Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Grandpa George

Grandpa George, my mom’s father, has passed away. He made it to his 90s, which is admirable, though I’m sure he wanted to continue for a bit longer. He did manage to outlive all four of his brothers -- quite a feat, considering George was the middle child. I think most people who’ve grown up in Indiana have known someone like George. He was a very gruff man of few words who’d grown up on a Hoosier farm. The character Carl Fredricksen from the animated film UP reminds me of Grandpa George in many ways -- short and stocky with a slight underbite, salt-and-pepper hair, thick glasses, and a gruff demeanor, though I think George was even gruffer than Carl. George was the only member of my family I know of to carry that gruffness. His brothers certainly weren’t that way.

My great uncle Lester (younger than George) was referred to by family members as a "large child." He was often found roughhousing with nieces and nephews at family gatherings. Whenever Lester joined us for Thanksgiving, we could count on at least two pieces of furniture (especially chairs) getting broken over Lester horsing around or arm wrestling the biggest guy in the room. Uncle Charlie (the youngest brother) was a fireman who was an avid reader of science fiction. Thanks to him, my brother and I were introduced to the written works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov, Clifford Simak, and Lester del Rey. Then there was Uncle Larry (older than George), who fancied himself a ladies man and did his utmost to emulate his screen idol, Cary Grant -- sometimes to unintentionally comic effect. I don’t remember much about the oldest brother, Ed, except that he was a nice and rather articulate man.

Because he grew up surrounded by such colorful characters, perhaps Grandpa George felt he couldn’t compete; so he contented himself with being the quiet brother. Grandpa WAS quiet, often ridiculously so. He always let Grandma call the shots while he went about his business, which usually involved running his small and successful concrete company. He hardly ever talked during family gatherings, but he was always found listening to other people’s conversations and sometimes chuckling quietly to himself. Even if someone asked him a question or tried to engage him in conversation, he would shrug and reply with things like, “Dunno,” or “Ain’t got much to say ‘bout that.”

Aside from my grandma and his family, George had two great loves in his life: fishing and reading. His favorite author was Louis L’Amour -- I think Grandpa must have read all of his books at least fifty times. That I was a book editor and writer myself seemed to give Grandpa a bit of quiet pride. For the last twenty years, whenever I saw him, he always asked the same thing: “What books ya workin’ on?” I’d tell him, and he’d reply with a grunt and a small smile -- and that would be the end of the conversation. Maybe he was just waiting for me to say, “I’ve written a Western, Grandpa!”

Like many of his generation, Grandpa was an army veteran of World War II. He never saw battle, however. He was trained as a sniper and deployed south out of Florida to guard the Panama Canal. “He must have done a good job,” Grandpa’s only son, my uncle Tommy, once told me. “After all, the canal is still there!”

World War II provided the only story that Grandpa ever told me about himself. While in Florida waiting for deployment, he got to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, who was there visiting and lunching with the troops. “She was th’ ugliest woman I ever seen,” said Grandpa. Then he chuckled and said, “Nah, I was th' ugliest woman I ever seen.” Just before being deployed, some of the soldiers threw a party, and as a joke, Grandpa showed up in drag. I have a photo of him from that party. Yes, he was definitely an ugly woman.

Grandpa George wasn’t an outwardly affectionate man. He was more comfortable with a handshake or a gentle cuff on the shoulder than with a hug. He showed his affection through doing things for his children. He and Grandma had four children; three daughters and a son -- my mother was the oldest (and I’m the oldest grandchild). When I was growing up, Grandpa was often present, helping us with home repairs -- and he was very proud of the concrete porch that he poured for our house: “Better ‘n my own!” Another point of pride for Grandpa was the fact that his children were the first in his family to earn college degrees, though he was clearly even more proud that his only son became a tradesman like him -- Tommy is a carpenter.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa’s, usually with many other family members around. The men could almost always be found in the living room watching sports or old movies on TV and drinking beer. During one of these visits, when I was about eight years old or so, I walked up to Grandpa and asked, “What’s beer taste like?” In a move that would no doubt have gotten him arrested these days, Grandpa shoved his beer into my hands and said, “See watcha think.” I took one big gulp and immediately gagged. To my eight-year-old tastebuds, it was the most awful stuff imaginable. I shoved the beer back at Grandpa and yelled, “How can you DRINK that?” Grandpa just chuckled and went back to watching TV. I didn’t touch beer again until I was in my 20s. I suspect that was Grandpa’s intention.

Gruff and quiet though he was, there was something oddly comforting about Grandpa. He always looked the same, no matter how old he became. He always dressed the same way, too. In every color photo I have of him, dating back nearly 50 years, he’s wearing a light blue cardigan sweater. (My brother swears it’s actually the SAME sweater in every photo.) The sweaters in the black-and-white photos were probably light blue as well. Grandpa was a stubbornly changeless presence in a world of constant change. When everything in my own world seemed unbalanced and frightening, I could always count on Grandpa being there, and being how I always needed him to be -- just Grandpa.

‘Bye, Grandpa. I love you. I miss you.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Giordano

"Dick Giordano" is one of the first names I learned to anticipate seeing in my comic books way back when I was a little kid, when I was first reading Batman and Green Lantern-Green Arrow. I first knew Mr. Giordano as (what was to me) Neal Adams' "good inker" -- and then I quickly came to recognize his touches on other works from DC Comics. I once had the pleasure of meeting the man, and he was uncommonly gracious and generous with his advice. That he was both an artist and editor was very admirable to me. It's difficult to juggle those two disciplines, but he did so with enviable and seemingly effortless talent. It was also, always a real pleasure to sit down with a comic book containing his work. I've always been proud to own one of his drawings of Hal Jordan, and also an art print of his, depicting the Hard-Traveling Heroes -- reminders of when I first learned to recognize his work. I was truly sad to learn of his passing Saturday.


Thanks for everything, Mr. Giordano. You will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Okay (gulp), here goes ...!

For various reasons, it really, really scares me to do this.

There are two very prominent sides of my nature that are really at war over me making this post. On the one hand, there is a very strong part of me that likes to be heard (read). Otherwise, why on earth would I be a book editor and writer, let alone own a blog? On the other hand, being exposed to the world frightens me in ways I can hardly explain. That's a big reason why I write under pseudonyms (pen names) and blog anonymously: Other people may love the idea of getting public attention, but I really don't like attention, unless it's on my own terms. I really, really don't.

So, why am I posting about this novel? Hell, I dunno. I think it's a way to kick myself in the butt to try to get the next novel finished. I've been sitting on a half-finished sequel for several years now. There's no excuse for it, really.

Anyway, for anyone who's interested, here's the COVER:


AND for anyone who wants some nice, long reviews that AREN'T from Amazon.com (though there are certainly a few of those as well), here you go:

From Kirkus Reviews:
A lifelong student of classical mythology, Houck writes in the author’s note following this fictional autobiography of one of the most human-oriented gods: “Anyone who’s studied Greek mythology knows one of the most fascinating and frustrating things about it is that, for the most part, it isn’t linear.” Likewise, many rousing tales of gods and monsters have come down through the ages in complicated verse. Houck tackles these epic structural challenges head on in this accessible prose narrative of Hermes, messenger of the gods. Though widely known as the god of merchants, Houck brings Hermes’ raft of personal traits and supernatural talents to the fore, making him at once exceptionally human-like and divine. The son of Zeus and Maia, practically from birth Hermes demonstrates his wily and worldly nature in executing whatever feats Zeus asks as he comes to realize his gifts of flight, invisibility and, most uniquely, the ability to sense ghosts. This last attribute leads Hades to dub him Hermes Psychopompos, or herald of the Underworld, giving him the all-important mission of guiding souls to the land of the dead, a responsibility he assumes with gratitude and pride. Hermes’ compassion as a guide wins him devotion among the living, and his telling of his role in the grand adventures of Perseus, the rescue of Dionysus, the birth of Athena, and the conception of Eros, Priapos, Hermaphroditos and Pan, makes him an affable, sympathetic protagonist. The author doesn’t hesitate to take liberties with various storylines and genealogies to drive home, at times, heavy-handed themes of requited love and forgiveness, but in the end he produces a mythic story that coheres.
Three parts autobiography, two parts Greek primer and an engaging read for all ages.


(NOTE: I don't agree with the "for all ages" part. I'm not letting Mighty Mite read it until she's at least 13 years old! Of course, other parents are allowed to make their own judgments.)

From Foreword Magazine:
Adventure, sex, power, drama, and the whole gamut of human emotions – has Hollywood ever fully exploited the richness of Greek mythology? N.F. Houck, a nonfiction book editor and a lover of classical myth, has done so with Herald, an entertaining and instructive fictional autobiography, the first of a planned trilogy.

Houck’s narrator is the Olympian god Hermes, who most recall as almighty Zeus’s bastard son and messenger. Zeus often summoned Hermes to help hide his extra-marital shenanigans from his ever-jealous wife, Hera. Hermes begins this memoir by recalling how he lulled Hera’s spy, Argus, into a sleep so complete that every one of Argus’s many eyes closed, thus killing him. In the book’s final episode, Hermes details what he calls his “greatest accomplishment” at the behest of Zeus. He had long ago saved a fetus, a half-brother who later became known as Dionysos, from the burning body of the princess Semele, another of Zeus’s lovers who was victimized by Hera. With Athena and Apollo, Hermes is asked by Zeus to bring Dionysos, who has grown to become the much-adored patron of wine and unreason, into the council of Olympian gods. Dionysos, having little reason to trust in the family of Zeus and Hera, greets Zeus’s emissaries with the taunt, “So, Wisdom, Wit, and Reason have come to temper the hands of Madness, have they?”

Readers will understand that Hermes was more than a gofer for the God of Thunder. He was a clever and amiable god, a trickster and a mischief-maker. And with an ability to fly, and to see the bodiless souls who wandered the earth, Hermes was the psychopomp, or soul guide, for the dead who did not know their way to the Underworld. In this volume Hermes recalls many of his excursions below, including those involving the goddess Persephone, the lover Orpheus and his ill-fated bride, and the reunion of Dionysos and his mother. Hermes was an independent spirit who spread his seed among goddesses, nymphs, and dryads. Hermes documents his awkward and painful affair with Aphrodite, as he comes to understand why this off-and-on relationship with the goddess of Beauty could not work. And although Hermes swore off love when it came to humans, he tells of his enchantment with the Athenian maiden Herse. This is the most touching part of the memoir, as Hermes reveals the depths of his love as well as his capacity for despair.

Houck illustrates that, as Hermes tells Perseus, “gods and humans are the same except for magic and mortality.” Given his super-human powers and the fact that ichor, not blood, flows in his veins, Hermes is not all that unlike us. By showing a sometimes flawed and suffering being who must discover his place in his world, Houck pulls in and holds readers. At the same time he adds color but stays true to the details of classical mythology.


From Bookwire:
The gods of the Ancient Greeks hurled thunderbolts, flew [through] the sky, and changed their appearance at will, but they also displayed all-too-human foibles. They had their power struggles, love affairs, and vendettas just like humans, although on a far grander scale. In Herald, author N.F. Houck offers a fictional autobiography of Hermes, the messenger of the gods and a god himself. The result is an engaging adventure that reveals just how human the Greek gods were.

Hermes is a particularly good choice as a subject. His myths are perhaps not as well known as Zeus’s myriad love affairs or Athena and Poseidon’s struggle for Athens, but Hermes plays starring or supporting roles in a great many stories. More importantly, Hermes is easier to relate to than some of the other Olympians. The god of thieves, tricksters, sailors, and messengers, Hermes was known, too, as the god of wit. The wings forged for him by Hephaestos allowed him to travel swiftly on his errands as the gods’ herald.

Houck has strung together and cleaned up a host of often contradictory myths to deliver a sharp, rollicking tale of the life and times of Hermes. Born from Zeus’s liaison with the Titaness Maia, Hermes gets up from his birthing bed and heads out to experience life. He tricks and thieves his way across the world, but his adventures reflect a sense of mischief rather than malice. Of all the gods, Hermes is one who particularly delights [in] the company of people. He is one of the few of the Olympians who can see the shades of the dead, and he takes on the role of psychopomp, leading the confused dead to the underworld.

Greek myths can be confusing to the uninitiated, but Houck does a wonderful job of making them accessible, retelling them in Hermes’s own humorous and mischievous voice. Hermes is an engaging narrator, and while his humor colors most of the book, an occasional episode reminds readers of his mercurial nature. Aphrodite seduces and leaves him in order to have a child, then snares him against his will to have others. His anger and hatred are palpable. His interactions with the dead leave him fearful of becoming involved with a mortal lover, yet his fascination with the mortal priestess Herse is one of the most tender episodes here.

If it is the underlying humanity of the Greek myths that has caused them to resonate so well over thousands of years, then surely Herald will attain its own immortality.


From Reader’s Connection, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library:
Are you in the market for a good psychopomp? I’ll assume that literally speaking, the answer is no. According to Wikipedia (and who would know better?) a psychopomp is a soul-guide, a “spirit, angel, or deity whose responsibility is to escort newly-deceased souls to the afterlife,” and I’m guessing that you’re not reading this blog on your deathbed. I mean, if you are, more power to you; but I’ll assume you’re not.

If you want to read a great psychopomp story, though, N. F. Houck’s novel, Herald, is told from the point of view of Greek god Hermes, who is one of the very few gods who can enter and leave the Underworld at will, and whose uncle, Hades, gives him the job of escorting confused souls to their new home.

From the first event described, the killing of the many-eyed giant Argus, the mischievous god’s version of events differs from others you may have encountered. In Hesiod’s Works and Days, Hermes is identified as the “slayer of Argos,” and Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, describes how Mercury (Hermes’s Roman name) made the slumber deeper:


With movements of the wand, and then he struck
The nodding head just where it joins the shoulder,
Severed it with the curving blade, and sent it
Bloody and rolling over the rocks. So Argus
Lay low, and all the light in all those eyes
Went out forever, a hundred eyes, one darkness.

That’s not how it goes down, when Hermes tells the tale. Yes, he’s responsible for the giant’s death. But there’s no curved blade involved, and he groans whenever he hears himself described as a giant-slayer.

If you read the hymn to Hermes in The Homeric Hymns, by whoever it was who wrote those, you’ll learn that the recently born god of theft and mischief stole Apollo’s cattle. In N. F. Houck’s novel, Hermes admits to the theft. But he has an unexpected (and very practical) motive. He’s not just being driven by his thieving nature.

I’m 200 pages into Herald. I think Houck has done something wonderful, and I hope he delivers on the other two parts of the trilogy that are announced on the book’s back cover. Yes, he’s a local author and an I.U. grad, but that’s not why I’m saying these things.

If you’re uncomfortable with the liberties Houck has taken with Greek myths, you need to remember that every version of this material we have is somebody’s treatment of pre-existent oral tales. In his introduction to his translation, Tales from Ovid, Ted Hughes writes:


Why the world should have so clasped Ovid’s versions of these myths and tales to its bosom is a mystery. As a guide to the historic, original forms of the myths, Ovid is of little use. His attitude to his material is like that of the many later poets who have adapted what he presents. He, too, is an adaptor; he takes up only those tales which catch his fancy, and engages with each one no further than it liberates his own creative zest.

It’s great fun to read Houck’s retelling of stories – Orpheus and Eurydice, for example – and then go back and read, or reread, a version by Ovid or another earlier teller. By sticking to Hermes’s point of view, Houck has created a great new story. My favorite portions so far have to do with our narrator’s relationships with departed souls, his journeys to the underworld, and his relationship (if we can call it that) with its stay-at-home ruler, Hades.
“This book was written because, in all honesty, I couldn’t help myself.” So says Houck in his closing notes:


After thirty-one years of reading everything I could find on Greek mythology– numerous censored and uncensored translations, a myriad of academic notes, and countless psychoanalytical, historical, astrological and astronimical dissections–the ancient tales about Hermes fell into a story pattern in my head that refused to go away until I wrote it down.

I hope that Houck’s creative zest is sustained for years to come.

Yeah -- me, too!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sorry -- Been caught up in March Madness!

Ah, basketball. Sorry, I'm being SUCH a Hoosier here, but I've been totally caught up in the men's college basketball playoffs; so I probably won't be making any new blog posts until all the schools from my state are TOTALLY out of the tournament. As it is, right now, there are TWO teams from Indiana in the Sweet Sixteen. That's right -- out of ALL of the U.S. colleges and universities with basketball teams, TWO of the final sixteen teams left in the tournament are from Indiana -- Purdue and Butler. Of course, my alma mater, Indiana University, was eliminated early; but Indiana is BASKETBALL country, and I'll gladly cheer for ANY team from my home state. In all honesty, though, I'm surprised Purdue made it this far -- but, hey, I'm not complaining!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yippee Ki Yay, Green Lantern!

Poor ol' Abin Sur. Green Lantern fans have hardly EVER seen the poor man having any fun. We've seen his death many times, shown in many different ways. We've seen him getting the chocka ca-ca scared out of him by prophecies. We've seen a few interesting stories told via flashback -- but there's hardly been anything showing the man actually having FUN. And what's the point of being a space cop if you can't have FUN?

For those Green Lantern fans who've never seen poor ol' Abin Sur having FUN, I present to you the following two paintings. And what better way for a Green Lantern to have fun than to play COWBOY! Heck, Hal got to play cowboy once. Why not Abin Sur?

Yee-haw -- Ride 'im, Abin! He's a spaaaaaaace cowboy ...!

So, don't let it be said that Abin Sur never had any fun. Besides, he rocked the Clint Eastwood poncho and hat better than HAL ever did.

The two Abin Sur paintings, by the way (first one by Glen Orbick; second one by Laurel Blechman), are from the Green Lantern: Traitor storyline, first published way back in 1999 in the now-defunct Legends of the DC Universe comic. I miss that comic. It had a lot of very fun, very creative stories.

Here's an observation regarding the first painting, though: Take a good look at Abin Sur's green horse. I swear the artist must have used a Breyer horse as a model. Here's some little-known geekdom for you (and keep this in mind the next time someone tries to tell you that collecting comic books is goofy): Breyer Animal Creations of Reeves, International has been making high-quality animal models since the 1950s, but none are as well-known as its horses. Over the years, collecting the model horses has grown into a very complex fandom. It includes not only collecting the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of model varieties, but also customizing the models into looking as realistic as possible. It ALSO includes publicly displaying them in judged competitions that closely resemble the types of shows held for REAL horses -- INCLUDING conformation, racing, show jumping, dressage, you name it.

In other words, there are adults out there who collect model horses and treat them like REAL horses. It's true. I'm not kidding. And you thought people who dress up like Stormtroopers from Star Wars were weird, right? Oh, there are conventions, too. Click here to see the main page for Breyerfest, held every year at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The "star horse" at this year's event belongs to William Shatner. If you think ComicCon is elaborate ...!

I once had close to 100 Breyer horses, but I now have only a handful left. The horse Abin Sur is riding looks suspiciously like a Breyer "Fighting Stallion" -- especially where the pose is concerned. Compare it with the following photo (Fighting Stallion #32, 1961-70, Glossy grey appaloosa) and see what you think!

Or am I being just a little TOO geeky here?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hip Hop Toddler

STILL sick, but getting better! And, heaven help all of us, Mighty Mite has discovered old-school hip hop. I feel so, so sorry for her Winnie-the-Pooh in this video. All I can say is, it's a good thing Pooh Bear is known to be "a bear of very little brain."
video
My friend Phil says we should replace Pooh Bear with a martini shaker. SHAME on you, Phil! SHAME, SHAME!

(The song, by the way, is House of Pain's "Jump Around.")

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The coolest desk accessory EVER!

I love my friend Dave. Here I've been stuck in bed all week, fighting off my latest cold (I suspect bronchitis -- but my doctor insists it's just a cold. Of course, my doctor is also an NFL physician, for the Indianapolis Colts, so he thinks anything that isn't a groin injury can't be all that serious. Bah!) (Seriously, though -- I love my doctor.) . . . ANYWAY, Dave emailed me the greatest thing I've seen all week -- heck, all MONTH. It's THIS:

THAT, boys and girls, is a desk lamp -- the Alien Abduction Lamp, to be precise. Isn't that the COOLEST and GEEKIEST thing ever? And here I thought my old Dalek alarm clock was geeky. I have GOT to get myself one of these lamps! At the very least, I need to get one for my brother -- his birthday is coming up. Trouble is, I'm in the USA, and so far the lamp is available only in Australia, Germany, and the U.K. Still, I should be able to convince some bright young entraprenuer to ship me one across the pond -- unless someone in the USA hurries up and becomes a distributor. HEY, USA DISTRIBUTORS! You paying attention?!?!?

Friday, March 5, 2010

55 Questions -- Year 2010

It's 2010, and a friend has hit me with one of those inane personal information questionnaires. Well, I haven't filled one of these out in a while, and this blog is all about inanity, anyway. Besides, it's kind of a fun way for people to take personal inventory; so, here goes. Anyone who wants to is more than welcome to copy these questions and supply your own answers -- and either post them on your own blogs or email them to your buddies. Here goes!

1. What time did you get up this morning?
6:01. Six-oh-FRICKIN’-one …

2. Diamonds or pearls?
Amethysts and peridots.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
At the cinema? Pixar’s UP. I’ve been relying mostly on PS3 downloads and Turner Classic Movies lately. No, I haven't seen Avatar yet. Yes, you can all be shocked.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Right now? Batman: The Brave & The Bold

5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
Whatever I can get my hands on -- and a big ol’ mug of nasty publishing company coffee.

6. What is your middle name?
My REAL one? Faye.

7. What food do you dislike?
Anything slimy.

8. What is your favorite album at the moment?
Gorillaz, Plastic Beach -- been listening to it through National Public Radio’s Web site.

9. What kind of car do you drive?
Currently, a black Dodge Caliber named Black Beauty -- after the Green Hornet’s car. I was forced to retire my beloved Saturn last summer. I miss my Saturn, but I do love Black Beauty -- it’s like a Swiss Army Knife on wheels!

10. Favorite sandwich?
Big breaded tenderloin with mayo, lettuce, and tomato. A Hoosier delicacy.

11. What characteristic do you despise?
Abusive behavior.

12. Favorite item of clothing?
My green scarf from Peru.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Australia.

14. Favorite brand of clothing?
I don’t have one.

15. Where would you retire to?
I love Indianapolis. I will never leave it.

16. What was your most memorable birthday?
The infamous Bambi birthday.

17. Favorite sport to watch?
Currently, Colts football and the Indianapolis 500.

18. Furthest place you are sending this?
It’s a blog post, so it’s available everywhere.

19. Person you expect to send it back first?
N/A

20. When is your birthday?
New Year’s Eve.

21. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Afternoon person.

22. What is your shoe size?
8-1/2.

23. Pets?
Currently, one dog -- a crazy Shiba Inu -- and a tank full of African Cichlids. My old geezer dog passed away peacefully last summer.

24. Any new and exciting news you 'd like to share with us?
Nothing I haven’t already shared!

25. What did you want to be when you were little?
A Disney animator.

26. How are you today?
Okay, except for fighting off the umpteenth cold I’ve had since Mighty Mite was born.

27. What is your favorite candy?
Coconut creams in dark chocolate.

28. What is your favorite flower?
Dark red roses.

29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
July 5. I’m biding my time, biding my time …

30. What's your full name?
I prefer to blog anonymously.

31. What are you listening to right now?
The Robert Cray Band, Midnight Stroll. The most underrated blues album of all time.

32. What was the last thing you ate?
A slice of leftover cheese pizza.

33. Do you wish on stars?
Yes, when I get to see them.

34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Green.

35. How is the weather right now?
Bright and sunny, and FINALLY warm enough to melt all this %#&$ snow!

36. What is your natural hair color?
Brown. Still.

37. Favorite soft drink?
Diet Dr. Pepper.

38. Favorite restaurant?
Smee’s Place, Indianapolis.

39. Favorite color of nail polish?
I don’t wear nail polish.

40. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Quacky, my stuffed duck.

41. Summer or winter?
Spring and fall, thank you.

42. Hugs or kisses
Both! Still!

43. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Strawberry.

44. Coffee or tea?
Tea.

45. Do you want your friends to email you back?
They can if they want to.

46. When was the last time you cried?
Um … I honestly can’t remember. Probably the last time I watched UP.

47. What is under your bed?
Nothing. I don’t store things under my bed.

48. What did you do last night?
Invited a friend over for dinner and let her VENT, and VENT, and VENT …!

49. What are you afraid of?
Heights.

50. Salty or sweet?
Depends.

51. How many keys on your key ring?
Which one?

52. How many years at your current job?
20 years at my profession, 7 years with my current employer.

53. Favorite day of the week?
Wednesday.

54. How many towns have you lived in?
Four: Indianapolis, Indiana; Fishers, Indiana; Bloomington, Indiana (college); and (sorta) Dunedin, Florida.

55. Do you make friends easily?
Only if I want to!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

BATMOBILES in the Indy 500??

Throughout the history of the Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League (IRL), there have, of course, been regular upgrades of the car designs. Over the decades, the overall design has gradually evolved from classic early-20th-century roadsters to small, light cars that are so aerodynamic that they're practically airplanes. Indeed, the main job of the spoilers and trim on an Indy car is to keep the car from literally flying off the track!

Well, it's time for another design upgrade. Officially, the following new design concept is called the Delta Wing. However, most racing enthusiasts are referring to the design as the Batmobile. It's not hard to see why!

Problem is, the concept car is close-wheeled, and Indy cars are traditionally open-wheeled. So, there's also an artist mockup showing the Delta Wing "Batmobile" with open wheels:

The new design is being proposed for the 2012 racing season. I hope they DO go with this design because -- OMG -- an Indy 500 race with BATMOBILES? That's -- THAT'S -- THAT'S a Hoosier geek's dream come true! Heck, Batman himself probably wouldn't mind the idea.