Monday, June 30, 2008

(Almost) Everybody Loves Their Granny

I'm working on a Granny Goodness costume how-to, similar to the one I created for my Plastic Man costume last year. But it will probably be the weekend before I finish it.

In the mean time, let's check in with the Internets and find out what people are saying about GG. (I'll update this over the next few days.)

  • Fri 6/27: Comic Related says "Wow! Just wow!"
  • Sat 6/28: David Henry shows his love for Granny in "Day 1- The Warm-Up Act"
  • Sat 6/28: The New Adventures of Queen Victoria uses Granny for a joke in Saturday's strip.
  • Sun 6/29: ElDave has a nice photo and says, "This guy was -awesome-." Thanks, ElDave!
  • Sun 6/29: MJNolan1 posts a photo that demonstrates how Granny Goodness shouldn't be viewed from behind.
  • Sun 6/29: The John Byrne Forum has another great photo at OT - Paul’s favorite Granny, with a whole lot of comments. A sampling:
    • This was, by far, my favorite costume I saw all weekend as well and the guy had a great sense of humor too.
    • I'm in love.
    • You sick...
    • That is.....awesome.
    • An uncanny likeness.
    • Two responses started, two responses deleted (by me). I think I'll just leave this one alone :^)
    •  ...and many more
  • Sun 6/29: Jinxworld's The Wizard World Chicago Photo Thread has a Granny photo and discussion, starting with "There are some things that should never be seen and one of those is a guy in a Granny Goodness costume."
  • Sun 6/29: Another photo, another comment at Big Time Attic: "Oh, and I LOVED that Granny Goodness costume. The guy who was in the suit said that the one thing he wished was that his mouth was 30% wider."
  • Mon 6/30: Regarding the photo at ComicMix' Wizard World Chicago 2008: Photo Gallery Wrap-Up, commenter Russ Rogers says:
  • The Granny Goodness picture here is priceless. Even my four year old daughter loved that picture. She said, "That's a Super-Grandma! That's funny!"
  • Mon 6/30: AICN's Ambush Bug describes "the fun that goes along with taking a whiz beside an old dude in a Granny Goodness costume."
  • Mon 6/30: Brett says "[t]he creepiest costume had to belong to the guy dressed as Granny Goodness" and is weirded out by me getting that Superbaby photo.
  • Mon 6/30: citizenDave has a photo of his Granny.
  • Tue 7/1: jakze took a photo from the Shortpants Press booth. (The artists of artists' alley really got the costume. Love live Jack Kirby!)
  • Tue 7/1: bmwz4hotguy started the Wizard World Pics thread on the Wonder Woman section of the DC Universe message boards and included a photo of Granny. People's comments included:
    • "Granny Goodness is perfect."
    • "Yes, I'd agree that Granny was the best! Now there's someone I could be afraid of."
    • "And... Granny Goodness??? Who'da thought somebody would dress as her?"
    • "Granny Goodness was absolutely divine."
  • Wed 7/2: Of the Granny GOODNESS! photo, M. Jason Robards says, "This guy had to be the happiest guy at the show."
  • Wed 7/2: Over at PhotoBucket, bzahlong says, "Frightening. That's all I'm gonna say..."
  • Wed 7/2: Also at PhotoBucket, Detective2416 has a photo of Granny and The Defuser The. Actual. Defuser, people!
  • Wed 7/2: Speaking of, at the Who Wants to Be a Superhero forum on they've got some pix of Granny and The Defuser. They say, "So that's Granny Goodness! Yeah, be careful around her, TD... She's one of Darkseid's bunch!" But they needn't worry. The Defuser knew exactly who Granny was. ("Where's Mr. Miracle? Where's Barda?" he asked me. The man knows his comics.)
  • Wed 7/2: swimeddieswim has a pretty good photo, cropped and everything.
  • Thu 7/3: Granny is foxy enough for Foxy's Convention Photos
  • Sun 7/5: Granny is Image 33 of 54 in's Wizard World Chicago 2008 Contest
  • Mon 7/7: Hello Kello has some advice on going to a con, including:
    Take Pictures: I took like 5 pictures, and they don't quite convey the fun we had. I did get a sweet picture with a guy who was a little too into his Granny Goodness identity. He made for one ugly woman.
  • The 7/8: Peng calls me the "most courageous man i've ever met," which is very nice. One of his readers points out a design flaw in the costume, which is embarassing.
  • Fri 7/11: HollywoodChicago talks about Granny around 13 minutes into Episode Three of their podcast.
    I don't know what would have made him think, 'I'm going to dress like a supervillian of the opposite sex from thirty-five years ago.'
  • Tue 7/15: Writing about The Wrath of Con, Jet Ski Ham says:
    Costumes: Nothing like sweaty polyester to keep the sane at arms' length, though I have to give that one guy props for dressing as Granny Goodness. Takes balls, kids.
  • Sun 11/30: Jerzy Drozd, who teaches comic art, says, "During my recent trip to Wizard World Chicago, I was delighted to see a grown man dressed as Granny Goodness."

You like me. You really, really like me. *Sniff*.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

For (Granny) Goodness' sake

Is there anyone who doesn't think that Granny Goodness is a terrific costume for J.R.? Anyone? Yes, lowlie child? You in the green and yellow outfit? Did you have something to say?

Ma'am, no ma'am!

I didn't THINK so.

Then, hearing no objections and with a tip of the hat to the artwork of the great Jack Kirby...


...I'm pleased to present this year's costume for Wizard World: Granny Goodness.

Granny Goodness and (DC Marketing Manager) Matt Keller at Wizard World Chicago 2008

There's more to come as I find time to blog under the Granny Goodness label. And I'm sure there will be other people blogging and posting about the costume. It was a real hit and lots of people wanted to have their picture taken with Granny. Like this little child from, oh what was that planet's name? Oh, yes. From Krypton.

Granny Goodness and Superbaby at Wizard World Chicago 2008

Granny loves her children.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Banjo versus TV: Week 25

Banjo 189 hrs, TV 153 hours
A weekly check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s resolution to spend more time in 2008 on his banjo than on TV.

If you've been following my first-banjoversary-labelled post you know what I've been up to this last week. But I'll bet you still have questions, yes you do. Two questions, in fact.

Did you get any presents for your banjoversary?

Oh, yes!

What a great banjoversary. Thanks, all!

All that blogging and celebrating, yet you only logged one lousy hour of banjo time this week?

Yeah. It was a pretty low-practice week. And counting my blogging time as banjo time would be against the rules.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My second 6 months on the banjo

It's J.R.'s one year banjoversary and he's writing a series of posts on where he's been and where he's going, banjo-wise.

Yes, after those first six months I just wasn't making the progress that I wanted to. I'd performed on stage and had a good time doing so, but I wasn't satisfied with my musical performance. I'd spent half a year on my banjo and had gone to lessons every week (mostly), but I could just barely manage a Seeger-style sing-along. (And I'd have needed the printed music and a lot of practice before I could play the song.)

Coincidentally – or perhaps because the universe just wanted me to learn to play the banjo better – this period of realization came upon me at the end of the year, just in time for a new year's resolution:

My new year's resolution for 2008 is to spend at least as much time playing my banjo as I spend watching TV.

I set down some ground rules and started the year-long Banjo versus TV project. And let me tell you, the last six months have been much, much more fun.

Month 7:
  • The redhead says my Scruggs-style playing is sounding "almost like music"
  • I try to teach myself Foggy Mountain Breakdown when I'm really not ready for it. Mike sets me back on the path of good practice technique.
  • I purchase what will become the best gadget in my toolkit: an Olympus WS-311M digital voice recorder. In the coming weeks I'll use it to record banjo classes, my lessons with Mike and my own progress.

Month 8:

Month 9:

Month 10:

Month 11:

Month 12:

As you can see from this chart of my banjo hours over the year...

...I logged a lot more banjo time in the second six months than I did in the first. The Banjo versus TV project has been a success!

"So, J.R.," I hear you say, because I can hear things over the Internet. "That's what the last year has been like. But what's next?"

I'm so glad you asked. Stay tuned for the where-do-I-go-from-here portion of my first banjoversary celebration.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My first 6 months on the banjo

It's J.R.'s one year banjoversary and he's writing a series of posts on where he's been and where he's going, banjo-wise.

You can pretty much divide the past year into two parts: the first six months in which I didn't practice enough and the second six in which I did.

Here's a look at those first six months.

Month 1: Getting started
  • I get my banjo and start blogging about it.
  • I begin lessons with Mike at Flatts & Sharpe.
  • Mike shows me Seeger-style boom-titty-boom strumming.
  • I learn to read tablature.
  • I learn three chords (G, C and D7) and assume that I'll be rapidly learning many other chords. (Spoiler: I do not rapidly learn many other chords.)
  • I'm supposed to be doing some homework that Mike gave me, but instead I get distracted by plunking out bugle calls on my banjo.

Month 2: Trouble begins

Month 3: The left hand learns a little
  • I learn to slide.
  • I pick up a few songs (like Cripple Creek), all in Seeger style.

Month 4: Lack of practice makes imperfect

Month 5: Thinks perk up 'cause I have a goal
  • Flatts & Sharpe announces that it will be hosting a recital for its students, so the month is pretty much dominated by my preparation for that event. I decide to do "The Preamble" from School House Rock.
  • Mike helps me figure out the chords.
  • I try to learn a few new tricks for the piece (like Scruggs-style forward rolls), but I wind up abandoning them because I can't learn them well enough in time.

Month 6: Shoving myself onstage
  • I perform at the recital and I'm a hit. But, being honest with myself, I realize that I got through it on enthusiasm and a really good slide show.
  • Think I'm being too hard on myself? Check out the terrible hand positions from these photos of the recital:
    J.R.'s banjo debut J.R.'s banjo debut J.R.'s banjo debut
    See? I'm having fun, but my right hand is doing everything from the wrist (like Mike had warned me against in month 2) and I'm holding my left hand like a claw (ditto).
  • I get involved in the holidays and don't do much with the banjo for the rest of the month.

Sorry to end the post on such a downer, but that's really where I was after six months. Things will pick up in the next post, though, because I've created a trick that helped me stick with my practicing.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's my banjoversary!

It's been one year since the redhead gave me the best birthday present ever. Let's relive that moment, shall we?

It's 2007, we're having a birthday dinner at a nice vegetarian restaurant and I'm opening a big, oddly-shaped package from the redhead.

What's this? A banjo? A banjo!

Isn't she wonderful?

And as you know (especially if you've been reading my blog and the 61 posts [so far] with the Banjo label) I've been working on my banjo playing ever since.

How am I celebrating my banjoversary? By blogging. A lot. I'm going to use this occasion to have a little public think session about where I've been and where I'm going, banjo-wise.

So, if you like that sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing you'll like and you should really like the next few posts.

Update: It's not just my birthday. It's not just my banjoversary. Apparently, June 20th is the happiest day of the year for everybody. (Thanks for the link, little sister!) (Link broken? Try this one.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Banjo versus TV: Week 24

Banjo 188 hrs, TV 146 hours
A weekly check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s resolution to spend more time in 2008 on his banjo than on TV.

I spent most of my banjo time this week listening to the audios from Midwest Banjo Camp. (And yes, I'm getting them together so we attendees can share them, like I promised. Stay tuned.)

It was all part of a thinking-about-where-I-am experience that I'm in the middle of. More on that soon.

But not much actual practice this week. Guess I'm still on that plateau.

Also in the last week:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flag Day - Burn 'em if you got 'em

Today is Flag Day in the United States.

I'm going to start a new personal tradition this year by burning a tattered flag. Like the U.S. Flag Code says:

The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (4 U.S.C. Chapter 1 [The Flag] § 8 [Respect for flag])

If any of you have flags that are tattered or torn, maybe you could join me in burning that flag on Flag Day. I've got one that's too frayed to repair, so its time has come.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Ten Doctors party

Here's your invitation... don your Doctor Who themed party mask...

...put a slice of dalek cake...

...on your Doctor Who themed plate...

...and raise your cup... a toast:

To Rich! Congratulations on your 100th installment of The Ten Doctors!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Banjo versus TV: Week 23

Banjo 179 hrs, TV 139 hours
A weekly check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s resolution to spend more time in 2008 on his banjo than on TV.

Summing up this past week in three words: Midwest Banjo Camp.

Too tired (in a good way!) to say more. Except maybe: So much fun!