October 30, 2002

Tomorrow's Halloween. I think we're ready.

Heather's bought 3 tons of candy, in preparation of all the kids who get bused into our neighborhood for trick-or-treating. I kid you not. Huge vans pull up onto our street and belch out children all evening. It madness. We actually buy two levels of candy:

LEVEL 1: Candy for the kids in our neighborhood

LEVEL 2: Candy for the kids traveling 10 miles to leech off another neighborhood, parents holding their 4 month-old babies up in our face and cheerfuly blabbering "Trick-or-Treat!!", and the teenagers in their street-clothes and carrying pillowcases who barely mumble an audible "trickortreat." I hate these fuckers. Let 'em eat Mary-Janes.

Anyway. Ian and I carved 2 pumpkins last night. I think they turned out pretty good. We ended up with two because about a week ago Heather, Ian and Emma went on a hay ride with the OLM Mom's Group which ended with the kids receiving a small-ish pumpkin. Last weekend Heather, the kids and I went out a bought a more regular sized pumpkin. We decided (or more directly, Ian decided) to carve both. One happy. One scarey.

Ian's custom is ready as well. He's going as Thomas the Tank Engine. Heather made the costume and it looks great. Best thing about it is that the costume is a smock-like thingy. It slips over Ian's head and on the front of the smock is the front of Thomas. The back of the smock contains a huge number one (Thomas' number). If the current weather predictions for Thursday hold true (low 40s, windchill in the 30s), then will be able to slip the costume right over Ian's winter coat. No hiding Heather's handy work under blue jeans and a winter coat.

Ian's sure looking forward to to everything on Halloween. I hope everything goes well for him.

* * * In one week I turn 30 years old * * *

October 29, 2002

WHY STOP THERE? WHY NOT JUST KILL THE GUY AND LOOT HIS HOUSE?

Further evidence of the decline of Western Civilization. Brought to us by the mastermind behind the television show The Bachelor - now were going to have a bunch of losers fighting over some old geezer's money before the old man (or woman) kicks the bucket.

Its seeing news like this that furthers my resolve to read more and spend more time with my wife and kids.
Yahoo! News - Crime Writer Says She's Got the Ripper's DNA

This may be great and all - know who Jack the Ripper really was. But who really cares. The Ripper Myth is much more fun left as a mystery. Not only is a great modern legend, it makes for fascinating fiction. Read Alan Moore's and Eddie Campbell's chilling graphic novel From Hell to see an absolutely haunting and disturbing (and possibly factual) telling of the events surround the murders in London.

(There was a movie made based on this novel starring Johnny Depp - don't bother.)

Moore went to great detail researching everything written about the Whitechapel murders and using this research to construct his tale. While the story is superbly written and illustrated, Moore's detailed annotations for each chapter elevate this piece of work. Moore painstakingly demonstrates how factual events support the fictional story he has constructed to explain the Whitechapel murders. Absolutely blows your mind. In the end Moore and Campbell present a solution / explanation to the murders every bit as plausible (in my mind) as any crime novelist could concoct.

October 25, 2002

Yesterdayland - Your Childhood Is Here

Yesterdayland is site I killed a lot of time with on Friday. Great for taking a nostaglia trip. Spent 30 - 40 minutes easy looking at Saturday morning cartoons from the early 1980s.
City Pages: Talk Dirty to Me

Did find something interesting to kill time at work though. This story is hysterical. A collection of quotes from a STD Clinic in St. Paul, MN. Very funny stuff.

My favorite quote, "My pee smells like ham."
Holy crap, what a boring work day. Was there a holiday and nobody told me? There is nobody in the office. There was nobody on the street this morning. There was nobody on the train. Its like the day before Thanksgiving. The place is dead. Not even sure why I'm here. I'll be leaving early.

October 24, 2002

Because it doesn't look like Blogger will allow me to insert an image directly into my blog (I'm using the free version), I'll have to link to your Moment of Zen for the Day: Moment of Zen

Oh, and on another point. Christina Aguilera has no shame. (see the cover story for this week's Rolling Stone). She lost the pop-princess title to Britney, no one believed her claims of Latin heritage, so now she take off her clothes and hopes a medicore body can sell records and earn her some fame.

October 23, 2002

"Hush" starts today. "Hush" is the 12 part story being told by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee in the pages of Batman. I'm pretty excited about this story. The previews I've seen look fantastic, and the interviews and news stories I've read about the story have done a great job of peeking my interest in this project. Another great interview was published today over at The Pulse. This time they talk to Jim Lee about "Hush" and his return to monthly comics. Good reading. But make sure you check out the mind-blowing preview art. Holy Crap on a Sunday! This i going to be a fun ride.

October 22, 2002

Two interesting things I noticed this morning.

One: The BCS rankings are out, and guess who's #3 BCS Rankings? That's right! The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Winning games and the toughest schedule in college football has propelled the Irish right up there with Oklahoma and Miami. The Sooners at #1 is also interesting, but not as surprising considering the cream-puff schedule Miami usually enjoys during most of the first half of the season.

Can't wait for Saturday's game against 12th rank Florida State. Go Irish!

Two: This picture: Photo at Yahoo! When I was 12 (and my brother Kevin was 11), I think the only rebeling we did was against early bed times and green beans at dinner. Crazy things go in the world.

October 21, 2002

I know I mentioned it last week, but it needs repeating.

At least I have the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame continues to roll - defeating Air Force over the weeked 21 - 14. Air Force was ranked 15th in the country and had a Top 5 offensive. Not only did the Irish defense shut down the Eagles triple option offense, Holiday and Grant moved the Irish O up and down the field with ease - controlling the clock and looking like a team in command of a game. Emma and I enjoying staying up til midnight Saturday watching the game.

The Bears, on the other hand, are on a slow train to no-where. I know that they've been hit really hard with injuries - probably more than some other teams. But I can't help but get this feeling that even when (if) those players return, we're not going to see the Bears of 2001 immediately return. I know there are still 9 games left, but . . . .

BTW: Jim Miller and Chris Chandler, while both nice guys and decent Quarterbacks, are not the future of this team. The Bears need a caliber quarterback that can lead them through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl.

October 18, 2002

Yahoo! News - Woman May Have Bitten Husband to Death?

A woman apparently bit her husband multiple times because he refused her sexual advances. Wouldn't it have been easier for the poor guy to just roll over and give his wife what she wanted? I mean come on - a man refusing sex. Does this actually happen?

October 17, 2002

Over the last month or so I've been re-reading "Batman: Dark Victory," Loeb's and Sale's sensational 13-part follow up to "Batman: The Long Halloween." (Its taking so long because I was also reading LOTR: The Two Towers - which I finished yesterday - while fighting for free time with a full house and sleep deprivation). If you haven't read it and love a good mystery you should really consider picking it up. Its being released as a trade paperback this month or next.

I realized something while the other day while reading part 9 or 10 - I really miss having Commissioner James Gordon in the regular Batman comics. After Batman, he is probably my favorite character in the whole Batman universe mythos. (For those not in the know, in late 2001 Commissioner Gordon retired from the GCPD after being shot. We haven't seen him at all in the regular Batman monthlies all year.)

Gordon always appealed to me because of his tough, practical character. He was a good guy fighting to do the right thing in a corrupt world. Essentially he's Batman without the funny outfit and dark obsession. He's the guy you pull for because he doesn't have a bunch of gadgets or a cool car. He's out there on his own working his ass off to right the wrongs the only way he know how - which is essentally playing by the rules. He welcomes Batman's help, though he is reluctant to rely upon it.

Batman's got Nightwing and Robin, who he treats mostly like his adoptive sons, and Superman who he views as friend or at least a little brother. The Alfred / Batman relationship has always been a mixed bag. Sometimes its with Alfred as a father figure of sorts, sometimes its Alfred as trusted confidant. Only with James Gordon did I ever get the feeling that this was a guy Batman really viewed as a true friend. Like someone he'd trust his life with or play cards with on a Wednesday night. Bruce Wayne spent his entire youth preparing for a crusade against crime that you get the impression that he didn't make time to forge any peer friendships. With Gordon I always felt that Bruce Wayne/Batman finally let himself allow that type of friendship to develop - and that Gordon recipocated. Batman would tell Gordon that he is really Bruce Wayne - he trusts him that much. But Gordon isn't interested or doesn't need Batman to make that gesture of trust. Probably because he already knows the truth or maybe because he believes friends accept each other as they are - no questions asked. I miss seeing that relationship played out in the comics.

Ultimately I guess I'm getting a bit tired of Batman the loner running around beating thugs up. The character is great and I still enjoy reading new stuff about him. Especially the stories Ed Brubaker is writing - great crime fiction. However, a lot of what made the character so much fun was some of the closer supporting characters. Here's hoping that DC editorial decides to bring Gordon back into the mix, maybe even Robin. (Its been a long time since Batman and Robin have been together in a comic)

This is the picture the Honolulu Advertiser is running on the homepage of their website right now. Speedo Not sure if that is really front page material. I mean really, old people in speedos? Come on.

October 15, 2002

There's only three weeks 'til my 30th birthday. Argh! I didn't think it was going to be a big deal but as the date approaches I'm starting to feel weirder about it.

I think the recent realization that I'm now the father of two children (as in, "Holy crap, I've got 2 kids! This is serious shit."), plus the impending 30th anniversary of my birth are working together to bring about these odd feelings. I'm feeling old. I'm starting to take stock of my life - the decisions I've made. It’s a new experience for me.

I’ve worked a long time to create a certain type of life for myself. I laid out a blueprint – as it were – back in High School and started working towards it. Now that I’ve pretty much got it at age 30, I’m wondering what I do with it.
Getting off the train this morning I saw a friend of mine from high school (Fenwick, Class of 1991) - Chuck Rummel. He's the only guy from high school I have talked to at all since graduating. He was getting off a different train and making his way through the herd of people fighting to reach Jackson Blvd. If I had made an effort, I could have reached him to say hello. Instead, I just moved along with the crowd and let Chuck go his way.

Afterwards I felt bad. It was a cowardly thing to do. This is why I don't have any close friends besides Heather. I've got lousy social skills.

October 14, 2002

At least I have the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. With the Bears continuing their injury-enduced spiral to a mediocre season, its refreshing to watch a football team that makes things exciting. The Irish might be lacking on offense, but they find a way to win and they haven't failed to entertain. The Bears might pull something out when they get a few people back from injuries, but more than likely it will be too late. Ultimately I think the Bears failure to go after Drew Bledsoe and settling on Jim Miller (a back-up quarterback on most other NFL teams.) will prevent them from making the playoffs.

The Bears are a good team. Strong defense. Deep receiving corp. Great runner in Anthony Thomas. They'd be a great team if they could get a high-caliber starting quarterback.

In the meantime, I look forward to Saturday afternoons.

October 11, 2002

Noticed that Voltron will be coming back as a comic soon (The Pulse), indicating that the 80's revival is in full-force. Besides Voltron, the past year has seen the launching of such other popular 80's properties as G.I. Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, He-Man, G-Force, and The Thundercats in comic book format. The 80's are popular again not only in comics, but on television and teh rest of pop-culture as well. The 20 Year Rule is proving to more like a law.

I grew up in the 80's, so its all pretty interesting for me. Its a chance for me to go back and remember when my life was a lot simplier. I like the nostalgia - what I don't like is the relaunching.

The TV shows that are set in the 80's or the radio stations with their 80s flashback weekends are great. At least there things are either kept in relavance to the time frame (TV shows) or they are the works of the original artists (music). I get to step back any vicariously experience the 80's again, either through site or sound. And its authentic, because much of the cultural references are maintained.

All these comic relaunches have gotten it all wrong for me. The reason I loved G. I. Joe or the Transformers as a kid was because of the cartoon show - it was never about the comic. (though I do understand the G. I. Joe experienced a great run as a comic under Larry Hama). The same holds true for the other properties that have launched as comics. They've all been re-cast or re-imagined for our current world by new artists. What makes revisiting pop culture from the 80's is seeing as it originally ran back then. It becomes that magic time portal back to when you were younger and see it for the first time. Seeing a new He-Man comic drawn by Ed McGuinness does nothing for me. I saw Ed McGuinness art last week on Superman. Where's the nostalgia there?

All the relaunches are fun and all, but for my money give me an old copy of a G. I. Joe cartoon episode, my Transformer action figures, and my Kick album from INXS. The real nostalgia trip is in the enjoyment of the orginal product.

October 10, 2002

Ian made it through his eye surgery with flying colors. The 2 hour surgery went off without a hitch and thr first follow-up appointment with the eye doctor indicates that everything is going to be okay.

Ian handled it all like a perfect little adult. He was calm and composed going into surgery, and has done his best to deal with the discomfort afterwards. Of course, a fantastic Bill Blazes Rescue Hero action figure from his Aunt Elizabeth after surgery has helped ease things a great deal.

Heather and I are both very proud of how Ian has dealt with the surgery and are glad to finally have it out of the way. Now, we jut need to get him to dress and undress himself and we'll all be on our way.

October 04, 2002

We've survived Family Illness Weekend. As is typical, I burned through the cold faster than anyone. All of my symptoms are gone, while Ian and Heather still struggle with their coughs. Its hard to tell where Emma is in the cold. She still sounds a bit stuffy once and while, but she hasn't gotten any cough. I think she's over it already.

Couple days until Ian's surgery. I'm a bit nervous. Both for the surgery and dealing with Ian before and after. He's only 3 and very strong willed. I afraid its going to be difficult getting him to abide with many of the rules that have to be followed before and after surgery. (i.e. no eating before, having an IV, post-surgery care). I just have to prepared for lots of tears and lots of stressed parents.

Looking forward to some comic projects coming out here shortly. One is Gotham Central and comic from DC written by both Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker. Each writer will alternate story arcs. The series will focus on the police department in Gotham City and how they deal with crime and Dark Knight. Rucka and Brubaker are two of the best crime writers working today. Really think the series is going to be something special. The comic comes out in December.

The other comic project I'm eagerly antcipating is Hush, a 12 part story being told in Batman starting in October. Written by Jeff Loeb and art by Jim Lee, the story sounds and looks fantastic. Loeb knows how to craft a great mystery - especially when Batman's at the center of it. Jim Lee is probably one of the finest superhero comic book artists ever - in my opinoin. Read about at DC Comics

I'm also excited to get a look at Dave Eggers' new book, "You Shall Know Our Velocity." Its his first fiction novel, and only his second book (his first being "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius"). I think the guy is literary genius and desperately want to support him and read his stuff. The book can only be purchased through McSweeny's website or select number of independent book stores.

I'm about 4 weeks away from my 30th birthday. Crap.