Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lovely Out

It is freakishly beautiful in Austin today. 70 degrees, clear sky, low humidity, a stiff wind. Went to Auditorium Shores with the dogs. Lucy was like a little black comet, flying all over the place in large elliptical orbits.

It is a Maxfield Parrish kind of day.

Despite what I understood to be a general snobbery concerning Parrish's work, I used to keep this poster on my wall in college. It was nice to have a bit of Parrish sunlight to remind you of days like today.

Blogging will recommence when it is not sunny and/ or very, very nice outside.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A whole mess of stuff

Sorry about the lack of blogging. I was back at College Station again on Tuesday. Its been a busy week already.

Steven applies himself

After several months of working on his grad school applications, he's now hit "submit" on the form. He's applied to a serious Research 1 university or two, and these days, that's a lot more than merely filling out a bubble sheet with your GPA.


The League is actually very interested in seeking graduate education himself in the next few years, and so we're watching Steven with marked interest. We've both been rejected by good graduate schools and accepted by less-good graduate programs. And actually walked away from a graduate degree a few years back when we had a moment of clarity and realized we did not want the degree nor career path we were headed towards.

We hope to once again actually feel its okay to not tempt Steven and Lauren with distraction. But it occurs to us that its now all the more pressing that we get as much Steven and Lauren time as possible fit in as we may be losing them come the fall.

Hmmm. That seems like a poor option.


I @#$%ing love Nannerpuss.

That is all.

Keeping Exotic Animals

I was going to write something kind of mean about the events in Stamford where a woman was attacked by her friend's chimp.

Maybe because I was raised with extremely mild-mannered dogs, as well as animals that were just as happy to bite me as take a meal (see: Perry the Python), and gerbils, fish, turtles and whatever... I've always appreciated dogs in particular for their easy ability to fit into a human lifestyle thanks to their deeply embedded pack mentality.

If my cat, who I know loves me (if sleeping by your head and purring loudly isn't love, I don't want to be right), but occasionally goes nuts and does something dumb, like attack my foot or whatever... what on earth makes people think that keeping a 200lb chimp around the house isn't going to eventually end in disaster? Or the story or two that comes up every year of someone with more money and machismo than brains whose tiger escapes its backyard enclosure and mauls either the owner or some unsuspecting neighbor.

Human fear and ideas about justice almost invariably lead to the animals being put down for doing what animals do. Which is always marked down as "suddenly unpredictable", when that's pretty much what most animals are. If they weren't, we'd all have pumas and pandas in our houses.

I'll never know what possesses people to feel they can or should put others at risk for what seems to be vanity or misplaced belief that they're The Beastmaster. I strongly suspect it has something to do with how far we're removed from a world in which we have a legitimate fear of being eaten by wolves and bears.

Thanks to my Dudes

I have to give a shout out to both JMD and RHPT, who always send me good stuff via e-mail. I don't often post those items, but I am publicly saluting you.

Don't ever change.


Countdown to "media critics" freaking out about Watchmen.

As long as we're going to exploit good comics that KIDS SHOULD NOT READ, it kind of makes me wish they'd do:

Frank Miller and Sienkiewicz's Elektra
Miller's Ronin
Morrison's Invisibles
We3 (perhaps one of my favorite comics of all time, for reasons that would be obvious once you'd read it)
Preacher (which is brilliant stuff, but I would be really upset if my mother accidentally read an issue)

What did I miss?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Secret Identity Revealed

Anyone who spends more than 2 or 3 days at my house will see I watch an alarming amount of Austin's 24-hour news channel, News8Austin. Its all local news, weather, sports, events, etc... And its run the way I think a news channel should be run. It's mostly commentary free, unless they have "commentator" below someone's name, and the anchors and reporters don't freely editorialize.

But its also a small, shoe-string-budget operation where reporters build their portfolio or settle into News8's somewhat odd culture of "Pet of the Week" installments and showing up every time someone puts more than three folding chairs outside and rents a microphone.

This weekend they were taping the Austin Marathon (which may or may not have featured JAL), when photographer Eddie Garcia caught something entering the atmosphere and seemingly burning up. You can watch the video here.

Some speculated that it was part of the satellites which recently collided in orbit. NASA has dismissed all that. They say it was maybe a meteor.

Well, Leaguers. That was me. Its a little difficult to explain what I was doing in the ionosphere in the first place, but let us just say that wrongs needed righting, and I could not let the schemes of my nemesis, Dr. Nefario (aka: RHPT) come to fruition. Indeed, the fate of the world was at stake.

So, yeah, that's me and Lucy heading back to planetside. I didn't know I lit up like that on re-entry. Neat!

Li'l Leaguers

Due to an excellent suggestion by the League's own JMD, we now have a new category! "Li'l Leaguers" will mostly be about superhero and sci-fi stuff such as books, videos, etc... your kids may enjoy. It will probably also occasionally dole out advice on what you may want to avoid as a cautious parent looking to delve into superherodom.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Li'l Leaguers: Superman and Batman in Kid's Books!

Hey, I know there are a lot of Leaguers out there who've got young super-heroes of their own.

It seems Stone Arch Books is publishing a line of children's superhero books featuring The Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader. Art is in the style of the JLU/ Bruce Timm animated format.

Check them out here.

If you buy them and need help pronouncing villain names like Mr. Mxyzptlk, just lemme know. I would have freaking LOVED these as a kid.

I want to salute the guys at They're building a new site and are picking up RSS feeds from comic-related websites and blogs. Rather than merely grabbing my RSS feed, they actually wrote me and asked if it was okay.

It is more than okay. I am pleased to see some people with some basic manners working on a comic-related site. So, unless they suddenly do something awful, the guys at are officially blogrolled here in the Comic Links section, and they have my salute.

Go click on their site and see what's what.

Should be interesting to see how it goes for these guys.

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was nice. Jamie and I don't do much for the day, partially because I'm a little cynical about the industry that seems to double in size every year around the holiday, and partially because (after 13 years of together-ness) I don't think Jamie wants any of the stuff you get at Walgreens. And neither of us want to go to some restaurant and stand around waiting for a table in unpredictable weather for two hours.

We stayed home and Jamie made a wonderful meal. And we got to spend the holiday with Lucy Goose, who was kind of up in our grill because she'd been smelling the spaghetti-preparations all afternoon.

Jamie got a card and a few candy-related items from me. Some of which Lucy Goose got into and ate last night. So... there's that.

Rockin' Sunday

Today was pretty darn lazy. Took Lucy to the park to run her for a while. She Almost immediately lost her ball when she became distracted.

It was sunny, 72 and breezy today, so the park was packed. The past two times we've been I became a little misty eyed as I know how much Mel loved it there, and both times, Lucy has run up to dogs who share Mel's silhouette from afar, only to stop short a few feet from the other dog when she realizes its not him.

I, myself, was a little sad when I said hello to a Golden who wasn't quite as big as Mel, but shared his same, broad shoulders and thick, mid-winter coat. Hit a little close to home, which was odd, because it was triggered completely by touch.

When we got home, I grilled up burgers and Jamie and I watched the end of Star Wars Episodes I and II, and as its been years since I'd watched either one, it was mind-boggling how bad those movies really are.

I did some chores and then headed over to Jason's for a while where Reed, Jason and I played some music. Its been months since I picked up my bass. Honestly, I'd sort of decided it was going to find a home in the back of a closet somewhere or under the bed, but I had a great time this evening. So look for future tours of the band I was informed would be named "Reed, Jason and Platypus".

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cooking with The League

This one is pretty close to how things go down at League HQ on a crazy weekend night. And also fits neatly with how I think about food.

In Brightest Day....

in case you hadn't heard, there's all kinds of colors of Lanterns these days, not just Green ( I also HIGHLY recommend the Green Lantern titles right now). Which color are you?

Go to Quizilla and then report out. Simon and I are Indigo, FYI. Or at least how we see our heroic selves.

I did try it again, and I got "Green", which is awesome, but... anyway, its fun, and its a quick primer on the corps as they stand today

Harry Potter

I am not a "book design" geek, but found this interesting. Stolen from Marshall's blog.

It's just someone goofing around, but its neat.

Hot Velantine's Day Tip

If its getting late and you forgot to get something for that special someone, who doesn't love a good e-Card and a few sticks of Spearmint gum?

Happy Friday the 13th

to my brother!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Still in Aggieland: Day 2

Today's symposium was really, really good.

I have to go to Minnesota to present, and I had no idea how I was going to frame my presentation, but now I think I know. I'll make KP write it, but whatever.

I remembered today that it can be both a great pleasure and incredibly frustrating to sit in a room full of academics/ scholars and discuss technological applications. However, the climate has changed inexplicably since 1997, when I first started working with faculty to implement technology into their teaching. At the time, e-mail addresses were just becoming common among instructors (they didn't want them, because then students would, you know, TALK AT THEM).

The purpose of the symposium was to discuss the transitional period we're in where traditional print forms of scholarly communication (ex: journals) are coming to an end, and the era of open access (ie: free and Google-able) scholarly communication will be the norm for faculty/ academics/ scholars. Printed journals have always been the mode of communication for presenting research, but higher ed institutions have been shy about what it will mean to have that material exist outside of expensive journal subscriptions that usually only wind up in libraries or professional collections. In short, it means people might actually find and read their work who are not researchers. It means its a lot more likely that in five years that when you Google, say, "Thermopylae", you might get legitimate, peer-reviewed research just past the Wikipedia entry.

Good stuff.

And that's sort of what my organization does, as well as preserving other tools for scholars to use for communicating with other scholars. And, of course, we're a library, so hosted repositories for all this stuff.

Faculty tend to be a bit uneasy about giving up on traditional communication. And they're in a unique position to be as slow to adopt as they like, because they're really their own self-policing organization. But when a top-tier school like Harvard throws down the gauntlet, and they have, it means everyone else will soon fall into line.

What I learned today, which had left me very confused about how all this works, is how the financial picture works. And the reality is, there's a lot less money changing hands in all this journal printing than I'd assumed, so the opportunities for going digital are a lot better than I'd hoped. Which also raises some questions about a possible adoption of an open conference and open manuscript system.

So, anyway, that's what I'm doing for a living these days. Beats digging ditches.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines

I'm at TAMU. That's Texas A&M University for those of us in the university collaboration business.

It's very... open here. The buildings are very far apart. Neither UT nor ASU were designed with so much... openness in mind.

The dinner tonight was very nice, and the folks we met were friendly (we being me and Kristi from my office), including a special guest who was sort of accidentally seated with us.

I guess Kristi worked at the TAMU press in undergrad, and so she ran into old work colleagues and family friends. It pays to bring KP with you on trips. I will remember that.

I am tired.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things that College Students Do

1) Try to just walk into my office. It's weird. The light is on, there are no study lounges on my floor, but every once in a while, they start just pulling on my door and trying to get in. The door is always locked because I use the main door to the office suite, not the door in my office that empties to the hallway. My door isn't really marked except for a number, but... I guess I mostly get creeped out at what they might be doing in there if they found the door open.

2) Talk loudly on their cell phones about @#$% that doesn't matter. Which, yeah, no kidding... But, Leaguers, I work in a library. You understood how a library worked when you were in school, no? Apparently, that particular people skill went away with the invention of the iPhone with its goofy cable microphone dealy-o. Which they all hold to their faces and shout at the mouthpiece. Also, that makes you look stupid. Which is just slightly better than wearing the blue-ttoth earpiece and looking like a maniac walking down the street yammering to yourself.

3) Make liberal use of the public bathrooms. I was a little confused when informed we had an employees bathroom tucked away around the corner. But more than once, I've entered the public bathroom to find people bathing in the sink/ using the bathroom as if it were in their apartment.

4) Not press the button at the crosswalk so that when the light changes, the indicator says "walk" and you get the right of way. I don't think this should be a part of primary education, along with "how do you exit a bus", but how does one reach college age and make it into the top 10% of their class and not understand how buttons or cross walks work?

5) For some reason, Asian female students always travel in pairs. Always. Just an observation. But somehow these pairs don't hit the button at the crosswalk between the two of them, either.

6) Not seem to know how to order a cup of coffee. The menu is up there, where its been the ten minutes we've been standing in line, sir.

7) Dress up the first week of school in all their new clothes they got for Christmas, and then its back to sweats.

8) Get the hell out of your way when you step off the elevator with any conviction.

9) Either they don't check the weather before they leave, or they take seasonally inappropriate dress as some sign of machismo. Even if its 32 degrees outside, there's always some dudes running around in nothing but shorts and t-shirts. It kind of makes it seem that given ample evidence, these young minds still cannot make an appropriate decision and makes you believe they really DO need their mother to dress them.

10) Stand around talking, loitering in odd places, having lengthy, important conversations, using $0.25 words they just learned in class having the sorts of discussions that, once they're actually working for a living, that they will never have again. That's actually fine. Someone's gotta do it.

special bonus item for Valentine's Day: I see a LOT of dudes walking a half-step behind some young lady, talking entirely too much, sort of following around a co-ed (often who are out of their league) who seems like she's only half-listening. These poor dudes seem to believe that as long as their mouths keep running, the girl may not like them, but she can't get away. And maybe, just maybe, they'll wear her down. And they will find love... *sigh...*

Monday, February 09, 2009

Off to TAMU

On Wednesday I am off to Texas A&M University for a few glorious days of symposiuming (I made that word up. If you use it, you owe me a dime.). As you may guess, the symposium is work related, so I will need to be on my best behavior.

I hope to catch up with some College Station-bound work buddies while I'm there, and I guess I'm going to a couple of dinners sponsored by the event. Which should be... rocking?

I haven't been to a conference in a while, especially not one so laser-focused on my current work. Should be fun, says I.

When I disappear mid-week from blogging, you'll know why.

Jon & Kate Plus 8

There's this show on basic cable about this couple who had twins already, then went on fertility treatments to have another kid and wound up with six more, for a total of eight.

My fascination with the show is somewhat morbid, as I sort of wonder not if, but when the show is going to fall apart because the titular Jon will finally decide he has had it with his wife and runs off to Tahiti with a dancer named "Tanqueray".

Initially, I think Jamie believed I was being a jerk about the whole thing, but upon further inspection, she too learned that "Kate" has decided the show is her public platform for slowly eating away at the poor dude's soul. One certainly gets the feeling Jon is used to his wife's humiliating treatment, but... seriously, Leaguers. It's pretty frikkin' rough. And while they've saddled themselves with 8 kids, were Jon to seek a legal conclusion to their marriage, he'd have hundreds of hours of video to turn to as Exhibit A as to why a divorce is a pretty good idea. No court in the land would be on her side.

On a cute TLC show about the trials of an oversized family, one shouldn't wonder if you're crossing a line from "sassy" to "emotionally abusive". Because, seriously, if that were Jon talking that way to Kate, people would be up in arms.

I look forward to the day when we all find out Jon fled on a very special episode of "Kate Plus 8 (minus Jon and his Income)".

But I will watch the spin-off series "Jon and Tanqueray Minus a Vas Deferens Flee to a Non-Extradition Nation".

Comic Fodder Column up.

Miss Melbotis

As good a company as I find Lucy and Jeff, its tough to replace Mel's editorializing and personality. While generally in an excellent mood, he also wasn't afraid to let you know what he was thinking. I think I need that to keep me in line.

Anyway, its been well over a month now, but you find you still miss him in small ways all the time.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

laaaaaazy weekend

I've been sort of tired since, oh... New Years. So this weekend I vowed to take it terribly easy. And let me tell you, Leaguers... when you set your sites on not doing anything, its not always as easy to achieve as you'd think. Somehow doing something always seems to crop up.

But after my pre-planned busy Saturday morning, I think I more or less achieved my goal of not doing a whole lot. Including an accidental nap when I saw down with Lucy to read some comics. Sure, I tidied some and worked on my taxes (my portion is usually just entering my W2 info), but today was sort of a day of epic puttering.

We did watch two different movies this weekend. "Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" and "Dark Knight". "Harold and Kumar" was pretty much what you'd expect if you saw the first movie, and "Dark Knight" holds up stunningly well on a third viewing. In fact, some of the dialog regarding the final conclusions drawn by Batman and Gordon made significantly more sense this time around (even though I basically caught the gist of it the first two times). I think the difference is that I didn't feel like I'd just walked off a horrendously turbulent jet ride when they reach that point in the film this time around.

I think I'm still a little bitter that Dark Knight didn't wind up with more awards-show attention, but whatever.

Anyway, I'm off to putter even more.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Volunteering at AFB

Okie dokie...

I went to the Austin Food Bank this morning, and aside from getting a little schwetty, the work was really very pleasant. We listened to music, chatted a bit, and it was pretty low pressure.

Our little crew first bagged 160 packages of food that had some specific destination, then we sorted huge, huge crates of canned fruit into smaller boxes for distribution. if you can count to 30, then you would do well at the Austin food Bank.

I am going to go ahead and put this out there:

If you would like to maybe volunteer with The League, e-mail me, and I will get us a group sign up. I can't promise you a specific date but it would probably be in two or three weeks, and probably in the morning from 9-12 down south near us.

So e-mail me if you're interested. If you would rather do the afternoon, let me know. We can be flexible.

Presidential Language

It seems that President Obama did the narration for the audio versions of his own books, which makes complete sense.

What makes it interesting is when the President starts quoting other people. Other people who might have more of a, shall we say, common manner of speech than what we normally associate with the leader of the free world.

Needless to say, our more sensitive Leaguers will want to bypass this link. So, Judy, do not click here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Peabo Ruins it For Everyone.

You know, Peabo, when I ask for people to indulge their dreams of avarice, saying you would spend your $20 million taking a "trip to one of the poorest orphanages in Mexico or Central America, spend a week there to see what its like for those kids" sort of makes me regret my "Skybox for UT football games" reponse.

Screw you and your forcing me to have a moment of introspection.

Confessions of a Shop-a-Holic

Here's a movie that already seems like a relic from a by-gone era of about six months ago.

Ha ha ha... remember when people had money?

600,000 people lost their jobs last month. Suddenly some bobble-head taking up a job so she can bankroll her shoe fetish instead of someone feeding their three kids doesn't seem so adorable.

Also... stop it. We don't need third generation photocopies of "The Devil Wears Prada" meets "Sex in the City" for tweens. Just... stop it.

Anyone using the phrase "holic" always reminds me of this Onion article.


Jamie recently took a look at our expenses versus my take-home. We're doing okay, but it does do quite a bit to slow you down in your tracks.

I guess the part that's tough is figuring out how much I can actually spend on comics per month. I mean, what's food and shelter, right...? But I am going to have to curtail some expenditures, and comics are the obvious luxury item.


I need to figure out how I can get comp copies that reviewers receive. So, I guess look forward to The League's transformation into an all-comic reviews site heavy with advertising. Not really.

But that trip to Hawaii seems incredibly far off at this point.

We may have to sell Jeff the Cat.


I found this strip well suited to my tastes.


is no longer at our house as she's gone home to Jason after a few days at the cousin-dog house.

I shall miss her enthusiasm at my appearance each time I descend the stairs.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bloom County Collected!

Comic publishing company IDW, who made their bones with horror comic "30 Days of Night" has scored a major win, by grabbing the license to reprint the entire run of Berkely Breathed's comic series "Bloom County" in its entirety.

Heidi talks about it here.

It's hard to gauge what an impact the series had on me as a kid, and how much Breathed's absurdist viewpoint impacted how I understood the world beyond Pencewood Drive as I was growing up. I routinely had to check the paper, watch the news or check with my parents as to who certain figures were that appeared in the strip as political or pop culture figures (I wasn't entire sure who Tip O'Neill or Jeane Kirkpatrick might be, for example). Nor was the a-political Steans-Clan much of a place where such figures would have otherwise come up in conversation. This was, of course, all pre-useful-internet.

The political aspect was just a percentage of what one could expect. In order to get Breathed's take to work, he filled his world with rock bands featuring tubas, penguins, and tongue-playing cats. An ex-UT frat boy named, appropriately, Steve Dallas (Breathed introduced the character in a strip in the Daily Texan while attending UT). A personal computer that talked back. A divorcee and his son with a working anxiety closet. And a curious lot of commentary about smoking. The cast was not averse to piloting a wheelchair as they role-played Star Trek. And the ever-wise-for-his-age Milo Bloom. Most of it worked. Not all of it did. But a strip or two later the comic was back to cruising speed.

Bloom County was the comic strip that bridged the period when I sort of lost interest in "Garfield" or "Hi & Lois" and found my interest in even Beetle Bailey dwindling. It was just as I was getting into "The Far Side", but probably pre-dated "Calvin and Hobbes" and others. And as simply brilliant as Gary Larson could be in a single panel, or as much as Watterson could turn from chaotic hilarity in one panel to wistful walks in the meadow the next, Breathed built a world of characters with distinct personality, voices, viewpoints and was able to take on any and all topics from "Knight Rider" to Televangelists to why kids listen to metal instead of Billy Joel.

I'm also a particular fan of Breathed's cartooning style, which would barely survive in the strip sizes of today (think about how blocky strips like "Foxtrot" have become so that the images are legible. Of course, Bloom County was never exactly Prince Valiant, either.). Contemporary to Guisewhite's "Cathy", and her stock five poses, and two faces, Breathed's characters had hair, held deeply descriptive body language in their poses and expressions, and existed in a fish-eyed, detailed environment on Sundays or when Breathed needed room to play. Character design was specific and meaningful. And characters leaned, sprawled across and interacted with their environment.

One of my treasured collections is still the "Complete Calvin and Hobbes". I'm slowly building up a run of the Complete Peanuts. And one day hope to obtain the mammoth Complete Far Side collection as well. But that bookshelf would never feel complete without Bloom County as the main attraction, and the opportunity to flip open the pages and re-visit the residents of that creaky, improbably constructed boardinghouse.

Here's a set of strips that are kind of interesting in light of recent events.

I'm not sure I'd point to Achewood as a direct heir to Bloom County, but the large cast of (animal) characters with separate view points, and who do not have to have their lives invaded by Mary Worth is something of a genetic line, I think. Many compared "Bloom County" to Trudeau's "Doonesbury", and there were some similarities as Doonesbury took on political humor, and occasionally featured non-human players. Both addressed issues in the news beyond the political, but Trudeau's satire was a sort of generational thing, aimed pretty squarely at himself and his peers (as I saw it), where one didn't know what one would expect from Bloom County from week to week, be it Star Trek gags, an attempt to stop Steve's smoking, Opus' engagement to Lola Granola...

The comic is not to everyone's taste (I don't think The Admiral ever cracked a smile at the strip), and these days it reads as a time capsule of the day's headlines, anxieties, fads, phobias and cynicisms that younger readers may not entirely recall or understand. Do they even know the weight of a phrase like "Jim and Tammy"? Or why we thought introducing Bill the Cat to sell merchandise to the masses (as originally presented by Milo) would be hilarious?

If a collection of Bloom County is possible, then perhaps the follow up series of Outland and Opus? And maybe the UT strip, Academia Waltz? Who knows?

Anyhow, I'm pretty excited.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

No post this evening.

I'm actually kind of tired and want to turn in early.

Here's an Alex Ross interpretation of The Amazing Amazon.

Because I don't want to leave you with nothing to read:

You have just won a sweepstakes and, after taxes, will have $20 million dollars.

Let's assume that, as a great humanitarian, you've already given a truckload to charity. After paying off your house, loans, bookie, etc...

1) What are the three luxuries that you would allow yourself in the first week?

2) What are two items you would never buy, even with all that dough?

3) Would you keep showing up at work?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

many topics

Dogs (Mine and those of others)

Cassidy is here. We never bothered to move the couches back after the Superbowl on Sunday, and with two dogs in the house, I'm not very inclined to do so. Everyone kind of gets a spot.

Lucy has been much better after her misfire with the rawhide bone the other week. She's been back to normal speed for a while. I do fear she's getting really, really spoiled these days in Mel's absence and with Jeff the Cat spending more time upstairs and peacefully snoozing during the day.

For those of you who missed it, TST has brought a pup into her own life by adopting a retired greyhound. Before Lucy, Jamie and I had talked long and hard about doing the same, as... hey! it's a dog that's already been trained. And they have a great disposition. Unfortunately, we also read in more than one place that they can chase cats. So if you want to blame someone, blame Jeff.

I am thrilled for TST and her new pal. I believe his name is Holley. May they take over Houston together.

Work is Busy

Work has finally caught up with me. I still really like my job, but I'm past the honeymoon period and its work. I have to plan months out. I need to not screw up.

It's a good thing.

The Boss

I think Jason will be trying to get us tickets to see Springsteen. Jamie will, most likely, not go.


I want to take Jamie to Hawaii this year. I want to see her dance about in a grass skirt with a wreath of brightly colored flowers atop her noggin. And we should sip fruity drinks in a lounge chair at 6:00 pm.

Is it totally evil that I hope things sink a little lower so I can actually afford to take my wife on a single vacation in this lifetime?

That said, I am dreading (absolutely dreading) the flight. So I can wait.


Friends at my former employing university are on staggered furloughs. If you don't know what this means, it translates thusly: They are not getting paid to work, so the university is sending them away in blocks of time that will, hopefully, not impact the university too greatly. But, basically, everyone is seeing their salaries decreased.

When they start talking about "freezing tuition" at universities, beware. And when you vote for people who vote against supporting university funding, also ponder what that means. Universities need funding for everything from test tubes to trash bags to handicap parking spot paint. When you have no state funding, and you have no tuition money, you're left with the kindness of strangers supporting your favorite university. And when those strangers realize their pockets are empty...?

There's a slight chance that people might not be able to graduate this semester at that school I mentioned if the furloughs get longer, wider, deeper, what-have-you.

Universities get funded from somewhere. And while tuition is expensive, those fees barely begin to cover the total expenses of most schools. Schools like the University of Texas are hard to understand to the outside observer. We can all agree we need the school for the educational aspect, and we can agree that we need something beyond a "teaching college", but its hard to understand the value of the scholarship, research, etc... going on.

Anyway, its easy to be cavalier about Universities and the fact that they cost money, but its a complicated eco-system. If you're concerned its all a bunch of communism, then I'd point to how universities get their rankings, research funding, etc... in what's a pretty straightforward system of meritocracy. In order to draw the right talent (which equates to rankings and research dollars), you gotta have the dough. So if you want your degree to be worth something (or your kid's degree), it costs money. So ponder what having Stanford has meant to Palo Alto, or what having UT has meant to Austin and its industry. Or what the Research Triangle means to North Carolina as per producing talent, which attracts companies, etc... Its an eco-system, and all of these things need each other.

With such a terrific tradition of public higher education in this country, its my sincere hope that a university education does not return to pre-WWII levels of being accessible almost exclusively to the wealthy. Or that public institutions become second class universities.

Music is Hope at the End of the World (or: Superman Sings!)

Dr. K's 100-Page Super Spectacular: Final Crisis Post Mortem Interlude: The Song at the End of the World

This will mean nothing to you if you're not reading DC's event comic, Final Crisis, but...

My attempt to identify the song that's the secret of life?

I never do these memes. Bear with me.