Friday, July 29, 2011

Angry Conversations with God - A Review

A few weeks ago, I challenged people to consider how "real" their relationship with God was, using an analogy of a person who "loved" Johnny Cash from afar. That illustration helped to show that real relationships have highs and lows. They have "bad" days. Real relationships are hard.

By that standard, Susan E. Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations with God, most definitely has a real relationship with God.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Hopeless Autograph Line

Right on the heels of the "Transformers Summer Fun" contest, the official Transformers Club Twitter account announced another photo contest, this one tied to the recently-finished San Diego Comic-Con.  Fans were asked to depict beast-mode Transformers in some Comic-Con related activity.  Here's my entry, with it's accompanying Tweet (click on the photo to enlarge so you can read the sign):

Monday, July 25, 2011

Donald Duck Skateboarding: The Evolution of an Image

The second picture that I entered in last week's "Transformers Summer Fun" contest was this one of Donald Duck skating down a ramp at the park.  Although the skateboard accessory that comes with this toy made it an obvious choice for depicting a Transformer in a summer activity, I actually had to go through several phases before I was able to settle on this picture as one worthy of submitting to the contest.

Friday, July 22, 2011

On Comics, Continuity, and Change

Yesterday, the folks at IDW publishing officially announced that they will be picking up the classic Marvel comics Transformers continuity, starting with an "issue 80 1/2" in Spring 2012.  Obviously, I'm thrilled with this news, and the irony that I find myself looking to buy any comic books so shortly after Wednesday's post is not lost on me.  But if anything could get me to do it, this is definitely it.

Of course, there's a lot of risk in such an undertaking.  Not just for IDW, but for those of us who are fans, as well. As almost any Star Wars fan who saw The Phantom Menace will tell you, picking up a well-loved story after a huge gap can easily lead to huge disappointment. In regard to the Marvel Transformers comic, at least one fan has pointed out that some of what made that series work was the constant pressure from Hasbro to keep introducing new characters to keep up with the toys they were trying to sell, and that this caused the writers to create stories and personalities that would likely never have come to exist if they were simply left to their own devices. Any new Marvel-continuity continuation, no longer having that recipe of obligations, may not be able to reach the same creative heights as a result. Even so, since writer Simon Furman tells us that the plan is only to go as far as "issue 100" and then conclude, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The End of Superman's Marriage

Now, if you don't follow comic books, you may well be saying to yourself "Superman's married?" Yes, my friends, and he has been for nearly 15 years now. But ever since comic book fans learned that DC Comics would be making massive changes to their fictional universe, and resetting all of their titles (including the 900+ issue runs of Action Comics and Detective Comics) to "issue 1" in a couple of months, we've suspected that the marriage of Clark Kent to Lois Lane was one of the realities on the chopping block. Alas, it's been made official in the past few days. Superman's days as a married man are numbered.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Action Master Thundercracker Spent His Summer Vacation

This past weekend, the BotCon Twitter account announced a photo contest to celebrate their 3000th follower, encouraging fans to submit a picture of their favorite Transformer in some summer activity.  Naturally, I had to make sure that at least one of my entries (we were allowed up to three) featured the recent BotCon Action Master Thundercracker.  The entry I chose to submit, featuring Thundercracker on a dirt bike (Energon High Wire, in fact), may be seen at left.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Transformers Feature: Animated Cheetor

With the Los Angeles area facing potential traffic mayhem this weekend, I tried to work through which Transformer I hadn't already featured (but which I had available) might be an appropriate match to the situation.  I decided that the recent Transformers club exclusive toy, Animated "TransTech" Cheetor, deserved some attention.  Of course, I doubt that Cheetor would be any better at handling a traffic jam than any other Transformer.  Indeed, he'd probably cause them more than most.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Plumbing - Caring for the World's Most Important Invention

Drinking waterI spent a bit of my post on Monday suggesting that certain infrastructure needs should be given greater priority. At the time, I was thinking about roads and traffic. Today, recent events in my hometown of Louisville, KY have me thinking about water and plumbing.  I've heard it said that plumbing may well be the most important invention of all time, and while there's certainly room for debate on that statement, I think that a very strong case can be made.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Approaching Carmageddon

For those who don't live in the LA area, no, I didn't make up that particular pun (and those in the LA area already know what I'm talking about).

This weekend, a 10-mile stretch of the I-405 Freeway on the west side of LA--the entirety of the freeway between the US-101 and the I-10--will be shut down for improvements.  The signs along the highways (apparently everywhere from Bakersfield to San Diego) say "EXPECT BIG DELAY."  I don't think anyone actually disputes that the improvements are needed, nor that the drive along that stretch will be much easier after they're done.  But the sacrifice needed to make those improvements, if only for a weekend, looks to be pretty painful.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The End of an Era: The Final Space Shuttle Launch

Atlantis taking off on STS-27I made the effort to watch the final launch of the space shuttle program this morning, as the Atlantis took to the skies one last time.  While I'm forced to acknowledge the reality that 30 years is really a long time for a program of this kind to last, I'm still somewhat sad to see the shuttle go.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

When Real is Just Shorthand for Rotten

I hear a lot about the need for "authenticity" these days.  We're told that modern generations (by which I mean not only my own, but especially those people younger than I am) value authenticity very highly, and are deeply suspicious of anything "inauthentic."  Now, obviously, no one, of any generation, claims to value "inauthencity," per se.  And, indeed, I wonder how much of our current push for "authenticity" isn't actually the positive thing that it sounds like at first.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Is Our Relationship with God "Real"?

Yesterday, on the Fourth of July holiday, David LaMotte posted an entry titled "Interdependence Day" in which he reflected on the 8th anniversary of his engagement to his wife (I seem to have forgotten that he got engaged shortly before my own wife and I got married, but I digress).  Although the whole thing is worth reading, I want to highlight the following insight:
Chewing on the reality of our relationship makes me think of a great story that my friend Hugh Hollowell tells.  Hugh is a big Johnny Cash fan, and claims to know all the words to all of his songs. He loves Johnny Cash. And he also loves his wife. “But,” he explains, “Johnny and me never have a bad day.” That’s because the relationship with Johnny Cash is an imagined one.  He has a relationship with the idea of Johnny Cash, not with Johnny. Real relationships are harder than that, and also much, much richer.

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Transformers Drabble

Before BotCon, club member Jeysie posted a little contest over at the #TF-Timelines page at DeviantArt.  Basically, we were asked to write a "drabble" set in any Transformers Club-related universe.  For those that don't know, a "drabble" is a piece of fiction that is exactly 100 words long.  I've always been partial not only to the Marvel Comics Transformers universe, but to the Ratchet/Megatron storyline that featured so prominently there (here's just a sample), and since the club had done their "Classics" storyline in the future of that universe, I figured this little bit was fair game. 

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