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Well we had a string of some really nice spring weather, even having a good weekend to take out the visiting [ profile] bigmacbear to a party and then the Eagle. Overnight it turned rainy and cold. We had gotten rid of the comforter on the bed but Chris had to wake up and haul it out early this morning as the temperature dropped.

Here's a few more questions that I need to answer:

1. [ profile] deanosota asks: Will you be seeing The Watchmen this weekend?

Well, that was a yes. I saw it at the midnight showing on Friday. It was a theater filled with nerds and geeks, so an audience that would know the material. I thought it was good, but didn't have the spark to really be considered great. Many scenes looked like they were taken directly from the comic, and that was good, but the movie lacks something as an adaptation.

Let's face it, Watchmen is a character study. Who are costumed heroes? What makes them tick? If we put them in a really desperate situation, would they really come out as heroic as comic books make out? Only Dr. Manhattan is really a superhero, per se, and his powers make him so different that he no longer connects with humanity. It's a cynical, but likely realistic thought.

The ending in the comic book is more there to finish the plot than it is to give a big action sequence, so it doesn't really translate well in a superhero move where people are looking for the big fight. I'm sure that will disappoint many casual viewers who are expecting something more.

Luckily the audience knew the story and knew what to expect. They expected penis. You could tell who in the audience didn't expect that coming. Frankly we really need to get over this whole "you can't show male full frontal". It's really silly. No one made a big deal of the breasts in the film. In many of the negative reviews of the movie the reviewers were more shocked by the big blue than they were the graphic violence and blood. Personally I'm squeamish, and I can't watch horror movies - this was coming pretty close for me as far as gore goes. I say less violence, more penis.

Oh, and the soundtrack. Yikes. i understand using poplar songs to evoke a time is to help the viewer, but man, could you try to find songs that were less clich├ęd. When I heard "Hallelujah" and "All Along the Watchtower" it really took me out of the scene. In fact "Hallelujah" got many unintentional laughs from the audience.

Lastly, since it is a character move, and the reasons for the heroes motivations are really deep in the book, it's sad that the Silk Specter wasn't really given as much depth. She's the whole reason for Dr. Manhattan's actions in the present, but it doesn't really connect on screen how she was pushed into the superhero life by her mother and how she's the last connection to humanity for Dr. Manhattan. Part of it is because her mother didn't seem like the sad character she was in the book. Nite-Owl and Rorschach were handled pretty well.

Worth seeing, but I think that more adaptation and less cribbing from the comic could have made the experience a lot richer in the end.

2. An Anonymous reader named Curious and Alone writes: How did you meet your husband?

We met right here on LJ. About six years ago I had just started here on LJ. Chris had been on for a while. In connecting with friends of friends here, Chris commented on a post or two and eventually wanted to meet with me.

Chris was supposed to surprise me and come down to the Dallas Diablos and Houston Roughnecks Rugby game where I said I was going to go. I instead responded to an invite to go to Austin that weekend and meet [ profile] cristalskye, [ profile] lostncove, and [ profile] mattycub, who were there to see one of Randy's plays at the fringe festival.

So we missed each other that weekend, but Chris then messaged me about meeting for lunch one day before he would go back to Dallas, and we met. It was over chicken fingers at Skeeter's near my office in Greenway Plaza. I talked - a lot - because I was so nervous. I remember a hug and how I walked away back to the office in a bit of a cloud of excitement!

Chris and then met a few more times when I would visit my sister who was living in Dallas at the time. Eventually the visits to Dallas were to visit Chris rather than my sister, then eventually I moved in. The rest is history.

3. Another anonymous questioner asks: Why aren't you on Facebook?

I go back and forth on this, but really, I'm not too crazy about another site. I'm on Linked In, Flickr, and Twitter and sadly on MySpace (there's nothing to see there, really). I'm not sure I really want something else to look at. Besides, remember Friendster? Yeah, well MySpace is already going the way of Friendster and I think we can all say that Live journal is less vibrant than it once was (sadly - it was the one place you could find people who could write a whole sentence). I'm worried that Twitter and Facebook will be yesterdays news pretty quickly.

I guess I'm trying not to join Facebook because I know that will be the moment that Facebook will have become totally uncool. Not that I'm worried that much about cool, but I know that the parade would have moved on somewhere else. I just wish I knew where it was moving to.

Oh, and I love Twitter, but it's already reached the point where it is now being marketed to, and then it fills up with more folks trying to advertise than actually trying to connect. It's like when MySpace became more marketing tool for bands and media companies than an actual community. It's the one thing LiveJournal hasn't become. I guess it comes down to the fact that people want community, but don't really want to be bothered by what would actually make the site a sucessful ommercial venture.

That being said, I'll probably give in and join Facebook sometime soon, but I hate those little "sell your friends" games.

I'm out of questions. This may be a good thing, but we'll see. I'll still take them. If you have a question, comments are screened if you go to THIS post. Keep asking away.
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Right now I'm trying to redirect some negative energy from a customer call gone all sorts of wrong, and I got royally chewed out by the caller. Oh, and we screwed up, but not on every part of it, and the caller doesn't want to take responsibility for the portion he screwed up.

Luckly I have tomorrow off, and I don't have to talk to him again. I'm trying to calm down so I'm not still angry about the call when I go to the midnight showing of Watchmen tonight. With that being said, let's answer some questions!

1. [ profile] winbear asks: I like that you used the Charlton/DC character "The Question" as the artwork for {the perevious} post. What do you think of the more recent female Question? Also, feel free to compare and contrast The Question with the Watchmen's Rorschach since they are loosely analogous.

I think the idea of Renee Montoya being the new Question is a good one, and DC certainly took forever to make a link from the previous Question to her, but she really hasn't been used well yet. There's also the problem that the Question is firmly in the Bat-Family now, and not the more universal DC character that reporter Vic Sage was. Montoya is more attached to the Gotham City Police Department and the fact she was Batwoman's former girlfriend.

Oh, and how many world's greatest detectives does Gotham City need? Geez. Hopefully Montoya will be able to break out of the Bat-books like Oracle was able to and solve crimes elsewhere.

All of the Watchmen have a DC correlation because Alan Moore started it as a alternative Charlton Comics story before DC got cold feet (DC learned their lesson with Kingdom Come and The Dark Knight Returns). Rorschach is most definitely The Question, Owlman is Blue Beetle, Silk Specter is Phantom Lady, Dr. Manhattan is Captian Atom, etc. The Question is doggedly relentless just like Rorschach.

All the characters are much darker, and much more violent, even to the point of being deranged. The idea is that anyone who would actually want to be a super-hero would already be out of their mind.

I enjoyed the Animated Justice League take on the Question where he was a total conspiracy theorist and voiced by the guy who does "Monk". the guy who played all those aliens on Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Enterprise.

2. [ profile] chibi_masshuu adds: "... as I suspected, 32 flavors." ~ The Question

"Thirty-Two Flavors and then some." ~ Ani DiFranco

Well, I have a couple of other questions that aren't about the Question, but I will try to answer those tomorrow. I need to eat dinner and get ready for the movie.

If you have a question, comments are screened if you go to THIS post. Keep asking away.
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I helped the Zeus boys out for CAPE! today. CAPE! is a Free Comic Book Day event, and there are several artists and writers signing and meeting fans. It was actually chilly in my shorts and T-shirt as we got started. Otherwise it's been a lovely day and I think CAPE! is going quite well. There was a lot of help this morning, which I'm sure Richard ([ profile] dedagda) was grateful for after his recent injury.

After my shift was over, I ran around the tents, probably spending more time looking at the artists and writers who are cute because I rarely remember who writes or draws the comics I read. There were a lot of cute ones this year. Chris did a good job of getting pics of them.

There were a lot of good looking customers, too!

I've never seen so many Iron Man T-shirts in one place. The movie's barely been out and everyone is already spending their economic stimulus checks on merchandise.

In the end, I'm dog tired as I realized I haven't done that much physical labor in a while, especially standing for a long period, even though it was on grass this year. I don't have the standing stamina I did when I worked retail many years ago.

The other problem is that I forgot sunscreen, and although it doesn't make that much of a difference, there wasn't a cloud in the sky at the park. The farmer's tan look will be out in full force when I peel off the upper layer of my skin in a few days. I looked around, and there's no aloe vera in the house. Damn!

Joey's looking at me and thinking of cracklin' pork rinds, I'm sure.

Here's a picture of Josh at CAPE! You can see it was a highly sun-tacular event.
Josh at CAPE!
A few more pics will be on flickr shortly.
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I've read comic books for over twenty years now. Primarily they've been DC books, and the book i've followed for the longest time is the Flash.

I hadn't really collected comics when I was a kid. It's surprising, really, I loved reading and I watched the Batman, Wonder Woman, Shazam! and old 50's Superman series when I was a kid. I'd wake up on Saturdays to watch Superfriends in the 70's. I knew most of the characters before I started to really read them.

The first trickle of comic books I received were a few issues of Teen Titans from the late 70's or early eighties (I'm not terribly sure) that were given to me when I was laid up sick. Besides Robin, I didn't really know the characters, especially the ones who weren't the sidekicks of better known characters. I remember fining it interesting, but the books weren't self-contained, so I couldn't follow the whole story.

Some time after that I checked out the 50th anniversary collections for both Batman and Superman, and there were the old style takes that would be completed in one issue. They often had acts, as there were more pages in comic books back then, but you could read it all. You started to see by the end of those best ofs that they had started to develop the multiple versions of characters that made DC books hard to read in the 70's and early 80's.

If you don't know, DC Comics had a problem. After so many years it was hard to say that Superman was 29 years old, but also fought Hitler in World War II. While Superman was still around, many of the World War II superheroes had been shelved and new characters with the same name had taken their place - most famously The Flash, and the Green Lantern. Some time in the 60's DC decided to have the new Flash go to another world, a parallel Earth and meet the old Flash, and so started the Mulitverse. Our heroes were new, but there existed an older Earth where the older versions fought Hitler.

It seemed like a good solution until it got out of hand, and suddenly any writer for DC could come up with the most incredible story with heroes dying and different versions of events - and shunt it all off into yet another Earth. They weren't simply imaginary stories (usually when Superman or Lois Lane die, but it was all a character's dream, much like Bobby Ewing), these were actually new worlds, and they were growing.

This is where I get on board. In my first year of college, a fellow dormmate Kip, he has a stack of comic books, and tells me to get reading. Kip was hot, so i'd probably do anything he told me to do. He handed me the run of Crisis on Infinite Earths the twelve-issue mini-series that ran through every book DC has at the time, from the Westerns to the Legion of Superheroes in the 30 century.

DC had to clear house it did so in Crisis. They killed off every other Earth except one, and combined the heroes of about five different worlds (Shazam's Captain Marvel was brought into the DC universe via this consolidation). Suddenly there was one Earth and one story line, thought that caused as many problems as it solved.

Well, this was the best jumping on point ever. I started grabbing up books from both DC and Marvel, taking in all of the changes and the familiar characters. Suddenly the new world no longer had a Superman who fought in WWII, but one who's book was restarted with a whole new origin. Batman didn't fight in WWII, but unlike Supes, didn't reboot either, so he seemed much older for a while. that was just the start of the confusion.

Well, one of the books I really gravetated to was the Flash. Here was a new start as the previous Flash had died in during the Crisis (Barry Allen is still talked about, but has remained one of the very few characters to actually stay dead). Here was Wally West taking on the mantle of the Flash, being one of the first sidekicks to take over for his mentor.

The Flash is fun anyway. Here's a guy who can run at near the Speed of Light. Really, that's it. there's no X Ray Vision or Cold Breath. He does one thing. The fun thing is how they try to scientifically come up with excuses on how he can run through walls (by super-fast vibration of his molecules) and run up walls and create tornadoes with his speed, all why not burning up due to the friction (Speed Aura - look it up!).

With that I have read every issue of the Flash since 1986. Wally's died, lost his powers and memory, gotten married and fought several of the same villains over and over again. It's bliss. He even took on a protege, Bart who is the grandchild of the late Barry Allen via the future. It's hard to keep up.

Except for a short time a few years ago I have kept up with my comics, enjoying a few new characters along with the old standbys. In some more dire financial straights i dropped the four Superman and Four Batman books, and I haven't gone back to them. Superman is too powerful, and it takes enormous (or magic based) villains to challenge him, and it gets boring. Batman waffles between dark and really dark. Again, it gets boring. I hate to say it, but the wild and wacky stories of the 50's and 60's were much cooler. More detective than avenger, you could always be amused by the giant typewriters and other oddities that seemed to populate Gotham City. The dark stuff is more real, and as we've seen works better in the movies, but there always should be a crazy bird sanctuary for the Penguin, or a huge crossword puzzle billboard as a clue for Batman.

I think that's why I like the Flash, he's powerful and resourceful, but he can't do everything. He can't fly, for instance. His villains are as colorful as the Batman's, but they don't come with quite as much iconic baggage. The Flash also seems much more hopeful than other heroes are.

I read Wonder Woman, and that's a book that waffles a lot. Depends on the writer, but it's very inconsistent as writers never seem to know what to do with such a powerful, nearly perfect woman. I've never been a big Hal Jordan fan, so I dropped Green Lantern when he returned (from the dead!). I still love Green Arrow and read JLA and the Justice Society of America where some of those who fought Hitler still fight to this day - 65 years later. Sure, it doesn't make sense, it's comics.

I tried some Marvel books, but they never really interested me. I'm not sure if it's the angst or what. They have made some good movies with there characters - well, the big ones. I wish DC would make movies with the Flash (loved the short-lived TV Series), Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, but none of them need to star Jack Black, thks.

Now, since I've dropped in a minor history lesson in this post, I have to tell you that DC made another big change. For years they had problems with continuity. things that just didn't fit when they slammed all of those worlds into one. The biggest was the fact that the teenaged Wonder Girl was now older, and older still than Wonder Woman who had been restarted after Crisis. How does a character get inspired by someone who wasn't even a hero at the time. They tried four different retcons to try to fix it.

So what did DC do? They recently finished up several world-spanning mini-series to end up with 52 parallel Earths. The whole thing back, but now all the characters are shuffled. The older characters didn't all end up back on Earth Two, or the Shazam! characters back on Earth S, here they are still on one earth, but with some of the continuity errors still out there. For someone who hasn't been reading for 20 plus years, suddenly it's very difficult to figure out what's going on.

It seems strange to undo something that initially got me interested in following comics. It does provide some interesting ideas, and opens up story writing, but when an industry still needs to attract new readers, this may keep many away. Of course, the Multiverse never has to stay that way.

Some of the storytelling with bringing back the Multiverse has been good, with more room for writers to play, and different takes on characters - certainly some desigened to throw us off of the bigger picture, but even I'm getting confused, and I'm a pretty big continuity freak!

I've spent thousands of dollars on this habit, and thanks to the folks over at Zeus Toys and Comics, I'll probably end up spending thousands more in the future, especially to get my Flash fix. There's just something about the DC characters that I love and I love to keep reading, even if great series like Starman end. There will always be another book to keep me going.
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"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." - Albert Einstein

I'm thinking with my upcoming birthday and my big trip into middle age (not the middle ages, that's what Renaissance Fairs are for), I probably need to go buy something expensive, silly, and something I'll possibly regret.

No, not that...I bought that last month, and frankly, I love it. No buyer's remorse there.

No. I really can't afford some shiny new sports car, or a motorcycle, or even a Segway (now that would be stupid). I know Chris wants a water-bike again, but that's Chris' thing not mine. We'll see about that in a few years. I don't need any new electronics or home theater or Playstation.

I guess it comes down to the other compensations for age...tattoos, piercings or leather. Hmm. I've never gotten a tattoo because I never found anything I wanted to have all the time on me (the extra weight was enough). Thank goodness I decided not to get the frat letters. I love my frat, but i don't need their letters on my ass.

Piercings make me squeamish and I don't know how well I'd heal after something like that. Love the look on some of you other boys, but I'm not sure it's me. Leather interests me, but I hate having to order the extra cow to cover me. It's expensive stuff that I would hardly wear, like my overalls or Utilikilt.

I find it interesting that I don't really collect anything anymore. i used to be a big collector, with probably my strangest collection being the Garfield Bookmarks. Remember when Garfield was funny? Yeah, in that couple of hours they managed to make over 150 Garfield bookmarks, and I had all of them. They were on a door in my room, just hanging there. Where other people might have a poster of Farah Fawcett or something, I had a door full of bookmarks.

I collected Star Wars toys and figures from when they first came out for Christmas 1977 (yes, I saved the proof of purchases for the Boba Fett figure) through the ones from the Empire Strikes Back. By that time I was buying my own - that and Atari games. My parents told me that I was too old for action figures, and I shouldn't buy the Return of the Jedi figures and toys, so I missed out on having a collection of Ewoks.

Of course a few years later I had a large collection of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures. I fell right back into it. Unfortunately I really had no place to display all of it after my parent's changed houses and I lived in the dorms and in apartments in college. I ended up also picking up many of the DC comic character figures too. The Star Wars ones eventually got old off to pay for tuition one semester, but the Star Trek and DC figures still take up a large spot in the storage shed I rent with my parents. There's really no place to put them here at the house.

I never really collected movies, I don't watch them over and over, so it didn't become a big deal to buy them. The formats keep changing too, so what's the use? I don't really collect music as I just keep adding to what I've got to feed my interest. iTunes is like a big music Katamari.

I do still buy comic books, and over the last 25 years I have quite a stash, but I wouldn't say that I really collect them anymore. The oldest are nicely put away, stacked, bagged and even backed. after a while I didn't really see the point in doing it, so I don't take as much care with them now. I'm sure those who are serious would be appalled at the stacks i have in the back of closets and in the storage shed, but really, most of them I'll never read again, and aren't really worth much. unlike some guys, I was never going to send anyone to college on the basis of my collections. I just like to read!

So there we go. Maybe I just don't need any crazy thing right now. I should save my money for something better.
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Today's Red and Rover


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February 2013



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