December 31, 2014

1992 rocked!

I first found out I was going to attend Wabash in 1992.

December 30, 2014

Hey there, 1991!

1991 was the start of my senior year in high school.

December 29, 2014

Welcome to the 90s!

1990 was awesome, wasn't it? I first went out on a date with my now wife in 1990.

December 27, 2014

The mole could be anybody - except you, Tina!

December 25, 2014

Merry Wondermark Christmas

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Enjoy some holiday comics from Wondermark (more here)...

December 23, 2014

Tastefully, Offensively Chucklesome

Tastefully Offensive is worth checking out from time to time. It's funny.

from my former student, Kat Swenski (can't embed the animated gif easily)

December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas, Bob and family

December 19, 2014

Thank you, Tim Burton

Tim Burton brought Batman back to the big screen in 1989.

And these songs came out, too...

December 18, 2014

Have you heard about this new drug, crack? Just came out this year...well, the this year of today's 8tracks playlist.

December 17, 2014

Thank you, Rob Reiner

The Princess Bride came out the same year these songs did.

December 16, 2014

Welcome back, Edwin Halley

1986 saw the return of Edwin Halley's comet.

Apparently he lost his comet and keeps struggling to find it.

Lucky for us, I guess.

Let's celebrate that year with a few songs in a playlist.

December 15, 2014

Mikhail Gorbachev died in 1985

Today's playlist comes to you from 1985, a fine year to turn ten.

December 14, 2014

Christmas music and posts

In case you were in need of some Christmas music - for a party, for putting up the tree a little late, for drowning your sorrows as you open each present hoping it will be the full collection of the Fables: The Deluxe Edition books but instead keep finding socks and underwear in each box - check out the fifteen Christmas playlists that I've posted in years gone by.

And feel free to wish join me in wishing for Steve Martin's five Christmas wishes. It's a classic.

December 13, 2014

I'm not missing Axel's first game because you didn't plan ahead.

December 12, 2014

Brilliant artwork from a branding rebel

I absolutely love the poster (probably just a digital poster, I guess) that somebody put together for the farewell event for Matthews Auditorium (Princeton's soon-to-be-demolished high school theater.)

Somebody really did a creative number on the Viking head that we use for our logo (and that the we pretty clearly stole from the Minnesota Vikings or a thousand other logo sources.)

With all that being said, I am a little curious as to how this fits into the Princeton branding guidelines that say "Do not distort the master brand logo" and 'Do not put the master brand logo in a box or any other shape" because this is clearly being promoted officially by the school.

December 11, 2014

Need a good read?

The vast majority of my reading is done in the graphic novel world.

With that being said, I do understand that there are a whole lot more books that can be read.

If you're looking for some good reads, you could probably do a whole lot worse than trying some books from NPR's best books of 2014 (sortable by tag).

December 10, 2014

Smooth rock sounds

So much Yacht Rock today...

There's the classic and hilarious web series - admittedly a little because of language - Yacht Rock. All of the episodes are available on Channel 101 and on YouTube.

Then there's AllMusic's Yacht Rock favorites along with the Spotify playlist that they put together.

December 9, 2014

Collectible Minifigures Series 13

The full Lego collectible Minifigures Series 13 has now been fully revealed. Let's take a look at what I'm going to be trying to feel for in January.

  • Galaxy Trooper - armor is starting to be distinct and two guns
  • Alien Trooper - only circular piece in set, head is going to be tough to feel because it's new
  • Evil Wizard - staff, neck beard
  • King - crown, sword is too much like female samauri
  • Goblin - weird sword, satchel - no sword
  • Lady Cyclops - club
  • Snake Charmer - staff with no bumps at all, snake
  • Paleontologist - bone, pith helmet
  • Carpenter - 3x1 tile (or maybe 4x1), saw
  • Hot dog guy - the full hot dog suit
  • Sheriff - 2x2 tile
  • Samurai - two swords, maybe shoulder armor
  • Disco Diva - microphone, two roller skates
  • Unicorn girl - horn, helmet with ears
  • Fencer - epee, maybe face shield
  • Egyptian Warrior - giant shield in pentagonal shape
There are a lot of swords this time. That's going to make things tougher.

My early favorites are the hot dog guy, snake charmer, carpenter, Ming the Merciless, and the king.

December 8, 2014

Looking for Teachable Moments

I stumbled upon (not Stumbled Upon - I stopped using that service a while ago after getting a couple of nasty computer viruses) an NPR story about a Middletown High School English teacher who chronicles his teaching life via a blog of cartoons.

They're not all brilliant, but they're almost all spot on observations of his world, and it's one that I recognize all too well. I'll be following Teachable Moments for the foreseeable future.

Check out some of my favorites from the strip.

December 6, 2014

My preferred dairy custard is half and half...

December 4, 2014

It's Calen's favorite musical year

See, because a decade or so ago, I helped Calen go buy some new music, and she got four cd's from 1983 and one from No Doubt.

So 1983 is clearly her favorite musical year.

December 3, 2014

November 29, 2014

I can't get iTunes to stop downloading NPR's All Songs Considered me...

November 27, 2014

More Lego Simpsons Updates

Last week I posted a link to leaked sculpts of some of the heads for the Lego Simpsons collectible minfig series 2. From those, the rumors point toward a Dr Hibbert and a Groundskeeper Willie as well as a Santa's Little Helper.

This week's leaks look to be getting us a Professor Frink, Snake, Smithers, Patty, and Comic Book Guy. Big excitement about Frink and CBG for me.

That brings our list to...
  • Dr Hibbert
  • Groundskeeper Willie
  • Professor Frink
  • Snake
  • Smithers
  • Patty
  • (assumedly) Selma
  • Comic Book Guy
That's eight of a likely sixteen figure set. Who else should we have?
  • Moe Syzlack - still alcohol-connected making him a tougher sell for Lego
  • Barny Grumble - same as Moe
  • Principal Skinner - I'm surprised he didn't make the first cut.
  • Edna Krabappel - her voice (Marcia Wallace) passed away last summer, so this might be a tough one
  • Troy McClure - again, with Phil Hartman passed, I doubt this one
  • Bumblebee Man - would fit nicely with the collectible series's penchant for figures in animal costumes
  • Lenny - only if we get Carl, too
  • Carl - only if we get Lenny, too
  • Fat Tony - little too violent, perhaps
  • Reverend Lovejoy - I like this as a possibility.
  • Hans Moleman - how can he die in Lego?
  • Mayor Quimby - he might require a pudge
  • Dr Nick Rivera - always hilarious
  • Sideshow Bob - over Sideshow Mel

November 26, 2014

A whole lot of comics and one crappy Lego book

Really good things I've read lately
  • Flash: Rogues Revolution (vol 2) and Gorilla Warfare (vol 3) (new 52) - The relaunch of Flash is working really well. I dig the artwork; I dig the change of romantic interest from Iris Allen to Patty Spivot, a crime scene investigator and Barry Allen's professional equal. I dig the redesign of the Glider from stupid, golden skater to mostly intangible astral projection. I dig the idea of Speed Force as being a weird dimension.

    I really, really dig the artwork.

    Sadly I couldn't read the first volume as the library copy I checked out had a bunch of pages ripped out. Stupid teenagers

Good things I've read lately
  • Action Comics: Superman and the Men of Steel (vol 1), Bulletproof (vol 2), and At the End of Days (vol 3) (new 52) - I haven't been a huge fan of Grant Morrison's writing, finding Batman (Black Glove, et al) and Final Crisis needlessly complicated, hard to follow, and difficult to understand. There are time-jumps a plenty, multidimensional villains, and attacks that aren't even remotely what they appear to be. These stories work only on the very, very long term, rewarding readers for paying attention to and remembering story breadcrumbs laid down years previously.

    Here, it actually kind of works. Admittedly, though, the three-volume storyline is far greater than the individual issue parts are on their own. In fact, at times, the individual issues were somewhat confusing, jumping from past to future, new 52 universe to an Earth-23's President Black Superman. In the end, though, Morrison actually brings things together to a satisfying wrap-up.
  • Invincible Ultimate Collection Volume 9 -  Admittedly, there's a bit of save-the-world fatigue at this point in Invincible because the world has been nearly destroyed dozens and dozens of times, the Viltrumites have fought again and again, and Mark has been left for dead dozens of times.

    But it just keeps working.

    Every time I think the series's gone too far, I keep wanting to read more. The cliffhanger at the end of this volume - with Mark trapped in another dimension - has me biting my nails again. Nice job, Kirkman.
  • Fairest: Of Men and Mice - Cinderella takes the series for a run here with something that certainly would have fit in tidely in the main series. In fact, much of the storyline ties in neatly to the building tension of the main series's impending wrap-up as we find in the end that a plot set into running by Brandish (now trying to redeem himself in Rose Red's army of hope) is nearly seen to fruition by an Leigh who ends this volume practically laughing maniacally and rubbing her hands together.

    The actual plot sees Cindy quelling an assassination attempt against her and Snow White, attempts involving hundreds of rat-human hybrids of varying levels of ratness and humanness (yes, humanness, shut up). The plotline wraps up neatly enough and isn't much more than an unnecessary sideline from the main series's continuing march toward the inevitable. Let's get back to the main tale, shall we?
  • X-Men Legacy (vol 1-4) - This exploration of Legion (Prof X's son) mental illness and attempts to right his world and control his powers is surprisingly interesting. Definitely worth a try.

Passable things I've read lately
  • How to Fake a Moon Landing -  I really wanted to like this one. It's a graphic novel/comic book/picture story that points out that science disbelievers are misguided. The book tackles moon landing disbelievers, autism-vaccine linkers, homeopath purveyors, and all sorts of other mistaken folks.

    I wanted to like it, but I just didn't. It's too one-note, too pedantic, lacking any subtlety whatsoever. Maybe younger readers might be more willing to read through this lack of subtlety, but I only made it through about half the book before I sent it back to PLCH.
  • Batgirl: Knightfall Descends (vol 2) and Death of the Family (vol 3) (new 52) - First off, I was embarrassed to even pick up vol Knightfall Descends because of the horrible cover. Apparently the artist was trying to come up with a horrifically sexist cover showing off Batgirl's apparently massive quads and a spandex-covered view of the holiest of holies. I couldn't carry the comic around without covering it up with another book. Good lord, folks. (Check out the image to the right to make it larger)

    The continued exploration of the after effects of Barbara Gordon's shooting and temporary paralysis at the hands of the Joker (in the still kind of in-continuity Killing Joke) is an interesting and likely necessary choice if they're going to keep Barbara Gordon's past in continuity. The girl Talon, continuing the Court of Owls crossover is happily passed by quickly. The weird, girl version of Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael named Knightfall here (referencing the broken-back storyline from the old 52) comes next...meh. The best part of the Batgirl series so far has been the search of Batgirl to find independence, finding her own apartment, making a new friend with her roommate. The villains here are forgettable.

    Then comes the crapfest that is Death of the Family. CRAPfest...the face ripped off and stapled back on Joker is a whole bunch of horrible ideas, as is the 'Joker wants to marry Batgirl'. Even worse is the introduction of Barbara's brother James, Jr as a horribly psychotic, disastrous badguy who knows Barbara is Batgirl. Bad, bad, bad idea and execution.
  • Superman: Fury at World's End (new 52) - Meh...Superman and Wonder Woman hide their relationship from fellow heroes...the biggest threat (another Kryptonian but with super science ability and superpowers that Superman and Supergirl don't have) ever to Earth to the whole solar system EVER...zzzzz

    Yes, the sight of Clark Kent talking to Lois Lane while thinking about Wonder Woman followed immediately with Supergirl barging into Clark's apartment - which Lois dismisses as Clark doing 'blog interviews with comely cosplayers.'

    And the entertaining prison traps built around Lex Luthor - traps which only Superman can break through when he needs to talk to Luthor - are pretty fun.

    But the actual plotline isn't very interesting.

Awful things I've read lately
  • Brick Flicks -  Good lord is this stupid. It's a collection of film photos or posters recreated in the medium of Lego. There is almost no Lego-related information - no discussion of the Lego techniques involved, a very few wordless photography building instructions (which alternate between ridiculously, pointlessly simplistic and ridiculously hard to follow due to the gigantic jumps made between steps), just a few paragraphs of tepid movie summaries with a cute closing sentence.

November 25, 2014

Subversive public artwork

I appreciate Miguel Marquez's Outside project.

I find inside less interesting (except for the bird thing...that's intriguing)...

November 24, 2014

Posters for movies that never existed

It's a bit of an odd thing: to make posters for movie sequels that never existed.

But it worked pretty well.

I particularly like...

November 22, 2014

We are not a codfish...

November 21, 2014

Four...four...four years old

Was there anything good on the radio in 1979?

Apparently yes.

November 20, 2014

November 18, 2014

Football as art

I'm digging ESPN's ongoing illustrations of the big college football storylines from the weekend.

Actually, I should say I've been digging Chris Morris's illustrations of the same...

More Lego updates

I turned one.

Day 2, 1976...more music. Anybody wanna guess on tomorrow's theme?

November 17, 2014

Kobe Bryant, all about the volume...

This bit of statistical trivia came across ESPN's website this morning...
  • Kobe Bryant had the 121st 40-point game of his career Sunday, but did so shooting 15-of-34 from the field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau research, only Wilt Chamberlain (72) has more games with 40 points when shooting less than 50 percent than Bryant's 51. No other NBA player in NBA history has more than 29 such games. 
It's early, and thinking about statistical projections when you're ten games into an eighty-two game season is foolish, but...from ESPN's NBA stats pages
  • Kobe is currently second in the league, averaging 27.3 points per game (half a point behind LeBron). 
  • Kobe is leading the league in field goals attempted by a pretty big margin (244 for Kobe in 10 games, 218 for Carmelo in 11 games, nobody else above 190).
  • Kobe has the 119th best shooting percentage (37.7%) of all players who qualify for the leader boards...just behind Kevin Love (#118) and James Harden (#117).
  • In points per shot, Kobe does come in a little better at #106 in the NBA with 1.12 points per shot.
Long term, this is clearly an aberration in  Kobe's shooting percentage for his career as he's shot 45.3% for his career and hasn't ever before shot lower than the 41.7% of his rookie season. Of course, this year's field goal attempts (24.4 per game) would be his second highest of his career after his 2005-06 season when he averaged 27.2 shots per game but scored 35.2 points per game on 45.0% shooting.

I mention all of this because a student of mine this past week mentioned that Kobe had set the record for most field goals missed in an NBA career at 13471 (and counting very quickly). The student then explained that there must be a correlation between shots missed, shots taken, and talent. Clearly, he said, anybody who's allowed to shoot that much must be making lots of their shots.

That's somewhat true, but the correlation between shots taken and missed is far from 1.0 for the greatest players.

The top shooters (field goals attempted all-time - from pro-basketball reference)...
  1. Kareem - 28307
  2. Karl Malone - 26210
  3. Kobe - 24618 (would take two solid years of playing to catch Kareem)
  4. Michael Jordan - 24537
  5. Elvin Hayes - 24272
    (Kevin Garnett is the next active at #14 with 20792)
The top missers (field goals missed - also from pro-basketball reference)...
  1. Kobe - 13471
  2. John Havlicek - 13417
  3. Elvin Hayes - 13296
  4. Karl Malone - 12682
  5. Kareem - 12470
    (Vince Carter is the next active at #13 with 10667)

The top makers (field goals made - same source)...
  1. Kareem - 15837
  2. Karl Malone - 13528
  3. Wilt - 12681
  4. Michael Jordan - 12192
  5. Dr J - 11818
  6. Shaq - 11330
  7. Kobe - 11147 (would take six more years at current year's shooting percentage to get to #1)
    (Kevin Garnett is next among actives at #14 with 10341)
Top scorers (total points - from pro-basketball)
  1. Kareem - 38287
  2. Karl Malone - 36928
  3. Michael Jordan - 32292
  4. Kobe - 31973 (would take about three more years at this year's scoring average and really good health to get to #1)
  5. Wilt - 31419
    (Dirk Nowitzki is the next active player at #11 with 26989)
The crack about Kobe not passing isn't entirely true. He has 5963 assists for his career, good for the #32 most of all time, averaging 3.8 assists per game (down from his career average of 4.8 per game).

McDonald's doesn't make the best burgers in the land, but they sell a ton of them.

Kobe Bryant is McDonald's...he's Wal-Mart...he's r-selected.

From the year of my birth

We're starting today with music from the year of my birth. Enjoy these songs from 1975.

November 15, 2014

I think your ivory is illegal. No, no, no. Mine is antique.

November 13, 2014

More photos of Minifigure series #13

More confirmation continues to appear about the list of collectible minifigures series #13.

This bit of info is thanks to HothBricks and gets some low-res images of the figures on a couple of display boxes in a style that I've never seen in stores around here.

After some zooming in, thoughts...
  • Alien trooper - looks a lot like Cthulhu (on the top left, side)
  • Egyptian warrior - meh...(on the top right, side)
  • Unicorn girl - another awesome addition to the figures in animal costumes line...(on the middle, side)
  • Disco diva - pretty cool (on the bottom, side)
  • Snake charmer - curious to see what the snake looks like (bottom, left side)
  • King - I dig the torso and the cape (bottom, front)
  • Paleontologist - meh (bottom, front)
  • Sheriff - love the mustache, love the wanted poster (bottom, front)
  • Female cyclops - another opposite-sex pairing from the figure series (bottom front)
No images yet of galaxy trooper, evil wizard, goblin (curious there), hot dog guy, carpenter, samauri, and fencer.

November 12, 2014

That's two dozen

"Ya got ten...then ya got ten more...then it's like, what's this, four more?...twenty-four, faggetaboutit..."

This could revolutionize math as we know it.

November 11, 2014

The hometown's pride on Veterans Day

Thanks to Eerie Indiana for posting images (and to Bing for providing the aerial image) of the New Albany National Cemetery.

The eleventh day of the eleventh month...

Thanks to TedF for posting these images of the New Albany National Cemetery a few years back.

The cemetery was a place that was across the street from my elementary school, down the street from paternal Grandma & Grandpa's house, and less than a block from my junior high school. It's a place that means a great deal for me and where my maternal grandparents were laid to rest.

Veterans Day Memories

Veterans Day Memories

Reposting from 2006

The picture shows a Cub Scout placing flags at the gravestones in the New Albany National Cemetery, my home town. It's one of one-hundred twenty-three national cemeteries, but it's the one that's clearly closest to my heart.

It was across the street from my elementary school, diagonal from my junior high, and probably three blocks from my high school. I spent many a time walking along the walls of the cemetery or walking beside them instead of on the walls when, for a time, I would choose to express deference toward those fallen and intered there. I never remember playing through the cemetery as I remember some friends doing, and the rare cuts through the cemetery were always oddly solomn for me, even though it wasn't anything resembling a spooky cemetery. There were nice, huge, old trees here and there, but the world was just outside the low walls, and nothing every was scary there to me.

And in 1991 my grandfather, a veteran of two American wars, was intered there. It is ther first funeral that I'd been through, and it just might still be the only one I've been through. He lived to a ripe of age - seventy-two - and certainly didn't die as any result of his service time, but it was comforting for the few years after that when I still lived in New Albany to know that I could stop by and see his gravesite at any time, nestled there among the rows and rows of identical headstones marking the graves of so many veterans and their families.

Today is Veterans Day, a time to remember how much has been given to us for what our country is today. No matter your feelings for the policies of the current administration - and mine are often negative - no matter whether you believe in the conflicts into which our current military men and women are being sent, remember to honor them for their sacrifice. Without those sacrifices, our country would not be what it is today.

Take a minute to thank a veteran today. Visit him or her. Stop by a memorial - the Chris Dyer memorial. Or simply pause your assuredly hectic life for a moment and thank them silently.

To know more about the New Albany National Cemetery, see any of these links:
Thanks, Grandpa...
Thanks, Chris...
Thanks each of you...

Pride in the hometown

Thanks to Robert 'Bobby' Powell for posting this image of the New Albany National Cemetery.

November 10, 2014

Tweedy on Austin City Limits

Check out the full episode of Austin City Limits featuring Jeff Tweedy, his son, and a few friends.

Feathers in a vacuum

This experiment proves absolutely nothing whatsoever that hasn't been proven a whole bunch of times before.

It uses a huge amount of resources to do that, taking four hours of pumping to evacuate a giant room of all its air so that a British guy could drop a few feathers and a bowling ball at exactly the same time.

But all of that doesn't matter in the least because this is just do frickin' cool...


November 8, 2014

My melon soul Crushed by your Gallagher of apathy...

November 7, 2014

So many choices

Every day at school, I draw an event that happened on that day. They might be historically significant, scientifically important, curious, or just easy to draw.

Today presents so many interesting choices...
I went with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge because it's easy to draw and scientifically interesting.

November 6, 2014

More Lego Collectible Minifigs

We're just barely a month since the release of Lego's Collectible Minifigures series #12, and we're getting our first leaked images and list for series #13, to be released on January 1 of 2015.

LEGO Minifigures, a tumblr, has a leaked list of the figures...and TheBrickFan has a couple of leaked images...
  • Galaxy Trooper
  • Alien Trooper
  • Evil Wizard
  • King
  • Goblin
  • Lady Cyclops
  • Snake Charmer
  • Palaeontologist
  • Carpenter
  • Hot Dog Guy
  • Sheriff
  • Samurai
  • Disco Diva
  • Unicorn Girl
  • Fencer
  • Egyptian Warrior
In the long run, the list is largely whatever. I'll be lining up to go a perfect sixteen-for-sixteen again.

Calen, are you in?