Half a Month There on Foot

You will find me at the corner of Speed and Power

Friday, March 31, 2006

Awww, nobody should have ears that big

In honor of Amy's race today I'm calling Sweetpea by her shoulda-had name: Lilly Pesto.

Good luck running, Amy. Me and Lilly Pesto are pulling for you.

New Richmond in Cali

Congrats to Byran and Jolene on the birth of their son Conno(e)r Lewis. After deciding to complicate everybody's lives for the past few months, Conno(e)r bowed in after a short 25-hour labor and came out loving football, crusin', and really bad mainstream country music. When reached for comment, Bryan said "Dang. I thought this guy would be on my side..."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yeah, this is Louie down in Hell, it's gettin' cold here...

Well. Holy. Crap.

what I'm talking about.

Some of you may have guessed, Half a Month is named after a lyric in a Replacements song. Maybe I should do the secret origin of Half a Month There On Foot. Sometime.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Half bastards, half saints

I'm taking a work break and found this that you'll all need to buy. That's right, there're no track listings yet, but, much like oxygen and shelter, you'll need this.

And doing a quick Google I found a review of a Paul Westerberg show from Filter magazine and I liked the reviewer's, Tom Birner, phrasing at the end:

"But Westerberg plays self-conscious, fibrous heart songs with a sneer, most of which came out strong if a little gruff. His songs are true and of a broken, courageous melody- his genius bare, his fear honest."

"His genius bare, his fear honest."

That's some good word choice if I ever read it. That's what I love about the 'mats myth: "I'm scared as hell, but if you trust in me just a little bit, we can make it out alive."

I Will Dare indeed.

Gleason bears all

Not that Gleason, Lynn Gleason gets a multimedia tidal wave of coverage:


Gleason discusses bear project
By J.D. CHARLES, Staff Writer
A local educator who has been honored by the state of West Virginia recently went out in the field with agents of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources on a project that collects information about bears in the Mountain State.

Lynn Gleason was named an Outstanding Educator by Gov. Joe Manchin and representatives of Arch Coal, but it was one of her co-workers who was responsible for her adventure with a family of black bears three weeks ago.

"I am a teacher of fifth graders," Gleason said Tuesday. "A few years ago, I saw a picture of a fellow teacher's husband with a bear cub."

Gleason found out about the project and arranged to go out on one of the tagging expeditions with a television film crew.

"The DNR Bear Project has been in effect since 1999 under the direction of Christopher Ryan. The program is to learn more about bears in several counties. They use this information to modify bear season," she explained. "In the southern counties 428 bears have been handled over the years."

The bears are tranquilized, tagged, weighed and measured. If the bear has been tagged before, that information is collected it receives a new tag.

"During the past season, 204 cubs were observed," Gleason said. "We had to wait at a distance before we could get close to the bears."

Gleason said the mother bear was tranquilized and the team went down a hillside and found the babies in the den, which was hollowed out under a tree stump on a hillside.

Three young cubs were examined, and Gleason has footage of the expedition. One cub literally squealed like a pig.

"That was the female," she said. "It was the loudest. One cub was so young its eyes had not opened. You can guess their age by the length of their fur."

Bears in the coalfields often do not hibernate all winter as bears do in other areas, because there is plenty of food for them she said. Bear cubs are usually born in January.

"It's illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet," Gleason noted, explaining that the animals are cute and cuddly when they are little. "But they don't stay that way."

The mother bear, which was tagged, weighed in at 165 pounds. The bruin woke up none the wiser for the experience, Gleason added, but because of what has been learned conservationists will know more about the state's bear population. Kanawha, Boone, Raleigh and Fayette counties are the study areas.

Gleason pointed out that black bears are not always black in color, some are actually brown, but the breed is native to West Virginia.

Gleason was the special guest speaker this past week for the Lions Club of Logan.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The future, Conan?

Warren Ellis just sent this over Bad Signal.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Oh so busy

We're moving this week, and that should be awesome. Plus a trade show for four days. Plus Jeremy is leaving the state for a week. Plus there's an Arts Gala. Plus there are taxes. Did I mention the move?

In honor of all these things, here are the most common ways due to the fast typing I mistype my name in e-mails:

J. Gor
Karl Rove

Saturday, March 25, 2006


I've entered the world of Netflix. I was a little hesitant at first, but after adding up how much I spend on rentals per month, I realized it was the same as the unlimited Netflix plan.

So far, so good. I'm one movie down and hope to get to at least one more before Monday. I plan on going to the local video store still, since it's hard to guess exactly what I'll want to see days in advance. But I'm pretty sure I've wanted to see a couple of dozen movies for years and can't get them around here. Now I get them in the mailbox. Ain't nuthin' wrong with that.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blogged blogged

I've updated the blog links on the side over there, with a few people I know, and quasi-celebrities I don't know (like Susan Bahorich). I either read you or like you, and in some cases both. Regardless, there's a link.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Javing an Average Weekend

Do you ever start reading somebody and just dig them? I feel that way about Javier. I worked over the weekend and had to drive great distances for little video, and I listed to an older interview with Javier. On a whim I went to his site, started reading, and I'm really digging his writing.

If you've heard of a little TV show called Lost, that's one of his current writing gigs. He's leaving the show to do some other writing work, but regardless I'll keep reading what ever he's putting out on his blog. Of particular interest is his blow-by-blow of Emmy night, his rants about movies, and his review of Time Bandits.

It's funny how alike you feel with a guy writing TV professionally, who was born in Puerto Rico, and has a father who has invented over 20 cancer treatments. He likes movies and comics, which is usually enough for me.

Javier comes across as a bright, funny, honorable guy with many interests and a lot of drive. Go get... ah, screw it, get "lost" in his archives.

There. Screw you for judging me. Lost. Easy one. It's late. Jack Bauer is beating people up.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Doctor

The new Doctor Who is terricially enjoyable. The series has done quite well in the UK, and kicked off a debut in the States last night. I've never been a fan really, other than laughing at the guys on Whose Line is it Anyway? mocking the lame effects and "aliens" with swim fins on their heads.

On a whim I Tivoed the new Doctor. And I really dig it. Sure, the first episode has some lame effects, but they're fogivable. The good stuff comes in the satire and adventure.

For those who came in late: Doctor Who essentially polices time attmepting to divert disaster on a planetary scale. Sure sure, I hear the Amys and Susans guffawing and see the head shakes, but really, Gilmore Girls is drama on a smaller scale. Rose is a young girl with a lame job, an okay boyfriend, and a mum who thinks she could do a little better. One day at work she gets attacked by an army of plastic people (yeah, the metaphors are always kinda blatant, this time it's all comsumerism is bad). Rose is backed in a corner, about to bite it, and a leather-jacket clad man grabs her hand.

The guy tells her to forget anything that happened and get out of the building as it's about to blow up and he's the guy setting off the explosive, thank you very much.

Rose leaves but can't deny her taste of adventure. She does some sluething, and finds out this guy, "The Doctor," has been photographed at key moments of the human experience.

That's about the first half hour. The new Doctor is cynical, take-charge, and not nearly as goofy-looking as some of the past Doctors. He's the problem-solver who's not above setting it up to watch you die. He's hardened enough to see murder as an option.

Not to paint the series as "serious," far from it. Doctor Who has plenty of light moments in dialouge and set pieces. The second episode sees The Doctor and Rose going to the day the sun will explode and incinerate the Earth. Doc tells Rose he can make it so she can phone her mom in the past. Rose's mum is on a typical Wednesday and thinks Rose might be hung over. She hangs up her phone, and realizes her mom is dead. The Doctor tells her if she wants to be sad imagine the bill for that call. One of the emissary's on board brings the gift of an "iPod" which is in turn a 50's style jukebox that plays "Tainted Love."

Five billion years in the future sees some evolution and new species, and the leadership has front row seats for the end of the Earth. There's a huge race-motivated murder attempt that The Doctor finds himself drug into. At the end of the world.

There's a somewhat downbeat ending about how we take it all for granted, and like everything else the sky will end. We take it for granted, and one day it will end.

I happen to like fun, smart sci-fi, and the new Doctor Who seems to be pretty decent. There's much worse stuff to watch while getting over a cold.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Extra large pepperoni with a slice of murder

I figured out a premise for a series of young adult girl mystery novels. I am hindered only by 1. lack of time 2. lack of talent and 3. never having been a teenage girl.

Meh, technicalities.

If anyone out there knows a publisher, I can free up some time on Sunday. Books are easy right? I'm typing right now!

Monday, March 13, 2006

More true stories

To be clear: I have never read True Story, Swear to God. I don't have the extra bucks to drop on the trade (and I haven't picked it up since Beland won the Eisner in 2003).

I'm for sure in love with the idea: cartoonist goes to the other coast for day at Disneyland. He meets a Puerto Rican TV reporter. They hit it off and have a long-distance relationship. He moves 9,000 miles away from EVERYTHING he knows to be with her. She becomes the Puerto Rican Oprah. He puts it all down on paper.

"This isn't a 'chick flick' put on paper, because few chick flicks have even a fraction of the integrity of True Story, Swear To God. The truth behind the story does nothing to undermine the fact that in communicating it in such an endearing manner, Beland has achieved a significant victory over the never-ending parade of mediocre, sensationalistic and shamefully dishonest romantic fiction that clogs our media and distorts the public imagination.B+"
~ Tim O'Neil, Buzzscope

That's just an awesome review. I'm putting forth the notion that every single one of you reading this would dig the strips on the website, or at the very least Beland calling the second trade "This One Goes to 11."


Stealing the idea from Merlin:

Five things that made me happy in the last five days

1. Collin, the three-year old boy who gave Ryan a sucker at a shoot.

2. Sweatpea figuring out for me to throw her a tennis ball she needed to bring me a tennis ball.

3. Amy gets recognized for her ability and drive at her new job and got her second raise in under a year.

4. Tom Beland announced that his True Story, Swear to God comic will now be published through Image, which means the crappy local shop might carry it.

5. I ran two miles for the first time in five months.

Hmm... middle of March, eh?

Grrr. Busy. Little typing, trying to watch a little 24. Jack Bauer does not like C. Thomas Howell. Okay, nobody likes C. Thomas Howell playing a smarmy headshrinker.

...ah, I didn't realize the Bill Buchanan character was in a room by himself. HE'S going to bite it this week.

So there're no new floors, so there's no new meeting space. And the broadband issue is still an issue. So issued. I really wanted to be up and running in the new office today, like with everything up and running. Best case scenario now will be next week. Not too bad, but a little behind where I'd like to see things.

Had a bunch of ideas I wanted to type on, and can't recall any of them right now. Gotta love the iron-which-is-neither-stricken-nor-hot.

It is the middle of March, you know. I have no "madness" yet, but there's a chance I have some "slightly cranky."

** EDIT and SPOILERS FOR 24** Wow, I was wrong about Bill Buchanan. Hobbit and Red Shirt (literally) bit it. And Tony is all dead. Robocop is a badass.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Momma's little baby loves Altman, Altman

My most anticipated movie this year is not Superman Returns, Idiocracy, The Fountain, or The Departed. My most anticipated movie of this year: A Prairie Home Companion.

I found a lot of the NPR shows during my formative years, including A Prairie Home Companion. I remember hearing Keillor devote an entire show to Buddy Holly on the anniversary of his death. He delivered a stunning play-by-play of the fateful night that a young Iowa farm boy, Roger Peterson blinded by the snow with flawed instrument readings, crashed his single-engined Beechcraft Bonanza plane into the ground, killing himself and the music giants. Keillor transitioned into Holly's 'Everyday' he dedicated the song to Roger Peterson, saying "Like so many young people, when danger presented itself and he could have turned back, he continued on."

A Prairie Home Companion has always been a great example of the power of radio. I love the amazingly awful badness of the annual Really Bad Joke Show, a virtuosso onslaught of jokes delivered with lightning speed. I love the Talent From Towns Under Two-Thousand contest where young kids from small towns compete for the entire show. I love that Keillor reads dedications from the audience. I love that he's back and forth with highbrow, high concept humor and scatalogical.

And look at the cast:

Woody Harrelson .... Lefty
Tommy Lee Jones .... Axeman
Garrison Keillor.... Himself
Kevin Kline .... Guy Noir
Pete Lee .... Stage Hand
Lindsay Lohan .... Lola Johnson
Virginia Madsen .... The Dangerous Woman
John C. Reilly .... Dusty
Maya Rudolph .... Loretta, Assistant Stage Manager
Tim Russell .... Al, Stage Manager
Sue Scott .... Donna, Make-Up Lady
Meryl Streep .... Yolanda Johnson
Lily Tomlin .... Rhonda Johnson
Jim Westcott .... Stage Hand
Linda Williams .... Herself
Robin Williams .... Himself

Maybe the movie will stink up the joint on ice. But the show's track record, cast, and an up-and-coming director named Bobby Altman lead me to think otherwise. And today the trailer launched so I have a little better idea of how they're playing up the story. I'm a sucker for underdog stories, and a national, two-hour radio show versus 2006, I'm there.

"...but the time's up, life moves on."

Don't let me down Keillor. I'll stop buying your damn biscuits if you do.

Monday, March 06, 2006

That's what I'm talking about

File under: "more boring TV nonsense."

I was very ho hum about tonight's 24. I haven't slept in awhile, I need to do some other stuff, but I started watching about twenty minutes in, and thanks to Tivo, got two commercial-free hours.

At the end of the first hour, I was very "Hey, that's what I'm taking about. Take that Robocop!" But the last bit of the second hour, the last ten minutes: it ain't even sweeps. That's some damn entertaining scripted single camera TV. Beats the crap out of the other action/drama shows and takes their lunch money to spend on waffles and strippers.

Taking over the world: phase 2

This, about five paragraphs down, has a nice little mention about some advertising I may have been involved in...

Get the full scoop hereand see that the towntown folks clearly haven't met us yet. This time you're about nine paragraphs down.

Amy's mom wins award, and it's not that kind!

Logan County teachers win Arch Coal awards

Banner Staff Report
— Twelve outstanding classroom teachers in West Virginia received the coveted Arch Coal Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards. Two of the teachers were from one local school, Chapmanville Middle School.

Lynn Gleason and Barbara Henson, two of the only 12 teachers statewide, received a 2006 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Wednesday afternoon. Robert W. Shanks, president of Arch Coal’s eastern operations, representing Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at the state capitol. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin; First Lady Gayle Manchin; Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin; Deputy State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jack McClanahan; and West Virginia Education Association President Charles Delauder.

“We are proud to honor these teachers who do so much for the children of West Virginia,” said Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal’s president and chief executive officer. “Teaching excellence keeps our children and our country competitive locally and globally.”

“The key to the success of West Virginia’s education community is the thousands of teachers and educational professionals who provide outstanding leadership in the classroom,” said W.Va. Governor Joe Manchin. “The Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards recognize the highest level of achievement among educators who are truly committed to their craft. These individuals have mentored and inspired young students…encouraging our youngest generations…to excel in the classroom and reach for their dreams.”

Lynn Gleason believes all students can learn.

“It is my job to determine how I need to approach each student so that he or she can reach his or her full potential in my class,” she says. “Each student brings unique life experiences and abilities that affect his/her learning. Students often come to class with an overload of problems from home. I believe that I can lighten their burdens by equipping them with skills for coping in their world beyond that classroom. A sense of humor and lots of patience are certainly required in this profession,” she adds. “But rewards are reaped exponentially.”

“Lynn Gleason is the science teacher we wish every child could have,” said Leer. “I’m sure her classroom is an exciting place of exploration and discovery. I know she is successful in her goal of having every child achieve success.”

Gleason teaches science to fifth-grade students at Chapmanville Middle School.

“Having taught for over 30 years, I can easily recognize an exceptional teacher, and Lynn Gleason is one of the finest,” notes a colleague, Terilyn Wilson. “She consistently demonstrates sound, effective and creative teaching strategies.

“Lynn greets her students with enthusiasm and a friendly smile each morning. Students never know what to expect when they enter the creative center Lynn calls her classroom. Perhaps they will be making an electrical circuit quiz board or exploring the body systems via Internet and hands-on activities. Whatever the day’s choice, students are assured they are about to embark on an adventure as they explore a variety of science concepts,” said Wilson.

Gleason earned her bachelor’s degree at Marshall University and she continues her development through participation in workshops, conferences, and other education/training opportunities. She is a member of the W.Va. Science Cadre and has served as a student teacher supervisor. Gleason also has served in several leadership capacities for faculty senates in Chapmanville schools, and she was Logan County’s 2005 Teacher of the Year Award recipient. Gleason is vice president of the Theta Chapter of the International Delta Kappa Gamma Society, and she further supports her community through a range of church-related activities, one of which involves coordination of 150-180 boxes of necessities for area families each month.

Although Barbara Henson officially became a teacher at age 8, she didn’t earn her degree until 24 years later. “My father was killed in an accident, which left mom and me to take care of five children,” she notes. “I taught them to tie their shoes, keep themselves clean, get along with each other, help with household chores, and of course, I helped with lots of homework,” she adds.

Henson eventually married and had children of her own. Continuing her education was the furthest thing from Henson’s mind, until the day her doctor brought it up.

“He questioned me about my future and told me I was too smart to just live my life watching soap operas and getting fat lying on the sofa,” she recalls. “With my children now being of school age, he suggested I go back to school and do something meaningful with my life. I enrolled in college the very next semester. At age 32, I received my degree and became a teacher.”

That was 24 years ago, and Henson now ranks among the best in her profession.

“Barbara Henson has dedicated her life to teaching,” says Leer. “A physician suggested that she should do something meaningful, and like her students, Barbara listened. She is driven to be a contributor to her family and society. I’m proud that West Virginia has people like Barbara, who make the conscious decision to become teachers and to better entire communities.”

Henson teaches mathematics to fifth-grade students at Chapmanville Middle School.

“My enthusiasm for learning and my positive mental attitude are the most important things I do for my students,” she said. “They see that even if things go wrong you can learn from them and not be afraid to learn new things. They see that learning is what makes us grow into great people.

“I am motivated to teach because I have something to offer my students,” Henson adds. “I know I help to prepare them for the complicated and unknown future that lies ahead of them. At the end of each year, when I see just how far my students have come, I sit back, smile, and say to myself as I reflect on the year, ‘This is a good thing, and I surely chose the right profession!’”

Henson earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Marshall University and additional credentials at W.Va. State College. She continues her development through a range of training and learning opportunities. Henson is a member of her school’s Staff Development Council and the State Differentiated Instruction Cadre. She has served as a presenter on the advantages of differentiated instruction and as a member of the Curriculum Development and several textbook committees. Henson is a mentor for The Beginning Educator Internship Program and a coach for an Academic Challenge Team that won county, regional and national competitions over the past three years. She also coaches fifth- and sixth-grade Math Field Day teams. Henson further serves her community through involvement in church activities and civic organizations.

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education makes a $1,000 award to each recipient’s school, for use with at-risk students.

Arch Coal is supported by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia Library Commission in program promotion. Arch Coal’s Teacher Achievement Awards is the longest running, privately sponsored teacher recognition program in the state. Nominations of the teachers are made by the public and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers – previous recipients of the award.

Information about each of the 12 recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site: www.archcoal.com.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hot Fuzz

You know of my love of all things Spaced but you may not know of my love of all things Shaun of the Dead. Favorite movie of 2004. It really is a romantic comendy. With zombies.

My man-crush on Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost knows almost no bounds, and lo, their next feature Hot Fuzz is set to shoot in March:

"HOT FUZZ HEATS UP Working Title is delighted to announce its next production, Hot Fuzz, an action comedy from Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, co-creators of the hugely successful romzomcom, Shaun of the Dead.

A Working Title production in association with Big Talk Productions, Hot Fuzz is directed by Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg.

A comedy about a London cop who is seconded to deepest, darkest Somerset, the film is from an original screenplay by Wright and Pegg. Hot Fuzz will be produced by Nira Park (Shaun of the Dead), Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and the executive producer is Natascha Wharton.

Pegg leads a stellar British cast including Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead), Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge), Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights), Steve Coogan (A Cock and Bull Story) and Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Says producer Nira Park, "We're delighted to once again be joining creative forces with Working Title on this very exciting and very British film. Together, we're looking forward to giving the police action genre the same treatment we gave the living dead in 2004."

Police constable, Nicholas Angel is good at his job, so good in fact, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, his superiors at the Met have decided to sweep him under the carpet. So it is that London's top cop finds himself in the sleepy West Country village of Sandford. With garden fetes and neighbourhood watch meetings replacing the action of the city, Angel struggles to adapt to his situation and finds himself partnered with Danny Butterman (Frost), an oafish but well meaning young Constable, who dreams of being Mel Gibson. Just as all seems lost, a series of grisly accidents motivates Angel into action. Convinced of foul play, Angel realises that Sandford may not be as idyllic as it seems.

The film will start principal photography later on in March.