Friday, October 14, 2005

Mini-Reviews! (Caution: Infinite Crisis Spoilers Ahead!)

If you haven't read Infinite Crisis #1 yet, and don't want it spoiled (nearly impossible these days, with all the reviews), you may want to hold off reading the last of these entries until you do... fair warning!

Action Comics #832: Hmmm... here's an issue that, frankly, should've been published a bit earlier, and could've been listed as a tie-in with the whole Day of Vengeance miniseries. A giant Spectre is in Metropolis, seeking out Lord Satanus. This is probably my favorite issue of Action since Byrne started drawing it again, the characterisations are spot-on, and it's a good story. I'm not familiar with writers Dan Arnett and Andy Lanning, but they did a darn good job!

Hawkman #45: The current storyline gets wrapped up, we find out the true origin of Golden Eagle (still reminds me a bit of a recent JLU episode, but I digress)... and we find out just how smart Hawkman really is, as he laid out a plan, and executed it flawlessly. We also see some hope for the relationship between Carter and Kendra. Unfortunate timing in that this has all taken place before the Countdown stuff -- heck, the next issue leads into the Rann-Thanagar War, after all, which is already finished -- but at least DC gave the creative team the chance not to interrupt their story!

JLA #120: It's a world without a Justice League, as a group of heroes who have been JLA'ers in the past gather for a post-mortem. Yeah, like the JLA won't be reformed somehow. It's a fairly new take on the whole thing, though... nobody's immediately stepping up to reform the League, and the issue really takes pains to show how the distrust has torn the League apart.

Villains United #6: Wow... a very surprising twist in this issue! SPOILER ALERT We find out there are TWO -- Count 'em, TWO! -- Luthors, and they're on opposing sides in this whole conflict! That really surprises me. Luthor headed the Secret Society, but that was a "false" Luthor (or perhaps it's the original Alex Luthor of Earth-2?)... the "real" Luthor was Mockingbird! And here I'd half-expected it to be revealed that Amanda Waller was Mockingbird. A nice set-up for IC.

Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #5: Still digging the heck out of this book! A scientist's Stargate-style apparatus unleashes dinosaurs in New York, and it's up to the FF to corral them back through. Good stuff!

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1: Only one complaint about Peter David's first Spider-Book in way too long... why did it have to be part 1 of 12? Still, it was a great story for Part 1, and I loved his writing on the characters. Hopefully, the 12-part "The Other" storyline will go by quickly, and PAD will be allowed to keep his book all to himself.

Marvel Knights 4 #23: A very fun issue here... a new writer on the book uses some very meta elements to put himself into the story, but in a way that's very fun! I'm reminded a bit of Mark Waid's first FF issue... I would've preferred a done-in-one tale, but I do feel very satisfied with this issue, and look forward to the next one.

Infinite Crisis #1: OK, to be honest, nothing's really moved forward, plot-wise, with this first issue... it's all set-up, but I don't have a problem with that. If you haven't followed all the Countdown stuff, this does get you caught up with all that's happened. Some mysterious shadowy figures are watching everything that's going on... from Superboy's current personal crisis, the JLA's break-up, the OMACs, the Rann-Thanagar War, Day of Vengeance... OK, there were some plot advancements, as several members of the Freedom Fighter apparently meet their dooms, and Mongul battles the Big Three in the wreckage of the Watchtower... and some other stuff... it's all very dark, and very negative... until that last, final page... BIGTIME SPOILER ALERT! ...when we discover that the people watching are Superman of Earth 2, Lois Lane of Earth 2, Alexander Luthor of Earth 3, and Superboy of Earth-Prime! We've seen most of the major players from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS show up now... Pariah's been in VILLAINS UNITED, and we've discovered that Donna Troy (or rather, an aspect of her) is Harbinger... that pretty much leaves Lady Quark out of the mix (although I vaugely recall something was done to her). So, Infinite Crisis... rumors have it that the DCU will be brightened by it, and that it's all about what heroes are supposed to be... and I'm all for that! Bring it on!


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

And "Sew" It Goes...

Wow, been a little bit of time since my last entry, hasn't it?

Anyway... what prevented me from blogging last night, as well as until now this morning, is that I've begun work on Phase I of my Superman costume... namely, the "muscle shirt," since I don't have quite the muscle that the Man of Steel has!

So, how did I construct this? Well, in brief, I found a long-sleeved turtleneck shirt at Value Village, cut the neck off, and put it on. Then, using a pen, I drew on it where I wanted the muscles to go, using my own anatomy as a guide. Then I took the shirt off, cut foam rubber pieces of the appropriate size, and then used some material to cover those foam rubber muscles as I sewed them on by hand, using my lines as a guide. The chest came out pretty good, if I say so myself... the upper arms (shoulders and biceps), I'm not so certain about. I wasn't trying to get too extreme there, just add a little something.

I still have to do some work on it... resizing it so it fits rather snugly (so there's no wrinkles showing through when I put the Superman shirt on), but it's pretty close to done at this point. With that complete, it'll be measurement time, so I can start creating the patterns.

In other news... and I feel safe posting it here, because I don't believe Jessi reads my blog regularlly... I bought Jessi an engagement ring earlier today on eBay, which is supposed to ship this afternoon, meaning I should -- in theory -- have it Friday or Saturday. There's only one problem with this... that is that we had planned on going shopping for her ring on Saturday. If the ring arrives on Friday, then it'll be no problem at all... if not, well, I may have to come up with some kind of excuse as to why we can't go shopping for it.

Still trying to decide exactly when and where to propose formally... should it be in private, or should I make it a public thing? So far as public goes... there would be the Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday morning... or I could wait until Saturday night when my brother and his wife come over for dinner... or I could really wait, and do it at my birthday party next month (which I think would be waiting just too long).


Monday, October 10, 2005

Grease... Is the Word?

I forgot to mention in my weekend update post that I happened to watch most of "Grease" during the weekend, for probably the tenth or eleventh time, at least. It's a fun musical, and worth watching for the cameos of fifties-era stars, as well as identifying cast members who went on to bigger and better things.

But I do worry about impressionable youngsters who watch it. And let me explain why.

Just in case you're one of the dozen or so people who've never watched Grease, let me give you the basic plot: The summer before senior year, Danny, a greaser, and Sandy, a clean-cut Australian girl, met at the beach, and fell in love. At the end of the summer, they parted ways, presumably forever, as Sandy was returning to Australia. However, as the new school year begins at Rydell High, Danny rejoins his greaser buddies in the T-Birds, and Sandy, through her new friend Frenchy, kind of gets involved with the Pink Ladies, who are the "bad girls" of Rydell. Sandy and Danny tell their classmates about their summer love, although one can hardly tell they're talking about the same experience.

The Pink Ladies soon discover that Sandy's love was Danny, and arrange to have them reunite. At first, Danny is enthusiastic about finding Sandy again, but realizes that he's blowing his image with the T-Birds. However, they do start dating again... and conflict ensues as Danny tries to maintain his tough-guy image, while Sandy is such a sweet girl that she's constantly hurt by his acting the tough. Also, most of the Pink Ladies make fun of her all the time.

As the movie progresses, Danny makes an effort to change, to be more like the guy Sandy knew during the summer... he even goes out for sports, and eventually earns a letter in track. He also helps his best friend fix up a beater car into the fastest thing on wheels, while one of the Pink Ladies drops out of high school to go to beauty school (failing miserably at it, and going back to high school after a dream-inspired image of Frankie Avalon tells her she's not cut out to work, and should go back to high school), while another Pink Lady thinks she's pregnant. More conflict ensues when National Bandstand holds a dance contest at Rydell, and halfway through it, Sandy's pushed away from Danny so this girl from a different school (who used to date Danny) can win the contest with him. Finally, there's the race between Danny (driving his buddy's car after he's knocked out by a car door) and a rival gang member, which Danny wins. Somehow, because of this race, Sandy decides that she can't be herself, she has to change in order for Danny to really love her (she even sings that there must be something wrong with her). When next we see Sandy, it's the graduation carnival, and she's all decked out in tight-fitting clothes, smoking away, and basically looking like a complete slut. Danny, of course, is thrilled at this (so thrilled that, at the beginning of their duet, "You're The One That I Want," he takes off his letterman's sweater, and leaves it on the ground)... so we see Danny was pretty much able to just do what he wanted, it was Sandy who had to change.

And there's where I have a problem with this movie (and probably the stage show, too, although I've never seen it). Danny spends the entire senior year trying to be something he really isn't (trapped in his role of the greaser tough, a fake identity he was able to discard during the summer with Sandy), and making only the smallest of efforts to go back to the more mature, good guy he really is (let's face it, lettering in track isn't that big a sacrifice... it doesn't get in the way of anything that we can see, and even his T-Bird buddies have no clue Danny was doing it). However, Sandy, whom Danny fell in love with exactly the way she was in the beginning, can't really love her in front of his buddies until she changes into Ultimate Slut Girl -- hell, she outdoes all the Pink Ladies!

So... what's the lesson the boys and girls get to leave the movie with? Guys, you don't have to do anything for the love of your life, except for some small token things. You can continue to be a butt-head, and cause anguish. Girls, in order to keep your man, you have to change yourself completely.

Wow, what a great lesson.

Now, I hope this doesn't ruin the movie for those of you who are big fans of it. It's still fun to watch, and the music is great... just don't look for it for life lessons, okay?


Comments... Some Bizarre Ones!

So... having fixed the setting that prevented people from leaving comments... suddenly, I'm getting the weirdest comments imaginable! Call it blog spam, if you will.

I suppose, in some way, I should feel kind of flattered by the attention (even if I'm at the same time annoyed about having to go and delete it)... I mean, obviously someone figures I'm reaching a wide enough audience to post comments concerning dog coat patterns, Halloween costums, toys (children's and adult's, if you get my meaning) and other stuff!

So if you're looking at this post, and thinking of making a comment that has nothing to do with anything I'm talking about, hoping to direct traffic to your site... I get alerts whenever a comment is posted, and I check my email often. Post a comment spam, it'll get deleted post-haste!

For those of you who actually read this blog, and enjoy it, and want to comment on stuff I've said... please do so!


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Weekend Update

Well, it's been a busy weekend for Jessi and I! Let's recap...

Saturday morning, as usual, began with Weight Watchers... I only lost about half a pound, but half a pound loss is better than any gain, right?

Jessi wasn't feeling that well, so we didn't take the dogs for their walk, and we did have to get up to Tacoma for my niece's birthday party by 12:30, so we had a light breakfast, and then headed north.

The birthday party was held at a bowling alley, and after three games (the first time I'd gone bowling in about nine years) I still didn't have my old game back. I used to be a half-decent bowler, but no more. There was pizza (pretty bad pizza, really) and cake (not such great cake) served there... so I blew my "flex points" for nothing, pretty much. I don't even remember what we had for dinner Saturday night.

While we were in Tacoma, we stopped at Half-Price Books (there isn't one in Olympia -- my only real complaint about living here), and I picked up one book for me, and two books and a CD for Jessi. We were also planning on stopping at Toys R Us to try to find the last JLU figures I need for my collection, but I was feeling too tired, so we headed home.

We did see Teen Titans Saturday night, of course (I think I've read too many comics -- if such a thing is possible -- because I wasn't surprised by anything that happened), and there was no JLU episode. We went to bed early, at 10:00 pm, because the next morning (this morning... Sunday) was going to be an early day for us!

The alarm went off at 7:00 this morning, and I got up, had a bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch (well the Albertson's version of it), and made breakfast for Jessi, too, and then I waited... my buddy Dan and his son Anders were going with me to the Portland Comic Book Show, and they were supposed to meet me at the house at 8, and then we'd leave. At least, I thought that's what we agreed to! I called Dan at 8:30 when he hadn't shown, and learned he thought I was picking him up at his house! So I headed over there picked them up, and we headed south!

The delay actually worked in our favor... the show was open when we arrived, and so we didn't have to stand in line. We separated after getting in, and as Dan and his son experienced their first comics show (and I should've really led him through it myself, instead of throwing a "virgin" to the metaphoric wolves), I stopped by the guest area to say hi to a few people... first Jayne and Conrad of Lady Jane's (they were on the way -- they used to have the best shop to go to in Tacoma), and then I talked briefly to Michael Eury, the editor of BACK ISSUE, then John Lustig, of LAST KISS, and then Kurt Busiek, author of more great comics than I feel like listing!

From there, it was time to spend, spend, spend! I had great luck, hitting some quarter boxes, and even a ten cent box! I picked up a bunch of great comics reading, and also got some all-ages stuff to give out at Halloween (I recommend this for anyone... kids get such a kick out of getting comics instead of candy!), plus some trade paperbacks and such for half price (The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told, Crisis on Multiple Earths Volume 2, Bizarro World, Essential Luke Cage, and a few others), a Teen Titans t-shirt for Jessi, and then I got Michael Eury's Dick Giordano book... and then I was tapped out!

Once Dan and Anders had spent their money, too, we trudged back to the car and hit th road north! We stopped at a Target in Kelso to see if I could find those missing JLU figures... thanks to one of the dealers, I knew I had at least two sets to pick up... I'd already known about the Superman/Aztek/Sinestro set (I think that's the one), but there was also a set with a Bizarro figure I didn't even know was out... and it was the latter one I found at Target. Still need to find the other one, and I've a feeling there's at least a third set that comes with a free comic book... but I don't know what that would be! It could be a Target exclusive.

After getting home, it was comics sorting time, then Jessi was back from her bike ride with Dan's wife, and then it was time for me to make dinner (chicken nuggets, french fries, and mashed squash -- all prepared in my low-points manner). We watched a few Law and Order re-runs on TBS, then Monsters, Inc. on Disney Channel (which I, at least, had never seen before). And then Jessi went to bed, and I went to the computer to read emails, and write this entry!