Spring in Wisconsin

Monday, April 28, 2008

According to my calendar, spring arrived March 20. This morning, when I left the house to drive to my daily morning swim, I found the ground covered with a layer of snow.

I post this as a note to warn myself a year from now that, well, that I live in Wisconsin and should be prepared.

But I haven't seen a single mosquito here in 2008. Hah!


More on Linda Holmes

Sunday, April 27, 2008

You may have seen my April 14 recommendation to check out Linda Holmes' blog.

I'm just letting you know that she now has her own website, where her comments continue. I continue to recommend both her topics and her skills at expressing many things I believe but don't say as well.


Unexpected projects

Little did I think Friday, when I arrived home from the office (mind still chugging through what I was going to do for my feature in Comics Buyer's Guide #1643 -- a feature which is turning out to be a lot of fun), that I'd be hearing so soon from my near-and-dear son, Stephen.

And "near" was the operative term, since it turned out that he was calling, not from his office in Washington, D.C., not from his home in Silver Spring, Md., but from Madison, Wis. -- a mere two hours' drive away! What th--?

Seems he and wife, Denise, had decided that a storage unit in Madison, where they'd been storing much of their Stuff for the past two years, had become (a) a nuisance and (b) a financial drain. So he and some of Denise's kindly (strong) family members were clearing out the storage unit into a U-Haul and were driving said truck to Denise's parents' home in Gresham (a mere one hour's drive away for me).

So Saturday morning, I drove to Gresham (much to the surprise of Denise's mom, who was not expecting me) and got there about 10 minutes before the U-Haul hove into sight. At which point, those of us with strong backs began to unload a strange assortment of Stuff into a basement. It's just as well the decision was taken at this point, because (warning! warning! warning!) you can't always count on a storage unit to be water-tight, and several boxes were starting to disintegrate.

I have come away from the experience with arms that are sore, if I move them this way (so don't move them this way, silly!), and the determination that this will be the year that sees some of my Stuff out of my house and dispersed to locales where no one of my acquaintance will have to deal with it any more.


Clambering on the horse again

OK, I admit it.

The foul-up with SuperPhone (a Mobile PC from Verizon) a week ago made me wary of posting online again. It looks as though everyone is in the midst of figuring out what the problem is -- and, in the meantime, I shan't attempt such communications again. Me for ordinary postings via ordinary computers.

Except that later in the week, the Dell from which I'm posting at the moment (yes, another home computer; I seem to be wallowing in computers) suddenly decided that it wasn't going to accept its wireless keyboard (though its wireless mouse worked just fine). I replaced the batteries, turned everything off (going so far as to unplug everything), turned everything on again -- nope. I tried deleting the keyboard and adding it again -- nope. I checked some of the "Help" information, and it suggested using a wired keyboard to do the hookup. So I bought a (cheapo) wired keyboard and this morning finally had nerve enough to plug it into the USB port. At which point, the Dell announced proudly that it had located a wireless keyboard and didn't I want to use it?

Heck, yes.

I've left the wired keyboard hooked in as a threat to the wireless keyboard. Maybe that'll keep it in line. And I'm back to the "daily" blog.


Super-Phone isn't letting me post here

Thursday, April 17, 2008

That's why no post yesterday. I assure you, yesterday's post was brilliant -- brilliant, I say. There was wisdom therein that could have changed the lives of all readers.

Or maybe it was just nattering on how I'd had a terrific day in New York City, capped by an interview with DC Comics' Zuda team. (Video will eventually be online at CBGXtra. Stay tunred.)

It continues to be frustrating that, after I've blogged via SuperPhone, I get a red-lettered note that saying something like, "Entry Is Needed." And then the entire entry disappears. Sigh. Dunno if it's the phone or this site. I can e-mail via the Internet just fine. But blogging? Not as simple.

Plans for today: Into the city again. I'll see whether I can get press credentials at the Javits Center this morning (probably not -- and it'll be a hike back to civilization, since shuttle busses won't be running). Target is to meet Patty Jeres at the Blue Fin restaurant at 1537 Broadway (212) 918-1400 at 12:30 p.m. Hoping to contact Carolyn Kelly to join us there. We shall see.

Then, a quick 4:30 meeting with Michael Uslan, if all goes as planned -- and then a hike back to Grand Central Station for the trip home. Cold is (sniffle) getting better, following massive infusions of Vitamin C. Can you tell that this blog has become a boring account I'm using more for my own purposes? Apologies. But, oh, that yesterday post you never saw ...


The New York Comicon is coming, and I...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

.. have a sore throat?


So I'm pounding down Vitamin C and getting adequate sleep and all. But sharing a house with a grandson with a cold? Well, there's just so much self-immunizing one can do.

In the meantime, it looks as if today's noblest goal will be to get laundry done. Dang!


Have You Ever Heard of Linda Holmes?

Monday, April 14, 2008

No? Well, have you ever heard of the website Television without Pity? While she was there, she was the snarky wordsmith on several of the most entertaining review strings.

More on Linda in her own words;

Linda Holmes grew up wanting to be a writer, but quit at eighteen because she was too chicken to approach professors to get into college-level writing classes. TRUE STORY! She also discovered that her instinctive enjoyment of picking apart logical problems and human behavior was a good match for the study of law, so she went off to law school. While in law school, she started writing movie reviews on the internet, which nobody cared about except her family and friends and a couple of random fans whose names are lost to history.

She successfully passed the bar exam and became an attorney. She worked for the Minnesota legislature for six years, doing legal analysis and drafting legislation (ask her about the temporary abolition of the Board Of Boxing and why you can’t sell cars in Minnesota on Sundays!). It was during this time that she became a fan of, and then started freelancing for, Television Without Pity, where she had the remarkable good fortune to be assigned The Amazing Race as her very first show.

Those words are from her newly established website, Things What Things.

As soon as I can figure out how to do it, I'll be adding her to the links at the side of my home page -- just so I can save a few steps in finding out what essay she's posted most recently. For example, yesterday her post including this valuable information (valuable for me, because my daughter works in New York City and my son works in Washington, D.C., and the rest of their respective families are nearby):

Instead of the usual Greyhound approach of stopping fairly frequently and taking a long time as a result and costing a lot, Boltbus only goes between a few spots, and it goes express with no stops. In New York, it leaves from a couple of places, one of which is at 33rd and 7th across from Madison Square Garden, only a couple of blocks from the F train. Better yet, it drops off in DC right in front of the Metro Center stop on the D.C. Metro, making it very easy to go wherever you need to go next. I decided to try it out this weekend for a last-minute jaunt to D.C. to see the MS — missed my sis this time, but I’ll get her next time, and it won’t be long, because I LOVE BOLTBUS.

They promote two things about Boltbus very prominently: it’s cheap, and it has wireless. Indeed, even at the very last minute, I paid $40 roundtrip from New York to D.C., and if you have a little more notice, you can get a ticket for $30. Or $20. Or $14. Or, if you book a month or so in advance, $2. That’s right — part of their charm is that they offer a one-dollar fare each way, provided you book early enough. Not many of those two-buck fares are available, I’m sure, but that makes New York to D.C. and back the same price as taking the train from Brooklyn to Rockefeller Center.

Wow, huh? Thanks, Linda! I've got my eye on you (or, rather, your superb wordcraftings) from now on.



Sunday, April 13, 2008

Since it begins to look as if a visit to Fred Kida is not going to happen, a large chunk of yesterday was spent lolling about in family entertainment. So I watched a terrific mystery movie, Green for Danger, with brother Paul and son-in-law Zander yesterday afternoon and the recent Disney release Enchanted with daughter Valerie and Zander yesterday evening.

Both were successes with the new audiences, so let me suggest both for your own viewing.

Green for Danger made a star out of its detective -- Alistair Sim -- and the script sparkles. Moreover, the mystery is fair and solvable -- and Zander noted and solved several bits in advance of The Big Reveal. See if your local library can find a copy for you.

I've had several people indicate surprise at my enthusiastic recommendations of Enchanted, but the delights of a Disney satire on its own film library and approaches to storytelling are many and rewarding. I gather the BluRay release is packed with more "footnotes" to elements of the film, and I'll add this to my shopping list when I finally go shopping for a player.


Well, THAT Wasn't as Simple as I'd Hoped

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Up and dazed this morning, after being up 22 hours coping with delayed and canceled flights. Long story short: fog in Milwaukee and bad weather elsewhere. Still, I'm fond of the Milwaukee airport (the terminal bookstore is Renaissance Books, which stocks used books; what can I say?), and it was tiring but not horrible.

Still, all attempts to post from my phone (and I made several tries) failed. Sigh. Let's hope it's more cooperative at the upcoming NYC comics convention.

And the experience stands as a warning about summer conventions: If you're traveling by air, you might want to consider giving yourself lots of leeway, so that you can smile and adjust rather than snarl at the poor souls at the gate, who had nothing to do with the fix you're in. (I told one of those staffers, "I wouldn't have your job for a squillion dollars." She responded, "I'm eligible for early retirement, and I'm seriously considering it.")

It would be nice if whoever handles the assortment of announcement boards (which are well set up and well placed throughout the Milwaukee airport) were a little more clued-in, though. I noticed that the Flight 15 I was scheduled to take out of Milwaukee was listed on the Arrivals Board as "On Time," but that it was (a) already past the time it should have arrived and (b) given as "Delayed" on the Departures Board.

I was lucky that my situation was not even particularly urgent -- which is why I'm hoping we can all plan ahead for con season. It's one thing to be six hours delayed in arriving in NYC when you're just aiming for a pleasant family weekend; it's quite another to miss a panel with your favorite artist because you're stranded in Chicago.


Crossing my fingers...

Friday, April 11, 2008

I've checked multiple times with the Midwest Airlines website, and it continues to assure me that the flights I'll be on today are On Time. So today's schedule puts me on airplanes to New York City one full week before the New York Comic-Con. This lets me hang out with family over the weekend and (fingers crossed again) see whether it'll be possible for me to visit artist Ed Kida, whose "Airboy" stories were so captivating from Hillman. (Not to downplay his other work, but I thought Airboy was especially keen.)

Part of the challenge of this trip is coordinating NYC activities pre-con. Thursday is already getting nicely booked; we'll see whether hopes of doing videos with comics people earlier in the week come to anything. It's a two-hour commute between daughter Valerie's home and Grand Central Station, so I won't make it on a whim. But it's certainly worth the effort, if I can come up with news and views. (The Karen Berger video interview on CBGXtra.com was done pre-con last year, for example.)

The dishwasher is chugging away, the trash has been set out for garbage pickup, and now it's back to packing.


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