Monday, August 16, 2004

All right, I'm back. The hiatus is over, for now. I'm not really prepared to go into what led me to step away for a week or so, but rest assured I had my reasons, none of which probably matter all that much to anybody.

Where to begin, where to begin. 'Scuse me if I ramble; got a lot to catch up on.

Since I'm still marginally a comics blogger, I'll start by assuring everyone that I'm still picking up those floppies. I may try to go back and write quickie reviews of what I got in the last couple of weeks, I might not. I realize that there's a dearth of online reviewers right now, but that's the way it goes. In case you're wondering, I'm sure you'll be quite relieved to know that I got 2 of the 3 MIA comics: Sleeper V2 2 and Walking Dead 9. Daisy Kutter 1 is still among the missing, but they're assuring me that a copy is on the way. We'll see. They had a 25% off sidewalk sale over the weekend, and while I didn't have much money I did take advantage of the sale to pick up the Flight anthology, plus the third TPB of Morrison's New X-Men. Haven't made it through either just yet. For what it's worth, I thought Love & Rockets 11 was the best comic I read two weeks ago, and last week I'd have to say it would have been a difficult choice between the latest Gotham Central and Challengers of the Unknown. And I continue to read Identity Crisis, but I can't say I'm very proud of myself. It's a very well crafted exercise in unpleasantness, and while it's no big deal to me to see the hallowed DC pantheon subjected to it, I can understand why some have their knickers in a twist over it.

I should do a "Lieber's
post, I really should...but damned if I can think of any books I'd recommend that haven't a. been listed already by several of my peers and b. are even available in collected trade format. Another missed opportunity, I suppose. That doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed reading the lists.

Above is another illustration by Flight's Vera Brosgol, whose work I'm always happy to post. It's part of a bunch of sketches she has put up at the Pants Press Sketchblog. I like this little fella. Or is he a she? Whatever. Speaking of Vera, I received my copy of Girly Book, the sketchbook slash mini comic she sold at the SDCC. She even did a drawing on the inside cover and evurrything. Made my day, it did.

Here's the website of Rion Vernon, who does some really nice pinup illustrations in that Timm/Glines/Tex Avery/Jessica Rabbit/gals with impossibly big feet and impossibly tiny waists style. Fortunately, he's very good at it.

Saw a few movies over the last couple of weeks, most notably a Maisie film I haven't seen before, Maisie Goes To Reno, in which Ann Sothern, as the Showgirl with a Heart of Gold, helps out a soldier who's wife is divorcing him. Don't know why I like those Maisie films so much, but I do. Also caught a showing of Seabiscuit, the film about the Little Horse That Could, which starred Tobey McGuire and was almost oppressive in its blatant heartstring pulling. Everything about that movie was engineered to provoke an emotional response from the viewer, so much so that it was almost like a clinical study or something. From its ponderous Randy Newman Natural-Lite score to its Horatio Alger-type plot, it was almost annoying how desperately this movie wanted to mean something. And actually, I liked it in spite of itself. McGuire actually displayed a little emotional range, Jeff Bridges is always good, and the underrated Chris Cooper also gives a standout perf. There's a ton of beautiful Autumn scenery in it as well, which I'll bet was really nice on the large screen. I also caught a screening of Robert Altman's fashion-world satire Prêt-à-Porter, or "Ready To Wear" for the French-impaired. I'd known about this flick for a long time- I mean, geez, it's 10 years old- but had never had a good opportunity to see it. I'm sorry I waited so's really very clever and funny, with a slew ton of well-known (and some not-so-well-known) actors and actresses including personal favorites Teri Garr and Tracey Ullman. Lyle Lovett's there, and you get to see Marcello Mastroianni howl like a wolf as Sophia Loren does a strip tease (still looking pretty darn good, too, at 60). Woo hoo! Just finished watching a couple of Elvis movies on TCM- Double Trouble, a Elvis vs. hired killers yarn which was mostly lame but if you squinted your eyes almost looked like Hitchcock in places, and the seminal Jailhouse Rock, in which not only does the King perform two of his best tunes (the title cut and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care", also given a fine reading by Bryan Ferry on his These Foolish Things elpee), but he tells his love interest "That's the way the mop flops". Whee! The big staged set piece in which Elvis does "Jailhouse Rock" is still awe-inspiring.

OK, what else...I haven't picked up any new music lately, so I can't write about that. Sports is kinda in that awkward in-between phase right now, plus I don't give two shits about the Olympics (just not my bag, baby). Pro football's gearing up, but it's still early in the preseason so it's hard to feel anything but impatience for the start of the games that mean something. My White Sox are mathematically alive, I suppose, but everybody including them knows that they're out of it. My fantasy team is effectively done, too, done in by bad luck and injuries. Oh well.

The job hunt front has seen some flurries of activity lately; I had an interview a little over a week ago for a job which isn't unattractive to me...but the air conditioning's out in their building and the guy didn't want to bring me back in until it's fixed. And so I wait. I drove by there today and they still had the door open with a fan in it, so I can safely assume it's still not fixed and that's why I haven't heard from him since last Wednesday. Or maybe that was just for my benefit, and they don't really want me to come back. Who the heck knows. I also may get the opportunity to do some freelance graphics work for an ex-boss, but this isn't set in stone either. Ah, the uncertainty of my existence.

In case you're wondering, that's my yard I'm standing in in this picture. I also am sporting this rather abrupt haircut, which makes me look like Bobby Hall or Beavis and Butt-head's gym teacher.

Since I'm getting all personal and shit, I've got a little trip in my future coming up- my daughter is going to be participating in and working on staff for an acting workshop/showcase/camp, and we're going to be driving her to it this weekend. So if you're a burglar and have been casing my house, now's your chance. The camp slash whatever happens to be in New York state, near New Rochelle, which by most maps would seem to be in spitting distance of the Big Apple itself. Kids, this is a hell of a drive, an expensive one to boot, and I'm not really looking forward to doing this...but it's my baby girl, and we said long ago that we'd do whatever we could to help her pursue her dream, so off we go. Particularly interesting to me is that our hotel is in Westchester County, which is, as we all know, the location of Xavier's School for Gifted Students or whatever the heck it's being called these days. I really wish we had the money to do this up right and visit the City and all that, but sadly we don't. And then, a little over a week later, we have to go up and get her. Sigh. Still, if she gets happiness and satisfaction, then it's worth it.

And I can't believe nobody called me out on my hiatus announcement post, when I made the erroneous statement that Nilsson never worked with producer Richard Perry again...Perry was behind the board for post-Son of Schmilsson Ringo Starr albums Ringo and Goodnight Vienna, both of which featured our man Harry on backing vocals. Speaking of Mr. Nilsson, has anyone seen the new Nike commercial , featuring one of the tennis star Williams sisters, which uses the Nilsson track "He Needs Me" as sung by Shelley Duvall on the Popeye soundtrack? I thought my mind was playing tricks on me when I heard that. I love that song, one of the highlights of that very bad movie, and certainly one of the last songs I'd ever expect to hear in any commercial, let alone a sports gear spot.

OK, all right, I'm done. I suppose this will do for a "sticking my toe back in the pool" post. Hopefully, there will be more to come. I don't plan on taking another break anytime soon, but you never know...

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