Monday, July 28, 2003

Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee are slated to take over as the creative team on "Superman" next year. Wow. Great writer. Great artist. I'm still not going to read it — because it's Superman.

Superman does not appeal to me as a hero. He's boring. The guy can do anything. How is it a challenge for him to overcome obstacles? Superman is like a character in Chinese mythology — insurmountable problem arises... hero quickly and easily defeats problem. Every time. Or at least it seems that's what he should be able to do considering the arsenal of powers at his disposal. It doesn't make for interesting reading.

I'm sure this isn't exactly what happens in the Superman comics, but he's still not a cool hero. Much of the appeal of comic superheros (especially when readers are younger) is the fantasy of our potential to become like the character. When you look at a character like Batman, he's really just a man. He's a guy with a ton of money who has trained himself in detective work and fighting skills to the point where he can operate as a superhero. But he's still just a man. We could do the same thing as him. Most of Marvel's characters' powers are a result of some atomic force (cosmic radiation, gamma bombs, radioactive spiders) or mutation, so there too, there's the dream that we could some day have something similar happen to us. We aren't going to wake up some day to suddenly find ourselves like Superman. Granted, we're not going to wake up and find ourselves with powers like Spider-Man, either, but it seems more plausible.

Other comic heroes (those in the Marvel universe especially) also carry a theme that their powers, while fantastic, can also be a curse. The Hulk has incredible strenth, but can't control his rage; The Thing also has great strength, but he's a big, ulgy mass of orange rock; Rogue can absorb another person's psyche, but she can't touch anyone's skin without potentially killing them; Cyclops can blast through almost anything with beams from his eyes, but he can't ever look at anyone directly without a pair of big, ugly red glasses. These characters are flawed, and as such, we can identify with them more easily. Superman is so far removed from humanity that there's no comparison between him and us.

Besides, his costume is ridiculous.

I just smashed my head into a brick wall. I was trying to look out the window in the stairwell and I misjuged the distance between my head and the wall by about six inches. Now my teeth hurt and I'm going to have a lump on my head.

The events of the previous paragraph probably have something to do with the fact that I only slept for about an hour last night. I just couldn't sleep, so I got on the computer and cleaned up my vacation photos from the digital camera, read blogs, and took a sex purity quiz. I am not posting the results here. I finally went to bed at 5 a.m. Just before 6:00, I woke to the sound of the cat vomiting. Of course it was on the carpet.

After work today I'm going to Wal-Mart to drop off the film from the "real" camera and to the cable company to return Misty's old cable box lest they bill us a couple hundred dollars.

We rented a movie last night, so we have to watch it tonight so we can return it on time. I do not want to get into the same situation as last time we rented movies. For the price of the late fees, we could have bought the discs. Old School was much funnier than I expected, but it wasn't worth $12. Anyway, I'm glad tonight's feature is the Ashton Kutcher/Brittany Murphy romantic comedy classic Just Married. I'm probably going to fall asleep, and I won't care if I miss it.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

I just took a quiz that supposedly measures what level of threat I am to the Bush administration. Here are my results.

Democrat
Threat rating: High. The Bush administration is
concerned that it may not get a second term.
Therefore, we are going to change the rules so
that each Democrat vote only counts as 0.2
votes because Democrat is a shorter word than
Republican


What threat to the Bush administration are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, July 14, 2003

I was in a traffic accident today. Those little insurance cards specify that you should never admit fault, but I think it's safe to reveal here that it was my fault. I stopped at what I thought was a four-way stop, waited for a car to pass, then drove forward.

It wasn't a four-way stop, though — it was a two-way stop.

I remember Misty yelling, "Watch out! Watch out!" Then I barely registered a collision.

Since I had been accelerating from a stop, I think I'd only worked my speed up to about 2 miles per hour when I hit. The other driver had also slowed down quite a bit because at first, (as she told me later) she too thought the intersection was a four-way stop.

I hit her car on the rear passenger-side wheel. There was very little damage to my car — just a lot of smudging/scraping on the front bumper. The other car took more of the impact, it seems. I don't know much about car lingo, so I don't want to use the wrong word to describe what was bent, but it was dented/bet somewhat around the wheel. The driver also said she'd had a bit of trouble getting it to turn into the parking lot after the collision, so I assume there's more then just cosmetic damage.

The important part: No one was even slightly hurt. I am fine. Misty is fine. The other driver is fine.

We called the police and filled the accident report, and went on our way. I'm glad the other driver wasn't angry. Or, at least, she didn't act angry. She just said, "that's what insurance is for." I only wish I felt as nonchalant. It was my first accident and my car is only a few months old, so I'm a little shaken. I'll be fine, though. I have San Diego to look forward to in two days.

There's a lot I've been meaning to write about here over the past few days, and more things keep coming up. With my vacation a mere two days away, I'm doing a hit and run on topics that I want to catch up on.

I'm finally in my new office. Not the new new office, but rather, the new temp office. If you can't keep up, don't worry — neither can most of the staff. Anyway, both the Huntsville and Birmingham offices of al.com will soon be merging and moving to the Martin Biscuit Co. Building in Pepper Place. Until then, I am taking up space in the Dr. Pepper Building next door. Other than the occasional company from Ryann (the news intern), I've got the place to myself. I'm in a third-floor office with my desk next to the window, overlooking the Birmingham cityscape. I can even see Vulcan off to the left. It's really nifty here. Alas, I'll only get to stay for a couple months before I'm herded into pens with the rest of the cattle. In the meantime, I'm savoring this setup.

For those of you keeping up with the real estate news, I'm happy to announce that I have accepted an offer on my Huntsville house. I signed a bunch of paperwork this weekend to get the ball rolling, and we're supposed to close by the end of this month. Of course, considering how many delays there were when I was supposed to be closing on my Birmingham house, I'm not counting on it. Regardless, the promise of a single mortgage payment by as early as next month is something to celebrate.

What strange irony...

My friend Hubie posted a link to an article about America's Most Drivable Cities in his blog this afternoon. Birmingham somehow found its way into the top ten of the list. Since I was just involved in a car accident on my lunch break today, I'm going to have to say that this list is bullshit.

I miss Huntsville "traffic."

Sunday, July 13, 2003

I have to go to a baby's Christening in a little while. I don't know these people (they're friends of Misty), so, of course, I'm not too enthused about this outing. Misty doesn't believe in the practice of Christening/baptising babies, so she's not too keen on the idea, either. Nevertheless, we are going. She doesn't want to disappoint her friends, and I am trying to be a good boyfriend.

Speaking of being a good boyfriend, I was certainly that last night when I spent four hours at the Galleria. Ugh. For goddamn hours at the mall. I hate the mall. I needed a pair of slacks and some new shoes, and finding both took me about 20 minutes. Misty, on the other hand, is not so speedy when it comes to shopping. She, like most women, actually enjoys the experience, so she lets it languish for as long as possible.

Back to this morning's adventure, though... Misty asked me to wake her up "really early." Since we get up for work each day around 5:30 or 6:00, I assumed "really early" meant about the same time. How wrong I was. Upon rousing Misty at 5:30 a.m., then at 6:00, then at 6:30, I was eventually informed that "really early" meant around 8:00. *sigh* Why am I even up?

Saturday, July 12, 2003

My dog died yesterday. I got an e-mail from my dad saying that she'd lost a lot a weight, she'd been acting listless and confused, and was even having a hard time with simple stuff like walking or breathing. They had the vet put her to sleep. I'm glad I got to see her a few weeks ago. This sort of stuff usually doesn't affect me, but Lucy was always my favorite pet. She wasn't even really a pet — she was just my friend. I'll miss her.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

The night that I killed myself 

I had a bizarre dream last night. I dreamed that I killed myself... sort of.

Before that mishap occurred, I was washing my laundry at a laundromat on a college campus. There was dirty laundry all over the floor, and I was sorting through it, picking out what was mine. A television mounted on the wall was showing a public service announcement about the advancement of technology and humanity in the future. In it, people were shown going to work in their various modes of futuristic transportation. Some people still walked to work, though, and the camera zoomed in on one particular person — a black businessman who looked to be in his mid-thirties. As he rode down a massive outdoor escalator, the PSA shifted its focus to become a sort of gun safety video. In the future, it seemed, guns had been absent for quite some time, and if you were to come upon one, you would likely be unaware of what it was. The man from the escalator demonstrated this sense of bewilderment as he discovered a handgun abandoned in the grass. At this point, I took on the role of the man in the safety video, and I fiddled with the gun for a moment, unable to get it to work at first. Eventually, though, it began to fire, but instead of a bullet, it emitted a steady stream of a red gel-like substance — kind of like a cross between a laser and a jelly-filled super soaker. Since jelly was coming out of the gun, the man (me) thought it might be a mechanism for dispensing food. He put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger again. The gel melted though the back of my mouth, though my brain, and out the back of my head. As I died, my arm dropped, still holding the gun and firing. The beam of gel passed through my left arm and severed it off as well. The PSA seemed to have a message of "See? That's what can happen when you fool around with guns."

At this point, I woke up. My left arm was numb, and I had a dull headache.

I'd always heard that you can't die in your own dreams. I guess that's not true.

Misty and I have been expressing our frustrations over our slow, dial-up connection at home. Why am I suddenly having a problem with this, I wonder? I never felt the urge to sign up for DSL or cable access before. I've had dial-up for years at home (and on a much slower computer, no less) and until now, it's served my purposes just fine. Granted, I have discovered the joys of file sharing lately, and it's no longer a "quick trip" over to my office if I want to use a fast connection for a while. Ultimate Josh points out that Huntsville is a more tech-oriented city than Birmingham, too. He thinks that dial-up is probably faster in Huntsville because everyone there has cable access and the dial-up lines are less congested.

I think, maybe, I'm finally learning to appreciate this medium that's employed me for the past five years. That's not to say that I didn't appreciate it until now, though. I used to believe that the Internet was a bunch of hype — a fad that would pass — but I grew to enjoy it, and I have enjoyed it for years. However, I've realized that it's more than just another entertainment source. It's more than something I simply enjoy. The Internet has become an almost essential part of my life.

Just this weekend (and here, as I often do, I'm referring to Tues/Wed as the weekend) I used the Internet to: pay my mortgage (when I didn't get the paper statement in the mail on time), check my credit card statement (and apply my Discover Cashback Bounus Award to my account — woo!) download music, plan the itinerary for my vacation, check my flight departure times, search for an obscure item on eBay (found it, too), talk to far-away friends on instant messenger, keep up with other friends through their blog entries, and, of course, write in my own blog.

With all this, I don't think the 24Kbps speed we're currently averaging from home is going to cut it.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

This doesn't seem very nice. But it is fairly accurate.


FIRE is your chinese symbol!


What Chinese Symbol Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

A much different message than the "Chinese" fortune I have taped to my monitor: "You are kind-hearted and hospitable, cheerful and well-liked."

I've been sick this weekend. I'm not sure what exactly is ailing me, but it's been bouncing around to different parts of my body for the past couple days. It feels like a mini-flu. I missed work yesterday, which would have been nice except that I didn't feel like doing much.

Here's what I've been up to since my last post...

Friday afternoon Misty and I watched My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding. It surprised me how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of Moonstruck, but I liked the characters better. It's definitely a movie I'll enjoy watching again.

That night Misty and I drove downtown to watch the fireworks from the roof of al.com's office. Unfortunately, there was a rather tall building blocking our view of most of the show. We had to climb down off the deck onto the tar and gravel part of the roof in order to get to a spot where we could see. Next year, we'll watch from Homewood, as Misty suggested in the first place.

Traffic on the way home through UAB's campus was terrible, so we made the best of it by watching the antics of the other crazy drivers. We passed by a guy who had one of those TV screens in his SUV. He was watching porn. A group of guys who seemed to be hosting a party in their hooptie drove by. A girl going in the oppoisite direction from us screamed across the median to the guys in the pickup in front of us, "Oh my God, you're so fine!" The shouting courtship continued back and forth only briefly before movement of the traffic pulled these two would-be lovers apart.

Misty stayed up late Friday night in full-blown vacation Nazi mode. She found information about a bunch of fun stuff that we want to check out when we're in San Diego -- the Wild Animal Park, Balboa Park, La Jolla Beach, Knott's Theme Park, The Prince & the Pauper Bookstore, shops in Little Italy, restaurants... Obviously, we won't be able to see it all, but I'm looking forward to whatever we can fit in. Misty has made it very clear that we are not going to spend all our time at the convention, and, despite how much fun I always have there, I'm glad. For the first time, my trip to Southern California is actually going to feel like a vacation.

Yesterday I stayed home from work and tried to spend a lot of time resting. Being sick made me cranky. Misty and I watched a couple episodes of The Sopranos and the movie Maid in Manhattan. Tony and company, as always, provided prime entertainment while the J. Lo movie was crap. I'm usually a sucker for formulaic romantic comedies, but this one didn't make the cut.

Tired of lying on the couch all day, I finally got out and mowed the lawn. I think my doing so guilted Misty into cleaning up the mess we've had in the kitchen for the past week. There's still quite a few piles left in the garage to unpack and put away, but the house is feeling more and more comfortable as we knock out little bits of the months-long project called moving.

More moving comes later this week when al.com gets temp space to house the incoming Huntsville production staff while the new, bigger office is being put together. For the past few weeks, I've been bouncing around to the desk of whoever is on vacation. Next week, however, there won't be any empty desks, so I hope I'll have a place to sit. I'm supposed to be moved into the temp space by Thursday, but considering that such promise has been dangled in front of me only to be whisked away more than a couple times since I've been here, I'll believe it when I see it.

Friday, July 04, 2003

I'm going to San Diego in less than two weeks! This is the third consecutive year that Comic-Con International has drawn me there. It's such a cool city with wonderful weather (year-round, I'm told). If I had the sort of finances at my disposal that it would require, I'd buy a condo there.

This year, I'm going to try to see more of what San Diego has to offer than just the convention. With Misty to help steer us elsewhere, we're going to make sure we visit the beaches and the famous San Diego Zoo this time. Disneyland is also a mere hour and a half drive north of the city, so we're going to try to fit that in, too. Misty has warned me that she will shift into her "Disney Nazi" mode very soon to plan exactly what attractions we'd see in what order. Though she runs a strict regime, her tactics will undoubtedly prove helpful in making the most of our vacation.

The main source of anticipation for me is still Comic-Con, though. I've been checking their Web site frequently to see what sort of stuff they have lined up for this year. And as if Ultimate Josh and Damon weren't envious enough already, here's the latest bit of pants-wetting excitement:

"[Friday] ends with two big movie events: Miramax's Kill Bill panel ... featuring Director Quentin Tarentino, and cast members David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen and Michael Jai White. Plus get the first news on a new film by Comic-Con special guests Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, coming from The Jim Henson Company, MirrorMask. Plus we have 2 brand new animated premieres on Friday: Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, and Jill Thompson's Scary Godmother Animated Special."

Oh, and Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Sam Raimi, Robert Englund, Rob Zombie, Matt Groening, Edward James Olmos, Hugh Jackman, and Kate Beckinsale are now popping up on the guest list, too. Weep, ye mortals.