Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Big Bang Theory (sitcom) and Superman

To be clear: The show is not about comics, Superman, or comic geekdom. However...

Last week, due to a DVR catastrophe/ meltdown, we missed the opening episode of the new CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory", a title which suggests either something either more in the realm of Nova or skewing into the adult film spectrum than the show actually delivers.

I wouldn't normally be up on the latest of CBS's sitcom offerings, but The Big Bang Theory stars Jim Parsons, a guy I know from high school and whose mom is still very pally with The Karebear. This week we got ourselves situated and watched the show rather than just letting it record (Jamie had also missed Heroes last week, and was quite despondent).

I am delighted to say that Jim is great as Sheldon, one of two geeky physicists living in an apartment across the hall from "Penny", an attractive Cheesecake Factory waitress. Of course, Penny is pretty, so the geeks across the hall (Sheldon excepted) awkwardly try to pitch woo while becoming distracted with geeky pursuits. Sheldon is the one decidedly not infatuated with the girl, and is, perhaps, mildly annoyed by his friend's infatuation. The program is a sort of "clash of cultures" comedy that pits stereotypes of socially awkward, but brilliant, minds against the stereotypes of pretty, anti-intellectualism without ever really taking sides.

What's interesting is that Sheldon is supposed to be a DC Comics fan, as hinted at through wardrobe choices and the opening segment of this week's episode in which the geeks were prepping for a Superman movie marathon.

It is odd to know exactly where you stand when you hear characters uttering actual conversations you've had as a point of amusement. Especially when the conversation is accurate, according to The Science of Superman (although Wolverton doesn't foresee Lois being cut into pieces as much as being smushed when Superman saves her).

Alas, I suppose I know I'm a geek. The 20-somethings at work have remarked as much, as have most girls in middle-school and high school. My wife. My parents. Jason, as often as possible.

What I do find curious is that the show looks at these sorts of things as tics rather than merely deriding comic fandom as a clean intersection with loserdom on the geek Venn Diagram (although most of the audience will surely read it that way, bringing their own opinions into the mix). The show has to ask you to respect Leonard and Sheldon to some extent, or else the premise of the multi-camera sit-com won't work (single camera sit-coms do not ask that you actually like the stars of the show. See: The Office, US and UK, and Arrested Development). So, just as Dustin Hoffman once bought his underwear at Sears when he wasn't counting matchsticks, our intrepid heroes ponder the might of the Green Lantern Corps when not discussing Newtonian Physics.

Further, its a sign that the 80's (and perhaps the 90's) have ended that the premise of the show is NOT the transformation of the leads "from geek to chic", but in letting Penny, and therefore the audience, discover the men behind the Superman t-shirts.

Now, from experience, I assure you, comic fandom may come part and parcel with a PhD in Physics (though I doubt it), but comic fandom absolutely does not equal genius in the sciences or much of anything else. It is nice, however, that the stereotype of my early comic reading days, that comics were for the dimwitted, apparently no longer applies (I was asked a question along these lines during an e-mail exchange with a journalist when I wrote for Comic Fodder. I was asked if I found readers to be kind of slow, or wasn't it a sign that the readers had no imagination of their own. No, she had no idea she was being sort of insulting.).

I withhold any opinion on The Big Bang Theory until more episodes air. I'm not sure how they intend to make the premise work over multiple seasons, but the producers do seem keenly aware that the trick to a show is a simple premise at first, then to build around the characters.

Anyhow, tune in and watch Jim.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wisconsin and back again

Friday we left for Wisconsin for the wedding of Jamie's cousin, Steve. I have seen Steve four times now, and three of those times have been at weddings, one of which included my own wedding, during which most of Jamie's side of the family sort of blurred together. I've sorted things out now with the Clan McBride/ Hendrick/ Swalley side of the family. But, anyhoo, that was why we headed to lovely Lake Geneva.

We mostly traveled on Friday, checked into our hotel where the clerk insisted we wanted five rooms, but, no... we wanted three and would not pay for five no matter what their reservation sheet said. I think I know where the miscommunication happened, but... anyway.

Saturday we woke up and there happened to be a classic car show in the small town of Lake Geneva, so we wandered down to the show. They had a nifty sorta banana colored Nash Rambler, I think a '55, which was what Lois Lane drove in "The Adventures of Superman". Well, apparently the driver of teh car knew this as their license plate read "LOIS LN", which i saw only after geeking out and identifying the car.

I am a nerd.

They also had a lot of mid-50s Chevy's, which I've loved since middle school, especially in that goofy aqua color they used back then. I'm no car guy, but I do like the occasional car show. It does, however, make one feel totally lame for owning a Honda SUV.

We wound up having lunch with Steve (the groom), Jeff (his brother), Jack (Jeff's kid), Nancy (Steve and Jeff's mom) and Joe (Nancy's husband and a fun guy) at a surprisingly good restaurant. I then fell asleep for a while, read some Superman on the balcony of our hotel room while soaking in 70 degree temperatures, then watched OU disintegrate in the second half.

The wedding was in a horticultural garden, and was actually a good ceremony. Nothing cheesy. The bride was lovely and the groom sharp.

We set sail for the reception aboard a boat. Most importantly, a boat with an open bar.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of dancing, so that'll have to happen at the next wedding so Jamie can feel she's gotten her groove on properly.

Sunday we rose, ate a nice brunch with the rest of the wedding guests, then hopped back on a plane. We got home around 9:30 after getting the dogs from jason, etc...

Today Jamie wasn't feeling well, so we ran to the doctor. She's okay now, and all is well. But, you know... I wanted a day off when we came back, but not really this way.

I'm off to bed.

Hope all is well.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekends are better at Jason's

While we were off in Wisconsin for a wedding, Melbotis and Lucy stayed with Jason.

The other dog is Cassidy. Rrruuuooooouuurrrrr!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The League OOO

The League will be out of office/ town as of tomorrow morning. We'll be back on Sunday evening.

We're headed to Jamie's cousin's wedding. Steve and his lady friend are making it legal somewhere in the wilds of Wisconsin, and so, off I go to Wisconsin.

Its kinda weird, because I don't get out of town too often and somehow I keep winding up in Wisconsin. Go figure.

Anyhow, if I don't reply to your comments, phone calls, e-mail or smoke signals, its not because I don't care.

Bionic Lady Person


Well, the pilot had Katie Starbuck, or whatever her name is. Which is weird. I guess she's looking at jumping on another series before BSG wraps up and that gravy train rolls to a halt. Anyhoo, she's the evil Ladytron. I doubt she'll be in every episode, but there you have it. Jason should be happy.

The San Francisco of the show is very clearly Canada. So I kinda wish they'd quit telling us it is San Francisco when it COULD be somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with a few establishing shots. Or Canada. Because, really, why not? Remember when every place Scully and Mulder visited across the US just happened to look like Canada?

The Bionic Lady Person is TV attractive and, one would guess, not too bad of an actor. But, like many pilots, this one was so full of exposition, that, well... Who knows? The writers for this episode were big on telling rather than showing, which didn't give the BLP much room showing her chops. In fact, our Jamie Summers does a lot of looking like some lost, shell-shocked Deschanel sister even before she's hit by an 18 wheeler. Most of her dialog is complaining about being given a superhuman body (?) and/ or giving mini-exposition.

Thanks to her upgrades, we're to believe that BLP feels like a freak, but there's no indication as to why. She looks, after all, completely normal and seems to feel mostly normal, but its in vogue for super powers to be a burden (thank you, Marvel Comics), hence a lot of moping. Of greater consequence is the weighty question posed by the budgetless biomed/military research team as to whether they should hang onto the Bionic Lady Person and/ or kill her rather than letting her go after her surgery. Unfortunately, they kinda play that card early. As a viewer, it doesn't feel like much of a threat to our hero as neither Bionic Dead Person, nor Bionic Prisoner sounds terribly appealing for a prime time spot.

We're told by the BLP's boyfriend (a walking plot point) that the BLP is somehow different and special, and while nothing necessarily contradicts this point, there's also nothing to suggest she is, in fact, special. She's a 24 year old bartender and a college drop out. Aside from the fact that she owns a really, really huge place in San Francisco on a bartender's salary, she's pretty darn ordinary, which is great. I like "everymen". However, the show shouldn't tell us our cyborg is so amazing that this professor/ neurosurgeon/ mad scientist boyfriend never met anyone like her (Because, Doc, I can walk into any Bennigan's in the US and find someone just as "special").

What the show does have going for it are two things: 1) Good special FX 2) a glowering Miguel Ferrer. I'm always going to cheer for my man Ferrer. He's an aces actor, and while I've only ever seen a small part of his output, I know what I'm getting with Ferrer. In BLP, he manages to out-presence everyone else in every scene he's in without really trying. But what can he do? He's Miguel Ferrer, and that's why you hire the man.

The number one strike BLP has going against it is that, like so many other shows, this program has decided it will have a built in mythology from episode #1. Unfortunately, rather than slowly revealing aspects from BLP's point of view, the producers chose to drop us in the middle of things, somewhere several years into the Shadowy Government Bionic People Making Project. I understand that's more or less how TV shows now work, but... sigh. Give me time to get used to the show. Try some literary devices like foreshadowing or something (and no, dropping in scenes of characters not tied to the main action speaking in cryptic, disjointed dialog is not foreshadowing. See what works for the show before you eliminate any wiggle room. Especially when you might as well have a blink tag on the character which reads: Bad Guy.)

There's something sort of perfunctory about the whole pilot, as if the producers didn't trust the story to unfold on its own. This could have easily been a two hour movie, but instead, the Spider-Man-like discovery of powers is crammed in there in two or three scenes, none of which give BLP an opportunity to REACT to her powers other than that googy-eyed scared expression.

Making the whole thing kinda by-the-numbers, the supporting characters are barely defined, yet plugged with enough TV friendly cues that you sorta get the idea (ex: the rebellious sister who just needs to be loved, but, hey... she's also a computer whiz! It all seemed so extraneous at the time...).

Add in the perfunctory super karate face off with Katie Starbuck (in high heels, no less), and the unconvincing face off between BLP and Miguel Ferrer (who pwns her), and you got your show in motion. In most ways that count, Katie Starbuck's storyline is a lot more interesting than that of BLP.

I dunno. I was sort of excited by the possibilities for this series, but now?

I'm giving them another episode or two to see how it all shakes out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mike Kunkel of Shazam!

Newsarama had a story on this last week, and it looks like it's going to be a huge amount of fun. I really enjoyed Jeff Smith's Shazam book, but I don't feel guilty at all about looking forward to seeing what Kunkel does.

Kunkel, you may know, is the creator of Herobear and the Kid, which is a really fun comic.

My understanding is that this comic will be truly all-ages, and will be spearheading DC's new push to creating a line of kid-friendly comics. I know, crazy that they need to back up and review their original audience, but I'm really glad. And I think Kunkel (or Smith) are great guys to lead the charge.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad in NYC

Hey, so Ahmadinejad hit NYC today, and I know you're thinking "Hey, League... You're somewhat literate and watch TV sometimes. I don't know what to think of this Iranian President coming to town and chatting up co-eds. Lambast me with your poorly constructed worldview and mediocre analysis."

I love me some America, Leaguers. Iran, I can give or take, and, let's face it, we've got a rocky history with those folks.

Did you know, according to Batman comics, the Ayatollah Khomeini once made The Joker a UN Ambassador? Amazing and TRUE.

Leading up to Ahmadinejad's appearance today at Columbia University, there was a lot of debate regarding whether or not he should be given such an opportunity, or, with his tendency to make claims many Americans find outrageous (and which the rest find mostly offensively preposterous), Iran's President should be allowed to speak. This is after someone wouldn't let the guy make an appearance at the site of the World Trade Center.

Ahmadinejad isn't crazy. He's a head of state, responsible for millions of lives. And whether he espouses beliefs Americans believe to be bizarre or profane, he's also not the mad dog lunatic that our own resident propaganda artists have tried to spin him. Instead, he's a thinking person, and a seemingly intelligent person, and a caricature of evil doesn't reflect what Americans are getting from this guy. He's not a ludicrous figure in the mode of King Jung Il, or the bizarre Papa of Death that Saddam Hussein appeared to be with his bushy mustache and tendency to fire off rifles during parades.

My fundamental belief, and you can quote me on this, is that if we aren't willing to let everyone speak, no matter how crooked or vile they are, then our belief in freedom of speech isn't worth the hemp the Constitution is written on. We live in a groovy country where we don't need to worry about being jailed or fined for making fun of our leaders or criticizing them, and that's something you can't even really say about most of the rest of the world (there was even a recent case in Spain of a cartoonist getting in legal trouble for making fun of some lazy Prince. A Prince, for love of Mike!).

Iran has a, shall we say, slightly stricter idea of what it means to talk smack to those in charge, from Mullah to President.

As Jim D once wisely pointed out to me, one of the interesting things about freedom of speech isn't just that you get to say whatever you want, it's that people get to say whatever they want right back at you. And here's where things come together about why I think bringing a dictator with a, shall we say, spotty reputation into an Ivy league institution is a groovy idea. Did Ahmadinejad think he was going to walk onto a stage in a room full of America's elite, students and professional intellectuals, and not get a few tough questions?

Honestly, the Newt Gingrich's of the world who were so horrified at bringing this guy to the US to speak were missing the big picture. I don't know if they thought Ahmadinejad was going to be able to persuade a roomful of Columbia's best and brightest that he was a great guy or what, but what I think they were missing was the opportunity which New York and Columbia seemed to take advantage of in pretty good force.

The President of Iran is going to be able to build his cult of personality at home whether he's at Columbia or not. Bring him to Columbia University, and for one day, he was out of his element and speaking to an audience that had no reason to be polite, was not going to worry about having their jobs and homes taken from them (or worse), and who have not had government controlled media managing the message since the 70's (I'm speaking in broad terms here, so let's not go crazy talking about corporate owned media franchises, shall we?).

Ahmadinejad got to see his route lined with protesters he can dismiss, but perhaps he can also note not just that we're a country where you can assemble and go home without fear of arrest, but that our streets can fill with people willing to voice their opposition to the government he's assembled. People who drew attention to some of his quirkier antics.

Whatever moment of personal triumph Ahmadinejad may have thought he was building by walking into Columbia, from what I've read, things worked out pretty well in the way of American republic-style democracy versus Holocaust-denying dickery. For folks who questioned the President of Columbia of University for bringing in Ahmadinejad, check this out:

"When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," Bollinger said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history."

Bollinger made this comment in his opening remarks, and reminded us that we live in a place where the President, any President, can be called into question when they face the public, and that person should require only the courage takes to look another person in the eye to call that President out.

And that's not all bad.

Lastly, the role of the University is a place for learning, and part of that concept is the open and free exchange of ideas. That's why I blanch when I hear someone trying to get a professor fired for espousing kooky beliefs. Universities, state funded or not, aren't just there to be job training facilities for high schoolers who are too chicken to try a stint in the armed services. There was a reason the university you went to kept inviting all these people to talk on campus, even when you were skipping them to watch "Friends". Part and parcel of that is that they advertise all of these people, so you get to go and tell them they're a big jerk.

No, its true! If, say, Captain Kangaroo showed up and you wanted to give the Captain a piece of your mind, you get to do so. Unless you're that one guy, and you get tased for being a jack-ass. But you have to really push it before they tase you, bro.

Anyhow, I was glad to see most commentators understand the situation, and was glad to see it shook out pretty well.

UPDATE: Or, as pictures always speak better than words: Click here

Thanks, anonymous

Sunday, September 23, 2007

weekend round-up

Well, the weekend was okay, if brief. I worked on Saturday, which was interesting as I was testing a simulation for one of our clients. Sometimes I really dig what we do at my company, and Saturday was one of those days.

Next weekend we are boarding a plane to attend Jamie's cousin's wedding in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, which should be fun, if a bit of a whirlwind trip.

But this weekend I had my ass handed to me by allergies.

I did not have allergies growing up, and after college, I misdiagnosed my allergies I'd developed for years, believing I was picking up a series of colds. But it seems that the allergies I had before we left Texas in '02 have come back to slug me in the head.

My poor mother called me last night all the way from Michigan, where she's currently visiting friends, and I was no kind of conversationalist. She was all chipper and wanting to talk football, and I was grouchy and disappointing.

Yesterday was also "catch up on errands" day, as we've had stuff going on for literally weeks, and will be gone next weekend. Unfortunately, this meant a trip to the mall, a place which has lost all luster and allure for me as a consumer. So much junk to buy, and maybe 1% of 1% is something I would ponder buying, and most of those items are in the power tool section at Sears.

Even the Build-A-Bear Workshop is only mildly amusing until you realize you're imitating the work of a Peruvian sweatshop worker, sorta like when they used to have the questionable chain of "make your own steak!" restaurants scattered around. (I know I can make my own steak. It's called staying home and firing up the grill. Advantage to restaurant: No dishes to wash). However, rather than be paid $2.00 per day for my bear-making wages, I would be paying Build-A-Bear $20 for the privilege of performing manual labor.

All of these complaints are minimized, of course, if there's a Superman Bear. In that case, its money and time well spent.

UT had its annual lambasting of the Rice Owls. 58-14. One TD never should have happened, and the other one took place when the scrubs were in for the fourth quarter. We abandoned the game to go see "3:10 to Yuma".

As little as I ever wanted to actually visit Yuma while I was in Arizona, this move makes the trek even less appealing. Or at least the trek to the train station to catch a train to Yuma. The stark Southwestern landscape did nothing to make me yearn for the deserts of Arizona.

Christian Bale continues to cement his position in my mind as one of the finest actors of his generation, making interesting choices for his character and managing to make the hero, a dully virtuous character, into an interesting, three-dimensional person. Russell Crowe also handles his character well, and mostly refrains from going standard Hollywood over the top in his portrayal.

The movie itself reminds me of some of the later Westerns, such as "High Noon", which used the environs of the expanding frontier as a petri dish for people free of enforceable law, and relying upon their own sense of right and wrong, damn the consequences, often in the face of desperation and profitable lawlessness. Other movies such as "Winchester '73", "Sons of Katie Elder" and others play with the same territory. The Spaghetti Western galvanized the concept, and movies like "The Wild Bunch" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" often crossed over to seeing things even a bit more from the traditional antagonist's point of view. Which is part of why I find it interesting that the Western genre, much like superheroes, is often tagged with what is considered to be an adolescent belief in black and white morality.

Speaking of Cowboys, the Pokes won another one, stomping last year's Division Champs into the ground with a 34-10 victory over the Bears on NBC's Sunday Night Football. It's a good year once again to be a Cowboys fan.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Superman in Romania?

Apparently there's a guy in a blue suit flying around Romania.

Go figure...

Here's the story.

And a pic on the Superman Homepage and links to other stories.

Superman: Doomsday on DVD

Hey, Leaguers!

I just got done watching the new Superman: Doomsday, and... Man, it was pretty cool.

Folks who've asked me about this most famous of Superman stories have often received a sort of negative response. The original comics were written during a time when Superman comics were being handled in a very different manner, not unlike a long-running weekly TV show. At the time, one editor teamed with four writers and four artists (actually three... I think Jurgens was drawing his own book), and they would each handle separate 22 page segments, one each week in each of the then four on-going Superman titles.

What this meant was that there wasn't necessarily inconsistency from week to week, but oftentimes the Death of Superman, World without a Superman and Return of Superman stuff all feels like there's a lot of filler. A lot of filler that isn't going to make sense without either just letting quite a bit slide or deciding to get into a fairly immersive Superman course prior to reading the series of graphic novels.

The movie boils the story down to the bare elements, makes changes to make it accessible to a wider audience, and tells a somewhat new story, depending on how you want to look at it.

Literally dozens of elements of the comics are removed, including the four familiar characters from Reign of the Supermen (Superboy, Eradicator, Steel and Cyborg Superman). Instead, the story takes a new angle which kinda/ sorta blends elements of other aspects of the World Without a Superman story. While I absolutely missed Steel (and Jon Bogdanove's art), I think the choice made by the filmmakers works.

The voice talent is also great, even if I missed Clancy Brown as Luthor. There are some tough moments, and Anne Heche (an actress I know nothing about save tabloid whatnot) is a great Lois. Even if, really, Lois already has three very iconic voices in my head (Kidder, Neil and certainly Dana Delaney).

So why did I like this movie so much?

Man, the action scenes in this movie rock.

Yes, yes... the plot is really well played and the movie is written for an adult-skewing audience rather than for kids, but...

Holy COW, they really went crazy to make sure that a Superman fight in the middle of Metropolis looks like a Superman fight in the middle of Metropolis SHOULD. Doomsday is just as vile a villain here as he was in the original comics, even if he's just as 2D here as he was in the comics... BUT, he's big and scary and makes a great foil for Superman as they go toe-to-toe. Not to mention the level of, urhmm... violence and mayhem that the PG-13 rating allows. For once you sorta feel like Superman is facing a real threat.

Some folks are going to think "Hey, this is kinda straightforward and the battle between Supes and Doomsday is pretty long". Leaguers, that is NOTHING compared to the original comics.

Anyhoo... I dug it.

The movie is NOT for tiny kids, but certainly slightly older kids can handle it. The PG-13 rating means that a lot of what viewers might have guessed about Superman and Lois's relationship is spelled out for the audience. And Perry White says "ass" once or twice. And people kinda died. On camera.

But it also reflects a bit more of what you see in the adult-skewing comics.

The movie is fairly short, but I think this gives me a pretty good deal of excitement for the next few DCU direct to DVD movies, especially the New Frontier movie which is high-lighted on the special features.

I might say that, like the comics, there's quite a bit which follows the Doomsday battle, and I don't think that any of it disappoints. It veers far enough from the comics that you don't necessarily know what's going on and how it wraps up. You can put together the analogs from the comics, but...

Anyhow, good, fun flick. 73 minutes Throw it into your Netflix queue.

The DVD also includes a great 40 minute doc about the original Death of Superman comics.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Minesweeper: The Movie

This is incredibly silly, but if you've ever owned a PC and gotten bored...

Over explaining this will just kill it.

I present to you

Minesweeper: The Movie

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kid Nation = Summercamp

Whoever the critics were who thought Kid Nation was some sort of brutal attack on kids by CBS... Well, a big part of me now believes those stories being circulated were a weird campaign to drum up interest in a show that had to be in the can before they could even market it...

The conceit of Kid Nation is that its some sort of Lord of the Flies scenario with kids living like savages in a ghost town. Only, not so much. When one ponders the camera, sound, PA's, producers and directors who had to have been omnipresent on the set, these kids were probably under the greatest supervision of their young lives. This isn't to mention the extra bodies and kid wranglers who were mostly likely around at the bidding of the insurance companies and lawyers (I mean, "Kid Dead on CBS Game Show" doesn't look real good as a headline).

Because the show is also given an artificial structure of kids being assigned different roles, earning money, and being surprisingly organized instead of just screwing around and throwing rocks at snakes or something, you don't get the feeling that the kids are necessarily out of their element. In a way, I found this hugely disappointing, but it also explained how CBS ever got the show approved.

The kids play a bit to the camera, but only in the sort of awkward way that any kid tries to act grown up when they're interviewed on the news, etc... and some events seemed edited for dramatic effect.

Will we ever see a show where kids are actually dumped in the desert and fend for themselves? No. Because kids are kind of dumb and they'd all be dead in a week. I mean, the kids are given a choice between TV and porta-potties, and its an honest debate among them, and you cheer for the kids when they choose not to walk around in their own filth. Good choice kids!

Wait... why was that a question? Who was the miserable troll who thought TV was more important than sanitary disposal of his poop?

What one cannot do when watching the show is nod in self-assured certainty that YOU would have made a better choice or performed better, because, honestly, when we were 10, we were all kind of stupid and incompetent. So, really, these kids (coached by adults or not) come off like geniuses in comparison when I think how I probably would have fallen down a mine shaft or something in the first two days.

Because its kids, nobody is kicked off the island. Instead, kids can volunteer to throw in the towel. Amazingly, only one kid walks: An 8 year old who declares he's leaving on day one, and does just that.

The reaction of the other kids is crazy support group positive for Quitty McQuitterson. Nobody tells him he washed out. Nobody grumbles. Instead, they all applaud the kid and then go about their business. Which seriously makes me wonder what these kids were coached to do before the cameras began rolling.

Now... how does one incentivize kids to work and do chores?

Its revealed that a council of 4 will annoint one kid per "Town Meeting" with a Gold Star worth $20K and a phone call to their folks. A surprisingly mature 14 year old girl (the line where one is still a kid is a bit odd on the show, mixing 8 year olds with kids up to 15), who brought up issues like "we need to wash the dishes" is given the gold star.

Anyhoo... now with gold stars in their eyes, the rest of the kids will be less likely to throw in the towel. Especially if they are in the designated "labor" class, which is an unrewarding class to be in, indeed.

Yes, they broke up the kids into "Labor", "Kitchen", "Merchant" (the town has stores that sell stuff like root beer), and "Upper Class" (ie: you can hang about like a bump).

I suspect that each week they will give kids a Survivorish type challenge to determine who is in what class.

Anyhow, its NOT the Lord of the Flies show I've been waiting for since Survivor first appeared. It's also sort of twee and syrupy. I'm also curious how/ why two kids reportedly drank bleach while on the show as reported online a few weeks back, but the show is far more conatined than I'd expected.

Seriously. Peabo and I did a week at "Ranch Camp" in middle school. These little ingrates have it pretty good.


There was a column in Time about Kid Nation which is a quick read.

I guess I'm a bit stunned to hear people addressing kids having to cook for themselves and act somewhat responsible for themselves as "abuse". It's inaccurate, and generally diminishes the actual meaning of child abuse (asking a kid to use a porta-potty is not the same as hitting them). Even on their worst day of having to make corn bread from mix, these kids have it far, far better than kids in most of the rest of the world. Not only are the conditions better, but these kids are given an option to leave.

Exploiting kids is nothing new to TV. Hell, shows as far back as "Dennis the Menace" knew how to ruin some kid's life (poor Jay North).

But I guess I'm suprised that rather than seeing actual challenges placed before kids that don't involve extra-curricular activities and teach basic responsibility and survival skills (like how to cook pasta) some critics, this columnist included, seemed to recoil in some horror. I don't want to pass judgment on the "helicopter" parents that the columnist describes and admits to being, as I have no children.

But, man... take some pride in your kid's ability to fend for themselves and live in a world without your arbitration of every challenge. Sheesh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dropping Comics vs. Busiek on Superman


One of the niceties of ending my period of comic blogging is that I can now drop comics that are bugging me without worrying about failing my own mission statement for Comic Fodder.

Focused on how much ass and whose ass is getting kicked, comic reviews usually offer very little insight into the narrative successes and failures of a single issue, let alone the how the single 22 page comic fits into the grand scheme of a larger shared universe. What this basically translates to reviewers who try to comment upon action and events in stories which they aren't following, and too often assume they're up to speed on through impressions and generalizations.

While reviewing for Comic Fodder, when an event would occur such as the ill-conceived "Amazons Attack" in the pages of Wonder Woman, Teen Titans, Supergirl and the titular limited series, the scope of the event was as such that I felt that I had to read every issue of the series and the cross-overs to assure myself and my readership that I had a good understanding of DC's editorial direction. Of course, nobody was paying for all the comics which I was buying and not really enjoying.

So, now that I'm no longer comic blogging, I'm looking to unburden myself with a lot of the chaff of the current output of the DCU. And, yes, DCU puts out stuff I am not necessarily going to defend. Occasionally, those books even guest star Superman, so the excess is especially vexing. With the mega-event of Countdown to Final Crisis on the playing field, DC has tried to milk me dry with tertiary one-shots and seemingly meaningless mini-series (did I really need a Lord Havok miniseries? And if it is important... can I not just wait for the trade?).

Drop: Wonder Girl Limited Series

But the series which I am planning to drop immediately aren't the Countdown spin-offs, which I hope to just not pick up again. The first issue of the Wonder Girl mini-series continues on the trajectory of insisting that Wonder Girl must be more annoying than the recent incarnation of Supergirl. Wonder Girl has always been ill-defined, but has come to represent the acme of what boys, by the age of 17, come to call a "headcase".

By the age of 18, most guys realize that a headcase is best ignored and avoided. So, why DC would decide to turn two of their most potentially lucrative teen properties into such grating characters for an audience mostly comprised of males, 20 and older, is sort of mystifying. Only, not really... DC keeps trying to find ways to reach teen girls who read Manga, and one might think that with the cartoony art-style, they're trying for some cross-over appeal. Unfortunately, they've tied their cross-over hopes to a miserably unlikable event and counted upon readers having followed Cassandra Sandsmark since Infinite Crisis.

I've lost count of how many times Supergirl and Wonder Girl have flown away in a huff or in a teary huff after a badly written seen in which they seemed to insult other, better established characters. Why the writers believe readers are looking for comics about teenage pity-parties is a mystery perhaps only Dan Didio can solve. Or maybe Jann Jones. But, man...

Anyhow, one issue was enough. I'm done with it. And am growing closer to being done with Teen Titans lest someone figures out how to re-jigger the title into something readable.

Drop: Batman Confidential

The other title I am disappointed to be dropping is the current "Batman Confidential" storyline. I'm not sure if this was originally intended as someone's screenplay for a Batman film, or what the story is, but writer Michael Green tells his version of the origin of The Joker, while blending in other elements, such as a pre-Scarecrow Jonathan Crane being responsible for the development of Arkham. Not too surprising he can't leave things well enough without feeling he can improve them as he's a TV writer/ producer (yes, he works on "Heroes").

Particularly depressing as the art is by Denys Cowan.

I'm all for various versions from different ages of comics as to how things came to be, but... honestly, does DC think that this Green guy is writing a better story than either Moore and Bolland's The Killing Joke (or its red-headed step child sequel, The Man Who Laughs, or the follow up to that story in Gotham Knights: Pushback?), or Morrison's amazing early 90's take on the origins of Arkham Asylum in "Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth"?

Perhaps Didio and the editors of Batman Confidential are a bit more on the concrete side of the fence when it comes to thinking. Surely they didn't lighten up on the why's and wherefore's as this new take on the Joker's origin is more bloody, in its way. Perhaps less traumatic a read, but... it takes the murder spree of the pre-Jokerized "Jack" as casually as the hitman himself.

And, honestly, the failed, tragic comedian of The Killing Joke was a far more chilling origin than a bored sociopath, anyway.

At any rate, these are two books I'm dropping. Along with Criminal, but that's just because I think it will read and collect better as trades.

I'll also be picking and choosing my Countdown tie-ins a bit more carefully moving forward.

Busiek on Superman: Worth Reading

On a different note: If you aren't reading Kurt Busiek's "Superman", you should be. I haven't focused on the title nearly enough either here or when I was reviewing at Comic Fodder. I re-read the most recent issue yesterday during my vacation day, and happened to read a jumbled review of the comic at the Superman Homepage.

Anyhow, one thing led to another and I e-mailed writer Busiek directly to confirm that he's got a fan out there who is really digging his work on Superman. Gracious guy that he is, Mr. Busiek wrote back.

Pretty shortly the whole "Camelot Falls" storyline will be collected in two volumes. When it is, I highly recommend you pick them up. Also, pick up "Back in Action", which was a storyline over in "Action Comics". Of course, you should also read "Up, Up and Away" which was a great Superman v. Lex storyline. For something just terrific, I recommend Superman: Secret Identity, which is just a great stand alone story.

Other Busiek books I'd suggest:
Arrowsmith: So Smart in their Fine Uniforms
Astro City
JLA/ Avengers

Of course, Kurt has been in the game for a few years, and this is just stuff published at DC. If you guys do a quick Google search, there's a lot more out there.

Color Quiz?

Found this at Lauren's Site.

I leave it to third parties who know me better than myself to tell me if the results of the Quiz are true. I don't know why picking colors is supposed to tell me anything, and, certainly, I am baffled by the results. Perhaps someone else can shed some light onto the assessment?

ColorQuiz.comRyan took the free ColorQuiz.com personality test!

"Longs for tenderness and for a sensitivity of feel..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Monday, September 17, 2007

ACF Fest Photo Parade

See Jason's Photo Parade

Days 1 & 2

Day 3

ACL Fest Day 3

Howdy, Leaguers!

Sunday brought us the third and final day of ACL Fest 2007, my first ACL Fest after years of jealously hearing about it from Jason and having too many balls in the air last year to go (we'd literally just arrived in town).

Not sure if Shannon Cahalan himself showed up here today or not to comment on yesterday's post, but that's the tragedy of posting anonymous comments.

Heat was lower on Sunday, and I swapped by goofy fishing hat for my goofy cowboy hat, and that seemed to make a huge difference. Next year, I'm definitely going with a straw hat again, especially one with a wider brim. I also ended up ditching the Scholl's Gel pads despite their delivered promise of happier feet. The pads are narrower than my flipper like feet, and so the pads were starting to hurt the outsides of my feet.

I also want to give a mad shout out to a few products without which I could not have survived the weekend:
-Coppertone 50 SPF aerosol suntan spray. Three days in the sun and I retained my normal, pallid complexion. Sure, I looked sweaty all the time thanks to the sheen of the stuff, but I never burned and only applied once per day.
-Gold Bond Powder. If I have to explain it, best you not worry about it.
-Bottled Water. Kudos to ACL Fest for only minorly gouging us on the cost of bottled water. But we were also allowed to bring in a few bottles of our own. I don't know who these people are who drink beer in the heat, but I was pounding water all three days.

Today we rolled in around 2:30-ish and, unfortunately, the crowd was so big for Robert Earl that at the back of the crowd the sound was bleeding over from another stage. We took refuge at the Austin Ventures stage and saw Ian Ball, who was okay.

After that we sort of wandered. I watched two songs by some hip-hop outfit called "Common", was non-plussed, and moved over to see DeVotchKa at the AT&T Blue Room stage. I was under the impression they were from overseas, but after a quick web search see they're from Denver. Go figure.

Anyhow, they put on a pretty good show. Really fun, and their music is an interesting mash-up of Eastern European sound with a great rock influence. They've got a tuba, and the drummer occasionally busts out a trumpet. Little different from the standard set-up, at any rate.

When DeVotchKa wrapped I went to see Lucinda Williams play for twenty five minutes and ran into Cousin Sue, who had lost her traveling companions. Lucinda sounded pretty good, but I wanted to catch the band Jason and Mandy had mentioned, Bloc Party.

Bloc Party reminded me of some mid-80's Cure stuff, maybe off of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. I'm not anyone else would agree, but the singer was also from the UK and had a sort of Robert Smithy feel to his singing, but the energy of the non-mopey Cure tracks.

Anyway, that's all in my crazy head. I did like them all right.

I sort of took a break after Bloc Party and am glad I did as reportedly Regina Spektor's show (my choice for that time slot) was a zoo. I could kind of hear Amos Lee, but I hung out talking to Kate and Vicki for a while before I realized I didn't feel well and was probably very dehydrated. A couple of bottles of water later I was right as rain and ready for the rest of the day.

My Morning Jacket put on a really great show, which was, oddly, luau themed. There were girls apparently there to do nothing put hold pineapples for an hour. I really like My Morning Jacket's album, Z, and the show in no way disappointed. Sort of an audio assault, which, reportedly, bled over the Wilco set over the hill.

After that, Jason and I wandered over the hill to go see Ghostland Observatory, but caught maybe 10 minutes of Wilco wrapping up. Ghostland Observatory is okay. Not really my cup of tea. No doubt it could be classified as some form of dance music, but it got a bit repetitive pretty quickly, which felt even more so at the end of three days of very different music.

We cut that set short and headed back to Camp X-Ray. Bob Dylan was the final headliner of ACL Fest.

I have a major musical and cultural blindspot when it comes to Dylan. He's a legend, surely, but as he's important to musicians and music nuts, and less so as a pop cuture figure (a la Elvis) a lot of Dylan has passed me by. No question it was great to see and hear him, but it didn't mean as much to me as other music nuts. I only knew half the songs, but I appreciated the show maybe more than really loving it.

It wasn't until I got home that part of why the show felt weird was made clear. The ACL Fest has large Jumbotron screens with good camera coverage. Apparently Dylan made a deal with the producers that he wouldn't be covered close up, and only two angles would be used. I have no idea why this was the case, but the result was that the jumbotrons were semi-useless and the intimacy of the show was somewhat compromised for us (and we were close compared to most folks).

It didn't bug me too much, obviously, as I didn't know what was weird until they mentioned it on News 8. The music more or less carried the show.

Anyway, that was pretty much it.

We got out faster than the previous two nights and the audience seemed very happy. Dylan was certainly more mellow than, say, Arcade Fire, but on such a nice, end of summer night at the end of three good days, it was hard to imagine a better way of wrapping up the weekend.

I've already asked off for tomorrow. I look forward to being lazy and useless tomorrow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Day 2 of ACL Fest

Today was a lot of fun at ACL, even if we didn't head out to until a little later today.

Let me start by saying: I have never text meassaged so much in my life as I did today. Keeping up with people at ACL would be a night mare if not for the magic of the text message.

The first show we got to was Steven Marley. I'm not too much into the reggae, but Steven made a good call and played as much of his dad's stuff as he played of his own. We ran into Heather Wagner and her brother, and despite the fact I've known Heather for what seems to be forever, met her dad for the first time.

We packed up and I headed over to the Austin Ventures stage on my lonesome where I saw the last half of Butch Walker and the Let's Go Out Tonite's. Butch has a terrific amount of energy, and while his music itself wasn't totally crazy, he was having enough fun on stage, that it was sort of infectious.

After that I hung out and found the middle-aged crowd at ACL Fest joining me for Kelly Willis. I'm getting old and I've lived in Austin and with KGSR long enough that I figured I should go check her out. While certainly much more mellow than virtually any other act at ACL, she put on a great set, and I'd certainly consider seeing her again.

I then sought out Team Crack under the Crack flag (which I had previously been accused of losing pieces of the flag pole. I take exception to my blame, but, really, there is no one else to blame. So, hell... looks like I lost part of the flag pole). They were supposed to be on the right of the stage during Arctic Monkeys, so I caught the end of their set while looking for the flag. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah played a nearby stage, so I caught part of them while STILL looking.

I ran into former co-worker Chris Chimera and, pretty much simultaneously, Shannon Kahaelin (sp?) an old friend of Jason's from middle and high school.

Anyhoo, I did find Team Crack before Arcade Fire.

Despite Jim's warnings, Arcade Fire @#$%ing rocked. Serious. That was a kick ass show. The audience was very into it, and the band was amazingly entertaining.

Anyhow, I'll see them whenever they come in the future.

While we were leaving the park, I had a really weird panic attack/ claustrophobic attack like I haven't had in, like, a decade. We passed out the gate and people were walking in all different directions, and, suddenly, I kinda thought I was going to throw up. It was really weird. I felt fine right up until that moment, but I abruptly had the feeling I didn't want to move, and recall thinking "I can never do this again" as I saw Jason (who was walking slightly ahead of me) getting further away.

I suppose I bucked up and kept moving, and once we were with a crowd all walking the same direction, I was perfectly okay again. Sort of weird, but, hey.. at least I know it could happen again tomorrow, so I'll be ready for it.

I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

ACL Fest Day 1

Hey all. I'm not sure what report Jason is putting together, but here's my nickel rundown.

Well, despite the fact I took Friday off, I wound up working for about two hours Friday morning. At home, watching ESPN, but I worked, darn it.

I headed over to Jason's around 1:00ish, applied a layer of 50 SPF sunblock, and we were off to ACL.

Saw Bela Fleck and the Flecktones first, and, its a bit odd to report that they were exactly as perfect as one expects them to be, but, hey... how long have those guys been playing together? Anyhow, they were really good.

We then wandered over to see Peter, Bjorn and John at the Dell stage. It got really f-ing hot out during that show, but those Scandanavian dudes really kicked it up for the show. Despite the wilting feeling I had, I had fun.

We ran into my next door neighbor, Chris, at the show and chatted for a while, and then we sat through a part of some guy's set we'd never heard of while we got a Pepsi, but... man. Not my thing. So, we picked up and headed over to a spot near the Crowded House show. We caught part of that before LCD Sound System got going on the stage we were in front of.

LCD Sound System put on an insanely good show, especially considering how hot out it still was. We got to the main AT&T stage for Spoon. Now, I'm not a huge Spoon fan, but I do like them. Unfortunately, I think we got there a little late thanks to LCD Sound System, so we were pretty far from the stage. BUT... they have these jumbotron screens, so we could still see the show, and it was a good, solid set.

We skipped the Reverend Horton Heat so we could creep closer up for Bjork. We then had some time, so I ran and bought some food for Jason and me, and saw the Rev, who is still pretty much doing what he was doing when I was in college. Seriously. Pretty much the same deal, playing songs I knew from the early 90's, which was sort of his zenith, I suppose. I guess that's where the Rev is in his career now.

We then caught Bjork, who puts on a big show for a tiny pixie. It was a lot of fun, even though I knew maybe three songs from her 1.5 hour set. She had her all-girl brass section, a phenomenal drummer and two guys handling what I'll call "electronics". All in all, a good, fun show.

Plus, you know, LASERS!!!

It is true that during Bela Fleck there was a big fire on the other side of Zilker. I'm not entirely clear on details, but we saw a large ugly black smoke plume that just kept going for about half an hour.

Later, during Bjork, one of her speakers blew up and caught part of the staging on fire, so that was also exciting, if not a bit dangerous.

Anyhow, we're heading down a little later today. Which is okay. It was hot as heck yesterday. I'm feeling a little beat up and I have two more days to go.

Traffic did, indeed, suck getting out of there. It was really pretty bad, but, fortunately, most traffic was headed north once we headed for Lamar, so once we finally made it to Lamar (thanks, Hippies, for just wandering out into traffic), it was smooth sailing. But that was, like, a half-hour or more after we got in the car.

Then, Lucy decided to come in the bedroom and just whimper at me because Jamie and I weren't up. So, tomorrow, I'm sleeping in the guest room and nobody is allowed in.

Of course this si sort of why I took the day off on Monday, so I can be lazy and sleep.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Out of Pocket

Hey, Leaguers.

Sorry for the light blogging.

Went to go see Stuart and Hilary play tonight at Hickory Street on Congress. Tomorrow is the Mono E Rollerskate Party (consider yourself invited) and then ACL Fest.

So, blogging isn't likely to get much crazier until, like, Monday. I'm letting myself off the hook.

If you're going to ACL Fest, I'll be joining Camp X-Ray for the first time. You can find us under the Crack flag. I don't know where we're setting up.

White Stripes canceled, which simplifies things, even as it complicates them. I wasn't sure if I was seeing them or Arcade Fire. Sounds like I'm seeing Arcade Fire.

Anyhow, hope to see you at the Rollerskate Party and/ or at ACL Fest.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome Brandy Ellen Bridenstine!

Cousin John and his lovely wife, Julie, ushered in a new era for clan Bridenstine on Sunday when Julie gave birth to 7 pound, 1 ounce Brandy Ellen Bridenstine. She was 20.1 inches at birth and is really into sleeping and adjusting to not floating in amniotic fluid.

Congrats to John and Julie!

Things I Could Do Without Seeing In Comics Ever Again

I warned you guys when i quit comic blogging at Comic Fodder that it would come back to haunt us all. If you make it to the end of this post, you get a gold star.

DC Comics have been around for 70 years, give or take. Superman himself has carried multiple titles for decades. Add in team books like JLA, hundreds of series that didn't quite make it, books that did make it, and tons of one-shots, mini-series, etc... And, anyway, multiple all that by comics coming out monthly, and you've got a whole lot of stories they've tried to tell over the years.

I'm not saying comics are creatively bankrupt, but there is a certain point at which story ideas are recycled. Unfortunately, in an industry where your writers are mostly lifelong comic fans, you tend to get a lot of similar plot elements woven into the fabric of comics. There seems to be a tendency to write to what you know. Unfortunately, sometimes this means that the fanboys writing the comics only know how to go to the well and tend to repeat themselves over and over.

There are just some odd conceits of comics that make me roll my eyes.

1) Mind-Control used against Superman. You aren't going to top "Sacrifice" in the foreseeable future. Busiek handled the tendency for the topic to get overplayed a bit in "Camelot Falls".

2) Prophecies. Seriously, you're giving away the ending, and if everyone is a "Chosen One", nobody is a chosen one.

3) Revolving Door of Death. DC claims to measure the importance of a death and if it was a good idea and was the impact severe on the DCU. And yet Jason Todd runs around the DCU, featured in Countdown. In some ways, I think it speaks ill of DC editorial's understanding of how death effects people in real life.

4) Third Person Descriptions of Batman's insane thirst for justice. I got it. He's a big, spooky guy. But it breaks the first rule of writing: Show, don't tell.

5) Time Travel (Legion excepted). It's too complicated and its rarely handled well. The Legion is just kooky enough to keep me from thinking too much about the ramifications. They get a pass, even if the whole Mon-El thing makes no sense.

6a) Female Superheroes and Villains in heels and improbable outfits. You can't fight in heels, run or do much but walk around. And, really, who decides their action suit means they need to show as much cleavage as possible?
6b) Female Superhero costumes that shred but leave tatters in convenient locations

7) Endless armies of anonymous henchmen in million dollar armor. I've never really understood how any supervillain was supposed to gets o many goons on their payroll and then outfit them better than the average US soldier.

8) Heists that appear to cost more than the take. If your technology is that good, you'll do far better selling the technology to the US government or a contractor than knocking over banks.

9) Teases for the return of Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash. You're not bringing him back. Stop yanking my chain. That said, I can't say "No" to a whole army of speedsters. On this, Didio and I will just have to disagree.

10a) Two Superheroes meet for first time, immediately fight one another
10b) Two Superheroes who turn a disagreement into a reason for a fistfight. Both of these sceanrios make the hero look like a hotheaded idiot. You don't catch a well written JLA slugging it out over petty disputes. That's because there's an understanding that these guys are pros.

11) More muddling of Aquaman. Could a character be more mixed up? For the love of Mike, how little faith do you have in your own writers that you can't trust someone to just restore the original Aquaman to his place in the DCU? He doesn't need his own title, just... fix it.

12) Awkwardly written flirting scenes. It just reinforces that comics are written by dateless geeks for dateless geeks.

13) Another teen hero who gets picked on in high school. Was there ever an actual high school where things were so bad for quiet nerds who kept to themselves as the ones they portray in comics? Another sign that comics are written by geeks for geeks. Not everyone needs to be @#$%ing Peter Parker.

14) Writers who forget the meaning of the term "supporting cast". If all your hero does is heroey stuff all the time, and spends his life thinking in caption boxes, it can get dull pretty fast. A Lois Lane for your hero to talk to can do wonders. I think the dirty secret of why Blue Beetle is such as fun comics is that Jaime has a large, colorful supporting cast. Robin has... Robin.

That's my list...

What have you got?

Iron Man Trailer Now Online!

Iron Man trailer is up! And it looks like its going to be a heck of a popcorn movie.

Must have QuickTime or other Apple Media player.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Defuser, Football, the gym

Hey, Leaguers!

The Defuser Patrols Austin

Firstly, I want to congratulate a man I will probably never meet. Austin's own Police Detective Jarret Crippen was the winner of this year's edition of "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" Or, rather, Austin's own superhero "The Defuser" will now have an action figure, a comic, and may get to participate in a Sci-Fi original movie.

I was cheering for all three of the final four contestants (plus Basura, for less heroic reasons). Parthenon, Hygena and Hyper-Strike all seemed like good options and seemed to "get" the show much more quickly than the participants from the first season, which stands to reason.

While I was amused by Mr. Mitzvah, he disappeared sort of early on. However, the real story is the real life of Mr. Mitzvah. Google Ivan Wilzig. It's kind of fascinating. heck just check out his Wikipedia entry.

He really was a billionaire playboy trying to become a superhero...

Anyhow, it seems that my parents' visit this weekend stunted my chance to meet The Defuser in person when he appeared at Austin Books on Saturday (thanks for the tip, Jim D!) along with Ms. Limelight (she of the unknown powers).

Austin, being what it is, I suppose I shall have other opportunities to meet The Defuser and get his autograph. Perhaps when his comic debuts?

UT puts in a UT-like effort

Saturday UT played the TCU Horned Frogs, and while the first half of the game was mostly not shown due to a really, really good game between A&M and Fresno State, the part of the first half that was shown was kind of grim.

My folks were here, so we cooked out, Matt and Nicole popped over, and I saw less of the game than I would have liked as I got food together.

The second half, however, was a real game as UT's offense woke up and scored something like 34 points to TCU's 3. And that ain't bad.

McCoy simply isn't the same athlete as Vince Young, but, man, he's trying. And Charles and other players looked really good. It should also be noted that UT's defense played a pretty darn good game (with the one TCU touchdown scored as an interception return, I think. I was out cooking burgers on the grill.)

Anyhow, I have a little more faith in UT at this point. I don't ask for even a BCS bowl game, but... man, I want a good showing.

NFL Starts Up

Dallas is playing this evening. Now, I know most folks like to bag on the NFL, but I like it, even though pretty much everything about the presentation of the games is overblown and ridiculous.

It doesn't have the same joy as college ball, but its still fun, and, hey... its not exactly like the first two months of NBA play where folks screw around for about twenty games before they get settled down.

Back to the Gym

Jamie has decided to get in shape. I prefer my shape to be somewhat panda-like, but I do worry when I have to stick my finger on electric sockets every once in a while to get the ol' ticker going again.

Anyhow, I finally made it back to Gold's Gym for the first time since I signed on the dotted line a few months back.

I was pleased that my body was not in screaming agony, and that I rode the elliptical for forty+ minutes. My game plan is to do mostly cardio for a while, and then get on the weight machines in a month or so. We'll see. First things first is making sure I don't wear out on the weight machines ten minutes after getting to the gym.

Jamie's been really impressive lately. She went to the gym without me, she's been eating really well, she and Carla have been hitting some dance classes, and I know she exercises in front of her cd player at home sometimes.

Part of me was also watching The Bourne movies and realizing I couldn't win in a fist fight because I'd probably get winded. That's kind of an uncomfortable realization. So its back to the gym for me.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Dang it!

This morning I was going out to my car and noticed something seemed off. I paused, looked around, and finally saw that the two very nice chairs we had on our porch were gone.

Now, last spring Peabo noted that he had some nice porch chairs stolen from his back porch, and i thought that odd. Porch chairs? Well, Peabo's stuff was of a certain look and feel, and I understand that it's fairly expensive to get the kind of furniture he had.

But The League is a trusting soul. Plus, honestly, that furniture has been there for 10 or 11 months. I just had given up worrying about it. We live on a street that is not really a through-way, so I suspect that someone who either works on our street or visits our street had been coveting our patio chairs. Because, honestly... I don't think my neighbors that I know are big enough jerks to come between midnight and this morning and take our damn chairs, and I get depressed thinking someone would visit our neighborhood in a desperate search for porch chairs. But what the heck do I know?

I HATE getting robbed. Everyone does. A little bit of larceny from a big box store or something I can almost understand, but when you start stealing other people's personal stuff, it just means you think you deserve their stuff more than they deserve it. It's a dickish move. I don't know if people think we're rolling in cash because we had decent porch chairs, or what... but, seriously, Leaguers... I can't afford new @#$%ing porch chairs.

I also am glum that, no doubt, someone will suggest we secure the chairs somehow.

No. That sucks. I am not chaining @#$%ing chairs to the @#$%ing railing. I don't want to live in a world where anything i don't have nailed down is going to walk off.

But I also have two patios. So... next time the furniture goes upstairs. It seems less likely that people will climb the front of my house to steal stuff.

Downstairs? Who knows? I don't want to clutter the porch with furniture so crappy that nobody will want it, but I also want to be able to sit out there.

I do know that it could have been way, way worse. We got mildly robbed when I was in high school, and it wound up with us getting a burglar alarm. I don't recall losing much but a portable CD player in the robbery, but my mom came home before I did that day, and that could have been bad had the crooks still been there. In PHX we got a burglar system right out of the gate.

This incident just reminds me that, despite our two dog security system, we should probably think about getting wired up. Which is a permanent, ongoing expense. Which sucks. And makes me that much further from obtaining new patio furniture.

But I also don't want to come home one night and find all my stuff is missing. Not that anyone is going to successfully steal a few thousand comics, but... Whatever I can do to keep the house from getting ripped off and kepe Jamie safe is a good idea.



Thursday, September 06, 2007

Why for is an iPod not cheaper...?

So Steve Jobs came down from the mountain on Wednesday to announce the latest in Apple's line of i-Devices, an iPod which pretty much is the iPhone, but without a calling plan and a lot less memory.

Those who have seen the interface on the iPhone know its pretty jazzy, and like the Xerox iconographic interface, is probably the watershed for the future of interfaces, especially in the era of the computer that fits into your pocket.

That said, anyone who actually buys the new iPod Touch is a chump.

The thing has a fraction of the memory of the "iPod Classic", and while you can get Wi-Fi on it, it's still pretty darn expensive for something that will be outdated by January. Really, if you already have a calling plan and an iPod and don't need to spend your time at the grocery aisle blogging, there's not a lot of compelling reasons not to wait to see what comes next.

That, and the cost issue we'll get to shortly.

This is not to say there are not compelling reasons to WANT the new iPod... just... wait. Do not give in to the crushing desire to show all your friends how the screen stays level when you turn the iPod around.

What I find particularly irksome is that the lower memory (ie: cheaper iPods) are now disappearing from the line up, or becoming Nanos (ie: the iPod to small for my mitts). Perhaps a Nano is what's in my future.

But, add in the fact that they reduced the cost of the iPhone by $200 (more than the cost of most phones to begin with) within a few months of the initial offering, and... holy cow. Bad form, Apple. Why not just slap a "sucker" sticker on the forehead of your most faithful? I don't know if the iPhone isn't meeting expectations for sales or what, but it doesn't make me want to run out and drop $250 on an 80 GB iPod if its going to be $150 by April.

And that's kind of what's so vexing... When is the right time to get onboard with a new iPod? I don't know.

All I know is that a few years ago they released all those tests you could take to find out if you were an early adopter, cutting edge adopter, or whatever, and I always sort of thought that the folks who buy new technology of any kind when it first hits have either far more enthusiasm or money than me. I like to wait to see if the technology is going to get wide release (remember the mini-cd's we were all supposed to use circa 1996? No? Well, my point... But you could find albums in the format for a while). And, of course, after watching the PS3 just drop its cost, you kind of wonder exactly what the profit margin is on some of these doo-hickeys.

I'm not knocking the iPod. Fer chrissake, I'd love to have a new one. I just sort of question what, exactly, I'm buying from them, and if I shouldn't start looking at my options with other MP3 players. Mostly, I'd be fine with a 60 or 30 GB iPod, so must I carry a Nano?

Pavarotti Merges with the Infinite

Pavarotti, the only opera singer anyone knows outside of Placido Domingo and Jessye Norman, has been recalled to the Pearly Gates.

I own, I think, two CD's featuring Opera. Maybe three...? I'm not exactly an opera buff, but if you were paying attention in the mid-90's, Pavarotti was 1/3rd responsible for a resurgence in interest in the artform.

Plus, he looks like Vultan from Flash Gordon, which is ,in all ways, awesome.

He was bigger than life, had a huge appetite for life, and seemed to have a terrific sense of humor. And he gave chubby guys like me hope that we'd find some talent in ourselves.

Why not pick up Pavarotti in Pagliacci (it's about, as I was once ridiculed for summarizing it, a sad clown).

So long, Pavarotti.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Few Items of Import

Lots of Jason Bourne

I'm not a huge espionage/ spy/ cloak & dagger movie kind of guy. But this week we watched both The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum. At some point I do want to have a Bourne-a-thon as, really, all three movies are one, long movie.

I may also actually check out the Ludlum books at some point. I'm a little curious to see how Ludlum handled the source material.

I did dig the last Bond movie a whole lot, but I think the Bourne movies probably informed the latest Bond more than the other way around.

The movies don't talk down to the audience, they move at a good clip and keep you engaged in the mystery surrounding Bourne. It's pretty good stuff. Jason will bemoan this opinion, but I wasn't a huge fan of the movie Ronin, and I generally feel my interest glazing over when it comes to spy movies and their trailers. Perhaps its the good casts in the Bourne movies (well, I'm a fan of Brian Cox, and I could watch Joan Allen tie her shoes for an hour), or the well choreographed fights and chases...

I dunno.

At any rate, one day they will put all three movies together in a DVD set, and I will buy them.

The Big Bang Theory

This fall CBS is bringing a sitcom to the airwaves featuring a guy I knew back the day, Jim Parsons. Leaguer Anne F. got all up in my grill about my lack of Big bang Theory coverage, and lately they've been placing ads for the show on Yahoo Mail, so I figure now is the time to mention Jim's latest venture in the world of TV.

Here's a link to some promo the show is running.

Here's a link to more info about Jim Parsons.

Here's the show's official site.

You may remember Jim Parsons from such shows as Judging Amy or movies like Garden State. Or that Quizno's commercial where he nursed from a wolf. Anyhow, we're wishing Jim the best of luck, even if his show is at least partially about making fun of socially awkward comic geeks (ahem).

It was good to hear from leaguer Anne F. Hi, Anne!

Jason on Skates

It seems that next Thursday, I shall be on skates. Jason's pals Eric and Stephanie have rented out Skateland for the night before ACL Fest begins.

I have not been on skates for many pounds and many years. Still, I am intrigued. Do my old skating abilities still linger in the back of my mind? Is Jamie still up for a couple's skate?

It's also important to note that Eric, Jason and Reed's band, the Mono E, will be playing hot, hot 80's tunes. Who knows what horrors await us...?

Toad in the House

This evening when we let the dogs back into the house after they had a potty break and treat, a huge toad came in with them. It was a fairly large toad, maybe three inches long and two inches wide, and it just sort of hopped in the back door and under a piece of furniture we have by the back door.

Obviously toads don't bite, and I've played with enough toads as a kid to know there's nothing less risky in nature than picking up our croaking friends, but they do pee all over you when you pick them up.

Anyhow, we got toads in our yard, which is great. They eat bugs. I must read up on how to cultivate a toad population.

Oh, and I got the toad out with an open door and a bit of encouragement with the business end of a broom.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ready to Talk About It

So... UT's first game wasn't so great.

We had a small crowd over for the game, and I did some cooking. I've also pledged never to invite people over and buy beer ever again. People are all too generous with beer (and, as it turns out, shrimp) and we still have quite a bit of beer left in the house.

But... okay, the game. I'm going to leave real analysis of the game to those who (a) know more football, and (b) watched more of the game than I did. Let us just say that while I am glad that we didn't lose to Appalachian State, I'm not exactly burning with confidence about our chances at a national or even conference championship. Both OU and A&M had much better games and didn't lose steam after the first quarter.

UT used to (when VY was there) bulldoze over a team so they simply couldn't keep up anymore in the third and fourth quarters. We gave up yard after yard, finally giving up a touchdown in the last minute.


We're ranked very high, I guess AP still thinking there's enough of the Championship team of two years ago in the team's DNA to put up a good showing. And as much as I think Colt McCoy has a good arm, the Greg Davis DNA in the offense is playing out just as it did during the gutless Chris Simms years.

It's going to be a long year for the Horns and their fans.

The OC and Pavlov

For years the dog's dinner time has been 5:00 PM on the nose. Around 4:30 they might start bugging us and hanging around the pantry, but that will win them no favors. 5:00 is as early as they are going to be fed.

Recently SoapNet moved the OC to 5:00, and Jamie has been watching. So much so, that now the opening piano keys of the OC theme song are now enough to get the dogs up and moving. In fact, with the SoapNet OC marathon today, we may have an opportunity to get the dogs riled up every hour just after the start of the hour.

Kind of sad for both the dogs and Jamie, I think.

Michael comes to town

I first met Michael in 9th grade when Justin Lincoln and I were working on a class project and Michael hung out with us and helped out.

Justin and Mike lived together Freshman year (actually, every year) at UT, and it turned out they were also on my floor (as I was cohabitating with Peabo and my pile of dirty clothes). Justin (JAL), CB, Mike and myself were all RTF majors and spent an inordinate amount of time hanging out.

Then, one day, Michael was graduating, and about that time, he met a girl. A girl in Oklahoma. And, poof, Michael disappeared.

He's been in touch. You'll see his comments here at the League, but I hadn't seen the guy in somewhere around 10 years. Also I don't think he'd ever met Jamie, and I hadn't ever met his wife. Anyhow, we all caught up at Hut's on Sunday. Justin (and his wife), Michael (and his wife), me and Jamie, and CB and Xander. 10 years on, and , for good or ill, it really didn't feel like that much had changed.

We're just one good death away from The Big Chill, I guess.

Anyway, Michael seems to be loving Oklahoma, so I wasn't littering him with questions about when he was coming back, but speaking of...

The In-Laws in San Marcos

Jamie's folks bought a place in San Marcos. It's very close to Wonder World, so its got that going for it.

We're actually pretty excited about them coming down. They won't be down here full time for probably two years or longer, but they now have a base sort of near Austin (and with easy access to the glass bottom boat tours of Aquarena Springs).

It's a really nice house, and I think it will suit them. We've already brought Mel and Lucy down to run in their big back yard. You can always tell when Mel approves of something because his tail doesn't just wag, it goes into a sort of gyrocopter spinning motion.

I have no idea what my own parents are doing in a few years when they wrap up this work business. There's been some talk about Austin, but I'm guessing they wind up in the Woodlands, just north of where I went to high school. We'll see. It's certainly the major topic of conversation whenever we're together.

At any rate, we're happy to know Dick and Judy will be close by soon.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I need HBO

I haven't had much opportunity to catch Flight of the Conchords, but I need to see more of it.

From Nicole

And from Jim, I believe


Hey, remember these guys? Famous for the worst promotional video everywhere?

They just beat Univ. Michigan. Ranked No. 5 Univ. of Michigan.

It all seems like fun and games, this business of bringing in a sucker team to stomp in in your first game to get the alumni pumped up for your billion dollar football program. Until the rubes from Appalachian State accidentally screw up and beat you.

Ah, this football season is already off to an interesting start.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Too Many Comics, once again

Sweet Mother of Moses.

I just got back from the "super secret sale" at Austin Books. Leaguers, $1 back issues are a dangerous, dangerous thing. Anyway, I think I just filled in a pretty good chunk of missing Detective Comics issues from the 80's by the Grant/ Breyfogle creative team, a bunch of 70's era Superman issues, some George Perez Wonder Woman comics and a few other gems. I also got some half-off issues of Jimmy Olsen. All in all, a successful venture in some ways, in other ways, its going to be embarrassing when I can't afford heat this winter.

Here's the kicker:

Jason and I were in line checking out and the owner/ proprietor of Austin Books, Brad, stopped me and said "Hey, you're the Melbotis guy." I am, indeed, the Melbotis guy. You may recall Brad has commented on this very blog before when I wrote about the hall of wonders that is Austin Books. Well, I guess he put my name on my credit card with my grinning face and realized the guy buying too many 70's era Superman books was yours truly.

So that was kind of awesome. Leaguers, the power of my golden retriever pal is the glue that holds this crazy world together.

Anyhow, Austin based Leaguers or mere hangers-on would be interested to know that the sale continues thru Sunday. I sort of thought that unless I got to Austin Books during the super-secret sale, a lot of good stuff might be gone. I'm not sure that's exactly accurate, but it was fun being there with all the rest of the comic geeks on the hunt for deals.

I just got home and the three stars of "Superbad" are on Leno. Jonah Hill was wearing an Alamo Drafthouse shirt with the tell-tale Pam Grier "BadAss Cinema" logo.


And, seriously... WHAT?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Superman/ JLA Rumors

I do not understand how Hollywood works. I don't. I'm an armchair spectator of the entertainment industry no more nor less than your average joe.

But one thing I do keep an eye on are rumors of Superman movies.

Recently, the Superman Homepage ran several items regarding a potential Justice League of America movie. Rumors ran from the notion that Christian Bale and Brandon Routh would not appear as Batman and Superman to the movie being an entirely CGI operation.

Now, whenever rumors like this begin to swirl, it can always be some ill-informed dork or some prankster pulling everyone's leg, but...

Superhero movies cost lots and lots of money. More than the GDP of most countries kind of money. When rumors as various as the ones I've been seeing flying all over the place begin to occur with no confirmation from the studio, it usually means one thing:

Someone is floating an idea to see how the fans respond

Hollywood's recent attention to events like Comic-Con and their slow realization that a reasonably close adaptation of comic book properties can lead to huge ticket and DVD sales has quickly led to the entertainment industry using message boards, websites, etc... as sounding boards for concepts before more than a few dollars are spent.

Now, sites like IESB.net seem to bite on these rumors hook, like and sinker, most likely knowing the rumors are false, but in this world, you have to drive up your hit count if you want ad revenue. There's, no doubt, a lot of mutual scratching of backs going on in there somewhere.

It's not necessarily diabolical. Before I spent $2 million dollars putting Jeff Goldblum into Joker make-up on the tip from the suits at my studio that Goldblum is HOT! right now, I'd want to see if anyone actually agrees. So, you float an unconfirmed studio rumor to IESB.net, and in 24 hours you have enough information to tell you how an audience is going to take to a person in a role. Or, indeed, how folks would like their JLA made up of polygons and gradients.

Alternately, some agents float similar rumors in order to get their client's name in the ring for a "coveted" role like Wonder Woman. (I can't tell you how many e-mails I get per year from various folks telling me who the next Wonder Woman is going to be in the not-even-in-pre-production WW flick).

Recently, the JLA and Superman camps have been floating rumors with an added sense of urgency to drum up some interest in their projects. This week rumors floated regarding the next Superman movie (supposedly titled "Man of Steel", probably to match "The Dark Knight"). Clearly the folks working on the JLA movie would like to just get going on their JLA movie and do not wish for a second Superman movie to get rolling, so wouldn't it behoove them to get folks talking about how absolutely great it would be to see a JLA movie?

There is a point to all this:

For the love of mike... unless you see something in an article with a studio exec going on the record regarding casting, start dates for filming (actors, producers and directors do not count as studio execs), do not believe the articles. People are attacked to projects all the time that never occur (I never got my mid-90's remake of "Harvey" featuring Tom Hanks or my "King Conan" with Gov. Arnold).

WB is trying to move carefully as they work on their potentially lucrative film projects. This includes Superman and JLA, as well as any member of the JLA in a spin-off flick.

So, you know... settle down. It's all hearsay until you see the first set picture.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy 90th Birthday, Jack

Update: an article from the New York Times
credit for link to Jeff Shoemaker

Reading Comics

Nothing is more dull than reading blogging about blogging, but...

So after six weeks or so of consideration, I've decided to pull the plug on my participation with the Fodder Network/ Comic Fodder.

You have to understand that Comic Fodder was a great experience, but... I love my comics. What with a job, friends and family I want to spend time with, and a whole lot of other factors, reviewing up to ten comics in a week can get to be a bit of a grind. I love my comics, and worrying about getting the blogging done every week was making me feel a bit guilty, which sort of makes reading the comics a commitment. And that's sort of always been the opposite of what I had in mind when it came to reading little stories about aliens with an overinflated sense of justice.

I think I gave it a good run. An article I wrote on "what do women want in comics?", which was really just a question more than an article, continues to get hundreds of hits per month. And that's kind of cool. It's nice to know you're giving folks something to read, and it certainly was getting more hits than The League ever receives.

But I was also losing a good chunk of every weekend writing about what a swell comic I find Blue Beetle. Life isn't quite the same here as it was in PHX. I actually have stuff to do here, and I kind of want to enjoy it. And my comics.

There's other stuff I want to try, too, you know. I once wrote some prose stuff. I'd like to finish that. I have stuff I'd like to try to draw myself and try out the Comic Creator software Jason got me for my birthday. I'd like to work on my choreography for "Steanso: A Rock 'n Roll Dance-Splosion!".

Anyhow, it was fun. I gave it a shot. Maybe someday again. In the meantime, you can probably expect to see an increase of comic-related blathering here at the League.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Just some stuff

Wagner is in town, but she's headed for the Flugtag (sp?). I was not terribly tempted to show up. Anything before the 1st week in September is always dicey as per heat index.

In the meantime, here's some stuff.

The Top 10 Poor Man's Versions

Goth's Invade Disneyland.

From the "Bats Day at Disneyland" slideshow at LA Weekly: When the Happiest Place on Earth plays host to the saddest people on Earth ­ and the line for the Haunted Mansion is longer than ever

I'm ditching MySpace as soon as I can bother to find a way to alert folks. I'm moving to Facebook. Hopefully I'll get less spam and fewer ads featuring girls giving me a come-hither glance.

Eric Trautmann, the co-writer on last week's issue of Checkmate, showed up to in the comments section at Comic Fodder and was incredibly gracious. Of course, I heart Checkmate, so it was a lot nicer than had many other writers shown up.

You should read Checkmate, btw. And Blue Beetle.

Josh sends along this:

Nothing better than Finn-language YMCA. Some Leaguers may know, the Steans boys are of 1/2 Finn stock. Watching this video, so much becomes clear.

And the following video is exactly like dinner time at JimD's house.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Happy Birthday to the greatest Dad. Ever.

Sorry I posted on it so late.
Thanks to Steven and Lauren for joining us this evening for dinner. I still need a mint.

Anyway, looks like we may be teaming up to watch the first game of the UT season. Any and all Leaguers are welcome to join us at League HQ for kick-off on September 1st at 6:00 PM. Well, come before that.

We won't provide dinner, but we will provide TV, chips and a maybe a six-pack of beer.

I shall wax rhapsodic upon the arrival of football season soon.

What else?

Oh, I watched this really depressing episode of Nova about Typhoid Mary.

It was an interesting look at the social conditions, class warfare, living conditions and emergence of science in America as a force which could now touch and greatly change people's lives in ways we're still struggling with today. In short, how much liberty DO you have to give up when suddenly confronted with the knowledge that you're a carrier for a disease? Is getting a disease a crime?

Anyhow, there were some re-enactments, which were brief enough that they didn't seem to repaint the picture, and which did a bit more for illustrating the points than a graying talking head re-telling the events. Plus, for some reason, they had Anthony Bourdain as one of the experts. Very odd.

Also did some comic blogging, but most of you guys arent dorky enough to read that, anyway.

Monday, August 20, 2007

If the League were super...

from the Caption Contest currently running at the Superman Homepage

Sleestak Art

Probably because I hit Lady, That's My Skull every day, I had the image of Sleestaks on the brain.

Anyway, hopefully this is something we can all enjoy. Especially candidate Sleestak.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A nice, slow weekend.

I needed a slow, quiet weekend this weekend, though. Having a job, I find, does that to me.

Friday night we never made it out of the house except for an early dinner. I'd managed to leave work at a reasonable time, so it was a nice change of pace, given how the rest of my week had gone. We watched "Batman Begins", and after Jamie went to bed, I watched "When Worlds Collide". I think it's an interesting movie, but I somewhat question some basic premises of the film.

"When Worlds Collide" is a 1950's movie about what happens when astronomers figure out a huge planetoid is headed towards Earth, and when it hits, we're all gonna die. The gameplan is to put people on a giant rocket and shoot them out into space to find a habitable planet.

Now, there's some talk of the financing that would need to occur to make this work, and that strikes me as something sort of odd. I suspect that with the world about to blow up, somehow money really wouldn't be a huge focus. I suspect some folks would try to do the right thing and do everything they could to assist the space ark to give humanity one tiny chance at survival, and a whole lotta other people would go berserk and do a lot of really despicable junk. Because the movie takes place in the 1950's, everyone stands around in suits and talks things through with a lot of product in their hair.

Saturday Jamie went with Carla to a dance class somewhere. I believe they did a lot of arm swinging and hopping, but I'm not sure. All I know is that Jason and I headed to Gus Frugh and floated with Mel and Cassidy (Lucy has an ear infection, so no swimming for her). It was really nice out, and the $10 floating fisherman's hat I recently picked up at Academy worked like a charm. Plus, I could throw it and Mel would retrieve it out of the water.

Late Saturday we saw "Superbad", which was better than I expected. I don't recommend it for the parents, but I thought it was funny, and the story was a good "one night in the life of high schoolers" first spawned with American Graffiti. While as raunchy in its way was "American Pie", the characters feel far more believable than the Tommy Hilfiger models of American Pie (that Apatow touch of casting believable looking actors) as well as not dumping too many over the top stereotypes on the audience (ie: No Stifler, no sexy foreign exchange students).

Today I was worthless. We ran some errands and ate lunch at the charming French stereotype, La Madeline over in Brodie. I don't really get la Madeline. It's incredibly complicated just ordering your food, and then it's kind of expensive for what you get. And, of course, where there was a field a few weeks ago, you're now in a rustic French cafe. Manned by surly high schoolers who take an insane amount of time putting together a cup of French Onion soup. Seriously. Speed it up.

I came home from errands and promptly fell asllep on the couch for over an hour, got up and FINALLY got to the task at hand (which I had planned to do all weekend), and began sorting comics from my downstairs bins in order to bag and board them for entry into Comicpriceguide.com and then filing in a long box.

This, sadly, was the task which was why I asked Steven and Lauren to meet us for dinner Tuesday rather than this evening. I'm a sad, sad dorky man.

Speaking of:

Thursday at work we were working on a course which features a "wizard" who guides learners through a lesson. A media developer, who is a long-time acquaintance of mine, said, "Ryan, you know the difference between a wizard and a sorcerer, right?"
"Man, I don't know." I paused and considered the question. "Why," I finally asked, "do you think I know that?"
"Because you're the dorkmeister."

I am the dorkmeister. Even at work.

I actually brought it up again Friday, and Pat was able to explain that my dorkiness falls into very specific areas, and that my dorkiness doesn't spread to area involving wizards and warlocks. Actually, it kinda/sorta does, but Dungeons and Dragons was long, long ago.

I then found myself talking about how cool Nova is in front of this guy later, and I realized that my reputation is all too well earned.