Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hog's Breath Sunday

Still recovering from Friday night's wine bar debacle, I had to organise a group booking for lunch today at the local Hog's Breath Cafe.

Always a reliably great meal and good, jovial service - and with a fun group of friends I simply don't see often enough these days - so it helped to remind me that not everyone is as hard to get along with. Our friends from Brisbane, Maria, Peter and little Ben, were down for an extended weekend, and it was a great excuse to get the ol' gang together to share good food and good conversation.

It was also too hard to ignore the Mars Bar Sundae. Sigh.

Sunday's magic number: 94.5 - Double sigh.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Of moths, givers and takers

I waited a few days before posting this, because I've been so angry and I wanted to see if a few days to process the events would help. They haven't really, so here it is a week later, and I've backdated the date so it sits in the right place in my chronology of events.

Last night I was invited to join six other people, all aged between 30s and 40s, equal numbers of male and female to a Japanese Teppenyaki restaurant in the city. as it turned out, I only knew one person (from my Star Trek Meetup Group) but via the unfolding discussions there was another person with whom I shared several mutual friends. Also was going quite well, although it wasn't the best Teppenyaki I've been to - you know the idea behind Teppenyaki, where the chef is in close quarters and does an elaborate performance with the food and cooking implements as he goes? - and after the bill was settled, six of us retired to a nearby wine bar.

Now, the only early inkling that the evening was doomed to swirl into an oblivion of anger and frustration was when one woman mentioned her ex-husbands (plural), and then wanted to know if Star Trek Meetups was "where we picked up our women".


Anyway, at the wine bar, the host ordered a bottle of white wine, which a waitress efficiently divided across six glasses. the conversations began to flow again, and it seemed as if people were barely pausing for breath, let along sips of wine. John and I had just finished a conversation about the upcoming Star Trek movie (I think) and the aforementioned woman, who shall continue to remain nameless, leaned forward and said, "So, you guys have moths in your wallets?"


It took more than a few seconds for me to realise I'd actually heard her correctly. I looked down at the low table and realised that our host had ordered a second bottle of wine.

Now, the bill at the restaurant had been split evenly, as far as I knew - if the wine accompanying the meal was BYO that others had already paid for, I still have no idea. Nothing was said, apart from splitting the bill and everyone seemed happy. Perhaps due to the wine buzz that had already set in - after several reds at the restaurant, and now the glass of white at the bar - I still have no comprehension of where the woman's comment was coming from. I asked her, politely, I believe, if she thought I was planning to let our host foot the entire bill?

"The world is full of Givers and Takers," she proclaimed loudly. "Richard, here," indicating our host, "is one of the world's Givers. And you two are Takers."

I say again, "?????"

And so endeth all sensible conversation for the evening. I was eventually able to make sure Richard would accept my contribution towards the wine, which had now taken on quite a bitter taste. If the woman's intention was to make John and I decide it was way past our bedtimes, and time to head back out to the Western Suburbs (where she obviously felt we belonged), I guess it worked. John asked if I wanted a lift home, I accepted and we were out of there, and now she had the only other male in the group all to herself.

I can't say I'm in too much of a hurry to meet up with her again. How can people be so deliberately insulting to people they've only just met, and could quite possibly become people they will be seeing quite often in their social circle? I find myself wondering if she truly found my behaviour to be rude and miserly, or if it was just a ploy of some kind, to eliminate some competition, or test our mettles?

And I didn't realise the whole event would be treated by someone as some kind of blind date or game.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Magic Circle WOW!

I promised to tell you about my recent (though expensive) success on eBay...

a 1965 program to a stage production of the "Magic Circle Club", surely my favourite Australian television show from my very early years!

This purchase arrived on Monday, by registered post, but the notification card came to my home address instead of to work, where I wanted to be able to sign for the package. I was finally able to collect it today.


Magic Circle Club

Godfrey Philipp's "Magic Circle Club" was a national children's television show, which I watched on a then-fledgling Channel TEN-10 in Sydney (from 23rd January 1965 till 1967). The channel was so new we had terrible reception. It ran for 550 thirty-minute episodes and had its roots in live pantomime and classic fairy tales. The show was the talk of the playground when I was in Year 1 and Year 2, and featured amazing song and dance production numbers and original songs by none other than John-Michael Howson.

Being a Sydney boy, I hadn't heard of this particular version of "Magic Circle Club" before: a specially written episode called "The Stolen Smile". It was performed live on stage at Melbourne's Tivoli Theatre (from December 27, 1965 for the summer school holidays). In this adventure, evil Sir Jasper Crookly and Gaspar Goblin had banished Clocko the chief clown and Spangles the trapeze artist from a circus - and had also taken away Clocko's smile. Appearing on stage with Max (Max Bartlett) and hostess Nancy Cato were Fredd Bear, Fee Fee Bear (John-Michael Howson), Mother Hubbard, Curley Dimples, Crystal Ball, Hep Cat, Montmorency James Rabbit and bird puppets, Cassius Cuckoo and Leonardo de Funbird, all played by the regular TV cast.

One of the reasons I was so determined to obtain this program was for the cast and crew names that were sure to be mentioned. Although my memory was fairly good, I had many gaps - and so do (or did) places such as Wikipedia. For example, this production was stage managed by some now well-known Aussie names: Sue Nattras, Simon Wincer and Jim McElroy. I'd also forgotten that Leonardo lived inside the IKAN (Instantaneous Knowledge Accumulation Network) computer. (In 1965? Surely a zany computer to predate the Bat-computer of TV's "Batman"!)

Here's an excerpt from the program, featuring the three characters and performers I remembered the least about:

Cast of the Magic Circle Club, part d

More excerpts soon!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Superhero training

Today I had a prepaid Greater Union movie coupon to be used up by the 24th, so I went off the most convenient of their cinema complexes (Parramatta) to see... whatever was on at a convenient time.

Hard on the heels of "Ironman", I ended up choosing "The Incredible Hulk", a sequel-of-sorts to the controversial (and expensive) flop of a few years ago, "Hulk". I say a sequel-of-sorts because the whole cast has been replaced. While I enjoyed Eric Bana's performance as Bruce Banner in the first film, I really enjoyed Edward Norton in this one! Ditto the new Betty, the former Lady Arwen of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Liv Tyler!

Also excellent were the many cameos and links to previous versions of the Hulk legend: the rejection of some purple pants; a clip of TV's David Banner, actor Bill Bixby, in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father"; the return of TV's Hulk, Lou Ferrigno as a security guard; the cameo and name drop of a university student named McGee; and the poignant "Lonely Man" theme music that played during the TV series. Not to mention the sudden appearance of another Marvel character in the final moments, seemingly a harbinger of an eventual "Avengers" motion picture?

It was a worthwhile few hours spent in the dark.

Maybe I should have considered how wise it was to wear a silver-logo "Superman" jacket to a Marvel film, but I'd quite forgotten what was on the back of my jacket until my courageous rescue of a mother and her baby on the train coming home! When the train pulled into Parramatta Station, several people alighted and new passengers started to get on. Suddenly two women appeared in the vestibule area, essentially blocking my way in, but seemingly ignoring my suggestions that I assist them to dismount the train.

"Do you need help getting out?" I asked again, but no one was answering.

When it seemed obvious at least one of the women was slooooooooooowly attempting to get off the train, I got back on the platform to lift her pram out. Still she wasn't moving - were the two prams locked together? Why was I being ignored?

The guard announced that doors were closing and I had no choice but to lean on the door, keeping it open, and scream out "Two prams coming off!" in both directions, being unsure exactly where the guard's compartment was located on this particular train. After the third announcement, neither woman was making an effort to leave. Admittedly, I was essentially blocking half of the entrance, but that was all that was preventing the train from leaving, and there was still plenty of room to get out... if only someone would move! Eventually, I grabbed the pram nearest to me and pulled it towards me and the open door.

"But I don't want to get off," the owner of that pram said quietly.

"Well, you'll need to get out of the other woman's way," I replied, exasperated.

Finally the other woman allowed me to lift her pram out of the train and the other woman returned to her seat. The train was finally on its way. I guess the woman who wasn't getting off had tried unsuccessfully to get out of the other woman's way as they approached Parramatta, but I was flabbergasted that they had the survival instincts of beached fish. I recall my mother being extremely well prepared for train journeys in my youth, and she was never shy about getting off a train, being ready for her station, and/or accepting assistance from strangers.

As I entered the main compartment to finally choose a seat a disgruntled fellow passenger commented under his breath, "Have you finished holding up the train now? Can we close the doors?"

"Oh," he noticed as I passed (refusing to make eye contact with him and hoping not to exacerbate the situation). "He even has the right symbol..."

Yep, it's hard being a superhero.

Sunday's magic number: 94.0 - and so it goes...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Glee in Glebe on a Saturday

Today had such a nice, relaxed, nostalgic feel to it, and the only annoyance was the crazy bumper-to-bumper traffic that seemed to be everywhere - all afternoon! so much for the petrol prices everyone complains about.

It's been a while since I've been to inner-city Glebe - but I wanted to gather up some reasonably priced Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children's books for school/work, and past experience had told me that Gleebooks is usually the best port of call for these items. The staff were so helpful - at one point I had three staff members scurrying around at my whim - and any chance to wander through their children's and second hand collections is a pleasure. ("You can smell the shop before you get there", to quote - loosely - the line from "84 Charing Cross Road".) Because that store is at the opposite end of Glebe Point Road to their other bookstore, it meant that Jack and I had a great stroll past all the amazingly eclectic curio shops and cafes in between. And - more colourful than ever: Glebe Saturday markets in the grounds of the primary school. Jack found lots of happy, friendly, Glebe doggies to touch noses with.

Gleebooks also had three of the CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) shortlisted books I've been after. Thanks to the shop's trusty computer cataloguing, they identified that three of my elusive (ie. "awaiting reprint") needs were sitting, forgotten, on shelves somewhere in the well-stocked shelves! Every year it's like a crazy little hide 'n' seek game I love to play: how quickly can I round up all of the shortlisted titles for the school library. Thanks to Gleebooks today, my search is almost over for 2008. (Of course, but the time Book Week comes along, all of the books will be freely available in most bookshops - but I want to use them in my teaching in the lead up to Book Week in Term Three, not after the event.)

It's a shame so many of the Glebe stores are vacant now, victims of the nearby Broadway Centre shopping mall that has evolved from the old Grace Bros buildings. Where Grace Bros and Glebe shops had survived, almost side-by-side for decades, so harmoniously, it now seems like the might of the all-inclusive air-conditioned mall has done its job and killed off a lot of the life from the street shopping strip.
i recall in the 70s and 80s, people waited for restaurateurs to die before they could rent an empty shop in Glebe!

For three years (1977-1979), I spent many an afternoon or lunch break strolling through Grace Bros at Broadway, eventually venturing further afield into Glebe and its amazing shops, during my years at the Guild Teachers College. Then, for a while in the late 80s and early 90s, it was worth going back to Glebe Point Road every so often just to see what was for sale in weird shops like Half a Cow (now long gone) and second hand bookshops such as Cornstalk Books.

I've also been squealing with delight over some recent Amazon online purchases. The official soundtrack album of "Ironman", a few tricky-to-find old science fiction paperbacks (postage will be more than the $1 or so for the book, but who cares - I found them at last!), and some television rarities on DVD. Yes - I'm a happy shopper in both real and virtual bookshops.

For all the criticism that goes on about Amazon, such as odd quirks in their product descriptions, I still think they do an amazing job. It has become such a comprehensive website - with all their links to the international second hand and remaindered markets - that it's a rare thing to seek out a book (from any era) and not be able to get any leads. I can forgive their sometimes-bizarre semi-automated computer listings any errors that inevitably creep in. My days of haunting bricks 'n' mortar bookshops, week after week, on fruitless searches for impossible-to-find-stuff are mostly gone. Now when I go into such a store I can browse at leisure, not search frantically.

There is also a recent exciting eBay purchase, but I'll save that story for when it arrives from Melbourne - hopefully Monday - by registered post.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I ate at the Aviator

Today's most excellent gathering of bloggers - in Albion Park, near Wollongong - was so enjoyable. Two Canberrans traveled up and six Sydneysiders traveled down to rendezvous at the (highly recommended) Aviator Lounge for a meeting of Aussie Bloggers.

Tim & Carmen, whom I know from my two bloggers' Meetup groups, were joined by myself, plus Snoskred & The Admin, AndrewBoyd, Ian from Canberra and Gemisht (to whom I must say a big thank you for driving me down).

Phoning in her attendance from distant Townsville, Queensland, was the envious Anonymum, who was determined to be part of the action - via speaker phone - from the moment I clambered into Gemisht's car. She also checked up on us during dessert and encouraged several attendees to partake of the decadent Deep Fried Mars Bar. As for myself, I can heartily recommend the White Chocolate Cheesecake.

The only brief lulls in conversation were when all eight of us happened to be swallowing mouthfuls of food at the same time. It was great to put faces - and actual names - to some Internet identities I've gotten to know quite well over the last six months. I'm really looking forward to catching up with them again.

Sunday's magic number: 93.6 - Wow! That's amazing! I don't feel like I've done that many different things to recent weeks, and yet this week I'm two kgs lighter? Today, I celebrated!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Celebrating Aussie bloggers

Aussie Bloggers Forum

Okay, I've been in a funk most of this week. My timetable at work is particularly overstuffed - my choice, because I really wanted to work with a particular group of students on a short-run, one-off, statewide online project - so I'm tired, and I've also felt let down by a few disastrous attempts at socialising (see previous post) this week/month/year. And I think I was dreading the outcome of tomorrow's meeting in Albion Park, near Wollongong, of the Canberran and Sydney virtual denizens of the Aussie Bloggers' bbs. I'd advertised this function on the two blogging Meetup sites I run and, despite telling a supposed interested group of about 140 people, only two of us (sigh...) seem to have committed to joining the Aussie Bloggers tomorrow for the big day. Luckily, there are plenty of Aussie Blogger regulars going.

Coming up soon, it is six months since Aussie Bloggers site launched. The first blog post appeared on December 31, 2007, and the forums were "soft launched" on January 1 this year. It's been a great six months - off the cuff, I don't recall how I found them - I think they invited me to check out the beta testing of the forums?

Tomorrow, I guess you could say we are having a preemptive celebration of the half-year anniversary at the highly recommended Aviator Lounge cafe and restaurant. I was assuming I'd be heading down - alone - on the train when, this afternoon, one of the Aussie bloggers attending tomorrow emailed me and offered to collect me from a station much closer to home and drive me to Albion Park. Wow, thanks Gemisht. My funk finally lifted, and I'm really looking forward to meeting the merry band tomorrow. (Too bad I'm not providing a train carriage full of bloggers, though, as I'd originally assumed...)

I must say that I've really enjoyed being part of the Aussie Bloggers' community this last six months. I've met some great people through the forums, one (so far) in person - Hi Riayn! - and it's been such fun lending my quirky humour to the plentiful Kaos and Mayhem threads, where almost anything goes. The more serious forums, such as Tools & Resources, have also been really helpful as I continually weigh up the differences between Blogger, WordPress and EduBlogs, and someone always comes through when you you have those nagging problems too embarrassing to say out loud. Being an Aussie blogger's site, there's lots of good ol' Aussie ocker humour, but we also have numerous international members and we are probably slowly converting them to the more laconic, stereotypical-but-true traditions of "She'll be right, mate".

Happy Six Months Anniversary - and see you guys tomorrow!

Where is everyone...?

Well, I think maybe I'm officially depressed.

On Thursday night, a planned CBD Meetup of local bloggers attracted just a handful of positive RSVPs - which dwindled to only two by the morning of the meeting. I emailed the only other person who was coming and said he might want an early night instead. Then I realised that if anyone did send a last minute RSVP - as has happened in the past - I had no way to find out (work's firewall blocks all social networking sites) and a brand new person would turn up to find nobody at the coffee shop. So I had to turn up anyway...

My emergency back up plan - to catch an Internet friend for coffee also failed miserably (I got stood up) - and I ended up in exactly the dilemma I had sought to avoid: standing around in the cold in the city when everyone else - even the coffee shop's regular crowd - was at home snuggled in front of the TV and heater.

You know, I avoided the recent remake of "I Am Legend" because I heard the featured character ends up wandering a deserted Manhattan, New York. (That was me in Sydney on Thursday night, but I no longer feel like a legend.)

This is sounding bitter but, in these days of mobile phones, the way we all run our lives is changing. To the opposite of's ambitions, we all seem to rely to much on spontaneity and coincidence. Someone else I know (only "virtually") is always saying he "really wants to meet up" with the Star Trek group soon, but he's just emailed me that he's still unable to give any advance dates.

I'm fighting a losing battle. In one Meetup group I run, two members with young families want Saturday meetings. But one is in the inner city; and the other is in the west, and neither want to travel. How many others in our group are willing or able to travel to either event? Who knows? (From experience, not that many.)

Sorry if I sound jaded but I've spent way too many days sitting on park benches wondering where everyone else is. I've been at Meetups (and not official "Meetups") either by myself, or with only one or two others. Especially annoying when we've been expecting 20 or so). I've sat in parkland settings in Lane Cove, Parramatta Park, Royal Botanic Gardens, Manly Beach and many coffee shops and pubs over the years. Thank goodness I have my Star Trek novel with me. I've just endured almost a year's worth of solo "Lost" meetings and solo bloggers' meetings (in the CBD) and solo Art workshop meetings (here at my place in the West). In most cases I'm told at least six to eight people are "definitely" turning up - and it ends up being just me, or just me and one other. And it's almost always a different "one other". If only all the "others" turned up on the same day!

Now I'm even attracting "serial Meetup joiners", who seem to get their kicks out of RSVPing "Yes" to Meetups all over Sydney and yet have absolutely no intention of coming along.

On this Sunday, I'm heading off on a train to a Bloggers meeting in Albion Park near Wollongong. I invited over 140 people through my two blogging Meetup groups several months ago, to meet people from the new bloggers' bbs. What a grand adventure! When we planned it months ago - to give people maximum time to plan their social calendars - I thought I'd be leading an entourage. Guess how many of my members are doing the train journey with me? NONE. In fact, only one member (and his wife) is still going. I'm really hoping the Canberrans turn up from the other direction, and I really hope/assume the Sydney-based people organising it will be there.

Well, in the wee hours of this morning, I put Parramatta and CBD Saturday gatherings on the schedule for the Star Trek gang, and hopefully some members (beyond the Thursday night regulars, who are usually quite regular) will surprise me by RSVPing. I'll hold my breath, but only until I turn blue.

Ooops. ;)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Prince of Disappointment

I read last week that Disney Studios worried that they had released "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" at the wrong time of year, and that its disappointing box office takings reflected that decision.

Could it be that the whole film is a bit of a mess?

I saw it today, and while I went into the first film with fond memories of having read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" as a primary aged child, and also knowing how popular the whole series of novels have been over many decades, that first film had many moments of nostalgic delight - and SPFX CGI magic and awe - but "Caspian" seemed to lack heart.

The actor who played Prince Caspian seemed quite capable, little Lucy had a few cute moments, her siblings spent much of the movie with petulant looks on their faces, and there were some nice CGI FX - but I was over it before the war had even started.

I guess I'm no Narnian.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"No breakfast for you!"

I had plans for a sumptuous breakfast in a cafe in the lower Blue Mountains this morning, but the day was quite gloomy and my plans were dashed.

Having just jumped on the scales for my weekly weigh-in, I'm so depressed I wanna just eat everything the fridge, and then go polish off some Krispy Kreme donuts.

Admittedly, it's been too rainy to get much walking in this week, although I've certainly been out there in it. The only way I'm feeling a little more positive about the situation is that, this time last year, I'd avoided the scales altogether, because I knew I'd managed to reverse a whole previous year's worth of dieting in just a few months of post-Christmas mystery.

As I've said before, I don't feel like I'm over-eating, or having too many treats, and I do an incredible amount of brisk walking. I do not want to have to go to a gym, and my body seems to be saying it likes being the size it is. It's been about eighteen months of quite resisted meal choices now - I still get so envious on a Thursday night when I pass all those glassed-walled CBD restaurants and cafes with my banana skim milk smoothie, and see people seemingly eating a normal meal. Or when I go to a movie and I'm the only person not nursing a huge bucket of hot, buttered popcorn.

Sunday's not so magic number: 95.6 - Sob.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kirk and the animated common people

This is a great Youtube find: William Shatner (aka James T Kirk), singing "Common People" on the "Has Been" CD, set to edited images from the Filmation Star Trek animated series. Some cameos by M'Ress and a jammin' Mr Arex!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Guest star Gene

Here's a graphic novel with a great Star Trek twist: "Roswell, Texas" by L. Neil Smith, Rex F. May, Scott Beiser, and Jen Zach was just published by Big Head Press.

March 5, 1836: Davy Crockett kills General Santa Anna with a single 600-yard rifle shot. The Alamo still falls to the Mexican Army, but Crockett escapes to join Sam Houston. The delay at the Alamo gives Houston time to prepare.

July 4, 1947: Lieutenant Gene Roddenberry, a young Texas Air Militia pilot, shoots down an unidentified flying disk near Roswell, western-most city in the Federated States of Texas. Agents from the United States, the California Republic, the Franco-Mexican Empire, and the Third-and-a-Half Reich all want to learn the flying disk's secrets.

Gene Roddenberry is one of many familiar characters in this alternate history tale. The book is printed in black & white, but you can read the entire story, in color, online or just the sequence of pages and the closeup featuring Lt Roddenberry.

I just ordered an as-new b/w book version from an Amazon second hand market seller, as Amazon itself is still awaiting stock.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Holy extra word power, Batman!: novels and novelizations

Extending my post of mass market paperbacks (MMPBs) based on DC and Marvel superheroes (2000-2008), here are all the Batman-related novels and novelizations:

"Batman vs. Three Villains of Doom" by Winston Lyon (Signet, Apr 66)
"Batman vs. The Fearsome Foursome", novelization of "Batman" movie, by Winston Lyon (Signet, Aug 66)
"Batman and Robin in The Cheetah Caper" (Big Little Book) by George S Elrick (Whitman, 1969)
"Justice League of America" (Super Powers Which Way series) by Robert Loren Fleming (Pocket/Archway, 1984; Transworld/Carousel, 1985)
"Batman: The Doomsday Prophecy" (Super Powers Which Way series) by Richard Wenk (Pocket/Archway, Aug 86)
"Batman" movie novelization by Craig Shaw Gardner (Warner, Jun 89)
"The Further Adventures of Batman" edited by Martin H Greenberg (Bantam, Jul 89)
"The Further Adventures of the Joker" edited by Martin H Greenberg (Bantam, Feb 90)
"The Batman Murders" by Craig Shaw Gardner (Warner, Oct 90)
"Batman: To Stalk a Specter" by Simon Hawkes (Warner, Feb 91)
"Batman: Captured by the Engines" by Joe R Lonsdale (Warner, Jul 91)
"Batman Returns" movie novelization by Craig Shaw Gardner (Warner, Jul 92)
"Batman Returns" junior movie novelization by Andrew Helfer (Little, Brown and Company, 1992)
"Batman in The Black Egg of Atlantis" junior novel by Neal Barrett Jr (Little, Brown and Company/Penguin Fantail, 1992)
"Batman in The Six Deadly Demons" junior novel by John Albano (Little, Brown and Company/Penguin Fantail, 1992)
"Batman in Terror on the High Skies" junior novel by Joe R Lonsdale (Little, Brown and Company, 1992/Penguin Fantail, 1993)
"The Further Adventures of Batman 2: featuring the Penguin" edited by Martin H Greenberg (Bantam Spectra, Jul 92)
"Catwoman: Tiger Hunt" by Lynn Abbey & Robert Asprin (Warner, Sep 92)
"The Further Adventures of Batman 3: featuring Catwoman" edited by Martin H Greenberg (Bantam Spectra, Mar 93)
"Batman: The Animated Series: Shadows of the Past" novelization by Geary Gravel (Bantam, Nov 93)
"Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" animated movie novelization by Geary Gravel (Bantam, Jan 94)
"Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" junior animated movie novelization by Andrew Helfer (Bantam Skylark, Jan 94)
"Batman: The Animated Series: Dual to the Death" novelization by Geary Gravel (Bantam, Feb 94)
"Batman: The Animated Series: The Dragon and the Bat" novelization by Geary Gravel (Bantam, Jun 94)
"Batman: Knightfall" comics novelization by Dennis O'Neil (Bantam Spectra, Aug 94)
"Batman: Knightfall & Beyond" junior comics novelization by Alan Grant (Bantam Skylark, Aug 94)
"Batman Forever" movie novelization by Peter David (Warner, Jun 95)
"Batman Forever" junior movie novelization by Alan Grant (Little, Brown and Company, 1995)
"Batman: The Ultimate Evil" by Andrew Vachss (Warner/Aspect, Nov 95)
"Batman & Robin" movie novelization by Michael Jan Friedman (Warner/Aspect, Jun 97)
"Batman & Robin" junior movie novelization by Alan Grant (Little, Brown and Company, 1997)
"Robin: Facing the Enemy" by Alan Grant (Little, Brown and Company, 1997) - junior novel tie-in to "Batman & Robin" movie
"Batgirl: To Dare the Darkness" by Doug Moench (Little, Brown and Company, 1997) - junior novel tie-in to "Batman & Robin" movie
"Legends of the Batman" edited by Martin H Greenberg (MJF, 1997) - previous volumes, "Tales of the Batman" and "Adventures of the Batman" were hardcover reprint collections from "Further Adventures of..." MMPBs
"Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero" junior animated movie novelization by James Raven (Little, Brown and Company, 1997)
"Kingdom Come" (Elseworlds series) comic novelization by Elliot S Maggin (Warner/Aspect, Mar 98)- Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others
"Batman: No Man's Land" comic novelization by Greg Rucka (Pocket, Jan 00)
"Batman: No Man's Land" junior comic novelization by Alan Grant (Pocket/Minstrel, Jan 00)
"Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" junior animated movie novelization by Michael Teitelbaum (Scholastic, Nov 00)
"Batman: The Stone King" (Justice League of America series) by Alan Grant (Pocket, Mar 02)
"Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman" junior animated movie novelization by Louise Simonson (Bantam, Oct 03)
"Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu" game novelization by Devin Kalile Grayson & Flint Dille (Warner/Aspect, Nov 03)
"The Forensic Files of Batman, the World's Greatest Detective" by Doug Moench (ibooks, Jun 04)
"Catwoman" movie novelization by Elizabeth Hand (Ballantine/Del Rey, Jun 04)
"Catwoman: The Junior Novel" movie novelization by Jasmine Jones (HarperEntertainment, 2004)
"JLA: The Exterminators" (Justice League of America series) by Christopher Golden (Pocket, Jul 04) - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" comic novelization by Marv Wolfman (ibooks, Apr 05)
"Batman Begins" movie novelization by Dennis O'Neil (Ballantine/Del Rey, 2005)
"Batman Begins: The Junior Novel" movie novelization by Peter Lerangis (Scholastic, Jun 05)
"DC Universe: Inheritance" by Devin Grayson (Warner, Jun 06) - Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Nightwing, Arsenal, Tempest
"Infinite Crisis" comic novelization by Greg Cox (Ace, Berkley/Penguin, Oct 06)
"DC Universe: Helltown" by Dennis O'Neil (Warner, Nov 06) - The Question, Lady Shiva, Richard Dragon, Batman
"Batman: Dead White" by John Shirley (Ballantine/Del Rey, 2006)
"Batman: Inferno" by Alex Irvine (Ballantine/Del Rey, 2006)
"Batman: Fear Itself" by Michael Reaves (Ballantine/Del Rey, 2007)
"52" comic novelization by Greg Cox (Ace, Berkley/Penguin, Jul 07) - focus on Booster Gold, Supernova, The Question, Batwoman
"Batman: Gotham Knight" animated movie novelization by Louise Simonson (Ace, Berkley/Penguin, Jun 08)
"The Dark Knight" movie novelization by Dennis O'Neil (Berkley Boulevard/Penguin, Jul 08) - sequel to "Batman Begins"
"The Dark Knight: The Junior Novel" movie novelization by Stacia Deutsch & Rhody Cohon (HarperCollins, 2008).
"Enemies & Allies" by Kevin J Anderson (HarperCollins, 2009) - Batman, Superman
"Countdown" comic novelization by Greg Cox (Ace, Berkley/Penguin, Jul 09) - focus on Jimmy Olsen, Mary Marvel, Troia/Wonder Girl, Robin II, Catwoman
"The Dark Knight Legend: The Junior Novel" by Stacia Deutsch (HarperFestival, June 12) - young adult movie novelization of "The Dark Knight Rises"
"The Dark Knight Rises" movie novelization by Greg Cox (Titan, Jul 12) - sequel to "The Dark Knight"
"Arkham Night: The Riddler's Gambit" video game prequel novel by Alex Irvine (Titan, Jun 15)
"Arkham Night" video game novelization by Marv Wolfman (Titan, Jul 15)
"Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice: Cross Fire" young adult companion novel by Michael Kogge (Scholastic, 2016)

Captain's log: Supplemental (Updated: 6th March, 2016)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Identity: Sharing Our Stories rap

The NSW DET rap, Identity: Sharing Our Stories for Stages 3 and 4 is underway, the second such rap to be presented in a blog format (hosted by the School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit via Edublogs) rather than the traditional email and listserv arrangement.

I would like to urge teachers and teacher-librarians to drop by the rap and have a look at what I believe is going to be a great learning experience - for students, teachers, teacher librarians, AEOs (Aboriginal Education Officers) and community members. A range of excellent resources is available, including: programming and planning, proformas, music, and online factual texts with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People sharing their personal stories about what has formed their identities and has made them strong. Several of the participating schools have already posted their introductory, jointly-constructed, blog entries (see the section called "Intro").

Many teachers complain they find it difficult to make sure they properly address Aboriginal perspectives in their programs, and to find relevant resources. The rap is also a great way to develop a familiarity with blogging as an educational tool. How I wish I had my interactive whiteboard already; at my school we are making do with a regular computer, and the students are highly motivated to rap together, and to read the posts from other schools.

Last term's completed Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge book rap, also in blog format, is still available for comparison purposes. The "Teacher" section contains many "Frequently Asked Questions" about blogging. Also worth a look!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Lack of training?

I was in two minds as to how to fill in my day today. My comics didn't come in last Thursday and weren't due in the country until yesterday. As there were supposed to be two Star Trek titles, plus a "Starlog", I had to work out if I wanted to spend $10 and an hour into the city, and another hour coming back, or to use up some of my movie "Hot Cash"/"Super Saver" coupons on some recent releases.

After a quick call to Kings Comics - to establish there were no "alternative cover" options to be resolved - I decided to see "Iron Man" at Penrith Plaza. Kings made sure my comics had the right covers and were safely in my standing orders box. On my way there, I was passed by several luxury coaches along the road to the station... and realised that buses had replaced trains into Parramatta, which would have added about 20-30 minutes to the trip - each way!

I was very glad I had already chosen "Iron Man", and was very pleased with it. "Iron Man" isn't a particular comics favourite but I did have a familiarity with the old animated cartoon of my youth, and the old yellow and red Mego action figure. As the reviews have said, the film was very well cast and featured some great action sequences. Quite a good job presenting a famous, classic comic book character on the big screen for modern audiences. Ah yes, stay till the end of the closing credits!

Sunday's magic number: 94.0 - again. Sigh. (Spent too many Pedlar's Pennies on Thursday.)