Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie a Day Month! - Rules

Below is a copy/paste from Scott's blog. Right under all that are my thoughts.

December 1 begins the first annual Movie-a-Day month. Here are the rules:

1. As there is no prize or reward for following the rules, you may bend all rules. But because if you break the rules you aren't playing the game, no breaking the rules. Example of bending the rules: You go to bed at 2 AM, so before you go to bed you write about the movie for the previous day. Breaking the rules: Skipping four days and writing five times to make up for it. Exception - with the holidays, you can front load some movies if you know that you will travel or have other holiday obligations. Don't skip the Feats of Strength to write about a movie.

2. A movie must be written about everyday. More than one movie is encouraged.

3. You must have seen the movie from beginning to end, credits excluded. The exception is if you were in a theater and the movie was so bad that you left. If you snuck into that movie and didn't watch it all, it doesn't count. You shouldn't sneak into movies anyway.

4. You aren't a professional movie reviewer, so full length reviews aren't necessary. A quick rehash of the plot is fine, but don't retell the story. Tell me what you think about it!

5. While you don't need to be an expert about the movie, the internet, and especially IMDB, is at your fingertips. Feel free to take a moment to get the character's name spelled correctly. Go ahead and give us the exact quote if it's easily available. However, you don't need to rewatch the movie just to get the quote. If it isn't on the internet, let us know that you are quoting it from memory.

6. The movie you write about should be generally available to your readers. If you want to go in a slightly different direction and write about an internet movie or made for TV movie, cool. But writing about Foot of the Bunyan or CA Iverson: The Movie: Part 6 might not resonate with all of your readers.

7. Spoilers! Use your best discretion when using spoilers. If it's a movie that has been out awhile, maybe just put a warning right before you spoil something. If it's an essential part of your movie blog, don't avoid it, but let the reader know at the beginning. If it's a newer movie, make that warning a little bigger and sooner. Feel free to use inviso-text (making the letters the same color as the background so that you have to highlight it to read it.) Yeah, your reader should expect that you're giving away a little bit of the movie.

8. Optional - use some kind of uniform rating system. Thumbs up or down. See it, Rent it, Skip it. Letter Grades. Stars. The only key word is "uniform." Pick a system and stick with it for the month. Be aware that some of these might just be trademarked.

My thoughts: I've really been looking forward to this, as there are a lot of movies that I want to write about but haven't gotten around to it yet for whatever reason. I already know what my first movie will be, and I have an idea for a running theme as to how I plan on titling each entry.

I'm also going to try and follow an additional, ninth rule:

9. Each movie must be from a different genre and decade as the previous one. In other words, if I write an entry on The Maltese Falcon, I shouldn't follow it up with an entry on Murder, My Sweet. Not only are they both from the 1940s, but they're both detective movies. So, I'd have to follow up "Maltese" with something like Superman: The Movie which is a superhero film from the 1970s. (I just realize how lame it is that I explained that. Is that really so hard a concept to grasp?)

I'm also planning on keeping this positive. I reserve the right to change my mind, but I want this to be the poor-man's version of Roger Ebert's "The Great Movies". He doesn't rank them or give them scores; he just celebrates movies that he thinks are great. I don't think that I'm qualified to attempt the same idea. This will be more along the lines of "Lance's Favorite Movies" - as some of my favorite movies I really don't consider to be "great" at all. In fact, some of my favorites are downright bad, but I love them anyway.

Come back tomorrow for my first movie review! Yay!

The End Haiku

Today is the end.
No more Haiku 'till next year.
Bring on the movies!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Astrology Haiku

I try not to scowl
when an adult wants to know
what my star sign is.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cabbage Haiku

Eat too much cabbage
and you just might regret it.
It's nature's own broom.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Near-forget Haiku

I almost forgot
to write my Haiku today.
Good thing I didn't.

Comics Roundup for 11/25/09

Every so often, I realize that I'm buying too many comics and I need to cut back a bit. This week was one of those times, and while there's probably some other stuff I can drop, I've found about four this week alone that I can stop getting. I'll start with the good stuff though:

Blackest Night #5 (of 8) - I thought that things were looking a little too easy as to how the whole Black Lantern situation could be solved. They finally got together representatives of all the various Lantern groups, but the stakes have been raised yet again. Also, I like how this whole storyline directly addresses the fact that so many DC heroes have died and come back and there's even a bit of an explanation provided to all this. Still - what's the deal with Batman? He was a Black Lantern, but only for a few moments. And isn't he actually somewhere in the distant past? Is that really his body? If not, whose is it? They'd better answer this stuff.

Green Lantern #48 - Actually, you ought to read this one before reading Blackest Night #5, as it explains how all the different Lantern members finally agreed to work together. Obviously, the avarice (orange) and hate (red) representatives are the most difficult to get along with, but the story had it all make sense. After all, if the Black Lanterns win, then all of these guys lose. I'm also really digging Doug Mahnke's art. I hope they get him to stick around for a while.

The New Avengers #59 - The only thing slightly disappointing about this issue is that they were advertising it as having some sort of a Spider-Man/Spider-Woman focus, and I was interesting in seeing what that was all about it. Well, both characters are in it, but not anymore than they usually are. That said, this was a fun issue and Stuart Immonen is still doing a great job. Obviously, this one takes place before the Dark Reign: The List issue came out, and I'm curious as to when the series will catch up to all that.

The Amazing Spider-Man #613 - I think that artist Paul Acazeta might be growing on me. In a way, his work reminds me a little of Mike Allred. Anyway, that said, I like what's going on with Electro in this story arc, even though I do miss his lightning bolt mask. Supposedly this all fits into a much bigger storyline that deals with Spidey's classic rogues gallery, but I'm just not seeing how this is part of a larger tapestry.

Superman: Secret Origin #3 (of 6) - Unlike the last two issues, which covered a lot of new territory, this one went over a lot of familiar ground. I guess it's going to be standard that every time Superman first meets Lois, it will involve her falling from a skyscraper and a falling helicopter as well. There was nothing wrong with this issue, but if it was the only one I had read, I'd wonder what the point is. Hopefully the next three issues can continue to keep things as interesting as the first two did.

Giant Size Thor - Honestly, I don't know why this couldn't have just been told as part of the regular series, as the only thing that justifies the extra pages are reprints of the first Thor story and a preview of the next issue where a new creative team takes over. Will I get the next issue? I think that I will, as I like what's been set-up by the outgoing creative team. If the new writer can run with the ball in an interesting way, then I'll stick around. Otherwise, this just might be a series for me to drop.

Spider-Man: Clone Saga #3 (of 6) - There's nothing special going on here, but I'll see this series on through to the end. I'm really liking Todd Nauck's artwork, and I think that he's come a long way since I first saw his work about a decade ago. Hopefully they can get him a gig on the regular Spider-Man series.

Criminal: The Sinners Part Two - I really need to start waiting for this series in the trade paperbacks. I didn't remember much about the first issue aside from really enjoying it; therefore, I didn't bother to read this one. I'll do what I did the last couple of times this series came out and wait for the entire story to come out and read it all in one sitting. Considering that's what I always do, I might as well save some cash and buy the trade. (Although with the trade I wouldn't have gotten that interesting text piece on Australian Film Noir...hmmm...not to mention all those reviews of classic film noir...hmmm...)

Web of Spider-Man #2 - I'm a bit torn about this series. On one hand, it's mostly just filler. On the other, it continues the Spider-Girl series. I think that I'll just take this series an issue at a time and give it a good flip-through before purchasing an issue. This one was enjoyable enough, but I don't think that I would have really missed anything if I didn't get it.

Justice League of America #39 - I was really interested in the fact that James Robinson and Mark Bagley were going to be taking over this series. The first issue had me feeling somewhat indifferent, and this one had me rushing through just to get it finished. The main problem is that it's a "Blackest Night" crossover, so it really can't take the time to establish a new status quo. Another problem is that I don't really care enough about any of the current team members to keep reading. I guess I like Zatanna and Plastic Man, but they're better as supporting members than the ones who should be drawing me in. Also, since I was always more of a Marvel guy, I really don't give a crap about Vibe - he looks pretty lame. I'll be skipping the next issue, but I'll keep monitoring it to see if it gets interesting.

Hulk #17 - I've enjoyed this series, but the whole mystery of the Red Hulk is officially old now, and this is the last issue before it goes into some sort of a major crossover with a few other books. I'll pass for now, and if it looks interesting enough, I'll pick up the inevitable trade. Call me crazy, but I just don't think that The Hulk is interesting enough to carry more than one monthly book, and they need to start getting back down to the basics.

Star Wars: Legacy #42 - This series has had its ups and downs with me, but lately it feels like more downs, so I think that's going to be it for me. I found myself not even finishing this particular issue, as once again it didn't feature the one character that I find the most interesting - Cade Skywalker. As I've stated at the start, I need to cut back on some books, and this one's just not doing enough for me to keep buying it.

Gotham City Sirens #6 - I figure six issues is enough to determine whether I want to keep reading this series or not, and I think that I'll end it all here. I've found this series to be amusing, and while I really like Paul Dini's writing, I guess I like him best when he's writing about Gotham's premiere citizen instead of focusing so heavily on the supporting cast. And again, if I miss anything good, I'm sure there will be an inevitable trade paperback.

So, from this week alone that's at least four books that I'll be dropping. I'll have to review my last few comics roundups to see if there's anything else that can get the axe. I guess that the most frustrating thing is that so much of my favorite stuff all comes out at the end of the month. I like to get new comics every week, and when only a few books are out there, I wind up picking up stuff that I might not normally get. Oh well, perhaps that's fodder for another blog post...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thorsgiving Haiku

I'm changing Thanksgiving to Thorsgiving. This Haiku will make it official:

He gives salvation
from the evil Frost Giants.
Happy Thorsgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cheating Haiku

I need a new lunch.
Jambalaya is tasty
but not ev'ry day.

(And before you accuse me of cheating by writing "ev'ry" instead of "every" - Shakespeare pulled the same move all the time by swallowing syllables. You gonna call HIM a cheat?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bealtes Rock Band Haiku

Jammin' with the lads.
They're straight out of Liverpool.
Beatles Rock Band fun.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dinner Haiku

My jambalaya
washed down with my IPA.
An awesome dinner.

Rapture Services!

As we all know, DA JEEBUS™ is one day (pretty soon) going to snatch up all the Christians and send them right to heaven. As for the rest of us Hindus, we're going to be stuck down here on Earth to face a great tribulation where DA ANTI-DA JEEBUS™ is going to make us all feel like he's really swell until we realize that he's actually trying to destroy the world. And even though he has free will, he's going to behave in the exact manner as the prophecies state even though that will end up in a defeat for him.

What exactly are those prophecies and how can one find them? They're all in The Bible. I can't tell you exactly what part lays it all out. From what I can tell, divining Biblical prophecy involves cutting out various passages from both the Old and New Testaments, putting them all in a hat, giving them to a rabbit to eat, having the rabbit crap them out, and then putting it all together again to get what you want out of it. This also works with Moby Dick if you don't have a Bible handy.

While many Christians are looking forward to this totally inevitable scenario (only slightly less inevitable than a zombie, that's gonna SUCK!) no doubt they are probably worried about what's going to happen down here on Earth while they're watching all the bloodshed and crazy shenanigans. I imagine that some of them are worried that a smug sense of "I told them so!" isn't going to be quite enough. After all, who's going to water your lawn? Feed your fish? Remind people that you told them so? You're not going to be able to do that from heaven, ya know!

This is where I come in. Are you a Christian who eagerly awaits The Rapture and is willing to pay me to do some stuff for you when it happens? I can assure you that I'm not lying when I tell you that I'm an atheist and will not be raptured. Yeah, I know, how can you trust an atheist? After all, I have no moral compass. That's why I frequently kill people and live a promiscuous, drug-abusing lifestyle (sure hope my wife isn't reading this!) How about this: I swear to Darwin! You know that's gotta count, 'cause us atheists revere him as a deity.

Here are my services and what I'm charging. The services will begin once you are raptured, and obviously, the contract will become null post Armageddon when Satan (and me too, I bet) are cast into a lake of fire/bottomless pit/Michael Bolton concert.

$5000 - lawn maintenance
$500 - take care of your goldfish
$1000 - take care of your cat/dog
$10000 - take care of your emu farm
$50 - tell all your friends: "You shoulda listened! Why didn't you just open your heart to DA JEEBUS™? Glory be to GAWD!"
$100,000,000 - getting plastic surgery and pretending to be you as though you never got raptured in the first place.

Other services and fees are subject to negotiation, but I think that covers your basic worries. As an added bonus, I will also offer services for the following doomsday scenarios:

Acharit Hayamim
Kali Yuga
The End of the Mayan Calendar
The Vengeance of Zeus
A Palin Presidency
Alien invasions

So, what are you waiting for? Put your money where your mouth is and pay me, already! Where's your faith? Nowhere if you don't contact me and send me money...FAST! Don't get me wrong, I think that you'd totally be wasting your money, and this is probably one of the most transparent scams ever. But hey - I'm an atheist! I believe that nothing created everything and that I am a god myself! What do I know?

Comics Roundup for 11/18/09

Dark Reign - The List: The Amazing Spider-Man - This was a fun issue, and I think that it's the first time that I've ever seen a Kubert draw Spider-Man. It looks pretty good, even though I was expecting Andy, not Adam Kubert for some reason. Hopefully they can get him to draw some more. Anyway, it's good to see that Spidey's playing a major role in this whole "Dark Reign" saga and that Norman Osborn hasn't forgotten who the biggest thorn in his side has been all this time.

Spider-Woman #3 - I think that I'm just picking this up because whenever I flip through it, I'm really impressed with Alex Maleev's art. Storywise? It's not bad, but it's nothing great either. Still, there are enough twists and turns to keep this interesting, but I think that anybody who buys the book hoping to actually see Jessica Drew as, you know, Spider-Woman, is going to be disappointed. I don't think she's worn her costume once.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #6 - I enjoyed the last issue so much that I didn't even notice that it had a guest writer; although I did wonder why suddenly the story was focusing on The Huntress. This issue wraps up that story, and it was a pretty solid read. Chris Yost brought his story to a satisfying conclusion. Not only that, but I'm now caught up with all the "Manhunter" backup stories, and I've been enjoying those as well.

The Flash: REbirth #5 (of 6) - This series is really taking its time coming out, and I thin that I'll need to reread it all in one sitting to give my final impression on how good it is or isn't. I'm really curious as to what the new status quo will be, as the DC Universe sure has a lot of guys who run fast - and only three of them are called The Flash. Maybe some of them need to go into retirement.

The Amazing Spider-Man #612 - Once again I'm disappointed with the art in this book. While this isn't the major crapfest of last issue, it's just not up to the standards that were set in the beginning when the series went thrice monthly. At least it's not a confusing jumbled mess like last issue, but it's pretty wooden. With that said though, I still really enjoyed the issue as it features one of my favorite writers (Mark Waid) and one of my favorite villains (Electro). It also has a setup that I've never seen before, and it does a good job of weaving in some of the current sentiments of this country. (Electro gains the support of the people by going after a rich guy who benefited from a government bailout.)

Dark Avengers #11 - While I don't normally like these "let's see inside your soul!" types of scenarios, this one was pretty good. Basically, Osborn is up against a villain that can control reality, so he's pretty out of his depth. The last panel was pretty good too, and I'm eager to find out how not only this particular arc is resolved but how everything's eventually going to come crumbling down on Osborn.

Adventure Comics #4 - I'm not even going to attempt to explain what happens in this one. Let's just say that it involves all that crazy DC Multiverse mumbo jumbo and the breaking of the fourth wall. If you described that to me, I'd be shocked to find out that I still wound up enjoying this issue though.

Echo #16 - I'm always glad to see this, one of the few non-Marvel/DC comics I pick up, on the stands. Things are definitely getting more interesting, and not only does this reveal new aspects of the supporting cast, but it brings up a lot of new questions about exactly what's happening. (I was going to go into details - just pick up the first trade if you're interested. You won't be disappointed.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Opinion Haiku

Hear my opinion!
Yeah, so what I have no facts?
It's still just as good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Teaching means...

Last week, I had a student pass out in class. By the time I had walked over to him to try and turn him around and make sure that he was still breathing, he had already regained consciousness. When everything was settled down and he had gone to the office so his parents could be called, a kid in my class said that I had "moved so fast!" Another kid said that I had done a really good job with the situation. But what goes on in my head? All of the things that I could have done differently.

That, in a nutshell, is what teaching is like for me. I realize that there are a few teachers out there who sometimes read this, so I know that they're experiences will vary, but essentially the following is what the job is like for somebody with my particular set of neuroses and idiosyncrasies. Your mileage may vary:

1. Teaching means that every day before work I have a miniature nervous breakdown. No, I'm not running around the room and panicking, but think of how you feel before you have to give an oral presentation. (Unless you're part of the 2% of the population that has absolutely no fear of it.) Dial it down a little bit and that's pretty much how I feel every day. The only reason it gets dialed down is due to the fact that it's become so familiar. Of course, it always gets ramped up a bit at the beginning of the school year.

2. Teaching means that my brain is always in the classroom. Even when I'm doing something else and relaxing, my mind is either thinking of new ways to go about certain lessons or replaying conversations and discipline issues that I wished that I had handled differently. Sometimes my mind is anticipating conflicts and problems that I can see coming up, and I'm thinking of how best to handle them. If you're trying to talk to me and you see me completely zoning out, sometimes this is what I'm doing.

3. Teaching means that your passion is often met with indifference. There are a lot of things that I teach that I think are meaningful, but oftentimes when I try to explain them I'm talking to a crowd who'd rather be talking about who has a crush on whom and making meaningless small talk.

4. Teaching means interacting with the kinds of people whom you would never want to have anything to do with if you had any say in the matter. You know those people you see on Cops? You know, the type that won't shut their mouths despite the fact that the officer has told them repeatedly that they'd get pepper spray in their eyes unless they cut it out? And yet they still wind up getting pepper sprayed and still don't shut up? Those people pass through the public school system.

5. Teaching means that I spend too much time thinking about all of the above. It's a job where you're doing it because you care, but oftentimes your problem is that you care too much. You feel like if you don't reach one kid, you've essentially failed. But then you take a moment to put everything in perspective, and you go through the above list again:

1. Teaching means that I never experience the drudgery of other jobs that I've experienced. One of the reasons why I have my miniature nervous breakdowns is for the simple fact that I care about what I'm doing. Oftentimes, I'm genuinely excited about what I get to teach that day. There are also students (and sometimes even entire classes) who I look forward to seeing. Nothing's worse than going to a job and not caring one way or another about how good a job you're going to do that day. Trust me - I know what that's like, and the though of doing it until your retiring years is terrifying.

2. Teaching means that I actually get to use my brain. I'm a relatively smart person, and I thrive on being challenged. Unfortunately, I'm also a bit lazy in many ways, and I'd never take the time to challenge myself. This forces the challenge upon me, and I've come up with some pretty good lessons. (I'm assuming this because I have had other teachers - some who have been doing this job much longer than me - use my lesson plans.)

3. Teaching means that you actually reach people and make a difference in their lives. When I think back on it, I probably didn't always go into my classes with an enthusiastic look on my face. Still, I can think of several teachers who have definitely improved my life. I guess I'll take it on a bit of faith that I've done the same. And at the risk of sounding like a certain teacher I knew who was an overbearing egomaniac, I have had kids pretty much say so to me. Sometimes I even hear it secondhand. Sure, there might be a lot of indifference, but how many jobs can you do where you even have the opportunity to pass on something valuable? Sure, sometimes it's unwanted, but even if I only reach one kid every year, that's more than I would have had I stayed at some of my previous jobs.

4. Teaching means working with awesome kids. You know those people who go on to make the world a better place? You know, the ones who are scientists, social workers, writers, artists, doctors, (dare I say teachers?) etcetera. I'm talking about the people who are genuinely pleasant to be around - the kind of people who make you think and challenge you to become a better person. They pass through the public school system too.

5. Teaching means that I sometimes don't spend enough time thinking about the above. I guess it's a good thing in a way that I often dwell on the negative. It gives me motivation to improve, and it means that I still care. As difficult as it is sometimes, it would be far worse if I lived a life of apathy.

I just hope that when my time is done, right before the Valkyries take me off to Valhalla, I'll be able to look back on it all and dwell on the second list.

Return of Big Turkey Haiku

Now it's big turkey
a phrase that I've said before
I still think they're lame.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Argos Haiku

He's missing a toe
but jumps like a pogo stick.
Can't stop that Argos.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I've seen the future, and it's streaming

This is old news to some folks, but I just got my disc from Netflix that allows me to stream movies directly to my Playstation 3. X-Box users already have this feature (although I think that they have to pay extra to access online content - PS3 users do not) and so do some people with some particular Blu-Ray players that are available. Still, it's new to me and other PS3 users. What makes it even more exciting is that I actually got to be part of the marketing research for this, so I knew that this was coming. (They gave me six free months of Netflix for doing it! I'm such a nerd for this stuff that I probably would have done it for free!)

If you already use Netflix, you may notice that you already have a lot of videos that you can stream directly to your computer. I've tried it a couple of times just to try it out, and I've been pretty impressed with the quality of it. However, the problem is that I don't want to watch a full movie from my computer screen when I can be watching things on the 42" in the living room.

I've only watched a bit of one movie (National Lampoon's Vacation) and half of another (Firefly) which I plan on finishing later. So far, I've been pretty impressed with the quality. It got a little pixelated here and there, but it happened so quickly that if you blinked too much you'd miss it. Is it as good as watching a Blu-Ray? Not quite. However, it does look as good as a high-quality DVD, and that's not too shabby at all.

Of course, the selection is somewhat limited. You're not going to find really big hit movies, and you're not going to find really recent stuff. However, I've got quite a bit of stuff lined up on my queue so far, including a bunch of TV shows that I missed for one reason or another (mostly because I don't have premium cable - and I see even less of a reason to have it now). There are a lot of old film noir movies that I want to see along with a few documentaries and independent films. I suppose that if all you want to see are new, mainstream releases, then you're going to be pretty disappointed. Lucky for me, my tastes branch out quite a bit past that, so I actually feel spoiled for choices right now. As for the mainstream new releases, I can wait for those discs to come in the mail just like before.

All this has got me to thinking though. Will the days of having a collection - any kind of collection - go away? I've already read articles about how a lot of today's kids don't care about owning physical cds when they can just fill up their MP3 players. Also, the Kindle technology is getting better, so that will save you a lot of space, and you won't need a big book collection. Perhaps comics will go the way of the Kindle. I don't think that I'd ever want to read my comics on the computer, but if that "computer" was portable? And if it looked as good as it does on paper? That might be a different story? And of course, let's not forget the movie collection.

I was eagerly awaiting for Vertigo to come out with a new release, as the current DVD is pretty low-quality. However, now that I see that I can stream it anytime right to my TV, what's the point? Why buy any of those classic movies that I want when I can just watch them anytime - and in good quality (which will no doubt improve with firmware updates)?

The thing is, I do like having my big collections of comics and movies. Still, if I ever have to move, they border on being a burden. This new generation might not realize just how good they have it.

Comics Roundup for 11/11/09

A bit of a disappointing week that was made up for by one of the best Hellboy stories ever. Here goes:

Batman #693 - I thought that was The Reaper (the main villain from the underrated Batman: Year Two) at the end of the last issue. While this issue did confirm it, there wasn't a whole lot going on with that particular plot point. Aside from that, this issue really dabbled in a lot of Paul Dini's territory by featuring Hush and The Riddler - and it seems like The Riddler is going to be returning to his old ways. I suppose that was inevitable, but I liked the idea of The Riddler as a PI, but they may have just used up all those story possibilities.

Batman and Robin #6 - I recently read all of the first five issues in a row, and I found myself enjoying them tremendously. Then I went and read this one and felt a bit disappointed. I'm starting to think that Grant Morrison's work kinda stinks in small installments. I'm going to let this series go a few more issues and then read a bunch of them in a row again.

The Amazing Spider-Man #611 - Fun cover, crappy comic. I suppose that Joe Kelly's story was just fine, and there were some amusing moments, but the artwork was so annoying and distracting that this felt like a real chore to read. I'm glad that this was just a one-off story, and hopefully whoever they have for the next story arc will do a better job. I hate to say it, but this series hasn't exactly had the best art lately, which is sad because it had some really stellar stuff when the whole "Brand New Day" thing started.

Daredevil #602 - Nothing really stands out about this one, but it was a solid installment in what continues to be a good series. I'm also starting to appreciate Roberto de la Torre's artwork a lot more with this issue. Anyway, I like this whole plot twist with Daredevil leading the Hand, but I hope that it doesn't go on too long. I'd like to see what things Andy Diggle can throw at DD that are entirely his own, considering that this plot point was introduced by the previous writer.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #8 (of 8) - Before reading this, I went ahead and read the entire series. This was easily one of the better Hellboy story arcs. There was definitely a lot of new stuff revealed about him, and the stakes have been raised as to his eternal dilemma as to whether he should fulfill his destiny as the harbinger of the end of the world or not. It turns out that it's all a lot more complicated than that, and he has a few more options than just being Mr. Destruction or not - but one way or another, he's gotta do something. The only bad thing is that this story doesn't resolve that, so I'm eagerly awaiting the next series. Also, I have mentioned several times that Duncan Fegredo has been a decent replacement for Mike Mignola's art. Right now, I'm at the point where even though I'd welcome a return of Mignola (as I seem to recall reading that he's returning to comics full time) I think that I'd actually miss Fegredo. Oh well, hopefully I can follow his work on another title.

Hannity Haiku

Hannity got caught
claims it was inadvertent.
Got a bridge to sell.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Apologizes to Jon
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2012 Haiku

Endtime - twenty twelve
just like all those other ones
but this time for sure.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Berlin Wall Haiku

The Berlin Wall's fall
was just called "a miracle".
People get no props.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Astrology Haiku

We know what stars are.
Why do people still think that
stars encircle them?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Islamic Terror? How about Religious Terror?

If you're paying attention to what's going on in the news, you know about the tragedy at Fort Hood, where a gunman killed 13 people and wounded 30. Some of the talk about what happened involves the fact that the killer was a Muslim, and supposedly he shouted "Alluha Akbar!" before firing his weapon. Also, there are reports that he was a subscriber of extremist Muslim beliefs. There does seem to be some debate as to what his motivations were, as it doesn't necessarily fit the profile of a typical religious terrorist.

But let's go with that - let's say that it was pure religious terrorism that motivated his actions. What prompted me to write this entry was an opinion article from the New York Post where the author believes that this incident should be referred to as an act of "Islamist Terror". After all, if that was indeed the shooter's motivation (and for argument's sake, let's just say that it is) then why pussyfoot around? Why be politically correct? Yeah, sure, there are all sorts of Muslims out there who are decent people and make positive contributions to our society - but hey, they need to deal with the fact that they have wackos within their belief system.

The only problem is that this doesn't go nearly far enough. Why just pick on the Muslims? Why not call it "religious terror"? After all, Islam is a religion, isn't it? I don't know of anybody who's ever flown a plane into a building because he was either fairly certain that there was no afterlife or that he felt that an afterlife was impossible to prove one way or another.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Hey, I'm a Christian, and even though we're a religion, that's TOTALLY different! After all, Muslims believe all sorts of crazy things. Did you know that they believe that there was once a talking snake? And that some Jewish guy who was raised as an Egyptian was able to magically part The Red Sea? Not only that - and this is really crazy, so hold on tight - they believe that a virgin was able to have a baby and that baby is going to come back to life some day! Whoo...nutty, nutty, nutty stuff."

I actually got into a mini-debate on Facebook about this. I stated that I didn't completely disagree with the Post's article. I don't think that we should pussy-foot around with our language. Then I asked if we should call those who bomb abortion clinics "Christian terrorists". What about parents who don't take their kids to the doctor as they choose to pray for them instead? What about the KKK?

I was quickly schooled on this point though, as DA JEEBUS™ never condoned any kind of violence. Mohammad? He was all about the shootin' and the killin'. I had never realized that The Bible was only filled with positive messages that were relevant and acceptable to a civilized society. After all, there's that whole passage about how you're not supposed to own slaves, right? And sure, there's all that stuff about killing every living thing (except the virgin girls) in the Old Testament, but DA JEEBUS™ clearly states that that sort of genocide is wrong. If you ever see anything in The Bible that seems messed up, you can just dismiss it as being the Old Testament, which doesn't count anymore - UNLESS, of course, it's the stuff that obviously still counts (like how to regard queers and whatnot). How do you know what stuff in the O.T. counts and what doesn't? Oh, it's all very clearly laid out and divided up so there's no way that anybody can be confused. I could be more specific, but if somebody points out something in The Bible you don't like, feel free to just yell, "Out of context!" That works too.

In all seriousness, I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that the Christian religion is currently having the same kinds of problems as the Muslim religion is having. However, when you look at this sort of an issue, and when you compare one religion to another, you don't get to just look at the last ten years. Shoot, you don't get to just look at the last 100 years. Both of these faiths are over a thousand years, and both of them must be looked at in their entire context in order to determine which one's more messed up than the other. My conclusion? When you take the broad view, they're both pretty screwed up. And before you Christians want to feel all smug about how much better your faith is than the faith of others, maybe you might want to take a more careful look at just what kind of atrocities have sprung from your religion.

Paranoid Idiot's Haiku

All of my freedoms
taken by Pres. Obama
who is a Muslim.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Twenty Kids Haiku with blog

I used to want one
but now I want twenty kids
to exploit for fame.

I'm not a big fan of reality TV, but my wife watches quite a few shows that fall under that category. Seems like a few of them are on "The Learning Channel" although I'm not entirely sure what one is supposed to be learning when watching them. But then again, I don't see a lot of "history" being dealt with in Ice Road Truckers either, and I'm pretty sure that's on The History Channel. (Don't get me started on all their UFO/Nostradamus crap.)

For the most part, when she watches them I tend to be in the other room dinking around on the computer. Some of them I don't mind watching while I'm eating lunch (or listening to when cooking or bottling my beer). For instance, Little People, Big World is interesting as it gives an insight as to what it's like to be one heck of a lot shorter than most people, and it has that cliched but valuable "we're all just people" message to it. The one that I absolutely detest is John and Kate Plus Eight. I don't know what it is, but for some reason when I hear either one of those people talk, I want to commit seppuku. They're boring people talking about boring things in voices that make Ben Stein's seem dynamic. One time they even had the guy ramble on about how a particular word had a funny sound to it. Criminey, if I wanted to listen to inane small talk, I'd go to a work-related party.

Then there's the show that I feel the most conflicted about - 18 Kids and Counting. (Or is it 19 by now? 20? 48? Who can keep up? This mom is more fertile than Gaia herself.) Basically, the show's about two people, the Duggars, who decided to keep having children until they simply couldn't any more. You know, leave it "up to God" and not take into consideration that they live in a modern world where we can have some control over our destinies. Ever consider that maybe THAT'S God's (and by God, I mean Lugh...duh) plan? To use your brain and the resources around you? How come nobody ever decides to stop going to the grocery store and just let "God's plan" take over from there?

I didn't mean to already get into the aspect of the show that bothers me, but there it is (for the most part). The thing is, it is somewhat entertaining and compelling. Why? It's because they're charming people for the most part, even if it's in that Ned Flanders kind of a way. They keep having kids, but they don't go on welfare, and they manage to do everything for themselves. (No doubt having a TV show helps alleviate some of the financial burdens, but they were pulling it off long before the show.) They also have what seems to be a very loving family, and everybody looks pretty healthy - and the mom looks pretty good especially when considering how many puppies she's squeezed out.

Hey, this is America, right? You should have the freedom to do whatever you want so long as it doesn't affect other people. I certainly wouldn't want to see the government tell them that they had to stop having kids or force the father to get a vasectomy. I also can see why somebody would want to watch the show. Much of it is "How the hell do they do __________?" It's an interesting look into a family that really has a unique situation.

So there's all that, and yet it still doesn't sit right with me. Maybe I'm like the monster Grendel, (or The Grinch, for those of you who haven't read Beowulf) and I just can't bear to hear the sounds of happiness. Or maybe this show glamorizes something that absolutely should not be glamorized. Sure, there's a lot of good stuff being emphasized like family values and looking out for your loved ones. But having that many kids? Good for them that they can pull it off, but how many people have it together enough to do that sort of a thing?

And what if everybody did things their way? It's an environmental disaster waiting to happen! No, I'm not really worried that this is going to happen, and I'm not a big believer in the notion that people are going to do something just because they see it on TV. Still, do we really want to glamorize this behavior? If they have the ability to care for so many kids, then what about all the kids out there who don't have homes and are starving? Why keep bringing more into the world when they could take some in who are already here? What, is the father Genghis Khan and he's trying to create a nation? Indeed...what would Jesus do? (They're Christians, in case you haven't guessed. I was joking about the whole Lugh thing.)

What also bothers me, and you probably knew this was coming, is that they home-school their kids. I'm not necessarily opposed to this, but it's a safe bet that their kids aren't learning proper science and instead are learning creationism. I base this on an episode where they went to the zoo and the dad proclaimed when looking at the chimps that we "didn't come from monkeys". I'm going to assume that he was making the usual mistake that creationists do and wasn't trying to clarify that the theory of evolution has nothing to do with us "coming from monkeys" as it's actually about how we share a common ancestor with them.

So, they're not just cranking out the kids, they're cranking out the ignorance. Again, it's a free country, and they should be able to do what they want. Still, I'd be lying if I told you that there wasn't something scary about the whole thing. Sure, they're happy, but I can't help but think of the quote by George Bernard Shaw: "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Comics Roundup for 11/4/09

Short roundup today, as I only got two titles. Actually, the lovely wifey went to the comic book store (it's next to her dance class) and picked them up for me.

Captain America: Reborn #4 (of 5) - The penultimate issue of this series ends with a "How is Cap gonna get outta THIS one?" situation that one comes to expect from comics. I've been around long enough to not really be wondering whether he comes through triumphant, but I do genuinely wonder how he's going to get out of it. I'm just hoping that it's not some sort of deus ex machina. Seems as though they've been setting some stuff up this issue (and in previous issues) that are hinting towards a resolution. I guess the big question is what's going to happen to Bucky/Cap when this is all over. Let's not kid ourselves - Steve Rogers will be Captain America again, and no doubt he will be the key to ending the whole "Dark Reign" of Norman Osborn. But where does that leave Bucky? Will he be the Winter Soldier again? Nomad? (I think that the "Heroes Reborn" Bucky is taking that role.) Whatever happens, I hope that they keep him around, as he's become one of my favorite characters.

The Amazing Spider-Man #610 - I'm not sure that I can say much about the whole "Who Was Ben Reilly?" storyline that I haven't said before. Overall, this was a decent but not a great story. Still, I think that it was necessary. I don't even know if there are any non-comics fans out there who are reading this, but for anybody who read the Spider-titles back during the clone saga, the Clone Saga will never be forgotten. For the most part, the biggest total naysayers were the ones who didn't even read it at all. Those who did read it seem to feel the same as me (at least those I talked to). There was good and there was bad, and it felt pretty strange to have it end and then have everything just move on like it never existed. This not only acknowledges the whole storyline, but it legitimizes Ben Reilly as a character (and no, he's not back). It was nice to see, but hopefully now we can deal with some newer stories with new situations.

Haiku Two-Fer

I wrote one yesterday but only posted it to Facebook. Here it is:

Not much to write on
when verbosity is my
usual M.O.

And here's one for today:

Why is it that the
invisible man gets all
the credit for me?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Christian Twitter - I'm not making this up

Before you go getting all mad in the pants over this topic, please note that I found out about it from a Christian who found this to be as absurd as I do. Not only that, but a lot of Christians have responded to his post and commented that they agree that the notion is ridiculous. Of course, I'm going to probably have a slightly different angle on this whole thing, but you can't accuse me of just randomly lashing out at Christians (this time).

What's so absurd, you ask? Apparently, there's a "Christian alternative" to Twitter. You can find it here. And at the risk of sounding like I "doth protest too much" I'd like to point out that there are even some Christians on the site who are questioning the reasoning behind why such a site even exists. After all, can't a Christian just get a Twitter account and post things like "We are all just sinners saved by the free gift of salvation"? What is the purpose of this?

I'll tell you what I think. First, I'll put yet another disclaimer when I say that I don't believe that most Christians are cult-like in their behavior. However, I will say that Christianity, just like any other faith system, lends itself to cult-like behavior. How is this cult-like? Think about it. It's all about segregating themselves from the mainstream. That's exactly how cults behave. Everybody who's not a member is "the other" and will never truly understand "the truth" the way the members of the cult will. Why else do you think that there are things like Christian bookstores, Christian TV channels, and Christian music?

No, I'm not saying that all of those things are necessarily cult-like on their own, but they do encourage Christians to think of themselves as being different and apart from the rest of society. As I've mentioned before, there are a lot of great songs out there with a definite Christian message, yet they aren't marketed as "Christian music". Think of the music of U2, Ben Harper, Al Green, Johnny Cash, etcetera. Those artists wear their faiths on their sleeve, but they're willing to sing about other things and engage the world a little.

I have a Christian friend who's broken away from the more fundamentalist aspects of the religion. One of his complaints is that so many of his fellow Christians completely shut themselves off from the world. They only associate with their fellow Christians, and they have probably never honestly engaged somebody who doesn't share their faith in their lives. This of course makes perfect sense, as some of the arguments I hear from Christians are obviously the types of things that sound really good so long as they continue to go unchallenged.

My current personal favorite is the assertion that a "proof" of Jesus is that there were 500 eyewitnesses. Yeah, that sounds really good, but that's using The Bible to prove The Bible. Another favorite is that Jesus "proved" he's the son of God (I thought it was "Son of Man"?) when he came back from the dead. Well gully gee, I guess that means, Hercules, Osiris, and Balder all "proved" that they're legit too, 'cause they all resurrected as well! The point is that these arguments betray a very isolated mindset - one that rarely engages in any kind of challenge or critical thought.

Speaking of cult-like behavior, a co-worker gave me a Christian tract that's intended for children (not because he thought it would save me but because he thought I would find it amusing). Reading through it, I can't help but think of my experience with the Scientologists. After filling out their little survey, I was told that I was "unstable" and "withdrawn". And wouldn't you know it? They had a program that could help me!

That's the way a cult works - convince the person that he or she has a problem and then offer the solution. The Christian tract works exactly the same way. The problem that it invents is "sin" which you are automatically guilty of committing. Somehow, the god who created everything is free from blame for our sinful natures, but never mind that. Of course, there's a solution which is that god sent himself on a suicide mission so he could forgive us. According to the tract, "The Bible says that without the giving of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin." Does this mean that there's something that God can't do? If so, then he's not exactly omnipotent, and then he's not exactly God, now is he?

Anyway, I'm trying to inject too much logic into this whole thing. The point is, the M.O. of the Christians who made this tract is exactly the same as the M.O. as any other cult. To top it off, it's aimed at children. They're the ones whose minds are easier to mold, so it only makes sense to go for them. As I said, I don't think that most Christians are cult-like, and I don't think of Christianity in general as being a cult. However, I'm not entirely sure where the line is between the ones who are cult-like and those who are not.

One thing's for sure, Al Green ain't no cultist:

Daylight Savings Haiku

Got an extra hour
for having a good night's sleep.
Can I have one more?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Grammar mattars or Grammer matters

Ages ago (around 1834) I was working as an accounting assistant for a "hotel alternative" in San Francisco. That was my primary job, but they soon discovered that I was pretty good at doing other stuff, which was good for me as it gave me more hours. Among that other stuff, I made some floorplans of their apartments. (I also designed their website, and I was smart enough to charge freelance rates for that one. pun intended.) Another thing that they had me do was write letters for all sorts of reasons. Most of them were to people who hadn't paid their bills, but I know that there was some other stuff. At first, my boss would read over my letters to make sure that I was using the proper business verbiage, but eventually she didn't even bother reading them any more, as it got to the point where she was just saying, "That's fine" and she'd hand it back to me.

When she corrected them, she never had to point out things like misplaced apostrophes or the fact that I used the wrong version of "there" or "your". Why is that? It's because I passed the third frikken' grade, that's why. I remember that there was another woman who worked there who would frequently get things like that wrong in inter-office communications. I would point it out to her with a "Didn't you pass the frikken' third grade?" tone in my voice, and her reply was, "I have other things to do. I don't have time to correct everything."

I was in my early twenties, but even then I was smart enough to leave it alone at that point. Really? Not enough time? Do you have to stop and reason it out for about twenty minutes before you know whether it's "there" or "their"? (Or is it "they're"?) Must it be submitted to the President of the International Grammar Institute for a ruling each time you consider using an apostrophe? Is it really that hard? My guess? Unless you have some sort of genuine learning disability, no, it isn't. It has more to do with the fact that you just don't care.

Of course, this is the kind of thing that you see all the time on the Internets. Before I go on, let me point out that I'm aware that my blog posts are hardly error free. Still, I write a lot, and for the most part, I don't make dumb mistakes. I'm sure that I've goofed and used the wrong "there" once or twice (in 400+ blog posts) out of sheer carelessness. The sort of mistake that I make more often is that I find a splendid little adjective and then I use it in a sentence only to use it yet again in the next splendid sentence. Sometimes I even have entire sentences that just don't make sense. In those cases, I start out thinking that the sentence is going one way, and then I get distracted and continue it moments later only to have the first part and the last part not really match up. With all that said though, when I do catch these mistakes, I edit and fix them. Why? Because I care. I don't have a lot of readers, but if people are going to read what I wrote, then I want to show enough respect by making myself as clear and error-free as possible. Of course, I'll notice this sort of thing in the blogs of other people, and generally speaking, I just let it go.

This is not what I'm talking about though. I'm referring to people who can't even do a one-sentence Facebook status update or comment without making some careless mistake. You see it all the time.

"I drank five tequila's!"

"Your right!" (Even worse - "Ur right!")

"Wen r u gona pass thurd graed?"


"I hope I don't loose Blog a Day Month again!"

I could probably do an entire post on dimwits who feel the need to use all capital letters. Oh, only capitalizing the first word of every sentence is SO much work! I'm just going to leave the caps lock key on! That should save me hours of time!

The really funny thing is that when you point out errors like this to people, their response is usually along the same lines of them not having the time to make sure that their posts are error free. I find this amusing because things like Facebook are a time-wasting distraction by their very nature. You're already doing something that shows that you have too much time on your hands. Why not take an extra second and show the English language some respect?

Obviously, I'm not referring to deliberate errors like: "I loves me some Internets!" Things like that are done for effect. Putting an apostrophe on a plural noun is due to the fact that you either don't know the difference or you don't care enough to take the two seconds to think about what you're writing. know, you didn't pass the third frikken' grade.

Haiku a Day - Oliver Haiku

Inspired by my cat, who insists on sitting in my lap as I dink around online first thing in the morning:

Oliver the cat
will not stop licking my arm.
A sandpaper tongue