If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you’ll know that I expressed Jared’s exact concerns about Tron: Legacy a few days ago. I’ve been excited for this movie for what has felt like an eternity. But now that it’s finally upon us, I’m a little bit nervous and skeptical.

It’s kind of like being a kid and looking at the largest present under the Christmas tree. You spend all your time fantasizing about what it could be. And then, two days before Christmas, you kind of don’t want to open it out of fear the box could be filled to the brim with socks and long underwear.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Tron: Legacy LOOKS fantastic. My fear is that there is no chewy nougat center – that there is nothing substantial at its core. I’m worried that Tron: Legacy is all sizzle and no steak.

I mean, Tron: Legacy wouldn’t be the first big-budget science fiction epic to suffer from a bloated special effects budget and a hollow core littered with anemic plot devices. Am I expecting some sort of grand Shakespearean drama? Not at all. But am I looking for something that justifies a sequel to a film made almost 30 years ago? Absolutely.

How often have you heard critics complain that CGI makes movies feel as insubstantial and transient as a video game. Along comes Tron: Legacy – a film that is LITERALLY about surviving inside the world of a video game – and you think critics won’t jump on that if the storyline isn’t up to snuff??

My fears about Tron: Legacy has diminished somewhat since a few advanced reviews have hit the web. General consensus (without getting into too much detail) is that it’s amazing. Basically, it doesn’t offend you for investing yourself in the characters or mock you for wanting to return to their universe. Let’s face it, if you’re excited about this film you might as well find the nearest mirror, point at yourself and yell “NEEERRRRRRRDD!!” – because that’s what you are.

And I’m right there with you.

SIDEBAR: Not sure if you caught the controversy on Twitter over the weekend, but I had a little dust-up with a UK retailer that had stolen the designs for one of my t-shirts and was selling them through their site.

The retailer in question was 8Ball T-shirts and I was notified of their transgression after Joel Watson from Hijinks Ensue notified me of the theft. The artwork for his “Sci-Five” t-shirt had also been pilfered and we were both prepared to take to the internet and whip up a little righteous anger.

The news hit around 5:00 or 6:00 PM CST on Friday evening. So, considering the offending party was 7 hours ahead of us across the pond, they had no idea how large the tide of hate confronting them would be on Saturday morning. Several of you took to Facebook and Twitter to let them know how you feel about companies who steal from independent artists.

Here’s how things were resolved.

Saturday morning, 8Ball deleted all of the negative posts from their Facebook page and locked off the account to keep people from posting new messages. They had also removed the offending designs from their site (which is why I don’t have a screen capture to show you that compares the two)In the meantime, they were communicating with Joel after he had sent them a cease and desist letter.

I wasn’t really monitoring the situation all that closely because we were getting the house ready for Pearl’s birthday party (more on that later). But I checked in occasionally and was kind of perturbed that they didn’t publicly acknowledge the situation and attempt to reach out to me to explain the situation.

However, that feeling did not last long because, later in the day, I received an e-mail from 8Ball with an apology and an offer to turn over all of their profits from the sale of their shirt to me. Basically, what had happened was than an unscrupulous designer submitted my work, Joel’s work and the work of several others to the site claiming it as his own and 8Ball took the designer at their word..

I was relieved to hear that the situation was caused by an individual and was not representational of the company’s standard operating procedure. Plagiarism is not part of their culture. They just got taken for a ride and I’m sympathetic to that. Accidents happen.

In my estimation, 8Ball took all the right steps with their apology. They explained the situation, took ownership of the problem, made steps to correct the problem and outlined how they hope to prevent something like this from happening again. The financial compensation was a welcome surprise. I would have willingly accepted the apology along with credit for my work.

So, although the controversy has died down, I sincerely hope everyone who took the time to come to our aid also takes a moment to thank 8Ball for doing the right thing. I’ve had my artwork stolen before and things do not usually resolve themselves this neatly as this.

To those of you who lent your voice in support, I sincerely appreciate having defenders like you at my back. A few days after the controversy, I joked on Twitter that I had learned something valuable from the event – that Theater Hopper hasn’t slipped into irrelevancy. At least not yet… ;D

Last bit of news… I mentioned earlier that we were busy Saturday getting our house ready for Pearl’s birthday party. I don’t often talk about my kids in this space because I’m a little protective of them and very cautious not to accidentally exploit them. But you guys have always shown a respectful interest in my personal life and occasionally ask about the kids, so it’s become somewhat of a tradition to acknowledge them on their birthdays.

On Friday, December 3, Pearl Evelyn Brazelton celebrated her first birthday and I don’t think she could have picked a crazier year in our life as a family to arrive. A new job, a new house, finishing grad school… this year has seen a lot of changes for me personally and our family as a whole.

But things are pointed in the right direction and I’m optimistic about the future. Pearl is a large part of that. Things were kind of grim in the summer and fall of 2009. But things started turning around after she showed up.

Pearl’s only a year old, but she’s growing up pretty fast. We recently took her off her bottle and she’s drinking milk like a champ, eating more solids and teething like crazy. We’ve caught her standing under her own power a couple of times, but only when she’s distracted by something she’s holding onto without bracing herself on a chair or a pant leg. She’s very clingy to Cami at the moment, but we anticipate she’ll be walking very soon. After that, all bets are off.

Happy birthday, Pearl-girl. Our lives are richer with you in it.

Pearl Evelyn Brazelton - 1 year-old

So… Tron: Legacy doesn’t come out for another two weeks. Where do you stand? Excited? Anxious? Let us know in the comments! Let’s start a conversation!

↓ Transcript
I've been waiting for year to finally see Tron: Legacy.

...And with every teaser they've released, I became more excited.

But since they began the advertising campaign in earnest, I feel like the movie has become overexposed and now I feel less excited to see it!

Do you?... Do YOU feel that way?

Not really.