Sunday, April 27, 2014

This (Non) Sporting Life: Is D&D a Sport?

Welcome back to This (Non) Sporting Life, my weekly(ish) blog post on sports by a guy who doesn't know a lot about sports.  

And when I say "sports", I mean those organized activities that involves running and balls and stuff like that: baseball, basketball, football, ballball, etc etc.  

But these are sports that go back many, many years and involve physical activity. We're in the 21st century now and our bodies are devolving into to diabetic goo. We need new sports to rally around that fit my lifestyle of an increasingly inert 21st century American male.  Sports like Speed Solitaire and Competitive Fruit Ninja.  Oh hell yeah, that's some stuff I can throw down on. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. That whole "lack of physical activity" thing, you know?)  

I wonder if Dungeons and Dragons could be a sport? Whole teams of nerdy basement dwellers fighting imaginary battles against...

Wait, is Dungeons and Dragons still a thing? Or has it faded into obsolescence like so much of my long gone youth? 

You know how real athletes might have that one really cool story about how they scored the winning touchdown and drained a basket at the buzzer? Long after they halcyon days of youth are behind them, that one special memory of that one special moment will keep them warm on the coldest nights. 

Well, I have one such memory. Except it was from a D&D game I was engaged in so this story has the distinction of really happening AND not happening at all at the same time. 

In college I was part of regular D&D gang that met in the dorm of my best friend from college, Mike. Mike lived in the party dorm. Every dorm likes to think they can party but every school as that one dorm where "party" is a way of life.  Mike lived in one of those dorms. 

Except Mike and his associated friends (including, shockingly, me) were not party dorm people. So we found an out of the way room in the basement where we would me to play...er, engage in a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons. 

Our group got really good at fighting monsters and orcs and ogres and wizards. Our various characters became quite powerful, none more so than my character, a cleric named Valerion.  

Valerion had accumulated quite a number of spells and enchanted artifacts in his numerous adventures, Among those artifacts was an enchanted cape of levitation. 

Whenever Valerion would step up to do something, I would invariably announce, "With his cape flowing in the wind, Valerian casts a freeze spell." What can I say? Valerion had a flare for the dramatic and as far as I was concerned, he looked damned good in a cape. 

Mike was our Dungeon Master; he ran some pretty cool campaigns. But Mike was getting a bit tired of Valerion's posturing.  So one day this came to pass. 

Our gang of adventurers was about to face up to some derring do and Valerion was ready to step up and save the day.  "With his magic sword at the ready and his cape flowing dramatically in the wind, Valerion..."

Mike held up a hand to cut me off. Then rolled the dice. Looking up at me with a wicked grin, Mike said, "There is no wind." 

Not missing a beat, I rolled the dice and smiled when I saw the result. So I replied, "Valerion, having successfully cast a wind spell, his cape flowing dramatically in the wind...."

That was over 30 years ago and I swear that in probably this most stand out great memory from college years.  Quite frankly, I think that deserves a trophy to commemorate the occasion. 

________________________

What got me thinking about D&D and my story was this picture I saw on Twitter. 









Maybe D&D is still a thing. At any rate, I will assure you, none of gang from college every dressed like any one in this picture. 

More than once, at any rate. 

Y'all be good to one another, 'kay? 

Dave-El 
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Doctor Who Weekend: Hello!


Earlier this week, the image below began popping up on Twitter:  



We have the 10th Doctor (David Tennant), the War Doctor (John Hurt) and the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) posing in front of a green screen. Given the positioning, I would hazard this is when the 3 Doctors appear in the Gallifrey Falls painting during The Day of the Doctor

Of course, as a guy, I can't have three other guys standing around without....




...well, without channeling The Three Stooges

Sorry about that. 

Anyway, notice how the character of each of the three Doctors is conveyed in their perspective stances.  

The 10th Doctor holds his screw driver straight out, his feet planted firmly. On the other end, the 11th Doctor affects a more dramatic posture, aiming the screwdriver slightly higher and his legs further apart. Both are standing sideways to whatever they're aiming their screwdrivers at. Even in the midst of serious business, the 10th and the 11th Doctors can't help but channel a bit of theater in their approach.  

In the middle, the War Doctor has a more relaxed pose of the two; he's holding his sonic screwdriver less like it's "a water pistol" and more like "a scientific instrument". And notice he's standing directly facing his target. This is a Doctor worn down by war and less inclined to such dramatic license as his future selves. 

The 10th Doctor, "the one who regrets", is removed from his time as the War Doctor by few years and engages a bit more in establishing a striking persona. The 11 Doctor, existing centuries after the Time War, is "the one who forgets" and more fully embraces the theater of being The Doctor.  

These stages of self-presentation are reflected in their choice of attire. The utilitarian gear of the War Doctor, the practical suit of the 10th Doctor and the more eccentric garb of the 11th Doctor. 

A great example of a single picture being worth a thousand words.  

See you all back here next week for Doctor Who Weekend. Until then, be good to one another. 

Dave-El 
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Broken News...on a Break (April 25, 2014)




Hi there.

Dave-El here and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog that asks "Why are the lights in here so damn bright? And why are you shouting?" 


Oh, that's just me? Sorry. 


I hope you all have enjoyed your federally mandated holiday to celebrate the birthday of of yours truly, your humble blog meister.*

*Uh, if you did take the day off to celebrate my birthday and you are not me, you may have a wee bit of explaining to do come Monday morning. 


In anticipation that I may have had a raucous party last night in celebration of my birthday, I have scheduled this, a special edition of bROkEN nEWs oN A bReAk

**I have actually never had a party...raucous or otherwise...to celebrate my birthday. Please, don't feel sorry for me. Just send cash. 


Here in the heart of spring with warmed up weather and bloomed up flowers, let's dial back to the cooler and less vegetative days of Autumn 2013 and see what was going on in headlines. 


__________________________

November 1, 2013

#BrokenNewsBritney Spears' music used to repel Somali pirates” And if that doesn’t work, Britney Spears herself is strapped to a harpoon* and shot at the pirates!

*Let me go ahead and save you the trouble: if you Google "Britney Spears strapped to a harpoon", the results are most disappointing.



#BrokenNewsPretty Soon You'll Have To Be 21 To Buy Cigarettes In New York” But still only 16 to buy heroin.

















November 8, 2013

#BrokenNewsBangladesh Court Sentences 152 To Death For Mutiny” 152 death sentences at one time?! Texas says, “Challenge accepted!”*

*One moment please, bROkEN nEWs must issue a correction: Texas says, “YEE-HAA! Challenge accepted!” bROkEN nEWs apologizes for the error and any inconvenience you may have experienced.




#BrokenNewsMilky Way Teeming With Billions Of Earth-Size Planets” But, unlike Earth, they may actually have intelligent life. (Ouch!)  


November 15th, 2013
#BrokenNews Jenna Jameson Returning To Porn” Well, it was either this or politics and Jenna has her pride, you know.

#BrokenNews UN Reaches Nuclear Deal With Iran” UN says Iran can have nukes, just don’t be a douchebag about it, OK?

#BrokenNews Massive Sinkhole Opens Up In Chicago” Later, the massive sinkhole in Chicago was fatally shot.

November 22, 2013

#BrokenNewsBoehner: Immigration Reform 'Absolutely Not' Dead” It’s just shagged out after a long squawk! Dead? No, it’s just pining for fjords!


#BrokenNews "Scott Walker: GOP Fails To Reach Out To Poor" GOP sets up committee to find who are these "poor" people Scott's talking about.

December 6, 2013

#BrokenNews "Poll Reveals Americans Don't Trust Each Other Anymore" Well, it's a good thing we all have guns, huh?

#BrokenNews "Americans Don't Really Care About Typhoon Haiyan, Study Says" We'd love to help but we spent all our money on Black Friday deals. If it helps, we are heavily armed. Is there anything we can shoot at?

#BrokenNews “China Launches Its First Lunar Probe” Meanwhile, US launches rectal probe past a Hickory Farms cheeseball just to show we’re still in the game.

December 13, 2013
#BrokenNews "GOP'S 'Outreach': Mostly White Audience At Black Event" That white audience did enjoy the special screening of Tyler Perry's "Medea Hears A Who"

December 20, 2013
In Russia" And as you know, Putin is against guy-on-guy jabbing. 

#BrokenNews  "Task Force Urging Limits On NSA Surveillance" Like occasionally sticking fingers in their ears going "We’re not listening! We’re not listening!"

__________________________

And that's that for this week's bROkEN nEWs. We'll be back ALL NEW next week! 
In the meantime, remember to be good to one another. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Birthday Boy!

Hello! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. I am Dave-El and today is my birthday!


One fun thing to experience on one's birthday is having "Happy Birthday to You" sung to you.  Which can be extremely awkward. 






























Someone actually owns the rights to "Happy Birthday To You" so that's why waiters in restaurants sings other little ditties like--

"The good news is we sing for free! 
The bad news is we sing OFF KEY!"

Of course there's some wise ass at work who'll do the classic song but with different words. 

"Happy birthday to you! 
You live in a zoo! 
You look like a monkey!
And you smell like one too!"  

A phenomenon of birthdays as one gets older is that it's apparently OK to mock one's inevitable collision with the Grim Reaper's scythe. 

























And once the fat and sugar in that cake hits your arteries, you'll be even closer to death. So, yay, cake? 

But you don't see anyone pulling this on younger people: 

"Oh, you're 4 years old now? Ah, how sweet! So based on your projected average life span and barring any accidents or serious illness, you're now about 70 years away from death! Isn't that great? Why are you crying? Hey, are you going to eat that cake?"

But somewhere around 40 to 50, it's just fine to decorate your cubicle with black balloons and faux tombstones wishing you to have a happy birthday AND rest in peace. 

But as the clock ticks down on your mortality, the honor of having lived yet another year means the birthday guy or gal is treated... no, not with respect but is subject to humiliation.  

Like being forced to wear a hat.  

































So today is my birthday. Congrats to me for having successfully not died in the past half century and here's to a glorious future of physical and mental entropy. 

But at least there's cake. 

Do you know what this Whovian needs on his birthday? A greeting from the Doctor! 





















Thank you, Doctor!  And look, here's a happy birthday wish from my cousin Kal and his friends. 



































Oh, that puts the Kurt in my Schaffenberger, for sure! Thanks, Superman and Superman's pals! 

You may wonder what I might want for my birthday.  Really, there's one thing that would make my heart happy: 

All of you, just be good to one another! Do that and I'll have the best birthday I could ever hope for.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Comics Blah Blah Comics: Adventures of Superman

The never ending battle...ends.

Last week with the release of the digital Adventures of Superman#51 by Jerry Ordway and Steve Rude, this series came to an end.  

Which was a shame because the stories being told in Adventures were my last ongoing link to all new Superman stories.  

I have the print edition on my pull list at my LCS, Acme Comics in Greensboro NC. If I've done the math right, issue #17 will be the last issue of that unless DC Comics...er, DC Entertainment does some kind of dick move and cancels the print book early or something. (Didio still in charge? Yeah, dick move coming up.)   

The stories in the Adventures of Superman have varied in quality and style but have never been less than engaging and imaginative, moving between thought provoking and just plain fun and sometimes both at the same time. It is a series that I will sorely miss.  

So what's next for Superman and me? I'm not sure. Apparently I'm missing some pretty good Superman stories from Scott Snyder & Jim Lee in Superman Unchained.  But apparently those who have been following series will be missing those stories as well. Orders for issue #8 and #9, the last two issues of the series, have been cancelled. There's no word on when or if those issues will be re-solicited. Perhaps they will haunt the soon to be empty halls of DC's New York offices along with the ghosts of All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder.  

I'm apparently missing some good stuff over in Action Comics and Batman & Superman, both by Greg Pak. The deal breaker here for me is the $3.99 price point. Yeah, I know this is the wave of the future. Marvel Comics has almost no books at $2.99 anymore and trust me, DC's corporate masters over at Time Warner are paying attention to that. Let me say I'm willing to pay $3.99 if I know for sure I'm getting more bang for the buck. For example, Adventures of Superman has 30 pages of story and art; ditto for Batman '66. But other titles, I'm less sure of. Unlike the aforementioned books which are solicited as 40 pages, Action and other $3.99 titles are listed as 32 pages, the same as the $2.99 book. The $2.99 books definitely have a 20 page story; as I understand it, the $3.99 books have a slightly higher story page count, maybe 22 pages. 


I am still collecting Batman to finish off the Zero Year story line by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo which retails at $3.99 and I sense the story page count is more than 20. But I'm scared to actually count them and find out for sure that I'm paying 4 dollars for a 20 page story.  


Maybe it's just that I'm an old fart who remembers starting this comic book collecting journey when the standard story count was 20 pages and the cover price was 20 cents, 1 penny a page.  If a 20 page story can be sold for $3.99, that comes to 20 cents a page. That's an inflation rate of 2000%. 


Wow! 


Well, Adventures of Superman, with it's comparatively bargain price of 13 cents a page for the printed book, will go the way of the red trunks. This is a title that will be missed. 

Dave-El 
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You


Art by Chris Samnee 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Art of Nothing

MEMO

From: Me
To: You
Re: Yesterday's post

What the hell? 


In the past, I have presented....well, an odd collection of stuff to celebrate the 100th, 200th and 300th posts on this blog. #400 was coming up and I figured I would come up with....I suppose another odd collection of stuff for that post. After all, I've been posting on this blog for over a year now and I've gotten really good with coming up with...something. 


My viewpoint on this blog is conveyed in the following quote from Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels: "We don't go on because we're ready. We go on because it's 11:30."  


So come hell or high water, something was going to happen for the 400th post of I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. It may not be good. (A frequent condition of most posts to this blog.) But it would be something. 


And then....nothing. 


Not one damned idea. Na da. Zilch! 


Pardon me but I feel a "fuck" is about to be uttered. 


Ahem.


FUCK! 


There. I feel better. Sort of. 


I'm reminded of something I saw back in the 1970s when I was a kid. It was some variety show thing and comedian George Carlin is one of the acts. I had seen Carlin's act on other shows and found him to be incredibly funny.  When he comes out, there was no telling what he might say. 


In the case of this particular show, what he said was nothing.  


Seriously. He stood there, taking the occasional breath like he was about to say something but nope, he did not utter a word. The studio audience wasn't sure what to make of this. I know this audience...this guy sitting in front of his black and white at home...didn't know what the hell was going on.  


Over the course of the time he stood there, there were three responses: 

1) Laughter. I can't believe he's not saying anything.
2) Not laughter. OK, this is NOT funny. Is he not going to say anything?
3) Laughter. I can't believe he STILL not saying anything?  


There's a trope for that, doing something that's remotely amusing, then keep doing it and it becomes not as amusing and then coming around again to amusing because the viewer is incredulous this is still going on. This is a trope that Seth McFarlane beats to death on a weekly basis on Family Guy


But the main thing was George Carlin came out and did nothing. 


And got laughs.  


Of course, I'm no George Carlin.  


Also from the 1970s, there was a bit that Andy Kaufman did on Saturday Night Live where he brings out a record player to play the Mighty Mouse theme song. And he just stands there. 


Except for one part: at the chorus with the bombastic "Here I come to save the day!", Andy would swing his arm in a dramatic fashion as he lips syncs to that one line. Otherwise, he stands there by the record player, patiently waiting for the chorus to come around again.  


That's a couple of examples of getting laughs by doing nothing. Of course, both are from the 1970s and as we all know for a fact, everybody back in the 1970s was stoned. 


So, was the 400th post art? Or just me drawing a blank?

...


Exactly!


Dave-El
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

"So we're just going to...sit...here?"
"Yep."
"OK then." 

Monday, April 21, 2014

What the Hell...? 400 Blog Posts?!?!

Really?

400 blog posts?!

Wow! Who da thunk it? 

Hi there! I'm Dave-El and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. Today marks the 400th post I've made to this blog! 

Yeah, 400.

Yep. 

...

...

...

...

...

...

Well, that's all I got. See ya next time. And don't forget to be good to one another.  

Art from www.woodyafterhours.com
by Ben Carter & Paul Westover

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Various Random Thoughts and Elizabeth Random Too!

Hi there and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, your blog for spring time pastels.

I'm Dave-El and today, in lieu of the usual Sunday post sort of/kind of about sports, I'm going to take a look at some random Tweets from my Twitter account (which can be found here) and see where that takes us. 

_______________________________



Here was a Tweet that Dr. Travis Langley posted on Twitter (I follow the good doctor and he follows me). 

Spinner Rack Flashback: June 1977

Hi there! One of my favorite blogs is Diversions of the Groovy Kind which is dedicated to comic books from the late 1960s through the 1970s ...