|Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XV
Rassin' Frassin' Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag
Saturday, February 01, 2003
I turned on the TV this morning as I found myself half-awake, knowing that the noise and light from the set would finish waking me up. I blurrily could see an image of a fireball, and heard some announcer talking with someone on the ground, in Texas. I wondered if a meteor had hit. I pulled on my glasses and read "Space Shuttle Overdue".
I've been watching the astronauts the last few nights on NASA TV, watching them do their experiments, watching them ham it up for the cameras. I saw them having the time of their lives. Nothing can express the profound shock I'm in that those joyous lives are now gone.
There is always something to cry about anymore.posted by Tegan | 3:10 PM
Friday, January 31, 2003
I'm really easy to please when it comes to comic strips. I will read just about any of them, and enjoy maybe 80-90% on average. On the other hand, I rarely laugh aloud at any comic strips in the newspaper, and there are very few that tickle me intellectually. After my recent blog about certain comic strips' popularity in Texas, I realized that I haven't really paid a lot of attention to strips in a long time. So I thought I'd link to some of my favorites, and explain why I like them.
First off, I managed, with some difficulty, to set up an interesting page using Houston Chronicle's custom comics feature. I think to use my link, you might have to register, and you will definitely want an extremely speedy internet connection. But this is a page of all their on-line comic strips. I learned from looking at the whole range available there that there were quite a few comic strips I have never seen in Seattle, and a couple of those quickly became favorites.
The best one I found was Heart of the City. Heart lives in Philadelphia with her single Mom and her babysitter Mrs. Angelini. Her best friend is Kat, but Dean, an utter "Sweek" (Star Wars Geek), also competes for her affection. The adventures of Heart are interesting, touching, and very often have references to classic works. The one that really caught me was a fantastic Sunday strip that had artwork based on the Denslow Oz illustrations. It was that strip, in fact, that made me get the book for my hubby-Eric (who is, as you no doubt know, a big Wizard of Oz fan).
I don't know what it is about Between Friends that I indentify with, but there's definitely something there. It's strange, I don't fit any of the characters, but I often hear myself thinking, "That's right!" as I read the strip. This strip and Heart of the City are the only two I've ever written fan letters to.
Rose is Rose is actually about Rose, the Mom in the strip, although Pasquale, his guardian angel, the family cat Peekaboo, and Jimbo the Dad all make major appearances. I indentify with Rose in many ways. She's timid, but has a wild side. And Pasquale's frequent excursions into dreamland via his dreamship also make me quite happy, especially when there's a theme of LEGO or jigsaw puzzles.
Any fan of comics must know about FoxTrot, so there isn't a lot to go into on this one. It's nicely topical to the fan world and yet covers the main family archetypes. And I like the little background in-jokes that often pop-up. Leapy the Lemming. Heh.
I mentioned that Get Fuzzy can be difficult to get into. I originally didn't like the art at all, but once I got used to it I found I enjoyed the characters enough that it didn't matter. Bucky is the truly nasty cat, Satchell the innocent dog, and Rob is the hapless human. And they are strangely compelling when thrown together.
The Seattle Times picked up Frazz and it instantly became a hit here. Frazz is a young school janitor who's in love with a first-grade teacher. He also happens to be one of the best teachers in the school, which is important because some of the students need challenging. I've known a great many school janitors, and lots of them were educators in their own way. There was even a guy in my dorm at college who was taking a massive pay cut: he was training to be a teacher because he loved kids so much from being around them as a janitor.posted by Tegan | 9:02 AM
Thursday, January 30, 2003
I find it amazing that we got more Marvel comics this week than DC comics. That's a rarity that isn't likely to happen again, as this is the last issue of Avengers we are buying, which gets us down to two Marvel books. And Truth is just a mini. We will drop Amazing Spider-Man if JMS ceases to write it or if the quality drops. And in the meantime, no new Marvel books.
Avengers #63: Did I miss an issue or two? Insert quick internet search here Ah, yes, I did. This issue just is a big reminder of why I hate crossovers. This one started in Thor, went to Iron Man, and finished lamely in Avengers. I don't know how the other two parts to the story were, since I don't BUY either of them. Perhaps I should send this issue back to Marvel and demand my money back because I didn't get a full story. In any case, the only redeeming factor in this issue was the art, and that wasn't nearly enough to save it.
Truth #3: This is a serious subject, and the art just doesn't fit it at all. Not even remotely. And while I'm getting used to the art, it just isn't working for me. It's hard to tell what is happening because of a lack of good storytelling in the artwork, and the cast is just large enough to cause confusion even if the characters were a little better drawn. If this series succeeds, it will be despite the artwork, not because of it.
Ruse #16: Hey! There was a cliffhanger last issue, and I wanted to see a resolution! All we got was a hint. And, while it was an entertaining little romp, translating the girl's dialogue got old very fast and the boy is just annoying. Not the best issue I've seen. Wouldn't this have been better suited for the Archard's Agents companion title?
Usagi Yojimbo #63: This is the most dependable comic book of all. While it isn't always truly spectacular, it's always good at the very least. I'm enjoying the current arc of independent stories, linked by Usagi's travels with his son. And this issue brought back a fun character, had a little mystery for the reader to try and solve, and taught the characters (at least one of them) as well as added to the Usagi universe. I just wish this book came out more frequently.
Books scheduled to ship next week: Justice League Adventures, Spectre, Young Justice, and Way of the Rat.posted by Tegan | 2:18 PM
I'm currently not fit to type nor even think thanks to a sudden something which is attacking my digestive tract with a vengeance. Go read Michael Kinsley instead. He's eloquent and interesting. Saved by Mark Evanier again. *sigh*posted by Tegan | 9:36 AM
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Smallville: Suspect: Ok, I was fooled by the twist ending. And yet, in the context of the show, it made perfect sense. Another solid episode from a series that has provided lots of fun so far.
Finally finished my Squiddy ballot and sent it off. I believe I miswrote the voting period in the last blog that I mentioned the Squiddies in, the voting ends on February 2nd, so hurry up and get your ballots in. This is the first year (that I've voted) I didn't vote for my own website for focused website. I think Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics deserves it more than an Aquaman fan site. I also voted for the GCD as the best general comic's website, since I know firsthand what kind of effort has gone into building that database.
Time for a follow-up on the story of Peggy the crossing guard. She's now beginning the "second-guess" stage of the events. First off, the guy didn't have a gun, it was some sort of tool (like a hammer or screwdriver) that he pulled out and pointed at police. They weren't fooled, and they piled on him, and in the end nobody was seriously hurt. Although Peggy never actually saw the note the man dropped, she presumes it was a suicide note, and that the man was attempting to commit suicide by cop. Which is why he told her to tell the cops that he was going to "kill them all." But Peggy never did get a chance to mention to the 911 dispatcher that the guy claimed he was armed because she was so busy describing the events as they happened. And she says that she was convinced he didn't have a weapon after he pulled the note out of his jacket.
Peggy learned, much later, after she got home that night, that one of the cars that passed while the carjacker was getting into the car he stole was driven by her own daughter. In other words, had the carjacker been standing in the other lane, there was a very good chance he would have stopped Peggy's daughter, and Peggy can't imagine what she would have done then, knowing that the man was threatening her kid. She said she thinks she would have taken her crossing guard flag and attacked the guy, but she doesn't know for sure. Other second-guessing has been regarding the people that were nearby at the time. The children she had just helped cross the street weren't that far away. Would the man have approached her if she was surrounded by children? And a guy that walks his dog every day in the area had also just left. If he had been there, would the agitated man looked for another person to give his note to? It's difficult to say, but it's also only human nature to wonder.
Comic came today, and I'll try to review some of them tonight. So far I haven't actually read any. I was going through Previews. I usually find that enjoyable. Books up for review are Usagi Yojimbo, JLA, Truth, Avengers (our last issue), and Ruse. I'll also try to review Smallville tonight.posted by Tegan | 7:07 PM
Hmmm. I thought maybe I'd start off this morning by commenting on the State of the Union address. But then I thought, well, anyone who agreed with the President before probably supported it, and anyone who thinks the President is warmongering without good reason didn't, so what's the point? My own opinion wasn't changed by Bush's attempts to be a great statesman. On the contrary, he looked and sounded out of his league to me.
So maybe there's something in the world of comic books I want to talk about? Well, the whole CBDLF vs Kraft thing is settled, but there's not much more to say on the topic. I'm with Elayne on this one, that it wasn't a case of free speech as much as it was a case of theft, and Kraft was in the right on this one.
So, maybe comic strips? Franklin's Findings led me to a reader poll of comics on the comics page of the Star Telegram, and I was shocked and disappointed to see that one of my favorite comic strips, Frazz, was their lowest rated strip. Wow. I thought Seattle had a lot of old fogeys. Texas must be much worse. They also rated Get Fuzzy very low, which is understandable as it's a hard strip to get into, but very fun once you start reading it. Worse, though, is their highly rated strips. Dennis the Menace and BC are bad enough, but Garfield ran out of jokes about three years ago and has rarely been funny since. Oh well, if you ever find a formula that pleases 100% of the population even 75% of the time, you'd be rich.
So, no. Not much to talk about today. You?posted by Tegan | 8:37 AM
Garfield ran out of jokes a LOT farther back than three years ago...
I wonder why I still read it...
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
I hated the job when I had to work it. So I sympathize with most people who do it. But I keep running into really bad customer service people. These are the ones that tell you the facts in a superior voice, then refuse to clarify if you ask a question. These are the ones that lose patience with you less than a minute into a call (it usually took me at least five minutes of stupidity before I lost patience). Then, when you have finally had enough of their insults and ask to speak to their supervisors, they keep you on the line and repeatedly try to "fix" their mistakes, or they hang up on you. I have yet to get through to a supervisor on a call to one of these really bad service guys. And it's always a guy. While I've had problems with female service reps, they usually will pass me along to their supervisor without question when I ask. Of course, I don't exactly have a representative sample. I've had trouble with customer service people on the phone maybe five times in my life, simply because I try to be polite since I know what those folks are going through. I'm generally very easy-going. It's when I get lied to or when I'm told (like I was yesterday by a male service rep) that I should have lied that I get angry.posted by Tegan | 8:34 AM
Monday, January 27, 2003
I don't have a lot to say: I'm still reeling from a whole day on the phone trying to sort out my insurance mess. But I'll still try to entertain you...
The top 300 comics for February 2003 list has been released. This is a list of the top ordered comic books through Diamond distributors. Aquaman #1 was at number 34 on the December list with about 45,100 copies pre-ordered (that's not the final sales number, it was a bit higher than that and it sold out). Aquaman #2 was at number 38 on the January list with about 36,500 copies pre-ordered (that sort of drop-off for a second issue is not unusual at all). I figured Aquaman #3 would drop off another few thousand... so I was surprised to see it at number 34 on the February list with about 36,200 copies pre-ordered. While that's not necessarily fantastic news, it's better than I was expecting. Any news that isn't bad is good news in comic book sales.
Elayne Riggs has done a pretty good job of covering the aspects of copyright law and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. While I don't completely agree with Elayne, I find that I'm pretty much on the same page as her.
There's a nice discussion of the Aquaman Archives going on at the DC Universe Archives message board.posted by Tegan | 9:30 PM
Thanks, Laura! I actually asked more questions than I answered, but fortunately Micah Wright had a terrific response to some of my queries, so his e-mail (which he gave me permission to post) is well worth reading.
This is my official curse to anyone involved in writing the WSHIP questionnaire: May you suffer a thousand times over the same agonies I've suffered today in having to deal with the fruits of your labors.
I've been denied insurance coverage. No big deal, I thought, I'll contact the company and figure out what I did wrong and fix it right up. I'll have coverage in no time. Ha.
While I did make a mistake, fixing it wasn't enough to get me into coverage. Worse, since I've been denied by one company, no other insurance company, including the temporary ones, will take me, thanks to Washington State's tortured insurance laws. My only option is the overpriced and under benefitted WSHIP coverage, which, frankly, we can't afford. See, some idiots tried to make it possible for everyone in Washington to get affordable health care by forcing insurance companies to accept anyone who passed their questionaire. If you pass the questionaire, you are in. Period. So the insurance companies, in retailiation, said that if you don't pass the questionaire they won't cover you. Period. No exceptions. They won't even consider you on a case by case basis.
Have a problem with that? Too bad, sucker. Your fault for not getting a job that has health coverage.
And so I face a dilemma. Go ahead and apply for WSHIP and cough up $300+ a month for a health plan that isn't even close to what I wanted, or go without for a few months until I can reapply at the other place (and have a nice long waiting period, since I didn't have insurance in the meantime)?
And in the meantime: a curse on anyone involved in that stupid questionaire.posted by Tegan | 3:08 PM
What really steams ME up about this is that I cancelled our other not-quite-as-overpriced-but-barely-adequeate coverage from an out-of-state carrier so we could SAVE money! Ha, fat lot of good that's going to do us...
Sunday, January 26, 2003
I got another comic book in the mail recently and was able to pare down my wantlist a little more. I'm still missing the crucial Otto Binder stories of the late 40's, but I'm a little closer to my goal.posted by Tegan | 9:26 PM
It was actually a somewhat interesting game, even though I don't like either team that played. At least the team that I dislike more lost. In any case, I wasn't really that interested in the game. I wanted to see lots of new, original, and interesting TV commercials. Unfortunately, there weren't any. Oh, there were new ones. And maybe one or two were original. But none of them actually met all three criteria. In fact, there were very very few that were truly interesting.
The best ad of the game would have to go to the Pepsi Twist commercial with Ozzy Osbourne. I don't watch the Osbourne TV show, but having the Osmonds show up was pure genius. The next best is a tie between the Zebra official (first ad of the game) and the Gilligan's Island spoof. Beyond that, there aren't really any worth mentioning.posted by Tegan | 7:46 PM