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

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In the spirit of ParentHacks, here's a trick we've used to get our kids to do many things they otherwise wouldn't. We came up with it in the car on aWhatever you do...

I've got one year to make up my mind. Maybe it won't seem like as big of a deal then. But for right now? I must have it. I haven't beenCould this be the one?

I have two girls. They're 6 (almost 7) and 8 years old now. They're still at the ages when it's cool to hang with Dad. I like that. At the beginningDaddy-Daughter Dates, and Bonding

15 Minute Lunch: Strap in, shut up and hold on. We're going back. It's almost shocking anyone survived the 1970s. There should have been some kind of ritual suicide for lookingGrab your Hardy Boys lunch box - here come the '70s

So your co-worker comes over and says, "Hey, you going to lunch today?" You say, "Sure. Where do you want to go?" "Well, there's Joe's Chicken Shack, or The Hungry Heiffer, orWheel of Lunch!

Agassi's final 8 minutes on court Andre Agassi played his last professional match on Sunday, September 3, 2006. Check out the link above if, like me, you were unable to seeAgassi: Goodbye to a legend

How should I spend my economic stimulus rebate? Over at Gather Little by Little (link above), Glblguy reviews his decision with his wife about what to do with his economic stimulusMy economic stimulus rebate is going to...

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 guess it's about time I started reading the books. I have now seen all the movies. I just returned from the final entry. The final story in a cohesive series bearsReview: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2 (spoilers)

Free Royalty Free Music Loops, Free Royalty Free Sound Effects A couple months ago we completed the first four podcasts our company has produced, for internal training purposes. I've mentioned previouslyFree Music & sound effects for podcasts

Chain Factor Okay, this is the most addicting waste of time I've come across in quite a while. So far my high score is just short of 170,000. Waaaaaay too muchAs addicting as chain smoking...

This is probably my favorite short film to date. I'm sure that says something about me. This really is an amazing job. My favorite is the Tetris demolition. Frogger was a niceNew York destroyed by Pixels!

I'm late for leaving on a trip, so this will be quick. The Dark Knight Rises is a completely worthy capstone to the Nolan/Bale Batman trilogy. It turns the trilogy intoReview: The Dark Knight Rises (no spoilers)

I recently experienced one of the things on this list. See if you can figure out which one it is: Things that don't go together easily: Oil and water Drinking and driving Fine wineThings that don't go together easily

Recently a North Carolina man named Tommy Jordan posted a video on Facebook in response to a letter his teenage daughter, Hannah, had written on Facebook. The video was intendedTommy Jordan: Parenting and Instant Fame in the Internet Age

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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