Sunday, October 25, 2015

Who is... The Lumberjack?

Back in February I re-watched "Supergirl: The Movie" in response to news surfacing about Supergirl, the TV show, which finally premiers tomorrow. I've avoided hearing much about the show, preferring to watch the commercials and be surprised rather than go in with high (or low) expectations, but I did manage to pick up one piece of information somehow: in the first episode, Supergirl will face down... The Lumberjack.

I had no idea who that is.

After some googling, I discovered that the Lumberjack appeared one time, ever, in DC Comics:

Lumber jack blog entry 26

"Wonder Woman" #268, from June, 1980. He's not even from a Supergirl comic.

Lumber jack blog entry 27

Yes, Supergirl. A hand-me-down villain borrowed from someone else's book, but that's pretty common for Supergirl, actually. While Batman, the Flash, and to a lesser extant Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, and other heroes have iconic galleries of foes, Supergirl has never really built up a rogue's gallery of her own. While she has fought some characters more than once, for the most part she fights villains from all over the DC Universe. Off the top of my head, people like Silver Banshee (borrowed from Superman), Lex Luthor (again from Superman), Chemo (from the Metal Men), Gorilla Grodd (from the Flash), and so on. It's hard to build an entire superhero show around Blackstarr, Psi, and Satan Girl, so it makes sense that the show's creators will draw on DC's rather extensive character stable.

What makes less sense is why they chose to start with this particular character. Who is the Lumberjack, anyway?

Our story opens on the beach in the south of France, with Animal Man rubbing lotion all over Wonder Woman:

Lumber jack blog entry 24

What the hell? He's married, Wonder Woman. MARRIED. He has kids and everything.

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For him rubbing lotion all over you?

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What kind of comic book is this, anyway?

You said something about an explanation, Wonder Woman?

Lumber jack blog entry 22

Let's just get to it, then.

It turns out that Wonder Woman and Animal Man are in the south of France rubbing each other down because they found a map last issue that told them to go there:

Lumber jack blog entry 21

Last issue being "Wonder Woman" #267:

Lumber jack blog entry 19

which opened with Wonder Woman flying up to some animals in response to a tip she got while interrogating El Gaucho:

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which apparently happened in an even earlier issue:

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"Wonder Woman" #264:

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which opens with Wonder Woman already captured by El Gaucho:

Lumber jack blog entry 17

and you know what? I don't care about the first part of that story. It's a flashback too far. We'll just start figuring out who the Lumberjack is here, with Wonder Woman in the clutches of a man dressed like an Argentinian cowboy on a flying horse. El Gaucho drops Wonder Woman to her death, but she breaks the rope and, chasing him, runs right into his evil plan:

Lumber jack blog entry 14

Attacking the US capitol with giant birds.

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And some of the giant birds are robots, with bombs inside. Maybe I want to track down that first issue with El Gaucho after all, since it seems like it might easily be at least as partially insane as the time that Wonder Woman fought child slaving lesbian jewel thieves and their street gang.

Anyway, while Wonder Woman is dealing with the giant bird bombs, El Gaucho, a man dressed as a culturally insensitive Halloween costume, is trying to assassinate a senator by breaking into the capitol:

Lumber jack blog entry 12

Wonder Woman defeats El Gaucho pretty easily:

Lumber jack blog entry 11

unaware that the whole thing is the plot of a sinister mastermind:

Lumberjack blog entry 29

in a giant sub:

Lumber jack blog entry 15

on its way to the south of France.

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman follows El Gaucho's tip to an African safari hunting ground outside of Washington, DC. After a lot of boring exposition explaining who Animal Man is, why he's a superhero, and how the same mysterious group set up a friend of his, the two of them find a secret base under the safari:

Lumber jack blog entry 9

filled with evil soldiers:

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Just in case you couldn't tell they were evil by the fact that they're shooting at Wonder Woman, their helmets are helpfully labeled with skulls.

Wonder Woman and Animal Man defeat the evil soldiers, find the map to the south of France, and we pick up again where we started, on the beach, where assassins have come for their target, Msr. Krispin:

Lumber jack blog entry 8

Wonder Woman and Animal Man defeat the assassins and load the Krispins into her invisible plan, handily escaping:

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This leaves the shadowy mastermind furious, and he has no choice but to reveal his trio of superpowered assassins:

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One of these, finally, is clearly the Lumberjack:

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What's unclear is why he was in a circus sideshow. Some guys bite the heads off of live chickens, some ladies have bears, and some guys... chop wood? A lot? Maybe he was shunned by some anti-logging industry protestors? It's never really explained, and before you know it the trio of assassins are attacking the Krispins:

Lumber jack blog entry 4

but the Lumberjack never speaks:

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and actually shows up in less than a dozen panels, total. Wonder Woman is captured, and the gloating mastermind finally reveals himself:

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It's someone else I've never heard of! Who would have guessed?

Anyway, Wonder Woman defeats him by throwing the assassins at him:

Lumber jack blog entry 2

And she and Animal Man call it a day.

Lumber jack blog entry 1

That's a great question, Supergirl. What does this tell us about the show?

Potentially, the Lumberjack's appearance could be setting up a longer arc with multiple assassins, shadowy cartels, and a secret mastermind and potential ongoing nemesis.

Or the show could be a hot mess of exploding birds and bad costumes.

I guess I'll have to watch tomorrow.

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Sexy, Sexy 4 Quart Pyrex 664

Until today, my vintage Pyrex collection contained only two pieces in the Old Orchard pattern. This was deliberate, as it is one of my least favorite patterns, and not one I collect on purpose. You're probably thinking, On purpose? How do you end up with something you don't collect by accident?, but there's an obvious answer to that: sometimes the thrift stores around here sell a couple of bowls together as a set whether those bowls go together or not, and you really really need a Primary Colors 401 but the only way to get that 401 is to buy it as a set for three dollars with an ugly Old Orchard 402 but the pair is only three dollars and you can tolerate that Old Orchard for a dollar fifty and you might even throw it in the dishwasher sometimes, like you're not supposed to with vintage Pyrex, because Old Orchard, Amirite?

Anyway, shit happens, and I end up with 50% of an Old Orchard 400 series mixing bowl set but I'm not going to buy any more Old Orchard (on purpose), so that's that.

Except that it's not.

A few days ago my friend Brennan, who was visiting my friend Brooke in Houston, posted a few photos of an antique store with lots of Pyrex on Facebook and tagged me. As I do whenever my friends post a picture with dishware in it, I immediately scoured the photo for possibilities, and there, way down by the bottom, I thought I saw a Pyrex 664.

I don't own a 664.

The Pyrex 664 is a round 4 quart casserole with lid. It was made in a handful of patterns, including one (Polynesian) made in such limited quantity that it sells for a few hundred dollars every time I see one on ebay, and was only available for two years, manufactured from 1974-1976. This wasn't a Polynesian, but instead was Old Orchard. Still, it was a 664. It couldn't hurt to ask how much it cost, right? I asked, and Brennan and Brooke went back to the store, and it was cheap. Really cheap. Worth buying even though it was Old Orchard cheap.

Brennan then carried a ten inch wide, four inch deep glass casserole dish wrapped in packing paper, towels, and a plastic Wal Mart bag aboard a plane and back to Knoxville, and today we met up, and now I own this:

Pyrex 664

I know you're not that excited, though, right?

Don't worry. Hawkeye is here to help.

Hawkeye and Pyrex 664 (3)

Yeah, Hawkeye. Work that bowl.

Hawkeye and Pyrex 664 (2)

Show us how much you like that Pyrex. Sit like a female character would on a comic book cover marketed toward teenage boys and middle aged virgins.

Hawkeye and Pyrex 664 (1)

Good job, Hawkeye.

I bet everyone is excited about my Pyrex now.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

It Wasn't a Vacation

Three times in the last week I've had almost an identical conversation with three different friends:

"Hey, how was your vacation?"

"I wasn't on vacation. It was a conference."

"Really? Because it didn't look like a conference."

"It was! I was at a conference!"

"You didn't post any pictures of a conference. All of your pictures looked like vacation."

You want to know why I didn't post any pictures of the inside of the conference? Because it was a conference. It looked like a bunch of training sessions in a bunch of identical meeting rooms in the basement of a hotel. I only took one picture of the inside of the conference:

Keynote Speaker

The moment when the keynote speaker put on a Halloween wig and screamed Taylor Swift lyrics at us.

Other than that fifty-five minute break with reality (seriously, I think for a minute he was openly weeping, and there was also a story about the porter at the hotel that I was sure would end with one of them naked), the conference was great. I took a bunch of notes, co-presented two sessions, saw a bunch of friends, and also visited the beach a little bit.

OK, I visited the beach a lot.

St. Pete's Beach, on the gulf coast of Florida. In case you haven't been there, it's nice:

St. Pete's Beach (1)

St. Pete's Beach (6)

Really nice:

St. Pete's Beach (19)

The night we arrived I was a little confused because I couldn't quite see the beach from my room:

St. Pete's Beach (7)

but we managed to locate it the next day:

St. Pete's Beach (15)

That was also the first morning that I walked on the beach. Last year, when I went to a conference in California, the beach had a paved pathway all along it, for miles in both directions. This beach didn't seem to have any such path, but to be sure I asked at the desk.

"No, but you can walk on the sand."


"Lots of people do."

Yeah, well, lots of people get in the water with the sharks

St. Pete's Beach (12)

and the hypodermic needles and the jellyfish and that fish that Brooke Shields stepped on in "The Blue Lagoon" and the sting rays

St. Pete's Beach (3)

and everything else in there, but that doesn't mean it's ok. Still, I've seen people run on the beach in movies and stuff, so I guessed it was possible.

"Is there any way to tell distance?"

"If you go left when you hit the beach, there's a big pink hotel two miles away. You can't miss it."

This turned out to be partially true. You really couldn't miss that pink hotel:

St. Pete's Beach (9)

but it was only about a mile and three quarters down the beach. Still, it was a nice walk, and I made an interesting discovery about the beach.

See, I'm not a beach person. I don't like the water, and I kind of don't like sand. I don't like being barefoot, which is why all of my beach photos look like this:

St. Pete's Beach (11)

As such, I rarely actually go down to the water, so I never realized that the sand just above the tide line in the mornings is hard packed like concrete. It's not wet enough for your shoes to sink into, but it's actually great for walking, so I did. There are long stretches where there's a layer of shells along that line, too:

St. Pete's Beach (13)

so I walked it every day:

St. Pete's Beach (4)

St. Pete's Beach (8)

St. Pete's Beach (16)

St. Pete's Beach (17)

St. Pete's Beach (18)

but I wasn't on vacation.

I was at a conference.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

15 Months

15 months into my fitness journey, I'm still obese, just like last month, but there's kind of a difference: this month I didn't try to be less obese. This month I coasted and maintained, because this month I had two big achievements, and I decided to spend a couple of weeks slightly off program to reflect on that.

Actually, I may have three achievements, if you count that I now live in a way that "slightly off program" means, "I still walked seven miles every day, but a couple of times I had candy, cake, and cupcakes".

I'm still holding at 225 pounds. Still obese, but this month I hauled my obesity 13 miles across Tennessee for a half marathon, and doing it didn't kill me. That's an achievement from 15 months ago when walking across campus for less than a mile left me wheezing and sweaty.

The day after the half marathon, I climbed a mountain. This is my other achievement for September.

Clingman's Dome is the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I've been to it once before this, with my parents. We'd read online that the path from the parking area to the observation tower at the top of the dome is fully paved and only a half mile long, but did not realize until we go there that the trail is extremely steep, so much so that it's not considered wheelchair accessible. It rises continuously for a half mile at an angle sharp enough that wheelchairs, strollers, and bicycles are forbidden on the fully paved path. My parents and I opted not to climb it that day, although they offered to wait in the parking lot for an hour while I climbed it if I really wanted to.

I did really want to, but didn't think I could.

One flight of stairs left me panting. 3XL shirts were straining to stay buttoned on my torso. My feet were so swollen at the end of the day that I didn't have ankles. I knew that I wouldn't be able to climb for a half mile without stopping repeatedly, sweating, and making a spectacle of myself, so I told my parents that I didn't want to make them wait in the car for that long, and that I'd come back and do it another time. That time finally came the day after the half marathon. I waved my friends off in their car, got in my car, and had a choice.

Left turn, I go straight home to do laundry, lay on my couch, and enjoy two recovery days off from work.

Right turn, I drive into the park and climb a mountain.

I turned right.

That early in the morning I didn't really encounter any traffic on my way to the parking area. Once I turned off the main road onto the road to the Clingman's Dome trailhead, I did not encounter a single other car during the slowly climbing seven mile drive. I did encounter a lot of fog, though, and noticed that the temperature was slowly dropping as I approached the parking lot. When I left the motel, the thermometer in my car said it was a balmy 74 degrees Fahrenheit. I was wearing shorts and a polo shirt, which was maybe not the best outfit for the temperature in the parking lot:

Clingman's Dome hike 6

Fortunately I'm a little slow to clean out my car, and still had my gloves, fleece, and insulated headband from the 5K I did on Valentine's Day sitting on the backseat. I bundled up, and headed out into the fog.

Clingman's Dome hike 8

Clingman's Dome hike 9

Clingman's Dome hike

Not only was it cold and foggy, it was silent. On my climb up the mountain I passed one other person, and he was on his way back down. I was moving kind of slowly, since I was still a little stiff and sore from the half marathon, but I made it to the observation tower at the top in about fifteen minutes.

Clingman's Dome hike 10

The observation tower doesn't have stairs or an elevator. You start at the bottom of that curved ramp and follow it all the way up:

Clingman's Dome hike 7

I had it all to myself, although the views seemed slightly less spectacular than I was promised:

Clingman's Dome 11

Clingman's Dome hike 4

Clingman's Dome hike 3

Clingman's Dome hike 2

Still, I climbed a mountain.

Clingman's Dome hike 1

15 months ago, I wouldn't have been able to.

Fitbit says that I have walked 2747 miles since July 2014. Only one of those was on Clingman's Dome, but I feel like that one was important.