Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XLV
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag's Unfairly Balanced Archive

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Sketchbook - Eric Shanower

What can I say about Eric Shanower that hasn't already been said much more eloquently by somebody else? Eric is a family friend, as both my husband and Eric were Oz fans and went to the same Oz convention annually back in the day. In fact, there are a number of people who still confuse the two, even though they look nothing alike. Hubby-Eric has been asked for autographs before by people who thought he was Eric Shanower. It was Eric Shanower who got Ramona Fradon's address for hubby-Eric when hubby wanted to surprise me with an original Fradon watercolor of Aquaman on Christmas. And Eric Shanower is also an Aquaman artist, as he inked Curt Swan's pencils on The Legend of Aquaman. One year at an Oz convention, Eric Shanower showed me an ashcan concept for a new series he wanted to do. It was about the Trojan war, and the art blew me away. I believe I said as much, and urged him to go forward with it. To my immense surprise and continuing delight, those words earned me a mention in the acknowledgements page of the first Age of Bronze collection. More recently, hubby-Eric and I stayed at Eric's apartment for the few days before San Diego. Oooh, we got to sleep in his studio! Eric's home is stuffed with reference books, and it was all I could do to not sit down and read everything. I did manage to read quite a bit in the couple of days we were there. In any case, Eric is not only a great artist, he's a great friend, and I'm proud to know him.


AQUAMAN
by Eric Shanower
21 July 2000
(permission to post given 17 August 2003 via e-mail)
http://ericshanower.com/

This sketch was my first sketch of the second day of San Diego 2000. I was under strict instructions to find Eric and say hello, so I hunted him down and found him in the small press area after first looking in the Image area. He wasn't busy, which was a shame because a guy like him should be surrounded by adoring fans asking for sketches. On the other hand, it did mean we had a little time to talk, and he was able to do this Aquaman sketch for me. Then I took some issues of Age of Bronze over to Ramona Fradon for him. Later, on the final day of the con, I escorted Nick Cardy out of the convention hall, and on the way I steered him to Eric's booth. I got to introduce Nick Cardy to Eric Shanower! An awful lot of my good comic book memories are related to Eric Shanower.

To see all the sketches I have permission to post so far, check out my Sketchbook Page. If you have any contact information for any of the other artists I'm trying to contact, please e-mail me.

posted by Tegan | 8:40 PM |


Blog$shares 101 - Part Two: How to Start Investing

Ideally, investing in blogshares would be a case of buying shares in blogs you really like, or in blogs you think will grow in value because they are so good they are sure to become popular and get more links in the future.

Realistically, though, $500 just isn't going to do that. And when you register with Blogshares all you get is $500 seed money. You need to invest in cheap blogs whose value will go up enough that you can make some capital.

I'm sure you recognize the possible problem with this approach. How do you find cheap blogs? Well, fear not, Seyed (the creator of Blogshares) has thought of that, and provided a simple way to find those blogs.

First off, make sure you are registered. You should see a "Members Area" over on the right side of every page that gives you your current status. When you start, your cash balance will be $500. The number of Transactions is important unless you've paid for Premium Membership, because you can only do 20 transactions in a 24 hour period. Keep that in mind, because timing might get important later, and you'll always want to keep a transaction in reserve when it does.

Now, to actually find a cheap blog... Along the left side of your browser window, you should see a column of links. Click on Stock Tips. This will list 100 blogs whose value is currently low and which are considered "growing blogs". You should be able to pick up at least a couple there whose price per share is 20 cents. Those are the ones you want to start with.

After you've found one of these cheap blogs, you want to buy shares. To do that, click on the name of the blog, and you should get its blog listing. You should see several links underneath the "Share Market" heading. The one you want to click is "Buy Shares". This will bring up another page that tells you how many shares you are currently allowed to buy, and at what price. You will not be able to buy every share in a blog on one transaction. That's a limitation to keep people from abusing the system. At this point, you just want shares, so buy as many as you can (usually 1250). Just hit the "Buy Shares" button.

After your transaction goes through, you should get a nice window that tells you how many shares you bought, and the total price. You will also notice that the price of the shares changed. That's the key to getting a little spare change. For low priced blogs, the price per share always goes up if you buy some shares.

At this point, you want to hit the "Portfolio" button to look at your new possessions. The blog you own shares in is listed, along with the number of shares you hold (the number available is underneath). The Price is the current price per share. The Buy Price is how much you spent. The important thing is that when you sell the shares, you sell them for more than you bought them for. With a new, cheap blog, that will be easy. You won't make a huge profit, but you will build up enough cash to start playing in earnest.

Well, you've bought some shares, and you are ready for the next step. Unfortunately for you, the system is not. There are various restrictions to prevent abuse, and one of them is that you can only buy shares in a single blog every 20 minutes. So, if you have enough leftover cash to buy more shares in your blog, you are going to have to wait for 20 minutes before buying them. Another restriction is that you must wait 6 hours after buying shares in a blog before you can sell them. This effectively stops the worst kind of "day trading", but it means that you might want to buy your shares before you go off to work or school, then come back in the evening to sell them.

That's enough for lesson two. Watch for lesson three: "Selling those suckers".

posted by Tegan | 5:53 PM |


Rapid Reviews - 27 August 2003 - Part I

the forgotten: I've already told you the story of why I bought this. At the time I also read the first two issues, which was half of the trade. And I enjoyed them enough to order the book. This is a murder mystery, but it involves superheroes in a tangential role. This does not read like a superhero comic at all, though. It reads like a solid crime comic with a bit of powers thrown in for spice... except the powers are crucial to the subplot which comes roaring in like a train. There are lots of villains, but even the villains are fleshed-out and complicated people. The characterizations are wonderful throughout. And, despite having three different artists doing the pencils, the art is amazingly consistent. This is a book for mature readers, as the subject matter is a bit heavy for the young'uns, but it's well worth reading if you like a good mystery. And you don't even have to rely on my opinion, as the first two issues are available at the publisher's website. So go, check it out. 4 1/2 starfish

Amazing Spider-Man #57/498: I have mostly enjoyed this book since JMS took over the writing chores. The last two issues were fantastic. And this one is pretty good too. I admit that I like spidey best when he's dealing with down-to-earth issues like his students, though, so while I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot, the second half didn't do as much for me. Nice guest appearances... and I guess this arc is going to be a bit cosmic. I do like that Spidey is sensible enough to note that mixing science and magic might not be a good idea. 3 1/2 starfish

Marvel Previews #1/Mystique #1: I'll admit to being a bit annoyed at this new piece of Previews magazine. I'd much rather have this within Previews itself, and not as a separate book. I'm also not happy with the price jump this has caused in Previews. Anyway, that said, it's a nice idea. Including a complete issue of Mystique was a nice touch. There were a few other shorts, like Nyx and Wolverine: The End, but the most interesting mistake I saw was in the solicitation for Amazing Spider-Man, in which they use a page from the current issue with a banner proclaming it as "art from Amazing Spider-Man #501". Uh-huh. It's about time Marvel put back some information about their upcoming books, but I wish they'd have the grace to at least get the info right (I'll allow that they might re-use that page, but if they do, that's almost worse). As for the Mystique issue... very interesting. I didn't know Xavier could walk. Nor did I know that Mystique was inclined to spare anyone, either. Nor did I know that Forge and Mystique were ever an item. Not bad, but not enough to interest me in the book. 3 starfish

posted by Tegan | 10:12 AM |


Friday, August 29, 2003

Blog$hares 101 - For Elayne (Part One)

Ok, I promised to try and explain Blogshares. Here's the simple explanation: It's a stock market simulation based on blogs, with shares of a blog valued by the number of links to that blog from other listed blogs. If you understand the basic concepts of the stock market, you can play blogshares.

As a player, you can buy shares in a blog and sell them. You can place market orders in a blog that you are interested in, and sell orders when you want to sell stock in a blog for something different than the market price.

That's the simple explanation. Because it's a simulation, things get different from the real world fast. First thing to remember is that it's a game, and therefore people are not investing real money. But getting lots of B$'s is an accomplishment, and can be fun if you play it right. It's also a great way to kill time when you have massive sunburned-induced insomnia.

The system works by indexing blogs like a search engine. Blogs are listed when people put them into the system, and then the blogs are frequently spidered by bots to find out who is linking to them. The more links to a blog, the more valuable it is. It also works like many of the popular blog listings, in that you can see who a blog is linking to, and what popular blogs are linking to it. I've now found a couple of links to my blog through blogshares, although the links to my blog are somewhat pathetic by blogshares standards. Heh. Unfortunately, the spider does miss blogs, as I'm still not linked to Elayne's blog for some reason.

If you go to the listing of a blog, like here, you will see several categories.

The first category is "General" and has the basics about the blog. The URL, the Value, when it was Added, the Status, the Owner (if available), and the Industries the blog belongs to (more on that later). If you have registered for the game and are logged in, you'll also get a couple of boxes with the public status, including the likelihood of you buying any stock in this blog.

The next important category is "Statistics" and the only real important number there is the number of Incoming Links. The higher the number, the more valuable the blog. For instance, compare the value of technorati to my blog. Ouch.

Moving on, the "Share Market" category is the most important for you if you want to buy, because you can find out how many shares are owned by the public (thus easy to buy) by looking at the Public Held Shares. Right under that is the Price of each share. So if it says "2000" in Public Held Shares, and "$49.17" in Price, you could buy up to 2000 shares for $49.17 each. Simple, eh?

Underneath that is a bunch of other stuff, but if you are just getting started, you don't want to mess with that. To start, you want to only buy public shares if you can.

Whew. That's enough for tonight. Look for part two sometime tomorrow. "How to get enough seed money to really have fun".

posted by Tegan | 11:07 PM |


OH MAD RUNT GHOST

Anagram Generator. The only one I liked for my name was "JAGUAR GO LAVA". Hubby-Eric's name came up with a lot more items, including "A RAVE COG JIG". Adding in his middle name got some interesting items, including the ever sensible "A JOCULAR VEGA PIG".

How about a Lone Wolf and Cub sequel, from the original writer, following Diagoro's future? I'm for that.

posted by Tegan | 10:19 PM |


Yaaa! I Got To Sleep Last Night!

Here's some thoughts to tide you over, with a warning that I get political starting right after the entry from Billmon. Coming soon to this blog, as soon as I have time, an overview of my playing on Blogshares over the last month and my Rapid Reviews for this week's comics. Both of which are right there in the back of my mind, just waiting to get written. Really.

Steven Grant has a good analysis of the CrossGen problem. It starts with an extended wrestling metaphor, but don't hold that against him.

This blog, the dissident frogman, has some posts on the heatwave deaths in France. Warning, some of the stories may make you disgusted. via the Insolvent Republic of Blogistan

Not only is WildGuard getting attention in Wizard, it's also getting an article and preview in TV Guide! Good job Todd! And yes, I'm still voting daily for Aqua Chica.

Will Pfeifer's latest column is on collecting TV shows on DVD. Well, a couple of TV shows, at least.

Billmon on racism. Well worth reading.

Sally Baron is being remembered across the blogosphere as her "nickname" for Bush picks up steam.

John Ashcroft's press conferences refuse to admit certain members of the press. via Tom Tomorrow

Salam Pax's home was raided by Americans. Well, at least we aren't shooting them on vague suspicions. Still, what kind of liberators are we, anyway?

Riverbend is rightly angry at American companies being given jobs that Iraqis could do just as well, not to mention cheaper. We're trying to build Iraq up again, right? Why, then, aren't the Iraqis being allowed to build their own bridges?

And one last political thought: We've been told for months now that the Bush Administration planned on releasing lots of proof of the WMD in September, possibly as a political bombshell. Why are there now a bunch of stories about Iraqi dissidents feeding us false information? To say this whole WMD thing is tangled is to understate the situation. No one has ever disputed that Saddam once had weapons of mass destruction. But a large portion of the population of the world believed that the UN weapons inspections were successfully holding him at bay from producing more, and maybe even had forced him to get rid of the ones he had. The Bush Administration disagreed, and said he had weapons ready to use, which was a large part of the justification for war. After the invasion we were told, no, the Bush Administration never said that, they said that Saddam had a weapons program. And now they are saying the intelligence they got from Iraqi dissidents was intentionally misleading... Is this just all CYA on the part of Bush and his cronies? Was our intelligence really that bad? How can we expect this administration to protect us from real threats if they are out chasing phantoms?

posted by Tegan | 12:33 PM |


Thursday, August 28, 2003

Flipping Through Previews...

I don't generally do a Previews overview because there just isn't all that much outside of the stuff I'm getting that interests me in an average month. Usually I see one or two books that I'm sort of intrigued by, and that's it. There's never enough reason to spend the time writing up thoughts on books that haven't come out that I'm not likely to order. But this month there's a few, so I'm going to try to do a nice short overview. This is:

"Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)"

Ok, a good perusal through Previews starts at "the splash page", in which Diamond promotes a number of different items. This month there is nothing of interest to me here, though, so flip on to the "Premier Comics" section.

Dark Horse is putting out a 25 cent Conan comic written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Cary Nord. Let's see, Kurt Busiek doing a classic fantasy character, for only two bits... Yup. That one makes the list.

Next item of interest is the Shrek TPB. Only problem with it collecting the three issue mini-series is that the mini-series has been massively delayed... so much so that issue three was never solicited, and the original fourth issue was dropped. So what are we supposed to do? I usually don't order a trade if I have the originals, but I clearly haven't ordered all the originals (much less gotten any), so should I take my chances and order the trade and expect the individual issues to be cancelled? Help!

Moving on, Usagi Yojimbo is on the list, and that finishes out Dark Horse. There's a very nice looking Darth Vader vinyl figure, but even if I had the money I wouldn't get it. I just thought I'd mention that it looks very cool.

Next up is DC. The bulk of our ordering is in the DC section, so I'm going to move through this fast. Batman Adventures, Birds of Prey, and the new Elseworld Batman: Detective #27. I'm interested in the Softcover treatment of Batman: Child of Dreams, but that won't make the list.

In the Superman section we will get Smallville #5, Superman: Birthright #5, Superman & Batman: Generations III #11, and hopefully Superman: The Kansas Sighting #1.

In the regular DCU books, Aquaman #12 and the new Aquaman trade Aquaman: The Water Bearer are no-brainers. We'll also get Cinnamon: El Ciclo #4, Empire #5, Fallen Angel #5, Formerly Known as the Justice League #5, Green Arrow #32, Green Lantern #171, H-E-R-O #10, JLA #90, JLA: Liberty and Justice, JLA-Z #3, JSA #54, JSA: All-Stars #7, Justice League Adventures #25, and probably Outsiders #6. Whew.

Wildstorm books are Arrowsmith #5 and Astro City: Local Heroes #5. I am ever-so-slightly intersted in Superman/Thundercats, but not enough to get it. I would get Road to Perdition and its sequel which is being solicited this month if I had some extra cash. As it is, the Green Lantern Pocket Super Heroes Set is enough of a money drain, if we decide to get it.

Right after the DC section is an ad for Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. I like Ross' artwork. I don't think it's the be-all and end-all of what artists should strive for, but I think it's generally pretty neat. And I wouldn't mind getting this book if I could afford it.

On to Image Comics. I wouldn't mind trying out 40 Oz Collection by Jim Mahfood, if only because of that awesome sketch he did for me. And I would love to read Hedge Knight, but haven't been ordering them despite my interest because it was just one more book we can't afford. There is no new Powers of Age of Bronze, so the only Image Book we are actually ordering this month is WildGuard #3.

In the Top Cow section, Neilalien pointed out Cursed, which I would also be willing to try if I could afford it. Like Neilalien, I too have a weakness for Ancient Egypt and Pirates.

For Marvel, the less said the better. Amazing Spider-Man #60/501 is on the pull, but I note that the page that is proclaimed as "Art From Amazing Spider-Man #501" in the Marvels Preview book shows up on page 9 of the current issue. Whoops. Other than that, Supreme Power #4 and JLA/Avengers #3 are it. I'll be writing a little more about the new Marvels Preview book in my Rapid Reviews for this week.

I want to pause here and say that the Alex Ross cover to Wizard #146, with Aquaman standing behind Wonder Woman, looks pretty darn good to me. I like this Aquaman, even if he's in a "point at the mountain" pose.

On to the rest of the comics.

First up is Licensable Bear #1 from About Comics. This looks like fun. I'm not entirely sure what "post-ironic satire" means, but I know I like Nat Gertler's writing, so I would love to get this. In addition to Nat's name, the description of a teddy bear trying to license his own image is just amusing. I'm not sure about the artwork, not enough to judge by, but I would give this a shot if I could.

Airwave Comics has a book called Yets #1 that looks interesting. It looks like a cute funny animal book. However, without any more indication of the interior art than that single image, I'd be hesitant to try it. Still, a "daredevil guinea pig" searching for dragons and finding fire-breathing "Yets" sounds fun.

There's a Peanutbutter & Jeremy trade in the Alternative Comics section. I seem to recall enjoying that book from FCBD. Would be nice to try out a trade.

If I had no problems with money at all, I would give Seamonsters & Superheroes #1 a try, but it would be one of the first to be cut from my list if I had to shorten it. It looks interesting, but not really something I would enjoy. Basically, I would love to give it a shot. It's from Amaze Inke/Slave Labor Graphics.

Next up is Antarctic Press, and Assembly #1, which I would definitely get if I had any extra money for books at all this month. The description gets me: "In a totalitarian future, military service guarantees food and housing. Shon believes enlisting is the only option to solve her financial troubles. But she doesn't comprehend the consequences of her decisions -- or the mortality rate in the service!" Just my kind of book. Add in the artwork, a nice close-up of which is on page 213 of Previews, and I'm very interested.

A word here about Neotopia. I would love to buy all of the series, as I know already that I like Rod Espinosa's work. Again, it's a matter of the series being just outside of what we can afford. I hope to get the whole thing someday to read.

A new mini from APC interests me. Digital Graffiti #1 is about London "a few centuries from now". I wish there was more description, but it looks like something I would give a chance.

Along the same lines is Ruule: Ganglords of Chinatown #1 from Beckett Entertainment. The concept intrigues me: "Chinatown has become a city without hope ruled by vicious ganglords. Out of this darkness, a young man receives a strange visitor who offers him the key to saving his city. But first he must learn to have faith in something that his people had abandoned long ago." I'm just a sucker for this type of solo hero story.

An entry in which the solicit interests me, but the art doesn't inspire me, is Birch Barks Comics Sacred Circles #1. Just looking at the tiny picture, I can't tell at all what it is supposed to represent, but the text is interesting to me, if for no other reason than the Canadian term "First Nations" (a term which is far more accurate than either "Indians" or "Native Americans").

Radioactive Man: The Movie Adaptation from Bongo Comics is amusing, and I actually did see that episode of The Simpsons, so I know what it's about. It wouldn't take much for this to make the list.

CrossGen may have annoyed me with their leadership's irresponsible attitude toward freelancers, but I'm still inclined to buy a few of their books. Ruse #26, El Cazador #3, Way of the Rat, and The Crossovers have all made the cut. I've been interested in getting The Path trades for some time, but I don't see that as any more likely now than it has been, and maybe a little less likely after Alessi's snide comments.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection from Dreamwave interests me only because it's Peter David writing it. This one would be low on my list, but I'd get it if I could.

Another set of books I'd get if I could afford them would be the Gemstone Disney books. The first comic I remember reading was an Uncle Scrooge comic. I'd be particularly interested in any clasic tales that might reprint some of the stories I read as a kid.

Monkeysuit Press has a book that looks intriguing, but I wonder why it's labeled "Mature Readers". The book is Adventures of Mia #1 and the solicit reads: "Mia is an innocent but strong willed young girl, living in a small town on the Italian Riviera. She flies her plane like no one can, with pure instinct. Mia is ready to fly up against the top pilots of the day and even against the superior military planes of the fascist forces. These exciting stories follow Mia through many stages of her career. We see her as a skilled aviatrix, and we find out just how her amazing talents came to be, back when she was just a toddler." Maybe it's just that fighting against the fascists thing.

No promise that I'll read it, but my friend is getting Phantom #1 by Moonstone through us. It does look interesting. He's a big Phantom fan, so he's happy to see a new series starting.

Sentai Studios is putting out Raven's End #1, which appears to be another feudal Japan series. Again, I'm interested, but it would be fairly low on my list.

Wertham Was Right by Mark Evanier is another of those books that I would get if I could afford it. Along with Comic Books & Other Nexessities of Life.

Via Media Publishing Company has something called Tales of the Hermit that looks up my alley, and would be on the tryout list if I could afford it.

Whew, on to the Graphic Novel Spotlight section. I am mildly interested in the Frumpy the Clown collections. I think I would definitely get The Liberty Project if I could afford it, as it's Kurt Busiek's early stuff.

In the Magazines, I would likely get both Alter Ego #30 and Back Issue #1 if I could, as both list articles that I wouldn't mind reading. But we've discovered that the magazines just cost too much for us to keep buying. Just getting the latest Doctor Who Magazine takes a large chunk out of our comics budget.

In the books section, most of which is right out of our budget, I find the previously mentioned Alex Ross DC book, as well as a few other books of interest. I would love to get The Art of Maurice Sendak for instance. Also of interest is The Silver Age of Comic Book Art, although I'm willing to bet there won't be much Aquaman in it. I really want Words of Wonder: The Life and Times of Otto Binder, as Otto Binder was one of the early Aquaman writers. I also happen to know that the writer, Bill Schelly, is excellent. Beyond that... I want all the Little Lit books. I'm almost embarassed that I don't already have them. There's a new Oz book in the books section: All Things Oz, and I'm sure hubby-Eric will want to order that.

As long as I'm still going, I'll mention that I want the three Super Friends t-shirts, despite missing them the first time around. The one that actually has Aquaman on it would be the priority. Those are put out by Graphitti, by the way.

There are more items in the merchandise that I would like, I'm sure. I just realized how incredibly long this entry has gotten, though, so I think I'll stop here. So there you go, folks, my "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)" list. Enjoy.

posted by Tegan | 5:22 AM |


Linkity-Linkity-Linkity

Haven't gone out to see the red planet yourself yet? Here's some pictures from Hubble of Mars.

While the story itself isn't funny, the headline made me click to read the story: "Fired fair worker strips, runs amok"

Peter David answers fan questions on his blog, and it appears to be a hit. PAD's answers are the ones in bold.

Lara Croft is sneaking into classic needlecraft designs. I think this one is my favorite. via In Sequence

This post by Doc Shazam shook me to the core. Do not read it unless you are prepared to be depressed. And she thinks she can't write well... pah! I was more affected by that one entry than anything else I've read all week. She underestimates her own abilities.

While I'm pointing you to depressing sites, check out this article about the death of Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana in Iraq. Key quote: "At the least, the military should issue guidelines for journalists and civilians to follow when approaching a checkpoint or operating in an area under military control."

Is this a joke? I'm completely speechless, because it's got to be a joke... via The Jason Continuum

ICv2 interviews DC's Bob Wayne about reorders and sell-outs. Part 1 and Part 2.

Sluggy Freelance is having a blackout, as is Foxtrot. Timely commentary, or lazy artists?

Will Pfeifer's column tackles gun culture movies on DVD.

David Oakes' LEGO superheroes are cool. Here's The Red Tornado Family.

Would you want to give children the vote? From birth, with their parents acting as proxy voters for awhile... Interesting idea.

Here's a remarkable proposed solution to the Palestine problem. I'm positive it wouldn't work, but if it were tried it might relieve some of the suffering. By the way, The Volokh Conspiracy is a good read.

Mojo of Turning Tables is posting lots of pictures from Iraq. They are worth a look. His latest is from convoy duty, arguably the most dangerous duty in Iraq currently.

The Onion takes on the Spider-Man in its "historical" pages. Who's Hank Connor? I recognize all the other names in the article as characters from Marvel Comics.

Another drawing from Marta: Mourning. To see Marta's latest, check out her livejournal, and the archive is at artdungeon.

I am really curious as to what the person who did a search on "sigyn started loki harry potter" was looking for, and if they found anything worth their time on my blog.

posted by Tegan | 1:34 AM |


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I'm Not Forgotten

A large portion of my comics didn't come in today, as they were somehow sent to a different city. Previews and Amazing Spider-Man did come in, however, and I'll be reviewing them soon.

But, as I was thinking what a bummer day for comics it is, the mail came and in it was a package from Fintan Studios (who I mentioned here). I ordered a single copy of the Trade Paperback, and thus was a little surprised to get a rather large package that contained two copies of the trade, three signed copies of the first issue, and a signed four-pack of the original issues. Along with a nice letter that reads "As a gesture of out gratitude, we've enclosed [all the extras]. We encourage you to pass these along to friends and associates that you think would enjoy the forgotten even if they aren't regular comic readers." Um, let me just say "Wow" here.

As requested in the letter, I plan on giving one of the signed copies to my retailer to read and then pass around or sell as she sees fit. I have offered the trade to someone who I owe a favor to because he sent me some comics for free. That leaves two signed copies and the four-pack. I'm not entirely sure what to do with them that will properly promote this series. Anyone have any ideas?

As a warning, if you are running Mozilla, do not click on this banner ad, as it will kill your browser

I'll be reviewing the forgotten as soon as I have a chance to sit down and read it (which will probably be right after I post this note).

posted by Tegan | 4:10 PM |


Iraqi Thoughts...

Riverbend's take on the current Iraqi "leadership", and her view of April 9th being declared "National Day" by the same leaders.

posted by Tegan | 1:55 AM |


Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Two Small Interesting Thoughts and One Long Boring Thought

Mark Alessi claims that 100% of his people support him, including freelancers. The only ones who are unhappy are "planned attrition". So it's ok to lie to freelancers that you don't plan on giving more work to? I swear, if I didn't like CrossGen books, I'd avoid them like a plague from here on out. Alessi owes some freelancers a serious apology, and until he delivers it, he's scum in my book. Dirk Deppey over at Journalista also notes that we haven't heard anything, negative or positive, from other creators at CrossGen. That's one heckuva non-disclosure agreement.

Kitten story from Neil Gaiman. Some folks will remember that I originally linked to Neil when he posted an amusing story about washing his cat. This one is even funnier. Many thanks to Elayne for the link to the furball story

And on to boring personal stuff:

It's time. I need to cut my hair. This won't have any significance for most of you, who don't know me. It won't even mean much to many who do know me, except that you'll mourn the loss of my almost-a-foot long ponytail.

When I was a very little girl, I hated having long hair. Long hair meant tangles, and ripping and pain while brushing. Long hair meant time spent on hair that could have been better spent on other things, like playing. I believe I may have expressed this a few times, and when I got old enough to choose my own hair length, I generally kept it short, shoulder length at the most. When I got into college, I stopped going to get haircuts, and it grew out, but not as far as I would have liked. I couldn't seem to get it to grow, in those four years, long enough to put into a proper ponytail.

When I got out of college, I wanted short hair again, and I so I got it. I practically got a buzzcut at one point, telling the hairdresser, "As long as my scalp isn't showing, you haven't gotten it too short."

One thing I've noticed throughout the years, though, is that whenever I need a change of luck, I need to change my hair. For whatever internal reasons, cutting my hair, or growing it out, or altering the way it's styled always results in a change of luck for the better. When I lost my old job, I grew my hair out and literally a month after I made up my mind to seriously grow it out to ponytail length I found my current job.

Now I'm having a run of bad luck. I keep getting sick. I know that hair has little or nothing to do with it, but I know for a fact that things will get a bit better if I cut my hair. So it's time. I know this is the right choice, because as I fell asleep last night, I had fantasies of having short hair again, and they were all extremely pleasant.

The only thing is, I want to keep the ponytail, and I'm not sure how I can do that. I've never, in my entire life, been able to grow my hair out this long before. So I'd like to save my ponytail for... I'm not sure what for. I'm thinking of chopping it off before I go to the hairdresser, as I've noticed hairdressers have an aversion to cutting very long hair (because they are afraid the customer will have massive regret attacks, I suspect). But how to I save it? Ideally, I'd put it on the back of one of my baseball caps so I can have a ponytail again if I want one. I'm just not sure how to cut it to make that doable, and how to attach it to a baseball cap, and all that jazz...

Anyway, sometime in the next couple of weeks, my hair will meet the scissors.

posted by Tegan | 2:28 PM |


Insomnia

Fox has dropped the lawsuit, so it's time to become unfair and not so balanced again.

I intended to get to sleep early tonight, but my chest is itching like mad, thanks to the healing sunburn, and I once again could not sleep. It's going to be a long night again. Thank goodness for Blogshares...

Our next door neighbor has been practicing the bagpipe in the evenings. I may be the only neighbor who adores the sound of it, even though the neighbor has been hitting a few sour notes. I love bagpipes.

Steve at Modulator speculates that if a heat wave like the one hitting France were to hit Seattle, the death toll would be just as high. From what little I've read about the problems in France, I think that unlikely. What seems to be missing from a lot of articles on the French death toll are the factors that contributed seriously to the problem. Lack of air conditioning is the biggest one, and Steve thinks that the same problem exists in Seattle. Except it doesn't. Yes, air conditioning in private homes is very rare here, but in businesses it is far more common. Apparently this is not the case in France. In Seattle, you would be hard-pressed to find even one hospital that doesn't have air conditioning. In France, virtually no hospitals had it, and that was why many people died even after they got medical help. When someone gets desperately hot in Seattle, they go to a mall or even a grocery store, which all have air conditioning. In France, even that is rare. While I would expect some deaths if Seattle was hit as hard by a heat wave as France was, I really doubt the deaths in Seattle would reach the hundreds, much less the thousands.

The autistic boy who was murdered by bible-thumping zealots was smothered to death. via Atrios

posted by Tegan | 12:13 AM |


Monday, August 25, 2003

Long Rambling Post About Links and Blogs

I've been thinking about links and how they work on this new blog-based model of the internet. When I noticed that someone has linked to me, usually via the referrer system or through site meter, I go and check out their website. If I like it, I link to it. Most of the time nobody bothers to tell me that they've linked to me, and I prefer it that way. I generally don't bother to send an e-mail to let people know I've linked to them, either. I post a shout-out if I do anything. Sending an e-mail that says, "Hey, look at me, I linked to you!" seems sort of rude. I'm not entirely sure why.

Speaking of shout outs, I've added a few new links to my sidebar. I found In Sequence through Blogshares, which everyone knows I've been playing entirely too much lately. I also added Scott McCloud, since he's a comic guy, and he's got a blog going. I think I already mentioned Baghdad Burning, which has a very interesting point of view for me. And I also added Amy Langfield, as her essays on the blackout were so interesting I want to read more of what she writes.

I'm to the point now where I cannot read every blog on my blogroll every day. This depresses me a little since I like just about everyone that I added. But I guess too much of a good thing is still a good thing when you are referring to blogs.

Anyway, getting back to the concept of linking on the blogosphere, I think it may have to do with the nature of blogs. My blog is my own personal domain. I can say whatever I please on it. It's mine. And nobody has to read it if they don't want to. That's a key point, I think. Every person who comes to this blog and reads any of my nonsense is doing so voluntarily. I'm not posting these notes to someone else's message board, where people might be reading because they want to see something about someone else. I'm not posting on Usenet, where people just download and read an entire newsgroup. I'm not posting in a newspaper, which people buy and therefore might feel like they need to get their money's worth by reading my column. No, I'm posting here, for myself, in a spot where only people who actually want to read what I have to say would go.

If I start sending out e-mails to people saying "Hey, look at me! Read my blog! Isn't it cool!" then I'm intruding. That sort of self-promotion isn't right for the blogoverse. Some bloggers do it, I know, but the only self-promotion I allow myself (besides telling interested family and friends where to find this blog) is in my signature on posts on some message boards, and in comments I leave on other people's blogs (where it asks for a website, I put my blog address). I guess that seems more polite.

I've seen some bloggers say, "If you want to convince me to link to you, show me a good article you've written." I guess that's a good method too, but I haven't written anything I would particularly want to point out to others, except maybe my Why Aquaman? essay. Even then, I don't really feel like I'm meeting anyone's needs. It's not really all that important to most people to understand why I'm a superhero fan.

I'm just not cut out for the kind of self-promotion it would take to keep a self-sustaining blog. There's that blogger, Andrew Sullivan... he had a pledge drive and raised enough money to survive the year, then promptly went on vacation for a month. That's self-promotion. I couldn't pull a trick like that. I don't think anyone would pay to read me babbling on. Heck, people won't even buy books through my bookshop, why would they give me money? But seriously, I think just linking to people and enjoying the world of blogs is enough.

posted by Tegan | 5:36 PM |


Some Afternoon Thoughts

This story is in the running for the most depressing of the internet. An autistic boy was apparently killed by some Bible-thumpers in Milwaukee... because they were trying to drive out the evil spirits in him. By holding him down and beating him. I personally think that any adult who participated in that "ceremony" should be put through the same thing, as they obviously are inhabited by evil spirits.

A very stupid towing company has made the wrong kind of enemy in Mark Evanier, as he explains. Reading his final words: "This could turn out to be more fun than whipping up phony Dick Van Dyke Show comic books." sent a chill through me, and I almost pity the towing company. Almost... well, that's an exaggeration. I don't really pity them at all, and I hope Mark gives 'em what they deserve.

The Harrop-Procter Community Forest got an unusual request for the use of its selectively logged wood from protected forest... 500 broomsticks to promote Harry Potter from the Canadian publisher of the book, Raincoast Books. This was a big public relations boost for the community owned forest that's trying to prove that logging doesn't have to be destructive. Raincoast Books also uses recycled paper in their products. via The Leaky Cauldron

There is a fascinating on-line exhibition of the history of gays through stamps. If you feel like browsing the collection, start here. via In Sequence

The Taliban is active in Afghanistan, but we're fighting back, according to this story. I still find it amazingly stupid that we didn't finish cleaning up Afghanistan before taking on Iraq. But then, I've found much of what Bush has done in the last year to be amazingly stupid. Go figure. via Daily Kos

Newsarama now has a good article up about the CrossGen situation. It covers all the story, from the start. Anyone who still thinks CrossGen isn't at fault in this should read this one. How's this for that company that is so wonderful: "My phone's been shut off twice, I've had to pay some pretty hefty late fees on rent, and I've had to borrow money from people on several occasions to keep my family fed because money I'd been anticipating from CrossGen didn't show up." -Chuck Gibson. The only reason I'm not advocating a boycott of CrossGen now is because if we did then the freelancers would never get the money they are owed. ...And, I confess, I still like their books despite this. via Dirk Deppey on Comicon message boards There is still some arguing going on in the Comicon threads on the subject: CrossGen unintentionally insults the freelancers and the freelancers respond

posted by Tegan | 3:22 PM |


Fairly Serious Late Night/Early Morning Thoughts

This is important enough that I'm going to mention it again. Read the latest National Geographic (the one with the Zebras on the cover, September 2003). Read the main article. My initial report on this was linked to by Modulator, and I'm glad he linked, but everyone should read this article. The photographer for the story, Jodi Cobb said: "I became obsessed with publishing this story because without an awareness the problem will just get worse." I blogged about the issue to help with awareness, because the mere fact that we know this is happening will help a little. Spread the word. This is important. On the "From the Editor" page, Editor Bill Allen says, "You may cry. You may be sickened. You may be riveted, unable to stop reading." that was me "Or you may decide you can't bear any more, and flip to the next article. As an editor, why would I decide to publish an article that makes people want to turn away, of that they may not want their children to see? Because until we began work on this story I had no idea there were 27 million slaves in the world -- all around us, largely invisible. I think you should know, and I think your children should know. Here's my promise: If you read the story that begins on page 2, you'll never look at the world the same way again."

On page 19, there is a personal testament. It starts out: "My name is Salma. I was born a slave in Mauritania in 1956. My parents were slaves, and their parents were slaves..." The bit that really got me, though, was this: "The first time I was paid for work I had done, I cried. I had never seen a person paid for her work before in my life. It was a very good surprise." Go. Find this issue, even if it's in the local library. Read it. I don't know if I'll harp on this again, but this is terribly important. I think of slavery as one of the most vile crimes, and yet it's happening all over, even here in Washington state (as was pointed out in the article). We need to know about it, even if that's all we do.

On to some other thoughts...

People are understandably angry about the Bush Administration's orders to the EPA to lie to New Yorkers, and this is a particularly good write up of that anger. via Mark Evanier And here's another angry write-up with more naughty words in it, too. this one via Modulator

The BBC is going to put its radio and television archives on-line. And, get this, FREE to everyone. The service, called the BBC Creative Archive, would be available to anyone on the internet. Of interest are the comments made by the BBC spokescritter: "I believe that we are about to move into a second phase of the digital revolution, a phase which will be more about public than private value; about free, not pay services; about inclusivity, not exclusion. In particular, it will be about how public money can be combined with new digital technologies to transform everyone's lives." Very interesting.

Sean Collins has some some thoughts on eating disorders that are worth reading. Good luck to your wife, Sean.

An interesting bit of historical revision that I read about several days ago, but didn't comment on. Billmon has it covered. It is minor, but then, minor things can lead to *ahem* "major" things.

As long as we're talking about Big Brother, here's a scary one from Arthur Silber.

Brooke Biggs has a trial on her pacifism. While I admire her attempt at pacifist thinking, I find myself more than mildly relieved at the turn of events that brought her crisis of conscience on.

This post is a must-read from Riverbend in Iraq. It's about the job situation in Iraq, and how it hit Riverbend personally, and how it's hitting women in particular. Her blog is on the must-read list, if you want to understand how Iraqis are feeling right now.

Yet another microsoft virus showing up in people's mailboxes. Though I find myself thinking the unworthy thought that anyone stupid enough to apply a "patch" sent to them blind via e-mail might be getting what they deserve.

Someone has found a real-life model for Umbridge from the latest Harry Potter novel. Eeeuuuuwwww.

posted by Tegan | 12:39 AM |


Sunday, August 24, 2003

Idle Thoughts

Just got back from a little "family reunion" party at my folks' place. Three of my sisters, and one brother, plus six little nieces and nephews (well, they aren't all little). We were missing one brother, one sister, one nephew, and one niece. But we had a good time.

New drawing from Marta is up. This one is of the death ("Department of Mysteries IV"). To see Marta's latest, check out her livejournal, and the archive is at artdungeon.

posted by Tegan | 6:41 PM |


Mozilla Users Should NOT Click On This Ad

Banner ads don't work. That seems to be a bit of common knowledge on the internet. Most of us are too savvy to get sucked into another website by some blinking obnoxious ad at the top of somebody's page, right? Well, I've found as the internet grows that certain ads work better than others. And it always helps if the ad is actually advertising something you'd be likely to buy in real life. So when I saw a certain ad at Comicon.com, I found myself intrigued, and I tried to visit the website. We'll get to that bit in a moment, but first I want you to take a look at the ad, and see if you can figure out what drew me in...

First of all, there's no flashing bits. It's not animated, and therefore isn't annoying. And it's simple. A title, a tagline, and an image. Nothing wild, nothing crazy, and just enough information that it draws you in... "he is the city's greatest hero who no one remembers..." I'm a sucker for a good mystery. How can someone be a great hero, yet no one remembers him? I can think of tons of standard superhero possibilities, but this one makes me want to know.

So I clicked on the ad, and my browser promptly exploded.

Boom, dead. Killed the app completely. General protection fault, stack dump, the works. I thought it might be a fluke, so next time I browsed Comicon, I clicked on the ad again. Boom! Same thing. Well, I thought, if they can't make their website good for all browsers then I'm not interested in their book. So there. And I attempted to forget about them and their ad.

But it didn't work. Every time I visited Comicon and saw the ad, that little spike of curiousity jumped out. You know that curiousity killed the cat, right? Did you know that satisfaction brought him back? I was in need of some satisfaction, and I couldn't get it while browsing on Mozilla, so I pulled up my Internet Exploder and took a look at the website. And I got hooked, partially because they have two whole issues up on the website to read for free (although one would have done it for me). So I ordered the thing, and also sent a snarky note to them letting them know that their website kills Mozilla browsers.

Anyway, as of this writing I haven't gotten the book yet, I expect it soon. I'll do a standard Rapid Review once it's in my hands. From what I've seen of the book so far, though, I think it's safe to say I like it. Despite the browser problems.

I guess some banner ads do work.

posted by Tegan | 11:27 AM |


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