Thursday, May 28, 2009

Angel of Death

As I have said I have officially quit collecting comics, or at least the individual issues. I am now firmly in the "wait for the trade" crowd.

IncognitoThat having been said, when I first got back to Vegas I picked up the first three issues of Eisner Award-winning writer Ed Brubaker's "Incognito." Ed is the current writer on "Daredevil" and "Captain America" as well as his creator owned "Criminal" (which I am way behind on.)

I finally got around to reading "Incognito" tonight. It is the story of a super-villain in the witness protection program done in a noir, crime fiction style. It is pretty good, but it just reminded me of how much better I like having the whole story arc at once like watching a TV series season on DVD. Just having the first 3 out of 5 issues just doesn't cut it. I want the rest NOW!

Angel of DeathAnyway, that isn't what I wanted to talk about. I read in the letters section (ironically, something I wouldn't get in the trade paperback) that all 10, eight to ten minute, episodes of Ed's live-action serial, "Angel of Death" are now available on It should also be coming out on DVD any time now, if it isn't already, as a single movie without the episode breaks and slightly longer cuts of each piece.

It is a story about a hardcore, hit woman named Eve, played by Zoë Bell (known for her stunt work doubling for Lucy Lawless on Xena: Warrior Princess and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. She has more recently stared in Death Proof and Double Dare.) Eve suffers a traumatic head injury and suddenly develops a conscious in the form of hallucinations of one of her latest, if unintended, victims. As a result she starts killing up the chain of people who sent her out on that mission in order to find piece of mind.

It is pure pulp crime fiction, grindhouse style, fun with lots of action and bloodshed. If that is your thing, you should definitely watch it. And if you like seeing stuff like this, where you can watch it free online, make sure you buy the DVD when it comes out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Are They Thinking?!

This isn't a real post, just me being up at 3 AM, bouncing around the internet. I found this article at "Ain't It Cool News" and just don't get how some Hollywood people can have such a disconnect from their audience.

Joss Whedon is my master now t-shirtBrace yourselves Joss Whedon fans:

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER remake without Whedon or anything developed from the TV show... seriously...

WTF?!? I just don't get what they could possibly be thinking. Even as I write this I am wearing the t-shirt pictured here from the PVP Online comic strip. Well, the men's version as that one looks like a ladies t-shirt... you know with the curves and all...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

This monument is in Kirkwood, an unincorporated area of Voorhees, New Jersey. It sits nestled in the shade of a line of pine trees across from the Voorhees fire department and 50 feet in front of 75 mm Howitzer Gun (US) static artillery display. The monument is in honor of it citizens who bravely fought in World War II. It is also a memorial for the four of those men who gave their lives in that endeavor. One of those men was my grandfather, Staff Sergeant Joseph Benjamin Hewitt Jr. U.S. Army.

STAFF SERGEANT JOSEPH B. HEWITT JR, was born in Pennsylvania in 1919 to Joseph B. And Anna Patterson Hewitt. The family as early as June of 1917 and into the 1920s at 1270 Bucknell Street in Philadelphia PA, at the home of mother-in-law Mary Patterson. Joseph Hewitt Sr. worked as a "sponger" for the United States Government when he registered for the draft in June 1917, and later worked as a roofer. There were at least five children, sisters Gladys and Ella being older, while Mary and Kathryn were born after him, all in Pennsylvania. The Hewitts moved to New Jersey some time after 1925.

When the census was taken in April of 1930, the Hewitt family lived at 58 Poplar Avenue in the Kirkwood section Voorhees Township. The elder Hewitt worked as a driver for a transportation company at this time.

After three years of high school Joseph Hewitt Jr. had entered the work force. He was inducted into the United States Army on January 2, 1943 at Camden NJ. By the time Joseph Hewitt he had married. There were at least two sons born of this marriage.

After entering the service Joseph B. Hewitt Jr, was promoted to Staff Sergeant. He died due to circumstances not related to combat while in service to his country overseas on February 4, 1945. The Curtiss C-46A-45-CU Commando transport plane, serial # 42-107386, operated by the Air Transport Command was lost on that day*, according to Missing Air Crew Report 12033.

Staff Sergeant Hewitt Jr. was brought home to the United States after the war. He was buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis Missouri on February 6, 1950.

His son, Joseph B. Hewitt III, followed his father into the military, and retired after 20 years service in the United States Air Force as a Master Sergeant.

Since the original site was photographed, a newer multi-war memorial has been erected next to it.

I have never been to the memorial, but hope to visit it soon. My father stopped by during one of his cross-country motorcycle trips.

Joseph Benjamin Hewitt IV

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Star Trek Tech Problems

I wanted to start with, “one of the things that annoys me is…” but I’m a bit scared to. I feel like I might be opening Pandora’s box by doing so. Once I get started like that, who knows when and where I’ll stop… if ever. Now the problem is that I’ve been sitting here for five minutes trying to come up with a better staring point. Since it appears I can’t, I’ll just forgo the opening altogether and get right to the meat.

Well actually, before I get right to the meat let me start with this warning. This post doesn’t actually contain enough of a spoiler to ruin the new Star Trek movie, but if you one of those ultra whiny people who hasn’t seen the new Star Trek movie yet, STFU if you were a real fan you’d have seen it by now. You’ve no room to complain you LOSER! Now go buy your Terminator Salvation tickets, you’ve only got a day left till it opens.

Okay here we go. I hate that in the movie they introduced the transporter technology that allows them to beam from a planet to a ship that has been at warp for at least a day. They even talk about being able to beam from planet to planet. All this does is make future story lines harder to write because they are removing the whole “space is big and it takes time to get from one place to another.”

They do this all the time, especially in Star Trek. Somebody writes a throw away bit where ensign nobody on the bridge scans a planet and is able to find specific people who aren’t wearing something that allows them to be identified. Now all future story lines have to have some sort of anomaly blocking the scanners because it would ruin the story if they could just take 5 seconds to just scan for them on the planet. It happens so much that you really can’t call them anomalies anymore, they are normalities.

What is it with the writers of these shows that constantly dig themselves into some stupid plot hole that they need to just suddenly just jump out of? They dug the whole, they should fill it back in! The more of these stupid, throw away things they pull out of their hats to quickly solve some silly problem that they could have written around, the more they risk causing future story lines to be even more lame.

Come to think of it, wasn't there a Next Generation episode where they discovered that high warp speeds were teaching the fabric of space time apart? And they were going to slow down the warp speeds of starships? All this because the writers had kept upping the warp speeds in episodes story lines to the point where they were just popping around the universe with enough time to deliver medical supplies to planet that for some reason couldn't use the magic transporter/replicator technology to produce the supplies themselves and stop for take out on the way? Isn't that the way the transporter/replicators work? Sure you can wiggle and squirm some explanation around it, but you wouldn't have to if some writer, editor, or producer had thought an earlier story through better.

Back to the movie specifically, the whole premise behind the ice planet was pretty thin to start with. The more I think about it the more stupid the premise is. They should have just tossed that whole idea and wrote something else to introduce those characters.

Here is a list of things wrong with the ice planet and since they are spoilers you'll have to mouse over them to read them:

It’s right next to Vulcan, so close you can actually see the planet Vulcan in the sky. Is it a moon of Vulcan? Maybe some Trekkie can enlighten me on this one.

Why is there a Federation base on this planet/moon next to Vulcan? It is implied to be some backwater base where they’ve thrown Scotty as punishment. But isn’t Vulcan one of the major planets in the galaxy? Hardly backwater.

So Mr. Evil Romulan Villain Guy, who’s name I’ve already forgotten and am too lazy to look up even though the actor who played him was actually at the theatre here in Vegas where I saw the movie. He gave a little speech before the movie and was signing autographs afterwards. Anyway, we are expected to believe he is soooo pissed at Spock (who I guess we are supposed to call Spock Prime now) that he waits 20 years for him to pop out from the future, just so he can toss him, relatively unharmed, onto this ice planet/moon just so he can watch Vulcan be destroyed? Is that what you would do, assuming you were a vindictive, overly intense, evil, Romulan villain guy? Or would you instead beat him within an inch of his life, make him watch the planet be destroyed from you ship parked right next to it, then kill him, toss him, whatever?

New Spock is so pissed at Kirk, and afraid to even have him on the ship, that he tosses him in some shuttle thing and crash lands him on the ice planet/moon. Yeah, that seems like the logical thing to do.

Then, in another of my favorite, over-used, Star Trek plot devices: out of all the places on a whole planet (moon, whatever) Kick and Spock Prime just happen to run into each other.

Now after all that, don't you think they could have found a better way to get Kirk, Spock Prime, and Scotty together? But instead in the next movie we can look forward to hearing something like, "OMG! Teh evil Kingons are like invading Uranus! And some unknown space anomaly is preventing us from beaming over there! Oh noes!"

Alright, that is enough complaining. Do you remember when I used to write cool stuff that was fun to read on my blog. Yeah, me neither. It's been that long.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Watch Neil Read "The Graveyard Book"

The Graveyard BookJust a quick little post. Neil Gaiman's website for young readers, Mr. Bobo's Remarkable Mouse Circus, is hosting videos of Neil's recent book tour for his Newberry award winning novel, The Graveyard Book. At each tour destination, Neil read a chapter of the novel. The upshot of all this is that you can now watch a video of Neil reading the entire book for free. Woot!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Net Identity = Hover = Still Sucks

I realized I had never gotten any sort of renewal message for my Net Idenity email address and website: The site used to be my resume site, but now it just points back to this blog. It is still there however.

That is probably because I don't check the email address associated with that account very often and in the past, very distant past as in back when they didn't SUCK!!!, they used to email account reminders and such to my alternate email address as well. I went to check my email and found out that Net Identity has changed names, sold themselves, or something yet again. They are now Hover. I am beginning to suspect that all this trading, selling, renaming is their attempt to re-brand themselves to avoid the negative reputation. Remind anyone of AIG? Who, by the way, now appear to be about rebrand themselves again because AIU is too close to AIG.

I can't log onto Hover. It redirects me to Hover when I try to go to the old Net Identity URL. It welcomes me, tells me they are now Hover, bla bla bla and then tells me to sign in for the first time using my Net Identity email address and password. I enter my email address and password and I get an error. I can't use their "remind me of my password" function either. It says that both my and Yahoo email addresses aren't in their database. Probably explains why I can't sign on using the one.

I can't even submit a help request; because, because in order to do that you have to sign in. Catch 22.

You can follow my saga of all the problems I have had with Net Identity, their deletion of all my website files, never telling me that they sold the hosting stuff off to another company, then attempting to charge me going over my allotted storage space because they left the archive file of my website there when they restored the files from a backup, their inability to answer even one of the customer service emails I sent them, etc. To be fair Ross Radar did attempt to help me, and as a result I did get one email from customer service, but never got a response back from said customer service guy.

I had planned to ditch the website, because I obviously don't use it anymore. I did, however, want to keep the email address, but I guess they don't want me as a customer.

So in conclusion it appears to be more of the same and in my opinion sucks and you should do yourself a favor and avoid them at all cost. I'll repeat that a few times to help webcrawlers find it. Hover sucks. sucks. sucks sucks sucks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Straw Shooting Game

Here is the story of another little game I invented to amuse myself. About the time we were finishing up the first Command & Conquer game, I was also involved in a play in Green Valley for Theater in the Valley. They were doing the last production of the season but suddenly had problems. Memories are vague, but I think one of the actors broke an arm or leg and the director's husband was getting reassigned somewhere else and they had to move. Anyway, they HAD to do the last play in the season or they wouldn't have enough money to open the next season. They picked a play one of the directors had already directed and knew well and then called people they had already worked with and knew could memorize parts quickly. I was one such person.

The problem was that I was in crunch for Command & Conquer at Westwood and there were rehearsals every night in Green Valley which is on the opposite side of town. I was slammed and didn't really have time to eat. I wound up getting fast food for lunch from the drive through to eat at my desk. For dinner I would go through the drive through while driving across town to rehearsals.

I noticed at the drive through window; they always took your money, gave you your drink, and then it took a minute or two before your food was ready. So in the down time while waiting for your food; the game is to take the straw wrapper and shoot it back through the drive through window without it being noticed by any of the people working there. There is point scoring for what you can hit. Landing in the fryer is major points.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Rick Parks @ The Mount Charleston Lodge

Two years ago I posted An "Ode to Rick Parks" where I talked about Rick 'The Center of the Universe' Parks complete with an old Westwood Studios video that he can be seen in. I forget how came up with that nickname 'Center of the Universe' for him, but it embarrassed him to no end.

For those of you not familiar with Rick, he was an artist who did a number of pictures on the Amiga and then began working at Westwood Studios as a video game artist. Here is a link to the Mickey Mouse Glass, but note that on an Amiga monitor you wouldn't be able to see all the pixel dithering, it just blended together. But it does prove that it was hand drawn, not scanned in. Here is another link to limited edition, signed prints for sale of "Park Avenue Evening" that Rick painted for a National Parks competition.

Sadly Rick passed away on April 16, 1996. I still remember being on the freeway, driving back into town when Mike called me on my cellphone to give me the news. I pulled over to the shoulder and sat there for a long time.

Anyway, since that posting I have gotten about half a dozen emails from people who knew Rick and it has been great hearing from everyone of them. For awhile now I had been wanting to create a Rick Parks fan page on Facebook, but after looking into it a few minutes ago, I decided against it. I'm not really an 'authorized representative' of the late, great, Rick Parks and Facebook would appear to frown on unauthorized pages of that nature. Oh well.

Rick Parks Mount Charleston Lodge Mural signatureHowever, one of the things I had done to prepare for the fan page was to take a drive up to the Mount Charleston Lodge ( - I removed the hyperlink because Avast tells me it found a trojan virus when I clicked on the 'special events' link on their page! Could be a false positive, but I'm not taking any chances.) and take a picture of the mural he had painted over the bar back in 1977. Click on the images for a larger version. You can still see his signature complete with the 'circle dot in the square' down on the lower left.

Rick Parks Mount Charleston Lodge MuralWhen I was a kid, my mother used to take me and my brother up to the lodge during the winter time where, after playing in the snow, we would sit around the fire pit thing that is in the middle of the room and drink hot chocolate under that mural. I remember thinking once if it was difficult to paint something like that because of all the ladders and stuff you would need. I don't remember if the stupid deer head was mounted smack in the middle of it back then or not. It was kind of a kick, to learn years later, that Rick had painted it. Another guy at Westwood had talked to the owner about it, saying he knew Rick. The guy didn't believe him and said that it was painted by, and I quote, "Some hippy kid."