Saturday, November 09, 2013

It's the Annual Birthday Post!

OK, I'm actually writing this post earlier in the week for posting today. As you read this, I've reached the age of 51 years old (unless somehow I've managed to die since I wrote this early Monday morning, in which case nobody's going to notice anything's wrong until sometime in March, when posts suddenly come to an end, but let's not get morbid, shall we?).

As I'm wont to do this time of year, I find myself looking back at my life and thinking about what I've accomplished, where I am, where I'm going, and what I'd like to do. I'd imagine that most people tend to do this, if not on their birthday, then around the first of the year or some other time.

I can't say that, professionally speaking, I'm anywhere close to where I wanted to be at this point in my life. Just in the history of this blog, I've gone from being a full-time graphic designer for the local newspaper (which paid pretty decently, although by the time I was laid off of that, there was no chance for advancement or raises) to going back to school to be a medical assistant (something I really should not have chosen... it would've been nice if somewhere before I committed to that if one person had been honest with me and said that the opportunities for male MA's are very few and far between, to be nearly nonexistent), then once I graduated from that, I went on to work at the Chehalis Tribal Head Start in their kitchen, taking a brief break from that when I was hired to work at the Chehalis Tribe's health center in medical billing (I should've never even applied for that job, as I hated medical billing when I was going to school), then back to working in the kitchen before going on to training as a truck driver and doing that for a year, and then now, working at Walmart.

This is definitely not the employment path I had in mind! You know, I would've probably been better off in the long run by applying to Walmart when I was laid off from the newspaper instead of dealing with all the other stuff. I mean, I loved going to college -- make no mistake about that -- but it's not benefitted me financially at all since then. Either that, or I should've gone for a different field entirely.

So far as home life is concerned, that year of truck driving really had a negative effect there. I feel like I'm just now starting to get close to the relationship I had with my wife and kids before I started doing that, although there's still bridges to rebuild there. It doesn't help that my current job has me working nights, but it's still a hell of a lot better than being away from home so much!

I still have yet to get to a comic convention since the last one I attended, which feels like years ago! Timing hasn't worked out well, as I've mentioned before. I'm hoping to at least get to Emerald City this winter (or would it be spring?), assuming that I can get some cash saved up for it.

Overall -- so I don't make this post too terribly long -- I'd have to say that I'm very much happier now than I was a year ago. While my job doesn't really pay anything close to what I'd like to make, and doesn't offer the kind of satisfaction I'd prefer, it's much better than driving a truck, and definitely better than no job at all. I get to sleep in my own bed at night, spend time with my wife and kids, and get to give Krypto the attention he deserves.

It's not a great life at this point, but it's a better life than I'd had!

Comic Reading Library BONUS! The Big Valley #3!

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Friday, November 08, 2013

Fandom Library: Batmania #13!

Time for another installment of this classic Bat-Fanzine... You know, pretty much every time I'm getting ready to post one of these, I find myself wishing that there'd been an announcement that this zine was being reprinted in a trade paperback form, with even better reproduction than I'm capable of here... because if that ever happened, I'd absolutely stop running issues here to encourage sales of the reprint!
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Indexible Hulk #52

Tales to Astonish 095
Issue: Tales to Astonish #95

Title: “A World He Never Made!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Penciled by Marie Severin, Inked by Herb Trimpe, Lettered by Sam Rosen

Supporting Cast: N/A

Villain: New Men

Guest-Stars: High Evolutionary, Sir Ram

Plot: The Hulk's wish has been granted, as he finds himself aboard the High Evolutionary's space craft! From the ship's radio comes the voice of the Evolutionary, trying to reach the unconscious Sir Ram, but the Hulk, angry that he doesn't know how to use the radio, smashes it. The Evolutionary is concerned because the ship is headed to a cosmic storm. The Hulk goes to find Sir Ram, figuring he'll be awake by now. Back on the Evolutionary's planet (apparently not Counter-Earth, or at least not named as such here), the High Evolutionary needs the Hulk's help to save him from his own creations. Some time ago, the HE took earth animals to this world and artificially evolved them, establishing the Knights of Wundagore, but their baser instincts soon took over, making them so bestial that he can't control them any more.
Back on the ship, Sir Ram recovers, and is dragged by the Hulk to the ship's bridge. Ram immediately spots their danger, but it's too late to change course. The first blast hits, but Sir Ram is able to change course enough to suffer only a glancing blow from the second blast. However, both blasts have had their effect, and Sir Ram dies. This saddens the Hulk, who hoped to make a friend. Suddenly, the effect of the cosmic rays causes the brute to turn back to Bruce Banner.

The High Evolutionary sees this on his monitor, and believes that someone who can change like this could prove dangerous. He prepares by getting he most potent weapon available, the vacuum blaster... But then fears that if he can't get Bruce to change to the Hulk, he'll be of no use. On the other hand, he may find a use for Banner.

On the ship, Bruce, still confused at what's going on, finds Sir Ram's body, and assumes the Hulk killed him. The ship lands on Wundagore II, as it's now named, and the Evolutionary introduces himself to Banner, and shows him around. As Bruce starts to examine the advanced equipment, the Evolutionary blasts him, paralyzing Bruce, who's then placed in a transparent tube, where the Evolutionary plans to evolve Bruce into man as he will be in a million years!

Invention Exchange: The High Evolutionary's vacuum blaster and evolution machine.

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #50, Essential Hulk #2, Incredible Hulk (Pocket Books)

Notes: The Evolutionary's logic is iffy, to say the least, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

This N That Time!

Time once again for a roundup of stuff that's either happened to me lately, or otherwise been on my mind!

What I'm Reading 

Having finished the Star Trek and Philosophy book, I'm currently reading another book in the Pop Culture and Philosophy series, The Planet of the Apes and Philosophy. Unfortunately, due to my recent hard disk failure, I've lost the contact information for the publisher of those books, so I don't have a way to let them know the first review's been written and published, nor that I'm working my way through this other book. I'm hoping that for some reason, they'll get in touch with me soon.

What I'm Watching

While I've been working on recovering what I can from the crash, as well as recreating what was lost (although not exactly re-creating what I'd written that was lost), I've been watching some Netflix. I'm currently watching A Bit of Fry and Laurie, with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. I've seen these before, thanks to the library, but I felt it was time to watch it again. I'd also recently watched some older shows, as well as a few documentaries and movies here and there. Netflix is great for background while I'm working on blog stuff!

Work

I've managed to adjust to the nighttime schedule for my job, although when I have days off I tend to sleep in sort of a split shift -- I'll come off of work and sleep for maybe five hours or so, then get up about 2 pm or so to do what I can around the house and do advance preparation for dinner, then to bed again at about 9 pm, waking up at 1:30 am or so, then back to bed at 9 am, sleeping as late as I can. I'm currently only working four days a week, working Saturday night, then off Sunday and Monday night, then working Tuesday through Thursday, and off Friday. This is my schedule this week and next, and may be my regular schedule. I'm hoping that once the holidays arrive, I'll get a fifth day, as it doesn't quite pay that well to work four days a week, but we're managing.

Cats and Dogs

Given what happened to Princess some time ago, and our subsequent adding of Puff to our household, we've been very careful about interactions between the cats and dogs. We've been keeping the cats upstairs and the dogs downstairs, although the cats try to make their way downstairs in the evenings when we're watching TV. It's Krypto we're most concerned about, as he really doesn't know his own strength. I'd like to think that he can get along with the cats all right, but we're not taking any chances.

Coming Distractions

As I've done in previous years, come December 1, there'll be the traditional countdown to Christmas, with Christmas and winter-themed comics posted every day from the 1st to the 25th. Unfortunately, I've used the last of my backlog for those posts, and don't have anything to use for next December. I'm hoping that I can come up with something, but unfortunately I've even managed to lose the list of Christmas Comics I'd been looking for when that hard drive crash occurred, so I may have to work on recreating that list again before I can hit comics shows. Either that, or I'll need to consider either re-running stuff from the past next year, or dropping the feature entirely in 2014.

Once the Christmas Comics posts end, Random Acts of Geekery goes back to its original publishing schedule, with two posts a day, seven days a week. In February, we'll have the 14 days of Romance Comics posts (there's no risk of running out there). Some of the features that had disappeared in the past will be coming back, and some all-new features will begin.

Unfortunately, as much as I'd like to, "The Way of the Geek" will not yet be returning.

Children's Book Theater: Howdy Doody's Animal Friends!

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I know this one kind of comes out of left field, given that I'd not presented anything relating to Howdy Doody before... but I figured this was as good a time as any to start!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Book Review: Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant!

After reviewing Frankenstein and Philosophy: The Shocking Truth! some time back, the publisher offered to send me some additional books in their pop culture and psychology series, and this was the first book of the two they sent that I read. As I noted when reviewing that first book, I'd read one other pop culture and philosophy book prior to that.

I should have mentioned before that most of my knowledge of philosophy and philosophers comes from the Monty Python "Bruce's Philosopher's Song," so I didn't come to these books with much in the way of preconceptions as to what to expect.

Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant was a much more enjoyable read for me than the previous book, as it covers all of the Star Trek TV series (aside from the animated one). This broader range of subject matter provides for a greater variety in the various essays.

Among the topics written about are: a comparison of human and Vulcan philosophy; Ferengi philosophy; whether one should consider Odo (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) should be considered a co-conspirator with the Cardassians; various aspects of Klingon culture; and various aspects of whether the various androids (from the original series to Data) could be considered to be persons or not.

Compare this to the Frankenstein volume, where several chapters focus on the same parts of the original novel, and it's easy to see why I enjoyed this one much more.

If you're a fan of any of the various Star Trek series, and want to learn more about the human condition as presented on those shows as well as through philosophy, I would readily recommend this book. The writing is livelier, and just plain more fun to read.




Comic Reading Library: Four Favorites #23!

As promised, I'm taking a break from the horror/mystery comics for a bit here, after all the issues posted during the Countdown to Halloween... so here's some Golden Age superheroes for you!
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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Dog of the Geek: Beuregard Bugleboy!

beauregard
Breed: Hound Dog

Original Appearances: Pogo comics by Walt Kelly

Other Appearances: Various Pogo merchandise, animated specials, I Go Pogo movie.

Biography: Beauregard is the scion of the Cat Bait fortune, occasional constable, and Fire Brigade chief. Like Batman: The Brave and the Bold's Aquaman, he is given to flights of oratory, although unlike the Sea King, Beauregard will narrate his own heroic deeds in the third person. He is a master of disguise of sorts, appearing with “blunked out” eyes playing “Sandy” opposite Pogo or Albert (when they don a curly wig to imitate “Li'l Arf an' Nonny” or “Lulu Arfin' Nanny,” Walt Kelly's parody of Little Orphan Annie), or wearing a trench coat and fedora to be a Dick Tracy-esque detective. Most often, he is seen wearing a simple dog collar, or a striped turtleneck sweater and fez. When he sings the annual Christmas song Deck Us All With Boston Charlie, he sings it as “Bark Us All Bow-wows of Folly.” He's also known as “Ol' Houn' Dog,” although is full name is Beauregard Chaulmoogra Frontenac de Montmingle Bugleboy.

Powers: None

Group Affiliation: Presumably, Beauregard was a member of the same politcal party Pogo found himself a member of when he ran for President in 1952 and 1956.

Miscellaneous: One of these days, I really need to start collecting the book collections of this strip!