Showing 11 - 20 of 21 posts found matching keyword: otto

While there was plenty of buzz this year about the DC relaunch of Batman and Detective Comics, the Batman news that has really broken the internet apart is the pending release of Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum video game. The biggest buzz for the game concerns the excitement that players can now be Catwoman. I remember Halle Berry's Catwoman, and I want no part of that.

However, I have a friend -- for the sake of maintaining his anonymity, we will call him Chris -- who has mentioned to me three times in the past month that he is counting the days until the game is released (three weeks from today). Because Chris is a friend, I'm declaring this a testament to the high quality of Batman: Arkham Asylum and not to the dismal state of Chris' life. If a 40-year old man can be motivated to create a countdown clock for the release of a video game, maybe it's a video game I should consider playing. Once I can find a cheap, used copy, of course.

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While we are on the subject of awesome things that I have done, I should go ahead and re-introduce you to Otto is a friend of mine, and I have worked on several versions of his website, the latest of which I uploaded this weekend. I can't take full credit for the design, as it is based strongly on Otto's desires, but the function is 100% mine. So don't be taken in by all that pretty artwork: the site's real beauty is on the inside.

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Please excuse the lateness of this posting. I usually try to post UGA game day updates on the day of the game. This week's kickoff wasn't until after 7PM, and the game didn't end until much, much later. Saying that this year's Bulldog games have been running long is like saying that the Jurassic Period only lasted a few years. Fortunately, the Dawgs won again, if barely. They are certainly playing some frustratingly exciting ball in Athens this year.

UGA 20, ASU 17

So far this year, watching the Georgia Bulldogs play has been like learning to swim: you spend a lot of time holding your breath. That was especially true Saturday, as the game versus Arizona State University kicked off in an early evening downpour. (Is it irony that we were playing a team that calls a desert home?) The first half was so wet that they refused to let the band on the field at halftime. Yet they did allow the majorettes to simultaneously juggle up to 4 flaming batons. Fortunately, none of the batons were dropped, because contact with the waterlogged ground would certainly have extinguished the flames.

The game was not televised locally, so my brother and father, both huge football fans, could not see it. However a friend of mine who has a satellite television package but minimal interest in football did watch it. After the game he asked me, "why do you watch this crap?" Despite some soul searching, I couldn't give him a very good answer. But so long as the game is close I am entertained by it, even if we turn the ball over frequently, struggle to tackle ball carriers, are punished by some inexplicable officiating, and run some very questionable offensive plays that fail to take advantage of our strengths and expose ourselves to huge losses and stalled drives. (I'm looking at you, soon to be ex-Offensive Coordinator Bobo).

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I have a friend -- a real friend, not the Facebook variety -- who has a specific use for Facebook: he's trying to become "friends" with all of his favorite character actor television stars of the 1970s. He's particularly partial to Don Stroud. Most of you would know Stroud from... well, most of you won't know him, but trust me when I say you've seen him in something. ("Facebook friend" is sure to soon be the new shorthand term for "that guy looks vaguely familiar.") My friend has also recently "befriended" Robert Conrad of Baa Baa Black Sheet and Wild Wild West fame (the man loves his alliteration) and Lynda Carter. Sweet, sweet Lynda Carter.

So maybe Facebook isn't all bad but that's as far as I'm willing to bend on that point.

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I spent this past weekend at a fine art opening in the Miller Gallery, located in the picturesque Hyde Park region of Cincinnati, Ohio. But before you congratulate me, let me say that it wasn't my opening. I was a tagalong. (The proverbial "third wheel," not the tasty Girl Scout Cookie.) This event was for real artists, not graphic/web designers. So what if I can write scripts in php so elegant that you could cry? You don't code with a paint brush. (If you did, it'd be really hard to see the monitor.)

Painters are a funny lot. On the whole, I don't suspect that we are any different than the rest of the population. Sure, most of us are driven by a desire to flee typical social conventions. And maybe more than our share have a fear of soap and water. But by and large, artists are exactly the same as anyone else: put enough of them in a room, and you'll get the spontaneously occurring artist's version of the pissing contest. With artists, it's always whose theory is best. The problem with this, of course, is that unlike the traditional pissing-contest arbitration method of comparing sexual conquests, which can be qualified and quantified, artists are forced to prove whose figurative brush is biggest by comparing their lifestyles: "I'm more artistically countercultural than you are!"

At a rather posh dinner this weekend one artist bragged that he didn't watch television, as it drained his creativity just as it does the millions of huddled masses who spend hour after hour on the couch. (He said this wearing a shirt that looked as though it had never seen an iron.) Not to be one-upped, another questioned everyone else's integrity by challenging their satisfaction and drive. (The only way to nirvana is through suffering. Not selling enough $2,000 paintings, it would seem, counts as very painful.) A third complained/boasted that long hours in the studio led to excessive loneliness. (Though you wouldn't have any idea that he was friendless based on the number of patron names he was dropping.)

If this sounds stupid, that's because it is. All of these artists are fantastically talented. However, having great technique is like having the most expensive car in your neighborhood: everyone knows, but that's not going to stop you from bragging.

Cincinnati sure looks good from this angle.

Meanwhile, I spent most of the weekend trying to stay out of their way to intermediate degrees of success. Still, every day is a learning opportunity, and following is a short list of information gathered while I was out of pocket:

  • If a Cinicinnatian offers to let you swim in their pool, do it. It's really the path of least resistance.
  • Speaking of Cincinnatians, word to the wise: they don't think that WKRP jokes are funny.
  • Chicks dig robots and doughnuts with sprinkles.
  • Unlike Paul Newman, if you're going to deface a parking meter, wait until after midnight and act like you know what you're doing.
  • Bicycle racing is like poetry: it's created only for the enjoyment of the writer/rider and is really, really boring to everyone else.

So a good time was had by all. Unlike most gallery owners, everyone associated with the Miller Gallery is a gem of a human being. (Read: Buy their art.) I'll have to go back one day soon, as I didn't find out until after the trip that Cincinnati's Union Terminal Train Station was the inspiration for the Super Friends' Hall of Justice. Sightseeing fail!

By the way, If you're an art fan, you may wish to check out the work of artists Jessica Hess, Eric Joyner, and Otto Lange. Be sure not to judge them by their web sites, though. After all, while they're fantastic painters and really great people, they're not graphic/web designers.

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Last month, I received a signed book from a friend's employer, one of the world's foremost authorities on Superhero Mego figures. This month, I'm working for another friend's employer, one of the world's foremost authorities on Coca-Cola bottles.

This week's moral is "learn more about something than anyone else, and someday maybe you, too, can meet me." (Sorry, no autographs.)

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My friend (who I usually call Chris, but for the sake of protecting his anonymity, for the rest of this blog posting, I'll refer to him as Otto, because, well, he calls himself Otto) has just completed a painting of Adam West as Batman and listed it on eBay. He's got an image of the painting as well as a "making of" video on his blog here.

Batman 106:

(Don't worry. Robin throws a batarang through the canvas to prevent Batman from revealing his identity. Hey, that's what sidekicks are for, right? And that should definitely teach Batman not to host oil painting classes for the Associated Press again.)

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Yesterday, a friend and I were trying to reconstruct the basics of sexual baseball. We were both sure that "first base" was a kiss and intercourse was "home plate." However, we could come to no consensus about what hitting a double or a triple equated to in the sexual arena. We argued over whether or not third base was oral sex, mostly because my friend supports the Democrat party line and claims that "sexual relations" doesn't include oral sex. I suppose the facts that neither of us cares much for baseball and he's long married and I'm socially inept contributed to this confusion greatly.

That got me thinking about sports metaphors for sex and dating. Running the previously mentioned bases, "hitting a home run," and "striking out" are all clearly baseball inspired. I can't think of any other sports that have donated quite so many terms as metaphors for sex. Are these other sports so exciting that sex pales in comparison? Should we start calling the ménage à trois a "hat trick." Or perhaps rename premature ejaculation to "scoring a safety"?

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A friend of mine calls me and tells me that he's adding me to his cell phone favorites list. "Hey," he says, "do you want to be the skull-and-crossbones icon? It's the only thing in here that's even kind of Evil." Now THAT should be one of those sappy Peanuts "Friendship Is..." strips.

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I have a friend who is absolutely in love with Oscar Goldman, the eternally inappropriately sunglassed chief of the U.S. government's Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) and boss of United States Air Force Colonel Steve Austin, the world's only Six Million Dollar Man. Because of this man-crush, I'm frequently subjected to long marathons of Six Million Dollar Man episodes, one of the most boring shows known to mankind. As an unwilling participant in the misadventures of Steve Austin, I've learned quite a few things about how poorly the United States handles its scientific secrets and how world-famous NASA moon astronauts spend their free time.

Oscar Goldman, head of the OSI and a snazzy dresser.

For those of you who may not know, Col. Austin was chosen for bionic implants after he crashed a NASA test plane. Sure, we may have the technology, and technically we can rebuild him, but why would we want to? It's an expensive procedure to waste on a fellow who can't even properly land a plane. (By the way, $6,000,000 - six million with an "M" - in 1973 translates into nearly $30,000,000,000 - thirty billion with a "B" - in 2006 when adjusted for inflation using NASA's own inflation calculator. That's approximately how much money the world's second richest man, Warren Buffet, recently gave the world's richest man, Bill Gates, to spend on eradicating pandemic diseases. I suppose that no one told him that he could have purchased bionic limbs for the same cost.)

Presumably, Austin's particular disfigurement was perfectly compatible with the potential bionic replacement surgery that the OSI had already planned for a future accident victim, but I'm really not sure why they chose Steve Austin. Austin is demonstrated, even in the pilot episode, to be a laid-back, sunrise-watching, skirt-chasing, self-indulgent pacifist. Hardly a prime candidate for the job of "patriotic super-spy." In fact, Austin will even lament the implementation of his bionics, calling himself "less than human." Steve, last time I checked, being faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive does not lower you to "less-than-human" status; laying in bed and complaining about how good you now have it does.

The good Col. Austin had both of his legs replaced with bionic limbs that could propel him at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. His new bionic right arm could lift several hundred pounds effortlessly. His destroyed left eye was replaced with a camera that could provide a 20x magnification. And all of these modifications were made without reinforcing his hips for the jostling of the extreme vibrations while running, his spine from the torque created while lifting cars, or his skull from the frequent "karate chop" knockout blows to the head that every thug, hitman, and Soviet spy would employ to incapacitate him. That's good medicine.

Yeah, but can he masturbate with it?

Most disturbing (and far-fetched) is the premise that these bionic enhancements are powered by self-contained atomic generators in the arm and legs. That alone should be a far more spectacular accomplishment than the bionics these generators power, but it is frequently played down during the shows. In a typical nuclear reactor, radioactive decay is harnessed to heat water for energy generating steam-powered turbines. This makes Steve either radioactive or full of hot air, maybe both. It's possible that since you never saw Steve water his legs, his generators were a new kind of atomic power unfit for anything other than making metal legs move really fast. In fact, I don't recall anything else during the run of the show using the power of these generators in any other way. Nuclear power was instead frequently shown to be a dangerous tool demonstrated by way of several near reactor meltdowns, missing atomic devices, and the destruction of the Bahamas via a nuclear warhead (detonated by Steve himself). Were we supposed to be subtly fooled into believing that Col. Austin was extra-dangerous because of his nuclear powered limbs?

Once fully healed, Steve Austin was put to work as a super spy in order to pay the government back for his new Top Secret "Security Clearance Level 5" super powers. (On a USAF Colonel's O-6 salary, which I estimate was probably slightly less than $20,000 in 1973, including his NASA and super spy bonuses, paying back those $6,000,000 would probably have taken a mere 600 years.) He refused the job at first and has to be tricked into dueling with the Russians for the location of a stolen American warhead. (I know it doesn't sound like something that someone can be tricked into, but Col. Austin does not list "Mensa Membership" anywhere on his bizarre resume.) Reluctantly, Steve agrees to be OSI's poodle, and soon found himself battling Russians, foreign terrorists, mobsters, assassins, robots, moonshiners, rogue archeologists, other bionic men, crooked cops, rockstar groupies, imposter Steve Austins, telepaths, mountain lions, earthquakes, aliens, sharks, and John Saxon.

Little known fact: bionic men stay in shape by bench pressing pumas.

As a secret agent, Steve reflected James Bond's frequent misunderstanding of stealth and low profiles. Col. Steve Austin, astronaut and college football star quarterback, was widely recognized throughout the world, destroying most chances for subtlety. I suppose that super speed and strength don't naturally lend themselves to guileful subterfuge, but then neither did Steve's fashion sense. (Button up that shirt, Steve!)

What little camouflage Steve did possess was often lost when Steve would capriciously reveal his enhancements to anyone within earshot. He simply couldn't resist the opportunity to jump over a 10-feet tall fence or race an automobile. Steve, here's a super-spy tip: using the line "I eat a lot of carrots," to explain away how you were able to read a car's licence plate several hundred yards away in the dark isn't going to stand up to any real scrutiny. Steve's indiscretion became so widespread, even Monday Night Football host Frank Gifford who supposedly played college ball against Steve Austin in the early 1950s was therefore naturally entrusted with knowledge of Steve's top secret enhancements. (Guest stars always found out about Steve's abilities. William Shatner, Farah Fawcett, and Gary Collins among others all were entrusted with some of the nation's most classified information. They were a trustworthy bunch, I'm sure.)

So Steve Austin was a lousy pilot and an incompetent spy. Based on the fact that the only female interest that he could keep was a fellow American bionic slave/spy, I'm guessing he was probably a poor lover, as well. In one episode, Steve even admits to a crippled boy that he fumbled a lot as a football player. It should be no surprise that Oscar sends Steve to the ends of the earth (which generally looked suspiciously like southern California) on pointless suicide missions; he has to be hoping that one day, Steve won't come back. I sure do.

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To be continued...