June 30, 2005

Mixed Bag 2: Ded, Dead, and Dog

First, on the job hunting front - had a great interview on Tuesday, spent yesterday getting follow up materials for that employer, and tomorrow's another interview. Now, if only the water main hadn't have busted while I was showering yesterday, it might have been a better day, but them's the breaks.

Yes, it's more Mixed Bag goodness, thanks to copious free time - this is yet another blog about mix discs, and this time 'round, we're focusing on three netizens who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide some excellent tunage, and for even more music with which I can annoy my neighbors.

First is Logan from House of the Ded's "Songs I Know By Heart." This is actually a pretty rockin' CD - highlights include two Everclear tunes (what people don't like about them, I have no idea); "She Talks to Angels" by the Black Crowes; "Songs About Rain", a really clever tune by Gary Allan; "Lonely Road of Faith" by Kid Rock (who knew he could sound soulful?) and my personal fave, "Someday, We'll Know" by the New Radicals (although, to be honest, it was a song I listened to a lot after the disintegration of a relationship). Although it's not a must-listen, it will hit my player from time to time.

Thankfully, Zombie Tom is representin' undead style, with "Music to Eat Brains By." (If there's an MB3, let's invite Zombie Killer for equal time). Pretty much all of the songs are about zombies, with two tunes by artists who are zombies (namely, Katrina & the Waves and Toni Basil). Personal faves - Murderdolls "She Was a Teenage Zombie, "She's Not There" by the Zombies, Harry Belafonte's "Zombie Jamboree", and "Surf Zombies" by the Hellbillys. (Please tell me that's Mojo Nixon on vocals - even if it isn't, it's still a cool tune). Points off, however, for not including the zombie classic "Surfin' Dead" by the Cramps.

(The Cramps. Music that's not for the faint of heart. Ask for 'em by name)

Speaking of faint of heart....Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom. I wasn't expecting much from the disc with the original title, "You'll Play It and You'll Like it Volume 2." I was, however, gently shaken out of my doldrums by so much - the Bruce Campbell soundclips, a Who original followed by a Who cover followed by a variation on a title. Much of the other tunes are cool - my personal favorite is a cover of my hometown's unofficial anthem by a hometown punk band.

(By the way, if I ever meet Will, we're karaoking this song. Seriously. I mean it.)

But Tom, that bonus song...I think you and your homies need serious psychiatric help. I'm grateful I don't live in California. And I say that with love in my heart.

June 28, 2005

Doctor's in the Hiz-House

WARNING: Possible spoilers, so if I ruin something, don't blame me - you have been warned. Also, I have not seen the final episode, so I am operating from a distinct disadvantage.
You Brits are lucky - that's right, I'm talking about you, Psychbloke, and the rest of your countrymen. After watching the first twelve new Doctor Who episodes (thanks to my pal Brian, whom I've thanked publicly), I am glad to say that it was definitely worth the wait. Twelve episodes of varying quality, but it makes me kick myself for not having high speed internet.

(And before you call the Illegal Downloading Police - if Warner Brothers Video (who distributes BBC Videos here in the US) did either a total series one boxed set or a series of three episode sets like they do in the UK, I would buy them. I'd sell organs to get my hands on them. Yes, they're that good. Good enough that the Sci-Fi Channel should be kicking themselves for missing out on distributing Who.)

First, kudos have to go to Christopher Eccleston, who could have easily become the George Lazenby of Doctor Who. However, thanks to some clever writing (which hinted at past continuity in a clever way, and didn't turn into fanboy continuity porn), Eccleston gave us a Doctor that we hadn't seen in awhile, and whose embrace of non-Edwardian clothing gave us a Doctor for the 21st Century. (Although I had disagreed with the decision, I now feel it was smart not to hire Paul McGann - in many ways, he would have made the show too retro). Some had described him as the "ADHD Doctor" or the "Depressed Doctor" - if anything (and I welcome Polite Dissent's rebuttal", Eccleston gives us the "PTSD Doctor" - a man who had seen enough to make himself bitter and cynical, but who still had that spark of life.

This time 'round, we also saw a revolving door of companions, but also got glimpses into the "behind the scenes" of the Doctor's travels. Rose (aka Billie Piper) combined the gusto of Ace with the curiosity and naivete of earlier companions. (Plus, she was relatively easy on the eyes - let's face it). She didn't exactly hover behind the Doctor, and let's face it - anyone who could show compassion to a Dalek deserves kudos. Plus, we got a prat companion (Adam) who only lasted two episodes, and Captain Jack Harriman (who may be coming back in series three), a James Bond-esque character with a sly sense of humor, and enough charisma (to paraphrase a quote from another British science-fiction show) to make men wet.

The writing on this series was relatively straightforward, a far cry from Who back in 1989. (Having watched Ghost Light on DVD, I was not impressed with the fact that 1) the story was somewhat cluttered and 2) both the script editor and writer seemed to take an attitude of "what-clever-boys-we-are"...and I like Ghost Light.) There is one note I would like to make to producer Russell T. Davies: you might want to consider being more of a producer than a writer. Yes, you brought back the Autons with class, and gave us some great moments with Rose's family/mates...but farting aliens? 21st reality television shows 200,000 years from now? Doesn't quite jell...but other writers did. "The Unquiet Dead" - a twist I honestly didn't see coming. "Dalek" - flat-out fanboy joy. "Father's Day" - a treatise on the dangers of tampering with history. "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" - could easily be spoken in the same breath as Genesis of the Daleks, Tomb of the Cybermen, Spearhead from Space, Talons of Weng Chiang, Caves of Androzani, and Vengeance on Varos

Plus, this series had some great moments that were fannish without being too annoying - the Mickey Auton. Hints about the "Time War". Seeing a Dalek naked. The beginning of "Aliens of London". "Today, everybody lives!" The Doctor's description of the Dalek's creator. "No, you don't." So many great moments, without the obsessiveness that may have been prevalent in the past. Too many to count, but all in all - the way a franchise should be handled.

Yes, you Brits are lucky...new Who, and Blake's 7 on DVD. (No American distributor...yet). Maybe a transcontinental move is in order.....

June 26, 2005

The Joys of Unemployment

Actually, in my first week, I've done ok - have an interview lined up for Tuesday afternoon (and have two meetings - one that's really important - afterwards); a friend of mine involved me in a pretty cool networking/job search organization; and, well, I've caught up on my Mixed Bag CDs and blog reading.

First, a hearty belated congrats to the latest addition to the Burgas household. I hear those British prime ministers are cute at first, but tend to get a little persnickety.

Yet Another Comics Blog has a great comic giveaway - check it out!

Just a reminder - support Thanagar. They rule. Rannians...well, let's just say Rann is Simon Cowell's favorite planet. That should be a big clue right there.

I participated in the Spinster's experiment, and all I got was a face full of mace. (Actually, in all honesty, I was off my game, but will try again when I'm feeling more in the groove).

It's official - Mike Sterling has officially snapped. Lock yourselves, and make sure he only has access to plastic cutlery.

Logan - when you begin your superhero career, please consider starting with this blog. Either that, or get them some Ritalin.

Be sure you spend some time with the second greatest entity to come out of Rockford Illinois since Cheap Trick.

Finally, Something Old Nothing New links to a page explaining why WKRP fans will be frustrated for awhile.

And now, it's nap time.

June 21, 2005

Mixed Bag 2: Those Ca-Razy Tunes

Luckily, having much more free time allows me to catch up on listening to various discs in the Mixed Bag 2 exchange. (I'm not just a reviewer - I'm also a participant). First, though, a quick movie review: Batman Begins is the movie we should have gotten in 1989. Well-written, well acted for two roles, well worth your time.

Anyway, onto the music - most mix tapes (or CDs) are usually either a collection of tunes based on some theme, or various wacky, quirky tracks. The three discs I'm reviewing this post are very quirky, and demonstrate a really strong, eclectic taste in tunes.

My personal favorite of the three is Andrea Faetwini's Playgeek. (Andrea, if I mispelled your last name, my apologies - you can misspell mine anytime). What's there not to like - a mixture of old (classic Elvis Costello, The Who), new (Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Ani DiFranco, "Half Fling") and assorted sundry stuff (samples from various Joss Whedon productions, sound bites, television themes). Somehow, it all hangs together - she even makes Duran Duran's cover of "White Lines" somewhat listenable. (Not a big Duran Duran fan, sorry - too many bad high school memories). As close to mix CD perfection as you can get (so far), like Greg's and Ian's.

Coming in a close second is Happy Smiling Naked Man by Dorian, who answers the question "What does Crispin Glover's cover of These Boots Were Made For Walkin' sound like?" (I had a morbid curiousity about it - however, it should have stayed unfulfilled. This disc is part decent tunes, part Doctor Demento, and part Golden Throats. However, for entertainment value, you can't beat it - Tony Randall chanting "Nature Boy" on LSD, Milton "I'll show enough to win" Berle's take on "Yellow Submarine". In addition, I lucked out to get the MB Phase 1 disc, which was more straightforward). Luckily, Dorian redeems himself by including some cool sound files and "Tongue Tied" from Red Dwarf. It is very hard to believe Dorian has that warped a sense of humor, but maybe it's because of who he hangs with.

Speaking of which....Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike. I'm worried about you. I'm not sure whether I should compliment you on your off-kilter sensibilities or recommend some form of 12-Step (or other) recovery. Sure, there are some great moments on The Uneasy Rest of Thomas Edison- "Spring Pants Has Come", a killer version of a Sesame Street Song, a really cool version of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", Tenacious D doing the "Star Trek" tune, an ode to Rex Mason....but tracks 16 through 18 have me concerned. Taken singly, they might be good, but together....going from the Smurfs to Burt "Boy Wonder" Ward to Ed "Kookie" Byrnes....I'm concerned. So much so that I'm considering contacting the Samaritans.

OK, it's not that bad - actually, it's pretty good, Mike. Just avoid playing with sharp objects, is all I'm saying.

June 18, 2005

Oh, My God, They Memed Gordon!

Actually, Logan memed me (meaning I have to go back to Memes Anonymous meetings), so here I go with my answers to this meme:

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? (Assume you also get baseline superhero enhancements like moderately increased strength, endurance and agility.)

Personally, I would want ESP powers - telepathy, telekinesis, mind control, the works. That way, I could have infinite influence over people, and never have to get up from watching Farscape to fetch a beverage.

Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you fancy, and why?

Power Girl, for her obvious attributes. (Runners up: Dian Belmont, Captain Jack Harkness - yes, I'm straight, but he can really turn a guy's head)

Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you hate?

Logan's parents, for not visiting Walgreens. (Just kidding, dude). Actually, after issue one of Breach, I had to call suicide prevention - bad Captain Atom rip-off. (Runners up: any hero that has ever been touched by Rob Liefeld since Hawk & Dove)

What would your superhero name be? (No prefab porn-name formulas here, you have to make up the name you think you’d be proud to mask under.)

Let's see...it would have to be one of the following:
  • Coffee Achiever
  • Advocacy Lad
  • The Crimson Overachiever; or
  • Mike Sterling
For extra credit: Is there an ‘existing’ superhero with whom you identify/whom you would like to be?

Actually, he's no longer published, but I always felt an affinity with Jack Knight's Starman - a geek with father issues flying around, not really wanting to be a hero, and having the guts to give it up for love. Plus, it was one of the most intelligently written series around.

Pass it on. Three people please, and why they’re the wind beneath your wings.

I don't like passing memes without permission, but here goes - sending it out to the three people least likely to respond: Brian, Zombie Tom and Scott. Apologies if you got memed before.

As always, I keed, I keed.

June 17, 2005

Take This Job And...Er, Whatever

As I'm writing this, it's my last day at my job - taking a little blog break as I finish, finalize, and get my end-of-the-career paperwork completed.

I'm not a job hopper by any stretch, and all-in-all, three years is a long time to stay in one place. My time here has been busy, to say the least - tons of evening meetings (even more so than while serving on the Metropolis Steering Committee); plenty of paperwork, and some really great challenges. The past few weeks have been nothing short of revelatory, full of more twists and turns: a thank-you card from someone I least expected (nothing negative - just didn't think she thought that way); co-workers offering great advice for the move on, and at 1:00 pm today, a big cookie and gift.

However, I am ready to move on - ever since I resigned, my social life is starting to kick back into gear, and I'm running into friends I haven't seen since Friends went off the air. I have plenty of opportunities before me, and have some really cool can't-talk-about-'em-yet irons in the fire - don't want to jinx myself. Of course, one person had to claim that I'll never get another job/have these benefits/blah blah blah, but that's only one person, and quite frankly, he hasn't seen my resume lately.

In short, I could use a little break, and I've never been unemployed for major stretches of time. I'm feeling positive about the future, and ready to kick some major arse. Also, if you know of any jobs in St. Louis where I would get paid a triple figure salary just to sit behind a desk and be brilliant, please let me know.

Oh, and to answer the Ink Slinger's question: try the top drawer, right hand side. If not, it's time to do laundry.

June 16, 2005

Public Kudos

Thanks to Brian, a gentleman, scholar, and poker player of extraordinary ability, I now have copies of the first twelve episodes of Doctor Who, aka "crack for geeks".

My life is gettin' better all the time.

June 15, 2005

Hey Lord, Don't Ask Me Question

(with apologies to Graham Parker...)
As promised, I'll be answering questions which you - the reader - have asked. (Tried to post this morning, but thanks to Blogger, only half survived). Of course, only three of you did, so I'm going to have to be really clever on these. (Of course, it didn't help that I basically stole Mike's" idea)

Chris Brown asked How many boxes of comics do you have? Are they in alphabetic order? What's your secret favorite issue and why?

I now have three boxes - unfortunately, one box got destroyed by being stored in my basement. Yes, they are in alphabetical order, and my secret favorite issue is Sandman Mystery Theater # 33. It's the third part of the "Man of the Hour" arc, it features Rex "Hourman" Tyler, and also has both guys in their Golden Age costumes in a nice, pulp-inspired adventure.

BTW Drop the Zero and get with the hero, support Rann!

Never! Thanagar rules! (Besides, any guy who willingly quotes Vanilla Ice deserves contempt. I say Pfeh!)

Logan asks, Okay, here's one, what's your favcorite film ever, and why?

I had to really think about this one - I have several that are close seconds - Star Wars, A Hard Day's Night (it's got the Beatles plus clever writing & sharp direction), The Third Man(Orson Welles! Viennese sewers!), Animal Crackers (The Marx Brothers with a plot), and Free Enterprise (like Swingers, only it has the added bonus of Shatner rapping Shakespeare...and I bet those dudes at SciFiDaily have never heard of this movie)

My number one film - this one. It has everything a movie needs - ruminations on life, love, mortality, as well as huge honkin' spaceship battles. And yes, I have the two DVD set.

Finally, Psychbloke asks, "er....favorite Doctor Who?"

That's relatively easy - started with Pertwee, easily my favorite (patronising, rude, extremely Bond-ish), with Davison coming in a close second. (He was Doctor during my sad, fan teenage years, so go figure). I had a little too much Tom Baker exposure, never saw too much Hartnell/Troughton (although my preference is Troughton), Colin Baker got too short a season, McCoy comes in a close third, McGann didn't have much of a script, and no opinion on Eccleston, as I haven't seen him yet.

So, kids, here's what's coming up on Blog This, Pal:
  • Zero Effect, a lost classic
  • ponderings on employment
  • Mixed Bag reviews; and
  • of course, more wacky pop culture shtick

June 12, 2005

Mr. Know-It-All

I'm actually stealing, er, I mean, "borrowing" this idea from another blog, but since I can't think of a decent idea to blog about, here goes:

as many of you know, I'm a pretty smart guy - have a master's in counseling (specializing in substance abuse). You must have questions - please feel free to post 'em in the comments section. Tuesday, I'll post my answers. Seriously.

Hey, I'll need something to do while I'm wasting time, er, I mean, finishing off my last week at work.

(Just kidding, but please, post away. If you're good, I'll send you a pencil)

June 11, 2005

This Movie is So Money, Baby!

Sometimes, I have to revisit some films that I haven't seen in years, if only to remind myself how powerful they are. One of my recent Netflix rentals I haven't seen since it first came out. I was in my mid-20s, hanging out with my own personal Rat Pack of high school pals, fumbling my way through grad school, and living in a crappy apartment. It was an age of cluelessness, but a heck of a lot of fun.

In that spirit, I caught Swingers again, and it not only captured those days for me, but - in my humble opinion - should be mandatory viewing for all guys. Yes, even these two.

On the surface, it's about one guy (Jon Favreau) pining away for the girl he left behind on the East Coast to pursue his dreams. He's in his mid-20s, hanging out with his own personal rat Pack, fumbling his way through show biz, and living in a crappy apartment. All right, it came out in the big "swing dance revival" craze of the mid-90s (and has plenty of cool-as-heck tunes), but if you're thinking this is just a cheap cash-in, you'd be wrong.

There is so much that works in this movie, and that helps it hold up - it's gorgeously shot, brilliantly written and acted (especially the comedy magic of Vince Vaughn), and pretty much has everything a movie could ask for. Great funny, quotable lines! A trip to Vegas! Hot women! Heather Graham! A guy in pork pie hat! (The only movie that shares its tone and theme is Free Enterprise, which has the added bonus of William Shatner). The only scene in this movie that doesn't work is a discussion of how filmmakers rip each other off, followed by an homage to a famous crime film. Other than that, this movie works on all four cylinders, and you end up wanting more - if that doesn't make a film great, I don't know what does.

But Swingers' true strength isn't that it gives us a snapshot of a certain event in time, but is a true guy's movie. Emotions are deftly underplayed, and the moments of insight don't come because of screenplay mechanics, but because we see a group of men beginning to grow up. No Hallmark moments, just the realization that things aren't as smooth as we would like, and that the rules we're taught no longer begin to apply. It's the kind of movie that demands respect not because it takes itself seriously, but because it reveals its truths through humor, wit, and charm. By the end, you'll end up wanting to order a Dewar's on the rocks, or if you're like me, a strong bourbon-and-coke. (If you're under 21, I suggest Vernor's ginger ale, just like Scott at Polite Dissent).

Finally, some props to Logan at House of the Ded, this weekend will also see me watching another favorite film, which he and I agree needs to be "shown the love" - I'm talking, of course, about Zero Effect.

But that's a post for another day.

June 9, 2005

Mixed Bag 2: Greg and Ian and Nat - Oh, My!

Just added Nat Pike and Lefty Brown to the blogroll. One of the great things about Lefty's Mixed Bag - I get to read some great blogs...and hear some great music. I'm very pleased to say that the first three discs I received have not only opened my ears, but are motivating me to check out my local indie record shop to find some great stuff.

(Quick note on one of Nat's comments - "Know Your Product", unfortunately, suffers from late 70s punk production, meaning that you have to crank that sucker in order to hear it. The advantage - you have to crank that sucker in order to hear it)

First, Ian Brill's Mix Up Your Mind is a very eclectic, wide-ranging collection of tunes. Any disc that begins with the mighty Hal Blaine's boom-ba-boom-crash on the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" is destined for greatness. Highlights - Doctor Octagon, Them (although I grew up with the Troggs' version - this version is more raw and just, well, deeper), Del tha Funky Homosapien, old school Prince (although I silently wish for the album version), Magnetic Fieldspretty much all but one track. I'm not too crazy about John Frusciante or Jesus & Mary Chain, so their tracks did nothing for me - otherwise, pretty much solid.

Speaking of solid, Greg Burgas' My Forever Came Today is one of the most well-flowing discs I've ever heard. Anyone who can go from my favorite O Brother, Where Art Thou track to hair metal to jazzy hip-hop deserves my respect, as well as large truckfulls of cash. Even the spoken word breaks (which I didn't like) helped move the disc along, and not a clunker in the bunch.

And for a change of scene - Nat Pike's We Don't Need No Stinkin' Lyrics, 50 minutes of pure instrumentals that are neither surf nor soul, but just make great end-of-the-day music. Even Van Frickin' Halen can't disrupt this party - although my personal favorite track is the piano version of the Spider-Man theme. Least favorite - Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Hoedown, but prog rock just isn't my cup of tea. Otherwise, a great collection of instrumentals.

So, I'm eagerly awaiting the other entries in the Mixed Bag...and trust me, from what I've heard...well, I'm grateful I'm in the mental health field. That's all I gotta say.

June 7, 2005

Mixed Bag: Non-Stop Hit Parade Commentary

Since somebody's gotta go first...luckily, I was able to get all of my Mixed Bag CDs out. (Plus, to be honest, I was chomping at the bit to post this - consider this your lucky day, it's two postings in one). For those who are interested, here's the CD commentary from "Non-Stop Hit Parade"

And away-y-y-y-y we go!....

Harder to Pretend, Rocket Park - this is the leadoff track from The Effects of Eating Too Much Television, and I strongly urge you to get this album. Probably one of the best kickoffs - and greatest songs - ever made.

One Track Mind, Johnny Thunder/Heartbreakers - no, not Tom Petty's band, this is a band by the second greatest junkie guitarist in existence. I dare you not to air guitar to this song.

Teenage Kicks, the Undertones - I've blogged about this song before. Trust me, you will fall so deeply in love with this song you will want to marry it.

Now They'll Sleep, Belly - OK, I'm a mid 90's alterna-geek. Could have chosen Feed the Tree (the obvious hit), but the way this song kicks from dreaminess to poppiness is pure genius.

I Can't Imagine the World Without Me, Echobelly - despite the female singer's tendencies towards over-Morrisseyness, a pretty rollicking tune.

Vanilla Blue, Naked Raygun - Classic old school Chicago punk which moves from a Spanish-sounding beat to classic 4/4 time.

Making Fun of Bums, Too Much Joy - A smart, snarky song with big 80's production. Plus, Teller directed one of their videos!

(This Song is Gonna Make A) Great Video), the Vacant Lot - these are the brattier younger brothers of the Kids in the Hall. A self-aware blast of pure pop power.

Fight Fire, the Golliwogs - if this band sounds like a punky Creedence Clearwater Revival, it's because it was a punky Creedence Clearwater Revival. Yep, that's John Fogerty and the guys revving up with this garage-y tune. The guitar riff alone will haunt you for days.

I'm A Man, Spencer Davis Group - more shagadelic than Austin Powers could ever hope to be.

Robot Hell, Futurama - sometimes, you just gotta get your geek on.

Know Your Product, The Saints - killer '77 Aussie punk with horns. If this doesn't get your groove on, I don't know what will.

Saturday Night Special, the Runaways - nice and sleazy, with a killer Joan Jett vocal and great Lita Ford guitar lead.

I Don't Know, the Replacements - Have always been a big 'Mats fan, but didn't want to do the obvious track. (Besides, the chorus sounds rather familiar...)

Fett's Vette, MC Chris - another example of "getting your geek on" (and several of his songs are downloadable from his web site).

Baby, Oh No Bow Wow Wow - OK, I dug this song in high school, which made me about the age of the then lead-singer. Not one of their obvious hits, consider this a tip o'the hat to Mr. Hembeck

Melancholia, The Who - a little known number from the Who's greatest 1960's album. If you don't agree with me, I will have to fight you.

Another Girl, Another Planet, the Only Ones - cool Lou Reed impersonation, great riff. A shoulda-been that never was.

Me Against the Monkey, Team 9 - a mashup of "Me Against the Music" by Britney Spears and "Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies. Works better than you would think, and they have more cool stuff on their site.

I'll Make You Happy, Easybeats - better known for Friday on My Mind, I like this song much better. Why it never succeeded in the US, I have no idea.

You Say You Don't Love Me, the Buzzcocks - not one of their obvious hits, but well worth hearing. Helps begin shifting the tone, and is a nice, wistful (if punky) song.

The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff - a little break, to clear the palate, and is one of the tunes I'm currently grooving to.

Can You Dig It, the Monkees - yes, that's right. A Middle-Eastern flavored number from Head, and one of those songs that simply hypnotizes with each note.

The Origin of Love, Hedgwig & the Angry Inch - Saw the movie with a friend of mine at Free Movie Night at Frederick's. The animated sequence in the film featuring this song was worth the price of admission.

Love and Mercy, Brian Wilson - first heard this song in a movie, just had to track down this track. The first verse may be awkward, but helps end the disc on a graceful note.

(And to the first person who identifies the source of the outro, my kudos and respect)

My only regret - couldn't find a Beatles song to insert, but how do you pick just one song?

Coming soon - more disc reviews!

Random Thoughts

Just think of this as a clearing of the ol' mental attic, getting some linkage out there, and basically clearing my head for the rest of the day:

June 5, 2005

The Not-So-Long Goodbye

This week has been particularly rough - as many of you know, I gave notice, and right now, I'm in the middle of the "cleaning up and finishing past projects" phase. But this week was the hardest - I had to begin saying goodbye to all of my teams.

My job involves working with community groups, schools, neighborhoods, etc, on substance abuse prevention. After awhile, even though I had the most geographically diverse (and heaviest) workload, you get to be part of the family. So much so that teams can't feel they can deal without you - at least, until the new person comes in.

In between goodbyes came a variety of challenges - spending a whole day tooling around downtown and south St. Louis to collect forgotten signatures; dealing with the inevitable "do you have something lined up?" yet; trying to avoid extreme drama and/or mawkishness; and basically attempting to keep my own positive spirits up.

However, I was not prepared when, after a meeting, after giving the "It's time to move on," speech, a member of one of my teams pulled me aside and asked, "Leaving isn't exactly your idea, is it?"

I'm not going to publicly discuss all of the internal machinations - my close and personals know the truth, and quite frankly, I don't burn bridges, especially publicly. However, I was able to mumble some kind of half-hearted assertion, and went on my way. I firmly believe that the truth will always come out - I just have to get out of the way. Luckily, though, the fact that I received two Mixed Bag CDs has helped - nothing like new, unfamiliar tunes to help raise my spirits.

But it stinks - I have always hated goodbyes. I never followed up on buying lunch for former colleague, and that was well over a year ago. (In all honesty, though, it's for the better - a lot of thorny, emotionally charged issues on my part). I know there are people I'll follow up with, and I'll still continue a co-chair position that I started with...but let me tell you, I honestly hope I won't be unemployed for long.

June 2, 2005

Pull File Adventures

Since I hadn't checked the pull file at my local retailer since the early days of the Clinton administration, I decided to make a stop and get my usual reading material. Of course, I was a little shocked to find The Omac Project # 2 and Day of Vengeance # 2 in my file, and I pointed out to the clerk that I hadn't subscribed to either. He shot me a slightly annoyed look, browsed through the Big Pull File Binder, and found that I really hadn't subscribed to either book.

(Think this is an evil plot, or just a new DC marketing strategy).

Ok, out of snark mode, and onto the stash:

Green Lantern # 1: If this were just a simple reboot, I would be able to enjoy it more. However, given the sturm und drang of Jordan's return, especially since it was done by a very vocal contingent, it somehow seems a little lacking. Cool moments, but doesn't quite hang together for me.

Flash # 222: How could Geoff Johns go from writing the above to this? I'm really digging Rogue War - a semi-solid Identity Crisis riff, some interesting repercussions, and an out-of-nowhere death. However, it's gotten my attention, which says something.

Legend # 3: I really enjoy this book, and Chaykin's to be commended for moving up the timeline. There's an even deeper resonance than would be expected, and I'm a sucker for pulp novels/adaptations.

Invincible # 0: this book has done what good zero issues should do - make me want to read the book (and past issues). Definitely going to follow up on this one.

Ultimate Iron Man # 2: Boring, too decompressed, and an offensive (to me) final page - definitely ending my run here. Not even going to bother with the trade.

Legion of Super Heroes # 6: Even as an old school Legion fan, I really enjoy the way the overall "plot" is building. We learn about Legion finances, meet a potential enemy, and have an illustrated letter column. Three stories in one book - definitely a keeper.

Ultimates 2 # 6: I want to see an Ultimate Defenders book. Seriously. (And who thinks the "traitor" will turn out to be Ultimate Bruce Banner? Anyone? If I'm wrong, lunch is on me)

JLA # 114: a hasty (but ok) wrap-up to the Crime Syndicate arc. Although I'm willing to bet that the whole "cosmic egg" thing will be a major part of Infinite Crisis.

Exiles # 64: Favorite moment - Beak towards the end. Even though I haven't been an X-Fan in a long time, I like the fact that it takes guts to have a character say, "I'm not strong, I don't shoot eye beams, I'm not smart...but what I can do is make friends" and have it be the coolest moment in the book.

(Note to self - start reading more non-spandex material)

And finally,

Doctor Who Magazine # 356: Given that there's no American distributor for the show (and my own refusal to download episodes), this is the closest we'll come to getting up-to-date news. I mean, there's a new style Dalek on the cover! Tons of pictures and coverage (including the upcoming Eccleston/Tennant change)! All we need is a smart video company to release the episodes on DVD here in America, and we'd be set.

June 1, 2005

More Propaganda

First Rann, now this...

Thanks to Tom the Dog, we now have knowledge about
pro-zombie propagana

Personally, though, I quite know where I stand in the great zombie apocalypse....