anarchist_nomad: (A Crown of Flowers)
( May. 4th, 2009 09:29 pm)
When last we left our intrepid Nomad, he was writing during the tail end of an international T2K SK video conference, following a day of theatre that kicked off a holiday weekend.

The story continues.....

After said video conference ended, certain other activities -- all in line with the spirit of the season -- kept me preoccupied. No complaints per se, but said activities resulted in this Nomad getting only about an hour of sleep before needing to wake up at 4:30am to partake in the May Morning festivities here in Oxford. We left the Flat With No Name shortly after five and, despite the closure of the Magdalen Bridge[*], we made it into the city centre by half five. Walking to the Magdalen College chapel tower, we passed the usual array of drunken college students -- some in very colourful attire. We made it to Magdalen with plenty of time before the college choir sang the Hymnus Eucharisticus from the rooftops -- a tradition dating back more than five centuries.

Once the singing had ended, we wandered through the city centre, taking in the Morris dancers, and the people dressed as trees or bushes, and the other street performers. At half six, I broke away from the group to transition from spectator to part of the entertainment. I joined a band of ringers from the OUSCR and we rang the bells at the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. This is only the second time that I have rung at SMV -- the first being May Morning last year -- and it is good to get some practice on heavier bells. Also good to ring for such a festive crowd and, best of all, the aerial vantage point from SMV provides some of the best views of the May Morning excitement! Looking out from the tower, one can simultaneously see the Rad Cam, the campuses of Brasenose College and All Souls College, the crowds, the Morris dancers... and more!

By half seven, I was done ringing. Our group reformed and we made our way to the Queen's Lane Coffee House for breakfast. We were home again by nine, at which point I collapsed into bed instantly, grabbing another two hours of sleep before needing to wake at eleven for a T2K UK analysis meeting. When the meeting ended at noon, I promptly fell back into bed, to collect another three hours of sleep. At that point, I was up for the rest of the day and proceeded to cook for [ profile] bunnypip and the two eldest leverets.

Once fed, we left Oxford and made our way back to [ profile] bunnypip's home. During the journey, I introduced her to a number of my favourite David Rovics songs. I may not have done much to celebrate May Day as an Anarchist this year -- something that I plan to make up for in 2010 -- but it was good to get in a sampling of my favourite Anarchist holiday.

After arriving in Northampton and bringing the children to their fathers, [ profile] bunnypip and I were able to have a date night to ourselves, in which we were able to celebrate Beltane properly. Again, Not Enough Sleep ensued -- I estimate five hours on Friday night.[**]

On Saturday morning, we had a failed attempt to bake bread and a successful attempt to hold a private Beltane ritual[***]. Afterward, we made our way back to Oxford to collect [ profile] cheshcat and [ profile] dr_jen. Together, we all headed to Leicester, specifically to the home of [ profile] thehalibutkid and [ profile] sanjibabes. As always, it was nice to see the lovely [ profile] sanjibabes and, for that matter, [ profile] skibbley. However, our main purpose in making the trip was to hold our group Beltane ritual. Ever since Samhain, a group of us have been working together regularly, with organisation done by yours truly and High Priestessing done by [ profile] cheshcat. I don't think that I have ever formally worked all the sabbats in a single turning of the Wheel of the Year before; the experience is turning out to be quite the positive one... not just for me, but for everyone in the group. These are not closed rituals -- most have had "guests" in addition to the regulars -- but the same five people have been at all five rituals thus far, which makes for a nice flow of continuity.

For Beltane, [ profile] cheshcat had organised a fairly traditional ritual: We did a Maypole, we jumped over a bonfire, we feasted, et cetera. Nothing terribly esoteric, but the way that Chesh had assembled the usual elements was excellent -- everything flowed together powerfully. It did not hurt in the least that the weather was good and so this became our first outdoor ritual in this sequence[****]. Flowery head dresses were assembled -- mostly with nimble expertise by [ profile] bunnypip, though the talented and charming [ profile] dr_jen made quite a lovely one on her own. Here are a couple of photos from just before we started the ritual )

After the ritual was done, we all sat around the bonfire and talked for a bit... just enjoying the energy and the warmth and the flames. Then we hugged [ profile] thehalibutkid and [ profile] parallelgirl goodbye and returned to Oxford. Not quite sure how much sleep I got on Saturday night, but I estimate that it was another five hours.[*****]

Sunday morning, I spent a little more time with [ profile] bunnypip before sending her on her way and spending the day with my beloved [ profile] cheshcat. I finished the first Sandman trade paperback -- Preludes and Nocturnes -- and then she re-read it so that we could discuss. We got in a fair bit of cuddling. And we managed to spend a bit of quality alone time together.

Today, Monday, [ profile] cheshcat and I took a day trip to the Stowe Landscape Gardens, a National Trust property about twenty-five miles from Oxford. The gardens were founded in the 18th century by Sir Richard Temple, also known as Lord Cobham. The site takes up 750 acres, though much of it is parkland. The gardens themselves are quite beautiful, with several lakes and valleys and fields. It is then further enhanced by forty-two monuments scattered about the grounds. There are sculptures and temples and columns and bridges (oh my!), so that our map became a sort of checklist guiding us around the gardens today. We spend most of the day at Stowe and managed to take in the entirety of the garden, much to our pleasure! At the end of the day, [ profile] cheshcat and I wound down with cream teas before heading back to Oxford and home.

Overall, it has been quite an excellent weekend! Happy Beltane! Happy Spring!

Now then, time to end the weekend by ringing up my darling [ profile] tawneypup, who has also been away. Cannot properly claim to have celebrated Beltane without including her!

[*] To prevent drunk students from jumping off and breaking their legs in the very shallow water below.

[**] Bringing the running total for the two nights to eleven hours thus far.

[***] As distinct from the celebration of the night before.

[****] Not counting our Yule ritual, where the circle did remain open through the longest night... which included our trip to Stonehenge to welcome in the dawn.

[*****] Raising the running total for three nights to sixteen hours. Not serious Sleep Deprivation -- certainly nothing like what I pulled last Decemberween -- but definitely not running on a full tank, either!

Here are various and sundry things going on right now:

  • Work is going well, both personally for the T2K experiment as a whole. The calorimeter for the near detector, which was built here by the UK group, is currently in Switzerland for a test at CERN. Meanwhile, the actual neutrino beam, which is in Japan, switched on for the first time last week. Exciting times! Personally, I spent today supervising my students and installing Kubuntu Linux onto Arkham, my laptop, so that I can get a number of high energy physics tools like Geant and Root and T2KFit running on my personal machine.

  • Tonight -- in about an hour -- I will be at the first ringing practice of Trinity Term with the Oxford University Society of Bell Ringers.

  • Nearly done with the first Sandman trade paperback now. Good stuff!

  • Having had no new travel adventures since my birthday weekend in March, I am starting to feel a bit restless. Thankfully, plans are currently being made for a number of trips in the next few months: In two weeks, I will be off to Japan. Just days after I return, [ profile] cheshcat and I have a five day road trip planned up North as we continue checking items off of our "Explore England" checklist[***]. As we move into Summer, there will be the annual visit to New York and Chicagoland... and Starwood! Ah, yes, Starwood! That never fails to be exciting! And then, on my return, [ profile] cheshcat and I planned a very nice cruise vacation to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary. Air travel, road travel, sea travel all coming up -- that's a good way to make a happy Nomad!

[*] Okay, there really isn't a checklist. It's actually a spreadsheet.

One of the things that I love about Oxford is that it is small enough to get around easily by bus or push bike and, whenever you go out, you run into somebody that you know... whilst being simultaneously big enough that there is always something going on. Thus, although I did not leave the city this weekend, there was plenty to do and it made for quite a pleasant weekend, indeed!

On Friday evening, my beloved [ profile] bunnypip came down for a date. When she arrived, we headed into Jericho to get dinner at my second favourite vegetarian restaurant in Oxford -- The Gardener's Arms.[1] As usual, the food was quite good. After eating, I took her on a stroll through Jericho before we headed back to the Flat With No Name. Upon our return, the rest of the evening was spent locked in a room together.[2] Although we see each other frequently, too much of our recent time together has been group social time, or dealing-with-practicality time, or child time. This left us both quite eager for some time with nothing to do but be alone together... and so we opted to forgo the various options for theatre or a concert in favour of sharing some much needed quality alone time.

Come Saturday morning, both [ profile] bunnypip and I were quite happy, though moving a little slowly. Thus, I put her on the Oxford Tube at about the same time that I should have already been in city centre. Hopping on my bicycle immediately afterward, I arrived at the Town Hall twenty minutes late... but just in time for the start of the day's activities.

Just what were the activities of which I speak, gentle readers? It is a fair question... and -- fear not -- I shall tell you! Yesterday, to celebrate its 275th anniversary, the Oxford Society of Change Ringers had a ringing day. Those of us who were participating were divided into four teams that were to compete in five areas: (1) Ringing six bells down in peal and then up again, (2) Tune ringing on twelve handbells, (3) Ringing an Oxford method on eight tower bells, (4) Ringing Stedman Cinques on twelve tower bells, and (5) a trivia quiz. I am not experienced in tune ringing, which is very different than change ringing -- indeed, one does not even hold the handbells in the same way! Still, I joined in the handbell tune ringing competition.[3]. Our assignment was to learn Ode To Joy; we practiced for some time in the Priory Room at Christ Church, then gave our performance back in the Town Hall. I rang on the fifth and sixth bells of the twelve... and thought that I did reasonably well. Shortly after our performance, it was time for lunch... during which I had several enjoyable chats with fellow ringers.

As I was not participating in the tower bell competitions during the afternoon, I snuck out after lunch and met up with my darling [ profile] cheshcat for a trip to the exhibition hall at the Bodleian Library. The current displays were entitled Hallelujah! The British Choral Tradition and After Arundel: Religious writing in fifteenth-century England. The first display covered one thousand years of British choral music in various settings: in churches, at coronations, et cetera. There were a number of impressive manuscripts; true to form, my favourite was the oldest -- the Winchester Troper, used one thousand years ago at the Old Minster in Winchester[4]. The second display was smaller, featuring seven religions manuscripts from the early and middle of the fifteenth century. All were concerned with the suppression of heresay, in the aftermath of John Wycliffe and the Lollard movement[5]. Thomas Arundel himself, as archbishop of Canterbury, had fought to suppress the Lollards; these works were written as the legacy of that religious conflict.

Once we left the Bodleian, I headed back to Christ Church to rejoin the Oxford Society's Ringing Day. We had a group picture taken on the Great Stair of the college[6], then congregated to learn the results of the day's competitions. Our handbell ringing had come in a close second, out of four, in technical merit. Unfortunately, our artistic presentation was rated the lowest of the four groups. I think that this may have something to do with our choice to ring loudly; the judge thought that this detracted from the music. Ah well -- it was all in good fun.

When done with the Ringing Day, I rejoined [ profile] cheshcat, who was reading in Oxford's lovely[7] Bonn Square. We went out for dinner together, then headed to the Oxford Playhouse to see a performance of The Fiddler On The Roof. The Playhouse puts on many high quality shows and has hosted the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as shows headed to the West End. This production, however, was put on by the Oxfordshire Youth Music Theatre. As such, it was very much a student production -- good, but not quite the same caliber as other shows that we have seen there. Perhaps I am a bit harsh here, but I have seen Fiddler twice before -- both times on Broadway -- and so there were very large shoes to be filled. A sixteen year old playing Tevye -- no matter how good -- is not going to compare to the performance I saw Topol give in 1990 or the one that [ profile] pomoloco and I saw Harvey Fierstein put on in 2005. That said, it was still an enjoyable show... and I always seem to forget just how difficult Fiddler is to watch. It is a testament to the potential of these kids that there performance still managed to tug on my heartstrings with the sad plight of Anatevka.

After the curtain fell, [ profile] cheshcat and I returned to our flat in Headington. Here, we continued making plans for our fifteenth anniversary -- which is coming up in less than four months -- and then ended the evening by watching the last two episodes of Smallville Season Seven.

Today, I began my day by heading out to St. Giles to ring for the Sunday morning services. Then I came home to meet up with the charming [ profile] dr_jen, who joined [ profile] cheshcat and I on our annual trip to Oxford University's Harcourt Arboretum. The Harcourt does not measure up to the fantastic Morton Arboretum that the Event Horizon is near in Chicagoland; however, it does have one advantage. For two weeks each year, at the end of April and beginning of May, the bluebells are in bloom. During that time, the Harcourt has a spectacular bluebell meadow, which is a wonder and a delight to behold. The three of us spent hours wandering around the arboretum, taking in the seasonal beauty. Thankfully, the weather was quite obliging and there was ample sun to take many lovely[8] photographs.

When we finally left the arboretum, which is on the southernmost edges of Oxford, we made our way to the Wolvercote, in the northernmost part, to get lunch at The Trout[9]. Sitting outside by the Thames, we spent a couple of hours enjoying a delicious meal whilst taking in the greenery and the waterfowl... including a very amusing trio of frisky ducks!

After eating, I dropped off [ profile] dr_jen and [ profile] cheshcat, then proceeded back into the city centre to ring for evening services at St. Giles. Amongst other things, we rang a couple of extents of Plain Bob Doubles, during which I finally realised that I have this method down quite well. Indeed, I find it safe to say that this is the first real method[10] that I am fully comfortable with. Yay for me! Next, I want to extend this comfort to Plain Bob Minor, as I would love to ring a quarter peal on this sometime in the not-TOO-distant future.

When we were done ringing the changes, I returned to Headington, picked up the first Sandman trade paperback, and headed out to Bury Knowle Park to read some more. It is not quite summer yet, but it is still nice to read outside in the evenings, just before the sun goes down.

Finally, that brings us to the present. It is still relatively early in the evening, but I expect to go to bed soon after posting this. There is a very busy week ahead of me, and I want to get an early start on it whilst also being fresh and rested.[11] Many pentacles need to be hammered in the coming weeks!

So, on that note, dear friends, I will end this entry by saying this: Happy Sunday to all... and to all a good night!

[1] The Pink Giraffe, whilst not strictly a vegetarian venue, holds the title of my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Oxford. Every one of their dishes can be made in a vegetarian form, with a variety of fake meats. As such, it is good enough for me to count as a vegetarian restaurant, since I can eat anything on the menu.

[2] Figuratively, not literally.

[3] Besides, it should give me some appreciation for what it is that [ profile] jadesfire55 does with her ringing.

[4] The Old Minster, built in 660, was the precursor to the New Minster which, in turn, was predecessor to Winchester Cathedral, which I visited last month during my birthday weekend.

[5] Wycliffe was a prominent theologian at Oxford in the mid-fourteen century... who was then kicked out for his heretic teachings. He did such devious things as translate the Bible into English. Terrible, really!

[6] Harry Potter fans may like to know that this staircase appeared in the first Harry Potter film, as the steps leading into Hogwarts.

[7] "Lovely" in this one instance meaning "ugly as all get-out." Last year, the city spent two million pounds renovating the square into something quite drab and awful.

[8] "Lovely" actually meaning "lovely" this time!

[9] Somewhat well known, in part, because of its mention in Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse novels.

[10] Ignoring non-methods like Plain Hunt.

[11] And I did not sleep enough either night this weekend!


Tis the Friday of our content, marry sir:
Didst thou talketh like a Shakespeare anon?
For yesterday, by the hairs of my beard
Twas all to speak merrily as the Bard.

It is indeed Friday and, whether you spoke like a Shakespeare or no, gentle readers, it is time for an entry highlighting the, um, highlights of this week. First, though, we have a word from our sponsors a poll!

Last week, I asked YOU when you could come to play games at the Flat With No Name[*]. The winner from that poll appears to be Saturday May 9th. So it is likely that there shall be a games party anon on that date. Before confirming, though, let me make sure that there really are enough people who can attend to make it worth our while:

[Poll #1389214]

In particular, there will be an emphasis on teaching and playing Betrayal at House on the Hill, using the awesome new set made for me by the adorable [ profile] tawneypup. Other games are also on hand, though, and much fun shall be had by all who can attend!

Right. That said, what has everybody's favourite Nomad been up to this week? I will not bore you with the details go into full descriptions, but here are some notable happenings from the week now ending:

  • One of the attendees from the Oxford University Astronomy Weekend is a member of the Newbury Astronomy Society, about thirty miles from here. Apparently, she liked my talk so much that she e-mailed me and asked if I could deliver the opening lecture to the Society's next season, in September. I was very flattered to be asked and I agreed, of course. The talk on cosmic rays is already written, and that is the part that I hate about giving a lecture. The actual delivery is fun, as are the questions afterward. So there is no reason at all not to give my talk again, to a different audience!

  • Whilst at St. Giles on Sunday to ring for the evening services, somebody looked at the mail... and noted that there was an envelope for me there. Well, that came as a bit of a surprise! I have never received mail at the church before! Turns out, it was from the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers. I was inducted into the Guild at the start of the year[**] and this envelope contained my certificate of membership and some information about the Guild. I know that I am only a learner, even after two and a half years of ringing, but it is nice to be part of some ringing societies now. It feels validating, as it were.

  • Speaking of ringing, I have made it to both handbell practice and tower bell practice at St. Giles for two Thursdays in a row. Given the London commute, this is no longer a given... nor is it trivial to accomplish. However, the benefits are tangible. On handbells, I have brushed the dust off of my Plain Bob Major -- last week, I assured myself that I could still ring the trebles and tenors; this week, I went back to what I was learning before: the 3/4 pair and the 5/6 pair. Coming along nicely, if I do say so myself. On tower bells, I practiced trebling to a long touch of Grandsire Triples. Also, I extensively practiced my inside bell work on Grandsire Doubles last week, and this week I got in some work on a touch of Plain Bob Minor.

  • Unlike Skullcrusher Mountain, the Flat With No Name is managed by a letting agency. Overall, this is a good thing, as our previous landlady[***] did absolutely nothing ever. However, one disadvantage is that the agent makes semi-annual inspections of the property. Joy and rapture. Wednesday was to be the first such inspection, so I stayed home from work on Tuesday and spent the entire day cleaning like mad. To be honest, our flat needed it. When I began, it was an utter mess; when I ended, it was spotless. However, on Wednesday afternoon, [ profile] cheshcat gets an e-mail saying that they are putting off the inspection for a week. Oi! I had her call to chew them out, and to explicitly state that the flat was currently immaculate and that we would not be cleaning it so thoroughly for them again. The situation is irksome... but at least, with that incentive, we now have a clean place to live once again!

  • For some odd reason, it seems to be the season for old girlfriends to hunt down Nomad on Facebook. I do not have a Facebook account, nor do I intend to ever get one[****]. But a couple of former partners -- who have never met -- recently contacted me asking if I was there. No, that is not quite true. One previous partner asked me if I was on Facebook, as she had been looking for me. The other correctly concluded that I was not there... so she sent me a letter demanding that I get a Facebook account. Indeed, she was adamant and would not take LiveJournal for an answer.[*****] I do consider myself to be on good terms with most of my ex-girlfriends -- indeed, I am rather proud of this fact -- but it is still a tad odd for two to ping me at once because they were searching for me on Facebook! Ah, well. Tis good to be wanted, I suppose!

  • Over the past few years, I have been starting to fill in certain gaps in my education. My cultural education, that is. In 2005, after seventeen years of comic book collecting, I finally read the Crisis on Infinite Earths. In 2007, [ profile] cheshcat and I became two of the last people I know to watch Babylon 5. Now, at long last, I have begun to read Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. No spoilers, please! I have successfully avoided any for close to two decades now! [ profile] cheshcat has all the issues in trade paperback form and I have only read the first three thus far. I have been looking forward to this for ages and am quite excited as I begin to finally see what all the fuss is about!

...and that is about all the news from the week, dear friends!

Now tis time to rush off, as the weekend looks to be fairly full, as well. Tonight, I have a date with the lovely [ profile] bunnypip. Tomorrow, the Oxford Society of Change Ringers is having a celebration for its 275th anniversary -- plus, I may sneak away for a bit in the afternoon to see an exhibition in the Bodleian Library -- and then tomorrow evening, [ profile] cheshcat and I have tickets to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Oxford Playhouse[******]. Then, on Sunday, [ profile] cheshcat and [ profile] dr_jen and I will be going to the Harcourt Arboretum to see the bluebell meadows. They only bloom for about two weeks per year... but when they do, they are a phenomenal sight to behold! And, gentle readers, they are in bloom right now!


I go, I go; look how I go,
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.

[*] It will feel good to get out of the rain!

[**] Making it the second ringing society that I am a member of, as I am also a life member of the Oxford University Society of Change Ringers (and the only person with an identifiable photograph on their home page!).

[***] The irony does not escape me that [ profile] cheshcat and I each co-own a house in the States... and yet we find ourselves renting our primary residence in Oxford.

[****] Similarly, I have never been on MySpace. I spend more than enough time online as it is, and that is not enough for me to keep up with my e-mail and LiveJournal. As such, I do not need additional online distractions, even those that I might enjoy (as opposed to things like Twitter, that I just find annoying). I may get myself a Dream Width account -- just because everybody seems to be migrating in that direction -- but that would be as far as I would be willing to go.

[*****] Somehow this particular partner has always had a way of presenting her demands in such a fashion that they came across as rather sexy, instead of whiny.

[******] Which will be the fourteenth theatrical production that I have seen, thus far, in 2009.

Spoiler-Free Synopsis

This movie would have been better titled: WATCHMEN FOR DUMMIES. Possible with a subtitle reading: The Lobotomized Version.

Unlike with Iron Man, this time my expectations going in were basically met. Visually, the movie was stunning. Much of what they did was also really good. However, there was far too much that they did not. Basically, the film was just the skeleton of the story, with no nervous system or muscles or organs or skin.

Picture Les Miserables, but with a few minor details removed. Like the Paris Uprising of 1832. And the Thenardiers. And Eponine.

Additionally, to cover for parts that were removed, a fair number of changes had to be made that struck me as just plain dumb. Meanwhile, while all the meat was being removed from the bones, extra fight scenes were added to flesh it all out. This is a Hollywood flick, after all.

Probably the worst sin committed by the film is the removal of the affect. When we got home, I asked [ profile] sanjibabes what she felt when SPOILERS HERE ). Her answer, put quite simply, was to shrug and say: "Nothing." Exactly. It is just one more such scene put out by Hollywood. We've seen it all before and will see the same thing again. When this happened in the comic book, I was utterly horrified. Shell-shocked. Left feeling really raw for quite some time afterward. The way that it was told in the comic book invested the scene with a large emotional attachment. I know others who have had the same reaction to the last two issues of the comic book. Whereas in the film, nothing.

One of the main differences between this film and other super-hero movies is that in this case, a specific text was being translated from one medium to another. When you make a film about Iron Man or Spider-Man or Batman or the X-Men, you are not drawing on one specific text. You take the character and combine elements of certain classic stories with new material to produce a screenplay that is largely a new work. Whereas, for The Watchmen one specific text -- a twelve part mini-series -- is being directly transferred to an alien medium.

Ultimately, I stand by my original impression, formed years ago, that this story was too complicated to be made into a movie in any form that preserves the intricacy and detail that went into crafting it. I commend Alan Moore for his decision not to see it. I think that he would cringe to see his work reduced to such.
Have now finished my re-read of The Watchmen. Two hours and twenty minutes to go until the eight o'clock showing begins.

When I finished reading this series the first time, in late 2000, I was quite shell-shocked. This time around, knowing what was coming, I was less so... though I am still disturbed by how the story plays out. I won't say more, to avoid giving spoilers.

More than ever, though, I am convinced that the film adaption is going to be utterly horrible. Sure, most people who go see it will not have read the book; they will chide those of us who have done so as being too "purist" or "close-minded" to appreciate the film. This is fairly standard fare, in my experience. Ultimately, I believe that the film cannot do the story justice because it is simply not a story that can be told in film. Not to go all Marshall McLuhan here, but different mediums have different capabilities. You wouldn't try to make a comic book version of a piano concerto -- it wouldn't work. There are things that comic books cannot convey. This is true of any medium. In this case, moving The Watchmen to film will also not work, because there are things that film cannot convey. This story is one of them.

The length of the film is a problem... but it is only part of the problem. The Watchmen tells, to various extents, the story of a great many people over the span of six decades. Some of those people are masked heroes, others are ordinary folks. To tell the tale in under three hours necessitates the removal of much of the story. Indeed, I would argue that the length necessitates the removal of most of the story. Although the main plot will, of course, be there, it is only the skeleton of the story. Without all the rest, you have a skeleton with no muscles, nerves, organs, et cetera. And what good is that?

However, even if the length were greatly increased -- a la a television mini-series -- it would still not work, I believe. There are things that you can do with comic books that you cannot do with film. Most comic books do not probe the depths of their medium, of course, and thus translate fairly easily to film. Indeed, these days many comic book creative teams are practically writing their comics as a film transcribed to page. In contrast, The Watchmen makes good use of the advantages of comic books as a medium... and, as such, is basically unfilmable.

I will update again, later tonight, after I have seen the film. It is possible that I will have to take up a knife and fork to eat some of these words. I have been wrong before: I predicted that the Iron Man film would be terrible, and ended up liking it very much! Yet, somehow, this time I do not think that I am likely to be off the mark. Iron Man, as a character, can work just fine in a variety of media. I had not expected the studios to put in the effort to produce a good story for the film, but I never doubted that it was possible to do so. For The Watchmen, we are talking about a very specific story. A most excellent story... but one that really does not work in the medium of film. My expectation is that I will say the visual effects were stunning... but the story fell far short. In a few more hours, we shall see if this prediction is correct.
Astute readers will have noticed that I have not yet written the promised summary of January and February. Do not abandon hope, all ye faithful! I still plan to do a synopsis, as there were several important events and milestones in that time. Not least of which were two weekend adventures -- one in Cambridge and one in Essex[*] -- to celebrate important anniversaries. At the very minimum, I plan to write a travelogue for each before embarking on my next weekend adventure in eight days!

Meanwhile, what has March (i.e., this week) brought to everybody's favourite Nomad?

Bell ringing )

Particle Physics )

Bus racing )

Watching the Watchmen )

What else has been noteworthy? )

So that is the Great Nomad Update (GNU) for this week! Tune in next time, gentle readers, for more... ah, but that would be telling, wouldn't it?

Footnotes )

Just a couple of random and sundry as I ride home on Ye Olde Oxforde Tub:

Random the First: Is anyone in the Chicago area able to give me a ride from O'Hare to the Event Horizon on Monday (Dec 22)? I will be landing at about 1:30pm. I can always take a taxi if necessary, but I would not at all object to saving fifty dollars! I can sweeten the deal with offers[*] of dinner, foreign gifts, undying gratitude, sexual favours, whatever...

Random the Second: Being largely cut off[**] from most of mass marketed media, I only recently learned that a film adaption of Will Eisner's The Spirit is soon to hit the cinemas! Whilst I have never actually read any of the Spirit comic books, it has been on my [rather considerable] reading list for some time. After all, Eisner was one of the greats! It does not hurt one bit that Frank Miller has written the script, either! I was poking about online earlier to learn a little more about the upcoming film. It sounds like it has potential! I also was looking over the visuals on the promo posters -- one in particular managed to grab my attention...

Random the Third: I really need the powers of Jamie Madrox, especially for New Years Eve! I think I have about six different options on the table right now. Even restricting myself to the Chicago area still leaves three possibilities! Want to do all of them! Need more Nomad![***]

[*] I will be leaving the Event Horizon almost immediately to drive to New Jersey. However, I will be back from Dec 31 to Jan 05 and can make good on those offers then.

[**] Quite happily and voluntarily.

[***] Yeah, I know -- I have friends, pity poor Nomad! I am certain that somebody on my f-list is cueing up the world's smallest violin...

Been back for nearly a week now, with nary a peep from me in this journal![*] What has everyone's favourite Nomad been up to?

When I travel, I like to "hit the ground running", as they say. I know many people who like to take a day off either just before leaving, just after returning... or both! Personally, I prefer to avoid doing as such; if I were going to take another day off, I could have spent another day travelling!

I am adept at avoiding jetlag in most situations. When I lived in Japan half time, I knew how to avoid it when flying in both directions. Trans-Atlantic flights tend to be a bit trickier, though. When flying West, to the States, I generally avoid getting lagged. When flying East, to Europe, I can mess myself up if I take the "overnight" flight. These put me on the ground exhausted first thing in the morning. A nap usually ensues, and the troubles stem from there. Departing the States in the morning and landing in the evening works best for me -- I can sleep on the plane and upon my return... and thus avoid the jetlag.

Thus it was that, only seven hours after returning to Oxford last week, I was awake and on my way into London to return to work... with a full complement of "extra-curricular" activities planned. What did the rest of the week bring?

Tuesday evening, after my first day back at work, I returned to Oxford to ring with the Oxford University Society of Change Ringers at Mary Mag. I last rung at this church in June, at the end of Trinity Term. Ye gads, an awful lot has changed since then!

On Wednesday, we had an all day T2K UK meeting at Imperial College to discuss the upcoming calibration run using cosmic ray data. In the evening, AB came over -- bearing noodles for dinner -- to play Settlers of Catan with [ profile] cheshcat and I. Together, the three of us play a bloodthirsty game, which ended with [ profile] cheshcat winning (10 points), while AB and I came in close behind (seven points and nine points, respectively). Overall, I am fairly impressed with myself for coming so close. I never produced brick during the game, so I only ever built two roads and one settlement. In contrast, wheat and rock were plentiful -- I ended with three cities, and about eight development cards (which gave me largest army and one victory point).

Thursday evening, I rang at St. Giles for the first time in three weeks. Tower bells only -- handbell practice happens to early for me to attend now that I am working in London. I will have to find some other time to continue advancing my skills as a handbell ringer.

For the most part, the weekend will be discussed in separate posts. Still, two things from yesterday are worth noting here.

The first is from when I was ringing for Sunday services at St. Giles yesterday evening. I felt very much in my ringing groove, and wanted to record that for posterity. We mostly rang Grandsire Triples and some Plain Hunt Major. However, we also rang a plain course of Single Oxford Bob Triples, with me on the treble. Single Oxford is a method that I am not familiar with. Going into the method, all I knew was this: (a) My job was to plain hunt from front to back, then back to front; (b) I always began by ringing over the #2 bell; (c) the last bell I rang over at the end of one lead would be the first bell I ring over -- not counting the #2 -- in the next lead; (d) the order of the bells on the way down would not be the same as the order on the way up. Knowing only this, I was able to use ropesight reasonably well to ring the method without going horribly wrong! I was rather proud of myself for this!

The other thing worth noting from last night is that [ profile] cheshcat and I finished watching the second season of Heroes. I don't watch a lot of telly -- Heroes and Smallville are the only two series that I currently follow. I am enjoying Heroes, though. Overall, it is a very good translation of the super-hero comic to the small screen. I may be driving [ profile] cheshcat a little bit crazy, though, by predicting -- usually correctly -- what is going to happen. Twenty years of immersion in super-hero comic books have left me a fairly good sense of plot precognition...

[*] Bad Nomad! No donut for me!

anarchist_nomad: (Big Hair)
( Aug. 20th, 2008 04:55 pm)
In about an hour, I will head over to St. Cross for bell ringing practice. Meanwhile, I have a bit of spare time, which shall be devoted to an entry on nothing in particular!

Random the First: I am thrilled to announce that, at [ profile] wolfpeach's punting party on Sunday, I acquired my first 1p and 2p coins with the new designs on the reverse. I fully realise that caring about this makes me a dork, but that's okay! I also realise that I have a full uncirculated set of the new coins from the Royal Mint... but finding the ordinary ones is fun, too! To celebrate, I reorganised my coin collection. Don't look so surprised -- I did confess to being a dork!

Random the Second: I am delighted to announce, before I forget to do so, that [ profile] cheshcat and I watched Batman Begins on Sunday evening, then drove to Birmingham after work on Monday to see The Dark Knight on the IMAX screen. I will freely admit that seeing it on the enormous screen does make a big difference... especially the scenes that were specially shot with IMAX cameras, rather than being simply adapted from ordinary film. It was good to watch the movies again, back to back; I continue to be impressed with the most recent Batman movie franchise. I cut my teeth on Batman -- my second favourite comic book character -- under Denny O'Neil's long editorial reign (1986 - 2000) and fully embrace his version of the hero. As such, these movies were really spot-on! Nice work! (And anyone who liked Heath Ledger's version of the Joker should hurry out to a comic shop to pick up Alan Moore's 1988 classic: The Killing Joke)

Random the Fourth: I have the cutest -- and most energetic! -- little kitten! He is omnipresent, simultaneously occupying all parts of Skullcrusher Mountain at once. He is also utterly adorable! Last night, as I wrote the previous entry, he sat on the back of the couch and ate my hair... then relaxed with his paws on my shoulder!

Random the Fifth: I am proud to announce that -- thanks to the lovely [ profile] lunarbitch and the powers vested in her -- I have been upgraded from the Chia Pet Of Love to the One True Chia Pet Of Love! I am honoured and humbled by this distinction. I am also humbled by the big whomping tackle hug that accompanied the pronouncement!

And that, my friends, is all the news of the day!
anarchist_nomad: (Intrepid explorer)
( Aug. 3rd, 2008 07:00 pm)
Am packed and showered, with a nice assortment of brand new comic books for reading material. That means it is time to head to the airport and make my way back to Oxford and Skullcrusher Mountain. It's been a fantastic vacation, and now it is time to leave one home and head to another.

As the wonderful [ profile] tawneypup sagely recommends: Don't jump out of the plane this time. Seeing as she tends to be as fearless as I, I will heed her sound advice. So long as I can manage that, I think all will be well...
[Am writing this entry from a Long Island Rail Road train. No internet connection is available. Again, will post from the Event Horizon later and backdate.]

The first leg of Nomad's summer tour -- New York City -- is winding down. I write this en route to the Islip airport, where I am about to hop a flight to Chicago.[*]

Although this initial stop was relatively short -- only two and a half days -- it was quite good. For such a short time, I feel like I got a reasonable amount done:

I saw Mom, I saw The Kiddo, I saw Dad. I saw [ profile] squeektoy42 and her husband, AP.

I enjoyed several of Mom's homecooked meals -- nostalgia on a plate!

I spent time in three of the five boroughs of my home city: Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens. Driving through Brooklyn doesn't count.

I played my annual game of mini-golf with The Kiddo; this year Mom tagged along, too. Final scores: I won with 40 points, The Kiddo came in next with 46, and Mom finished with 49.

I got my bi-annual eye exam -- still no change to my prescription! -- and bought new lenses to replace the horrible scratched plastic that I had been seeing through. Hooray for clear sight!

I caught the first showing of The Dark Knight with The Kiddo at midnight on Thursday. Wow. Dark, indeed! Out of the seven Batman movies, I think that this is easily the darkest of them. Okay, I never saw the travesty of 1997's Batman & Robin, but I still think that I can speak confidently on this. Go see this movie -- it is worth it! (Don't bother waiting around for an Easter Egg at the end, though. Unlike Iron Man, there isn't one...)

I visited the new Coptic Church that "my" congregation has just about finished building. Money for that church was being collected as far back as I can remember, from when I was a child. The result, I am pleased to say, is quite impressive! Besides being a remarkable building, the new church seems to have become a focal point for the Coptic community in the area, which looks to be a positive thing. I have not practiced this religion for over twenty years -- and I have no plans to return to it ever -- but I can appreciate the value of community building.

I enjoyed a New York classic -- Ralph's Italian Ices -- with Mom and The Kiddo. Good stuff!

I went bowling with The Kiddo and we had some fun... though without my ball and my shoes -- which are at the Event Horizon -- my scores suffered accordingly. Suffice to say that my best score of three games was a paltry 125.

Without a doubt, though, the zenith of this whirlwind visit to NYC was the "Last Play at Shea" concert last night. Indeed, the concert was so good, that it deserves its own post. And with nearly an hour left to this train ride, that is exactly what it is going to get!

[*] Once there, I am going to help [ profile] gyades celebrate his birthday! So happy birthday, [ profile] gyades!!!

As mentioned last week, I've been taking a bit of an LJ holiday... inspired by a bad sprain in the left wrist. One week later, it is definitely improved, but not back to normal. This may be in part due to the fact that I really have not been resting it much. Ah well.

In any case, I am now taking a break from my LJ break to just summarise the highlights of my life from the past week. Not terribly interesting to anyone else, I know, but I want to remember certain bits of it. So here they are:

Last week:
Was pleasantly surprised on payday by a rise. Just three percent -- the annual inflation adjustment -- but welcome nonetheless. With large vet bills and seven weeks as a single income household, this year has been a bit tight and any attempt to give me additional income will not be turned away at the door. Actually, the University has been fairly generous in this regard; after twenty-six months here, my salary is nearly 21% higher than it was when I started. That's equivalent to a 0.73% monthly raise -- not too shabby!

Also had a nice "phone date" with [ profile] frogcastle last week. It has been nearly six months since last we saw each other, as her Spring visit to Oxford was cancelled on account of her needing surgery. Happily, Starwood is next month (!!!) and we will see much of each other again there!

On Saturday, [ profile] cheshcat and I had a nice day out. The weather cooperated with us, so we spent most of the day out of doors. We started by getting lunch at The Trout. Sitting next to the Thames, we enjoyed our meal while watching the water flow by us. Afterward, we went to the Oxford Botanic Garden, where we enjoyed the first of their summer picnics. In the evening, we went to Lincoln College to see an outdoor production -- our first of the year -- of Twelfth Night. I had not seen it before, so this makes twenty-one of Shakespeare's plays that I have seen performed on the stage, with sixteen more to go.

Sunday's biggest news was, of course, another visit with our new kitten, which I have already written about. The rest of the day was pretty ordinary and involved things like ringing bells for services at St. Giles and preparing the cryostat for this week's work. Not terribly worth writing on.

This week:
A couple of interesting things have happened this week. I already mentioned passing the level three and level four appraisals in my final ice skating course of the term on Monday. On Tuesday I received my first circulated[*] 2008 coin -- a shiny penny, still with the old reverse. And today I made a blood donation, my seventh since moving to England.

At work, we successfully managed to record an alpha-spectrum (using radioactive Americium) with our proto-detector. I talked about this several weeks ago, but it took some time to see a result. Electronics troubles -- most particularly interference from ground loops -- slowed things down and needed to be sorted first. In any case, as of Wednesday morning, we have an alpha-spectrum measurement, which is quite a satisfying step forward.

My ringing has been making steady and noticeable progress. At Mary Mag, I have been having further gos at Plain Bob Major. I am still quite rough at doing this on tower bells, but the practice is precisely what is needed. At St. Cross last week, we did an interesting exercise -- ringing called changes with our backs turned away from each other, using only our ears to guide us. Eeep! Nerve inducing, but quite useful, really. At St. Cross this week, I rang a touch of Plain Bob Doubles... and I thought that I handled myself quite well in it! Very encouraging! Indeed, I am reaching the point where Bob Doubles -- and, yes, I know it is a simple method -- is coming instinctively, without me needing to concentrate intensely on it to ring correctly. Tonight -- in about an hour -- I have another practice at St. Giles, first on handbells and then on tower bells.

Finally, if all this babbling about my life has not driven everyone away, here is a reward for any Batman fans out there. I was completely unaware of this until [ profile] cheshcat found it... but there is an animated Batman movie coming out later this year[**]. The trailer does not give away much of the plot, but the animation looks really cool... and the voice of Batman & Bruce Wayne is being done by Kevin Conroy, who also was the voice actor on the most excellent Batman: The Animated Series. Here is the trailer:

[*] I have a complete set of uncirculated UK coins from 2008 already, all with the old reverses. I ordered it from the Royal Mint in December and, indeed, had it before 2007 was out. However, there is still something nifty about receiving one's first coin of the year from regular circulation. At least to me there is.

[**] Direct to DVD, I'm afraid.

Guess who managed to get his first ringing-related injury?[*]

Yup, that's right. The score currently stands at St. Cross 1, Nomad 0.

When I first rang at St. Cross, I mentioned how the ropes were particularly long and, thus, tend to flail about. By now -- over a year later -- I usually fare pretty well with them. No surprise there. However, ringing up the #3 bell last night, the rope got away from me... and wrapped itself around my wrist! Whoops!

Still attached to a few hundred pounds of bell, the rope went back up... delivering a nasty jerk[**] as it went. End result: One sprained left wrist.

The sprain is not too bad; I have endured worse. It does hurt considerably if I bend it in a certain direction, but it should recover fully in -- according to my doctor -- "a week or two." Thus, there seems to be no point in whining overmuch about my wrist. Interestingly enough, I can still ring both handbells and tower bells without a problem -- those motions do not involve bending my wrists -- though tying the rope after I am done ringing does hurt. Additionally, certain other activities are tricky. Those include writing, driving (due to the gear shift), and typing on a keyboard. I can do them all, as this entry would bear witness... but they are slow, cumbersome, and [mildly] painful.

As a result, I think that this may just be the perfect time to take an LJ holiday for a little while. Similarly, social e-mails may be getting put on the back burner for a time. Indeed, this sounds like an excellent time to catch up on my reading -- I do have a large stack of comic books to wade through, after all!

[*] Sorry -- no points awarded for guessing this one.

[**] Pun avoided as it is just too easy.

Same thing we do every night -- work late in the lab![*]

Yes, gentle readers, it is true. I am writing this journal entry from the comfort of my office, once again. Try not to act too surprised.

Actually, work is going rather well right now. After the successes of Monday and Tuesday, I opened up the cryostat today and added a radioactive alpha-emitting source. So now I am working late to close up the fridge again in the hopes of getting in a second cooldown by the end of this week. The alpha calibration source is in there to test the proto-detector that we are working on. We know what the spectrum from it should look like -- time to make some measurements and see if our little detector measures what we think it should.

In the evening -- in between work and, well, more work -- I went to St. Cross to practice my ringing with the OUSCR. The most notable progress was on Plain Bob Doubles, where I rang the #3 bell for the full extent of the method (120 changes). I also rang up in peal at the start of the practice and down again at the end... noticing that these skills have improved quite a bit, too.

Speaking of the St. Cross church, I recently learned that it will be ceasing to operate as a church soon and will be used by one of the colleges as space for file storage. I was sorry to hear this news. St. Cross has been a site of worship for over a thousand years -- an informational card in the church gives a brief history of the first millennium -- and it is a sad thing to see something so old come to an end. On a practical level, it does make sense; there are many parish churches in Oxford and the St. Cross congregation has become quite small. Nonetheless, I regret this bit of news.

After ringing practice, I cycled into the city centre to meet up with [ profile] cheshcat at the Oxford Playhouse. We saw a production of Educating Agnes, which is an adaption of Molière's L'Ecole des Femmes. The performance was good and entertaining; it is not one of my favourite plays, but we did enjoy it.

In other news, my boycott of Brighton has now ended. I received word from the city today that the battle we were waging against them was successful -- go us![**] Between this and my victory against New York City last month[***], I am starting to feel that cities everywhere should rightly fear the Nomad![*]

Finally, does anyone on my f-list still read super-hero comic books? If so, is anybody currently following the "Brand New Day" story in Amazing Spider-Man?[****] If so, what do you think? I just finished OMD last night and started on BND; so far I am enjoying the story but am also appalled at the absurd retcon required to make it all happen. In a way, it almost feels like Heroes Reborn all over again. I suppose that I should just relax and go along for the ride... as it is unthinkable that Mighty Marvel will not return to Ye Olde Status Quo in good time.

[*] Cue megalomaniacal laughter.

[**] Especially [ profile] cheshcat, who did most of the work.

[***] Admittedly a much longer and harder battle involving much higher stakes and a much more important cause (to me), but fought against a much more significant city.

[****] And the "One More Day" story that led into it.

Highlights of this week, so far:

Monday, made some good progress on the R&D for new cryogenic detector technology. No, we will not find dark matter this week... but making tangible progress always feels good! Very good, in fact. Wrestling with dodgy equipment is annoying; building something new that works is much more satisfying!

Monday evening, I learned that one can ice skate much better when one is physically capable of bending one's left knee. Funny that, isn't it? We are still the level three class who is practicing all the level three and four skills while starting on level five. Whee!

Today, Tuesday, [ profile] cheshcat returned from her two week, three state tour of the USA. Yay! Although we are well accustomed to much longer periods apart, it is always nice to have her back.

After picking Chesh up at Heathrow, we went to the Harcourt Arboretum to see their expansive bluebell meadow while the 'bells were still in bloom. Absolutely stunning! The Arboretum is run by the University as the sibling to the Oxford Botanical Garden, where I just paid a visit on Saturday. Collect them all!

Back at work this afternoon, we continued building on the progress of yesterday with still more development. This is good, as "development" is the "D" in "R&D" so it is very much what we are trying to do. I cannot talk more about it here but anyone interested in the nuts and bolts can ask me in person.

In the evening, it was off to Mary Mag for more ringing practice with the OUSCR. And then it was home for dinner and some quality alone time with the [ profile] cheshcat.

Now it is almost time for bed. However, before I lay me down to sleep, there is a side benefit to Chesh's return: She comes bearing comic books! Nearly 120 of them, in fact -- all my subscriptions from mid-December to the present! That makes it like Christmas all over again! No way I can end the evening without starting to dig into this stack of treats!
You know what they say: If your weekend was so active it leaves you limping, then you know that it was a success!

Don't have time for details now, but here is the synopsis: On Saturday, I left Oxford and made my was to London for BiFest. Had an excellent time, meeting lovely new people and seeing some faces that are happily becoming familiar. Besides the people -- which was really the best part -- there were nifty workshops, yummy food, and a spiffy dance.

Sunday morning, [ profile] ms_katonic and I lay in until after noon. This delayed the start of my London walk by a couple of hours. By one o'clock, I was on my way, however. The original plan for the route can be seen here, and is just over twenty miles. It begins in Lewisham, near Greenwich Park, and ends up in Regents Park. Now that I have done the walk, I need to map out the actual course that I took, which I estimate to be about twenty two miles. I added some extra detours when something interesting, like the Old Bailey, caught my eye. Indeed, I got quite a splendid tour of London from this walk. Yesterday turned out to have a musical theatre theme -- while walking, I listened to soundtracks from five of my favourite shows.

After the walk ended, around nine o'clock, I went to the Pembury tavern and met [ profile] ms_katonic and others to unwind. [ profile] ms_katonic gets thanks and public recognition for being remarkably sweet -- she saved food for me when the kitchen closed so that I would be able to eat!

Once we left the tavern and made our way back to her house, I took a nice hot bath to relax the sore muscles in my left leg. The right leg is perfectly fine and doesn't notice that it very nearly walked a marathon yesterday. However, I must have pulled something in the left leg, because it is noticeably stiff and I am limping.

This morning was very lazy, and I did not actually stand up until after three o'clock. Shortly after I did, it was time to make my way back to Oxford my my ice skating lesson. Although we are technically a level three class, we have now covered all of the level three and four skills -- and started in on level five this week! We are halfway through the term -- three lessons down, three to go -- and I am hoping to pass the tests for level three and four. While it might be nice to get an early start on level five, actually passing it can wait for the next term. I must confess that my performance in today's class was less than stellar -- having one wooden leg is not an advantage on the ice.

That brings us to the present. I am currently in the lab, getting the cryostat set up for tomorrow. Yes, I know that it is ten o'clock in the evening and a holiday. What is your point? I am a scientist, we know nothing of set working hours!

Actually, the work here should be done shortly, at which point I will head home to lavish attention on The Boy and to make phone calls to [ profile] resourceress[*] -- to talk about Iron Man -- and [ profile] gyades. Then it is off to sleep -- early, I hope -- as a busy week awaits.

[*] Resourceress being the only partner I have ever had who shares my love for the Armored Avenger.

One more, and then I promise I will shut up about Shellhead. Maybe.

Apparently, the Iron Man movie grossed $100.8 million in North America for its opening weekend. Looking only at films that are not sequels, this does not set a record... but it comes in close! Only the Spider-Man movie did better. Ticket sales outside of North America also topped $100 million.

What do all these numbers mean? I can boil it down to one sentence:

Iron Man 2 will be hitting the theatres on April 30th 2010!
Okay, I am now officially in fanboy heaven. Not only did the Iron Man movie rock my proverbial socks off, but the inevitable movie fallout -- where Marvel starts publishing extra specials featuring Shellhead -- seems to actually be good.

For starters, Marvel has launched a second ongoing series: The Invincible Iron Man. I don't know the writer, Matt Fraction, so I don't know how good it will be. All I know of the first storyline is that it will introduce Ezekiel Stane, the son of Obadiah. Could be dreadful -- a la Temugin, son of the Mandarin -- could be interesting. However, at least they are not bringing back Obadiah Stane yet. He has been dead since Iron Man #200 -- back in 1982 -- and I was afraid that the movie's success would encourage Marvel to bring him back to life. Yes, he has been dead for twenty-six years... but Marvel brought Bucky Barnes back after sixty years dead, so I put nothing past them. For crying out loud, the guy blew off his own head with a repulsor blast! Let him stay buried! In any case, the new Iron Man monthly won't last more than a year or so, as the Armored Avenger is not popular enough to carry two books once the movie popularity dies down. But hopefully it will be enjoyable while it lasts.

Next, there is the Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas miniseries... put together by the same creative talent that made the movie. Excellent -- I look forward to seeing the first issue when [ profile] cheshcat brings it back from the States next week.

So this is all well and good... but it gets even better. Iron Man: Legacy of Doom is another miniseries that Marvel is putting out. And it reunites the Iron Man team supreme of David Michelinie (writer) and Bob Layton (artist)!!!!! These two are widely recognised in the Iron Man fan community as being the best creative team ever for the Golden Avenger. They did two runs on the book -- one in the early 80s and one in the late 80s -- that are just phenomenal. When I was fifteen and finished my Iron Man collection, I tried to decide what the best run was. I picked two that I could not choose between and went to see who the creative teams were for those runs. Turns out they were the two Dave & Bob eras.

Now Dave and Bob are back again, doing an Iron Man miniseries! The only Iron news that would please me more would be if they had been chosen for the creative time on the new monthly title! And it gets better still. The Legacy of Doom miniseries is the long-awaited third installment in the Iron Man / Doctor Doom Camelot Trilogy. Dave and Bob wrote the first part in their initial run; it came out in Iron Man #149-150, back in 1981 -- years before I started reading super-hero comic books. They wrote the second part in their next run; it came out in Iron Man #249-250, back in 1989. I was a sophomore in high school and read it right off the stands. Nearly nineteen years later, I am eagerly awaiting the final installment in this excellent story! Not only did I enjoy the first two parts... but Victor Von Doom is also in my list of five favourite comic book characters.

But wait -- there's more! Looking at the cover art for Legacy of Doom, it would appear that Tony is wearing my favourite armor of all time -- the post Armor Wars red-and-golds. I have a poster of that armor on my bedroom wall, that's how much I like it. Tony wore that suit from 1988, just two months before I started collecting, until 1992. In the past sixteen years, it has been virtually absent from any comic book. I'm not yet sure why it is the featured armor for this miniseries -- and I do not want any spoilers! -- but it makes me salivate just looking at it!

So, yes, the Iron Man fan in me is experiencing a bliss unknown since about 1993! And, truth be told, it feels even more like 1988 and 1989, when I made my first connection to the world of Tony Stark. Except without all that angst of my early teenage years!

Ah, and I understand that Downey is more than willing to do a sequel...
In my post-movie Iron Man excitement yesterday, I made a quick posting to the Iron Man Message Board, where [ profile] resourceress and I used to hang out back in 2001 and 2002. Given time constraints, I have not frequented the board in years, but it is the only place I know of where one can really find true Shellhead fans.

After my post, I got contacted by two old virtual friends from many years ago -- one of whom was making his own long-awaited return to the board. Feels like old home week, it does!

In any case, here are my thoughts on the Iron Man movie. WARNING: VERY rambling with LOTS of spoilers![*] )

Bloody hell. Now I want to go back and re-read my entire Iron Man collection. That's five hundred some-odd comic books, covering over forty-five years. Irksome, as I don't have time for that.[**]

[*] I don't actually expect anyone except for [ profile] resourceress to read this, unless there are some big-time fans of the Armored Avenger on my f-list that I am unaware of.

[**] Don't have access to the comic books, either, as they are at the Event Horizon. I do have a single DVD with copies of them all on it, though reading comic books off of a computer screen is somehow not quite the same.



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