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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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Woo hoo! I called it! Afro-Blue was surprisingly bad, though, on Monday's R&B episode. I think they got too caught up in trying to take on the judges criticisms and lostThe Sing-Off: The Final Four

I don't talk much about the technical side of having a blog, but though it might look technical, this is really about the business side of blogging. One of the thingsSo long, BlogGlue

Though it didn't do too well in the box office, this movie worked for me - all the way until the last scene. The end was the one place whereReview: Firewall

Alex & Emma is a thoroughly predictable love story with half-realized characters and little to no tension. Luke Wilson was boring and a bit unnatural in his acting (his brotherReview: Alex & Emma

I finally got around to seeing Crash tonight. As you have probably heard, this is an excellent movie. A little hard to follow at times, but well worth the effort. ThereReview: Crash

(Originally posted Jul 31, 2005 on my older blog) I've been watching Justice League and Justice League Unlimited lately. This is good stuff. Mike got me hooked. I'd caught it while flippingReview: Justice League

Reality TV has taken a wacky turn, but I think it's a turn for the better - at least in some ways. I am really not a fan of Reality TVSuperheroes in reality (tv)

This is one of a series of articles I wrote for The Coalition of Awesomeness blog some time ago. The blog has since gone to an unfortunate (but very awesome)The gift of music

Vampires and Lycans (werewolves) have been at war with each other for centuries. That war came to a head in Underworld. Both sides ended the movie under a world ofReview: Underworld: Evolution

How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free - New York Times (You may need a free account to read that article) Okay, I'm on Facebook. I have aHow long will your face be on Facebook?

J. Michael Straczynksi, the creator of the 5-year TV series Babylon 5 in the 90's, has been doing little side stories from the B5 universe on and off since theBabylon 5 - the final word (mostly)

I just found an interesting review of estimation strategies for creating e-Learning courses. Pete Blair has graciously posted a few free resources that could come in handy, one of which isCourse development estimation

I think it's official: I'm addicted to Kathy Sierra's blog. Yesterday she made a great (if a tad long) summary of some pretty basic points she made earlier in the yearInstructional Design reminders

Vanguard − The "Dilbert" guide to personal finance This list from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is about 2 years old, but I just saw it for the first time,Personal Finance advice from "Dilbert"

This wasn't nearly as bad as the box office, and critics, led me to believe. Was it as good as "The Mask of Zorro"? No. Not really. But it was aReview: The Legend of Zorro

The Colors of Control: Ex Machina

Ex Machina coverAn extremely long time after I started it, I just finished Ex Machina‘s 50 issue run. Brian K. Vaughn puts on a heck of a story.

This is one of those stories that I think would work well as a TV series. It would be a bit different than most series, in that it covers two time periods at once, but that’s part of what makes it compelling. The basic structure of an issue is that it starts in the past, and then moves into the present.

The story in the past covers the origin and selected high points of Mitchell Hundred’s career as “The Great Machine” – a flawed superhero with the ability to listen to and command machinery. For example, he can command a gun not to fire, a truck to drive away, or a bomb to not explode (for a while). He can have a cell phone tell him where it’s been… or tell it to shut-up. We see the “accident” that gives him this power, and watch as he learns to fight crimes, petty and large. We meet his nemesis, Pherson, who has the ability to command animals (excluding humans), and uses this power to cause destruction and death. And we see him in his final act as The Great Machine: stopping one of the planes on 9/11.

Each story in the past, however, quickly gives way to (and informs the plot of) the present. Mitchell has parlayed the popularity of his time as The Great Machine into a run as the mayor of New York City. Here we see him dealing with many social and political issues, intertwined with resurfacing issues from his super-heroic past. He’s vowed to put his past behind him, but can he ignore the ramifications of what he’s learning about himself and the true source of his power?

The government is watching him. His police commissioner is watching him. One of his ex-partners wants him back on the job as a super-hero, even if that means destroying his political career. The other will protect him with his life. He’s having dreams of his future – and visions of pain.

Can he single-handedly stop the destruction of the world, or is he fated to be the architect of its demise? Or maybe it’s somewhere in between?

It’s pretty cool stuff!

Excerpt from issue #1 - and more foreshadowing than I realized, despite its bluntness

Color plays an important role in the books. Those gifted with powers are scarred by lines on their faces that look like wire leads. Mitchell’s scars glow green. Pherson’s glow purple. White plays an important role later. Each color is part of the spectrum of control. Green for control over machines, purple for animals, white for … well, that’s a spoiler.

Even the final word in the entire series is a color: black. And it’s layered with self-reference, not to mention a kind of breach of the “fourth wall.”

Really well done. I recommend it as one of the better comics I’ve read. It’s for adults, though – graphic language, themes, violence, and visuals do appear. This one isn’t for kids. The themes explored about the nature of corruption and man’s motivations, hero worship and disappointment are pretty seriously tackled. (For more, with spoilers, about that, check out the view “from the gutter.”)

If you want to see Issue #1, DC Comics has made it available online.

Have you read it? Any thoughts?

(Btw… just because I avoid spoilers in the post doesn’t mean they aren’t in the comments.)

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