March 31, 2005

Notafinga! They Sold The "Christmas Story" House

The house used in the modern holiday classic movie, A Christmas Story, sold recently on eBay for $150,000. The buyer operates RedRiderLeglamps.com - a site that sells replicas of the infamous leg lamp Ralphie's father wins.

The new owners have a website dedicated to their purchase, where they indicate that they want to renovate the home and turn it into a public museum.

Another reason to return to Cleveland for a visit in the future.

March 30, 2005

The Unofficial Comics Crossover Index

The appeals to the comic book geek in me: The Unofficial Comics Crossover Index

H. B. Lewis

H. B. "Buck" Lewis is an illustrator and animator who has worked on a number of big movies. What I really like his storybook illustrations. Books like Santa Bear, The Klutz Book of Magic, and Can I have a Stegasaurus, Mom?.

If you want to take a break and enjoy some fun artwork that will brighten you day, then spend some time on Buck's site.
santa bear by Buck

March 29, 2005

The M-pire Is Here

Dark M&MsI remember reading about this months ago but don't think I blogged about it. M&M's are launching a new dark chocolate M&M candy and they are tying it to the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Today they started the big M-pire campaign.

The candy will be available on shelves this Saturday (the same day all the Sith merchandise goes on sale), but in the meantime you can treat yourself to a fun trailer for the M-pire.

If you live in New York City, you can stop by Times Square where the makers of M&M's have parked a life-size replica of an X-win fighter as part of the M-pire promotion.

X-Wing Fighter in Times Square


Very neat.

Lightsabers Are Cool

Me and everyone else in my house already have lightsabers, and we all enjoy fighting with them - even Zoe; but these news ones look very cool. I wonder if I can get permission for an upgrade?

lotsa lightsabers

More Ammo for Heather

One of Heather's favorite hobbies is to try and get me to sleep more at night. I'm a confessed night owl who not only enjoys staying up late, but also often feels compelled to in order to get everything done at home that I want to.

The result is I probably get about 5.5 hours of sleep a night. A recently released poll indicates that someone with my sleeping habits is not only depriving their bodies of much needed rest, but "social and intimate relationships suffer, work productivity is negatively affected, and (the roads are) more dangerous by driving while sleepy and less alert."

I'd love to get more sleep. If someone can show me how I can get all the things I need to get done in a day while still carving out 6 to 7 hours for sleeping, I'd love to give it a try.

Batman vs. Darth Vader

The ever astute Mister Snitch has once again turned his eye towards Batman, and this time he's noticed some similarities cinematic-wise between the Dark Knight Detective and the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Especially in the summer of 2005.

batman vs vader


That Liam Neeson sure does get around, doesn't he?

March 28, 2005

Gosh, Which One Do You Think Will Sell The Best?

The April 1st issue of Entertainment Weekly will feature six different covers celebrating the entire Star Wars saga.

EW cover 1EW cover 2EW cover 3
EW cover 4EW cover 5EW cover 6


I think it's safe to assume which one will be the favorite of the aging male Star Wars fanbase still living with their moms.

What I found particularly interesting is that an image of Han Solo was chosen for one of the covers. When you talk about lasting characters or images from the movies, EW hits it right with slave-girl Leia, Yoda, Darth Maul, and Darth Vader. But where's C-3P0 and R2-D2? If I was the editor of EW I'd have switched out the Han Solo cover for one picturing eveyrone's favorite robot duo.

This Is Disturbing

pet pillowNevada taxidermist Jeanette Hall is definitely trying to tap into the "okay, that a little too attached to your pet" market by selling hand-made pillows using the fur from a recently deceased pet.

She calls them Pet Pillows. One side of the pillow is made of the pet's actual fur and the other side of the pillow is the fabric of your choice. Prices start at $65 for a domestic cat and run all the way up to $150 for a horse.

I can just see Heather cuddling up on the couch to watch a little Food Network programming and grabbing her Bumper pillow and pulling it in close. She looks so happy.

The only thing stopping that vision from happening is for Bumper to pass on.

Hmmmm.

Fun Conversations In The Van

For Easter we went to Findlay, OH to visit Heather's family. It's about a six-hour drive that really isn't too bad. A little challenging with young children, but as the get older things get progressively easier.

This was the first trip to Ohio that Emma was making as a fully potty-trained youngster. Considering how she has demonstrated to have a pea-sized bladder while at home, I was a little concerned. Heather felt confident that as long as we insisted on using the bathroom whenever we stopped, and limiting that amount of juice/water/milk Emma drank, everything would work out fine.

Then we were about ten minutes out from a rest spot on the Ohio turnpike (and for those of you not in the know, the Indiana and Ohio turnpikes have limited access and limited rest stops - both usually 30 to 40 minutes apart.)

Emma: I have to go poo!!

Me: What?!

Emma: I have to go poo!!

Heather (who is driving): What does Emma need?

Me: She says she needs to go poo.

Heather: Uh-oh.

Me: Yeah.

It's twenty minutes to the next rest spot, and probably just as long to the next exit. Can she hold it for twenty minutes? At this point I start scanning around. Trees, trees, and trees are everywhere. Could Emma squat behind a tree? Do we risk it? Do I want to deal with trying to explain to my two-year old that public defecation is wrong except for this one little instance because Mommy and Daddy don't want you pooping in our van when we still have about two and half hours to drive?

They never tell you about these dilemmas when in parenting class.

Me: Emma, we're going to try and find you a potty. But you need to wait.

Emma: You know who has potties?

Me: Who?

Emma: McDonald's has potties.

Me: That's right.

Emma: If you find a McDonald's I can use their potty.

Me: Well, maybe we'll look for one of those.

Emma: OH!

Me: What! What happened!

Emma: I just needed to fart. I'm okay.

Me: Heather, just keep driving. Disaster has been averted. Emma only needed to fart.

March 24, 2005

Transparent Computer Screens

It's actually a trick using some creative desktop pictures, but the effect is undeniable cool. Check out this photo and others in a Flickr photo set.

This Would Get Annoying

(Reuters) - Scientists at MIT's Media Lab in the United States have invented an alarm clock called Clocky to make even the doziest sleepers, who repeatedly hit the snooze button, leap out of bed.

After the snooze button is pressed, the clock, which is equipped with a set of wheels, rolls off the table to another part of the room.

"When the alarm sounds again, simply finding Clocky ought to be strenuous enough to prevent even the doziest owner from going back to sleep," New Scientist magazine said Tuesday.

March 23, 2005

Macintosh Hacker Attacks Are on the Rise

A report from Symantec says that attacks on the Mac OS are increasing. While we Mac users have always contended that the Mac OS was sturdier that Windows, the real reason there are so few viruses out there targeting Macs is because Apple holds less than 5 percent of the OS global market. Creating a virus for a Mac isn't going to create the havoc that releasing one for Windows or UNIX will.

However, Symantec believes that the launch of the new Mac Mini will accelerate the the Mac OS' presence in the OS market place and will make Mac more attractive as a target.

Something to be worried about, I guess.

March 22, 2005

More iPod Related Fun

Found on Gizmodo: the iCrib

iCrib


iCrib creator Adam Bell describes it like this:

Our second son is due next Friday, the 25th and we’ve been setting up his crib. We got a bunch of baby lullabies on multiple CDs and I thought it would be cool to rip them all, put the MP3s on a spare iPod and “Pimp His Crib” with a JBL OnStage.

The OnStage is held securely via 2 wood screws (the wife was worse than OSHA in making sure the thing wouldn’t drop and give the new guy an everlasting JBL imprint on his forehead) and the iPod sits in a belt clip carrying case and attaches to one of the ties from the crib bumper.

Next up is trying to mount an old 15” Powerbook to the end of the crib for video playback.


That's cool.

I Want One of These

PodBrixThey're called PodBrix and they are sort of a custom LEGO-guy with an iPod. I just think they look cool.

Of course they are sold out of the figures right now, but I'm on the mailing list and hope to score one in the future.

If I can't have an iPod, maybe I can have a little figure with a fake one.

March 21, 2005

Digital Video Fun

Here are some more videos shot using our digital camera. The quality isn't fantastic, but this batch is better than some of my other offerings.

I had some photos from Ian's performance in Stone Soup. Heather was also able to get a short 10-second video of Ian and his class singing.

Ian in stone soup


This past Friday night Ian and Heather went to the Mother-Son Sock-Hop put on by our park district. I stayed home sick, with the two sick girls (there's a funny story there that I might tell some time).

Ian and Heather had a great time on their "date" spending time together, eating dinner, and dancing. They both love to dance and did so all night long. Heather got some great photos from the night that I hope to share, but in the meantime take a look at these snippets of Ian competing in the air guitar competition.

Ian on air guitar


Ian on air guitar

The Clone Wars Continue

Clone Wars promo

March 18, 2005

Don't Come Near the House

We are a disaster area. It started Wednesday morning when Emma woke up in the morning and promptly vomited all over herself. She proceeded to vomit all day long - not keeping a single thing down. Things were looking up Thursday morning at first - Emma had been keeping water in her stomach - until she spewed some milk all over the couch.

Then Zoe woke up and started throwing the contents of her belly up.

I stayed home on Thursday to help Heather with two young girls with nasty stomach viruses. Emma only vomited once more on Thursday, but she was miserable and wasn't eating much. Zoe improved by the end of the day - keeping water and juice down, and even eating some Cheerios.

Friday, however, presented a new set of challenges: diarrhea. Both girls have it. Some more than others. To make things interesting, my stomach has been turning all day but so far everything is staying where it should.

So far Heather and Ian seem to have been spared the wrath of the stomach virus, but I'm just waiting for the other show to drop. 'Cause you know it's going to happen.

So, if you had any thoughts of visiting us, or stopping by - don't. Don't come near the house. You're liable to get sucked into our sickness hell.

Okay, Maybe It's the All Batman / Star Wars All The Time Blog

The is the new one sheet for Batman Begins

Batman Begins One Sheet

Life Imitates Art

Siemens has developed a small badge communicator that will allow the wearer to not only control your house through voice commands, but also communicate to others and even receive phone calls.

communication badge


Now all that's left is for our clothing to be replaced with two-toned, skin-tight, polyester shirts and black pants.

March 17, 2005

Who Am I Foolin'

Let's just make this blog all Star Wars, all the time

darth tater vs darth vader
Darth Tater vs. Darth Vader: Who will rule the universe?



vader sprinkler
Yes, it's the Darth Vader Sprinkler everyone.

Revenge of the Sith Trailer

The full Revenge of the Sith trailer is now online.

This trailer make it look very cool. I'm really looking forward to seeing this film this summer.

revenge of the sith

March 16, 2005

MOBA

It's the Museum of Bad Art and it is the “world’s only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms."

It has to be seen to believed. There is some really bad artwork out there.

"Stone Soup"

ian in stone soupIan and the rest of his Kindergarten classmates are performing the play "Stone Soup" for their grandparents this afternoon. "Stone Soup" is a charming little story about how three soldiers convince skeptical villagers to contribute all sorts of food to the soup they are making with only one stone.

Ian plays one of the soldiers, and is very excited about performing it for his grandpa (my dad) who is able to attend today. (Heather's parents are off in Ohio and my mother is leaving for Arizona or some place and can't attend)

Heather and the girls were able to go to a preview performance of the play yesterday afternoon and they all enjoyed it a lot. According to Heather Ian does a wonderful job delivering his lines and singing the songs with the group. Even with a 2-year old and 1-year old, Heather was still able to snap a few photos of Ian in action. You can check them out in the Photos section.

Homemade Star Wars Desktop Picture

Back in 1999 when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menance came out I started this little project. I created my own desktop picture for my computer using Star Wars movie posters. I didn't use the original ones for the original trilogy, but thinking about it now, maybe I can go back and get those.

The movie posters are arranged in episode order, so I've just been adding them for number 2 and 3 as the posters have come out. Somewhere between the release of Attack of the Clones and now I lost the original PSD that I was building this in, so adding the image for Revenge of the Sith was a bit problematic. I didn't have any of the guides or layers to make sure I was sizing and positioning the image correctly. In the end it's a straight up guess - though I think I've done a fairly good job.

The image is designed for a 1024x768 monitor size, though it will work on a larger one. Just set your desktop color to black and then center this image.

sw decktop image


What can I say. I'm a Star Wars nerd.

March 15, 2005

Neat Comic Book Covers

DC Comics has released the list of comics and such that they'll be shipping in June, and there are some great comic covers in the bunch.

Klarion the Witch Boy #2
Klarion the Witch Boy #2

Zantana #2
Zatanna #2

And the best of the lot - Green Lantern #2
Green Lantern #1

Uh-Oh!

Study: Tattoo Ink May Contain Heavy Metals

In an analysis of 17 tattoo inks from five manufacturers, researchers found evidence of a number of different metals, such as nickel and copper, in the products. It's unclear how much metal may be in the different inks - or whether there is any health risk.

Could my little Batman tattoo be killing me? Naw. Batman wouldn't do that to me.

See "The Story"

Live in the greater Chicago area? Got free time? Looking for something that entertains and challenges?

Go see "The Story," now playing at the Goodman Theater.

If you want to learn more about the play, before you see it - check out this article from the Chicago Sun Times.

Play close attention to the dashing young man portraying Jeff in the production. I think you'll agree that the guy's got talent and is going to go places.

March 14, 2005

Frank Miller Interview

The incomparable Heidi Macdonald has a fantastic interview with comic creator extraordinaire Frank Miller up where she talks to him about making Sin City: The Movie with director Robert Rodriguez. Very cool and it serves to build my interest in the upcoming release.

Sin City, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and Batman Begins all in one summer. I usually only get to one movie a summer - I don't know what I'm going to do this year.

Make Your Own Ransom Notes

More great uses for the Web turn up every day. This one comes via BoingBoing via Wil Wheaton via Google Blogscope. The Web of Letters lets you enter in any text, and then using the Yahoo search API it recreates that word with random images.

brendan ransom note


I think that's pretty cool. Try it for yourself.

Wrestling The Angry Octopus

I forgot where I read it, but a writer once compared dressing an infant (or anyone under the age of two for that matter) to wrestling an angry octopus. Those of you with kids will grasp the analogy immediately. For those of you who still have their sanity, just sit an imagine wresting with an octopus - it doesn't even have to be angry. Now imagine trying to put a pair of pants and a shirt that only buttons down the back on that same octopus.

A-ha! That's what I'm talking about.

For the last few months I feel like I've been wrestling the angry octopus of life. Work is increasingly busy and stressful. Some projects haven't gone like they should have and I'm concerned with how this reflects on me and the rest of our team. And it's not like there is time to sit back and regroup. We have to keep moving forward with new projects, and me with new, more intense, responsibilities. It's becoming quite stressful for me at work - something I'm not quite accustomed to. Usually I'm on top of everything and everything falls into place. Not so over the last few months. I don't like it. It makes work a lot less fun, and for the last few months it has resulted in me taking a lot of my work home with me at night. Maybe not physically, but emotionally/psychologically I'm carrying things around with me when I'm at home trying to enjoy the company of my wife and kids. That frustrates and angers me. That is not how I want things to be at all.

How do I turn things around? I'm not completely sure right now, but I'm taking the approach that has worked for me in the past. Put my head down and continue fighting forward. Eventually I will come out on the other side. However, my fear this time is that this might not be enough - that I'll need to make some changes in order to stabilize things again. All that makes up four of the arms on the angry octopus. Work is quite dominant

The other arms are things in my non-work life. It's the usual stress of being a husband and a dad. Daily trying to figure out if how Heather and I are approaching things is the best for our kids. That I can deal with no problem. It's all about learning and growing as an individual. What we seem to be getting hit with a lot of is the other stuff that complicates the every day. Stuff like our van has had to be in the shop twice in the last two months or one of the shutters on the front of our house being pulled away from the siding because of the wind.

We belong to one Catholic church (Our Lady of Mercy), but because it doesn't have a school, it provides a subsidy for us to send Ian to school at another Catholic church - Our Lady of Good Counsel School. Now OLM has announced that starting next year it won't pay the subsidy unless we contribute $15 a week in the old collection basket. Not a huge deal, but when you figure in all the other fund raisers and volunteer work that OLGC makes the parents of students there jump through, this is a straw that can break the camel's back. Bad enough that I have to support through taxes a school system I don't use, but on top of tuition we have to sell all sorts of junk, buy Market Day every month, work bingo, and now pay money to another church all to get my son a decent education. Meanwhile, people are rallying to raise millions to keep Star Trek: Enterprise on the air. There's only so much money in my pocket and Heather and I can only stand being pulled in so many directions at one time financially when it comes to schooling. Something has to give here.

Plus, my sister gets hitched in April and the final pre-wedding parties and such are ramping up into full gear. That means more weekends doing this or doing that in anticipation of my sister's wedding. My time is stretched to the limit during the week commuting from Aurora to downtown Chicago and back again. Having multiple weekends over-run with wedding items only means there is less time to take care of things at and around home. I still have to get my taxes done. Heather and I wanted to finish painting the inside of the house this spring (especially considering that we hope to move next spring/summer). We've got big plans for an early summer garage sale, but there is so much stuff to go through yet. I've got a from door to fix, a shutter to re-attach, and a house that needs a thorough spring cleaning by Heather and I. It's all starting to get a bit overwhelming. All of that is good for another three arms to wrestle with.

The final arm represents our kids. It's the usual fretting and worrying that we're doing the right thing for them and helping them grow up into healthy, well-adjusted adults. As I'm sure my parents will be quick to point out to me, it takes a lot of you. That one arm of the octopus is easily the biggest and the strongest. To my point: Zoe had her one-year check up with the doctor this morning and everything (for the most part) is fantastic. She's a healthy, happy little girl. Over the course of the past year, she seems to have established a pattern to her growth: short and chubby, then tall and skinny. And she alternates at each appointment. Form followed today as she registered as short and chubby on the charts when compared to the development norms. She'll stretch out - all of our kids do.

Or course, to make sure that last arm of the octopus is smacking at us something fierce; the doctor saw some things that she was concerned about. Our kids, or at least Ian, have larger than normal heads. I like to think it's to hold our genius-level brains (I have a big head too - no comments!). However, today Zoe's cranium measurement was off the chart. Is this something to be concerned with? Maybe, according to our pediatrician, considering that Zoe has yet to say something like Mama or Dada when referring to either Heather or myself. It could just be Zoe's head is growing more quickly than the rest of her body right now. She could be slow to develop speech. We just don't know yet.

Her development is good elsewhere: walking, responding to sounds, eye-hand coordination, small object manipulation, mimicking others. She's even picking up more baby-signs. She's a great kid and more than likely things will prove out to be fine. Zoe will go back to the doctor again in a month to see how things look. But in the meantime it's one more thing to be worried about - one more whack of the octopus' arm right in the face.

I know that I'll be wrestling the octopus for the rest of my life, but I'd really like to find a way to pin some of those arms down now. After trying to wrangle eight arms for a while now, to be able to cut it down to four or five would be a relief.

March 12, 2005

It Begins Again



Monday, March 21st Clone Wars returns to Cartoon Network. Not as many episodes, but they will be longer. On March 22nd Volume 1 will come out on DVD.

These are all good things.

A Battle for the Ages

Who has the biggest, baddest marketing machine? Which studio can push more shlocky movie tie-ins? There's only one way to decide . . .

lucas and mickey


Actually, considering Mickey's attire and the choice of battle weapons, I think we already know who the winner is.

March 11, 2005

Happy Birthday Zoe!

A year ago today, Zoe Josephine was born to Heather and I. That year has gone by very quickly. It’s almost scary how quickly the years seem to be slipping away from me. It’s almost like time accelerates as you get older. Ian’s almost 6 and Emma will be 3 this August. Heather and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage the June. That was a fast decade.

As astonished I am at how the time has gone by fast, I am equally amazed at how much things have changed for me personally since the summer of 2003 when Heather told me that she was pregnant again. She called me at work to express her suspicion that she was with child once again. I was pretty upset with the news. Emma wasn’t even one-year old yet, our home is a modest three-bedroom house, and I was still holding to my conviction that we should stop at two kids. I was not happy at all. Heather being pregnant again and so soon after Emma wasn’t in the life plan I carried around in my head. I felt like things were spinning out of control.

I walked around in a depressed funk for the next few weeks as I tried to steady myself and figure out how to deal with this. Moving into a larger house was out of the question at the time - we just weren’t in any position to be selling and buying a home. So I turned and figured out the best I could do with the space I had available to me. I converted the basement into a play area. We moved Ian and a very young Emma into a bedroom together. Heather and I made it work.

At times I worried that the depression and anger over this curveball life had thrown me would carry through all nine months and find a new target in the baby. After all, I really had been set on only having two kids. But then Heather got into her full pregnant glory and I was reminded of how beautiful she is when she is pregnant. The stress began to melt away a little bit. I relaxed and enjoyed what I knew for certain would be the last time my lovely wife would be pregnant. We spent more time together, even getting away for a weekend at a fantastic bed and breakfast when Heather was six-months pregnant. Maybe a third wouldn't be so bad.

Then Zoe was born early in the morning on March 11, 2004 and I held her in my arms minutes after she had been born. I didn’t care that she hadn’t been planned. I didn’t care that we were going to be pressed for space at home with three kids. I didn’t care that I was going to have to endure sleepless nights one more time for three months. She was so beautiful and perfect I wanted to hold her forever. But then I was exhausted because I had had the flu the day before her birth and had only been able to sleep for about four hours, so I gave her to the nurse.

When Heather told me that she was pregnant in 2003 I couldn’t imagine how we would ever make it with three kids. Now I can’t imagine not having Zoe. Like Heather, Ian and Emma before her, she has brought her own special brand of happiness and joy into my life. The feelings that well up in me when I hear her squeal and reach for me as I come through the door at night after work is something I never want to be without.

Happy birthday, Zoe. You are one of the best surprises I’ve ever received. I love you.


zoe

I Love Drawn!

This blog is barely a few weeks old and already it has become one of my favorites. I could spend all day reading it and visiting the sites that it links to - if I had the time. What's caught my eye in the past week have been posts about:

The Art of James Bond
Oliver Christianson's website of artwork
Spot the Frog
Illustrator George Feyer
Artist Greg Clarke
Iron Giant production designer Mark Whiting
Wild Batman art

I can't get enough of this blog.

Ooh. I Need This

LEGO will be releasing an incomplete version of the Death Star as seen in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi this fall.

death star


After getting the LEGO mini Millenium Falcon for Christmas last year, I need this Death Star to have something for the Falcon to fly around.

It's Chalk Mug

It is what it is, and it's genius.

chalk mug


A basic black coffee mug that you can write on with a piece of white chalk (included). It only costs $8. Who needs a note pad or Post-It notes, just carry your coffee around with you. Simple. Genius.

A-Ha!

Older Siblings Smarter, Norwegian Study Shows

OSLO (Reuters) - First born children in Norway get better education and as adults are more successful in the job market than younger siblings, a Norwegian-U.S. study showed.

And if you ask me, the same holds true in America.

I've Had It With Blogger

I was effectively shut out of blogging yesterday because of poor performance from Blogger.com, the web-based software I use to publish this blog. One post sat in limbo all day (the "moment of zen" from the morning), and finally last night I was able to get on and write about Zoe walking.

So I finished installing something that I started back in November of 2004 - WordPress. You can see my development blog here. WordPress uses PHP pages and a lot of CSS - things I know almost nothing about. I like the default design that WordPress gives the blog, but I'd like to tweak it and use it as a basis for redesigning and simplifing my site.

Is there anyone out there who can provide or point me towards a down-and-dirty crash course? I really want to make the switch, but I want things to look how I want them to look.

March 10, 2005

Zoe Walks!

We could see it building over the last few days and yesterday she finally took off with gusto. Zoe is walking all over the place now. She still falls down frequently, but she keeps walking farther and farther each time she gets up. I watched her walk from the bathroom, through the kitchen, and all the way into the family room. About 20 feet in total. It's very exciting.

I can't tell you how wild it is to see three of my own kids all walking back and forth in the family room, tripping over each other as they yammer on and on. With the third (and final) one walking now, things are only going to get even crazier in our house. There are going to be building flying every which way. And as I picture that in my mind, all I can think about is how we need a larger house. We are rapidly outgrowing the one that we are in. I think we'll stick it out one more year - mostly to get the house ready to be sold - and plan on moving in 2006.

Wow.

Today's Moment of Zen

blind gunman
(AP Photo/Alyssa Hurst)


Meet Carey McWilliams, who is legally blind, and his wife, Tori. The two are photographed at their home in Fargo, N.D. in front of the target he used to pass his weapons test.

I'm sure they're very nice people. But blind guys with guns? I don't plan on a visit to Fargo any time soon.

March 09, 2005

Batman Through the Ages

Don't know why he did it, but I sure like it. John Firehammer's blog, This is Pop! does a nice retrospective on the different Batman logos used on the comic book through out the years.

My favorite is either the 1965:

batman logo from 1965


or the 2003

batman logo from 2003


Variations on the same theme, I know. But I like that look of Batman in 3/4 profile with a swooping cape effect.

Blogging Can Be Good For My Career

At least according to Tim Bray and his top ten reasons why blogging is a strong career move:

  1. You have to get noticed to get promoted.

  2. You have to get noticed to get hired.

  3. It really impresses people when you say "Oh, I've written about that, just google for XXX and I'm on the top page" or "Oh, just google my name."

  4. No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice.

  5. Bloggers are better-informed than non-bloggers. Knowing more is a career advantage.

  6. Knowing more also means you're more likely to hear about interesting jobs coming open.

  7. Networking is good for your career. Blogging is a good way to meet people.

  8. If you're an engineer, blogging puts you in intimate contact with a worse-is-better 80/20 success story. Understanding this mode of technology adoption can only help you.

  9. If you're in marketing, you'll need to understand how its rules are changing as a result of the current whirlwind, which nobody does, but bloggers are at least somewhat less baffled.

  10. It's a lot harder to fire someone who has a public voice, because it will be noticed.

Jim Lee Comic Cover Goodness


Superman 215 Cover, originally uploaded by bmckillip.

In his blog, Jim Lee talks about the work that went into creating the cover to the final issue of "For Tomorrow." The year-long Superman story he has been working on.

I've really enjoyed the story and look forward to seeing how everything comes to a close. I won't buy both covers, so it's nice to have them together like this to look at whenever I want.

This Is Funny and Probably True

WASHINGTON, DC—Almost a year after the cessation of major combat and a month after the nation's first free democratic elections, President Bush unveiled the coalition forces' strategy for exiting Iraq.
Bush announces the pullout of Iraq through Iran.
Above: Bush announces the pullout of Iraq through Iran.

"I'm pleased to announce that the Department of Defense and I have formulated a plan for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," Bush announced Monday morning. "We'll just go through Iran."

Read more . . .

Cleveland To Close More Than A Dozen Schools

I remember back when I lived in Cleveland that the city school system was one of the poorest in the country. It appears to have gotten so bad that this June the school board will decide on whether to close a number of schools to help erase a $24.5 million deficit. There is also dwindling enrollment, which plays a part, but you know budget is the main driver here.

And it's not just Cleveland that has it rough, cities and towns all across America are in a budget crunch. What I don't understand is how did we get into a situation like this with our public schools? The different news outlets are quick to report the huge budget deficits facing schools, and how the schools slash programs or close to try and balance the books. But I've never seen or heard an explanation of how the school systems got themselves into the position that they are.

Were lawmakers looking the other way for too many years, pushing funding into their own pet projects instead of school budgets? Was there mismanagement of anticipating and forecasting school budget needs or was forecasting never really done? I'd like to know these things. These are things that should be identified. How else can we learn from them and prevent the same mistakes from being made again.

update: Adding insult to injurt, Men's Health magazine released a list of the most depressed cities in America and Cleveland came in at 92 out of 101 with a grade of F. Cleveland sits at the bottom of the list with Detroit, St. Petersburg, St. Louis, and Tampa.

Cities were ranked on information on antidepressant sales from NDC Health; suicide rates, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and information from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Chicago ranked 58th with a grade of D

March 08, 2005

It's Getting Closer

That's what I'm talking about . . .

episode III poster

Neat New Blog

It's called Drawn! and a multi-author blog devoted to illustration, art, cartooning and drawing. It just launched earlier this week and it's already got some interesting things. Links to sites with vintage magazine art, some great animation, even a link to site showcasing Batman logos through out the years.

I've added this site to my RSS reader already.

Wow

It's eBay for sex in England.

What would the puritians in America say if someone tried that in the States?

From the Harper's Weekly Email

Some interesting facts of note from Harper's Weekly Review:

Bill Clinton slept on the floor of an airplane so that George H.W. Bush could have a nice soft bed - these guys have become all chummy-chummy since the Tsunami, haven't they?

A toddler was lost in the Alabama woods; police, firemen, and family friends searched for him in vain. Finally, he was rescued by a three-legged dog. - doesn't say much for Alabama's ability to organize a search party, does it?

Three anonymous donors gave $3 million to resurrect the canceled TV show "Star Trek: Enterprise" - meanwhile schools across the country cut extra-curricular programs or close.

My Heart Just Isn't In It Right Now

I'm having a hard time working up the energy to blog over the last few days. It's a real push right now so that I can still get something up here today and keep the publish schedule fairly regular. There's nothing particularly interesting in the news. Plus I grow tired of regurgitating stuff you all can read elsewhere. Family life doesn't hold any big news - other than Zoe will turn one this Friday. Don't get me wrong, that's plenty exciting, and I plan to write about it, but on her birthday. It isn't a week's worth of material.

Ian and Emma are good. Heather is good. I'm fine. Of course the van might be leaking gasoline. But that seems to be par for the course right now.

I guess I'm just not interested in writing. Sorry.

March 07, 2005

Why Ian Isn't Allowed to Watch Golf

Sure golf doesn't have the violence of football or hockey, or the drug use of baseball; but how can I allow him to watch a sport with such graphic displays of sex.

lewd golf


Come on Mickleson. Get a room.

March 04, 2005

Blink O Rama

Trying to get a picture of my Aunt Kathy up on this site.

This Is Just Too Weird

This is almost as surreal as those old commercials I linked to a couple of weeks ago. You have to take a look at this. Found this from a link in BoingBoing.net. It's the E-Z Catch Harvester, a machine that uses rapidly rotating brushes to catch chickens and deposit them into pens.

You have to watch the video clip of the harvester in action.

More Sith Goodness

Finding more fun tie-in stuff for this summer's Revenger of the Sith movie. First up, more toys:

anakin to darth vader


It's an Anakin-to-Darth Vader action figure. Looks pretty good too. I've seen figures like this before, mostly for Bruce Wayne-to-Batman or the such, and they always look horrible. This one, however, looks quite good. This could be one the figures I actually add to the old collection on top of the dresser.

Now check out this other Sith item I saw today:

Darth Vader iPod cover


It's an iPod cover with Darth Vader on it. Frankly, I think stuff like that is kinda dorky. If I had an iPod, I wouldn't put a Darth Vader cover on it - unless I wanted to get my ass kicked on the train every morning and lose my lunch money. But I found it interesting that something like this is even being made. Obviously the appeal of finding a way to hitch onto the Apple iPod comet is too strong for LucasFilm not to do something here.

But the best item I saw recently was certainly this:

Sith popcorn popper


That's right - a Revenger of the Sith popcorn machine for your home. A number of different models will be available this spring. Two different models with R2-D2 and C-3PO on them, two with images from Revenge of the Sith, and two with just stylized images of Darth Vader on them.

Wow. A Star Wars popcorn machine. Sometimes I wonder if George Lucas has an off button at all when it comes to marketing tie-ins. That's remarkable.

Robin, What Have I Done To You?


Robin, What Have I Done To You?, originally uploaded by bmckillip.

Superdickery.com has a funny collection of goofy comic book panels. Most of the stuff is from back in the 40s and 50s, so taking them out of context is what creates the humor. But it's good fun regardless.

March 03, 2005

Ian The Entertainer

Ian is destined to be a master entertainer. I'm sure of it. First he was the best singer at his preschool graduation, then came starring roles as one of the three kings in the Christmas musical and as one of the soldiers in his kindergarten's performance of Stone Soup.

Now he has already mastered the kazoo.

ian plays kazoo


Shot with our digital camera, so the video is crappy but the magic is undeniable.

I Dream About Doing This Every Day

INKOM, Idaho - AP - Torri Hutchinson's cat might just have one less life to live. Hutchison was driving along Interstate 15 one day recently when a motorist kept trying to get her attention and pointing to the roof of her car. She said she was wary of the man, but wondered if perhaps her ski rack might have come loose.

She pulled over to the side, but kept her doors locked and the motor running.

The man pulled up behind her. Hutchinson rolled down her window to hear the man frantically shouting, "Your cat! Your cat!"

He reached for the roof of her car and handed the shocked Hutchinson her orange tabby.

She had driven about 10 miles with the cat on top of the car, and didn't even notice the feline when she stopped for gas.

Hutchinson said Cuddle Bug, or C.B. for short, had climbed into the back of her car as she was getting ready to leave. She put him out, but he must have jumped on the roof while she wasn't looking, she said.

Should I Be More Scared?

This past week here in Chicago there was a horrible murder of a Federal Judge's husband and mother. For me it was just another news story typical in a big city like Chicago, until I saw this article in the Chicago Tribune today: Internet leaves an open window on lives of judges

The article concerns itself with the question of protecting judges' privacy and safety in the Internet age. This is key to the current case because the Judge's address and personal information was posted to white supremacist websites in response to some of her rulings.

My dad's a judge. He's not a Federal judge dealing with big time mob bosses and white supremacist groups, but he does have to face his share of wackos and malcontents. He has had threats on his life. Because of this he's asked me not to post certain things on my site to. Obviously I've honored those requests. Though I often wonder if I should do more.

The problem is that for everything I do or don't mention here on my site, there are hundreds of places around the web where info can be culled together if someone wanted to learn where my dad lives and where his relatives are. That concerns me. On the other hand, I refuse to shut everything down and disappear out of fear that something may or may not happen to me or my family because of our ties to my father. I can't live like that.

Should I be more scared? I don't think so, but I do think I need to make sure Heather understands the very real risks or threats that are out there and what we need to do in order to keep our family safe. We won't run and hide because my dad's judge. After all, I encouraged him to become a judge in the first place. I won't desert him now.

Dame Emma

She's a pistol.

Dame EmmaDame Emma


That is a robe she got from her Aunt Leanne in Columbus, OH. The glasses came in the Happy Meal she got Tuesday night.

Not quite as funny, but cute none the less, is Zoe eating her first sucker.

Zoe's First Sucker