Saturday, July 9, 2011

New "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" trailer

There's a new trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes that echoes quite a bit from the turn taken in the 3rd Apes film of the original series where we came to understand how and why the Apes rose and that man wasn't exactly innocent in the scenario. Sure, they've drastically changed the continuity of the films, but this still looks interesting.

Trying Not To Be Dead: Thanks for the support, team!

I wanted to add a quick post and say thanks for all the positive feedback/ reinforcement on my post about Trying Not to Be Dead.

I am pretty sure I'm, like, five weeks away from achieving Ferrigno-ness
Bob, I'm not sure I'm quite ready for a triathlon, but you will be the first to know when I am.

As per the calendar thing - its a terrific idea!  I think I know where I'll put it, and everything.  However, I will likely wait until August when the 16 month calendars debut.  Who knows?  They might be out now.

And, I already eat some cottage cheese.  Its a delicious treat.  But... how about a Wagon Wheel?

Mostly, I swapped out my other snack foods for carrot sticks.  That seems to have helped.  Jason knows I will power through a bag of apples, but they're not always in season (especially Red Delicious), etc...  And I get really grossed out by oranges that are out of season.  Also: trying not to eat chips at Tex-Mex places (or skipping Tex-Mex).  Stuff like that.  And I've been trying to avoid guacamole, which I think is pretty much awesome, so that hurts.

But just not having junk around the house is helpful.  Of course, after our 4th of July party SOMEBODY (and I'm not naming names) left some delicious fudge at our house that calls to me in the wee hours.

Oh, and diet soda.  The problem is:  diet soda is like carbonated environmental catastrophe, and studies keep coming out saying that its going to make you fat, anyway (which, honestly I totally do not comprehend) so I try to drink those canned, carbonated waters from HEB (ie: generic La Croix).  Secret hint:  of everything at my 4th of July fiesta, that stuff went fastest.  Who knew?

Things I need to do better in the short-term:

  • If I know I'll be out in the evening, work out in the morning.  That's how I wind up missing days.
  • Get that calendar system going.
  • Try not to abuse the "you get to eat whatever you feel like 1 day per week" rule.  
  • Probably put down the computer now and go work out.

Friday, July 8, 2011

This Moment in History: The Final Space Shuttle Mission

The Atlantis lifts off for the final time

My heart breaks a little knowing that its the end of the Space Shuttle era. I'd be simply nostalgic if it meant that in 2012 the X-39 or a similar program were geared up to take the place of the Shuttle Program. But, instead, for the foreseeable future we'll be taking rides on Russian rockets to visit our own space station, and remaining earthbound after a half-century of touching the cosmos, even if it was only ever a glancing touch.

We looked into the face of limitless possibility as a nation, and we blinked.

In the years to come, they'll say it was a fool's errand, and a waste of resources. I'll be an old man, and the highest aspiration for kids will have long ago quit being being "Astronaut", which will sound antiquated and sad, almost how we smirk knowingly when you imagine being referred to as a "First Mate" on a ship.

And when we're old enough, or when we're gone, they'll say it never happened (just you wait). They'll say they never had the technology, that the will of a nation to spend the resources and capitol necessary just a few decades after the Wright Brothers flew their first place and the first rockets criss-crossed the skies... it was impossible. It'll be called illogical, fantastic and a hoax, written off like the sun-chariots in carvings in Egypt. And when that's said often enough, it'll be true.

Perhaps we went to fast, too soon.  Perhaps the kids I grew up with who squirmed their way through math and science took it for granted when we got to start making the rules, and maybe we were just a little disillusioned that they'd never asked us to suit up and go.  Like everything else, maybe we thought it would always be there.

As always, all we can do is hope that the tide will turn, and one day (perhaps when we're more deserving) we'll be ready, honestly and for real this time.

Until then, I thank the scientists, engineers, visionaries, and brave women and men who suited up and saw the Earth for us, and who went as close to the stars and further and faster than any of us.

The New York Times
AP Story at The Austin American Statesman

No post Friday

Wonder Woman is leading the charge toward not posting anything for Friday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Here's that interview with Doug Mahnke I did a couple weeks ago at Austin Books

for more great videos from Austin Books and Comics, visit ABC's YouTube page/ channel/ internet page that makes with the tv pictures.

WB Animation releases trailer for "Batman: Year One" (yes, it is what you think it is)

WB animation has provided us with some of the finest depictions of DC Comics' universe of characters, from Batman: The Animated Series (which debuted almost 20 years ago) straight through to last month's Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.

Of late, they've been tackling DC source material, including All Star Superman and old Green Lantern Corps stories. The results are often mixed, some movies I've straight up disliked, such as Batman: Under the Red Hood or whatever it was called.

And so I am deeply anxious to see that they have now taken of Batman: Year One, my favorite Batman story of all time.

It should make some slap their foreheads collectively in the obvious casting of Breaking Bad's Brian Cranston as Jim Gordon. Katee Sackoff will play Sarah Essen (and she should be the ONLY choice for a live action film).

This isn't a story about Batman so much as it is about Jim Gordon's life in Gotham, arriving at the same time that Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham and begins his life as a crimefighter. I understand that the studios has to sell the movie with Batman, but we don't even really see Jim Gordon here, and that's disappointing.

I've loved this comic since I first read it in middle school, and I still re-read it about once per year.

Here's to hoping the movie captures the spirit of the comic.

Trying Not To Be Dead: The League joined a gym

I have started and stopped writing this post about ten times.  It seems oddly self-serving and possibly a bit self-congratulatory for something that I haven't done much of yet, but...  basically: I joined a gym.  This isn't a "how-to" or "secret of my success" post because I'm frankly doing a fairly mediocre job.  But I am trying to do better.  

I was reading AllisonType's blog post "How Walking on a Treadmill Can Get You Squarely on the Path to World Domination" and decided: I think I'm going to go ahead and finish that post.  I think a lot of us who decided to live in our own heads a long time ago rather than actually dealing with our bodies or getting shape are getting to a point where we'd actually like to be healthier, and the years are not going to be kind if we do not do something now.

So I salute AllisonType, and thank she and her guest-bloggers for inspiration.

Like a lot of comic fans, and people who spend too much time online and at the movies, I'm not in good shape.  In fact, I am in very bad physical shape.  But I am trying to do something about it, and it does not really involve any of the usual topics we discuss around here, aside from discussing me.

As a kid, I got pudgy around 4th and 5th grade.  Then I started growing again, and being a teen-ager with teen-ager metabolism, etc... I got fairly skinny again.  To be fair, I also played sports in middle and high school.  Some football.  Some basketball.  A bit of lacrosse.  And, don't you know it, the drama thing is actually pretty active, especially if you're also building sets, hanging lights, etc...  

In college I played one year of intramural basketball before giving up on that (I was told it would be outside and it wasn't, and for some reason I had a problem with that).  But I took archery and fencing for PE credits (until I got injured fencing.  Big, dumb and slow are not great traits for a fencer).  And I rarely had time to eat (or money to do so), so it wasn't really until the end of college where I put on weight.

I don't think we ever get over the fact that as teen-agers we're just naturally thin(ner) and have the glow of youth.  Certainly we all walk around with an image of ourselves in our heads that we look how we did when we were 25, and like to find angles in photos and the mirror that lie to us and tell us this is so even when all evidence is to the contrary.  I first noticed my body structure was changing my sophomore year of college when I was mostly watching movies and sitting in class (which often entailed watching movies).  But genetics played a factor here, too.  My rib cage and shoulders decided to go wide (you could store a desktop PC in my ribcage).  I wasn't just tall anymore.  I was now a "big" guy, and I will always be fairly large.

For a couple of years after college, I took classes in Tae Kwon Do.  I liked TKD, but it wasn't going to be my lifestyle, and, sadly, that was the demand.

I did a gym in Arizona, but it was a bad experience and terribly expensive.  After quitting the gym and talking to my doctor, I ran, and that worked, but getting up at 5:30 AM everyday to beat the AZ heat was sort of a deal-breaker.  Plus, I worried about my knees in the longterm.  It was kind of too bad, because, man, running works like crazy.

But moving back:  I did nothing.  I ran a little for a while, and stopped.  It was a lot of sitting around and laying around with occasional dog walks, etc...  In the summer its hot, in the winter its cold.  And I just sort of watched myself falling apart, but I did a lot of rationalizing that if I was working out, I couldn't do other things I wanted to do.

When I hit 33 or 34, I genuinely started feeling awful all the time.  Just sort of logy, and the creepy part was that my joints started to hurt sometimes for no good reason.

In spring of 2010, I got an elliptical machine, and that had the effect of making me feel like I wasn't literally falling apart anymore.  I ate marginally better.  I was only doing 25-30 minutes at a time, but it was something.  I felt like I could get up the stairs at work with no effort.  Stuff like that.

This winter I started taking a core strength class once a week that was fun, but it mostly taught me that I was okay with cardio and endurance, but for my size, I really wasn't as strong as I could be.  Not in the ways I was going to need to be to keep my body parts in alignment longterm.

This spring I joined a gym on my birthday.  A cheap gym (its $10 a month.  I mean, seriously.)  As nice as it was to do with elliptical at home (and I still do it a few days a week), I like the gym.  As I just started, I'm mostly doing weights on machines and trying to remember how this works.  And it seems to be working.

What's @#$%ed me up is that I also suffer from gout, like I'm @#$%ing Henry the VIII or something.  And when that flares up like it did a month ago, it more or less just takes me out of commission.  The last flare up was bad enough that I'm now on medication and I'm trying to deal with it as a real thing in my life, because I don't want it stopping me from working out as well as keeping me from just doing what I need to do.

Its nice to have my heart working mostly properly, but I'm 36.  Things do not work the way they used to, and I want to strengthen now so that my bones, joints, etc...  will play ball with me for the next few decades.  I'm also kind of keen to try to see if I can't replace some of the mass hanging off me with actual normal human shape.

Make no mistake, even when I drop weight, my frame is never going to make it look like I'm the TV version of healthy.  My frame is somewhat panda-bear shaped.  Even when I was in karate and could jump over a fence or kick a Hyundai over (seriously, TKD was an amazing workout, and it fills you with unwarranted self-confidence and the desire to kick everything all the time), I wasn't ever mistaken for "thin".  So I've kind of decided to give up on lean and go for "thuglike".  Or "Ben Grimm-esque".  I can be a big guy, but I can be a big guy who won't give you pause as you wonder if they're going to make it up the stairs.

My eating habits have had to change.  I don't insist on Tex-Mex three nights per week anymore.  I seek out tuna and chicken rather than a large Papa John's pizza.  Jamie has been a total sport and we cook differently now.

I think its important to note: I've also been poor frequently, and like it or not, its easier to eat really badly when you don't have much money.

Anyhow, I do have some fitness goals.  Mostly I'm writing this post so I make a public deal with myself to keep working out.  The goals are modest, and its also very hard to explain to people what it means to be the sheer scale that I am.  Losing five pounds is noticeable on other people.  I've lost considerably more than that and most people don't really notice, and that's okay.  I'm not in it to be told I'm looking svelter.  But I do give myself a smug smile of satisfaction when I have to buy new pants.

The nice thing is that I've got friends who have, in their 30's, really made huge lifestyle changes and its worked for them.  It's do-able (but I'm not going to become a crazy marathon runner like some of you, Simon and JAL).  And that's inspirational.  It really, truly is.  Not the least of these folks is my brother, who was always the bigger of the two of us, but now that jerk has gone and lost a ton of weight.  So screw that guy.

Anyhow, again, this isn't much more about me making a statement so that you guys hold me to it, and I hold me to it, and as this blog also acts as a personal journal, I can look back and remember where I was when I posted this, and hopefully I won't have fallen off the wagon by then.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Join Us for the Seminal Films of My Youth: Buckaroo Banzai and Commando!

You are either with us or against us tomorrow evening at the double-bill screening of Them! and Godzilla (I recommend "with". We have mutant ants and a 30 story-high radiation-breathing lizard on our team.).

But if you can't make that:

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
July 17th at 7pm at The Alamo Ritz

If you've never seen Buckaroo Banzai, I pity you. Peter Weller plays the titular physicist/adventurer/rockstar, and the cast includes a very young (and attractive as always)Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, and even Clancy "Lex Luthor" Brown.

To explain the movie is like trying to explain the 8th Dimension its very self.  But, its sort of a 1980's tongue-in-cheek take on old school Sci-Fi ideas like Doc Savage and his team of adventurers.  Also: trans-dimensional aliens, rockbands, and jet-propelled mini-vans.  Its...  an amazing bit of movie-making that utterly flopped at the box office (although I saw it in the theater, natch), and has become a cult favorite of nerds everywhere.

July 21st at 7pm at The Alamo Ritz

To me, this is the quintessential modern action film.  I don't love this movie because it is good, or even for nostalgic reasons.  I love this movie because it is absolutely pure and sincere in what it is (sincerely ridiculous), and you can pretty much demonstrably prove that every action movie that came before or after this movie somehow touches this movie as either leading to Commando or as a descendant of Commando (or, the era that produced Commando.  And, of course, this is the ultimate movie of that era). 

I literally talk about Commando at least once per week.  Partially because EVERYBODY HAS SEEN COMMANDO.  This is a rule.  Everyone has seriously seen this movie.  Want to talk about the dull characterization popular in action films?  Commando.  Want to talk heroes who do more damage than good by anybody's measure?  Commando.  Want to talk about stripping down to your skivvies for no reason other than that you've hired Mr. Universe for your action picture?  COMMANDO.


Plus, they're gonna set off fireworks in the theater.

"Power Lunch" coming from J.Torres and Dean Trippe!

I don't know if you went to Free Comic Book Day this year, or if you picked up the All-Ages offering from Oni Press, but you should have done both.

Oni Press has been killing it recently with books I've loved like Stumptown (modern detective noir) and Sixth Gun (western/ horror/ fantasy).  And, of course, they're the publishers of Scott Pilgrim.  They've also put out Frenemy of the State, which is co-created by Rashida Jones, who I will now pause to consider while Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" plays in my head.

Watching every motion in my foolish lover's game...
And we're back.


So, the Oni Press FCBD offering gave a preview of what's to come in an upcoming 40 page book about a young boy who gains amazing super powers based upon whatever he last had to eat (except for white foods. Which is pretty clever.)

Written by J.Torres, who has done lots of stuff I've liked (but especially Days Like This),and drawn by the indomitable Dean Trippe, Power Lunch looks to be a promising book that those of us in the room who dig all-ages stuff, and for the parents out there, I think this one is going to be a lot of fun.

Now, I happen to know Dean Trippe and I share a love of old school Superman shenanigans, and just today I tweeted J. Torres to find out when the book is actually hitting the shelves.  He said:
Volume 1: First Course, full color, 40-page hardcover hits comic shops on October 12! Everywhere else October 25.
 And then followed later with:
By the way, the first volume of has a Superman theme to it.
I think Mr. Torres may have seen my site.  Or my Krypto-themed Twitter icon.  But I thought I'd also share a preview image by Dean Trippe to give you a feel for how this thing is going to look, and my early clue that Trippe and Torres might be working in some Superman theming.

So, yes.

Anyway, look for it this October!

A 4th of July fantasy

Steanso's 2 Favorite People celebrate FREEDOM

  • Full bar? Check?
  • AmyD's Independence Day enthusiasm at 110%? Check.(note celebratory kitten shirt for full evidence)
  • Pontificatin' Hat on backwards? Check.
  • Wagner in a phenomenal topper of her own?  Check.
  • Julia and I in matching shirts?  Check.
  • PaulT and Jamie framing the picture?  Check.

That's Independence Day at League HQ.

New Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon - Silent But Deadly (Ninjas!)

A pretty good way to kill 2 and a half minutes.

So, that was the 4th of July

you're probably wondering about the picture.  I just thought it was awesome.
So, no real post today.

We had a lovely cookout in honor of Independence Day.  I basically spent the weekend watching old movies (you probably noticed a bunch of posts about old movies, maybe), running errands, tidying and then having ourselves a little cookout.

If you weren't here, well, you're invited for next time.  We tend to have an open door policy on these things.  If you've been here before for such a cookout, you were missed this go-round.

It was an interesting mix of very old friends, very new friends, work pals, work pals from former jobs, college pals, and my one sibling and his lady friend (who makes these killer brownies that deserve their own post at some point).

I had a great time, and I hope my guests did, too.

The dogs are pretty wiped out, all sacked out on the sofas, and I'm thinking that all I want to do tomorrow (since I took the day off) is clean up the remaining mess and then hit the gym to sweat out the bad humors three hamburgers, three cocktails an assortment of cookies and brownies surely did to me (AMERICA, people).

Austin had a burn ban in effect as its rained for about half an hour in the past 6 months here.  Heck, its so dry that we could see a wildfire break out from two twigs rubbing together in a breeze, at this point.  People are actually pretty aware of how bad it is, so I've been impressed that I have only heard about three fireworks all day.   They also canceled the usually fairly impressive fireworks show downtown for the first time since WWII, and the symphony didn't play.  While I wasn't planning to attend, its still a bummer, and I usually actually watch the televised replay.*

Wherever you are, I hope you had a good weekend.  If you're an American here or abroad, I hope you got to raise a toast to those crazy guys who met up in Philly to change the course of human history, and who dedicated themselves and risked their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence in order to engage in the greatest experiment mankind would ever know (aside from mixing Mentos and Diet Coke).

Happy Post-4th.  

*yes, my nerdity extends into directions you never suspected.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Once Upon a Time in America

An Italian conducting an orchestra (I believe in Poland) performing a song written for a movie about early 20th Century American Jews shot partially in Rome (for that vintage look). That's America, people.

I'm a big fan of the movie Once Upon a Time In America, but a very big fan of the score.

Happy 4th of July, cont'd (America at its finest, video #2)

Just in case the previous post didn't say enough about why I love America, I would remind you: we made James Brown AND Rocky.

Independence Day Quandry: Who do you root for? WHO?

Happy 4th of July, America! (America at its finest, Video #1)

boom! woosh! fireworks! freedom!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Noir Watch: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

For years I thought this movie was a screwball comedy based solely on the title. Eventually I figured out I was in no way correct on that score, and when I came across it in Eddie Muller's Dark City I knew I had to give it a try.  And, I kind of fell in love with the name.  Its got a real ring to it.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

dig it.

This 1946 movie stars some pretty darn big guns including Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Kirk Douglas and Lizabeth Scott, so its got its noir bona fides.  Its written by The Hustler writer/director Robert Rossen and directed by Lewis Milestone, who handled movies as diverse as 1939's Of Mice and Men to the great war picture, Pork Chop Hill

Reminder: July 5th Double Bill: Godzilla (1954) and Them!

CHANGE OF PLANS: We are now attending the July 6th screening of both movies with Them! playing first, and then Godzilla

I haz crash ur party?
People, I am no Godzilla aficionado (and yes, they exist), but I am a fan of the Godzilla movies I have seen, including the 1954 original. I am also a fan of the 1954 entomologists' dream, Them!.  Why, if you're a fan of @#$% that can go wrong with wildlife during a nuclear test, this is absolutely the double-feature you've been waiting for.

Fortunately for us Austinites, this year's Paramount schedule features a double bill of both movies on the same night, and I am going to either do both of Tuesday or one each on Tuesday and Wednesday.  If you want to join us, send me an email or text me or whatever.

worst.  picnic.  ever.
Here's the Paramount schedule.

It's that time of year...

Show Me The Way To Go Home - Jaws from Thomas Kelly on Vimeo.