May 29, 2001
I went into a big, bad rage Sunday night when I stopped by the Bryan Ferry message board. I usually avoid it like the plague since it's the home of the very worst in sad fan partisan fighting, and also because one of their more prominent members made a baseless, untrue and unkind accusation against the Avalon mailing list; one which, to date, has never been retracted. At the board, I saw that - oh, joy of joys - someone had ripped off my review of Bry's "Slave to Love" video without crediting me.
With teeth clenched and with a handful of obscenities, I humbly stated that nothing on my site was worth stealing, but don't steal it anyway. The perpetrator is said to have apologized.
Folks, if it's on the net and you know who wrote it, then if you wanna use it, cite your fucking source. It only takes an instant. It's polite and it's fair and it's the right thing to do. Pull that shit at the University of Virginia and they'll expel your butt, as well they should.
Stats for my own site look pretty decent. Figures remain a little lower than they were, since so many links still point to the old Mindspring address and people never fix them. Also, the 00page numbers have actually dropped by a fair amount since Google no longer shows my "music1" site as including the word n*de, and so a search for, say, Sheryl Crow n*de won't bring up that page. Consequently, that page, which was getting close to 100 hits a week, is down to under 20! Sorry, but it's true... sex does rule the Internet!
In other news, more stalkers abound. It's almost funny to see the same names keep cropping up, but females named within my pages outpace males by about three to one. Poor Jessica... I don't know if I'll ever see her again, but I think of her at least three times a month since that picture on my site attracts at least that number of visitors.
The online debut last week of "Slaves of the Machine God" has met with less-than-thrilling numbers, sad to say. What actually irks me the most is... 14 people visited the little "text/information" lead page, OK? 14 people followed it along to page one. And only 10 visited page two. Happily, only one other person dropped out before the episode finished, but geez... I didn't think page one is that bad at all. Kind of a weird, experimental way to open a story, but to see that four of fourteen viewers didn't feel it worth continuing is awfully odd.
Book 14 - which actually won't be published until the autumn - is proceeding at a very nice pace. I'm meeting with Neal later this week to finish the scripts for the last two episodes of a three-parter called "Dogs of War" which further the unusual Gambolino crime family story-arc before its spectacular conclusion in Book 15. Almost all of my art is actually finished; I'm drawing pages 1-2 and 6-10 of a 10-page story called "The Great California Girl Cover-Up." I forwarded the scripts for the other three pages, which is a flashback section, to Tory and I'm very optimistic that she's working diligently as ever on them. Boy, I hope so anyway... I could use a li'l less deadline panic in my life. Anyway, three of my seven pages are done; I'm hopping back and forth on the pencils for the other three and also working on Book 15's "Archaeopteryx."
As I mentioned on the links page (which is an odd place to find announcements, but...), I had a totally great, totally original take on a vampire character who would appear in Book 16. Nobody, to my mind, had ever done a redneck vampire before. Damn if someone didn't beat me to it, so I was forced to rescript the tight-as-a-drum page breakdown of Book 16's book-length story to rejig the vampire. I didn't want to lose the character outright, but everything else I came up wasn't working, since vampires are incredibly cliched and stupid. Nevertheless the story needs one. I can't say why, it just does (dammit!). So I was sketching and drew a bouncy ball with a face, as was seen in a 1987 Judge Dredd adventure. And then I thought of one of Dredd's best villains, PJ Maybe. And then it clicked. Holy bajolie, I like it. And in about, ummm, a year, you'll get to see the result.
For more immediate response to my work, I'm glad that Dave started up an online APA for some of his cartooning buddies. So now all I need is for Neal to finish part 2 of "Do the Teen Theeng" and and I'll upload that story to the site. But wait... wait... no, shit, I'm thinking about part 3 and I realize just how bad one of the pages is. It's one of those incredibly irritating pages where I manage to make one panel completely perfect and the rest look like shit. So now I'll photocopy the page, keep the good panel and redraw the other five. Dammit. Why do I like to draw so much?
I just visited Mark Prindle's page. He's a friend of a friend who posts record reviews at about the same speed you exhale. His work is incredibly offensive, over-the-top, immature, and full of extreme statements. Depending on what side of the bed he awoke, Iggy Pop's "Turn Blue" is "the worst song that any human being has ever recorded," but that song shares the distinction with dozens of others. It's total anarchic freedom of expression and funnier than hell. Visit the amazingly goofy fun at http://www.geocities.com/markprindle.
I do that every couple of weeks... check some links, make sure they're working, add more... it sure would be nice if all the other webmasters out there with links to me (I have no idea who they all are) would do that. Can't stand dead links. It shows the sign of someone who doesn't care about the upkeep of their links page. And admittedly there are trillions of things more important than a $%^!!@ing links page, but every little bit of work helps.
I can't think of anything else to talk about now. Everyone has bought the new REM and Bunnymen albums, right?
May 24, 2001
Veteran chart acts face a lot of problems, particularly in staying on the charts. It can be a rough ride when you peak 40, since you're at the age where you should be able to command a huge advance from a record company, but the company is going to insist on some sizeable return on their investment. And frankly, when you're a musician over 40, the odds are very, very strong that you want to do something else besides the wearying rock ride. I'm sure his label would prefer Dave Gilmour get off his farm and make more Pink Floyd records, but Dave would rather be on the farm. So would McCartney, apparently. Sting and Bowie would probably prefer to spend time with their families, too. And none of them really want to promote their new stuff any more. I'm sure they all like playing music, but touring is exhausting and tiring and requires that you nod patiently while the millionth DJ asks you for the millionth time whether the Beatles will be getting back together. So a lot of artists politely request that the label does at least some sort of job in promoting their new release, and that the label works out some good vibes with radio stations.
Deb, the kids and I went to see Placebo do an "in-store" at Tower Records last night. If I hadn't actually been in Tower Saturday morning to see the sign, I'd never have known they would be there. The show was pretty good; a six-song set before a crowd of about a hundred. Brian Molko looked like hell, wearing a black tee and jeans, an ugly and unflattering black boggin and shades. He was very hung over, and very amused that he was playing next to the porn section. He's so tiny, too! Standing, he was just as tall as Stefan, who was sitting down.
The band opened with a stripped- and slowed-down "Special K," lacking every ounce of that song's awesome, urgent energy, but with every trace of the atmosphere and loss. If the studio version is the rush of love's giddiness, then this was the quiet reflection that something's taken away your control. It worked quite well, though sadly the boys kept the same tempo throughout their set, including "Hemoglobin," "IQ" and a respectable cover of Chilton's "Holocaust." Brian's guitar, which can make the loudest damn noise in the world, sat virtually untouched, save to add a few flourishes to "Holocaust." It was enjoyable, and the children loved it completely.
Speaking of whom, the number of high school punks at this show was quite respectable, and, if the girl sitting on the floor whose jeans had sagged down so far as to show off even the very bottom (sorry) of her white lace thong was any indication, they all came dressed for it. I had to mention her, since I had to keep Julian from looking at her underwear. The rest of the crowd included the usual cleavage - and - red dye brigade, the black dye and horn-rimmed "librarian in love with Damon Albarn" crowd, and the poor, sad-looking fella outside with the leather pants, the fishnet shirt and the blue boa smoking clove cigarettes. I bet he's never worn that get-up before six o'clock in his life.
So Placebo came and played and sold a few CDs, thanks almost entirely to the efforts of the band and to the staff of Tower Records. The record company did not seem to do anything to promote either this show or the one the previous night at the Roxy. There were no posters, no freebies, no apparent effort to present Placebo to any of the media and there was certainly no radio support that I could determine.
It's almost like Virgin US has the right idea of what to do, but they lack the insight to realize that you have to do it with gusto. For example, in 1999, they "supported" (the word scarcely seems accurate) Bryan Ferry by putting out a sampler for his CDs As Time Goes By and the compilation More Than This, with five songs from each album. But a small sampler and a quarter-page ad in Pulse magazine is not enough. Mind you, the artist has to push the record too, and I don't envy an American company trying to sell a British act in America. It takes weeks of promotion *by the artist* to sell something in Britain; then the probably drained artist has to do the same in this country, which is like fifty or sixty Britains. Some say that Roxy Music has a big following in Cleveland. Robbie Williams has a big one in Los Angeles, and the Stereophonics a decent one in Atlanta. But unless you can hit every market simultaneously, you're not going to chart. And the best way to do that is MTV.
But Ferry is not as young and like, totally bitchin' cute as Justin Timbertrees or whoever. And Molko like, sings about sex and pain and death and icky stuff. The young MTV audience has not reached the age where they care about expanding their musical horizons yet -- I can't blame them, their peak age is about 13 -- and the young MTV audience definitely wants nothing but the same thing over and over again.
I watched a few minutes of Total Request Live the other week. The Backstreet Boys --I still type "Bots" -- were enjoying something like their fiftieth consecutive day at number 1 with some video or other, and girls were still requesting it. My response, even accepting that, okay, these are people who love Backstreet Boys, is, "Haven't you seen this video yet? Why not tape it, so you can watch it over and over and over, and request something different and new?"
But I'm not a twelve year old girl.
As for Britain, I am not surprised that Virgin initially dropped Ferry in the mid-90s. He eventually sold As Time Goes By to one of its subsidiaries. I'm offended, irritated and put out, but not surprised. Record companies only court artists in order to make a lot of money. I imagine that they did off Taxi, but Mamouna was a flop and then Bry went into another period of moodiness, self-doubt and writer's block and all Virgin wanted, not surprisingly, was another top 10 hit with a hell of a lot of shelf life. They didn't sign Bry in order to get the polite appreciation of his fans, they did it in order that Bry would make the company shitloads of money and he didn't.
I don't imagine Placebo's making Virgin US a lot of money. Neither are the Manic Street Preachers or David Sylvian or David Bowie, whose sales are small and directed to specific audiences. However, I can't help but think that the record companies would try a little harder, then with a minimum of effort they could see a massive return on their investment. I wasn't at all surprised that the last Manics album failed to chart, as has this one so far, since the most Virgin puts into the advertising is a group ad for six albums on one page of Mean magazine.
The new Bunnymen album, by the way, is fantastic. The single's called "It's Alright" and, poor spelling aside, it's completely wonderful. The new REM's really great, too.
May 23, 2001
And the latest reason my kids are unlikely to attend government schools...
In Florida, national merit scholar Lindsay Brown, an incoming freshman to Florida Gulf Coast U. and soon-to-graduate class of '01, was arrested because there was a kitchen knife under the front passenger seat of her car. The knife allegedly fell from a box of moving shtuff.
And now that Lindsay has a record, she cannot graduate with her friends or attend the senior breakfast. Apparently she'll get her diploma, but that's about it. None of the other benefits bestowed upon graduating seniors at Estro High School, a pathetic institution run by cowards and morons, are hers. Thanks to Boortz for pointing this one out, even if he did have to go for "balance" by whining about nasty lefties trying to take your guns away.
I'll tell you what the senior class should do - make a statement by boycotting graduation unless Lindsay is with them. They won't, of course, but wouldn't it be nice? Zero tolerance does not have to mean zero sense.
If I only had the funds to do it, I think there would be a lot of travel in my future. I should go down to Florida, get a news crew to follow me, kick the Estro principal's door down and demand he either apologize, resign, or get his ass tarred and feathered. Unfortunately I have about $60 in the bank, and that is not enough gas to get me to Estro High and back. So I leave this open for the fine people in the Estro community to take care of the jerk themselves.
Oh, it's not the principal's fault, you say? He's hampered by the district and the system? Fuck him then if he lacks the spine to say "we have gone too far." If the district really cannot distinguish between intentionally bringing a lethal weapon on to campus with the sole intent of harming others, and unintentionally bringing an improbably lethal "weapon" on to campus with the sole intent of spreading butter, then they need new eyes. This shit, as Randy is wont to say, has got to stop.
Is there any way we can just take a gigantic power saw to the Florida state line and set it adrift somewhere else? I'm a little tired of that state serving no purpose whatsoever than embarassing the rest of the nation and its sports teams kicking the unholy shit out of the rest of us. You don't have to blow up the little island somewhere, but Jeb Bush, Steve Spurrier, the Estro principal, Katharine Harris and the dangerous psychos who were holding Elian Gonzalez hostage definitely deserve a world all their own.
May 22, 2001
Sunday at Six Flags went off without many hitches. Julian pitched a few fits in abject terror about not wanting to get on certain rides, but we only forced the issue a couple of times. He loved the Scream Machine, which we rode in a light drizzle that felt like needles.
It had been literally a decade since Deb and I were last there, so there were several new things to do. Unfortunately Deb couldn't do some of them, owing to the kids and her increased fear of heights and speed. She and I did ride the Ninja together. That's a fun, respectable coaster. Between that, the Georgia Scorcher and Batman: The Ride, the poor old Dahlonega Mine Train seems old-fashioned and very, very slow. Matt came along and he and I got to ride a few of the grown-up things while Deb watched the kids in the kiddie section.
The Acrophobia, by the way, is the greatest thing ever invented. And that makes Free Fall seem old-fashioned and very, very slow. I screamed like my kids. Scared the absolute shit out of me. I wanna do it again!!
In the ten years since my last visit, they took out the Mini Mine Train, Momo the Monster and the Flying Dutchman. The Dutchman is actually across town at the kiddie park American Adventures. Momo needs to be back in Six Flags. That is an awesome ride. They also dimmed the lights throughout the Monster Plantation, so middle school kids have more opportunities to put their tongues down each others' throats. (Don't tell me anyone between the ages of twelve and seventeen are on it for any other reason.) Ivy hated the Monster Plantation, especially when the bigger dragon-like monsters menace the boat.
We finally have quasi-confirmation of the July 26 Roxy Music show. Yay!
The other thing involves Legion (again). Last night I put episode 1 of Slaves of the Machine God online for all and sundry to read. And e-GAD I don't like some of that artwork. I ended up a lifetime subscriber to the "if I drew it more than nine months ago it looks like shit" school. One page is redrawn, but all eight should be... unfortunately I have other stories to tell, and I spend 25% of my art time "fixing" old stuff as it is.
Painfully, I haven't been getting nearly as much e-mail as I'm used to of late. After a few orders for Bk 13 - which, happily, has sold better than 12 - the Legion-related mail tailed off. I just don't get as much mail as I usually do, although I understand the Athens-based mail was bound to taper away with graduation and the end of the school year (belated sheepskin congratulations to Bria and to Victoria), but I still get that ridiculous Charlie Brown "no Christmas card" feeling a lot of the time, sob, bawl, woe is me. Oh well. Maybe more people will write as they start trickling in to read the story.
May 17, 2001
I used to love carnies. They're so unsafe. Unfortunately, I'm a dad now.
We're planning a weekend trip to Six Flags, right, so we popped in to a carny up the road near downtown Fretta run by Peachtree Rides, perhaps to get Julian "used" to rides. And these guys were hardcore carny. Overweight, sweating, tattooed, stinking of cigars. Ten rides. Some of them little kiddie round-and-rounds, but also a few proper, creaky, noisy thrill rides, including a "Defy gravity!" machine where you're strapped in and spun in a huge circle before the circle raises and tilts. Julian didn't want anywhere near that poorly oiled beast, but then again only myself and a few other complete imbeciles would.
Julian was persuaded to get on a downmarket Monster with me. Now a proper Monster has "hands" at the end of the arms with four spinning cars on each hand. This wimp had one spinning car at the end of each of its eight arms. We handed over our tickets, the man clamped the car shut and started it up.
Hang on, he forgot to strap us in.
Son of a bitch, there aren't any straps!!
Julian was fine for exactly one half of a revolution. As the Monster's arm raised up, Julian commented "this is fun!" Then the arm reached its apex, on the far side of the machine from Mommy and he said "we're too high!" Then the center of gravity kicked in - we're talking about one second of real time here - and the car, which was pointed up at the sky, spun back around in a full rotation as the machine continued to revolve and the arm lowered. And when the car spun, Julian and I damn near flew right out of the thing.
I know, far better than you, that a fully grown adult isn't going to be flung from a Monster if the fully grown adult has the sense to hold the bar. But Julian isn't fully grown. He's 42 inches tall and he slid when it spun and his butt jumped off that seat when the arm started lowering. So I grabbed on to him for dear life, now with only one hand on my bar, and braced against the sides of the car with such force that my sides and my right arm hurt so bad right now I can hardly bear it.
Julian continued "No! I don't like this! We're too high! It's too fast!" and I had to be Mr. Reassurance as gravity and force kept trying to throw us out. "Nahhhh, isn't this fuuuuuuuuuuuun!!! It's alllllmost over!"
Deb said that as she couldn't see Julian - no wonder, he had slid and sunk so far down he couldn't see anything but sky - and I was completely white. Big surprise! I was scared out of my mind, convinced Julian's number was up, and in enormous pain besides.
The white knuckle ride ended - that term has never been used so accurately before - and, since Ivy hadn't done anything, we put them on a kiddie round-and-round that delighted them much more. Julian hated the Monster, he never wants to go on anything like it ever again, I'm almost certainly not going to get to ride the Wheelie at Six Flags now since nobody will ride it with me, and I feel like an ass, a failure and worse for endangering my child when I knew damn well how incredibly unsafe frigging carny rides are before I stuck my son on the fucking thing.
We left afterwards, a family of big dumb rubes.
May 15, 2001 (Tuesday)
If some urchin had told me in 1990 that there would be a day, a Tuesday, perhaps, where R.E.M. and Depeche Mode put out albums simultaneously, and that only one week later there would be a new Echo & the Bunnymen album, and that later in the summer there would not only be a 4-CD Bunnymen box set, but that I'd be seeing Lloyd Cole and Roxy Music live... well, I'd thank the urchin for the courtesy of the fantasy, but I'd also call the urchin a fool.
Well, Depeche Mode have admittedly not put out a really good record in a really long time. They've done many decent things, but nothing totally fabulous in... good Lord, it's been seventeen years since Some Great Reward. I tutor children who were born since then. R.E.M. are mostly consistent; Up was wonderful and I simply do not get these people who didn't like it. How in heaven did we develop individuals who didn't fall madly in love with "At My Most Beautiful"? I don't understand it. The Bunnymen have never released anything that slipped down to the "average" mark. I haven't even heard the album and it's the best of the year. Everything else is playing catch-up.
Atop those, there are new Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics records in the shops. The 'Phonics, for those multitudes of Americans who haven't heard them, are pretty damn amazing. Imagine Rod Stewart singing Stan Ridgway songs in front of AC/DC. And yet it works. Loud, impassioned, and yet intelligent: no wonder US radio can't touch them; they're too smart. The Preachers have a song on their new album about Elian Gonzales, and bascially how incredibly stupid it was to leave the poor kid in the hands of his frankly psychotic Miami relations as long as we did. You won't hear that on the radio.
Pulp have a new album due later this year; so do Garbage. Pulp's is produced by Scott Walker. Cyndi Lauper, the woman who got me through high school, has a new one in July. Later this year, Suzanne Vega and Julia Fordham (who jointly got me through college, well, the three years I spent in the dorms anyway, two minor breakups and a broken heart) have new albums on the horizon.
Julia Fordham has now saved my busted-up hearted self twice. I owe her dinner. Or at least drinks. A nice flute of champagne with a hint of apricot, I think. Come round anytime, Julia. We can listen to the new R.E.M. together.
May 14, 2001
I haven't had much to share lately. I guess some of the initial enthusiasm for this thing has passed. I haven't had a lot of time, either. The research I've done for the Strictly Confidential Archive kept me quite busy for the last week.
Damnation! We dropped the kids with my parents for a few hours last night, since it was Mother's Day and because I felt bad. While there, I grabbed my poster roll. Two of the posters I expected to be in there weren't. I was all set to take my Betty Blue movie poster down to be framed. Neither it, nor my Echo & the Bunnymen Ocean Rain were in there, meaning they were probably thrown away. The Ocean Rain poster can be seen, ironically enough, in Gilmore Girls. It's on the wall in Lorelai's old room at her parents' house, above her bed. The set designers also - and damn if this ain't accurate - found a copy of the US 7-inch poster sleeve of Duran Duran's "The Reflex," unfolded it and stuck it on the back of her door.
Anyway, should you find a Betty Blue movie poster (white text on black, with a blue-tinted photo of Beatrice Dalle pouting at the camera), would you please pick it up for me?
Let me see if I understand the Republican Party.
There are two brainless wonders vying for the governorship. Bill Byrne, the anti-gay freak who's run the Cobb County Commission for a few years, and Linda Schrenko, state school superintendent. Cobb is responsible for the worst public bus system in the southeast and Georgia has the worst high school dropout rate in the nation, and these peabrains somehow feel qualified to run the state.
The Georgia GOP elected Ralph Reed - the living nightmare who used to run the Christian Coalition (of ill-tempered closed-minded bigots and hatemongers) - to run the state party.
The prime focus of the GOP race will be "getting" Roy Barnes for changing the state flag. Various sources, including Boortz, report that the GOP will be flying the Confederate stars-and-bars at functions and will attempt to restore it to its old status. Of all the possible campaign issues (you know, real ones), the Republicans choose this?
Oh, and this one's wonderful. Bob Barr is considering a Senate bid against Max Cleland. Barr, you raving psychotic loon, you've played softball with nobody candidates up to now. Cleland will annihilate you.
Keep up the good work, Republicans. You're making it easy for us.
Last week, some acquaintances in Columbus with a kid separated. Fortunately, Devlin and Mandy went some way towards restoring my faith in the institution by finding a chapel in Gatlinburg. Well, hoorah and congratulations!
I was supposed to graduate Saturday. I had successfully blotted this out before Deb inadvertently mentioned that some stupid Atlanta DJ from some stupid Atlanta radio station was getting drunk and broadcasting from Athens, starting his broadcasts from the Guthrie's over on Marie's and Prosser's side of town.
I knew that May was graduation month, but suddenly knowing that, earlier that afternoon, I should have been in cap and gown getting a sheepskin was really too much to bear, and I'm still not even remotely over it. I'm going to be a mess for weeks. I had a pretty decent plan. I worked it out in late '99. I knew what classes I needed to take and I knew when to take them. From there, I'd be off to grad school. I was looking at Indiana, or at Maine. Rutgers or Boston in a pinch, though Amherst was also a possibility. I would have loved to do master's work at Indiana and get my doctorate from Maine, then teach somewhere else and get strong enough credentials to come back to UGA for a tenure-track position. Enter the halls of academia and only come out every other year with some dense, inscrutable study of some weird, intellectual economic theory that none of my friends or family care about or understand. (There is, you see, a reason why I don't discuss this particular love of mine. "Look, there are at least four reasons why supply-side bargaining simply doesn't work in a socialist system, particularly when the public isn't giving unilateral support to a leader" does not carry the same conversational value as "Boy, that Homer Simpson sure does say some stupid shit.")
I gave my parents a copy of my senior paper. They returned it unread. I joked about how over-their-heads it was, but it really hurt a hell of a lot that they didn't make the effort.
I don't much mind being a failed academic. At least I can kinda draw and my kids seem to like me.
May 10, 2001
I have had Def Leppard's "Photograph" stuck in my head for about 24 hours. I'm really tired of it.
I've had trouble getting up and moving the last three mornings, so I figured I'd call it a night early yesterday and went to bed around 9. Unfortunately, everynightmare woke me at 2 and I couldn't get back to sleep until after 4. Deb woke me at 4.30, doing some thrashing extraction from the crunch that I on one side and Ivy on the other had pinned her. I got back to sleep at 5. The alarm went off at 5.30. I reset it for 6.30 and was 15 minutes late for work.
Meanwhile, I've been editing my old "book" Jolly Fat Men of Jekyll Island for Neal's site. This "book" is very long and very horrible and often very embarassing, but some people seem to like it. Follow the POPocalypse web ring to Neal's site, if you must.
May 7, 2001
Some new neighbors moved in upstairs a couple of weeks back. A nice black couple in their early 30s with Jersey plates on their Dodge, a son about 10 or 11 years old, and a pet elephant.
Friday night, the power went off throughout Alpharetta (typically, while I was updating my links page and hadn't saved it). It was a massive blackout from all accounts. My son overstated things as only kids can: "Oh no! We're doomed!" Most of the other neighbors came outside and sat around in the cool evening air. The kids ran around playing Power Rangers. After about an hour (I assume he returned while we were inside), the boy from upstairs rushed down, ignoring the block party atmosphere and the emergency lights and asked "Ya'lls lights out?" Bright boy; I can tell he'll go far.
I stayed in and away from the pollen Saturday. Quite literally, I didn't venture outside even once. I did a little better on Sunday, more of which momentarily, but mostly I spent Saturday working on the new Bryan Ferry bootleg page and drawing Legion. Wowza, I got a lot done. I finished six of the seven pages I had left to redraw for Treasury 2. Only a very boring page of talking heads from "The Pirate Radio Clash" remains, and that's already got all the figures and lettering. I also finished a page for Book 14 and selected three pages to redraw for "Slaves of the Machine God," which will be the first in a series of rotating online GMS comics in a few weeks' time.
Bearing server space limitations in mind, I'm currently planning to upload one GMS episode every three weeks, starting Monday the 21st. Eventually, three episodes will be available at any given stretch, so people can still enjoy the cliffhangers while not eating all my storage space. I'm also slightly rethinking the printing of Legion, or more accurately the reprinting. I think I've decided to do no more than two printings for any Book. After the second printing, it will be gone until it is collected in a Treasury (to be published every 18 months and including three books) or it appears online. I think that makes sense, because the Treasuries are designed for longterm life. The Treasury of Books 1-3, however, will never be reprinted. Once those early episodes are gone, I'll be happier.
Last night, I ran around with the kids for well over an hour at Wills Park. The playground here is immense, easily the largest public playground I've ever seen. (The largest private playground is at a church in Roswell about seven miles from here.) Play went in cycles: Julian would say "I'll be Batman, you be Robin." I'd say "okay," follow him for a minute and then be interrupted by Ivy complaining about something. Her usual irritant was one slide, on a piece of equipment accessible by one of two ways: a set of stairs she can navigate and a set of tires which she can't. Anyhow, Ivy would forget about the stairs and start shouting since she can't get up the tires, so I'd leave Julian and rush her up the tires and get back to Julian, who'd say "Daddy, I'll be Batman and you be the monster" and I'd play with him long enough for Ivy to find some new obstacle to start bitching about.
Ah, but the story came even later.
After putting the kids to sleep, Deb ran up to Publix to get desserts and sodas. When she left Publix, she noticed a black Camaro following her. The car came all the way back to Wood Bridge, trailed her into our parking area, stopped as she pulled in, pulled past her, and stopped again. Deb came into the house, and the car reversed and parked in the space next to her. Naturally, this freaked her out, and worried me as well. We watched the car, with Bibb County plates, for a while, unable to tell whether anyone had gotten out, but were both concerned that the driver was either watching the house or our cute red Mazda.
After about twenty minutes, unable to tell with certainty whether anyone was in the Camaro, I went on out to the Mazda to get a couple of comics Julian left there and made eye contact with the driver, who had his window down and the radio on. "Heya," I said. "How's it goin'?" he asked. I got the comics and came back in and, ten minutes later, decided to move the car and see how he reacted.
Suffice it to say that I was in full-tilt mondo paranoia mode as I drove away, checking my rearview. He didn't follow. I went right on Park Bridge and turned around in the prep school drive. Returning, I passed a gray car who was coming my way. The driver was on a cell phone and looking around, his head half-out the window. We made eye contact! I kept driving, past our apartments and turned right into the first subdivision. There, I crept slowly down and turned right and right again, circling a cul-de-sac before retracing my steps. Paranoia blew hugely as my headlights shined on the front door of a house and a silhouette showed a man pressed against the window of his door looking at me!
Back at the complex I parked above our place, and looked down to see our friend from Macon in the Camaro was still there. Thinking that this guy had now been hanging around for close to an hour, it was time to call the police, which Deborah did when I returned.
Ah, such bad timing. After we phoned, the lady - the married lady - who lives upstairs returned, alone. And shortly after she went upstairs, Bibb County Camaro guy got out of his car and walked upstairs. Carrying a rose wrapped in cellophane. We heard the knock on her door and we heard her open it and allow this not-her-husband guy with a rose who waited for an hour inside.
We didn't tell that part to to cop when he showed up to tell us that the driver was no longer in the Camaro.
May 3, 2001
Sometimes I hate being a father so much. The responsibility sucks.
Last night, we were looking forward to free Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Julian had to finish his dinner first. "We will not go until you have finished your dinner," I said. "If you don't finish, you can't go." Well, you say things like that and you have to stick to them or the kids get the idea your mind is changeable and the rules mean nothing.
To make a long story short, Julian refused to finish dinner after constant warning. After the third time of leaving the table, I pitched his uneaten food and told him there would be no ice cream.
If you're not a dad, you have no idea how much that hurt me. I was rotten depressed for hours and hours. Julian screamed and cried and bawled. Eventually he would calm down. We played "Batman" for a while and read a story, and every so often he'd say "Daddy, I really, really want some ice cream." I'd say no, and he'd cry again.
Deb came home later after the kids were asleep. I sent her to Publix to buy ice cream for today. This morning I wrote Julian a note which said that I was very sad that he didn't get ice cream last night, but if he was a very good boy and ate all his lunch, then he could have a bowl for a snack.
I have a tendency - artistic insecurity, low self-esteem, fragile heart - to just want to run like hell from problems like this. Geez, what an ass I am to deprive my little buddy of promised ice cream. I almost drove home to Athens this morning instead. Doing the right thing shouldn't hurt so fucking much.
May 2, 2001
Nadia Faraday, a most soggy door!
Or Anastasia, a dad of my gory dog!
It's been awfully slow since the weekend, which would be nice if I was spending the slow time in bed. Work moves at a snail's pace. I wish I could still bring my Discman.
Deb works tonight - her first proper shift. The kids and I will be taking advantage of Baskin-Robbins' free scoop promotion. I haven't drawn any pages for a few days; I've been concentrating instead on downloading photos and creating CD sleeves for a few live shows I got in trade. It's time-consuming, but fun, even if virtually nobody sees the result!
Moo! I'm not a bad edge thrown.
Now that Julian has a cable box - and Nickelodeon - in his room, he doesn't want to come out of it. Deb's gonna have to drag his butt to the playground.
It's graduation month in Athens. I should have been getting a cap and gown now if I hadn't fucked my life up so completely last whenever.
Most mist clientele seethe! I'm so sloppy mess!
May 1, 2001
We don't need a missile defense system, Fraudulent Dubya. Should Mideast terrorists decide to attack America, they won't do it by flying rockets over Europe. They'll do it by planting nuclear bombs in Washington.
We don't need to waste resources on the Gold Club, Atlanta. So some naughty girls are having sex for money and giving a chunk of it to their bosses. Who in their right mind cares? Oh, gosh! They're getting athletes in the strip clubs and promising them sex! Don't look at me; I've never understood why prostitution was illegal in the first place. Sex is all right as long as it's free?
We don't need to watch VH-1 as long as they're telling us with a straight face that the overwrought and flatly ridiculous "Thriller" is the best music video of all time. Oh yeah, those breakdancing zombies sure were an awesome artistic statement. I really felt his artistic commitment to breaking new ground and challenging expectations there. For pity's sake, even accepting that I cannot bloody stand Michael Jackson, I can objectively point out about six of his own videos that are better than "Thriller." In a pinch, "Beat It," "Smooth Criminal," "Leave Me Alone," "Scream," "Black or White" and the one with the cartoon cat. Oh, wait, that was Paula Abdul.
Madonna's "Like a Prayer" is #2 and that's a far, far stronger video. It's not even her best video but it's on a different planet than Freaky Mikey's. With Madonna, I'm actually more partial to the honest simplicity of "Lucky Star," and several other ones, for different reasons. (Speaking of Madonna, wouldn't it be nice to take the master tape of "Like a Virgin," remove that godawful synthesiser and see how the song fares without it?)
Yesterday I scripted a new 8-page GMS Legion adventure for Dan Baker to draw. It will hopefully appear in Book 14 or 15. I'm still redrawing several pages from Books 4-6 for Treasury Edition 2. I actually put about ten more aside than I planned, so there may be as many as thirty redrawn pages in it. In related news, the new online comic, "The (other) New Kid on the Block," has been online for only four days and has already been read in its entirety by twelve people, a mere one of whom has written to say she enjoyed it, and she (Tory) was probably only driven to do that since I called her a debutante!. I was saddened to see one reader apparently dropped out after page five. Hey, I said two of the panels on that page were lousy up front!
Let's see... I did a Legion of Super-Heroes "Good and Bad" for Prosser over at Folded Soup... I've started up a CD tree for the Avalon mailing list... I've been reasonably healthy... Work's been a shade busier as people who don't understand their bills are calling. (My new favorite, a regular: "I sent you a payment two days ago and it's not on this bill I received yesterday!") Suppose it certainly could be worse.
Oh yeah, and we're getting AT&T cable modem service today, so it's more likely someone might be able to answer should you phone us!
Go on back to the pop page or hit the diary page.