Friday, July 30, 2010

Hal Jordan needs his own motorcycle

Here I thought being intentionally unemployed meant having more free time. Silly me. I can't believe how busy I've been this week. HOWEVER, I finally had a chance to start getting caught up on my comics, including picking up the last two Green Lantern issues. Many people had told me about issue #55 and how much I'd love it, and Hal vs. Lobo. Well ... Holy cow ...

Oh, Hal. Still defying your momma's attempts to keep you safe.

I admit, I still very, very much miss Ivan Reis on Green Lantern, but Doug Mahnke is growing on me. This helps CONSIDERABLY.

To heck with planes. Hal needs his own motorcycle. He needs one NOW.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blackest Night trade books -- Could have been better?

I picked up the first three Blackest Night trade books: Blackest Night, Green Lantern: Blackest Night, and Green Lantern Corps: Blackest Night. Of course, I love 'em, as I love Green Lantern comics in general, but I do have a bit of a quibble.

I had really hoped that DC would combine the Green Lantern and main Blackest Night title issues into one trade, intersplicing them so they appeared in proper story order. It would have made sense, given how the two titles were completely reliant upon each other when the individual issues were first published. Sure, certain parts of the main Blackest Night issues were carried over into non-Green Lantern-related titles, but the ties weren't as blatant as those to Green Lantern.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, DC published the Green Lantern issues in one trade and main Blackest Night issues in another trade. This makes for a pair of VERY confusing books that don't make much sense unless you constantly flip back and forth between the two. Poor Mr. Sea tried reading them the other night (he hadn't read the comics when they were first published) and found the constant shifts between the two titles highly annoying. Maybe in the future DC will publish the two titles together in a way that makes sense. For now, though, they serve more as collections than as books with any sort of coherent flow.

No such problem for Green Lantern Corps trade, though. The GLC title wasn't heavily reliant on any other Blackest Night stories, so the trade is a nice read with good flow. Well, as nice a read as a good ol' gory GLC story CAN be, that is. Ya gotta love the GLC, but it ain't for the weak of heart!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I quit.

I am an incredibly lucky person. I don’t make this statement to brag. I make it because to claim otherwise would smack of ignorance. No, I don’t have a lot of money -- I don’t measure luck that way. Rather, I have a good family, I’ve had a good education, I’ve never gone hungry, I’ve never gone without a roof over my head, and I’ve had steady employment since I was old enough to legally enter the job market. I know I’ve been lucky in that regard, and that a great many people in the world haven’t been so lucky.

Mr. Sea is also a lucky person. In spite of the lousy economy, he’s been able to find a career that he very much enjoys, with an employer that offers fair pay and benefits. My employer also offers fair pay and benefits, but nearly half of my paycheck currently goes toward what I need to do in order to EARN that paycheck. In other words, the amount of money I spend on things that enable me to have a job in the first place -- fuel, breakfasts and lunches at the office, Mighty Mite’s full-time preschool, etc. -- takes up nearly half of my annual earnings. That’s ridiculous.

Another problem: I’ve been a book editor for twenty years. Seven years ago, I climbed as far as I want to climb professionally. As a result, there’s a sense of stagnation that I just haven’t been able to shake in the past few years. It’s been driving me crazy.

Plus, I remember what the job market was like when I first graduated from college. I was armed with a double B.A. in Journalism and English, ready to tackle any career path that was open to me. I initially thought I wanted to work in advertising, but there were too many things about the field that struck me as downright dishonest. Being a reporter was also out of the question -- I just don’t have the temperament for that sort of thing. So, I turned my attention to publishing. However, the economy being what it was at the time (lousy), in order to get a job in publishing, I literally had to wait for someone to quit, retire, or DIE before a position opened. I ended up working in retail for three years -- until finally, one day, someone DID retire from a publishing position. I succeeded in sticking my foot in the door, and the publishing industry became my professional home for the next twenty years. I know there are a lot of fresh college grads out there in the same boat I was in twenty years ago.

So, I quit. I don’t want and don’t need my job anymore, so someone else -- someone who very much needs a job -- can have the position that opens due to me leaving the industry. I don’t know who that someone will be, but I wish him or her all the best in the crazy, volatile, wacky world of publishing.

As for me, I plan to stay home, perform all the maintenance on the house and yard that I just haven’t had time to do (especially painting -- ugh), and spend LOTS of quality one-on-one time with Mighty Mite. I’m not going to pull her completely out of preschool, because she does have friends there, and she’s been learning a lot of good things -- but she will going part-time rather than full-time from now on.

I’ll also get to finally finish writing the sequel to Herald! Wow, the mind boggles at the thought of actually having time to finish writing this half-done novel I’ve been sitting on for the last couple of years. I admit, I’ve been more than a little hesitant to sit down and work on it. When I write something, it tends to completely consume me, often to the detriment of other, similar (i.e., job-related) tasks. I was worried that if I concentrated too much on my novel, my career would suffer. Well, no more career, no more writing worries.

I’m 45 years old, and for the first time in my life, I’m going to be a house wife. Holy cow. Well, Mr. Sea spent time as a house husband before finding his new career. I guess it’s my turn now.

My two-week notice will be presented on Monday. I hope my boss doesn’t have a heart attack.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The lost "art" of anvil blasting

This past weekend was 4th of July weekend here in the states -- in which Americans celebrate their independence and their God-given right to host barbecues and blow the smithereens out of their own yards and neighborhoods. Hey, what do you expect from a country that has the lyrics, "And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air," in its national anthem?

And, BOY, do we love fireworks. Never mind that fireworks were invented in China. Never mind that, every year, some American SOMEwhere finds a way to lose a limb and/or set a building on fire by doing something STOOpid with fireworks. We've always been more than happy to make fireworks a big part of 4th of July celebrations -- or ANY celebration, for that matter. I can't tell you how many times well-meaning folks in my home town (Indianapolis) have tried to get fireworks banned because, well, they ARE dangerous. The bans never work, though, and Indianapolis neighborhoods still, always end up looking and sounding like war zones on July 4th.

I guess the people who always try to ban fireworks should be grateful that most Americans no longer celebrate the 4th of July via anvil blasting. In fact, most Americans don't even know what anvil blasting IS anymore, mostly due to the fact that there aren't many blacksmiths around these days.

What's anvil blasting, you say? Oh, it's how Americans USED to celebrate their independence, approximately 100+ years or so ago. Anvil blasting is very simple. Here's what you do: You go to the village blacksmith, get an anvil (which usually weighs a ton or so), have a bunch of guys hoist it up and rest it on top of a big keg of gunpowder, light a fuse leading to the keg, and then RUN LIKE HELL. The goal is to blast the anvil as high up in the air as possible.

Of course, the problem is, anvils don't always cooperate. They may go sideways instead of straight up. Or, they may blast into pieces and send shrapnel flying every which way. And, of course, no one wants to have a flying anvil LAND on them. It's not hard to imagine why several states made anvil blasting illegal 100 or so years ago. Even so, some historical societies still hold anvil-blasting events across the country every July 4th, in an attempt to "recreate history." Uh, HUH.

I must admit, watching a huge anvil fly across the sky WOULD be pretty damn cool, in a MythBusters "we like to blow stuff up" sort-of way. Personally, though, I'm glad there are no blacksmiths anywhere near MY neighborhood.