Friday, July 13, 2018

Working Life Update

I got a message on June 28th that I didn't realize I'd been waiting and hoping for. The "man" who fired me more than two years ago had, himself, been fired. I immediately felt such intense schadenfreude that I actually felt physical pain from it for a short time. A very short time. I felt guilty about it much longer than it hurt.

After getting a second independent report of the news of the firing, I felt even more schadenfreude. I was also feeling deep shock and anger about the shooting at the newsroom at the Annapolis Capital Gazette. In fact, I was being torn in half by the conflicting news.

The next morning I was still on a schadenfreude high, and decided I had to go into the newspaper office to get a paper in celebration. I also had, in the back of my mind, a thought that I might be allowed to write for the paper again. Literally the only good writing I've done since my firing was for File 770, and that wasn't enough to make me truly happy (though praise Mike Glyer for making it happen!).

I went into the office on Friday, June 29th, and saw some of my co-workers who had survived the bad years. I chatted happily with them, and bought a paper, and was allowed into the back office to see how the layout had been changed since I was last there. As it happened, I kept getting delayed, so instead of leaving I kept greeting old friends as they came back from lunch and being introduced to people I'd not yet met. Including the editor. Who was delighted to meet me because Jennie, my reporter colleague the entire time I'd worked for the newspaper, was about to go on two weeks vacation and boy could the editor use some help filling the pages.

I was suddenly "hired" to write some feature articles. Just come up with a list of subjects and come back later in the afternoon and I'd be on my way.

Holy Flaming Cows.

I came up with a short list of potential subjects, people I was certain I would be able to reach out to (including the manager of the local Papa Murphy's, where Eric and I had gone after visiting the newspaper. I'd been so happy while I was there I was practically spilling joy into the air). The editor approved all but one of them (recent article on her) and I was suddenly working again.


My first article back featured the manager of the local Papa Murphy's

In order to meet my first deadline, I had to work Saturday. Oddly enough, I wasn't even slightly upset about it. This is what I ended up writing about it on Facebook:
Short 'work' day today. Went to the office with my first story, which I went over with the editor to learn his style preferences. Then I headed to where I thought I might be able to catch my next interview, and unsurprisingly found him there and chatted for awhile. Next, I spotted a group of ambulances racing by and followed them - I haven't done that in more than two years.

When I got close to the accident I was stopped by an officer at a road block, who allowed me to walk to the scene but wouldn't let me drive the half-mile down. I walked. When I got there I heard, "Laura! Hey, Laura!" It was the regular reporter - she'd got to the scene before the first responders, so I didn't need to go. Instead of walking the half-mile back in 90F sunlight, she gave me a lift back to my car.

I have been on the phone doing interviews since I got home, shaking and sweating (I'm still not completely well, but at least the anxiety hit AFTER I got home). Now my eyes are beginning to cross and my brain is going wonky, so I'm going to stop writing and thinking for an hour or so and relax. My two stories aren't due until Monday morning, so I think I can manage.
Unfortunately, the walk in 90F heat almost did me in, and I suffered a massive pain attack on Sunday. I was still able to make the interview I had scheduled, and wrote on Facebook:
Just finished an incredible interview. I don't know how I'm going to do this man justice! I got to see into a different mindset than my own and learn more about history that I didn't know, angles I'd never heard. It was amazing and awesome.

I have so missed this job!
It was a great article to write, and while I struggled to get everything done, I did what I could. Monday morning I had this to say about the situation:
I... I feel like the last week was a dream. A really good dream. And I'm about to wake up and none of it happened.

Or, alternately, I feel like we're about to get stomped on by a giant Monty Pythonesque foot.

Eric said it's like the ending of Holes, when Stanley carries Zero up the mountain and breaks the curse and suddenly everything goes right for Stanley's family. Only I wonder what curse was on us and why.

All that said, Inkwell is still sick, and I'm still fighting my first deadlines in two years... so everything isn't hunky-dory yet.
After writing that, I headed to work and then was chided for not having a photo of the subject of one of my stories. I managed to locate a photo by, surprise!, locating one of my other former co-workers. She's one who intelligently left the paper as soon as she realized what a jerk the publisher was more than two years ago. She just happened to be working in the office that had the photo I needed, and she emailed it to the editor in time for deadline. Then I had to go take Inkwell to the vet - he wasn't eating - so my energy went from high to gone in no time. As I said on Facebook:
I am so wiped.

Got my two stories in, and managed (I think) to get the photos for them as well.

Shortly after deadline was Inkwell's latest vet appointment, so I drove him to the clinic. He almost refused to react for the first part of the examination, only beginning to growl a bit when he got his temperature taken.

The news is mixed. He was suffering from severe dehydration, because he hasn't been eating and drinking for two days. But the blood tests were inconclusive. The doctor thinks he may just be suffering from a bout of nausea, and gave him an anti-nausea pill. He also got a fluid injection. He's really annoyed at me now.

However, the tests also showed the possibility of pancreatic or liver problems, but again - inconclusive. We're to keep an eye on him and see if he gets over his problems and starts acting normal. I've got a few anti-nausea pills that are supposed to last 24 hours, so hopefully he'll feel better. Fingers crossed.
I spent July 3rd snickering at the Second Civil War posts mocking the rumor that liberals were going to start a literal shooting war against conservatives on Independence Day.


I got the front page, top of the fold, of the 4th of July Edition

With my physical issues, I was having a hard time getting everything I wanted to get done, done. But I managed to get up and out and to a friend's house for a July 4th Breakfast:
Whew.

Went out to a friend's Fourth of July breakfast this morning and chatted with a few people. Naturally, the newspaper came up since my friend works at the paper (and did so throughout the dark days). One of the women said, "Oh, did you write the article on Greg?" (http://www.dailysunnews.com/news/2018/jul/03/taylor-plaza-work-love-greg-schlieve/) and when I said yes, she praised it, saying it was very good. I felt myself kind of exploding with happiness inside.

My article writing has been a bit lax lately, despite my Adam West Day article at File770, and I worried that my work was going to be substandard to start off.

It helped to have such an excellent topic for the article, but I still worried. I only met the editor on Friday, and I'm still not familiar with his work, so I didn't know what, if anything, he would change. And the lack of a copy-editor bothers me... although I didn't see any glaring errors except for my co-worker getting credit for my photo (Yes, my co-worker is named Jess Quick, and yes she knows, and no, she's not a DC fan - she likes Marvel Comics' Thor, so if you have any awesome Thor swag to send to me to give her, let me know).

When I turned in my stories to the editor on Tuesday he told me how excellent they were. I didn't believe him. I felt like he was humoring me, just like I felt people were humoring me when they said the Adam West Day story was good. But I still went home after the editor said that and buried my face in Eric's shoulder and sobbed from relief. The ex-publisher told me I was a crappy writer and shouldn't be a reporter. Since writing is all I've ever wanted to do, my entire life, and he was my boss - well, I'm still stinging from that more than two years later. Even knowing he was fired, it still hurts. And explains why I feel extreme joy that he was fired.

Anyway...

If you've read this far, I'll give you some happy-ish news. Inkwell is not completely healthy, but he's clearly feeling a bit better. His eating is still off, but he'll eat if I hand-feed him (maybe he wants the attention?) and he's been drinking more than he did over the weekend. Hopefully he'll be his usual self soon, eating everything in sight and begging for my lunch as well.

And that's my life.

How is your life going?
I continued to write. Three stories a week is TINY for the old me, but the current me is struggling to get it done. By July 6th the pain had really kicked in:
I feel like a ping-pong ball that bounced out into the street, got run over by a mobility scooter, then picked up by a dog and left in an overgrown yard where a cat batted it around for a few minutes and now a squirrel is trying to break it open.

I needed help with getting a photo to illustrate this story, fortunately the Facebook group came through for me.

By July 9th I'd written four articles for the paper. I had an interview scheduled at City Hall, which was another part of my strategy to re-connect with people I hadn't seen in more than two years. Down at City Hall the next day, I got to sit down with a friend for an interview and see a number of people I'd missed. It was wonderful. Also, City Hall has been renovated, so I got to comment on all the changes. But even after I wrote the story very smoothly for me, I was still nervous:
I'm kind of on the edge of my seat. I did an interview this morning with my friend at city hall, loved it. We talked about all kinds of things - including what I wanted to get from him about his job - and I left feeling elated.

I got home and started writing and got into the groove, that place where everything else in the universe vanishes except the words and the story. It flowed. I made some adjustments then sent it to the editor with the photo I took.

Now I'm waiting for a callback from the editor. I called to see if he got the story (important even in this age of email) and he said he was looking it over. Now I've got this terror that it is horrible and he's going to try to let me down gently.

I need some way to turn off my brain... ooooo, Doctor Who on Twitch...
The editor did not tell me it sucked, but he did edit it down a LOT from what I wrote, which was fine but a little surprising, until he informed me that *he* was having trouble keeping to deadlines because I was turning in work a little too late. At that point, I realized I needed to get my work in the night before the deadline he originally gave me. So for Wednesday's paper, I need to turn in my story by Monday night. For Friday's paper, it must be in on Wednesday night. And the worst of all, for Monday's paper I need to get it in on Thursday night.


Going back to City Hall was a delight!

I'm going to have some work to do to get ahead of the curve.

So on Wednesday, July 11th, I needed a story. So I hit the pavement. I visited a bunch of places that had been suggested, and a few I remembered. I hit the library and asked to interview the local storyteller, and she suggested I come in on Thursday. She suggested I go to the Museum, so I headed over there and chatted with the hostesses. I thought I might be able to convince one of them to do an interview when a man came in:
Yesterday I had a fantastic interview at the museum with a guy I don't believe I'd ever met before, but was totally willing to share the history of his family with me. I'm not sure how long the interview was, but I came out of it elated, as I do from great interviews (talking with fascinating people is wonderful).

After reporting in to the editor, I headed home to write the story and realized I was completely "out of spoons". I mean, I was beat. I could barely get myself writing. Fortunately, once I was writing, the words came - if not easily, at least they came.

When I was done, I had nothing left. Eric took me downstairs and fed me dinner, and I fell asleep while we watched Iron Chef off the DVR. He somehow got me upstairs and into bed at about 7 pm and I slept until a massive headache woke me at 3 am.

I took some painkiller and got on my computer while I waited for it to kick in, but Inkwell decided to curl up on my lap, so I sipped water and petted the cat while the painkiller finally started to work. Then I went back to bed.

I didn't get up until about 8 this morning. After sitting down at my computer again, Inkwell insisted on more lap time. Now I've had my shower, eaten, and even had a short chat with my editor. I have an appointment at 11 am to take some photos and meet some potential interview subjects. But I'd better take it a little easier today, considering how wiped I was yesterday!
The story turned out well, I thought, and I went to the library the next day at 11 am and got my "Monday" story with the storyteller. This time I had to take a nap before I could even write it. But I got through it, and have interviews scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday for my Wednesday and Friday stories.


Today's paper has my story on the front page, above the fold

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Inkwell update

Some folks may have noticed I posted a report that Inkwell was sick over on Facebook.

He was throwing up regularly, and hadn't eaten in awhile because of it, so we took him to the vet. Inkwell was NOT pleased with the vet tech and growled at her the entire time. The vet suggested trying to change his food, so we switched him... probably too rapidly.

He started out well, but rapidly stopped eating, then started dry-heaving. Which is scary if you are a human, but terrifying to watch in a cat. He didn't eat for a couple of days, and we took him back to the vet as quickly as we could. He was lethargic and weak. He didn't even growl this time until they took his temperature. The vet suggested blood tests, and then rehydrated him as well. We got some anti-nausea pills when the blood tests came back inconclusive.

For the first day back, he was much more his usual self, but still didn't eat much. I attempted to give him one of the pills when the vet had told me to and discovered that I have no idea how to get him to take a pill, and he really REALLY didn't want that pill. After a battle royale which Inkwell won, drooling all over himself and the floor and me, he stalked around the house grumbling and we decided to just feed him as normal and see what happened.

It took him several days to get back to his normal feeding routine, but he's back to the point where he's waiting around at mealtimes for us to put out his food instead of hiding under a chair and ignoring everything. He's been jumping up on laps and butting his head against ankles like he used to. And so far, knock on wood, he hasn't thrown up.

I have his "new" food which I may or may not reintroduce (thinking "not" right now) and he's back on his old food. He actually gained weight this past week, possibly because I kept hand-feeding him treats when he refused to eat out of his bowls.

So, as far as I can tell, all is well. We still have no idea what caused the initial problem, but then... that's cats for you.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A Declaration

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Friday, June 01, 2018

Doctor Who Marathon Mix-Ups

Twitch Presents is having a Doctor Who Marathon, planning on playing every episode of the classic show. The first three days went fine, with day one showing a pre-show followed by the first three stories, "An Unearthly Child", "The Daleks" and "The Edge of Destruction". Day two was "The Keys of Marinus", "The Aztecs" and "The Sensorites". Day three was the showings of "Planet of Giants", "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", "The Rescue" and "The Romans".

Today was supposed to be "The Web Planet", followed by "The Space Museum" and "The Chase". Unfortunately, when the airing started this morning, instead of Web Planet, the viewers were treated to "An Unearthly Child" again. The chat, which seems to consist of mostly younger fans, went nutso. Lots of complaints... and a bit more than halfway through the episode it stopped for a moment and switched to about halfway through the first episode of "Planet of Giants". Lots of complaints, but a note popped up that the channel would be streaming yesterday's shows until they fixed the glitch. It took several hours, then finally the original schedule started to play.

The funniest thing about the marathon is the short bumper between episodes, which is unfortunately often shown twice. It consists of clips from various episodes, including Ian gleefully telling Barbara that they were back in London, 1965 and the Doctor telling Barbara that she cannot change history, "Believe me, I know!" The new group of fans quickly turned both into memes.







They are skipping all the stories with episodes missing, of course, and several of the later Dalek stories will also not be shown.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Not My Story

But it made me cry...

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Inkwell and the Sky Raisin

As anyone who has bothered to read this blog for any length of time knows, my husband and I are owned by a black cat named Inkwell. These are some of his recent adventures, mostly from Facebook and a few of his "Inkwell Sings the Blues" from his Twitter Feed.

This morning I woke up late, and my husband was already off running errands. I looked around the house for Inkwell, fearing he might have somehow gotten outside (he's very much an indoor cat). I went from room to room looking for him, and when I opened the door to the garage, a fly (aka Sky Raisin) flew into the house. Eventually I found Inkwell by shaking his treats. He casually wandered out from wherever he was hiding to get his reward for being a cat from his mommy.

A half an hour later, he noticed the fly.

I watched as Inkwell stalked it around the house, and when it flew upstairs, Inkwell stood on the landing and leaped into the air every time it passed by. It was quite spectacular from where I was sitting. He also chittered at it and flung insults that probably couldn't be repeated in human language without censoring. For Inkwell, it was great.

Late Thursday night a massive thunderstorm passed overhead. The sky rumbled for well over an hour, grumbling and rolling. The power blinked out once. I was up late, as has been my habit recently, and was sitting in my chair as the thunder shook the house. Inkwell finally came into my room and insisted on sitting on my lap. Every time there was a peal of thunder, his ears twitched back. He huddled on my lap for a good half hour before he finally felt safe enough to get back to whatever cat duties there are at 11 pm.

Inkwell is not fond of me staying up until 3 or 4 am then sleeping in until his first kibble feeding time at 10 am. On Tuesday morning he was upset that I was up at 9:30 and not feeding him. When I finally did go downstairs to feed him, he was very disapproving that I was putting his kibble into the egg-cersizer instead of just giving it to him in a bowl. He sat glaring at me with his tail twitching as I set the egg down...

...when he suddenly jumped about a foot into the air, twisting as he did so to look behind him.

I thought for a moment that he might have been bitten by a bug or something, but then I realized he had been sitting on the vent and the AC had just turned on.

He glared at me again, as if it was entirely my fault, then started batting his egg around to get his kibble. I tried really hard to not laugh, but I fear I may have offended the fuzzy master of the house. He stalked around the rest of the day trying to display dignity, but it was hard for me to not see his startled look as he jumped into the air, having just received a blast of cold air to his butt. At one point he decided to increase his mass as he thundered up and down the stairs, sounding like a herd of cattle. I still don't know how cats control gravity like that.

Last Friday I had an Inkwell experience that I also recorded on Facebook: Inkwell came into my room while I was typing away and just ... stared. He just stood in the doorway and stared. He looked so sad, I put the computer aside and reached down. He came up and put his head under my hand in the universal "please pet me" gesture. I pet him.

It soon became apparent he wanted something else. His front paws were very gently kneading at the carpet. So I got up and walked to the bedroom. He followed and when I got on the bed and pulled the blanket up, he jumped up and started purring and kneading me.

I spent the next ten minutes in a cat spa being meowsaged and purred upon.

When I thought he was done, I started to get up, but he sauntered to my ankles and stretched out over them with a possessive "mrrrow". In short, I was trapped. For another few minutes I dozed a bit while waiting for him to get bored and move on.

Finally he seemed satisfied and I quickly got back out of bed. He curled up on the end of the bed and stayed there while I did a couple of minor chores. Then I sat down to finish my piece, found I couldn't concentrate, and decided to write about Inkwell instead.

He's now downstairs, playing with his kibble egg-cersizer and singing the songs of his people.

We also recently had the opposite of a staring contest: Inkwell was staring at me, so I looked over at him. He gave me a slow blink.

I responded with a slow blink of my own. When I opened my eyes, his were closed.

So I closed my eyes most of the way and watched his eyes. I could tell he was doing the same. For a long moment we had a slow blinking contest.

Finally he opened his eyes, I opened mine and we both got on with life.

Earlier in the month Inkwell got a scare when all the fire alarms in the house were set off by a nearby electrical storm. In addition to the storm, Inkwell had been upstairs hiding from the vacuum when the alarms went off, and never heard Eric put the vacuum away. It took him several hours to fully calm down, poor skittish kitty!

Now, for the finale of this post, some Inkwell Sings the Blues. I'm not entirely sure what the melody to these are, but they are funny enough and I can usually manage to sing them...

7:25 PM - 27 Apr 2018:
I got the "my mommy won't get up and feed me, and I'm starving to death" blues.
I got the "my mommy won't get up and feed me, and I'm starving to death" blues.
I bopped her on the nose, jumped on her chest and I'm gonna throw up in her shoes.

7:28 PM - 27 Apr 2018:
Mommy won't feed me and I think that I'm starving to death.
Mommy won't feed me and I think that I'm starving to death.
I'm gonna keep meowing at mommy with my dying breath.

9:52 AM - 28 Apr 2018:
Daddy won't get up and feed me, mommy says I've just been fed.
Daddy won't get up and feed me, mommy says I've just been fed.
They will both be sorry, when I'm so hungry that I'm dead.

6:17 PM - 28 Apr 2018:
Daddy just gave me kibble but I really wanted wet food instead.
Daddy just gave me kibble but I really wanted wet food instead.
I'm gonna eat the kibble, but I'll throw it up on his bed.

7:15 PM - 1 May 2018:
Mommy closed her room off, she don't love me no more.
Mommy closed her room off, she don't love me no more.
I'm gonna lay down and cry outside her door.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Some Links (Linkdump!)

I'm going to start today with curses and damnation at the NRA for turning into a gun-selling organization bent on preventing all reasonable gun laws. I also urge everyone who reports on the shooting in Santa Fe to NOT repeat the murderer's name. He should have a nickname, like Stupidface Murderscum. His true name should be forgotten.

Ok, let's get on with less painful stuff...

One of the truly horrible things about chronic pain is that most of the time no one can do a thing about it, so why would you want to burden someone with your hurt? This society requires us to nicely ask after other people's pain, but doesn't provide guidance on what to do once you know someone is hurting. So those of us who literally hurt ALL THE TIME tend to stop telling the truth about our pain after awhile because it just stresses out our loved ones and bores everyone else.

Now, anxiety is pretty bad too, but this woman came up with a list of helpful actions when her boyfriend asked what he could do. I particularly identify with 1, 8 and 9.

Next:
I'm reminded of the Checklist of Early Warning Signs of Fascism. It appears we can, as a nation, check off most of these. Fortunately, some people are still being ostracized for being racist scum, even if the racist scum-in-chief is being protected by the GOP.

And lastly, for the day, here's How Mueller's First Year Compares to Watergate, Iran-Contra and Whitewater. I want Mueller to finish this investigation as thoroughly as possible. I want everything he presents to be watertight. If he somehow concludes that Deadbeat Don is not guilty, I will accept that. But I want every guilty party punished to the full extent of the law. I also truly believe that anyone currently calling for the investigation to conclude prematurely is probably either guilty of collusion or essentially a traitor to the idea and standards of the United States of America.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Conventions and problematic people

While I have been peripherally involved in conventions and convention planning for years, I am NOT a convention organizer and could not ever handle the pressure of such events. That's been brought home to me again by a couple of recent incidents in fandom.

Let's start with the big one. A writer known for harassing people online said he was going to attend Worldcon and, among other potential acts, violate the rules by wearing a bodycam into a private suite. The Worldcon committee, after hearing about his threats, determined the threats were both believable and violated their rules and banned him from attending the convention.

He's now suing Worldcon.

I think he hasn't got a chance in the case, but I don't know California law, and I don't know what sort of lawyer he's got (although a couple people implied his lawyer is as pathetic as he is). I do know that the Worldcon committee has to deal with this nonsense as the convention is getting closer, and it's definitely a nuisance and planned to disrupt the convention as much as possible. In short, he's bullying the convention to cause a disruption after threatening to cause a disruption at the con. These are the actions of a sociopath, and not a person any fan should be comfortable associating with.

I don't see how suing the convention furthers any reasonable goal he might have. There is now no chance that any reasonable convention committee will ever invite him as a guest, as he's proven he's willing to file nuisance lawsuits against conventions. So if he's invited as a guest and doesn't like something about the convention? Potential lawsuit. No way any sane person will invite him again. And it also torpedoes his odds of being allowed to attend other conventions, because who wants a toxic, convention-suing guy at their con? No one.

Nothing good can come of this.

Let's move on to another incident. That of John Ringo and his momentary guestness at ConCarolina. It was announced a couple of days ago that Ringo would be a guest at ConCarolina, and a number of folks immediately objected and withdrew their own attendance because of things Ringo has said and some themes of his writing.

I admit, I own a number of Ringo's books in digital format from when I purchased many of Baen's ebooks. I know I've read at least one, but I honestly cannot remember any titles or plotlines of any of them. I think his writing didn't appeal to me, or I considered it filler to read while waiting for something good. I don't know. But his works clearly lacked impact and didn't connect with me. At the time I purchased them, I wasn't aware of his ... opinions on women. If I had been, I would not have purchased anything by him.

That said, ConCarolina has now disinvited Ringo, which isn't going to make the problem go away for the convention. In fact, it's a very bad sign after a similar incident hurt Odyssey Con last year, and several invited guests withdrew. As a person involved in conventions, these stories break my heart. It's so hard to get a convention going, so hard to figure out costs and then who to invite. And if you invite someone who is problematic, even if you are unaware of the problems, you might sink your entire effort.

It's enough to make a person swear off conventions. Certainly enough to make being on a concom a dangerous and scary job. I admit I admire those members of fandom who volunteer their time for such a thankless task even more after learning about these various problems.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Newbery Winners: Shen of the Sea

The fifth book to win the Newbery Medal, which it did in 1926, is Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman, a collection of short stories set in China. The tales are not at all connected. I suspect this would be a hard book to get published today, as some aspects of Chinese culture that it depicts have not aged well. But it's also not horrible, either, and holds up a lot better than many other books of the time, I'm sure. (And let's face it, just about anything written for children nearly a century ago is going to feel quaint and dated anyway.) Although I gather these stories were originally created by Chrisman, they read like old folk tales. Some are just little slice-of-life stories, but others delve into the origins of aspects of Chinese culture (printing, chopsticks, pottery, kites, tea, gunpowder), and others show people thinking outside the box, or tricking demons, or just being clever. It's a fun, light read, and I enjoyed this one a lot.

Computer Issues.... again.

I have fiddled with my laptop to the point where, with a generous helping of electrical tape and the occasional tap on the screen, I'm able to usually not have monitor problems, huzzah. I ended up having to take off the screen itself, which I was loathe to do. I managed, but it was annoying and I broke a few more little pieces of plastic and basically I just need a new computer.

Which isn't going to happen soon.

Still, my computer was working and the monitor is now mostly behaving. Then yesterday morning, after a three-hour power outage in the middle of the night, I noticed that the computer wasn't charging. I got the message "Plugged in, not charging" when I looked at the battery icon. Um. Ok.

I generally use the computer plugged in, although I frequently take it downstairs unplugged... so it's not a thing that would completely break the computer for me. But it's worrying. What if the battery has gone bad, or I somehow damaged it during my efforts to fix the screen? A visit to Google and I learned that Windows 10 laptops have this problem A LOT. Not just a little, but so frequently that there is a lot of information and misinformation out there about it.

I found the solution that finally worked for me on HP's website, after trying a number of different things and having every one of them fail. I had been using the HP diagnostic tools to see if the battery itself was failing, but got lots of green lights as far as it was concerned. It even started charging for a brief moment during the testing! To fix it "completely" (as far as I can tell), I ended up following these directions:

Perform the following steps to isolate the issue and arrive at a fix:
  • Power off the laptop.
  • Disconnect AC adapter from the laptop.
  • Press and hold the power button for 15 seconds.
  • Plug the AC adapter back in.
  • Power on the laptop.

    Uninstall the battery drivers and then reinstall them:
  • Open the device manager.
  • Expand "Batteries". Right click on the ACPI drivers and select uninstall.
  • Close the device manager.
  • Restart the laptop. While restarting, Windows will reinstall the battery drivers.
  • Thank goodness, removing the ACPI drivers fixed it. I have no idea what ACPI drivers are or any interest in learning, but they apparently have something to do with battery charging. I was ready to do the next step, a BIOS flash, but was not looking forward to it since there are so many things that can go wrong when you get down to the firmware level.

    As I was working through these steps, hubby-Eric told me about a lovely video promo for a Supernatural/Scooby-Doo crossover, so I of course had to watch it... and there was no sound. In fact, every single attempt I made to turn up the volume, it reset itself down to "2" and didn't move. Guess who had to reinstall sound drivers right after reinstalling battery drivers?

    Doing all this with a nasty cold and barely any brain power was difficult as well. I suppose I thrive on it, though. I love troubleshooting. I just wish I didn't have to do it quite so often. And I wish I could run more things on my computer (like Fallout 4, which I could eventually get through Steam via Swagbucks). I want to buy myself a Dell gaming laptop, but the cheapest ones that will run what I want are $800 or more. First-world problems, I know. At least with my repairs I'm still able to play DC Universe Online, which I now have ALL the downloadable content from, thanks to Swagbucks, and enough left over to buy the Aquaman DLC when it comes out later this month.

    Sunday, March 04, 2018

    A Sunday Comic Books Review

    DCBS
    Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
    • Jan 3rd
    • Justice League #36 - This is confusing. First off, I can't figure out where in Aquaman's timeline this is supposed to have taken place. Second off, Batman killing someone wouldn't just be front page news - everyone who knows any superhero would be asking about it. This seems like we're getting an extremely limited view of what's going on. As a result, it feels like the story is leaving too much out. I guess I'm used to decompressed stories after all, because this one is moving too quickly but in all the wrong ways.
    • Green Lanterns #38 - Well, that's not good. So she admitted her crime and Simon immediately told on her. That's good. Then she's allowed along on the fight against the stronghold of the people she claims she was led astray by. Fine. But then the standard twist happens and we get a somewhat disturbing cliffhanger. Yikes. Not a perfect story, but still engaging.
    • Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #3 - So the cliffhanger from last week, when two boys used one of the new street weaons accidentally to blow out a wall of their home, is resolved painfully and sadly in this issue. If nothing else, this comic is delivering the feeling of hopelessness and rage that people who are being unfairly picked on by police feel. It can be difficult to read. That's probably a good thing.
    • Bombshells United #9 - Ah, so that's what Cheetah was up to. And just for kicks, we also get the origin of Bombshell's Black Adam, who became so nasty his girl killed herself. Lovely. As always, interesting stuff, but I can only wonder where it's leading. One strange bit, the rules of this Lazarus Pit seem a bit different than the rules of such things in the regular DCU.
    • Jan 10th
    • Titans #19 - How can this story possibly be a thing with the current storyline in the Justice League? I mean, seriously. The Justice League, particularly Batman, are under investigation and in this book they are putting the Titans under the microscope? No, this doesn't fit. The two storylines clash badly. That said, Garth is living up to his old tradition of being a bit of a hothead, and I like it.
    • Scooby Apocalypse #21 - Well, it seems the answer to my question after what we learned last time (there's no cure) is that they'll wander around for a couple of months then get a bright idea to settle down and create a base in a mall. I personally would pick a building that has fewer access points, but whatever. I guess Velma is intent on the potential supplies in such a place, but that's not going to help much if the place is overrun by monsters. We'll just have to see in the next issue.
    • Spongebob Comics #76 - Only a small Mermaid Man reference while SpongeBob is procrastinating. The main story is part one of a longer story - all the water is gone from Bikini Bottom and Pearl is missing. Who will save the day? And who screwed up the day in the first place?
    • Saucer State #6 - Ok, I really liked that character and I'm not happy with this issue. That said, I was clearly pulled deeply into the issue since I had such an extreme reaction to it. I find it very interesting how the relationship with the Russians is going, as well. This is mind-bending stuff.
    I've finally mostly caught up. Yes, there's a small stack of comics still to be reviewed next to my desk, but it's small, and only covers a few weeks, instead of knee-high and covering nearly a year. I'll continue to do multiple weeks until I'm actually caught up, then I'll just focus on the previous month, since we get our books shipped to us monthly. Unless we move back to civilization or suddenly get rich enough to pay for weekly shipping, I'll never be posting as the books arrive in stores each week. I suppose I could go all digital, but I really don't like reading comics on my computer or tablet, I guess I'm old-school...

    Sunday, February 25, 2018

    A Sunday Comic Books Review

    DCBS
    Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
    • Dec 6th
    • Justice League #34 - Huh. This is basically a Batman story, with the Justice League serving as back-up to his break-down. It seems Bruce has been burning the candle at both ends too long and isn't doing too hot, leading to him screwing up. And when Batman screws up, people die. While I get Superman saying it was a good day, Bruce had Aquaman driving a frickin' bus instead of dealing with a natural disaster at a seaside town. That's not like him. But hey, Aquaman looks GREAT as a bus driver.
    • Green Lanterns #36 - Oh, the trial set-up. This wasn't as great a story as I was hoping for - the bluffing bad guy did his bad thing and we got a little insight into Jessica's continuing fight against her fears - but it didn't feel quite complete to me. I guess that's due to the set-up of the villain. She was truly frightening and not really something those two could have beaten, I think. If it had gone down to them having to fight Singularity Jain for any length of time, she would have won. I just hope the rest of the Corps recognizes the danger so if Singularity Jain shows up again they have a plan.
    • Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #2 - A little bit of confusion in my head between this version and the television show, but not so much it hurts. I wish I'd read more of the original Black Lightning, then I might have a much better idea of the supporting cast, and possibly would enjoy it more. Even with that lack of certainty, it's still a very good book with a plot that is more than promising and a cliffhanger that is heartbreaking.
    • DC Holiday Special 2017 - Oh joy, another anthology, this one with eleven stories. Let's see... Batman in a revenge story, Green Arrow as Santa, a Sgt. Rock tale of the light of life lasting eight nights against the odds, The Flash helping out stranded travelers, Deathstroke and his family being Deathstroke-y, the Atomic Knights handle sentient plants, Teen Titans face a literal ghost of Christmas Past, the Swamp Thing brings hope to the desperate, and Wonder Woman and Batman celebrate the Solstice together. The whole thing is tied together by a framing story starring Clark Kent, Bibbo, and Constantine. And there's a bonus classic Neal Adams story featuring Batman singing Christmas Carols while his spirit moves through the city. None of the stories struck me as great, but none were particularly bad, either.
    • Bombshells United #7 - Black Adam replacing Franco in Spain? That's really disturbing on a whole lotta levels. And now he's searching for some secret arcane power that is somewhere under the ground. Batgirl really has her work cut out for her. It almost seems unfair to put her up against Black Adam, but I suspect Black Adam is the one who isn't going to like the end result of this one.
    • Doctor Strange #382 - Stephen Strange just can't help using the people around him, can he? And thanks to that horrible tendency, he's not only put Zelma in trouble, but apparently everyone in the world. Good job, Doctor Strange. Your ego continues to cause harm.
    • Usagi Yojimbo #164 - Another good issue, and it links several other Inspector Ishida stories from the past, setting up a much bigger story that also worked in each individual chunk. I love the moment that Ishida is attempting arrests and everyone vanishes. I'm also with Usagi that I'm liking the Robin Hood character quite a bit. Not a killer, but definitely a character.
    • Dec 13th
    • Titans #18 - Well, that was an abrupt ending. I kind of expected this story to continue for another five issues and include some sort of crossover. In fact, when Kid Flash raced off, I was sure that was a signal that a crossover was in the works. But then... it's over. A surprise, how quickly Donna took care of business once it occurred to her that she was equal in power.
    • Scooby Apocalypse #20 - Well, that's it for the story, then, right? Velma says there isn't a cure so that's the end of the world. Daphne admits that she might have been wrong and that if she dares to believe she was wrong she will be wracked by guilt. And it's Christmas. Wow. I really have to wonder where the series will go from here, since the hunt for a cure was the big force driving the group forward.
    • Spongebob Comics #75 - Hey, there's a tiny Mermaid Man appearance! Yay. The first story is a long-form Kochalka story, which means this issue feels surreal from the start. Kochalka even wrote the Mermaid Man short (half a page) but the art was by Jerry Ordway. I think my brain is broken by all of it. In a good way.
    • Dec 20th
    • Aquaman #31 - So Corum Rath has a final solution in mind, with the goal of getting rid of all the people in Atlantis who have been "sea changed", which frankly is a lovely way to introduce the idea of that type of mutation. In fact, this whole storyline has been dealing with a really problematic part of the nature of DC's Atlantis introduced thoughtlessly some time ago. In a society as xenophobic as this one, how could creatures that were not quite "human" live in Atlantis? The answer is that they sort of didn't - they were living below and outside the main city and they were mutated, probably by the same magics that created the mer-people of the other main Atlantean city. We know it's easy for racists to ignore people they hate - that seems to be what happened to Atlantis right up until Rath took over and decided to fence all of them in, and kill the ones he doesn't like. It works. I still have many questions, but it works as a story.
    • Justice League #35 - I loved the Spanish bit with Jessica. I loved even more that I understood most of it. I need to snag some comics in Spanish, I think. It would give me more of a motive to read and try to understand. I wonder if Aquaman has been translated to Spanish? *ahem* The story was a little strange, but not bad. The underlying horror of Wonder Woman's sword having been used to kill a nun was clearly still a theme of this issue, but finding and getting rid of the bug was a fun plot. A decent issue.
    • Green Lanterns #37 - Acting as a strong leader, the Podfather of the Molites not only shielded the Ungaran teenagers after they murdered the children of his people, he also took the blame for the crime that started it all. I just wonder how Baz is going to react now that he knows what started it and who is responsible. I also wonder if she changed after facing the hate of the crowd, or if she's going to try to convince Baz to join her.
    • Bombshells United #8 - A Lazarus Pit. Is that what Black Adam is looking for? And who would Cheetah have brought back to life? I'm also more than a little curious about Batgirl's injury. Why did her eyes glow?
    • Teen Titans Go #25 - This is definitely the Holiday special, with a truly bizarre Chanukah story that really made no sense whatsoever, unless Colossal Boy was just teasing the Teen Titans and they were stupid enough to fall for it. The Christmas story makes MUCH more sense, and even has a reference to the Neal Adams story in the anthology. Fun, but as always I know I'm not the target audience for this book.
    • Wonder Woman/Conan #4 - Ah. So Yanna was stabbed, and Conan's desire to look at Wonder Woman's breast is to see if the scar is there. Got it. Lots of history in this book, mostly focusing on Conan. The mirror trick for Wonder Woman was a bit disturbing, but perhaps the crow was telling the truth about the lasso. If so, it would certainly give Diana the answers she needs.
    • Doctor Strange #383 - So we finally find out why Loki is Sorceror Supreme. I'm not sure I buy it, but then there are horrible huge threats hovering over all the various universes in comics. Justice League has been hearing about a new threat for ages, and the Vishanti apparently decided that Loki would be a better solution to some major threat to the Marvel U. I was surprised to see Stephen go to the World Tree and make sure a perfect (and sad) offering. I wonder if this new power will be enough for what he wants to do?
    • Dec 27th
    • Teen Titans #15 - Oh, great. It's the third part of a crossover. I started to read and realized I had no idea what was happening. Annoying, DC. There isn't even a "previously" text box to give me some idea of who this new character is and why he's there. So, as far as I can figure, some version of Tim Drake wandered in from another universe and is trying to kill Jon Kent/Superboy. The Titans are divided on whether or not to help Drake find Superboy and Damian. But Aqualad knows exactly where they are thanks to his powers. And... that's it. If there's more story, we're not going to see it in this book. Which makes it really annoying. I buy titles to get complete stories, not a tiny portion of a larger story which to read I'd have to buy three or four other issues of books I don't read because I'm not interested in them. I hate crossovers. They basically mean I wasted my money on an incomplete story. I always feel cheated when publishers pull this crap.
    • Batman Beyond #15 - It looks like Matt has some plans for his future. What is the appeal of being a superhero in Gotham? I'd want to move away, personally. And Stalker has a very good reason to make a deal, but if he'd just looked for Batman *first* he probably would have gotten and even better deal - like assistance in making the fields produce food again to make his home self-sufficient.
    • Scooby Doo Team Up #33 - I've never been a big fan of the Legion of Super-heroes, but it's pretty funny to see them bringing in the "expert" help of the Scooby-Doo team to solve a haunting in their headquarters. Brainiac is as obnoxious as ever, and the team does a nice job of solving the problem through elimination and logic. And a few screams and run-aways by Shaggy and Scooby.
    • Usagi Yojimbo #165 - I have a sneaking suspicion I know exactly who the Master is, as he's been properly introduced as a jerk... and has ordered Inspector Ishida to stop inspecting the crime that would involve him. It will be fun to see how this plays out.
    • Back To The Future: Tales from the Time Train #1 - A nice introductory story with some fun side trips, introducing readers to the idea that Doc Brown and his family are going to be time tourists for a bit. A solid start with some action and some familiar moments.
    • The Tick 2017 #2 - Wow, we're learning all kinds of things about the Tick in this. He has a whole history before he lived in the city, and the proof is in the people who recognize him (no one could forget him, right?). And he can play the piano? And apparently has a very close female friend? Wow. This is a side of the character we've never seen before. I'm really enjoying this book.

    Sunday, February 18, 2018

    A Sunday Comic Books Review

    DCBS
    Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
    • Nov 1st
    • Justice League #32 - More of the Bat-crossover, Metal. Aquaman is up against AquaBatWoman, and apparently a massively mutated and massive Mera. Other than that? A lot of set up for an impossible situation to be continued in another book that I no longer read. Bleh. I hate these kind of crossovers that all too often infect superhero comics.
    • Green Lanterns #34 - On the one hand, people who believe strongly in religions don't often switch so quickly... on the other hand, they were witnessing their world falling apart. So I guess even though Jessica's speech was cheesy, it was something to cling to. Lots of setup for future issues in this one, as well.
    • Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 - Hubby and I are watching the television show, but this is the first version of the comic I've read. I've known about Black Lightning for many years. I was disgusted to learn why the Super Friends version was renamed, and I'm happy Tony Isabella is finally getting his due for this character. It's kind of hard for me to simply judge this comic out of the context of how I learned about the history of the character... which is why I've included all that information. With all that said, I really enjoyed this. It isn't completely perfect, but it's a strong set up and it makes me want to read more, so that's all good. I believe this is a mini-series, but I would like to see this character with an ongoing some time.
    • Bombshells United #5 - So, in the end, in the Bombshells universe the internment of the Japanese did not happen because a handful of people stood against it, then convinced more to stand, and using magic convinced even more. It's a nice dream, but as Dawnstar notes, it's not the history of every universe.
    • Usagi Yojimbo #163 - Foul murder and the frame up of a Robin Hood ninja. The usual mess of gang intrigue and no honor among thugs is combined with some possibly bigger problems. As usual, this is a great story with fun new characters and two solid favorites. I quite like Nezumi. He seems to be a sensible thief, all things considered. Another solid issue of the most dependable comic book on the market.
    • Nov 8th
    • Titans #17 - Wowsa. A lot of history packed in there. Donna, I'm sure, has no problem with "wasting" that amount of time. But I have to wonder what else happened to Troia beyond simply outliving her friends that turned her into that sort of monster. Fate is cruel, but Donna isn't that person. Wowsa. Lots to think about here. Could simply watching everyone you've ever known and loved die off while you persist turn you into a killer? Ok, so there's her nature already, not human, but still!
    • Scooby Apocalypse #19 - Oh, now this is one that really hurts. Adults being what they are, they didn't listen when Cliffy told them the truth. And Daphne is a little too trigger-happy for my tastes. Cliffy is going to be a really interesting character should he survive much longer. No, this isn't my childhood Scooby-Doo, but I'm really loving this book.
    • Spongebob Comics #74 - No Mermaid Man, and the Pirates really seem to have vacated the place. This issue was all about friendship - and took the usual SpongeBob approach to the subject. I'm not entirely sure how Squidward survived, to be honest. All-in-all, a fun little issue.
    • Nov 15th
    • Aquaman #30 - A nicely balanced issue, with just enough movement on all the storylines. The consequences of Mera's damaged necklace, the guilt of Tempest, the continued mish-mash of Atlantis' underworld, and of course the main story of the battle between Aquaman and Rath. My one quibble is that King Shark really seems to prefer surface life to living underwater, and I wasn't aware before that he got caught in the city. But if he happened to be in town when it all went down, it's reasonable that he would become an underworld leader. Up next appears to be the annual. Good stuff, and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.
    • Justice League #33 - More of the Metal crossover, which means I don't understand everything that's going on because I didn't purchase the crossover or the many tie-ins. From this sample, I don't regret my decision. There's an evil Joker/Batman thing, and the league were captured but Cyborg busts them loose. Sort of. Aquaman is there but doesn't do a lot. So I'm fairly meh about the whole thing.
    • Green Lanterns #35 - Blustering idiot doesn't know how to contact Green Lanterns except by annoying them with threats and damage. Lovely. An ok issue, but I'm not sure Jessica is likely to still have a job after that incident.
    • Bombshells United #6 - I'm not really sure what this one was all about. It seems to be mostly a lot of set-up for future stories, and the introduction of new characters to this universe. At least there was a one-panel appearance of Mera and Arthur.
    • Wonder Woman/Conan #3 - Not good at following orders? Who would've thunk it. The crows are getting more excitement than they bargained for, which really ought to please them in the end. I mean, they're bored and just want something exciting, right?
    • Doctor Strange #381 - Loki? Really? I mean, I'm not exactly a hater on Loki, but I was hoping for some stories about, you know, Doctor Strange. Hopefully this will be a short storyline.
    • Nov 22nd
    • Teen Titans #14 - Titans to the rescue! There to save Damian's worthless butt. I like Emiko, but man, somebody needs to smack Damian around a bit, mentally. I'm kind of hoping that final revelation is going to be the act of smacking.
    • Batman Beyond #14 - Well, the Royal Flush Gang is back in action and as annoying as ever (in that good, goofy way). It's also nice to see Terry getting his life back in gear now that Dana is aware of why he's a lying liar. As an aside, I wonder if one of the reasons I like Aquaman is because he never really had a secret identity and thus never had to lie to everyone?
    • Astro City #49 - Oh man, that's one of those intense little stories about family and superpowers that I wasn't expecting to hit quite as hard as it did. Once she realized there was no possibility of him being alive, I wanted to cry along with her. And still, he was there at every protest. Another sort of eternal life. Intense. I love this book.
    • Scooby Doo Team Up #32 - Holy carp-on-a-stick! It wasn't until I was reading this that I remembered watching the show a lot as a child. I hadn't really recognized him on the cover. But the comic captured the character perfectly and I was sent back into childhood. Fun stuff.
    • Saucer State #5 - Guh? There was some serious Fortean Philosophy in this one, and as much as I liked it, it was difficult to wrap my noggin around. At least we seem to be getting closer to a conclusion in this case.
    • Nov 29th
    • Aquaman Annual: Crownspire #1 - Black Mercy. That's an oddly appealing way to die. Tula said there were many bodies down there... the probability is that they died peacefully, thinking they were in their ideal world. Unless the plant/creature/alien/magic works differently than I think it does. I always tend to enjoy Black Mercy stories, since they are basically Elseworlds tales with a framing sequence. This one introduces us to yet another child of Mera and Arthur - so just in the last month of comics we've got a daughter and a son. At some point I need to gather up all the various children of Aquaman and figure out just how many different versions there have been. I kind of would like to see them have all of them - just a huge Aqua-family with lots of kids and grandkids running around. *ahem* I thought, wrongly, that this annual would actually be part of the ongoing storyline. Now that I know it isn't, I'm even more eager to get to December's books and start reading.

    Monday, February 12, 2018

    Dark Shadows

    When I heard that Dark Shadows was available on Amazon Prime, I was intrigued. I hardly need a new show to watch, but I've always been slightly curious about Dark Shadows... it's said to have paranormal elements (well, duh) and even time travel. So I looked, thinking I'd start from the very beginning. Unfortunately, I looked for "Dark Shadows" and the very beginning is called "Dark Shadows: The Beginning" and didn't show up on my search for some reason (Amazon.com has some weird search quirks).

    The result is that I actually started watching the series with episode 210, the first appearance (however brief) of Barnabas Collins, aired on the 17th of April, 1967.

    I'm now on episode 296, having just seen the first color episode (#295) and gone through some significant plotlines of the series.

    What do I think?

    I love it.


    I didn't think I would be all that interested. I mean, I've never really enjoyed vampire stories OR soap operas, so I figured I would be indifferent to this one. It's a daily show, each episode about 20 minutes long. And it's got all the silly drama of bitter romance and family disfunction.

    But it's also really quirky, with the matron of the house having a terrible secret, the nature of which I didn't learn until well into the show. The daughter is a typical blonde with an attitude. The uncle is an upper-class twit. The governess is normal, only she's apparently got a mystery, too AND she introduces the episodes in prose so purple it's royal. The conniving conmen preying on the family get their come-uppance, and new characters are introduced as needed.

    Best of all, this is practically live television from the 1960s, so you can get a definite sense of the conditions the cast were shooting in. Lines are constantly being flubbed as if it were live, and everyone carries on. The sets wobble more than the worst of Doctor Who. Doors stick, characters trip, boom mics make brief appearances and I swear I saw a guy walking across the back of a set once who really ought not to have been there. In one segment, someone was slamming doors in the distance and someone was coughing - but despite it being a secret meeting between two characters, they carried on like there were no background sounds.

    I've been thoroughly entertained by both the silly plots and the silly production values. I've also done a bit of "spot the actor" with a few characters. The sheriff from these seasons later became MacGyver's boss. Sam Evans, father of a kidnapped girl, is best known for playing John Hancock in 1776. The kidnapped girl herself also appeared in tons of other shows.

    In short, I'm really enjoying watching it while I do other things online. At 20 minutes a pop, the episodes are like snacks. None of them are so long I get bored. I'm not sure everyone would like this show, but I'm really happy I delved into it.

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    A Sunday Comic Books Review

    DCBS
    Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
    • Oct 4th
    • Justice League #30 - Well, now. I was expecting Wonder Woman - as were the children apparently. Regardless of how this story turns out, the timeline the children are from has been destroyed. What is going to happen to them? Time travel is so finicky and dangerous. The curse on Aquaman was intense. No wonder he's so cranky. There was a Golden Age story in which Aquaman became allergic to water, but this sounds hundreds of times worse.
    • Green Lanterns #32 - Pancakes? Well, eventually. I'm not sure why Simon would go to a diner with Jessica if he knew there was a party going on right then that he wanted to attend. Nor does it make sense for him to drag someone with severe social anxiety into that sort of situation. She didn't complain much, but that's just not right.
    • Usagi Yojimbo #162 - The key witness manages to get the key information to Usagi, who acts on it, as is typical for him. The result is justice - but the question remains of who the killer was and why he took the actions he did.
    • The Tick 2017 #1 - It seems like forever since I've read any new Tick. I know there's been some, but they were lackluster, in my opinion. This? Worthy of the name. I mean, murder clowns and ninjas and the Tick speaking in French for no apparent reason? Lovely. And the possibility of seeing an origin story for the Tick? Even better.

    • Oct 11th
    • Bombshells United #3 - Um. Did Diana sacrifice herself by getting eaten by Clayface? That's... that's disgusting. And oddly symmetrical, as she notes.
    • Scooby Apocalypse #18 - Hrm. Apparently in this universe, Montana and Washington state share a border. I wonder what happened to Idaho? Aside from that little oddness, the story moves along nicely in this issue, with Scrappy maybe dying and maybe not to save the others. The Secret Squirrel back-ups are pretty awful, and I stopped reading during the second one.
    • Back To The Future #23 - Marty has so thoroughly messed up the past I'm not entirely sure this is something that can be fixed. I just wonder if the fact that Joey is still going to jail will salvage any of the chaos. And what the heck happened to the DeLorean?
    • Spongebob Comics #73 - Definitely the Halloween issue. It starts with a ghost story and pranks, continues with the silly scares, and ends with a haunted penny of all things. Again, fun stuff, but no Mermaid Man. Although Mama Krabs's Knitting Room of Nightmares made me giggle.

    • Oct 18th
    • Aquaman #29 - Well, now. More progress is being made in this story. I loved the shade's response to Vulko, though it seems odd that he can talk with no face. Vulko fits in with those protectors... he ought to go down and chat with them more often. As for Dolphin and Arthur - interesting chat they had about the difference between a hero and a king. Then there's the Tempest story, which was hinted at in Titans. I noticed him ripping the necklace away during the fight, and wondered if that was because it would give him more power or something. Little did I guess its true purpose. And lastly... Murk. That was oddly satisfying. Yup, still want to read the next issue badly. This series has made me happier than I've been with the book in years, and the last few writers weren't bad at all.
    • Batman: The Drowned #1 - Um. Ok. I'm not really all that sure what just happened there, but I'm also not sure I need to know. It's a crossover that involves a bunch of bats, and this particular bat happened to fight Aquawoman of Earth-11 and turned herself into an Aquabat, which is so utterly ridiculous I'm not even laughing. Since I didn't buy other parts of the crossover, I'll just read the reviews to see what happens next - if I ever feel any curiosity about it.
    • Justice League #31 - Ok, I really don't get time travel. However, my assumption is that when they return to "their" future, the threat will be gone completely, since it followed them into the past. Therefore, they will be able to rebuild in their alternate universe. So it'll be another piece of the multiverse. As for the rest, lovely and heartbreaking on so many levels. A nice conclusion to the story.
    • Titans #16 - A death, a psychic backlash, a memory dump (literally) and now - please tell me we aren't going back to the days of a billion different versions of Donna Troy. This issue was one big fight, and so it's a little underwhelming, even with the pathos and all.
    • Green Lanterns #33 - Jobs. Employment. This one hits me hard. Jessica is healing from her anxiety. Anyway, how do you save people who don't want to be rescued? And what's going to happen now that disaster has struck the support rescue ship? Nicely set up so I want to read the next issue.
    • Teen Titans Go #24 - Well, at least Aqualad appeared in both stories. I was reminded again that I'm not the target audience for this book. Sometimes I really like them, most of the time I'm just a bit underwhelmed. This time I was underwhelmed.
    • Bombshells United #4 - So Clayface is converted into... something else. But what did they do to the people in Los Angeles? What sort of magic is being used to force people to confront reality? I still feel like this bit of the storyline is a bit clumsy. Perhaps the fight with a legion of Clayfaces will make it better.
    • Astro City #48 - Sometimes reading can be traumatic. This story manages to fit into that category, while at the same time being comforting. I was not expecting the ending, but I saw the demise of Hank coming since the end of last issue. It was done beautifully and I particularly liked the way the Pet Patrol comforted Andy after. As usual, a really good issue of a really good comic book.
    • Wonder Woman/Conan #2 - So, Yanna seems to be from an Amazonian-like tribe, but I'm not sure Diana is Yanna. I think we're supposed to be wondering exactly how Wonder Woman is in Conan's reality. I'm just gonna sit back and continue to enjoy the story.
    • Doctor Strange #26 - This issue is another solid story about Doctor Strange's world. It resonates with both magic and the history of the character and works both as a fun comic book adventure and a continuation of the ongoing story. In other words, now that stupid crossover is gone, we're back to some excellent stories.

    • Oct 25th
    • Teen Titans #13 - Oooo, the Bainbridge Island ferry during rush hour! I've been there! I guess I'll always give the side-eye to any moving trucks on the ferry from now on. Red Arrow has her head on straight, and I really enjoyed seeing her burn that little twit, Damian. She has a very nice point - he was alone. And what's this nonsense about him creating the team? It was around long before he was and even had a different leader just before he joined. He's an egotistical moron. A character I just wish would go away forever.
    • Batman Beyond #13 - Another standalone issue, this one set soon after Terry returns while the city is still just starting to recover from the disaster. Enemies become allies for a short jaunt as Batman tries to help reset the city's tech in places where most folks cannot reach. It's an ok story, not much to write home about, though.
    • DC House of Horror #1 - Eight very short stories, with about half of them bat-stories (ug). None of them have any characters I'm thrilled to see, but that's actually fine, because none of the stories were all that good. Perhaps the most interesting concept was of a girl possessed by the spirit of the Amazons after playing with a Ouija Board (don't tempt the spirits). The Superman story was suitably horrific. The rest barely merit mention. Definitely not the best anthology DC has produced.
    • Scooby Doo Team Up #31 - Ah, the Atom. This is a good one for Atom fans, I guess. I'm not big on the shrinking into kingdoms that are inside an atom thing, so it's just a little disturbing to me. I do have a suspicion of what the end is leading up to, and I'm not entirely sure I'm looking forward to that, either. Oh well, it's still fun, and it was nice to see some actual detective work.
    • Back To The Future #24 - Ha, I thought the story would end once our goofy time travelers got back to the future, but no, Biff and Joey are practically waiting for them there. I'm curious to see what Doc Brown has to say about all of it, since there is a lot more going on there in the past and present. And while a treasure map fits Doc Brown's sense of humor, I'm not sure it's actually his exact style.

    • Doctor Who Comics
    • Doctor Who 10th #3.8 - I admit I wanted to cry at the Sarah Jane appearances. She's just so *right*. I can hear her voice saying those lines and making them her own. I can hear the comfort she gives. As for the rest - yeah, peril and stuff. But oh, I miss Sarah Jane.
    • Doctor Who 10th #3.10 - Echoes of the future strike the past, and of course the Doctor is able to fight off the inevitable with the help of both the future and the past. And the wisdom of Sarah Jane, I'm sure. I need to stop having trouble with time travel stories if I'm going to remain a Doctor Who fan - except Doctor Who usually doesn't bring the time travel element into the main story - time travel is just the method to get to the setting of the tale. Which I enjoy more than twisted time consequences smacking us around. Sorry, wandering off-topic. I loved Sarah Jane in this one, with her references to the past. And I thought the whole paradox was nicely explained. So, I enjoyed it.
    • NOTE: Issue #3.9 is part of a crossover that I do not have all the issues of yet due to shipping and distribution problems. However, it is NOT part of the ongoing storyline, thank goodness, so I can just continue these regular reviews.
    • Doctor Who 11th #3.8 - Ah, memories. Being stolen from people. We've already experienced a bit of that in the show, and in the comics as well. Indeed, I keep forgetting that the Sapling stole memories from the Doctor and Alice to become a whole being. In fact, there's an awful lot about memories in the last couple of issues of this run of the comic.
    • Doctor Who 11th #3.9 - A new plotline starts, as the TARDIS crew heads to a planet the Doctor visited in the past and find it has gone through rapid industrial progress that polluted the air. I'm still not sure what triggered the Doctor's attack and clued him into the nature of the progress. Again, this issue talks about memory in that the Sapling can remember the Doctor's previous visit, but he cannot.
    • Doctor Who 11th #3.11 - Ah... so not a Time Lady. Something much worse instead. I wondered. The Time War has a lot to answer for. This issue finished up the current little story while continuing the overall storyarc, which has me curious. Not as great as some recent issues of DW comics, but still fun and strange.
    • NOTE: Issue #3.10 is part of the missing crossover, but not part of the regular storyline.
    • Doctor Who 12th #3.6 - Why is Twelve getting all the cool callbacks to previous episodes with awesome bad guys? I mean, the Waters of Mars reference was already enough to make me happy, but now we're seeing references to Fenric? Man, this series is starting to tickle my fangirl senses in a very happy way.
    • Doctor Who 12th #3.7 - And a solid conclusion to what was a pretty cool story, as the Doctor manages to outplay Fenric at this part of the game. Yet it's not a happy victory for the Doctor, because he knows what will happen in the future, and there's just enough of that to keep the story from becoming too much of a fanfest. Very neat stuff.

    Sunday, February 04, 2018

    A Sunday Comic Books Review

    DCBS
    Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
    • Aug 16th
    • Aquaman #27 - So, even in Atlantis it's the year of the woman? I'm a little surprised that the Widowhood would be pushing for this, but then... no, I guess I'm not. They are powerful, secretive and a very nice addition to the mythos of Atlantis. I like having them as a counterpoint to Vulko's scholarly lore. As for Mera and Garth - well, he just used his powers in front of the Titans, so I expect he'll eventually give in on this as well. In the old continuity, Garth was pulled out of time and studied magic with Atlan himself. This version is a little less keen on it, I see. Oh, there's so much good in this.
    • Justice League #27 - Uh oh. The children are hiding something from their parents. Probably the identity of Sovereign, who is being painted as Wonder Woman at the moment. Simon's future looks somewhat bleak, even if he seems pleased with the idea of killing Sinestro. He's a healer, not a fear-monger. And Arthur successfully sneaking up on Batman? That's something.
    • Astro City #46 - And the whole thing comes together, but still is slightly lost. I think if he ever figures it out (with the help of the audience, right?) then he'll be much happier. What is the musical hero that lives in Astro City, and when will his time come to shine? I don't know, but I'm looking forward to it.
    • Green Lanterns #29 - Training is great and all, but clearly this was a case of seeing-is-believing. Once the brand new Green Lanterns saw what they were up against, they had no more quibbles that the mission was important. Now I wonder exactly how this is going to play out. We have hints and bits from future events, but there are a lot of unanswered questions. It's good to be excited about a Green Lantern book again.
    • DC Comics Bombshells #33 - And that was that. I think this is the final issue of the series. The newly launched Bombshells United will be up next, and I hope to see Mera and maybe Arthur in that as well. For the moment, though, we have a nice conclusion with Kara making the right choice. Interesting that the Wall claims this is just the first act, though.
    • Teen Titans Go #23 - Yeah, I wouldn't much want to babysit Superman after he's been affected by Kryptonite, either. What's really funny to me, though, is Aqualad's resigned look when the baby shows up on their door at the end of the story. The other story, of the Teen Titans being broke and needing to sell their skills to pay the bills, was just annoying.
    • Aug 23rd
    • Teen Titans #11 - Well, Damian had a good moment of encouragement in this issue. Nice of him to help Jackson trigger his powers. Even funnier that Damian appears to have suffered a broken arm. Maybe Starfire will take over for a bit longer and straighten out the team.
    • Batman Beyond #11 - And more Damian... love of a pet is a powerful thing. Unfortunately, I just don't buy that Damian would turn around so completely so quickly just because his father was being killed. The ending to this one seemed a bit abrupt.
    • Scooby Doo Team Up #29 - Nice. I wasn't expecting the formula to get turned upside-down like this. I'm a little surprised at how quickly the real estate developers folded, though. They are usually made of sterner stuff. I guess getting sprayed with water and knocked into the air by Shaggy and Scooby was enough to make the appearance of the ghost a final straw.
    • Doctor Strange #24 - This appears to be the final issue of the annoying crossover. One can only hope.
    • Saucer State #3 - Fairy cakes and presidential aides. I was hoping to see some reaction on her part - some opening of her understanding, or at least an indication that she'd taken something unusual. Heh. And the quest... ha. I wasn't at all surprised, but I was amused. I really hope I understand this whole thing once it finishes. Paul Cornell's writing can be fiendish, but always rewarding at the end if you can put the pieces together.
    • Sep 6th
    • Justice League #28 - Ayup. It certainly looks more likely now that Wonder Woman is the threat of the future. I can't quite imagine how she's going to react to that, but we know what the children think they have to do. I like seeing Mera as a mother, and I wonder if she's going to be important in handling future Aquaman? Definitely a strange storyline.
    • Green Lanterns #30 - Those rings still need some work before they are ready for prime-time if four of them pick Simon all at once. Speaking of, why didn't Jan-Al's ring find Simon earlier? Was it the moment when he overcame great fear that attracted them all? In any case, Volthoom isn't going to enjoy what comes next, I'm guessing.
    • Bombshells United #1 - Ah. WWII wasn't all good vs evil, despite what our history books say. Executive Order 9066 is definitely one of those evils that the "good" guys did. And it's very bold of this series to tackle that problematic period of history.
    • Astro City #47 - Who's a good dog? Well, Hank is clearly a very good dog and a very good influence on Andy. Whether or not G-Dog is itself a good dog... well, the actions are good, but as Andy himself reflects, his origins are problematic. And, as the cliffhanger points out so heart-breakingly, his future is also a bit problematic. Oh, I love this book.
    • Usagi Yojimbo #161 - Yay, another Inspector Ishida book! And a murder mystery! And Kitsune as a prime witness! And... wait, who called the police? Oooh, this book is so great. I consistently enjoy it.
    • Sep 13th
    • Titans #15 - Huh. Nightwing's explanation actually makes sense, especially followed up with a plea for help. But here's the thing - I know a lot about Raven and her danger to the world, but I don't know a flipping thing about Omen. I just haven't delved deep enough into Titans lore to understand how she is a threat to anything. And my main source of Titans history is no longer with us. So I don't know what the feathers indicate, and I'm not sure what is happening. I did very much enjoy Garth's "admission" and everyone saying "We know." But this book has some mysteries yet for me.
    • Teen Titans #12 - A crossover. As I haven't got much of the Metal books, since it's a Bat-thing, I don't really care for the story. Especially since it's also Damian-based. Pass.
    • Scooby Apocalypse #17 - You have no idea how disappointed I am that Scrappy not only survived, but came back in the next issue. Ug. Minus that bad news, however, this is a decent issue. I was particularly tickled by Shaggy falling asleep the way he did and the result of that unfortunate nap.
    • Spongebob Comics #72 - Who knew blowing bubbles could be so dangerous? Pretty standard issue of this comic, although it's missing the usual fourth-wall cast of pirate characters.
    • Sep 20th
    • Aquaman #28 - Three solid story threads, with a couple more just for spice, each one focusing on main characters: Arthur with Dolphin, Mera and Tempest and Vulko (squee!) who is almost back to his normal scholarly self as he waltzes through ghosts with nary a worry. Oh man, I am beginning to really love this book. If this quality is maintained, I'll be a happy fish for quite some time.
    • Justice League #29 - Just a note, I'm both amused an annoyed at how Mera is portrayed on the covers of Justice League - mostly in Arthur's colors to indicate that an Aqua-character is part of the cast. Ahem. I was waiting for the reunion between Mera and the future Arthur, and it was as distressing as I expected it to be - as well as the cliffhanger! I definitely accept that Aquaman could take out the rest of the league given those enhancements and all of Batman's knowledge (and his toolbox). That said, I still need to see what made him turn into Curry and become a horror to the future children.
    • Green Lanterns #31 - Sacrifice and death and multiple rings... but it was Jessica who stopped the madness just long enough for the end to happen. I think she's turning out to be a different and much better Lantern than anyone, especially herself, could expect. But then, she also experienced the Volthoom of Power Ring, so she has a completely unique perspective on what it means to wield a light power. Baz, now... I expected the fact that parts of his ring were imbedded in his arm to have a major significance. I'm still kind of hoping they will. I wasn't expecting to see him get one of the first rings at the end of the story.
    • Wonder Woman/Conan #1 - Yanna, huh? Not Di-Yanna? Ahem. This starts out very much like a typical Conan story, but the appearance of Wonder Woman throws a spanner in the works. I'm not sure how she got there or why she bears a resemblance to a childhood sweetheart of Conan, but it'll be an interesting trip to find out.
    • Wonder Woman '77 and Bionic Woman #6 - I watched both shows religiously as a child, but I don't know enough about the villains to understand the conclusion to their story beyond the surface aspects. That said, I enjoyed this series for the most part, although it got very slow and wordy in the middle.
    • Doctor Strange #25 - I really do enjoy these mixed styles stories - where one story is not only set in the past but also is done in an older art style. In this one, Strange remembers a past adventure which somehow triggers powers in somebody else. The story is nicely creepy as Strange remembers more and more and finally admits that he made a mistake. Interesting storytelling, and a nice return to the book after an annoying crossover.
    • Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror #23 - Three fun little stories that break all the rules, starting with a retelling of IT featuring young Homer and Marge as the children in the first part. Amusing, but I'm sure I would enjoy it even more if I was more familiar with IT. The second story was about an alien invasion that took a strangely familiar form, and had some oddly resonant pathos at the end. The final story featured the Comic Book Guy getting an (almost) perfect curse. Pity he didn't become a polydactyl. It was an amusing tale (tail?).
    • Sep 27th
    • Batman Beyond #12 - Another "year of the woman" issue. Max teams up with a new Bat in the slums to save Barbara Gordon. I quite liked the tricks of this one, how Max uses her strengths to fight and how a new team seems to be getting it together while the boys are off fighting each other to death.
    • Bombshells United #2 - Clayface is a tough one to fight when there are a number of people running around in a dark and rainy forest. I wonder which forest they're in? This issue is a little bit preachy. Admittedly, the subject lends itself to preachiness, but it's not as strong as it could be.
    • Scooby Doo Team Up #30 - Basically there are dozens of adventuring teams in the DC Universe running around saving the world. That's what I get from this issue of this book. It's hilarious, and the inclusion of Rip Hunter along with all the others is amazing. The Sea Devils, Cave Carson, the Challengers... it's a bit much. Amusing, but a bit much.
    • Saucer State #4 - I'm really wondering how this is all going to play out. It seems like the president is in an impossible spot, trying to hide what happened while dealing with what amounts to a full-scale paradigm change for the entire world. And her ex! For some reason seeing the driver turn into an animal made me crack up in ways I probably shouldn't have... especially since that scene is on the cover! I'm just along for the ride and hoping it will make sense when I read the final issue.
    • Rough Riders: On The Storm #6 - And Edison takes care of the threat? But that final revelation makes me cringe. And why did Annie walk away from Edison without getting the answers she needed? Another series is promised, and I'm sure we'll be getting it. This has been a lot of fun in very strange ways.

    • NOTE: I'm removing the Doctor Who comics from the weekly lists because of irregular shipping issues. I'll be trying to review them as I reach them in the weekly piles, but I'll put those reviews at the end of my updates as I'm able.
    And with this, I'm up to October's books... just as February is underway. Well, I hope I can keep up the pace and get a few more comics read and capsuled. Maybe I'll even catch up.