Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Beatles Love - a Mini-Review

So, one of the items I received for Christmas, but not as a formal gift, was the CD of The Beatles Love, which I finally listened to yesterday.



Now, while Fred Hembeck wasn't all that thrilled with this CD, I have to say that I really enjoyed listening to it! Not only was it fun to pick out which songs different musical elements came from, but it was also just plain fun to listen to.

It's really amazing to me how George and Giles Martin were able to take elements from the master tapes, and mix different songs together to create a unique re-imagining of these classic songs. Given that a fair number of the latter Beatles songs were created much the same way (well, taking stuff from different takes of songs and combining them together -- Strawberry Fields Forever being the most notable example), I think it's certainly fair for the Martins to do it again.

I think John Lennon would've been at the very least amused by the results. I also think it's a great tribute to just how great the music of the Beatles was, and the genius of George Martin, that these disparate songs could be recombined and remixed in such a way.

If you're a Beatles fan and haven't picked this one up yet, do yourself a favor and do so. I think you'll enjoy it!

Jon

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's Mid-Week...

So... what to talk about tonight?

Well, let's see... work's been slow, as it usually is between Christmas and New Year's... Jessi has the week off from work... everything is in reruns... it's been two or three weeks since I last picked up any new comics...

...but at least I've been getting things organized in my office here at home. I moved out three short bookshelves into our extra bedroom, and in turn I moved in two full-size bookshelves from there into my office. This gave me the opportunity to do some reorganizing of the DVD collection, and I dedicated the top shelf for DVDs that I worked on doing transcriptions. I actually did that two nights ago, and then last night I did some cleaning up in here (some of you may recall that this is the one room in the house that I'm allowed to keep messy).

One of these days, I might even get around to hanging up the pictures I had at my office at the last house we were renting!

Speaking of DVDs, you may recall I've picked up a fair number of DVDs at dollar stores, and many of them didn't come in cases, but rather were in cardboard sleeves... which, when I put them on the bookshelf, makes it impossible to see what's on them! So now I'm trying to think of what I can do about that. I'm consdering getting a few three-ring binders and seeing if I can find some inserts for them those DVD sleeves can fit into.

I could just use some CD jewel boxes, but that would mean cutting down the cardboard sleeves and trying to figure out what will fit in them... but maybe if I keep my eyes open, I can find a deal on empty DVD boxes I can just adapt the cardboard sleeves to...

Jon

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

We Are Connected Again!

Our internet service was restored about midmorning, thank god (whichever god you happen to believe in)... I was beginning to go through withdrawal symptoms!

Anyway... probably a bit short on posts for the next few days here, as I try to get caught up on my 'net stuff (like getting ahead on my Cover Stories columns, which I've been trying to do for what feels like months now!)... but I'll try to keep you posted on the latest and greatest in my life, as well as whatever happens to come to mind!

Jon

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties...

...namely, our internet has been down since Sunday afternoon or so, and Comcast isn't going to have someone out to fix it until Tuesday morning sometime.

So, since we're at my parents' house for Christmas, I'm taking advantage of their working 'net to say...

Merry Christmas (or whatever other seasonal celebration you choose to observe)!

Jon

Friday, December 22, 2006

This 'N That Time...

If you haven't joined the DC History Yahoo Group yet (link provided on the links list), you've been missing out on my current mega-theme of TV Comics! This past week, with the passing of Joe Barbera, I've been posting covers of comics based on Hanna-Barbera programs, and despite all the covers I've posted, there's still a lot of books I haven't featured yet (I didn't even get to Scooby-Doo or Yogi Bear!).

This weekend, some of the members have been posting Christmas-themed covers, and I'll likely post a few of my favorites before the weekend is out.

Good news from my buddy Tony Isabella (yes, there's a link for him, too!)... it looks like he'll be doing some regular comics writing again in the near future! It's been way too long since I was able to pick up a Tony-written book, and I'm very much looking forward to finding out what title he'll be working on! And by the way, Tony... in case you're reading this, a belated Happy Birthday to you!

My ComicSpace page (link below, not on the right side) has been gathering "friends" fairly quickly -- faster than I expected! I only made one request myself to be added to someone's friends, but several people have requested they be added to my friends list, too (including This Is Pop Culture). Many of them are people I'm unaware of, at least by the names they're using on ComicSpace... and to be honest, I don't know if they're just asking any new member to add them to their friends list, or if they followed the link from here! This blog doesn't get many comments, so I have no idea how many readers there are (but in case anyone from This Is Pop Culture is reading this blog, when are you guys going to throw in a plug for the Comics They Never Made Archive page? The link's there on the right, y'know!).

Jessi and I have almost all our Christmas shopping done... just need one more item, which we hoped we'd be able to get at Wal-Mart today, but they appear to be sold out. We may have to go to our second choice for present, and we'll be going out to Toys R Us tomorrow to see if they have either our first or second choice. And yes, I did go ahead and bought a tiny token of my love for Jessi to give to her Christmas morning... either she'll be happy that I decided in some small way to get something for her, despite what we'd agreed on for our present to each other... or she'll be mad at me.

Hopefully the former.

I mentioned a while back that my comp copies of Twomorrows mags have had printed on the address label "Issues Left: 0", which was different from the "Issues Left: Lots!" that used to be there... and I still have no idea if I'm being dropped from the comp list or not. I did get the latest issue of Write Now! yesterday, and it's been a good read so far (but then, pretty much all their mags are good reads).

The work week ended relatively early for me... I was done at 3:30, when I'm usually not finished on Fridays until about 6 or so. I still ended up with a little bit of overtime, thanks to coming in early all week to cover for a person who's been on vacation. I even found time this week to do a few "spec" ads for one of the sales reps, plus I started working on my self-evaluation (which probably won't be asked for until late January). A tiring week, and sometimes frustrating, too... next week will likely be extremely slow, so I may need to come up with a few projects for myself!

Jon

Computers, Photos, and Hollywood

So, I think I may have had a few related eureka! moments lately, both concerning perceptions of what can and can't be done with photos on a computer.

Apologies to anyone who's tired of me complaining about the phenomena I'm going to talk about here (but I'll try to be brief).

As you probably know, I'm a graphic designer at the local newspaper, and we're almost constantly getting very bad quality photos to use in ads that we're somehow supposed to magically make look good (and if they don't look good, the customers will complain about them).

(Brief aside: I've been joking for the last few years that when our customers are going to take digital pictures, they should be sure their camera wasn't made by Fisher-Price -- imagine my amusement when Fisher-Price released a digital camera this Christmas season!)

I think that I figured how why it is that our customers think we can work wonders with their crappy digital pictures... it's because they see TV shows and movies that show people with high-tech equipment take, say, a photo taken by a cell phone camera, and blow it up, "enhance" it, and bring out amazing details.

So because they see this stuff on TV, they think it can be done in real life. And it can't. If we have a 2 inch by 2 inch 72 dpi photo, there's a real limit to what we can accomplish with it (as opposed to getting a 2 inch by 2 inch 600 dpi photo, anyway).

So why does Hollywood keep showing impossible stuff being done with digital pictures (and video, too) on TV shows and movies?

I think I figured out that one, too...

It's so that when these shows are rerun in syndication, they won't look dated with their technology. I mean, look at movies and TV shows from the 1980s, and their depiction of computers and videogames -- hopelessly outdated by today's standards (even some of the tech on the original Star Trek, which takes place 200+ years from now, is dated: Communicator = Cell Phone, you know)!

Either that, or in TV Land (and Movie Land), all digital cameras, whether standalone or in a cell phone, come with InfinitePixel resolution (for that matter, so do all TVs -- I remember an episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman where they were watching something on a TV, and Clark used his microscopic vision to pick out some tiny detail on the TV -- what kind of resolution did the Daily Planet have on their TVs?). InfinitePixel resolution, naturally, is the kind of resolution where no matter how much you zoom in, it will still be clear and sharp.

Jon

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Don't ask me why...

...but I've created a ComicSpace page.

So far, I can barely see any reason for it, but I suppose if I decide to create some online comics, I can post 'em there when that feature is available.

Jon

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas is Coming...

...fortunately, I have a payday before then, because I really haven't done a single bit of Christmas shopping.

Also fortunately, Jessi and I have decided that our gifts to each other this year will be a weekend away (don't know when it's going to be, or where we're going to go, but it does get me out of having to shop for something for her... although chances are I'll get her at least a little something anyway).

So that basically leaves the two nieces we drew the names of to shop for... and Jessi's actually going to handle that for me on Friday (she's got pretty much the whole day off).

Also coming up this weekend? We're going to be making some snowman cookies to take with us on Monday for my nieces to decorate (and probably immediately eat). I'm sure we've got other stuff going on this weekend, but I can't think of it.

Two more work days left this week... and I've been coming in to work early to cover for someone who's on vacation, so I've been racking up a bit of overtime so far... we'll have to see how tomorrow shakes out, as well as Friday. I suspect that Thursday will be extremely busy, and I'll at least put in one extra hour (if not more). Friday will probably start off very busy, then slow down to a crawl... then another rush as people realize that if they okay their ads, they can go home early for the long weekend. I'd be surprised if I'm there after 3 or 4 on Friday.

And that's really about all I've got to talk about tonight... I know, not too entertaining, but at least I'm not going two days in a row without posting! Don't you hate it when you check a blog on your regular bookmarks, and find there's not been a post for a long time?

Jon

Monday, December 18, 2006

Vanished... AAAAARGH!!!

Let me start by saying that in case any of you readers decided to watch Vanished based on the "viral video" that I posted back in August or so, or because I had a few good things to say about it when it first aired...

...I am so very sorry. I also apologize here, publically, to my wife, Jessi, who watched the first episode with me, wasn't all that thrilled with it, and then watched episodes two and three and really started getting into it.

As great as the show started... man, thanks to Fox, the show jumped the shark several times over!

In case you didn't watch the show, in the first episode, we're introduced to a senator and his second wife. He has two children from his first marriage, both teenagers (older teenagers). At a big frou-frou function, the senator's wife disappears, and is suspected to be kidnapped.

It turns out she is, and an FBI agent, Kelton, with something to prove is assigned to the case, along with his partner. There's also a TV reporter (I forget the character's name, as well as the actress' name, but she was previously famous for doing some soap commercial when she was a teenager... and was even mentioned in a Wayne's World segment on SNL) who's covering the story.

As things progressed, it was obvious that the kidnapping was done by a major consipiracy group that's somehow related to the Masons that did this to ensure their candidate got approved to be a Supreme Court Justice. This candidate had an affair with the senator's underage daughter, and we later learn she's pregnant with his child. There were twists and turns, as the daughter's boyfriend is implicated in the kidnapping, a mysterious man gives Kelton information that helps him find out a bit more about what is going on...

...and then Fox decided they didn't like the Agent Kelton character (so he got killed off -- the HERO of the series!) and that they needed to wrap up the series in 13 episodes...

...and then they took the show off the air before they could air those last episodes, condemming them to be aired over the internet on a MySpace page.

I think that the producers of the show basically said "F*ck it!" when they were told to wrap up the story in 13 episodes (I have no idea how many there were supposed to be), they threw in the replacement for Kelton, dropped a lot of the major conspiracy group stuff (making it look like the main movers and shakers behind this were part of a drug rehab retreat, of all things)... and had the senator's wife escape from her captors...

...and because she believed the crap her captors told her about her husband getting back together with his first wife, instead went back to this guy she got involved with long before meeting the senator, when she was using an assummed name.

Yeah, none of it ended up making a damn bit of sense. And Fox will be lucky if Jessi and I ever check out a new series on their network ever again.

Even if they come up with something as wonderful as House, I'm sure we'll wait to see if it lasts beyond one season before starting to watch it (and hope that USA or another cable channel shows repeats of the first season so we can catch up).

Oh, well... at least Heroes is going great guns, and it looks like Studio 60 will stick around for a while, too.

Can't say the same about Six Degrees, which we were also enjoying, but has also been pulled (with no hope, so far as I know, of seeing any unaired episodes).

Anyway, back to Vanished. I suppose I should be thankful we were able to watch the last four episodes or so, even if it was cancelled... but the ending they came up with was completely unsatisfying. It didn't resolve a damn thing whatsoever, and just made Jessi and I more frustrated than anything else.

So... let me offer some advice, in case any network people or TV show creators read this blog (as if!):

If you're putting a new TV show on the air that's going to tell a single serialized story, make sure the network is committed to showing the whole damn thing. And play it smart, plot it out to exactly 13 episodes. No more. If the numbers are good, you can do a sequel series (of, again, 13 episodes) that could run in mid-season or possibly later. Yeah, it's kind of like what's being done with shows like Psych, Monk and The Closer, where there's two "seasons" a year.

Anyway... like I said, 13 episodes. And MAKE SURE there's a satisfying end to it! And also make sure that when you're promoting the thing, you make sure to point out it is 13 episodes and that 13th episode will end the story!

The network should also arrange to show each episode on the Internet as well... and in a format BOTH PCs and Macs can watch (the MySpace page won't play for Macs) so that if someone happens to miss an episode, they can catch up (actually, they should have all episodes aired available to watch, like NBC's doing with Heroes).

And that's all I'm going to say about this.

Jon

Too Damn Many Deaths...

As I've commented before (and, sadly, will likely comment again), one of the problems that comes with being a fan of comics, cartoons, oldies music and so on and so on, is that many of the people who created stuff that I loved (and continue to love) are way up there in years, and too many of them pass away before I ever get a chance to say how much their work has meant to me.

The latest on the list (for me, anyway) is Joe Barbera. Regretfully, I've never met either him or partner William Hanna (who passed away a few years back), although I've read each of their autobiographies and, for all too short a time, I even owned a copy of "The Art of Hanna-Barbera" (a nice coffee table book that mostly featured reprints of the limited edition art sold through the Warner Bros. Studio Store).

Admittedly, I didn't love everything that Hanna-Barbera produced (like, for example, the Smurfs -- and I know they didn't create them, but they did bring them to TV), but there was plenty they produced that I did love. Here's a (probably) partial list:

Scooby-Doo. Jonny Quest. Space Ghost. The Herculoids. Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. Dynomutt. Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles. The Banana Splits. Atom Ant. Secret Squirrel. The first Fantastic Four animated series. Shazzan! Valley of the Dinosaurs. The Flintstones (one of those things that I loved as a little kid, later got bored with, and rediscovered as an adult). The Jetsons.

Some shows only lasted a season, while others became franchises. And I'm sure that there's lots of other stuff they did that I can't think of off the top of my head.

We'll miss you, Joe.

Jon

Thought I'd Done This Before...

...but this appears to be a different personality quiz than the one I'd done before.

Interestingly enough, the results are the same:

Your results:
You are Superman
























Superman
90%
Spider-Man
85%
Robin
60%
Supergirl
60%
Green Lantern
50%
Hulk
50%
The Flash
45%
Batman
45%
Wonder Woman
40%
Catwoman
30%
Iron Man
20%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz



Jon

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Night...

...and a fairly uneventful day here at Chez Knutson.

After breakfast, our friend Tifney came over so she and Jessi could make some Christmas candy to give out to the nieces and nephew, and while they did that, I took KO and Krypto out for a walk to help wear them out a bit.

Got back from the walk, and they were still working away, making "reindeer poop" and "coal". Oh, forgot to mention that after breakfast, but before Tifney came over, I baked up an "improvisational apple pie."

Let me explain that a bit... when I'm cooking, I rarely follow recipes. More often than not, I'll be looking at what I have around the kitchen, and come up with something using that. Since Saturday night, I had made apple crisp (from a package mix, which didn't quite turn out) and we had one serving left of that, plus three extra apples, plus I had some Heart-Health Bisquick, milk, Splenda, and cinnamon, I figured I'd fake up an apple pie, using the Bisquick as the basis for the crust, and seeing what I could come up with for the filling.

Considering I didn't use a recipe (much less measured anything), it came out pretty tasty, and still much lower in calories than any other apple pie we've ever eaten.

Anyway... as Jessi and Tifney kept making candy, I stayed in the living room and watched some Robot Chicken eps I'd DVR'ed, and after those, I started watching some Voltron episodes I'd also recorded... except that I realized that I'd become completely bored with Voltron. Probably because the show really only had one basic plot, with maybe three variations. So I deleted the rest of the eps unseen, and cancelled the recording of future episodes.

I then went on to check out some On Demand content, watching a few Harvey Birdman episodes, among other things (I would've gone to the office and watched some of my DVDs, but I knew that if I did, I'd be constantly called back downstairs to help them find where things were stored in the kitchen... less frustrating to just go in from the living room, y'know).

Once they were done, Jessi and I watched some other On Demand stuff (we didn't have much left that was recorded on the DVR), mostly holiday-related things. Then our friend Kathy came over for dinner (which was pretty much a repeat of the steak/baked potato/veggies meal we had with brother Jeff on Saturday), bringing her boxer, Jaeger. The three dogs played together most of the time, helping tire them all out much more!

After Kathy left, we watched most of a CSI, and then it was Jessi's bedtime, as she'd learned she had power at work again, and so would have to go to work. Myself, I need to get to work early this week, as we have someone out on vacation, and they need me there first thing in the morning to help cover things... not that I expect it'll get particularlly busy right away, even with early deadlines looming for the next two weeks.

Jon

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Live, from Lacey, Washington, It's Saturday Night!

No, I'm not sure why I titled this post that way... just a passing fancy, I guess.

So, in case I haven't mentioned it before, we had a major windstorm pass through the Puget Sound (Washington) area on Thursday, and apparently, it caused the worst power outages ever!

Jessi and I lucked out, only losing power for six hours (from midnight Thursday night until 6 am Friday morning). My parents weren't quite so lucky... they didn't get their power back until about mid-afternoon today (Saturday). My brother Jeff is unluckiest of all... so far as we know, he still doesn't have power!

Which is, of course, why Jessi and I invited him to come down to our place for dinner tonight (we would've invited his wife, Kristi, but she's in Vegas with her best friend this weekend). Actually, Jessi did the inviting. She also invited the rest of my family who was suffering from loss of electricity to come down to our place and enjoy our heat, working television, and take advantage of our working hot water heater to get a shower (and also to get a home-cooked meal). Nobody else in the family elected to take her up on the offer, though.

What's really weird is that originally, we were supposed to be having this couple we met at our training for foster parenting come over for dinner, along with their three kids... but they were also without power, and so were visting in-laws up north of Seattle or so, and had to cancel out on coming over.

Which meant that we had six steaks in the refrigerator that had been marinating since Friday night, and we only cooked three of them for dinner tonight (yes, I know we had invited five people plus the two of us originally... and we were going to try to get more steaks or optionally, have pizza for the kids, but then we got the call they were cancelling).

The steaks, by the way, were the best steaks I've cooked in a long, long time... and these steaks were purchased from Grocery Outlet! In case you don't have one in your area (or if you do, and don't know what it is), Grocery Outlet is kind of like Big Lots in a way... except for groceries. They have stuff that was overstocked at other grocery stores, or was being cleared out, or whatever... food that's perfectly good (and name brand stuff, along with store brands), but priced way below standard grocery store prices. The box of steaks we got had six steaks for something like seven dollars. We've also bought an 18-pack of soy burgers (that are very tasty) for six bucks (which is amazing... typically, you'd only get maybe eight soy burgers for that price at Safeway or other stores). Since they opened a new location near us, I try to get there at least once a week to do the majority of our grocery shopping.

Now, I won't say that these were the highest quality steaks I've ever purchased -- and I have purchased steaks at Safeway that cost me more, but didn't turn out so great -- but I can readily identify what made these so juicy, tasty and tender.

My secret? Dale's Marinade.

Now, I'd used Dale's before, when I was living in Wisconsin. My first wife's father lived in Tennessee, and when we went to visit him for the first time, he used this marinade on the steaks we had for dinner, and we liked it so much we bought several bottles to take with us. Next time we went there, we bought a case of the stuff.

When I moved back to Washington, I was down to three bottles, and they were all gone before I met Jessi... so she'd never tried it before.

Only problem was, I couldn't buy it in Washington (heck, I couldn't buy it in Wisconsin, either). I could have ordered it from the Dale's website, but I never did (because I'd have had to order so much to make the per unit price acceptable, given postage costs).

But they had it at Wal-Mart. How long they've been carrying it, I don't know. But I insisted we get it to marinate the steaks.

If your steaks tend to be dry, or chewy, here's my method: The night before you're going to cook them, put your steaks in a zip-bag (or a shallow baking dish, if you don't have any zip-bags) along with enough Dale's to cover on one side (it'll vary depending on how many steaks you're marinading as well as what you're putting them in -- I think I used a half cup for the six steaks we marinaded in a large baking dish). Let them marinate like that in the fridge overnight, and the next morning, turn them over and put them back in the fridge.

To prepare them, if you don't have a grill to use, put the oven on broil. When it's warmed up, broil for about four or five minutes, then turn over and broil for three or four minutes more (you may need longer depending on how hot your broiler setting gets, and how well-done you like your steaks).

I don't do anything else to the steaks... no tenderizing needed!

Jon

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Toy Commercials!

OK, you just have to check this Canadian commercial out…



Here's a commercial (why in black and white? I don't know) for Ideal's Evel Knievel action figure…



My brother had one of these… well Evel and his motorcycle, anyway. I recall the Evel figures were manufactured like Gumby, with a solid soft rubber body with wires inside!

Here's a much older set of commercials…



And here's a bunch of Wham-O toy commercials… what happened to this company?







Here's a very cool commercial, from Mattel's Shogun Warriors line… it's Godzilla!



Here's another Shogun Warriors commercial… sorry about the low sound level!



And to show how Japanese toys (and toy commercials) are just plain cooler than ours… here's a Japanese Shogun Warriors commercial!



Jon

More Groovie Goolie Musings...

You know, memory's a funny thing... there's stuff about the Goolies that I remember that I'm not seeing here at all!

Did I mention that Sabrina, the Teen-Age Witch appears here and there in these episodes? So far, one of her aunts has made a cameo appearance in a single episode, too.

But you know... I could've sworn that Sabrina used to refer to the Goolies as her "cousins" -- which makes me think that they must've originally appeared as recurring characters on the original Sabrina cartoon, and then spun off into this series.

I'll bet it was in those original Sabrina cartoons that the Archie gang would make occasional appearances... because I definitely remember an episode in which she had to hide her "cousins" from Archie and the gang... or is my brain just mixing old cartoon memories together?

On a semi-related note... I think I really need to buy a new DVD player one of these days... because the one I have sometimes "hangs up" when playing some of these DVDs, and I can't get it going again (at least, not without running the lens cleaner disc between viewings).

Jon

As Big a Fan of Underdog as I am...

...I definitely won't be seeing the live-action/cgi Underdog movie that's coming out sometime...

Aint It Cool News has an advance look at what's apparently the poster for the movie, as well as a picture of their Underdog in flight...

...and oh my god, did nobody pay attention to how bad the American Godzilla movie was?

What I mean by that is, when you're going to develop a version of an established property (whether it's from TV or movies) for a new movie, why make major changes from the original -- especially changes that make it look virtually nothing like the original?

I didn't think an Underdog movie was an especially good idea to begin with... I'd have much rather seen a new Underdog aninmated series (especially if some good, solid writers were attached to it).

But there's really no point in even thinking about seeing this movie... and even less point in making the thing.

What's next? A new Popeye live-action movie, but in which all the characters are changed to have different ethnic backgrounds? An all-black Brady Bunch movie?

It's ridiculous. The only reason that the live-action Scooby-Doo movie worked at all is because Scooby was the only character in the original cartoons who wasn't a human (plus the casting was pretty good for the rest of the characters, too).

If they really insist on doing more CGI/live-action movies based on cartoons, they should at least think about what they're doing... and try to pick a 'toon where the animal character can be rendered realistically and not look creepy or stupid. Jabberjaw? No way... doing a realistic shark that talks like Curly from the Three Stooges would just give kids nightmares.

Maybe Speed Buggy would work, with a CGI Speed Buggy... but how many of us even remember that cartoon?

Jon

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Been Watchin' the Groovie Goolies...

...on DVD, natch!

I haven't seen these cartoons since the 1970s (no later than 1977, I'd guess). One of the things about watching cartoons that I haven't seen in nearly 30 years (sheesh) is comparing the stuff I remember and the stuff I didn't remember at all!

For example... there's several of the songs from the show I do remember fairly vividly (and not just Chick-A-Boom)... although I'd completely forgotten that of the two songs on each show (aside from the title song), only the first one was "performed" by Drac, Frankie and Wolfie, while the other was "performed" by a guest band (or should that be "ghost band"?).

Aside from the main three characters, I definitely remembered Mummy, Hagatha, Bone-a-part... vaguely remembered Bella La Ghostly and Ratso and Batso... but had completely forgotten about Doctors Jekyll and Hyde and the giant hand (forgotten its name already) and others...

I did, however, remember "Weird Window Time" -- which was similar to a segment on Laugh-In, which was a definite influence on this show!

When I was working on the transcriptions for the special features on this DVD set, I kept waiting for someone to mention that Frankie sure as heck looks like a caricature of Filmation head honcho Lou Scheimer!

Anyway... while I haven't laughed out loud at any of these so far (I'm still watching disc 1), I am definitely enjoying this trip back to my childhood... I think the quality of the video transfer is even better than the He-Man DVDs I've watched so far! It's an excellent package of stuff,

Speaking of DVDs, did I mention I received my comp copy of the first volume of She-Ra yet? One of these days, I should really watch some of the other DVDs I've received (there are certainly a lot of them) from BCI Eclipse!

Jon

Monday, December 11, 2006

In Case You Happen To Be Wondering...

...once Jessi and I adopt a child, if that child ever comes to me and says, "Dad, instead of getting into comic books, old monster movies, cartoons, 50s and 60s rock and roll music and other stuff you like, I'd much rather learn how to fix cars... is that okay?"

I will answer, "Yes, that's quite okay... especially if you'll fix mine and your mother's cars for us."







Actually, if they say they aren't interested in the stuff I like, and want to get into other stuff, I'm sure I'll support their decision anyway -- but you can be sure I'll probably have at least exposed them to my favorite stuff first, to see if they do have any interest in it!

Jon

Hey, If You Have Your Own Blog...

...and are a regular reader of this blog (which I presume you are), and you've mentioned my blog in your blog, let me know about it, okay? Especially if you've put a link here on your own blog (so I can reciprocate).

Jon

Christmas Pics of the "Kids"

So on Sunday, we got Christmas pictures taken of KO and Krypto... here's the four shots we had to choose from (we ordered the one with Krypto kind of laying down).

DSCF0410

DSCF0412

As you can see from the above picture, getting both dogs to look in the same place at the same time can be a challenge!

This one is the one we're getting prints of:

DSCF0414

DSCF0417

I hope you enjoyed them!

Jon

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Toy Commercials...

Courtesy of The Mego Museum, here's a TV commercial for Mego's Stretch Superheroes...



...which I don't ever remember seeing. The commercials OR the toys, that is. Except in some comics ads.

By comparison... here's a Stretch Armstrong commercial, which I DO remember seeing:



Check this one out... truly, any kids who got this were THE coolest little kids on their block, eh?



Remember Creepy Crawlers and the Mattel Thingmaker?



Yeah, these were very cool, but unfortunately, since these toys had some major heat generation happening with them, some stupid kids got themselves burned on 'em, and so the toys were pulled from the market.

I used to have one of the Thingmaker toys, that I bought at a garage sale when I was a kid... although it was the kind where the figures came as these little squares (about the size of a Starburst candy) and when you heated them up, they kind of folded themselves out to the various toys... and then you could heat them up again and compress 'em back to the square!

Back to Mego stuff again... Action Jackson was the precursor to the 8" action figures Mego produced, and there were very cool commercials for them!



Sorry the sound quality is so crappy on these. I've got a video tape with what's probably all the Action Jackson commercials, as well as many other Mego commercials, and it's amazing how many Action Jackson accessories got recycled for other toy lines, from Dinah-Mite (for the girls) to Planet of the Apes!

And finally... here's a true Toy For The Ages -- it keeps coming back in one form or another... Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots!



Jon

Car Woes...

So... Friday, I'm heading home from work, and make a quick stop at the grocery store, and then onward to home... when I notice there's a lot of smoke or steam coming from my car. Since I was close to home, I hoped I could make it the rest of the way... and I did...

... at least, up to the turn lane to turn off the main road and get to the house (about four or five blocks away). Suddenly, the smoke/steam (I figured it was steam, because it disappated fairly quickly) got even more intense, and then the engine stopped and wouldn't start back up again.

I immediately hit the emergency flashers, call Jessi so she can meet me (and transfer the groceries into her car), and start pushing the car off the road. Fortunately, by the time I got the green arrow to turn left again, some good people helped me push the car so it's not causing a hazard (I'm guessing they grew up reading comic books).

This morning, Jessi found a car repair place that is open on Saturdays, and arranges for the tow as I'm getting a shower. What I didn't clearly understand at the time was that the tow fee was supposed to be added to the bill from the car repair shop, and I ended up paying for that directly to the tow truck driver (and it turned out to be higher than originally quoted -- but I have the receipt, and will try to get an adjustment made). Got the car to the repair place, and they took a look at it.

The diagnosis? Twofold problems... first, a hose gave way, allowing all the water to drain from the radiator (in hindsight, it must've been failing for some time, as every month or so, I've had to add more water to the cooling system), plus I need a new battery in the car. It'll run about $200 altogether -- money we really didn't want to be spending at this time, but what can you do?

This, naturally, is why I relisted those eBay items I'd mentioned before.

The car's fixed now, but since it wasn't done until after Jessi and I had to leave for Puyallup for my niece's birthday, I won't be able to get the car until Monday morning (hopefully, they will be able to shuttle me over there).

Jon

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Note About My eBay Listings...

The remaining fanzines (mostly Twomorrows stuff) are ending as I write this blog entry... they're all fixed-price listings, and there's still about 14 or so of them left unsold.

I'll be relisting them, probably next week. I still haven't decided about relisting the unsold Batmobiles, though.

Jon

It's Thursday Night!

I think last night's blog entry might've been at least partly inspired by some exhaustion... I didn't mention that I put in a 9 1/2 hour work day, during which I had to create six full-page ads (two double-sided Kraft Wraps -- a Kraft Wrap is an insert printed on Kraft paper, like paper grocery store bags, and it's about the size of a regular newspaper page, a full-page automotive ad, and a "spec" ad for a local jeweler). Plus a lot of other, much smaller ads.

The spec ad in particular was a major pain to work on, just due to the volume of stuff in the ad (I had to do the most work on that one, actually). It was done because this local jeweler had an insert in the paper that was supposed to only go in papers going to certain zones, but somewhere things got screwed up, so we were doing this to appease their frustration and anger. The spec ad I did was for Seiko watches, and I had to get photos of all the watches (which I pulled from the Seiko website), do the layout, and put in all the part numbers, prices and descriptions.

Well, today, I had to create an entirely new spec ad for that customer, because they decided that since they'd put most of their money into this diamond jewelry, they wanted to promote that stuff in their free full-page, full-color ad. Fortunately, it didn't feature nearly as many pieces... and I think it turned out pretty darn good (I had to create the banner and background entirely from scratch, because it wasn't available electronically... most of the jewelry featured had to be scanned from hard copy, too). It actually went "live" by the end of the day, and will be in Sunday's paper. I think I'll have to grab a PDF of the final file to add to my archive of ads I think came out very well.

Jon

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mid-Week Blogging...

...and I don't know how long this post is going to be. Let's find out, shall we?

Last night's auction winners paid remarkably fast... by the time I got up this morning, I'd already received their payments, so I only had to finish packing things up before running to the post office! Always nice when I don't have to send reminder notices.

It is kind of surprising what didn't sell last night... all the actions that closed were for various Batmobile toys... The Polar Lights two-pack of the 1960s Batmobile and Batplane sold, as did three of the four 1:43rd scale Corgi Batmobiles (well, the fourth wasn't a Batmobile, it was the Batplane that converts to Batmarine and back again). The larger 1960s Batmobile didn't sell, either, which surprised me even more, because it's the coolest of the Batmobiles I was offering. The Johnny Lightning 1950s Batmobile didn't sell, either.

I haven't decided if I'll go ahead and relist them at all, or relist them later, or what.

There are still plenty of "buy it now" listings of Twomorrows mags, though!

Work Stuff

As I've mentioned here before, I work for a newspaper in this area. I don't mention the name of it, because... well, I've heard of people getting in trouble for talking about their jobs on their blogs (not that I think anyone at work is reading my blog). You may also recall my mentioning that the newspaper was purchased (along with its parent company) by a new company a while back. This new company also owns the newspaper in Tacoma, which prompted fears and rumors that we might end up being absorbed into the other (larger) newspaper. We've been told more than a few times that there are no plans to do that.

Of course, there's been no word that it absolutely won't happen.

Shortly after I started working here, we added a new weekly publication that serves the specific part of Thurston County I live in now... and the main reason for that was because the Tacoma paper had been aggressively marketing itself around here.

Now... you'd think that nowadays, since both papers are owned by the same company, that neither paper would try to market itself in areas served by the other, right?

Well, Saturday night, that whole idea was challenged when a newspaper boy from the Tacoma paper rang the bell here, offering a free newspaper and discounted subscription rates.

Honestly... as much as I love working at the local newspaper... sometimes I wonder if I need to start looking for a different job somewhere.

Sometimes, that is.

Jon

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Random Toy Commercial Videos

Here's some random toy commercial videos for you to enjoy! First up is the Kenner SSP Smash-Up Derby commercial:



I vividly remember this commercial... and the Christmas after this commercial hit the airwaves, my brothers and I got this set! We used to have several SSP's.

For the uninitiated, SSP stood for "Super Sonic Power," and basically, these cars had this big wheel in the middle (the only moving wheel, actually), and you'd insert the T-strip next to it (it had teeth on the strip with a handle, and you fed it into the gear on the wheel), pull it out, and the big wheel was like a gyro that powered the car forward!

Next up: The Remco Energized Spider-Man!



This was a toy I never had... but I wanted it! I found out later it was probably just as well I didn't get it, because it was disappointing when I saw one in real life as an adult.

Here's a Mego commercial to wrap up this post!



Jon

It's Tuesday Night!

And since as I write this I have a little over an hour before tonight's eBay auctions end, I figured I'd go ahead and do a quick post!

Krypto had a follow-up visit at the vet today... his incision is healing much better now, and he's no longer wearing that soft cast on his leg (but he'll still wear the restraining collar). Hopefully, a week from Friday they'll be able to remove the stitches, and the collar will go away!

Jessi and I watched Heroes and Studio 60 today... and I enjoyed both episodes. I do really need to stop reading the TV Squad reviews before watching the episodes, though.

I don't think any of the regulars on Heroes got skipped out on this time... and it was nice that all of them got some play. You think the creators of the show knew this would be the last one before the break, and planned that everyone got some screen time?

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

I was kind of surprised to see Eden sacrifice herself to make sure Sylar couldn't take her power... I am hoping that before too long (maybe the next episode), we can find out what powers Sylar's stolen to date so we can have an idea of what he's capable of.

I'm not sure that Peter's dream means that he's the one who will explode. I've noticed that when he has precognitive dreams, he always puts himself in the "lead" position... his first dream had him flying on his own, but when he did fly, it was with his brother. So I suspect that his dream from this episode was actually about the nuclear-powered guy going nuclear, and not Peter himself.

I'm not even sure that I can even think of Peter having two different powers (the precog dreams and copying others powers)... either the two powers are linked together directly (as in, since he can copy the powers of others, he's kind of linked to their destiny, and thus gets dreams concerning them)...

...or maybe there's someone who we haven't seen who has precognitive dreams, and they stay close to Peter, and so he's copying their power.

Jon

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Head is A-Whirl...

...thanks to three days in a row of classes (from 9 am to 4 pm or later) in preparation for becoming Foster Parents! There was so much information given out that I'm not sure my brain has had time to properly process it all (kind of like some comics I recall reading in my younger days... except that there it was more like wanting to re-read them within a week or two of first reading them to make sure I gleaned everything I could from them).

What's bizarre about the process (and I may have mentioned this before) is that this was sessions 2-4 of the class we took... and we still have to do session 1. This we will do next month, in a town a little south from us here. I also have to attend and pass a CPR/First Aid/HIV training course, which I'll be doing next month, too (I could've possibly done that this coming weekend, but dammit, I need a weekend!).

We have other things we need to do as well before we're properly licensed... and once we are, and especially after we get a foster child in here, postings may occasionally become a bit on the sparse side. And I won't be able to say much about the foster child on here, either, due to certain restrictions regarding confidentiality.

So anyway...

Today, I was reminded why I hate to go to a) shopping centers and b) the post office around the holidays. After we finished our class for the day, Jessi needed to make a stop at Target to shop for some clothes for a job interview she has for tomorrow. Since I had two packages to ship from eBay sales (which I would've done before class, but unlike our local post office, the Tumwater post office opens at 9, not 8 am, and wasn't open when we got there), we decided I would drop her off at Target, and then I would run to the post office, and ship the two packages, and then meet her back there.

I couldn't believe how long it took me just to get OUT of the parking lot at Target! There was a back-up of about 20 cars to get out of there! What would normally take a matter of, say, 30 seconds to a minute must've at least been five minutes (I shudder to think how long it would've taken me to, oh, actually PARK and go into the store to buy something).

But I finally made it out of there, and headed to the post office. Now, I don't know how common they are, but the local Lacey, WA post office has an APC, which is an Automated Postage Center.

I love using the APC when I'm selling stuff on eBay (at least, when everything's being shipped Priority Mail or Parcel Post -- it's not set up for Media Mail, sadly). It's usually a lot faster than going into the full service area, and I don't have to fill out Delivery Confirmation forms, because they can be printed right on the postage label! Since both my packages today were going Priority Mail, I figured I'd be in and out in maybe two minutes.

Except that there was a young couple there shipping out stuff in small padded envelopes. Like 30 of them, all different weights... but the individual postage on each of them was anywhere from 69 cents to a buck and a half.

Now... maybe it's just me, but if I had that many little packages, and they were ALL going First Class mail, and I knew what they weighed, I think I'd just figure out in advance what the postage for each one would be, and then when I got to the APC, I'd just buy stamps in whatever quantities and denominations I needed for these, which could've been done in a minute or two.

These two schmucks? They took close to half an hour to do this... partly because when they were about halfway done, the guy screwed up and pressed the button indicating they were finished, and had to start all over again and find a package to start the new set of purchases off which required postage of more than a buck (which is the mininum amount).

They were finally done when the next person in the line went to the machine... and he had two bills to mail. The first one required 69 cents postage (he had to also purchase a 31 cent stamp with it to meet the minimum requirement).

Now, okay, I can understand needing to mail bills off. But you know, right next to the APC is a vending machine where one can buy stamps from (and next to that is the slot to put stamped mail into).

When it was my turn, I think I got both my Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation packages done in less than a minute each.

Then, as I started heading back to Target to pick up Jessi (and hitting every possible red light I could... oh, and did I mention my bladder was in dire need of emptying?), I call her on the cell phone, and after I've already turned towards Target (and will be nearly all the way there before I can turn towards the house) I reach her and find out she needs more time... so I ended up heading for home, using the bathroom, letting the dogs out so they could also go potty... get the mail (which had some cool stuff in it I'll write about in a minute)...

..and then I settled down on the couch, figuring I had at least another half hour before Jessi would call to let me know she was ready for me to head back and pick her up. So I started up the DVR to watch Pulp Fiction (which I started watching last week... I'm up to the bit where Quentin Taratino makes his on-screen appearance)... and a minute later, Jessi calls to let me know she's in line to check out.

Sheesh... OK, it's not her fault, she didn't know she'd find what she was looking for very quickly (she usually needs more time before she can decide what she wants to buy when it comes to clothes), and she didn't know I was going to start watching TV.

Anyway...

In the mail were two padded envelopes from BCI/Eclipse -- which have mail forwarding labels on them, so I know I need to let them know about my current address AGAIN -- and there, finally, is not only the Groovie Goolies DVD, but also Defenders of the Earth Vol. 1, plus Journey Back to Oz, which I'd completely forgotten I'd done any transcribing for!

Would've been nice if the Space Academy set (as well as a few others that I know are out) were in there, too... but...

Anyway, that's all I have for you tonight!

Jon

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's Saturday Night...

...and time to post a blog entry!

Commercial Break!!

While the Jack Kirby Collector issues I listed on eBay are sold, as is one of the Amazing Heroes issues, there's still plenty left for sale here... your purchase is greatly appreciated!

Classes

So, today Jessi and I attended Day #2 of classes in preparation for becoming licensed Foster Parents (we'll have to take Day #1 next month, because we couldn't make it to this month's Day #1... so yes, we'll take Day #1 after Day #2, 3, & 4).

There's a LOT of information being given at these classes... and to be honest, I don't believe the instructors expect us to remember all of this stuff... I think it's more that they want us familiar with these topics, so that we can get more detailed information from the THICK handbook we're given.

It's definitely given us a lot to think about!

Krypto

I will try to remember to take a photo of Krypto in his restraining collar and soft cast sometime on Sunday, so I can post it... Amazingly, while he was in his crate today (and we were at classes), he somehow got out of the restraining collar! Apparently by the time he'd managed that, he didn't have the energy or time to get at the soft cast... but we're still stumped as to how he could've gotten out! For Sunday's classes, we'll have to put the e-collar (the cone) on him, as well... and if he gets out of both of those, then perhaps I should've named him Houdini!

Jon

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another Commercial Message...

...but probably less painful than all the Amazon links.

I've just finished putting up a bunch of stuff on eBay, since I find myself needing some extra cash for the holidays. Up are a bunch of fanzines (mostly TwoMorrows stuff, but there are a few original Amazing Heroes issues there) and a lot of Batmobiles! You can check the full listings here. And thanks for checking 'em out!

Jon

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yoicks!

So, I ended up not posting last night... does that mean I have all kinds of stuff to talk about tonight?

Well, probably not. Let's see what there is to discuss (in no particular order):

Developments at Home

Jessi and I spent a good part of our evening tonight in orientation for becoming licensed foster parents. We'll still have four days of classes, plus forms, interviews, and so on before we'll actually get a child in our home, but one has to start somewhere.

We're primarily looking to foster-to-adopt... at least, I think that's what we're trying to do. To be honest, the whole process is rather confusing.

And it'll cost us before we get a child, too... there's stuff we'll have to buy for the house, for starters, and I guess we'll start collecting that stuff month by month (apparently the whole licensing thing takes about three months or so).

My Christmas Want List

Not that anyone will pay attention to it...

1. Superman: The Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD Boxed Set



2. Essentials Volumes I Don't Have



(no, that's not the only volumes I want... but I don't want to post links to ALL the ones I don't have)

3. Showcase Presents Volumes I Don't Have





OK, there's lots and lots of stuff that I'd like... for example, all the Godzilla DVDs that I don't have... the Universal Monster "Legacy" sets I don't have (I only have the Frankenstein one)... all the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDs... heck, just about any 1960s cartoon series DVDS...

Work Stuff

Not much to report on the work front... the workload's been uneven here and there, so I've been looking for things to keep me busy when things are slow... This week's project was creating "dummy" forms for the sales reps to use when they're mocking up their ad layouts.

Quitting Smoking

Is definitely not going as well as I had been hoping. As Jessi knows, I smoked a few cigarettes today... you know, I'm not even sure that what makes it difficult for me to completely quit is the addictive qualities of nicotine; I think a lot of it is just that I enjoy the whole action of smoking... if that makes any sense at all (and if you've never smoked, I can imagine it wouldn't).

Weather

It's been FREAKIN' COLD around here! We had some snow the past few days, but this evening there was freezing rain, which changed to straight rain... but I'm guessing that by the morning, it'll pretty much be frozen.

Krypto Post-Surgery Recovery

Krypto's really having issues with his stitches... during the day, we're having to wrap up his leg in order to keep him from chewing at it... hopefully that will help speed up the healing process.

Jon

Monday, November 27, 2006

Heroes - SPOILERS AHEAD!

OK, so we actually watched this week's episode of Heroes tonight... and I've a few thoughts about it...

What questions were answered? Jessi thought there weren't any, but I felt it was definitely full of answers... just that there were even more questions brought up!

It does seem that it was six months ago that most (if not all) of the powers started developing in the characters. Why? Who knows.

We did find out who Sylar is -- or have we? The person calling himself Sylar in this flashback has a really disturbing power... he seems to be able to pull out of someone's brain their power and add it to himself (I'm guessing he does this by ingesting the part of the brain that controls the power... but that's purely a guess). Remember, before the photographic memory waitress was killed, we saw someone in the restaurant demonstrating telekinesis.

We also saw when Peter's brother first discovered his power (as well as the accident that crippled his wife). I'm not sure if he was just denying that he knows why he was "thrown clear" of the car or if he really didn't know it.

Now... about the whole "Save the Cheerleader - Save the World" thing, which wasn't mentioned in this episode. Given what we now know about Sylar, I'm guessing that saving Claire wasn't required so that she could do something... what if Sylar needed to eat Claire's brain to get her regeneration power, so that he would be able to use the nuclear guy's power to go all a-bomb on New York and still survive? So by saving Claire, they prevented the whole holocaust? It's a possibility.

Too many other thoughts about the show to mention now... but maybe I'll talk about it more later.

Jon

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up...

Dave Cockrum, RIP

...as I'm sure most of you already know. It's a constant source of frustration to me that so many talented people have passed away that I never had a chance to let them know how much their work has meant to me. And I write that fully knowing that what's even worse is the sense of loss their family members must be feeling.

Christmas Is Coming...

...and Jessi and I spent quite a bit of this weekend preparing for it. Well, at least we're getting decorations ready for it. We hit three or four different dollar stores between yesterday and today, since neither of us had much in the way of Christmas ornaments (I used to have a LOT of Looney Tunes and Superheroes ornaments way back when, but sold 'em off when I was out of work), and I've got to tell you, I'm extremely impressed with the quality of ornaments you can find for a buck these days!

Makes it especially diffcult for me to consider spending $15-25 for one of those freakin' Hallmark ornaments, you know?

So, today, we set up the tree (it's an artificial tree), and I put the lights and ornaments on it, and then I put up lights in front of the house. Jessi had to re-arrange some of the ornaments, but that's okay.

I do think I need more lights for the front, though... we have a lot more places I can put up lights here than in our previous house.

Speaking of Dollar Stores...

If you're a fan of Speed Racer... check your local dollar stores! I've long seen some really crappy Speed Racer playing cards (that are bizarrely shaped) at our local Dollar Tree, but we went to a store we don't usually go to, and found these Speed Racer Pull Back & Go Action vehicles! There are four of 'em, but I only bought two of them -- they're about four inches long, and I bought the Mach 5 one, and the Racer X vehicle (although truth be told, it's painted like Racer X's car, but it's the wrong design... but it's close enough. The other two vehicles are the same mold as the Mach V and Racer X vehicle, but painted in the other vehicle's color style!). I haven't tried them out yet to see if they work, but I don't care! They're manufactured by Rand International out of Farmingdale NY (well, made in China, really), and distributed by Greenbrier International in Chesapeake, VA.

At the Dollar Store (you know, the actual chain named Dollar Store), I found these very cool Superman and Batman coffee cups -- two different styles for each hero -- although I only bought the Superman ones. You may or may not be able to find them at your local Dollar Store.

Krypto Post-Surgery Update

So, Krypto's gotten to the point where he's trying to mess with his stitches... which means he's got to wear that e-collar pretty much all the time now. One of the stitches (well, staples) seems to have come out as it is, so there's an occasional drop of blood or other fluid coming out of there as it is.

And still a week and a half until the staples are supposed to be removed.

Jon

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Things I'm Thankful For...

Despite the passing of Jerry Bails today, I do have things to be thankful about.

I'm thankful for my wife, Jessi -- probably what I'm most thankful for of all. Because of her, I was able to find love and happiness again after losing my first wife, Barbara. Also because of her, I became a boxer person, which led to my getting Krypto.

I'm thankful for our dogs, KO and Krypto -- and for their continued good health (despite the recent surgery Krypto had to undergo) and for their affection and companionship.

I'm thankful for comic books and their long history, which have become my primary interest from an entertainment point of view. Comic books led to my meeting my first wife, and also led to my making a number of friends over the years (some of whom I've lost track of between moves across the country and back, but I still cherish the friendships while they lasted).

I'm thankful for the internet, which gives me access to a world of stuff I might've never been exposed to, and has also provided me an outlet via this blog, mailing lists I belongto, as well as my weekly "Cover Stories" column.

I'm thankful for Apple Computers and the development of desktop publishing. Thanks to those two items, I found a vocation that I was not only well-suited for, but one which I've enjoyed doing (even if I haven't always enjoyed where I've done it). It's also given me skills that I not only use at work, but also use for my own enjoyment.

I'm thankful for my job. This is the first job that I've not only enjoyed doing, but I also enjoy where I'm doing it, and I like the people I work with.

I'm thankful for the cable company, which not only provides the digital cable and DVR which ensure I don't miss my favorite shows (when it's not malfunctioning), but also with my internet access. I sometimes wish it cost half as much as it does, but it does provide what it promises.

I'm thankful for my family -- I haven't always gotten along well with them, nor have I always agreed with what they've done in their lives, but they've always been supportive of me through the years, and if it weren't for them, I don't know how I could've dealt with losing Barbara.

I'm thankful for my association with Twomorrows -- the transcription work I did for them in the past led to my current association with BCI Eclipse and Andy Mangels, doing transcription work for the DVD releases of the Filmation programs I remember from my youth (and other shows I don't).

I'm thankful for many other things, too... even if I can't always think of them off the top of my head.

And finally, I'm thankful for the readers of this blog, even if I don't always get comments back from you, I know you're there (however many of you there are!). I hope you'll continue to enjoy reading it for years to come!

Jon

Jerry Bails, RIP

It's been reported that Jerry Bails, the man who could rightly be called the father of comics fandom, has passed away.

I never had the pleasure to meet Mr. Bails, but I've encountered his name for almost as long as I've been interested in reading the history of comics and comics fandom. I probably first read about him in back issues of the Rocket's Blast/Comic Collector.

I also never had the pleasure of acquiring a copy of his Who's Who in Comics Fandom.

Still, I feel a certain kind of kinship with him, and I mourn his passing.

Jon

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pre-Turkey Day Post!

Well, maybe I'm not off the Twomorrows mailing list... because I got the latest BACK ISSUE in my mailbox today.

On the other hand, I'm still waiting for some of the DVDs I helped work on to arrive in my mail.

Krypto had his surgery today, getting that tumor removed. Unfortunately, for the next two weeks (until his stitches are removed), whenever we can't monitor him, the poor boy will have to wear one of those cones to keep him from licking and pulling at the stitches.

Aside from the cone, he seems to be doing fine... it'll be long two weeks for him, though!

Not much else to talk about tonight... although if you haven't checked out Patrick Owsley's blog yet (link on the right), you should... he just got married, and he's posted a few pictures of himself with his wife!

Jon

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bullet Points...

Just because there's a few things for me to mention, but mention briefly...

• I realized last night that webmaster Justin at World Famous Comics only has one more Cover Stories column... so I need to write up another bunch of 'em to send off to him!

• I definitely seem to be off the Twomorrows' comp list... been a while since I've seen any issues in my mailbox, and I'm seeing in some people's blogs that there are issues out I haven't seen or read yet.

• Took Krypto to the vet today, because there's been this lump on his leg. Turns out it's a cyst or tumor of some kind, which will have to be surgically removed on Wednesday. It's a routine surgery, but I'm sure the boy won't be feeling too hot for a few days afterwards.

• Haven't seen tonight's Heroes episode (which just ended five minutes ago as I write this) and aren't watching Studio 60 tonight either.

• Early deadlines at work this week, because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Strangely, there doesn't seem to be more stuff turned in than usual so far... but I suspect Tuesday will see a major influx of work. I figure that if I set my daily goals to work ahead two days further along than usual, we should stay in good shape.

• Currently re-reading: Doctor Strange - Nightmare, one of the Marvel Novel Series books from a long time back. Prior to that, I was re-reading "Comic Books And Other Necessities of Life", the first collection of Evanier's columns. If I can figure out where the heck my copy of Showcase Presents Justice league of America Vol. 1 is, I'll likely re-read that next.

Jon

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up...

As is the case every Sunday, my latest edition of Cover Stories is up at World Famous Comics!

Thanks to TV Squad, my two newest bookmarks are PDComedy.com -- a website which streams public domain comedy shorts and the like... and Saturday Morning Fever -- although unfortunately, the latter site (which shows old Hanna-Barbera shows) needs a version of Flash that's not compatible with my current computer...

Aside from the links... it's been a good weekend. Saturday we went to my sister's place in Puyallup for my youngest niece's birthday party (we gave her My Little Ponies, which she loved -- and Jessi was responsible for finding and purchasing). Prior to the party, we stopped at the JC Penney's in Puyallup, where thanks to a 50% off sale on most of the Big & Tall Men's clothing and a further discount coupon that Jessi found, plus the gift card I got for returning the crock-pot from my birthday, I was able to get $170 of new shirts for about $7 cash out of hand.

Today, we originally planned to head south to our friend Tifney's house to walk the dogs and also get some exercise ourselves walking up this huge hill nearby, but the wind and rain cancelled that plan (we did take the dogs for a three-mile walk later that afternoon). Most of the rest of the day was spent relaxing.

This coming payday... I'm going to make my latest attempt to quit smoking. I've never really mentioned this before in this blog, but I've been a smoker since I was 18 (or, about 29 years). Since June, I've switched from smoking cigarettes to smoking a pipe (at Jessi's request), and she's been asking me lately when I'm going to quit smoking entirely. The previous weekend, I made it through an entire day without smoking, but the urges were too strong for me to handle, so I gave in. So, this time I promised Jessi that on payday, I'd throw out my pipe, and buy some of those lozenges that are supposed to help you quit.

We'll see just how well that works out.

Jon

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Batman Videos

You know, it's amazing sometimes what amateur filmmakers can create... this fan film, "Batman: Dead End", features an amazing Batman... better, I feel, than any live-action Batman we've ever seen, and they keep him looking like he does in the comics (without any freakin' rubber suit, either!)! I'm sure you've all seen this already, but it's always worth a second look:



And here's some Batman action figure TV commercials for ya!



Now that the commercial is over... here's another video by the "Dead End" people:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Some Incredible Internet Guide Links...

Sheesh... thanks to Blogger being finicky, and my dedication to posting stuff here on a regular basis, I'm losing sleeping time to bring you a few links from that book...

We're on Series and TItles and the first one is Archie Comics...

You can check out Archie Comics and Beyond! or even the the official Archie Comics site...

Next is Disney Comics... there's the DCML Page (not sure what DCML stands for... check it out and you'll probably find out)... and that's it.

For the Star Trek Comics section, there's the Star Trek Comics Checklist Page.

Next is Star Wars comics... you can check out The Star Wars Fan Comic Page... or the Dark Horse Comics Star Wars Page (which I'm providing an up-to-date link for)... or The Force.net's comics news page... and that's it.

Next (and last for this portion of the book)... Vertigo! Only one site remains from the three listed... Fonts of Wisdom: Stories from the Shadows.

Next up will be Publisher-Related Sites (Not sure what makes this different than the previous section, but there you go)...

Jon

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesday Morning Post...

So I see that the reviewer at TV Squad didn't especially enjoy last night's episode of "Heroes" -- yet they mentioned a lot of the stuff that I particularlly enjoyed in the episode as things they enjoyed... so you pays your money, you takes your chances.

To be completely honest, I did miss seeing some of the other characters, but I know there have been episodes that focused mostly on them, and left out some of the others that had more time last night.

TV Squad (or was it Comic Book Resources?) also reported that Heroes is getting a few extra episodes added to this year's season, which is always good news! If I recall correctly, we'll get one more new episode next week, then a break with reruns until January, then a bunch more new ones in a row, another break, then six or seven more through the rest of the season.

Speaking of TV shows... Jessi and I have still been enjoying Vanished, although I do think that cutting the season down and wrapping up the mystery sooner is probably a good idea. Six Degrees appears to be on the chopping block, too, and we've also been enjoying that.

I think it's interesting that all three of those shows (Heroes, Vanished, and Six Degrees) are all serialized shows (heck, even Studio 60 qualifies there), but some of them (and this is also the case with some other series of a similar nature) have been tanking in the ratings.

I wonder if maybe American TV producers need to consider looking at the British TV system... a lot of shows on BBC are designed with shorter seasons in mind (I think Red Dwarf, for example, does six or eight shows per "series"). Maybe instead of trying to figure out how to carry a major plot over 22 episodes, they should look at 13 as the magic number... have their big plot conclude after 13, and get the network that runs that show to agree to run them all in a row, week after week, with no interruptions (weekly airings, I believe, help keep the momentum going).

I'd also like to see the networks try running "catch-ups," with some of these shows getting an extra airing during the week (or, ideally, the same day or the day before the new one airs), so in case people missed the previous episode, they can catch up (hey, not everyone can watch this week's Heroes or Studio 60 on NBC.com -- I can't on my current computer, anywya).

It's just a thought.

Jon

Minimal Post Tonight...

...because Jessi stayed up quite a bit later than usual working on a puzzle, and we ended up watching Heroes (great episode -- so much stuff's happening, I can't decide what to discuss first) and Studio 60 (also great episode) pretty much as they aired...

...but I may post someething more substantial in the morning.

Jon

Monday, November 13, 2006

And it's Monday morning...

...and I plain ran out of time to blog anything last night!

Anyway... so on Sunday, after walking the dogs and having breakfast, Jessi and I took the very deluxe crockpot that my parents gave me for my birthday back to JC Penney to exchange it. Naturally, as so many other stores are doing these days, rather than getting a cash refund, they issued a gift card instead, which I could then use on something else there.

So, I went looking in their small kitchen section... and couldn't find anything there I was interested in adding to my kitchen gadgetry (I actually have a pretty impressive set of kitchen items already, to be honest -- I mean, I don't have a juicer, but I don't need or want a juicer! And while an ice cream maker would be nice to get, it's not such an interesting idea in November -- as opposed to, say, April or May when it's getting warmer). So we then went on to the men's clothing department.

I swear, in the past year, Penney's big and tall section went from being decent-sized to being pretty middling. I didn't see anything in their men's department that I was interested in adding to my wardrobe at all.

So, now I've got a gift card for Penney's in the amount of $XX.XX, and they don't have anything I want for myself.

So maybe I'll end up using it to help pay for part of Jessi's Christmas present from me.

After getting home from our second run to the mall in as many days, we settled in for a relaxing day, watching some Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes we've been DVR-ing, as well as some other stuff... and Jessi gets a call from That Kitchen Store (you may recall from a previous post we'd entered a drawing there -- or did I mention that drawing?) and that she's won a $25 gift card from there.

Too bad she didn't get that call while we were already at the mall! Oh, well.

I did try out the pasta maker attachment I got for my birthday, the one that attaches to my Kitchen Aid mixer -- I made some whole wheat spaghetti, and to go with it, I made some spaghetti sauce with veggie meatballs (we'd picked up the veggie meatballs at Grocery Outlet on Friday, one of my favorite discount stores). Unfortunately, I don't have any garlic around here at present, so the sauce was really missing what I consider to be a vital element... but Jessi seemed to like it (that's what she told me, anyway). We've got lots of leftovers, so if I remember to stop at the store and buy some garlic powder, I can at least add that missing flavor to the leftovers!

Wow, this entire post has no comics or any other geek-like content, does it? Unless you're a cooking geek.

Jon

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today's Incredible Internet Guide... existing links & new links!

Still working our way through comic book creator fansites and their own sites...

Erik Larsen's still got his Savage Dragon.com site running... and while the only Larsen fan site is one of those Tripod pages that starts to load, and then goes all-white... did you know Larsen's got himself a weekly column on Comic Book Resources?

Neither of the Joe Madureira fan pages listed were still there, but I found this one and this one, although honestly, the second one is a blog...

I don't know why they decided in this book to list as "three sites" three pages all from McFarlane.com, but there it is...

The Unofficial Frank Miller homeage is still up and running, and while the other sites listed aren't there, I also found Frank Miller: The Complete Works -- which, strangely enough, is www.moebiusgraphics.com!!!

Neither site listed for Jerry Ordway is there these days.. but I did find this site and its mirror.

And since the sites for Adam Warren don't exist any more, I went quickly looking and found the updated link for one of them...

And that's it... That's all the links provided for comic book creators. Where's the websites for Jim Aparo, Peter David, Keith Giffen, George Perez, Alex Ross, Jim Starlin, Mark Evanier, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Don Heck, Gene Colan... well, the list goes on and on about comics creators who weren't even mentioned in this part of the book...

...perhaps, though, the saddest part of it is that some creators, especially those who passed on, don't seem to even have a fan page on the web these days (I couldn't believe I wasn't able to find a decent Gil Kane page in the minute or two I looked).

But I digress.

Anyway, only three sections left of this book for me to go through, fruitlessly type in links that don't exist any more, find those that do (and are still what this book said it was -- there's a few sites from this book that had URLs that still exist, but are now x-rated sites these days!), provide my own findings that I think are better than what they had (if, indeed, I can)...

Jon

Saturday Night Post!

So, today was my birthday party... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

After walking the dogs and having some breakfast, we were off to Capital Mall because a new kitchen store (called That Kitchen Store, believe it or not) had opened up, and Fast-Lane Phillips, one of the DJs from Seattle Oldies Station KBSG was going to be there from 10-1 with the KBSG prize wheel, where you could win fabulous prizes!

Jessi won a spatula (well, it's a nice spatula), and I won a free 1-topping Papa Murphy's Pizza (which was what we were really going for).

After that, it was back home for lunch, quick pre-party clean-up, and pre-party relaxation... and then the family began to show!

The food du jour was make-your-own sandwiches, which went over pretty well... I had turkey, ham and roast beef for meats, and American, cheddar, Swiss and one other kind of cheese available, plus all the attendant toppings that one would expect (well, if one regularly got their sandwiches at Subway, anyway).

The dessert plan was supposed to be these low-calorie peanut butter cups, recipe courtesy of Hungry Girl.com, which has a mailing list you can subscribe to for free, with recipies, tips, tricks, and other stuff relating to helping you lose weight (ok, so it's all food-related stuff).

The recipe for the peanut butter cups was... well... kind of "eh". It wasn't going to make me forget Reese's, that's for sure! Instead of peanut butter surrounded by chocolate, it was more of a layer thing, with a bottom layer of peanut butter (well, Better Than Peanut Butter, available at your local Trader Joe's, if you happen to have one local to you) mixed with fat-free Cool Whip (although I used the Safeway brand instead), then topped with a dollop of sugar-free Nestle's Chocolate Syrup. This is frozen, and is supposed to be really yummy...

Now, the peanut butter/cool whip blend portion was actually pretty good, tasted like peanut butter ice cream. But the sugar-free chocolate syrup? Pretty blah.

Besides, they didn't quite freeze all the way, so I bought a chocolate cake, a German chocolate cake, and two different kinds of reduced-fat/light ice cream to use instead for the dessert.

The presents? Well, my parents gave me a new crock-pot... which is really, really nice, honestly! They remembered that my old crock-pot got damaged in the move... but didn't remember (or I neglected to mention) that I'd already bought a new one. They gave me a pretty deluxe one, and if I hadn't already used the one I'd bought previously, I'd probably decide to keep the newer one for certain... but I'm undecided right now. I hate the idea of having two crock-pots, and I'm cheap enough that I wouldn't want to just give away the one I just bought in August... so I'm going to have to figure it out. I did get a gift receipt for it, so I could return it to Penney's if I so choose.

My brother Jeff, sisters Sandy and Debi, and their spouses and children got me a combined gift, the Kitchen Aid mixer attachment to make pasta -- an excellent gift, as I enjoy making homemade healthy pasta, but hate rolling it out and cutting it! While we were at That Kitchen Store, I even looked at it there, and checked out their price for it!

Jessi, my loving wife, gave me a shiatsu massager that you can put on a chair... we'd both tried this out a while ago when we were at a Bed, Bath and Beyond, and it is simply wonderful! We both had a go with it tonight after the family left.

And now.... just because I love this show so much, here's some clips from Whose Line Is It Anyway? (the American Version)



Bloopers! (Definitely not work safe)



More Bloopers (still not work safe)

Incredible Interenet Guide... Working Links & Replacement Links!

We're up to comic creator websites... those sites that are either the creator's own page, or a fan page for that creator!

Mike Allred (creator of Madman) had two sites listed... neither is up and running! But I did find his current site, The Atomics.com.

Chris Bachalo had one site listed... and it's not there anymore! And I wasn't able to find a current website for him after looking at three Google pages of listings, either.

John Byrne had two sites listed... one of them is The Next Men Reference page. The other isn't there anymore!

I had a bookmark for Byrne Robotics, but that page doesn't seem to be loading (I timed out trying to bring it up). But The John Byrne Gallery page is still there for you to enjoy.

Neither of the Travis Charest sites listed are still up... but I did find The Official Unofficial Travis Charest Archive.

None of the Alan Davis sites listed still exist... but I found his Official Website.

Steve Ditko had two sites listed, but neither remain... instead, check out Ditko Looked Up and Steve Ditko.com.

Warren Ellis' website is still working... I didn't check to see if the two subpages also listed were still there, but if you're interested in Ellis, I suppose you can find out for yourself, y'hear?

I did discover that The Dreaming: The Neil Gaiman Page is still up, and they have a link to his blog, too!

When I return to these, we'll start with Erik Larsen web pages... and I may come up with some creator sites for creators not even listed in this book!

Jon