Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hey Kate! We're here!

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Waiting for beer and food before the show starts.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Bar + SR-71 = Awesome!

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Tonight, I felt like the coolest cat with a heart of steel.

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Party at Air & Space Museum Annex

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Unfortunately, Tony Stark couldn't make it.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Unintended Punnery I'm Sure

It didn't take long for the marketing to start after Barack Obama's election. As I watch the beautifully creepy House of Wax (with Vincent Price, not the Hilton heiress), there's a super long commercial for the commemorative Barack Obama half dollar. Among the stuff you get with your coin and commemorative stamps is a certificate of authenticity with "Change" emblazoned in giant letters across the top.

Obviously it's change; it's a friggin' half dollar!

Stay for the veal, I'm here all week!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reckless Youth



What is your name?



My name is James Tiberius Kirk!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Haw Haw - Nerd on Nerd Crime, Part 2

From a single comment thread over at Trekmovie.com:

THe Star Trek I grew up with. My very CHILDHOOD itself is being raped. And you Mr Cawley, are applauding it. This was my life and now its going to be stripped away from me. Rendered null and void. Wiped out of existence and you DEMAND I let them crap into my mouth and BEG FOR MORE?!? Can you possibly in a million years understand how betrayed I feel? I dont care how much money you sunk into your show

For myself I feel totally mislead by Abrams and Crew. I have suspected for the longest time that they WOULD be making changes, BUT these are DRASTIC changes which contradict not so much “so-called canon”, but most importantly THE CONTINUITY of the ST franchise

Pathetic fundamentalism was never part of the spirit of Star Trek! Whining purist crybabies are not welcome at Starfleet Academy!

Nimoy, Majel …they just sold out to the almighty buck. Majel was always a golddigger. Nimoy is old and cant get work in anything else. Even so-called fan James Cawley has become JJ Abrams personal lap dog after a few bucks and a juicy part got waved under his nose and now to him the great almighty JJ Abrams can never do wrong. Even his farts smell like fresh apple pie. And where he walks flowers bloom. Christ.

WHY NOT JUST THROW A ROBE AND LIGHT SABER ON KIRK, AND WATER IT DOWN LIEK THEY DID STAR WARS,

Let them ban me. Ill go knowing I fought the good fight. For standing up for what was right. For defending a beloved franchise that has captured my imagination since I was a child. My only crime was giving a damn. For caring. Stifle free speech. Let only JJ Abrams legions of loving yes men say nothing but praise and support.

JJ attacked fans first by shoving this redesign Enterprise down our throats

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nerd on Nerd Crime

A picture of the USS Enterprise from next year's Star Trek film has finally surfaced. Unsurprisingly, the nerdcore is angry. I kinda dig it, though I won't dig the incessant bitching for the next six months.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show

Thanks to Mike Sterling being in tune with all things comic-related, I'm now aware that the entire archive of Peanuts is available at Comics.com. I had been wanting the terrific archive books from Fantagraphics, but had no idea where I'd put them all. It's pretty likely I'll buy them anyway, but now I can take my time thanks to the magic of technology. Thanks Mike!

Peanuts

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For My Fellow Americans


Whatever your choice, get out and vote today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Tasty Yet Crazy Experiment

A fried hamburger plus three strips of maple-smoked bacon between two halves of a glazed donut. No cheese though--it gives me the wind.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fast Food Goes to Warp Speed

According to Trekmovie.com, Burger King will continue its Paramount summer film tie-ins with the new Star Trek movie next 2009.

Will I finally get my chance to say, "I want a Rom with rings, and a Choc Scott!" in public? Hopefully Khan won't show up and find no sneeze guard on the salad bar.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Spock-tober Week: Spooky Spock

Being Halloween and all (or Hallowe'en or whatever way it's supposed to be spelled), here's a little something that essentially made little kids targets for eggs and toilet paper:



The next picture came from searching Google for "spock costume." I feel kind of bad for this kid. Looks like he was wearing pajamas, but his Starfleet belt buckle is pretty cool:



And lastly, here's a bit of nightmare fuel for you. I'd run away screaming if some kid came to my door wearing this mask—way too reminiscent of the Bill Shatner mask from John Carpenter's Halloween:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spock-tober Week: Time for Breakfast



Remember: Space Energy comes from Sugar Smacks.

Of course, all of that Space Energy was squandered by Dig 'Em the Frog in the '70s. You might remember the all-too common Sugar Smacks lines of 1979:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spock-tober Week: Spock, Man Ahead of His Time

Spock often has to calculate things like time-breakway factors, the exact moment a star will explode, and the structural stability of Yeoman Rand's wig. So what does he use to do all this?



A SLIDE RULE!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spock-tober Week: How Does One Vulcan Get To Be So Awesome?


He can seriously rock a goatee.


Bad ass thy name is Spock!


The chicks dig him.


Helps you forget days that really suck.

Tony Stark, Man Ahead of His Time

Snell had a great post yesterday about E-Z Math ads from Marvel comics of the 1960s. Here we have technological wunderkind Tony Stark (as Iron man, natch) locked in battle with the Mandarin. Low on power (a near-constant, not to mention annoying, concern at the time), he needs to calculate the exact way to turn his body so the Mandarin's karate chop would hit him at the wrong angle. Got all that? Evidently, the Mandarin stopped for coffee between panels so Iron Man could use a friggin' slide rule to figure this out. For any readers born after 1975, this is what a slide rule looks like (click to enlarge):


A slide rule, Stan? Really?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spock-tober Week!

The Hell?
For the last week of October, I've decided to post about some of my favorite Spock moments. A little self-indulgent perhaps but most blog entries are (especially mine).

Spock (half-human, half-Vulcan, all awesome) is easily the most recognizable of the original Star Trek characters. Everyone remembers the ears, which will live on in perpetuity as dorky fans put them on when attending conventions and sci-fi movie premieres:



For some instructions on how to Spockify yourself, here you go. If you're a true dork, you can always go the permanent route (a bit squicky, not for the faint of heart) where you can double your money's worth and be a hit at Renaissance fairs, excuse me, Faires.


Tomorrow: We'll take a look at some of Spock's cooler moments from the original Star Trek.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hamburglar

Last night, Em had grilled up some burgers that we'd have for dinner and then take the leftovers as lunch for the rest of the week. Burgers were cooked, burgers were eaten, and all was well. Never knowing when the burger bug might strike again, we left the rest on a plate in the kitchen.

Big mistake.

While watching a bit of Countdown with Keith Olbermann before the debates, we noticed that things were just a little too quiet. Normally, our small dog Zoe harasses Arf and they play around as dogs do. Em heard a sound in the kitchen and we both immediately thought Arf was into the garbage.

Em then asked how many burgers I had eaten. She had cooked 12: I had three (I was hungry so sue me), she had eaten two, which meant seven should have been on the plate. There were three: one of which had a small bite taken out of it. To say I was livid at the time is an understatement. Normally Arf is good about leaving food alone, but I guess no one, not even a reasonably obedient dog, is immune to the burger bug.

Monday, October 6, 2008

That's How Wars Get Started

Barack Obama accused John McCain of shenanigans. The fight has just become serious folks!

Red Menace

All you people in Alexandria and Arlington live in Communist country! Duck and cover!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

Not much has changed regarding a DVD release of the 1966 Batman TV series. Finally, someone has laid out many of the obstacles preventing this from happening. There's also a bit regarding the hold up on a Green Hornet release.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Insult to Injury?

Not sure if this is merely coincidence or some kind of cruel joke, but Mr. Mike Sterling posted a picture of a Green Hornet fan club pin in his post this morning. If Chris Sims later posts a picture of a hornet kicking me in the face, then I'll know for sure that the Internet is out to get me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It Is Done

This afternoon, armed with a shovel and a bucket, the hornet nest was knocked out of the ceiling. After cleaning up the remnants of the nest, bugs, and larvae (of which, the cleanup was particularly nasty), I am done. There's still a hole in the ceiling, but I'll patch it tomorrow.

I've dealt with a lot of home-related annoyances, but this was quite possibly the worst. Regardless, it's time to go to bed and read comics until I fall asleep.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Face of the Enemy

This is what I saw Thursday night:

Everyone will work for Swarm? Not me, Sunshine!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Swarm! SWARM!


This is the enemy. Eco-friendly sprays have no effect. Fire extinguishers just piss them off. It's either the heavy duty stuff or nothing. Oh yeah, these bastards have absolutely no problem going straight for the neck. I lost this battle, but I'll win the war dammit. So help me, I will WIN THIS WAR!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Road Rage

Is there some stupid road game where drivers of souped-up (or tricked-out as the whippersnappers say) try to get as close to the bumper of the other guy while driving down a highway? I was witness to this happening not once, but twice in the span of 30 or so minutes while driving home from Arlington this afternoon. Several times, these morons decided to play their stupid game in the carpool lane. The idiots involved are lucky no one was hurt by their idiocy. Regardless, I hope they die in a fire anyway.

Poll Smoking

Caught Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson the other day and Was Not Impressed. The plethora of non-answers was enough to make me ill. I'm sure the hemming and hawing would have been perfectly fine on Bill O'Reilly's show whereas Obama's appearance on that show was constantly peppered with accusations of "spin."

The "lipstick on a pig" non-controversy would have died on the operating table had the mainstream media decided not to make hay of it, but I guess there was nothing else to report on that week. By the way, did you know that the US ambassadors to Bolivia and Venezuela were expelled from those nations this week? You'd never know it watching cable news where it was either Hurricane Ike or the favorite breakfast cereal of the candidates. Way to keep people informed you self-serving hacks.

Speaking of the candidates, has either one of them outlined what they plan to do as President? I don't recall hearing too much of that during the conventions. Somebody better shore up some policy before September 26 unless, of course, it's a field of dreams where softballs will be thrown.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Form Letter

While perusing Slashdot this morning, I came across an article about how Robert Heinlein (author of Starship Troopers among many others) came up with a way to handle fan mail. He had a form letter with multiple answers he'd check off to deal with the common topics he often received. Technically, it was a personal reply... in the form of a check mark.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oh No! Look Out! It's About to Erupt!!

Last night, I succumbed to the Taco Bell marketing machine and bought some of their new Volcano Tacos. Boy do they know their demographic. There I was, watching Ice Road Truckers, when the commercial came on touting its spicyness through the miracle of Lava Sauce.

Lava Sauce implies lots of heat since things have to be pretty hot to liquefy rock, right? Well, upon eating it, I was just a tad disappointed. While I was expecting heat on the order of hot, molten magma, I would have been happy with jalapeno-level heat atop my taco or even something like Taco Bell's already yummy Fire Sauce. But no, the Lava Sauce was like someone went overboard with a pepper shaker. That's not spicy, that's over seasoned. I'm sure some focus group of soccer moms liked it, but they probably clamored for those Fruitista thingys too.

And what's with the red-pink shell? If it was supposed to be a spicy taco shell, it wasn't. I guess it was to fool you into thinking your taste buds were in for some kind of thermodynamic horror.

Sorry Taco Bell. Thumbs down on the Volcano Taco.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Blowhard Idiocy

I've been keeping up with the assorted hurricane stuff and now that Gustav is more or less gone (no longer an organized storm but still dropping plenty of rain), out come the complainiacs. Here's a wonderful little gem from today's AP coverage:


'Next time, it's going to be bad because people who evacuated like us
aren't going to evacuate,' Catherine Jones, 53, of Silsbee, Texas, who spent three days on a cot at a church shelter with her disabled son. 'They jumped the gun.'

They jumped the gun? How the hell was anyone supposed to know how bad things would get? Hurricane Gustav made landfall as a Category 3 storm. Sound familiar? As crappy as the government normally is, your life and thousands of your fellow citizens' lives were likely saved thanks to a bit of prudent planning (hardly perfect by any means) and concern. If you choose to gamble with your life, that's your business. But your gamble does not become the government's problem should you ignore a future evacuation order and need to be airlifted off the roof of your house.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Big Screen Bloggin'

I'm typing this to you through the magic of television—big screen television, Bay-bee!

The monitor I was using for the super-charged desktop PC died a little while ago so I decided to hook it up to the 46-inch screen in the living room. Add a wireless keyboard and mouse and you're ready to roll. The result isn't as perfect as I'd like but it will do until I can get another monitor for the office.

One of the more cool things I can do is watch YouTube videos and read my digital comics from the couch without the laptop battery threatening to burn a hole in my leg.

* * * * * * * *

This past Friday, I learned that I'll likely have to work some insane hours throughout the month of September. As I wait for authorization to work on the project I was hired for, I've been asked to assist in creating some training materials for another project. However, this project is already behind and I have until the end of the month to finish. Grr. Argh.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ohio Recap

This past weekend I took a trip to Ohio, a state yours truly had never visited before. The drive up wasn't too heinous save for a stop in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. I mentioned the stop in a Twitter so I guess I can elaborate now.

It had been about four and a half hours before I decided to stop for lunch. Since Hardees is nonexistent in Northern Virginia, I figured a Thickburger was appropriate. Stepping inside, the interior smelled like anger and sorrow. After ordering my Prime Rib Thickburger (which is delicious) and chocolate shake (not bad but way too small), I was witness to the manager having a friggin' meltdown. It was beyond uncomfortable standing there waiting for food as the shouting and the crying took place. A tiny employee eventually gave me my food and looked like she was afraid I was going to yell at her. I politely thanked her and told her to have a good day. I hope that tiny bit of kindness helped her through the day.

Upon arriving in Columbus, I checked into my hotel at the Extended StayAmerica and settled into my efficiency. Soon, I picked up my friend Jamie and we took a trip to Easton Town Center, the local, upscale mall which looked like it belonged in another dimension compared to the surrounding area. The rest of the area looked very depressed, reminding me a lot of Manassas if the economy was worse. Jamie and I spent a good chunk of time at the Barnes & Noble there.

Later that night, we had dinner at the local Steak N Shake. Steak N Shake is awesome! It's set up like a 1950's diner and serves up typical diner fare, the best being the signature Steakburgers. I also ordered a chocolate malt, which was served in a ginormous glass. Needless to say, I slept very well that night.

Sunday, we stopped by White Castle (see photos below) before going back to my hotel room so she could take a shower and change out of her work uniform. Soon, we returned to Easton Town Center to catch a movie. That movie was the quite excellent The Dark Knight (I'll discuss that in another post tomorrow). We had dinner afterward and then called it a night.

Driving home was a bit frustrating. I had hoped to just reverse the course I had taken to get to Ohio. However, the state of Pennsylvania has seen fit to make return trips through the state as convoluted as humanly possible. Whereas I had taken I-70 to I-68 and back to I-70 during my initial journey, that route was unavailable on the return trip. In order to continue on I-70, you had to get on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Turnpike goes on for miles and miles without very many stops along the way. Granted, taking the Turnpike took about a half hour out of my trip but I would have liked the option of going my planned original route instead of paying $5 for the privilege. I know: complain, complain, complain.

So now I'm home. I'll have all of tomorrow to unwind before beginning work Wednesday. Overall, it was a great weekend thanks to Jamie who I'm sure is reading this. Thanks for a great time, Jamie. You are the coolest and 18 shades of awesome.

De Baisch Goes to White Castle! Part 3

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After 10 Sliders, lunch is done. For this weary traveler, t'was verily the Greatest Lunch. However, there are side effects to eating 10 Sliders that tend to show up several hours later. Ask your doctor if White Castle is right for you.

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De Baisch Goes to White Castle! Part 2

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Wish me luck!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

De Baisch Goes to White Castle!

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Behold the splendor of its majestic presence. Does a great lunch await or does the greatest lunch await?

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bye De!

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Fudgie the Whale had a message for me during my farewell lunch.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Auction Time

Over on the sidebar, underneath the Retroactive Conspirators blogroll, is a list of auctions I have going on Ye Olde Ebay. During the next several weeks, I will be auctioning off a number of items to free up a bit of space in the house as well as the storage unit. Lots of geeky goodness awaits from the seller known as embaisch.

If you see anything you like, please feel free to bid early and bid often. This week, I'm selling:
  1. A set of the 12-inch scale Young Frankenstein figures by Sideshow Toys. The set of three includes Frederick, Igor, and The Monster in their grayscale glory.
  2. The exclusive convention figures of She-Hulk and Stan Lee from last year's San Diego Comic-Con. Stan Lee comes with a jacket and pants as well as a Spider-Man and a Peter Parker head so you can switch their identities. She-Hulk is in her Fantastic Four outfit and comes with her lawyer outfit.
  3. An Elvis Presley doll with the King of Rock 'n Roll wearing his Army uniform.

There are other items as well, including a number of 12-inch scale military uniforms and accessories. More stuff is on the way so keep an eye out on the sidebar or check me out on the Ebay. The huckster posts here will be kept to a strict limit of once a week or less.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Robbie Greenberger

I just learned that Robbie Greenberger, son of Bob Greenberger, passed away last night at the age of 20.

More than a year ago, Robbie was diagnosed with leukemia. With him being strong in both body and spirit, we believed he would beat this thing. However, hopes were somewhat dashed earlier this summer when part of a lung had to be removed due to infection.

My fondest memory over the years was the Shore Leave Masquerade a couple of years ago when he participated in a gag as one of several Johnny Depp roles (he was JM Barrie). I was in another gag wearing a fairly stinky Darth Vader helmet. We spent a good amount of time goofing around as if we'd been old friends forever.

Robbie's presence at the conventions has certainly been missed this past year. His family, his friends, and his extended "con family" will miss him forever.

Last month at Shore Leave, a bone marrow drive was run in his honor. I'd like to extend that by linking to the National Marrow Donor Program's Donor recruitment page. Enter your zip code and find a donor drive. It's the least we can do for Robbie.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From the "You've Got to be Kidding Me" Department

Evidently the San Diego Comic-Con has no policy against harrassment. That's just unimaginable considering how huge that show has become. I go to three or four science-fiction conventions a year and they all have policies against this crap.

Please read the report I linked to and spread the word. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Farewell J'onn J'onzz

Martian Manhunter 1955-2008
Heart and soul of the Justice League
Lover of Oreo cookies
You will be missed beyond words

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes (1942-2008)

I just heard that Isaac Hayes passed away today at the age of 65. Usually two things come to mind for most folks when Isaac's name is mentioned: "The Theme from Shaft" and Chef from South Park. I'll always remember him as the epitome of cool with whom I shared a laugh one awesome night in DC.

My good friend Dana called one day to tell me that Mr. Hayes would be in the city signing copies of his new cookbook, Cooking with Heart and Soul. When Dana calls about that sort of thing, it typically means we're set for an evening of adventure. The night comes and we (Dana, his then-girlfriend AM, and yours truly) hightail it to the Borders after work like we're escaping from New York. We're about an hour early but we buy our books and receive the very first tickets. Soon, Isaac shows up wearing this purple African garb that only Isaac Hayes can get away with wearing (very similar to the photo above) and addresses the now-assembled crowd. He talks about growing up in Tennessee and how his mother's cooking was a big part of that. He also breaks into the Chef voice to discuss the chocolate salty balls recipe in the book. To say I was restraining myself from bouncing off the walls is an understatement.

We get in line to have our books signed and the next few moments are just magic. The tickets we received had a spot for spelling our names so I put my name down and a lyric from "The Theme from Shaft":


Isaac takes a look at my ticket, chuckles, and simply writes:



AM snaps a picture of me doing the infamous "thumbs up" as Isaac signs. Once he's finished, I tell him he rules and he initiates a handshake with a colossal grin, telling me to take it easy. Needless to say, I was walking on clouds for the rest of the night.

We lost a terrific dude today. Farewell Isaac. To me, you were truly an A-Number One guy.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Time Has Not Been Kind

Crap in a hat. Another week between entries. I'll try to be better about this but work has been piling up and I'm fairly exhausted at the end of the day after doing house stuff, dealing with the kids and pets, and attempting to unwind a little bit.

So what happened this past week you may ask? Not much.

Miriya has learned how to giggle, which is very very cute. Like her father, she's great to be around when she's in a good mood but not so great when she's cranky. This should be terrific when we hit the teenage years.

Work still bites. I'll just leave it at that lest I say something I might regret (keyword being might).

The ColecoVision console arrived yesterday. The unit is in pristine condition and is modified to use regular RCA connection cables instead of the old switch box. It fired right up without a hitch. This was the greatest gaming system when I was a kid (back in the halcyon days of 1982). Maybe I'll get around to doing a write-up on the system in a few weeks (yes yes, I can hear all saying in unison, "We've heard that one before.")

Watched Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Friday night and liked it. It was stupid, but fairly funny. I didn't love it nearly as much as Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, but that's typically the caveat of sequels. One thing that I distinctly didn't care for was the rampant recreational drug use. Sure, that happened in the first but that film also had much much more to it. I know these are supposed to be the modern-day equivalent of Cheech and Chong, but I want more from a film than marijuana jokes every 10 minutes. If that's your thing, terrific, but me, not so much.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Timeless

Because I took a five-hour nap today, I'm not really in the mood to sleep. In case you were wondering why the time stamp of this entry reads 2-something AM, there's your reason.

As I burn what's left of the midnight oil, I've been re-visiting the WB-era of Batman: The Animated Series (aka The New Batman Adventures). It's been almost eight years since I've seen any of these episodes but I remembered liking them when I caught the initial airings. So how do these episodes hold up as march to the end of the first decade of Century 21?

Incredibly well.

The series had a stylized retro design to begin with (the art deco architecture, the 1940s fashions, etc.), but so far, the stories have no dated elements whatsoever. This is crime drama of the highest order. Yeah, there are superheroes (Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and one appearance by Nightwing) but we really get into the heads of all the characters. And that is what makes this stuff so compelling to watch a decade after their debut.

Okay, Disc 1 just finished so I'll jot down some thoughts on each episode:

"Holiday Knights" -- A neat holiday episode where we get three complete stories in the span of 22 minutes. We learn that Harvey Bullock has a bit of a soft side when he and Renee Montoya team up with Batgirl to take down a now-thuggish Clayface. The second story involves more fun with Harley and Ivy. Lastly, Batman and Robin foil the Joker's dastardly New Year's Eve plot with an epilogue providing a look at the relationship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon.

"Sins of the Father" -- This is the origin story for the new Robin, Tim Drake. There's more to this kid than meets the eye and he's not annoying. In fact, I thought he was kind of cool. Speaking of cool...

"Cold Comfort" -- My favorite villain, Mr. Freeze, returns to his core: vengeance. We learn that tragedy had befallen him once again to the point where he's been driven mad as a result. His hiding from emotion has now been turned into ensuring everyone feels his pain. Initially acting out of love for his wife, he now hates everyone. That, to me, is the biggest tragedy.

"Double Talk" -- This was probably the best episode on the disc. Here we find the Ventriloquist working toward recovery of his multiple personality disorder. As he attempts to make progress on returning and contributing to society, he's constantly dogged by those who desperately want their crime boss to return. What I liked best about this episode is that it ended with the Ventriloquist back on the road to recovery, letting us know that not every criminal is a hopeless cause.

"You Scratch My Back" -- With Batman immune to Catwoman's charms, she turns her attention to Nightwing, the former Robin. Catwoman is shown as the ultimate manipulator here. Nightwing is the typical hot-headed archetype who "knows it all" but we learn that this may be a result of his former relationships now strained since his departure from the Batcave.

"Never Fear" -- Easily the weakest episode on the disc, but we get a look at the working relationship between Batman and the new Robin. A relatively simple story that more than makes up for it in atmosphere. The new design of the Scarecrow (not to mention the casting of Jeffrey Combs) is positively frightening.

Unlike other shows I remember enjoying only to realize they were pretty lousy, these episodes are terrific. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they're not just terrific Batman stories but terrific television period. If you haven't given this series a go in a while, you could certainly do worse for yourself. Like watch Wife Swap.

Okay, it's actually 3-something AM now. I really should try to get some sleep.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wife Swap

The weather turned pretty nasty here in the DC area tonight. With the rain and wind and weather, came a tornado warning. The twister was sighted maybe a mile and half away from the house. In order to get up-to-date weather information, we had to turn to the local channels -- during primetime.

The ABC and CBS affiliates were doing their civic duty and had weather information constantly on. The NBC and Fox affiliates were running their regular programming. Hopefully no one in Centreville was killed tonight because they were watching NBC.

I stayed with ABC because they had live radar running with the programming. The program on at the time? Wife Swap (as if the title of the post didn't give it away). I actually feel somewhat stupider for having watched it and yet, this is what people watch on a Wednesday night? Yeesh.

The premise, for those smarter than I, is to have two wives of totally different backgrounds change places and hope the respective families learn something from the experience. Tonight's episode involved a somewhat emotionless executive who likes to hunt for ghosts and a Southern housewife. Oh let the hijinks and hilarity ensue. They're both fish out of water! What are they gonna do? Oh look, Jiffy Lube's hiring!

Now I know that it's going to be difficult boiling down two weeks worth of footage into a 40-minute show. However, you're going to tell me that some of this isn't scripted, prompted by the producers, or hammed up for the camera? My first clue that something was awry was seeing the brand names of products blocked out with tape or paper. Unless the production crew did that to every single thing these people owned, I have serious doubts about things not being staged. Tonight's episode had a fairy tale ending where they all learned from each other and lived happily ever after. Pass the insulin, please.

And people buy this crap. It's "reality" TV! They even have a phone number you can call if you want to be on the show! I have no doubts that the people aren't actors and some of the situations may very well be true. But there was way too much convenience for this to be anybody's reality.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Criterion Goodness

For my fellow film nerds, Deep Discount is having a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale on Criterion Collection DVDs. A sale like that on Criterion discs is pretty rare so I'd jump on this one.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Crappy Week

Well, after the terrific weekend, I managed to have an incredibly crappy week. Work hasn't been too kind. I'll just leave it at that. I'm only too glad that Friday has arrived and that I can forget about this week's doldrums for a little while.

Em and I had dinner at the Red Robin with my friend Rachel (5 Alarm Burger is okay but the steak fries ruled). Now I'm settling down with To Kill A Mockingbird, only one of the greatest movies ever made (one of the greatest books ever written too).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ssssssssssssss!

I forgot to mention the "little surprise" Em found last night. I'll let her explain.

Le Sigh, C'est Lundi

*sigh*

It's Monday.

Attended the Shore Leave convention this past weekend and it was friggin' amazing. I still need to get the photos and video off of the camcorder so I'll wait until I do that before posting about what could possibly have been the Best Weekend Ever.

The short form: I met David Hewlett, his sister Kate Hewlett (both from Stargate: Atlantis), Malcolm McDowell (you might remember him from A Clockwork Orange). Saw Jewel Staite (currently on Stargate: Atlantis), Morgan Sheppard (Transformers), his son Mark Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica), and the soon-to-be-married George Takei. Had a great performance with Luna-C on Friday night and a memorable performance on Saturday that will forever live in infamy.

I so promise there will be more about this later. Need pics to go with the text.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Brilliance!

I don't read Chris Sims' site as much as I probably should but he came through with this piece of brilliance last week:

Have Snake-Eyes fight a shark. Have Destro fight a shark. Have Snake-Eyes fight a shark that is dressed as Destro.

If San Diego Comic Con reveals that that's in the live-action movie scheduled for next year, I'll be buying my ticket immediately!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

G.I. Think This is Cheesy

Just updated the Unofficial Index to G.I. Joe with a look at three of 1983's commercials for the Marvel comic book. Maybe they'll stir a memory or maybe they'll make you laugh uproariously. Either way, it's fun stuff so check it out.

Unsorted Wednesday

Emily called the insurance company yesterday and was told that everything should be fine and would be straightened out. I'll believe it when there's no phone call in three months.

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In an effort to save a bit of money, I'm getting rid of the high definition package with DirecTV. The HD box doesn't work most of the time without being reset and we would only watch it if we happened to be channel surfing, which is rare. We don't have the HD DVR (but do have a DVR for the regular service), so we can't time-shift any HD programming. Also, Starz and Showtime are getting the boot. If we want to watch movies, we'll just get them through Netflix. Yeah, Showtime is awesome, and we love Penn & Teller's Bullshit and This American Life very much, but it has to go. Downsizing the DirecTV package should save us almost $35 per month.
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Speaking of DirecTV, I've been trying to get stuff off of the DVR and recorded onto DVD. So far this week, it's been the 1972 series The Sixth Sense, which has absolutely nothing to do with the M. Night Shyamalan film. The series starred Gary Collins as a psychic parapsychology professor who dealt with the paranormal. For years, it was edited down to a half-hour and tacked onto the syndication package for Night Gallery. Now, Chiller is showing the series uncut (back when TV shows were 50 minutes without commercials) in place of Night Gallery when that series runs out of episodes. The stories run the gamut from laughable to decent, but the best aspect are the guest stars, including William Shatner wearing one of the most horrific toupees ever created.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Where Are They Now?

Mike Sterling has been on a Peanuts kick for the past couple of days and wondered aloud (in writing of course) about Charlie Brown eventually marrying Lucy. This brought out a bunch of comments from folks either pondering about the fates of the Peanuts Gang or pointing to folks who had written about it. A guy named Peter Gillis wrote a terrific piece on the subject shortly after Charles Schulz passed away. The part about Snoopy is a bit of a tear-jerker and there's nothing like having your co-workers ask, "What's wrong?" as you vainly wipe your eyes while denying they had welled up in the first place.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hello Hypocrisy

Tonight, Emily received a call from the hospital where Miriya was born back in March. It was to collect for our daughter's delivery and the care of both the baby and Emily. Did you know the retail price of having a baby is over $14,000? Medical insurance is supposed to cover nearly all of it (per our policy), but a bureaucratic screw-up (dealing with Miriya's due date and her actual date of birth) has ensured that we keep playing telephone tag with our provider and the hospital. While I'll reluctantly shell out the $200 co-payment, this situation annoys me to no end.

Here's where the hypocrisy comes in. Republicans make such a show of being pro-life, protecting children, family values, blabbity-blabbity-blah. However, they are essentially shills for the insurance industry that makes it their business not to pay claims if at all possible, including childbirth. So, I guess they only care about children if you can pay the price to have them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of having boatloads of kids (and I can't stand how the Discovery Channel romanticizes it), but why should a married couple have to pay for the privilege? I'm fortunate that I can eat a $200 co-pay but I shudder to think about the couple that has to shell out a few thousand. Sure, my conservative friends will say that you get it back in tax credits. However, there's a giant difference between $14K due on delivery (pardon the pun) and getting $1,000 back once a year for 14 years.

Emily will be calling the insurance folks again tomorrow. Hopefully she'll get to talk to a human being and straighten this out.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Week? Really?

Sorry for the unscheduled hiatus, folks. It's been a pretty rough week as I continue my search for professional happiness and fight my Klondike bar addiction.

I'll be getting things back up to speed tomorrow. See you then.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hilarious Yet Pretty Disturbing

From the archives of the Angry Video Game Nerd. Warning: This definitely falls within the category of Not Safe For Work. In fact, you better go ahead and clean out your desk if you watch this at work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Friendly Neighborhood Iron Man

Well, I finally saw it. Being among the ten last comic book geeks to see this, it was difficult to avoid spoilers as folks raved about the film over the past month and a half, but mostly avoid them I did. In a nutshell, I'll definitely be buying the DVD, possibly the Blu-Ray disc, at the end of September (its rumored release date).

Some spoilery follows after the pic, so the other nine comic book geeks (and anyone else) can skip this section and rejoin us after the cover to Tales of Suspense #39.

No rhyme or reason to the following points; just some stuff I liked and/or noticed. No doubt this has been echoed on every other comics/film/geek blog in the ether, but it's my turn now.

  1. Changing Tony Stark's initial demeanor from the somewhat serious industrialist of the comics to the over-indulgent playboy/man-child seen in the film was a change for the better. If the early characterization from the comics had been carried over into the film, I doubt very much that the script would have been as strong.
  2. At the moment, I'm in the middle of reading the 1960's run of Tales of Suspense. While I appreciated the sexual tension between Tony and Pepper Potts, I kind of missed the little love triangle that also included Happy Hogan. Hogan is more or less window dressing in the film, but I guess it's not that big of a deal.
  3. I really didn't mind the other changes from the mythos like James Rhodes being a military liaison, Obadiah Stane's history with Stark International, and of course, the Afghanistan setting instead of Vietnam. It all felt right.
  4. The first shot of Stark being his hand around a glass of Scotch was certainly inspired. Although Jon Favreau doesn't think the "Demon in a Bottle" story will figure into the next film, I'd like to see it in Iron Man 3. Maybe combined with the "Armor Wars" storyline as an impetus for Tony to get his act together.
  5. I might have missed this in the "Special Thanks to" part of the credits, but the Stark logo looks awfully similar to Lockheed-Martin's.
  6. Speaking of the credits, yes I did stay after for the extra scene. It had already been spoiled for me, but it was still kinda neat.


So there you have it. It was a terrific movie first, a semi-decent adaptation second. Most of my friends aren't nearly as well-versed in the Iron Man mythos and their opinions on the film ranged from good to awesome. It appears to have a bit of staying power too, meaning people are still seeing it. This bodes well for Marvel's first foray into filmmaking. Hopefully The Incredible Hulk will fare just as well.

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