Friday, March 30, 2007

Satan is deeeaaaad!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Can't a man just quit?

Aside from last week when I thought I would be spending all day in a court room waiting and needing to stay awake I've been pretty much without a cigarette for almost a couple of months. Great! Wonderful!

Except now I'm inundated with coupons in the mail. Got a bunch from Marlboro for like $1.75 off. And now, Wednesday, I got a bunch that were buy one get one free or three dollars off and so on. Christ, they fucking want me to smoke! Who the fuck am I to say no? Hell, Camel even had an offer for a free Zippo lighter. Free Zippo! Of course I took them up on it and went to the site. Eight to ten weeks!

I'm succumbing to peer pressure here. And the urge for smokes is strong! Oral fixation...needs...satisfying!

Kermit the really fucked up Frog

Neww Comics Wednesday

Damn, $16 bucks just for like five comics.

Anyway, so what did I pick up today?

52 - Weeks 45 & 47
Batman #661
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #18
Sensational Spider-Man #36

Okay, 52 is pretty cool. I do like the concept, but I regret just not picking up those first issues when I first saw them. Fuck, I suck. Well, I will pick up the TPBs as they're released. People bitch about the series, but I like it. I've been saying for years comics should go weekly. Cut back on titles, release them as fast as possible. The art suffers, but as long as the writing is strong they'll be forgiven. Anyway, most comic art sucks these days anyway. Overall, from what I have picked up, it's stupid fun. Seeing as how the book utilizes a large cast, they gotta cut the comic to the bare bones. In short, it's pure adventure oriented comics like God intended.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man just landed on my weekly pick up list. Couldn't tell you what the fuck is going on but I do know this...Peter David is writing. Peter David is one of my all time favorite comic writers. He sticks with a series for a long time, brings out the character's best qualities while making them his own. I've read the last two issues of Amazing and the characters are somehow different from what I remember. They just Friendly was right on target. David really seems to have handled the major status changes quite well, but this is just one issue. I'm definitaly gonna stick around and see what happens. On Amazing I'm just waiting for Aunt May to die.

As for Sensational Spider-Man and Batman, I haven't read them yet. I have no idea who the creative team on Sensational is and I got because it's one of the "Back in Black" issues. Fuck it, let's see if this Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa handles Spider-Man as well as David. Batman was a random back issue that I got on a whim. I figured I'd start reading a few issues since I noticed that Grant Morrison was writing. This issue is written by John Ostrander though and the second part of a three parter. DOH!

Well, I told myself I'd pick up at least a few comics here and there and it's kinda hard after a four year absence. So far it looks like DC has the best books on the market but I think the overall market for quality books is well below where it was a few years ago. Everything is so driven by editorial mandates that it seems few writers and books can shine by themselves on their own merits. It's all about events, events and more events. It's almost like some kinda weird corporate socialism and each company is driving forward its own five year plan. Not surprising, I guess, since the whole industry has been in decline for 15 years now.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why is it

Why is it that when I work one job I can't hardly get any overtime, but when I work two jobs I get more overtime then I really want. After I get out of work today I'll have worked 60 hours this week. My next check will have about seven hours of overtime on it. Now I'm not complaing about the extra money, far from. I love money. Money's great! But these! I work 56 hours a week. I don't need any more!


Jury duty

Wrote this for the Spandex Pub and Beefylist.

Jury Duty

And not just any kind of jury duty, GRAND jury duty.

Sweet, I'ma be pointin my finger at folks!

So just as I'm gettin into bed this morning a Sherrif's deputy comes a
knockin at my door.

"Robert Muñiz?"


"Er, Robert James..Muñoz."

(Mexicans...anglos can't pronounce my name right AT ALL and fucking
mexicans ALWAYS confuse it with Muñiz. How the hell do you get an I
and an O confused? Muñoz...Muñiz...They're totally different!)

Yeah, that's me.

"I gotta a summons here for you."

A summons?

"Yeah, you've got a summons to appear for a Federal Grand Jury on
Wednesday morning."


"Yes sir."


*Hands me the papers, I peruse*


"9 AM."

Is this like the Publisher's Clearing House where if I didn't answer
the door you'd go on to the next lucky guy?

"Nah, we'd try another ten times before we'd pick you up."



Uh, well, take care, Officer.

Okay, looking over it it said nothing about Federal anything on there
so I guess the guy was just confused but I do gotta go in Wednesday
morning. I told my boss and needless to say she wasn't happy. I was
served with jury duty once before back in...2001? I got out of it
then but I don't think I can this time. However they generally mail
these things out and the summons was issued on the 21st of February.
I think my notice was lost in the mail or something or they fucked up
and never sent it out. But I got it now! *Grumble*

This is gonna totally screw me up Wednesday night. I might have to
take it off. Chances are I'll be waiting at the courthouse until five
or six in the evening and I have no real axcuses to get out of it (but
I'm gonna take me some Ayn Rand so they know how I roll..."He's a
radical libertarian your Honor, we can't use him to
perse...prosecute!" :p). I'll not get any sleep. *Curses* It's not
even the jury itself that has me annoyed cause it's a grand jury and
if I am picked I'd only serve one day a month for six months. Six
days of service isn't so bad. Hell, it would be pretty interesting
really. But having one day, a day for which I had plans no less,
totally screwed up without even a guarentee of service is just so
stupid. Ah well. *Whine*

So...who's gonna make me an Inquisition outfit with the frilly red
cape? I wanna be dressed to accuse, dammit!

Aaaaaaannnnddddd the follow-up!

So I get there at a quarter past eight. I tell you, the construction in Brownsville is horrific! One more reason to hate that godforsaken hole.

Anywho, got there, waited, they let us in, told us to fill the two back rows. I'm pretty amazed at this point cause they're gonna pick 14 people, 12 jurors and two alternates and there's like...fucking...20. 22. Hardly any! I thought that if they were gonna demand qualified applicants then they would get somewhere in the range of 30 to 40. Guess not. It was more like they just got a bunch of people to show up just so they would have enough. Get the 14 they need, send the extras home. I guess the process is simpler for grand juries.

So they have us fill the back two rows of the court and then start calling names and having us fill the first two rows in the order we're called. SO they go down the list, some people aren't there initially but they show up eventually. So we're all seated in the order they want now and we're just waiting for the judge. Oh, I should mention the Deputy was very wrong. This wasn't a Federal jury, it was very much a regular state deal. We were being selected for the 103rd district court (the "one oh third" as they called it).

Anyway, Judge Leal comes on, tells us all she's happy that we could come in, blah blah blah. I was kinda bemused by the whole thing cause she treated as as if we were average volunteers and I'm thinking, "It's not like we have a choice!" Sherrif's deputy shows up at my door that sends a strong message of choicelessness and we're-gonna-haul-your-ass-in-if-you-don't-show-ness. But, well, that's just how it's done. I don't imagine they give it too much thought in the end.

So she swears us in, then swears the court's bailiffs in, and explains how this jury will only meet for four months instead of the usual six cause the last go at creating a jury somehow went bust. No one showed! So this jury would only meet on the third Wednesday of every month from now until June. Oh, okay, well that's not bad. Also the meetings only last for about five hours, from 9 AM until about 2 PM, or depending on how fast the jury works. And it seems to be very fast!

So then after the State's Attorney addresses some minor quibbles and questions from the applicants, myself included, and then basically saying the only way you can get out of this is if you're dead or in a coma, selection begins. Quite simple apparently, they grab the first fourteen on their little list they made. So they just start calling the first twelve people in the row, one by one. Initially I'm pretty overjoyed cause I'm not in that first twelve. But, then the girl next to me is number thirteen and I'm...damn. Lucky number fourteen, the second alternate.

So they got their grand jury and everyone else is dismissed. After that the judge swears us in as the grand jury for the 103rd Disctrict Court, appoints a foreman, and goes through her little thing on how the State's Attorneys will give us an orientation on what the jury will be doing, deciding which cases go to court or not, etc etc. The jury isn't to take this job lightly as the people it send to court will be majorly affected in some way. The jury handles felony cases and a few misdemeanor cases as required by law and reminds us of the penalties involved in each. A 1st degree felony is something like 99 years and...$10,000 dollar fine? Or was that 2nd degree? It really got my attention when she mentioned capital felonies and the potential sentence being either life or the death penalty. Yeah, definitaly a job to take seriously.

But then she mentions that alternates don't actually attend the proceedings unless needed when one of the jurors (or in my case, when two of the jurors) become unable to perform their duties. So being picked as the second alternate is like a half dodge. I gotta keep an eye out on the third Wednesday of April, May and June but otherwise I don't do anything. Sweet.

So the State's Attorney's take us into an office on the second floor, sit us down, fill out a form (the regulars got to choose what they wanted for lunch cause the first round was that day) and then ran us through what to expect (after a very brief history lesson...apparently the grand jury system was invented by William the Conqueror). They wanted to move through something like 70 to 100 cases a session. Damn! They talked about how they aren't gonna waste the jury's time with petty shit, how the stuff before the jury was worked on before it gets to that point, etc etc etc. It was interesting when they talked about how defendents deserved their day in court but so did the State as well. Huh? Now it's true that the State generally represents the victims who do deserve justice but it's weird saying how the State deserves its day in court cause the first thing that came to my mind was a giant, monolithic...thing! And that just trips me out. They did tell us they would ask us to vote down certain cases like officer involved shootings where the State feels it was justified. At that point it felt as if the grand jury was just a giant rubber stamp and then I started looking at the attorneys and the bailiffs. The attorneys both looked kinda smarmy (no point in fighting the lawyer stereotype guys?) and the bailiffs looked like they coulda been in the mafia! The State as La Cosa Nostra...heh. Well, that's all just shallow observation, but it was an interesting one. Any entity based exclusively on the use of force is gonna use forceful people, right?

So then it was a lot of procedural stuff, going over some of the same things the judge said, told us that we were required to keep all proceedings secret and...that was it! Told everyone to get a drink, hit the bathroom and released me and the other alternate. I was outta there by 10:30.

All in all, it was a very interesting experience. After being selected as the second alternate I was glad my time spent wasn't a waste. Glad I wasn't there all afternoon, too. That woulda sucked! I did learn some things though, so that really made it worth the time. I have been called for jury duty once before, but I got out cause I was a student. I didn't quite dodge this bullet, though I almost did! If it wasn't for one guy...ONE GUY...that didn't show up, I woulda been the fifteenth person in line. Sucks for him, cause now he's gonna get fined out the ass.

Got out, got in my truck, got the hell out of Brownsville. Thank God! I hate that city. Like leaving civilization and being stuck in the middle of a third world country it is. And the roads getting out were worse then the roads getting in! Stupid construction. Stupid city. ARGH!

But just so ya'll know that if ya'll end up in Cameron County in the next three months and get in trouble with the law, and I somehow end up working in the jury, ya'll know who to bribe.

Friday, March 23, 2007

So how many comics can you get for $40 bucks?

Not as many as you might think. GodDAMN but the price has gone up since I last collected. When I was a regular collector, and a hardcore collector at that, it was $1.99 for a regular Marvel or DC comic. Now it's $2.99. Wow! It was $1.99 for a long time it seems. Somewhere the prices must have skyrocketed. Comics prices are usually hiked a quarter at a time. I think when I stopped collecting they had gone up to $2.25 but that was back at the end of 2002. Now, four and a half years later? GAH! I can tell you that comics were at $1.99 for a lot longer then that.

So how many comics can you get for $40 bucks?


Yep, that's about it. To be sure, it's more like $43 once you add in taxes. Also, I did buy a few back issues listed at more then cover and a they were all bagged and boarded and the like (and I think I was overcharged a couple of bucks, thanks AJ), but it was still pretty damned pricey without. I remember a day when 12 comics woulda cost you less then $20 bucks. You could go hog wild and follow just about any absurd event the companies were trying to shovel down your throat. It was totally sweet. Now? Christ. Comic fans really need to pick and choose wisely. Either that or have high paying jobs. Sometimes while flipping through some books I think to myself the subject matter isn't what I would want to show my kids. Oh, well that's no problem, cause they've gone and priced out the kids market to begin with. Too bad, every ten year old needs to spend all his time flipping through mags with guys kciking ass in impossible ways.

So, what did I get?

Okay, picked up a few back issues of Uncanny X-Men, #475-480 and #484. It's a huge 12 part story written by Ed Brubaker. The first part was pretty cool, I liked it a lot. My only problem is I'm missing parts 7, 8 ann 9. I might have to suck it in and go to that other comic store in town (sorry Andy). The art is by Billy Tan and some guy named Clayton Henry (who I think got his start on Spawn if I'm correct). Tan's art has evolved. It's a lot different then it used to be. I kinda like it, kinda think he's following the present trends.

Also picked up X-Men #197, the first part in a three part story leading into #200. I've always been a fan of Chris Bachalo's art. People complain that it's too cartoony but what did they expect? It's where he's been moving to for years! Amazing that they failed to notice.

Also the new Amazing Spider-Man #539. Damn, Aunt May still not dead? Hurry up and kill her already! Also Spidey gets back his black costume. It was weird, cause the final page with him in the costume you notice two things. First, they redesigned the black costume ever so subtley. Second, his balls. Goddamn,, does Ron Garney really need to draw them so that they're so in your face? Just...too much information. Also too many continuity and character mistakes to mention.

Also a few issues of DC's 52 Weeks series. Weeks...43 and 44? 42 and 43? And 46. I think I'll stick around for the remainder, then pick up World War III and Countdown. DC is intent on shaking up their universe, might as well see what happens. Apparently they're gonna turn Mary Marvel into a giant ho bag, which oughtta be interesting. I mean, both companies have done that to pretty much all their female characters, why not one more? I've only kinda flipped through these, still haven't read them. They killed the Elongated Man. Sweet! Well, not really for him, though, especially in light of the fact that they had his wife raped and murdered a couple of years ago in Identity Crisis. I must say, that's too bad cause now I got an interest in the Elongated Man. His powers are...well, he elongates. DER! But he's also a detective. See, would have been nice to have a detective character for people who couldn't get into Batman and that wasn't also half crazy. PPfffttt, who would wanna read that kind of book, right? Also some shit with Black Adam and the Marvels. Interesting. I should pick up the TPBs when they come out. I heard it's real hit and miss, but what do you expect from a story told in real time?

So, yeah, I guess I'm trying to get back into comics. Maybe not collecting so much, I can think of a few TPBs I wanna get but a few single issues here and there wouldn't hurt. Plus collecting can be such a manic habit, worrying about condition and what have you. Fuck it, I'm going casual. But I did spend years reading these books and following these characters, so it would be nice to see how things are going.

Also it makes for a good excuse to drop by the shop and see what the hell is going on with everyone else.

Ain't been here in a while

Let's all go to Moscow U!