Friday, October 27, 2006

This N That Time (Going into the Weekend...)

Work Stuff

Today was another Friday From Hell. I found myself anxiously awaiting the time I could leave for the week (and honestly, I love my job!). I'd go into details about what made it a hell day, but to do so, I would have to seriously denigrate the people at a sister newspaper, and I probably shouldn't do that publically.

Bones and Treats Day!

Yes, tomorrow is the annual Bones and Treats Day here in the Olympia area, which means that Krypto will be getting back into his cape and yellow collar (with the S-Shield tag, natch), and I'll be doing my annual wearing of my Superman costume, but this year, with new, better-looking boots! I think I may have mentioned before that I feel I should be able to upgrade one portion of the costume each year hereafter... and I think next year's upgrade will be the cape (the one I'm using is just a tad heavy, and doesn't really billow properly in the wind). And who knows? Maybe I'll start doing some weightlifting between now and next year, so I can fill out the shirt a bit better than I do now!

Thank You, Papa Murphy's

Papa Murphy's Pizza, in case you don't know, is a national pizza chain that's different from Pizza Hut and most of the others, in that they don't bake the pizzas and deliver them. They put the pizzas together, and then you go into the store, buy them, and take them home and bake them yourself. In my opinion, their pizzas are not only delicious, but they're also priced very fairly (plus they put out coupons so often that you shouldn't ever really have to pay full menu price any time, if you're paying attention).

After the day I had at work today, the last thing I wanted to have to do was go grocery shopping and then make dinner (well, I did do the grocery shopping, but that was a necessity). Fortunately, Papa Murphy's has what they call their Thin Crust Delite Pizza, a crust that's about half the calories of their regular crust. Unfortunately, the cheese and other toppings are still just as high in calories as the regular pizzas (because they use the same toppings), but it's pretty close to a guilt-free pizza (I can get much closer when I do entirely home-made pizza, with a whole wheat crust and low-fat cheese plus home-made sauce, but I digress). When Jessi and I are in a pizza mood, we get a Papa Murphy's "Perfect" pizza, which is half pepperoni (for Jessi) and half ham and pineapple (for me).

If you haven't ever tried Papa Murphy's before, I can definitely recommend them.

TV Watching

Smallville's last episode really felt like more padding to me... actually, most of this season seems to feel like trying to stretch out as much as possible the Smallville franchise before Clark becomes Superman. Will this be the last season of the show? I wouldn't be surprised if it was... after all, Lois is now a reporter, an upcoming episode is going to feature a semi-Justice League, and the classic S-symbol is making a reappearance in the next episode (as opposed to the Kryptonian symbol which means "Crusade" but looks vaguely like the S-shield).

I read earlier today that Vanished, a show that Jessi and I have been enjoying, really has killed off their main character in mid-season, and will not only replace him with another agent who is apparently the ex of the woman reporter, but also that the show is supposed to wrap up the current storyline in 13 episodes. There are two other shows in this style (with a single season-long storyline) that are also pretty much facing the ax like this (well, one of them, Kidnapped is... another one is just cancelled -- not that I watch either of those shows).

Fortunately, I also read that Studio 60's got more episodes ordered, and that Heroes has a full season being produced.

On a different note... one show Jessi and I watch often are the reruns of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on Family Channel. You know, I'm well aware they made a whole bunch of episodes of this series... but in the short time we've been watching it (and realize, they do run like 12 episodes a week or more), we've actually had two or three episodes come up in the rotation a second time. Well, okay, there's a lot of eps I remembered from the original ABC run, but that's beside the point.

Anyway... I really think that they should seriously consider doing some new episodes, even if they "only" add them to the rotation on Family Channel (OK, ABC Family Channel, if you want to be picky). Heck, if you ask me, they should just go ahead and make hour-long episodes, while they're at it!

Would they need a new twist for these episodes? Well, maybe... perhaps what they could do is instead of taping them all in LA, Drew, Wayne, Colin and Ryan could take the show on the road, and tape for a week in different places around the country, and use some local comedians who can do improv well to fill the fourth seat. The advantage of this would be that they could do this taping once a month for five days (presuming they'd get an hour's worth of airable material each night), plus there'd be the opportunity for fans of the show to attend a taping who, as it stands right now, will never be able to do so.

I know that if I heard they were going to be taping new Whose Line episodes anywhere near me, I'd be working as hard as I could to arrange things so that Jessi and I could be there in the audience for as many nights as possible!

Anyway... that's all for tonight!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday Night Post

Taking a break from "The Incredible Internet Guide..." stuff for the night (at least, that's my current plan)...

Work Stuff

OK, a while back, I posted some rants about stupid stuff business people do, especially their lack retaining a high-resolution version of their logo (or even better, a vector graphic version of their logo).

Since a lot of business people have no clue about how important this is, sometimes I end up taking extra steps that I'm not required to do... and probably aren't even noticed (except by me), but I do them anyway.

One thing I'll do is when we get a logo that's absolutely terrible is to see if there's a high-res version available on Adbuilder, which is a website we have access to at the newspaper for logos, art, and other graphic elements. This can be anything from the Realtor logo to manufacturer's logos to car photos. If I'm lucky, there's something there, and it's usually a vector graphic, and so we're good.

(Perhaps I need to explain what a vector graphic is, as opposed to a raster graphic. Raster graphics are like Photoshop files, or jpegs or gifs... it's artwork that's rendered as dots. Vector graphics are created in programs like Illustrator or Freehand, among other programs, and these graphics aren't dots, but instead are mathematically defined postscript graphics... rather like the characters in a PostScript font. A circle, for example, would be defined as having a diameter of so much, with an outside line a certain thickness and a certain color, and filled with a certain color. This graphic can be placed in any layout program and enlarged or shrunk as much as we want, and it'll still look good. A Raster Graphic, however, can be shrunk on the layout from the original size, but if we enlarge it in the layout, you start to see "jaggies", making it look like a bad fax, for example. That may not be the best way to describe the difference, but there you go.)

If AdBuilder doesn't have a high-res logo, I'll check websites for a better copy of the logo... unfortunately, a lot of manufacturer's websites seem to have nearly microscopic logos on their web pages! But occasionally I get lucky, and the logo (or photo) is nice and large!

If I'm really, really lucky, the web page will have downloadable PDF brochures, from which I can extract a logo from.

However, if the logo is for a local company, chances are, there's no way I can find a better logo. And when that happens, it calls for extreme measures.

It calls for me to redraw or recreate the logo as a vector graphic. I've done this quite a few times lately, and so far, nobody's really noticed it.

Tonight, one of my co-workers was doing a spec ad for the local auto mall (a spec ad is kind of like a spec script -- it's an ad that's done for an existing customer or a potential customer, done so that we can try to sell the customer on that ad, or sometimes to just get the kinks worked out of a new ad before it's actually scheduled to run), and she discovered that she couldn't find a copy of that auto mall's logo.

I knew there was a small raster logo available that's used on one of my guardian account's ads... but I knew it wouldn't be good enough to use. Since we'd already done all the work that was required for the night, I figured I'd take a bit of time and recreate the logo in a vector format... not only would we have it for this spec ad, but also available for other ads, too (like my own guardian account's ads).

Took me maybe 20 minutes. I'll bet the customer won't have a clue how we got their logo, and probably won't even notice it's been recreated.

Man, I don't get paid nearly enough for my job, eh? Well, my next review takes place in February, so we'll see what that brings!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Amazing New Adventures of Superman!

So... while I've heard absolutely nothing about Warners even considering for a moment producing a new Superman animated series, I've found myself thinking about what could be done with such a series these days anyway... as is my wont.

Now, don't get me wrong... I loved the previous Superman animated series loads and loads (as well as the follow-up Justice League series), but I think that some more could be done with the Man of Steel.

First, a bit of history. The first animated Superman cartoons were, of course, the fabulous Fleischer toons of the 1940s, and set the standard for future super-hero cartoons (a standard that wasn't really met until the classic Batman animated series, IMHO). It wasn't until the 1960s that new Superman cartoons were made, and those were by Filmation (and was, in fact, the series that really "made" Filmation). These cartoons incorporated additions to the Superman milieu, and were great fun.

In the 1970s, Superman was, naturally, one of the founding members of the Super Friends, and also appeared in an episode of The Brady Kids (which I think predated Super Friends). There was also a very short-lived CBS Superman animated series that was mostly based on the Byrne era stories (Marv Wolfman even worked on that series).

So... what do I think a new Superman animated series could be like? For starters, the title of the series is the title of this blog entry. Yes, it's inspired by the heading over the Superman logo from the "Kryptonite Nevermore!" era comics of the 1970s.

Basically, I'm thinking of a pre-Crisis Superman... where Luthor is a criminal mastermind who wears that purple and green jumpsuit, and occasionally that battle armor, as well... but just as often wears his grey prison outfit when he's just recently escaped. Where Brainiac is a green-skinned alien android with electrodes on his head who shrinks cities and puts them in bottles.

The look of the show, I feel, should be based mostly on the Curt Swan artwork, although refined as though Alex Toth designed it based on Swan's work. Clark Kent, naturally, works as a reporter for the Daily Planet, and he is a mild-mannered reporter... not as complete a doofus as he's portrayed in the Chris Reeve movies, though!

Perry White is a gruff editor-in-chief (ideally voiced by Ed Asner) who recognizes talent when he sees it, and tells Jimmy Olsen not to call him chief (but not every single episode!). Jimmy Olsen is a cub reporter/photographer who often accompanies Lois Lane or Clark when reporting on a story so he can learn from the best, but also looks to learn on his own, too (and yes, I'd have him utilize the famous Olsen Disguise Kit when he wants to go undercover).

Lois Lane is, naturally, extremely sexy, and will do anything to get a story, including endangering her own life. Will she try to prove that Clark is Superman? I'm undecided there... there's really no reason for anyone to assume Superman has a secret identity, after all!

Another member of the Planet staff would be Steve Lombard, transplanted from his TV sportscaster role in the comics to be the sports columnist. Lombard would be a retired athlete who is a great sports writer (else he wouldn't be working at the Planet), but of course, he is an egotistical jerk who delights in picking on Clark (even if his stunts backfire on him, thanks to Clark using his powers secretly to try to teach Steve a lesson).

I think that about covers the Planet staff. I'd include STAR Labs when Superman needs technical support (or when we need a menace to accidentally come from somewhere).

Villains? As I said before, Luthor and Brainiac would be in there, and I'd also include other classic Superman villains such as the Parasite, Toyman, Prankster, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Terra-Man (the cowboy version with the winged horse), Titano the Super-Ape, Phantom Zone escapees, Metallo, etc. etc. etc.

Krypto would be a recurring cast member... just because I like Krypto. Superman would have the classic Fortress of Solitude, complete with the gigantic "airplane marker" key.

Once Superman's initially met and battled Brainiac, he will, of course, find the Bottle City of Kandor and place it in the Fortress for safekeeping until he can find a way to enlarge it (which he won't for a long, long time). When we need a change of pace for an episode, Superman and Jimmy can shrink down and parachute into Kandor for a Nightwing and Flamebird episode.

Supergirl would be introduced somewhere down the line as Superman's cousin from Krypton. We could thereafter have an occasional episode that focuses mostly on Supergirl (and use it to bring in Streaky and Comet if we want). Heck, if there's a good enough story to use him, we can use Beppo, too!

Yes, it would definitely be very old-school Superman... and if there's something wrong with that idea, I don't want to hear about it! Nyah!

I may post more about my thoughts on this at a later date.


Incredible Internet Guide... Links that Still Work (Plus some of mine)

We're up to News pages...

I didn't even have to enter the URL to determine that Comic Book Resources and Comics2Film are still up...

The Comics Continuum website is still up and running, with current content, too!

Of course, Diamond Comics Distributors site is still up (didn't really think of it as a news site, though).

And of course, you know from my previous posting about the new E-Man book that Digital Webbing is still up and running!

That's about it... except for the Wizard World site...

Of course...

As mentioned before, I'm skipping over the "Newsgroups" section... because so far as I can tell, mailing lists and blogs have pretty much replaced the comics newsgroups (I'd imagine most of you don't even have an idea how to get to the newsgroups anymore -- I know I don't!).

I'm also going to skip the Reviews section -- because of the five sites listed, four of them are known already to be gone, or are part of sites that have already been covered!

Next chapter of the book is called Fun and Games -- and the first part of it is Console Games & Cheat Codes, which I'm sure is of no interest to anyone reading this blog! I'm also skipping over the listings of Fan Fiction pages... because I don't have any interest in reading any fan fiction, and I'm guessing if you do, you have no problem finding sources of it.

So, that leaves the sections Humor, Online Comics, and Online Games -- I'm not sure how much of the latter is worth even looking for, to be honest! There's another games section for Role-Playing Games, most of which are out of print, so I'm sure I'll skip over those!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Yes, it's another Incredible Internet Guide... post!


Instead of mentioning the sites that don't exist, I'll just list sites that do...

Like in the Crossovers category, there's Sailor Hellblazer! a crossover between Sailor Moon and Hellblazer.

And that's it for that section of the book.


Danglers are unresolved storylines in comics... none of the sites listed here are still up.

E-Mail Systems

Well... this section of the book lists places where you can get "cool" email addresses... but the vast majority of them were on, which is a Spanish website... and nothing else listed there works.


None of the e-zines listed in this section of the book are still being published. Some have just plain gone away, while others haven't had anything new done in years (one of them has the "newest issue" dated 1999!).

Next Sections

I'm just going to skip over the mailing lists and message boards section... mainly because a lot of those listed have been in the previous portions of the book.

Tell you what... wanna join a mailing list? Go to the Yahoo Groups main page and do a search for what kind of mailing list you want to sign up for... or wait for the next time I post the mailing lists I'm on and recommend.

Next time I post on this, I'll start with the "News" section! But I'll skip the "reviews" section entirely.

A lot of the reason for these decisions are just because I recognize some of the sites from earlier in the book (if the duplicate sites were removed, and the Chronologies section removed, this book might -- MIGHT -- be about 100 pages long).


Lack of Focus?

You know, this blog of mine... it really has absolutely zero focus, doesn't it? I suppose that's appropriate for a blog named "Waffyjon's Random Thoughts," but sometimes I wonder if there's anything in particular that my readers enjoy more than anything else that they'd like to see more of.

I've been getting some mileage out of that "Incredible Internet Guide to Comic Books and Superheroes," but are you readers enjoying my mocking of that concept? What about my comments on the TV shows I watch, or the ranting I sometimes do about stuff from the job? Would you like to see a more focused blog, or should I just keep going the way I've been going?

If you wish to comment on what you'd like to see me talk about, please do so!


Brief Notes...

We Wuz Robbed!

So our local PetSmart had its "Howl-oween" party tonight, where people bring their dogs dressed up in costume for treats, photos, and a costume contest. I got off work early, but Jessi was already on her way over there with KO (dressed in the cow costume I made for her). I rushed home, got Krypto in his collar and cape, and went to join her.

I didn't expect Krypto to win the costume contest... he did win one at PetCo last year, but I think that was because I was wearing my Superman costume at the same time (I didn't want to take the time to put it on tonight... besides, I need help getting it on). Jessi did dress up in her farmgirl costume (although she forgot the bucket that's her accessory). KO certainly looked cute in her costume, and both dogs got lots of attention from the people there.

Anyway... KO came in third in the contest, and it's basically because the people running it didn't know what they were doing; the person handing out the prizes got confused when they were naming the final five or six dogs, and since KO was named first, the moron with the gift cards gave the third place one to Jessi (one of the other people who worked there said that KO should've been first place).

Fortunately, we have the Bones and Treats coming up on Saturday, and I'm sure the costume contests there will be much better!

It's Go-Time for Monster Movie Fans!

In case you've lost track, Halloween is coming up soon... and that means AMC is showing all kinds of great horror movies, from the classics to more modern movies! I've already DVR'ed Dracula, Son of Dracula, and House of Dracula, with more to be recorded!

Did You Know... ?

That Adult Swim on Cartoon Network shows classic Gigantor episodes in the wee hours of the morning? Thank goodness for the DVR!


Quick This & That...

I would've posted this last night, but lately, Blogger's been kind of wonky in the evenings (which is why the following entry, even though I wrote it Monday night, didn't post until Tuesday morning)...

Webmaster Justin at WF Comics let me know on Sunday that this week's Cover Stories column was going to be posted late Monday night, not late Saturday night/early Sunday as is usual... I was going to make a post about that, but as I said, Blogger's been a bit wonky lately...

Work's going all right... there were some developments I'd been expecting which are being delayed and aren't going to happen as originally planned, but I'm still in a "wait and see" mode there.

The biggest problems at work, actually, have been issues with some of my ads which weren't my fault (thank goodness for that, anyway). The weekend before last, one of the car company ads that I build printed with some bizarre font substitutions, which occurred when a PDF was generated automatically from the Adobe InDesign file I created... and this last weekend, that same customer's ad somehow didn't run on Sunday (but someone else's ad did run in their place!).

Another problem as been with this special publication, "Portraits of Success" (which I -- at least to myself -- refer to as "Portraits of Excess") -- it's a tabloid-sized pub that's basically all full-page ads of businesses trying to present themselves as being successful businesses (even though one of them won't even be open for business until almost a week after the thing is inserted in the paper!).

The problem with that publication is that the design of the pages (originally done by someone who's no longer at the paper, and was apparently "inspired" by the design of a similar project done at a previous paper the publisher worked at) is really difficult to work with -- especially when the customers refuse to follow the format. So they've been asking us to make changes to the format which, if we do it, makes things different from one page to the next.

We wrapped up the work on this last night, and by the time all was said and done, a few elements of the original format had been completely obliterated (and the special features editor had us making changes to the text of some ads -- after the customers had already okayed them).

I'm hoping that once this is out, I'll be able to present some of my ideas for redesigning this thing for the next time we do it, in another six months, which would be a much better-looking design, plus it would allow us to do some things the customers have wanted us to do, but we couldn't with the existing design.

I realize I haven't talked much about TV shows we watch lately... part of the reason for this is that lately, we've been watching shows at least a day later than they air -- another reason has been my collecting covers for my next DC History mega-theme.

But, in brief: Yesterday, I watched the last three episodes of Red Dwarf, one of my favorite shows of all time. Our local PBS station had been showing them two at a time late on Sunday, but then two weeks' back, started showing three of them at a time, so that last series aired very, very quickly. I remember the first time I saw these episodes, I felt very cheated because there were no more episodes to be shown afterwards (apparently, the long in development Red Dwarf movie is going to be taking off from where the show ended, but who knows if that'll ever actually happen?).

We did watch last Sunday's Cold Case last night... it was a pretty good episode, as they've all been, but I wonder if I'm starting to lose interest in the show. They've been including more about the detectives' personal lives in the episodes this season than usual, and the lead character (the blonde detective, Lilly) is starting to piss me off a bit... she has a tendency to get involved with a guy, and when things get to a certain point, she chases them away (and I thought men were supposed to be afraid of committment). Since they still have a case to solve in the episode, it feels rather disjointed sometimes with the personal stuff.

We'll probably catch up on Heroes and maybe Studio 60 tonight. Of course, a week from tonight, on Halloween, House returns with new episodes again! (Yay!)

Smallville? Well, the last episode, with Green Arrow, was honestly, a bit boring to me... I was making dinner as we watched it on the DVR, and I did not feel compelled to ask Jessi to pause it when I went back into the kitchen.

It almost feels as if they've been bringing some of these other characters onto the show to help pad things out, because they are starting to get too close to bringing Clark to his destiny (although he's still not flying quite yet -- at least, not when he's in his right mind). I mean, the show is pretty much supposed to end with Clark deciding to become Superman, right? But it's "no flights, no tights" on this show... so I'm not sure how much more they'll be able to do to develop Clark towards that goal at this point.

Anyway... that's all for now!


Monday, October 23, 2006

Another Incredible Internet Guide... Post

We're on to Chat Rooms!

Starting off, all the initial sites (Amalgam Assemblies Chat Room, Aquaman Chat, Ashram Monastery Chat Room – Green Arrow, Comic Book Resources: Comic Chat, Crawlspace: DV8 Chat Room, Marvel Chat Avatars, Marvel-X, and the Unofficial Green Arrow Compendium – which is part of that same Green Arrow site) are all gone.

The remaining sites listed are actually Yahoo Groups… but the original links are from when it was Yahoo Clubs! I'm providing corrected links here:

Alpha Flight Forever

Alpha League – a home base for Alpha Flight fans!

The Yahoo Clubs Comics & Animation link doesn't even forward anywhere! The Iron Man Armory group is gone.

Savage Dragon Fan – A Place for Savage Dragon Fanatics

But the JSA Appreciation Association is gone.

And this was the best they could manage to come up with for this book????


Obviously, the Comic-Con International Page is still up!

And the page is still up… although it's a virtual comic con, not a real convention…

The Dragon*Con page is still there, too.

But the Pittsburgh Comicon page is gone (for a few minutes, I thought we'd have a section with all valid links!)

However, the Wizard World Convention Page is still there!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

More Incredible Internet Guide... Stuff (yes, more!)

OK, I decided to skip the "Themes & Screensavers" portion of the previous set of listings. Why? Because it was pretty much all sites that were already listed, and are all gone.

So, onward! The next chapter of the book is "Discussing Comic Books & Superheroes Online," and the first subset of that is Alternate Worlds.

The first site listed is - shocking! - still up! It's on Fortune City, and it's the Almanac of Alternate Realties & Timelines.

Unfortunately, the next site, "Alternate History Home Page," is gone from Geocities. So is the DC Futures site, which was on (which is also gone).

On the other hand, Tegan's Elseworlds Checklist is still up!

But among the missing is HH Productions (which I have no idea what that specifically was about). The Hube's Iron Man What If? page is gone... but moved to here.

The Legends of Lost Legionnaires page is gone... so is the Marvel Futures page and the Marvel Tangent Fan Fiction page... and the What If There Were Other Worlds? page.


So... Only five pages listed here. The Avengers: Assemble page, as noted before, is gone, as is the Articles & Information page listed in this section. The Marvel Time page is gone. The 100 Greatest Comic Books of the 20th Century page has changed... not only the content, but also where it is... unfortunately, the original page was on Tripod, which never loads on my computer... And so is the last page listed in this section, "The Word Balloon." And the "What is Hypertime?" page is gone, too (maybe it vanished when Superboy-Prime hit the wall of reality... that's right, I went there and made a joke based on Infinite Crisis... I have no shame).

Next up will be chat rooms... expect lots of missing pages there!


Video of the Week (huh?)

OK, this one is definitely not work-safe... but if you're reading this blog at home, and there are no children around to hear it... enjoy!