Saturday, December 31, 2005


This break, as much as there has been of it, has been marked with whirlwindy social activity.

Yesterday, Otis had a massage appointment in the morning with the Mother of Melvin, so I got to see Mel and Mel Jr. for a little bit in the a.m. Afterwards, I went up to meet Wheylona on Cap Hill, where she was hanging with Smilin' Silvio. Wheylona and I hung out for the day, doing bidness and pleasure and beggie burgers, since Otis had another massage in the afternoon with Phil. I dropped Wheylona off at the Ridge because I had to go do a favor for Otis's boss, so she got to see Phil but I didn't. When I came home, Otis and I took Wheylona back to Cap Hill before we had to drive up to Edmonds to meets some totally cool dudes, Otis's high school pal Angela and her husband Lyle. We had some terrific Thai food and some great conversation. Then, we had to scoot down to the airport to lurk in the lots and enighborhoods until both Soapy and his luggage were deplaned so we could take him home. Whew!

In comparison, yesterday was a slow delight, just spending time with everyone at Dingo's beauteous brunch, sharing quiche and stories, before slogging through the rainy mess that was Friday traffic to do the last-minute stuff for the ANASNYEWWSS. Whew, again!

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Yesterday was a fun day. Wheylona came back to town, and after I picked her up at the airport, we went up to Piecora's on Cap Hill for frolic and festivities and food with a grand assemblage of folks. There was much talking and laughing and beta-testing of game to be had. Welcome back, Whey.

In the midst of all this fun, I got some stuff, too, and the theme seemed to be striking images. First of all, Wheylona brought me a T-shirt from some freaky Iberian art shop. Here's the image, doctored a bit to take out the multi-lingual clues:

The question is: what the heck is this?

Otis's boss gave her a holiday bonus and gift basket which included a pack of gum for me:


And then Johnbai, completely un-bummerifically, brought some presents along to the pizza party, icnluding a totally cool (VV-score) t-shirt from the Kalakala Foundation that sports a version of this image:

All in all, a completely picturesque day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New blog on the block

Dingo Donut has a blog

Monkey business

Since Bummerman weighed in with a comprehensive review of King Kong, and since Otis and I went to see it last night (at the Majestic Bay Theatre), I thought I'd give you my own response.


Too long: This whole movie reminded me of the last half hour of LOTR:ROTK. It just went on and on and on.
"Where a normal film maker uses two or three shots to establish a setting, Jackson uses twenty." Bummerman sees this as a virtue; I saw it as overdoing it. Being able to set a scene in two or three shots is not an inconsiderable virtue.

Too many: I like the Brontosaurus. I liked a couple of Brontosauruses. A whole herd of Brontosauruses stampeding down a valley, with our heroes running between their legs like cartoon mice, just struck me as silly.

Similarly (and this is the only direct comparison to the original I will make), in the RKO version, Kong fights a T-Rex. It is a great scene, spare and powerful. Jackson has him fight not one, not two, but three. And throw them off a cliff. And fall off the cliff himself. And land on vines and fight two of them some more. And then fall to the valley floor and fight the last one some more. That seems a bit overwrought.

Too many taxis, too many rocks, too many bugs, too many everything. Just because you can CGI a bunch doesn't mean you should.

Too much: Don't just have Ann teach Kong sign language for "beautiful" and have him use it later; make sure Ann tells us that's what he's doing. Don't just use one of the best closing lines in all of cinema; make sure you clumsily foreshadow it. Don't just tell us an adventure story that is more than an adventure story; make sure two characters discuss Heart of Darkness so they can tell us that.

Jackson seems to need a little more respect for his audience.

Overall, I think this is what happens when there is no one to say "no" to self-indulgent creators, however talented they may be.

So this is not all bummer, there were a lot of things I liked: Ann's character was changed for the better (stronger and more interesting); some insight was provided to Denham's character that made him more complex; the monsters looked good; New York looked good;
Andy Serkis was wonderful; most of the performances were fine. It was just a little too baroque for me.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Broken Monday

So, today is the first weekday after the final deadline for grades, so I guess this makes it my first official winter break day. Yay, me!

Appleday breakfast yesterday was a small affair, with only Otis and Mel joining me to celebrate the 363rd birthday of the second-most influential person in history. I had the traditional pancakes with applesauce.

Later in the day, Otis and I went to Tamarind Tree for dinner with the Putnam gang. The food was as great as it usually is; we got to sit on the stage in the back and had a very attentive waiter, who was either charmed by my Batmobile t-shirt or by me. Afterwards, we went up to the Metro to see The Producers, which I think everyone enjoyed m
ore than I did; I liked it, but felt it didn't compare strongly to the original.

(Aside: does anyone besides me think that Nathan Lane
needs to play Lou Costello in a biopic? But who would be Bud Abbot?)

I know you won't believe it, but I have another blog now: don't worry, you don't need to add it to your read list. It's a blog just for the comix community. If you want to take a look, there's a link on the sidebar. And if you ever get really bored and want to help me out, you can click-through to some of the other comix blogs from my blog; that might help me get established in the community a bit more quickly.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

C'est fini!

This is how I feel.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Just a few loose ends

Tomorrow morning, I should dot th
e last i , cross the last t , hit "upload" and be officially done with Fall Quarter 2005. Sheesh! I promise never to mention it again. I also promise that next quarter will be different.

I guess I didn't mind so much that today featured almost continuous rain. I hope tomorrow is better, so I can get out and kick up my heels a bit.

Here's a sweet little movie, even if it s a Motorola commercial. I count at least seventeen specific movie references - can you name them?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I don't want to tell you how many portfolios I reviewed today. Just know that I set my muscular buttocks on this chair at 7:00 am and have been working pretty continually since then. And I have almost as much to do tomorrow. But then I am done, done I say!

Lots of fun stuff the past few days. Monday I did a little work, but the afternoon saw the return of Neds to the scene, an event which was met with all the flutter of Darcy's return to Hertfordshire. Mighty Mel came down from the hills to get "bloodless surgery" (aka visceral manipulation) from Otis.
Shortly before we four would have eaten ALL the Spicy Thai potato chips, we were joined by Dingo Donut and Johnbai, ostensibly for a movie spectration. Instead, we would up playing an Alpha version of Jonbai's Apples 2 Apples ripoff derivative inspired game, and then a round of the Magnetic Poetry Game (and of the three words in that title, only one is actually accurate). Then after Neds and Dingo left, we just talked! We never did get around to watching the movie.

Yesterday, after I did a little work, Neds came up and we ran errands (including picking up my replacement kilt) (which I thought I had posted about and was going to link to but apparently didn't so can't) and then met Otis for dinner and more conversation.

Which brings me back to why I was at this desk all day today doing a lot of work, with only a break to take Soapy to the airport.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A splendid sunday

Ah, how nice it is to avoid work by doing really fun stuff.

Otis and I started the day by doing the laundry. While not the cheeriest of diversions, it went quickly and everything dried, so I'm putting it in the win column.

I had been feeling a bit out of touch with the gang, so we made some calls, and lo and behold, a merry band comprised of Mighty Mel, Dingo Donut, Johnbai3030, Otis, and me were having a totally delicious lunch of tofu pho, tofu-mango salad, lemongrass tofu and rice, lemongrass tofu and noodles, and grilled tofu with green beans just an hour or so later. (Among the missing was Soapy, who was so woozy when I talked to him that he couldn't tell his tamarind from his cinnamon.) The conversation was even better than the food, and we stayed at the place for nearly three hours.

We came home and got the ASANNYEWWSS invitations sent, and then took Otis's grandmother on a little drive to look at Xmas lights.

It's late now, and I guess I'll have to do those papers tomorrow - too bad!

And here's a very good example of what Scott McCloud calls the infinite canvas. Is it comics?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Spiffin' up the place

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was thinking of a new direction for this blog. I don't have a blueprint for the new, improved HKC just yet, but two elements are coming into place.

One is this remodel. I was playing with a lot of stuff over the pasy few months, and I wanted to strip away some of the frippery that had built up. I'm pretty much of a minimalist at heart, so I don't expect that it will all return or even be replaced with other frip.

The second element is the tentative launch of the Group Blog: Blogging - it's not just for moovies anymore! It is my hope that this other site will become the main venue for postings about moovie nites, game nites, get-togethers, and other social events. It is also my hope that I won't be the only one posting to it: I have set it up as a membership blog, and I have sent out invitations to those of you who comment, so that we can get even more interactive in our virtual space. I hope you will post interesting destinations that you hear of, movies or shows or concerts or new restaurants, events you are going to go to, events that you would go to if you could get someone to go with you, events that you can't go to but think are cool anyway -- any kind of stuff that might help us all connect and have fun in real life.

That's the plan, anyway. Go check it out with this link, or the link over in the sidebar, and get posting!

I think one of the effects of separating out the social calendar will be making the content of this here site become a bit wider in interest. I know that there are folks outside of the area who visit, and I don't want them to get tired of reading barbecue menus and in-jokes. I reckon there will be some amount of cross-posting; we'll see how that goes.

Oh, and one other consequence of this remodel will be the lifting of my self-imposed post-every-day rule. I imagine I will still be posting a lot; just now I won't feel guilty if I miss a day.

Entering the transition

So, yesterday I gave the final final I had to give, so actual in-class teaching is over for the year. I have stretched out the timeline on my responding; although I had initally wanted to be done this weekend, it will take a few days more. It feels better doing a chunk each day consistently than trying to get it all done in one sitting. The drop-dead date for posting is Friday 12/23, and I should be done before that. I do have a bit of prep work to do before classes start again on 1/2, so I'll never be far from teacher mode, it seems.

Meanwhile, I am starting to gear up for all the projects that I have been holding in abeyance this quarter. Some of them are professional (for example, trying to establish some connections with other schools in Seattle), some are purely personal (such as needing to get back on the bike and wanting to do some kind of long ride this upcoming season), and some are somewhere in-between (deciding what I want to do about free-lance work). And these decisions all have to be made in the larger context of which full-time positions come available and whether I want to consider a doctoral program.

And of course there's the immediate social stuff, such as finalizing the New Year's Eve bash details, and figuring out all the holiday visiting, and seeing if there is ever going to be another Moovie Nite, and so on.

But for now, here's a little present just for Johnbai:

Pow Wow
as realised by Carmine Infantino

Pow Pow
as realised my me (and heromachine)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cookie d'oh!

So, Otis and I took a break from work tonight to head over to the home of Laila (the career counselor Otis has been working for/with) and Matt (her husband) for some cookie decorating action. Herewith are some of the results:

Otis, of course, has a bird piece:

And this one looks like she should put it in the Quiet Girl gallery:

This one's mine:

I'm Batman!

And here's my tribute to our 50th state:

We were only there for a short bit but we had a groovy time and met some cool people.

[And a big thank-you shout-out to Jonnie and the K - who know what I mean!]

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dis and dat

Yay! It feels really good to be done with classes! I am working my way through my final assessments, but I now have time for all kinds of stuff. Such as: Otis and I did a drive-by squishing of Soapy up at the garage last night. We were on our way to read papers, but stopped in while he was playing pool with his posse so that Otis could body-check him, scream in his ear, and step on his foot. Um, yeah.

So, I have been doing research for the class I will be teaching in Summer, The Rhetoric of Comics. Get this: If you do a Google search for "rhetoric of comics" there are only eleven results - and one of them is me! Try it yourself.

Speaking of Google searches, look what I tripped over recently:

How's that for a confluence of themes? (We need an updated version with a Utilikilt.)

Wheylona has clearly communicated her itinerary for her upcoming visit; I wonder if Neds will?

Monday, December 12, 2005

I aim to misbehave

Well, I hear that the whole gang loved Serenity. It was indeed way cool. So cool, that after we recover from the ANASNYEWWSS (see below), I think we should have a Serenity Saturday: we'll spectrate all 15 episodes of Firefly, in a row, on one day. Some pizza, some beer, and you've got the makings of one heck of a geek-out. I'm thinking we should be recovered enough for this by about Imbolc, no?

And what do you make of this? Our neighbor, the photographer who put up those wonderful framed prints that adorn our hallways, has added this to the gallery. Considering Otis will likely be running her massage practice from the apartment for a while after graduation, what do you think?

NYE sneek preevue

So, y'all should be getting an invitation pretty soon, but the

All-Night, All-Star

New Year's Eve
White Wall Spectration

is a go!

Here's how it will work:

We will be showing movies from 8:00 pm 12/31 through 8:00 am 1/1.

There will be published movie times, with features at
about 8 pm, 10 pm, 12:15 am, 2:15 am, 4:15 am, and 6:15 am.
(the 2:15 and 4:15 shows might be combined for the screening of one epic).

You can come for the early show(s) and head off to a party.

You can come for the late show(s) after your party.

You can come and watch all the shows.

You can come and watch some of the shows and sleep thorugh the rest.

We will provide cheap champage, pop, and popcorn all night.

We'll all go out to breakfast in the morning.

You'll be getting another email soon, after we work out all the details. Movie suggestions are welcome, though we're not promising anything. Here's to a happy new year!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


It was so foggy this morning that there could have been twenty bald eagles flying in formation over Green Lake and towing a banner with twinkling lights that spelled out 'Happy Isaac Newton's Birthday" and we wouldn't have seen them. It was that foggy. Really.

So, the happy birthdays pealed out at the Putnam place today. In addition to Grace's 90th, it was also the familial celebration of Otis's and her brother's birthdays from last week, and her other brother's boyfriend's birthday tomorrow. Otis made a pineapple-tofu curry that was mm-mm delicious.

I know that some of the gang were at Serenity tonight - since Otis and I couldn't be there, we went last night! We both thought it was pretty cool. Otis knew nothing about it and still followed it all; I knew a little bit about it and thought the movie was as good as everyone has told me the series was. Maybe I'll give the series another chance.

Here are some cool things I found while researching for a comic: do you want a pair of these or one of these?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saturday bird

It was a beautiful frosty morning, and we walked around Green Lake before getting started on the day. Our efforts were rewarded with our sighting of a bald eagle on the highest bough of a tree, right near about Aurora and Seventieth. The bird sat there for a long while in the yellowish-gray morning light, looking around, and then spread its wings and glided out of the tree. It flew northeasterly for a bit, and then turned right over Duck Island, and headed south until we lost sight of it. Sweet.

Now, back to work.

Friday, December 09, 2005

It says Friday but it's still Thursday for me

I knocked out one great big pile of papers. All that's left is:

23 graduate communications portfolios (big files)
48 English 101 portfolios (four papers each)
24 English 100 portfolios (three papers each)
20 College Strategies portfolios (three papers each)
14 Liberal Studies assessments (two papers each)

I didn't plan very well, did I?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I so need to be responding papers...

I really do. There was brief, brief respite for a few days but now they are all coming in, end of term and all that. I should be doing them now, actually, but I am not. It's too scary. I need to gird my didactic loins, as it were, for the task.

Tomorrow. Yeah, that's it, I'll make such good use of my six-hour layover in Bothell tomorrow... And Friday, I only have the morning classes on Friday. And then the weekend, Saturday and Sunday. And Monday next. And Tuesday...

And so on, and so on.

In th meantime, since the "what's yer politics" quiz was so popular, I thought I'd pass along this worldview quiz that I found via Will Shetterly's Blog (which I have recommended before). Here's me, even though I really don't know quite what it means:

You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.









Cultural Creative








What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quelle surprise!

Well, the Viking horde came out to play yesterday, to celebrate Otis's thirtieth birthday! I didn't get a picture of everyone, but I want to thank all the Vikings who turned out:


and Viking Diva Mjel

(remember, archeological evidence shows Vikings came in all sizes)

Otis actually began her birthday celebration with a new sweatshirt and then brekkies at the Sunlight Cafe. We took a little trip to the dunes at Golden Gardens, since the weather was somewhat cooperative. Otis was exuberant in her appreciation of the natural wonder of the beach, while I was little more restrained.

After a midday break, we had dinner at Bamboo Gardens and dessert drinks at Caffe Ladro, both dangerously close to the scene of the surprise.

The Viking Horde was assembled at the Center Skating Rink as planned, and they gave Viking Princess Otis quite a fete. Otis seemed to grow into her horned hat, exhibiting both berserker power and sultry scandinavian allure. The gang had a great time ice skating as well as "ice skating," and there was only one major bodily injury (which was treated with ice).

dancing or falling?

bjethanie contemplates skating

Ien, pre-injury

After the skating, a hard-core group of seven went to the nearby mcmennies for tots!

Was Otis surprised? Sort of. A few kittens were let out of the sack by some non-Vikings or pre-Vikings, so she knew something was up; but she didn't fully tip until we were just about there. It was great fun any way it worked out.

So, as the journalists say, that's


Monday, December 05, 2005

Thirty and flirty

Guess who's thirty today!

Join in the celebration with


Sunday, December 04, 2005

One down, five (and finals) to go

I taught my Communications Design class at Antioch today and it was the last time the class met; I have nothing else to do for that class until I get final portfolios to assess. So, I'm going to call this one completed. I have my last Lib Studies class Tuesday, my last English 100 Wednesday, my last College Strategies Thursday, and my last 101 (two sections) on Friday. Then there's a week of finals and grade posting, and I swear by Loki's horns that I will be completely done by December 17. Whew!

Here's a thing that has been making its rounds on the net. I'd hate to live next door, but it's cute, and I really like the music. Here's the site for the band.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Super Happy Big Fun Saturday Activity Book

Although I am coming into the home stretch, I do have to contend with my last class (or residency, as they call it) for the Antioch grad program tomorrow. I will be teaching on Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, for the the third and last time this quarter; the students actually have it tougher, since they have to do it three times in a row -- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- during each of the residencies. Tough way to take classes, if you ask me.

Wait - that's sort of how I did some of my bachelor's, innit? I took "weekend college." The classes met over a weekend, for four hours on Friday and eight hours each on Saturday and Sunday (for two credits); there were follow-up projects that were usually due a month or so later. I actually liked it, although I would leave work at 5:00 pm on Friday feeling as if I would do nothing but be in class until I went back to work on Monday.

Anyway, I'm going to have to cram the whole weekend into today, I guess, starting with the fortnightly trek to the Super Happy Big Fun Laundromat, and including responding papers (of course) and marking other regular-life type stuff off the list.

Super Happy Big Fun Bonus Feature!

Since the Power Girl Thanksgiving was so popular, and since you can get anything on the internets, here's a special gift for Johnbai:

Friday, December 02, 2005

Snow day?

So, classes were cancelled at Cascadia last night. The administration made the decision to cancel everything that started at 5:00 pm or later, and my class was at six, so home I trundled at 4:00 pm (I generally get there way early to do work and stuff).

As I drove to meet Otis at Cafe Long on a wet and mostly rainy Lake City Way, I wondered about this snow day business. In addition to Cascadia, Bellevue CC, Shoreline CC, and North Seattle CC had all cancelled evening classes (I don't know about Central and South Seattle). I know this is supposed to be all about safety, and I know that the decision is based not just on the weather at the campus, but also on the conditions in the areas that students come from, but it still seems to me that we are often a bit hasty and premature in canceling classes.

As I drove home from campus, I realized that there were still plenty of people of people moving about, engaging in commerce and personal business; it wasn't like the city had shut down for the blizzard. There was snow, yes, but it wasn't "severe weather" as the NWS calls it. There didn't seem to a particular issue with roadways; I have driven in worse conditions on days that were just rainy. So why had classes been cancelled?

I recognize that some students in some outlying areas might have had a difficult time getting into campus, or might have been able to make it at all. There are some students for whom that is true regardless of the weather conditions at campus or even in the area generally; they live in remote or high places, and have to contend with travel issues regularly. Is the policy for them?

If the weather conditions are dicey and the campus is open, students can, of course, make a personal choice not to attend that day, and to make up the work or not as is their habit. Or are we pretending that all students show up all the time? I have had full attendance at about three class sessions this quarter from all my sections.

I have been hanging around higher ed institutions, and community colleges specifically, for eight years or so; I even used to be part of the team that decided whether to close Clark College for weather. It seems pretty clear to me that we close to soon and too frequently.