Monday, August 31, 2009
You see, I decided to go back to school, yet again. For those of you who don't know I left SPU with one quarter left until graduation. I had the choice between finishing college, or taking a job with the Colorado Rockies. Yeah, I chose Major League Baseball, and I don't regret it one bit. But now that I have settled back into the area and have a somewhat normal life I decided it was time to finish what I started. I sat down in April and started looking at what it would take to finish my degree. I did a bit of searching, made a few phone calls and finally pieced together a plan.
My biggest obstacle was location. I am now working in Renton, which pretty much means that any classes during the day are out. Because I am a Senior the classes I have left are upper division classes, which are not offered in the evening. What I was finally able to put together is a schedule full of online courses and one "independent study" course that will finally get me my degree. Granted, it will have taken 20 years and 7 institutions of higher learning, but if everything works out in June of 2010 I will walking down the isle at Safeco field getting my Bachelors degree in Communication from Seattle Pacific University. Yea me.
So I began my onslaught of online classes in early July, taking two lower division classes to fulfill my core requirements at SPU. Art Appreciation and Introduction to Film were my classes, and they were not easy. Taking classes online is a challenge in and of itself, but taking them for the summer quarter is a bear. We basically had seven weeks to complete the entire curriculum, and with working full time there isn't a lot of time to get things done. Needless to say this last weekend was the first free weekend I have had all summer. My weekends were busy with studying, homework, and tests. I made it through both classes and now eagerly await my next, which will be my last from SPU. Next spring I will take 3 online courses from the UW, then transfer all the credits over to SPU in time for graduation.
Next..... Grad school. The wife wants me to be her sugar daddy.
Wish me luck.
Disney to buy comic book powerhouse Marvel for $4B
That is the headline in today's Times. Are you F*%&ing kidding me?!?!?!? Disney?!?!? The evil empire!??!?! That wouldn't even be funny on April Fool's Day, let alone any other day of the year. Now, here is the kicker. I sat here for about 45 minutes thinking about this, and as I was deep in thought, no kidding, Bowie's "Changes" comes on the radio. Nice. Thanks God, rub it in why don't ya.
Thus begins the slew of underground protest art of Wolverine slaughtering the 7 dwarfs, or pictures of the Punisher with Mickey's head, Snow White dressed like Emma Frost...Namor shacking up with Ariel... how about that special issue of Iron Man where Tony Stark finds out that Stark Industries has been bought out by Scrooge McDuck.
Well, the end of the world is upon us so go find that significant anyone and shack up while you can, 'cuz it is about to rain frogs my friends.
If Stan Lee didn't die over the weekend this will surely kill him.
Geeks of the world lament this day.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
It seems like every year there is a movie or two that the critics either hate or one that they ignore, and inevitably it goes on to make MILLIONS. Apparently The Hangover is one of them, Transformers 2: ROTF it the other.
ROTF is the Dane Cook of the movie world. You either love it or hate it, there seems to be no in-between. Personally, I don't like Dane Cook, but I liked ROTF. Now, before all of you would be critics and pundits get your panties in a bunch; hold on and let me explain. ROTF is a destination movie, it is an event. It is not a cinematic masterpiece. There will be no Oscar nominations coming out of it. You go to see this movie for what it is and what it has to offer.
Critics are ripping it apart because it is too long, there are too many close-ups of a sweaty Megan Fox, the characters are underdeveloped and the plot lines are thin. What exactly was everyone expecting?
Is it a bit long, yes. Too long, not really. There was so much that was left out of the story line there could have been another 1/2 hour of back story just to get everyone up to speed. I didn't see any scenes that could have been cut without chopping half the movie.
Sweaty close-ups of Megan Fox are an issue? Was she supposed to be solving world hunger while she was dodging Decepticons? Be thankful Rosie O'Donnell wasn't his love interest. Megan Fox is gorgeous, live with it.
As far as the plot goes, well, yes, it was a bit thin. Did they need to bring everyone back to fight a second time? EEhhhh... even Obi-Wan-Kenobi made his way back into the Star Wars movies. Sometimes you just can't keep a good character down. I could have lived without the twins, and the college fembot was a bit outthere. She needed a little back story or cut out. That was a dangler (dangler: - an element of or storyline in a movie that seems to hang out there on its own without explaination. Possibly an element or storyline that suffered because of post-production editing or just poor writing).
I get the feeling that those who loved the movie went to see the movie for what it is - big robots fighting in a battle of good vs. evil. That is what you went to see, that is what it was, and you were happy. Those who didn't like it seemed to think it was going to be something else. Great expectations lead to great disappointments. You just can't expect too much from this movie. Go to see things blow up, go to see giant transforming robots, go to see Megan Fox (or Shia LeBouf for those who lean that way); for crying out loud see it for what it is. Entertainment. Not cinematic art. This movie does what it is supposed to, it entertains.
I judge the quality of entertainment from a movie by the number of times I look at my watch during the film.
4 looks or more = stinker, go for popcorn, don't come back
3 looks = the movie should have ended long ago
2 looks= not bad, not great, but not bad
1 look = good movie
No looks = must see
Transformers: ROTF is a 1 look movie. Could it have been better, yes.
It is, however, good enough.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Where do I begin? This was my first trip to the Emerald City Comicon (I am sorry Jim and George, I feel like I have let you down until now) so here are my thoughts, comments, observations, and whatnot. Let me preface this by saying that I did spend some time in lines and having guests sign this and that, but the majority of my time was spent watching, listening, and soaking it all in.
The Con itself lasts for two days, which is just enough. If you can't get your fill in those two days then you should pack your bags and head to Calgary for more crazy Con madness. For those of us who don't fall on the crazy side of the geek meter it was just enough. Long enough to see everything and everyone, but not long enough to wear you out and get "overexposed." I did not attend every hour of the two days, but was able in the 10 hours I did spend there, to get everything done that I wanted/needed to do.
The guests, for the most part, were great. Absolutely great. Now, when I say guests I am talking about the artists, writers, vendors, and what not. I will talk about the media guests in a bit. I think that if you are a comic book fan then this Con would have to be on the top of your list, and here is why. This Con had the best of the best when it comes to comics. Names like Fraction, Mignola, Bendis, Brubaker, Mack, Cebulski, Liefield, Cho, (and countless others who should not be offended because they were left out) just about everyone who is anyone in comics was there. The beauty of this was that this Con is large enough to draw those types of names in, but small enough that you actually get to meet and talk with them.
Yes there were lines, but more often then not a "line" consisted of 10 or 15 people waiting, and honestly, there were very few of these. There were times during the day that Bendis and Brubaker had long lines, but conversely there were several occasions where one could just walk right up to the table and say "hi." I saw fans with comic boxes FULL of comics standing in line, and I witnessed several of them emptying the contents of the afore mentioned boxes on the tables to get signed. I did not see one artist or writer turn anyone down. They signed EVERYTHING. Granted, they may be having a conversation with one or several other people while signing all of this zhech, but they signed it none the less. Where it San Diego or New York you would be waiting in line for hours on end, with a 2 item limit, and would get enough face time to get them signed and get the hell out of way for the hundred other geeks behind you. Here I saw numerous artists and writers engage fans in lengthy conversations, without complaint or the pressure to "move along."
As far as the guests themselves, I will relate: David Mack was awesome. He talked with everyone, including me, for as long as you could hold a conversation. He had a smile on his face and actually seemed like he wanted to talk with you (hey, Stuart Immonen, you could learn a thing or two). Jim Mahfood was cool. Talk about down to earth, he was awesome, and took the time to do a quick sketch for me that was absolute freakin' cool. Bendis and Brubaker were swamped most of the time, as I mentioned earlier, but both were really nice to everyone. They chatted it up, answered questions (and oh God, some of the questions they were asked even made me cringe) and took as much time as they could with everyone. The Half-Pixel crew was the best. Talk about guys who are just plain nice, these guys were it. Each of them was easy to approach, fun to talk to, and just seemed like they wanted to be there and were grateful that you stopped by. I was actually taken aback by Kellett and Guigar who actually asked the fans if they would mind a sketch or two in the books that the fans bought. How do you respond to that? "Um, gee Brad, Dave, no, please don't do a sketch in my book, I ONLY want your chicken scratch signature." Clayton Crain was great to talk to, and his art kicks it hard. Matt Fraction was cool to talk to, Frank Cho seemed like he wanted to be somewhere else, but it was late in the day and he had been swamped most of the day. Franco and Art Baltazar were super. I got a quick sketch from Art for my little girl - it rocks! You could tell they were both having a blast. Jimmy Palmiotti and his wife were very laid back and took the time to chat. All in all just about everyone there was approachable, friendly, and took the time to placate the fans.
As for the media guests, I only had a run in with one. That was Wil. I went over numerous times to see him but his line was by far the longest (side note: Jewel Staite is an absolutely beautiful woman. Oh my. I actually passed by her in the hall when she was on her way to a panel. When I saw her I was startled a bit. You know that fluttery-silly-bashful-embarrassed feeling you got when you were a little kid and the cutest girl in the school said "Hi" to you - I actually felt that when I saw her. I wasn't expecting that at all). There was either a line from hell (okay, 30-40 people isn't a line from hell but here it felt like it) or Wil was off at a panel. Finally, Sunday, around 4:30 I made it back over to his line. Luck! There were only about 10 people in line. I made my way over to the line and as I was about to pull up behind the last guy in line I noticed the dreaded "I am the last in line" sign hanging on his back. CRAP! The one guest I wanted to see I was going to miss. Not if I could help it. I asked the last guy in line if he would take my copy of Sunken Treasure and have Wil sign it. He was real wishy-washy about it, and as I stood there trying to convince him to do it one of the Con volunteers turned to him and assured him that it was in fact o.k. to have Wil sign the book for me. He begrudgingly agreed to do it so I parked myself about 7 feet from Wil and waited.
It was fun to watch Wil interact with the fans. He almost seemed amazed that people were lining up to talk to him and get his signature. He had a smile for everyone and was overly gracious in his responses. In the fifteen minutes or so I waited I was privy to not one but two body signatures (luckily the girls were fit enough to lift their shirts and have him sign their stomachs), several giggly girls, and one "oh my I think I just had a nerdgasm" quote. While I was waiting I struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers who had been there to sit with Wil. She was very nice and regaled me with stories of the day’s events. As the line drew to an end I noticed Wil's sign with his picture and name on it was still hanging behind him. I leaned over and asked the volunteer if anyone had laid claim to the sign. She said that she didn't think so but said she would go and ask her supervisor if it was o.k. to give it to me. She returned shortly to tell me that indeed no one had wanted it and if Wil didn't want it was mine. Finally the last guy in line made it up to Wil (after we had to wait for a minute while Wil sprinted to the bathroom - and sprinted back) and handed him the book. He told Wil that I had asked him to sign it for him. Wil looked up at me and I chimed in that I had missed the end of the line and that I hoped that he didn't mind signing it for me. He looked at the book and said "you bought this?!?" "Yep, off of Lulu" I said. "Cool man, thanks!" Wil said, and then proceeded to sign my book. Then, as he was handing the book back to the guy in line, he pulled it back, got up, walked over to me, handed me the book and thanked me again! I didn't know what to do! I actually pulled out a $10 bill and handed it to him (it felt like the least I could do) but he turned it away and said "you already paid for the book, you don't have to pay me for it!" Embarrassed, I put the money back in my pocket and stood there feeling silly.
A minute or two later Wil got up to leave; I was lingering hoping to procure the sign. The volunteer leaned over to Wil and asked him if he would like to take the sign with him. He looked up at it and considered it, but you could almost see the "now how the hell would I get that through the airport and into the overhead bin" look come across his face. He politely declined, and at that point she said that I had asked if I could have it. He looked over at me, I smiled, and he reached back, pulled the sign down, took the hooks out of it, and promptly signed it. He walked it over to me and handed it to me, at which point I thanked him again. Embarrassed, and actually quite giddy from my score, I turned and left the floor. As I walked out one of the vendors saw my spoils in my hand. He exclaimed "Wil Wheaton is here? Where is he?" I pointed about 30 feet behind me and proceeded to tell him that his booth had been set up there for the last two days and that it was a shame that he missed him. As I left the Con I had numerous comments on the poster/sign. All of them good.
When I got home I placed the poster/sign on the fireplace mantle, in a place of honor. More than once that evening I caught my wife staring at the picture. At one point I had to remind her that I was in the room, and that if she wanted some quiet time with Wil to let me know. The funny thing is, she actually looked for a moment like she was contemplating the idea. Thanks Wil. Not that dealing with her George Clooney fetish was enough, now I may have to add you to the list.
All in all it was a great Con, put on by some great friends. George, Jim, everyone - you did one hell of a job and should be proud. I can't wait until next year.
I purchased a copy of Wil Wheaton's "Sunken Treasure" about a month ago. I ordered it from Lulu, which is a "print on demand" company. This was my first experience with such a company and actually my first book from Wil. Yes, I know, a geek like me just finding "he who embodies all that is Geek" is a little hard to believe but it is true.
I am a recent (okay, about 6 months ago) Wheatonite convert (please God let me be the cool guy who coins a phrase that sticks!), and have found myself fully engulfed in the religion of Wil. When I saw that Wil was a past guest, and was going to be a future guest at the Emerald City Comicon I decided to link over to his blog and check it out. That click of the mouse was the beginning of the adventure. Flash forward to "Sunken Treasure."
I have to say that the whole "Lulu" process was pretty painless, and in about 3 days I had the book in hand. I really like the quality of the book; the paper is a good weight and the cover, a heavy glossy paper, seems as if it would stand up to general handling. The spine was pressed very well and the pages were tight to the spine when opened. I only found one print error (the margin on one page ran into the seam of the spine) in the book. If you were self-publishing this would be a great way to go.
As for the content, well, let me start with the negative. It wasn't nearly long enough. Now I know that it wasn't intended to be a novel, but more of a primer on Wil's writing, and have to say that if this book is indicative of what I will read in his other books then I am sold. Any reader of this blog (and judging by the number of comments posted on my blog would be a big fat ZERO) would know that I am a bit of a geek myself, so my ability to relate to the content was astounding. Wil's writing style is, well, I don't know the exact technical word for it if one exists. He writes in a first person narrative, but his writing emulates more of a vocal, interpersonal exchange instead of a literary one. He writes in a familiar, conversational tone that is insightful, descriptive, and easy to read (which in this case is NOT a bad thing).
In every story Wil finds a way to pull you in, and it is as if he is taking your hand and saying "...follow me; you have got to see this!" and then takes you on a trip through his life, through his heart and his eyes. I loved it, and I am craving more. My only complaint is that I will have to order his other books from Amazon, which means that Wil gets pennies on the dollar. Wil, let me send you the cash, you send me the books. More money in your pocket means more opportunity to get you published again.
Monday, March 2, 2009
"Did you hear that Paul Harvey died?" she said.
It took a second for it to register. Paul Harvey - my first thought was the child molesting Choir teacher we had in High School (he liked to prey on the 17 and 18 year old girls in Choir; we once had to have a chaperon just for him just so someone could keep an eye on him), but that didn't make sense, she wouldn't know him. Then it hit me - Paul Harvey. The Paul Harvey. Dead. I felt my heart sink. This was one of those "you knew it was going to happen but hoped it never would" situations.
For those of you who never make it to the AM side of the radio you may not know Paul Harvey. He wasn't a shock jock, or drive time superstar. Paul Harvey was the voice of America. If you never heard his voice, listened to his News and Commentary, or wondered what The Rest of the Story would bring, then I feel sorry for you. You have missed out on one of life's great pleasures.
Like Walter Cronkite on the evening news, or Harry Carry and Vin Sculley in baseball, or Harry Kalas and NFL films, Paul Harvey's voice and personality defined his genre. He was the voice of middle America, reaching out every day like a trusted friend, telling you what was happening in the world. At times he would inject his own opinions, at times he would take a stand, but you always knew that he had our best interest at heart.
I remember listening to Paul Harvey when I was young. As long as I can remember I have had a radio by my bedside. I spent many, many nights listening to Sonics, Mariners, and Seahawks games, Sportsline with Wayne Cody, CBS Mystery Theater, or old time radio rebroadcasts on KVI 570. Somewhere along the line I stumbled onto Paul Harvey. How incredibly fortunate for me. From that day until this weekend, Paul Harvey had always been there.
Growing up his broadcasts let a young kid know that there was more going on in the world besides what I could see out my back door. I can fondly remember being outside one summer, sitting up in a tree in the woods, listening to my portable radio. I had two red lines drawn on the plastic face of the tuner. Once was for the daily broadcast, I wish I could remember the station, of the stories of CS Lewis, the other was for ABC radio and Paul Harvey. I would sit up there in the afternoons, the sun shining, the warm summer breeze blowing through the leaves, listening to another chapter of Prince Caspian, or The Silver Chair, and as soon as it was over, I would spin the dial over to Paul Harvey. He was like a friend, a mentor, touching base with me every day, telling me what was new, and what I should know about the world.
When I shipped off to Japan I could catch Paul on Armed Forces Radio. His voice always warmed my heart, but always brought a tear to my eye. I missed those summer days in the tree; I missed being home.
When I was stationed in Monterey I would take my lunch break during class and drive my car to an overlook on the Presidio. I would roll down the window and let in the warm, salty air, put my seat back, and turn on the radio, waiting for Paul to come on the air. After all these years, my friend and mentor was still there.
Even when I was stationed in Edzell, Scotland Paul was never too far away. We didn't have Armed Forces Radio, but my mother, bless her heart, would record Paul Harvey on cassette and send it to me to listen to. Once I had listened to the tape and dried my eyes I would pass it on to others so they could listen as well. I wasn't the only one who missed the voice from home.
Now his voice is gone, but it will never be forgotten. If someday I make it to Heaven I hope that there is a tree for me to climb, and a radio I can carry. If there are, then that is where you can find me, in the afternoons, lying between a couple of branches, listening to my good friend. If you are looking for me just follow Paul Harvey's voice. You'll find me, up a tree, smiling, with an inevitable tear in my eye.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Unless you grew up with a Star Wars fan, knew a Star Wars fan, or used to beat up a Star Wars fan, this movie isn't for you. There isn't enough outside the geek genre to keep you in your seat, and besides, all of the geeks sitting next to you are going to be laughing at stuff that you have no idea about, which will probably anger you and make you want to beat up one of them like you used to do in high school, so to save a fanboy a severe beating and horrible flashbacks to the 9th grade go see Friday the 13th. I am sure those fans are more your speed.
For the Star Wars fan:
If you know what kind of ship Luke used to fly when he was "bullseyeing womp rats," then you are going to enjoy this movie. Even if you don't (it was a T-16) if you have been exposed to the Star Wars fanboy culture then you will be fine.
I am not going to give you a cinematic synopsis and go into detail about the production value, cinematography, score, etc. This isn't that kind of movie. This is the kind of movie that kicks in the flux capacitor and sends you screaming at 88 mph straight back to 1998 to hang out with a couple of guys (and a really hot girl who in NO WAY would ever be hangin' with this crowd - suspension of disbelief my ass) who were either friends of yours or someone you knew. Between the numerous cameos (yes, that is Ray Park by the way- thanks for confirming that George) and endless Star Wars/Star Trek/comic book/geek references and jokes, you will be smiling and laughing through the whole movie. The odd thing is, while you are smiling and laughing part of you will want to keep it under control for fear that someone close will recognize you for who you are and want to nail you with a milk dud. Don't worry though; let it out. Everyone else around you is feeling the same thing. Once you let your inner geek out you will enjoy this movie a whole lot more.
Dan Fogler is quickly becoming a favorite (do yourself a favor and see Balls of Fury), Kristen Bell stole every scene she was in (she is the girl every fanboy dreams of - smart, funny, HOT, reads comics, knows her Star Wars, ahhhhhh..... of course the existence of such a Geek Queen has yet to be proven) and Jay Baruchel embodies the hapless, complete Star Wars geek we all once knew (or were). My only question: What was up with the Uniball!?!?!
I judge the quality of entertainment from a movie by the number of times I look at my watch during the film.
4 looks or more = stinker, go for popcorn, don't come back
3 looks = the movie should have ended long ago
2 looks= not bad, not great, but not bad
1 look = good movie
No looks = must see
Fanboys is a no look movie. See it.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Please, please pass it on... Kirby Krackle!
Check them out on the side bar!
Am I tired of being fat? Obviously not, or I would be doing something about it. I am looking for some sort of catharsis, something to make me feel better about life. I was told blogging would help. We'll see.
You see, (for you skinny or in shape people) the problem is that when you are fat, you don't want to do anything, and when you don't do anything, you get fat. You have no energy because you are fat and out of shape, and because you are fat and out of shape you don't exercise, which is the one thing that would give you energy. If you had the energy, you would exercise and you wouldn't be fat. It is a vicious cream filled circle that most of us can't get out of.
I look in the mirror these days and I don't recognize who is looking back. I don't look like this do I? How did I let this happen? I am angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed, and embarrassed. Can't find one positive emotion in that group can you.
For me there are always "voices" in my head, my conscience if you like, and they all have something to say. Mr. Denial always says something like "well, you are who you are and people should accept you for who you are." "Your friends don't care what you look like, they like you for who you are." And my all time favorite "your wife and family love you, and they accept you for who you are, so you should to." Mr. Denial seems to run the roost, but there is also Mr. Angry, who says "F*%k them. If they are going to judge you on your weight and how you look then they can kiss your big fat ass!" Mr. Angry seems to be Mr. Denial's right hand man. They make a convincing team.
Of course there is also Mr. Sorry, "Well, this is who you are, you haven't done anything wrong, it is just who you are. You should just accept it." His twin brother Mr. Pathetic usually says something like "Don't let it bother you. People love you and that is all you really need." Sorry and pathetic indeed. All of these voices are a huge influence on me. They keep me happy, they make sure I feel o.k. about myself, and most importantly they keep me from doing anything about being fat. Their arguments are convincing, if you listen to them (and I do).
The problem is that there is another voice, one that haunts me. One that is always there, in the back of my mind, quietly getting through. I always hear it; I try to ignore it, but I can't. It's the voice that hurts the most, the one that makes me wear a shirt in the pool when I swim with my kids ( hell who am I kidding, I haven't taken my shirt off in public since 1993 - we'll come back to that another time), the one who kept me from attending my 20th high school reunion, the one who keeps me from visiting relatives and friends I haven't seen in ages.
I don't know the voices name but I hate him. I hate him because he is right and I don't listen. "This is not you." it says, "you were a God damn United States Marine, now look at you! You are a f*%&ing disgrace! If your Drill Instructors saw you now, if your fellow Marines saw you now... you have always been a f*%&ing embarrassment. You should be ashamed of yourself, you sorry sack of s&%t. All your life you have had to deal with this, and all your life you have wimped out, only done what you had to do, now look at you. Proud of yourself? Your own daughter thinks you are fat, and what do you do? You laugh it off, tell her your belly is full of love, not fat. Your belly is full of Ding Dongs and ice cream, your ass is full of pasta, and your waste is full of Captain Crunch, cheeseburgers, and Coke. You are fat, you have always been fat, and the most pathetic and sad thing is is that you aren't doing a damn thing to change that. Keep listening to those other voices you fat f&%k. You won't have to listen to me when you are dead at 50 from a heart attack."
I f*%king hate him. I hate him because he is right. I hate him because he is right and I don't listen. I should listen. I should change, but I don't. I just swallow the hurt, wash it down with a Twinkie or two and a gallon of Mountain Dew, and go on listening to all the other voices. They are much easier to listen to. They like me just like I am.
So, after all of that, what am I going to do about being fat?
Because I am fat, and I am tired, and it is a vicious raspberry filled, powdered sugar coated circle.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Wife: "I read your blog that you had on the computer."
Me: "Oh, cool."
Wife: "So, where do these blogs go? Where do you do it at?"
Me: "There is a web site called blogger.com. There are thousands and thousands of blogs on it."
Wife: "Oh." Silence follows.
That was it. No "Gosh honey, your blog was so funny and insightful! I can't believe you wrote it!" Or "That was fun to read, you should write more!" Not even an "Oh, I liked it." Nope, instead I got dead silence. Now that is a vote of confidence. My own wife, the love of my life, can't even fake a compliment. Nothing.
Not that I need it [tear], or am fishing for compliments, but come on... at least give me some sort of opinion. Don't we all need validation some time? Especially from the ones we love?
Bad wife, no cookie for you.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
That be it. Monthly poker, video games all night. It is quite the spot.
Monday, February 2, 2009
The highlight of Saturday was a signing I attended at the Comic Stop in Lynnwood. I was lucky enough to meet Michael Avon Oeming, his wife Taki, their dog Fry, and Brian Glass as well. I showed up with about an hour left in the signing and luckily I was the only one at the table. It always seems a bit awkward when I walk up to artists, writers, and whomever at these signings. You want to talk to them and say "hi," you want to talk about their books, their past, what they are working on now, and what is coming up, but in the back of your mind you know they have been asked these questions 1000 times, and although they smile and put on a good front, you know they would rather be swimming in raw sewage with paper cuts over their entire body than have to hear "I really like your work, how long have you been drawing (or writing, or inking, etc.)?" Here is how I imagine it goes for the person on the other side of the table:
Geek: Hey (insert name here)! How is it going? I really like your work on (insert book name here)!
Artist: Thanks [dipshit]. I like working on it [I like getting a paycheck, unlike you, you slob].
Geek: How long have you been drawing?
Artist: Oh, I started when I was about 9 or 10 [about the same time as you quit wetting the bed].
Geek: Cool! How long have you been drawing ________?
Artist: Oh, I started about a year ago [about the same time you showered last. Doesn't anyone read Wikipedia for Christs sake?!?].
Geek: That is cool. I wish I could work in comics. That must be awesome!
Artist: It is, I really enjoy it [I enjoy women too, which makes two things we will NEVER have in common].
Geek: That's cool. Here, I brought the last 57 issues you worked on for you to sign.
Artist: Wow. Great. Thanks. [Fucking eBay is going to be flooded with this shit. I wonder if he will notice that I am signing with my other hand.]
10 minutes later
Geek: Thanks man. Have a good day.
Artist: No problem [thanks for standing down wind].
Geek #2: Hey (insert name here)! How is it going? I really like your work on (insert book name here)!
Artist: Thanks [oh God, someone shoot me]. I like working on it [work is obviously something you know nothing about]....... and so on.
Everyone at the table was great, but you could just see something in Michael's eyes. I don't know if it was boredom, contempt, or just indigestion.
I did pull the ultimate fan boy stunt and brought my own sketchbook (it was blank - I have NO artistic skill) in for Michael to draw in. Michael kindly obliged my request for a quick sketch - the premise was that Stan Lee never made it as a comic book God, instead he ended up fronting a band. Pick a decade, pick a genre and draw Stan as he would look as the front man. Ten minutes later I had a drawing of Stan circa 1977 with the porn moustache and big specs on. It looks sweet. I may try this at the Emerald City Comic Convention. We'll see how far I get and who throws the book back at me.
Sunday - Super Bowl.
Everyone kept asking me who I wanted to win the game.
I told them "I want the Steelers to lose."
"So you want the Cardinals to win." they would say.
"No, I just want the Steelers to lose."
"But they are playing the Cardinals."
"Yes they are."
"So, if you want the Steelers to lose, you want the Cardinals to win!"
"Not necessarily. I just want the Steelers to lose. I don't give a rats ass who beats them, I just want them to lose."
"But, they are playing the Cardinals...."
You get the picture. Apparently my logic was lost on most everyone.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Norman Osborn: Always a strong character, but always stuck in one book, usually fighting one guy (Spider Man). Today, he has expanded his reach and power throughout the Marvel universe. He is everywhere. You see him in book after book with his hands in everything that is going on.
Brian Bendis: Always a strong writer, but early on stuck to one book, usually writing one main character (Jinx, Sam & Twitch). Suddenly Marvel comes calling and he is freakin' everywhere you look, with his hands in everything that is going on in the Marvel universe, and Ultimate Marvel universe for that matter.
Norman Osborn: Likes taking old, forgotten or under appreciated villains and breathing new life into them, giving them a second chance at villainous success (Moonstone, Radioactive Man, The Swordsman, etc).
Brian Bendis: Likes taking old, forgotten or under appreciated Marvel characters and breathing new live into them, giving their books a second chance at success (Daredevil, Avengers, Ultimates).
Norman Osborn: Worst hairdo in Marvel. Is that a red and black wavy mini-fro??????
Brian Bendis: Secretly shaves his head because of his natural red and black wavy mini-fro.
Norman Osborn: Using cunning, guile, and intellect took down Tony Stark, arguably the most powerful man in the Marvel universe, supplanting him as the new leader of (what was) S.H.I.E.L.D.
Brian Bendis: Using cunning, guile, and intellect took down Joe Quesada (blackmailing him with illicit photos from the Marvel Christmas party 2001), arguably the most powerful man at Marvel, supplanting him as the new leader of Marvel.
If only I could dig deeper I know I would find more......
Monday, January 26, 2009
You didn't make this mess, but you promised to clean it up, and while you do, everyone will be watching everything you do. Every decision you make, every word you say will be met with scrutiny and criticism. You will have your every thought second guessed and every action analyzed to the most minute detail. Now, amidst all that, go ahead and raise your family under the watchful eye of an entire nation. Oh, and by the way, here is a laundry list of just SOME of the things you are expected to do over the next few years:
- Passing a new economic stimulus plan
- Closing Guantanamo Bay
- Withdrawing all combat troops from Iraq
- Pursuing peace between Israel and Palestine
- Winning the war in Afghanistan
- Reforming health care
- Reversing Bush-era executive orders
... and don't forget, you will always live in fear of your life not only because of your job, but because we still have some in this country that base their ideological beliefs on the color of your skin.
I worry for you Barack. I worry that everyone is whipped up into such a fervor over your election that their expectations of you can never be met. I worry that you have been placed on such a high pedestal that there is no where to go but down. You haven't been at work a week and everyone expects you to save the world. And if you don't? Will it be your fault? Will we see that we set our expectations too high or will we just look back and lament the failure of your presidency.
The American people aren't treating you right. They are treating you well, but not treating you right. We need to slow down. We need to understand the significance of your election to office but temper that with an understanding that the journey you are about to embark on is a difficult one. No one man can change the world overnight. It takes time. It takes perseverance. It takes patience, and that is the one thing you need most from us. Patience.
I wouldn't want to be Barack Obama, but I am going to give Barack Obama a chance to show us who he really is.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Nature or Nurture?
I only remember 4 things from the Intro to Psychology class I took 17 years ago. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Pavlov's experiments with stimulus and response (ring a bell?), the Id, Ego, and Superego, and Nature vs. Nurture. Actually, I am pretty damned surprised I remember that much. Back to my thought.... I was sitting here, finishing up my last little post when the thought hit me, "What makes me a Geek?" Is it what I do, what I say, how I act, or is it just who I am? Was I born to this strange fate or was I somehow influenced by my friends, family, or social circles? Am I genetically predisposed to Geekiness, or did my upbringing somehow poison my fragile mind and bend it to the dorkside? Let's investigate, shall we?!?!?
Let's look at all of the labels that could have been put upon me while growning up (this would have been the late '70s and the '80s):
Nerd: (ref: did you know the word first appeared in the Dr. Seuss story If I Ran the Zoo!) No, not me. Nerds are socially awkward, a bit single-minded, not very physically inclined, and can be a bit oblivious. They are usually too smart for their own good and don't understand why the world doesn't see things just like they do. Most Nerds have interests or hobbies that are deemed strange, unusual, or just plain weird to the general populous. Nerds tend to live within themselves and only associate with other Nerds. As for me, I seemed to fit in, for the most part, in school. I was no outcast or pariah. I did play a number of different sports and did have an understanding of social circles and where/how I fit in.
Dork: A Nerd who doesn't understand the basic points of social interaction and truly believes that what they like is actually of interest or importance to everyone else. They just can't keep it to themselves, to the incredible annoyance of others. I played D&D, arcade games, read comic books, and enjoyed watching cartoons. I did not, however, dress up as Gyrhawk, the 12th level half-elf Ranger/Paladin on days other than Halloween, nor did I argue in public with my friends on the "legality" of using a pencil between your fingers when playing "Track and Field" in the arcade. Sadly, however, there was a point in time where I actually played "Gotcha" or "Assassination" while in school (you may have called it something else; a bunch of guys with dart guns sneaking around campus trying to "assassinate" each other). That aside, I was not a Dork either.
Dweeb: This is an interesting one. In my book a dweeb is just an undeveloped, or underdeveloped Nerd. A little Nerdling. Can't be a Dweeb if you weren't a Nerd.
Spaz: Take a Nerd or a Dork and add a strong dose of ADHD and Voila! No, I did not qualify as a spaz either.
Freak: You remember this guy. He was the one that sat in the back of the class, obsessed with reptiles, pouring Elmers glue on his skin, letting it dry, and then peeling it off like a second skin (I sat next to this guy, I think he is an Accountant now). This was the weird kid everyone was actually a little scared of. No, not me either.
Geek: May be a bit awkward socially, doesn't really have friends outside of their social circle, has a single minded focus on things that are outside the social norm and is associated with that obsession; may be known as a "comic book geek," "computer geek," "band geek," or "a/v geek." Geeks can be athletic, good looking, and socially normal, they are just labeled by their devotion(s) to that which is seen as different, unusual, or strange. Harmless in the pursuit of their interests, they may even be looked upon for help under unique circumstances by others. Ahhh... this feels like home. Let's go down the list:
- read comic books
- was in band
- played D&D
- dinked with computers early on
- played sports
- acutally dated (albiet I was 16 before I could get anyone to pay attention to me)
- was ALWAYS raising my hand in class to be the one to thread and run the filmstrip projector
- hung out with others like me
- Everyone knew I was guilty of all of the above
So yes, by definition I was a Geek. Now, I ask myself, and you, why?
My Mother and Step-Father were certainly not Geeks; a stay at home Mom and an Auto Mechanic. My Step Sisters - nope. My Step Brother - career criminal and redneck, about as far from Geek as you can get. Early on in school I remember associating with all kinds of kids and having friends across the spectrum, but as we got older and developed socially my friends seemed to be more and more like me. I started in the school band in 5th grade. Everyone was either required to take band, choir, music theory, or wood shop, so I was forced into band, but I stuck with it through high school (and loved it, by the way). Did the Geekiness of my band mates rub off on me or was I inclined to remain? I could have quit after 5th grade. Most did. I stayed because I liked it. I didn't have friends that just happened to play D&D, I had friends that were friends BECAUSE they played D&D. As I stated in my last post, I certainly wasn't exposed to the latest and greatest in technology growing up, so that exposure certainly wasn't a positive in the nurture column. My strange adept ability with all things audio and video? I certainly didn't grow up in a TV repair shop.
The more I think about it, the more I am coming to realise that I was predisposed to be a Geek. This may not be you, but in my case, it has got to be genetic. I won't be shocked if 20 years from now scientists, very geeky scientists, somewhere discover the "Geek" gene in our DNA.
So ask yourself, what brought you to this point? Was it nature, or was it nurture? Do you believe, as I do, that geekiness can be inherent and that you are predisposed at birth, or do you see social factors that influence you into this life, this calling, this existence some may know as Geek.
My fate, it seems, was sealed at birth.
Thank you Mom and Dad. I wouldn't have it any other way.
That isn't the only instance though. It seems I have been playing catch-up all my life. I think we were the last house on the planet to have a VCR, or cable for that matter. I didn't get my first CD player until 1989. My own PC? 2001. DVDs? 2002. Now the entire planet is online, blogging their little hearts out and hear I sit, 5 months between posts, wondering how the hell I can call myself a geek.
I need to get my crap together.
Don't tell the Overlords what I just said, they will revoke my geek privileges.