Friday, February 17, 2006

Random Thoughts

Haven't blogged since Monday, and figured I'd throw some stuff out... warning, this may be about all I say until Monday!

The Week in Review

I had my review this week... it was kind of a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that the actual review was very positive, and very complimentary. Obviously, my boss thinks the world of me!

The bad news was the raise itself... 3 percent. I'm told that the average has been 2.5 percent, so that's better than average.

But still... 3 percent. This is my third year at this job, and I'm still making quite a bit less per hour than I was at my last job in Wisconsin which 1) I hated, 2) Didn't appreciate me at all, and 3) I hated (I just felt that last point was worth making twice). Does the fact that I really enjoy this job offset what I'm paid? To an extent, yes.

And I do understand that there are circumstances that inhibit my getting a bigger raise... the fact that the parent company is trying to be sold, for example.

Will I decide that I need to look for something else that pays more? I honestly don't know. My field is pretty dry for work in this area, so if I did look for a new position, I'd have to look at Tacoma or Seattle... which would initially mean a long commute, and eventually moving.

For the time being, I'll probably just wait and see.

Weekend Plans

Saturday will, naturally, begin with Weight Watchers. After that, we're going to rush home, let the dogs out to potty, have a quick breakfast, and then head to Seattle for this bike expo that Jessi wants to check out. Now, to be honest, my interest in this bike expo is nil... but Jessi has gone with me to more than a few comics shows, so I figure the least I can do is go to this with her.

It would be nice if we took her car, however... not that I'm complaining!

No idea what we'll be doing the rest of the weekend... although once we get back, I'll be doing late invoicing of eBay auctions that'll be ending while we're in Seattle.


Caught up with the last two eps of Smallville tonight. Last week's ep... well, it was all right. I always like episodes with lots of Chloe, but of course, for a lot of the ep, Chloe wasn't Chloe. I felt like Lois was wasted in the ep, as well.

This week's episode, with Cyborg, was a bit better... and more intriguing.

A few points in general on the series, though...

1) Why the hell is Martha Kent trusting Lionel Luthor? You'd think that given all the problems the Luthors have caused the Kents, and how much Jonathan distrusted them, that she wouldn't turn to Lionel so easily.

2) Didn't Clark and Lana break up several episodes ago? They seem to be each other's "unflushable" (a reference you'll only understand if you've seen the first episode of "Coupling" -- and if you have On Demand from Comcast Cable, you can see it for yourself and understand)

TV Shows They Won't Make, But Probably Should

There's a few comics that I've long thought would make potentially great TV shows... but there's a caveat on the first two that I'll share with you: They have to be half an hour long at the most. Well, one of them could go an hour... and it's possible the other could extend to an hour, but I'm not sure.

The first one is The Spirit. Yeah, I know there was that made-for-TV movie a while back, which I never saw... disregard that entirely. It never existed, for all intents and purposes.

A Spirit TV series would require a few things:

1) Whoever produced it would have to be a huge Eisner fan, and be as faithful to the concept as possible.

2) It would have to be amazingly cast... especially in the case of Denny Colt himself, but also in the main supporting cast... Ellen, Commissioner Dolan, and Ebony.

3) It would have to be a period piece, which shouldn't be a problem.

Also, Ebony couldn't be portrayed exactly as he was in the original comics, as we're all well aware. But I don't think he'd have to be changed that much.

The show, as I see it, could almost be adapted straight from the comics... clever use of CGI at the beginning of each episode to put the Spirit logo in the opening sequence (yeah, no standard opening credits each week... use the time to put in more story... they already do this on The Closer, for example). I see this has a half-hour series because it would probably have to be very padded to fill an hour.

Oh, yeah... get some of the best comics guys who've also worked on TV (or vice versa) to do the scripts. I'd bet Peter David could knock out some whiz-bang Spirit scripts!

The second comic I think would make for good TV is... The Phantom Stranger. Again, look at the comics as your inspiration. There could be two different kinds of episodes... the ones where the Stranger takes an active role, and the ones in which he basically narrates it. Just like in the comics! The Stranger is the only cast member who's in every single episode, obviously. The SFX budget could be fairly low, except for episodes where the Stranger is battling the darkest forces of evil, and has to open up an economy-sized can of mystic whoop-ass.

But honestly, for the most part, a PS series could be very low-budget.

Another comic I've long thought would make an excellent tv show is Challengers of the Unknown. Heck, it's one of the most high-concept books ever! It's X-Files except that everyone believes! Again, a minimal cast (the Challs themselves). Only one standing set needed (Challengers HQ... and it doesn't even have to be in a mountain).

Those comics are the ones I think could be brought to TV economically in live-action.

Of course, there are other comics (heck, other properties) that I think would probably be better served in animation than in live-action.

So... I now present for your entertainment...

Jon's Top Ten List of Animated Series That'll Probably Never Get Made

1. Doc Savage -- Adapted from the novels, with each novel being broken down into five-part episodes (which would be great in case enough eps get made to show reruns five days a week, plus it's a convenient format for releasing DVD "movies"). Adapt the best of the original novels, of course! Get good voice people on the show. And have Bruce Timm design it.

2. Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth -- It's a no-brainer, really... it's a great Kirby concept, and think of the toys that could be based on it!

3. The Avengers -- Not Ultimate Avengers, not "kind of sort of based on the real Avengers," I mean THE AVENGERS! It'd be a licensing nightmare, but do this series based on the freakin' comics! Episode one: Loki tries to use the Hulk to take out Thor, and accidentally creates a super-team! The line-up changes as the series goes on, but once an Avenger, ALWAYS an Avenger!

4. E-Man -- I kid you not with this one. E-Man has been one of my favorite comics for a long time, and I think this could be a fun series... and it could be done in the pseudo-anime style that Teen Titans is done in, and it would work, I think... or maybe just a slightly modified art style based on Staton's.

5. The Doom Patrol -- Spin it off from Teen Titans!

6. Shazam! -- Spin it off from Justice League Unlimited... and add in Junior, Mary, Uncle Dudley, Tawky Tawny, and so on... Yeah, we had a Shazam animated series long ago... but it could be so much better!

7. Hanna-Barbera Superstars -- Hey, that's not fair! I'm using characters that originated in animation! This concept (which would require a better name) would team-up the H-B superheroes into a new super-team... comprised of Space Ghost, Birdman, the Galaxy Trio, Mighty Mightor, and whoever else we can dig up. Have them brought together by the genie Shazzan, and you'll get the 40-somethings like myself watching (if for no other reason than to say, "Wow, I can't believe they brought these guys back!).

8. Speed Racer: The New Adventures -- Yeah, I know, I did it again. And yeah, they did a new Speed Racer show that pretty much threw out all the coolness of the original show... so we ignore that. The New Adventures looks like the original series... just with a better budget... and maybe use that CGI that looks like drawn animation to do really cool stuff with the Mach 5 -- just remember, THE MACH 5 IS ALREADY FREAKIN' COOL, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE CHANGED!

9. Underdog: The New Adventures -- So sue me... I've always loved Underdog, and I think new Underdog adventures could rock! Unfortunately, this live-action/CGI movie that I've heard rumors about could make this an impossibility.

10. Popeye The Sailor Man -- Yes, Popeye. Use more of the Thimble Theatre stuff, use the Fleischer cartoons as your visual basis, and NO MUCKING WITH THE CONCEPT! Popeye does not have any children except for Swee'pea, Wimpy is not going on a diet. Use Bluto and Brutus if you want, but when Popeye's had enough... when that's all he can stands, he can't stands no more... out comes the can of spinach, the traditional music starts, and things get violent (and stuff that gets hit tends to turn into other stuff). Popeye should not be overly PC!


Monday, February 13, 2006

Whine Time

OK, so I just checked my eBay auctions... and once again, I find myself wishing that I could turn off the view of my current auctions that shows me how many people are watching my auctions. Why? Because it drives me crazy. I've had auctions with many people watching them that closed with zero bids.

Where it drives me even more crazy is that all of my auctions (save for, of course, the four with bids already) have a "buy it now" option that, frankly, is pretty cheap.

Fortunately, there were a few auctions where someone went with the buy it now option already... but still, I was hoping for more activity by now.

What does this ultimately mean? For starters, it means that about all Jessi's getting from me for Valentine's Day will be a card that I'll be hurriedly buying before work in the morning... as well as a nice meal that I'd already planned of shrimp.


Sunday, February 12, 2006



See these two images? As I've said before, those were the first two books on comics I ever bought. I was in Junior High school, I think 8th grade, and I got some birthday money (probably $20, but I could be misremembering). I knew I wanted to spend it on books about comics, and since the next day my family was going to be going to Seattle to visit some relatives, I talked my parents into swinging by the Tacoma Mall so I could get the books I wanted.

Now, bear in mind that in these days, there were no Barnes and Noble stores, no Borders bookstores. There were only two decent bookstores in Tacoma... Waldenbooks (or at least, their precursor at the Tacoma Mall, whose name I can't recall) and Book King (more on that later). So we went to the Waldenbooks, and I found those two books, paid for 'em, and we were off to Seattle.

Now, I've never suffered from carsickness... ever. Even when I was younger than that, when the family would go to the Dakotas on summer vacation (to visit relatives), I'd get some comics to read on the trip, and would read 'em in the car as we went. So, the drive to Seattle, I was reading these books. I don't recall which one I read first... and it doesn't really matter. When we arrived at the relatives' house, I'm sure I continued to read.

It was an eye-opening experience for me. All I knew of the Golden Age was the reprints in DC's 100-Page Super-Spectaculars and the few in the Marvel books. I remember seeing references to some of this stuff here and there... and of course, I've mentioned before seeing the Steranko books at Gov-Mart years before that. It would be many years before I added to my collection of books about comics -- in fact, it wasn't until I was in the Navy!

Anyway... Book King. This was a bookstore even larger than the Waldenbooks, and it was located at the Fred Meyer on 19th Avenue in Tacoma. Until O'Leary's opened in Lakewood at Villa Plaza, this was the single best place to buy comics in all of Tacoma (not that close to home, however... most of the time, my comics purchases were done at the Narrows Pharmacy or the Seven-Eleven). I distinctly recall going to Book King after Star Wars came out, and bought the SW issue of Famous Monsters, as well as a few RBCCs, and a pile of comics and other stuff. Actually, I had to have them hold some stuff for me, because I didn't have enough cash to buy it all the first trip, and had to get the rest the following day -- I don't recall where I came up with the rest of the money.

Book King was simply amazing to me. They had the whole range of the tabloid-sized books that DC and Marvel produced, as well as the black-and-white magazines (Warrens and Marvels, and probably others, too), and a bunch of fanzines. This was my source for buying The Comic Reader as well as the RBCC.

I recall they also carried The Amazing World of DC Comics, and I remember looking through the Legion of Super-Heroes issue (which contained directions on how to build your own Legion Cruiser model, using a Star Trek Klingon ship as the basis, if I recall correctly). And they had all the comics being published... including Star*Reach and Atlas books!

Sadly, Book King disappeared some years after that. I don't know exactly when they gave up the ghost... it may have been while I was in the Navy, or it may have been before that.

Anyway... you want to know what brought up all these memories? I finally cracked open the copy of The Great Comic Book Heroes I picked up last weekend, and the memories began flooding out!


Seems like forever...

...since I blogged on a regular basis, hasn't it?

Well, let's get you caught up, okay? Wednesday and Thursday were kind of average days. At work, I was focused on the "Best Bets" publication, which I was doing the layouts on this time around... the regular person was on emergency leave of absence. My boss was very impressed with 1) how good a job I did, and 2) how fast I did it! Since my review is coming up soon, that's a good thing!

Wednesday and Thursday night, as well as during the day Friday, I worked on new eBay auctions (quite a few of 'em up now -- all but two have no bids as I'm writing this, and only a few have been snapped up with Buy It Now!). I still have more comic auctions to put up, but I may take a day or two off from working on more of those.

Friday I had the day off... I took the dogs for a walk, then came home, worked on auctions, played some Slingo, mowed the lawn, worked on auctions, and played more Slingo. When Jessi came home from work, we piled in the car and drove up to Tacoma, because this one bike store was having a big sale, and she wanted to get some biking clothing before the ride she was going on Saturday. We spent quite a bit of time at the shop -- and can I just say that more stores need to have chairs available for people to sit on who aren't the ones actually shopping, but are coming along and may not be comfortable standing around for very long.

Saturday, of course, began with Weight Watchers (a minor loss this week), and after that, we went to Tumwater so I could drop Jessi and her bike off, so she could go on a group 30-mile ride. I then took her car back to the house, picked up the dogs in my car, and took them for a walk. Got home from that, and posted new auctions until Jessi was done with the ride.

After a quick lunch, we went out to do some shopping at Big Lots and Wal-Mart, mostly looking for decorations for the house, as well as a birthday present for my niece. Saturday night, we had Thin Crust Delite Pizza for dinner.

Sunday -- today -- we took the dogs for a walk, came back for breakfast, then I took a shower, got presents wrapped, and headed north to Puyallup for a combined birthday party for two of my nieces, both my sister's Sandy's kids. On the way back, we stopped at Barnes & Noble to do a bit of book shopping -- nothing too exciting to report there!

Then, tonight, I caught up on blogs and Wondercon news, checked the status of my auctions, and did this blog posting!