Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LXXXIII
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Sketchbook - Karin Yamagiwa

I mention meeting Karin Yamagiwa and getting a sketch from her in my 2004 Emerald City Comicon Report. Karin draws very small. I mean really small. This is the only sketch I've scanned yet that I didn't have to reduce to fit into my sketchbook standards. In fact, I considered making it bigger. Now, I really hate to say this, considering how many great sketches I got at the con... but this is my favorite of the ones I got that day. Yes, it's from an artist most of you have probably never heard of. The style isn't standard. And it's small. But it's FUN. It exudes happiness. There is an energy to this little sketch that most sketches don't have. Anytime a sketch pulls my face into a grin every time I see it, it's a great sketch. This is a great sketch.

by Karin Yamagiwa
29 Feb 2004
(permission to post given 29 Feb 2004 in person)

As a reminder: Almost every sketch in my sketchbook was non-commissioned and done on the floor of a con. These are not the best works of the artists. These are only representative of what the artist can do under pressure in a loud, crowded, and often stressed-out environment. Most of them were done as quickly as possible, to prevent huge lines from forming. Don't judge any of these artists negatively by the artwork you see, instead be as impressed as I am by what they accomplished in far-from-ideal conditions.

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.

The Saturday Sketch ™ is brought to you by the letters "Y", "K" and the number "50", and also courtesy the fine artists who pour their lives into producing wonderful comic books, then come to conventions only to get asked by geeky fangirls for a sketch of Aquaman. Support an artist, buy a comic book.

by Tegan at 8:41 PM Seattle time - Permalink

50 State Quarters

This year's mint set arrived, so here's my thoughts on the 2004 offerings.

Michigan: Outline of the state and great lakes with the words "Great Lakes State". Nice, simple, somewhat boring design. I don't mind the state outline coins, they are better than jumbles of images, but they don't really say much about the state. Pretty much all I get from this coin is the concept that they are proud of their lakes. Good for them.

Florida: The motto "Gateway To Discovery" serves as an ocean upon which floats a galleon headed toward a beach with palms. Overhead the Space Shuttle flies. Nice and simple. Two contrasting images, low-tech and high-tech. This is an excellent design.

Texas: "The Lone Star State" has an outline of the state with a star on it, all surrounded by a lariat as the border. The rope border bothers me for some reason. Otherwise the coin seems pretty cool. Nothing special, but at least it isn't ugly.

Iowa: "Foundation in Education" has a one-room schoolhouse, what appears to be a teacher with students planting a tree, and the name "Grant Wood". I gather that it's based on a painting by Grant Wood. It doesn't work for me. The design is nice enough, but it looks like a band across the coin, and for a coin I'm not sure it really works. It doesn't shine.

Wisconsin: The state motto "Forward" is on a banner in front of a cow, a round of cheese and an ear of corn. Ah yes. Let's go forward with the head of a cow. I hate the jumble image coins, which try to show off multiple aspects of the state. This one utterly fails, because the motto doesn't fit with the images at all. Corn, cheese and cow are taking you forward... how?

If you'd like to see what I thought about last year's selection, here's my thoughts on 2003 State Quarters. You can check images of the quarters at the US Mint website.

by Tegan at 12:54 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Rapid Reviews - 19 May 2004 - Part III

Amazing Spider-Man #66/507: I knew it. I knew it. Ezekiel's true nature is good, but he's not above fighting for something that simply wrong. This explains Ezekiel pretty well. He is a man who does what is good because he can. But at the root of his powers is a deception, and he's desperate enough to continue to carry the deception out. Odds are, he'll do what is right in the end... an easy way out, and possibly a disappointment, but I don't know how else this particular story could end. Another strong issue. 4 starfish

JLA: Another Nail #1: I'm not a fan of the New Gods, or of the whole Darkseid thing. I'm not a big fan of cosmic stories, either, so the Green Lantern corps just doesn't do that much for me. Thus the entire first half of this issue was me just reading to get the background material. But the story itself seems to be a little more ambitious. Most of this issue was set-up, and it jumped around entirely too much for my tastes. It's clear there's a big story being told, but so far I'm not impressed with the story, even if the art blows me away. Only the next two issues will tell if this one lives up to the first mini, or falls to sequelitis. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Powerpuff Girls.

by Tegan at 9:13 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Friday, May 21, 2004

It's... Random Thoughts

Another resident of Bothell, Garrett Fitzgerald, noticed my post about visiting the tent city. Did anyone else bother to read that post?

Another cool photoshopping contest. In this one, the entries mix fruits. Sounds more boring than it is. Check it out.

Lewis and Clark journals on-line. Quite a neat collection to browse. Via Metafilter.

A lovely song from Eric Idle, called the FCC Song. Mom, don't click. This isn't for you. Lots of f-word in this one. Says Idle: "Here’s a little song I wrote the other day while I was out duck hunting with a judge… It’s a new song, it’s dedicated to the FCC and if they broadcast it, it will cost a quarter of a million dollars." Via Atrios.

Fred Sez (May 20th entry) has some interesting facts about the original costumes of the Fantastic Four, then Fred goes and draws them in those costumes! (again, May 20th entry). Fun stuff, folks. Don't miss it.

El Cazador goes away... I only liked it for Epting's artwork. They will have to search long and hard to find an artist that could replace him. I, personally, am no longer interested. I'll have to check with hubby-Eric, but it appears that we've lost a book from our pull list. Via Thought Balloons.

Ok, somebody tell me whatever happened to The Teen Titans Swingin' Elseworld Special? It was never officially cancelled, just "postponed", and has never shown up on Diamond's cancellation lists. Anyone know where this book stands in DC purgatory?

Suppose you were running for public office. And suppose your opponent sent someone to videotape you. Not just your speeches and press conferences, but your every move. The cameraman follows you everywhere, even into the bathroom. Would you consider this acceptable behavior? Apparently it's fine in the Illinois senate race, where Democratic candidate Barack Obama is being stalked by a paid employee of his opponent.

Neat brain trick. This one gives a little insight into how your brain perceives colors and motion. Via Metafilter.

A summary of The Great Blogads Survey is up. Interesting slice of the blogosphere. It would be even more interesting to see this applied to the blogosphere as a whole, instead of mostly political blogs (since they are the ones that promoted the survey).

The latest Jerry/Superman ad is up. "Do you know Green Lantern?" heh.

Update: Monitor Duty has spotted a Green Arrow Fan Film.

by Tegan at 4:11 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Rapid Reviews - 19 May 2004 - Part II

Batman Adventures #14: Nice tie-in of Batman Adventure characters. I like the Gray Ghost, and I like the two different views we get of kids watching his show in this issue. The villain made sense, too. Although, it's almost too much to call him a villain in this one. He's more misguided, but I guess kidnapping is villainous enough. 4 starfish

Birds of Prey #67: I need a scorecard. I'm still not entirely sure what happened in the last few issues. It's clear I'm going to have to pull the issues together and re-read to figure it out. I did like seeing a bunch of DC heroines all working together. I just didn't really understand the storylines. 3 1/2 starfish

Time to delve into the AIT/Planet Lar box, and keep me reading so I won't do anything stupid again. The book that came up when I dug down this time was Couscous Express.

Couscous Express by Brian Wood and Brett Weldele. This is going to come as a surprise to people familiar with my tastes. Heck, it's a surprise to me. I really quite liked this one. After my experience with The Couriers 02, I expected to dislike this one. Especially once I figured out that, yes, it had some characters in common. But the narrative, which starts with Olive (who hates her life, her parents and her job), then moves to Moustafa (who explains that Olive is spoiled and has no idea how lucky she is), works to highlight Olive's rapid maturing during a time of crisis. I particularly like Moustafa's willingness to break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience during the set-up of the book. Unlike Couriers 02, which was a violence-filled story without much of a point, this book has a strong plot, and the characters grow and develop. Where Couriers 02 was a romp, this is a ride. It actually takes you somewhere. Yeah, I'm surprised, but I enjoyed it. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Amazing Spider-Man, JLA: Another Nail, and Powerpuff Girls.

by Tegan at 12:56 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Friday Fitness Blogging

  • Weight = No Reading
  • Change From Last Week = No Reading
  • Met Exercise Goal? Yes
    Goal was ten minutes a day on bike or treadmill at least six days.
  • Current Exercise Goal = ten minutes a day, at least four days.
  • Kept food diary? Yes.

I've actually been walking around the neighborhood instead of using the exercise bike or treadmill, since the bike and treadmill are at home and I'm off house-sitting. I'm lowering my requirements for next week because after I see the doctor on Tuesday I won't be able to walk for a couple of days. At least not without tons of pain.

I had to tighten a belt I wear regularly yesterday. I think that's a good sign. Either that or the belt is expanding. You never know.

My sister insisted on taking me down to McDonald's and getting us their healthy salad meals. To my surprise, it was a really good salad. And I got a nice free pedometer to go with it. When I say she "took" me down to McDonald's, I should say we walked. And had the little things counting our steps on the walk back. I've been recording the pedometer steps of my main walk each day in my exercise journal. Maybe it'll tell me something in the future.

by Tegan at 10:20 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Rapid Reviews - Angel Season One DVDs - Part IV

Angel [1-07]: Bachelor Party: One thought, and one thought only kept running through my mind as I watched this. "I wanna eat your brains!" Ok, maybe that wasn't the only thought, but once the brain-eating started, that's certainly what I was thinking of. Lisa (my little sister) and I were discussing why we like Angel so much, and besides the obvious appeal of a dark and brooding hunk like Boreanaz is the way it keeps trying to turn TV conventions on their heads. There's the whole "hero jumps into a car to go save the girl, only it's the wrong car" thing going on. You don't get exactly what you expect. In fact, you often get a lot more or less than you expect, and that adds to the appeal. Like I thought for sure that Cordelia was going to learn Doyle's secret in this episode, but there she was beating him up at the end, none the wiser. I enjoy the way this show plays with expectations. It doesn't always succeed, but it's fun to see it try. 4 starfish

Angel [1-08]: I Will Remember You: The romantic in me got all weepy at this episode. It was one of those powerful little tales. But I knew the cosmic reset button would have to be pushed in this one, I just didn't know how. I suppose it only made sense that it would be Angel himself. All those years of experience just don't go to waste. But there's one huge thing this episode says... there is a cure for vampirism. And it was fun to see Cordelia get stark raving jealous. 4 starfish

That's the first two discs in the set. Hopefully I can get through some more episodes during my pugless house stay. Watching DVDs and reading books should keep me out of trouble... ha.

by Tegan at 9:49 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Rapid Reviews - 19 May 2004 - Part I

Seaguy #1: Ok, this was majorly odd. At first I thought I wasn't liking it, then I realized I was completely drawn in, and trying to figure out the universe on its own terms. As soon as that hit me, I realized I was actually enjoying it quite a bit. I don't know much about Morrison or his other work. What he did on JLA didn't impress me much, so I figured that I wouldn't be that impressed with this book, either. I just couldn't resist a book called "Seaguy". I'm surprised and happy. I think this one is going to be very interesting. Just one nit, if someone couldn't tell the difference between black and white, wouldn't they be blind, not just "colorblind"? 4 starfish

Outsiders #12: I've been mostly neutral on this book. My main complaint was Dick's willingness to form a team that he wasn't close to so he wouldn't have to deal with their death/injuries/whatever. That point is brought up again in this issue, and I like what I see. I also like the "new" Metamorpho, who gets his own name in this issue. So this was a bit better than average for this book. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Amazing Spider-Man, Batman Adventures, Birds of Prey, JLA: Another Nail, and Powerpuff Girls.

by Tegan at 3:46 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Random Thoughts

Thought Balloons thoughtfully points us to the second half of the Namor story on Movie Poop Shoot.

Ah, Young Iraqi Blogger In Love.

There's another attempt to legislate morality, and to keep parents from having to do the hard work of parenting. The CBLDF reports on what appears to be another despicable piece of legislation from people who want to make the world safe for their narrow minds. Remember: Some parents think that Harry Potter is harmful to their kids. Under this law, they could sue for $10000 anyone who makes the books available to their children (they wouldn't win, but they could sure make life miserable). Via Newsarama, via Thought Balloons and a dozen other blogs.

Andy Kaufman Returns. Is he, or isn't he? Well, if it isn't, I suspect Andy Kaufman would have approved.

Demo #6 came out yesterday, but there was none for me. Nope, my shop had to reorder, and got shorted. So, no Demo for me yet!

I also learned yesterday (and maybe some comics journalist, if any actually exist, could find out the story) that Nodwick and PS238 have been cancelled by Diamond under a code 3. That's a generic cancel code that could mean just about anything. Does anyone know why, and whether the books will be resolicited? It would be criminal to lose one of the best all-ages books in the business.

Disappointed by the movie Troy? Go pick up Age of Bronze from a local comic shop, or order the first trade on-line. Spread the word... this is the best retelling of the Trojan War to come down the pike, and it's out there... go grab it! And read the interview with Eric Shanower at Archaeology Magazine.

I'm still interested in hearing about gasoline prices where you are (even if you aren't in the US). What did you pay last time you filled up?

by Tegan at 10:41 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Rapid Reviews - Wednesday Night TV

Smallville [3-22]: Covenant: Is it just me, or was that a quadruple cliff-hanger? I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen that in a TV show before, and I can't recall any instance of it. Anyway, the opening scene made it very clear that what we were about to see was not happy and Silver Agey, and it stayed the course for the whole episode. I wish I could say it romped along, or it was really good, or ... something. But it just seemed, except for the cliff-hangers, like a normal episode of Smallville. I'm eager to see what happens next, but I'm not dying to know. It was good, but it wasn't great. 3 1/2 starfish

Just a note on this, if you visit The Smallville Ledger you can follow-up on some of the events in the episode. One item of note shows up in the Classifieds: "TO MY STUDENTS AT SHS... Another school year is gone, and now it'll be months before I get to see you again. Be good, and avoid watching TV shows with annoying cliffhangers. Yours, Mr. Rosso." Ha. Ha.

Angel [5-22]: Not Fade Away: Wowsa. I expected a nice explosive send off, and that's what I got. If I have any complaint, it's that things got mildly confusing in the middle of the episode. Oh, yeah, and that I predicted Eve would do something phenomenally stupid, but as far as I could tell she didn't. Oh well, I got my other prediction correct. Not like that was a hard one. (spoilers)(end spoilers) There were a lot of really good lines in this one. I love Illyria's comment to Gunn: "Try not to die. You are not unpleasant to my eyes." The deadpan delivery worked very well. But I think the best line belonged to Angel: "Can you pick out the one word you probably shouldn't have said?" Very nice. Humor right up until the end, action-packed. It was a good ride, and I've only just started watching the first season, so there's a lot of catching up for me to do. And it's nice that the series ended on an almost cliff-hanger, so there's the possibility of bringing some folks back for an encore someday. 4 starfish

Comics to review this week: Seaguy, Outsiders, Amazing Spider-Man, Batman Adventures, Birds of Prey, JLA: Another Nail, and Powerpuff Girls. Yes, Powerpuff Girls. Stop giggling.

by Tegan at 11:01 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Tent City 4 - Bothell Washington, 2004

So I went out to get my comics today (rapid reviews coming later) and, since I was in the neighborhood, stopped by at home to grab some necessities and drop off other stuff.

I also went over to check out the tent city.

As I drove up to my house, I passed one police SUV and a regular police car. When I went out to get my mail, a police car drove slowly past. When I started out on my short walk to the tent city, another police car drove past me.

From our driveway, I could see blue tarps through the trees in the direction of the tent city. So it's visible from our house, barely. As I walked up the street I could hear children playing on the playground at St Brendan. I could see no signs of life at Heritage, the school that locked down when the tent city moved in. The other school is on the other side of Heritage, and is a public school, and wasn't visible to me during my walk. There were two police cars parked in front of Heritage, one in the driveway, and one on the street.

In front of St Brendan, between the playground and tent city, another police car was parked. As I went around the corner and got my first real view of tent city, I could see another police car just vanishing around the far corner.

The police were out in force, but no newsvans. I guess it's yesterday's news.

Tent City itself ("Tent City 4" is the official name) was set up on a vacant lot. Below is a photo from TerraServer that shows where Tent City is located. The picture was taken two years ago, recently most of the trees on that lot were removed.

As you can see, the location of the tent city is surrounded by churches and vacant lots. In addition, there's a regular chain link fence all around the lot they are using, and they put up a temporary chain link fence about five feet inside the first fence (thus making sure no fingers are in danger).

As I got closer, I saw a woman and her daughter struggling to get two cases of bottled water out of their car. I offered to help, and, they gave me a case while the daughter took some dry goods and the mother took the other case. We walked up to the tent city, which is set back from the road, and handed over the donations. The woman filled out a form and I just looked around at the scene.

The ground in the lot is horrible. It had a lot of trees, and when they removed them there wasn't any tilling or leveling. The ground is bumpy and covered in roots. It's extremely easy to trip, and difficult to walk on.

Most of the tents were set up on pallets so they weren't directly on the ground. A handful weren't, I suspected (and it was later confirmed) that they ran out of pallets.

The front-most tent was where people were dropping off donations, and from the look of it there had been a ton of donations already. There was a stack of bottled water as big as a car, to which I added my case. When the woman I helped expressed dismay at bringing something they already had so much of, the security guy reassured her and said, "we are a little leary of our water supply, so we're very happy to get safe drinking water."

When the woman and her daughter left, the security guy noticed that I was sticking around and said "hi". I explained that I lived up the street and I was just checking them out. He asked if I would like a tour. I said yes, and he hollered to another guy a few feet away. I was introduced to Dean (I think that was his name), who took me around the tents and showed me how the encampment was set up. Dean was wearing a plastic child's fireman hat, which I later learned was a donation. I did not comment on it.

As we walked, I glanced up the hill at Heritage, and saw a group of angry looking women standing in the parking lot, glaring at the tents. I wondered if one of them was the woman worried about fingers. Surely they could see that there was no danger of fingers getting gnawed? I felt a little sorry for them, being so angry at something they couldn't control, when instead they could have used it for a great learning experience for their kids.

Some of the tents were set up a little haphazardly, but there was one section that was set up like a street. My guide explained that there weren't many people around because everyone was out at their job or looking for a job. We walked around in a circle, and I noticed a pile of clothes. Dean made a little face and explained that one thing they didn't lack for was clothing. There was a woman going through the clothes carefully taking notes on sizes and sorting them into piles. Whenever anyone walked by she'd stop them and hand them some and say, "try this on". Dean explained that the entire tent behind the pile was full of donated clothing.

As we walked, another guy came by carrying several decks of playing cards. He offered some to Dean and I. We both politely declined. Dean explained that a man had come by earlier and donated an entire case of playing cards.

Our last stop on the tour was the food preparation area, which was a couple of card tables under a canopy. The donation tent was right next door, and the first security guy I met was going through the tent checking for things as people asked for stuff.

They were sorely missing their coffee, apparently, as they'd had a coffee-maker earlier, but it was borrowed and the owner took it home. They would have a generator soon, and would be able to brew up some then, but at the moment they were out. There was plenty of water, though, and lots of fruit juice.

I asked Dean about the rules of the camp. He said everyone needed to be looking for work. They had 45 people in the camp now, with the rest moving in over the next three weeks. The camp maximum is 100. There is a waiting list to get into the camp, and as people find work and manage to save up for a regular place to live, they get out of the camp and new people move in. There is a strict no-drugs policy. I didn't ask about alcohol. I did notice that a lot of the people in the camp smoked.

While I stood jawing with the security guys, a young couple came up and asked if they needed to sign out. The main security guy told them it was ok to leave whenever, just make sure someone knew they were going. They thanked him and left. I didn't see any kids in the camp except for wide-eyed youngsters dropping off donations with their parents. The camp was clean, with several well-placed garbage cans and coffee cans for cigarettes.

I asked what they needed, and they said the biggies were tarps, smaller tents, and battery powered lanterns. Even once they got a generator, they still wouldn't be able to light up the tents, and flashlights are really lousy to read with. More pallets were on the way, so that wasn't a worry. They were also concerned that the water supply they had wasn't safe, so they were glad of any drinking water headed their way.

They thanked me for visiting, and I thanked them for allowing the visit, and I headed home. All three police cars were still in place, and another seemed to follow me until I used my remote to open my garage, then he went past my house.

I've camped before. Never for long. Never out of sheer necessity. If I were forced to camp, I think a place like Tent City 4 would be a dream come true. They were nice people, all trying to get back on their feet. And the camp is supposed to be a safe place to get a start. I can't object to them being neighbors. So I won't.

by Tegan at 5:17 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Random Thoughts

The weather today has got my head spinning. I woke up and looked outside... it was bright, sunny, and I couldn't see a cloud in the sky. I grabbed the newspaper, sat down and ate breakfast, then looked out again. The sky was filled with murderous-looking thunderclouds lowering at me. Forty-five minutes later, the sun was out again, and half the sky was clear.

Lots of controversy, and even a possible murder mystery, in the upcoming sale of Arthur Conan Doyle's Papers (NYT, registration required).

The complete soundtracks to Harry Potter 3 and Shrek 2 are legally available on-line. Streaming, of course (and it doesn't like Mozilla). I find the Shrek soundtrack more interesting because it seems to be updates of old songs, and I'm making a game out of figuring out the song. Some are easy. Some, not so much so.

Margaret Cho wants people to understand that she's not nice (adult language warning for the sensitive). Why link to this? Perhaps I identify.

Here's BBC news' take on the finalist cities for the 2012 Olympics.

Via Metafilter (again, always), it's Choose Your Own NY. A rather updated version of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books... and not recommended for children.

Ex-Mariner Randy Johnson pitches a perfect game, only the 17th in Major League history. It was also Arizona's first no-hitter... Randy Johnson threw Seattle's first no-hitter back in 1990.

A purple powder was thrown at Tony Blair during his weekly half-hour question and answer session. It was a protest staged by Fathers 4 Justice. These are the same guys who keep dressing up as superheroes. The purple powder was colored flour thrown in a condom.

The government of Texas has decided that they are allowed to declare what constitutes a religion... they've denied Unitarianism tax-exempt religious status because the church doesn't fit the government's definition of a religion. Which is, in my opinion, a violation of the first amendment. Of course, Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were both Unitarians, so they apparently thought it was a religion.

If you haven't seen it yet, the full trailer for The Incredibles is up now. Look like fun.

Great story about how a guy helps fill up an apartment complex by offering tenants free wireless internet connections. via Boing Boing.

Last time I filled my tank, gas was at $2.25 a gallon here. What's it at where you are?

Update: when I went out to get comics today, I checked the prices between here and Bothell. Cheapest gas I saw was $2.25 a gallon. Most expensive (of the cheapest gas) was $2.34. The place I bought my gas at the last time I filled the tank was at $2.29. That's all for Unleaded, none of the fancy stuff.

by Tegan at 9:43 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Yeah, I'm An Aquaman Fangirl. Hadn't You Noticed?

Comic Book Resources has posted the top 300 comic books for books shipping in April. As usual, Aquaman's not high up on the list. Until I get some other data, like ICv2 usually provides, the stats are mostly meaningless.

Quantity Rank: 88
Retail Rank: 104
Index: 32.72
Code: FEB040251
Title: AQUAMAN #17
Price: $2.50
Publisher: DC

I have the whole set of retail information sitting on my Aquaman site in a very simple text file. It tells a very sad tale, indeed. Follow the historical fall-off of Aquaman sales. The only time his sales ever climb is during an event or when a new creative team takes on the series (and there's a boost in publicity). What I find most telling is the circulation statement from 1970, with the yearly average: 141,332. ANY comic book that got that in average sales nowadays would be the top seller. In 1970, it was poor enough to get Aquaman cancelled.

Comic Book Resources has also posted the DC Books for August. Yes, I know they were posted at Comics Continuum yesterday. I guess it's worth noting that Toon Zone and DC themselves have also posted solicits. I guess it's a case of "pick your poison".

Aquaman #21 will be starting a new storyarc, so we'll have to wait and see if DC decides to grace the first Pfeifer arc with a collection or if Aquaman will go collectionless yet again. I sort of expected a second Veitch trade, to finish the storyline, but I guess the sales on the first trade weren't impressive.

Regarding the cover, I didn't really like it much at first. Gleason's art takes some getting used to, and I've begun to really enjoy it inside the book. But I didn't think this cover is quite on par with Alan Freakin' Davis. I guess I still don't. But I'm beginning to appreciate it.

One of the things that started me down the road to appreciation is the details in the cover. Here's a sample of much of the upper right. First off is the diver's face. He looks rather... um... terrified. But then, I'd be scared too if Aquaman was grabbing my diving mask and pulling it off despite being injured (twice) and fighting off four of my fellow criminals.

Note also the way the money is floating. Gleason is showing the money as if it's in the current of the fight. The splay of blood from Aquaman's injuries also shows that the fighters aren't sitting still. There is movement in this image, both in human figures and in what's around them.

If I have a complaint, it's with the blowtorch. I would expect to see more bubbling around it as the water in contact with it boils. I haven't actually spent much time with fire underwater, though, so this could be an accurate depiction. Anyone know for sure? (I admit, it makes me want to experiment...)

Lastly, there's a diver to the left, not in this detail, sorry, who looks like he just realized what he's gotten into, and is doing a fine job keeping his wetsuit wet without the ocean.

If there's anything wrong with the cover, it's the depiction of Aquaman himself. The gritted-teeth, angular face look just doesn't work with for me. But that is how Gleason draws Aquaman, just normally not as blatantly. I'll have to get used to it.

My little sister came down with what appears to be an ear infection while up at school on Wednesday. I really hope she didn't somehow catch it from the comic books I loaned her. I didn't think you could catch swimmer's ear just from reading Aquaman. Get better soon Lisa. And let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

by Tegan at 6:19 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Random Thoughts

I'm still muzzy from the migraine, but this will have to do (typos will be corrected as I find them):

Thanks to Pacific Views, I got to see this picture of Mount St. Helens from space:

It's been 24 years now.

In other news, The New York Times reports that New York City is in the running to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, along with London, Madrid, Moscow and Paris. I'm curious as to which one hubby-Eric thinks would be best, as he's the Olympics junkie in the family.

In case you didn't notice, Doonesbury this week has gone back to BD's leg. I also saw a bit of press about last Sunday's Doonesbury being inappropriate, but it would appear that all my sources managed to get the replacement strip in, so I never saw the one that was inappropriate.

The tent city has moved into my neighborhood. Hubby-Eric says it's just where I thought it would be, on a vacant lot just North of the church. It's less than two blocks from our home. He said the homeless weren't causing any problems, but he was almost run down by two newsvans when he came home from work yesterday.

KOMO TV reports that one of the three schools in the area was in lockdown as the homeless moved in. I guess they are worried about their students' fingers, too. KING5 (registration required) has a video report.

I've been trying to walk to the fruit stand down the street every day. On my second day here, I discovered that they carry Nehi Sodas, including Radar's favorite: Grape Nehi! Having never tasted it before, to the best of my knowledge, I had to buy one and give it a shot. It wasn't bad. No overwhelming grape flavor, like modern grape drinks. I guess I'd call it mild. Fits the character of Radar, doesn't it?

From Boing Boing, the X-Prize isn't in the bag yet. Another group has made news by actually reaching space with their rocket, which was unmanned.

Slashdot is reporting that Enterprise has been renewed.

Kevin Drum covers a report about inactive reservists being called up. I can't really follow the jargon, so I'm not entirely sure what this report is about. What, exactly, is an "inactive Army reservist"? Is it somebody who did their jaunt and is out of the service, or something else? (Um, big bro, this doesn't include you, does it? You served already, didn't you?)

From Metafilter, here's a neat page of unsolved Codes and Ciphers. I like the link to the Voynich Manuscript, which is a very cool mystery, and the Kryptos Sculpture at CIA headquarters.

by Tegan at 1:18 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Stupid Migraine

I was going to give you a nice random thoughts post this morning to distract you from the rest of my blog, but the migraine did something my migraines have never done before. It came back. So I currently feel (and this is as close as I can get to describing it, it's actually much, much worse) like something stretched me out as thin as a sheet of paper, played drums on me through an entire performance of Stomp, then let me ooze back into my natural form while kicking me around a soccer pitch. I have this vague notion that my recent bout with fibromyalgia may have made the after-effects worse. I'll be seeing my doctor in a week, I'll ask then.

In the meantime, it still hurts a little to look at a computer screen. I discovered yesterday afternoon that the pugless house has no dark rooms. None at all. Every room is full of light. I could not find a dark place to hide away from the pain, I had to cover my eyes, which doesn't always work. Of course, the sun was out, too, making everything brighter.

Now that the attack seems to be over, knock on wood, I intend to get the sleep I missed last night. When I wake up again I'll put together my random thoughts post. Until then, go read a blog from someone coherent.

by Tegan at 7:10 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Monday, May 17, 2004

Another Aquaman Review

This time, it's my little sister, Lisa. I think I mentioned that a few weeks ago I gave her Aquaman #15, a copy that the back cover was destroyed on. I didn't really expect her to read it, she's never had any interest in Aquaman and has always preferred non-superhero stories. So I was surprised when she asked me if any more issues came out, and if she could read them.

Heck yeah! I'm not giving up a chance to show off my favorite character to someone who seems interested. So when she visited last night I handed her the last three issues, and she gave me her thoughts this morning.

Some background. I wax enthusiastic about Aquaman on-line, but not in "real life". Lisa admits that all she really knew about Aquaman was that he's from Atlantis and he can talk to fish. She didn't even know his name is Arthur until "that green guy" (J'onn) started calling him by it, and even then, she was momentarily confused. Basically, she's coming in cold. (I'll also point out that she was born a bit late for Super Friends).

First off, she started by complaining that it ended in a cliffhanger. I pointed out that pretty much all on-going books have cliff-hangers nowadays, and she said, "I know, but I want to read the next issue NOW." To her, that was the biggest fault in the books.

She's ok with the art, although she admits that she is more of a reader than a viewer and to her the artwork supplements the words. Thus she read very closely, but missed some of the aspects of the artwork.

I asked her if Aquaman's powers seemed odd, or if she thought they were just serving the story. She said that every bit of his power was explained in the storyline, and even directed me to a speech Aquaman makes to J'onn about being connected to all sea life (#16, page 16). I apparently missed the speech because it's all stuff I know, info-dump, and so I'm guilty of skimming over it. But Lisa read it, and she said his powers were being used consistently throughout the storyline. So far.

There were a number of plotlines she was curious about, but she pointed out that the book is essentially a mystery: who drowned San Diego, and why. She indicated that there was nothing unusual in introducing plot threads in the first four issues without giving immediate answers to them. She was mildly confused by the disconnect between the mysterious villains in the beginning of issue #18 and who Aquaman is going after at the end of issue #18, but she pointed out that in any kind of story you follow the clues available which eventually lead to the truth. Her rationalization as a reader was that Aquaman will eventually be led to the mystery villains.

Ok, that's all well and good. I asked her to try a little mental exercise for me. If she hadn't read the first three issues, and only read #18, would it read as well. She looked at me like I was nuts and said it's the fourth part of an on-going story, how could it read well all alone? And so we are left with the usual problem with on-going comics. Accessibility to new readers is limited to good jumping on points. This is a fault with any book that uses long storyarcs.

I don't know what rating she would give the book, I didn't ask. You can ask her yourself when she guest-blogs for me in July. However, she seemed to like the story overall.

And, if you want to read yet another review of Aquaman, Near Mint Heroes points us to a set of reviews by Four Color Meat and Fish that includes a bit on Aquaman #18. And here's one at comiXtreme, and another at MediasharX (what's with the capital "X" thing?). I tried to find a negative review, but this is all Google could turn up. I'll have to try again in a couple of weeks.

by Tegan at 11:49 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Morning Thoughts

I hate pigeons. I could sleep, if not for the pigeons. They scratch at the skylight, they sit outside the window and warble at each other, they peck and flap and are generally annoying. I wonder if pigeon pie is any good?

The Infinite Cat Project has grown dramatically.

Color Photos from The Depression... a slideshow by the New York Times. This is a pretty impressive display. Via Sampo, who has some thoughts on how we perceive the past.

by Tegan at 5:55 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Letter to the Editor

I don't do this much anymore, mostly because I don't feel like newspapers represent my opinion anyway anymore, but this article in the Seattle Times just got me a bit hot under the collar, and I had to write. I'd appreciate feedback on how effectively you think I got my two main points across, and if you detect any bias in my letter that I may not be aware of. I just sent this off:

To The Editor,

Susie Peterson says (in your Sunday article) that her daughter "can put her little 6-year-old finger through the chain-link fence" that separates her daughter's school from the location of the tent city. What does Peterson think the tent city is? A group of rabid dogs inclined to bite little 6-year-old fingers? And she's willing to trust her child with the school every day, but unwilling to believe that the school can protect her child from whatever imagined horrors Peterson sees in the tent city?

I live less than a block from the church, and less than two blocks from the proposed placement of tent city. I'm not inclined to panic. St. Brendan has always been a good neighbor, and I trust them to keep faith with the people in our neighborhood. If there's a problem, I expect they will deal with it promptly.

No, I'm much more concerned and disturbed at how this decision was made so quickly and without community input. There was no time given for anyone to get used to the idea, much less for irrational fears, like Peterson's fear for her daughter's finger, to be addressed. Having something like this forced on a group of people will always bring out the worst in those people. While I don't believe that this tent city poses a threat, it would have been nice, not to mention polite, for the church and the representatives to give us some time to discuss and learn.

The resentment they have caused by ignoring the community is not going to help them. I trust they will consider their next move a little more carefully. In the meantime, I'd like to say to them: Welcome to the neighborhood. Please don't disappoint those of us who aren't opposed to your visit.

Laura Gjovaag

by Tegan at 10:40 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Rapid Reviews - 12 May 2004 - Part IV

H-E-R-O #16: Is Robby insane, or is he on to something? This is one gruesome book at the moment. What happens when a truly sick person gets his hands on the H-E-R-O device? We're finding out. Between his work on Aquaman and this book, I'm beginning to think I've found a new favorite comic book writer. 4 starfish

Fallen Angel #11: The final issue of this story arc starts out oddly, and builds into something even more odd. As usual, I'm not sure why I'm liking this book, but I do. I'm deeply intrigued by it, but I'm not entirely sure what I'm seeing in it. Then again, a full-scale (spoiler)(end spoiler) like that made the story worth it. 3 1/2 starfish

Evening Shift: The opening made me laugh. I had a friend who programs computers who couldn't spell "programmer" if his life depended on it, so he called himself a "coder". Anyway, this is a pretty strong story. It's almost a 'slice of life' tale, but a little more serious than that. After I finished I sat back and said "wow", which I guess means I was impressed. It also holds up well to a second reading. The artwork doesn't flow well, but it fits the story. This is not a superhero book, and the art is not slick and overdone, but it's not sketchy, either. There are samples at the website. This one is worth a look. 3 1/2 starfish

Coming this Wednesday (according to the lastest shipping list): Seaguy, Outsiders, Amazing Spider-Man Demo, Batman Adventures, and Another Nail.

by Tegan at 8:02 AM Seattle time - Permalink