That Stupid 80's Show

So the other day I somehow ended up getting sucked into watching this show on VH1 - I love the 80's Strikes Back or something like that - and it was really the most vapid, pointless thing I've seen on TV in ages and yet, for some reason, I couldn't stop watching. All the show consisted of was a series of topics from the early 80's - Smurfs, the band Journey, jelly beans and Ronald Reagan, those stupid plastic shoes, Benetton, etc. Then various b-list celebrities would comment on them and maybe say something funny along the lines of "Oh yeah Smurfs! I loved smurfs!" And they just did this over and over again with different topics. There was not point to it all. It was like sitting around at a party or a bar and being drunk and reminiscing about the good old days. Who cares what Frank Stalone thinks about Rick James? And yet...and yet...I watched a full hour of that crap and, I'm ashamed to say, I enjoyed every minute of it. Does that make me evil? Or just sad?

Kerry on Daily Show

So, John Kerry was on the Daily Show last night and I was kind of nervous about it. I was afraid he'd try and do some pre-written, no doubt terrible jokes like I've seen other politicians do on entertainment shows. Thankfully, Kerry chose a much more natural approach. He was pretty much just his own self, occasionally slipping into campaign mode when the opportunity to lay down some policy came up. He was very at ease and, while not trying to "out-funny" John Stewart, was a good sport and played along with the jokes and what not. I laughed and I cheered, especially at some of the nice, solid shots he landed on Bush. He was good on refuting the Swift Boat garbage and pointed out why the Bushies are doing this - because they have no record to run on. All that's left is to smear a war hero (again - see John McCain in 2000). They're really pretty pitiful. Anyway, good job John!

Monday Morning Muse

Ahhhh...Monday. What a day it is. After a weekend of getting next to nothing done that could in any way be considered productive, it's time to bear down and get some work done. This morning I wrote about 1500 words of THE NOVEL, which I'm writing in whatever spare creative time I can find. That brings me up to about 23k words and about a fifth of the way through my story, so I feel I'm right on track there. I'm going to make more and more time for this big book 'o mine in the next few months and try to make some real headway. Luckily, other folks have been busier than I. Austin, the new colorist for the COH comic turned in his first issue (Issue 5) and they look great. I'm really pleased with them and he's a damn hard worker, which is also great. Plus he's local, so if he ever falls behind schedule I can go over and beat the pages out of him. And then I finally got my next assignment for City Of Heroes game design writing. I'll have to mull it over a little today and try to figure out which wacky direction I wanna take what I've been given. We'll see what happens. But now it's almost time to listen to the Al Franken Show and stuff envelopes, my normally noon-time routine. So I guess I'll get on that.

Swift Boat Liars

These Swift Boat Liars make me contantly angry and outraged. Their political agenda is so transparent, their case so ridiculous, and their claims so false that it's disgraceful that they're getting as much coverage as they are. They accuse Kerry of flip-flopping (a stilly and untrue charge to begin with) and yet theses guys have changed their stories more time than a three year old with his hand caught in the cookie jar: Kevin Drum does a good round-up here. The fact that Bush refuses to speak out against these dirty liars just goes to show how desperate he is for something, anything that will keep him from losing this election. And of course that's the big story - these scurilous lies - not the shameful, sad fact that 51 American Soldiers have died in the last 22 days alone - not that you've heard anything about that in the press have you?

Make My Candidate Manchurian

Saw the Manchurian Candidate today - the new one I mean. I'm a huge fan of the first movie - and of the book that inspired it as well. It has the weirdest description of a pair of friends ever - "They were as close as a bucket of chum." Lovely stuff that. The original was great. This movie was good. They changed enough to keep you guessing about what's really going on and there were some nice nods to the original. I'd really like to talk to someone who's seen this one but not the original, since obviously I knew some of the bigger surprises were coming that someone coming to the story fresh might not expect. Sad to see the solitaire stuff go though, although I see why they made the change. Overall though, I reccomend it. Plus, Al Franken has a cameo, so that's fun.

Red, Green, Blue Mars

So I've been working my way through Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, something I've been putting off for many years now (I don't know why). In fact, I'm really grooving on these books. They're classic "hard" sci-fi. No aliens or warp drives or anything like that - just a sweeping epic set against a background rooted firmly in real science (or science that might someday be really possible). The overall arc of the trilogy follows the clonization and transformation of Mars over the course of about 200 years or so. I found all the ecology and atmospheric stuff pretty interesting and it's obvious Robinson's done his research here. Occasionally the story gets bogged down for a moment or two with overlong descriptions of rocks and mountain formations, but these represent a tiny fraction of the books' contents. The best stuff for me is all the political wrangling and dealing. There's a lot of great commentary on political systems, corporate power, and how to create an ideal society when you get to start from scratch as opposed to dealing with systems that have been in place for centuries (or even longer). Plus the book's sympathies seem to lie in a decidedly radical leftist place that I'm very comfortable with, so that no doubt helps my enjoyment a great deal. But even if I disagreed with its politics, I'd still love these books. Check 'em out!

A look at tomorrow, today!

Here I am, back again again again, but this time I brought something with me - a jpeg of Brandon's original line art for page 1 of Issue 4 of City of Heroes. The full color, finished page will be available next week, along with 21 other action packed pages! View image

Confusion Ended

I just finished Neal Stephenson's The Confusion last night. Mmmm-mmmm good. Tasty, yummy goodness. I think Stephenson's brilliance is that he writes very dense books that are nontheless still somehow light and breezy to read. I'm also very impressed with his pacing, which is always surprising. He languishes over smaller events and then rushes through momentous ones. That might sound like a criticism, but it's absolutely not. It's always exactly right. The details he langusihes over are interesting and fun and usually provide some important background info for later revelations. And when those revelations come, they often come fast and furious, which is just how you want them. I'm sad I have to wait four or five months for volume 3, but it could be worse. I'm still waiting on George RR Martin for his next book, and it's been YEARS....

Ok, Really This Time

Time to turn over a new leaf. Again. Lots of leaf turning going on around here. I even went to the gym today. Well, the weekend has come and gone and nothing much of an exciting nature to report. Except of course I had time to read many more pages of the many pages long book The Confusion by Neal Stephenson. This book rocks! I liked the first one, Quicksilver, quite a bit, but I think this one blows it away. The first had all kinds of neat little bits of trivia and fascinating information about science and politics in the 17th Century, but it dragged a bit in places. The Confusion hasn't dragged for a moment of th 650 pages I've read so far and I doubt it's going to slow down in the 150 I've got left. I highly reccomend both books and can't wait for volume 3 to come out in September. It was worth all the waiting since Cryptonomicon.

Back from APE

I...have...returned... so last week I was in San Francisco for the Alternative Press Expo. For those millions of you out there who don't know what the hell that is, it's a very cool convention for independant comic book publishers - like me! We had 1000 copies of a little preview book printed up so that we could give them away to all and sundry who passed by our little table. The booklet contained the first eight pages of issue 1 of City of Heroes and the first 8 pages of Macbeth. We gave away about 25 to friends, family, and creators, which means we gave away about 975 to complete strangers. Now, if all of them get just 100 of their closest friends to buy a copy, we'll have a mega-blockbuster hit on our hands! Ok, admittedly, that's not the likliest of outcomes, but it was still a lot of fun. It's easy to give away free comics, and most of the folks I talked to seemed pretty interested in what we were doing. Macbeth seemed to especially interest them, which was nice to see. I can't wait until it's finished! All in all, it was a good trip. I spent some time down in San Jose at Cryptic Studios and got to see the City of Heroes game up and running. It looks pretty damn sweet. I was terribly impressed. No really, I was. No kidding. The only sucky thing was all the traveling - I don't do well with long plane rides. I have no fear of flying, it's just thatI find the whole experience very uncomfortable - probably because I don't really fit in the seats, especially if someone's next to me. It ended up taking me a few days to recover from the long voyage there and back again, but now I'm home and rested up. I just finished the first round of revisions on Issue 3 of City of Heroes, and I I have to say, I think it's the best one yet. I'm really pleased with how it came out. Brandon actually called me up the other evening after I sent it to him just to tell me how much he liked it, which was indeed very gratifying. Not much else to report for the moment. I think I'll go watch some Stargate SG1...