Archive for August, 2006

Twenty-Five Point One — If Only

August 30, 2006

Apparently I wasn’t consulted for the data that was released this week from the Census Bureau regarding commuting times.

Average daily commute is getting shorter

(Associated Press) It might be hard for some drivers to believe, but average commuting times are getting shorter for U.S. workers.

The average daily commute to work has shrunk from 25.5 minutes in 2000 to 25.1 minutes last year, according to data released this week by the Census Bureau.

“We all should hold a celebration,” said Alan Pisarski, author of “Commuting in America.” “We’re saving 0.4 minutes!”

That’s 0.4 minutes each way, for a total of 48 seconds a day.

But not everyone’s buying it.

“Even with these numbers, we swear up and down that we are spending more time in our cars,” said John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic in Washington.

“We are spending at least an hour a day in our cars in the Washington area,” Townsend said. “We spend more time stuck in traffic and commuting (each year) than we spend on vacation.”

The numbers are surprising because many of the nation’s fastest-growing communities are in the outer suburbs, miles from central cities. The shorter commuting times could be a sign that jobs are following the workers, Pisarski said.

For example, the nation’s longest commute, at 39.6 minutes, is in the Vineland, N.J., metropolitan area, about 40 miles south of Philadelphia.

My average of an hour and a half each way commuting to work Monday thru Friday definitely would’ve thrown off the statistical curve. Oh, to have only a 25.1 minute commute — or hell, even a 39.6 minute commute — each day… I can only dream. Which I apparently have a lot of time to do during my work commute since it is frowned upon to catch up on reading or watching television shows on the video iPod (which I don’t even own anyway).

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New Look

August 30, 2006

Alright, I’m playing around with a new look for the ol’ blog. I thought I’d add a little personal “geekpunk” look to the header. Also, since this has a page bar near the top I’ll be adding additional pages — right now there’s just the home page, but I’ll work on getting additional, and hopefully interesting, pages up soon.

Wish there was an option to justify both left and right margins — just a peeve of mine.

My 3 Hour And 45 Minute Commute Home, Or Why There Was No Post Yesterday

August 29, 2006

Well I had planned on making a post or two last night — since there were none over the weekend — but after spending almost four hours on the freeway I was just too beat.

I left work (in San Diego, CA) at my usual time of 6:00 PM. Since I usually run into traffic about 10 minutes into my commute (which is usually an hour and a half each way) I was rather pleased to find that things were moving along better than usual. Then I spotted the sign — North 5 Closed Expect Delays. Before I knew it I was caught in painfully slow crawling bumper to bumper traffic just south of Oceanside. The cause of the traffic snarl…

Truck fire closes northbound I-5 in Oceanside

OCEANSIDE – The northbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Oceanside were closed Monday after the trailer of a semi truck carrying furniture caught fire during the busy commute, authorities said.

The incident began about 4 p.m. on Interstate 5 just north of Harbor Drive, according to the California Highway Patrol.

It was unclear whether the truck was involved in a collision before the fire started.

The truck was still on fire at 5:30 p.m., according to televised reports.

“Looks like it’s going to be a long-term closure,” CHP Officer Larry Landeros said.

Traffic was backed up for several miles to the Poinsettia Lane exit in Carlsbad.

Some vehicles were being diverted to nearby roadways including state Route 76.

HAZMAT crews were called to clean up fuel that spilled on the roadway, the CHP said.

There were no reports of injuries.

So after two hours of moving less than two miles, and with very few options since there aren’t a lot of routes through Camp Pendleton, I jumped on the 78 East and headed toward San Marcos and Escondido — not fun when you just want to get home. Then it was North on the 15 through Temecula and Corona — where I headed West on the 91. I got back into Orange County and headed South on the 55. Three hours and forty-five minutes later I was back home — where I pretty much just went to bed to rest up for the next morning’s commute back to work.

Passing the spot of the big rig fire this morning — about 15 hours since the initial accident — the wreckage was still smoldering and the area reeked of burt plastic and fuel.

Hero Happy Hour On The House

August 25, 2006

Yesterday copies of Super Deluxe Hero Happy Hour: The Lost Episode arrived at the IDW Publishign offices — the first published Hero Happy Hour since the Hero Happy Hour Super Special in the summer of 2004. While it may have been a long wait and a tough climb it’s good to be back on the barstool. So, since I’m in a good mood and feeling generous, I thought I’d share even more Hero Happy Hour goodness.

I already posted one sneak peek of five pages — now I’m offering an even more generoous shot of Super Deluxe Hero Happy Hour: The Lost Episode — the first quarter of the 64-page extravaganza! You can download the pdf here.

Spontaneous Marriage Retardant

August 24, 2006

I love Las Vegas as much as the next guy — if not more. I mean I love Vegas — gambling, cocktails, dining, strip clubs… What’s not to love? Sure, a weekend of innocent debauchery in “Sin City” can lead to some fuzzy decision making — I know I shouldn’t have plunked another C-note on the blackjack table at four in the a.m. after enough beer drinking to make me a charter member in just about any frat. But the reality of Vegas is that not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

While the town might unencumber me of my extra greenbacks and brain cell, it’s good to know that they’ve got my back in one area and help me from making at least one hasty decision in the heat of the moment…

Vegas closing 24-hour marriage office

(Associated Press) Spontaneous lovebirds and celebrities take note: there won’t be any more early morning quickie marriages in Vegas. After years of sanctioning hastily made matches, the Las Vegas marriage bureau plans to close its all-night counter. County officials approved a new 8 a.m.-to-midnight schedule that will take effect next Wednesday, eliminating 24-hour marriage license service on Fridays, Saturday and holidays.

The counter did not offer after-midnight service Monday through Thursday.

Officials said the move would affect less than 4 percent of the licenses issued by the bureau and save $200,000 a year.

But the cost-cutting move could jeopardize Las Vegas’ self-proclaimed standing as the marriage capital of the world, although it could also save the rich and spontaneous from some high-profile grief.

Britney Spears, Nicky Hilton and Demi Moore and Bruce Willis all wed in the late-night hours in Las Vegas.

All three unions ended in divorce, with Spears’ January 2004 nuptial to childhood pal Jason Alexander being annulled just 55 hours later. Moore’s marriage to Willis, however, lasted 13 years.

Charlotte Richards, whose 24-hour Little White Wedding Chapel married Spears, said she was saddened by the change.

“Let’s face it, man, this is Las Vegas. This is the marriage capital of the world,” she said. “People just automatically think, `Let’s go to Las Vegas! They’re open all night!'”

Richards said she marries 10 to 20 couples after midnight on a typical weekend. She provides a stretch limo to shuttle the betrothed back and forth to the courthouse to obtain a license for the ceremony. She said pre-dawn weddings are popular among members of the military, lovers driving in from Southern California and celebrities.

“All the stars come out at night,” Richards said. “People that are high profile, when they come down to Las Vegas to get married, they don’t want to come in the middle of the day when people are around. They like the privacy.”

County officials, who issued 122,259 licenses last year, said the new schedule won’t prevent holy matrimony after midnight, but will just force a little planning to obtain a license in advance.

“They just can’t run down to the bureau at 3:05 and be married by 3:10. They have to give just a little thought to the process,” said County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre.

So sure, honey. Let’s go to Vegas.

Speculative Review – New Wednesday Primetime Fall 2006 (Part I)

August 23, 2006

Back in the mid-eighties we were all afraid that the Soviet Union was going to send nuclear missles targetted for the heartland of America. Sting even wrote the song Russians to talk them out of starting a nuclear war. In 1983 ABC cashed in on the fright-hype when they aired the TV movie The Day After — about a theortical nuclear war between the U.S. and U.S.S.R and its effects on Kansas residents.

jericho-sm.jpgWell, this fall CBS is launching its own series about the fallout of a nuclear explosion and a small mid-western town. Jericho, premiering September 20th and airing on Wednesday nights at eight, is about the residents of a small Kansas town (Jericho) and how their lives are effected upon the appearance of a nuclear mushroom on the horizon. Mayhem naturally follows as the residents of the town are cut off from the outside world and fear sets in that they might be the only Americans left alive.

The show boasts a rather large ensamble cast that make up the small town’s residents — from the mayor and his estranged son to the mysterious jack-of-all-trades stranger, to the troubled trailer park living teenager, just to name a few. In fact, there might be too many characters to allow any room for a viewer within the town limits of Jericho. Nothing initially is really getting me excited about Jericho, but with ABC offering another season of Dancing with the Stars I might pass through the town of Jericho and check it out.

The verdict – probable “nuclear winter” chill this fall.

Interrobang?!

August 23, 2006

interrobang-small200.jpgin·ter·ro·bangn. A punctuation mark in the form of a question mark superimposed on an exclamation point, used to end a simultaneous question and exclamation.

There are probably some questions about why I have a post regarding an obscure punctuation mark. Well, I hope to have something to exclame regarding this very punctuation mark soon. Stay tuned.

Speculative Review – New Monday Primetime Fall 2006 (Part I)

August 21, 2006

Alrighty… I’m going to break up Monday night’s Speculative Review since there are a number of new shows popping up on Monday nights.

Monday nights tend to be my “take it easy and recuperate from the weekend” night. I’ve been a fan of Two and a Half Men since the show’s premiere. I wasn’t looking for a new show — I just sort of stumbled upon it after wading through the rest of — what was at the time — CBS’s mediocre Monday night line-up.

The Class appears to be the new 8 o’clock comedy on CBS leading into How I Met Your Mother (an enjoyable show that surprised me). The premise deals with a group of twenty-somethings (I guess I’m out of the target audience demographic nowadays) who all happened to have been in the same third grade class and are now brought together twenty years later by a surprise reunion.

The Class has a lot going for it by means of creative talent — Emmy®-winning writer-producer David Crane (Friends) is teaming with writer-producer Jeffrey Klarik (Mad About You), along with director James Burrows (Cheers) — some heavy-hitters in the televsion industry to be sure. But am I ready for another “twenty-something” show? I’ll give it a shot since it’s really not up against anything else that I’m interested in.

The verdict — I’ll try hangin’ with The Class and see if it makes the grade.

Speculative Review – New Friday Primetime Fall 2006

August 18, 2006

Well it looks as if the networks are finally realizing that Friday nights equal television wasteland. It appears that of the major networks (and I’m not bothering with the all-new CW regardless of how many new shows they ordered for whatever nights) only ABC is launching a new show. And more than likely — Friday night fatality.

Men In Trees premieres Friday, September 22 at 9/8c. The premise revolves around relastionship coach Marin Frist, played by Anne Heche. Apparently those that can’t do, coach. On her way to a speaking engagement in Alaska she learns that her “perfect man” fiancé has apparently cheated on her — the marriage is off! Unable to face the fact that you win some you loose some, she is snowed in and trapped amid a plethora of available men. Is this small Alaskan town might be the perfect place for her to start her new life? Of course it is.

This supposed “fun and sexy” drama about finding love in all the wrong places was created by the head writer of Sex and the City. And how HBO’s Entourage is supposedly the guy version of Sex and the City, Men in Trees sounds like the chick version of Northern Exposure — as if Northern Exposure didn’t have chick enough qualities to begin with.

Now while I have enjoyed shows along the lines of Northern Exposure and Ed in the past. And the girlfriend has managed for me to get sucked into reruns of Sex and the City (apparently I’m already to admit just about anything on this new blog) I’m going to take a pass on Men in Trees.

The verdict — Friday night remains “going out and drinking night.”

GeekPunk: The Comic Book?

August 16, 2006

Some of you might be familiar with GeekPunk — the little self-publishing comic book company responsible for Hero Happy Hour. Well my co-conspirator, Chris Fason, and I are thinking that the little GeekPunk dude might be due for a comic book of his own.

The very first year that we set up a booth at the San Diego International Comic-Con we had numerous people asking about the comic book with “the little guy with the mohawk and glasses.” Well there was no comic book featuring “the little guy with the mohawk and glasses” — he was the company logo or mascot, so to speak. So, some some four years or so later, we’ve decided that GeekPunk deserves his own comic book. I’ll be handling the writing chores, and Chris will be taking care of the art. There is no definite release date scheduled yet since this book is a more of a side project for both Chris and I, but it will be self-published — through GeekPunk, naturally — and should be a lot of fun.

GeekPunk Fun Fact: Chris originally designed the GeekPunk logo while doodling on ruled notebook paper. His original doodle was the final design in which we used for the logo — as well as for being my first tattoo (picture coming soon).