Showing posts with label signal corps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label signal corps. Show all posts

Sunday, April 7, 2013

10th Anniversary Round-Up

Back on March 30th, this blogger marked his 10th Anniversary of writing.  We want to thank everyone who had an opportunity to send something in!

If we missed your email or message, let me know, as we'd love to include you in this celebration.  Also, feel free to send something in any time if you'd planned to do something but got busy.

Here are some links to the posts as they are now.  Thanks again so much to all of you.

My own thoughts

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Reed chimes in on the whole 10 Years of Blogging Business

I've known Reed since... man, probably 1984 or so. If anyone was there when I passed the curve from "mild interest" in comics to full blown comics nerd, it was he. He was also the guy i knew who actually owned copies of Death in the Family, and so, one day while he and Jason were listening to Van Halen albums or something, I sat on his bed and read the whole run.

Anyway, Reed has been with the blog for years, though he only usually chimes in to defend his beloved Texas A&M Aggies (who are having a pretty good time of it these days). But he's always around... somewhere....

Congratulations on 10 years of blogging!!! It's hard to believe. It's hard to believe my oldest will turn 8 in 2 months, that Jas and I are 40 years old, and that my dad is 70! My dad turning 70 is actually the hardest to come to grips with.

Anyway, here is what I have appreciated the most about The Signal Watch (and The League of Melbotis):

* Your captions with photos and images. Whether it's crazy 1950-60s Superman covers, photos of your family, or images from Hollywood, you have the best captions!
* Your commentary and dialogue about your family (especially with and about your brother). I always check the comments section. Of course, I'm biased having known your family for so long.
* Daily Dose of Good Cheer formerly Dames in the Media That The League Once Dug. I never realized that it was originally done to increase web traffic on your blog. Regardless of the reasons, I'm a big fan.
* Your movie reviews. You have helped keep me from making poor decisions at the movies. Especially when you pan comic book movies. That usually seals it for me.
* I stopped collecting comics after I graduated high school so it's been nice to stay in the general loop of the industry through your blog.
* Your general writing. I am constantly amazed at not only the quantity, but the quality of the writing and how you keep things fresh on your blog for over 340+ days a year (you rarely take days off from your blog).

Again, congratulations on 10 years and here's to 10 more. Thanks for providing an entertaining break during my work day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

10th Anniversary: Jake chimes in from the Shores of Oregon

As he says below, Jake is a relative new-comer to the Signal Corps/ Loyal Leaguers.  If "new" is being around for two years.  I've really enjoyed Jake's participation, his enthusiasm and his occasional voice of dissenting opinion.

And, yes, the Longhorns were the better team.

I stumbled upon The Signal Watch around April 2011, so I'm a relative newcomer to this ten year enterprise. I don't remember how I found the site, but I'm sure it had something to do with Superman. And it became quickly apparent this site was more than a collection of rants written with all of the erudition of a third grader. Quite the opposite; I found the posts to be refreshingly intelligent and insightful, much more so than the major comic book oriented websites, but without the cynicism and contrived snarkiness. Before long, this became my primary source of comic-related news and commentary. In fact, when it comes to superhero comics, monsters, film noir, Planet of the Apes and yes, Superman, The Signal Watch is my Saturday Evening Post.

Of course, it helps when the founder and proprietor, Ryan, is the same age, and grew up watching and reading all the same stuff I did. He's one of those rare people who, with equal enthusiasm, can argue the social and cultural currents running through comics, or pick the winner of Mothra vs. the Giant Mantis. Then of course, there's Superman -- Ryan just gets him. There are few things I don't get, like his zeal for Jimmy Olsen comics. And I think he actually believes the Longhorns were a better team than USC in 2005.

More than anything, I appreciate Ryan's willingness to converse with his readers. As someone who is often clumsy and blunt wielding my opinion, I am grateful for his patience and forbearance.

So congratulations, Ryan. Here's to ten more years. Salud!

Monday, April 1, 2013

RHPT and 10 Years of Loyal Leaguership

I met Randy at a movie theater in Beaumont, Texas.  He had come to Beaumont to visit JimD, meet me and catch a screening of Superman: The Movie.  That's one of two times we've been able to hang out, but I've been there online to find out he was moving to Tennessee, getting married, and now, he's on his second child. 

10 years, y'all.

Here to Randolph and making friends across the internets!

I had a version of this e-mail ready to go, but then I read Steven's letter, and managed to get an advanced copy of the 10th Anniversary post, so I re-worked it. Is that cheating?

I vaguely remember receiving an email from JimD many years ago telling me that I must read this blog a college buddy of his started. As with most things JimD recommends, I ignore it the first couple of times. (I do this despite JimD's amazing track record of recommending insanely awesome things). I - again - vaguely recall clicking the link, quickly scanning the first few posts, and moving on. A few days (weeks?) later, JimD's second email was along the lines of "you need to read his blog or he'll stop writing and that would be a tragedy". And for whatever reason, I clicked the link again and started reading a post. God knows what was the subject of that first post (probably comics), but I was hooked. I probably didn't start regularly visiting the blog for a few weeks (This was pre-Google Reader), but for at least two-thirds of the past 10 years, I visited League of Melbotis more than once a day, and commenting constantly. In fact, after Google Reader came along, I didn't add The League's feed because I would visit the site more often than Reader refreshed the feed. Good times.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superman: The Musical!

Holy cow.

I've known about It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman! for around 10-12 years, but I had never seen it in any form.  Originally produced as a campy Broadway spectacular  in 1966 (it debuted the same year as the Adam West TV show), the show ran for about four months before closing.  I think that, these days, the show has mostly been forgotten.

In 1975, because nobody was paying attention, ABC broadcast a version of the musical.  Reportedly the program aired a single time, fairly late at night and in a dead zone where networks were often trying to figure out how to fill the airwaves*.  To the best of my knowledge, there is no legally obtainable copy of the broadcast available.  For Superman fans, the musical is about as close to an intentionally obscure artifact as I can think of to that king of pop cultural ephemera, the Star Wars Holiday Special.  Superman fans have all seen clips or stills, but we haven't seen the actual full program.

Can you read my mind?

This week, I did obtain a copy.  We'll keep it a little shrouded in mystery, but my source knows who he is, and knows how awesome he or she is.  As the existence of this video may not be entirely on the up and up (and so offended am I that I have immediately burned the DVD so that NONE may find yourself tainted by the sheer audacity of it's illegality), I'm keeping the gifter's name out of it.

But, thanks, man.  That was SUPER of you!**

The video itself is a transfer from tape.  Tape from 1975.  So, it's got some rough edges and the sound is occasionally wobbly because: aging analog media.  It's not the drug-fueled nightmare that the Star Wars Holiday Special devolves into within minutes of the opening, and, frankly, the Star Wars Special had about 20 times the budget of this show.  It's also an oddball bit of nerd media, and would fit nicely on your shelf next to the shelved low-budget, very 90's Justice League pilot, the Legends of the Superheroes, the Captain America TV movies, etc... etc...   But the musical is pure hammy schmaltz, but intentionally so, and it's oddly charming, even if it's not much of a musical.

NathanC on The League's 10th!

I don't recall exactly when I met NathanC, but i recall seeing him play in a band called "Barnyard Commandos" at my high school's rockfest. I know I'd met him before he met up with my brother at Trinity in San Antonio when they were both Freshmen. And, not only have we been pals ever since, but Nathan knew Jamie separately from knowing me back at Trinity, as well. So, longtime pal.

No matter what happens with this blogging business, I know that Nathan will still be popping up at odd hours at my house until one or both of us goes.

Lovin’ the League

I’ve told the League (I cannot in any way refer to him as ‘Ryan’ in cyberspace) many times that he should be writing a column for the paper. Or a book.

I’ve know Mr. League for close to 20 years now, and always found him to be a bright boy. But something in his nut cracked when he moved to Arizona. The dearth of cultural activities in Chandler turned him inward, and then led him to spew his thoughts upon the interwebs with the classic-era blog “League of Melbotis.” The life and times of livin’ large in AZ were supplemented by remembrances of better (and worse) times in Texas, including some of my favorite stories about working for the Mouse at Willowbrook Mall, or the rat at Chuck-E-Cheese.

The League writes well, and continues to do so with The Signal Watch. His online persona is honest and not without a little humorous sarcasm. He speaks for the frustrated observer of life and culture. His takedown of Johnny Clambake’s is legendary.

And he brings people together. As many have said before in this spot, the League of Melbotis was a social network when Marc Zuckerberg was only...

Oh, wait a second, Facebook started in 2004?

Well, you were a little ahead of the game.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jamie has her say on 10 Years of Blogging

Jamie and I have been together for over 17 years, married for almost 13.  Of that, 10 years has been spent online.  She really never has to wonder what I'm up to or thinking because: there you go.  Just check the post in the morning.

She's been a sport about her supporting role in this endeavor, and her level of joy at participation waxes and wanes, depending on what's going on.  I will say, I found it pretty hilarious (and telling) that we essentially end our posts the same way.

I have been extraordinarily lucky to team up with a partner who is as patient and understanding not just about my hobbies, but about this endless blogging business of which she's been a part.  She's the light of my life, my north star, all that jazz...  Love you, pumpkin.

When Ryan sent out a request for reflections on his ten years of bloggership, I immediately thought - "what better way to toast the League than the League's own words?".  I decided I wanted to go back through League of Melbotis and The Signal Watch and select the most memorable posts from his impressive run.

Holy smokes, ten years.  Do you have any idea how much material that is? That's a LOT of blogging.  I would have regretted this decision had it not been a joy to comb through the archives in search of my favorite posts.  The hardest part was selection.  My first pass through all ten years netted no fewer than 50 entries.  Fifty seemed a little too much for a "best of" tribute, so I have narrowed it down to 10.

I am well aware that everyone has different opinions and some of my selections may seem strange, but I tried to nail down those posts which I immediately remembered or to which I had a significant emotional response.  So without further ado, in chronological order, I present to you:

10 Posts of Note: A League of Melbotis/ The Signal Watch Retrospective

When Ryan fist started League of Melbotis in April of 2003, we had lived in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler for almost a year, had yet to make any friends aside from one of the guys I worked with, and were gearing up for another soul sucking Arizona summer.  The blog was a great outlet for Ryan's frustration and talent for writing. Some of the more common earlier posts took the form of relaying our outings in and around the Chandler area:

1. The Chandler Jazz Festival

League of Melbotis: 10 Years of Blogging

March 30th, 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of my blogging habit.  Ten years, something around 5000 posts.  That's just the blogs of which I've been chief proprietor.  I also wrote briefly with other folks at Nanostalgia and at Film Fodder (a paying gig!  I made, literally, about $1.25).

So, I've written and posted a lot.  Big whoop.  Sometimes I wonder if I've a small case of hypergraphia that's gone undiagnosed, but we won't dwell on that here today.

Pushing through the haze and trying to remember why and how...  you start making up stories in your own head to make it sound better.  But it's mostly right there in print.  At the age of 27, looking down the barrel of 28, I kicked off the first blog, League of Melbotis.

this is no fantasy... no careless product of wild imagination...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Horus Kemwer shares some words on the eve of the 10th Anniversary

In the way things go with Horus, I have met him officially once.  We ate food, drank beer and then liquor.  We swapped stories.  I was given a comic series to begin to pursue (Dungeon).  I may or may not have met him previously in a bar in Beaumont, Texas.  Flash Gordon and Superman were involved.  So was RHPT and JimD.  It's hard to say what really happened.

Horus can be found at Against the Modern World.  And sometimes in Hong Kong.

On the 10th anniversary of the League:

There's only one blog which I have consistently read since I started reading blogs 7 or so years ago. There's only one blog I check on a daily basis (sorry JD, shouldn't have gone corporate). There's only one blog I started reading for one type of content (comics) and yet grew attached to the rest (the noir, the family updates, the rants, the pinups). There's only one blog I've ever contributed guest content to.

There's only one person I've ever met first on the internet, then met later in person.

That person is the League and that blog is his - the best all round blog I know.

~ horus kemwer

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Steven Harms on the 10th Anniversary of my Blogging Endeavors

I didn't meet Steven until the fall of 2006.  By that time I had already followed his own blog that he kept at the time, and knew roughly the cut of his jib.  He'd met and fallen madly in love with Lauren.  They'd decided to leave the cool climes of the San Francisco area for the sweltering heat of Texas.  They beat us to Austin by a few months.

Somehow, our paths took some small amount of time before we did cross (I recall getting a note on our door from when Steven and Lauren attempted a surprise visit), and finally we met up for the most Austin of traditions: breakfast out.

Prior to Steven, the only other person I think I'd met who knew me only from my online presence was RHPT, so it was a bit odd.  I didn't know exactly if I'd live up to their idea of who the man behind the pixels might be, and, I assume that - yeah, I have a lot of rough edges.  They didn't run away screaming, so, that seemed decent of them.

At any rate, I was immediately fond of both Steven and Lauren, and until they decided to return to San Francisco, we spend quite a bit of time with them both, and, frankly, I miss having them around.  They're good company.  You should look them up.

Steven doesn't comment often these days, but he was kind enough to send in the following:

On the occasion of your site's anniversary

Most web site fashions are temporary, coming and going with a season or
an era: Huffington Post faded for me after the Bush administration, stopped updating, was overtaken by
refugees, and in its turn I'm sure Facebook will one day be called old
hat. But The League's enterprises: The League of Melbotis and the
Signal have not wavered in terms of my visitation in, I'm surprised to
admit, nearly 10 years. In fact, as I just found out while typing this,
my fingers still have the muscle memory of the original URL

What could make this small, personal blog so entertaining for such a
long time? As mentioned above, bigger, better-funded players have been
killed or committed seppuku in that same time span. What makes The
League's endeavors different? I think it comes down to this: his
site(s) have always been a nice, friendly porches with hot dogs and
spiked Dr. B in red solo cups. They've always been friendly, they've
always been positive and humorous in a vaguely James Thurber fashion,
and the content has always been coming (that is, there was something

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

10th Anniversary - You Humans Weigh In

Hi, y'all!  As the 10th Anniversary of this blog approaches, I asked for folks to send in comments about the site.  

On March 30th, 2003, I posted the first missive to The League of Melbotis blog.  I think that post was seen by upwards of three people, including me.  But soon, that number grew!  We now have maybe eight to ten readers!

Over the years we've had a wide range of folks at the site.  Many of have stuck around, most have not.  It's the way of the world.  

What I did not expect, and something I don't think bloggers with audiences in the thousands can appreciate, is that this whole blogging thing can be personal.  It's great to get web-lebrity status, but I've found a lot of joy over the years in having a small audience that I feel like I've gotten to know in comments, over social media, and, occasionally, in person.  I genuinely consider you friends, even if I don't know what you look like or what you like to eat.  

I think Jamie is still working on her post, so we may not be done.  If you other humans want to weigh in, please feel free to send something my way via email or carrier pigeon.

Stuart Ward of Kansas chimed in with:

I can’t remember when I first started reading your blog. I would guess some time in 2010. I read the first few articles because I thought the ‘Signal Watch’ title was clever, and also because I like Krypto (and all he represents, ie the slightly goofier/more colorful/more fun/Silver Agey side of Superman).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Humble Request - I Need Your Words

The end of this month marks the 10th Anniversary of my blogging career.

I'd deeply appreciate it if you could feel so inspired as to send some publishable reminisces by way of email to:  signalwatch at gmail dot com

I'll be posting whatever you feel like sending my way around the date of the blog-versary. It can be whatever you like.  The time I filled you with rage.  The time you knew I'd gone quite mad.  The time you decided my words were sage wisdom and put a check in the mail to support me.

Whatever you like.  There are no rules.

Ten years, people.  Ten.

a typical night of blogging at League HQ

So, yeah!  We'd love to hear from you.  Just click on that "Contact" button up above and send something in.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Conversely, My Favorite Things About SXSW

So what DO I like about SXSW?

Well, people come to town

A)  The Annual Visit and report from NathanC

Nathan was two years ahead of me in high school, and I think I only met him after high school.  He wound up at Trinity University with my brother, so in the summers, we'd all hang out (and they were in the band named for the seminal comic, Stray Toasters, back in the day).

Nathan was also good friends with Jamie in college (she went to Trinity), and so even after he graduated, we all got to hang out as he found work in San Antonio.  Today, Nathan is a big-wig at Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.  He carries multiple duties, and has recently transitioned from programming and station management at the classical station to marketing and web presence for TPR.  You'll see me link to him a lot as he's also the resident film guy at Texas Public Radio, and hosts the summer series with TPR.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Your Questions Answered: What's Up With All the Blogging?

Anonymous asks:

Why do you keep blogging after all these years? What keeps you going? Do you like the attention?

Wow, tough questions from the crowd.

At the end of this month, I will mark my ten year anniversary of my first blog post.  In internet time, that's an eon.

What started me then is not why I'm doing it now, if I can even recall why I did it then.  Truthfully, the original League of Melbotis blog was more or less about having a one-to-many communication tool for myself when I'd moved to a place where I was far from people I knew, and had nobody to talk to (aside from Jamie), and pestering people with email had gone about as far as it could go.

Back then, blogging hadn't really taken the shape it has now of routine columns on single topics.  It was closer to journaling, in my opinion, but the public forum-ness of blogging meant a push and pull of having an audience that just writing for and to yourself won't ever have.

But why am I still doing it?

There are a lot of reasons.

I do believe writing continually has improved my ability to think critically.

I think.


Blogging routinely does mean I apply some thought to media and how that media is produced when I act as a consumer.  If reading that pondering is useful for others (ie: you), well...  I'm happy for you guys!  But I did figure out years and years ago that this works best if I do this for myself first, and if its of benefit to other people, that's a very nice thing, but it can't be my primary concern.

I write with myself as my primary audience, assuming there are other The League's out there.

And, it turns out, there are other people out there who have found a reason to return, even if their own voices are very different.  I do feel some responsibility to the great folks I've met or not met, who show up online and stick with me.  That's an honor.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ask Me Anything!

While I'm out, I welcome you all to help me generate content.

In the comment section of this post, ask any question you like.  I'll dedicate a post to each question, so make it good.

all questions will receive serious consideration

If you feel comfortable asking a question, knowing darn full well that my mother reads this site, I'll answer as best I can.

All topics, within reason, are open.

Hit me with your best shot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Signal Event: Anyone Want to Catch a Frankenstein Double-Bill on October 24th?

Holy cats, people.

On October 24th, Fathom Events will be showing both of the James Whale directed Frankenstein movies at cinemas all across the country.

Basically, the movie theater will show a high-resolution digital copy of the movie in full cinematic sound, etc...  and you sit in your theater seat and eat popcorn and whatnot and know you're sharing the same experience with people all across the country.

So, a double-bill?  Well, yes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Jake's birthday

here's weird 1990's movie Cap played by the son of JD Salinger here to wish you a happy birthday, Jake.  I assume you're turning 87 or 13.  I'm not sure how old you are.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Weekend in Signal Watch (and the week ahead)

If I didn't do all that much this weekend, give me a break.  It's been a long six weeks or so, and Sunday night my air conditioner quit.  Again.

Me and the service company are going to have words.

  1. I read Grant Morrison's SuperGods
  2. Jamie and I trekked to see Moonrise Kingdom
  3. I continue to watch Crank movies
  4. And I tried to prep you guys a bit for the release of Dark Knight Rises

The big news out of San Diego as I saw it: