Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XIX
Aqua-holics beware of Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, March 01, 2003  

Final Thoughts for the Night

Here's a review to cap off the week:

This wasn't the most thrilling-action-packed mini-series ever written. A lot of people found it fairly bland. However, the mini as a whole is one of the sweetest and most deeply emotional stories ever written under the umbrella of the DC Universe. It's about Garth, the protege of Aquaman. He lost his love, Tula, in the Crisis, and in this issue went home to claim his birthright from his long-dead father. But even more than the story, even more than the fantastic artwork... the last page of the story and the letter column speak volumes about the power of these wonderful fictional characters.

posted by Tegan | 10:06 PM

Random Thoughts

How about another freewrite? I can say a lot in ten minutes if I try.

Time to think about the current situation of the country. Yeah, I don't like Bush. I don't like his policy of blaming Iraq for the 9-11 attacks and trying to brainwash the people into believing him. I am really bothered by the media, especially the TV news outlets, in the coverage of the possible war on Iraq. I saw a bit yesterday about teachers in Maine being told to be sensitive to children of people heading off to war, and I nearly blew up.

First off, if any teachers actually said that the men and women of our military are evil for going off to fight in the war, I would not be upset if that person was fired. I believe that the military forces of this country should be respected. I don't blame any of the people being sent to Iraq to fight. They agreed to defend our country. Heck, they are willing to lay down their lives for our freedom. I don't blame them one bit for the war.

I blame our government. Contested as a legitimate government from the start, they are now taking us into a war that sets an extremely bad precedent. "If a nation may someday be a threat to us, we can bomb them into the stone age and murder all their children." Well, gee, using that rational, any country in the world willing to attempt to nuke the United States would be justified. That's just wrong. Even evil. And I blame Bush and his bratpack of cronies. But I don't blame our military. They are the ones going to fight and die.

And secondly, telling teachers they can't talk about the war is wrong. If a teacher is opposed to the war, they should be allowed to say it, even in class. How else is the next generation going to learn? I had teachers giving thoughts on current events all through my elementary school years, and I learned a lot from comparing their beliefs to other adults in my life.

And lastly, I just wonder how out-of-proportion the incidents that prompted to the complaints were blown up to? I mean, did a teacher say, "I don't support the war" and little Johnny went home and Mommy said, "If your teacher doesn't support the war, she hates Daddy! Let's complain!"? The news report I saw indicated that there were "about five complaints" of teachers "disturbing" children by being opposed to the war. How many of those were the adults taking things personally instead of respecting another person's opinion?

Oops. Time's up, pencil down. I guess I'm overthinking the whole war thing, aren't I?

posted by Tegan | 7:01 PM

Friday, February 28, 2003  

Rapid Reviews - 26 Feb 2003 - Part III

Batman: Gotham Adventures #59: I find it hard to believe that the animated Bruce Wayne would miss something so important happening right under his nose. But, getting over that mental hurdle made the rest of the this book pretty good. 3 1/2 starfish

Usagi Yojimbo #64: Whoa. This is the first time I've actually been disappointed in this book! I could see where the plot was going right away, and even figured out who the villain was well before it was revealed. Fortunately, there was a nice set-up for future conflict, and the interaction between the characters was handled as beautifully as usual. Not to mention the consistently great artwork. 3 starfish

Amazing Spider-Man #50: This is the one. The whole future of the book rests on this issue... sort of. If there had been any real hype, this issue would have lived up to it. Great dialogue, enough action to please people who don't like the soap opera style, and an actual resolution at the end. 4 starfish

Ruse #17: Finally an end to the cliffhanger! And even a mostly satisfying one. And the story moves along on a couple of plotlines, nicely paced. There is even a nice surprise at the end. Much better. More like what I'm reading this book for, although not quite perfect yet. 4 starfish

Previews: Freakin' DC having all these events and Elseworlds that we want to get. GIVE US A BREAK!! Sheesh. Next month better be light.

Next week: Powers, Green Lantern, Justice League Adventures, Spectre, Young Justice, Way of the Rat.

posted by Tegan | 9:18 AM

Thursday, February 27, 2003  

Can't Stop Thinking About It

It's actually a bit hard for me to get back to reviewing comics and all today. I mean, it's not like Mr Rogers died incredibly early or something. He lived a full life, had made his mark on the world. But I'm still feeling... at a loss. When Jim Henson died, I cried for hours. I'm not crying now, but I definitely feel drained. And yet at work, when we started talking about it, we started to laugh and smile remembering what he'd done. He made an impact, and the world is a poorer place now that he's gone.

Rapid Reviews - 26 Feb 2003 - Part II

JLA #78: Interesting set-up. It's not a situation you usually see the League in, so that's something. But the storyline doesn't really do much for me. 2 1/2 starfish

JLA/Spectre: Soul War #2: If you are a big Hal Jordan fan, and a big Batman fan, this is the book for you. Otherwise, it's one to avoid. 2 starfish

Titans #50: Tempest is on the cover, but not inside. This whole story could have been told in one issue and would have been mildly interesting that way. As written, it's far too drawn out and concludes too quickly. 2 starfish

Supergirl #79: Hey! Aquaman's in this book! Ok, only in one scene, entirely in the background, but that's pretty cool, too. The contrast between Linda and Kara's experiences is fascinating, and really makes this issue the bittersweet penultimate issue that it is. 4 starfish

Green Arrow #21: Nice conclusion to the Archer's Quest. Not what I expected from Ollie. It wasn't the best storyline overall, but it ended satisfactorily. I find myself wondering what Scott McCullar thinks of the book, being as great a Green Arrow fan as I am an Aquaman fan. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Gotham Adventures, Amazing Spider-Man, Ruse, and Usagi Yojimbo.

posted by Tegan | 5:06 PM


Mr Rogers So I turned on the TV to wake up this morning, and was greeted with the words, "Fred Rogers was 74." WAS? Sure enough, after a little channel surfing, the horrible news is confirmed. Mr Rogers is dead.

A man of infinite humor, and tons of patience. He didn't mind being made fun of, and even helped out sometimes. He was incredibly consistent, always there for a whole generation or two of children. He didn't press his religion on people, but showed the strong moral standards he believed in by example, with explanation.

You can argue that his show was simple. You can say whatever you want. Mr Rogers was a good man, and while his website gives advice on how to help children deal with the loss, where's the advice for us adults who just lost another link to our innocence?

posted by Tegan | 8:04 AM

Wednesday, February 26, 2003  

Gasoline Price Watch

Just checking the gas prices on my route to and from work, looking only at the price for regular gasoline per gallon. I got a range of $1.69 as the cheapest (at the Arco up the street from work) and $1.85 as the most expensive (at the Shell station just down the hill from the Arco).

Rapid reviews of today's comics coming soon. The Animated Aquaman Maquette also arrived today, but mine had a busted harpoon, so my retailer is attempting to get me a replacement. Everything else arrived as expected.

posted by Tegan | 6:22 PM

Rapid Reviews - 26 Feb 2003 - Part I

Birds of Prey: Feat of Clay: The first appearance of Clayface on the show, and a different take than I've seen before. Not bad. Unfortunately, pieces of the plot kept telegraphing themselves, making it less exciting than it should have been. Overall, not too bad. 3 starfish

Birds of Prey: Devil's Eyes: Harley almost came out in this episode. It was almost as good as it could have been. In fact, lots of this show was "almost" (though some of it was just yuck, too). So, this one gets a low rating... 2 1/2 starfish

Birds of Prey The TV Series: I wanted to actually see the birds themselves. The twisting of the concept made it much less than what the comic was. And I never got used to the "half-metahuman" crap. You're either meta or you're not. There were good ideas, good characters. Oracle was wonderful, as was Alfred. Gipson was an interesting addition as the guy who remembered everything. But it never came together. 2 starfish

Smallville: Rosetta: It was time. It was just time, I knew it was coming in the next few episodes, and I'm glad it came in this one. Clark learns the truth, or part of it anyway. This episode cranked the whole series up a bit, and I'm enjoying this show immensely. The musical cues from the John Williams Superman score were just perfect. This is the first episode of Smallville that referenced the Superman legend that I really liked, as it was no longer just Smallville, it was Superman... ok, I can't explain it. But I liked it. 4 starfish

By the way, if you are financially able and willing, please visit and support Reeve's efforts to end paralysis. Also visit the Ledger and Torch for more thoughts on the episode. Don't forget to visit the Classifieds for a Pokemon inside joke.

Comics coming today: Usagi Yojimbo, Gotham Adventures, Supergirl, Green Arrow, JLA, JLA/Spectre, Titans, Amazing Spider-Man, Ruse, Previews, and possibly the Animated Justice League Aquaman Maquette, we'll see when I get to the shop tonight.

posted by Tegan | 10:47 AM

It's a Good Show, a Real Good Show

Peter David was promoting the sequel to the classic Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life" on his blog for some time. Naturally, I had to tune in to the sequel. But the Sci-fi channel made a great choice and aired the original later that same night. Instead of watching them out of order, hubby-Eric taped them for later viewing. He watched both of them at a party we held at our house the night before I finally got to see them. Be warned, there are spoilers ahead!

Twilight Zone: It's a Good Life: Hubby's only comment on the two episodes before I watched them was that "Rod Serling is a master storyteller" and I have to agree. Instead of giving us every frightening detail, Serling brought us into the tale after much of the damage had already been done. He showed us just a snapshot of what life was like in Peaksville under Anthony Fremont's control. Much of the horror was left to the viewer's imagination (partly because of an inability to do really good special effects, but it worked well nonetheless). The people we see aren't the ones who stood up to Anthony, they are those left, weak and cowed. And we see how even the weak can have moments of strength... before they get turned into jack-in-the-boxes and sent to the cornfield. At some point during the episode I turned to Eric and said, "I wouldn't have lasted long in Peaksville." He said, "No, me neither." At the end of the episode, the fate of the people is left entirely up to the viewers' imaginations. Would the remaining people survive? Would Anthony send them all to the cornfield? Would they go completely bonkers and kill him, only to die off in the lonely corner of reality he'd created? Would he, as he grew older, develop powers that could bring people back? Or create new people? It's all up to the viewer... until a sequel is made 40 years later...

Twilight Zone: It's Still a Good Life: The first, and most valid, complaint about this is that it is a sequel. It could be successfully argued that a classic tale like "It's a Good Life" doesn't need a sequel. That it would be better to leave the fate of Peaksville an open question. Well, if you feel that way, then just ignore the sequel. It didn't have to happen for you. However, if you can get over that hurdle, then this is an interesting look at what could have happened to Anthony Fremont. In the original episode, we don't know how many residents of Peaksville are left, although we know it's more than we see, because other children are referred to, and we see none of them. In this one, there is just a handful of people left, and they must be completely insane after forty years of sucking up to Anthony. In any case, none of them has any spine left, and none can stand up to Anthony, who hasn't really grown much at all. Yeah, physically he's now a man with a daughter, but he's mentally still six years old. Think about it. No one dares correct him. No one dares try to teach him anything he doesn't want to hear. He's a complete ignoramus. He only knows what a country boy would know. As for why there is any people left at all, he appears to realize that if he gets rid of everyone, he'll be lonely. His daughter, on the other hand, appears completely normal, so no one would be scared to teach her. Her grandmother even discusses "shielding" her mind from Anthony with her. It's clear that she's been taught, and has learned. So we have the set-up of a girl that is more educated than her father, and more powerful too. Then she's told to kill her father by the grandmother that she doesn't entirely trust anymore. When Audrey sends everybody to the cornfield, Anthony is shocked, and possibly terrified. He's not scared of Audrey, he's scared of being alone. So Audrey's subsequent revelation that she can bring things back, including the whole outside world that was missing for all those years, was a wonder to Anthony. It's at that moment that Anthony looks the most vulnerable. He's an ignorant farmboy, off to face the world.

The original episode was better. It was creepier, more terrifying. Most of Anthony's actions were hidden, but we could see the reactions from all the adults around him to what he was doing. It rates a solid four starfish 4 starfish. The sequel was a different approach, but if you think about it, it's almost as creepy as the original. All the people who know what Anthony and Audrey are have "gone to the cornfield" and are unlikely to come back. And those two are loose on a completely unsuspecting world. It rates a good 3 1/2 starfish 3 1/2 starfish.

posted by Tegan | 8:01 AM

Comments (2)

Btw, it wasn't Serling who decided to open the story after Anthony had wished everyone else away. Or rather, Serling's decision was to go with how the Jerome Bixby short story of the same name the episode was based on went. With the caveat of some things from the story not being implementable fully shown on tv at that point of special effects tech, the episode is a very faithful adaptation of the story.

Tom Galloway | Email | 02.27.03 - 5:59 pm

Thanks Tom. Someday I'm going to hunt down the original story.

Laura | 02.27.03 - 7:52 pm

Tuesday, February 25, 2003  

Still Not A Lot To Say

Yeah, I must confess, I'm not really thinking very hard today. This is going to be a freewrite.

When I was in High School, I took creative writing from James Mitsui. During the time I took creative writing from him, he strictly forbade us to look at his own poetry, lest we take hints from it on how to write to appeal to him. In any case, he taught creative writing the way that any good teacher would teach it. He gave us two or three writing assignments a week, which we didn't have to do if we didn't want to. The only requirement was that every Friday we turn in a PFF, a Paper For Friday, that would be the graded work for that week. We were encouraged to turn in a LOT more work, which he would critique and give back, but we weren't graded on. If he liked it, he might put the work on a handout for the class, and we would have discussions of the works on the handouts. While it was an honor to have one of your poems on the handout, it was absolutely brutal if the class chose to discuss your poem. Nobody held back: we learned from Mitsui how to critique seriously.

I spent a lot of time writing bad poetry and learning how to write better poetry. While I don't think I'm a particularly good poet, I think I at least understand how to write a poem. That's why my poetry is freely available on my website. I don't particularly care who quotes it, as long as I get credit, and I never expect to earn anything from any of my poems. If you somehow manage to read through the lot, I can only say I salute you.

In any case, I never intended to be a poet when I entered High School. Until I got into Mitsui's class I had been writing prose short stories, some of them truly awful. But, being a poet, Mitsui emphasized poetic writing, although he didn't have a problem with us students turning in prose. So my endeavors turned to poetry. But I still liked prose, and every once in a while Mitsui would suggest a freewrite and I would love every minute of it.

Basically, Mitsui would say, "Today we will have a ten minute freewrite. When I say 'go' you will start writing about any subject you want to. At the end of ten minutes, I'll say 'time is up' and you'll all put your pencils down." Sometimes he would ask us to read from them. Sometimes he'd ask us to turn them in. Because of the time limit, they were always prose. To Mitsui, they were a gateway into the creative reaches of the mind. When you are simply writing whatever you think, limited only by the speed of your hand, with no self-editing, no arranging, no organization... you are getting as close as you can possibly get to pure thought on paper. While most of the students would then work on the ideas on paper to turn them into poems, I sometimes re-worked a freewrite into a short prose piece.

In any case, a freewrite is a geniune piece of creative writing, unfinished but pure. And that's all you are getting today for a blog. Sorry.

posted by Tegan | 10:47 AM

Monday, February 24, 2003  

Not A Lot To Say

I don't have a lot to say today. Maybe a little more than last time I didn't have anything to say, but I still don't have a lot to say. I've got reviews of the Birds of Prey finale and the Twilight Zone sequel to "It's a Good Life" in the works, but haven't really had the oomph to finish them today. I've mostly spent the day cleaning my computer room and finding comic books that had been missing for some time. My Aquaman collection appears to be all in one place again, at least. Go read some of the blogs in my bloglist. They probably have had more interesting days. Here's a cool Aquaman cover to tide you over until I actually feel like writing again:

posted by Tegan | 8:04 PM

Sunday, February 23, 2003  

Random Thoughts

If you believed the recent crap from the Prez about using duct tape (which usually doesn't even hold up when fixing ducts) to save you from biological attacks, you need to check out this wonderful cartoon, on how to properly Duck and Cover!. Link courtesy of Elayne Riggs.

Elayne has also been busy discovering information about vote fraud, as described on this website by David Dill, Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. Dill is also trying to organize technologically saavy resistance to voting machines that cannot be audited. You thought hanging chads were bad? What if someone could control the whole election by rigging the machines you vote on?

In slightly more upbeat news, the people of Vancouver, British Colombia, have voted to support a bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Yes, as long as it's not Seattle, the Emerald City of traffic snarls.

And I know you are all just dying to hear about how my knee is doing. Short answer: better. Longer answer: I'm carrying my cane just in case it goes fully out, but yesterday I was actually using the cane because it hurt so bad. It doesn't hurt much now, just the usual dull ache from when something has been slightly injured and is trying to heal. So, yeah, it's better.

And... does anyone know of a good mimmoth catcher? I seem to have a small infestation.

posted by Tegan | 10:05 AM