Friday, September 29, 2006

Link Dump, Sept '06

I don't want to talk about it.

Here's Mat Weddle - "Hey Ya" (Cover) from YouTube, the one that mixes in the original video. It's been my obsession this afternoon. I always thought the original version was a lot of fun, but this one seems to have more pathos to it.

The Veronica Mars season premier. I won't be complaining next Tuesday about missing the show.

The creepiness of bunnies yawning.

Two bits about fan reaction to things. One is "Entitlement and the Modern Fandom" and the other is "Fandamentalism." Both are geared toward comic fans, but they relate to many different types of fans out there.

Straczynski and Zabel's Star Trek re-boot proposal from 2004. Reading it made me wonder what the other four seasons of Dark Skies would have been like.

The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny because who doesn't like to see a Care Bear Stare nail Jackie Chan and Abe Lincoln? It's been passed around for a while, but we can always use a reminder.

A memo that helps to explain why the South Park movie came out the way it did.

Kevin Smith's Career Highlights as told by the people at The Onion.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I dreamed that the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy referred to whales as "dolphins with down syndrome."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So, TV

Well, tonight begins the (probable) last season of Gilmore Girls and I won't be there to see it.


(I do have TV, this time, but it uses bunny ears and only gets three channels, one of which is the Spanish station. I was going to try for that Comcast deal where it's like $30 a month for cable, internet, and phone service for 12 months, but they don't offer the phone service here, yet, and that means no deal for me.)

I'm really curious about this new season because it's the first where the show isn't run by its creator and her husband. And, although I'm in the minority, thought last season was consistent with its characters (see this stuff here) and was pretty good over all.

The buzz on the show is mixed, some hate it some think it’s just what it has always been. I'm hoping for the latter, but probably won't know for myself until this season is on DVD, but that won't be for another 10-12 months.

Oh, well.

Instead of dwelling on it, I'm going to go and see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest for only $4.50 and after the movie I'll dwell on missing a favorite TV show.

Next Week: I can't believe I'm missing the season premiere of Veronica Mars. Why can't I just be like a normal American and luxuriate in growing debt instead of wanting to get read of it?

*eye roll*

TMSV came into work yesterday, beaming, and said, "Happy autumn solstice, everyone."

Last winter she talked about the equinox. In the spring she got excited about all the solstice festivals. During summer she said it was her favorite equinox. I corrected her each of those times and even pointed out the similarities between the words "equal" and "equinox" and how "equal" relates to spring and fall, not summer an winter.

Yesterday, I didn't correct her.

It's her lifestyle choice, after all.

Comic Book Monday Continued To Tuesday

Here I go again.

Great for hiding faces, bad for movement, it's just that simple. The cowl can put broad strokes over features of the head watering down the details of a face, but it, by definition, is attached to something else, a cape or the suit itself are the most obvious examples, and that makes it hard to turn the head. It's a bad choice.

They may look good, but they'd only get in the way. Heavy material would be a drag on a hero and light material is harder to control and is more likely to get caught on things. Capes can not serve any purpose that's it's worth getting tangled and strangled over.

The only way a mask would be a good idea is if it were made to have eyeholes large enough to allow full range of vision with the eyes, with or without goggles. Goggles could cause a problem due to smudging, scratching, cracking, and possibly warping vision, but those problems are acceptable because they'd provide so much extra protection they'd add to the eyes. Personally, I'd go for goggles since they could be made to my prescription as well.

The standard reason for a superhero to wear gloves is so they don't leave finger prints so they can protect their identities, right? I get that. The problem is, though, that gloves dull the sensations to fingertips and that makes it harder to do certain things. To cope I suppose a hero could find some ultra thin material to allow more feeling, but any material will smooth out the hands and make them slicker than they usually are, I don't want to see Nightwing jump off the roof of one building grab the fire escape on the one he aimed for only to slip off and fall to his death, or severe back trauma, because of his gloves. Some sort of grips could be added to the gloves, but that interferes with fingers being able to feel anything. I've worn gloves with little rubber grippers on them, all I could feel were the grippers pressing into my palms and finger tips. And then there are the heroes, Batman and Captain America come to mind, who look like they have leather gloves on, leather gloves do not allow for much movement of the fingers, even with lots of use. I don't think that, in the real world, gloves would be useful for superheroes, except when it's cold, but that's just common sense.

We all know the problem with female characters wearing high heels, right? We know it's stupid to expect someone, in real or fictional life, in those things to jump off of buildings, land perfectly, and chase after someone, right? (Frankly, I think heels are stupid in general and high heels in particular. It's just unfortunate that they make people appear taller which usually gives them confidence.) So, on a real life hero, no high heels. (Although I do like that American Maid, from The Tick cartoon, used hers as weapons. That was awesome.) No boots, either. It's insane that Robin wears things that look like boots. Those are not the sort of things that anyone should wear boots while performing acrobatic stunts and running across narrow walk ways. Some sort of soft, high lacing slipper thing that has a soft rubber soul would make more sense, it just wouldn't last long being treated that brutally on hard, rough surfaces. And then there's the problem with the runners. There are tons of different kinds of shoes built for runners, but how many of them can stand up to running thousands of miles a day at speeds faster than 700 MPH? Going barefoot wouldn't work for a runner either because it would just tear up the soles of their feet because their moving too fast on surfaces that too rough for calluses to build and any calluses that were built would probably be ripped off after the third step because there's just so much force the skin couldn't hold up (unless the person is (nigh-)invulnerable, I guess).

Utility Belt:
Nope, bad idea. To be of any use the belt needs pouches large enough to carry the equipment the hero needs, but strapping those around the waist limits movement. It must be so uncomfortable for Batman to sit down with his belt on. I have no idea what would be good for a hero to carry, but the best I could come up with was the pouch Jack-in-the-Box carries, but it seem like there'd be too many opportunities for it to get snagged or lost, and no one who depends on equipment wants to be without it. The best idea is not to be a superhero without superpowers, if you depend on equipment too much, expect it to get lost, stolen, and broken, with or without a utility belt.

Heavy, limits movement, requires lots of upkeep. Unless you're a hero who's going to stand there and hope the criminal runs over to you and surrender, you're screwed. Even super strong heroes would have trouble with armor because they wouldn't want to be so rough that they rip the armor apart. Electronic armor, like Iron Man's, would be even worse because it depends too much on power to keep it running, cut off its power supply and the person inside is screwed, he or she can't even lift a leg and may not even be able to get out of the armor. Avoid armor at all cost.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Comic Book Monday

Over the weekend, I spent more time than I should have thinking about the costumes that superheroes wear. (It's all due to Ragnell and her post at Blog@Newsarama and then the one at her own blog about Arisia's new costume (or uniform, if you want to be that way).) Not in the same way as Ragnell because, for the most part, I don't mind extra skin (although I do like changes in costumes to show changes in maturities if the character is supposed to be becoming more mature mentally, I'm looking forward to the day Supergirl grows up and lowers her shirt). No, I've been thinking about the practicality of the costumes they wear.

The first place I started was with the skin tight spandex. Is that really practical?

For the heroes who spend lots of time in space, I think it's exactly right. A thin layer of material pressing against the body could provide a decent pressure suit keeping the blood vessels in the skin from bursting and causing bruising and other problems. If the material also insulates and regulates body temperature and perspiration, then there's no need to wear anything else.

For heroes who spend most of their time on Earth, I'm not so sure.

Runners, like the Flash, it makes sense since spandex would cut down on wind resistance and would be less likely to be shredded by air moving past, but what about the friction created by the body while moving? Wouldn't the armpits and crotch area be worn out right away? I'm also guessing it wouldn't provide much, if any, support for female runners, which probably isn't a great idea. (Well, a sports bra thing would work, but then they'd have to be drawn with flatter chests, and that's not going to be happening anytime soon.) I guess a special material would have to be made that can't be worn away while running. (Unless, of course, the runners' sweat is also a lubricant that soaks through the costume and provides a nearly frictionless glide.) (An aside, while I liked the design of the Kingdom Come Flash, I always thought his nudity would be a problem because running at those speeds with no support, his junk must bounce around something fierce.) I also assume that runners create a lot of heat, which keeps them at a comfortable temperature all the time. Which leads to...

Heroes who aren't runners or nigh-invulnerable probably shouldn't be wearing spandex because that stuff provides no protection from the wind or cold. Take Nightwing, he does a lot of waiting on rooftops and skulking around at night (or he should, at least), that's a cold place to be. While he's running around chasing guys and doing crazy flips off of buildings he'll be nice and warm, also sweaty, but when he stops and a breeze comes through, his teeth'd be chattering so hard they might chip. What if it gets caught on something? How annoying would that be? (Although not as bad as other items, which will be discussed later.)

The (nigh-)invulnerable heroes who don't really feel changes in temperature can get away with the spandex because if they're not feeling it, it must not be happening, right?

Work is almost over, so I'll have more costume conundrums tomorrow, including, but not limited to, cowls and capes.


Claimed because I'm bored and I don't want to work and I don't want to write and I don't want to read.
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Friday, September 22, 2006

Surrogate Family Syndrome

While at work:
  • Are there birthday celebrations which include a cake, singing, and small talk on every birthday?
  • Are gifts mandatory when a co-worker's grandchild is born?
  • Do "Get Well" cards get passed around when someone is sick longer than three days?
  • Does the whole office "chip in" to buy flowers for a co-worker who attended a funeral?
  • Does the office become divided over issues about the copy machine, printers, or who cleans the refrigerator in the break room?
  • Is there an office luncheon when someone is promoted, transfers to another department, moves, or finds a better job?
  • Are you expected to socialize with co-workers outside of the office and pay for your own drinks?
Do you enjoy or become passionate about these any of these activities?

If so, you may have Surrogate Family Syndrome (SFS).

SFS is a disease that comes on suddenly for some people and creeps up slowly on others. People with SFS often don't even know they have it.

Symptoms include:
  • Purchasing of birthday/get well/congratulation cards.
  • Collecting money for cake, doughnuts, or pizza.
  • Harassing others to chip in for any of the above.
  • Organizing office karaoke nights.
  • Shouting at a co-worker for talking about how certain others never refill the paper in the printer or copy machine.
  • Encouraging people to join the "team" even though your office doesn't have or sponsor any sports teams.
If you are not experiencing any of these symptoms, good for you, but be wary, SFS may be creeping up on you.

If you have stopped complaining about the useless, time consuming celebrations and the expectations to chip in for the gift, if you feel the urge to volunteer to pick-up the doughnuts, if you talk about office karaoke night without irony, if you attend office karaoke night and sing or buy everyone a round, or if you find the people you work with becoming the only people you choose to socialize with, you are on the path to a full blown case of SFS.

To keep SFS from developing, here are some things you should do:
  • Spend time with people who are not your coworkers: a spouse, a girlfriend or boyfriend, your children, old friends, or maybe even a family member.
  • Do not sing at any birthday celebration.
  • When non-birthday celebrations occur take food, but return immediately to your desk on the pretense that you have work.
  • Do not chip in, no matter what.
  • Sign all cards with clichés such as "Happy Birthday." or "Get well soon." If the chance occurs, write "Have a nice summer." and use a smiley face or a heart to dot the "i."
  • Never attend an outside of work office get together that isn't thrown by your boss and therefore may as well be a work assignment.
  • Always fill the printer and copy machine with paper.
  • Do not store any food or other items in the break room refrigerator for more than one day. Make sure your items are out of the fridge every Friday.
SFS has been known to destroy people's lives before they even had a chance at developing one. If you or anyone you care about has developed any of the symptoms listed above, please get them help.

Surrogate Family Syndrome is a preventable and curable disease, please help us to wipe it out.

Brought to you by People Who Think Work Should Be About Work And Not About Creating A New Family That Has More Assholes And Fuckwits In It Than The Family You Were Born Into.

In Comic News

Marvel sure did prove which side is the correct side in this weeks issue of Civil War, didn't it?

To spoil it, since I don't think anyone who visits here care's about the comic, Iron Man's pro-Registration team is going to be using the help of super villians like Venom and Bullseye and that guy with the flaming pumpkin head who doesn't chase Ichabod Crane around and others.

The book tries to be "objective" by having the mother of the killed Goliath say her son was breaking the law, but come on? Who out there (in the Marvel Universe or the regular universe) thinks the team that uses convicted killers is the correct side?

So much for showing how both sides can be right.

(And for the record, in the comic book universe, I'm on Captain America's side because I know the heroes are heroes and even a government trained super team could have a super villian blow-up in a school. Then what good would the Registration act do?

In real life, things would be quite a bit fuzzier.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Question Asked

99% chance the question has been read by now.

0% chance there is an answer right now.

100% chance I can wait.

50% chance of an actual answer.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Eighteen Months

I remember reading or hearing that 28 is the best time to get married and start having kids because that's the point in a person's life that everything is starting to come together and stabilize.

I guess that means I have about eighteen months to get over my personal problems and find a girl who'll put up with me for, presumably, the rest of her life.

At least my shit will be together by the end of those eighteen months even if I'm not married, right? Right?

Well, shit.

Today is just one of those days where I want to say "fuck you" to each and every person I see. I want to make them all miserable.

There is no logic to this. It just is.


So much for answers, eh?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

2 Questions

1. Is it possible to ask a person, though e-mail, who you sort of know an intensly personal question without upsetting the person?

2. Would it help to first ask the person if it's okay to ask a personal question?

Fun With Legal Documents

So, I was checking out Newsarama, as usual, and I saw an article titled "ELLISON SUES FANTAGRAPHICS." In the article is a link to the complaint filed in Los Angeles, which I simply had to read.

It's much more entertaining than I thought it would be. Here are some of my favorite parts:

Paragraph 1

"Harlan Ellison, a Los Angeles resident, is a famous author, screenwriter, commentator and public speaker."

". . . known publicly as the writer of some of the best loved original Star Trek and Out Limits episodes."
". . . Ellison is a well-know fearless champion of artist's rights . . ."

Paragraph 2

"Fantagraphics is a tiny but hostile publishing outfit which both men, Goth and Thompson, run out of their shared home in Seattle."

Paragraph 4

"The interview was characteristically candid, and Ellison provided Goth with a long, controversial and gripping piece."

Paragraph 5

"Specifically, for example, Ellison suggested one would have to be a 'derange-o' and/or 'bugfuck' to write like Fleisher."

Paragraph 6

"These offhanded if provocative remarks were quite clearly non-actionable 'opinions' about Fleisher's writing and its laudable literary origins . . ."

Paragraph 7

" have it made plain in the courtroom hallway that it was Ellison's contribution that had saved Groth from a large damage award proved too much for the immature and now furious Groth to bear."

Paragraph 8

"In most regards Groth has been cowardly about his 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' routine with Ellison . . ."

Paragraph 9

"Groth's First Big Lie"

Paragraph 10

"However, Groth did not reveal this fact to Ellison and Groth continued to receive and happily spend check from Ellison for his own selfish purposes."

Paragraph 14

"These defamatory remarks demonstrate a fecklessness clearly intended to trash Ellison's fifty year long honorable and distinguished career."

"All appeals to the defendants to cease and desist, to retract and correct . . . were met with arrogance, insult, threats, or silence."

Paragraph 15 takes a huge shift in writing style and tone. Suddenly it's in legalese.

Now I don't know much, if anything, about the feud between Fantagraphics and Ellison and I do think he's written some excellent Science Fiction in his life time, but I still think some of the "fun" from a legal document should be shared.

I'm not the first and I won't be the last to throw this around the blogohedron, but the farther it goes, the funnier it'll get.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Okay, give me a useless task, and I will complete it, but I still resevere the right to mutter, "Fuck you you horrible bitch." as I walk around the office.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This Is A Wonderful Idea

NRAMA: Sounds like you had a family that encouraged you.

EVS: Yeah, they always did. Before we could read or write, my mom had this idea to give us all blank journals. And the whole idea was that she would ask us at the end of each day, why don't you draw a picture of what you did today or what you were thinking about today? And she would give us some crayons, and we would fill up a page. And then she would ask us what it was we had drawn, and she would write down verbatim what we said.

Now I have these wonderful picture journals with some of my earliest drawings, from when I was three or four, with my actual words written out by my mom. So from a very early age, I was encouraged to tell stories with pictures.
From the Ethan Van Sciver interview at Newsarama today.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to do anything like that?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


This afternoon was the most productive afternoon I've ever had at work.

At two fifteen, I took a lawyer's file for an injured worker and began copying what he had so I could recreate the file for us.

Two and a half hours and eight hundred odd pages later, I finished.

When I got back to my desk SHTK asked me the name of the person on the file. I told her. She said it was found a while ago. I checked the shelves. Sure enough, it was there.

Tomorrow morning, I get to shred eight hundred odd pages. It should only take me about fifteen minutes.

It was the best afternoon I've had at work in a long time.


I have Allan Sherman's "Night and Day (With Punctuation Marks)" stuck in my head.

I really enjoy the song when I'm listening to it, but having it just rattle around my brain for the last four hours isn't much fun.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Year 2

It began at 8:00 AM this morning.

Last night, I watched Ghost World, again. I've decided that when I'm in a certain mood I shouldn't watch the end of that movie. It makes me wistful. That means I won't be watching it again until some time after Easter.

I've spent much of this day looking at the state's website looking for a new job. There's nothing local and I still don't have enough money to move, but it's nice to dream, right? I discovered that I can search based on the department and I've spent a lot of that time looking through the Department of Consumer Affairs listing. I think that could be a really interesting department to work for. Even if it isn't, I'd get a better picture of how corrupt the state is.

Well, here's to another potential year working here and continuing to bitch about it.

Goals for my next year worth of work:
  1. Not to buy a gun. I'll only hurt people.
  2. Lie to my mom about making friends, wherever I end up.
  3. Stop correcting the older people in the office by telling them that it was Kenny Rogers, not Roy Orbirson, who sang "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" and other such trivia about music, movies, TV shows, and books that were made before I was born.
  4. Thank Bunny Christ, if he deems my humble tortilla for a visit, for the pay raise and "bonus" that will come with my pay check in October.
  5. Other things that I haven't thought of, yet.


My thanks go out to Ragnell for linking yesterday's post to When Fangirls Attack.

It's a bit frightening to see a spike in my numbers, but it's also nice.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Comic Book Monday

I didn't get many comics last week. My usual bi-weekly shipment didn't make it because of the holiday.

I haven't been able to read Mystery in Space because I was, for some crazy reason, expecting Jim Starlin art along with the Jim Starlin writing. It's just his writing which is fine, just a bit disappointing. I'm sure I'll be able to get through it soon.

I've been thinking about the JSA recently. The new series will, hopefully, be coming out in a couple of months, which is nice, but I still don't understand why it was cancelled the last time. Were sales dropping? Infinite Crisis didn't destroy the JSA like it did the JLA, so that's not a reason to cancel the book. What happened?

The only answer I can come up with is that DC figures a new #1 will bring in higher sales and that they don't want JSA to have a higher number than the new JLA. I think DC cancelled it to re-establish the JLA as the premier team of the DCU line. I hope that's not the reason, but I still suspect.

Anyway, I've been staring at this picture way too much today. (And not just for the obvious reason.)

The first thing that gets me is how lanky both Hourman and the new Liberty Belle look. I'm not denying that Eaglesham and Thibert can draw some very nice pictures, but those two characters look wrong to me, stretched out, especially in that first panel. Maybe it's because they're not standing on the ground, but "Damage Smasher's" face. Maybe the coloring will solve that problem. In the second panel, though, Liberty Belle still seems wrong. Maybe it's because she's posing and Jesse Chambers has never struck me as the type of woman who would "strike a pose," especially the way she has her arm curled around Hourman in the first panel.

I have to admit, I don't have a clue what happened to her after the Savitar stuff in The Flash, so I don't know what she was like when she was a member of the Titans. (Was she ever a member of the Outsiders?) Did she pose a lot there?

I'm of two minds about Jesse joining the team as Liberty Belle.

I'm glad to know that she's out there doing the superhero thing. She's the kind of person who would do it even if her parents hadn't been heroes in the past. She's also a legacy character, which I'm a huge fan of. (She was the first legacy character I experienced because I didn't know about Hourman until both "Hourmen" appeared in an issue of JSA.)

On the other hand, I always thought of her as a normal person with superpowers who would help out if she needed to, not as a full time adventurer. She didn't fit in with the Conglomerate, which is why they never came back after that JLQ. And she certainly didn't fit in with the Flash family; she was only there to be a patsy which made her look stupid which she should never be. And I still don't know about her time with the Titans because I don't want to look it up.

Wasn't she the curator of the JSA museum after Alex Montez finished drinking Eclipso's diamonds? Or was that when Ma Hunkel came back? She was involved some how, right?

I always pictured Jesse as a normal person first/superhero when she had to be because she decided to go to school rather than be a superhero like her father was. She wanted her degree more than she wanted to be a hero. She should be running the JSA organization full time. She should be in charge of watching their budget. She should be signing the checks for the museum tour guides. She should be managing the JSA charities. And if her help is needed, she'll put on the tights, head out, and help save the day, but when it's over, she's back to work making sure the janitorial staff has enough cleaning supplies.

Maybe it's just me.

Although, I must admit that she looks really good in those tights, especially with that Veronica Lake hair thing going on.

September 11, 2001

No Comment

Friday, September 08, 2006

Too Much Coffee Man - Opera

I wasn't going to post anything today because I couldn't bring myself to answer some e-mail, but then I came across this poster and had to share it.

Then I decided to explore what Shannon Wheeler had about the opera and I found this wonderful animation to watch. You have to watch it at least twice because you have to read the Italian "translation."

Tickets are reasonably priced. If I could afford a trip to Portland, I'd be there.

The world needs more Too Much Coffee Man.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What I've Been Trying To Do At Work

I'm not finished. This is a first draft with a quick run through MS Word's spell/grammar check.

I just thought I share.

It doesn't have a title, either.
Herbert sat in the classroom hating. He hated his classmates. He hated how they could all get together in pairs or small groups and he was stuck without anyone. He hated the teacher for letting them ignore him. He hated the school for having a few too many students for the third, fourth, and fifth grades and creating a class for the extra. He hated that his only friend, Anne, was in that other class. He hated that the other class had recess at a different time because the third graders were just little kids and needed it earlier. And he hated his name.


To the kids he hated his name meant he was either a sort of ice cream, even though there's no "r" anywhere near the "t", or dry, green things sprinkled over a chicken before it's roasted. After the movie came out, he was a car. There was just no way for him to win with his name.

He once asked his mom if he go by his middle name, Arthur, so that no matter what other thought and said, he'd know that his name was one shared by a great leader. She said that he couldn't. She said that his name was his grandfathers and then asked him if he'd like to disappoint his grandfather by choosing to be called Arthur rather than Herbert. He just hung his head and mumbled no before shuffling off to his room.

Herbert was stuck with his name just like he was stuck with his classmates. There was nothing he could do about it.

"Take out your readers," said Mrs. Janowski, lifting up her copy and opening it. "Turn to page 173, please."

Herbert lifted the top of his desk, pulled out his book, and placed it on his desk. The rest of the class seemed to have trouble because there was talking between students and clunking in desks and Alex fell out of his seat. Herbert sighed, rolled his eyes, opened the book, and wondered what was wrong with everyone else.

"Settle down, class," said Mrs. Janowski. "Settle."

Mrs. Janowski was old, but not that old. Not as old as his last teacher, who was about the same as Herbert's grandparents. She was older than his parent's, though. She had short blonde hair that was sort of puffy. He liked to imagine that the way she got it cut was by sticking her finger in a light socket so it stuck up everywhere then made a force field around her head in a perfect bubble which cut all the hair poking out, but he knew that's not really how her hair was cut. She also had glasses that she only needed when she read something, so when she would ask the class a question, she'd move them to the end of her nose and look over the frames or she'd put them up in her hair, where they never seemed to move, not even a jiggle, like she had some creatures with sticky fingers and sticky feet living in there who were only there to keep the glasses on her head because she always seemed to give her glasses a sharp tug to pull them out. He also knew that there weren't any creatures on her head, unless she had lice, like Jamie did last year, but those didn't have anything to do with glasses.

"Class, settle down," she said.

Herbert didn't know how long she had been teaching, but even with his few years in school he knew that saying "settle" wasn't a way to calm kids down. He thought that a bomb dropping in the room probably wouldn't settle these people down. He knew, though, that no bomb would be dropped on the class and it was silly to even think it.

He sighed again and started to read the story on the page. It was a chapter from a book about a boy and his dog, like too many of the stories in the reader. He rolled his eyes at the story because he knew how it would end: either the boy would start to grow up and leave the dog behind because the older he got the more he just forgot about the things he liked as a kid, or the dog would do something heroic, probably rescuing the boy from a bear or mountain lion, and die which would make the boy sad, but losing the things that were important to a kid is part of growing up and the boy will be a better person because the dog died.

Herbert hated stories about a boy and his dog. He wished he could read a story about a kid who was normal. A kid who lived in a little town and went to a little school. A kid who had a pet lizard that was magic and would make the day more fun by changing erasers into tiny pigs and pencils into little men that liked to wrestle the eraser pigs. And they'd go on adventures in the playground by shrinking and trying not to get squashed by the other students or by encouraging the trees to get up and block the doors so no one could get in or out.

"Class," said Mrs. Janowski in her no-more-nonsense tone.

The class quieted.

"Open to page 173," she said. "Today, instead of splitting into our usual reading groups, I though it would be nice to read out loud together. Who wants to go first?"

Jamie's hand shot up and started to wiggle around. She sat right in front of Herbert and always came to school in light colored (today's was a light purple), fluffy dresses. She had really short hair that was almost black and freckles all over her cheeks and arms. Jamie was always the first to volunteer to do something or answer a question for the teacher. She was like a little yappy dog, too. She couldn't be still when she was excited. Her hand shivered when she put it in the air. At recess, while waiting in line for the swings she'd start shaking and the shaking would get worse the closer she got to it being her turn. Sometimes, Herbert thought that she could shake herself apart if she had to wait too long for the swings, but he knew that people didn't shake apart. He figured that if Tinkerbell was real, she'd look and act an awful lot like Jamie.
For the record, even though she hasn't appeared yet, I created Anne during my last year of college in a short story I wrote for my only creative writing class. I don't want anyone to read into her character when actually does appear.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Car Report

On Sunday, my dad and I drove to my grandparents' house, pushed the car into the shade, and struggled with getting the belts around the damn fan and onto the pulleys. One belt is just a little too short (like a quarter of an inch, but the belt that's one size larger is too big, the slack just isn't taken up) to get on, so it had to be forced, the other went on fine. Then we added water, and added water, and added water. I figured this was because the car had gotten so hot all those weeks ago. All this car stuff took about an hour, much better than the last time we replaced the belts.

We puttered around the house making sure the cats had food and the garden was water because my grandparents are in Washington visiting my uncle and his daughters and then headed back to my parents' house.

I noticed that my car was driving a bit hotter than it usually does and figured that it just didn't get quite enough water.

I parked my car and decided to let it cool off so I could check it later.

Later, I popped the hood, took the cap off the radiator and looked down the deep dark hole. Nothing to be seen. I took the hose off the porch and added water, and added water, and added water.

I got in the car and drove it for a while. Down to a shopping center then up a back road. Past the house Heels and Johnny Logic live in to see if I could remember the way, and back to my parent's house. At first, my car was running nice and cool. Soon, the needle pointed about halfway. A bit later, it was back at the 2/3rds mark, trying to sneak above. I drove it to my parent's house, parked, popped the hood, and heard a hissing.


I got my dad and he listened.

It was decided that something was leaking. We pulled the spare tire out (yes, it's on top of the engine), broke out some flashlights and looked around. We poked and prodded at hose. We tried to peer around immovable parts. We could see a little water in one part, but it didn't look like it was pooling. The engine was turned on and off several times.

Eventually, I got sick of looking and turned around. When the hissing stopped, my dad got on his back and squeezed under the car. He called me over. There was a drop dripping.

"I think it's the water pump," he said.

I started cursing.

The car is still in Cowtown. I borrowed a different car to return to North Bay.

We'll see what the future brings.

Comic Book Tuesday


The last issue of this wonderful series came out last week. It featured Brendan McCarthy. I'm not going to write about the single issue, though. I want to write about the series.

The day I picked up the first issue, Tim Sale, I knew I was holding something really great. Every issue was set to spotlight a different penciler who, if he (since they were all guys) wanted, could do everything else in the issue. Some did write and ink and letter and color, some didn't. Each creator had the entire DC universe to explore in anyway he wanted as well as create new things.

What other series would have a story about Robin and Batgirl in the future in one book and the story of a creature who steps out of his bones every night in another and a story about how Sergio Aragonés killed Marty Feldman? None that I can think of.

This series varied wildly from issue to issue in both art and story. It existed only to give artists a chance to do whatever they wanted and, hopefully, bring their work to a larger audience.

Before issue 12, I never knew about Brendan McCarthy. Same goes for Damion Scott in issue 10. These are two artists that I'll try to watch out for because they're something different from just about anything else out there.

It's really hard for me to write about this series because I liked it so much. I liked how each issue was different from the last. I liked how different each of the stories within an issue could be from each other. I never knew what to expect, even from artist I've seen before, like Tim Sale, Darwyn Cooke, and Mike Allred. Each issue was exciting for all those reasons and more.

My only problem with the series was knowing it was doomed from the moment I picked up issue one. I read it, saw who the next artist was, and figured I'd be lucky to get a year's worth of books out of this series. The average fan doesn't want anthologies. The average fan doesn't want to experience shifting styles of art. The average fan is content sticking with what they know. The average fan may have picked up an issue for an artist they know, but there weren't many of those in Solo. Maybe if there had been a Bryan Hitch, Frank Quietly, or *shudder* Michael Turner issue that spike would have been enough for another issue or two, but we'll never know and I'm happy with the ones I got.

In an alternate universe, Solo is still coming out and the next two year's worth of artists are Dave McKean, Kyle Baker, Sam Kieth, Robert Crumb, James Kochalka, Mike Wieringo, Lauren Weinstein, Moebius, Stan Sakai, Bill Sienkiewicz, Al Jaffee, and Chuck Wojtkiewicz and my alternate self is thrilled. It's too bad we can't cross the universal divide so I can read the new issues, too.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Actual Fun At Work

I'm off to Cowtown for the weekend. I'll be visiting my parent's and fixing my car. Last night I was told that new belts have been purchased all that is needed now is time and effort to get the thing running safely again. Let's all hope it won't be too hot.

In other news, I had an interesting conversation with SHTK earlier.

It all started with an attorney asking, "Is there a way to call the judge?"

After he was dealt with I looked at SHTK and said, "It's funny that so many of them ask if there's a way to call the judge because every time I hear them say that I want to say, 'Sure, just stand there and scream. She may hear you.'"

"When they ask me that," she said, "I stand here like this." She put her hands around her mouth, squinted her eyes, and pretended to yell. "Some of them don't think it's funny, though."

"People should be more precise when they speak," I said. "It's like when I was little and we were at my grandparents' house for a party or something and someone asked me if we have a bathroom. I said, 'No, it has a toilet, too.'" SHTK started to laugh. "My grandma wasn't too thrilled with me. I guess it was a sign that I'd end up being an English major in college."

"What about 'restroom'?" she asked.

"I know."

"I don't know about you, but I don't do a lot of resting when I'm in there."

"Maybe if there was a couch, or something," I said.

"Yeah but if it was near the toilets, I wouldn't want to sit there."

"It could be called a 'restroom,' though, because there'd be a place to rest after the strain."

We both laughed.

"Another name is 'the loo."

"I always thought of it as an insult, like calling it a 'John."

"I don't think it's spelled that way."

"Still, that's what I've always thought. It's like the first time I heard someone say, 'I'm going to hit the head.' I was confused. I was wondering why anyone on a boat would want to hit their head on anything."

"I wondered why they'd hit their heads on a toilet."

We started to laugh again.

"My grandmother," she said, "refused to call it perfume. She'd go around saying, 'It's nothing but toilet water, plain and simple!'"

And with that latest fit of laughter, we were told to get back to work.


After Mark Waid told me "NO!" at WonderCon in February, Beefeater is showing up in next weeks 52! Just check out the page! Sure, he's not fighting Kilwog, destroying a JLI embassy, mouthing off at a Frenchman, or telling a story about his father, but it's nice to know that this crazy Brit wasn't punched out of existence.

Thank you, 52 team. Thank you.