Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Well, I'm blogging to you over a very weak wireless connection at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in downtown San Antonio. I'm at the State Bar's Advanced Criminal Law Conference, and we're into day two.
Sunday night I went on a boat cruise on Lake Austin for Mark McCrimmon's 50th birthday. There were a lot of people on the cruise, many of them familiar faces from the courthouse (including a number of people from my office, like Lastovica, Yvonne, Ashley, Brandon, Swaim, Dan, Vicki, etc.). Also, of course, Kim, Sigmund, and Jennifer were on board for the cruise (each of them adveturous seafarers in their own right). Anyway, the cruise was fun and the margaritas were strong. Thanks to Mark for hosting it. It seems like we used to have more of those types of social events involving people from the courthouse, and they really do help to lend the courthouse a bit more of a sense of community than it might otherwise have.
The conference has been okay so far. There's a lot of information in the classes that I've already heard a number of times before, but there are a few new, interesting things in there, too (the problem, of course, being the fact that you have to sit through a lot of stuff that you already know in order to come across a few new bits of information). There was also some presenter this morning from the County and District Attorney's Association who literally stood up there and lectured a room full of lawyers because they weren't awake enough and weren't providing enough questions and audience participation. What a tool.
Last night a group of about 20 or more of us (including Judge Breland, John Lipscombe, Dain Whitworth, Judge Crain, Brandon, Yvonne, Channing, David Escamilla, Vicki Ashley, etc.) went and ate at La Fogata over on Vance Jackson. The food was pretty good, and the company was good, but the service was slow, and we ended up sitting outside on a covered patio that was pretty warm. All in all, though, it was pretty fun, and I had a chance to catch up with some people that I hadn't seen in a while and people that I just don't get that much of a chance to catch up with at work.
Anyway, the conference is pretty good, but on the other hand, 4 days is a whole lotta conference. We'll see how things go as the week progresses.
Everyone keep their fingers crossed that Cassidy is doing well over at Ryan and Jamie's house. They were kind of enough to keep her, but last time my intrepid pup stayed at their casa, she managed to somehow sprain or strain her front leg (she sometimes forgets her three legged limits when wrastling with her cousin, Lucy) and ended up limping around for a week upon her return.
Well, that's it for now. Let's see if this wireless network lets me post....


The League said...

Cassidy has taken my car and iPod and left the house. She is a bad dog. Bad dog.

Anonymous said...

Question for the Steans Bros:
Do you call works of fiction like Watchmen, Sandman, Arkaham Asylum, etc. "comic books" or "graphic novels."
Is "comic book" a derogatory term for such works of fiction???

The League said...

"Comic Book" is never derogatory. There was a move to try to get mainstream press and the publice to take comics more seriously by spinning the verbage. That's now gone by the wayside.

A "graphic novel", technically, is a self-contained single story not released in a serial format. 300 and Arkham Asylum are examples.

Will Eisner, comics great, coined the term "graphic novel" to describe the work he was attempting that had never been done before in the US. He was telling self-contained stories and printing them in a book format for the bookstore audience, rather than for kids buying comics off the spinner rack at the Piggly Wiggly.

The term used for collected comics released in a serial fashion is "Trade" or "Collection". That most accurately describes collected volumes of comics that you would pick up monthly, covering everything from "Invisibles" (which I highly recommend to you, Pope), to "Sandman" to Spidey and Superman.

Watchmen falls into a gray area as it was conceived in an era when comics weren't assumed to be collected. It was originally a self-contained, 12-issue story, usually called a "maxi-series" ("mini-series" was used for a planned 4-6 issues series). Collections of Watchmen are usually called "Trade Paperbacks". Although there was an excellent slip-cased, hardbound edition released a few years back. That was an 'Absolute Edition'. However, as its been 20 years since Watchmen was released as a collection, and has continued to be sold to bookstores in the "graphic novel" format, "Watchmen" is actually an oddity in the business as it is usually considered to be a graphic novel rather than a "Trade".

In part due to the success of Watchmen, the term "graphic novel" became overused in the 80's and 90's as it was easier for older readers to express that they were not reading children's media. In the late 1990's, early 00's, "comic book" was settled upon once again for a lot of reasons I won't bother to get into.

Anyway, "Comic Books" is the catch-all term for anything that isn't a single day's newspaper strip, but several pages of sequential art telling part of a story, an entire story, or containing multiple stories.

All of these items are representative of the OTHER great term coined by Eisner, "Sequential Art". Which describes storytelling using multiple images to suggest changes and passage of time. This could include anything from a series of cave painting to Watchmen.

I am sure this cleared up exactly nothing.