Friday, August 25, 2006

Grant Morrison is brilliant. And more importantly, answers the question of whether Batman gets laid a lot.

[The answer, btw, is "yes."]

You know, my current favorite comic book character [yeah, I'm a geek. Suck it up and carry on...] has got to be The Question, over in DC's 52. Cause really, you cannot beat a Zen conspiracy theorist. It's like his current incarnation was designed expressly with me in mind. Plus his late 80's series by O'Neil and Cowan was one of the first things that really introduced me to a lot of the weirdness I now indulge in.


Like lots of kids, the character that first gets you into comics, the one you always end up connecting with and having this undying feeling of nostalgic loyalty to, is one of the big ones. Mine, no surprise at all to anyone who knows me, is Batman.

And while Frank Miller's Dark Knight and Year One were phenomenal, ground breaking and inspiring, the aftermath of "grim and gritty" did result in a character that was almost always defined by his... well, for lack of a better term, and introduced by brighter minds than I... his "dickishness".

Morrison spells it out, breaks it down, and blazes an incredibly cool sounding path for his current run on the comic. And he displays what is simply, to me, the most preternaturally intelligent understanding of who the character is and why he works. And why Bats became a dick. And how to fix that.

The complete interview is well worth reading if you've got any geek cred at all.

"NRAMA: You said some interesting things at San Deigo this year, and I was hoping you could touch upon them again here - the gritty, grim Batman worked for a time, but now there needs to be a change. What's at the root of the change? Is it the shift in the DCU, a change in the larger zeitgeist of the culture?

GM: Personally, I wanted to see a psychologically 'healthier' Batman - the last couple of decades have seen the character in the comics deconstructed almost to the point of no return...

NRAMA: But still, looking at the larger cultural subtext you're writing this in, what makes a grim Batman not appropriate for the world we live in now?..

GM: First off, the idea that superhero comics should reflect the news headlines is not one I tend to subscribe to. I've always preferred using my comics to talk about the world around me in the language of symbolism and metaphor and I'm more interested in telling stories about how people behave in bizarre situations than I am in commenting on current events.

Having said that, Batman will always reflect his times: the idea here is not to soften or emotionally reset Batman as an exercise in nostalgia but to make him more real and relatable, while at the same time offering some rationale for his complex multi-faceted personality I want to see a Batman that combines the cynic, the scholar, the daredevil, the businessman, the superhero, the wit, the lateral thinker , the aristocrat. He terrifies the guilty but he has great compassion for the weak and the downtrodden and will lay his life on the line for anybody who's in trouble. He's a master of yoga and meditation who has as much control over his body and his feelings as any human. He has a wider range of experiences than most people will dream of in ten lifetimes....

...Rather than a basically unhinged individual who was driven mad , bad, and pointy-eared by the death of his parents, I saw Batman more and more as someone who had saved his own sanity by doing the one crazy thing that actually allowed him to turn his loss into something positive and proactive.

...I still intend to do 'Miller'-style first person narrative captions which give some insight into Batman's thought processes but it seems more 'realistic' to imagine Batman as a hardcore fightin' man who wouldn't even notice his injuries until long after the fight was over, so no more of that 'MY BACK SPLINTERS INTO A THOUSAND SHARDS OF AGONIZED BONE. HE'S GOOD. HE'S YOUNG. HE'S TOUGHER AND YOUNGER THAN ME. AND TOUGHER. DID I MENTION TOUGHER ? MUSN'T BLACK OUT...' In Batman #657 we see some of the pulp noir narration and non sequitur imagery that goes through Batman's mind during a fight and keeps him from being distracted by his aches and pains...

NRAMA: ...Matt Wagner said that he feels Batman/Bruce Wayne is one of the DCU's better-sexed heroes…dunno - ...does Bruce Wayne score with any regularity?

GM: I like to think he does. In fact it's my job to imagine it happening, may the lord have mercy on my soul. I figure Bruce does whatever it takes to maintain his health and stay stress free and fit. He would see sex as just another form of exercise with proven health and efficiency benefits. Someone in Bruce Wayne's position would be surrounded by beautiful women all the time and I can't imagine he'd resolutely say no to all of them, and remain uptight and frustrated. I think he'd find partners in his own social circle - party girls, heiresses, models etc - who would be up for no-commitment, no-strings liaisons and who could be guaranteed not to run straight to the tabloids."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Yeah, the website's down now... but you could still try again later.

I will.

Because I am not a nice person.

And the willfully ignorant with the mentality of 17th century witch-burners should be taken advantage of.

Plus... you know... funny.

Or as Warren Ellis puts it "HOWTO Screw Some Evangelist Maggots Right In The Wallet"

[More on the illustrious James Dobson here - if you're blissfully unawares, you lucky bastards. ]

porphyre: this is important:
"What with the Washington State Supreme Court handing down its anti-gay-marriage decision several weeks ago and the ever-hearing more about attacks on reproductive rights down south, I'm feeling that the States is tripping a bit too merrily down the Handmaid's path.

This week, I found a way to strike back.

Focus on the Family, the horrid anti-gay evangelical church based in Colorado Springs that wields too much power for anyone's good, has a store on their website that will give you books, CDs, and DVDs absolutely free of charge. Usually people pay for their items by donation, raising millions of dollars to help Focus on the Family produce more hate-propaganda featuring "experts" on homosexuality who claim it's a curable "sickness". (They're practically defined by their book A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. Course, there's no mention of having less kids, which is the only proven method. No, no, you shouldn't use birth control, that would be wrong. They need more worshippers, how dare you prevent god's will.)

It's a little bit time-consuming, but not enough to deter me. (Nor should it you). The chance to take money out of their pockets is too useful, not to mention satisfying.

Here's how to do it in 10 steps:

1. Go to and look for the "Resources" link in the blue bar on the left-hand side, right above the "Search" box, and click it.

2. Under the "Resource Category" menu on the left-hand side, you'll notice categories such as "Homosexuality" under "Resource Category." Me, I went straight to the CD's and DVD's under "Resource Format."

3. Go through, find something you like, such as the recently released movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Chronicles of Narnia Radio Theatre Complete Set, suggested donation US $79.00, or the three disc Les Misérables soundtrack. It's not a very wide range of products, but there's bound to be something either you like or you could use as a sweet gift for someone else. Click the "Add to Cart" button.

They won't send more than $100 worth of materials for free in any given shopping trip, so be sure to go through a few times, until you're sure you've dinged them.

4. Select "Add New Shipping Address," decide to send it yourself or someone else, and once you're done picking up to $100, click "Proceed to Checkout." Some people have been sending items to themselves to sell later on eBay, some have been ordering the more controversial items as conversation pieces or educational props, (as anti-anti-propaganda), but I plan on using mine as gifts, mostly. I've found no reports on receiving Focus on the Family junk mail after inputting an address, so I figure it's fairly safe.

5. The next screen asks you to sign-up for an account and give your information. Fill it out with fictitious information, enter whatever name and address you like. You might want to make up a phone number too and an e-mail account too. After filling out all the required fields, click "Proceed to Checkout" one more time.

6. This will take you to the "Here is Your Cart" page. You may have to re-enter your data again after this part to actually confirm your account. Eventually, you'll get to the "How Much Would You Like to Donate?" page.

7. Select "Enter other total amount" and enter 0.00 as the amount you would like to pay. (Don't put in a dollar sign or it will ask you for credit-card information.) Don't be fooled by the field in the lower-right-hand corner that shows you the suggested donation amounts, simply Proceed to Checkout.

8. The next screen is a guilt screen, to make you feel bad about how little you donated. ignore it. Ignore it utterly. Think of how many people they're persecuted and had in their "gay kids can be cured" camps. Just proceed to checkout again.

9. Click "Checkout Now."

10. Finally, pass this information on to all your friends. They've got money to back them, we have word of mouth, let's see if we can win."

Caution! Common Sense Approaching.

The Dilbert Blog: Burning Flags:
"I was delighted to learn that American politicians are trying to make it illegal to burn the American flag. That can only mean that my dedicated public servants have finally solved the problems of crime, drugs, war, poverty, terrorism, healthcare, immigration, and the mystery of why our children are such idiots compared to Norwegians. Evidently those issues are now under control. I was starting to worry that Congress was wasting my tax dollars doing stupid shit.

...I consider myself a highly patriotic guy and I understand how people can get worked up over the flag being burned. I love my flag. But symbols are personal things, and everyone is free to interpret them however they see fit. For me, a flag that I’m NOT allowed to burn is a symbol that the government is too intrusive in my life. And it’s an insult to anyone who died to defend freedom. But that’s just me. You might prefer your symbols of freedom to have as many restrictions as possible.

...The thing to remember about freedom is that it’s not given, it’s taken."

Scott Adams w/the funny.

The Dilbert Blog: Steroid Commercial:
"I just heard that sprinter Justin Gatlin - the world record holder for 100 meters - tested positive for testosterone and steroids. I was shocked!

...How happy are the guys who sell illegal steroids? You can’t buy that kind of advertisement. And it sure makes it harder for the just-say-no people. “Kids, don’t do steroids. If you do, you might become the fastest man in the world and have so much poontang and money that. . . I forget my point.”

This should go on a motivational poster.

Overheard in the Office | And Welcome to the Federal Civil Service:
"Recent business school grad: You know, working for this company is not for the weak of heart. There is not a lot of recognition handed out to people.
Senior executive: Recognition? You want recognition? You are a dumbass. How's that?"

It really wasn't a tumor.

Biopsy completed, and benign-ness reigns all around. No cancer, tumorous somesuches present. Not that I really thought there would be, but there's always a chance, I suppose. And there are those who worry about such things. [Hi Mama Snider!] The big stitches are out, thank god - they started itching. But the internal ones that'll eventually disintegrate, are still there, and could pop, so at least another week before heading back to the dojo, and at least one more trip to the hospital.


Living in the Green.

Nature round and about the apt these days is almost absurdly and surreally green.

They are, as it should be in Japan, rice fields, btw.

ALT life

Kathy, who, while I've been vacationing abroad and generally being lazy, here works with the recycling dept rep, to complete an absurd amount of Japanese to English translating over summer break. God bless her Type A OCD'ness.

New ALT Tim, taking over for Malik now that he's moved on to other climes and places...

"Bi-poly switch". Yep, I had to look that one up too.

The full article is fascinating.

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire:
"Wonder Woman's creator was William Moulton Marston, a Harvard-educated psychologist, lawyer and provocateur who invented a precursor of the modern polygraph... Realizing that strong female role models in comics were virtually nonexistent, Marston sold Gaines on the concept of a superheroine who would combine "all the strength of a Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman"...

In a letter to comics historian Coulton Waugh, he wrote, "Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world." Marston believed that submission to "loving authority" was the key to overcoming mankind's violent urges, and that strong, self-realized women were the hope for a better future...

With this unusual brand of feminism as his stated aim, Marston filled his stories with bondage (both male and female), spanking, sorority initiation rituals, cross-dressing, infantilism, and playful domination.

...Marston's erotic proclivities may have been plain to the general public, but his private life contained a bigger bombshell. The psychologist's superheroine was at least partly inspired by his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, but there were actually two Wonder Women in the family . Marston wasn't just kinky, he was a polyamorist.

...[Olive] Byrne was a former student and research assistant who moved in with Marston and his wife in the late '20s and subsequently bore him two sons. The exact nature of the women's relationship is not known, but it's clear that they were very close. Not only did the two know about each other and raise each other's children, Elizabeth Marston formally adopted Byrne's children as her own and even appears to have named her daughter after Olive.

...In modern terms, Wonder Woman might be best described as a "bi poly switch." But with her creator's departure, the Amazon lost her enthusiasm for bondage and much of her proto-feminist message (within a couple years she had a newfound appreciation of matrimony, and "Sensation Comics" had become a romance book)."


Funny. Bibles of truth, too.

Careers and Marriage -
"Take, for instance, the claim that professional women are more likely to get divorced, because they're more likely to meet someone in the workforce who will be 'more attractive' than that old squashed-couch hubby at home.

Women have faced this kind of competition squarely for years. Say you marry your college heartthrob. Ten years later, he's working with some good-looking gals--nymphets just out of college, or the more sophisticated types who spent two years building houses in Africa before they went to Stanford Business School. What do you do? A: Stay home, whine and eat chocolate B: Take up rock climbing, read interesting books and continue to develop that interesting personality he fell in love with in the first place.

Note to guys: Start by going to the gym.
Then try some new music. Or a book. Or a movie. Keep connected to the rest of the world."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Let's all just continue to pretend we're rational, 'kay?

Again, and say it with me, people aren't rational, they're rationalizing.

Boing Boing: Snap character judgements:
"The link between facial features and character may be tenuous at best, but that doesn't stop our minds from sizing other people up at a glance,' said Todorov, an assistant professor of psychology. 'We decide very quickly whether a person possesses many of the traits we feel are important, such as likeability and competence, even though we have not exchanged a single word with them. It appears that we are hard-wired to draw these inferences in a fast, unreflective way...'

Why the brain makes such snap judgments is not yet entirely clear, (professor Alex) Todorov said. However, he often works with a sophisticated technological tool for probing brain activity called a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI), and Todorov said some of his general research suggests that the part of the brain that responds directly to fear may be involved in judgments of trustworthiness."

Man, I shoulda done better. I'll be in my bunk.

You scored 87%!

JOSS IS OUR MASTER!!! You did Brilliantly!!! I'm so impressed... if you'd like to chat about our shared love of Firefly and Serenity, please email me... And thanks heaps for taking the test... Much Appreciated!!! :)

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 99% on knowledgeLink: The Firefly / Serenity Test written by kozza

Comic books can tell the future.

The Official Mike Grell Website:
"And then instead of the terrorist plot, I managed to work in the Iran Contra thing.

I found out later on, in fact, a couple years later, that I actually beat that story into print by six months. I got a phone call from somebody who wanted to know how I knew, in advance, that this had happened. And I said it's really simple, all I did was take the various players that were doing things in the world, and said to myself, 'What would be the stupidest thing the CIA could possibly do if they thought they could get away with it.' And that's what I wrote."

Adam West written by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel



Deadwood Pancakes

Hang Dai!

Hat tip to Boing Boing.

Funny as hell.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A way of thinking I can get behind...

"...if something's worth doing, it ought to be done in a way thats enjoyable - otherwise it can't really be worth doing."
- Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

Fascinating book, btw.

Now I'm REALLY committed to this marriage.

In 9 years I've managed to lose one ring, and cracked the other right down the seam.

And I'm honestly not much for jewelry anyways these days - I'm well past the requisite "I'm finally out of the military and can do what I want" earring - plus I always have to take off any jewelry to train and spar... So the obvious thing to do was to get a ring tatted on.

The artist let me know that ring/finger tatts fade a lot faster than others due to the skin shedding and high use/rubbing. Very true. Only two weeks in and the bottom half is about 1/3 faded away. The top still fine though. I'll get it touched up as required.

And as to the obligatory "Man, when you get a ring/name/person tattoo that dooms the relationship! Won't you feel stupid then?" commentary, I can only say this:

First off, I usually feel stupid. And worthless and sinful too. I was raised Catholic after all. That's what it does.

And second, if Sandy ever wises up and kicks me to the curb, it won't be 'cause of a tattoo.

[And the honest answer is this... my few tattooes all mean something to me... this one, like a wedding ring, is symbolic of marriage and our relationship. If for some reason, in the distant future, Sandy and I do separate *knock wood* then it remains just that. A reminder of the relationship... the joys, the sadness, the high, the lows... Those things don't just magically go away, regardless of whatever your current station. But that's enough for now, as I'd hate to start waxing poetical.]

Post Op

Before pic and what this is all about -

Ten stitches. Never had stitches before, though there were a least a few occasions where I probably should have had them. They're kinda cool.

Besides, I hear chicks dig scars.