Saturday, February 10, 2007

If the kid we get is into super-heroes...

...he (or she) is so going to be getting this sweet line of kiddie DC superhero toys...

And yes, I did find that Toy News International is finally updating their Toy Fair coverage... even if their Marvel coverage is all on their sister site Marvelous News.


Anyone Know of a Good Website... find coverage of Toy Fair 2007? So far, I've had no luck finding a site that's updating often enough.

Thanks in advance,


Why Do Some Businesses Insist on Employing the Stupid?

There are four Subway restaurants within a few miles of our house, here in Lacey, Washington. Three of them we've gone to in the past, and have been very happy to go there, and will no doubt go there again.

The fourth, however, will never get our business again.

It has nothing to do with the quality of their food. It has everything to do with the quality of their employees.

Now, okay, I understand that fast food places pretty much have to hire teenagers, as they're about the only ones willing to work for mininum wage (I know, many retired people have taken jobs with some fast food places). And it's a given that most teenagers are, by definition, idiots.

But there's casual idiocy, and that special breed of idiocy that is guaranteed to scare off your customers (or just piss them off). And when there's so much competition for business, I can't understand why anyone would continue to employ those special breed of idiots.

We went in for lunch today, and ordered the daily special. We decided to make them Meal Deals (or whatever the hell they're calling them these days). For something like $1.99 more, you can add a drink and your choice of chips or two cookies with your sandwich. Seems pretty simple, right?

Just wait. There were at least two signs (one right by the cash register) that said you can choose a 32 oz. fountain drink or a bottled drink as your Meal Deal drink. There was another sign saying that you could choose a bottled water instead. Nothing saying it would cost extra, naturally... it was all the matter of what you chose.

Except that's not right. Or at least, the people at this Subway weren't trained to treat it that way. Jessi prefers to get a bottled water with her meal, while I like to get a Diet Coke.

Now, when you get a Meal Deal, it should be pretty simple, right? Not a complicated thing. Except that they made it complicated. We argued back and forth with the moron at the register about what we're supposed to be able to get, and even the manager was arguing with us about it (so much for "the customer is always right"). The manager was finally insisting that it didn't make any difference in the price, but I didn't trust them, given their idiocy on display. At one point, I said we just wanted the sandwiches and no meal deal... and then we were just going to get drinks.

Finally, I just had enough, got the total, and paid for it. The only receipt I got was the credit card receipt, and that didn't even say what the hell I was paying for! I didn't know if we'd really got the meal deal or not. I actually had to ask them for a register receipt to see that we were, indeed, entitled to chips. I was getting pretty pissed off at this point.

I got even more pissed off when I saw that no matter what we chose for our meal deal, they only applied the same discount... 58 cents. So despite what they told us, they did charge us more for the bottle of water than my 21 oz. fountain drink (because it didn't matter what their sign said about a 32 oz. drink).

So, we're never going back to that Subway again.

And in fact, I'm becoming a bit distrustful of Subway altogether. Next time we decide we're going to Subway, before I order item one, I'm going to ask specifically what we get with the meal deal, and if there's a difference in price. And even if I believe what I'm told, I'm going to ask for a register receipt to verify what we're being charged before I hand over my check card or cash to pay them... and if it disagrees with what I'm told, I'm going to refuse to pay and walk out of the restaurant.

It seems to me that since the whole Subway Club Card thing went away (you know, when you'd get a stamp for each 6 inch sub, and when you filled it out, you got a free six inch sub), it just hasn't been as enjoyable to get our subs at Subway.

Anyway, if you go to Subway, and you order their meal deal (or value meal, or whatever they call it), I strongly suggest that you get it clarified to your satisfaction what you're getting, and what's being charged.

It might not seem that 20 cents is much to quibble about, but how many meal deals are sold every day at each Subway restaurant? How many people are getting charged this small amount over and above what they're told they'll be charged? And how much does this add up to every single day?

Let's just guess and say the average Subway sells 500 sandwiches a day. Let's say half of those are meal deals. That's 250 times 20 cents... or $50 a day. And I think that's a conservative estimate. When I worked retail at the register, if I was $5 off on the till at the end of the day, it was considered a big deal.

So like I said, check for yourselves. And if they're lying to you, don't continue to bring your business to them.


One more post about Space Academy, then I (might) be done...

It's funny, I think it was March of last year that I did all the transcriptions for the special features on the Space Academy DVD set... and while they did get quite a few cast members interviewed for the show, there were a few omissions.

One of them -- the one I was hoping most for -- was Pamelyn Ferdin. If you don't recognize her name, don't feel bad. You've probably seen her on plenty of TV shows, though. She was the shorter blonde female lead on Space Academy (Laura, the twin sister of Chris), but those of you who are fans of the original Star Trek would undoubtedly remember her from the episode "And the Children Shall Lead" -- "hail, hail, fire and snow, call the angel we will go..." should remind you which episode that was. Brian Tocchi, one of her fellow Space Academy cast members, was also in that Trek episode (and he was interviewed for the DVD).

The link I provided above is to Pamelyn's official web site, and I visited it last night, and sent her off a short email. Check it out yourself, and see just how many shows she appeared in!

She's still very cute, by the way, if the all-too-small photo of her on her main page is up to date.

Another omission was the other female lead, Maggie Cooper. She doesn't have a website, and apparently she's better known for her role on Falcon Crest, a show I never watched.


TV Comic Cover of the Day: Hanna-Barbera Parade

From the days when Charlton had the H-B licenses:


Interestingly, I think I had one issue of this title some time ago, when I was hunting down Charlton books, and I think it might've been in one of these that the Flintstones and the Jetsons met for the very first time (or else it was in one of the Flintstones comics).


Some This 'n Thatting...

Got a few things to discuss in brief tonight, so rather than separate entries, it's This 'n That time again!

Work Stuff

So, I've finished my second week with my temporary new assignment at work, and it seems to be going well. For the most part, I'm being kept busier than usual, and that's a good thing... plus I'm learning new stuff here and there that will help out when my schedule goes back to normal!

Coming up this next week -- on Valentine's Day, believe it or not -- the newspaper is going to be making the Employee of the Year awards. Unlike previous years, this year they're selecting an Employee of the Year from each of the departments. The persons chosen as Employee of the Month for last year are in the running for this (well, I'm sure it's been decided already), and yes, I'm hoping that I'll be the winner for my department!

But even if I'm not the selectee... there's going to be cheesecake!

Space Academy

As I type this, I'm watching the final episode of Space Academy... and I'm sorry there's no more episodes to watch after this one. It's been fun watching these episodes for the first time in 30 years!

Inspired by this DVD set, I've started working on two more Comics They Never Made covers... so I now have covers made up for Space Academy #1 and 2, published by Gold Key! Of course, I still have to write out the "descriptions" for the two issues (I have an idea for one story... I'm not sure what I'll come up with for the next).

Unfortunately, one thing I won't be able to simulate in these comics is the ever-present voice of Lou Scheimer! Yes, the head honcho of Filmation's voice is all over this series, as it was for most other Filmation programs.


Friday, February 09, 2007

TV Comic of the Day!


Here's another one of those Hanna-Barbera anthology titles I mentioned a few days ago... note that the cover art is more reminiscent of the Little Golden Books painted artwork than the typical comics cover art!


Home Study Result...

...well, we had our Home Study meeting this morning with our foster parent licensor, and it turned out we needed much more time than Jessi and I originally thought. So much so that Jessi ended up missing the entire day of work today, and I was in an hour late (and I have to call our licensor tomorrow to schedule a time to finish up my questions).

It was an interesting meeting, and I'm happy to say that our house is now 100% ready for children... and I think we've done well with our answers. But then, we're just being honest, you know?


Thursday, February 08, 2007

TV Comic of the Day: H.R. Pufnstuf


You know, I have nothing but fond memories of watching Pufnstuff when I was a kid... Jack Wild played the boy everyone watching wanted to be (even the magical talking flute could get one one's nerves after a while), the wonderful colors, the theme song (while not as memorable as, say, the 1960s Spiderman cartoons, I'll bet you can tell the age of someone by singing, "H.R. Pufnstuf, who's your friend when things get rough..." and see if they know the next line or not)... Witchiepoo, of course (and her song, "Oranges, Shmaranges" about there not being a rhyme for oranges).

Good stuff, and it's a shame that there weren't more episodes made of this wonderful show.

If you're around my age and reading this blog, you probably remember the early days of McDonald's commercials with McDonaldland... to say those commercials were "inspired" by Pufnstuff and the other Sid & Marty Kroft commercials is like saying that The Flintstones were "inspired" by the Honeymoooners... well, okay, the McDonaldland characters were very much extremely inspired by the Kroft stuff, which is why there was a lawsuit (and why Mayor McCheese disappeared from the commercials after a while).


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

TV Comic Cover of the Day!


This was one of the many anthology-style comics featuring Hanna-Barbera characters... in the case of Fun-In, it featured currently-running cartoons, and I definitely remember both of these... especially Dastardly and Mutley and their Flying Machines (Stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon...).

Of course, in order to see these toons today, you have to hope your cable or satellite system carries Boomerang... I don't think either of these are on DVD (at least, not yet anyway).

Running late tonight, and have to get to bed early, so this will be it for tonight's posting!


The Oldies Station Played "Billy Jean"...

Yes, I was on my way home from work last night, with the local (well, Seattle) Oldies station (KBSG, if you're curious) on the radio, as is my wont... and they played "Billy Jean" (or is that "Billie Jean"?).

OK... I have to call shenanigans on that. Maybe I'm just an old-fashioned grump or something, but I don't want my oldies station playing stuff from the 1980s. In my not-so-humble opinion, radio stations that have an oldies format should play stuff from the 1950s through the mid-1970s or so (basically using the Disco era as the point of division from post-Oldies, if you will). If they want to play anything with Michael Jackson singing, they should limit themselves to Jackson Five songs.

But his solo stuff? I say thee nay!

Perhaps the best rule of thumb I would ask of oldies stations is, if the song was made popular thanks to MTV showing videos, it's too new for an oldies station.

I know there are stations out there that play nothing but '80s songs... let them do their job! Every 1980s song they play is one less chance for me to hear an Elvis or Beatles or Beach Boys or (name of your favorite oldies era artist here) song!

Sheesh... maybe I just need to start burning my own CDs to listen to in the car, and forget commercial radio entirely. I mean, it's not like I get local info on the oldies station, and I do get tired of all the commercials (especially when I'm driving to work, and I hear the tail end of one song, then a bunch of commercials, and then barely the start of a new song and I'm at work already).

I used to joke that I needed to start my own radio station... KJON -- the Music JON Likes! Too bad that's way, way more money than I'll probably ever have to spend on anything, eh?

Anyway, I just had to rant about that for a few minutes.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Short Postings Tonight...

...because I'm trying to get to sleep early tonight, since I need to wake up early Wednesday morning and take the dogs out for a walk. Jessi will be taking them for a second walk after work on Wednesday.

Why are we doing this? We want to get them tired out prior to Thursday's Home Study meeting as part of the foster parent licensing. I'll also be giving both dogs a bath Wednesday night after Jessi's gone to bed, so I'm not sure how much I'll be posting Wednesday night, either.

Jessi and I watched last night's Studio 60 and tonight's House today, and we enjoyed both of them (then again, we always enjoy both shows). I may get a chance to watch Heroes Wednesday morning, but more likely it'll be our dinner watching!

Anyway... that's about all I've got to share tonight!


TV Comic Cover of the Day (last Flintstones for a while, promise!)


Yes, it's the Gold Key Flintstones here...


About Comments...

When I get comments on my blog posts, rest assured, I read every one of 'em (Blogger emails me a copy of them), even if I don't respond.

Concerning the Star Trek posts I've been making recently, I should explain too that I've been a Star Trek fan from way, way back. In junior high school, I even joined a local Star Trek club, and I was buying and reading every book and magazine I could get my hands on concerning Trek.

My whole transporter theory (or at least, using it as the ultimate medical device) is one I've had for quite some time. I remember writing it up for a fanzine article way back when Star Trek: The Next Generation was first announced (I also wrote articles for the same fanzine where I compared the rank system on Trek to Naval ranks, and theorized that some of the crewmen we saw had to be enlisted men, as I couldn't see the entire ship being comprised of officers, and also suggested that a series could have been made using some of the semi-regular cast members from the original series, few of whom I can remember the names of these days, although Kevin Riley was one of 'em).

I do appreciate all the comments I get... the more the merrier!


Monday, February 05, 2007

TV Comic Cover of the Day


Yes, it's another Flintstones cover, this one from Dell Comics. Obviously, Dell did better at staying on-model than Charlton did (to nobody's surprise).

I have no idea who that kid is supposed to be.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

About Voyager's Doctor (yes, another Star Trek post)

For those of you who weren't regular viewers of Star Trek: Voyager (heck, I was one of 'em, just catching up via reruns), in the pilot episode, when Voyager got thrown into the Delta Quadrant, they didn't have a medical officer on board, so Captain Janeway activated the Emergency Medical Hologram.

Now, the EMH was a solid hologram, like the holograms on the Holodeck (which are either solid light constructs, or something else entirely). Strangely, the one saved in Voyager (and so far as we know, it's the only model that exists, assuming any other ship has an EMH program) is balding and not a little... well... whiny and bitchy, at least at first. Yes, the EMH had a personality, even from the beginning.

Before I get into talking about the Doctor himself, let me pose this question: Why wasn't the Emergency Medical Hologram based on a specific Starfleet Medical Officer, and then given that person's name as an identifier (along with their personality)? After all, in Next Generation, at least, we've seen that with minimal input, the Holodeck can generate holograms of people that act pretty much like the real thing... if someone volunteered to be the template for the EMH doctor, their own personality could have been completely encoded into it.

Now, for all I know, this was what basically happened... although I've yet to see an episode that specifically says that's the case.

Anyway, on to the Doctor. The Doctor's got plenty of personality from the get-go, and since Voyager can't get a living medical officer to take his place, they continue using the Doctor... and eventually, they give him a device that allows him to participate on Away Team missions (which, bizarrely, is attached to his arm, so it's generating a solid light hologram to hold itself in place!).

The Doctor also evolves beyond his programming during the course of the show, since he has to operate on a full-time basis.

Now, if the only sci-fi TV shows you watch are those created in the USA, a solid light hologram character who evolves beyond his original programming might seem to be a pretty clever concept.

Except it's kind of been done before. Sort of.

I've occasionally talked about Red Dwarf, one of my favorite British TV shows, a sci-fi sitcom. There are two characters on Red Dwarf that, combined, basically give you the Doctor on Voyager.

First up is Arnold Judas Rimmer. When the series starts, he's alive, but by the end of the first episode, he (and the rest of the Red Dwarf crew, save one) is dead, dead, dead. His slobby roommate, Dave Lister, is the only human survivor of the disaster, and the ship's computer, Holly, determines that in order to keep Lister from going insane, Rimmer must be brought back in hologram form (the Red Dwarf can maintain one hologram crew member at a time). Eventually, Rimmer gets a "light bee" that flies around inside him, generating his hologram form, and later on, he even gets the technology to become solid light.

Like the Doctor, Rimmer spendt a lot of time being whiny and bitchy... and bemoaning his fate (although to be honest, the Doctor is a nicer person overall, and is actually competent at his job). Oh, and just to be complete, eventually Rimmer takes the place of himself in an alternate reality, and then nanites bring him and the rest of the Red Dwarf crew back to life. (Don't ask)

Then there's Kryten, who was introduced later in the series. Kryten is a service android, built to be the ultimate butler/housemaid. He takes much pleasure in cleaning and doing menial chores, but Lister helps him eventually break his programming and be more independent and human.

So, like I was indicating, combine the two, and you've got the Doctor.

But you know... there is one other thing about the Doctor that bugs the crap out of me... and that is just how well-rounded the Doctor becomes, to the point where he even asks for a name (i.e., he seeks an identity of his own... talk about cognito ergo sum!)! He grows and develops as the show goes on... and there's nowhere mentioned that Voyager's got special computer programming in place that's way beyond what, say, the Enterprise-D had.

On the other hand, the Enterprise-D has Data. Data is a self-aware android, of course, who is always striving to be more human... and spends years in that process before getting the emotion chip that allows him to experience the range of human emotions.

Much was made about how big a deal Data was, how advanced his neural net was and so forth... except that the more Voyager episodes I see, the more it becomes obvious to me that the Doctor is at least as advanced an artificial intelligence as Data, if not more so (because the Doctor did experience emotions from the get-go).

This strikes me as one of those things the later Star Trek series did that sounded like a very neat and cool idea, but wasn't thought through all the way.


Space Academy

Since Jessi's gone to bed early tonight (as you might've guessed from the time stamp on the entries after this one on the page), I figured I'd catch up a bit on my DVD viewing.

Space Academy was a favorite show of mine back in 1977, and so I figured I'd start watching it.

First impressions? Well, the special effects aren't as cheesy as I expected... while the Space Academy miniature could've been more detailed, it stil doesn't look too shabby, and the Seeker flights look pretty decent, too (although there's a scene now where it appears it's flying sideways, given the direction the starfield is moving).

The planet set for the first episode is about on par with the original Star Trek, which isn't bad... and I recognize Lou Scheimer's voice being used for the alien!

The cast is definitely appealing... the girls are quite attractive, too! I remembered Pamlyn Ferdin, who was also the voice of Lucy in many of the Charlie Brown specials, and she also appeared in an episode of the original Trek. I think Bubblegum Fink posted a link to her website, but I didn't bookmark it.

The first episode introduces the crew to Loki, the alien boy with unusual powers. This episode makes me feel that it's a variation in many ways on the original Star Trek episode with Zephram Cochrane (which itself was also reworked for a two-part issue of Marvel Comics' Nova).

The costumes are rather interesting, too... there's lots of zippers in evidence that appear to be decorative rather than functional. I suppose they looked "spacey".

It's also interesting to see Jonathan Harris in his role as Gampu, the commander of the Space Academy... it's a very different role than his best-known role on Lost In Space, which was similar in many ways to his Uncle Croc's Block role (if you've never seen Uncle Croc's Block, I can assure you it'll never be legally available on DVD).

Gampu is so much of a father figure, understanding and supportive... it's kind of strange! And I didn't rememeber that Gampu named Loki, who had no name before that! Obviously Gampu was knowledgeable of mythology, but not with Marvel Comics!

Obviously, Filmation's budget didn't allow for a full-scale Seeker that could be used on planet scenes... the first episode had a view of the planet from inside the Seeker, but no exterior shots with the crew.

Wow, these episodes go by fast... there must've been a LOT of commercials run during them! It seems I just started watching the first one, and it's already over. I don't recall the Flash Gordon episodes running so quickly.

Another funny thing I note... remember how the Filmation shows had Norm Prescott and Lou Scheimer's names in the circle? I'm sure if you've bought any of these DVDs, you heard Lou tell the story that they did this so that they'd be shown as equally important... but Norm's name does always appear on top first!

Episode 2 deals with the study of a black hole... which, so far at least, is not identified as being what's left of a collapsed star. The effect for the black hole is really on the cheap side, that's for certain! And it appears I was wrong about the full-size Seeker... I just got a glimpse of it (seconds before a stop-motion monster sequence). The actual plot of this episode deals with new arrival Paul's learning to be part of the team.

Something different in the third episode... there's actually a teaser before the main credits! These episodes have been very fun to watch, and if you're a fan of 1970s kid-vid, I definitely want to recommend this set to you (and no, I don't get a cut of the sales, not even a tiny one).


Another Foster Parenting Update Already?

Yes, another update! Today was mostly spent getting the house ready for this week's impending home study meeting (which will be Thursday at 9 am). This was mostly housecleaning (which we usually do on the weekends anyway, but we went a bit further this time than normal).

The biggest difference this time was that I had to get the backyard cleaned up a bit, which I'd been wanting to do for at least a month now... there had been quite an accumulation of canine byproduct to clean up, plus there were branches all over the place from the wind storms we had in December and January. Unfortunately, this all ended up filling up the garbage can prematurely (garbage isn't collected until Wednesday, and our can is already full).

In the middle of all this, we ran out to get some cleaning supplies and supplemental groceries, and we decided to check out this baby consignment store we'd seen but hadn't stopped at yet. While we have a complete toddler bed set, we didn't have a crib yet (mom couldn't figure out where in her garage my sister's crib was stored... I should say, the crib my sister used for her own kids). The consignment store was closed when we got there (they're closed Sundays and Mondays), but the people who own the store happened to be there anyway, and asked if we wanted to come in and look around once they knew we wanted a crib or a playpen.

Well, we took advantage of the invitation, and found a playpen (there's a different name for it, but I don't recall it right now -- it's a portable playpen that can double as a crib), as well as a few Dr. Seuss books we didn't already have, plus a stuffed octopus toy (the kid's room is in sort of an undersea decor). They also had this aquarium swing and sway kind of thing that they were going to throw out because it didn't have a battry cover, and we decided we'd take it, too. Monday morning, unless I space on it, I'll be calling Fisher-Price to see if we can get a replacement sent out to us... and if not, I'll have to make a trip to Radio Shack and see if I can't pick up stuff to rework the whole battery thing myself.

We also found these very neat undersea stickers at the Dollar Store that we used to decorate the walls to keep the theme going.

All that's left for us now is to get some bedding for the crib/playpen (I may see about getting a thicker mattress to use at home for it... perhaps custom-made. We have a foam factory outlet near us I should be able to get for the basis for a mattress, then I'd just need to find some appropriate material to make a cover for it).

On the other hand, we're completely unprepared so far as having stuff for feeding a child with! No bottles, toddler or infant dinnerware, etc. But that will come.


TV Comic of the Day (regular edition)

Here's Charlton's first issue of their regular Flintstones book:


I'm sure you'll easily note how much off-model the characters are... but at least they're more in-continuity on this cover than most later covers would be (although I seem to recall Fred wore different swimwear in the cartoon, closer to actual swim trunks than the one he's wearing here).

There will be more Flintstones books coming up!


TV Comic Cover of the Day (Delayed edition)

Here's the TV Comic cover of the day I intended to post last night:


There were so few Filmation animated series that were adapted into comics form, and this was probably the most successful overall (yes, I know about the He-Man series published by Marvel's Star line, as well as the newer series, but I'd imagine that the Fat Albert comic outsold any of those).

I don't believe I've read any of these comics, so I can only guess at how close a portrayal it was. The characters on the covers I've seen are pretty much on-model, which is a good sign (as opposed to the Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes books Gold Key published). I do like that this cover does acknowledge it's a first issue!

If I'd only come across this cover way back when I first began Cover Stories (see link on the link list), I'd have probably used it on the first column!