Hypocritical Hyperbole

The Abomination of Obama's Nation

On summertime posting April 27, 2009

Filed under: Books,Music — Micah Griffin @ 23:06

It’s hot outside which could mean it’s time for me to spend a lot more time outdoors doing fun stuff like playing basketball, watching drive in movies, and reading books. No spending idle time in front of the computer not writing. The good news is that I think I figured out how to post from my phone. At the very least I can write on my phone and then copy it over here. One of my problems with regular posting is that when I feel I have things to write about I’m never around anything to write on. When I’m on my computer ready to go I get easily distracted and forgo actual writing. It’s a total drag.

Never fear. I’ll redouble my efforts to make at least one post a month. If you’re lucky two. And they’ll be well written, well edited, over two hundred world colums.

No. That’s a lie. They’ll be what they are.

 

Comic Death Watch #2 April 18, 2009

Filed under: comics — Micah Griffin @ 23:17

Comics are becoming something that you have to be a fan of to get into. There are far too many barriers to entry if you try to go it alone.You have to also have a dealer. You don’t just walk into a comic book store. I wouldn’t be here right now if my friend Landon hadn’t walked me into rebel base those few years ago. I liked comics, and enjoyed stuff but I was out of that world. I can just buy trades and read those. Get ’em at B&N for cheap. I’m predisposed to liking this stuff too. I play video games a lot, I use to live in an arcade. I read trades of stuff. I’m an easy sell, and even without a friend showing me the comic book store I’m not going.

Here’s a little anecdote for to explain my meaning.

I try to get my best friend into comics. I took on the roll of drug dealer. First thing we did was hit up Barnes and Nobles to rack through trades. We found things he likes here and there. We even had him reasonably caught up on a few stories that are ongoing. I did all the research so it was easy for him. Just go and pick up books to enjoy. Who knew? He really enjoys the medium for story telling. He even got caught up with all the hooey and applesauce from the amazingly complicated DC Universe. Then we had to go to the store and start with monthlies. Mmm.

What we found is that if you’re late on a series good luck getting caught up. Due to TPBs (Trade Paperbacks) coming out six months or more after the storyline is finished you often find yourselves a couple of issues late on a storyline.

You can say that you don’t have to get caught up on everything, but are you going to start “The Wheel Of Time” on book seven? There’s very few series of things that I feel comfy throwing someone into the middle of. I mean, bad sitcoms aside how often do you just turn on a tv show that you know nothing about and go? You’re not going to make last week’s “Lost” your first. Even if you watched seasons one through three on DVD you don’t want to just skip to the tenth or twelth episode of Season four. So you have to go at least a little bit backwards, but here’s the rub. That issue from last year that starts this whole Superman kick off. That’s a dollar more than the already $3 book you’re looking at. You think to yourself as someone who doesn’t read comics “Lo, this is a mistake! This thing has gone up in price over time without doing anything.” Stop.

You go to your used bookstore and yup, all the used books are indeed cheaper than their newer counterparts. You go to your local car lot and the cars are indeed cheaper than their newer friends (for now at least). You hit up the local gamestop and the used video games are also, in fact, cheaper than their new brethren. Same thing happens at CD Warehouse!.You are aghast!

You head back to the comic store and think to yourself, “What if this book is bad?”  This here is 22 pages of material at $3 and $4. It doesn’t even have a freaking shiny cover. I wouldn’t mind as much if it had a shiny cover, or dialogue on the cover to clue me in as to what the story may have in store for me. (What ever happened to shiny covers by the way. I want those back.) Can’t be helped. We just decide to skip over an arc. They’ll make a trade of it later. Or not.

We venture back to our local comic book shop and we think “What characters do we like most?” You pick out batman, superman, and green lantern. maybe even jonah hex for good measure. He goes to the rack and picks up the past two issues of each cause that’s all the further behind you are in the story. Two issues batman two issues green lantern corp two issues action comics one issue jonah hex (thank you done in one stories) and theres boobies on the cover so one issue red sonja (If only he had waited for the first issue of the Oracle Mini Series. Good God) thank you. That sir, is twenty four dollars.

“Do I really want to do this?” He asks. “Is it worth the price to get these books now?” Know what? It’s not. He can wait six months and get these things for $10 a pop from B&N or Amazon. In fact, if he’s lucky he can even get these from instocktrades.com for %50 off a piece and end up paying $40 for “Batman and Son”, “GLC: Ring Quest?”, “Superman: Escape From Bizzaro World”, and I forget the Jonah Hex trade from those issues. Makes better financial sense.  Get more story there all about.

Granted I’m the worlds worst drug dealer. But this story goes much different if we had been able to walk into any of the local comic shops and pick up back issues for less than cover price. He gets used to the idea of reading comics in this format and he’s happy with it. Instead he’s a trade waiter.

So if comic companies make their money off of monthly sales, they’re not acting like it. The entire setup begs people to wait. My friend picks and chooses what trades he wants to get about every three or four months. He’s totally happy. He gets his stories. There are never delays, it costs him less, and the shopping enviroment of a Barnes and Noble is much less claustrophobic and more pleasing to him.

 

Comic book Death Watch #1.

Filed under: comics — Micah Griffin @ 20:42

Comic book fans just keep rolling though. How often have you heard on a podcasts or something about people that just keep getting books even if they don’t really like them? Or that they don’t even notice the price of their comics going up. The older more hardcore fan treats them the same way they did as a kid. Three dollars to four dollars is the same thing as fifteen to twenty five cents. And it’s disposable so they just keep eating them up regardless of price.

I’ve been quiet as of late but I’m still all about the death of comics coming cause they’re cutting the bottom out. There are two main ways to cater to a niche group, the apple/nintendo way and the way comics do it. Apple convinces people to pay more for a product than is probably necessary. The G5 tower could be $500 less and Apple would still make money on it, but they have to charge a premium on the white case. Ipods are more expensive and often inferior products to competing Mp3 players (save the touch, which is still too expensive and is rendered useless by living in an area with limited wifi) but they convince people that it’s “cool” to own one. They market the crap out of it and make the millions upon millions of people who buy them feel like they’re part of a club of thirty or forty people. You’re a real stunner if you buy that macbook air. That macbook pro is a sign of class and style and the fact that the thirty people beside you have one too makes it unique. and all the people in Starbucks using their iphones think they’re special too. It’s one of the greatest marketing campaigns I’ve seen in my life. It really is brilliant. I am in awe.

Then there’s comic books which say cater to a small group of people and make them feel special while also making it a pinch difficult for other to join the club. There’s no easy used comic book market. Looking at the price of things (and this really was a turning point in my life.) I got all of Terry Pratchett’s discworld on paperback for $60. at a store. in person. so I could see and inspect. no ebay or anything. I walked up and got all 33 books. That’s about two dollars a book. Now, if I go into any comic book store in my area there’s no way to get old stuff on the cheap. The most affordable way to get old stuff is to go to conventions. That means you have to pay money to possibly find what you want. Then you have to be around a bunch of people, and no offense meant because I go to these things, that are an insane variety of really strange. They make ME feel like an outsider sometimes. I’m grade A nerd. It is not a pleasant experiance for all parties. Digging through the random assortment of cheap books does nothing for newcomers either. You might find a run of a book that you want, but three of the issues will be two bins down and they’re not in alphabetical order, or any order. You have to just go one by one and hope what you want is in there.

What part of any of that makes someone want to read comics? The way comic stories are written don’t help. Twelve part crossovers that require you to read three and four books at three and five dollars a piece? No thanks. I don’t want that. What I want is something cheap. Something easy. Trades. But for some reason what gets traded is random, there are different formats. There’s no rules for anything. They’re startig to do a better job, especially Marvel with the “Marvel Illustrated” Imprint. Getting these comics with the regular books is what needs to happen. Having people thing of comics as something other than kid things is vital.

Comics are their way to death. There are big changes coming to the world and comics are either going to get with the times or end up like newspapers. Oh, and don’t worry. I’ll be posting answers to the problems later. This column is faaaaar from being finished. Note the “#1,” It’s a work in progress.

 

How long is long enough?: or why I hate baseball April 11, 2009

Filed under: Sports — Micah Griffin @ 00:46

All over the sports scene columnists, tv show hosts, podcasters, and radio show hosts tell us how the NBA, NHL, and every sport that isn’t football is too long. Except for baseball, which is the longest of all American sports. Where each individual game means the least. The games last the longest and have the deepest periods of inactivity.

I don’t get it, I really don’t. I didn’t grow up worshiping baseball. It’s always been my least favorite of the American sports. Talk about hypocrisy. The NBA and NHL have 82 games. Which makes each game in both sports twice as important and any single baseball game. Opening day is this religious event, but nothing that happens in April has any effect on what goes down in September and October.

There’s an argument that the fourth quarter is the only important part of an NBA game. Huh? What is this? You can sit and watch four hours of a baseball game where any particular segment can go on infinitely?  Baseball innings are the least important segment of any of the major sporting events. If any sport can be ingored up until the end it’s baseball. There’s no excitement in the 9th inning because there’s nothing to look forward to. The ending is near arbitrary.

These baseball purists talk about how spending all this time with these players is what makes the game great, but only for baseball. Not for anything else. We won’t take time to learn about the kids in the D-league with a chance to make it to the pros, or the college kids except for one month a year. Nothing makes baseball players more intriguing than the fact that all these middle aged white guys grew up worshiping the game.

I’m not going to get into the racial and cultural aspects of the sports conciousness and all, but it has to be brought up as a reason. Basketball has gotten more black since the sixties, Hockey has gotten more european, baseball has gotten less dark. More asians and white people. All the blacks in baseball are from Central America, and the influx doesn’t seem as high as it use to. Baseball is again becoming America’s White sport. But let’s not dive into that.

All I want is for someone to explain to me why baseball is allowed to be the longest game on earth. Why are the nine untimed innings and 162 games someting lauded where the forty eight to sixty minutes and eighty-two games of other sports are spat upon.

 

How we decide who’s truly good

Filed under: Sports — Micah Griffin @ 00:00

This Jay Cutler story has brought an interesting point to light for me. How do we decide what players are good or not? Everyone is so quick to say that Jay Cutler is such a good quarterback and such a great player because the team around him is so bad. He doesn’t win, he throws interceptions, whines, and makes bad decisions.For some reason we seem eager to place all the blame on his defense and lack of running game. The fact that he throws for so many yards is a great thing. Let’s not forget that Denver has one of the best offensive lines year in and year out. Oh, and he does play against the chiefs, chargers and raiders twice a year.

Drew Brees throws for millions of yards a season, yet it’s not uncommon for people to say how meaningless those stats are because his team isn’t in the playoffs. The saints defense is no good, they have no running game, but his ability to rocket the ball around the field is viewed in a different and not always positive light.

Jamarcus Russell is on a terrible team, he’s not considered good. Everyone is labeling the guy a bust without giving him a chance. He plays for the worst owner in the league, his defense is a joke. He’s had a bunch of lame coaches. Lane Kiffen and Tom Cable aren’t setting the world on fire. Yet at the end of the season he pulls his team to two straight wins. He also won the midseason battle between Oakland and Denver. But he’s a bust at qb and should be shipped out as soon as possible.

This isn’t the only case it happens all the time where we arbitraily latch on to players and proclaim them something they’re not. I’m not trying to argue that Cutler is a bad quarterback, and won’t make Chicago a better team, I’m just trying to point out that we pick and choose what criteria apply to what players to suit our feelings. There’s no facts involved. There’s no eyeball test.  It’s just that we’ve crowned this one guy amazing and this other guy a busts, and even though everything points to most of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL being around the same talent level and the team around them is what seperates them we can’t accept that and look at players even handedly.

 

Thoughts on Wrasslin’ April 4, 2009

Filed under: Sports — Micah Griffin @ 22:29

I was listening to Jason Smith’s late night radio show today and he was talking about life and the lessons he learned from the old WWF Wrestlemanias. About good and evil, betrayal, what not to wear.

It got me all thinking about how different the experience is now from when I was a kid. Never a big wrestling fan, I missed out on the fun of seeing your favorite guys attempt to drive the gooshy bit out of their fellow man with tables, chairs, and ladders. That said, just by knowing other boys I knew about a lot of the story lines and plots. They were for kids. They were dumb, and juvenile, and seemed to me made for children.

My eleven year old brother LOVES wrestling. Watches it whenever he gets the chance. He’s my window into that world and I’m a little disturbed. I have this old notion that wrestling is for kids much in the same way people talk about video games and comics despite all the evidence to the contrary.  Maybe I’m looking at things different now and if I went back to the stories of ten years ago I’d see they haven’t changed much.

So is wrestling something that isn’t for kids anymore? Maybe it was never meant for children and they were always just caught in the wake. Maybe children are less of a focus and they’re trying to appeal to an older demographic and forgot to send the memo to those kids. There’s no reason for this post. Just musing.