Saturday, November 5, 2011

Signal Watch Sports: Longhorns - we aren't totally horrible this year!

This Saturday I attended the UT/ Texas Tech match-up at Darrell K Royal - Memorial Stadium.

Firstly, it was Veteran's Day (observed, I guess) which meant the 82nd Airborne dropped 4 paratroopers into the sky who, to a trooper, landed pretty much dead-center of the field (I literally had no idea that you could be that accurate with a parachute).  They brought the flags AND the game ball.

I feel like such a sucker for just walking into the stadium
And then a pair of F-18's buzzed the stadium at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.  It was AMAZING (I am about 11 years old at the sight of a fighter jet in the sky).  

The point is, UT hit the field, and on the first drive by Texas Tech, I got a bit nervous.  Tech manhandled Oklahoma this year, and we've had issues with Tech in recent years.  Yes, Texas Tech lost last week's game pretty badly, but every week is a fresh start, so I really didn't know what to expect.

Remember, remember...

Before it was a movie that utterly watered down the premise and execution, V for Vendetta was the comic that every mildly disaffected teenager should read.  And then read again every five years, like any book that affects you in your youth.

Its funny what age, experience and the insight derived from both bring to a text you think you know.

I've mixed feelings regarding the fact that both Anonymous and emo teens have adopted the face of Guy Fawkes, a figure who's politics are so of his time and personal issues, that I've never been able to get my head around the morality of his gameplan.  But, really, my trip to England finally got my head around some of how the non-democratized world worked in ye-olde-era in which nations' fates hung upon big-stakes games of "get rich or die tryin'", and how quickly one could end up dead in crowned countries right up til fairly recent history.

Its a far leap from The Gunpowder Plot to the Occupy Wallstreet movement, and I suspect that its the anarchic principles outlined in V the comic and movie that inspire the mask.

I watch Anonymous with a sort of detached interest.  How does one condone vigilantism, be it on the internet or elsewhere?  How does one not smile a bit when you see masked Trickster agents befuddling folks who believe they've got it all under control (and profit from keeping it that way)?  But cringe when you see that same merry approach to chaos used without wisdom or restraint?

But, hell, I heard this week they might be targeting M13?  That would be remarkable.

Between you and me, I do not want either governments or corporations who do not tremble a little at the thought of what the unwashed masses can do.

There's an argument to be made about Mystery Men, here, as well, of wondering about the morality of a Superman or Batman who can disappear into the shadows by putting on glasses or pulling off a cowl.  And its interesting to see the masks appear at rallies, online, on posters...  If you don't know who we are...?  you've given us a playing field in which we know more than you do, and we know how to make it hurt...

And maybe that's what I find fascinating about this return to a 1938 Superman, brash and dangerous, as likely to make mistakes as a drunken bull perusing a china shop.  Its amusing how some readers find this idea unsettling, and I think that's the energy the character likely exuded back in the day, that captured the imagination of street kids with clear moral compasses, but the lack of experience or knowledge to understand how complicated the world can become, or understand the concept of compromise.

So, let us all remember, remember...

It was surely about justice in the mind of Mr. Fawkes.  Or at least a moral obligation to the church and/ or crown.  But there's always a fine line between anarchic justice and terrorism, isn't there?  You don't see me striking back against those with whom I disagree with cyber-attacks or by burning down their office cubes.

Its not the way I prefer to engage with those with whom I disagree.  But it doesn't mean you can't enjoy seeing someone get tweaked now and again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Freaking Friday

oh, you want a post?  You want the content machine to entertain you on your Friday?

Where's your part in this whole operation?  I give and I give and I give...


Sometimes it seems like...  its just me blogging here.  Just me pondering Silver Age Superman's relationship with his latest publishing venture...  just me espousing the virtues of Frankenstein...  or searching for semi-tasteful shots of pin-ups girls in holiday themes...

I don't know.  I just don't know anymore.

Well, ENJOY!  Enjoy this post.  I hope you're happy, Mr. "Oh, look at me reading this blog!" fancy-pants.

I'm nowhere ready for blogicide, but I'm a bit burnt out at the moment, Signal Corps.  Give me a few days to recoup.  Forget that my efforts are being hurled into a bottomless chasm of meaninglessness, and maybe... just maybe...  we'll be back at normal operating speed come Monday.

Here's a large goat.  How do goats even get this big?

What do they eat at that size?  Meat?  Where do they live?  This looks like the Alps.

I really don't know much about goats that I didn't learn in a cartoon.

Today I was in a library at a medical school, and they literally have a room just full of rubber models of body parts, and nobody thought this was amazing or funny.

I think I've hit one of those periods I find myself in every so often where I realize I'm just spending too much time online for reasons I can't put my finger on, and its time to crank it back down.

You're all terrific people and goats, but...  I have no idea what I'm doing here this evening.

We'll have a quiet weekend, and maybe we'll see you on Monday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Pics Not of Me

Oh, right.  If you have pics of you or your kids from Halloween, send 'em in.

Here's Peabo's kid, Owen, taking the fight for freedom to, what appears to be a Cap Metro bus.

Cap.  Cap Metro!  I crack myself up.

Kudos to Owen for a surprisingly accurate movie-Cap costume.

Let's hope justice doesn't mind tacking on an extra 30 minutes for the commute.

gggnnngghhhhhh.... The "I'm Not Feeling Like A Real Post" Itemized Round-Up

This is sort of how I'm feeling at the moment.  I'm doing all right, but, man...  hordes of pinheads, why are you so many, and why do you keep coming?  Even when I keep swinging my axe into your squishy selves?

Its just been a sort of irritating two days, and I'm hoping tomorrow goes better.  Even when I know Friday is going to be a mess of scheduling conflicts.

Item - I finally finished DC's Brightest Day with Volume 3.

What a mess that thing was...  It had some good elements but...  by and large, I see no reason why I'd tell anyone else to read that thing.  I find it sad that the only DC event book that felt driven more by character than "putting a hat on a hat" plot contrivances was the controversial Identity Crisis.  And the only plot-driven one I felt worked as a story was Final Crisis, but only if you read the Superman tie-in.  Go figure.

Item - if you're in Austin on Friday night, go see Jason's band "The Mono Ensemble" at the Carousel Lounge.  Its from 9:00 - 10:30.  There might be a cover, but the rockin' comes free with the seat.

If you're wondering what sort of music Jason plays - its sort of like this.  Only with a lot more dinking around between songs.

Item - I'm in Dallas for the evening and very tired.  I slept pretty badly last night.  Probably why I'm cranky with humanity today, and why its okay if I'm holed up in a rather nice hotel room by myself for the evening.

Item - After enjoying both first seasons, I haven't made time for either Boardwalk Empire or The Walking Dead this year.  I just can't seem to be motivated by TV at the moment.

Well, I am still making time for almost ten shows I can think of, and that seems like plenty, really. And considering I can't find time to read or catch up on my Noir viewing - where the heck is my time going?

Item - Be kind to your fellow humans.  And animals.  Your daily reminder.

Item - Jamie and I will be attending the UT/  Texas Tech game on Saturday.  If you see it televised, I'll be the one in the orange shirt.

Item - Grapes of Wrath is a really, really long book.

Item - Be cool and buy my friends' album.  I can't guarantee you'll like it, but you'll make some very nice boys in Seattle just happy as clams.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Handing Out Comics on Halloween

Not every year, but when I see they are available via Discount Comic Book Service, I always order these short, inexpensive, undersized comics that fit into your standard candy sack.  They're always kid friendly and from a character or company whose characters I don't need to worry about.

Yeah, when I was a kid, I thought anyone who gave out pennies or pencils was kind of missing the point, so that's why we give out candy, too.

To comics fans, the cheap, floppy format is called an "ashcan" comic, but I'm not clear on the source of the name.  I do know its a format from the old days used either to create a copyright on a character before it goes into heavy print, or to give away as a promotional item.

This year it was Casper the Friendly Ghost, Donald Duck, Scary Godmother, and Roger Langridge's Snarked.

There are logistical concerns.  
  • We don't know how many kids will come by, so ordering is a crap shoot
  • I always hope the comics are gender neutral and I think this year's selections managed to do that.  Boys do not want a Barbie comic, but girls are will take all your Spider-Man comics, so you might as well order heavy on the "boys" side, if there is one.  
  • And, of course, the kids take the comic and immediately forget about the nice lady standing there with candy, and every single parent has to say "there's candy, too", and the kid looks totally shocked and turns around to secure some candy.
  • I also have no idea what kids like.  Do they know who Donald Duck is?  They certainly have no affinity for Casper as I doubt the Harvey cartoons have aired in 15 years, and the comics have a very limited release, as far as I know.  But I'm not a parent, and I don't know what the latest fad is for wee ones.

Welcome to November, Everybuddy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tricks or Treats at League HQ - A Photo Review

This evening was a raging success at League HQ. We had over 100 trick or treaters, handed out tons of candy and comics, and generally had a good time.

Signal Watch Pal, HeatherW joined us.

Our haunted manor
Our merry jack 'o lanterns
In addition to bowls of candy, we offered a selection of comics

The reason the jacket is there is because Nicole wore it for a costume thing on Friday

Superman sez:  The first one's free
We don't like to do Halloween alone.  Here's some of our pals.

Happy Halloween, Y'all!


Or, as I like to call it, "The Day Before We All Start Freaking Out About Christmas".

We'll be checking out for the evening as we prepare to dispense candy and comics (!) to the neighborhood boys and ghouls.  If you're in Lower Austin, do not hesitate to stop by for candy, comics, tricks or treats.  I believe pal HeatherW is joining us on the porch this evening.

Before we check out, please feel free to send in your pics of you or your kids!  We'd love to have a gallery posted of our beloved Signal Corps and their offspring at the most ridiculous time of year.

Email pictures here.

Here's an index of our Halloween posts for 2011.  OOOOOoooooooooo....!!!!

Halloween Interactivity! Day 8: The League - Part 2 ("Count Dracula, Jr.")

My brother will readily point out that, especially as a child, I'd pursue an idea right into the ground, based upon the promise of the idea far, far more than whether the idea were practical or matched up with reality.  In the manner, I went to college and got a film degree.

Insert drum fill.

So it came to pass in 3rd Grade that, after having been a "cute" character for Halloween in 2nd Grade, I was ready to be something a bit more scary in 3rd Grade.  

That prior year, we were all riding high off the release of ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, and my grandmother, having no idea what an ET was, sewed me an ET costume.  I was freaking cute as hell, but it was also a warm autumn in the Spring, Texas area, and I'd mostly remembered sweating through the shirt I'd work under the costume and wanting to take the mask off at every opportunity so I could release some of the heat building up inside.  It was like wearing a ski-mask in 80+ degree temperatures.

So, somehow the summer before 3rd Grade, I began considering going out as Dracula.  Both The Wolfman and The Mummy seemed to have the same "mask in humid Houston" issue, and I couldn't figure out where to secure a Frankenstein head except via a paper-mache project I was fairly certain I'd just sweat through, anyway.  

I made a list of what I'd need to become Dracula, looked at pictures, and was certain that my Dracula would not be a plastic-apron-costume variety with those pokey plastic face masks.  But...

1)  Dracula's opera-tuxedo costume was not something one could easily get their hands on, and 
2)  the more I looked at Dracula, the more I felt he was a bit of a dandy in our modern, 80's, Casey Kasem-driven-era

And so was born my own, unique, concept - Count Dracula, Jr.

Today - The Admiral Retires

Today isn't just Halloween, its also The Admiral's final day as a working stiff.

For a guy who started working before he was 16, I imagine its time to put up the feet and start relaxing a bit, and maybe coming over and washing my windows.  You know, if he has time.

I tip my hat for the The Old Man.  He's a credit to the sort of thing people talk about when they discuss opportunity, and while he hasn't got a particularly charming story, between he and The KareBear, I always knew where the bar was set, and how easy I'd had it when I put together his story.

My dad didn't actually finish high school.  He got a GED, joined the Air Force and somehow wound up in electronics, where he served a few years working on radios and electronics on the tarmac and in trailers in tropical locales half-way around the world.  He served in Vietnam during the early days of the conflict, and upon returning home wound up at a tiny airbase in Michigan where he met The KareBear.

Upon exiting the Air Force, he returned to Florida, enrolled in junior college while working, then enrolled at The University of Florida, continuing on to receive an MBA.  Somewhere in there, he married my mom.

He worked for companies like Martin-Marietta out of school, and eventually took jobs with Great Lakes Steel and Ford up in Michigan.

In the 1970's, he found work in Texas, and did a stint in Dallas.  In about 1981, he landed a job with a large corporation based out of Houston which made everything from hammers to spark plugs to oil tool equipment.

Eventually he wound up working in the finance arena within oil tool manufacturing, at different shops in Austin and Houston, lasting from 1984 until today.

Between he and KareBear, he managed to put us through school, put clothes on our backs and provide the sort of life you generally want for your kids and family.  And he managed to do it while showing up for games and plays, supporting my mother's extra-curricular activities as well (be that attending elementary school assemblies or the soccer games of kids he couldn't pick out of a line-up) but still managed to remain upwardly mobile within a multi-national corporation and travel the world, making the world safe for financial managers and accountants, I suppose.

The Admiral is a funny guy.  He does all of these things, and all with a sense of modesty utterly sincere and unaffected.  We do not talk about what we accomplish.  We talk about what needs to get done.  And we talk about the good things that happened yesterday and dwell on the mistakes of the past only to tell us how we can do better tomorrow.

Its a high bar, and were we all so lucky to just make it a matter of course.

As I grew up, school, work and geography conspired that it became rare I could visit his office.  However, it wasn't that many years ago that I had a chance to tour his then-office and get introduced to suites of colleagues that I knew reported to him or who were in his chain of command.  It was still great to see not just how he clearly was happy to show us where he spent his days between 8 and 5, and show such great pleasure in the place he worked and the people he worked with.  He'd never trumpet his own horn, but I know he was a VP of something-or-other.  A suit.  But he was still more or less the same guy you might see helping out at the Church bake-sale figuring out a better way to sell the pastries, and the one who merrily led my cub scout troop through making decorative eagles out of clothespins.

Anyway, here's a salute to The Admiral.  Captain of Industry.  Capitalist.  World Traveler.  Colleague.  Friend.  My Old Man.

The thing is - He's not going to slow down.  I know this guy.  Sure, the KareBear will have him running, but he's not one to just sit back.  He's going to have so many plates spinning in six months, I'm just nervous about what tasks I'll have assigned to me, and that's all right.  Its been a while since me and The Old Man were accidentally breaking something together.

Salut, Dad.

We'll see you in Austin.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dressin' Up for Halloween - The League puts on capes

So, Friday night Austin Books and Comics had a costume party.  I haven't seen too many pictures surface from the party (I didn't take any, but I know others did).

The concept was "Arkham Asylum" - the insane asylum where Batman sticks all his villains.  Well, I couldn't figure out how to come as Mr. Freeze or Killer Croc, the two villains my size would probably have sold best.  And I'm a Superman fan at heart, so...


For years and years I've wanted to dress as Bizarro, but I always knew it would just confuse trick-or-treaters, and I didn't want to explain myself at any Halloween parties.  But at ABC, I knew these were my peeps.  Sure enough, people seemed pleased to have Bizarro in their midst.  And, yes, I was emulating "New 52" Superman.

And last night, Jamie decided we were having a Halloween Party.  Sort of impromptu.  I did nothing to organize this shin-dig, but basically we were supposed to be going to a party that didn't happen, so we bought some booze, and... instant party.

I went as "Low Budget/ Drunk Batman".

Monday night I'll wear the Superman get-up.  Its apparently a neighborhood tradition now, so I'm happy to do it.  I'll post a few pictures Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Halloween Interactivity! Day 7: The League (Part 1 - Movies)

Hey all!

I hope your Halloween weekend is going swimmingly.

Here in Part 1, I'll discuss an underrated SPOOOOOOOOOOOOKY movie.  And then in Part 2 - we'll talk costumes.

My favorite spooky movies are probably:  The Haunting, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Dracula, followed by The Shining and The Thing.  None of these are particularly poorly-known movies.

And, as I've said, I didn't really have an affinity for horror movies growing up.  It was hanging out with our own JAL, Michael Corley and CarlaBeth that I finally saw some real horror movies.

Here's a quick rundown of some movies I think should get a mention.