Wonder Woman chaos

So, all the craziness over Wonder Woman’s new outfit has been pretty fun to follow. You can check the new costume out right over there, and here are some stories about it that I’ve found today. This kind of stuff is great.

Great day to be a geek, really. Following this nerd rage has been super-fun.

The resurrection of my inner comic book fan

Back in my comic-collecting heyday in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was pretty solidly a Marvel guy; I followed a variety of Batman stuff, because Batman is awesome according to every proof at the disposal of modern science, but for the most part I didn’t stray into DC territory very often. I bought a ton of X-Men, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, and Wolverine books (but really never got into The Avengers) and followed stuff from Marvel’s Epic imprint like Groo the Wanderer and Alien Legion. I also bought a ton of Dark Horse books, because they had great licenses like Predator, Aliens and Terminator.

This recent resurrection of my inner comic book fan, however, finds me paying attention to a lot more DC books. While Marvel is pushing its next big X-Men event – the X-Men fighting vampires (yes, they’re really going to do that…) – I’ve been checking out things like Birds of Prey, Batman & Robin and Secret Six. I also keep meaning to check out the new Legion of Super Heroes book, because Yildiray Cinar’s art is ridiculous. I even picked up a couple of Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman books in the airport to help me kill some time on the way home from Baltimore because I enjoyed the stuff she was writing in Birds of Prey and Secret Six.

I’ve still found some really good Marvel stuff – for instance, the first two issues of the Warren Ellis-penned “Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis” miniseries have been fun and the art in those books is fantastic, and the current “Black Widow” series through two issues has been a good read.

I think at this point I’m going to be a whole lot more interested in following creators around, regardless of what imprint they’re publishing under at the time.

Baltimore: Day 2

Well, I’m wrapping up my second day in Baltimore (well, my first day really – more on my travels yesterday in a bit).

Registration started this morning at 11:30 with the sessions getting underway at 12:30, so I had some time to kill this morning. Rather than just walk around the hotel, I walked maybe a mile and a half from the hotel to a neighborhood called Federal Hill. The bummer was none of the businesses opened until 11 a.m., by which time I had headed back in the direction of the hotel – it was pretty hot this morning so I wanted to cool off a bit before heading into the conference as a big sweaty mess. So I was only able to visit a 7-11, take a lap through an open market, kill some time in Barnes & Noble and grab a couple of doughnuts on the walk back to the hotel. I found the comic store I want to try and hit up tomorrow, and in total I probably walked around four miles. So, a pretty solid morning.

The wireless Internet in this hotel is a joke. It works great in the lobby. On the 13th floor, where my room is located, my computer can see the existence of the hotspot but assuming the planets are aligned correctly and I can actually connect to it, I have, at most, one bar of signal strength. I currently cannot see it. The conference is being held in an adjacent complex to the hotel (which is actually incredibly beautiful); in there, the wireless works great on the second floor, but is nonexistent on the fourth. Of course, I spent half my day on the fourth floor.

But, I did discover today that I have a hardwired connection available in my room also – I’m using that now, and it seems to work OK.

The conference itself has been a mixed bag; it hasn’t been great, it hasn’t been terrible. I would fairly classify it as just “OK.” There were three panel presentations and a session of roundtable discussions today. The first panel presentation was a mixture of two useful and one useless panelist; both panelists were pretty worthwhile in the second; and the third was a mixture of two useful and one useful for completely non-related reasons. And I had a good time and actually participated a little in the roundtable discussion, so that was fun. A decent first day; I’m looking forward to the second full day tomorrow.

Right now, I’m going out to find something to eat. My diet today has consisted of three doughnuts, three peanut butter cookies, a cup of coffee and two diet Pepsis. Probably not good, but as a bonus, I’m ready for some actual food now, big-time. I may end up trying to get into the Irish pub down by the waterfront. I’m seriously tempted by Fogo de Chao, but I’m not sure I want to drop that kind of scratch on dinner and I’m not sure I’d enjoy it as much without Melissa with me. There are plenty of options down there for dinner; I’m sure I’ll find something.

So, my travel day yesterday… SO not what I had envisioned. My original plan was to get into Baltimore early yesterday afternoon and have mid-afternoon and evening to do what I did this morning – go for a walk, explore some things and maybe do some touristy stuff. But, I screwed that up almost immediately.

I had it in my head that my flight left Bemidji at 6:50 in the morning. It did not. It left at 6:45. And I was being an idiot and trying to cut it right down to the wire so I wouldn’t have to sit around the airport. Stupid, stupid mistake. I missed the cutoff to get my boarding pass for the flight by less than the five minutes I was off on the departure time for my flight. The airport people gave me this number to call to rebook my flight. I called Delta, and the woman on the other end offered to rebook me. For $1,100.

I declined.

I went back into the airport, and this dude just rebooked my flight – no change fee or anything. He just rebooked me. I had a direct flight from Minneapolis to Baltimore orignally and my change ended up routing me through Cincinatti,and I lost my afternoon in Baltimore, but I didn’t care – at that point, I just wanted to arrive yesterday.

I was amazingly early to the airport to catch my “new” departure flight. The flight was one of the worst I’d ever had – to the point that I almost threw up on the approach to Minneapolis. I haven’t had a flight that bad since I was on a football charter to Rice in 1996, and haven’t felt like I was going to throw up on a plane since we were coming back from Germany in 1986. It was terrible.

But I arrived in one piece, and did so without booting all over the woman next to me. I get to the gate for my connection to Cincinnati, and promptly find out the flight is overbooked. I realize this is partially my fault, since I wasn’t supposed to be on that plane to begin with. I then discover that there’s no boarding pass printed for me. I’m not going to make this flight.

The gate crew says they’re looking for volunteers to sit, and that they don’t have a seat assigned to me. I asked if I was bumped how I might get to Baltimore. The woman says “there’s one seat on a direct flight to Baltimore out of here at 7:20. You can have that if you want it.”

So, Delta gave me a seat on the flight to Cleveland, immediately bumped me, gave me a $400 flight voucher for bumping me, gave me a $7 meal voucher to use at the airport, and I instantly had a four-hour layover in Minneapolis. Basically, I got paid to sit out on a flight I never should’ve been on in the first place. It was awesome.

I successfully murdered four hours in Minneapolis, and arrived in Baltimore around 10:50 p.m. after watching the majority of “Star Trek” on my iPod. A $40 cab ride later, I was in my hotel.

A crazy day, but I got here in one piece — and since I missed the Cincy flight but my suitcase did not, I didn’t even have to wait for baggage claim in Baltimore. My suitcase was just sitting off to the side waiting for me.

In all, a pretty good travel story considering my stupidity in getting the day started.

So, yeah, they mean business

Note to self… When the airport says check in 30 minutes before departure, they do not mean 27 minutes. This lesson has me flying standby all day and blowing what was supposed to be my free afternoon in Baltimore. Ugh. I just needed to be 15 minutes earlier… So stupid.

Right now I’m waiting in the Bemidji airport for my rebooked flight; I’m only checked thru to Minneapolis, so hopefully once I get down there the connections work out and I can get the rest of the way without further issue.

So stupid.

Quick hits for June 16

I’ve had this sitting open in a web browser for a few days now, via a link from the author on Twitter, and I finally got around to reading it today.

http://www.thedesigncubicle.com/2010/06/understanding-inspiration/

One of the tips on understanding inspiration is to “be a better recorder.” Make notes of the events that surround you every day, and keep them in a format where you can call on them later. I have tried a variety of things to be a better recorder – carrying around pens and notebooks, etc., to the point that my laptop bag now contains a laptop, an iPad, my iPod Touch, a digital camera, around a half dozen small pocket memo books (like Field Notes and a Moleskine), an 8.5×11 notebook and a drawing portfolio containing 24 Derwent pencils and a 9×12 sketchbook. Nothing has stuck, but I intend to keep trying.

I went and saw “The A-Team” last night; it was stupid and ridiculous and totally fun. I really enjoyed it. My only gripes – Jessica Biel is useless in any role that requires her to speak, and directors need to learn that, when filming an action scene, I would rather be able to see the action than feel like I’m right in the middle of it. I want to see BA slide behind the crate, not watch his boot slide blurrily past my face because you laid the camera on the ground eight inches away from where he is supposed to hit his mark. Can’t follow the action, can’t tell what the hell is going on, and as a result can’t get involved in the story.

But, as a result of the crappy shootout scenes in “The A-Team,” I went to YouTube to watch the street battle from “Heat” again. This is just movie gunfight perfection — the scene has depth and the action is layered; there’s orderly movement and progressive use of cover; there is a combination of closeups to capture the emotion of the participants and to focus on weapon fire and weapon damage, but they are interspersed among deep, narrow shots to accurately and clearly capture the scope of the entire fight. This is a huge, complicated scene, but it’s constructed in such a way that you’re both watching it unfold from a distance and deeply engrossed in the action at the same time. It’s really amazing. In fact, you should watch it right now.

New for-fun gig at TheTerrordrome.com

I had my first assignment today as part of my new for-fun, volunteer gig as a member of the editorial staff at TheTerrordrome.com. The Terrordrome is a news and review site for everything you can think of surrounding G.I. Joe – toys, games, comic books, the upcoming cartoon, the 2009 film, everything.

My inaugural task? Provide a review of IDW Publishing‘s G.I. Joe #19, on newsstands tomorrow.

You can read the intro post to the review posted by The Terrordrome here, which contains a link to the review.

This was really fun. I haven’t been “involved”  in one of my hobbies like this since I hosted the sortof official Star Wars toy customizing listserv for Rebelscum.com in the mid-1990s. Hopefully I’ll be able to find the time to contribute some things; if all that comes of it is comic reviews, I’m fine with that too. It’s nice to get access to the book a day early and not have to drive downtown to get it. :)