Wednesday, July 26, 2000

The Incomprehensible X-Men

I saw the X-Men movie on Monday. Wolverine kicks ass. 'Nuff said.

The movie inspired me to want to start reading comics again. And where better to start than with the X-Men comic book? But which one? I remember enough from my comic book reading days to know that Marvel produces a number of different versions of its most popular titles. So where could I see some of the complex battle of wills I had fun with in the movie? I eventually found a web site giving a guide to the X-Titles. Well, it was clear I'd need to be careful to pick the right title to avoid things such as a time-traveling X-Man from the future -- I was looking for basic, vanilla X-Men.

Further searching turned up the X-Axis, where some Scottish guy publishes weekly reviews of the various issues. Pretty entertaining, even for someone who doesn't read them. But it just confirmed one thing. There are no basic, vanilla X-Men anymore! It's all alternative universe this and space alien that. It's all fiendishly complicated to maintain continuity for some 45-year old guy who lives with his parents and will have a complete fit if something doesn't fit with one little piece of his 20-year collection of X-Men comics. ("But Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills, you're from two different worlds.") I don't know, maybe I'm deluding myself into thinking there's somewhere I can go to get interesting superhero comic books without having to become an obsessive reader to understand what the h-e-double-hockeysticks is going on. But it apparently doesn't involve the X-Men.

Tennis Ball Madness

My friend Dave was in town last weekend. Dave is a big baseball fan. When we're at conferences together, we try to take in a game. We went to Fenway at the Fermat conference in '95, we caught the Ottawa Lynx at CNTA '96, and we tried to catch a minor league game in Winnipeg in '99, but it was rained out. So when he came for a visit, it was natural we'd go see a Bowie Baysox. It was a pretty cool game. The Baysox ended up winning in the bottom of the 10th. Cool.

And there were even fireworks after the game. In some ways, they were even better than the fireworks on the Mall on the 4th. They were closer, so we could hear them being fired, and there was a greater variety.

But that wasn't the best part. The best part was...Tennis Ball Madness! For $1, you could buy a tennis ball and throw it on the field after the game. The object was ostensibly to get the balls into some hula hoops which would win various prizes...a dozen bagels, $10 off a lube job... But really, the cool thing was we got to chuck stuff on the field and not get arrested.