Showing posts with label advice from Unky League. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advice from Unky League. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Unky League says "Don't Forget: Thursday is Valentine's Day!"

Boy, Valentine's Day!  Who doesn't just LOVE Valentine's Day?

I am guessing many of us just got done paying off most of the Christmas bills, and now its time to buy yet another thing for your significant other.  Great.  She's a wonderful dame.  She deserves the world.  Unfortunately, most of us are both tapped out of money and ideas here at the mid-point of February.

And, let's be honest, when we say that we need to be thinking of something for our significant other - for those of us straight dudes with a straight lady, we know that it really means we're expected to buy something expensive for our straight lady friend, but we aren't getting @#$%.

I know that in other arrangements, things differ, but I have never, ever heard anyone of the female persuasion in a relationship with someone of the male persuasion pondering anything on V-Day except where they want to go to dinner and when.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Read Comics in Public Day" - a celebration of something or other

On August 28th the comics interwebs is once again asking comics readers to take to the streets for what is now an annual event called "Read Comics in Public Day".

To be clear, "Read Comics in Public Day" is pretty stupid.

I'm sorry.  Look, I know that's not a nice thing to say, but....

A few years ago some folks online decided that the reason why comics aren't more popular is because, by gum, you don't see enough comic nerds conspicuously sitting at Starbucks for hours reading a comic book.  Or at the park.  Or on a bus.  Or, probably, you know, lounging awesomely under a statue like that one in the plaza at the strip mall with the fountain that might make a cool picture for facebook or tumblr.

So... why?  Why is this even happening?  As near as I can tell, the purported reason for folks to take to the streets with comics is "promotion of comics".

these kids were reading comics in public before it was cool

The thinking went:  If more people were seen out in public reading comics, the whole entirety of what's wrong with a market that requires people spend $4 on 5-10 minutes of entertainment, that requires finding out-of-the-way shops in run down strip malls and understanding 20 years of back stories and, on top of that, often requires a byzantine pre-ordering structure...  All the financial woes of the industry would evaporate - if  only the masses saw a 20-something sitting on a bench outside the ice cream shoppe reading Ghost World or The Flash.

Yup, the problem is that nobody has seen you, you special snowflakes, reading comics.  In public.

There's kind of a curious logic to the idea that maybe doing this .3% of the year is not kind of pointless - especially given the limited number of attendees and that the sole criteria is that you appear "in public".  Why not send everyone to, say, the local library?  Starbucks?  Something that might make this newsworthy or even noticeable?  Strength in numbers?  Something for the cameras?  Why not, say, alert the media?

It's also a tradition born from the assumption that most people don't just mind their own damn business and that people actually look at what other people are reading.  Or, maybe, assumes that the person actively reading will somehow generate enough charisma by showing up "in public" that the casual passer-by will, of course, want to know what such an iconoclast is reading.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All I've Been Doing has been Watching the Olympics

No movies.  No comics.  Basically, I've got none of my usual stuff to cover.

I've really been enjoying watching Volleyball.  Men's.  Women's.  Beach.  Otherwise.  I love the pace and the athleticism, and, of course, watching May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings again has been a lot of fun.  The addition of Longhorn Destinee Hooker to the US Team has been just terrific.  It's great to see her get attention on such a huge stage.

I watched Little Girls' Gymnastics, and that was very sweet.  And seemingly not a headcase in the bunch.

Archery was pretty great this weekend, and this coming weekend I get to see Track & Field, the one time every four years when I watch those events, but I can't wait.

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Open Letter to NBC as The Olympics Draw Nigh

Dear NBC,

This evening I tuned into some pre-Olympics coverage.  Coverage of time trials as young Americans in Omaha, Nebraska who had been working their whole lives (or some short period of time between adolescence and now) to become world class athletes competed against their countrymen in very silly activities like seeing who can swim fastest for400 meters, but changing directions something like 8 times to do so (just imagine if we asked 400 meter runners to keep changing directions.  I'd watch that.)

I can almost sense the impending failure just from the official NBC logo.
As we do every four four years, I saw Andrea Kremer hopping about in a golf shirt (a sports-casting garment reserved just for the Olympics.  Why is that?), trying to interview hairless, genetic freak men with excellent musculature.  I can see why anyone for whom that's a thing would be as excited as Ms. Kremer.

I also noticed the color commentators relishing the opportunity afforded them for a few weeks every quadrennium to seem something like relevant, instead of finding themselves filling time on CNBC at 3:00 on a Saturday in February.  They seemed very interested in odd minutia about very specific individuals, talked about how the nation's hopes were pinned on this seventeen year old girl who is supposed to swim faster in a switchback fashion than other people, and then had very little nice to say about her once she was in the water and not breaking laws of space and time.

If I may:  Planning a meeting or a conference or even a party takes an incredible amount of work.  I get this.  I do stuff like that often.

You work and work and work to get to the event, you struggle through it, and then its over and all you want to do is celebrate.  The last thing you want to do is show up again on Monday and consider what maybe you could have done better.  I also get that when only do something once in a while, say, every two to four years, its hard to remember what worked and what didn't and get better at doing what you're doing.

So I am going to help you out.  You can skip the notes you misplaced after 2008.  I got you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In which I discuss pink Lego for entirely too long

Ten years ago I was in a particularly rabid part of my action-figure collecting phase and was at Toys R' Us looking for one figure or another, wandering the action figure aisle, which contained Spider-Man, pro-wrestling fugures, GI Joe figures, etc...  All toys the store, the toy manufacturers, their marketing people, and seemingly most of customers, seemed to believe were aimed at boys.

A very young boy, probably no older than four or five - old enough to start knowing what toys he wanted to go look at on his own instead of having toys handed to him - was standing down the aisle while his mother stood near an empty cart.  She waited for another mother to roll into the aisle with a child of a similar age (also a boy), and the first mother began addressing the newly arrived mother.

"Can you believe this?" she said, making sure her voice was loud enough for everyone on the aisle to hear.  "They're dolls.  My son wants to play with dolls.  That's all these are."  She made sure to roll her eyes and make big hand waving gestures.  Her son just sort of tensed up.  This was clearly not new behavior from mom.

"Well," said the other mother, more quietly.  "He knows what he likes."

"They're dolls," laughed the first mother, making sure she got the point across.  "I can't wait for him to realize that."

To break it down:

1.  Forget the clear marketing at boys (something geek girls complain about regularly), these are dolls, if that is your definition.  But they're also dolls with bazookas and anti-aircraft weaponry and robot arms and what-not.
2.  These are not dolls in the traditional Raggedy-Ann sort of fashion.
3.  If your son IS playing with Raggedy-Ann, God help him because I suspect you'll make his life a living hell.
4.  Way to emasculate your child in front of a store full of strangers.  In no way will that sort of thing come back to haunt you both.
5.  It wasn't clear what toys this mom thought were okay for 5 year old boys to play with, but it was pretty clear she wasn't too up on what 5 year old kids actually do.
6.  Nor did she notice "this aisle is literally full of people all shopping for the very items I am ridiculing.  Maybe I'm a bit of a jack-ass".
7.  We may not like it from an abstract sociological standpoint, but toys are actually sold differently to boys and girls.  The exact same toys, sometimes.

Pursuing this conversation is, of course, a politically correct landmine, as it treads into the territory of "what is" versus "what we think" or "what a white paper clearly demonstrated" or, basically, the cynical realities created by forces of nature, nurture, culture and marketing forces stronger than your best laid plans.  And the fact that when money is involved, all you have to do is consider that businesses are either growing or they are failing, and the rest just shakes out.  And why even getting your hackles up over this development is kind of weird.

Lego is taking heat over the recent introduction of Lego toys colored pink and purple and made extra cute.  Online and in social media, I have seen a lot of people complaining about Lego's latest efforts.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So, those guys were hiking the Iranian/ Iraqi border?

I've kind of/ sort kept an eye on the story of the three Americans who were held by Iran for the past few years after they, apparently, strayed over the Iranian border whilst out for their morning constitutional.  I, too, had been concerned for the welfare of my fellow Americans caught in a potentially deadly situation playing out on a global scale.  But, I admit, my sympathy for the situation dropped significantly when I figured out today that the three had been hiking the Iranian/ Iraqi border.  To which I say:

...wut?

How has this not been a part of the story?  Why is this buried several paragraphs down in every article where the information actually does appear in some form other than "hiking along the Iranian border"?

I guess I know now why the Iranians thought our friends may have been up to no-good shenanigans.  Hell, I'm not sure I don't believe they were up to something.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The League's Guide for Incoming Freshmen

This week students are arriving on campus at the university where I work.  I work in a building (a library) where I studied as an undergraduate.  This building is across the street from the building I lived in with 2,999 of my fellow students, and where I now eat lunch about 2-3 times per week.  

When I left high school and entered the wide-world of higher education, it was quite a change for your humble blogger.  I was leaving a world in which I'd achieved academic success mostly by following the rules and bullshitting when I did not, but doing it with humility and a pleasing smile that seemed to keep me from getting my head lopped off on the many, many occasions that should have done me in.

College provided me with a new set of circumstances, new people with new perspectives, teachers no longer working from a regionally approved curricula nor with fear that saying things displeasing to the local moral majority would cost them their job.  But, I also left the comfy nest of a home provided me by KareBear and The Admiral, a place where meals were provided, laundry magically happened, and as long as I did my homework, promised to go to college, occasionally did the lawn and didn't get anybody pregnant, I was able to enjoy the benevolence of those who might smite me.  But it wasn't exactly training for college.

I attended the University of Texas, my incoming class becoming part of what was a roughly 48,000 person student body, which would jump to 51,000 before I'd departed with 5 years and 2 degrees under my belt and the perspective and philosophy that comes with time spent in a city-state dedicated to creating the educated individuals of tomorrow.  I never didn't love the institution.  Instead, despite the rough first two years I spent at the bottom of the GPA pool, I figured out how, at last, to get out of the school what it was offering.

And so, I offer up some helpful tips I wish somebody had told me when arriving upon the steps of the Ivory Tower of Education, some things that may help out the young The Leagues showing up at their own colleges and universities, all across the world this Fall.