Half a Month There on Foot

You will find me at the corner of Speed and Power

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

That's the number one song the day I was born: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee.

This'll help you waste your time too. Let me know your song in the comments.

Because Suze Demanded It

We got an e-mail saying:

"Dear Editor-
I'm concerned about the recent content of your blog.
Enough with the cartoons and comics- the people are clamoring and they want
all things Joey. That means- what did Joey do today? What did Joey eat?
Get for Xmas? Yes, one might argue- current entries answer the pivotal
questions: what is Joey digging on? What is Joey reading? - but delve
deeper."

Oddly enough, I almost kept a food journal of Christmas meals, which included beef, ham, peas, rolls, mashed potatoes, macaroni-and-cheese, and Sbarro pizza. At the time all of these meals were more interesting, usually concerning context and volume.

Christmas gifts breakdown like this:

- money
- gift cards (Books-A-Million, Sheetz, Applebees)
- a shirt
- fourth volume of the Fantagraphics Peanuts collection
- The Art of Sin City (the comic, not the movie)
- Sin City: The All-Tricked Out DVD
- Office Space: The All-Tricked Out DVD
- Ghostbusters I & II: The All-Tricked Out DVD
- a video iPod
- monogrammed towel with wash cloth


All in all, a pretty money Christmas of money.

I know this won't satisfy Susan (but what does, really? Hey, try the veal! Thank you, good night) but it's all I got. So there.

Whoops

One of the dogs knocked our work PowerBook off the couch and broke the tip of the power cord a few weeks ago. Last night, when trying to get to the phone, I tripped over the power cord and dog and dropped the PowerBook again, this time having it land with the worst electronic "thud" I've ever heard.

Today it doesn't power up. Not meant to have a laptop at the house, apparently. Which means fewer (like they're not fewer now) posts.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mighty Skullboy Army

I'm digging the heck out of this strip. So there.

Secret Joey Christmas Wish #4829

Little Nemo The Grandaddy of all comics, Little Nemo in Slumberland is reprinted the way it was created: damn big.

This is an indie publisher with very few points of distribution and he hit the jackpot. The book is going back for a second printing as the initial 5000 is almost sold out. And the reviews are universally spectacular.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Muy Bueno

This begs to be a movie starring Salma Hayek that I watch on an airplane.

Amen

PvP

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holiday Punch Out - This contest is over

By a vote of 10 to 7, Rudolph wins by a bright-shiny-take-that-Plumbing-Boy nose. Yes, in the worst-kept-secret this side of "George Bush doesn't care about black people" I'm the Rudolph fan.

The Vacationers had a great showing, much stronger than I imagined. No one I work with or employ was with me, nor their significant others. Thankfully, much like actually elections, none of them took time to vote. There was even indecision in my own home!

I have never been a fan of Christmas Vacation. I love the first Vacation movie, and after that they're dead to me. Jen and I have argued for going on three years about the better of the two, and I'm sure we'll argue again next year.

Two (I think) years ago, post Christmas, Jen presented me with a peace offering of a Rudolph play set, which I proudly display, much like a memento from Yalta I'd imagine, in my home office. Isn't that the true meaning of Christmas? I win?

It was a good run, Jen. Better luck next year. Now get singing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Top Ten Christmas Movies 5-1

A couple of runners up: Love Actually, Serendipity, Elf, and Santa Claus Versus the Martians (MST3K version) all are in the Top 15. Another day the 15-6 might be a little different, but 1-5 is pretty stable.

5 A Charlie Brown Christmas – Good grief. I couldn’t make this list without including Charlie Brown. We’re getting deep into nostalgia territory now. And Sparky always seemed to deal with religion with a soft hand, which makes it so much more palatable. Who doesn’t want to Snoopy dance?

4 Die Hard – It’s beginning to look a lot like Alan Rickman wants to steal money from Nakatomi Corp. C’mon, it’s like it’s Die Hard in an office building. Wait…

3 It’s a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra Frank Capra Frank Capra. I love that this incredibly dark movie is such a Christmas classic. I came to It’s a Wonderful Life very late in the game and I love it. I love the sadness, the comedy, the performances, and the message. The best feel-good movie about holiday suicide ever.

2 How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Stink Stank Stunk! Chuck Jones and Boris Karloff seem like the most unlikely production dream team this side of Regis and that one guy. We've all seen it, and I'm man enough to admit my love.

I always watch the Grinch when I can. I don’t own it, but I don’t have to:I know it by heart (which grew three sizes just now).

1 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – That’s right, it’s me. I’m the one who loves Rudolph. Judging this on the ultimate movie criteria alone it wins: it takes me to a different place. As a child I kept lock step with Rudolph: when he’s shunned for his nose, I feel sad for him. When he starts his adventure I’m right there. Few cinematic images haunt me the way Yukon Cornelius putting himself between the Bumble and his friends stalk my subconscious.

Sure some of the songs are sub par, some of the songs are catchy. The animation is blessedly jerky. And the moral is clear: different works. It’s not some mamby-pampy “celebrate diversity” so much as it’s “be tolerant and it can work.” Rudolph just feels like Christmas.

The creator of the web has a blog

http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/blog/4

Monday, December 19, 2005

John Spencer for America

I've been re-watching the first three seasons of The West Wing recently and missing how good it was. Over the weekend I read that actor John Spencer died. Spencer played Chief of Staff Leo McGarry for all seven seasons, and apparently started running for VP this past year or so.

I usually remark to anyone within earshot how much I love watching John Spencer work on that show. He had a lot of grist for the mill, to be sure: political drama, personal hardship, and a great sense of humor. In any situation on the show I came to think of Spencer as Batman: he had the answer even if he didn't have the answer.

Spencer seemed at his best sparring with other actors, and especially Roger Rees as Lord John Marbury or Martin Sheen as President Bartlet. My favorite Spencer performace is "Bartlet for America," the Christmas episode for 2001. Leo is under grand jury investigation and is 99% sure about to be publicly embarrassed and have his career ruined. Spencer gets to be funny, depressed, determined, addicted, and in the end, vulnerable.

"Leo's face is a map of the world," Sheen's Bartlet intones. "He'll be fine." Leo takes on the grand jury with humor and stoicism, his loyalty never in question. But we know what he knows: he's about to get destroyed. The day ends in unexpected victory for Leo and the administartion after a difficult slog.

Returning to White House, Bartlet presents Leo with a gift, a memento from a time of possiblity and excitment. And after three years of being worn down by the harshest of life's bitter elements, Leo quietly breaks down.

The empahty elicited by Spencer's performance is rare for me in popular entertainment. I think a lot of fans of the show, past and present, feel the same way.

Cover Christmas

One of the best shows on the net that isn't TWIT is Coverville. Lots of fun Christmas stuff, and a great Asia cover, and how many times in life do you type "a great Asia cover?"

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies, 10-6

My criteria is this: do I love it? Am I compelled to watch it if it's on the tube? Have I learned the true meaning of Jesus' Birthday?

10 Scrooged – A Christmas Carol done 80’s greed style. Bill Murray playing Bill Murray. I’m compelled to watch this whenever it’s on. It took years for me to accept that I really like this movie, which isn’t especially even-keeled. It’s kinda funny, then not funny for stretches.

9 The Muppet Christmas Carol – I came to The Muppet Christmas Carol rather late in the game. The thing that cements it in the Top 10: that damn song at the end and the way Michael Caine sells it.

8 Gremlins – Horrible monsters eating people all done up in the “I’m produced by Robert Zemeckis and Stephen Speilberg” style. I loved this movie as a kid: creepy, funny, and weird. The impact of Phobe Cates’ story about her father dying coming down the chimney resonates in my psyche today.

7 The Nightmare Before Christmas – Smushing two of the best (next to Arbor and Secretary’s Day) holidays together WITH stop motion animation and Henry “Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions” Selick directing. It’s like Oingo Boingo sings Christmas Carols. Love it, own it.

6 A Christmas Story – Another movie I’m compelled to watch any time it’s on, and good lord is it on a lot. Eminently quotable, very quirky, and there’s a leg lamp.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Really damn snow, really damn ice.

Well, it sounds like the snow and ice is too bad to cross a mountain or . There're 9000 homes without power and the roads are iced over. And Rhett Miller is still playing, and there are no refunds.

Seriously, it's Rhett Miller. Is that worth an ice storm? Who is?

Damn snow, damn ice.

... Beatles, Paul Westerberg solo, The Replacements plus Bobby, The Ramones, The Clash. I'd drive tonight for any of them. Rhett'll just have to wait.

Damn snow. Damn ice.

Tonight Rhett Miller, of the Old 97's, my favorite band still producing music, is playing in Charlottesville. I have tickets. Thanks to snow and ice, I may not see Rhett Miller play in Charlottesville. But that's okay, because, you know, Rhett Miller plays Charlottesville every other week. I mean year. I mean never.

So we'll see how the day plays out. Doors open at 8 p.m. Rhett's in Baltimore tomorrow night.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Alright ANYONE can post

I've enabled anyone to post in the comments section. Vote early, vote often. PLEASE attach your name to your post so Jen won't cry "foul!" when I win and she preps the Christmas miracle that will be her concession song.

Voting ends at 9 a.m. next Wednesday, the 21st.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Holiday punch-out VOTE HERE

It's another year, and that's another cause for the pain: which Christmas movie is better, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer? Please log in and vote, for it may determine the very fate of the universe.

It's the Rumble in the Bumble, the Raid in Quaid, the Too Cool for Yule. Jen wants you to vote with her, but if you vote with her and not your head and your heart, then you may have killed Christmas, the time when we celebrate the birth of our Lord, Santa.

And since I'm sure of what I'm doing, I'm not eveing telling you who wants what. Except Jen wants to steal Christmas and Jewish Christmas and European Christmas and African-American Holiday Christmas.

UPDATED Jen and I have since come to an agreement of terms for the "loser:" The loser will watch the winning movie, then compose a song about how much they love the movie. The song will be set to the tune of a popular holiday song. And the loser will also be a loser. VOTING ENDS WEDNESDAY, 9 a.m.

So vote people, and get ready to read some great Jen McGitotaty song stylings!

And I'm fairly certain I swiped most/all the jokes in the preceeding. But Jen really does want to steal your Christmas.

Some days we do good

NIH to Map Cancer Genome

Gor-illa my dreams

From Meta Critic:

"A surprisingly tender, even heartbreaking, film. Like the original, it's a tragic tale of beauty and the beast." - Devin Gordon, NewsWeek.

That's why I'll see the movie. And it'll land big because: Jen, Jeremy F., and Bryan all want to see it. That's some pretty decent demographics right there.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Template temper

Is something up with Blogger? Everybody's stuff looks off. I know my picture thing wasn't there before.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Let Bartlet be Bartlet in the way back machine

Because I enjoy pain, I wateched half of the new The West Wing tonight. The sad part is a bunch of The West Wing and Sports Night alums are in the credits and the show plays like it's a Emmy-nominated epsiode of Yes Dear.

I don't always agree with the politics or message of the first four seasons of West Wing but my gosh do they sound lyrical. Visually, aurally, and by design. And now it looks and sounds like some crappy John Wells show.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Work from home, earn more money!

A lot of people seem to be working from home today. Well, good for you. I work from a home every day. So there.

Alright, the home happens to have the lights left on every morning (the computers get scared)...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ten bucks, Ed

Ed fans, we might be able to rejoice:

"Midseason TV Alert: CBS has scheduled dramedy Love Monkey starring Tom Cavanagh (of ED demi-fame) as a record-company executive maneuvering through the business and dating worlds in New York, to debut at 9pm, Jan. 17th. The show also stars the perfectly snouty and vivacious Judy Greer (Fern Mayo, Alice the Waitress), and the close to nearly forgotten Jason Priestley."

If it gets Tom Cavanagh back on TV, well that's fine, I'll give it a try. If it gets Julie Bowen, Mike Ian Black, Josh Randall back on with him, I'll pay for the show out of my Christmas Fund. Eventually, somebody will die and all the music rights will revert to someone else and Ed will come out on DVD. Damn Wilco. Damn Old 97's. (I'm sure it's neither Wilco nor the Old 97's holding this up. Damn Foo Fighters.)

Remember when you would hear Alan Calter say "Previously on Ed" and just relax into the next hour? Just like "Previously on The West Wing" three years ago?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Updates about comic books make it look like I write a lot

UPDATED

Yup, BKV and Co. brought the pain: Catholic doctrine and ascension, immaculate conception, insane sisters, crazy one-night stands (when you're the last man on Earth, those have to memorable) and no monkey. Well, monkeys on the cover.

UPDATE ENDTH


Supposedly big revelations in Y the Last Man today. I'm taking time and money and gonna find out if that guy finds his monkey. The book is not the same without Ampersand.

Duped 2: The Dupening

I should really have more follow through with following up.

Primera, the company that makes the Bravo II DVD/CD duplication robot, offers a year's worth of free tech support. We called them Monday, the rep speculated there was a problem with the color ink cartridge and offered to send one over night at their cost. We got it yesterday and have duped and printed about 75 DVDs. It's pretty sweet.

On top of a product that should increase our productivity, the customer support came through. UPS had some follow through yesterday too. As did Panera, the slightly-too-high-priced bread company. All this good customer service in time for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Imaginauts

I'm cribbing a little from Larry Young right off the bat here. It's not the blaming Nixon part, but the space part and the forward-looking part.

Our company belongs to a Tech Council. I think the Tech Council does some really neat, outstanding stuff for organizing events and sponsoring educational activites... but there are no jet packs, no ray guns, and none on the horizon. That's what I want out of the Tech Council. That's what I want out of 2005.

Leading me to Fantastic Four movie. Ain't seen it, could be Citizen Kane. More likely it's not, but I'll just judge what I've seen trailer-wise. And it ain't good.

When Lee and Kirby launched the FF almost fifty years ago, they made them a family first, and adventurers second. The movie looks kinda like they maybe sorta also focused on the famial part. "Adventure" looks lacking. And there needs to be some adventure.

The Kirby-Lee run, the Simonson year(s), the Waid-Weiringo run a last year (has it been that long?) put the adventuring into "adventurer." Waid and 'ringo made me stand up and cheer with their take. Literally. One-upping the hell out of everything I, as a reader, ever thought of tackling, they sent Reed, Sue, and Johnny to "heaven" to find Ben and bring him back. The greatest explorers in a fictional little universe (a little universe that makes it's shareholders billions) went to the afterlife to find their friend. Not in some dumbass Touched by an Angel way either, but in a "are you mental? You don't belive in god but you want to go stomp around this place where he MIGHT exist and tell him he doesn't know what he's doing? You ARE mental?" It was a great storyline. The end ended the way it had to, with the *cough* Deus Ex Machina making the most sense and more than slightly resembling a guy who could create entire universes on an afternoon.

What I'm saying is: Lee-Kirby, Simonson, Waid, 'ringo, and the others upped the ante. They took science as far as they could, shifted it over a little bit, and then let all hell break loose. Simonson took them to the end of the universe. I mean the universe while it was ending. And they tried to fix it! They're either that stuck on themselves or that good. They named the sled "Rosebud II!" There's no more work to be done: I'm in.

They made it fun, funny, sad, smart, and sexy. They made it goofy and familiar and new. There were stakes and wins and losses.

And yesterday I read that there's a greenlight for a second FF movie. With the same director. So it can also not be good.

Fifty years of how-to manual on making the characters work and the characters don't work. I would've ripped off Mark Waid and been done with it.

And now, on the eve of 2006, with the possiblity that I can ($200,000 later) get close to space maybe, I want my jet pack. Or at least a good Fantastic Four movie.

...maybe I'm more with Larry Young and blame Nixon.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Duped

Continuing our trend for the past three weeks: God hates me. Or Yaweh. Or L. Ron Hubbard.

Lemme back up.

We do DVD/CD creation in addition to the 50 million other things we do. And normally this is by "hand," manually swapping out discs into the computer then printer. Last week we got our duplication station (which cost about twice as much as our van).

"Duplicate up to 100 CDs in like, minutes! And then print on them! With the same deal! Woo hoo!" Which is awesome and we used one dupe job to pay for it (and took the hit on the money earning).

Set it up, tested five CDs, started the process, danced a little jig. First disc duped, printed, and tested to perfection. And the second one. And the thrid on... wait, the print quality is wors... oh, and the fourth is even worse.

Smash cut to today: we have all 600 blank DVDs, all 5000 blank CDs, 5000 white sleeves, and a bum printer cartridge. I coulda drawn the story out, but I'm pressed for time. Printing DVDs by hand. Well, in a printer.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

McTotally wed

Jen and Jim are getting all hitched today. Congrats to them and their rectifing all that time living in sin.

Seriously, I'm incredibly stoked for them and you should be too. Happy wedding day.

Forbes Fictional Fifteen Fraud

*UPDATED*

Alriht, there's a newer list which I also disagree with, primarily Scrooge being so far DOWN the list. Luthor passing Bruce Wayne, well, sure, it's Luthor. He's evil.

But Scrooge is Scrooge. He swims in his money. He reads yesterday's paper because he's too cheap to buy today's. He went without the love of his life because it would've distracted him from becoming the World's Wealthiest Duck. C'mon, he's Scrooge.

*UPDATED ENDED*

Thisshows the top fifteen wealthiest fictional characters. This list is very wrong. There is absolutely no way Richie Rich is wealthier than Scrooge McDuck. I'm a little fuzzy with a couple (Willy Wonka over Bruce Wayne?) but there's no way Richie Rich has more than Scrooge. Not only is Scrooge "The Man" he has THREE CUBIC ACRES OF MONEY. In a bin. That he swims in.

That is all.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stop talking about TV already. I mean, really, do you HAVE a degree in English?

Some of you may know I spent a short period of my life (let's round it down to a decade) as a sort of insomniac. I slept about four-six hours a night on average. Two things I watched with some consistency: Nightline and Letterman.

Nightline, to me, is Ted Koppel, the Nightline reporters, and the production staff. I haven't watched it regularly in about four years, but I rejoiced when they started the Nightliine podcast (despite their crappy labeling system of not labeling). So since Katrina I've been listening to all of Nightline any time I want.

Then Koppel had to go and retire. I like Koppel okay, but I really like when the show was unbiased and newsy, which it often was. An odd little diamond among the increasing sea of unpolished dog turds. For crying out loud, their last show was about LIFE AND DEATH. About dying. No gimmicks, no "pretty it up for the camera." Who is ballsy enough to confront THAT in a major media outlet with no hyperbole and an unflinching eye towards conversation and humanity?

Now Nightline as I know it is gone. I haven't listened since Koppel bowed out. I just did a fresh install of my podcast aggregator and haven't resubscribed to all my old feeds. But I did read this today: http://www.newsday.com/news/columnists/ny-ettel4514566nov17,0,5045216.column?coll=ny-news-columnists

"We let go of this guy because he's old." Your perogative, ABC, for sure. And that's fine. I don't think I'll be resubscribing to your show, because, well, I don't think it'll be much of a show.

ABC tried to kill Nightline with Letterman, in what, 2002? Not a lot of confidence there, the Go Network. I think you just killed it for me.

I'll be concise with Letterman: Oprah is on tonight. It's been years since this feud has been really front and center, but I remember the Oscars, I remember the Oprah Log, I remember the Super Bowl of Love.

Letterman in 2005 has traces of the Letterman that's in there. This 2005 guy is tired and bored, and that makes the show tired and bored. You still get glimpses though, he still has the strength of ten men, Pedro.

Tonight should be fun. "It ain't Oprah till it's Oprah."

Damn straight Dave.