Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Time in a bottle…

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Time in a bottle...

Thursday – 19 February 2015
Last night, Sara, #Team DiVa and I went out for dinner – the girls’ choice. While out, I ran into this little lady, my “cousin,” Kylie:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kylie: Disneyland – Electric Light Parade

The only thing: She wasn’t so little anymore. This picture was taken in 2001, so you can imagine what adding 13.5 years would do. And, it’s been at least 4-5 years since I last saw her. She has grown into a lovely young lady. (Her mom has every reason to be proud.)

It was a very pleasant surprise to my evening.

Stray Toasters

  • Your Coffee Addiction Is Officially Good for You (not that I needed validation)
  • Someone posted the following picture into an H.P. Lovecraft group yesterday:
    spider-cat
    It… inspired me to come up with this:

    Spider-Cat! Spider-Cat!
    More evil than a Devil-Bat!
    Claws your arm or your thigh
    Makes you sleep with one eye…
    OPEN!
    Here comes the Spider-Cat!

  • Adult Wednesday Addams
    “Adult” as in “not a child,” not as in “risque.”
  • DC Comics has made some… curious… decisions in the past few years. One decision that has been “good” is the one to start a new, out-of-continuity Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman book. If you’re a Wonder Woman fan and are not reading this book, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
  • From Javier Grillo-Marxuach: The Audacity of Being Jaded

Namaste.

Tautology

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Tautology

Wednesday – 18 February 2015
Today is Ash Wednesday. It is also NBN Thursday Eve.

I was going to post something last night, but I got too distracted by The Flash and Firestorm(!)1.

And a RubySnap cookie and a glass of milk.

And Titanfall.

So, I’m posting today.

This past weekend, Sara!, Team DiVa and I took a trip to Promontory, UT to visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site (read: “TRAINS!!!”) and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. (For pictures, click here.) It was only a couple of hours to Golden Spike, which wasn’t as bad as I had thought. The site is way out in the middle of God’s own country, though. I commented to Sara! that for all the time – not really that much – that it took to get there at 65 MPH+, I could only imagine what it must have been like to try to cover that distance via horse, or wagon. Or, slower still, while trying to lay miles of railroad track. The site was nice, but I was a little disappointed that the locomotives weren’t on display. (That just means that I’ll have to head back up there to see the reenactment of the driving of the golden spike in May.)

From there, we headed out to the Spiral Jetty. While the two sites are only 15 miles apart, it took about 45 minutes to get from Golden Spike to the jetty. The water level on the Great Salt Lake was low. Very low. So low that we were able to walk out to the end of the jetty – 1500 feet – and we were still at least 300 feet from water!

Sunday, we decided to tackle a painting project: Our bedroom. Furniture out. Ladders in. Paint on. We moved our bed to the living room Sunday night, which threw Team DiVa for a bit of a loop Monday morning:

Diana: Why is your new bed in the living room?

Me: It’s not a “new” bed, we just moved it out here.

Diana: Oh.

We went on to explain that we did it since we were painting the bedroom; that answer appeased them.

Sara spent Monday morning/afternoon re-doing the baseboard and crown molding paint, while I vacuumed and shampooed the carpet, replaced four electrical outlets… and then tried to suss out why the overhead lights wouldn’t turn off.

*braincramp*

After a quick consultation with my father-in-law, he suggested that I check the old outlets and verify that they had broken metal connectors on the hot side. They did.  I broke the connectors on two of the new outlets and the lights worked in the manner to which we were accustomed once more!

We moved the furniture back in and slept in our newly-painted room on Monday night. Selah. It was a lot of ass-busting and elbow grease over two days, but it was worth it.

Stray Toasters

  • I stumbled across a picture of VP Biden holding/rubbing/whatever the shoulders of the newly-appointed Secretary of Defense’s wife last night and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a caption:

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy...

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy.

  • Windows Updates. *sigh*
  • Despite the fact that Krispy Kreme UK unwittingly deemed today “KKK Wednesday,” I kind of still want a doughnut.
  • Today is apparently “National Drink Wine Day,” as well. I might have to imbibe a glass or two tonight.

And with that, I think I’m going to get “right on to the friction of the [rest of the] day.”

Namaste.

1Firestorm: The Nuclear Man debuted in 1978. I didn’t really become aware of the character until the second series, which started in 1982… but from then on, I was a fan. I haven’t been as invested in the New 52 version of the character, but I still like the character and the concept. So, when the news broke that he/they would be appearing on CW’s The Flash, my curiosity was piqued. The origin had been tweaked to fit the show, but it was close enough to the original for me. And, it featured all three of the main Firestorm characters – Ronnie Raymond, Martin Stein, and (in a nod to the updated, pre-New52 character) Jason Rusch.

An evening at the ballet

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An evening at the ballet

Thursday – 12 February 2015
Last night, I had the pleasure of accompanying Sara! to see Ballet West’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

(c) Ballet West

Photograph (c) Ballet West

I saw the 2006 production of Swan Lake, but it was far enough that the details had slipped away from me. Last night’s presentation was, to put it simply: Amazing.

We had box seats (stage right), which not only afforded us a fantastic view of the stage, set, dancers and costumes, but also put us above the orchestra pit.

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Being able to watch the orchestra as well as the dancers made for an interesting experience – we could see the conductor, Jared Oaks, as he guided the orchestra through Tchaikovsky’s work. We were also close enough to see – though not really read – the various instrumentalists’ scores. But, the biggest benefit to being so close: We were close to the dancers. We could easily read the expressions on their faces, see many of the fine details of their costumes, and even see the sheen of sweat from their exertions.

The costumes, as I’ve come to expect from Ballet West’s tailors and seamstresses, were exquisite. Our vantage point made it able for us to juxtapose Odette and Odile’s costumes. Baron von Rothbart’s costumes were as full of menace as the Baron himself. Sara! also keenly pointed out how, despite the uniformity of the swans’ costumes, they appaeared “a little different” on each performer.

The company’s dancing was fantastic; the dancers moved with a verve that belied what had to be hours of rigorous practice. It was also very evident that the dancers enjoyed what they were doing. I’d also like to point out a few key performances:

  • Beckanne Sisk was a pleasure to watch in her dual role as Odette and Odile. One of the most captivating things about her performance was how she portrayed the characters. Her Odette, prior to meeting Prince Siegfried, was sad and full of anguish; after meeting him, you could see hope and even desire, tinged with fear of Baron von Rothbart. Her Odile was full of a malevolent glee, toying with the prince’s emotions at her father’s behest.
  • Christopher Ruud‘s Prince Siegfried was similarly multi-faceted. During the 21st birthday celebration, he seemed full of life and joy. After meeting Odette, he exuded a sense of connection and longing. In the third act, when princesses from many lands came seeking his favor, he was forlorn and lost… until Odile, disguised as Odette appeared, when his joy was evident to all (to the chagrin of the visiting princesses – especially the Princess from Spain, performed by Jenna Rae Herrera.) He also clearly exhibited bravery, dread and loss during Act Four.
  • Christopher Anderson, as Baron von Rothbart, not only conveyed a seething malevolence in his dance, but his makeup and facial expressions brought it – and a measure of dark desire – to the fore, as well. The audience could almost “hear” the schemes and machinations playing out in his head during Act Three.

In all, this production of Swan Lake was a phenomenal treat for the senses. It is easy to understand why it has been performing to (near-) capacity crowds for its run. If you have a chance to see it before the run ends on Sunday, 15 February 2015, I highly recommend doing so.

Reason #2517 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

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Reason #2517 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Saturday – 07 February 2015
On the “Trending” feed on Ye Olde Facebook, there were a couple of items: One about Kim Kardashian and one about (her step-father) Bruce Jenner.

trending

Fortunately, the Jenner article is not about his gender reassignment. I say “fortunately” because if that’s the choice s/he has made, it’s her/his choice. It doesn’t affect anyone outside of her/him and or her/his family. Period. Full stop. However, there’s been a lot of hullaballoo about it, I would assume based on Jenner’s fame as an Olympic decathlete.

I would qualify the above item as being newsworthy based on the fact that there was an accident and that someone, unfortunately, died.

The Kim Kardashian article, on the other hand? She got a haircut. Whoop-de-damn-doo. News? Hardly. People get haircuts every day (except, maybe, Mondays). Not newsworthy in the least. And, it’s only getting recognition because people have made her famous for being famous (1, 2).

And that’s today’s reason why I will probably never be a news director: I don’t see the percentage in putting someone in the spotlight for… non-news.

/soapbox

Oh, the Samuel L. Jackson article? *shrug* I’ll call it “entertainment news,” although it would probably be more of an “announcement.” But, it’s Samuel L. Jackson, so it kind of gets a bye on principle. Just because.

Namaste.

At the work week’s end…

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Friday – 06 February 2015
My niece, Grace, turned seven today:

grace_7

Team DiVa and I got to talk with her – and her sisters, my sister and brother-in-law, and my dad – over Skype this evening. I believe that it was one of the most engaged conversations that DiVa has had over Skype.

Other things that made today good:

  1. Post-work/post-daycare with Team DiVa.
  2. An end-of-the-work-day chat with Sara!.
  3. Introducing Team DiVa to Undercova Funk before bedtime.
  4. Learning that Sana Amanat, former editor and co-creator of the new Ms. Marvel, got what are colloquially referred to as “big ups” as she was named Marvel’s new Director of Content and Character Development.
  5. Conversations about fashion and style with a trio of coworkers.
  6. A discussion with a coworker about my standing desk, her pilgrimage o The Garden of Sweden to acquire one… and the confused looks on the employees’ faces as they showed her their standing desk (much more expensive) and she kept telling them “That’s not it.”

Things that did not make the day good:

  1. Yet another email spam/virus outbreak at work. (Fortunately, we caught it quickly and got ahead of it before it became too widespread.)
  2. Not getting to eat lunch because of the above.

On the whole, I’d call the day a “Win.”

Stray Toasters

  • I am running a nominally Valentine’s Day-themed tournament tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of teams my players bring.
  • I should comb through the various and sundry links that I’ve posted here, see if the links are still active, determine if I still care about them, and pin the worthy on Pinterest.
    • I may even move The Covet List from an Amazon Wish List over to Pinterest, as well.
  • The Pro Dumpster Diver Who’s Making Thousands Off America’s Biggest Retailers
  • It may just be the way I’m wired, but I’m not sure that I entirely agree with How Often You Really Need to Shower (According to Science)
  • Speaking of which, how often do you wipe down your kitchen counters?
  • Marvel, in other news, also announced a new book, spinning out of the upcoming Secret Wars: An all-female team of Avengers.
  • And, before I forget: Someone at DC seems to have had a rectal craniotomy and decided to make Starfire a little more palatable/accessible to readers, including those who mostly/only knew of her from the Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! cartoons.
  • I might actually be one step closer to running a new Shadowrun campaign.

Time to find something to do now that Team DiVa has finally knocked out for the night.

Namaste.

Reason #2516 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

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Reason #2516 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Thursday – 05 February 2015
While at lunch, the restaurant in which I was eating had televisions tuned to CNN. One of the items that they covered was the crash of TransAsia GE235.  That’s news. I was good with that.

What I wasn’t as good with was the running… and re-running… and re-re-running… of the crash footage, taken from the vehicle behind the taxi that got clipped as the plane crashed.

Yes, I realize that it’s probably the only footage you have, but seriously, do we need to see it eleventy-seven times over the course of two minutes?! No, I think not.

Tell the story.
Show the clip.
Give additional information about the story, if any.
Maybe, maybeshow the clip one more time.
Move on to the next news item.

To be honest, it reminded me of the way news stations kept airing footage of the Challenger explosion in 1986. I remember being in class at the time of the actual explosion, but walking down one of the hallways where a TV was on – shuttle launches were still pretty big deals – and Peter Jennings being on the air saying:

We want to show you… well, we don’t want to show you, but we are going to show you… footage of [the explosion]…

…then showing a 20-30 second clip of the event.

And, how often the clip kept being shown after that…

The same thing with the WTC collapse.

I’m not denying the events’ newsworthiness; I just wonder how often people need to be shown and re-shown (horrific) events.

/soapbox

Namaste.

World Cancer Day 2015

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Wednesday – 04 February 2015
Today is No Bad News Thursday Eve. It is also World Cancer Day.

world_cancer_day_11

From the United Nations’ World Cancer Day page:

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. It can affect almost any part of the body. The growths often invade surrounding tissue and can metastasize to distant sites. Many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors, such as tobacco smoke. In addition, a significant proportion of cancers can be cured, by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, especially if they are detected early.

Two of my friends, Mary and Jake, are cancer survivors. Their cancers were caught and treated early. I am able to enjoy their company today because cancer awareness and treatment methods have progressed to their current points. That, however, doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for more people to learn more about the awareness and for treatments to improve.

But, I’m glad for the strides that have been made.

Namaste.

“He Turns” – Epilogue

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"He Turns" - Epilogue

As I mentioned in my this morning’s post, I used my standing desk today. My original goal was to see what it was like for an hour or two, but I wound up using it all day, with a couple of exceptions when I had to look at someone else’s system.

avengers-nick-fury2

The heights of my monitors and keyboard were just right – I’d definitely advise anyone/everyone to make sure that the heights you choose are correct for your body – and there was plenty of room for my mouse to scroll across both screens. As the shelf that’s used for the keyboard and mouse tray is rather rigid and unforgiving, I highly recommend a wrist pad.

If I had to identify a down side, it would be this: I spent the day standing on the hard plastic chair mat at my desk. It was my only source of discomfort, but it’s nothing that a floor mat – possibly memory foam – couldn’t fix.

On the whole, I’d say that the maiden voyage of the desk was a success.

If you’re considering a standing desk option that’s relatively inexpensive, this setup works and is worth it.

Namaste.

“He turns.”

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"He turns."

Monday – 02 February 2015
A few days ago, I set up an inexpensive standing desk in my cubicle at work. Why? Because I could. Also, because I have gotten tired of sitting in a chair for eight hours (plus or minus). I occasionally used a standing desk when I worked for the USPS; it provided a nice change of pace and I enjoyed the option of going from a seated desk to the standing one.

I had a few “technical difficulties” getting things set up the way I liked, but I’ve managed to work the bugs out of the system and things are working well now.

When I started working this morning, the following popped into my head:

Tony Stark: [Covering his eye, looks around] How does Fury even see these?

Maria Hill: He turns.

Tony Stark: Sounds exhausting.

Which made me think of this…

fury_screens

…despite the fact that I wore my long leather coat today, my standing desk and I aren’t nearly quite as cool looking.

Namaste.

Rise and Shine!

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Rise and Shine!

Monday – 02 February 2015
Not only is it Monday…

1391205460783-Groundhog-Day-alarm-clock

…it’s Groundhog Day.
(Be glad you’re not Bill Murray. Or this clock, as the case may be.)

Namaste.

January’s End: Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015

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January's End: Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015

Saturday – 31 January 2014

UPDATE: Of course, when I posted this last night, I neglected to include the link to the gallery of pictures I took. D’oh! So, here’s “take two.”

It’s been a good weekend… and it’s only half over!

Thanks to #BestWifeEver, Sara!, I attended the 2015 Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Xperience, colloquially referred to as “FanX” (pronounced “fan ex”).

slcomiccon2015

I went Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon for a few hours each day. Friday, I went with my coworker, Adam, and wandered the show floor, checking out the event. I ran into a few people I knew and saw some really good costumes, but I mainly wanted to see who and what was there. As I was originally not planning on attending the event, I decided not to go in costume.

Shortly before we were ready to leave on Friday, I ran into Jay Whittaker, who was dressed as Deadpool. Okay, let me amend that: I was talking with Big Movie Mouth Off and Geekshow Podcast‘s Jimmy Martin… and there was someone dressed up as Deadpool. I tried (mostly) to just ignore the cosplayer. Then, he just said: “Rob! You have no idea who I am,” and started laughing. Then I started laughing, because I recognized the voice. He told me that he was enjoying the anonymity of cosplaying behind a mask and noted that he was going to be cosplaying as Miles Morales – the Marvel Ultimate Universe Spider-Man – on Saturday. I jokingly quipped that I would have to show up on Saturday as Nick Fury. He said that I should do it…

Saturday morning, I broke out the Nick Fury outfit and headed back to FanX. My game plan for the day was to catch up with a few friends and to attend three panels:

  1. The Bechdel Test, hosted by Hello Sweetie Podcast‘s Charity O’Haodagain
  2. Comic Books on Television – DC, featuring my friends Jake, Jeremiah, and Jimmy, and
  3. Cosplayers and Charity, hosted by Jay (which I didn’t know until Saturday afternoon).

I’d barely gotten to the main floor when someone stopped me to take a picture. I was a little late getting to the Bechdel Test panel, but I did get there. It was a great discussion and some of the audience questions were insightful. I had some time to wander after the panel, so I caught up with my friend, Jamie. We wandered a bit. I got stopped for more pictures. We wandered some more.

I ran into Josh, Jack and Melody and their son. I’d seen pictures of Mel’s costume, but hadn’t seen the actual handiwork until today. The pictures don’t do it justice. That was an impressive piece of work. (Of course, that’s not entirely surprising, having seen her other artwork.) From there, it was off to the Comics on Television panel, which was just… fun. More wandering. More pictures. Then it was time for the Cosplayers and Charity panel, which featured six cosplayers from five charity cosplay groups (and one independent charity cosplayer). The panelists related stories of how they both got into cosplay and into cosplaying for charity.

After that, I did a little more roaming. I ran into Jamie again and we both ran into Danielle, also from Hello Sweetie. Charity and Sean passed by us on their way out and I took that as a sign that I should probably get on my way as well.

All told, the FanX event was a smaller affair than its September sibling, but that was not a detriment. It was easier to navigate (“Not all asses and elbows,” as I told a few people) and less chaotic. But, nevertheless, it was fun. I’m glad that I went and thankful to Sara! for the opportunity to go.

Namaste.

“In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night…” (or “The Night I Met Neal Adams”)

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"In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night..." (or "The Night I Met Neal Adams")

Wednesday – 28 January 2015
Today, Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection hosted a Neal Adams signing event.

Neal Adams
For those of you who are unaware, Mr. Adams is a comic book and commercial artist (bibliography). Wait, I left out a word: “Legendary.”

When the signing was announced, it was a given that I was going to attend. And I knew what I was taking to have signed:

Green-Lantern-v2-80-00

This is the cover of the issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow from the month and year I was born. This…this is what I would have signed!

I left work a little early and headed to Dr. Volt’s with my copy. As I got there around the time that most people were just getting off work, I was there before a crowd gathered. I picked up a trio of prints…

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Green Lantern John Stewart

 

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Diana, Princess of Themyscira

 

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Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (1978)

…and I got in line. A few moments later, I was at the head of the line and about to get my items signed. I also had a chance for a photo op.

IMG_0488

I stuck around for a few minutes to talk with the guys at Volt’s before heading home.  It was at this point that Andrew reminded me of something: A few months ago, I’d bought a copy of Green Lantern/Green Arrow #87, the first appearance of John Stewart… which was also drawn by Neal Adams. He said that I should get that signed, too.

IMG_3636

Then I remembered something else: I had left it at home.

::: grblsnrkx :::

I did a little mental math and realized that I could make it home and back before the signing was over AND still run the other errands that I had planned for the evening. Decision made, I did my best Smokey and the Bandit impression.

And I made it.

I returned with GL/GA #87 and got back in line. Mr. Adams looked at me and asked, “So you found something else…?” I replied that of all the Lanterns, John Stewart was my favorite. He signed it and, putting down his pen, said: “With this, you’ve earned the right to hear the story of John Stewart.” He then proceeded to tell this story:

He had gone to Julius Schwartz with the idea that Green Lantern Hal Jordan needed a backup, in case something happened to him. Schwartz told him that Jordan already had a backup: Guy Gardner.

Adams retorted with: “So, a purple alien comes to Earth, dying, and sends his ring out to find a worthy successor. It passes Batman, Superman and all of the other heroes in the DC Universe and finds… a test pilot. Now, I’m a big fan of Chuck Yeager, so I get it. But, when the time comes to find another worthy person, the ring goes out again… and passes Batman and Superman – again – and finds… a white, blonde, gym teacher. What about all the other people in the world? Is it just going to pass them by?! Twice!?”

“Gardner needs to get hit by a bus. If he just breaks his arm, he’ll be back – good as new – in a month. If he gets hit by a bus, he’ll be out of action for a while. There would have to be a new backup.”

Schwartz realized that Adams wanted to introduce a minority character as Jordan’s backup. He tried to dissuade him by saying that Hal Jordan’s mechanic was Asian. Adams said, “Yeah, and you call him ‘Pieface!’ That’s offensive.” They went back and for a bit, but Schwartz eventually relented and said “Denny (O’Neill) will write it and YOU have to draw him.”

And he did.

When the story was done, O’Neill handed it off to Adams… who didn’t get far into the story before finding another point of contention: the name – “Lincoln Washington.” He confronted O’Neill, who told him that it wasn’t his idea and that Schwartz had come up with it. Adams went to Schwartz “…and closed the door, because I knew there would be shouting.” He argued against the name, calling it not only offensive, but also noting how blacks of the day were changing their names to get away from ‘slave names.’ He also told Schwartz that he could keep the name, if he was adamant, but that e would also fill his office with letters from angry readers. Schwartz responded that he “…[knew] guys with those kinds of names,” and then asked Adams what kind of name he should give him. Adams simply replied, “A name. A real name. Just… pull out any name.” Schwartz eventually relented and told Adams to come up with a name. He picked “John Stewart.” He then laughed and asked, “How was I supposed to know that he was going to be come a comedian?”

He wrapped up his story with the following epilogues:

“This story has two endings.

Ending Two: DC wound up making a movie with Hal Jordan, Green Lantern. There were 10 million kids who were asking ‘Who’s Hal Jordan!?’ Putting Jordan in the movie, they basically went from Gil Kane straight to Geoff Johns, jumping over me and Denny O’Neill – our names weren’t even  credited. And, DC lost $150 million dollars on the movie.

Ending One: When I pitched the idea of a black Green Lantern, I did it because I could draw a black person and no one else could or did. All of the artists, even the black ones, were just drawing white faces and then having them colored to be black. And they were drawing them with wavy hair. Black people don’t have wavy hair, they have kinky hair. It takes a whole lot of shit to make it wavy. And we also had to put the color notations in our artwork, so that the colorists would know how to color the characters. Black characters up to that point were all light-skinned, we used to call it ‘khaki brown.’ When I put in my color notations for John Stewart, I made him dark. Julie Schwartz and (publisher whose name I don’t recall) came to him and asked, ” Are you sure that you want him this dark?” Adams confirmed his intention. He then added, “Then they asked me something that has stuck with me until this day: ‘Aren’t black people going to be offended?” Adams laughed and said, “You can send me the first letter.”

When he finished his story, I told him “Ending Three: John Stewart is the reason that I’m the Green Lantern fan I am today. I grew up watching Hal Jordan on cartoons, but I was never really into the Lanterns until John Stewart showed up on Justice League. In fact, I became so much a fan that when I got married, this wound up on my wedding ring…” I showed him the GL insignia on my wedding band and simply said, “So, thank you.”

wedding_bands_sm
I had a lot of fun at the signing, meeting Neal Adams, and listening to him tell stories. (Come on, meeting the man who was responsible for one of my favorite characters?! Yeah. Not a big surprise there.) He was charming, a bit gregarious and an interesting man to chat with. He will be at Salt Lake Comic Con‘s FanX on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you are attending the con, I suggest stopping by his booth and saying “Hello.”

This took about an hour and a half longer than I had expected, meaning: I’m up MUCH later than I had planned to be up. However, I wanted to get this down, while it was still relatively fresh in my mind. I’d call it worth it.

But, now… it’s time for a tour – an abbreviated tour – of The Dreaming.

Namaste.

Reason #2515 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

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Reason #2515 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Tuesday – 27 January 2015
As I was preparing lunch today, the television in the break room was on and tuned to [news channel whose initials sound like “SEE ENN ENN”]. As far as news channels go, I was cool with this; Faucks Newz is probably the only channel that makes my hair stand on end. Oh, wait…

The lead story was… dun dun DUNNNN… about the blizzard hitting the northeast. There was a live report from Brooke Baldwin in Boston; she commented that the snow was still falling. (It was. We could see it.) There was also a “Breaking News” banner plastered across the screen, telling of a sea wall breach on Massachusetts’ South Shore and how water was causing damage to a home along the wall and the potential for more damage when high tide rolls in. (Holy crap, actual news!)

breaking_news2
It was at this point, that they decided to cut to another reporter for more information about the breach. Okay, I’m fine with the “man on the scene” reports for news-as-it-happens. Let’s go!

And… cut to the reporter… riding in a car… on the way to the scene.

*sigh*

What. The. Hell?!

Was there something that he can tell or show us – other than more falling snow out his window or the snow on the road ahead – that Brooke couldn’t?

Answer: Not really, from what he did say.

So, then WHY cut to “man-on-the-scene” if he’s not at the $(*&!#@$!%?scene?!

I feel the same way about on-the-scene reporters who are “reporting live from…” the site of a fire or an accident hours after the fact. Is there a relevant reason for you to still be there – other than:

  1. You’re the FNG and are paying your dues,
  2. You pissed off your news director and this is your punishment assignment, or
  3. You’re using your “story coverage” to squeeze in a trip to the Dunkin Donuts or liquor store.

Here’s my take on it:

  • Is the news happening now?
  • Is there something relevant to the story that we need to see at the scene?
  • Is there someone you’re about to interview who has pertinent information about that news we’re not seeing because it happened two hours ago?

If your answer was “No” to any or all of those questions, Get. Back. In. The. Studio.

/soapbox

Namaste.

Reason #2514 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

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Reason #2514 of "Why I'll Never Be a News Director"

Monday – 26 January 2015
Sara! and I just finished watching Castle and the post-episode news bump came on. The item was about the blizzard in the northeast.

A potentially history-making blizzard hits the northeast…

That, in and of itself, I was fine with. What annoyed the holy living shite out of me was the phrase that followed:

…how it affects Utahns…

at which point my internal screw-this-o-meter went off and I tuned out everything else that followed.

When this has happened in the past, Sara! has accused me of not “getting” human interest stories. That’s not (entirely) true. I grok human interest stories; I just don’t think that they are always/necessarily news. (Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.)

breaking-news
My biggest beef, at least with local newscasts, is that they often try to find a “Utah angle” even in stories that don’t have one. You want to report the news? Great! Tell us that there’s a horrible storm hitting the east coast. You want to tell a story that affects people here? Do that. But, for the love of God, the Devil and Bob, DON’T try and make a story that isn’t about Utah… about Utah.

I’ve tried to recall if news reports in other states in which I lived did the same thing. And, for the life of me, I don’t happening in those places. I’ve been here more than ten years and it still gets under my skin. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I don’t watch local news.

Feh.

Okay, that’s two birds with one stone:

  1. New post
  2. Venting my spleen.

I feel better now. Now, back to my regularly-scheduled viewing of Vin Diesel’s XXX. (Yeah, yeah, yeah… say what you will, it’s a guilty pleasure. Deal.)

Namaste.

Avengers Assemble!

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Avengers Assemble!

This afternoon, I went to the local Toys ‘R’ Us and picked up a new Disney Infinity Play Set. Since Sara! Got me a Nick Fury figure for Christmas, I decided to get the Avengers set…

infinity_avengers

…only to discover that I can’t the figure in this set. (He’s part of the Spider-Man set, apparently.) Oh, well. So I started out with Iron Man and then Thor and finally Captain America.

And I’ve been having a blast. Possibly even more fun than I should. And that’s just fine with me.

Namaste.