Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XLVII
Where oh where has my Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag gone?

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Sketchbook - Michael Wm Kaluta

Oh, that was the year. Kaluta was the Aquaman cover artist for awhile longer yet, and it was wonderful to visit his table. I was mildly disappointed that he didn't have any Aquaman covers for sale, but then I knew that I wouldn't have been able to afford any. As I came up, a couple of kids were looking at the paintings for Books of Magic. They left, and Kaluta told me that he liked seeing kids at comic conventions, but they all kept asking him where Harry's scar was.


AQUAMAN
by Michael Wm Kaluta
21 July 2000
(permission to post given 17 August 2003 via e-mail)
http://www.kaluta.com/

This is a painting-in-pencil sketch. I've noticed that painters tend to want to fill in the entire page, if possible, when doing a sketch. Leaving whitespace doesn't seem to be an option. I don't mind, but it does seem an interesting quirk.

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. I'll update this post with the list tomorrow.

written by Tegan | posted 10:54 PM Seattle time |


Rapid Reviews - 10 September 2003 - Part I

Too many books! How on earth to organize these? Let's start with the JLA and JSA...

JLA #86: This is turning into yet another Kelly hodge-podge story. There are Oans and Martians and Fire... oh my. But, like Obsidian Age, I don't see that this one will come together until the whole thing is out. It's not bad, it just doesn't read well in installments. 3 1/2 starfish

Justice League Adventures #23: Kobra! Joy. This is a great tale full of impossible situations, and the Justice League not so much defeating the enemy as the enemy defeating himself. If nothing else, it proves once again that you shouldn't underestimate Batman. 3 1/2 starfish

JSA: All Stars #5: If Rick Tyler's normal "flash-forwards" cause him to overturn tables and fall down, he's not in good shape. Anyway, not the best main story, but not too bad. I'm I seem to say that a lot about these books. The back-up story confuses me, as Hourman seems to feel responsible for someone's death, but I don't have the backstory to it. Did I miss something? 3 1/2 starfish

JSA #52: Ok, big long story arc is over, time to reset. And, ya know, I generally enjoy "reset" issues. I don't love them, but they are better than endless fights. This one has a whole bunch of nice moments between various characters, all of which set up future possible plotlines. Then it has a powerful cliffhanger at the end. You can't ask for much more than that in a standard reset issue. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to read and review: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Superman Blood of my Ancestors, Generations III, Aquaman, Fallen Angel, Green Arrow, H-E-R-O, Wildguard, Supreme Power, El Cazador, and Opposite Forces. And the Silver Age Teen Titans Archive, if I get to it. Ha.

And lastly, today's Foxtrot has a math problem that looks interesting. "Three oranges cost half of what nine apples cost. If one orange and one apple together cost 30 cents, how much does one orange cost?" To start with, I set up an equation with A for the cost of apples and G for the cost of oranges (because "O" looks too much like zero). 3G = .5 * 9A then solve for A. Then I added G to the value for A from the previous equation to get 30. My final result was that G (the oranges) cost 18 cents each, and the apples 12 cents. Is there an easier way to do this problem? Besides paying Jason the 2 dollars?

written by Tegan | posted 11:54 AM Seattle time |


More On The Marysville Teacher Strike

I went up and joined the picket lines again yesterday for an hour or so. Lots of positive response from the public. It's actually quite amazing how few people show disapproval. Got to talk with one of the school counselors at hubby-Eric's new school for awhile. She's tired of striking and would rather be back to her job, like all the rest. But, as she pointed out, even if the teachers put down their signs and attempted to go back to their jobs, the district has made it very clear they don't want teachers in the classroom until they've broken the union (the district has taken the teachers' keys, hired armed guards to patrol the school grounds, that sort of thing).

Lastest picket line rumor is that principals are not allowed to come out and talk to the teachers anymore. Yeah, that shows a lot of respect for your employees. In addition to trying to drive a wedge between younger teachers and older teachers, they are now trying to drive a wedge between the principals and their staff. (sarcasm) That'll make for a wonderful faculty once school actually starts (sarcasm off).

In the meantime, by visiting the various forums set up about the strike I've managed to get a lot more information about the legality of the strike. There are two points of view. The anti-strikers opinion rests on a 1958 court decision that they apparently forget was overturned by 1975 legislation. The 1975 legislation, the Educational Employment Relations Act, removes teachers in Washington State from the main class of public employees and puts them into their own class. A faulty injunction provided by a judge in Issaquah last year assumes that the 1975 legislation does not fully replace the older laws. However, the replacement is stated as plainly as legalise will allow within the older law, and is supported by the other two examples of public employee classes removed by law from the main class. By actually reading the law, instead of relying on out-dated case law, the argument for allowing teachers to strike is much stronger than the argument that teacher strikes are illegal, in my opinion. If this drags on much longer, this case might be seen by the State Supreme Court, who could decide either way.

In addition, someone on the MSD commons board asked if the teachers' union can't invoke a clause in the 1975 act that calls for a fact-finder to come in and make recommendations. The clause gives the fact-finder lots of power, but if the union is certain that the district is squandering money, this is a perfect way to get to the heart of the matter. At least, that's how it reads to me. Hubby-Eric is going to pass it on to his site leader and see what the union thinks of it.

Also at the MSD Commons board is a list of recent Marysville School District Blunders. Good reading there. Wow.

Two other points in favor of Marysville teachers. The first is that an Arbitrator ruled in the union's favor regarding a "strike day" last winter when all the teachers went down to Olympia to protest against the legislature cutting COLA increases (that's a vast simplification, by the way). The other is that another local district, Monroe, in worse financial shape than Marysville managed to somehow give their teachers a better deal than the Marysville teachers are asking for. Hmmm, how is it that Monroe can do it, but Marysville can't? Can we say "incompetent district administration", folks?

Overall, I'm reading a lot of opinions, and learning a lot about the situation for teachers, and it's not a pretty sight. But then, reading the Revised Code of Washington, which is all our state laws, is interesting. It's almost in English.

I may be stressed out about as far as I can stretch by this, but at least I've got this blog to spout off in. I appreciate your patience until this stupid strike is over.

written by Tegan | posted 8:32 AM Seattle time |


Friday, September 12, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 4 September 2003 - Part III

Superman: Birthright #3: I must confess that this is the best reason why the glasses work that has been given in any Superman comic I've read so far. Otherwise, well, this was ok. Some nice touches. I'm still not liking the artwork much, but it's definitely a matter of taste, not quality. 3 1/2 starfish

Warning: After the recent problems with CrossGen, you may want to take any of my reviews of CrossGen books with a grain of salt, as I may be filtering my perceptions through mud-colored glasses.

Silken Ghost #4: On the one hand, the art is good, the story flows well, and I'm interested in what happens in the end. On the other hand, I feel like I know what the next issue is going to have in it. I think that (spoilers) (end spoilers). I hope it isn't as predicatable as I think it will be. 3 1/2 starfish

Scary Godmother: Well, the DVD seems to be delayed, but we did get the hardcover of the first Scary Godmother book, and it's cool. For some reason I was expecting something more... black & white. This is a strong children's storybook. It's fun, it's got a little moral, and the art is just wonderful. I love it! I wanna see more now. 4 starfish

Well, that's last week's comics. This week's list is a bit longer... To review: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Superman Blood of my Ancestors, Generations III, Aquaman, Fallen Angel, Green Arrow, H-E-R-O, JLA, JSA, JSA All-Stars, Justice League Adventures, Wildguard, Supreme Power, El Cazador, and Opposite Forces. Whew. Don't know when I'll find time to read all that, much less review it...

written by Tegan | posted 8:53 AM Seattle time |


Thursday, September 11, 2003

Frustrating Day

The school district and the teachers union got nowhere, apparently, and the next session isn't scheduled until September 18th. A week. How can the district do this to their kids?

written by Tegan | posted 8:26 PM Seattle time |


A Moment of Silence

Heart of the City says it. There are a number of other sites who say it, too. But I just haven't got the will at the moment. So I think I'll just shut up and remember. Maybe I'll post more today, maybe not.

written by Tegan | posted 8:12 AM Seattle time |


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 4 September 2003 - Part II

Wonder Woman: The Blue Amazon: There's probably not much point reading this is you haven't read the first two books in the trilogy. Though if you've seen the movie this one is based on you might have better luck. I was familiar with Metropolis and Nosferatu, but I didn't have a clue about Blue Angel, so I had to rely on the previous two books in the series to figure out the plotline. Overall, it wasn't bad. It is definitely a McKeever book as far as the artwork goes, and if you can't handle the style, it isn't worth the effort. But the ending ties up the entire series neatly, and gives some hints as to where this Elseworld may be taking place. All in all, a nice tribute to German Cinema. 3 1/2 starfish

Detective Comics #786: Strong detective work in this one, along with the usual fight sequence. And an interesting little touch at the end. Yeah, I liked it. And the back-up story is enough to make me want to buy the next issue... almost. 4 starfish

Formerly Known As The Justice League #3: Roulette? Again? Didn't we just see her in JSA? Ok, on the one hand it's a neat way to get the members of the team fighting each other, on the other hand... Roulette and The House are just... silly. Oh wait, this book is just silly. Ok, I guess it's alright then. About standard, actually, when you think of it. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Superman Birthright, Silken Ghost, and Scary Godmother. And then there's this week's books, which I haven't even started in on yet... but there's fifteen books on the list, not counting the Teen Titans Archive. Ouch.

posted by Tegan | 10:52 PM |


Marysville Teachers Strike Update

I'm still getting hits from people searching for more information about the Marysville School District teachers strike. As before, I recommend The Marysville School District Website, The Marysville Education Association Website, Everett Herald's Marysville section, and The MSD Commons for actual information, as I'm just the wife of a first-year teacher.

It looks like, however, the parents supporting the teachers are planning another rally for this Friday. The rally is set for 2:30 to 5 pm, Sep 12th. If I get out of work early enough, I might think about attending. Just to see how opinions are running.

The district and union negotiators are meeting today, later in the afternoon. Start spinning those prayer weasels that they will come to an agreement, and the teachers can get back to teaching.

I found this link to a Seattle Times article over on the MSD Commons. You've got to read this to believe it. This is about the Marysville School District: "Although the state did not discover crimes or significant losses, the report says the district's financial records for the period studied, Sept. 1, 2001, through Aug. 31, 2002, were too poorly maintained even to know whether money was lost in some programs." Holy flaming cows! This is the same district that has hired a Public Relations department that is getting paid more than most teachers... the same district who spent $20,000 sending out a glossy 22-page brochure, the same district that has hired security guards to protect the schools from the people least likely to damage the schools... I cannot believe anyone in Marysville is willing to let these people get away with this. Originally I was thinking the people of Marysville ought to just vote the School Board out of office, now I'm beginning to wonder if they ought to press charges for gross negligence, and demand repayment of the money that these people have effectively wasted.

Ahem, I'll step off my soapbox now. In any case, the more I read about this strike, the less upset I am that the teachers voted the strike. Yeah, I hate strikes. But if this will get all the dirty dealings of the administration into the open so the folks up in that school district can see just how much money that should have been devoted to their children has been wasted, maybe something good will happen out of this.

Update: The MSD Commons had a link to a Marysville parents message board, which has some interesting posts and up-to-date info on what the parents are doing. The site also had updated info on the times of Friday's rally.

Update II: Just found this at the Marysville SD site: "To ensure that certificated employees salaries will not be reduced below 2002-03 amounts, the district is willing to restructure the total dollars in the districtís August 29, 2003 offer. Additional information will be posted soon." So, wait... they repeatedly said, over and over ad nauseum, that teachers would not lose any pay this year. However, this is the first offer that they've made that will "ensure" that claim? Methinks the district has some explaining to do. At the very least, they've misled the public; at worst, they've outright lied. No wonder the talks aren't going anywhere.

posted by Tegan | 11:18 AM |


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Random Thoughts

Here's some advice on How to Destroy Your Computer. via Slashdot

Salam Pax's article in the Guardian about being addicted to blogs.

The whole sordid story of Mark Evanier's battle with the crooked towing company is up, and it does not end on a happy note. Basically, despite the actions taken by the towing company being illegal, there's not a thing anyone can do about it.

The only review of DC 9/11: Time of Crisis you need to read.

On a different note, here's an essay about the WTC that is worth reading. via The Light of Reason There's also an article on WTC survivors that is... painful. via BuzzMachine

I'm inclined to join the cause to see if the power of the internet can punish lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits. While I agree that the case against Franken was incredibly stupid, I admit I'm doing this more out of curiousity to see if the Google search will indeed change. via CalPundit

It just got a lot more dangerous to fly. No, not because of problems with the planes. Because of problems with idiot laws that try to profile high-risk passengers based on "commercial databases, criminal records, intelligence information, and so forth". Any terrorist with half a brain could defeat such a system easily, so now we are going to be practically undefended, and a lot of innocent people trying to fly are going to get harrassed because they share a name with someone "bad" while the real terrorists waltz onto the planes unhindered. I suddenly have no desire to ever get on a commercial flight again.

No more reviews tonight, sorry. Maybe I'll get some done tomorrow.

posted by Tegan | 10:42 PM |


Rapid Reviews - 4 September 2003 - Part I

I'm a bit slow with reviews this week, and I'll slow down even more when this week's books arrive, as there is a record eighteen items on our shipping list for Wednesday. Needless to say, I'll be happy as long as Aquaman arrives. However, I hope I'm not disappointing anyone by not being prompt with my rapid reviews.

JLA/Avengers #1: Well, it's here. A bit late, I suppose, but better late than never. I was never overly excited about this series in the first place, but I was certainly happy to see it finally happen... unfortunately, that doesn't explain my apathy toward this issue. The art is... nice. It's George Perez, who is consistently good. The story is cosmic, and has nice touches. But I'm just not really thrilled with it. It's good, yes, but it doesn't seem great. 3 1/2 starfish

A couple more thoughts: This story is definitely outside continuity. I'm sure Marvel fans might find their own problems, but the big DC Universe flaw is that Aquaman never served on the Justice League with Kyle Lantern wearing that uniform. Some folks have commented on Aquaman having two hands, but the golden morphing hand is in continuity. Their comments just make it more clear how few people read the Jurgens run of Aquaman.

More later today, I hope. Still to review: Silken Ghost, Detective, Superman: Birthright, Formerly Know as the Justice League, and Wonder Woman: The Blue Amazon.

posted by Tegan | 4:45 PM |


Monday, September 08, 2003

The Hair is Gone...

Well, a good chunk of it, anyway. I went to my local stylist, who also works at my comic shop, and she carefully cut off between 10 1/2 and 11 inch ponytails for me to send to Locks of Love. She left about three inches which she then neatly styled into a haircut I can enjoy. But my neck definitely feels odd.

After the haircut, I went up to my hubby's new school and walked on the picket lines with the teachers for a bit. Hubby-Eric wasn't kidding when he told me that the faculty there is a great bunch. They were some of the nicest folks I've met in a long time. They were visited once by the Principal, who I got to meet, who is technically on the Administration's side but like everyone else she just wants her teachers back and school started.

A lot of local parents and students visited while I was there, and many brought food for the teachers. One lady dropped off three dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and a former teacher dropped off a box of cold, fresh apples. While I walked there were lots of shouts of encouragement and cheers from passing cars, and very few sourpusses. The district may be paying tons of money into PR, but it seems that most people in Marysville are not impressed by it. In any case, the teachers are pretty laid-back on the surface, with an angry tension about the strike underneath.

Finishing up some comic reviews from last week, I promise I'll post them soon. I'm sure you are all just dying to hear what I thought of JLA/Avengers. Since I also got the first Scary Godmother hardcover, I'll also be reviewing that. Amazon.ca indicates that the Scary Godmother DVD isn't shipping until the 23rd now, but as hubby-Eric said, as long as we get it before Halloween.

posted by Tegan | 6:00 PM |


Sunday, September 07, 2003

Quick Evening Notes

Just went to a BBQ with Eric's co-workers at Sylvan, who are both delighted and upset that they get to keep him as a teacher for a bit longer thanks to the strike. It was a fun event, with a strange game of croquet and lots of very good food.

Tomorrow I am getting my hair cut. Once cut, the ponytail(s) that results will be sent to Locks of Love for the use in making hairpieces for children who have lost hair for medical reasons. Hopefully we'll be able to get enough hair out of the cut to provide a couple of good ponytails for their use.

After the hair cut, I plan on joining my hubby on the picket line for the day. I wanted to visit his school early in the school year, just to see the building and such. I guess this will be the best we can do for the moment.

posted by Tegan | 9:11 PM |


Random Thoughts

Well darn. I can't stay as mad at Comcast as I wanted. I actually got an apology note. Will wonders never cease?

Speaking of wonders, I hope hubby-Eric and I get some in the form of an end to this strike. Marysville parents rallied to support the teachers, and the district? As far as I can tell, they are still sitting on their thumbs thinking the teachers will give in. Said one parent at the rally: "I haven't heard anywhere that our administrators are taking a pay cut, so why should our teachers?"

Regarding the Marysville Teacher Strike, I seem to be getting some hits from people searching for more information. I want to remind that I am a biased fount of knowledge, as my husband is a first-year teacher for Marysville. I recommend The Marysville School District Website, The Marysville Education Association Website, Everett Herald's Marysville section, and The MSD Commons. If you know of any other good sources of information, please let me know. Thanks.

Mazal the rescued kitten is getting bigger. via Calpundit

Will Pfeifer's latest column is about new Japanese Action Flicks on DVD.

Two pages of Aquaman #15 have been posted at Comic Book Resources. Patrick Gleason's artwork is definitely different than previous Aquaman artists.

Here's a cool page of cardboard cut-out mechanisms. I particularly like the impatient hand. Check out the free stuff to try before you buy. I think I may have to make a nodding sheep for my friend Denise, if I get the time. via Scott McCloud

Slashdot reports that Galileo is going to finish its mission soon. Farewell, Galileo, you gave us quite a show.

Via The Leaky Cauldron comes not one but two versions of Harry Potter and the Philsopher's Stone in ultra-condensed format. This will literally only take you a couple of seconds to read, so go check it out. And there's more books ultra-condensed here.

Speaking of Harry, Marta has a new drawing, Petunia slips up. The moment when Petunia reveals she knows about dementors. To see Marta's latest, check out her livejournal, and the archive is at artdungeon.

Snopes.com has come clean about their recent attempts to revise their own history: "I owe Michael Moore an apology." via Atrios

What's this? A Christian actually paying attention to the Bible when it comes to political leanings? Wow... via Olsen Ross

Riverbend reports: "I just heard some interesting news! Apparently as Rumsfeld's plane was leaving Baghdad Airport to take him to Kuwait, missiles were fired at his plane and they missed! Hoping to hear more about it- but I just had to share." Wonder if you'll hear about that on Fox news?

If you have registered at the NY Times, they have an article up now about a second recording of the first plane hitting the WTC that was neglected because the person who made the tape didn't speak English. This recording is very important to investigators because it shows the first plane as it is approaching the tower, and therefore the speed of the plane might be determined from the tape, a piece of the puzzle which was missing. The tape goes on, and the man then accidently captured the second plane hitting. The NY Times site has a audio slide show that shows some of the images from the tape. via Calpundit

posted by Tegan | 1:42 AM |


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