Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XLIX
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag's On Strike From Real Life

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Sketchbook - Mark Brill

Go look at Mark Brill's on-line portfolio. In addition to a great many wonderful works that fit in the traditional mold, there's also some wonderful little pieces, like this Red Dwarf piece that made me laugh when I spotted it, as that particular Red Dwarf story has a history in my husband's courting of me. Perhaps I'll tell the story sometime, if I haven't already.

by Mark Brill
19 September 1999
(permission to post given 14 September 2003 in person)

Mark Brill's Platypus Rex could have ended up aqua-ized on my sketchbook page, but Brill chose to play it straight, and this is the result. I keep thinking this guy looks a lot like William H Macy. This was only the third sketch in my original sketchbook, and continued a winning traditional that had just started.

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. Click for a random Aquaman sketch.

by Tegan at 9:35 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

Doc Shazam wraps up her cases for us before she heads off to vacation.

Modulator has found Nemo.

The rumored new Doctor Who has been slashdotted.

James Sime has an article about guerrilla marketing techniques applied to comic books. An interesting read, and something I've often thought of trying. If only Seattle had a real mass transit system!

Somewhat liberal (ok, flamin' liberal) political cartoon opus by David Horsey: Empire Rising. via Daryl Cagle

I've been avoiding reading or talking about politics for a few days, as the Marysville Strike is taking a lot of my energy to keep up with, and I didn't need anything even more depressing. Going back and visiting my political links, I'm seeing that little has changed, which is surprising because Bush and his crew said that they were dropping a bombshell about the WMD in September. I would have thought they would have released the info by now, but I guess there are still a few more days in the month.

by Tegan at 4:02 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 24 September 2003 - Part II

Empire #3: Lots of conspiracy. Lots of different things happening. And, hey, I finally found a character that I like. Ok, he's a bit... tied up... but maybe he'll continue to have a reason in the book. Overall, this book is looking up, but it's got three more issues. It hasn't done much for me so far, maybe it'll be better as it goes along. 3 1/2 starfish

Amazing Spider-Man #58/499: I'm really not a big cosmic fan, but JMS seems to do cosmic pretty well, and I find it interesting that Spidey is just trying to help keep the bad guys away from the main battle... and gets a lot more than he's bargained for. It also has the best short description of Shroedinger's Cat I've seen in a long time. But the real clincher is the cliffhanger. If it means what I think it means... 4 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. This negative perception will last at least until Robin Riggs is paid for the work he did for CrossGen, and possibly until Robin also gets that personalized apology from Alessi for Alessi's slander against Robin.

Silken Ghost #5: Well, it didn't happen exactly the way I predicted, but it was fairly close. A sad little tale of betrayal and lost love. And, of course, the Laughing Ghost got exactly what he wanted, which was the fate he deserved. It was an ok mini, but never rose above mildly entertaining. 3 1/2 starfish

Marvel Previews #2/Crimson Dynamo #1: Not a lot of interest in the Previews bit itself. In fact, it's less interesting than last month's offering. The Crimson Dynamo issue was, again, very interesting but not enough to inspire me to pick up the book. It's nice, I guess, to get a full issue of a comic book considering that the price for Previews went up $3 for me thanks to Marvel's bright idea, but I'm still not pleased with the developments. 3 starfish

Silver Age Teen Titans Archives Vol 1: I actually finished this last night, the fastest I've ever read through an Archive. I loved it. Yes, it was outdated. If the Teen Titans had aged at the same rate as their tales, they'd be in their 50's now. But it was fun. And the Nick Cardy artwork is just beautiful! 4 starfish

Next week's books: Astro City, Powers, Ruse, Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror, Way of the Rat, Superman: Birthright, Formerly Known as the Justice League, and Justice League Adventures... if everything comes.

by Tegan at 11:52 AM Seattle time

Friday, September 26, 2003

Random Thoughts

Doctor Who's return to TV seems to be generating a lot of news in the blogosphere, with Elayne Riggs, Franklin Harris, and Peter David all jumping in right away. Again, as much as I want to see New Who, I have been burned far too many times to believe this until I see proof positive that it's been made. A lot can go wrong between now and 2005, when it's supposed to air.

Wil Wheaton has a funny beer joke up. Well, I thought it was funny. Even though I don't drink beer. Maybe even because I don't drink beer.

Fred Hembeck has been updating his weblog with tales of being addicted to game shows, comments on "The West Wing", and a bit on the Mets. Go. Read.

Johnny Bacardi remembers Winsor McCay, and also has his latest reviews up. Looks like JLA is the only shared book on our lists this week, and he was much more impressed by it than me.

Neil Gaiman has a bit about a slightly scary Russian meal. Having a niece and nephew with allergies, I feel for the folks with Neil.

There's a short interview with Lynn Johnston up that is worth reading. I note that Lynn plans on ending her strip 'For Better Or For Worse' in a few years, as she's going to be 60 and already is having trouble keeping up the pace. via Mark Evanier

Marta has another sketch up from Order of the Phoenix... this one a journey into memory while James was taking his OWLs.

Doc Shazam describes what happens when a modern car hits a horse drawn Amish buggy in Traumish.

Stars and Stripes mentions an effort to get comic books to soldiers. Operation Comix Relief could use donations from anyone who actually has money in this economy. via Journalista

Wil Pfeifer's thoughts on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

Latest on Mazal the cat: Ahhh, how cute!.

Snopes has a bit on the origins of Gatorade, the danger to bananas, and pictures of a rather deceased snake found under a car hood.

by Tegan at 10:06 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 24 September 2003 - Part I

JLA-Z #1: Not a lot of substance, really, but it was a delight to open up to practically the first page and see a great picture of Aquaman done by new Aquaman artist Patrick Gleason. The words are encouraging, also, implying that Aquaman will be continuing his exile for awhile (which fits in with what Pfeifer has said about his run so far). Oh, yeah, and there was other good art for other characters. The Blue Beetle and Booster Gold spread was amusing. 3 1/2 starfish

Green Lantern #169: No, I'm not a fan of cosmic stories. But hey, it's Kilowog. That alone redeems a lot of cosmic crap, to be honest. And at least we've got most of the stories that were referred to in this one, so I was able to follow the action. Not bad, not bad... 3 1/2 starfish

JLA #87: Hey, this is better! The whole plot is finally coming together with the huge Oan explanation. And one of the most powerful superheroes on the planet suddenly having no conscience is a bad thing. But how can Plastic Man help, huh? 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Empire, Amazing Spider-Man, Silken Ghost, and the Marvel Previews.

In other news: Yeah, I've heard that Doctor Who is coming back to TV, but I'll believe it when I see it on my TV screen, and not a moment sooner.

by Tegan at 6:11 PM Seattle time

Mostly a Rant - Sorry

First things first. Happy Birthday Amanda!

I am stretched thin. Not only have I caught the "Seattle crud" that's been going around, but I'm feeling more and more despair at the continuing strike in Marysville.

The parents held a public meeting on Wednesday, to which they invited all the school board members to come and explain just what was going on. The school board didn't show, and none of the letters that the parents have sent over the last few weeks have been answered yet. There is a deep anger there that is growing, and I feel left on the outside. I don't belong in the parents' group, I'm not a citizen of Marysville, and I'm not a teacher. I want to do something, but there seems to be nothing for me to do that would actually be productive and it's tearing me apart.

The news reports have become surprisingly partisan. KING5 has apparently decided that the teachers are in the wrong, and their newscasts have had an anti-teacher slant for a few days now (this is odd, as it was KING that aired the infamous "Turn the camera off" bit with the district PR gal, Judy Parker see below). KIRO is pro-teacher, and seems to be getting into the spirit of the student sit-in, among other things. I haven't seen much other coverage of the strike from other stations.

Speaking of Judy Parker... KING5 did a piece on whether or not the teachers would lose money in the original contract. They found a couple of teachers, checked the numbers, and learned that, yes, those teachers would lose a significant amount. They then went to Judy Parker, who repeated her mantra of "No teacher will lose money" for the camera, then the reporter asked her point-blank about the two teachers whose numbers they had looked at and asked if the numbers were correct. Judy said that, yes, the numbers were correct. So the reporter asked her to explain how, if these two teachers were losing money, that she could say that no teacher would lose money under the contract. Judy's response was, "Turn the camera off and I'll tell you." The reporter declined to turn the camera off, and pressed some more, but Judy wouldn't budge. The final line of the piece was the reporter saying that many teachers are mystified that the district can claim they aren't losing money under the contract when there is proof that they are, and then the reporter said that frankly, he was mystified too.

Anyway, the talks have broken down again. Despite the gag order on the negotiations, Judy Parker claims that the teachers union has refused to change their offer. The mediator is waiting until next Wednesday to call the two groups back, which I think is a bit too long. I'm inclined to think that they should meet nonstop. But that's just me.

The student sit-in ended in disgust, but the leaders of the sit-in have been invited to Olympia to talk with the Governor. I hope they give him an earful.

I'm finding the best way to get the latest news about the strike is to look at Google News and filter out the non-Washington non-strike information. My other sources are the Marysville parents message board, The Marysville Education Association Website, the Everett Herald's Marysville section, The MSD Commons, and when I want a laugh The Marysville School District Website.

I was going to try to write more, like how I feel about the M's falling apart again, and the latest on comic book news, but I'm feeling a bit depressed and angry now. I think I'll go drink some orange juice and rest.

Update: The parents are moving forward, even if the negotiations aren't. They've put up a new website: AIMS: Accountability and Integrity for Marysville Schools. In addition, the students that went to see the governor were told by the governor that they have more power than they might think, and to keep the pressure on. They apparently went from the governor's office down the street to the state superindent's office. Good for them!

by Tegan at 11:21 AM Seattle time

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Random Thoughts

Ok, this is really funny. Makers of Kazaa suing record labels. Heh. via Franklin's Findings

Elayne links to an on-line IQ test. At the end of the test, you are asked to provide a valid e-mail address and some bits of personal information. It scored me a 136. How very odd. If 100 is supposed to be average, how did I score that high?

I wasn't going to link to this, but I keep seeing it pop up everywhere, and it isn't as insulting as it sounds. Really. The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus is a very interesting little tale, with art by Don Simpson. via Mark Evanier and a dozen other sites

I've been mildly interested in Iron Wok Jan, a Manga comic offered in Previews, mostly because I'm an Iron Chef fan. But now Bill Sherman has reviewed it, and I think I'm ever so slightly more interested.

Scholastic, the US publisher of the Harry Potter series, have started an ad campaign aimed at adults. via The Leaky Cauldron

PVPonline has a couple of neat comics this week featuring Green Lantern and Batman. Sort of. And don't miss actual requests for sketches at conventions. Oh dear. via Captain Custard

Also via the Captain, you can get your kids some superhero costumes for this Hallowe'en.

by Tegan at 2:05 PM Seattle time

Late Night News Report

Two major happenings.

First is in the Marysville Strike. No, nothing good.

The Marysville Education Association has updated their website to include more information about why the strike is taking place, including the fact that the administration has been gobbling up more and more of the percentage of funds available to the district. Also noted is the method that the administration is using to try to "prove" that teachers are paid too much: by including all supplemental income in the list of teachers' salaries, but none of the same sort of supplemental income in the list of administrators' salaries.

The school board also refused to show up for the parents' meeting held at the library last night, although they were asked to come and explain their policies. Initial reports say that the crowd of parents was standing room only. I'm waiting for more news on that.

Students are in their second night of the sit-in. The district refused to allow the students to stay on district property after dark, even guarded by most of Marysville's finest, so neighbors across the street allowed the kids to pitch their tents on their front lawn. Yesterday the teachers and students were together. Some 300 teachers with 100 or so students in front of the district office. Depending on which newscast you watched, the students were either supporting the teachers, or annoyed at the teachers for taking their limelight. The organizers of the student sit-in are trying to stay neutral, but it's clear that many students are taking sides.

According to the Seattle P.I., no progress was made in the negotiations. They are meeting again 10 am today. From earlier reports, the mediator has issued a strict gag order on the negotiating teams for some reason, so all we should hear from them is whether or not progress is being made. It sounds like it's not.

The second major happening is comic book related.

I'll let you go read for yourself if you haven't already heard from fifteen other sources. Basically, CrossGen has gone "normal". Instead of having their studio with salaried artists and writers, they are going to page-rates and no insurance. This will be a painful change for some of the folks down there, and it doesn't bode well for the future of the company. I hope they can hold it together, but I'm not sure how much room for hope there is.

by Tegan at 12:44 AM Seattle time

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Flipping Through Previews...

Yes, due to popular acclaim, I'm going to do a second month of "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)". I didn't get many actual comments on last month's list, but I did get a number of nice e-mails.

Starting on the Splash Page, I see an article about The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #1. Since I enjoyed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, I'm already thinking of checking this one out. Another interesting article is about The Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, which sounds interesting enough from just the title to take a second look. Yeah, if I had some cash to spare, this one might make the list. On to the Premier section.

Dark Horse is first. $8.95 is kind of steep for an 80 page book, even if it is based on a novel that I enjoyed: so while I want to get The Escapist, the price may keep me from it. Moving on, no Usagi Yojimbo this month, so Dark Horse will be light this month.

As usual, the bulk of our order is in DC. Flipping through the features, I know hubby is interested in Plastic Man, but I'm finding that I have almost no interest whatsoever in either the new Plastic Man series or the "lost" annual. The Rose & Thorn mini sounds and looks very interesting, but it's not something I will buy. I do like the fact that the DC features have more pages from upcoming books, by the way. Masks: Too Hot For TV! looks fun, but it probably won't make the cut.

Right, the stuff we will get... in the Batman section I see Batman Adventures #9 and Birds of Prey #62. In the Superman section we're getting Superman: The Kansas Sighting #2 and Superman & Batman: Generations III #12. No Birthright this month for some reason. In the regular listings we see Aquaman #13, Avengers/JLA #4, Cinnamon: El Ciclo #5, Empire #6, Fallen Angel #6, Formerly Known As The Justice League #6, Green Arrow #33, Green Lantern #172, H-E-R-O #11, JLA #91, JSA #55, JSA: All-Stars #8, Justice League Adventures #26, and probably Outsiders #7, Plastic Man #1 and Plastic Man: The Lost Annual. In the other DC stuff, we're getting Astro City/Arrowsmith. And I think that's it for DC.

On to Image Comics. No Age of Bronze, curse the luck. However, Powers #37 is here, as is Wildguard: Casting Call #4. There's nothing in Top Cow that we'll buy, so on to Marvel.

Looks like we're down to Supreme Power #5 and Amazing Spider-Man #61/502. I haven't gone through the Marvel Previews yet, but nothing in there will change this.

On to the main comics.

The first thing that jumps out at me is Superfolks Novel from About Comics. I'm curious, and would like to read it. I'm not sure I can afford $19.95 for a limited edition version, though.

Airwave comics has a couple of items of interest. First up is Molly Danger #1 by Jamal Igle and Richard Maurizio. Jamal did an Aquaman sketch for me at San Diego 2000, so his name and work are familiar. This looks fun, complete with giant robots and a 12-year-old girl hero. Very tempting. The other item is Mr. Magoo. Yup, a flipbook with two Mr. Magoo stories. They also have a DVD/comic book Mr. Magoo package. How tempting is that?

AiT/Planet Lar have a couple of books that intrigue. Demo #2 sounds strange and fascinating, about a girl whose words have power. Their odd ad for Giant Robot Warriors also made me take a second look.

Alternative Comics has a book called 8 1/2 Ghosts that I would like to try. The idea of actual ghosts being convinced to star in a low budget horror flick just pulls you in. Ok, well, it pulls ME in.

And I was pulled in by the solicit for Assembly last month, so Assembly #2 from Antarctic Press is on the pull list. Score one for having good art to promote your book in Previews.

Astonish Books has another Scott Sava 3-D book, The Dreamland Chronicles #1. While it won't make our pull list, it's worth mentioning. There will be four different covers, one each by Sava, Mike Kunkel, Frank Cho, and Mike Wieringo.

Big Head Press has an "uh-oh" book up called A Drug War Carol, which is a parody of A Christmas Carol featuring "Scrooge McCzar" and a cannabis activist. I think I'll skip it.

Blindwolf Studios has a fun-looking book Eagle All Star: Torch of Liberty that has a cat in a green cape on the cover (along with the presumed hero carrying a torch) and appears to take place at the Olympics. Fun!

Bob House Comics has a book that may catch me despite myself, Spirit & Image #1 is about a Mayan boy in a pre-Columbian setting. Oooh, just my cuppa.

Bud Plant is offering Mike Ploog's adaptation of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Wizard of Oz writer L Frank Baum at a deep discount from the original $24.95 cover price. This is a good one to get as a gift for kids, trust me.

Cartoon books is apparently putting out the last issue of Bone, so be sure to grab a Previews and read the farewell letters on page 249 from various creators. I like Sergio's offering.

Cho-Zen Books is trying to marry CD-ROMs with Comic Books, and Shao Tzu is the result. It's about an ancient earth guardian fighting with an evil chef. Seriously!

And WHAP! I've run into CrossGen. Let's avoid talking about their business practices, and concentrate on what I'm ordering despite those practices. It looks like we have five CrossGen books on the list. Abadazad #1 is not a slam-dunk, but it's as close as a new book is likely to get. We're also getting El Cazador #4, Ruse #27, Way of the Rat #20, and Crossovers #12.

I have to mention Don't Eat Any Bugs Productions just because their name is so cool. Their offering to the comic book geeks is R.Q.W. #1, which apparently stands for Raymond Q. Wonderful. Hey, it's got a talking penguin, how bad could it be?

Just a pause here. Isn't it funny how the majority of publishers are in the early letters of the alphabet? Right, back to the book...

For furry fans, Mu Press has the reincarnation of Rhudiprrt: Prince of Fur, which looks somewhat interesting.

NBM Publishing is torturing me with a trade of P Craig Russell's opera adaptations, this one of The Magic Flute. I would really like to get these, but I'm going to have to wait until we have money again.

I really liked the bit of Courtney Crumrin I got from Free Comic Book Day, so I wouldn't mind trying Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom #1. This will be another book that I'll have to wait to get.

Renaissance Press has Amelia Rules: Superheroes #2. I don't mind the move to the mini-series format, as long as we keep getting Amelia on a regular basis.

Rough Cut Comics has a book called Rose Black about a "sexy, 600-year-old vampire" who is recruited to battle an evil cabal based in the Vatican. Oh, I love conspiracy books! It looks like a good read.

Sentai Studios has a book called Tomorrowman's Gigantic Super-Special #1. The cover art looks good, but do we really need another superhero book? I guess I'd have to read it to know, and I can't afford it.

Shooting Star Comics has an fascinating little collection of shorts by fanzing artists, including my buddy Scott McCullar. Job Wanted #1 is a cross-genre look at ... jobs. Eight stories, 80 pages, for $5.95... I wonder if I should take out a bank loan to buy this month's comics? Then I could afford some more of these.

TwoMorrows Publishing has a re-solicit of a book called Streetwise that I really wouldn't mind owning. It has stories by Sergio, Jack Kirby, Brent Anderson, Nick Cardy, Paul Chadwick, Joe Kubert, Roy Thomas, Walter Simonson, Rick Veitch... those alone are enough to get me wanting it. Sergio's story also won an Eisner. I guess I'd better put it on the "someday" list.

It's too bad I'm not taken seriously as a reviewer, cuz then I could get some review copies of some of these books. Of course, then I'd be obliged to review anything that I got for free in a timely matter, so maybe it's for the best.

I'm skipping lightly over the magazines and books sections and not finding much. The Kingdom Come T-shirts are cool (in the Graphitti section). Still no Aquaman shirt (no surprise).

Should I even mention the Davey & Goliath action figures? No, probably not.

Do you want a bust of Jack Kirby for your studio? Yup, that's in here. Jack Kirby, as sculpted by Randy Bowen.

You can get three four-foot high inflatable Daleks for only $55. Yeah, that's what I said, too. Really.

Moving on to the games, Mayfair is offering a children's version of their wonderful Settlers of Catan game called Kids of Catan. I gotta tell my boss about this one.

And the next HeroClix expansion, Marvel of course, is due out in December.

Whew. That's enough of this, I think. I hope you enjoyed this quick tour through Previews, and what I found interesting. Until next month, this has been 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.

by Tegan at 11:53 PM Seattle time

Rapid Review - Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktakular DVD

Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktakular: Oh yeah! Definitely worth the money to order it from Canada. While the basic plot is the same as the original Scary Godmother book, there are more characters and a lot more characterizations.

The animation is fairly typical computer art. It's not perfect, but I got used to it quickly, and enjoyed the quirks it allowed. At points it is simply breath-taking, as it really seems like a page of Jill's painting come to life.

While I'd say the target age of this is fairly young, there are so many good in-jokes that a normal adult will have no problem sitting through this. There were several "laugh out loud" moments, if myself and my hubby are any judge of such things. It drags in a couple of spots, but whenever I thought, "This is dragging a little" it would move on to another scene promptly. So basically, as soon as I noticed it, it would fix itself.

You can tell where the commercial breaks are supposed to be, but that doesn't detract from the story. This would be an hour-long special on TV, as it runs just over 45 minutes.

One thing I did notice, and I liked, was a quirky sense of "camera movement". There were a few great bits where the movement of the "lens" underscored a point, or made you look twice at something. Very cool!

As for the DVD itself, it's not loaded with extras, but what I've seen is good. The trailers are nice, as the web trailer is what sold me on this in the first place and the other trailer is an original little adventure by itself. I haven't watched the "Making of" featurette or listened to the director's commentary yet, but I did watch Jill's "interview" and enjoyed it a lot (yes, I understand the urge to buy 4-foot wooden skeletons... only in my case it would have been a penguin). The mini comic book isn't very readable on my TV, but I'm sure when I get it to a computer with a DVD player I'll enjoy it more. The artwork is just ... wow. I'm running out of adjectives.

Anyway, to make a short story long, I highly recommend this DVD. It gets a solid four starfish from this reviewer. Go buy it, folks. I don't think you'll regret it. 4 starfish

by Tegan at 9:38 PM Seattle time

A Passing Thought

Yesterday I saw something I hadn't seen before. There are a lot of squirrels in the Seattle area, and today I saw one doing a tightrope act across the phone line to a house. I suppose if I'd thought about it, I would have realized that they could use the lines to get around, but I guess I never had, and I nearly drove off the road when I saw it. Not good. Maybe I shouldn't look up while driving.

by Tegan at 6:11 PM Seattle time

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Scary Godmother DVD

Since doesn't have a picture of the DVD cover up, I thought I'd provide it as a service to the many fans of Jill Thompson out there.

No, we haven't watched it yet, though we did watch the Jill Thompson interview, and the trailers, and watched the first couple of minutes. It looks really good. It's like Jill's paintings have come to life. If you've got a DVD player and the cash, get this before Hallowe'en. I think hubby-Eric and I have a new Hallowe'en tradition starting up...

Update: If you don't have a DVD player, you can order the VHS tape instead.

by Tegan at 11:07 PM Seattle time


Two goodies arrived at our house today. The first was a letter from Patrick, the Aquaman fan stationed in Iraq to whom I've been sending Aquaman comic books. The letter was very short, but the page was filled with an image of him reading Aquaman #8 taken by one of his soldiers. One comment from the letter: "My soldiers love the comics & comic strips. They pass them around until they are almost in tatters." I really need to get another package sent out to him.

The other arrival was the DVD of Scary Godmother. I haven't watched it yet, I just put it in the player and checked to make sure it worked by running the trailers, but it looks really good. I'm looking forward to watching it.

by Tegan at 3:56 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

Part two of Orson Scott Card's discussion of file-sharing. Again, read it, link to it.

DO NOT CLICK ON THIS LINK. Really. I'm warning you. DON'T DO IT (unless you don't have flash installed or don't have sound on your computer, then it would be alright). I'm linking to this site under duress. You've been warned. We like tha moon. via Mark Evanier and Scott McCloud, curse you both

We got our freezer delivered yesterday, and it wouldn't fit through the doorway into the room we intended to put it into, so it's out on our back porch. The delivery guy showed us the lock and said that it wouldn't keep anyone who was determined to get into it from breaking it open, as a person with a crowbar could make short work of the lock. I told him I was more worried about smart raccoons and possums... at which point he said we should be fine, unless they happen to carry crowbars with them. So now I've got visions of crowbar wielding raccoons approaching our new freezer going through my head. Lovely.

Nothing new to report on the Marysville strike, except that some students are staging a sit-in. I wish them luck, and hope it draws a good chunk of media attention. Some other places to get information: the Marysville parents message board, The Marysville Education Association Website, The MSD Commons, the Everett Herald's Marysville section, and The Marysville School District Website. For a personal look at life on the line, there's my hubby, a first-year teacher caught up in this mess through no fault of his own.

by Tegan at 9:56 AM Seattle time

Monday, September 22, 2003


I'm ashamed of my hometown right now. Well, not my hometown, just one misguided soul in it. And it's happening on Banned Books Week even.

Seems that a girl at Renton High School (I went to Hazen High School in the same district) was offended by the racist word in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and by her teacher's attitude while teaching the book. So the book has been pulled from classrooms and libraries in the district until the issue is settled.

From the news report: Renton High School senior Calista Phair says she can't read a book that degrades her and her culture.

"It uses the n-word 215 times and the word is derogatory towards African Americans and people of color and so that's why we don't want it in schools," said Phair.

Phair says the classic about a boy and a slave and the Mississippi river has a message she appreciates. It's the language she can't stand.

"I felt actually inferior and that the teacher was somehow trying to act as if she had power over us as students and I didn't feel good at all. It made me upset, and sick," she said.

Strange. I think she's blaming the book for the actions of a teacher. And, while she claims to understand the message, it's clear that she still misses the point of why Twain used the word as often as he did in the book. On the one hand, it's a massive failure to learn. On the other hand: "I think that shows that the education system is working. I mean, what we're teaching them is to think for themselves and this is what comes of that," said Randy Matheson, director of communications with Renton Public Schools.

Me, I'm just ashamed that someone in my hometown is in favor of banning books. Perhaps Calista hasn't got enough experience to realize why that's a bad thing yet, but it is an embarrassment nonetheless. I recall reading that book in my high school class and having a lively and intelligent debate on the subject and on why the word was used so many times. An African American in the class argued persuasively that Twain wanted to emphasize the dehumanizing aspect of the word so the contrast with Jim's plight was even more pronounced.

In any case, the book is not banned from Renton School District. It's been pulled while the district figures out how to avoid this problem in the future, and at the moment that involves sensitivity training for teachers.

by Tegan at 9:31 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 17 September 2003 - Part III

Cinnamon El Ciclo #2: I daresay the second issue is a little tiny bit better than the first. And I liked the first issue a lot. There's a dynamic being shown here that is both effective and fascinating. Cinnamon herself taking revenge on those who killed her father, now the daughter of one of those Cinnamon killed is after Cinnamon. But there is so much more in this book, including some things you just don't see in comic books. And that's a good thing. 4 starfish

Thieves & Kings #42: More character development, but not a lot more than that. A nice battle at the beginning, but the rest of the book is just building on what is already there. 3 1/2 starfish

Shrek #1: The main thing reading this comic did was made me want to go watch the movie again. It was fun and very well done, and I found myself wanting to get reaquainted with the characters in the movie by watching the movie again. Definitely a fun book. 3 1/2 starfish

Arrowsmith #3: Wow, the artwork on this book is just wonderful! I love it. And the hints as to the full extent of this world are just... overwhelmingly cool. I like Fletcher, and I am really enjoying seeing him grow from naive farm boy into ... something else. I am really enjoying this series. 4 starfish

On Wednesday: Usagi Yojimbo, Empire, Green Lantern, JLA, Amazing Spider-Man, and Silken Ghost. Maybe. If everything comes.

by Tegan at 1:32 PM Seattle time

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Random Thoughts

You've seen the cover to JLA/Avengers #3. Now see who is on it. via Comicon Thread

Orson Scott Card on copyrights. Part one. Read it. Link to it. This is an author whose income depends on copyright, so you can call him an expert. via Neil Gaiman (Note, Neil also links to the opposing view, represented by Harlan Ellison)

Some nice person gave Marta a couple of extra months paid service on LiveJournal, presumably because of her gift of artwork to Harry Potter fans. I think that's a great idea, but I haven't got the cash at the moment. Maybe when this stupid strike is over, I can give her a couple of months myself, since I love her artwork.

Check out a Random Aquaman Sketch.

More later, off to see my nephew for the first time.

by Tegan at 1:05 PM Seattle time