You may have noticed that the site's been down for a few days.
I need to move it over to a new server, so there are likely to be some sporadic outages in the meantime.
Thanks for your patience.
Hi, I'm Thad.
I'm a thirtysometing computer scientist who's spent the last few years bouncing from one temp IT job to another.
You may have noticed that the site's been down for a few days.
I need to move it over to a new server, so there are likely to be some sporadic outages in the meantime.
Thanks for your patience.
This is, more than anything, a Note to Self for the next time I do a clean install of OpenSUSE and can't figure out how to make Firefox stop making incredibly loud error beeps every single time I type Ctrl-F and type a search term that it can't find.
Disabling audio notifications in KDE's Configure Desktop has no effect on Firefox, because it uses GNOME's audio event system, not KDE's. (Not sure why it also completely ignores current system volume and always blasts the error beep so friggin' loudly; I'm sure there's a configuration setting for that somewhere.)
The program for controlling GNOME/GTK audio events is called pavucontrol (for Pulse Audio Volume Control).
Run that, go to the Playback tab, and click the Mute icon next to System Sounds.
This is really the sort of thing OpenSUSE should fix, seeing as its default configuration is a KDE desktop with Firefox as the default browser. It would be nice for YaST to have some kind of integrated audio notifications configuration tool, or, at the very list, to document pavucontrol better.
It was twenty years ago today...
So today is the 20th anniversary of the first post of the KateStory, a rather silly collaborative story that my friends and I have been making up as it went along since the days of Prodigy and 14.4 dialup.
I've gone ahead and kicked off KateStory XIX over at the Brontoforumus. Feel free to join on in.
So I picked up the Humble Valiant Bundle a few weeks back. (The bundle is no longer being sold, but that link will show you some of what was in it.)
I'm enjoying it, and I was enjoying the shared universe, right up until I got to the part where the Eternal Warrior shows up in Archer & Armstrong and behaves completely differently from how he does in Eternal Warrior. (In A&A, he's a Terminator-like unstoppable killing machine who follows Archer to the ends of the earth to avenge the death of a Geomancer and will not listen to reason when his brother tells him Archer is innocent. Whereas in his own book, he's been in seclusion for the past 150 years after telling all the Geomancers they can go fuck themselves, and rejoins the battle only with the greatest reluctance. Both of these stories are supposed to be set in the present.) Now, maybe this gets explained later -- maybe he's being mind-controlled or something -- but it's pretty jarring if you read Eternal Warrior first and then switch to Archer and Armstrong.
So I got to wondering, what order are you supposed to read these books in?
It's actually surprisingly difficult to find a simple answer to this question on Valiant's site or Wikipedia. But after some research, I've found that the short answer is: X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, Archer & Armstrong, Shadowman, Quantum and Woody, Eternal Warrior, Unity, Rai, with Harbinger Wars concurrent with the third volumes of Harbinger and Bloodshot (as their title implies).
The long answer is this giant table I made.
(Update 2014-12-31: And the even longer answer is a newer post I wrote, titled A More Detailed Valiant Comics Chronology.)
Note that this is not exhaustive; I've only included the books that were in the Humble Valiant Bundle (and not the Valiant Masters, which are the original 1990's continuity). Also note that these dates are from solicitations I've found online; some of these might not be the actual ship dates, but most of them probably are.
|X-O Manowar||#01||2012-05-02||vol 1: By the Sword||2012-12-05|
|X-O Manowar||#02||2012-06-06||vol 1: By the Sword||2012-12-05|
|Harbinger||#01||2012-06-06||vol 1: Omega Rising||2013-01-09|
|Harbinger||#02||2012-07-11||vol 1: Omega Rising||2013-01-09|
|Bloodshot||#01||2012-07-11||vol 1: Setting the World on Fire||2013-02-06|
|X-O Manowar||#03||2012-07-18||vol 1: By the Sword||2012-12-05|
|Archer & Armstrong||#01||2012-08-08||vol 1: Michelangelo Code, The||2013-03-06|
|Bloodshot||#02||2012-08-15||vol 1: Setting the World on Fire||2013-02-06|
|Harbinger||#03||2012-08-15||vol 1: Omega Rising||2013-01-09|
|X-O Manowar||#04||2012-08-29||vol 1: By the Sword||2012-12-05|
|Bloodshot||#03||2012-09-05||vol 1: Setting the World on Fire||2013-02-06|
|Archer & Armstrong||#02||2012-09-05||vol 1: Michelangelo Code, The||2013-03-06|
|X-O Manowar||#05||2012-09-12||vol 2: Enter Ninjak||2013-03-27|
|Harbinger||#04||2012-09-12||vol 1: Omega Rising||2013-01-09|
|Bloodshot||#04||2012-10-10||vol 1: Setting the World on Fire||2013-02-06|
|Archer & Armstrong||#03||2012-10-10||vol 1: Michelangelo Code, The||2013-03-06|
|X-O Manowar||#06||2012-10-17||vol 2: Enter Ninjak||2013-03-27|
|Harbinger||#05||2012-10-17||vol 1: Omega Rising||2013-01-09|
|Shadowman||#01||2012-11-07||vol 1: Birth Rites||2013-04-24|
|Bloodshot||#05||2012-11-14||vol 2: Rise and the Fall, The||2013-06-26|
|Archer & Armstrong||#04||2012-11-14||vol 1: Michelangelo Code, The||2013-03-06|
|X-O Manowar||#07||2012-11-21||vol 2: Enter Ninjak||2013-03-27|
|Harbinger||#06||2012-11-21||vol 2: Renegades||2013-05-22|
|Shadowman||#02||2012-12-05||vol 1: Birth Rites||2013-04-24|
|Bloodshot||#06||2012-12-12||vol 2: Rise and the Fall, The||2013-06-26|
|Archer & Armstrong||#05||2012-12-12||vol 2: Wrath of the Eternal Warrior||2013-07-31|
|X-O Manowar||#08||2012-12-19||vol 2: Enter Ninjak||2013-03-27|
|Harbinger||#07||2012-12-19||vol 2: Renegades||2013-05-22|
|Shadowman||#03||2013-01-09||vol 1: Birth Rites||2013-04-24|
|Bloodshot||#07||2013-01-16||vol 2: Rise and the Fall, The||2013-06-26|
|Archer & Armstrong||#06||2013-01-16||vol 2: Wrath of the Eternal Warrior||2013-07-31|
|X-O Manowar||#09||2013-01-23||vol 3: Planet Death||2013-08-21|
|Harbinger||#08||2013-01-23||vol 2: Renegades||2013-05-22|
|Harbinger||#0||2013-02-06||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-09-25|
|Shadowman||#04||2013-02-06||vol 1: Birth Rites||2013-04-24|
|Bloodshot||#08||2013-02-13||vol 2: Rise and the Fall, The||2013-06-26|
|Archer & Armstrong||#07||2013-02-13||vol 2: Wrath of the Eternal Warrior||2013-07-31|
|X-O Manowar||#10||2013-02-20||vol 3: Planet Death||2013-08-21|
|Harbinger||#09||2013-02-20||vol 2: Renegades||2013-05-22|
|Shadowman||#05||2013-03-06||vol 2: Darque Reckoning||2013-10-23|
|Bloodshot||#09||2013-03-13||vol 2: Rise and the Fall, The||2013-06-26|
|Archer & Armstrong||#08||2013-03-13||vol 2: Wrath of the Eternal Warrior||2013-07-31|
|X-O Manowar||#11||2013-03-20||vol 3: Planet Death||2013-08-21|
|Harbinger||#10||2013-03-20||vol 2: Renegades||2013-05-22|
|Shadowman||#06||2013-04-03||vol 2: Darque Reckoning||2013-10-23|
|Harbinger Wars||#01||2013-04-03||Harbinger Wars||2013-09-18|
|Harbinger||#11||2013-04-10||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-09-25|
|Archer & Armstrong||#09||2013-04-10||vol 2: Wrath of the Eternal Warrior||2013-07-31|
|X-O Manowar||#12||2013-04-17||vol 3: Planet Death||2013-08-21|
|Bloodshot||#10||2013-04-17||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-10-16|
|Shadowman||#0||2013-05-01||vol 3: Deadside Blues||2014-01-01|
|Harbinger Wars||#02||2013-05-01||Harbinger Wars||2013-09-18|
|Harbinger||#12||2013-05-08||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-09-25|
|Archer & Armstrong||#0||2013-05-08||vol 3: Far Faraway||2013-12-04|
|X-O Manowar||#13||2013-05-15||vol 3: Planet Death||2013-08-21|
|Bloodshot||#11||2013-05-15||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-10-16|
|Archer & Armstrong||#10||2013-06-05||vol 3: Far Faraway||2013-12-04|
|Shadowman||#07||2013-06-05||vol 2: Darque Reckoning||2013-10-23|
|Harbinger Wars||#03||2013-06-12||Harbinger Wars||2013-09-18|
|Harbinger||#13||2013-06-19||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-09-25|
|Bloodshot||#12||2013-06-19||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-10-16|
|X-O Manowar||#14||2013-06-26||vol 3: Planet Death||2013-08-21|
|Shadowman||#08||2013-07-03||vol 2: Darque Reckoning||2013-10-23|
|Quantum and Woody||#01||2013-07-10||vol 1: World's Worst Superhero Team, The||2013-11-06|
|Archer & Armstrong||#11||2013-07-17||vol 3: Far Faraway||2013-12-04|
|Harbinger Wars||#04||2013-07-17||Harbinger Wars||2013-09-18|
|Harbinger||#14||2013-07-24||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-09-25|
|Bloodshot||#13||2013-07-24||vol 3: Harbinger Wars||2013-10-16|
|Shadowman||#09||2013-08-07||vol 2: Darque Reckoning||2013-10-23|
|Quantum and Woody||#02||2013-08-07||vol 1: World's Worst Superhero Team, The||2013-11-06|
|Archer & Armstrong||#12||2013-08-14||vol 3: Far Faraway||2013-12-04|
|Shadowman||#10||2013-09-04||vol 3: Deadside Blues||2014-01-01|
|Quantum and Woody||#03||2013-09-04||vol 1: World's Worst Superhero Team, The||2013-11-06|
|Archer & Armstrong||#13||2013-09-11||vol 3: Far Faraway||2013-12-04|
|Eternal Warrior||#01||2013-09-11||vol 1: Sword of the Wild||2014-01-22|
|Shadowman||#11||2013-10-02||vol 3: Deadside Blues||2014-01-01|
|Quantum and Woody||#04||2013-10-02||vol 1: World's Worst Superhero Team, The||2013-11-06|
|Eternal Warrior||#02||2013-10-09||vol 1: Sword of the Wild||2014-01-22|
|Shadowman||#12||2013-11-06||vol 3: Deadside Blues||2014-01-01|
|Quantum and Woody||#05||2013-11-06||vol 2: In Security||2014-03-05|
|Unity||#01||2013-11-13||vol 1: To Kill a King||2014-03-12|
|Eternal Warrior||#03||2013-11-20||vol 1: Sword of the Wild||2014-01-22|
|Quantum and Woody||#06||2013-12-04||vol 2: In Security||2014-03-05|
|Unity||#02||2013-12-11||vol 1: To Kill a King||2014-03-12|
|Eternal Warrior||#04||2013-12-18||vol 1: Sword of the Wild||2014-01-22|
|Quantum and Woody||#07||2014-01-08||vol 2: In Security||2014-03-05|
|Unity||#03||2014-01-15||vol 1: To Kill a King||2014-03-12|
|Eternal Warrior||#05||2014-01-22||vol 2: Eternal Emperor||2014-06-18|
|Eternal Warrior||#06||2014-02-12||vol 2: Eternal Emperor||2014-06-18|
|Quantum and Woody||#07||2014-02-19||vol 2: In Security||2014-03-05|
|Unity||#04||2014-02-19||vol 1: To Kill a King||2014-03-12|
|Quantum and Woody||#0||2014-03-05||vol 3: Crooked Pasts, Present Tense||2014-09-17|
|Unity||#05||2014-03-12||vol 2: Trapped by Webnet||2014-07-09|
|Eternal Warrior||#07||2014-03-26||vol 2: Eternal Emperor||2014-06-18|
|Quantum and Woody||#09||2014-04-02||vol 3: Crooked Pasts, Present Tense||2014-09-17|
|Unity||#06||2014-04-09||vol 2: Trapped by Webnet||2014-07-09|
|Eternal Warrior||#08||2014-04-23||vol 2: Eternal Emperor||2014-06-18|
|Quantum and Woody||#10||2014-05-14||vol 3: Crooked Pasts, Present Tense||2014-09-17|
|Unity||#07||2014-05-21||vol 2: Trapped by Webnet||2014-07-09|
|Quantum and Woody||#11||2014-06-04||vol 3: Crooked Pasts, Present Tense||2014-09-17|
|Quantum and Woody||#11||2014-07-02||vol 3: Crooked Pasts, Present Tense||2014-09-17|
Updated 2015-09-25: Replaced Christian Bach's tablesorter with Mottie's fork.
So I made a few changes to the site design.
I've still got a ways to go -- so far all I've done is tweak my existing, circa-2008 codebase. I'd like to redo the backend and base it on the latest WordPress default theme (for better compatibility with widgets and things, and ideally to get responsive CSS and semantic tags working from the get-go), but that's probably going to take me a bit.
In some ways, I'm veering more retro than ever (you'll note the red links are gone and we're back not just to blue but to good old #0000FF); in others, I've made a few modest concessions to CSS3 (rounded corners and box-shadows aren't so bad -- gradients and transparencies are still bullshit, though).
I thought about writing a lengthy post discussing my design sensibilities and how I've applied them in this latest update, but I think I'll hold off because I'm not actually done yet and I'm still deciding on some changes. (Links aren't currently underlined; I'd like to underline them, but post titles are also links and if they're links I want them to look like they're links, and I don't like underlines on post titles. Considering adding a colored background to post titles, but I'm still deciding. Stuff like that.)
I've learned a lot about modern Web design over the course of the past year and a half or so, since it went from being hobby/occasional freelance gig to day job. I'm still not much of a graphic designer, and my sensibilities are still very much those of a programmer rather than an artist. (I'm disappointed that XHTML was deprecated in favor of updating the HTML4 standards base, but on the other hand I dig the semantic stuff.)
And speaking of Web design as day job...well, I feel like one of these days I should continue my Tempin' Ain't Easy post and talk about the jobs I've had since. It's been interesting.
So I happened to notice, the other day, that The Real Ghostbusters, vol 1 (affiliate link) was on sale at Amazon for $10.49.
You can also get the complete series for $123.99, which is a screamin' deal if you actually want the full run. But I remember that even at the age of 6 I wasn't too impressed by the season 3 rejiggering of the show, and there's not much sense paying extra for 43 episodes I don't want.
I've watched the first few episodes, and man, it mostly still holds up, but Slimer sure is annoying. To the point where I am beginning to understand why people actually hate this show.
I wouldn't go that far -- I quite like it in fact -- but I can understand it. Slimer is one of those obnoxious comic-relief mascot characters who constantly fucks everything up and yet you're supposed to like him anyway. (He makes me think of Red Foreman's line on That 70's Show: "Gilligan screwed it up. Why don't they just kill him?")
On the other hand, Frank Welker does a great voice for him (which he'd later reuse as Nibbler on Futurama).
Also: The first episode features a group of imposter Ghostbusters. Wonder if that's another deliberate knock against Filmation's Ghostbusters cartoon series, like the show's title, The Real Ghostbusters.
Some other initial thoughts:
Today, Marvel and the Kirby Estate released a short joint statement:
Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.
It's finally over.
I've revised my 2010 form post, The King's Ransom, for what I hope will be the last time.
A bit of context, since I wasn't updating the blog back in June (though I did tweak the aforementioned form post): the Kirby heirs were appealing the case to the Supreme Court, and a number of amicus briefs were filed in the case by prominent groups including the Artists' Rights Society and the International Intellectual Property Institute. Among others, Bruce Lehman, former director of the USPTO, argued that the instance and expense test that the previous judgement against the Kirby heirs hinged on violated Supreme Court precedent.
The Supreme Court was set to decide whether or not to take the case in just a few days.
Kurt Busiek says, in the comments section at The Beat:
Considering that the Kirby Estate didn’t seem to have anything to lose by going to the Supreme Court, but Marvel/Disney had a lot on the line, I’m thinking (or hoping, at least) that this was a decent settlement for the Estate. Given the timing — if the Supreme Court had chosen to hear the case, no settlement would then be possible — it virtually has to be a deal spurred on by the side that doesn’t want the case to go to the Court.
However unlikely onlookers think it might be that the Court would take up the case, and however corporate-friendly the Court may seem to be, the stakes are very high, and a settlement may have seemed a better plan than rolling the dice.
Busiek, of course, doesn't have any inside knowledge of the case, but I find he's been extremely knowledgeable about the facts and issues involved.
If you're coming to this page in search of details and commentary, you've come to the wrong place. I will be saying nothing about it other that I am real, real happy. And I'm sure Jack and his wife Roz, if they're watching this from wherever they are, are real, real, real happy.
I noted, back in a 2013 post about Archie v Penders, that the thing about settlements is that their terms are typically confidential. It's likely that we'll never know the precise details of the Kirby settlement. (If I were a betting man, I'd say Marvel probably agreed to give them the same profit-sharing deal that it gives current creators -- but that's just a guess, and it's worth what you paid for it.)
One thing we will know is whether the settlement involves more prominent creator credits for Kirby. Marvel's creator credits have been inconsistent up to this point -- the original 2002 Spider-Man movie has a "Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko" credit right upfront, and Agents of SHIELD credits Lee and Kirby at the top of each episode, but other movies have buried creators' names at the bottom of the end credits under a nebulous "special thanks" section. I expect from here on in we'll be seeing much more prominent "Created by Jack Kirby" credits in comics, movies, and TV shows. Guess we'll know soon enough.
And speaking for myself -- I guess my boycott's finally over.
Which is good, because that Mike Allred Silver Surfer sure looks great.
So, since May I've been working a job that goes from 10 AM to 6 PM.
I like it. It gives me time to walk the dog in the morning, and getting off at 6 means I miss both the worst heat and the worst traffic of the day.
The biggest problem with getting off at 6 is that Marketplace is on NPR, and so that's what I end up listening to on my way home, because it's that or play Preset Lottery and try to find a song I like amid all the obnoxious pop and worse commercials on all the other stations.
I've been trying, for months, to figure out why I don't like Marketplace. Is it my innate disdain for the finance industry? The constant handholding on basic economics and technology?
No. I have come to realize that it's because the questions Kai Ryssdal asks are actually stupid.
Here's a bit from yesterday's interview with Amazon Studios' Roy Price:
Ryssdal: At this point, you might reasonably stop and ask, How did an online retailer end up making television shows, and, y'know, why? Roy Price is the guy with the answers; he runs Amazon Studios. Roy, it's good to have you on.
Price: Thank you, Kai; it's great to be here.
Ryssdal: So when you go to a dinner party, or your kid's soccer game, or you're hangin' out at the beach, and people say, "What do you do?" what do you tell them?
Price: I run Amazon Studios, and we develop TV shows for amazon.com. That's usually what I tell them, unless I'm in a kidding mood.
Emphasis added, because seriously, what the fuck is that? The dude says what Price's job is, and then asks him what he tells people his job is. This is, like, Tim Meadows as Lionel Osbourne-caliber interviewing.
And then he just keeps rambling on about how crazy it is that Amazon is making original TV shows.
This is not 1999. He is not asking why bookseller Amazon has started selling CD's, VHS tapes, and DVD's.
This is not 2003. He is not asking why media seller Amazon has started selling clothing, and advertising it with baffling recommendations beginning with "People who wear clothes also shop for:"
This is not 2007. He is not asking why physical media/clothing seller Amazon has started selling consumer electronics, household goods, and MP3's.
This is not 2011. He is not asking why physical goods/ebook/MP3 seller Amazon has started its own Android app store and video streaming service.
This is goddamn yesterday, and he is seemingly baffled that an online retailer that has been constantly branching out into new markets for the past 15 years has branched out into a new market.
Jesus Christ. I'd rather listen to Car Talk.
I was perusing Amazon the other day and, under my recommendations, I noticed that it listed Earthworm Jim: The Complete Series (affiliate link). As EWJ is easily one of my two favorite 1990's animated video game adaptations to feature Kath Soucie as a redheaded princess and Jim Cummings as the bad guy, I went ahead and ordered it.
There's no new Simpsons tonight, so, in honor of the late, great Marcia Wallace, might I recommend breaking out your DVD collection and watching one of these classic Edna Krabappel episodes:
If there's a better Mrs. K episode, I can't think of one. This shows Edna at her most complex and human -- and Bart too, for that matter. Wallace won an Emmy for this one.
And speaking of emotions we don't often see from Bart, the climax of this one -- where he breaks down in tears on finding that he failed his test despite really trying his hardest this time -- shows us a seldom-seen side of both characters, without giving in too much to sentimentality. I love Mrs. K's attempt to comfort Bart -- "I would have thought you'd be used to it by now!" could so easily have come across as sarcastic, but Wallace chooses to read it as a gentle, tender statement. Now that's comedy.
So many classic moments in this episode purple monkey dishwasher. It's Simpsons at its satirical finest, highlighting the conflict between teachers and administration, the public's simultaneous desire for better schools and lower taxes, and the terrifying reality that if you pick up some random person off the street, they'll be a worse teacher than Miss Hoover or Mrs. Krabappel. And the resolution is so ludicrous that it can only serve to hang a lampshade on how intractable these issues really are.
Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and the baby looked at me.
Say what you will about modern-era Simpsons, pairing off Ned with Edna was a rare and legitimately pleasant surprise. It's not the sort of thing I would ever have seen coming, but it makes its own unexpected kind of sense -- two characters who have seemingly nothing in common but their loneliness, but who complement each other so thoroughly and who can each stand to learn so much from the other. This episode highlights how difficult those differences can be, and they almost don't make it as a couple -- but, thanks to an Internet vote, they stay together.