Posted by Bob Greenberger on May 6, 2013
Like most people, I enjoyed the heck out of Iron Man 3 over the weekend. It was fast, loud, noisy, and things blew up really well. The handoff from Jon Favreau to Shane Black was a step in the right direction and the casting was superb. There’s little doubt why it earned its $175.3 million here and over half a billion worldwide.
The movie is definitely a sequel to The Avengers and not Iron Man 2, which everyone now seems to have declared a misfire. Clearly, the United States government has backed off demanding the armor now that they owe him their lives. It didn’t hurt that he allowed Jim Rhodes to keep the War Machine armor for America’s use.
Having Tony Stark deal with the aftermath of nearly dying while trying to end an alien invasion gave the film a nice weight, allowing us to explore the character from a new perspective. The metaphor of his anxiety and the malfunctioning Mark 42 armor was nicely handled without being heavy-handed. This was definitely a Tony Stark movie and Robert Downey Jr. nailed it. We saw his cockiness, insecurities and sheer brilliance, but all the same person. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Bob Greenberger on May 3, 2013
The whirlwind beginning of the year is slowing down, at last, and new routines are being established. Looking back, it’s astonishing we listed, sold, bought, packed, moved, unpacked and are settling in just four months. We’re far from done but it’s starting to feel like home.
As you might imagine, my focus and ability to concentrate was shot. I could work in short bursts so things like my semi-monthly Westfield Comics columns were easy to do. I could continue to consult on the After Earth material and even proofread some of the prose works.
But when it came time to actually write a new story for ReDeus: Beyond Borders, I worked in fits and starts so the February deadline came and went. I struggled with parts of the plot which Aaron Rosenberg and Kathleen David helped me with at Farpoint but I was still unhappy with the work or its progress.
Thinking of anything beyond this story was impossible even though I have a hankering to get back to long form fiction. In April, I managed a draft and sent it, with trepidations, to Aaron. Who promptly read it and explained in detail why it didn’t work. He then suggested the solution which had been eluded my foggy creative mind. A few days later, it finally came together and can be read later this month.
Meantime, the new routines are being established which means walking the dogs four times a day. That’s time away from the desk, but time to think. On one such walk the plot for the next ReDeus story came together which has me excited. I am at work on it as you read this and that feels good.
This break from long stretches at the desk and creative writing may be refreshing or let the creative muscles atrophy, requiring regular exercise to get back into the groove. I have things I want to write for me and Crazy 8 Press and still talk to publishers about other projects so I remain optimistic about the remainder of the year.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 30, 2013
Amazingly, more than two years after our work began on After Earth, the first book is on sale today. Last week, Random House’s Suvudu offered up a sampling of the book’s first 50 pages and now A Perfect Beast is out.
While not the first offering – that was the one-shot comic given away last year at San Diego and sold by Dynamite – it is the first substantive look at Nova Prime. This glimpse into the world of After Earth does a nice job introducing elements and giving readers vital background to enrich the film viewing experience. You do not need to read this to understand the film, it just answers questions you might have.
As has happened with our previous collaborations, I did the book’s outline and then divvied up the storylines. Peter took the aliens, since he did the bulk of the work on them for the Bible, and one of the characters while I took the story’s catalyst and some of the subsidiary characters. The lead character and therefore the spine of the story fell to Mike. Once all three sections were completed, Mike polished the manuscript, smoothing over transitions. Unlike our previous Star Trek efforts, this one required a lot more weaving of stories so he wound up truncating characters, adding characters, shifting actions and more. Then he submitted the work.
Overbrook Productions weighed in with their thoughts and concerns, asking for things to be clarified or modified, which required more effort from Mike.
Meantime, Random House decided that the first three Ghost Stories, the digital shorts that have been released since December, would be included in this volume. As a result, even more of the world is on display which is sort of cool.
The marketing blitz is underway with last week’s After Earth Day event and the Xprize After Earth robot challenge. I consulted on the latter, making sure the planetary facts on display matched up with the rest of the books, website, and Bible.
Now it comes down to you, the reader, to decide. Have we done a good job telling a story? Have you whetted your appetite for the May 31 release? Please let me know since feedback is invaluable.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 26, 2013
Two weeks ago today, we moved into the house. On the one hand, we’ve made impressive progress, getting most of the boxes unpacked. On the other, now we see the remaining boxes and how much more needs to be done.
We were very dedicated in getting the master bedroom suite and kitchen done first and we’re almost there. Other areas are makeshift until ordered furniture arrives. I’m chomping at the bit, waiting for the schedule to be announced for my office furniture to arrive. Then I can unpack those boxes and organize the work space. For the first time in thirty or so years, I am no longer based in the basement, but on the second floor and there are two windows for natural light. It’s an adjustment.
There are dominoes being played such as the three-piece entertainment center not being able to move up to the third floor. It’s now taking up space in the garage which prevents us from getting that space finalized for both cars to fit. It also means we now need bookcases for the third floor loft.
We’ve been astonished with the speed some of the furniture and supplies we’ve needed have arrived. On one day we received some fairly sizeable pieces a day after we ordered them. We have become so jaded that the idea that anything we order in the future will need more than seventy-two hours to arrive is now striking us as being handled by slackers. But it also means the house is rapidly taking shape. Last weekend we focused on putting up pictures and similar objects that has personalized the space so the townhouse is feeling more like a home. We’re definitely warming up to the new confines. The dogs love that the small backyard means we’re all taking nice long walks repeatedly throughout the day.
Then there’s the driving. Within two miles of our Fairfield home, I had multiple coffee shops, supermarkets, a Home Depot, two office supply stores, and so on. Within two miles of our Fulton home there’s a coffee shop, two supermarkets, some really amazing food and some really poor excuses for pizza. Just about everything else requires a car trip, which uses time and gas. My local comic shop is now six and a half miles away which is also the distance for the nearest Starbucks. Home Depot is further away and the Staples here is small and understocked. I have yet to find a grocery store that has the selection I’m used to while the prices seem higher (maybe due to low competition).
We’ve found some good restaurants and plenty more that look worth trying. The mechanic recommended to us has been a dream to deal with a nice clean waiting area that comes with Wi-Fi. Our neighbors have been uniformly friendly and nice with everyone making us feel welcome.
Overall, not a bad start to our new adventure.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 23, 2013
As many of you know, Kate got engaged late last week. She and Mike have been dating for over two years and this was certainly the major reason Deb and I chose to relocate to Maryland this month.
This milestone is not a surprise but it does suddenly make me feel my years. A child old enough to marry and planning a family, a new generation. This is significant.
It’s also steeped in tradition and I find myself both perplexed and comforted by it. When we were washing dishes after Easter dinner, Mike turned to me and mentioned he already possessed the ring but wanted to make certain I had no issues with him marrying Kate.
While a very casual conversation, it is one that goes back centuries. There’s the expectation that the suitor gains the father’s permission and has been used for drama and humor in literature. I did not ask my prospective father-in-law for permission, knowing full well he didn’t approve but Deb didn’t feel the need for me to ask.
And I told Mike, she is not mine to give and while it was nice to ask, it was thoroughly unnecessary. She’s 27 and fully capable of deciding if she wants to spend the rest of her life with the guy. Besides, if he asked and I said, “yeah I do mind” what would happen next? They get married and a deep rift is formed. That wasn’t going to happen. We like Mike, think he has taken good care of her and has the personality and sense of humor that will let him fit right in with our family and friends.
On a related note, Kate and I talked about me walking her down the aisle. Giving away the bride still denotes a sense of property that I object to. My claims over her pretty much ended when I could no longer claim her as a dependent on my taxes. She has effectively been living away from me and Deb for the last nine years. She has been working and living on her own since she graduated college five years ago. So, in my mind, she is not mine to give away so we’ve talked about both parents walking her down the aisle, but Deb’s a traditionalist so I will do a solo.
Following these traditions, regardless of us as a society having outgrown them, seems to bring great comfort and continuity, following the footsteps of our parents and their parents and so on. It’s one reason why these expectations continue to follow succeeded generations.
Clearly, the engagement period will be filled with many of these touches, from who accompanies Kate to shop for wedding dresses down to groomsmen and bridesmaids. There will also be many unconventional touches – I would expect no less from those two – and I’m looking forward to seeing how they personalize this most hallowed of experiences. They already started with Kate having selected a ring that would not normally be considered for use as an engagement ring.
Another sign of my age: I am being excluded from the bachelor party.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 15, 2013
And we’re back.
Today marks my first day back at the desk since Thursday and the first work day in the new townhouse. The three weeks at Kate’s home zipped right by, helped in part by an unexpected whirlwind business trip out west, and things went better than hoped for. The dogs, in particular, settled right in, loving the extra walks they were getting.
I spent parts of last week at the new house meeting with workmen as the final touches were given to the place in anticipation of the furniture and belongings arriving. The colors that Deb (aided by our designer pal Krystle) selected look great on the walls and the cleaning crew made the place look refreshed. We added cabinets and shelving, both inside and out, to maximize storage given the lack of attic and basement but addition of a garage. As a result, my concentration was shot as I tried to work my way through the final revisions of my ReDeus: Beyond Borders story. I managed to complete that and hit send before shutting down on Thursday.
On Friday, no sooner did the movers begin unloading the truck than we began unpacking. One of us helped direct while the other opened and emptied boxes. The odd symmetry of life saw to it that we moved into Fairfield on a dark, stormy day that made things a muddy mess. The morning we moved into Fulton, it also rained but it ended by 11 and then the sun came out, warming things up in a hurry. They were done and gone around 4 and we kept working until the Master Bedroom was ready for us and the kitchen was taking shape.
Saturday and Sunday was largely unpacking. I discovered the movers chose my office to dump boxes despite markings that read Guest Bedroom, Loft, or Deb’s Office so I was trudging up and down steps until things were where they really belonged. As a result, my space no longer resembles Charles Foster Kane’s warehouse and just needs real furniture before I can unpack. We also learned that the box marked pots and pans had neither and every other kitchen box was marked “China. Fragile.” This slowed down our organizing but we’re mostly sorted, thanks in part to Kate who spent a chunk of yesterday helping out. Her guy Mike worked with me in the garage, building some shelves and sorting through those boxes to the point where that may be the most organized unpacked part of the house.
Right now I have a folding table and old typing table as desk and return, still pulling vital files from one of two shoulder bags. At least the computer is set up and I can get back into the swing of things.
The dogs are adjusting to the (yet again) new surroundings and we’re moving from the “how on earth can we move in six weeks” feeling to the “oh my god, we’re in Maryland” phase. So far, the neighbors have been exceedingly friendly and the community gives us a good feeling.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 5, 2013
I was surprised by how deeply I felt the passing of Carmine Infantino last night. We were never close but I realize his work was woven into the fabric of my childhood and his work as an artist and an executive influenced my development from fan to comics professional. Much of what I learned about the man also came from long talks with Julie Schwartz, which made me miss him, too. Losing these touchstones to my youth really wears away at you.
Carmine was one of the most distinctive artists of his era. Like his peer, Joe Kubert, his style really began to emerge in the 1950s, distinctive enough to pick out of the crowd. When I began reading comics in the 1960s, he was drawing Detective Comics and The Flash and it was there I began to understand different art styles and the impact an inker can bring to a work. I adored his Flash, lushly inked by Joe Giella and preferred his Batman to the work of Sheldon Moldoff. But those covers inked by Murphy Anderson were a joy to behold, incredibly well-designed and eye-grabbing. It took a while to understand that the scratchier work on his Elongated Man strip was the result of Carmine inking himself, showing how he really saw his work. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 1, 2013
I don’t know how the streak started. I do know that there was a stretch from about 1987 through 2006 or so where Deb and I did not miss Opening Day at Shea. There were two exceptions: 1988 when she gave birth to Robbie and we watched from the hospital and the year it was a rare Saturday home opener and it poured, canceling the game.
For me, Opening Day was like a holiday, a chance to celebrate with fellow fans, when the sky was the limit and the possibilities were endless. We lustily cheered for the favorites and warmly welcomed the newcomers as each player was introduced. Opponents were politely greeted or jeered with respect paid every now and then to the special players – Ozzie Smith comes to mind.
At DC, I would organize a group outing, securing group rates and making a staff and freelancer mixer. I’d dress in my Mets gear, making it clear what day it was for those agnostics among the staff and then around Noon vanish with the others. When the company was housed at 666 Fifth Avenue, three of us were stuck in a broken elevator for fifteen minutes which was absolutely no dun. We’d take the E train to Queens, switch to the 7 and disembark at Shea Stadium, joining the flock.
There was a fabulous atmosphere filled with promise and anticipation. Doc, Viola, Coney, Leiter and Glavine were among the starters we saw take the mound and throw that first pitch. At one game, there was a routine pop fly to the outfield and Peter David shouted for the opposing fielder to drop the ball, which he promptly did. Satisfied, my friend sat back and beamed for the rest of the game.
More often than not, the Mets teased us with a win. They have an uncanny Opening Day record of 31-20 and then all too often reality sets in. They stumble, they suck on the west coast, they get a run of injuries, they just aren’t up to the competition. Today, the team will field a lackluster mix of veterans and promising up and comers but will it be enough to actually contend in the NL East?
Sadly, the Opening Day streak ended a few years ago when getting tickets proved tougher and tougher and no longer being at DC, it mean organizing a group outing got difficult. Now, we’re in Maryland and won’t even be able to watch the game on cable (we’ll be getting SNY once we move into the house) so we’ll follow their exploits online and hope for the best.
I miss being at Opening Day and the promise each spring brings. Still, I’ll be rooting for the (old) home team. Locally, I hope the Nats beat the even sorrier-than-the-Mets Marlins but it won’t feel the same.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on March 28, 2013
We’re about one-third of the way through the interim period of homelessness and it’s not as bad as I feared.
When we closed on the house last Friday, we were suddenly very cash rich, but technically, were homeless people without a fixed address. Since we don’t close on the Maryland home until next week, it’s this odd period which I have taken to calling an oasis, where I have nothing to pack or unpack.
It’s not that we’ve been entirely idle. Deb has set up shop at Kate’s home desk and is managing to be quite productive. I’m ensconced at the dining room table, resorting to headphones for proper music fidelity. The dogs enjoy the extra walks and appreciate having their beds here for familiarity. Their routine has not altered all that much which has been good for them.
We visited the new house this week, measuring everything in sight so we can properly determine the sorts of furniture and shelving we want to add. Deb and our interior designer, the fabulous Krystle, have been talking color schemes and reviewing digital paint chips. Once we get the keys next week, we unleash the painter to add color to the house, which sorely needs some color other than white and beige.
We’ve caught up on our sleep and most of our television viewing. Heck, I actually read a book this week. We’re also finally really getting excited about moving into the house and starting this new chapter. We couldn’t believe the six week stretch from offer to closing actually happened as planned and now we can exhale and enjoy the moment.
I’m regaining my focus for the most part, keeping up with my Cultural Anthropology work and finally getting back to finishing my ReDeus story. I’ve also begun applying to teaching jobs in the three nearest counties so we’ll see what happens over the next few months.
Posted by Bob Greenberger on March 20, 2013
The mad rush is finally slowing down.
Despite all our expectations, the Fairfield closing is happening on schedule and we leave town on Friday. Amazingly, the six week window is drawing to a close and we’ll be in Maryland this weekend.
The upside to the move is that we have purged. Boy, have we purged. The two sheds we have and had promised ourselves to clean out, are now finally clean. The library has been winnowed down to a more essential selection of fiction and nonfiction and its future growth will be managed largely through reading more eBooks. The Pequot Library has been given an infusion of material for the summer book sale. My nephew Zach helped me twice stuff the minivan with refuse for the dump and I still had to make one final trip.
Dealing with the buyers, their lawyer and realtor has been coupled with our own dealings with the seller and her realtor in Maryland. I can’t recall the last time I’ve signed so many documents and really, there has to be a better way. We get a PDF to save paper, only to have to print it, sign it, scan it, and PDF it once again. Our new mortgage company has asked for some pretty boneheaded things that make us wearily laugh.
Given my nature, I scoured the web and found all the moving checklists wanting so aggregated four of them into one I could live with. Of course, it started at the eight week mark and it turns out the suggested timing can easily be compressed. Still, it’s been nice to have a guide to make certain all the right parties at the federal, state, and local level are notified. Once I’m at Kate’s, a new round of calls begin to make sure we have water, electricity, and gas. The easiest firm to deal with so far was Verizon’s FIOS which made the sign up process painless.
Although we’ve been purging and packing for weeks, the movers arrived yesterday and in a few hours outdid us several times over. Today they continued to pack and began loading the huge truck and tomorrow complete it all. Then we render the home “broom clean” for the buyers’ walk through on Friday. We’re never going to meet them and don’t even have to be at our own closing. Increasingly, people pre-sign the documents and leave town, letting the lawyer finish the paperwork and wiring the money.
The downside to all this is saying goodbye. This has been the farewell tour month as we have been dining with all of our Fairfield friends, hitting our favorite restaurants along the way. There have been more than a few trips down memory lane but plenty of laughs, too.
As excited as we are growing about this fresh start, we’re still sad about saying goodbye to so many friends from church to government. This has been a truly amazing place to raise our children and call our home.