Monday, August 30, 2010

Quicksand Fetishists

Just when I think there can't possibly be any more weird things for people to obsess over sexually, our crazy species proves me wrong.

I'm only partway through Slate's Rise and Fall of Quicksand, but I've already encountered people in the article who derive sexual excitement from various activities involving quicksand. That's right: I just put quicksand and sexual excitement in the same sentence.

While I don't have that particular... um, proclivity, I do have an early childhood memory of watching some World War 2 movie on TV that featured one of the characters being caught in quicksand and his friends being unable to pull him out. Scared the crap out of me then, and reading over this article I realized that I've never quite been comfortable with the idea of quicksand ever since. Lucky for me that film-makers have stopped using that particular plot device recently, I guess.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"The New Man In Charge" Is A Small, Sweet Dessert

The family just finished watching "The New Man in Charge", the 12 minutes or so of new material included on the Lost Season 6 DVD. I expect that we'll revisit it at least once more after we've re-watched the entire season, sometime next month. But in the meantime here are my first impressions.

Despite it being way too short (about 1/4 to 1/3 the length of an episode), it was chock full of payoff moments for Lost fans. A few final mysteries get addressed, some familiar faces are seen again, and we get to see the new and improved Benjamin Linus in action for the first - and sadly, last - time. This is clearly a sweet farewell gift from Lindeloff, Cuse and the rest of the creative team, intended to both dull the pain of no more Lost while simultaneously accentuating that loss. All I had to do was hear the distinctive opening notes to be instantly transported back to all of the feelings that I had in May when the show went off the air for the final time. That's quite an endorsement for the series, if you ask me.

I can't help wishing there were more, but I'm extremely grateful for what we did get. Maybe we'll get more in the future (feature film set in the post-Season 6 era?) but even if we don't: this was an exquisite sendoff to one of the best TV experiences ever. It gave me every bit as many thrills as I'd hoped for, and for that I say "Thank you!!" to the Lost crew.

["Doc" Jensen's thoughts on the material are here. As always, it's a must-read for fans of the show.]

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tammy Owes Me One

Despite having the Lost Season 6 DVD in hand for more than 30 hours now, I've resisted the urge to watch "The New Man in Charge" (new material featuring Hurley and Benry) so that all three of us can experience it together this weekend. What kind of superhuman willpower must I have to be able to pull that feat off? The pretty darned impressive kind!

That daughter of ours owes me big time!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lost (Season 6) Is In The House!

Ordered it on Tuesday, received it this morning: the final season of Lost on DVD! I can't wait to watch the new material, entitled "The New Man in Charge". And to revisit the final season and take it all in once more, with the knowledge of how it ends.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pacifism During Wartime Is A Challenge

I absolutely love this story about a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 veteran player who, after prestiging 5 times, decided to see if he could rank up from level 1 to level 70 in the game's multiplayer arena without actually killing anyone!

This is the flip side to the typical "bragging rights" feat that some gamers go for, where they'll attempt to get all the way through a single player campaign on the hardest difficulty without dying even once. I personally find this pacifistic foray much more interesting and entertaining. I remember trying something like this ages ago, where I wanted to see if I could play through a game without stopping to kill any of the bad guys: I'd just run from objective to objective, trying to stay alive. I tired of it quite quickly, so we'll see how this guy does (he's at level 5 already, but the promotions get harder the higher you go). Kudos to him for trying!

Fun In An Alternate Universe

It's hard not to love this site, containing movie posters from an alternate universe. Some of them look pretty darned intriguing!

(Thanks to Neil Gaiman, on Twitter, for leading me to it.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Dead Walk On AMC This Fall

I've been reading, in trade paperback form, some of the early issues of The Walking Dead, an ongoing zombie comic series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image. It's been mildly entertaining but nothing spectacular. Possibly my lukewarm reaction to it has something to do with not finding zombies all that interesting to begin with, or maybe it's the way that so many characters move in and out of the storyline to the point where I can't keep track of them anymore.

At any rate, AMC in the States is currently producing a TV series based on The Walking Dead, and you can check out a pretty good trailer for it here. From what I can see in those four minutes, they've stayed pretty faithful to the comic. Assuming we get access to it here in Canada, I'll at least check out the show to see how it... grabs me. If you're a zombie fan, you'll probably love it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Head To Head Makes All The Difference

The Jays just finished losing another series to the Red Sox today, their fifth this season. With a few games against Boston remaining to fill out the year, Toronto is currently 4-11 against them.

The Sox have a record of 71-54, while the Jays are 64-59. So if we take the 15 games the two teams have played against each other thus far in 2010, and we reverse the results (give Toronto 11 wins and Boston 4 wins), we'd have our Blue Jays sitting pretty at 71-52 and Boneman's Red Sox wilting at 64-61. Toronto would be 4.5 games out of the Wildcard spot (Boston's currently 5.5 out), compared to the 11.5 they're back now.

That's how much of a difference their poor performance against their division rivals from Boston has made. Put another way: the Jays are 4-11 against Bos and 60-48 (12 games above 0.500!) versus everyone else!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Well, That Sort Of Figures, Doesn't It?

In a summer that's featured a wrecked pool liner and dying air conditioning, the loss of a beloved family pet as well as the return of a health issue that's sidelined my swimming for a month now, it stands to reason that the 2010 edition of the Chicago Comic Convention would be a complete and utter bust, doesn't it? And sure enough, this year's trip to the Windy City was the worst waste of time we've ever experienced there. It seems the programming for the convention has attempted to follow the San Diego model by filling a lot of panels with movie and TV celebrities (e.g. Linda Hamilton, William Shatner, Brent Spiner) at the expense of any comic topics. When we got there on Friday and I scanned the agenda for the three day span, it was like I was looking at something made up for a Sci Fi get-together, rather than a comic one. If there was one comic-related panel each day, we were lucky. And while I like SF as much as the next guy, I don't like having to line up for hours to get into panels for it. (For most comic book panels, you can arrive a few minutes before they begin and get a reasonably good seat.)

It didn't take long for us to realize we were witnessing the end of an era, and to decide that one day would be enough to take in what little there was for us. I spent a few hundred dollars on some old Thor comics, bought a few gifts, met and got to chat with Rich Johnston (from Bleeding Cool) and came home with most of the money I'd taken with me to spend. We saved over $150 by not staying in Chicago through tonight but wasted $50 by paying for the full weekend at the Con when single day passes would have sufficed. Oh well... it was a nice run while it lasted!

(Oh, and in case anyone cares: No, the Silver Age Trivia Panel wasn't scheduled for the convention, but I knew that before I left. Just one more change for the worse, if you ask me.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Building A Better Game

I enjoy imagining what games are going to be like before I actually get to play them, and it's almost a foregone conclusion that I'll do that when it comes to sequels to titles I loved. I took part in a long online survey from Insomniac Games months ago in which they asked all kinds of questions about what I'd thought of Resistance 2, especially in comparison to Resistance: Fall of Man. I took my time filling out my answers, and tried to make it as comprehensive as possible, given that I'd spent hours thinking about that very topic as I played through R2's various modes last year.

With the arrival of the Resistance 3 trailer this week, there's been a lot of chatter about the game. Here's one good example, containing lots of suggestions for how R3 can be great... most of which I'd agree with. Now we'll just have to sit back and wait to see what we actually get.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Portal 2 Dated!

Just in time to make the perfect Valentine's Day gift: Portal 2 is now scheduled to teleport in on February 9, 2011! How sweet!

After a long dry spell, there are certainly some exciting releases coming our way in the video game world in the next little while: Halo: Reach next month, F.3.A.R. (aka F.E.A.R. 3) in October, Call of Duty: Black Ops in November, Killzone 3 and Portal 2 in February of next year, along with just-announced Resistance 3 and still-waiting-to-be-confirmed The Last Guardian (by the ICO team), both expected out sometime next year. That's more than a half-dozen potentially great offerings that should arrive in the next six to twelve months, meaning that I may not have to replay old games for much longer. I'm glad I've got money sitting in the bank for this sort of thing!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

At Long Last!!

Resistance 3 has just been confirmed by Insomniac Games!! No date announced yet, beyond "2011". But at least now we know for sure that it's coming!

You can watch a pretty cool live action "teaser" for it here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

R.I.P. Rascal Holmes, 1995 - 2010

The last several days have been very draining on Vicki and I, as the older of our two cats, Rascal, went quickly downhill in terms of health. He had been losing weight for awhile, but more recently he'd stopped eating entirely and started becoming listless and confused quite often, crying whenever we touched him, and generally seeming very miserable. For a cat who had always been as sweet as honey and as even-tempered as they come, these were very bad signs indeed.

Tammy made the decision to make a spur-of-the-moment, 24-hour trip home over the weekend seconds after we told her that it was looking like it would be her last chance to see him. She and Rascal had been roommates in Tammy's first apartment during her last two years of university, and so it was really fitting that he got to see her one last time near the end.

Today, amid many tears on both our parts', we took our faithful feline friend of the past 15 and a half years to the vet to be euthanized. It's ridiculous how attached we all become to our pets, but that's also part of the reason why we bring them into our homes in the first place, I suppose. It's just too bad that it always has to end so badly.

Lucy (age 8) is now on her own in the Holmes household. Neither one of us wants to go back to two cats anytime soon, especially after the emotional toll of the last few days. Rascal will most certainly be missed (he is already); but he won't be replaced.

Reading Is Fundamental For Boys

In my Grade 7 autobiography that I blogged about yesterday, I had written that I believed my vocabulary had doubled in the previous year, thanks to all of the comic books I was reading. It strikes me as strange that I'd have even considered such a thing at that young age, but I imagine that some teacher or other adult had probably put the idea in my head.

Anyway, wouldn't you know that today I'd see this article talking about a study here in Canada that presents evidence on how exposure to comic books is extremely helpful in improving the general reading comprehension of children, especially among boys. That surprises me not in the least, as my mother was always onside with the whole comic book collecting thing for exactly that reason: she believed that all of that voluntary and enthusiastic reading was doing wonders for me. I'm sure she'd have preferred that I were poring over classic literature or even mystery novels (her favourite genre), but at least I was improving my vocabulary, being introduced to new ideas, becoming a faster reader, and learning to think more deeply about the words crossing in front of my eyes. I think I'd be hard pressed to find another activity that shaped me as significantly as the mental consumption of all those thousands of comic books did!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My So-Called Life

Vicki did almost a dozen hours of Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint tutoring over the last four days, all of them here in our house. Because of that, Matt the shut-in has had to find other ways to occupy himself while she and her "gentleman friend" were working away. This is the same challenge that Vicki has whenever one of my Math students is over, but those sessions have always maxed out at 90 minutes whereas yesterday saw her working for most of a six-hour stretch!

So one of my out-of-sight, time-filling activities has been to pick up my office in the basement which has been a disaster area for years now. It is, quite frankly, one of the very few places in the house where I can just plop something down wherever it suits me and know that when I go looking for it weeks, months or even years later, it'll be exactly where I left it. As such, it's accumulated a lot of crap, all piled up and strewn rather randomly about. After several hours of effort while Vicki was busy upstairs, I've now made a dent in it, but it's far from being presentable just yet.

However, as always happens on such jobs, I've come across several interesting blasts from the past. Tonight I shared with Vicki one of the more poignant of them: a 3-page "autobiography" that I wrote as a school assignment in Grade 7 (and then added to, at the end of Gr 8). Several things struck us after I'd read it aloud:
  • I was already writing with a lot of style and confidence in Grade 7!
  • What I considered important then was sometimes right on target (comics, family, introspection) but occasionally hilarious (Doc Savage books, friends who I can't even remember all these years later)
  • Several of the things that I thought (at the time) I understood about my own life turned out to be completely wrong
  • I haven't changed nearly as much as I'd like to believe, between the ages of 13 and 47!
I'm amazed something like that survived the intervening years, as I lost most of the my non-comic-related keepsakes when my mother died and I didn't have enough space in my small apartment to hold on to much of what had been in her townhouse.

Anyway, that's the sort of trip down Memory Lane that you expect to take when you do a big cleanup job like I've started, and this one hasn't disappointed so far.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Central Air Is Dead! Long Live The Central Air!

I've been too busy or distracted this week to write this up earlier, but our air conditioning saga is hopefully now at an end. The new unit had been scheduled to arrive a week ago today, but when the two man crew showed up shortly after 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and began unloading their truck, it was to discover that the wrong model had been shipped from the supplier! Now, you may wonder why they wouldn't have checked that earlier in the week - say, when it arrived at their shop and there was still time to do something about the screwup - but it doesn't pay to dwell on such matters, I'm told.

Attempt # 2 came on Wednesday evening, when the correct unit made its long-awaited appearance and the guys worked from 6:00 p.m. until a little after 11:00, during which time the temperature in the house rose from around 22.5° C (2° lower than normal, as I was anticipating an extended outage) to 28.5°. The good news is that the much more efficient model that replaced our 1980 unit got us all the way back down to 24.5° in quick order once it came online.

Not surprisingly, our new air conditioner seems whisper quiet to us after 12 years with the machine that we affectionately referred to as "the jet engine". For those who've experienced the whole "speak up a bit, the air just came on" effect while sitting in our backyard, you can rest assured that's a thing of the past now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There's A New Tutor In The House

Vicki embarked on her own tutoring career this afternoon, as she spent a couple of billable hours introducing someone to the wacky world of Microsoft Office. If you've ever thought that you should be paid for fighting your way through the mysteries of PowerPoint or Excel, well... now Vicki has!

Thanks to bosom buddy Suzy for finding my lovely wife this work. Hey, ten and a half months of not working is enough for anyone, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 'Other' Avengers Trailer

Not long ago, I shared the 'leaked' teaser for the 2012 release of The Avengers from Disney Studios. What it lacked in specificity (or visuals, or actors, or dialogue) it made up for in geek factor.

However, check out this version, made an astonishing 60 years before the team's big screen debut! Only fans of the comic series will truly appreciate all of the nice touches in this hilarious masterpiece, but hopefully "regular folk" can still enjoy identifying many of the sources for its material (the original versions of The War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Thing from Another Planet all jumped out at me immediately).

Thanks to the ever-entertaining Jeff "Doc" Jensen for the link to this great 1950's compilation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

35 Years Ago Today

On August 10, 1975, I was on my way to Cedar Point Amusement Park with my family. Before leaving home, I had checked my handwritten, paper-based "comic catalogue" (really just a bunch of 3-hole pages that I added to whenever I brought home new "treasures") and confirmed that I had 998 entries in it. Because of that, as exciting as the prospect of visiting Cedar Point was, I was perhaps even more jazzed by the thought that I might find comic # 1000 somewhere on the trip!

Sure enough, when we stopped in Sandusky, Ohio on the way to the park, I had the opportunity to go into a convenience store for snacks. There, much to my delight, was a spinner rack with bagged 3-packs of comics on it! Each package was priced one cent less than the total of the cover price of its contents, meaning that a trio of 25-centers would be advertised as "3 Comics for Just 74 Cents!" Also, by the nature of there being only 2 covers shown (one on the front, one on the back), it was very difficult to tell what the middle comic actually was. However, since I was only 2 comics away from 1000, I figured it didn't matter what the hidden comic in between was, as long as I picked out a package that had 2 comics I needed visible in it. So I did. In the worst case, the mystery title would be one I already owned and I'd have blown 24 cents on it.

When I opened the bag in the car, I discovered that the "sandwiched" comic was Detective Comics # 452, which I did in fact need. Just as I saw it, I also realized that it didn't matter which side of the bag I considered to be the "front": 'Tec # 452 was the 2nd comic out of the bag, either way, and hence was the 1000th comic in my collection!

As of today, it's now been 35 years since I had fewer than a thousand comics in my possession (I'll soon hit 28,000 as I'm only a few dozen away). Over that stretch, countless people have been impressed, shocked or possibly just amused upon learning that I have such a large collection of anything, let alone comic books. My Grade 7 girlfriend, with whom I corresponded for years after her family moved to the States, would invariably ask for an update on the total, in each and every letter she wrote to me. (She, like Vicki, knew what was important to me!) It's quite a constant to have had in my life over that long a stretch, when you think about it.

Monday, August 09, 2010

So Very, Very Close

Riddle me this: when would throwing a one-hit, complete game shutout victory featuring 17 strikeouts against one of the better teams in the major leagues ever feel like someone had just punched you in the gut?

Answer: when that one single blemish that prevented you from tossing a no-hitter came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth!

And that's exactly what happened to Brandon Morrow of the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday afternoon. I tuned to the game in the 8th inning, and noticed that the box score for the visiting Tampa Bay Rays showed a big, fat zero in the hits column. I had the volume turned low so that Vicki wouldn't notice and be temped to say, "Hey, look! The Jays have a no-hitter going on!" (she just doesn't get the whole "don't jinx it" thing). As things turned out, I was doing her a major favour by watching out for her like that!

When it got to 2 outs in the bottom of the night (with the score 1-0 Jays), I actually allowed myself to hope they might pull it off. Then Evan ("Don't call me Eva") Longoria hit a bouncer to the right of second baseman Aaron Hill. The infielder was able to get a glove on it but couldn't come up with the ball cleanly. Then I waited to see if it would be scored a hit or an error (an error would've preserved the chance for a no-hitter), only to see the goose egg disappear in the hits column for Tampa Bay.

I'm not sure how many times, in the history of the game, a no-hitter has been lost with just one out to go. But it certainly doesn't surprise me that the Jays in 2010 would be one team to do so. They just appear snake bitten this season, and so this sort of thing fits right in.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Comics That Never Were

These are some of the coolest, ummm, things I've seen in awhile: fan-made Marvel Two-in-One covers showing Ben "The Thing" Grimm teaming up with non-Marvel characters such as Judge Dredd and Batgirl. I've shown my favourite of the bunch to the left (no surprise: it's a JLA cover!), but they're all worth checking out here. The creator of them is quite skilled at blending different pieces of art together and making them look like they were actually published that way. Bravo!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Free Isn't Always Better

Here's an interesting article on the topic of what this movement to "free online news" is costing us, in terms of quality and depth of coverage. As the article points out, it's a battle between "information wants to be free" and "it sometimes needs to be expensive", which doesn't have a clear winner yet. And while crowdsourcing techniques can make it possible to get more minds working on problems than ever before, it can also create a lot more noise than signal.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Are We Finally Starting To Harness Our Species' Potential?

As most of the readers of this blog know, I'm a big fan of video games (as are many of those same readers) and think that they have all kinds of potential. In fact, just the other day, I was telling someone, "When that alien invasion finally comes, I am so ready for it now..."

OK, maybe not that kind of potential. But check this out: I've become more and more interested in the concept of crowdsourcing in recent months, as I stumble across increasing wide-ranging examples of it. The latest one, courtesy of something Vicki spotted, involved gamers solving protein puzzles. I can totally see how you could get lots of people to work on problems of this sort if you simply make it game-like enough to tap into the same energy and enthusiasm that we apply to, well, killing AI aliens!

I can't help but wonder just where this "collective brain power" thing - that we're only now starting to realize is even possible - will lead us. It's certainly pretty exciting to consider.

One Very Interesting Interpretation Of Inception

I've thought about Inception quite a lot since we saw it about forty-eight hours ago, which is always a sign of an exceptional movie. I hadn't really come to too many conclusions about the structure of it, though, thinking that I'd probably hold off until I'd had a second viewing (once the DVD is released) so that I could watch it all the way through with full knowledge of where it's going.

However, I just read this article by comic writer Steven Grant, and I have to say that I think he probably nailed it. In his take on the film, he explains away several of the small, niggling gripes that I'd had with it, such as (for example) how Ariadne became so proficient at modifying the landscape so quickly. It's actually quite a brilliant interpretation of what Nolan was up to, and while I'm going to ponder it some more, I suspect I'll go into my second viewing with this "Grant's stance" in mind.

Good For Dictatorships But Illegal Here?

With the emergence of cheap videotaping capability (read: cell phones) and their popularity even in repressed countries like Iran, there's been this sort of smug assumption by many of us in the "democratic world" that totalitarian regimes may ultimately be brought down by civilians who record human rights violations and then post them where the rest of the world can see them (read: YouTube). It all sounds very uplifting and promising until you read this story about attempts by the police in the U.S. to bully and even prosecute citizens who videotape nasty encounters with cops.

I have a lot of respect for police forces in general, but if anything bugs me about them it's their tendency to protect their own, even when there's clearly been wrongdoing on their part. I have no problem with the idea that they stick together against adversity, but covering up the truth always ends badly for everyone involved. If they're not doing anything wrong, they should have nothing to hide. This is a disappointing development that I hope gets nipped in the bud.

Earliest Trailer Ever?

Filming hasn't started yet, and I'm pretty sure there's no finished script in existence, either. But that doesn't stop this from being a pretty cool teaser:

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Doctor Who: From Zero To Sixty In Fairly Short Order

Just a few short months ago, I blogged about Vicki and I giving Doctor Who a try. I'd watched it a bit as a teenager but not since, and Vicki was pretty much a blank slate when it came to the good doctor.

We've now seen the entirety of the first two seasons of the returned series as well as all of the just-completed fifth season, and are working our way through season number three (almost done it, actually). The reason we're seeing things slightly out of order is that Space (the Imagination Station) was showing the current season episodes every weekend but also providing four older episodes each week (Mon thru Thu), starting back at the relaunch point.

It was a little strange seeing both Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith as our "first doctors", but we're big boys and girls and handled it just fine. We're both of the opinion that Smith is the best of the new bunch (and probably best overall) while Eccleston's the weakest, with three-season David Tennant a very solid version in between the other two.

Neither of us particularly warmed up to companion Rose Tyler, despite the show's best efforts to make us love her over the course of two seasons. I didn't know what to expect from Martha Jones but so far I absolutely adore her. However, it's pretty hard to beat plucky Amelia Pond (the current companion) and her amazing story of meeting the Doctor when she was a child and having him as an imaginary friend until he returned more than a decade later (or, minutes later, from his point-of-view). I'm glad that both she and Smith will be returning for season six, but of course we're learning that to be a Doctor Who fan is to embrace change or go mad, so...

Vicki's a slightly bigger fan of the show at the moment than I am, but both of us are definitely enjoying it. I find the nonsensical aspects of some of the episodes hard to take (whereas Vicki just goes with it); on the other hand, the characters are often delightfully written and that appeals to me.

And how about a nice shoutout to Space for making it so ridiculously easy (and cheap) for us to go from zero to sixty on modern day Doctor Who so quickly? This sort of thing makes the $90/mth that we pay for cable almost seem worthwhile.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Inception: Another Great Nolan Film

Vicki and I went out to see Inception tonight, a mere two and a half weeks after it debuted. We had actually planned to do so even earlier but my back just hasn't been up to sitting still for two and a half+ hours until now. Despite the delay, I managed to go into Christopher Nolan's latest flick pretty cold, beyond what could be gleaned from a couple of trailers for it.

Not too surprisingly, we both loved it! The gimmickry of it worked for both of us, and we remarked to each other on the drive home just how strong DiCaprio's performance was (at a level similar to The Departed, I'd say). His character had to carry the emotional weight of the story, and he pulled it off beautifully. I also really enjoyed watching Ellen Page, who had been so wonderfully quirky in Juno, having to work within a much more restrictive role this time out.

I couldn't help but think that some people must have found the plot hard to follow - though neither of us did - and sure enough one couple got up and walked out about 3/4 of the way through tonight. I loved the way Nolan choreographed the different levels within the story and was enthralled by the "time variations" between them. I pretty much decided early on that the story had to be happening in some universe parallel to ours (one where the techniques employed by the main characters were both fairly well known and somewhat well understood) and was happy enough to go with that.

I'm sure there's lots of debate raging about the ending of Inception, and there were even a couple of exasperated sighs from audience members in the theatre tonight as it faded to black. I thought it was just perfect, myself, and have absolutely no problem with it. This is definitely a "must buy" for us when it comes out on DVD later in the year. Christopher Nolan's stock in our household just continues to rise.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Happy Slackiversary To Me!

Two years ago today, I worked my last day of full-time employment! I was pretty wiped by the time it was all over, but luckily I've had two years (and counting) to recover... and it's been going very well indeed!

Thanks to Vicki's 7-month contract last year, and my Math tutoring as well as the occasional consulting gig, we've actually reduced our "bridge to retirement" nestegg (that we've been living off of since Aug 2008) by considerably less than expected. We've also been somewhat frugal over that stretch, but not to any painful degree (though Vicki might disagree!). I think it helped that we took a portion of Vicki's contract payout every two weeks and gave it to ourselves as splurge money.

Anyway, feel free to post comments expressing your own feelings about this auspicious date in history.

Watchmen In The Real World

Was Alan Moore a prophet when he had the first generation of "superheroes" in Watchmen be just ordinary men and women who like to dress up and fight crime? Well, sometimes I think he just might have been.