Friday, April 07, 2006

Just About Bedtime...

...but I couldn't head off to dreamland without leaving you readers (both of you!) with a post for the night.

Finished work a little early, as is typical for a Friday. What wasn't typical was the "nightmare Friday" it turned into the last hour or two, with last-minute ads, even more last-minute changes, and one had that had been identified (by me) as a problem ad on Tuesday or Wednesday that somehow found its way to the "finished jobs" stack without the problem being solved -- so about 5:10 or so, when it was found, it fell to me (naturally) to fix the problem by re-creating an entire ad that the customer had sent us a PDF of that they created in Photoshop at 150 dpi (the text was virtually unreadable, and looked like utter crap).

If you happen to find yourself in a position where you have to create an advertisement for your business, and you insist on building it yourself, let me offer the following sugggestions:

1. Forget about it, and just send the sales rep the photos you want to use (preferably at 200 dpi, and at least as big as they should appear in the ad, if not bigger) with the copy you want, and let the ad-builders create it for you.

2. Failing that -- make sure you set the resolution of your Photoshop file at 300 DPI at a minimum, make sure all the text layers are rasterized before you send it... and not only send a PDF of the file, but also a layered TIFF version that doesn't have the text rasterized, in case your PDF sucks to work with, and it has to be rebuilt anyway.

Trust me... if you're building a 6 column by 7 inch deep ad in full color for your real estate company in Photoshop, it's going to be a miracle if it prints well (we had a customer doing that for a while, thank god a week and a half ago, we got them to let us build it for them, and I did an outstanding job of it, if I say so myself -- it looks 10 times better than what they did, and I even used the same formatting).

OK... enough of that rant.

Sunday night, if you happen to watch "Cold Case" (as Jessi and I do), the victim is played by an actress who happens to be the daughter of the publisher of the newspaper I work for. Just thought I'd throw that out.

Coincidentally enough, "Cold Case" was the only show Jessi and I watched this evening... and that was the rerun from TNT that aired earlier this week. Still haven't watched "Smallville" from Thursday night.

During my lunch break today, I finally finished watching "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman," which I've been watching during my lunch breaks since Tuesday. I had completely forgotten how much of the movie really belongs to the Wolf Man and Lawrence Talbot -- the Frankenstein Monster is practically a guest-star, or perhaps even just an extended cameo appearance! And when the Monster and the Wolfman do meet face to face and duke it out, the actual fight doesn't last long before the dam is blown up and the castle washed away.

Hmmm... should I have put a Spoiler Warning in there, in case one of you haven't seen this movie yet? Oh, well...

After work, Jessi was out with a friend having coffee for a bit, so I watched the first half hour of "Godzilla Versus Monster Zero." So far, Godzilla and Rodan have been mentioned, but not seen -- although Ghidorah has made an appearance on Planet X.

After Jessi went to sleep tonight, I finally got to work on an all-new "Comics They Never Made" segment for "Cover Stories" at WF Comics! This will be episode #54, and since Sunday's will be #48, you can see it'll be about six weeks before that appears. I can tell you that courtesy of the Kurtzberg Alternate Reality Device (which one of these days, I've got to create an animated gif image of to throw in there), I'll be presenting issues 1 and 2 of Dell's Marx Brothers comic book, in what will no doubt be the longest CTNM segment ever!

Sunday's "Cover Stories" theme, by the way, is "Handicapable," in case you're curious.

Token ebay plug: I still have some fixed-price items up on eBay... my seller name there is jon8229 in case you want to check out what's there. I have four Alter Ego issues that I still need to relist, plus last night I came across three issues I hadn't put up before, so I'll probably do the relisting and new items before the weekend is out!


Thor and Don Blake

Well... it's amazing what a minute or two of research can reveal. Since nobody in any of the mailing lists I'm on were able to definitively answer my Don Blake question, I did a web search, and the first page I checked (the Wikipedia page on Thor), I learned that not only was Don Blake a real person before Odin had Thor take on the identity, but the real Don Blake was in suspended animation, and later killed (with a replacement thinking he was the real Blake running around afterwards)!


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thursday Night Blogging

Wow, have my entry titles been boring as hell lately, or what?

So, what have I been up to tonight? Well, I wrote two more "Cover Stories" entries, including the first anniversary entry. And I did my nightly blog-reading. As it's only 10:30, that means I have, in theory, another hour and a half until bedtime, so I may end up writing another column or two after I post a 1-10 on the DC History list.

I still have no clues to the Don Blake conumdrum, so I'll post the question to DC History and see if anyone there can answer it.

At work today, I felt myself being in a, frankly, ironic situation. I spent about two hours or so today working on ads for area churches promoting their Easter services. Why is that ironic? Well... I am probably the least-religious person in the department. I'd probably be considered an agnostic, at best. Maybe it's just me that sees it as being ironic (especially since I received some compliments on those ads).

Also at work, there's some changes in the works... with the person who'd been my back-up on guardian accounts is starting a new position in another week, I have to train a new back-up person... and it's the person who's the least knowledgeable person in the department (is that another irony or what? The most knowledgeable person's back-up is the least knowledgeable person).

Not much else to blather about tonight!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Getting Back to Normalcy Here....

... or at least, what passes for normalcy, anyway, now that the current batch of transcripts is done.

So, what do I normally do in the evenings, after Jessi's done to bed? Well, it depends...

One thing I used to do every week day, and I need to start doing again, are my "1-10" posts on the DC History Yahoo Group. These are posts of the first ten issues of a specific comic book title, with whatever comments I can come up with. It's been a looooong time since I did that!

Another thing I'll have to get going on soon is my next batch of columns for Cover Stories at WF Comics... including the first anniversary column!

And, of course, posting regular entries to this blog, which have been sparse the past few weeks!

Aside from those three items, I have been able to keep up with my daily blog and news page checking... usually doing so when taking a break.


Every now and then, something pops into my brain, and it's usually in the form of a question... and it's a question I can't readily answer. Unfortunately, it's never the kind of question that I could find the answer for (or submit to) Imponderables or the Straight Dope... because, well, it just wouldn't fit there. Most of the time, it's even too esoteric for Ask Mr. Pop History.

So, what is all this leading up to? Well, for some odd reason, I found myself thinking about Thor today. I think Marvel's gearing up for the next Thor revival, maybe that's why.

Anyway... one thing that's bothered me for some time has been Thor's Don Blake identity. I should really re-read ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 1 to see what, if anything, it specifically says about this, but going by memory... Of course, the whole thing behind the Blake ID was that Thor was feeling all uppity, and Big Daddy Odin decided he needed to teach Number One Son humility, and so sent him to earth in the form of a handicapped man, just entering medical school.

Now, I know Odin has so much power that he could easily set up Don Blake with a Social Security Number, birth cetrtificate, high school diploma, and all that without hesitating... but I seem to recall a statement saying that he sent Thor there "in the form of a crippled medical student named Don Blake," or something like that.

Anyway, the upshot of it is, it appears to me that Odin didn't create the Don Blake identity for Thor... but rather that Thor assumed Blake's identity. Which would mean there was an original Don Blake out there somewhere. Or was that ever brought up in the comics at all? If not, it seems to me that's something that could be used in the new Thor book.

Maybe one of these days, I'll post a few ideas that I'd use if I were going to be in charge of the latest Thor revival.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesday Night...

Yes, you're getting a new blog entry two nights in a row! What can this possibly mean?

Well, it means I finished the last of the current crop of transcripts for BCI Eclipse! Yes, three weeks of working away at them in my free time... and it was definitely worth it... they were a lot of fun, and of course, getting free copies of the DVDs when they come out is a plus (as is the checks for the work, when they come in).

Anyway... what else is going on? Well... today at work was a bit interesting... and not always in a good way! Firstly... well, since I wasn't at work on Friday and Monday, there was a slight backlog of stuff that hadn't been done yet (I to tend to keep on top of stuff, even stuff that's not needed for some time).

One of my "guardian" accounts -- customers whose ads only I work on, unless I'm not there -- had a last-minute job to be done, and I discovered that the ad that ran this weekend required a few changes on Friday, which were done by my back-up. Picking up the previous ad to base the new one on, I discovered that my back-up didn't follow my set-up... and I'd imagine those of you who don't use desktop publishing programs wouldn't understand what I'd be talking about, so I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say I had to fix the formatting.

Late in the afternoon, I lached onto a copy of the "Faithful Friends" tabloid publication, the pets publication that basically was my idea, and I did most of the design work on for the ads, as well as the cover (prominently featuring our dogs, Krypto and KO). It turned out pretty good, if I say so myself... I just hope the ads sold well enough that they'll do another one next year... or even next fall (no reason why it couldn't be done twice a year).

After 5 pm, our document server had a glitch occur... we couldn't log in to it, and when the tech people got it working, they had to use the 3:00 back-up... so we had to go through all the ads running in tomorrow's paper, and check to see what needed to be redone... all the changes made after 3 were lost. After that was done, I then went through all other ads that were proofing, and made sure those were all good, too. Considering that I'm usually done at work on Tuesday near 6, this actually helped me get a full eight hours in tonight!

So that's all the work-related stuff.

Prior to going to work, I started on the last of the transcripts, then took a shower, and watched one of last night's Red Dwarf episodes I DVR'ed. During my lunch break, I watched the first part of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, which I'd DVR'ed a few weeks back. I've got another Red Dwarf ep recorded, but I'm saving that. I also have Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero and probably close to a dozen Monty Pythons recorded, too, that I still have to watch.

I should at least get all those watched before the next DVD set comes my way from BCI -- but I haven't watched all the He-Man ones I've received yet! (of course, I also have a backlog of other DVDs I've bought and haven't watched yet)

Anyway... that's all from me tonight!


Monday, April 03, 2006

Absolutely, Positively Coolest Moment of the Century...

...well, at least of this century, and for me.

You know, aging fan-boy that I am, there've been a few cool things that have happened to me. I've met a few cast members of the original Star Trek at conventions, shook Jack Kirby's hand once (although, alas, I didn't get to talk to him, as he was talking to Jim Shooter at the time), saw Paul McCartney live in concert, met and became buddies with Tony Isabella, met Roy Thomas and hosted the trivia contest at last year's Emerald City ComicCon with Roy, Kurt Busiek and Tom Peyer... heck, I even mentioned not too long ago getting the hardbound STAR HAWKS volume as a wedding gift a few weeks back!

Well, today, I had one of the coolest things I can imagine happening to me.

I got a call from a man who was responsible for the creation of stuff that I enjoyed during my childhood years, and even beyond.

This man is not a comic book person, although he did appear at last year's San Diego ComicCon, and he was responsible for some comics-related stuff that no doubt had an influence on my interest in comics from a young age. His stuff created very fond memories for me.

OK, no more stalling... the person who called me was Lou Scheimer, the founder of Filmation Studios.

As you know, I've been doing transcriptions for BCI Eclipse, who've been releasing DVDs of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and will soon be releasing Filmation's Flash Gordon and a host of other programs I haven't seen in years and years (including many projects that I'm sworn to secrecy on). Well, late last month, I had gone to Andy Mangels website (Andy's the producer of the documentaries, my boss for the transcription jobs), and found a link there to Lou Scheimer Productions.

So I went to the site, clicked on the link to send an email to Lou, and wrote the following note:

My name is Jon Knutson, and I was born in 1962, just at the perfect time to be interested when Filmation came out with the Superman (and later Batman and Aquaman) cartoons, and from there, a lifelong love of Filmation's stuff was born.

My brothers and sisters and I faithfully watched all your various Archie shoes, Fat Albert, the Groovie Ghoulies, Star Trek, Shazam!, Isis... there's probably not a single Filmation show we didn't watch.

I was delighted to get a call from Andy Mangels a little over a year ago, when he was looking for transcribers to work on interviews for the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVDs. Getting all these interviews (unedited, too) before anyone else got to see them has been a real treat, espcially the ones in which you were interviewed. In many ways, I feel I've gotten to know you!

It has been a real pleasure for me to continue working on the transcriptions for the future releases, such as She-Ra, Flash Gordon, and the other shows. I feel very privileged to be a part of this. I may not have ever had the opportunity to work at Filmation (which I had wanted to do when you guys were at your peak in the 70s and early 80s, but I was alas too young to be a part of it, to say nothing of living in the wrong part of the country), but I have the satisfaction of knowing that while having a great time working on these transcripts, I'm also helping to preserve the legacy of Filmation for future generations who weren't fortunate enough to experience your wonderful shows when they first came out.

Take care, Lou... and I hope that perhaps one day, I'll be able to meet you in person and shake your hand!

Jon B. Knutson

So imagine my surprise when on Sunday evening, I got an email from Amy Rosenberg, the "web head" behind Lou's web page, subject line "Lou would like to give you a call":

Lou would love to respond to your lovely email personally, preferably by phone.
Is there a phone number where he may reach you?

Well, you could've knocked me over with a feather! At the very most, when I sent the email, I thought maybe I might get a response that was along the lines of "Thanks for your mail, I really appreciate it!"

But Lou Scheimer... he has way, way more class than that. So naturally, I responded with my cell phone number, and eagerly awaited the call. I had no idea when it would come, I just made sure my cell phone was fully charged, just to be safe.

So I was making lunch today, when my phone rang. I looked at the incoming number, recognized it as being a Calfornia area code, and answered.

I won't even try to re-create the conversation... it was fairly short -- well, it was shorter than I would've hoped for, anyway... I could've talked to Lou for hours and hours! -- but I did tell him how this whole transcription process works, and that I've always tried to take the opportunity to tell people who created works that I've enjoyed what they've meant to me... and Lou, in turn, invited me to save his number (no, you can't have it) and to call him if I ever need anything, and if I were ever down his way, to give him a call, and we could get together!

He also mentioned that Hal Sutherland, also of Filmation, is living up in Seattle... as well as one of the other people I'd recently done a transcription of (I forget who now).

Anyway... I've been a fan of Filmation's stuff for as long as I can remember... I think I've at least seen one episode of every show that they produced -- even Uncle Croc's Block (heck, I still remember most of the theme song for that show, as well as a few other shows of theirs), and some of the shows, I had to have seen every episode of... and not just me, but my brothers and sisters as well.

The only bad thing about getting this call? I have no friends around here who I can call or get togeher with and tell what happened, and have them react by saying, "Whoa... cooooool!"

So I'm sharing it with you guys here. Oh, I'll probably mention it at work tomorow, and they'll try to act impressed, but I'm sure it won't mean anything to them.

But it means a helluva lot to me.

Thank you, Lou Scheimer, for giving me yet another treasured memory.


Sunday Late-Night Blogging

So, here it is, Sunday night... late, even for me. This year's Emerald City Comicon is over and done with, and as I posted before (I think) I wasn't able to attend this year.

Mostly, I didn't go because there's just no money available for it, but also, I've been working steadily away on transcriptions for BCI Eclipse for some of their future release -- stuff that I honestly can't go into detail about, because some of the projects I transcribed for haven't been officially announced yet (if you go to Andy Mangels' website, you'll get the newest announcments as they're made public -- that's, and I'm too brain-fogged right now to do the HTML code to make ti a clickable link.

I only have three interviews left to go at this point, so I'll be finishing them well ahead of when they're needed. This was definitely the largest transcription project I've ever been involved with, and the money from it will come in handy for wedding expenses!

Anyway, that's about it for tonight... sometime, I may have something very cool to talk about here... but for now, I'm off to bed!