Okay, this thing with the post being pushed below the sidebar is starting to bug me.

The kid is sleeping, but I cannot. You call that fair? Because I sure don't. Even good, old fashioned, baby-fueled exhaustion can't trump lifelong insomnia. Grrr...

Anyway, because it's 5:45 a.m. and I can't think of anything better to do with my time (except for maybe some laundry), here are some quick, probably disjointed thoughts on the things I've been filling my time with lately (lately meaning the weeks leading up to Liam's arrival and the few moments I've had since then that haven't involved feeding or changing):

Doctor Who - Thanks to my mom's willingness to battle with her VCR timer every Tuesday night (they get CBC in Maine; Rhode Island doesn't), I've seen as far as that episode with Simon Pegg as the evil TV programmer and that monster with the giant, gaping maw as, I'm guessing, Rupert Murdoch. Very good, so far. Christopher Eccleston is a decent enough Doctor, Billie Piper's Rose is the most competent companion since... well, ever, and the SFX, though much improved, still have that lovably cheap quality to them that makes the show so endearing. Good stuff, and I can't wait to find the time to watch the rest of the season.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell - Part history book, part travelogue, part social commentary from the This American Life contributor (and voice of Violet Parr in The Incredibles), and a very entertaining read. Even the best-written history texts are usually dry as toast to me, but Vowell has a snappy prose style that's a lot of fun to read, and she's very clearly amped about her subject (an attitude which, considering this is about the deaths of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, can be seen as more than a little odd, but somehow she escapes that), and that enthusiasm nearly bubbles right off the page. I now need to read everything else she's ever written.

Superman: Birthright - I call this "Smoothie Fiction." Smoothie Fiction is where you take a bunch of established literary flavors, throw 'em in the blender, and you end up with a product that's sort of new, but also very much reflective of the individual ingredients. Usually this is done with genres (say, for instance, a Western romantic thriller... in outer space!), but here Mark Waid does it with previous versions of the Superman origin. Golden age, silver age, Byrne reboot, TV, movie, cartoon, whatever... it all gets a textual shout-out here. And it sort of works, but you just can't shake the feeling that you've seen it all before. Plus, with all the references to current technology and political climates, it'll all seem dated again in 10 years, and someone else will have to start all over again.

Superman: Secret Identity - This, on the other hand, is a terrific "modern" origin for Superman. Kurt Busiek's concept here - a Superman in the "the real world" - has been tackled before (the Superboy of Earth Prime story, which he cites as the major influence for this story), but he handles the material in such a fresh way as to make the unfortunately named Clark Kent of this story seem like an entirely new character, not just another derivation of Superman. Plus, this Lois and Clark set up house off the coast of Maine, and Busiek managed to get the geography right. As someone tired of seeing his birthplace constantly misrepresented (the potato growing areas and the coastal towns tend to be several hundred miles apart; many, many people get this wrong), I appreciate that kind of research.

The PBS documentaries of Rick Sebak - This guy has made several entertaining programs for PBS, including Sandwiches You Will Like, An Ice Cream Show, and A Program About Unusual Buildings and Other Roadside Stuff. So basically, he gets to travel the country, eat lots of great food, see cool stuff, and make little films about it all. As far as I can figure, he has the best job in the world. Where do I sign up?

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