Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LVII
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag Fears Normal

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Sketchbook - Paul Gulacy

The story of this sketch is told in my con report from the day I got it. Paul Gulacy is a really nice guy, and he was discussing his new job on Catwoman with the many people visiting his table. He had some art samples from the issue, and I really liked his take. Admittedly, I don't read the book, but seeing what Gulacy did was enough to tempt me (and I also sneaked a peek at the sneak peek issue in my retailer's package, and I'm even more impressed with it after seeing the finished art). I understand that the first Gulacy issue comes out next Wednesday. Be sure to look through it.

by Paul Gulacy
14 September 2003
(permission to post given 14 September 2003 in person)

This is a fairly light pencil sketch, with a neat side view of an older Aquaman's face. This one brings to mind the Aquaman from Kingdom Come, who was noble and regal, and had seen a lot. This is King Arthur, looking across his city. I like it.

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 8:00 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 19 November 2003 - Part IV

Concrete: Think Like A Mountain: Meeting Paul Chadwick at the convention was fun, but listening to him and watching what he did was even more fascinating. While I plan on going into some of that when I post his Aquaman sketch, I will tell you that while my sister and I stood at his table awaiting our turn, someone asked him which Concrete book was the best to start with, waving at all the books Chadwick had available. Chadwick paused a moment, then said that he wrote Concrete with the hope that any story could be picked up and read and enjoyed by anyone without having had to have read any other Concrete story. The fan pressed, and it was clear he wanted to buy one. So Chadwick looked down at his books, and after a short moment pointed to "Think Like A Mountain" and said that this one was best to start with of the ones he had available. So when my sister decided that she wanted to try Concrete, this was the issue she got.

This book doesn't have an origin, although it is referred to. There are lots of characters and events that are referred to but not seen in this one. Previous adventures are referenced in the notes, but none are crucial to understanding the story. As for the story... wow. The words "No Compromise" apply to the story as well as the Earth First! members Concrete has this adventure with. The arguments are laid out, and the reader is invited to judge them from the point of view of the title character, a moderate environmentalist. In the end, you are left wondering if Concrete had the wool pulled over his eyes, or if the Earth First! people are right. There is enough ambiguity there to require you to sit and digest this one for awhile. The Background information provided by Paul Chadwick is a good read on its own. This is pretty amazing for a mere comic book. But then, there really isn't anything "mere" about good comics. 4 starfish

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction: I was never much of a Mike Mignola fan. His artwork always seemed unfinished and blocky to me. So I never bothered with anything he did, even as people began to sing his praises louder and louder. But I've noticed in the past that my tastes change, and Mignola seems to be in one spot where my tastes have, at least, expanded. I no longer am bothered by whatever it was that pushed me away from Mignola back in the day. So I confessed to a friend that I thought I was ready to try Hellboy, but I wasn't sure I wanted to buy it. She offered to loan me the first trade. In return, I loaned her the first Usagi Yojimbo trade.

This was... fun. It was really fun. Of course, Abe Sapien appeals to me. What, you didn't think an Icthyo Sapien would draw me in? The story was tantalizing, showing hints and pieces without giving away everything. And, while it had an origin story, it also had a lot more. And, very suddenly, I want to read more of this character and his friends. A lot more. I wonder if Carol will let me borrow more? At least until I can afford my own copies... 4 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Batman: Detective #27, Smallville, and WildGuard.

by Tegan at 3:47 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

So then, what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Via Volokh.

Would you like a genetically engineered pet? Slashdot reports on a glow-in-the-dark fish.

Also from Slashdot, a first success in the fight against voting machines that don't have a physical back-up.

Kucinich is now involved in exposing the Diebold voting scam. How long before Kucinich's ISP is told to take down his page, huh? Via Lessig.

And also on the voting front, a rather brutal opinion about voting machines (via Mikhaela's News Blog). Key quote: Diebold’s CEO, Walden O’Dell, is an enthusiastic Bush supporter who has publicly vowed to deliver his home state of Ohio’s 2004 electoral votes to the incumbent. The editorial also mentions, a site that actually has some disturbing information about voting in my home county, as the site originates from my hometown!

The Gravity and Chaos Club at Western Washington University has been Slashdotted. As Western is my Alma Mater, I really would like to see the pictures of thousands of bouncing balls in Bond Hall. I spent many, many hours in Bond Hall, learning how to use the internet. Many hours.

From Olsen Ross comes The Insanity Test. Make sure your computer's speakers are on, or you won't get anything from it.

Vivendi is going to destroy the archive. Via Boing Boing.

Donkey Terrorists.

Check out The Victorian Internet, also via Boing Boing.

Elayne reposted the questions that I asked about my guest-blogging stint on Elayne's blog and the response so far, what little there is, is to just be myself.

So there's a Wizard con in Texas, and there was a DC panel that presented a whole bunch of "news" that wasn't very new. The only thing of interest that I've read from the con so far is in this article, an almost throwaway line: More details about Swamp Thing Bad Seed were revealed including the fact that after Andy Diggle’s first arc, Will Pfeifer would be taking over as writer for the series. So, Pfeifer is taking on another book? Will this affect his other books, like, oh, Aquaman?

Frankly, I'm more interested in the Hellboy trailer that I can't watch on my main browser. Luckily, I managed to fiddle with my Internet Exploder enough that it played a very slow and pause-riddled version of the trailer. I really need a new computer... *sigh*

Current BBBB Computer Fund Total: $10.00 - Number of "Blue Screens" yesterday: 3

by Tegan at 1:43 PM Seattle time

Friday, November 21, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 19 November 2003 - Part III

Birds of Prey #61: The artwork was confusing. There were several spots where I had trouble following the story. Changing Black Canary's hair in the middle of the story didn't help any. I mostly enjoyed the story, but there were a couple of very strange logic jumps in this one. Thus, it only gets 3 1/2 starfish. 3 1/2 starfish

Way of the Rat #19: With the recent spectacular failings at CrossGen, it's hard to read any CrossGen book without wondering if the story will ever be finished. In this case, the art team is different, and while it's ok, I was really getting into Jeff Johnson's artwork on this book. The story is scattered, trying to establish too much. It succeeds despite itself. Not the best effort, but not bad, either. 3 1/2 starfish

El Cazador #3: As long as I'm reviewing CrossGen, I'll put in some words about the other CG book we picked up this week. Basically, it's the art keeping me reading this. The story has been slow to develop, and instead of getting some action with the existing characters, we're being introduced to yet more. The only good thing about this is that the next issue finally promises some conflict. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Batman: Detective #27, Smallville, and WildGuard.

by Tegan at 8:40 PM Seattle time

Comic Book Singles. Yes, Again.

Got a bit of response from people, which means that somebody actually reads my blog. Anyway, good responses all around.

First, from Johnny B comes both support and clarification of my stance on singles: If the evolution of the industry dictates that in order to survive, the floppy must die and trades will be the norm, so be it. Survival of the fittest, baby. But you'll excuse me if I don't get too enthusiastic about it, and continue to by those floppy pamphlet sequential graphic type comic books until the bitter end. While he disagrees with me on the collectability aspect, that's his prerogative. I read my singles, and I re-read them, then I pass them on unless I really like them and plan on re-reading again. I don't intentionally mistreat my comics, but I don't take any super special care anymore.

From Dirk Deppey comes a more practical thought: I'm afraid that in the end, the deciding factor will have more to do with economics than personal preference. Yes, Dirk, but Franklin didn't make that argument. If he had, I would have had to concede that particular point, as it's a good one. Gone are the days when you can easily find singles on a spinner rack at your local grocery. So, score one for Dirk. By the way, Dirk writes an awful lot on days when he just "phoning in". He's almost as bad as Franklin "on vacation".

Sean Collins also weighs in with a slightly pointed attack: Tegan, define "working well," would you? Ok, it works well to present a story, and as a fun thing to pick up and read. I wasn't arguing economics, which is where both you and Dirk are trying to argue from. Yes, I know the industry is failing. It's been failing since the 70s, as far as I can tell. Maybe earlier. But I like the single format for stories, and I still think it works well.

As for big stacks of Manga for cheap prices... How? How are such things presented at such a low price point? What is different about American comics that they can't be made cheaper? I know that people claim that Manga is a much better deal, but is it? Could American comics really be made that cheap? I don't know the answers here, so you advocates of the Manga format, you tell me. Could American comics duplicate the "big book" Manga format without sacrificing too much (and I'll let you define "too much")?

I'm not opposed to other formats (in fact, I've always preferred anthologies like, oh "More Fun Comics"), but I don't think abandoning the single format, or demonizing it as so many so-called fans are attempting to do, will get us anywhere.

By the way, sorry to anyone who's response I may have missed. I'm in a bit of a hurry this morn, but I wanted to post a reply anyway.

by Tegan at 10:11 AM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 19 November 2003 - Part II

Outsiders #6: I really dislike Brother Blood. I thought the prison was a nice touch, though. And Grace is funny. I don't know. I don't actively hate this book, but I'm not sure I really like it. 3 starfish

JLA: Liberty and Justice: This one read much like a Silver Age Justice League story, including a major plot hole (spoilers): (end spoilers). I enjoyed the artwork, especially the bits with Aquaman. The story was ok, nothing special. 3 1/2 starfish

Cinnamon: El Ciclo #4: I'm really liking this. No superheroes, just gunslingers and true grit. And a whole deep underside of life being shown in bits and pieces. Along with those themes of redemption, and something even deeper. Those folks that don't like singles ought to pick this up when it gets collected. 4 starfish

Still to review: Birds of Prey, Batman: Detective #27, Smallville, WildGuard, El Cazador, and Way of the Rat.

by Tegan at 9:43 AM Seattle time

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Rapid Reviews - 19 November 2003 - Part I

Smallville: Shattered [3-08]: Ok, so let me get this completely straight in my head. Spoilers: End Spoilers (highlight to read). Ok. If I've got that right, then it is simply not a wonder that Lex becomes Superman's greatest enemy. This episode put Clark in the center of a storm, and I don't know that he came out for the best. It's going to be interesting to see where they go from here. Unfortunately, it's a seven-week wait for the next new episode. 4 starfish

Justice League: The Terror Beyond: Aquaman! You knew I'd like it just for that. And I like the way Mera gave Hawkgirl a bit of cold shoulder, too. The whole Solomon Grudy soul side plot was cute, but a little heavy-handed at the end. I like that Aquaman's abilities, including the harpoon's launching capabilities, were showcased a bit. It was a little on the weak-side, plotwise. The whole reasoning for Superman, Wonder Woman, and Hawkgirl to take on Aquaman, Dr Fate, Inza, and Solomon Grudy was a little stretched. Could no one spare a moment to say, "back off, we're trying to save the world here!"? I do like the fact that Hawkgirl's mace had some magic-dampening properties. All-in-all, I wasn't disappointed with the reappearance of the animated Aquaman, but the story itself could have used some work. 3 1/2 starfish

Faction Paradox #2: Still a very difficult book to follow, but there are some amazing ideas within. I like the "animal" that everyone is hunting. I also like the idea relating to the changeover of the calendar. Wow. Heavy stuff. But definitely not a friendly book to get into. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Birds of Prey, Batman: Detective #27, Smallville, Cinnamon, JLA: Liberty and Justice, Outsiders, WildGuard, El Cazador, and Way of the Rat.

by Tegan at 5:45 PM Seattle time

Comic Book Singles. Again.

I wasn't going to comment on Franklin Harris' rant about comic singles, but then Dirk Deppey weighed in, calling it a "detailed and convincing argument", and I just have to say "BULL" to that.

Franklin has two main arguments against comic book singles: 1) They aren't good for traveling and 2) They might become valuable, so people are overly cautious about the condition of their singles.

To point number one I say: I'd rather have a small stack of singles with me, with diverse stories, than a single trade. And singles fit comfortably into the outside pocket of just about every shoulder bag I take on trips. They are easy to leave open to a particular page, even if you have to fold them back, whereas with trades you have to deal with a bookmark. Singles are also a quick read, so you can read one or two in a waiting room easily. As for long trips, comic book singles aren't made for that! It's like saying desktop computers are no good because you can't pack one up and take it with you to a hotel easily. If you are going on a long trip, then you go get trades for it, just like you'd buy a laptop instead of relying on your desktop on the road. You are criticizing the form by sticking it into a situation it wasn't meant to be in anyway.

As for point two: IT'S A COMIC BOOK. If you cannot get any joy out of it because you are too worried about it maybe someday possibly being worth some money, then you really shouldn't be buying it for reading in the first place. As a gal at my local comic shop demonstrated the other day, too many of us are overly concerned about the condition of our books. She grabbed a single from the top of her pile, folded the cover back, and watched as everyone cringed. She had a point. I stopped bagging and boarding my comics several years ago, and now I don't worry about dings in the cover or folds. I'm most likely going to give them away anyway, and the chances of any one book being worth lots of money in the future are close to nil. Too many collectors are carefully storing their comics now. There will never be a significant shortage.

I don't hate trades, nor do I think that the future of comic books lies solely in comic book singles. But the form has worked for well over 50 years. If you advocate tossing it out in favor of trades, you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Singles have their uses, and they ought to stick around. Harris' argument isn't even close to convincing to me.

by Tegan at 4:57 PM Seattle time

Not Much To Say

Not much to say at the moment, because I'm rushing off to work. Yesterday was a surprisingly busy day, so I never got back to the computer long enough to do another blog. That may well happen today, too. Got comics yesterday, a ton of stuff to review. More on that later.

I read on some blogs that the protests in England were being overblown by reporters, and that there was nothing really going on... I just watched a bit of the big protest in Trafalgar Square via a link Atrios put up, and it sure looks like there's a crowd there tonight. I don't particularly know what to believe, but my eyes tell me there's a major protest of some sort going on. Whatever.

by Tegan at 10:56 AM Seattle time

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

What the-???? What's With this Weather?

My husband opened the garage door to leave for work this morning, then came rushing back into the house to yell, "It's snowing!" before continuing his dash to work.

It's snowing. Right now, as I'm writing, it's snowing. It's mostly north of Seattle, but still! I can see almost an inch of very wet snow on the road outside my home, and more snow is coming down. Cars are slushing through the snow, and the garbage truck is lumbering up the road. I feel sorry for the garbage men today, they are gonna get soaked through no matter what they do.

I have the news on, and they are saying the focal point for the storm seems to be Everett, Monroe, and Marysville. Good grief, haven't they had enough in Marysville????

Yesterday we got a nasty rain storm that, combined with the leaves clogging the drains throughout the urban areas, lead to lots and lots of flooding in urban areas. Several local rivers were also flooding, but the big news was that the commute was severely delayed in many places because of standing water on the roadway. See, Seattle is known for rain, but that's because we generally get a little rain all year long. Major storms dropping two inches of rain all at once are actually pretty rare around here. The roads are all able to handle a little water, but with debris clogging drains around the area, some roads had up to a foot of standing water on them, including the major arterials into and out of Seattle. The commute turned from its usual horrible mess into a genuine nightmare. Commutes that were normally 45 minutes turned into 4 and a half hours.

We figured that was probably it. You get a major storm, then it moves on. Crews were working all day to clean drains and remove water from the roadways. They were ready for more rain today, if it happened.

I've lived in the Seattle area my entire life. I have never seen a storm like this. Usually snow in this area has to start out with relatively dry conditions to stick to the roads. But yesterday was very wet, and it didn't freeze overnight, and yet the snow is sticking to the roads here in the North.

Snow. I just can't believe it. It was a complete surprise. Snow in the mountains is normal enough, but down here? And you know how the crews were cleaning out the drains? Yeah, nice and clean, but now the drains are clogged with SNOW. Man, I hope hubby-Eric got to school ok. All the districts around Marysville are delaying school, but I haven't heard a peep from Marysville itself.

Amazing. Snow.

by Tegan at 7:42 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Scumbags on the School Board

Note: If you aren't interested in my whining about the Marysville School District, just go to the next entry.

We figured it was over. Three board members were defeated in a landslide vote, the new board members would work to return the district to some semblance of respectability, and everyone would live happily ever after. A long slog ahead still, yes, but the end was finally in sight. Then the news arrived that the lame-duck board was going to extend the crappy superintendent's contract for another year. They'd been too busy to do it over the summer, they claimed, so it would be the last act of the old board before the new board came in.

Too busy over the summer? Doing what? It required a three second vote, since the discussion had apparently already taken place (in March, no less). The only reason to delay to vote was because they weren't certain about it. And the only reason to finally vote on it in the last meeting before three of them were booted was pure spite.

So people asked them not to extend the contract. Ken Schram did another commentary on it, key quote: Call it what they will, it will be seen for what it really is. (Quack Quack) Spite. The Seattle P.I. chimed in with their own thoughts: The voters' mandate for change was clear. So, Marysville residents have the right to be shocked by plans, first reported by The Herald of Everett, to extend the contract before a new majority takes office. It was clear Monday morning that public opinion was running overwhelmingly against extending the contract. Well, it was clear to everyone but the lame-duck board.

The Monday board meetings agenda was posted, and the item at issue was listed as being after the public input portion of the meeting. Thus the meeting drew a standing-room only crowd. Hundreds of members of the public came to protest the decision and urge the board to not extend the contract.

But it was too late. The school board changed the agenda at the last minute (without proper notification, I might add), and the vote on the superintendent's contract was taken in secret before the actual meeting, and without anyone in the audience realizing what had been done. When the announcement was made, the crowd nearly rioted.

From The Seattle Times: The announcement was followed by an uproar from the standing-room-only audience that Board President Helen Mount's gavel could do little to quell. Ultimately, over shouts of "unbelievable" and chants of "recall," more than a dozen parents and community members were escorted outside by district security guards. Also during the commotion, Peterson was overheard saying, "I'm done" and then left.

From The Seattle P.I.: Bucking the apparent sentiment of voters on Election Day, three lame-duck members of the Marysville School Board joined last night in a 5-0 decision to extend the contract of embattled Superintendent Linda Whitehead for one year to June 2006. The vote seems likely to fan anger in a district shaken by a bitter teachers strike in September and October.

From The Everett Rag: In one of its last acts before three of its members are replaced, the Marysville School Board voted under heavy criticism Monday night to extend Superintendent Linda Whitehead's contract for a third year. Unknown to the overflow crowd was the fact that the embattled superintendent's $130,000 contract was included as part of a revised consent agenda, meaning it was included with several routine items voted on simultaneously at the beginning of the meeting. News that the vote had been taken before public testimony infuriated many in the audience who often jeered after school board members spoke.

I almost wish I'd been able to go. As it was, I heard that at one point, while Board President Helen Mount (the paranoid one) was talking, somebody called out "Liar!" Helen stopped talking and insisted that the person who had spoken stand up. Over half the audience stood up. The person who made the original comment was never identified ("I'm Spartacus!").

In addition, on the Dave Ross radio show this morning, a caller from Marysville reported that she had personally called each board member before the meeting to urge them to please not extend the contract. For four of the board members, she didn't get through to a real person and was forced to leave a message. However, Cary Peterson herself answered her own phone, expressed surprise that the item was up on the agenda, and promised the caller that she would not vote to extend Whitehead's contract. She lied. When it came to the actual vote, Peterson was lock-step in with the rest of them.

What does this mean for the district? Well, the short version is that the district is either stuck with Linda Whitehead until 2006 or will have to buy out her contract. Because there is no way on heaven or earth that Whitehead will stay superintendent that long, the outgoing school board has basically robbed the district of $130,000 - Whitehead's salary for that extra year. The only way to avoid paying her is to fire her for cause, and everyone is sure that Whitehead and the old board have done their best to protect her from that possibility.

There's an active effort to recall the remaining two board members, which got a massive boost from last night's spite vote. In addition, there is at least one rumored effort to sue the five members of the school board for waste of public funds, among other things. While I don't know if any lawsuit will go anywhere, the recall may succeed, especially if Helen and Ron continue to antagonize the public. Politicians who publicly spit in the faces of their constituents often get what's coming to them.

Speaking of votes, the November 4th election results will be finalized tonight or tomorrow morning. The latest count, with 44.69% of the ballots in (which will probably be the final turnout), is no different from the last few counts. All of the challengers have at least 60% of the vote, and none of the incumbents has even 40%. While the turnout is pretty bad, the people who cared enough to vote have spoken, and given the former school board the boot.

My hubby-Eric, who decided not to blog anymore, changed his mind after a week of pondering, and has now blogged about the vote today.

And that's all I can say about that today. I'm sure there will be much more later.

by Tegan at 9:02 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

I'm guest blogging for Elayne on the 29th and 30th, as she's headed to a con. What do people expect from a guest blogger? Should I be trying to appeal to Elayne's audience, or should I just be myself and hope nobody quits reading in disgust? Should I pick a topic in advance and do a couple of blogs on that? Thoughts? Suggestions? What do you expect when a guest blogger is writing at a blog you like?

Browse the news with images. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. via Slashdot

Where are the most dangerous intersections in your state? I wasn't surprised too much by the Washington State list. via OxBlog

Eugene Volokh on voting machine problems. Key quote (which he quoted from The Washington Post): School Board member Rita S. Thompson (R), who lost a close race to retain her at-large seat, said yesterday that the new computers might have taken votes from her. Voters in three precincts reported that when they attempted to vote for her, the machines initially displayed an "x" next to her name but then, after a few seconds, the "x" disappeared. In response to Thompson's complaints, county officials tested one of the machines in question yesterday and discovered that it seemed to subtract a vote for Thompson in about "one out of a hundred tries," said Margaret K. Luca, secretary of the county Board of Elections. Frankly, that sounds like the vote was tainted and there should be a revote. You can't do a recount, because the only back-up is the faulty machines themselves. See the problem?

Johnny Bacardi directs my attention to Born Today, which gives you some celebrities (with quotes) that were born (or died) on a particular day, like my birthday.

Oh yeah, the BBC has put up some new Doctor Who in time for the 40th anniversary. These are animated shorts for the true fanatics, featuring Richard E Grant as the Doctor in Scream of the Shalka.

You can also find DC for February on the DC website. Best solicitation: Plastic Man #3 - Kyle Baker takes comics' most pliable hero on his wackiest adventure yet! Will Plastic Man take it on the lam to clear his name? You'd want to clear your name, too, if it was Eel O'Brian! Agent Morgan continues to look great – and Woozy Winks continues to do stupid things because he's the comic relief! In PLASTIC MAN. How dumb do you have to be to be comic relief in PLASTIC MAN?

If you are at all interested in Aquaman, the next two issues are stand alones written by John Ostrander: Aquaman #13 - Aquaman rescues people from a storm, and Aquaman #14 - A reporter looks into the Aquaman mythos, and finds something unexpected. Then if you want to see what Rick Veitch did, there's a collection of his stories coming out in a couple of weeks, Aquaman: The Water Bearer, which collects Aquaman #1-4 and the lead story from the Aquaman Secret Files. I hope DC collects the rest of Veitch's run. Starting in February, a new creative team of Will Pfeifer, Pat Gleason, and Alan Davis on covers take over Aquaman. Aquaman #15 starts with an earth-moving event.

Current BBBB Computer Fund Total: $10.00 - Number of "Blue Screens" yesterday: 2

by Tegan at 4:57 PM Seattle time

Hey hey hey - It's A Birthday

Happy Birthday Inger! Yeah, I know you aren't terribly likely to read this, but happy day nonetheless.

by Tegan at 8:40 AM Seattle time

Monday, November 17, 2003

DC Solicits Are Up

Alan Davis. Nobody told me that ALAN FREAKIN' DAVIS was doing the cover to Aquaman #15! Alan Davis! One of my all-time favorite artists. Alan Davis. Good lord. Nobody told me. No offense to Gleason, but I wish he was doing the interiors, too. Alan freakin' Davis. Wow.

Ahem. You can read the rest of the DC Solicits yourself over at Toon Zone, complete with lots of pictures. Including an Aquaman cover by Alan Davis. Alan Davis!

by Tegan at 9:56 PM Seattle time


You might be from the Pacific Northwest if:

  • You know the state flower (Mildew).
  • You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.
  • Use the statement "sun break" and know what it means.
  • You know more people who own boats than air conditioners.
  • You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant.
  • You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal.
  • If it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain.
  • You know the difference between Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye salmon.
  • You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Oregon, Spokane, and Willamette.
  • You consider swimming an indoor sport.
  • You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.
  • In winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark - while only working eight-hour days.
  • You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.
  • You are not fazed by "Today's forecast: showers followed by rain," and "Tomorrow's forecast: rain followed by showers."
  • You look forward to a day with "showers and sun breaks."
  • You have no concept of humidity without precipitation.
  • You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of mind.
  • You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover.
  • You notice "the mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it.
  • You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka.
  • You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on.
  • You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.
  • You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.
  • You knew immediately that the view out of Frasier's window was fake.
  • You buy new sunglasses every year, because you can't find the old ones after such a long time.
  • You measure distance in hours.
  • You often switch from "heat" to "a/c" in the same day.
  • You use a down comforter in the summer.
  • You carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them.
  • You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under a raincoat.
  • You know all the important seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Raining (Spring), Road Construction (Summer), & Going to Be Winter Soon (Fall).
  • You actually understand these jokes.

by Tegan at 3:37 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

Wow. A story about learning how to read with The Wizard of Oz, which I'm sure my hubby will appreciate, being a massive Oz fan. But Ron, it's L. Frank Baum. L. was his first initial. It stood for "Lyman", which is why he went by "Frank" his whole life. I don't blame him.

Marta has put up a couple of sketches from Prisoner of Azkaban. First one is of Harry and Lupin in Lupin's office, the second is Hermione trying to explain why divination is crap.

More on the e-voting problem. I can only think of two reasons why people would not support a paper trail: 1) They don't understand computers well enough, so are overconfident or 2) They want the ability to fix an election. I tend to lean towards thinking the people who don't support a paper audit trail are in the first camp. But ignorance is no excuse. This problem needs to be addressed.

Franklin Harris makes some bold predictions, including that Aquaman won't survive until the end of next year. I'm thinking he's probably wrong about that. If I didn't know Will Pfeifer was taking over, I might find myself agreeing, but I think once people see what Gleason and Pfeifer do with Aquaman, opinions will change for awhile, and Aquaman will stay afloat. It'll be at least 2005 before Aquaman is in danger of cancellation again. That's my prediction.

Speaking of Will Pfeifer, Jim Henley reviews several comics and calls H-E-R-O #10 "One of the better recent Astro City stories." Very interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way myself, but I definitely see it now.

Dirk Deppey links to All the Rage, which I'm only linking to because of the CrossGen news about halfway down the page. Basically, it really doesn't look good for fans of CrossGen. It sounds like it's not just freelancers who aren't getting paid. All the Rage also has a bit on Powers, including that it will be relaunched as volume two soon.

As far as Dirk Deppey and ¡Journalista! goes, you might as well just read his whole column this morning and visit most of his links. He's got a lot to say today, and almost all of it is of interest to me, so any comics fan ought to check it out.

Grotesque Anatomy looks at Previews reviewers and points out that I'm the only one who still seems happy with Previews. I just have perfected my filters, I guess, since I'm not reacting to Previews like Doane does, despite having to pay more for it, too. Truth is, I've always had a love/hate, mostly hate, relationship with Previews. I like the fact that I know I will get what I want when I preorder because I have a good store. I hate the fact that the industry is set up so I need to preorder to make sure I get the odd stuff that deserves a try. If the industry were healthy, I wouldn't need to preorder. It's not healthy, and I've done what I, personally, can to change that (giving comics to friends and children, handing out comics for Halloween). So I live with the status quo and endure. That's all a fangirl can do.

Also visit Grotesque Anatomy's look at mainstream coverage of comics. Good stuff there.

Is anyone surprised that Namor has been cancelled? The book was aimed at the wrong audience. It's not a shock to me.

And lastly. Every morning lately I've been clicking on my Amazon Honor System link and looking at the $10 that's in there. I know you all are going to think this is pathetic, but every time I look at it I grin and feel my spirits lifting. Somebody actually cares enough to donate a little to help me out. I hope that I can someday pay it forward, and give somebody else the same kind of lift. Speaking of the fund, current BBBB Computer Fund Total: $10.00 - Number of "Blue Screens" yesterday: 1

by Tegan at 2:17 PM Seattle time

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Seattle ComiCard Convention Report

Too much was planned for today. Eric's Oz friends were coming to visit for one of their normal gatherings, and that pretty much wiped out any chance of us going to the convention together. But man, I really wanted to go. There were several folks I'd never seen before, and I wanted to get permission from Randy Emberlin to post his sketch. I'm not really up to going alone. I just hate being alone at cons. So I asked my sister if she would go with me. She agreed, and bought herself a sketchbook after I explained what I did at these conventions...

The weather was awful. Spitting rain that looked deceptively like it was light, but got you soaked through in a short time. Sister-Lisa and I got down to the building early to grab a good parking spot, and then sat in the car watching the rain and reading Astro City while we waited for the opening time. At ten sharp we headed over to the doors, and stood in line getting rained on until we finally got inside. It was COLD outside, and wet. It was nice and warm and dry inside.

The tables were sparse. It was a low attended con, both in dealers and in fans. We figured that much of it was due to the weather. After hitting the "free stuff" table, Lisa and I wandered to the guests area to scope it out. Lean pickings. There just weren't many people there at all.

Still, my goal was one sketch, one permission, and I was going to give it a shot!

As expected, Anne Timmons was there (with Mr. Guest), and was happy to do sketches for both of us. After an Aquaman for me, Lisa suggested a sheep for her sketch (please don't ask me) and Mr Guest suggested that Anne draw a sheep and Go Girl and title the sketch "Ewe Go Girl!" And so that happened. I do not have sister-Lisa's sketchbook, nor did I ask permission to post Lisa's sketches, so you are unlikely to ever see that unlikely sketch show up here. The Aquaman sketch, yes I got permission. But "Ewe Go Girl!" is going to remain a mystery to the majority of the world.

After the fun time with Anne and Mr, we wandered over to the comedy duo of Tom Peyer and Brian Augustyn. I'm not sure how much time we spent trading quips with those two, but I definitely would be at the losing end of any battle of wits involving them. Tom Peyer signed my green book with a little sketch of Topo, and Brian drew an Ocean Master, sort of.

Moving away from the slings and arrows of outrageous amusement, I asked a sketch of the amazing Mike S Miller, who is an Aquaman artist among his many other credits. He drew an excellent classic Aquaman for me (with permission to post), and a Wonder Woman for sister-Lisa (who had given up on the sheep).

Well, after visiting Mike, there were just two more occupied tables. R.K.Post had a small crowd, so we wandered over to the Committed Comics and Rorschach Entertainment tables to see if anyone felt like sketching. Brian Meredith, who already did an Aquaman sketch for me, took up the challenge and drew Flash for sister-Lisa's sketchbook.

Looking around, Randy Emberlin was setting up, and it looked like somebody was setting up at Paul Chadwick's table, so sister-Lisa and I visited R.K.Post's table to kill some time. I'm really glad we did. He drew a woman for Lisa which was really quite nice, but the Aquaman he drew for me!!! Wow! You all know I'm a big Elseworld fan, right? Well, I want somebody to do an Elseworld based on this Aquaman. There's a feel to his artwork that reminds me of Esteban Maroto's work on Atlantis Chronicles. Most Excellent. And yes, I have permission to post it. It'll be up in a few weeks.

While R.K. was sketching, a man came up behind me to check out his table, and I read his nametag and said without thinking, "Oh! So you're Paul Chadwick!" He looked at me sharply, with amusement, and said yes, indeed, that was him. Embarrassed, I tried to backpedal, but I'm afraid I came off as a little... odd. He'd been getting some books from the dealers (who were probably very glad of the business), but he was headed over to his table to set up. I said I'd be over, and he wandered off while I felt a wee bit like a cad.

Randy Emberlin was still setting up, but I managed to get in and show him his sketch from 1999 and ask for permission to post it. He gladly gave permission. Lisa attempted to ask for a sketch, but he was still setting up his table and had another sketch to work on, so we moved up to Paul Chadwick's table.

There was a crowd, of course. Ahead of us were people getting books signed, including The Cliff Guy who had a book of Jars with him. Paul Chadwick put Concrete in a jar for him. After a bunch more signings, I managed to get an Aquaman sketch from Chadwick, and permission to post it. I think you all will like it, I do! Chadwick also suggested that since he doesn't have his own website, I should link to a well-done fansite about him. I think I found the right one. Little-sister-Lisa got a sketch of Concrete himself, and also got "Concrete: Think Like a Mountain" for us to both read.

Well, Chuck Gibson still hadn't showed, and Lisa wanted to get a sketch from Randy Emberlin, so she got herself into the crowd to wait, while I looked around. At the Committed Comics table I spotted a woman I didn't recognize working on a standard comic book page. I boldly approached and asked if she was willing to do a sketch. She was happy to try, and when I said I'd like her to do a sketch of Aquaman, she smiled and said she liked a challenge. And so I got a sketch from Siya Oum, who is a great artist, in a Manga style. Her Aquaman is definitely cool, and yes I have permission to post it. Sister-Lisa spotted me getting another sketch, and deserted Emberlin's table long enough to get a sketch from Siya for herself.

Sister-Lisa finally got into the line for Emberlin, and managed to get a Spider-Man sketch from him. Before we left, though, we noticed that Mark Tedin had arrived. His name was really familiar, and he was a Magic: The Gathering artist, so I asked him how long he'd been doing art for Magic... ten years... Yup, he was doing the artwork when I was still into the game. As I originally got into Magic because of the artwork, I recognized his name. He was very willing to do sketches, and did a demon for Lisa and a very Greek-looking Aquaman for me. Permission was given to post it, and web-links were exchanged.

At that point we reached a conundrum. We could stay a bit longer in the hopes that more artists would show, or we could go home so Lisa would have a chance to get herself back to school before it got dark. All things considered, with the storm outside and the fact that we'd been walking around for over three hours, we decided to leave. We don't know if Chuck ever actually made it.

Well, I got one permission for an existing sketch, and managed to get six new sketches, which was unexpected, especially after we'd gotten to the con and seen the low turnout. Lisa, my twin sister minus six plus years, got eight sketches. And we both had a blast.

by Tegan at 4:30 PM Seattle time