Friday, November 9, 2012

And then I left for Tallahassee

In the morning I leave for Tallahassee.  My dad's brother, Unky B, is turning 70 and both of my second cousins (my dad's cousin's family is also in Tallahassee) have had children of late, and we're to attend the baptism Sunday morning before departing.

It's a mini-family reunion of a family that is not particularly stellar at expanding.  My Uncle never had children, so I've no cousins on that side, and Jason and I are also failing to carry on the family name.  Much like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, I am a seemingly successful evolutionary dead-end.

Truthfully, I am wiped out.  I have no idea how this is going to go.  Right now my gameplan is to stay upright until I am released back into my hotel room.

Then Monday I'm back at work, and Tuesday I'm off to Lubbock.  I am a little worn out.  If I can just make it to Saturday the 17th, I am slated to see SkyFall with a pack of British people led by our own SimonUK.  The Austin Brit ex-pat group loves their James Bond.

Get me to SkyFall, and all will be well.

No blogging til I return Sunday night.  I'm leaving my computer behind.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Barack Obama Wins Four More Years

I'm posting this to have a clear record.  This post will go up Thursday morning, but I stayed up far, far too late on Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning watching NBC and ABC news covering the election, beginning around 10:00.

Most of you will guess who I voted for, but this isn't a political blog, and we're not going to dwell on the particulars of who received which vote from me.

I will say I am pleased that Austin voted in geographic representation to the City Council, doing away with the At-Large system that had - as Austin has grown - meant that areas (like the 78745) were not necessarily feeling the love from a city council focused on growth in the urban corridor and leaving those of us in Lower Austin out of future development plans for things we can use, like mass transit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Coach Darrell K. Royal Merges with The Infinite

Darrell K. Royal, icon of University of Texas football, has passed at 88.

I am sad to learn that former UT football coach, Darrell Royal, has gone on to his reward, but as I said to CoWorker Kristi - "It's kind of hard to imagine living a better life than that guy".

Longhorn Football fans know that Royal brought three championships to Texas and had a 167-47-5 record at UT.  Memorial Stadium is actually now Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, and has been for quite a while.

He remained active in UT Athletics and the University of Texas, and was on the field for a coin toss just a few weeks back.  He'll be missed, but in Austin, it is impossible to believe he'll be forgotten.

Signal Reads: The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) by R. L. Stevenson

The only other Robert Louis Stevenson I've ever read was Treasure Island back in elementary school.  I remember it being quite good, but that was also 1984-85, so it's been a while.  I will also state that, in third grade, I read an adaptation for kids that was still very gripping to me at the time, and pretty scary, but I think it had elements from the movies sprinkled in.

I have seen multiple version of the Jeckyll/ Hyde story in film, from silent versions to Mary Riley, so it's not like I was unfamiliar with the story, but as Dracula and Frankenstein are adapted again and again, the books they sprang from often seem forgotten entirely in the adaptation - so I wanted to give the novella a spin.  I found a copy a long time ago narrated by Christopher Lee, but it doesn't appear to be available on Audible anymore.  Needless to say, Christopher Lee is a tremendous talent, and his range suits the book incredibly well.

But this was my first time reading the actual novella of The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Stevenson.

Here's the thing about this book...

Texas Voting Demographics

This is interesting.

click to enlarge

There's no point here except that I thought I'd share some actual representations of information. I just never really have a feel for Texas' voting patterns outside of Austin and that the majority of Texas is red.

We often say "Austin is a little blue dot in the middle of the state", and that's true.  What I didn't know was that Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso would be blue, and I really didn't know The Valley was that blue.

By this time, we should be having a bit of this...

My pre-loaded post for election night as I avoid the internet and television.

Democracy and Fellowship

Words of wisdom.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Signal Reads: The Damsel (1967) by Richard Stark

At the conclusion of the Parker novel The Handle, Parker and Alan Grofield have landed in Mexico City with Grofield licking his wounds and Parker leaving him there so he can get on with it.

Richard Stark (aka: Donald Westlake) spun off Grofield into his own sub-set from the Parker novels with The Damsel (1967), giving Parker's occasional co-worker with the head full of flights of fancy room to pursue his own adventures.

Structurally, it feels a bit like a Parker novel, but tonally, The Damsel is a lot lighter on its feet and a bit wackier in scope.  While Stark narrates both books from a third-person perspective, the attitude of the protagonists infiltrates the worldview of the book.  Parker's methodical, systematic, almost obsessive-compulsive perspective is ditched for Grofield's devil-may-care approach, and talent for improvisation and theatricality giving the adventure more of... an adventurous air.

Vote-a-Geddon is Upon Us!!!!

If you are an American of voting age and registered, and you have not yet voted, I implore you - exercise your right to do so!

But not if you're undecided..?  Seriously.  You've had plenty of time to get informed.  If you still don't know, sit this one out and try again in four years.

Well, so I'm back in Austin (for a bit)

I don't know how I did this to myself this fall, but my schedule somehow got filled up right up til Christmas.  Not totally full, but it sure feels like it's going to be jam-packed.

Friday I fly out for a family reunion of sorts in Florida.  I return Sunday night and then next Tuesday (the 13th) will be flying out to Lubbock, returning Thursday the 15th.  And then Thanksgiving.  And then December 1 we're having our Holiday party (you, yes YOU, are invited!).  We'll follow that with me cheerleading a wedding in mid-December, and then we're pretty much in Christmas.

Christmas, people.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Some interesting stuff in Action Comics #14 on Wednesday!

Quick Superman related notes...

I wasn't off the plane yet and was checking email, and got a note from CanadianSimon about this week's release of Action Comics #14.  Apparently - it guest stars my favorite media-savvy scientist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson!  

NDG pops up in a lot of documentaries, is the host of Nova Science Now! and his podcast, StarTalk.  He also attended UT for a while, but did not feel it suited him and left.

Here he is rolling up his sleeves to go to work, side-by-side with Superman!

Man, someone really talented flatted that page
Oh, by the way, local artist and colorist, Jordan Gibson, did some work on that story!  He is the "flatter" on the art, which means he did some coloring work on this back-up feature.  Jordan is a huge Superman nut, and I'm totally thrilled he's getting an opportunity to see his work in Action Comics.

Get Out the Vote!

Hey, Americans!


I've already early voted (thanks, local grocery store, for hosting), but if you haven't voted yet, get out there and have your say!

No matter who wins this election, let us hope that our president somehow doesn't have to just spend four years as the chewtoy for people who make their living making us hate each other rather than, you know, helping.

And try not to get into unnecessary, unwinnable arguments with people who matter.

By late Tuesday night we'll (probably) know the results, so take a breath, remain calm, and be glad that your government is not being dictated at swordpoint as it pretty much was everywhere on Earth for most of humanity's history.

How great is it that we don't just shrug and get along with our lot in lives, but expect ideas can be represented in a person and in a government?  That the extremism that took over our country was the idea that the people should get to have a voice?

I am a deeply cynical voter, but that's because my dream of a Mr. Smith going to Washington is dead and buried - and I've come to accept that no matter how smart or clever, a person is really just a person, and reality catches up with all of us sooner or later.  But I believe in the process, and I hope for the best with every vote I cast.

Also, locally, vote Prop 3.  Prop 4 doesn't make any sense.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Excursion to Mile High Comics in Denver, CO

I wasn't terribly excited to have to get on a plane and head to Denver Saturday morning.  It's been a busy couple of weeks at work, and I wrapped up major meetings Thursday and Friday.  But off to Denver I went, asked to present at a conference that was aimed at my industry, but not so much directly at me and what I do.

When I was first getting into comics and believed I only really needed Batman, X-Men, Teen Titans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in my life, I came to find out that a couple years before I learned what an X-Man or Teen Titan was, there has been a crossover between the Big Two, and an Uncanny X-Men/ Teen-Titans comic had actually been printed.  It blew my mind.  I never saw the cover of the comic, or who had worked on it.  It existed as a line-item in ads for a place on Denver called Mile High Comics as a title and price point.*

Eventually I saved up some money rather than taking whatever I had and riding immediately to Piggly Wiggly on my bike to look at the spinner rack.  My mom wrote a check and in some amount of time, the comic arrive in the mail.  It was like magic.  And the cover to the comic was pretty awesome, even if the story set the tone for how poorly I've always felt crossovers worked.

Over the years of following comics, I'd always heard legends of the store itself - a massive space that dwarfed the imagination (this was back when Austin Books was about 1500 square feet and half of that was dedicated to sci-fi books) and had an amazing selection.

Eventually, I even bought a couple of issues from them online before deciding the fun of collecting comics is in the hunt, not just ordering something off the internet.

I had just crawled into bed Friday night when I realized:  hey, I'm in Denver with time to kill.  I could jump in a cab and...

So Saturday afternoon I stepped outside my hotel, negotiated a return trip with a cab driver and off I went to the Mile High Comics Superstore.  And a Superstore it is, indeed.

this represents about 1/2 of what you can actually see inside the door...