for NOT wanting to use our shirt as a rattlesnake bag by this guy who is now responsible for the care and handling of an entire human being.

As fast as time flies, I know that we're probably not too far off from showing up at some of Owen's first soccer games. Or receiving Christmas Cards with photos containing more than one child in Peabo's brood. But when I think I'll be 50 when that kid graduates high school... Well, time marches on.

Congrats to Peabo and Adriana. That is one heck of a kid you've got there.

I cannot wait for him to attend high school with Carla's kid, who will pummel him mercilessly.

Iron Man Movie Armor


And pretty much what you see in the comics.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A bit of catch-up

Real Life Superhero Files

Remember my post on Mr. Silent from a while back?

It appears I left the greater Phoenix area all too soon. Phoenix now has its own superhero, Citizen Prime.

Read here.

And here.

And, of course, his MySpace page.

I was pretty bored in Arizona, so I can only imagine what thoughts would have been running through my head if I had remained in the desert. Perhaps I, too, would have joined Citizen prime in the battle against evil. Perhaps we could have teamed up with others and formed some sort of crime fighting alliance. Could I afford a costume? Was I prepared to take on the menace of crime? Was it going to hurt when the cops shot me?

It's really worth checking out this guy's MySpace page to note how many OTHER real life superheroes seem to have linked to his site. Apparently Grant Morrison's prediction that the 21st century would see real-life superheroes is already very much a reality.

Also, I would have made Octavio team up with me, using his soccer skills to battle crime. He would always deliver the knockout punch by performing a bicycle and launching a soccer ball right into the crook's head. It would be awesome. And his codename would be: Soccer Lad. And his outfit wiuld be a shiny green and yellow so the crooks would shoot at him, first.

Also, we'd have jetpacks.

Really, it would be worth it to have a whole story about me in the paper running around in a superhero suit simply for the look of utter disappointment on Jason's face.


So I guess Spider-Man comes out on Friday. I don't plan to see it for two weeks so the crowds can die down a bit before I catch the movie, but...

I can't believe it's already out. I can't believe the summer is already here. And I can't bleieve Spidey has already made millions of dollars and it hasn't opened yet in the US. ComicMix was reporting that the movie had already made $30 million overseas.


Until you play Phoenix, and then I will probaby cheer for Phoenix.

52 Wind UP

I was surprised by how much I liked the final issue of 52.

But now I think Dan Didio is a bit of a moron. I suspect that if I were on the 52 team, I would not care much for the man.

A LuLu of a Comic

For the past few years, the comic series "Little Lulu" has been enjoying a bit of a resurgence among certain comic circles. I've been too invested in DC, some Spidey, etc... and learning about Uncle Scrooge to pay much mind.

But after Mike Sterling's post the other day, some of the Lulu I recall reading as a kid came flooding back to me. It is a clever series.

I think Dark Horse publishes those Lulu collections...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Johnny Clambake's, cont'd... Again


Well, The League did not see this one coming...

From the comments section.

Dear All,

Can we do a "League" event at Cannoli Joe's? All bloggers are welcome. I will cover entire cost of the event. I would prefer a lunch and cap the number of attendees at 20.

Lunch for 20 free.

Support your local meatball rollers, Union #270.

Let me know (Greedy capitalist pig that I am)

Bob Hauser
(512) 892-4444

Part of my initial conversation with Mr. Hauser was that I thought I had a readership of less than 20, and mostly out of town. So my itital thought is: This is terrific, but there's no way we can pull it off.

In fact, I think I can count the number of current Leaguers in Austin up to possibly seven. Including me, Jason and Jamie. And one of you just had a baby and probably disappeared on us for the next three months or so. And the one of you in San Antonio has a baby due in, what..? A few days? So you're out, too.

So while I think maybe I can dig up a few more folks who would be up for a free meal, I have to get some show of hands to know who could attend an event any time in the near future. I can appreciate the lunchtime scheduling. Hopefully Mr. Hauser could accomodate on a Saturday or Sunday as I'm not sure if I could make it work on a weekday, what with the work schedule and all.

Whether you've always been an anonymous reader or whatever, I'd like to see what we could pull together to make this worth Mr. Hauser's time. So speak up.

I'd also like to point out

(a) this blogging thing just gets weirder all the time


(b) considering my initial post, I can see where Mr. Hauser is coming from trying to get folks to check out his place and make up their own mind. First one's free, right?

So in the spirit of fair play and free food, who is up for working with me to schedule a free meal?

You know, the dividends the initial post is paying, I shall next complain how Lynda Carter never just stops by (the Wonder Woman suit is optional) and that the US treasury is awful stingy with their gold supply.

Monday, April 30, 2007


The League is going on hiatus for a while. We have a bruised ego to nurse and some imponderables to ponder on the very nature of The League of Melbotis itself.

I'm not really sure how to respond to many of the complaints of the past few days as some very valid points were made. That said, I stand by my decision, and that's something I need to think about for a while before we move forward.

We'll be back.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Johnny Clambake, Cont'd

So readers looking for the post on our visit to Johnny Clambake's will find that I've taken down the post. This was not a decision that I came to lightly.

Folks who've followed this little drama know that I was contacted by the owner of Johnny Clambake's. Now, I've been at this long enough and worked on enough blogging projects to know that the internet is a funny place, and occasionally when you discuss someone or their work, they may pop up and argue with you.

Some time ago, when Nanostalgia was in existence, I made a stray remark about a web-comic creator, and wound up in an online debate with that creator. It was sort of surprising, but I thought kind of cool. And Lea Hernandez turned out to be really cool.

When we were using HaloScan for comments, musical composer "Meco" once commented upon remarks made here about the Star Wars Christmas album.

The internet is the world's biggest small town, depending upon what kind of Google Search you're performing.

Here's the thing: I'm a big ol' softie. I love people. And I also don't exactly feel like LoM is the blog of record, so I feel only a minor responsibility to ensure my journalistic integrity.

So I pulled the post not for Johnny Clambake himself. I pulled it for these guys...

These are the employees of Johnny Clambake's who were photographed making meatballs BY HAND (how about that?). I am told they do not live at the restaurant, but have no doubt that they're working hard to make good meatballs. (Now if someone can tell me how noodles are made...)

And I don't want for some random Google search results resulting in even one of these people to lose their job. Look at 'em. Those guys are all right.


Hey, Leaguers. A little FYI.

Next weekend sees not just the premiere of Spider-Man 3 (which I will not see opening weekend), but 2007 Free Comic Book Day.

In years past, we've visited shops on Free Comic Book Day, but hadn't actually hit FCBD ourselves last year (or the year before, possibly. I can't recall.).

Anyway, FCBD is exactly what it sounds like. It's a day when you can get yourself some free comics. In recent years it has also meant that comic shops have been having events in-store as part of the fun.

For example, one store in Greenville South Carolina will have a battalion of Storm Troopers and an appearance by Spidey, himself (which you gotta figure is going to help move some Spidey product). Anyway, its now not just dropping in on a comic shop, it's a carnival of comic chaos, and that, kiddies, is kind of cool.

Here's some additional information from the Free Comic Book Day official site.

Honestly, I have no idea if my local comic shop, Austin Books, or any other shop is doing anything special. We'll see.

Trailer for Death of Superman

The trailer has been released for the upcoming straight-to-video DVD release of "Death of Superman" or "Superman/Doomsday" or whatever they're calling it.

The copy written for the VO on the trailer sounds like it came from the desk of a WB Home Video intern, or else the studio totally missed the attempt at retro trailer copy with lines like "See! The Amazing Superman! See! Him Perform Amazing Feats!" Anyway, I think if you just look at the footage itself, it looks pretty cool.

It looks like the story has been greatly altered from the comics, cutting out all of the extra storylines and, it seems, dumping the "Rise of the Superman" storyline, which leaves the "Return of Superman" storyline in some serious doubt. But he does come back with the Super Mullet, and that's got to be good.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I have not yet seen the little nipper, but Jeff (aka: Peabo) and Adriana Peek are now the proud parents of a wee little man. I don't have any details yet, and I'm awaiting some sort of "all hands proud poppa e-mail", but I do have a voicemail message telling me that there's an additional Peek onboard spaceship Earth.

So, The League of Melbotis formally welcomes young Owen to this groovy thing we call life.

Congratulations to Jeff and Adriana, Phyllis, PK and Adriana's parents (whose names I do not know).


Saturday (today) marked our seventh wedding anniversary. Hooray for us. I'm sure we've now defeated some statistical challenge regarding our ability to remain married. (The secret, you ask? I'm on a steady regimen of vicodin and Jamie is allowed one free punch, head or gut, once a week.)

So, we were unable to get a reservation for Saturday at our restaurant of choice, so we went out Friday. We got married at this place called "Green Pastures" in South Austin, and it's not a bad little place, so we went back for our anniversary dinner as we'd done once upon a time when we used to live here prior to Arizona. The place costs an arm and a leg, but that's okay. The food is phenomenal, service excellent, and Green Pastures has a lovely atmosphere. Plus, I was in a good mood as it seems like many of the risks we took in picking up stakes from Arizona are panning out. So I think we were celebrating that as well.

As I mentioned, the place is a bit pricey. And it took us a while to get seated (we were given cocktails and the staff kept talking to us, so we weren't just sitting there. It was nice.) But I think they were a little concerned we were unhappy before we ever sat down (we were not). So, apparently, when I said "Salmon" to the waiter, he believed I said "Sampler", referring to their Game Sampler. And he panicked a little, but... as The League is up for new experiences (some of which meet with mixed results and angry letters) we gave the waiter a pass and went with the Game Sampler.

So to celebrate my seventh wedding anniversary, I ate Bambi and, I think, a quail. I dunno. Anyway, it was lovely.

Today we were going to try to go to Austin's annual party in the park, "Eeyore's Birthday". Yes, for those familiar, Eeyore's Birthday is the dirty hippy party at Pease Park. But we wanted to do something outside today as it was lovely out, and we wanted to hang out with the dogs. With this plan in mind, we were between breakfast and heading out when Jamie kicked the wall. Jamie kicks lots of things in any given day, but today she was trying to kick a tennis ball for Lucy, missed and did some internal damage.

We still made it to dirty hippy park party, and Jason posted some pics, so here you go. What you can't see here is Jamie getting hit on by some 19 year old dudes. That's two for two weekends. Anyway, all i heard was Jamie say "It's a boy, his name is Mel."
To which her young suitor replied, "No. What's YOUR name? Heh heh heh..."
To which I turned around to see what was going on, and saw the 19 year old, who saw me (and, I assume, Jason) staring back, to which he gave us a "Whoop. My bad." and went on his way.

My wife is in demand. I am hoping she is flattered.

Unfortunately, as we were leaving, Jamie began to show signs that her foot was hurt and had a tough time getting to the car.

So tonight we were going to hit a small party and then possibly go see "Aqua Teen Hunger Force", but as we rested up post-dirty hippy party, Jamie began complaining loudly about her foot. I mean... loudly.

I knew that she was under the impression that her foot was broken (I had my doubts), so off we went to the ER.

I can't tell you how much better the Austin ER is than the ER situation in Phoenix. I think it's a mix of Austin having a greater number of medical facilities per capita, and that people here don't seem to go to the ER unless they think there's really something really wrong. You do not see people walking in with minor symptoms. Like the guy who fell off his motorcycle who came in right before us. That dude was really ragged up.

Unlike the Arizona ER, they also not only had three tracks (fast track for things like broken feet which are a straightforward diagnosis, cardiac track for people who might die immediately, and everyone else), but appear to have a much faster process for getting people from the waiting room to the ER. It was kind of impressive.

Anyhow, Jamie's foot is NOT broken, so we can all be glad about that. She was given a big boot to wear, crutches with which to walk, and a shot of pain killer to make the night groovier.

She's now gone to bed. After being in a really chipper mood thanks to Mr. Pain Killer.

So happy anniversary to us.

Seven years. I'm a lucky guy, Leaguers.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

So while I was at work today, apparently the owner of Clambake Jake's called my house. Jamie took the call, but for some reason picked up while she was asleep, so she was a little sketchy on the details.

You kind of have to think that this fellow is not real happy with The League right now. We're coming up a little high on the 'ol Google search when one looks for his restaurant online, and our commentary was full of opinions. And that makes me feel a little bad. After all, Cannoli Joe's is a new place and they're trying to make a buck. And The League isn't out to put anybody under. We have our opinions, and we feel entitled to them, but we also think it's OUR opinion. Go get your own.

Anyway, apparently we're now in one of the sites that pops up when you Google Clambake Jake's, and that puts me square in the sights of an irate restauranteur. I may wind up buried in the end zone of Giants' Stadium.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

How to leave The League speechless #215

courtesy: Chris's Invincible Super-Blog

PLUS: This story on why the Batmobile may be more trouble than its worth.


Hey, Leaguers. In less than 24 hours, Peabo and Adriana will have a new human being to watch over. An as yet unnamed human being.

So let's help out this kid.

Now taking suggestions for names. And, yes, it's supposed to be a boy.

My suggestions:

Grand Funk Peabo
Grover Cleveland
Vincent Young
William Travis
Stephen Austin
John Wayne
Thomas Jefferson
Mr. Pinchy
Ryan J.
Coolio McGuillicutty
Alfred E.
Boris Yeltsin
Red Lobster
Bruce Wayne
Kool-Aid Man
Carl Edward Walls IV
Richard Milhouse
Timothy Duncan
Dwayne Wade
Stretch Armstrong
Joseph Montana
Cobb Salad
Cobra Commander
Star Scream
Moose N. Squirrel
Nehemiah Deuteronomy
Job Habakkuk
Grandmaster Flash
Whelan William

That's it. I've got no more in me. You help out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tonight we dined IN HELL!!!

So when we were moving in, I noticed that someone was putting in some sort of new building on the Lamar/290 frontage road just north of Brodie. Sort of an odd location, but forward thinking as that whole area by Burger Center is turning Sunset Valley into a little economic engine like nobody's business.

Anyhoo... this winter I noticed it was going to be an Italian place with the dubious name of (name redacted by agreement w/ restaurant owner. It's a long story). The outside was brightly painted, indicating that it was a tiny Italian villa. I'm not sure. I'm usually going 50 over there, and I don't usually slow for such things.

This evening we were considering tacos at Serrano's by 290, and I recalled there was the new restaurant on the other side of the road. "Let's try Johnny Clambake's..." I announced from the back seat (Jason sat in front and Jamie drove). Of late, I've acquired my mother's ability (or inability) to recall proper nouns, but go ahead and assign them a name I feel works for me. (We did not watch Saturday Night Live. We watched Saturday Night Alive! We ate at Chick-a-Fillet. Yet she knew who all the Star Wars characters were. It's odd.) Jamie swerved in and out of lanes as we tried to decide where we were going, and finally we settled on Johnny Clambake's.

Upon pulling into the lot we noted that the place was an all-you-can-eat buffet. Never a good sign for a promising meal, but even The League tires of tacos upon occasion, and so we decided it would be a bit of an adventure, to pioneer Johnny Clambake's and be able to say "Oh, yes, I ate there. Oh, yes."

So the entry way at Johnny Clambake's was really pretty nice. Obviously designed to hold a great number of waiting diners, but not quite as EPCOT-ish as Olive Garden, but not exactly what one might think any self-respecting actual Italian would recognize as Italian. Heck, even a self-respecting Italian-American.

I knew we were in trouble when, as new customers, we were offered "the tour". The tour took up through "Il Vilagio" which really was an odd buffet line broken up into various ideas about one might want to eat. Anti-pasta, salad at one end. Dessert at the other. All nicely appointed. And the food didn't look like middle-school cafeteria food, but they also weren't shy about moving you through The Vilagio as quickly as possible. "And it's all you can eat!" the tour guide insisted four or five times, just in case we were worried we might not get our money's worth.

And then the tour took a curious turn as we were lead past several "dining pods", you might describe them, down a hallway, past the restrooms, and I suspected we'd be out by the dumpsters when we emerged in a new dining pod with about fifteen tables. The tour guide then directed us to the table crammed into a corner, directly next to the only other occupied table in the pod, complete with kids crawling right up on to the table. Luckily, not Jason, Jamie or I were too shy as we stepped on each other's words requesting a table across the room. Actually, I think Jamie wandered over to a table and Jason said "we'll sit there."

The dining pod was painted a nice shade of fancy-dining room red, and covered in reproductions of art you kind of maybe thought looked like something that was supposed to be nice (including an 18th century picture of hunting dogs), and gave off the illusion that one was somewhere okay... but the little plastic standee on the table then announced our meal would be $13.00 a head. This did not include $2.00 for a drink.

"Let's go," I said. "We can leave."
"We came here for something new, let's try something new."
"Okay," I agreed. But I knew... Hell, Golden Corral is about the same price. I don't know what I expected.
The tables were also all squeezed remarkably close together, which was part of our decision not to sit next to the kids. It would have been like sitting at the same table. But the dining pod was mostly empty and we decided we were far enough away. After all, Jamie loves to drop the f-bomb to punctuate dinner conversations.

Also, Johnny Clambake's had this weird table inventory system visible at the entrance to each dining pod. It looked like a security grid, but included a touchscreen interface so the tour guide could determine which tables were sat. I wanted to monkey with it, but feared retribution should I be caught in the act.

After placing drink orders and having to witness the tour guide do some paperwork to note that we'd changed tables (no, reallY) we wandered back out into the winding maze of (editor's note: name removed to protect the innocent meatball manufacturers). "If this place caught on fire," I said to Jamie as we squeezed past a patron going the other way, "It would be a firey deathtrap." The hallways were ADA, but they were hallways in a buffet restaurant. Where people must get up multiple times and get food (now, you could be reasonable and get one plate of food, but who would do that? Not the Steans Boys, I tell you that much.). Luckily the place was sort of slow, but I had horrible visions of Saturday night at Clamshack Steve's.

"Go for the meat!" I insisted loudly as we broke apart at Il Vilagio. "They want for you to get cheap stuff like bread and salad! That's a con game! The meat costs them! Don't fill up before you get your money's worth!"

But, it being an Italian place and not a grill, I saw a lot of bread sticks, salad and pasta, but very little meat. Except for some meatballs listed as "Homemade Meatballs", which is a lie. Unless the cooks actually live at (editor's note: name removed under suggestion from legal council), this place is nobody's home, and I don't much care for the fib.

Other offerings included meatloaf and fried fish. But, yeah, for the most part it was sort of vaguely Italian-ish faire.

But I was mostly just confused by the whole operation. $13.00 for dinner and the food was, at best, the low end of the Olive Garden spectrum. Plus you had to fetch it yourself, and there flat out weren't that many "entree" type options.

And some guy who was just lingering in Il Vilagio had some nasty BO that surrounded him like a bubble and stung my eyes.

Upon returning to our table, they'd packed in more families (that table LED system was lit up like Christmas, I tell ya), and despite there being multiple empty tables far from us, the tour guide had chosen to pack them in around our table. We immediately noticed that if both tables sat back to back, neither could stand to return to the buffet line, which might save them money, but certainly seemed to defeat the purpose of the buffet concept. The League must be free in his movements when going back for soft serve ice cream.

We weren't the only ones to notice as the room became more densely packed and the family seated behind us got up and moved on their own, causing a landslide of paperwork for somebody.

And the food I got? Okay. Nothing great. Nothing that suggested they needed to clear out Deck the Walls' post-Holiday sale to decorate the joint. I'm an American. If the food is hot and there isn't vermin dashing across the table, color me pleased with my dining surroundings.

Then I noticed the bottom of the table was covered in that super-dense carpet they use in elementary schools. "There's carpet under the tables!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," Jamie blinked.
"No, on the bottom of the tables," Jason said, noting the odd texture. "Not the floor".

I do not understand Johnny Clambake's. I don't get the dining pods, the narrow, deathtrap hallways, the chocolate fountain they would not let you touch, Il Vilagio, substandard food, too many "fancy-lookin'" prints on the walls, and a 9:00 closing time.

At 8:15 Jason told the waiter, who was fishing around to see if we wanted our bill, "Oh, no. We're going to sit here for an hour, digest, and then go back for more." He sort of blinked and then said "We close at 9:00." Apparently someone had put our plan into action.

Oh, Johnny Clamshack! You are one senior citizen taking a spill in your narrow hallways away from closing your doors. Or someone noticing that the pizza bar is not dissimilar to the one in the Jester Dormitory cafeteria.

Oddly, the place (we found out because Jason likes to ask questions) is owned by the same folks who own (editor's note: name removed to preserve future dining experiences) (also a place where I expect I could meet a firey end). And I like (editor's note: name removed to preserve future opportunities for BBQ). I think I get where they're going with Jimmy Clamshack's, but there's a lot of work that has to happen with the menu if they want to make it. Or not. They could drop the price, and then, really, who cares? Ain't nobody going to Cici's because the pizza is good.

If the place does fold, it would make a swell Laser Tag arena. Otherwise, I have no idea what they could do with the oddly shaped space.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some Excellent News

A) It sounds like The League's own CBG is packing up her belongings and returning to the Capital City. Read her announcement here.

That's excellent news for The League who is quite fond of CBG, and was pleased to find he enjoyed the company of CBG's husband as well. Let's all hope baby Xander doesn't spoil it for everyone with an anti-Texas stance.

We're glad to hear that you're coming back, CB! We'll leave a light on for you.

Oh, and there's no reason for Xander to know he was born anywhere but Texas. We'll cover for you.

B) It seems The League's own Peabo knows not just the day, but the time of his soon to be arrived child's, uhm... arrival? Birth. Yes, birth.

So this Friday everything changes for Peabo as he transforms from irresponsible purveyor of hare-brained schemes to irresponsible purveyor of hare-brained schemes involving children. Huzzah!

I need to get that kid a present.

Ah, who am I kidding? That kid is going to be a baby and won't know if I've picked it out a present until it's at least four. And it's not like Peabo will be keeping track...

Big doings here among Loyal Leaguers...

Some Links

1) To nobody's surprise, there shall be a toyline associated with the upcoming Transformers movie. I will not buy any of these toys as I like to keep my Transformers classic. Here is "Barricade" from the upcoming film, in toy form.

Thanks to Jamie for the link.

2) Maxim magazine (the magazine for guys too chicken to ask for the magazines behind the counter at 7-11) has rated the top ten comic "babes".

I do not know who did their rankings, but I guarantee you, any real fanboys' rankings would shake out much differently. Not that we keep a laminated list of our favorite comic leading ladies in our pocket, but if we did... you know, the list would be different.

There's really no arguing this one without going into some deep, dark places I really don't want to explore.

Thanks to Randy "This Doesn't Seem Weird to Me" T. for the link.

3) Jim D. sends along this link from "Ask" about Superman's costume. Specifically, why does Superman wear his underwear outside of his clothes? The person who answers rambles a bit, but then fails to answer the question.

The answer is that Shuster designed the costume based upon a recognizable symbol for strength in 1938, the circus strongman, who often would wear a leotard with some sort of briefs over the top (for reasons which should be fairly obvious). In the first issues of Action Comics, Superman also wore circus-style lace-up boots, and the cape appears to have been added as a bit of flourish and after-thought.

This isn't really any different from why Dracula is dressed as a carnival magician in the movie Dracula from 1933 (Do you really think nobility ever dressed in big capes with pointy collars?) or why Bettie Boop has an enormous head (Flappers' heads were believed to grow to gigantic size due to their consumption of bathtub gin and cheap Canadian whiskey*).

Why does Superman still wear his drawers outside his tights? Because a single blue outfit with red boots looks silly. Also, he needs a pocket for his wallet.

4) As Jim D. was heard to remark "It would be a far, far better thing to go to that amusement park than I have ever done before." Coming Soon: Dickens Land!

5) CNN finally proves itself a reliable news source.

According to CNN, somebody in Serbia discovered a compound with the same chemical properties as Kryptonite...

CNN's not-so-in-depth report which focuses on the many types of Kryptonite. God bless you Mort Weisinger.

Uhm. I'm a pretty big Superman nerd, and I have NO idea what they're talking about... There was a mention in Superman III of the chemical make-up of Kryptonite, and again in Superman Returns (on a label at the museum where Lex obtained his Kryptonite).

But, honestly, the whole point of Kryptonite was that it was composed of elements which were formed in the destruction of Krypton... and thusly could not be duplicated, per se, on Earth...

Well, CNN is owned by Time Warner, as is Superman and DC Comics, so this reporting must all be accurate.

6) Say it ain't so, Cap! (link courtesy JimD)

7) And... this. Which makes me both ashamed and jealous.

Plus a reminder that the original is still the best.

*this is a lie.

Monday, April 23, 2007

...because I love Bully's comic reviews...

Dog Tired

1) I have not made a peep regarding the massacre at Virginia Tech. I've kept mum partially because any words I've tried to summon on the topic have felt woefully inadequate.

This evening the South Mall at UT (which lies in the shadow of the UT Tower) was filled with thousands of students, alumni and folks from the Austin community for a candle ceremony to commemorate the victims. If any school understands the long memory of such a tragedy, it's the UT community.

Best hopes go out to the families of the victims and the Virginia Tech community.

2) Our dogs are attempting to bankrupt us. Last week Lucy managed to wind up at the vet almost every day, and will need to be continually monitored for a while at home. She's been having odd GI problems which are not providing us with any obvious diagnoses or solution. Things culminated in a 30 hour stay at the animal hospital over Saturday and Sunday. She seems fine now, but...

And tomorrow Melbotis will be visiting the vet to have a lumpectomy. The lump is not believed to be malignant, but the vet wants to remove it before it does become a problem. Poor Mel.

Poor Lucy.

Jeff the Cat is fine.

3) I am hopelessly behind on Comic Fodder work.

4) I am hopelessly behind on providing questions to Steven G. Harms for The Mellies.

5) I am hopelessly behind on keeping up with Steven and Lauren since their move northward. I warned them that once you pass the river, you are dead to me...

6) I need to call Cousin Susan and explain what happened with the weekend.

7) I minorly screwed up at work today. My first @#$% up! Hurray!

8) I now own "Star Spangled War Stories #139" featuring the origin of Enemy Ace. If you are me, you think that is totally rad.

9) On a related note, Jamie won herself a suitor on Sunday at Austin Books. I had wandered off to price back-issues of "New Gods", and Jamie was sort of standing there with a copy of the latest American Splendor collection in her hand when a young gentleman took the opportunity to break the ice by declaring his admiration for Harvey Pekar. He just kept talking. And talking. Clearly not picking up on Jamie's "please go away..." vibes.

Because The League is a curious sort of fellow, we decided to let the events unfold naturally, with no intervention despite Jamie's telepathic cries for rescue. (a) I wanted to see how Jamie would handle it, (b) there's a chance jamie's just looking for the right opportunity to jump ship, and (c) did I really want to be the guy who puffs his chest and goes all monkey crazy because some dude is talking to his lady?

I think Jamie let the chap down rather easily, properly showing zero interest and letting him verbally paint himself into a corner from which the only escape was to feign interest in some nearby comics and wander off. This was after he talked a bit too much about how his ex-girlfriend just didn't get Harvey, even though she tried for his benefit.

At this point I re-entered the scene, excited to know that this gentleman would then tell his friends "And then she left with some dork who was looking for back issues of 'New Gods'! Who reads 'New Gods'? NERD!"

Being a girl in a comic shop is a frightening, frightening proposition. Still, I hope Jamie was at least a little flattered.

In reviewing the scene, I suspect that were The League flying a solo mission, we'd fair no better in trying to break the ice.

10) It. Just. Keeps. Raining.

Well, better than 110 days of continuous sunshine, I guess.

11) As soon as my membership to Hollywood video begins, I end it. I still am physically incapable of watching rented movies or returning them.

12) Today I bought these mints. How many mints come with a warning not to eat them if you have high blood pressure? Not too many. But my Mogo Mints sure as @#$% did. Scroll to the bottom left here to see the many, many health warnings associated with enjoying a Mogo Mint.

I'm working near campus which is why I think I'm discovering caffeine supplements again (I had Jolt Mints last week). I've been told a Quix near campus sells caffeine that, my co-worker informs me "you can mainline". I guess you can buy small tubes of powdered caffeine now.

If those items had been available in 1993-1998, I shudder to think of what a short, jittery life I might have led.

11) I shall not be viewing "Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School". Take the craziest girls from the first two seasons of Flavor of Love, remove Flav, give the girls semi-sociopathic advice that makes no sense... it's like watching someone disturb bee's nests for an hour.

What concerned me most was that the girl kicked off on the first episode clearly had rage issues, if not downright issues with her mental health, and she reached out to show host comedienne Mo'Nique. She was subsequently kicked off the show for showing weakness.

Apparently I missed the part of where becoming a better person means being a cut-throat jerk and refusing to see a shrink when you clearly need one.

I wanted to like the show. I really did. I was honestly shocked at the criteria the judges used in the elimination round.

12) Even more surprising for sheer evil is the new VH1 documentary show about the making of "The Jerry Springer Show" entitled "The Springer Hustle". Free of anything resembling scruples, the producers on Springer don't hide a thing as they work to get their guests into a fighting mood prior to releasing them onto the stage. Totally amazing to see folks who've so clearly lost sight of (or never had) basic human empathy as they try to outdo their fellow producers on a show that, ultimately, has absolutely no redeeming value.

13) I've also beenw atching Dogfights on History Channel. For some reason I find the show completely fascinating.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I am not a child of the 70's, nor was I raised in Southern California or any of the other places where "Grindhouses" may have once existed. I'm a child of the 80's, and multiplex theaters built into shopping malls. (For reason I cannot fathom, I always associate the Willowbrook Mall theater with my first viewings of Jurassic Park and Freejack, although I saw literally dozens of movies at that theater. And why Freejack, for God's sake?).

Anyhow, I don't think the "Grindhouse" idea was ever as prevalent in the US as Mssr's Tarantino and Rodriguez would have us believe. At least seeing a series of crappy movies on a single bill wasn't as fondly remembered.

But if you're going to see two movies on a single bill, Alamo Drafthouse is the place to go. We intentionally broke up our orders into appetizers and a main course over the two movies and managed to really settle in. And, prior to the movie, the Alamo showed trailers from classic "Grindhouse" movies such as "Vanishing Point", "The Thing with Two Heads" and "Dracula Meets the Seven Brothers (and their one Sister)".

So how was the actual movie?

It's possible that the entire movie might have been better off as nothing but a series of trailers. After all, trailers always show the best parts of movies, and in some ways the directors seem to know that trailers are more fun than what you actually get in a movie.

So, yes, the "trailers" between the two movies are almost more fun than the two features.

"Planet Terror" is a fun zombie movie. Flat out. I would have gladly paid to see this movie without any of the additional Grindhouse baggage. It's gross, it's an action movie, it casts Freddy Rodriguez as a bad-ass, and someone finally makes good use of Rose McGowan for the first time I can think of since the first "Scream" film. In fact, I predict that "Cherry Darling" will become one of those staples of fanboyish-ness that will lead to a new cult following for McGowan. Michael Biehn gets his best role since, possibly, The Abyss, and everyone, including Bruce Willis seems to behaving a grand time.

one more item to add to the list of "What The League Looks for in a Woman"

In a way, "Planet Terror" is critic proof as it never tries to do more than be a really fun movie (albeit not for kids or the squeamish), and I can't really think of anything that bugged me about the movie. It sets out to be an over-the-top zombie movie, and from that perspective, I think they knocked it over the fence. Winding subplots, hokey call-backs and catch phrases. A good bad movie.

Prior to "Planet Terror", Rodriguez had tacked on a trailer for what I can only refer to as an Hispanic-Sploitation action movie called "Machete". And, man, yes... I would probably go see Machete.

Between the films, Rob Zombie's trailer for "Werewolf Women of the SS" was absolutely wrong, and, yes... I would totally see that movie. Perhaps less so Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving", but in keeping with the bad-movie tradition of turning seemingly innocent Holidays in a small town into a bloodbath... sure. I could absolutely see where Roth was coming from. He had me at the turkey mascot decapitation.

I was less enthusiastic about Tarantino's "Death Proof", which surprised me. I do enjoy the purity of a good car chase, although I don't know that I've ever even seen any of the films that's comprised of almost nothing but car chases (unless you count "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Empire Strikes Back" - oh, come on! "Empire's" entire Han Solo sequence was pretty much Smokey and the Bandit in space).

The problem with "Death Proof" was two-fold:

a) A lot of the Grindhouse movies that Tarantino professes such a love for were pretty dull, when you get down to it. There's a lot of talking and standing around because that's a lot cheaper to film than action sequences. This wasn't unique to car-chase featuring C-movies of the 70's. Go back to the black and white sci-fi cheapies and serials, and you'll find endless, pointless discussion between scientists speaking in utter gibberish.

b) Tarantino writes like a 20 year old film student. He's hopelessly in love with his own dialog and the minutia of what people say to each other when sitting in cafes and bars, believing these conversations (and characters) to be far, far more compelling than they actually are.

For some reason, Tarantino decided to give a mad shout out to Austin in "Death Proof", which is sort of cute. His characters name drop and go to eat at Guero's and the Texas Chili Parlor. Two of the stars of "Rollergirls" who wait tables at the Texas Chili Parlor play themselves. The odd "Jungle Julia" billboards that were up the week I moved back to town finally receive an explanation. They were props for the movie. Apparently Mr. Tarantino is unaware that in Austin, for whatever reason, DJ's don't really splash their mugs on billboards. But it does solve the mystery Doug and I tried to solve of why a radio station would advertise their DJ and then fail to note the actual frequency of the station.

Anyhow, it seems Tarantino has a school-boy crush on Waterloo.

I suppose it's possible Tarantino is presenting an homage to Hitchcock's set-up of Janet Leigh as the heroine in Psycho with his extensive set-up of four female friends at the beginning of "Death Proof", but the problem is that this ISN'T Psycho, and he ISN'T Hitch. In fact, as a 70's style horror flick, the audience expects for all but one of the female leads to die. So establishing all of the characters just doesn't seem like such a neat narrative trick when the game plan is to kill them all off.

Longtime readers will know that The League is a big fan of narrative economy, and here we get the polar opposite. The middle of "Death Proof" is essentially a fifteen minute conversation between four gal pals in a coffee shop (possibly Jo's, which I've never actually been in). Then a lengthy, lengthy conversation about driving a car and who can come.

Whenever Kurt Russell is on screen, the movie is fine. Whenever Kurt Russell is not on the screen, it's like letting air out of an impossibly irritating balloon.

When the cars are rolling, the movie is fun. I won't deny that. But it's also not really anything you haven't seen before. And that's sort of Tarantino, isn't it? He's a master art forger, but without Roger Avary around to move the story along, his movies don't seem to move beyond imitation.

Where Rodriguez seems to have seen that Achilles Heel of the C-Movie was the horrendous sense of pacing, Tarantino demonstrates slavish devotion to the drudgery of those movies and assumes his dialog is hilariousness enough to carry us through vast, vast stretches of inane conversations where, as an audience member, you want to stand up and shout "Okay, I get it! They like cars!"

It is true that Russell hands in a great performance, and I think Jason developed a crush on stuntwoman Zoe Bell (playing herself) during the course of the film. But, yeah... in some ways all "Death Proof" does is remind the audience that these films are usually remembered for brief set pieces rather than for the overall whole of the movie.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Howdy, Leaguers.

Well, this week has been quite busy for The League. The new job has thrown me in head first, but by accident. I was supposed to shadow a producer, but unfortunately her mother took ill, and now I'm filling in for that producer. So I've been dropped in the deep end.

Aside from a constant low level feeling of confusion, and an additional creeping sleepiness that pops up like clockwork at 3:00 each day, I'm liking the new job quite a bit. They are making an effort to make sure I'm properly trained, despite the missing producer, and everyone I talk to takes time to answer my questions. I'm honestly a bit thrown off by not working in a crazy public sector setting and all that that implies.

Last night I had not yet even arrived home when I was informed that Lucy had puked twice. It seems that the allergic reaction from the weekend had some latent effects of the GI-tract variety, and so it was that I made a mid-week return trip to the Doggy ER. They're theorizing that Lucy's troubles were a further portion of her allergic reaction to whatever it was she got into this weekend. I'm happy to say she seems much, much better this evening.

In addition to that, I'm tyring to adjust to a work schedule again, and, honestly, that schedule is a bit deeper to keep than waking up between 9:00 and 10:30 for a big day of watching daytime TV and looking online for job postings. So I'm going to bed a bit earlier and trying to get adjusted. Look for normal blogging to resume in the not-too-distant-future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Internet: DOWN!!!

Oh, Leaguers...

So this weekend we had some guys doing some stuff in our yard and they cut the coaxial line to the house. So, from about 9:30 AM Sunday to this evening, I've been more or less without an internet connection at home.

here's a quick run down of life in the past few days:

1) Saturday I attended funeral services for Liz Pieper. Liz had a lot of good friends, and she'll be missed.

2) Judy is already home from the hospital and she's doing pretty well. We're waiting for some lab results to come back, but I would describe the mood as cautiously optimistic. Right now things are looking much more promising than they appeared when the surgery was announced.

3) Sunday Lucy was acting as if she was having a bit of an allergy attack, but I thought maybe she'd feel better if I took her to Jason's to play with Cassidy. En route, I noticed her face was a bit puffy. About twenty minutes after arriving, she's developed large welts all over and looked weird and freakish. I didn't want for my dog to die, but I also didn't want to spend $5000 getting her checked out at the Dog ER if she just needed a few Bendaryl and some rest. However, she was getting noticeably worse within an hour, so I took her to the Dog ER where they gave her a shot and I was out around $100. Small price to pay so you don't need to explain to your wife how you let the dog die while she was gone.

4) Jamie got back Sunday night.

5) I've been working. I actually like my job. I like my co-workers so far. I am in a bit of a state of confusion as the place fairly well staffed and my usual mode of "I'll do it" that's always been my survival mode in small, underfunded offices isn't working. I am going to learn that the world is not made up of Octavio, Tom and Eric, all already given too many tasks.

6) The lead on the technical side of my latest project wrote part of his Masters' thesis on Crisis on Infinite Earths. I think I know my DC, but he puts my critical thinking skills to shame. I am in awe.

7) We now have internet again. Did I mention that?

8) It rained all day today. All day.

9) I am going to lose weight. I am not trying, but there's a difference between being home all day and only leaving the couch to eat, and being at work with regular meal times. Plus, part of my job is wrestling ferocious tigers.

10) I still think getting up before 10:00 AM is a sucker's game.