Monday, August 01, 2016

Monthly Update - July 2016

RESOLUTIONS (Mid-year checkin:

1. Reasonable bedtime - Failed, for the most part. Bedtime remains somewhere between 1:30 AM and 3:30 AM, and always too late. However, I have succeeded in waking up around 10:30 AM - 11 AM most days.

2. Cook More - Same pattern as last year, I learned 14 new recipes in the first few months, added 2-3 new recipes to the regular rotation, and fell back on ordering pizza, eating out more often and grilling during the summer. So about right, really.

3. Exercise - Pokemon Go is putting me back onto a bit of a walking pattern, but I failed at this one too. Now that I know I might not die soon, I may work a little more at keeping in shape. Which leads me to...

4. No Cancer - Doctor said the words "you might be cured." Next CT scan is in January. Unless something goes horribly wrong, for all it's shittiness, 2016 is the first year I've been cancer-free since 2012.

5. Halloween Costume - Pretty much decided. Either Stormtrooper and Imperial Officer, if we decide to be less ambitious, or something Overwatch-related, if we decide to be more ambitious. Katy is considering Eleven from Stranger Things.

6. Spend More Time with Kids - Between Pokewalks, watching TV with Katy (Stranger Things, Person of Interest, etc.) and playing videogames with Aaron, I've done pretty good on this score.

7. Stay on budget. I've bought 8 of my 12 seasons (Angie Tribeca, Better Call Saul, Full Frontal Seasons 1-2, Supergirl, Last Panthers, Preacher, Night Manager) which means I'm slightly past my goal of one a month, but I'm sure I'll have a quiet month or two during the summer. I probably shouldn't have bought Last Panthers, since I've only watched episode one, or Angie Tribeca, since I've loved what I watched but haven't gotten around to the back half, and both are streaming on Amazon Prime right now. Still, 6 out of 8 is pretty good.

Still only at 2 games, Overwatch and No Man's Sky. X-COM 2 and Injustice 2 are on my radar, but this should be easy, because those might wind up on a Christmas list.

8. Try new things. Turns out I like old things. But... I did launch a new podcast in midsummer, did a little work on a Heist RPG that may never finish, and went out for fireworks on the Fourth, all of which are pretty new.

9. Less Negative - Nope. 2016 has been a shit year, with all the deaths of celebrities I admired, including Darwyn Cooke, who I knew and liked a lot, plus there's a contentious Presidential election. Now I'm trying a variation on this, which is to try and be polite in my direct confrontations, less sarcastic and dismissive. It is, in fairness, not going well so far.

POP CULTURE GOALS:

1. Read 15 Books (3)
  • Um...
2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (53)
  1. Darth Vader Vol 1 HC
  2. Avengers The Serpent Crown HC
  3. Usagi Yojimbo Vol 30 TP
  4. Tales of the Batman Alan Brennert
  5. Suicide Squad Vol 4 Janus Directive
3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
  • None this month
    4. Play 15 New Boardgames (21)
    • Sushi Go Party!
    • Dastardly Dirigibles
    • DC Deck-Building Forever Evil Crisis 3
    • Just Desserts
    • Pandemic Legacy
    5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
    • Dallas Comic Con (February)
    • STAPLE! (March)
    • C2E2 (March)
    • Heroes Con (June)
    • Alamo City Con (October)
    My Picks of the Week For This Month:
    1. Kim & Kim #1
    2. The Fix #4
    3. New Super Man #1
    4. Detective Comics #936
    5. Black Hammer #1
    6. Nighthawk #3
    7. Captain Marvel #7
    8. Ms. Marvel #9
        Other Comics I Read This Month (301+64=365):
        • Action Comics #959-960
        • Agents of SHIELD #7
        • All-New Wolverine #10
        • Amazing Spider-Man #15
        • Astonishing Ant-Man #10
        • Batgirl #1
        • Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth #1
        • Batman #2-3
        • Beauty #9
        • Birthright #7
        • Black Hammer #1
        • Black Panther #4
        • Black Widow #5
        • Captain America Sam Wilson #11
        • Captain America Steve Rogers #3
        • Captain Kid #1
        • Captain Marvel #7
        • Chew #56
        • Civil War II #3-4
        • Civil War II Amazing Spider-Man #2
        • Civil War II Gods of War #2
        • Civil War II Kingpin #1
        • Civil War II X-Men #2
        • Daredevil #9
        • Daredevil Punisher #3
        • Darth Vader #23
        • Descender #13
        • Detective Comics #936-937
        • Empress #4
        • Faith #1
        • Fix #4
        • Flash #3
        • Future Quest #2-3
        • Green Arrow #2
        • Heartthrob #4
        • Kim & Kim #1
        • Lazarus #23
        • Merry Men #2
        • Moon Knight #4
        • Ms. Marvel #9
        • New Super Man #1
        • Nighthawk #3
        • Nightwing #1
        • Nightwing Rebirth #1
        • Paper Girls #7
        • Power Man & Iron Fist #6
        • Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens #1
        • Silk #10
        • Snotgirl #1
        • Spider-Woman #9
        • Star Wars #21
        • Star Wars Han Solo #2
        • Superman #2
        • Titans #1
        • Velvet #15
        • Voltron Legendary Defender #1
        • Vote Loki #2
        • Wonder Woman #2-3
        TV I Watched This Month:
        • Bojack Horseman "Season 3"
        • Casual "Big Green Egg" "Bicycle Thieves" "100 Cows" "Threesomes" "The Magpie" "The Lake"
        • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee "Cleveland" "Special: Full Frontal Election Documentary"
        • Inside Amy Schumer "Madonna/Whore" "Fame" "Psychopath Test" "Everyone For Themselves"
        • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver "Republican National Convention"
        • Mr. Robot "eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc" "eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc" "eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd"
        • The Night Of "Part 1: The Beach" "Part 2: Subtle Beast"
        • Not Safe With Nikki Glaser "Is This Your Belt?" "I Miss David Bowie" "Really Real R&B" "Make America Horny Again"
        • Person of Interest "The Fix" "Witness" "Foe" "Get Carter" "Number Crunch" "Super" "Legacy" "Root Cause" "Wolf and Cub" "Blue Code" "Risk" "Baby Blue" "Identity Crisis" "Flesh and Blood" "Matsya Nyaya" "Many Happy Returns" "No Good Deed" "Firewall" "The Contingency" "Bad Code" "Masquerade" "Triggerman" "Bury the Lede" "The High Road" "Critical" 
        • Preacher "Monster Swamp" "South Will Rise Again" "Sundowner" "He Gone" "El Valero"
        • Roadies "Pilot"
        • Stranger Things "Season One"
        • Terriers "Dog & Pony Show" "Change Partners"
        • Vice Principals "The Principal"
        Top Ten Shows This Month:
        1. Stranger Things
        2. The Night Of
        3. Mr. Robot
        4. Bojack Horseman
        5. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
        6. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
        7. Casual
        8. Preacher
        9. Not Safe With Nikki Glaser
        10. Inside Amy Schumer
        Movies I Watched This Month:
        • Fletch
        • Ghostbusters (2016)
        Places I Ate This Month (148+28=176):
        • Outback Steakhouse
        • Smokey Mo's (x4)
        • Second Bar Congress
        • Vera Cruz Tacos (x2)
        • Sushi Nini
        • Original Pancake House
        • Black Star Co-Op (x2)
        • Blackfinn Ameripub
        • Jack Allen's Kitchen
        • Firehouse Subs
        • Fuddrucker's
        • Hopdoddy (x3)
        • Noble Sandwich
        • Wendy's (x3)
        • Mod Pizza (x2)
        • Pluckers
        • Hoodie's
        • Terry Black's BBQ

        Friday, July 01, 2016

        Monthly Update - June 2016

        RESOLUTIONS:

        1. No Cancer - All clear! Next CT is in July. So we're halfway through the year on this one.

        2. Stay on budget. Picked up AMC's Preacher and season two of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. That's 8 of my 12 seasons, which means I'm slightly past my goal of one a month, but I'm sure I'll have a quiet month or two during the summer. Still only at 2 games, and one of them, No Man's Sky, is delayed until August. So I should hit that goal easily, although E3 is promising a bunch of games I want to buy. PS+ free games and a couple addictive games like Overwatch and Battlefront are making this part easy. Of course, X-COM 2 is getting a port in September, and Injustice 2 has been announced for later in the year...

        POP CULTURE GOALS:

        1. Read 15 Books (3)
        • None this month, but I got two for my birthday I've been wanting to read
        2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (48)
        1. Shade TP
        2. Cluster TP
        3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
        • None this month
          4. Play 15 New Boardgames (19)
          • X-Com Boardgame
          • DC Deck-Building
          • Pandemic Legacy
          • Cthulhu Realms
          • Bullfrogs
          • Dr. Eureka
          5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
          • Dallas Comic Con (February)
          • STAPLE! (March)
          • C2E2 (March)
          • Heroes Con (June)
          • Alamo City Con (October)
          My Picks of the Week For This Month:
          1. Detective Comics #934
          2. The Fix #3
          3. Spider-Woman #8
          4. All-New Wolverine #9
          5. Star Wars Han Solo #1
          6. Lazarus #22
          7. Nighthawk #2
          8. Power Man and Iron Fist #5
          9. Jade Street Protection Services #1
          10. Cryptocracy #1
              Other Comics I Read This Month (233+68=301):
              • Action Comics #957-958
              • Agents of SHIELD #6
              • All-New All-Different Avengers #10-11
              • All-New Wolverine #9
              • Amazing Spider-Man #13-14
              • Aquaman #1
              • Aquaman Rebirth #1
              • Astonishing Ant-Man #9
              • Astro City #36
              • Batman #1
              • Batman Rebirth #1
              • Birthright #16
              • Black Panther #3
              • Black Widow #4
              • Captain America Sam Wilson #10
              • Captain America Steve Rogers #2
              • Civil War II #1-2
              • Civil War II Amazing Spider-Man #1
              • Civil War II Gods of War #1
              • Civil War II X-Men #1
              • Control #1
              • Cryptocracy #1
              • Daredevil #8
              • Daredevil Punisher #2
              • Dark Knight Returns The Last Crusade #1
              • Darth Vader #21
              • Deadpool #13
              • Descender #12
              • Detective Comics #934-935
              • Divinity II #3
              • Doctor Strange #9
              • Dungeons & Dragons #2
              • Empress #3
              • Flash Rebirth #1
              • Green Arrow #1
              • Green Arrow Rebirth #1
              • Green Lanterns #1
              • Green Lanterns Rebirth #1
              • Heartthrob #3
              • Jade Street Protection Services #1
              • Jughead #7
              • Klaus #6
              • Lazarus #22
              • Lucas Stand #1
              • Merry Men #1
              • Mockingbird #4
              • Moon Knight #3
              • Ms. Marvel #8
              • Nighthawk #2
              • Paper Girls #6
              • Power Man and Iron Fist #5
              • Spider-Woman #8
              • Spider-Women Event Omega
              • Star Wars #20
              • Star Wars Han Solo #1
              • Superman #1
              • Superman Rebirth #1
              • The Beauty #8
              • The Fix #3
              • Titans Rebirth #1
              • Vote Loki #1
              • Wonder Woman #1
              • Wonder Woman Rebirth #1
              TV I Watched This Month:
              • Americans "A Roy Rogers in Franconia" "Persona Non Grata" 
              • Casual "Phase 3" "Trivial Pursuit" "Such Good Friends"
              • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee "Gary Johnson Part 1" "Again? Again." "Tribal Courts" 
              • Game of Thrones "The Broken Man" "No One" "Battle of the Bastards" "Winds of Winter"
              • Humans "Episodes 1-8"
              • Inside Amy Schumer "Madame President"
              • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver "Debt" "Retirement" "Brexit" "Doping"
              • Orange is the New Black "Work That Body For Me" "Power Suit" "(Don't) Say Anything" "Doctor Psycho" "We'll Always Have Baltimore" "Piece of Shit" "It Sounded Nicer in My Head" "Friends in Low Places" "Turn Table Turn" "Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull"  "People Persons" "Animals" "Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again"
              • Person of Interest "Pilot" "Ghosts" "Mission Creep" "Cura Te Ipsum" "Judgment"
              • Preacher "See" "The Possibilities"
              • Silicon Valley "To Build A Better Beta" "Bachman's Earnings Over-Ride" "Daily Active Users" "The Uptick"
              • Terriers "Pilot" "Fustercluck"
              • Veep "Congressional Ball" "Camp David" "Kissing Your Sister" "Inauguration"
              • Voltron Legendary Defender "The Rise of Voltron" "Some Assembly Required" "Return of the Gladiator" "The Fall of the Castle of Lions" "Tears of the Balmera" "Taking Flight" "Return to the Balmera" "Rebirth" "Crystal Venom" "Collection and Extraction" "The Black Paladin"
              • West Wing "The Short List" "In Excelsis Deo"
              Top Ten Shows This Month:
              1. Game of Thrones
              2. The Americans
              3. Veep
              4. Silicon Valley
              5. Orange is the New Black
              6. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
              7. Preacher
              8. Casual
              9. Voltron Legendary Defender
              10. Inside Amy Schumer
              Movies I Watched This Month:
              • None this month
              Places I Ate This Month (126+22=148):
              • Bojangle's (x2) (North Carolina)
              • Brooklyn Pie Company
              • Firehouse Subs
              • Frank
              • Fuddrucker's
              • General Tso'Boy
              • Gus's Fried Chicken
              • Hoodie's Subs (x2)
              • Lucy's Fried Chicken (x2)
              • Mert's (North Carolina)
              • Michi Ramen (x2)
              • Popeye's
              • Smokey Mo's
              • Tarka
              • Torchy's Tacos (x2)
              • Vera Cruz Tacos
              • Whataburger

              Wednesday, June 01, 2016

              Monthly Update - May 2016

              RESOLUTIONS:

              1. No Cancer - All clear! Next CT is in July. So we're halfway through the year on this one.

              2. Stay on budget. I bought Night Manager from AMC. That's 6 of my 12 seasons, which means I'm slightly past my goal of one a month, but I'm sure I'll have a quiet month or two during the summer. I got Overwatch for my birthday, but that was a gift, so I've still only bought two games myself.

              POP CULTURE GOALS:

              1. Read 15 Books (3)
              • None this month, but I got two for my birthday I've been wanting to read
              2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (46)
              1. Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne
              2. Cleopatra in Space Vol 3
              3. We Stand on Guard HC
              4. Daredevil by Waid & Samnee Vol 5 HC
              5. Ms. Marvel Vol 2 HC
              6. Rocketeer Adventures Vol 1 HC
              7. Green Arrow Vol 5 Black Arrow TP
              8. Lazarus Vol 2 HC
              9. Twilight Children TP
              3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
              • None this month
                4. Play 15 New Boardgames (16)
                • Pandemic
                • Pandemic Legacy
                • Splendor
                • T.I.M.E. Stories Under the Mask
                • T.I.M.E. Stories Prophecy of Dragons
                • CV
                • Elysium
                5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
                • Dallas Comic Con (February)
                • STAPLE! (March)
                • C2E2 (March)
                • Heroes Con (June)
                • Alamo City Con (October)
                My Picks of the Week For This Month:
                1. Moon Knight #2
                2. Captain America Sam Wilson #9
                3. Fix #2
                4. All New All Different Avengers #9
                5. Future Quest #1
                6. All New Wolverine #8
                7. Ms. Marvel #7
                8. Doctor Strange #8
                    Other Comics I Read This Month (185+48=233):
                    • 4001 AD #1
                    • 4001 AD X-O Manowar #1
                    • Agents of SHIELD #5
                    • All New All Different Avengers #9
                    • All-New Wolverine #8
                    • Amazing Spider-Man #12
                    • Archangel #1
                    • Astonishing Ant-Man #8
                    • Astro City #35
                    • Beasts of Burden What Cat Dragged In
                    • Beauty #7
                    • Black Panther #2
                    • Black Widow #3
                    • Captain America Sam Wilson #9
                    • Captain America Steve Rogers #1
                    • Civil War II #0
                    • DC Universe Rebirth #1
                    • Daredevil #7
                    • Daredevil Punisher #1
                    • Darth Vader #20
                    • Doctor Strange #8
                    • Dungeons & Dragons #1
                    • Empress #2
                    • Fix #2
                    • Future Quest #1
                    • Goldie Vance #2
                    • Heartthrob #2
                    • Klaus #5
                    • Mae #1
                    • Micronauts #2
                    • Mockingbird #3
                    • Moon Knight #2
                    • Ms. Marvel #7
                    • New Avengers #11
                    • Nighthawk #1
                    • Power Man and Iron Fist #4
                    • Punisher #1
                    • Rai #13
                    • Rat Queens #16
                    • Silk #8
                    • Space Battle Lunchtime #1
                    • Spider-Gwen #8
                    • Spider-Woman #7
                    • Star Wars Poe Dameron #2
                    • Street Fighter X GI Joe #3
                    • The Violent #4
                    • Thunderbolts #1
                    • Uncanny X-Men #7
                    TV I Watched This Month:
                    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "The Singularity" "Failed Experiments" "Emancipation" "Absolution" "Ascension"
                    • Americans "Travel Agents" "The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears" "The Day After" "Munchkins" "Dinner for Seven"
                    • Archer "Deadly Prep" "Motherless Child" "Bel Panto: Parts I & II"
                    • Arrow "Canary Cry" "Monument Point" "Lost in the Flood" "Schism"
                    • Broad City "Getting There" "Jews On A Plane"
                    • DC's Legends of Tomorrow "Leviathan" "River of Time" "Destiny" "Legendary"
                    • Flash "Rupture" "The Runaway Dinosaur" "Invincible" "The Run of His Life"
                    • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee "Episode 1010" "Pregnancy Centers" "Super PACs" "Vaping"
                    • Game of Thrones "Home" "Oathbreaker" "Book of the Stranger" "The Door" "Blood of my Blood"
                    • Inside Amy Schumer "The World's Most Interesting Woman in the World" "Welcome to the Gun Show" "Brave"
                    • Lady Dynamite "Pilot"
                    • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver "Scientific Studies" "9-1-1" "Political Primaries"
                    • Night Manager "Episodes One-Six"
                    • Not Safe with Nikki Glaser "I Broke My Dick"
                    • Preacher "Pilot"
                    • Silicon Valley "Two in the Box" "Meinertzhagen's Haversack" "Maleant Data Systems Solutions" "The Empty Chair" "Bachmanity Insanity"
                    • United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell "The New KKK" "Behind the Walls" "Latino USA"
                    • Veep "The Morning After" "Nev-ah-da" "The Eagle" "Mother" "Thanksgiving" "C**tgate"
                    • West Wing "Pilot" "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" "A Proportional Response" "Five Votes Down" "The Crackpots and These Women" "Mr. Willis of Ohio" "The State Dinner"
                    Top Ten Shows This Month:
                    1. Game of Thrones
                    2. The Americans
                    3. Night Manager
                    4. Silicon Valley
                    5. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
                    6. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
                    7. Veep
                    8. Preacher
                    9. United Shades of America
                    10. Broad City
                    Movies I Watched This Month:
                    • Captain America Civil War (x2)
                    • Avengers Age of Ultron
                    • Concussion (2013)
                    • Justice League New Frontier
                    • The Hateful Eight
                    • The Kingsman
                    • Deadpool
                    • Angry Birds
                    • X-Men Days of Future Past Rogue Cut
                    • The Nice Guys
                    Places I Ate This Month (97+29=126):
                    • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                    • Torchy's Tacos (x2)
                    • Vera Cruz All Natural Tacos (x4)
                    • Wendy's (x3)
                    • Firehouse Subs
                    • Shake Shack (x2)
                    • Mod Pizza (x2)
                    • FD Grillhouse
                    • Chi'Lantro (x2)
                    • Culver's
                    • Chuy's
                    • Popeye's (x2)
                    • Salty Sow
                    • Deckhand Oyster Bar
                    • Panera Bread
                    • Juarez
                    • Cover 3
                    • Mandola's Italian Market
                    • PizzaRev

                    Sunday, May 01, 2016

                    Monthly Update - April 2016

                    RESOLUTIONS:

                    1. Reasonable Bedtime - Started off April with a surprise early shift at the store. Which meant I had to get to bed a little earlier. That didn't last, though. 

                    2. Cook More - I've hit my goal of 14 recipes, but still adding new ones since I didn't like all 14. This month I cooked Chicken Tikka Masala, but it was out of a jar and merely OK.

                    3. No Cancer - CT Scan was this month, but results aren't until next week, so technically, I got through at least April with no cancer.

                    4. Halloween Costume 

                    • Spider Jerusalem (Glasses are $80 (but I'd be half-blind in costume if I was wearing them, since my eyes are so bad), I could find black clothes cheap and easy enough, just need some temporary tattoos or makeup)
                    • Star Wars - Aaron vetoed the Stormtrooper, he wants to be Darth Vader - but I can still get an Imperial uniform (yep... $99 or so here.) We may have a winner.
                    5. Stay on budget. I bought Last Panthers from Sundance. That's 5 of my 12 seasons, which still means one per month, which should work. I preordered  2 of my 6 videogames. 

                    POP CULTURE GOALS:

                    1. Read 15 Books (3)
                    • None this month, but I got two for my birthday I've been wanting to read
                    2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (37)
                    1. Nailbiter Vol 1 HC
                    2. The Delinquents TP
                    3. Invincible Iron Man Vol 8-11
                    4. Descender Vol 1
                    5. Batman Dark Knight Returns
                    6. Suicide Squad Vol 3: Rogues
                    7. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 2 HC
                    8. Wonder Woman Earth One HC
                    9. Incredible Hercules Assault on Olympus HC
                    10. Spider-Man Death of Jean DeWolff HC
                    11. Airboy HC
                    3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
                    • None this month
                      4. Play 15 New Boardgames (16)
                      • Machi Koro
                      • Pandemic Legacy
                      • Splendor
                      • Superfight
                      • Star Wars Imperial Assault
                      • Dresden Files Co-Op Card Game
                      • Pandemic The Cure
                      • Awesome Kingdom
                      • Birds of a Feather
                      • Heroes Wanted
                      5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
                      • Dallas Comic Con (February)
                      • STAPLE! (March)
                      • C2E2 (March)
                      • Heroes Con (June)
                      • Alamo City Con (October)
                      My Picks of the Week For This Month:
                      1. Black Panther #1
                      2. Fix #1
                      3. Goldie Vance #1
                      4. Heartthrob #1
                      5. Criminal 10th Anniversary Special
                      6. Power Man & Iron Fist #3
                      7. Doctor Strange Last Days of Magic #1
                      8. All New Wolverine #7
                          Other Comics I Read This Month (139+46=185):
                          • 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #1
                          • A Year of Marvels Amazing
                          • Agents of SHIELD #4
                          • Aliens Defiance #1
                          • All New Wolverine #7
                          • All-New All-Different Avengers #8
                          • All-New Hawkeye #6
                          • Amazing Spider-Man #10-11
                          • Astonishing Ant-Man #7
                          • Astro City #34
                          • Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega
                          • Black Panther #1
                          • Black Widow #2
                          • Captain America Sam Wilson #8
                          • Captain Marvel #4
                          • Chew Demon Chicken Poyo #1
                          • Criminal 10th Anniversary Special
                          • Daredevil #6
                          • Darth Vader #19
                          • Discipline #2
                          • Divinity II #1
                          • Doctor Strange #7
                          • Doctor Strange Last Days of Magic #1
                          • Empress #1
                          • Fix #1
                          • Goldie Vance #1
                          • Heartthrob #1
                          • Hercules #5
                          • Huck #6
                          • Lazarus Sourcebook #1
                          • Micronauts #1
                          • Mockingbird #2
                          • Moon Knight #1
                          • Ms. Marvel #6
                          • New Avengers #9
                          • Power Man & Iron Fist #3
                          • Rough Riders #1
                          • Scarlet Witch #5
                          • Silk #7
                          • Spider-Gwen #7
                          • Spider-Man #3
                          • Spider-Women Alpha #1
                          • Star Wars Poe Dameron #1
                          • Uncanny Avengers #8
                          • Uncanny X-Men #6
                          TV I Watched This Month:
                          • 11.22.63 "The Day in Question"
                          • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Watchdogs" "Spacetime" "Paradise Lost" "The Team"
                          • Americans "Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow" "Chloramphenicol" "Clark's Place" "The Rat"
                          • Archer "The Figgis Agency" "The Handoff"
                          • Arrow "Beacon of Hope" "Eleven-Fifty-Nine"
                          • Better Call Saul "Fifi" "Nailed" "Klick"
                          • Billions "The Good Life" "The Deal" "The Punch" "Boasts and Rails" "Where the Fuck is Donnie?" "Quality of Life" "Magical Thinking" "The Conversation"
                          • Broad City "2016" "Philadelphia" "B&B NYC" "Burning Bridges"
                          • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Paranoia" "Maximum Security" "Greg & Larry"
                          • Catastrophe "Season 2"
                          • DC's Legends of Tomorrow "Left Behind" "Progeny" "The Magnificent Eight"
                          • Flash "Versus Zoom" "Back to Normal"
                          • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee "Episode 1008-1009"
                          • Game of Thrones "The Red Woman"
                          • iZombie "Pour Some Sugar, Zombie" "Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be" "Dead Beat" "Salivation Army"
                          • Last Panthers "Episode 1"
                          • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver "Congressional Fundraising" "Credit Reports" "Puerto Rico"
                          • Not Safe with Nikki Glaser "Carpe Do 'Em" "Dick Moves" "I'm the Boat" "Already Wet" "Don't Touch That Remote" "Find My Boyfriend A Girlfriend" "Your Wedding Sucks" "Get Her A Glass of Water" "Panty Sniffers"
                          • Silicon Valley "Founder Friendly"
                          • Star Wars Rebels "The Honored Ones" "Shroud of Darkness" "The Forgotten Droid" "The Mystery of Chopper Base" "Twilight of the Apprentice"
                          • Supergirl "Myriad" "Better Angels"
                          • Superstore "Mannequin" "Shoplifter" "Secret Shopper"
                          • The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" "Conspiracy Theories" "A Jury in Jail" "Manna From Heaven" "The Verdict"
                          • Togetherness "The Sand Situation" "For the Kids"
                          • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt "Kimmy Goes Roller Skating!" "Kimmy Goes on a Playdate!" "Kimmy Goes to a Play!" "Kimmy Kidnaps Gretchen!" "Kimmy Gives Up!" "Kimmy Drives a Car!"
                          • Veep "The Morning After"
                          Top Ten Shows This Month:
                          1. Better Call Saul
                          2. Game of Thrones
                          3. The Americans
                          4. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
                          5. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
                          6. Togetherness
                          7. People vs. OJ Simpson
                          8. Billions
                          9. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
                          10. Supergirl
                          Movies I Watched This Month:
                          • Trainwreck
                          • Jungle Book
                          Places I Ate This Month (74+23=97):
                          • Torchy's Tacos
                          • Smokey Mo's (x2)
                          • Popeye's
                          • Hoody's Subs
                          • Chi'Lantro (x3)
                          • Sichuan Garden
                          • Freebird's
                          • Wendy's
                          • Outback Steakhouse
                          • Lucy's Fried Chicken
                          • Madam Mam's
                          • Brooklyn Pie Company
                          • Deckhand Oyster Bar
                          • Mambo House
                          • Punchbowl Social
                          • Flyrite Chicken
                          • Wingstop
                          • Salt and Time
                          • Voodoo Doughnuts
                          • Vera Cruz All Natural Tacos

                          Friday, April 01, 2016

                          Monthly Update - March 2016

                          RESOLUTIONS:

                          1. Reasonable Bedtime - March started a movie challenge, featured two comic book conventions, several game nights, Daredevil season 2 and a whole bunch of other busy times. End result: Bedtime slipped to after 2 AM regularly. However... still setting my alarm for 11:30 AM every day, so I'm not sleeping in past noon. Baby steps.

                          2. Cook More - Last month I added four new recipes (only one of which made the regular rotation), This month I made Korean Beef, Philly Cheesesteak Sliders, Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings and Beef Cutlets with Red Wine Mushroom Gravy for 14. Of those, though, I only really liked the Red Wine Mushroom Gravy Beef and Chicken and Dumplings enough to add to the rotation.

                          3. No Cancer - Smooth sailing until April, when I get my next CT scan.

                          4. Halloween Costume 

                          • Dead of Winter (Squad Goals) - I could do the principal (jacket, flashlight, fake blood, the farmer (jacket, shovel, hat, fake blood), the ninja (ski mask, gloves, wallet with chain) but I'd really need two or three partners to pull this off. Ideally someone to dress as the fireman, soldier and/or paramedic to sell the theme. 
                          • Spider Jerusalem (Glasses are $80 (but I'd be half-blind in costume if I was wearing them, since my eyes are so bad), I could find black clothes cheap and easy enough, just need some temporary tattoos or makeup)
                          • Star Wars - Not sure what, but I know Aaron would love a Stormtrooper outfit - maybe I could find an Imperial officer uniform (yep... $99 or so here.) We may have a winner.

                          6. Spend More Time With My Kids - Lots of videogames with Aaron, and I took Katy to iFly for her birthday.

                          7. Stay on budget. I've ordered Better Call Saul, Supergirl, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Angie Tribeca so far this year. That's 4 of my 12 seasons, which is pretty much on track. I preordered No Man's Sky, and I'm going to order Overwatch, so that's 2 of my 6 videogames. 


                          8. Try New Things. I tried Uber for the first time. Also first time at C2E2.



                          POP CULTURE GOALS:

                          1. Read 15 Books (3)
                          • Nothing this month
                          2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (26)
                          1. Amazing Spider-Man by Roger Stern Omnibus
                          2. Smut Peddler 2014
                          3. Welcome Back Vol 1
                          4. Southern Cross
                          5. Book of Death
                          3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
                          • Nothing this month
                          4. Play 15 New Boardgames (11)
                          • Bohnanza
                          • Sushi Go!
                          • Splendor
                          • Pandemic Legacy
                          • Machi Koro
                          • King of New York
                          • 7 Wonders
                          • Just Desserts
                          • DC DBG
                          5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
                          • Dallas Comic Con (February)
                          • STAPLE! (March)
                          • C2E2 (March)
                          • Heroes Con (June)
                          • Alamo City Con (October)
                          My Picks of the Week For This Month:
                          1. Black Widow #1
                          2. Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1
                          3. Doctor Strange #6
                          4. Amazing Spider-Man #9
                          5. Spider-Woman #5
                          6. Astonishing Ant-Man #6
                          7. All-New All-Different Avengers #7
                          8. Birthright #15
                          9. Jughead #5
                          10. Saga #35
                              Other Comics I Read This Month (96+43=139):
                              • Agents of SHIELD #3
                              • All-New All-Different Avengers #7
                              • All-New Hawkeye #5
                              • All-New Wolverine #6
                              • Amazing Spider-Man #9
                              • Amazing Spider-Man and Silk Spiderfly Effect #1
                              • Astonishing Ant-Man #6
                              • Astro City #33
                              • Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1
                              • Birthright #15
                              • Black Widow #1
                              • Captain Marvel #3
                              • Daredevil #5
                              • Darth Vader #17-18
                              • Descender #11
                              • Discipline #1
                              • Doctor Strange #6
                              • Gutter Magic #3
                              • Haunted Mansion #1
                              • Hercules #5
                              • Howard the Duck #5
                              • Huck #5
                              • Independence Day #1
                              • Interceptor #3
                              • Jughead #5
                              • Klaus #4
                              • Mockingbird #1
                              • Ms. Marvel #5
                              • Power Man and Iron Fist #2
                              • Rat Queens #15
                              • Saga #35
                              • Scarlet Witch #4
                              • Silk #6
                              • Spider-Woman #5
                              • Star Wars #17
                              • Starve #7
                              • Street Fighter X GI Joe #2
                              • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6
                              • Uncanny Avengers #7
                              • Uncanny X-Men #4-5
                              • Usagi Yojimbo #153
                              • Violent #3
                              TV I Watched This Month:
                              • 11.22.63 "Other Voices, Other Rooms" "The Eyes of Texas" "The Truth" "Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald" "Soldier Boy"
                              • Agent Carter "The Edge of Mystery" "A Little Song and Dance" "Hollywood Ending"
                              • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Bouncing Back" "The Inside Men" "Parting Shot"
                              • Americans "Glanders" "Pastor Tim"
                              • Arrow "Broken Hearts"
                              • Baskets "Strays" "Easter in Bakersfield" "Uncle Dad" "DJ Twins"
                              • Better Call Saul "Amarillo" "Gloves Off" "Rebecca" "Bali H'ai" "Inflatable"
                              • Broad City "Two Chainz" "Co-Op" "Game Over" "Rat Pack"
                              • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Adrian Pimento" "Cheddar" "Terry Kitties"
                              • Daredevil "Bang" "Dogs to a Gunfight" "New York's Finest" "Penny and Dime" "Kinbaku" "Regrets Only" "Semper Fidelis" "Guilty as Sin" "Seven Minutes in Heaven" "The Man in the Box" ".380" "The Dark At the End of the Tunnel" "A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen"
                              • DC's Legends of Tomorrow "Marooned" "Night of the Hawk"
                              • Flash "Trajectory" "Flash Back"
                              • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee "Episode 1004-1007"
                              • Hap & Leonard "Savage Season"
                              • iZombie "Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind" "He Blinded Me With... Science"
                              • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "The Gang Goes to Hell"
                              • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver "Special Districts" "Encryption" "The Wall"
                              • Real O'Neals "Pilot" 
                              • Star Wars Rebels "Homecoming"
                              • Supergirl "Solitude" "Falling" "Manhunter" "World's Finest"
                              • The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story "The Race Card"
                              • Togetherness "Advanced Pretend" "Changetown" "Just the Range" "Geri-ina"
                              Top Ten Shows This Month:
                              1. Better Call Saul
                              2. Togetherness
                              3. The Americans
                              4. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
                              5. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
                              6. Supergirl
                              7. Flash
                              8. Broad City
                              9. The People vs. OJ Simpson
                              10. Daredevil
                              Movies I Watched This Month:
                              • 10 Cloverfield Lane
                              • Across the Universe
                              • Avengers Age of Ultron
                              • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Sword of Destiny
                              • Harmontown
                              • Inside Out
                              • Into the Woods
                              • Jurassic World
                              • Lucy
                              • Man from U.N.C.L.E.
                              • Pitch Perfect 2
                              • Spy
                              • Star Wars Force Awakens
                              • The Martian
                              • To Kill A Mockingbird
                              • Tomorrowland
                              • Veronica Mars
                              • Zootopia
                              Places I Ate This Month (42+32=74):
                              • Alamo Drafthouse (x2)
                              • Chi'Lantro
                              • Chuy's
                              • Culver's (x2)
                              • Firehouse Subs
                              • Freebird's
                              • Fuddrucker's (x2)
                              • Giordano's (Chicago)
                              • Hoody's Subs (x2)
                              • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                              • Jason's Deli (x2)
                              • Joe's Crab Shack
                              • Juarez
                              • KFC
                              • Michi Ramen
                              • Moon Palace (Chicago)
                              • New Fortune Chinese (x2)
                              • Popeye's (x2)
                              • Shake Shack
                              • Smokey Mo's (x2)
                              • Torchy's (x2)
                              • Wendy's (x2)

                              Tuesday, March 01, 2016

                              Monthly Update - February 2016

                              RESOLUTIONS:

                              1. Reasonable Bedtime - So the very first night I kept looking at my watch and thinking "Hey, it's only 1 AM!" until I was midway through a TV show, looked at my computer, saw that it was 3 AM and realized my watch had stopped. Mostly I did better sticking to the 1:30 AM bedtime, but occasionally I slipped, especially as the month got later. I almost always got in bed in time for a little reading, though, and never hit the "Oh, look, it's 4 AM" that had become the norm during my Battlefront days last November.

                              2. Cook More - Last month I added six new recipes (five of which I liked and added to the rotation), this month I made Curried Fried Chicken (cooked twice, liked but still modifying), Salisbury Steak Meatballs with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes (not sure about this one), Bacon Cheeseburger Pie (last minute substitution, not sure I'd make it again) and Chicken Cordon Bleu (tasted delicious, did not look great, and needs a side dish, but I'll give this one another shot). Also added Korean Beef and Chicken and Dumplings to the recipe list. So I'm up to 10 of my 12 new recipes, and once I make the two on my list, I will have hit 12 in three months.

                              3. Exercise - Uhhh....


                              4. No Cancer - Smooth sailing until April, when I get my next CT scan.


                              5. Halloween Costume 

                              • Green Arrow ($239 on Etsy, plus a bow and arrow - pricey, a little form-fitting for me, and unlikely) 
                              • Dead of Winter (Squad Goals) - I could do the principal (jacket, flashlight, fake blood, the farmer (jacket, shovel, hat, fake blood), the ninja (ski mask, gloves, wallet with chain) but I'd really need two or three partners to pull this off. Ideally someone to dress as the fireman, soldier and/or paramedic to sell the theme. 
                              • King of Tokyo kaiju - A nice idea, but Google turns up nothing and it seems more work-intensive than the rest. This one's going on the scrap pile.
                              • Doctor Strange (Eye of Agamatto on Etsy is only $30, but the cape/shirt is over $300, too pricey, and I don't want to recreate the one I built about a decade ago)
                              • Spider Jerusalem (Glasses are $80 (but I'd be half-blind in costume if I was wearing them, since my eyes are so bad), I could find black clothes cheap and easy enough, just need some temporary tattoos or makeup)
                              • X-Men? (Professor Xavier seems obvious) Avengers? (I had a notion that I could pull off Vision with a bodysuit, cape and some makeup but it seems like a nightmare to wear long-term)
                              • Star Wars - Not sure what, but I know Aaron would love a Stormtrooper outfit - maybe I could find an Imperial officer uniform (yep... $99 or so here.) We may have a winner.

                              6. Spend More Time With My Kids - Played X-Wing minis and lots of videogames with Aaron... Katy mostly locks herself in her room or looks at tumblr, but she talks to me every now and then. #teenager

                              7. Stay on budget. I bought Better Call Saul Season One and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee... so we're up to 3 of 12 seasons. I didn't buy Top Chef or Broad City, both of which were in the original budget. I haven't bought any of my 6 videogames yet... had a couple more of my 104 dinners.


                              8. Try New Things. Tried out Perplexium, a spy-themed, story-based puzzle room, and had a great time. Definitely need to try their new Rogue A.I. room sometime.


                              9. Less Negative - February began with the Iowa caucuses. To my credit, I don't think I wished death on anyone that evening, or even expressed undue glee when Mike Huckabee dropped out, so I think that counts as less negative. But I may have wanted to make this resolution on a year that isn't an election year, as the Bernie/Clinton stuff is making me angry pretty regularly. I also seem to have gotten onto the other side of the Deadpool debate. Not sure how a character I hate so much has become a divisive issue for me, since I shouldn't care. Then Scalia died and I don't know if you can categorize my unequivocal celebration with negativity, but it's probably not in the spirit. Other than trying to stay out of arguments that go nowhere, I may be giving this one up until the election. At which point, if we get Trump, I don't see any point in trying to improve myself or anything else, and if we get Clinton or Sanders, I can revisit.



                              POP CULTURE GOALS:

                              1. Read 15 Books (3)
                              • The Fading Dream (Eberron)
                              2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (21)
                              1. Preacher Book One
                              2. Uncanny Season 2 TP
                              3. Captain America Trial of Captain America Omnibus
                              4. Amulet Vol 7
                              5. The Nameless City Book One
                              6. Graphic Ink: The DC Art of Frank Quitely
                              3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
                              • Rebels Season One
                              4. Play 15 new Boardgames (6)
                              • Machi Koro
                              • Big Book of Madness
                              • Red Flags
                              • Pandemic Legacy
                              5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
                              • Dallas Comic Con (February)
                              • STAPLE! (March)
                              • C2E2 (March)
                              • Heroes Con (June)
                              • Alamo City Con (October)
                              My Picks of the Week For This Month:
                              1. Ms. Marvel #4
                              2. All-New All-Different Avengers #5-6
                              3. Captain America Sam Wilson #6
                              4. Captain Marvel #2
                              5. Power Man & Iron Fist #1
                              6. Avengers Standoff Welcome to Pleasant Hill
                              7. Saga #34
                                  Other Comics I Read This Month (45+51=96):
                                  • Agents of SHIELD #2
                                  • All-New All-Different Avengers #5-6
                                  • All-New Hawkeye #4
                                  • All-New Wolverine #5
                                  • Amazing Spider-Man #7-8
                                  • Astonishing Ant-Man #5
                                  • Avengers Standoff Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1
                                  • Birthright #14
                                  • Captain America Sam Wilson #6
                                  • Captain Marvel #2
                                  • Chew #55
                                  • Daredevil #4
                                  • Darth Vader #16
                                  • Descender #10
                                  • Doctor Strange #5
                                  • Goddamned #3
                                  • Gutter Magic #2
                                  • Hercules #4
                                  • Howard the Duck #4
                                  • Huck #4
                                  • Interceptor #2
                                  • Jughead #4
                                  • Kings Road #1
                                  • Ms. Marvel #4
                                  • Nova #4
                                  • Obi-Wan and Anakin #2
                                  • Paper Girls #5
                                  • Power Man and Iron Fist #1
                                  • Red Wolf #3
                                  • Saga #34
                                  • Scarlet Witch #3
                                  • Sex Criminals #14
                                  • Shaft Imitation of Life #1
                                  • Silk #4-5
                                  • Spider-Man 2099 #6-7
                                  • Spider-Woman #4
                                  • Spidey #3
                                  • Squadron Supreme #4
                                  • Star Wars #16
                                  • Starve #6
                                  • Street Fighter X G.I. Joe #1
                                  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5
                                  • Uncanny X-Men #3
                                  • Usagi Yojimbo #152
                                  • Velvet #13
                                  • Web Warriors #4
                                  • X-Men Worst X-Man Ever #1
                                  TV I Watched This Month:
                                  • 11.22.63 "The Rabbit Hole" "The Kill Floor"
                                  • Agent Carter "Smoke and Mirrors" "The Atomic Job" "Life of the Party" "Monsters"
                                  • Angie Tribeca "The Thumb Affair" "Commissioner Bigfish"
                                  • Animals. "Rats"
                                  • Arrow "Unchained" "Sins of the Father" "Code of Silence" "Vixen"
                                  • Baskets "Trainee"
                                  • Better Call Saul "Switch" "Cobbler"
                                  • Billions "Yum Time" "Short Squeeze"
                                  • Black-ish "Hope"
                                  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "The Cruise" "Karen Peralta" "The 9-8" "House Mouses"
                                  • DC's Legends of Tomorrow "Blood Ties" "White Knights" "Fail-Safe" "Star City 2046"
                                  • Flash "Fast Lane" "Welcome to Earth-2" "Escape from Earth-2" "King Shark"
                                  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee "Episode 1001-1003"
                                  • iZombie "50 Shades of Gray Matter" "Physician, Heal Thy Selfie" "The Whopper"
                                  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs" "Being Frank" "McPoyle vs. Ponderosa: The Trial of the Century" "Charlie Catches A Leprechaun"
                                  • Last Week Tonight With John Oliver "Voting" "Abortion" "Trump"
                                  • Love "It Begins" "One Long Day" "Tested" "Party in the Hills" "The Date" "Andy" "Magic" "Closing Title Song" "The Table Read" "The End of the Beginning"
                                  • Review "Brawl/Blackmail/Gloryhole" "Curing Homosexuality/Mile-High Club" "Falsely Accused/Sleep With Your Teacher/Little Person" "Cult/Perfect Body" "Catfish/Haunted House" "William Tell/Grant a Wish/Rowboat" "Buried Alive/6 Star Review/Public Speaking" "Murder/Magic 8 Ball/Procrastination" "Happiness/Pillow Fight/Imaginary Friend" "Conspiracy Theory"
                                  • Star Wars Rebels "A Princess on Lothal" "The Protector of Concord Dawn" "Legends of Lasat" "The Call"
                                  • Supergirl "Strange Visitor From Another Planet" "Bizarro" "For the Girl Who Has Everything" "Truth, Justice and the American Way"
                                  • Superstore "Magazine Profile" "Shots and Salsa"
                                  • The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story "From the Ashes of Tragedy" "The Run of His Life" "The Dream Team" "100% Not Guilty"
                                  • Togetherness "Hotels" "Everybody is Grownups"
                                  • Vinyl "Pilot"
                                  • X-Files "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster" "Home Again"
                                  Top Ten Shows This Month:
                                  1. Better Call Saul
                                  2. Love
                                  3. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
                                  4. Flash
                                  5. Supergirl
                                  6. Togetherness
                                  7. Billions
                                  8. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
                                  9. The People vs. OJ Simpson
                                  10. 11.22.63
                                  Movies I Watched This Month:
                                  • Batman Dark Knight Returns Part 1 & 2
                                  Places I Ate This Month (22+20=42):
                                  • Brooklyn Pie Company (x2)
                                  • Chi'Lantro
                                  • Fast Furious Japanese Grill
                                  • FD's Grill
                                  • Firehouse Subs
                                  • Fuddrucker's
                                  • Hopdoddy's
                                  • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                                  • KFC (x2)
                                  • Mellow Mushroom
                                  • Michi Ramen
                                  • Popeye's
                                  • Shake Shack
                                  • Smashburger (x2)
                                  • Tarka
                                  • Torchy's Tacos

                                    Monday, February 01, 2016

                                    Monthly Update - January 2016

                                    RESOLUTIONS:

                                    1. Reasonable Bedtime - I did really well with this at first, but then got addicted to Making A Murderer and missed my 1 AM bedtime by first half an hour and then an hour and a half. And I had more than a few nights where I was planning a D&D game, or playing Battlefront, where I stayed up until 2 AM or a little later, but at least I was asleep by 3 AM most of those nights, which is... an incremental improvement. And then new TV started up and I still wanted to play Battlefront and I haven't totally abandoned this but it's more of a 2 AM in bed, asleep by close to 3 AM. And I didn't sleep in past noon on any days, so... making progress. Next month I need to really try to hit that 1 AM bedtime mark. Maybe 1:30 AM, and ease into it. (Most of this update was typed after 1 AM, for the record.)

                                    2. Cook More - Several new recipes for the repertoire getting tried out this month. Chicken Pot Pie Casserole (which I wasn't crazy about), Shrimp and Cheesy Grits (which turned out pretty great, and were really easy), Red Beans & Rice (needs a thicker consistency and maybe ham hock instead of sausage, but a pretty tasty first attempt), Sweet & Salty Chicken Thighs (delicious and easy, paired nicely with soy-sauce and Asian spiced Brussels Sprouts), Panko Breaded Asparagus (turned out great, and really easy) and Fried Rice (three times, still adjusting the spice/flavor but pretty happy so far)... and a few more other recipes added to the try out list, including Curried Fried Chicken, Bacon & Egg Ramen and another new recipe for chicken thighs. I've also done pretty good in terms of cooking at home instead of going out to eat. My goal for the year was 12 new recipes... I'm already almost halfway there.

                                    3. Exercise - I dragged the elliptical into the office the first Monday and managed 0.8 of a mile, then 1 mile even the next, then 1.2 miles the next and then, uh, 0.7 of a mile. Slow and mostly steady. Probably ought to add a midweek treadmill run, or even do a short run every day, since I'm keeping it in the office again.


                                    4. No Cancer - Had my first CT scan early in January, and it was clear. So I'm good on this until April, at least. 


                                    5. Halloween Costume - Costume ideas: Green Arrow (Etsy-made costume available for a couple hundred bucks), which would work well with a Flash/Black Canary/etc. etc. theme - Dead of Winter costumes with everyone dressed as one of those characters - King of Tokyo kaiju (maybe hard to find/make, but Aaron would love this)... more to come, but that's three good ideas, one with an actual source.


                                    6. Spend More Time With My Kids - I played several hours of Plants vs. Zombies 2: Garden Warfare, Battlefront and Mass Effect 2 with Aaron, and watched Supergirl and Agent Carter with Katy. Also made a list of older Youtube videos that Aaron greatly enjoyed. Katy finished Firefly, so I got to watch Serenity with her for the first time, and see her reactions to some of the big moments in that movie, which was a lot of fun.


                                    7. Stay on budget. I bought Angie Tribeca Season One on iTunes. Ate at Texas Roadhouse, but I mostly paid with a gift certificate. So... three dinners (two Sushi Nini and one Jack Allen) for the month. This budget thing is gonna be easy... which probably means I gave myself too much of a budget. Next year I definitely need to include lunches.


                                    8. Try New Things. I didn't get to anything in January, but I've got a puzzle room challenge and the new archery range near the store for February. And I guess, if you count planning, I made flight and hotel reservations for Heroes Con in January.


                                    9. Less Negative - This one was hard. Especially since people kept dying those first two weeks. And I had to resist posting something snarky or negative at least twice a day. That said, I think I'm managing. I mean, yes, I might have wished cancer on the GOP Presidential candidates, but that was in mourning for Rickman, Bowie and more and, though sincere, mostly there for comedic effect. And yes, I might have gone on a mini-rant about someone trying to get a PG-13 Deadpool, but that was mostly tied to finding the Deadpool response to the asinine idea hilarious. I griped a bit about all the "comics are dying" articles, which have been a pet peeve of mine for at least a decade. And I might have, at the eleventh hour, accused Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel, of being a vampire. I like to think my negativity was also leavened with comedy.



                                    POP CULTURE GOALS:

                                    1. Read 15 Books (2)
                                    • Eberron: Son of Khyber
                                    • Star Wars Before The Awakening
                                    2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (15)
                                    1. Green Arrow Vol 4: Blood of the Dragon TP
                                    2. Fatale Vol 1-2 HC
                                    3. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 HC
                                    4. Hawkeye Vol 2 HC
                                    5. Starve Vol 1 TP
                                    6. Ciudad HC
                                    7. Pathfinder Vol 4 Origins
                                    8. Grayson Vol 1-2 TP
                                    9. 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man
                                    10. Revival Vol 3 HC
                                    11. Dark Night: A True Batman Story
                                    12. Captain America: Scourge of the Underworld\
                                    13. Double D
                                    14. Zenith Phase Four
                                    15. Strongman 
                                    3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
                                    • Running Scared
                                    • Ant-Man
                                    • Agent Carter Season One
                                    4. Play 15 new Boardgames (4)
                                    • T.I.M.E. Stories (1)
                                    • T.I.M.E. Stories: Marcy Case (2)
                                    • 7 Wonders (3)
                                    • Star Wars Armada (4)
                                    • DC Deck-Building
                                    • Dead of Winter
                                    • Machi Koro
                                    5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
                                    • Dallas Comic Con (February)
                                    • STAPLE! (March)
                                    • Heroes Con (June)
                                    • Alamo City Con (October)
                                    My Picks of the Week For This Month:
                                    1. Captain America Sam Wilson #5
                                    2. Amazing Spider-Man #6
                                    3. Captain Marvel #1
                                    4. Ms. Marvel #3
                                    5. Spider-Woman #3
                                    6. All New All Different Avengers #4
                                    7. Interceptor #1
                                    8. Gutter Magic #1
                                        Other Comics I Read This Month (45):
                                        • Agents of SHIELD #1
                                        • All New All Different Avengers #3-4
                                        • All-New Hawkeye #3
                                        • All-New Wolverine #4
                                        • Amazing Spider-Man #6
                                        • Astonishing Ant-Man #4
                                        • Astro City #31
                                        • Beauty #6
                                        • Birthright #13
                                        • Captain America Sam Wilson #5
                                        • Captain Marvel #1
                                        • Cry Havoc #1
                                        • Daredevil #3
                                        • Darth Vader #15
                                        • Descender #9
                                        • Devolution #1
                                        • Doctor Strange #4
                                        • Grayson #16
                                        • Gutter Magic #1
                                        • Hercules #3
                                        • Huck #3
                                        • Interceptor #1
                                        • Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #3
                                        • Ms. Marvel #3
                                        • Nova #3
                                        • Obi-Wan & Anakin #1
                                        • Paper Girls #4
                                        • Red Wolf #2
                                        • Saga #33
                                        • Scarlet Witch #2
                                        • Silk #3
                                        • Spider-Woman #3
                                        • Spidey #2
                                        • Squadron Supreme #3
                                        • Star Wars #14-15
                                        • Symmetry #2
                                        • The Fade Out #12
                                        • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4
                                        • Uncanny X-Men #1-2
                                        • Usagi Yojimbo #151
                                        • Violent #2
                                        • Web Warriors #3
                                        TV I Watched This Month:
                                        • Agent Carter "The Lady in the Lake" "A View in the Dark" "Better Angels"
                                        • Angie Tribeca "Pilot" "The Wedding Planner Did It" "The Famous Ventriloquist Did It"
                                        • Arrow "Blood Debts" "A.W.O.L."
                                        • Baskets "Pilot (Renoir)"
                                        • Billions "Pilot" "Naming Rights"
                                        • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "9 Days"
                                        • Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life "Pilot"
                                        • DC's Legends of Tomorrow "Pilot Part 1" "Pilot Part 2"
                                        • Flash "Potential Energy" "The Reverse Flash Returns"
                                        • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo" "Frank Falls Out The Window" "The Gang Hits The Slopes" "Dee Made A Smut Film"
                                        • iZombie "Method Head"
                                        • Mad Dogs "Xtabai" "Well" "Flares" "Hat" "Leslie"
                                        • Making A Murderer "Season One"
                                        • Man Seeking Woman "Wings"
                                        • Man in the High Castle "End of the World" "Kindness" "A Way Out"
                                        • Scream Queens "Ghost Story"
                                        • Supergirl "Hostile Takeover" "Blood Bonds" "Childish Things"
                                        • Superstore "Pilot"
                                        • Telenovela "Pilot"
                                        • The Magicians "Pilot"
                                        • Transparent "Kina Hora" "Flicky-Flicky-Thump-Thump"
                                        • X-Files "My Struggle" "Founder's Mutation"
                                        Top Ten Shows This Month:
                                        1. Angie Tribeca
                                        2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
                                        3. Flash
                                        4. Agent Carter
                                        5. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
                                        6. Supergirl
                                        7. Arrow
                                        8. DC's Legends of Tomorrow
                                        9. Billions
                                        10. Mad Dogs
                                        Movies I Watched This Month:
                                        • Ant-Man
                                        • Bad Words
                                        • Hateful Eight
                                        • Running Scared
                                        • Serenity
                                        • What We Do In The Shadows
                                        Places I Ate This Month (22):
                                        • Chi'Lantro (x2)
                                        • Chuy's
                                        • Fogo de Chao
                                        • Fuddruckers
                                        • Hopdoddy
                                        • Hoodie's Subs
                                        • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                                        • Juarez Mexican Bakery
                                        • La Barbecue
                                        • New Fortune
                                        • PizzaRev
                                        • Popeye's
                                        • Shake Shack
                                        • Sushi Nini
                                        • Tarka
                                        • Texas Roadhouse
                                        • Thai Spoon
                                        • Torchy's (x2)
                                        • Wendy's
                                        • Whataburger

                                          Friday, January 01, 2016

                                          New Year's Resolutions - 2016 Edition

                                          2015 was a pretty good year. No big weddings, but two of my best friends had new babies. No new car, but I am still driving (and loving) my Mustang. And there was no chemo, even if there was a surgery.

                                          Time for 2016 resolutions, and time to check in on last year.

                                          Last year's resolutions:

                                          1. No cancer. SO... CLOSE. But then I had stupid cancer in October that we had to take out. Still, like... 75% no cancer.

                                          2. Read books. Last year I posted a picture of all the novels I had. Most of those novels are still there. But I did read over 20 books. And I read a total of 134 books including graphic novels. I also bought a lot of new books, including a couple of trips to Half Price Books and a fair number of Kindle purchases.

                                          3. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Last year I posted a picture of all the Blurays and DVDs I had, and made an additional list of DVDs not pictured. I, uh... didn't watch most of them. But I did cut down on my buying, even though I did break on a few movies and TV shows.

                                          4. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I just barely managed this.

                                          5. 12 More Boardgames. This one I totally nailed, I actually played 36 new games:

                                          1. Age of War
                                          2. Bang!
                                          3. Batman Love Letter
                                          4. Betrayal at House on the Hill
                                          5. Biblios
                                          6. Castles of Mad King Ludwig
                                          7. Cinelinks
                                          8. Codenames
                                          9. Concept
                                          10. Cthulhu Wars
                                          11. DC Deckbuilding Game
                                          12. Dead of Winter
                                          13. Diamonsters
                                          14. Dixit
                                          15. Double Feature
                                          16. Epic
                                          17. Epic Spell Wars
                                          18. Exploding Kittens
                                          19. Formula D
                                          20. Geek Out
                                          21. Imperial Assault
                                          22. Jaipur
                                          23. Just Desserts
                                          24. Loonacy
                                          25. Lords of Waterdeep
                                          26. Lost Legacy the Starship
                                          27. Machi Koro
                                          28. Mars Attacks Dice Game
                                          29. Red Dragon Inn
                                          30. Red Flags
                                          31. Roll for the Galaxy
                                          32. Sheriff of Nottingham
                                          33. Star Realms
                                          34. Takenoko
                                          35. The Captain is Dead
                                          36. X-COM Boardgame
                                          6. Get below 190 lbs. Uh... 204. Moving on...

                                          7. Travel. Pretty good, actually. I didn't get out to New Orleans, Emerald City or Heroes, but I did take us all on a big Disney World trip, and we had a trip to San Francisco, and I had a couple smaller trips to San Antonio and other Texas local places.

                                          8. Instagram - I abandoned this pretty early, but I still got over 300 pictures, so almost one a day.

                                          9. Cook! I got to 10 new recipes, so not exactly one a month, but not bad.

                                          10. NaNoWriMo - Abandoned this one. Not sure what I was thinking.

                                          Also, less a resolution and more a plan, I got to eat at pretty much all the restaurants I was trying to get to, except for Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co., and Texas Chili Parlor. The first two because they were expensive, the third because I decided it wasn't that important and the fourth just because time didn't work out.

                                          By The Numbers:

                                          1. I read almost 500 single-issue comics this year. Well, I'm sure I read a few more than that, but I read and liked that many.

                                          2. I ate at 56 different restaurants this year. On average, I ate out about 20 times a month, which means roughly 1/3 of my meals were out. My favorites, the ones I went to at least a half-dozen times, were Chi'Lantro, Chuy's, Hoody's Subs, Kerbey Lane, Mambo House, Michi Ramen, Noble Sandwich, Peached Tortilla, PizzaRev, Popeye's, Smashburger, Sushi Nini and Torchy's Tacos.

                                          Chuy's, Torchy's, Michi, PizzaRev, Sushi Nini and Noble were all on last year's list too.

                                          This Year's Resolutions:

                                          1. Reasonable Bedtime. For a while there in 2015, I was getting to bed by midnight, waking up around 10 AM. Then Battlefront came out and I backslid to 3 or 4 AM again. So my plan is, in bed by 12:30, asleep by 1:30, up by 11:00 at the latest. I know to most people this sounds like a crazy schedule, but I'm on a night owl schedule.

                                          2. Cook More - I did OK learning a few new recipes in 2015, but I slacked off as always toward the end of the year. This year I resolve to learn to cook 12 new recipes... possibly one per month, probably I'll knock that out in the first six months and then fall again into bad eating-out patterns by the end of the year.

                                          3. Exercise - For real. I make this one every year, and every year I fail. I think maybe I'll make Monday an exercise day. So that means at least a two-mile walk, or a mile on the elliptical, or even joining a gym if I get real ambitious.

                                          4. No Cancer - Maybe this will be the year. First CT scan since the surgery is next week.

                                          5. Halloween Costume - Every year, I promise myself I'm going to do a Halloween costume, and every year I fail. This year I have a plan. A goal each month, small and getting bigger, ending in a complete Halloween costume by the end of September. Goal One: Come up with five options for what I'm going to dress up as for Halloween. At least one of these will be a family option I can drag my kids (and possibly my wife) into. Another will be an option I can drag my friends into.

                                          6. Spend More Time With My Kids - My goal is to spend at least one day a week either gaming or watching movies with Aaron and one day a week gaming or watching TV with Katy. That's because those are things they enjoy and I enjoy doing with them. If we can think up some actual activities to do, so much the better.

                                          7. Stay on budget. I'm allocating myself enough money to buy one videogame bimonthly, one TV season per month and two dinners out per week. Not necessarily broken down by those units, but what that means is 6 videogames in a year, 12 TV seasons in a year and 104 dinners in a year. That last one is gonna be the tricky one, and even then I'm cheating by not including lunches. Next year we'll try to scale it back further.

                                          8. Try New Things. I'm going to try at least one new thing each month of 2016. It may be big (like indoor skydiving) or small (like a food I haven't eaten before). I will no doubt be crowdsourcing some ideas on Facebook.

                                          9. Less Negative - I am going to try really, really hard to present a more positive Facebook profile. This probably means me occasionally deleting posts when I decide they're only adding to the negativity of conversation. I will not be going all Pollyanna or stepping back on talking about legit social/political issues that piss me off, but I'm going to do my part to stop the spread of useless click-bait and rage-posting. And I'll try to stop wishing death on my political enemies, but I can't help but feel the planet would be better off without Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Dick Cheney and so many others so no promises there.

                                          I am also going to do my damndest to not post about Deadpool, Superman vs. Batman or any other pop culture thing I hate. If someone *else* posts about it on my page, I will damn sure unleash every bit of venom I've been saving, but I'm going to try really hard not to take potshots for no good reason.

                                          This Year's Pop Culture Goals:

                                          1. Read 15 new books. Book books, without pictures. Specifically, the 15 books I already bought in the last few years, pictured below. If I finish those, I''ll allow myself to buy some new books, maybe finish up the trilogies I started or continued reading this year, notably The Expanse series and Newsflesh trilogy.


                                          2. Read 100 new graphic novels. Easy. The plan is to read all of the ones in these pictures first. So that's 45, which means if I read 3-4 a week, and keep adding at the rate I've been doing, I'll have them all read in maybe four months.




                                          3. Catch up on my TV and movie Blu-Rays and DVDs. Pictured below are 6 seasons of TV on DVD and about 30 seasons of TV on Bluray (I've watched some of the Clone Wars). Throw in 10 movies and the DVDs not pictured (including Space: Above and Beyond, Max Headroom and Wonderfalls) and it seems unlikely that I'll get through all of it. But the goal is to watch at least one movie a month and if possible, a TV season each week. There is almost no way I'll hit that goal. But I'll be tracking it here.




                                          4. Play 15 new boardgames. On the list from last year: 7 Wonders, Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures, Gloom, Splendor, Terror in Meeple City. Considering that my list last year had 20 games on it, and I only dropped a couple, that's not bad for 2015. Adding to the list for this year: TIME Stories, Isle of Skye, Star Trek 5 Year Mission, Portal Boardgame, Monarch, Above & Below, Mysterium, Mafia De Cuba, Legends of Andor, Welcome to the Dungeon and Sapiens. Also have two games coming from Kickstarter, On The Air and Posthuman.

                                          5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions. Really want to go to Heroes Con this year. Also considering Emerald City or possibly Wonder Con. Will probably go back to Alamo City Con and will possibly exhibit at Wizard World Austin, will definitely be at STAPLE! This is all contingent on not having to spend money on cancer.

                                          Monthly Update - December 2015

                                          LISTS:

                                          Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                          December 2nd (All New All Different Avengers, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Paper Girls, Spidey, Star Wars)

                                          Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                          1. Amazing Spider-Man #4
                                          2. All New All Different Avengers #2
                                          3. The Goddamned #2
                                          4. Daredevil #1
                                          5. Ms. Marvel #2
                                                                                                                      Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                      • All New All Different Avengers #2
                                                                                                                      • All New Hawkeye #2
                                                                                                                      • All New Wolverine #3
                                                                                                                      • Amazing Spider-Man #4-5
                                                                                                                      • Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #8
                                                                                                                      • Birthright #12
                                                                                                                      • Black Magick #3
                                                                                                                      • Chew #53
                                                                                                                      • Daredevil #1-2
                                                                                                                      • Darth Vader #14
                                                                                                                      • Darth Vader Annual #1
                                                                                                                      • Doctor Strange #3
                                                                                                                      • Goddamned #2
                                                                                                                      • Hercules #2
                                                                                                                      • Huck #2
                                                                                                                      • Illuminati #2
                                                                                                                      • James Bond #2-3
                                                                                                                      • Jughead #3
                                                                                                                      • Kanan the Last Padawan #9
                                                                                                                      • Klaus #2
                                                                                                                      • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2
                                                                                                                      • Ms. Marvel #2
                                                                                                                      • Paper Girls #3
                                                                                                                      • Plutona #3
                                                                                                                      • Rat Queens #14
                                                                                                                      • Red Wolf #1
                                                                                                                      • Rocketeer At War #1
                                                                                                                      • Saga #32
                                                                                                                      • Silk #2
                                                                                                                      • Spider-Man 2099 #4
                                                                                                                      • Spider-Woman #2
                                                                                                                      • Spidey #1
                                                                                                                      • Star Trek Green Lantern #6
                                                                                                                      • Star Wars #13
                                                                                                                      • Symmetry #1
                                                                                                                      • The Beauty #5
                                                                                                                      • Totally Awesome Hulk #1
                                                                                                                      • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3
                                                                                                                      • Violent #1
                                                                                                                      • We Stand on Guard #6
                                                                                                                      • Web Warriors #2
                                                                                                                      Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                      • Unity Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                      • Mae
                                                                                                                      • Private Eye HC
                                                                                                                      • Star Wars Adventures Omnibus
                                                                                                                      • Crogan Adventures: Last of the Legion
                                                                                                                      • Kaptara Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                      • Rat Queens Vol 1 HC

                                                                                                                      TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                      This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year. Last month I gave up on posting thoughts on each episodes, for the last two months this will probably just be a list.
                                                                                                                      • Supergirl "Red-Faced" "Human for a Day"
                                                                                                                      • Man in the High Castle "Sunrise" "The Illustrated Woman" "Revelations" "The New Normal"
                                                                                                                      • Fargo "Loplop" "The Castle" "Palindrome"
                                                                                                                      • Flash "Legends of Today" "Running to Stand Still"
                                                                                                                      • Rebels "Blood Sisters" "Stealth Strike" "The Future of the Force" "Legacy"
                                                                                                                      • The Leftovers "International Assassin" "Ten Thirteen" "I Live Here Now"
                                                                                                                      • Arrow "Legends of Yesterday" "Dark Waters"
                                                                                                                      • You're The Worst "Other Things You Could Be Doing" "Heart is a Dumb-Dumb, The"
                                                                                                                      • Casual "Dave"
                                                                                                                      • Agents of SHIELD "Closure" "Maveth"
                                                                                                                      Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                      1. Fargo
                                                                                                                      2. You're The Worst
                                                                                                                      3. The Flash
                                                                                                                      4. The Leftovers
                                                                                                                      5. Supergirl
                                                                                                                        Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                        • Star Wars A New Hope
                                                                                                                        • Star Wars The Force Awakens x2
                                                                                                                        • Die Hard
                                                                                                                        • The Ref
                                                                                                                        • Hateful Eight
                                                                                                                        Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                        • Olive Garden
                                                                                                                        • Popeye's x2
                                                                                                                        • Patrizi's
                                                                                                                        • Torchy's Tacos x2
                                                                                                                        • Hoody's Subs
                                                                                                                        • Mighty Fine Burgers
                                                                                                                        • Wingstop
                                                                                                                        • Smashburger
                                                                                                                        • Michi Ramen
                                                                                                                        • Chi'Lantro
                                                                                                                        • Potbelly
                                                                                                                        • Alamo Drafthouse

                                                                                                                        Monday, December 28, 2015

                                                                                                                        Best of 2015 - Graphic Novels

                                                                                                                        Last year I noted that I had a hard time coming up with even a top 8 for best original graphic novel. This year? I have six. Several of which I merely liked, and wouldn't necessarily have put on a more competitive best of.

                                                                                                                        1. Rutabaga Adventure Chef
                                                                                                                        2. Space Dumplings
                                                                                                                        3. Sexcastle
                                                                                                                        4. Our Expanding Universe
                                                                                                                        5. Two Brothers
                                                                                                                        6. Fall of the House of West

                                                                                                                        A lot of the collected editions I bought this year are collections of series mentioned in my other Best of posts (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Descender, Birthright, etc.) but here's a list of my favorite collected editions not otherwise mentioned:

                                                                                                                        1. Graphic Ink: DC Comics Darwyn Cooke HC
                                                                                                                        2. Private Eye HC
                                                                                                                        3. Ms Marvel Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                        4. Rat Queens Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                        5. Big Hard Sex Criminals HC
                                                                                                                        6. Spider-Verse HC
                                                                                                                        7. Grendel vs. Shadow HC
                                                                                                                        8. Avatar The Rift Library Edition
                                                                                                                        9. Astro City Private Lives / Lovers Quarrel HC
                                                                                                                        10. Absolute Green Arrow HC
                                                                                                                        11. Absolute Transmet Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                        12. BPRD 1946-1948 HC
                                                                                                                        13. Star Wars: The Marvel Covers HC
                                                                                                                        14. Suicide Squad Vol 1-2 TP
                                                                                                                        15. Birds of Prey Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                        16. Robin Vol 1: Reborn TP
                                                                                                                        17. Black Panther by Priest Complete Collection Vol 1-2 TP
                                                                                                                        18. Bandette Vol 2 HC
                                                                                                                        19. Sixth Gun Vol 2/Vol 3 HC
                                                                                                                        20. Crogan Adventures: Catfoot's Vengeance
                                                                                                                        21. Usagi Yojimbo Senso HC
                                                                                                                        22. D&D Legends of Baldur's Gate TP
                                                                                                                        23. Southern Bastards Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                        24. Wayward Vol 1 HC

                                                                                                                        Best of 2015 - Top 10 Ongoing Comics

                                                                                                                        Last year, Image had 7 of my top 10 in this category, with Archie Comics sneaking one in and Marvel claiming the other two.

                                                                                                                        This year, despite Marvel making a pretty strong showing (they've got 4), Image maintains the other 6 spots. So they're still my favorite publisher, especially when you consider that three that just missed the cut are also Image again. There are four superhero books (up from 2 last year), 4 sci-fi fantasy (down from 6), 1 crime (Fade Out replacing Velvet) and Sex Criminals taking over from Chew in the hard-to-quantify category that definitely includes humor.

                                                                                                                        Last year I also noted the "appeals to women" in my top 10, and the same is true here. Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman and Lazarus join Saga, Rat Queens and Sex Criminals as books with either strong female leads or a strong female following. There's only one book written by a woman on the list (Ms. Marvel), and two that feature female artists, and I could do better in terms of diversity (Ms. Marvel and arguably Saga are the only two featuring non-white leads), but I still feel like the market is moving in the right direction on that score.

                                                                                                                        Last year, only one of the series in my top 13 published 12 issues. This year, none of them did. The monthly grind doesn't seem to benefit the kind of comics I like.

                                                                                                                        1. Ms. Marvel #11-19/#1-2 (Last year: #1 on my new series)
                                                                                                                        Ms. Marvel was my favorite new series last year, but it got even better this year. After finishing up the Inventor story and a one-shot with Loki, there was a three-parter that featured Kamala's crush on another Inhuman with art by Takeshi Miyazawa and a fantastic Last Days arc that saw her meet her idol, deal with the end of the world and have a really sweet relationship change with one of her parents. The first two issues of the new series have done some interesting stuff with gentrification, but in that Ms. Marvel superhero way, and I expect this to remain high in my favorites next year as well.

                                                                                                                        2. Spider-Woman #5-9/#1-2 (Last year not on my list)
                                                                                                                        The first four issues of Spider-Woman were fun enough, a Spider-Verse tie-in, but the series really became what it was meant to be when Javier Rodriguez took over on art and the new costume and direction were set. Ben Urich as supporting cast and the C-list villain story that started the first arc were good enough, but the 8 months later relaunch with Porcupine as her new ally and Jess pregnant (!) has been even better.

                                                                                                                        3. Saga #25-32 (Last year: #1 and the year before that)
                                                                                                                        Still great, this was my favorite series for the last two years. As the story goes on and the characters age and change, I continue to be surprised by every arc and continue to love Vaughan's exceptional dialogue and Staples' beautiful artwork.

                                                                                                                        4. Birthright #4-12 (Last year: #2 on my series too new to judge list)
                                                                                                                        Last year, this was off to a strong start, but I wasn't sure if it could maintain. As it turns out, it's right behind Saga and Descender as my most-recommended Image series. Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas are giving me the modern urban fantasy I didn't know I wanted. The big twist at the end of issue one is but one of the twists and turns in this series, where the bad guys are really bad and the heroes are all kinds of messed up too. The flashbacks to Mikey's time in the fantasy world, and how those are following him into our world, are great, as are seeing him adjust to his family and his new life.

                                                                                                                        5. Rat Queens #9-14 (Last year #9)
                                                                                                                        The artistic turmoil of this book is unfortunate, but throughout the brief tenure of Stepjan Sejic and the newly-added Tess Fowler, the book has continued to look great and, just as importantly, Kurtis Wiebe has done a great job blending D&D tropes with feminist thought into a kickass, fun-as-hell, dirty-as-hell comic series. Pitting them against their world's equivalent of Cthulhu early on, delving further into the backstories of the characters and heading into the necromantic backstory of Hannah in particular has made this a fantastic read. I'd love it if it could get on a more consistent schedule, but even with the turmoil, they only produced 2 or 3 less issues than most of my favorites this year.

                                                                                                                        6. The Fade Out #4-11 (Last year: #11 on my series too new to judge list)
                                                                                                                        Last year Fatale was #8 on my list. And I loved Fatale, a mix of supernatural and the noir that Brubaker and Phillips do so well. But this is my favorite project they've done since Criminal. Pure noir, untouched by any other genres, just a '50s murder mystery set against the backdrop of communist-hunting Hollywood. It's set to wrap with issue 12, which means technically it could go in the miniseries category, but it belongs here, among my top 10 reads of the year.

                                                                                                                        7. Amazing Spider-Man #12-18/#1-6 (Last year: #5 on my new series)
                                                                                                                        I know a lot of people swore off Spider-Man after One More Day, and a lot of those who stuck around swore off after Superior Spider-Man. But Superior turned out to be a pretty great limited run, and set up what Slott has been doing with Amazing, which lives up to its sobriquet quite nicely. The finale of Spider-Verse and the fallout contained herein was solid enough, but the relaunch, with Peter at the head of an international company and yet still remaining himself, teamed with one of my favorite SHIELD agents, running a squad of Spider-agents including Prowler, Spider-Man 2099 and others? It sounds, like Superior or Spider-Verse, like a terrible idea, but the execution is somehow exactly what I want from the character. It's fun and lively and just about makes me forget how much I'd prefer him married to Mary Jane.

                                                                                                                        8. Sex Criminals #10-13 (Last year #2)
                                                                                                                        Only four issues this year, which would disqualify most series. But Sex Criminals isn't most series. Fraction and Zdarsky put out a book that's as full of serious thought about depression, sex and relationships as it is hilariously dirty and funny and weird.

                                                                                                                        9. Daredevil #12-18 (Last year #3)
                                                                                                                        Mark Waid closes out his run with longtime artist Chris Samnee in fine style, returning to the Kingpin, Ikari, the question of Matt's not-so-secret identity and Foggy's faked death, and serves up a fine cap to what has become one of the best runs on a character known for great runs.

                                                                                                                        10. Lazarus #14-21 (Last year: Just outside the top 10)
                                                                                                                        Greg Rucka is the king of the slow burn. I quite liked Lazarus, but it didn't make the top 10 last year. This year it squeaks in at the 10 spot, largely on the strength of the world-building being done here, which is best observed in the longform of the gorgeous hardcover that they produced this year. The artwork by Michael Lark is beautiful and realistic, giving a nice depth to Rucka's dystopian sci-fi future.

                                                                                                                        Just outside the top 10 this year that were inside the top 10 last year were Velvet #9-12 (Last year #5, and largely missing the top 10 because there were only four issues this year) and Chew #46-51 (Last year #4). There were five more that didn't quite make the cut: Usagi Yojimbo #145-150, Storm #7-12, Copperhead #6-10, Grayson #8-14 and Superior Iron Man #4-8.

                                                                                                                        Best of 2015 - Comics Miniseries

                                                                                                                        I didn't have this category last year, but there were a lot of miniseries this year, in no small part due to Marvel's Secret Wars event.

                                                                                                                        In fact, more than half of the series on this list came from Marvel's Secret Wars event, even though I wound up souring on the main event before the end. The rest are all Marvel too, with the notable exception of We Stand on Guard, another great Brian K. Vaughan book with fantastic art by Steve Skroce.

                                                                                                                        Best Miniseries:
                                                                                                                        1. Civil War #1-5
                                                                                                                        2. Spider-Island #1-5
                                                                                                                        3. We Stand on Guard #1-6
                                                                                                                        4. Shield (The Cavalry, Mockingbird, Quake, Agent Carter)
                                                                                                                        5. Runaways #1-4
                                                                                                                        6. Thors #1-4
                                                                                                                        7. 1872 #1-4
                                                                                                                        8. Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #1-5
                                                                                                                        9. Star Wars Journey to Force Awakens #1-4
                                                                                                                        10. Avengers: Ultron Forever (Avengers #1, New Avengers #1, Uncanny Avengers #1)

                                                                                                                        Just missing the cut are five more Secret Wars tie-ins (Planet Hulk, Captain Britain & Mighty Defenders, Infinity Gauntlet, Future Imperfect and Squadron Sinister), Princess Leia, Star Trek Green Lantern and two Image books, Airboy and Chrononauts.

                                                                                                                        Best of 2015 - Top 10 New Comics

                                                                                                                        Best New Series:
                                                                                                                        Marvel has eight of my top 10 (up from six last year), Image has one and Archie has one as well. This year, none of them are in any danger of cancellation, which is nice.

                                                                                                                        Five of them are superhero books, although three of those fall much more comfortably into humor comic territory. Four of the remaining are sci-fi (three of them Star Wars) and the last one is Archie, which qualifies as... humor? slice-of-life? I note that four of my books are notably humorous, with Silk and Captain America also having something of a humorous tone, or at least a bit of snark thrown in the mix.

                                                                                                                        1. Star Wars #1-13/Annual #1
                                                                                                                        I was more than a little skeptical about Marvel taking Star Wars back from Dark Horse, who have done well by the property for over 20 years. I needn't have worried. Jason Aaron, along with artists John Cassaday, Stuart Immonen and others, have created a Star Wars comic that feels like the Star Wars movies. The Dark Horse books, while great, always had a bit of an expanded universe feel to them, but somehow this big return feels like the story that took place between New Hope and Empire. Luke going off to find out more about being a Jedi, Chewie and C3PO teaming up, Han and Leia having misadventures with an old flame of Han and so much more. Amazing stuff, funny and clever and exciting... I hope we get a hardcover collection in 2016.

                                                                                                                        2. Darth Vader #1-14/Vader Down #1/Annual #1
                                                                                                                        Arguably better than the main Star Wars book is Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca's Darth Vader. It features Vader being the taciturn badass we all know him as, but it also introduces a stellar supporting cast, including rogue archaeologist Dr. Aphra, the protocol droid with a flair for torture Triple Zero and the homicidal R2 unit Beetee. It's funnier than it has any right to be, but it also shows Vader being clever, avoiding the bureaucracy of the Empire to cover for his own goals, and clears up a few things, like how and when he learned about Luke but not about Leia.

                                                                                                                        3. Descender #1-8
                                                                                                                        A beautifully realized science-fiction world courtesy of Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen and Image Comics. Epic sci-fi is a rarity in comics, but Descender does some amazing world-building, reminiscent of that done in the Mass Effect universe, and features a lot of great characters, notably supporting cast member Driller the robot. It's also got a lot of twists and turns and mysteries, and I can't wait to keep exploring this universe in years to come.

                                                                                                                        4. Howard the Duck #1-5/#1-2
                                                                                                                        Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones take a pinch of Soule's She-Hulk, a healthy dollop of the Gerber Howard the Duck and more than a little of their own style and create a funny detective comic set square in the weird part of the Marvel Universe. Making fun of the heroes and villains while also making great use of them, introducing a new supporting character who's a great addition and running a goofy version of the Infinity Gauntlet story for its opener, this was a favorite. The relaunch so far has been pretty good as well, save a very weird second issue that might make more sense in context of the whole run.

                                                                                                                        5. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1-5/#1-3
                                                                                                                        Ryan North and Erica Henderson take a goofy one-joke character and, while still remaining true to her one-joke nature, turn her into one of the most endearing new characters at Marvel. Bonus points for the Twitter style recap page and footnotes that make this a denser-than-usual funnybook.

                                                                                                                        6. Ant-Man #1-5, Annual #1, Larger Than Life #1/Astonishing Ant-Man #1-3
                                                                                                                        Scott Lang has always been my favorite Ant-Man, and I'm glad to see him getting the spotlight in the movies. Nick Spencer's take is closer to the movie take, a bit of a smartass screw-up, than the comics take, but has comics continuity built in as well, and it reminds me pleasantly of what Spencer did on Superior Foes of Spider-Man. No Steve Lieber here, sadly, but the artwork on the series has been pretty solid as well.

                                                                                                                        7. Captain America Sam Wilson #1-4 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        This was a latecomer that almost went in the "too new to judge" list, but with four issues in, and a general record of liking Nick Spencer's stuff at Marvel (Ant-Man, Superior Foes) I think it's fair to put this in the top ten. Sam Wilson makes a very different and very interesting Cap, more overtly political and socially conscious than Steve Rogers, a black man from the '70s rather than a white man from the '40s, and I love that Spencer has taken things in that direction. What I love even more is that his touchstone seems to be the '80s Gruenwald Cap, which remains my favorite take on the character. Cap-Wolf, D-Man, the Serpent Society, Diamondback all make appearances in the first four issues. Throw in Misty Knight as one of his new supporting cast and great art by Daniel Acuna and you've got a great new Captain America book.

                                                                                                                        8. Archie #1-4
                                                                                                                        Last time Archie made my top ten, it was a full-on zombie book with gorgeous Francavilla art. This time? Mark Waid delivering a note-perfect modern take on the teens of Riverdale with beautiful art, first by Fiona Staples and then by Annie Wu. The reinvention of Jughead as the smarter-than-everybody narrator, a more sophisticated take on Betty and Veronica and his hapless-yet-noble Archie are all terrific.

                                                                                                                        9. Silk #1-7/#1-2
                                                                                                                        The Spider-verse (not the crossover, the editorial group) is, all told, probably my favorite thing at Marvel right now that didn't spring from a Lucasfilm property. Silk, the girl who was bitten by the same spider as Peter Parker but then locked in a vault for a decade or so, is a character I didn't know I wanted, but like Spider-Verse, Superior Spider-Man or Parker Industries or Spider-Gwen or any of the other curveballs Dan Slott and crew have thrown out, it turns out it's exactly what the Spider-Man universe needed to keep it fresh. A clever use of J. Jonah Jameson and Black Cat, strong writing from Supernatural's Robbie Thompson and fresh, fun artwork from Stacey Lee have made this a must-read. And the "eight months later" relaunch, bringing in Silk's lost brother as part of the Goblin Nation (another great Slott invention), Black Cat as her new "boss" and Mockingbird as her new partner or sorts, has only made me love it more.

                                                                                                                        10. Kanan the Last Padawan #1-9
                                                                                                                        I love Rebels, and I love Greg Weisman's work. So this prequel to Rebels by Greg Weisman is, no surprise, a real favorite. Showing off the early days of Kanan when he was a padawan, post-Order 66, becoming the more jaded man that Kanan will eventually become, is rich story material. The series is ending at issue 12, which is probably OK, as I'm not sure how much prologue I really want, but I'd love to see more of the Rebels universe in comic book form and hope Weisman will be back for that.

                                                                                                                        Just outside the top 10 is the Image book Beauty and the Marvel books Spider-Gwen and Agents of SHIELD.

                                                                                                                        New Series That Are Too New To Judge:
                                                                                                                        These series are not quite far enough for me to judge them Best New Series yet, but I really like them all, and I can see any of them making my Best Continuing Series next year. Because I don't think it's fair to compare a single issue or a two- or three-issue run to the more extended runs above, I'm ranking these separately. Last year, two of the 17 series (Birthright and Fade Out) on this list made my Best Continuing Series.
                                                                                                                        1. Daredevil #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        2. All New All Different Avengers #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        3. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        4. Paper Girls #1-3 (Image)
                                                                                                                        5. Goddamned #1-2 (Image)
                                                                                                                        6. Doctor Strange #1-3 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        7. All New Wolverine #1-3 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        8. Jughead #1-3 (Archie)
                                                                                                                        9. Plutona #1-3 (Image)
                                                                                                                        10. Hercules #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        11. Spidey #1 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        12. Huck #1-2 (Image)
                                                                                                                        13. Web Warriors #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                                                        14. Black Magick #1-3 (Image)
                                                                                                                        15. Klaus #1-2 (Boom! Studios)
                                                                                                                        16. All New Hawkeye #1-2 (Marvel)