Friday, April 30, 2004

Well, that was interesting.

Today I went to a training school & listened to their pitch as to why I should get training from them. It was almost cult-like. The questions in the little interview they give are designed to absolutely demolish any confidence you might have in yourself or your abilities. I realized what the interviewer was doing almost immediately, but it was still very disturbing & rather disheartening. After they try to destroy your faith in yourself, they tell you about how much better things will be if only you sign up for their classes.

She did raise some good points, and I do need to do some thinking about where I'm going. But if I do decide on getting training, it definitely won't be with them & their pressure tactics.

In better news, I received my first Amazon gift certificate from the associates program today. (That's why I've got all those links for the books & DVDs, each purchase made from following one of those links [even if it's not the linked item] gets me a credit at Amazon. When enough credits accumulate, they send me a gift certificate.) $9.22! Yee-Hah! I'm living large now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Just a quick note to say that the interview went pretty well, but not spectacularly. I should find out by the end of next week at the absolute latest. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Yeah, I know I haven't updated in a while. But the books will have to wait just a little longer because I have news.

I have a job interview tomorrow! I got a call late Friday afternoon, and it was somebody from the Watzek Library at Lewis & Clark responding to the application I had submitted. I know I've still got to do well at the interview, but just getting the call was a tremendous boost for me. I'd been feeling rather unmarketable, and I hope I do well tomorrow. (I've had an interview at Lewis & Clark before, and I tanked that very badly, but I'm not going to think about that now.) Wish me luck.

Anyway, on to the books I've read since I last updated.

  • Maison Ikkoku, vol. 4 by Rumiko Takahashi. More romantic comedy manga.
  • HeroQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha by Robin Laws & Greg Stafford. I finally finished the rule book for a game I've been playing for months (albeit not that often). Glorantha is the best world I've seen for any role playing game.
  • Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and Joseph Campbell: In Search of the Modern Myth by Stephen Rauch. I think this was Rauch's dissertation or something. It's pretty interesting, although there are sections where he uses a lot of words to say very little, and he has a tendency to repeat himself.
  • Mr. Monster: His Book of Forbidden Knowledge, vol. 0 by Michael T. Gilbert.
  • Blood of the Valiant by Chris Pramas with Keith Baker. A supplement for the Feng Shui role playing game, this book gives details of the Guiding Hand faction. This is a re-release of an out of print book, but it includes a new chapter.
  • To Reign in Hell by Steven Brust. I've been hearing good things about Brust for quite a while now, but I've never read anything he's written (except for his half of Freedom & Necessity by him & Emma Bull). This is an unusual (and very good) take on the rebellion in Heaven. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • Hellboy: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola with John Byrne. I hadn't read this since I first bought the collection, years ago, so I thought I'd reread it to see how the movie compares. It's a reasonable adaptation. The dialogue in the book doesn't feel quite right to me, but I've become somewhat prejudiced against John Byrne in recent years.
  • The Batman Beyond Files by Scott Sonneborn & Liz Lewis. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Naruto, vol. 3 by Masashi Kishimoto.
  • Avengers Forever by Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, & Carlos Pacheco. An adventure story that involves more Avengers continuity than anybody could be reasonably expected to know. Fortunately, you don't need to know it to understand the story.
  • Mike Mignola's B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth & Other Stories by various. These are Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense stories that don't feature Hellboy. Mignola wrote a couple of them & provided some of the art.
  • Dragon Ball Z, vol. 15 by Akira Toriyama.
  • Red/Tokyo Storm Warning by Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner, & James Raiz. A flip-book of a couple short series Ellis wrote. One is about giant robots & monsters in Tokyo, the other about a retired CIA agent.
  • 24 Hour Comics by various. Sometime in the early 90's, Scott McCloud challenged Steve Bissette to produce a 24 page comic book in the space of 24 hours. The meme spread, and this book is a collection of nine of the best 24-hour comics produced since that challenge.

Monday, April 19, 2004

It's been a while since I listed movies I've watched.

  • MST3K: The Unearthly. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • Black Mask. Kick-ass action movie starring Jet Li.
  • The Vagina Monologes. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Casino Royale. A nearly incomprehensible parody of James Bond movies.
  • The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. An attempt to recreate the feel of a 50's science fiction movie. Amusing, but it doesn't quite work. It probably would be better if seen with a few friends & a few beers.
  • Dixie Chicks: Top of the World Tour.
  • The Producers. Simply hilarious. It's been a while since I'd seen this movie, and I was surprised at just how many bits of the original dialogue became lyrics in the musical version.
  • Hellboy. Teena & I finally got the chance to see this. (Damn car troubles.) Loads of fun. Captured the feel of the comic while adding stuff (like character development). Yay! for good comic book movies.
  • The Tick: The Entire Series. Yet another Fox show that was yanked because the executives didn't know what to make of it (see also Firefly and Wonderfalls). Wonderfully quirky superheroes. Patrick Warburton is perfectly cast as The Tick.

Friday, April 16, 2004

No more delays. Here's what I've read since last Wednesday.
  • Ultra Klutz, Book Two by Jeff Nicholson. This book is nearly impossible to describe. It started out as a parody of Ultra Man, but changed into something else. Something I like but don't know how to categorize.
  • Tomorrow Stories, Book Two by Alan Moore et al. Humorous stories by Alan Moore, including "Greyshirt", illustrated by Rick Veitch, a wonderful pastiche of Will Eisner's Spirit.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Read because I was told you couldn't understand Mrs. Howell's chapter of Gilligan's Wake without having read Gatsby. (Checked out of the library.)
  • The Absolute Authority, vol. 2 by Mark Millar, Frank Quitely, et al. I bought the Authority collections (and it's predecessor, StormWatch) when they were written by Warren Ellis. But Millar's take doesn't grab me enough to buy it. (Library.)
  • Luba in America by Gilbert Hernandez. I'm not sure why, but I loved Beto's stories more when they were just set in Palomar. Still amazing stuff, though.
  • Top Shelf Asks the Big Questions by various. This anthology includes a story Alan Moore wrote for Tomorrow Stories about L. Ron Hubbard but got pulled on the advice of lawyers even though everything in it is documented.
  • The Avengers: The Kang Dynasty by Kurt Busiek et al. Busiek's final storyline on The Avengers.
  • What's Michael? vol. 9: The Ideal Cat by Makoto Kobayashi. Japanese cat comics.
  • Friends of Lulu presents Storytime by various. Friends of Lulu is an organization dedicated to bringing more women into comics, both as creators & readers.
  • Too Much Coffee Man's Amusing Musings by Shannon Wheeler.
  • What a Long Strange Strip It's Been by Keith Knight.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Haven't read too many books lately, so that update can wait another day or so.

But I did make a new mix CD over the weekend, so here's the track listing for Foolishness

1. "Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel" from Go Simpsonic with the Simpsons
2. The Lemonheads - "My Hero, Zero" from Schoolhouse Rock Rocks!
3. "Weird Al" Yankovic - "Dare to be stupid from Dare to Be Stupid
4. The Ramones - "Pinhead" from Ramones Mania
5. They Might Be Giants - "I Should Be Allowed to Think from John Henry
6. "Mayor" from The City of Soundsville: Music from The Powerpuff Girls
7. Tom Waits - "I Don't Wanna Grow Up from Bone Machine
8. Elvis Costello - "How to Be Dumb from Mighty Like a Rose
9. k.d. lang & the reclines - "Luck in My Eyes" from Absolute Torch & Twang
10. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "The Rascal King" from Let's Face It
11. Oingo Boingo - "Grey Matter" from farewell
12. The Commitments - "Chain of Fools" from The Commitments soundtrack
13. Buddy Holly - "Fool's Paradise" from Greatest Hits
14. Richard Thompson - "The Fool" from 1000 Years of Popular Music
15. Elvis Costello - "I'll Wear It Proudly" fromKing of America
16. The Beatles - "The Fool on the Hill" from Magical Mystery Tour
17. Thomas Dolby - "My Brain Is Like a Sieve" from Aliens Ate My Buick
18. Beau Soleil - "L'Amour ou la Folie" from L'Amour ou la Folie
19. Indigo Girls - "Closer to Fine" from Indigo Girls
20. Aimee Mann - "Wise Up" from the Magnolia soundtrack
21. Christine Collister - "How Will I Ever Be Simple Again" from The World Is a Wonderful Place: The Songs of Richard Thompson
22. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - "Clowntime Is Over" from Get Happy!!

This is a re-working of a tape mix I did several years ago, but it hasn't been re-worked all that much: 13 of the songs from the tape made it onto the CD. I went for a rather broad interpretation of "foolishness", including such aspects as trickster figures & simple luck. And "My Hero, Zero" is meant to recall the tarot card The Fool.

I went searching on the web for a picture of The Fool to use in the insert. It then occurred to me that some of my other mixes could match other tarot cards (especially if you use broad and/or superficial readings of the cards): Abracadabra for The Magician, Memento Mori for Death, Ol' Scratch Mix for The Devil. And I've got ideas for more mixes that will also fit: I think The Chariot would work for the mix I'll do about cars & driving, etc. So now I have a long-term, low-priority project of doing mix CDs for all twenty-two major arcana.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

And I'd been doing so well about updating more than once a week. Well I have something of an excuse since I was sick on Monday. And it was a week, when I read quite a few things.
  • Liber Castellorum: The Book of Tethers by various. This sourcebook for the In Nomine role playing game has given me a few ideas for the game I'm considering running at some point.
  • Alias, vol. 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. This is the final collection of the Alias comic book (no connection to the tv series). Great stuff about a private investigator who used to be a super-hero.
  • Star Wars: Jedi vs. Sith by Darko Macan & Ramon F. Bachs. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Where Hats Go by Kurt Wolfgang. A cute little graphic novel told without dialogue. (Library.)
  • Ranma 1/2, vol. 25 by Rumiko Takahashi. More martial arts/romance/comedy. (Library.)
  • Red, White, Black & Blue: A (Th)ink Anthology by Keith Knight. A collection of one-panel cartoons by the guy who creates "The K Chronicles" (as seen in
  • Ultimate X-Men, vol. 1 by Mark Millar, Adam Kubert, & Andy Kubert. The X-Men recreated for a new audience (i.e. people who hadn't read the comic before they saw the movie), this has no relation to "regular" X-Men continuity. (And I should mention that I actually read the hardback that collects the first 12 issues, rather than this paperback that collects the first 6, but the hardback isn't available from Amazon.) (Library.)
  • Atomic City Tales, vol. 1: Go Power! by Jay Stephens. Superhero comics done with an almost underground comics sensibility.
  • Thor Legends, vol. 2 by Walter Simonson. Reprinting 10 issues of Simonson's run on Thor from the 80's. Great stuff, probably the best that Thor has ever been (helped a great deal by Simonson having read up on Norse myths).
  • Mutant, Texas: Tales of Sheriff Ida Red by Paul Dini & J. Bone. (Library.)
  • Daredevil Visionaries, vol. 1 by Roger McKenzie & Frank Miller. This reprints Miller's first Daredevil issues, before he started writing the series.
  • Thor Legends, vol. 3 by Walter Simonson & Sal Buscema. Another 10 issues.
  • Batman Black & White, vol. 2 by various. (Library.)
  • Captain Marvel: Crazy Like a Fox by Peter David, Michael Ryan, & Paul Azaceta.
  • Deadenders: Stealing the Sun by Ed Brubaker & Warren Pleece.
  • On the Road to Perdition: Oasis by Max Allan Collins & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. In Road to Perdition, Collins left space for more stories to be told later. This is one of them. (Library.)
  • On the Road to Perdition: Sanctuary by Max Allan Collins & Steve Lieber. And this is another. (Library.)
  • Superman: Doomsday Wars by Dan Jurgens. I think Jurgens became entirely to enamored of the character Doomsday and used it too many times (i.e. at all) after the death of Superman, but maybe that's to be expected when a slow news day gives you the biggest success of your career. (Library.)
  • Leonard & Larry: Excerpts from the Ring Cycle in Royal Albert Hall by Tim Barela.
  • Superman: The Man of Steel, vol. 2 by John Byrne, Marv Wolfman, & Jerry Ordway. This reprints the first three issues each of Superman, The Adventures of Superman, and Action Comics after Byrne revamped Superman in the mini-series Man of Steel (reprinted in volume 1).
  • Hellboy Junior by Bill Wray et al. No actual relation to Mignola's comic, this is more a parody of Harvey comics. Extremely crude at times, but rather funny.
  • Rising Stars: Visitations by J. Michael Straczynski et al.