Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2014-2015

2014 was an improvement on 2013 in almost all major ways. For one thing, while the cancer was still around, and I had to do chemo and have a surgery, nothing was quite as major as the surgery I had in 2012 and had to recover from. For another, I got myself a new car, a Mustang, something I've been wanting for quite a while. One of my best friends got married. My store continued to thrive. I continued to meet a ton of interesting and fun people. My family was all pretty happy and healthy, all things considered. Some of my friends had shitty years, and that sucks, but a lot of them did pretty well. New babies, kids growing up, new relationships, all kinds of cool stuff out there.

So now we come to 2015, which just really sounds like living in the future, despite the lack of jet-packs, flying cars or reasonably-priced sex-bots. So it's time for resolutions, and a check in on last year.

Last year's resolutions:

1. Don't die. Bam. Knocked that one right out. Suck it, death.

2. If I do die, regenerate as a ginger. See #1.

3. Learn Spanish. So, yeah. Started off strong using Duolingo, faded entirely. I would guess that what I gained is the ability to read a tiny, tiny (pequino) bit of Spanish, but speaking and understanding it spoken? Not so much.

4. Read at least 12 books. Done. No problem. I read:
City Primeval by Elmore Leonard (July)
Devil Red by Joe R. Lansdale
Galveston by Nick Pizzolato
Leather Maiden by Joe R. Lansdale (April)
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (August)
Pagan Babies by Elmore Leonard
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Great Divide by Matt Taibbi (May)
The Hunter by Richard Stark (June)
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (February)
The Walking Dead by Greg Rucka (January)
Vanilla Ride by Joe R. Lansdale (September)
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham (March)

5. Be 10% less of an asshole. Hard to quantify. I'm gonna go ahead and give myself this one, I feel like I at least managed 5%.

6. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. The most successful of my resolutions, and also quite honestly the easiest. I fully embraced my extroverted nature this year.

7. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. Yep. 20, actually. For the record, they were:
Battlestar Galactica
Boss Monster
Cards Against Humanity
Escape from Colditz
Firefly The Game
Forbidden Desert
Geek Out!
King of New York
Machine of Death
Night of the Grand Octopus
Once Upon A Time
Rarrrr!
Roll Through The Ages (Bronze Age & Iron Age)
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Shinobi Wat-AAAH!
Telestrations
Terra Mystica
The Resistance
Tsuro
Unspeakable Words

8. Stay under 200 lbs. Ballpark? At end of year, I think I'm at 199. I was doing well before holiday eating habits kicked in. But... I managed the most important part, which is not having to buy new clothes. (I mean, I did buy new T-shirts, but not because I in any way needed them.)

9. Go bike riding with my kids. Not so much. My bike, which is a holdout from college, turned out to be pretty broken. And the kids don't ride their bikes a lot.

10. Travel. We took a family trip to Denver, and I managed to get up to Dallas, which I haven't done for a couple of years, and I took the daughter to San Antonio for Six Flags. So... baby steps on this one.

This year's resolutions:

1. No cancer. I managed not dying, let's see if we can push that up a notch by having no chemo, no surgeries and no cancer. I've got 2-3 CT scans I've got to get through to make that happen. #nocancer

2. Read books. To start with, all the books I have on my night table. I've been gathering books, both graphic novels and just-plain novels, for years now. I'm going to do my best to get through them before I buy more. Graphic novels I sort of buy as they come out so they don't go out of print, but I'm going to continue to not buy too many extra until I get through the pile. Novels... I'm gonna try not to pick up anything new until I've read those on my stack.

Five Eberron novels, Elmore Leonard, 3 Fletch novels, and several others - if I read only what I have now, I'll hit 17 books


I'm also doing a reading challenge with friends, there are categories and the idea is to read 50 books. I'm not gonna get anywhere near that number, I'm guessing more like 12-15. #books2015

3. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Similar vein, I'm gonna try and slow down on buying movies and TV on Bluray until I've gotten through my backlog of several years. I'll no doubt still buy a few new shows and movies, but I'll try to relegate it to must-have new releases (like anything from Marvel Cinematic) and hard-to-resist bargains. This also comes with a resolution to start up my movie nights with friends again. #videos2015

The "To Watch" stack - Not shown: Key & Peele Season 3, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season One, Space: Above and Beyond, Boomtown, Police Squad!, Max Headroom, Profit, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies Season 1, Band of Brothers, Batman Beyond and a few more DVDs
4. Buy no more than six videogames this year. Again... backlog. Until I need new games, I'm going to refrain from buying too many new games. I mean, when Arkham Knight comes out, I'm buying that, and if Pathfinder Online hits, I'll probably buy that... so I'm allowing myself essentially one every two months. Also, this is a cheaty one since I got a couple videogames for Christmas already. And since I won't be counting games I buy for Aaron. And since I got a Playstation Plus account to go with my PS4, so I'll have 1-2 new "free" games each month. #ps42015

5. 12 More Boardgames. I plan to add at least 12 more boardgames and card games to my repertoire this year. Since I also hope to do mostly-monthly boardgame nights at the house, this should be pretty easy. #games2015

I've got over 20 on the list just from 2014 games alone:
7 Wonders
Attack Wing (Dungeons & Dragons, Star Trek and/or Star Wars)
Battle for Kemble's Cascade
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Dead Winter
Dice Masters
Dixit
Doomtown Reloaded
Five Tribes
Formula D
Gloom
Guardians' Chronicles
Love Letter
Machi Koro
Red Dragon Inn
Shadowrun Crossfire
Splendor
Star Realms
Takenoko
Terror in Meeple City
 X-COM: The Boardgame

6. Get below 190 lbs. By the end of the year, I will weigh less than 190 lbs. Quite possibly 189. But that's the goal. This means trying to get back to my "less snacking, less desserts" rule and keep cutting back my soda intake (currently I'm at every other day, I need to drink less) as well as continuing to take the dog for walks, use the elliptical and generally do a bit more exercise and healthier eating. #diet2015

7. Travel. I've already booked the Image Expo in San Francisco for January. I've been threatening a New Orleans trip for all of 2014. Emerald City Comicon is in March (on the weekend of my daughter's birthday, so this may not happen this year.) Heroes Con in June. San Diego Con in July. I will make at least one other comic book-related show and a trip to New Orleans this year. #travel2015

8. Instagram - I plan to post at least one picture a day. This isn't really a self-improvement thing or anything, just something fun I plan to do. #365in2015

9. Cook! I bought Thug Kitchen and got a Salsa cookbook as a gift. I'm hoping to cook at least one new recipe a month. Ideally lots more. If anyone has any good recipes or cookbooks or websites with recipes to recommend, let me know. #cook2015

10. NaNoWriMo - I've been wanting to try this for years. As long as it doesn't conflict with #1 or #7, I think this year I'm gonna try and write a novel in November. Not for publication, because it will more than likely be terrible... but just for me. #nanowrimo2015

I *should* resolve to be less angry, less judgmental and less snarky... but I know full well it's not gonna happen. And honestly, being angry, snarky and judgmental, while absolutely character flaws, are a big part of who I am and I'm not willing to change that at this point.

Also, less a resolution and more a plan, places I didn't eat at enough that I want to eat in 2015 at least once: Perry's Steakhouse, Lucy's Fried Chicken, French Quarter Grille, DiMassi's Mediterranean Buffet, Hopdoddy, Estancia Churrascaria, Garbo's Lobster, Salt & Time, Sawyer & Co., Texas Chili Parlor, and Fork + Taco.

By The Numbers:
1. I read about 300 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 over 50 different restaurants this year. Some of them more than once. OK, several of them more than once. My favorites, the ones I went to at least a half-dozen times, were Curly's BBQ (R.I.P.), Chuy's, Jack Allen's Kitchen, Torchy's Tacos, Lucy's Fried Chicken, Michi Ramen, PizzaRev, Sushi Nini, Haymaker and Noble Sandwich.

Monthly Update - December 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Afterlife with Archie #7
Alex + Ada #11
All New Captain America #2
Amazing Spider-Man #11
Axis Hobgoblin #3
Batgirl #37
Bitch Planet #1
Chew #45
Copperhead #4
Daredevil #11
Deathlok #3
Django Zorro #2
Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldurs Gate #3
Gotham by Midnight #2
Graveyard Shift #1
Hellboy and the BPRD #1
Kitchen #2
Manifest Destiny #12
Ms Marvel #10
Punisher #13
Revival #26
Rumble #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Scarlet Spiders #2
Sex Criminals #9
Shaft #1
She-Hulk #11
Southern Bastards #6
Spider-Verse Team Up #2
Spider-Woman #2
Storm #6
Superior Iron Man #3
Thor #3
Wayward #5
Wytches #3

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best Headlines of the Year 2014

So early in the year, I started sharing headlines that I thought were funny and saying "Contender for headline of the year." A friend wondered if I was actually keeping track... so I did.

So... presented for your approval, the contenders for headline of the year 2014. If I do this again next year, I'll probably leave Gawker headlines out, since those are purposefully exaggerated for linkbait purposes. The Guardian from the UK might also be too good at this.

As for what caught my eyes (and the eyes of others)? Sex, genitals, murder through unusual means, bestiality, drugs and unusual uses for animals.

My favorite? I still have to go with the very first one, which is the last one on the list.

December:
Husband arrested for attacking his pregnant wife with a McChicken sandwich because "he doesn't like them"

Snake Thrown in Tim Horton's after diced onion dispute

November:
 "Cannibal" Eats Woman and then dies after being tasered in Welsh Hotel

Male SF startup promises to make women's vaginas smell like ripe peaches

Nude man falls through ceiling at Logan, assaults bystander

October:
Nervous Chinese Officials Search Pigeon Anuses for Bombs

Teletubby Breaks Into Home, Dumps Chinese Food In Purse, Leaves

Farrah Abraham Dressed Up As Frozen Elsa to Sell Molds of Her Asshole

September:
Polygamist women dressed 'like ninjas' attack home of witness in Utah sex assault case

July:
Nude Beach Blow Job Jet Ski Fight Leads to Wife's Death

Kid Rock subpoenaed to produce glass dildo as evidence in Insane Clown Posse lawsuit

Chubby Checker, HP settle lawsuit over penis-measuring app

June:
American Exchange Student Pulled out of Giant German Vagina

May:
Captain America Arrested for sending dick pics to teenage girl

High Elf High on Acid Attacks Woman's BMW with a sword

April:
Woman killed with banjos

Topless Florida Woman Destroys McDonalds, Stops To Eat Ice Cream

February:
Police Cite Texas Man In Banana Costume With AK-47 Across His Back

Norwegian Mass Murderer Refuses to Eat Until Prison Upgrades His Playstation Console

Man Covered in Jelly Had Sex With Cow While Friend Recorded It

January:
German Barn Explosion Caused by 90 Farting Cows

Woman Pulls Gun from Vagina After Dispute Over Space Aliens: Cops

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Best of 2014 - Top 10 Ongoing Comics

Image had 7 of my top 10 in this category, with Archie Comics sneaking one in and Marvel claiming the other two. There are also three more Image comics that didn't quite make the top 10. So yeah, it's pretty easy to call Image my favorite publisher. There are two superhero books in this list, 6 sci-fi/fantasy (fudging to include Rat Queens and Manifest Destiny in that latter category), 3 horror (fudging to include Fatale), 1 action/crime (Velvet) and then whatever category Chew is. I suppose you could call it sci-fi... or superhero. At any rate, it definitely fits in the category of comedy, as does Sex Criminals, Rat Queens and arguably Hawkeye.

Something interesting to me is how many books on this list are on the "also appeals to women" list. Notably Saga, Sex Criminals, Alex + Ada, Velvet and Rat Queens, but every book on this list has a strong female following. I don't know what that says about my tastes, but I think it says something for the health of the market that my top 10 contains a lot of female-friendly titles in genres other than superheroes and that unlike in past years, these are series that are doing well in the market. I'm used to loving series that get cancelled too early, and there was a lot less of that in 2014.

Interestingly, only one of the series in my top 13 published 12 issues this year, and that's Daredevil. The rest were at about six, eight at the highest. Maybe as a general rule, the monthly grind doesn't produce the best books anymore?

1. Saga #18-24 (Last year: #1)
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continue to tell the best story in comics. They've built up an expansive cast and fascinating setting, and feel free to screw with reader expectations, often to heart-breaking effect. Like Game of Thrones, Saga is not a series where you want to get too comfortable with any characters, because nobody is really safe. That sense of danger, along with deep characterization that gives a strong sense of humanity to these alien characters, Staples's lush and distinctive artwork and Vaughan's gift for clever dialogue make this the best comic on the stands.

2. Sex Criminals #4-9 (Last year: #1 on My New List)
Last year this was shiny and new and shocking and I didn't know where it was going. This year it was more familiar, but still outrageously funny, surprisingly smart and serious at times and still one of the best comics every month. The letters column is almost as good as the comic itself, and I'm glad they decided to collect those as well as the comics.

3. Daredevil #35-36, 1-11 (Last year: #2)
Waid wrapped up his run on Daredevil and then immediately relaunched a new series with Chris Samnee on board, relocating Daredevil to San Francisco, and the results have been terrific. Very strong use of a couple of traditional Daredevil villains in untraditional ways, the change of locale has worked out well... next year they're closing out the run, but that's a good long run of pretty consistently great comics.

4. Afterlife with Archie #3-6 (Last year: #3 on My New List)
The second half of this one was every bit as good as the first, and the single issue Sabrina vs. Cthulhu a surprising and entertaining change of pace. I sure wish the production was a little faster, as this is pretty much a quarterly book, but I'll take what I can get.

5. Alex + Ada #3-11
Didn't make the list last year because I'd only seen two issues. Now that I've seen more, this definitely ranks among my favorite series. Great speculative technology, meditation on the nature of A.I. and the nature of love and life and human emotions. Probably my favorite things the Luna Brothers have been involved with, I don't know if that's co-writer Sarah Vaughn or what, but this is a really great series. It also happens to be the first one in my top five that was closer to monthly.

6. Chew #39-44 (Last year: #4)
Big, big things happening in Chew this year. Family Recipes starts positioning the main conflict of Tony vs. the Vampire, and shows us a lot more about Olive Chu, not to mention bringing back Savoy in a major way. And Chicken Tenders just rolls on and builds that momentum. With a year and a half worth of issues to go, this book definitely feels like it's hitting the home stretch. Still plenty of mysteries, but the character arcs are dovetailing nicely, and there's still plenty of room for weirdness and humor, a lot of it in the form of the increasingly present Poyo.

7. Velvet #3-8 (Last year: #5 on My New List)
As always with Brubaker's work, I like this more in collected format where the stories and characters are easier to keep track of. I look forward to the first hardcover, maybe in 2015, maybe in 2016? At any rate, this post-Cold War spy thriller remains a favorite book.

8. Fatale #19-24 (Last year: #5)
Closing out in fine style... I can't quite rank it higher than previous Brubaker/Phillips collaborations like Sleeper, Criminal and Incognito, but it was an interesting ride that ended before it got too long in the tooth. I'll definitely be picking up the second hardcover.

9. Rat Queens #4-8
This one didn't make my best of last year because I hadn't read it yet. Now that I have, I love it for its attitude, its over-the-top humor and its perfect portrayal of fantasy adventurers from every RPG you've ever played, except with female leads instead of the guy-heavy dynamic.

10. Hawkeye #15-20 (Last year: #3)
Truthfully, this one has lost some luster with me. Only five issues this year, with a book that really needs to be read closer together to get the full effect, and it seemed like the creative team just kind of ran out of steam. Each issue is still good, but it doesn't have that great charge it had early on, perhaps because Fraction's Sex Criminals feels like a purer version of what it was doing in terms of quirky character-driven storytelling. Still really good, mind you, which is why it's in my top 10, but... not as amazing as it was, which is why it dropped out of the top 5.

Just outside the top 10: Manifest Destiny #8-12, Lazarus #6-13 (Last year: #6 on My New List) and Revival #17-26 (Last year: #6).

Best of 2014 - New Comics

Best New Series:
Marvel has six of my top 10, three of which feature female protagonists (and only one of which has already been cancelled, although I wouldn't bet on Storm finishing out 2015 either). Image has two new series to add to the 7 in my "new" top 10 and Dark Horse has the other two (you can credit Dynamite for The Shadow, but it's the Grendel part that really got me.)

Unlike my ongoing series for the year, six of these books were superhero books, with Grendel vs. Shadow and Wayward arguably in that category as well, albeit more modern or deconstructionist superheroes. The Spread is horror, and Usagi is... well, Usagi. Sci-fi flavored this time, I guess.

1. Ms. Marvel #1-10 (Marvel Comics)
This book is amazing, as original and fresh as Runaways was at its time. It shares an artist with that fondly-remembered book, Adrian Alphona, whose work here is just stunning, even better than his previous work. And G. Willow Wilson does a great job of making the very specific story of a Muslim teenager accessible and fun to everyone. Then there's the addiiton of Lockjaw, which is like the perfect cherry on top of the sundae.

2. She-Hulk #1-11 (Marvel Comics)
Come and gone too quickly. She-Hulk has actually had two great series already, Byrne's fourth-wall-breaking weird '80s run and Dan Slott's equally weird She-Hulk in a legal office run from a few years back. Charles Soule and Javier Pulido have a run that stands right up there with those two, backed up by Soule's legal knowlege and full of weird and fun cases, notably the Latverian case and the run-in with Daredevil on behalf of Captain America. I'm sad to see it go, but glad I have two trades on my shelf to read and reread. (Yes, technically, there's one more issue to come out next year that will finish it, but it was more or less started and finished this year.)

3. Storm #1-6 (Marvel Comics)
I can't believe I wanted a solo Storm series, but Greg Pak has nailed what works about the character. From her punk days with Yukio to her relationship with Wolverine to her background in Africa to her relationship with Forge, in these six issues he hits everything while telling interesting, mostly self-contained stories. And the artwork, by Victor Ibanez, Matteo Buffagni and other folks I've never heard of before but will definitely follow from here, is top notch.

4. Usagi Yojimbo Senso #1-6 (Dark Horse Comics)
Again, didn't think I necessarily needed to see a match-up of Usagi and his friends in the future versus H.G. Wells's Martians, but... this is so good. As fun as Space Usagi, but dialed more into the characters and their ongoing story arcs, a potential future and finale for Usagi combined with a cross-genre masterpiece.

5. Amazing Spider-Man #1-11 (and Edge of Spider-Verse #1-5, Scarlet Spiders #1-2, Spider-Verse #1-2)  (Marvel Comics)
Continuing the trend... if you'd told me I would love a story about interdimensional monsters trying to destroy all the Spider totems and Spider-people from every corner of the multiverse going to war against them, I would have said it seemed unlikely. But the sprrawling Spider-Verse story is a great read, with everything I love about Spider-Man, plus old favorites (Spider-Man 2099, Ben Reilly) and new favorites (Spider-Gwen). That's not even mentioning that Slott's return of Peter Parker to his own body, dealing with the trouble Doc Ock caused him, was highly entertaining as well.

6. Punisher #1-13 (Marvel Comics)
The Punisher is one of those characters I don't have an innate fondness for, but I've really liked a lot of the takes on him, from Garth Ennis's violent crime style Punisher Max to Ostrander's Punisher on the run from the '90s. This new take, setting up Punisher in Los Angeles taking on a vicious cartel and their super-powered muscle all while dealing with the spec ops team that is the modern-day Howling Commandos, is another great addition to the Frank Castle canon. Terrific art (mostly by Mitch Gerads with a few notable guest artists in the mix) and writing by Nathan Edmonson.

7. The Spread #1-4 (Image Comics)
"What if The Thing spread throughout the world, leading to a post-apocalyptic Lone Wolf and Cub type set up" is the easy pitch on this book from Justin Jordan, who is establishing himself as a unique voice with books like this and Luther Strode, and artist Kyle Strahm.

8. Spider-Man 2099 #1-6 (Marvel Comics)
They say you can't go home again, but with a boost from Dan Slott's Spidey stories, Peter David has proven that adage wrong, serving up a fresh and fun take on the Spider-Man of the future currently trapped in our present. The artwork, from Will Sliney and others, also has nicer colors and production than the original '90s run (which was still pretty solid, don't get me wrong, Rick Leonardi's stuff was great and he designed the memorable costume). A surprise treat that has proved an important cornerstone of the Spider-Verse event.

9. Grendel Vs. The Shadow #1-3 (Dark Horse Comics/Dynamite)
Matt Wagner's Dynamite work hasn't really had the spark for me of his creator-owned work on Mage and Grendel, so I wasn't sure about this one, but pitting a time-lost Hunter Rose against Lamont Crantson turns out to be just as perfect as when Wagner pit Batman and Grendel against one another many years back.

10. Wayward #1-5 (Image Comics)
A must-read for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jim Zub and Steven Cummings are setting up a beautifully realized Japan that digs deep into the supernatural mythology and the real-world culture to make something that feels unique, authentic and fun. And did I mention that the artwork by Cummings is drop-dead gorgeous?

Just outside the top 10 are all Image books, notably Copperhead, Starlight, Nailbiter and Stray Bullets The Killers.

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.

1. Batgirl #35-37 (DC Comics)
2. Birthright #1-3 (Image Comics)
3. Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldur's Gate #1-3 (IDW)
4. Sabrina #1 (Archie Comics)
5. S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Marvel Comics)
6. Superior Iron Man #1-3 (Marvel Comics)
7. All New Captain America #1-2 (Marvel Comics)
8. Rumble #1 (Image Comics)
9. Bitch Planet #1 (Image Comics)
10. Wytches #1-3 (Image Comics)
11. Fade Out #1-3 (Image Comics)
12. Shaft #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
13. Graveyard Shift #1 (Image Comics)
14. Deathlok #1-3 (Marvel Comics)
15. Hellboy and the BPRD #1
16. Gotham by Midnight #1-2 (DC Comics)
17. Kitchen #1-2 (DC Comics/Vertigo)

Best of 2014 - Graphic Novels

Best OGN:
Last year I couldn't slim down to a top 10, this year I couldn't even get to 10. Not as many original graphic novels for me, which makes me think I missed some things. I'll be keeping an eye on others' lists.

1. Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Such a great follow-up to Scott Pilgrim. It's not as ambitious as a six-volume series, of course, but it's focus and tighter page count make for a story I might like just a touch more (and I love Scott Pilgrim.) O'Malley's art and Nathan Fairbairn's colors work great together, and I love that the story involves cooking and food, since that was one of the flavors of Scott Pilgrim and it's nice to see it move to the forefront a bit more here. A great, realistic messy romance with fantasy elements, very like what I liked about Scott Pilgrim but in no way a retread of it.

2. Little Nemo Dream Another Dream HC
This oversized gem, full of tons of great art, was a labor of love that I backed on Kickstarter and I'm so glad I did.

3. Cleopatra in Space Vol 1
Been following Mike Maihack's work for years, and I was glad to see his all-ages sci-fi adventure graphic novel come out this year and just live up to all the fun and imagination that you can see in his art.

4. Rise of Aurora West
I was nervous about this one, because it's Paul Pope being relatively tangentially involved (it was co-written with JT Petty) and a completely different artist (David Rubin) doing the art chores. As it turns out, I almost like this better than Battling Boy, which it spun out of. Weird, beautiful superhero sci-fi character-driven storytelling at its best.

5. Amulet Vol 6: Escape from Lucien
Another great volume in Kazu Kibuishi's Miyazaki-esque sci-fi/fantasy epic.

6. The Shadow Hero
A riff on family and pulp heroes by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew. Liew is a guy I've liked since his creator-owned work Malinky Robot and My Faith With Frankie with Mike Carey, and he's great here. Yang, meanwhile, just never misses, whether it's his work on Boxers & Saints or his work on Dark Horse's Avatar series.

7. Shoplifter
I love Michael Cho's artwork. To be honest, I wish this had been less of a slice-of-life story, a genre that I think is often a little on the bland side, and had a little bit more of the fantastic to it, but... it's a gorgeous book.

8. Nocturnals Legend
Almost more of an artbook than a graphic novel, but there are letters and interviews from Halloween Girl throughout that recap and hint at new stories, so... I'll call it an OGN.

Best Collected Editions:
On the other hand, last year my list of collected editions was cut off at 25, this year? Almost 40. And I'm sure I missed a few.

1. Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol 2-3 HC
2. Saga Vol 1 HC
3. Ms Marvel Vol 1
4. Afterlife with Archie Vol 1 TP
5. Sex Criminals Vol 1 TP
6. Just the Tips HC
6. Daredevil Vol 1 TP
7. Chew Omnivore Edition Vol 4 HC
8. She-Hulk Vol 1 TP
9. Lazarus Vol 1 HC
10. Revival Vol 2 HC
11. Velvet Vol 1 TP
12. Rat Queens Vol 1 TP
13. Manifest Destiny Vol 1 TP
14. Daytripper Deluxe HC
15. Jonah Hex Shadows West TP
16. Avatar The Last Airbender The Search HC
17. Manhattan Projects Vol 1 HC
18. Fatale Deluxe Edition Vol 1 HC
19. Marvel Covers Artist's Edition
20. Steranko Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD Artist's Edition
21. Hellboy Artist's Edition
22. Hellboy First 20 Years HC
23. Usagi Yojimbo Saga Vol 1 TP
24. Usagi Yojimbo Vol 28: Red Scorpion TP
25. Mind Mgmt Vol 3: The Home Maker HC
26. By Chance or Providence
27. Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett & Lanning Vols. 1 & 2 TP
28. Batman Adventures Vol 1 TP
29. Nightwing Vol 1: Bludhaven TP
30. Zenith Phase 1&2
31. 47 Ronin HC
32. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind HC
33. Southern Bastards Vol 1: Here Was A Man
34. Stray Bullets Uber Alles TP
35. Escapo HC
36. Green Arrow Vol 2: Here There Be Dragons
37. Astro City Vol 9: Through Open Doors
38. Murder Me Dead
39. Courtney Crumrin Vol 6 HC

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Best of 2014 - Television

Best Shows (Every Category):
Note: I know that The Knick probably belongs on this list. I haven't made time for it yet. So fit it in wherever you think it belongs. Also, Ground Floor (TBS) would have made this list but only three episodes aired in 2014, so it really doesn't count for this year. Sleepy Hollow (FOX) fell off because I fell behind, it may or may not wind up on this year's list retroactively. And Doctor Who isn't on here. It's not that I don't like Peter Capaldi or Jenna-Louise Coleman, it's just that the show isn't firing enough for me to consider it a best anymore. It's watchable, it's still on the DVR... but it doesn't belong on a best list.

In general, this list is the "If I had to cut back to a certain number of shows, based on money, time, etc., this is the list of shows I'd cut first (starting with #37) to shows I'd cut last (starting with #1).

When we did our "Best Of 2014" podcast a couple weeks ago, I said that Game of Thrones was #9 on my list, but after some reconsideration and favoring personal taste a little over critical acclaim (meaning things like Rectify, Mad Men and Transparent all slipped a bit) I decided this really ranked higher. In fact, it's arguable that it belongs above The Daily Show, but that show has done so much this year that I found important *and* entertaining that I can't quite nudge this any higher.

Similarly, Flash was #16 when we talked "Best of 2014" but upon reconsideration, and using the "If I had to pick only 10 shows to watch" instead of "What is more objectively critically great" standard, The Flash moves up quite a few notches. I always watch it on the night it airs, it's one of the shows I discuss most with friends and it just hits the marks it's aiming for so perfectly. Great cast, lots of good DC Easter Eggs, but it doesn't *just* offer Easter Eggs, it offers a fun, clever take on the superhero genre. Probably the best superhero show ever done on television.

1. Fargo (FX)
2. True Detective (HBO)
3. Last Week With John Oliver (HBO)
4. Orange is the New Black Season Two (NETFLIX)
5. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (COM)
6. Game of Thrones (HBO)
7. The Flash (CW)
8. Mad Men (AMC)
9. Hannibal (NBC)
10. The Americans (FX)
11. Rectify (SUNDANCE)
12. Transparent (AMAZON)
13. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
14. Community (NBC)
15. Louie (FX)
16. You're The Worst (FX)
17. Rick and Morty (CARTOON)
18. Key & Peele (COM)
19. Arrow (CW)
20. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
21. The Walking Dead (AMC)
22. Review (COM)
23. Silicon Valley (HBO)
24. Inside Amy Schumer (COM)
25. The Leftovers (HBO)
26. Justified (FX)
27. 24 Live Another Day (FOX)
28. Veep (HBO)
29. Bob's Burgers (FOX)
30. The Newsroom (HBO)
31. Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
32. Enlisted (FOX)
33. Married (FX)
34. The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail  (COM)
35. A to Z (NBC)
36. The League (FXX)
37. Orphan Black (BBCA)

Best New Show:
1. Fargo
2. True Detective
3. Last Week With John Oliver
4. The Flash
5. Transparent
6. You're The Worst
7. Rick and Morty
8. Review
9. Silicon Valley
10. The Leftovers
11. 24 Live Another Day
12. Enlisted
13. Married
14. The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail
15. A to Z

Best Comedy:
1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season Two
3. Community Season Four
4. Louie Season Four
5. Key & Peele Season Four
6. Inside Amy Schumer Season Two
7. Veep Season Three
8. Bob's Burgers Season Four
9. The League Season Six
10. Archer Season Five

Best Drama:
1. Orange is the New Black Season Two
2. Game of Thrones Season Four
3. Mad Men Final Season
5. Hannibal Season Two
6. The Americans Season Two
7. Rectify Season Two
8. Arrow Season Three
9. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two
10. The Walking Dead Season Five
12. Justified Season Five
13. The Newsroom Season Three
14. Boardwalk Empire Season Five
15. Orphan Black Season Two

Best Ensemble:
1. Fargo
2. Orange is the New Black
3. Transparent
4. Game of Thrones
5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
6. You're The Worst
7. Veep
8. Mad Men
9. Silicon Valley
10. Rectify

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Best of 2014 - Restaurants

I am way less foodie than a lot of my friends, and I'm not qualified to give a list of objective best restaurants in Austin.

However, I did eat out well over 50 times this year, so I've got no problem offering up my top 10 favorites. Not necessarily because they're the best, but they're the ones that hit that sweet spot of accessible, affordable *and* delicious enough that I went there numerous times during the year.

1. Michi Ramen
2. Sushi Nini
3. Noble Sandwich
4. Chuy's
5. Jack Allen's Kitchen
6. Torchy's Tacos
7. Easy Tiger
8. Lucy's Fried Chicken
9. PizzaRev
10. Haymaker

Monday, December 01, 2014

Monthly Update - November 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Alex + Ada #10
All New Captain America #1
Amazing Spider-Man #9-10
Batgirl #36
Birthright #2
Captain America and Mighty Avengers #1-2
Capture Creatures #1
Chew #44
Copperhead #3
Daredevil #10
Death of Wolverine Weapon X Program #1
Deathlok #2
Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldurs Gate #2
Fade Out #3
Gotham by Midnight #1
Grendel vs. The Shadow #3
Hack Slash Sons of Samhain #5
Kitchen #1
Lazarus #13
Punisher #12
Revival #25
Scarlet Spiders #1
She-Hulk #10
Spider-man 2099 #6
Spider-Verse #1
Spider-Verse Team-Up #1
Spider-Woman #1
Storm #5
Superior Iron Man #1-2
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #4-5
Velvet #8
Wayward #4
Wytches #2

Resolutions Update:
1. More games - Up to 20 with Roll Through the Ages Iron Age, King of New York and Telestrations.
2. We're mostly accomplished here, aside from one or two that fell by the wayside. All that's left is to stay under 200 lbs. Currently at 194-195, and holiday eating threatens to wipe this one out at the 11th hour. We'll see.


Where I Ate This Month:

1. Sushi NiNi
2. PizzaRev
3. Chili's
4. Terry Black's BBQ
5. Kin and Comfort
6. Torchy's Tacos

Saturday, November 01, 2014

What I'm Watching - November 2014

Sunday:
Bob's Burgers (FOX)
Simpsons (FOX)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
The Walking Dead (AMC)
Last Week with John Oliver (HBO)
The Newsroom (HBO)

Monday:
Star Wars Rebels (DISXD)
Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
The Daily Show (COM)

Tuesday:
New Girl (FOX)
The Mindy Project (FOX)
Flash (CW)
Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
About A Boy (NBC)
The Daily Show (COM)

Wednesday:
Arrow (CW)
Modern Family (ABC)
The League (FXX)
Top Chef (BRAVO)
Key & Peele (COM)
The Daily Show (COM)

Thursday:
A to Z (NBC)
The Daily Show (COM)

Friday:
Constantine (NBC)

Saturday:
Doctor Who (BBCA)

Sunday is usually the best night on television, but with HBO down a bit right now (waiting on the return of Game of Thrones, True Detective, Veep and Silicon Valley), my favorite night of TV during the fall is probably Tuesday. It offers up the superhero one-two punch of the much-improved Agents of SHIELD and the hit-the-ground-running (no pun intended) Flash. Fox's two comedies are losing me a touch on that night, but they both provide some laughs.

Wednesday is the second-best night, with Arrow, Top Chef and Key & Peele always getting near-live viewing.

Not that Sunday is bad. Bob's Burgers and The Simpsons are both funny, sometimes very funny, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is probably my favorite comedy on TV right now and Walking Dead, three episodes into its fifth season, seems to finally have a consistency it lacked for the first four seasons. And Last Week Tonight is always great TV.

Stacking up on the DVR right now are Sleepy Hollow (always enjoyable, but better in binges), Modern Family (losing me a little, and mostly something I watch with my daughter) and About A Boy (likely to get deleted in favor of watching Blurays/playing videogames instead). Soon to go are A to Z, which will leave a pretty empty Thursday. Not sure Constantine is going to make the cut.

Network-wise, FOX clearly has my attention with 6 shows (7 if you count FXX), while ABC and NBC are quickly canceling themselves to CBS territory... although as long as ABC has SHIELD, they'll have at least an hour this Marvel Zombie will watch.

If I were a cord-cutter, and had to choose networks, I could get by with HBO, FOX, FX, CW and Comedy Central. Including everything I watch, I'd sacrifice only Agents of SHIELD, Star Wars Rebels, Top Chef, Doctor Who, Rectify, Parks & Rec (ending this season anyway), Hannibal and Orphan Black (or, more likely, buy those episodically from Amazon Instant), Hmm. No wonder the networks are nervous. If a TV fanatic like myself could easily cut down to two broadcast networks and three cable nets, what are the casual folks watching?

Monthly Update - October 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Alex + Ada #9
Amazing Spider-Man #7-8
Arrow Season 2.5 #1
Axis Hobgoblin #1
Batgirl #35
Birthright #1
Copperhead #2
Daredevil #9
Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #1-3
Deathlok #1
Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldur's Gate #1
Edge of Spider-Verse #5
Fade Out #2
Flash Season Zero #1
Green Arrow #35
Grendel vs. The Shadow #2
Little Nemo Return to Slumberland #2
Manifest Destiny #11
Ms Marvel #9
Q2 Return of Quantum & Woody #1
Rat Queens #8
Sabrina #1
Saga #24
Sex Criminals #8
She-Hulk #9
Spider-Man 2099 #5
Starlight #6
The Punisher #11
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3
Wayward #3
Wytches #1

Resolutions Update:
1. Read at least 12 books. Book books, without pictures. Finished off the 12 with Vanilla Ride by Joe R. Lansdale, and then book 13, Devil Red by Joe R. Lansdale.
2. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Went to friends' boardgame night, played Firefly (three times) and Terra Mystica, organized a bachelor party, went to a wedding, played several Pathfinder sessions. I feel like I've more than accomplished this one.
3. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. I hit 12 last month, so now I'm running up the score. This month was Firefly the Game, Terra Mystica, Night of the Grand Octopus, Geek Out! and Tsuro.
4. Stay under 200 lbs. I seem to be hovering around 192-194, even though some trips to Trader Joe's and a little more fast food made their way into my diet this month. I guess the yogurt for lunch plan is mostly working.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Sushi NiNi
2. Mi Pizza
3. Culver's
4. Baton Creole
5. Salt & Time
6. Frank
7. Casino El Camino (for the last time ever... cooks are hostile assholes)
8. Easy Tiger
9. Chuy's
10. Michi Ramen
11. Hula Hut
12. TNT Tacos and Tequila
13. Jack Allen's Kitchen

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Monthly Update - September 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Amazing Spider-Man #6
Chew #43
Copperhead #1
Daredevil #8
Edge of Spider-Verse #1: Spider-Man Noir
Edge of Spider-Verse #2: Gwen Stacy
Grendel Vs. The Shadow #1
Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain #3
Hawkeye #20
Lazarus #11
Legendary Star-Lord #3
Manifest Destiny #10
Ms. Marvel #8
Nailbiter #5
Rocket Raccoon #3
Saga #23
She-Hulk #8
Spider-Man 2099 #3
Spread #3
Storm #3
Stray Bullets The Killers #7
Stumptown V.3 #1
Superior Spider-Man #33
The Punisher #10
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #2
Velvet #7
Wayward #2

Resolutions Update:
1. Read at least 12 books. Book books, without pictures. Nothing this month, but I've got three more months to read 1 more book, I think I can get there.
2. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Lunches with friends, boardgame night, several role-playing game nights, lots this month.
3. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. Made it, with three months to spare. The twelfth game was Sentinels of the Multiverse, which I'd heard of but never really looked into, and I dug it so much I wound up buying it. Still hoping to play Takenoko, Firefly and/or Red Dragon Inn before year's end.
4. Stay under 200 lbs. The "diet" continues to slip, as I added a few desserts and snacks back into the mix this month. And slacked off on exercise. But still below 200 lbs., so technically this is still an accomplished goal.
5. Travel. With October looking insanely busy, I have accepted that my travel is probably done for the year. There will be a Dallas trip at some point during the holidays, I'm sure, but than that... New Orleans will have to wait for 2015.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Sushi Zushi
2. Sushi NiNi
3. Chuy's
4. Haymaker
5. El Alma
6. Dang Banh Mi
7. NXNW
8. Torchy's
9. Fork + Taco
10. Michi Ramen

Monday, September 01, 2014

Monthly Update - August 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Alex + Ada #8
Amazing Spider-Man #5
Avengers Undercover #8-9
Black Widow #9
Cyclops #4
Daredevil #7
Elektra #5
Fade Out #1
Hack/Slash Son of Samhain #2
Imperial #1
Lazarus #10
Legendary Star-Lord #2
Little Nemo Return to Slumberland #1
Manifest Destiny #9
Ms. Marvel #7
Multiversity #1
Nailbiter #4
Revival #23
Rocket Raccoon #2
Saga #22
Sex Criminals #7
She-Hulk #7
Spider-Man 2099 #2
Spread #2
Starlight #5
Storm #2
Stray Bullets The Killers #6
Supreme Blue Rose #2
The Punisher #9
Trees #4
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #1
Wayward #1

Resolutions Update:
1. Read at least 12 books. Book books, without pictures. I "read" Orange is the New Black in audio form, so I'm gonna count that. Puts me up to 11 books in 8 months.
2. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. This one I'm definitely hitting better than any of the others. Boardgame nights, role-playing games, karaoke, the One of Us Fest of Us event, dinners and lunches out, lots of socializing this month.
4. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. Up to 11, so I'm feeling pretty good about this one. Played Roll Through The Ages and had a great time. Also played Smash Up, which I've played before once so it doesn't count as new, and made plans to play Red Dragon Inn soon.
5. Stay under 200 lbs. The "diet" continues as I mostly do yogurt and granola for lunch and have cut back a lot on desserts and snacks. Combine with walking, and I'm somewhere between 192 and 194 lbs. (that's another 2-3 lbs. down). According to my pedometer, I walked 94.6 miles this month, which averages out to about three miles a day.
6. Travel. I'm still hoping to fit in a New Orleans trip. I did take a drive up to Dallas for work (and to visit family) and a drive down to San Antonio to take Katy to Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Jack Allen's Kitchen
2. Sushi NiNi
3. Chuy's
4. Michi Ramen
5. Torchy's Tacos
6. Garbo's Lobster
7. Noble Sandwiches
8. Mi Dia (in Dallas)
9. Szechuan House

Stuff I Podcasted:

1. TV Dudes - TV News, Last Week With John Oliver, Arrow Season 2, Hate-Watching,  and more!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Monthly Update - July 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Afterlife with Archie #6
Amazing Spider-Man #1.3
Avengers Undercover #7
Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo #1
Daredevil #0.1
Daredevil #5-6
Elektra #4
Fatale #24
Guardians of the Galaxy Most Wanted
Hack Slash Sons of Samhain #1
Hawkeye #19
Lazarus #9
Legendary Star-Lord #1
Manifest Destiny #8
Ms. Marvel #6
Nailbiter #3
Rat Queens #7
Revival #22
Rocket Raccoon #1
Saga #21
She-Hulk #6
Spider-Man 2099 #1
Storm #1
Stray Bullets The Killers #5
Supreme Blue Rose #1
The Punisher #8
The Spread #1
Trees #3
Usagi Yojimbo Color Special
Velvet #6


Resolutions Update:

1. Don't die. Just to reiterate: Still accomplished
2. Read at least 12 books. Book books, without pictures. I read City Primeval by Elmore Leonard, which brings me up to 10 books in 7 months. I also set a goal for myself to read 52 books, including graphic novels, in 2014... I hit that in mid-July, so maybe I'll aim for the equivalent of two books a week. Also joined a friends' Reading Group on Facebook, which is encouraging me to do more reading.
3. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Check. Big visit out to Colorado, outings to the Thinkery, 24: Live Another Day viewing party, boardgame night, rejoined my old RPG group for biweekly Pathfinder and plenty more. 
4. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. I was falling behind on this one, but I played an old school boardgame, Escape from Colditz, in Colorado, and had a boardgame night where I played The Resistance, Shinobi Wat-AAAH! and Cards Against Humanity, which brings me up to 10 for the year.
5. Stay under 200 lbs. I was at 202 at the beginning of July, so I've put myself on a diet... ish. Basically trying to eat lighter lunches, cut way down on soda, eat out less, cut down on carbs and snacking and exercise more to get below 200 again. I've been walking the dog most every night, using a pedometer to try and hit about 5 miles of walking every day. As of this writing, I'm at 196 lbs.
6. Travel. I packed the family into my parents' Honda Pilot and drove us up through Colorado Springs (where we visited old friends) to Denver to have a self-selected high school reunion with old friends and then Fort Collins to visit some college friends. I'm still hoping to get to New Orleans before the end of the year.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Beaujo's Pizza
2. Il Vicino
3. Larkspur Burgers
4. Big Texan Steak Ranch
5. La Cosina Cafe
6. The Good Night
7. Jack Allen's Kitchen
8. Dang Banh Mi
9. Iron Cactus
10. Sushi NiNi

Stuff I Podcasted:

1. TV Dudes - Married, You're The Worst, The Strain, Simpsons, Rockford Files, Orange is the New Black, The Emmys and more!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Monthly Update - June 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Alex + Ada #7
Amazing Spider-Man #1.2
Amazing Spider-Man #3
Avengers Undercover #5-6
Chew #42
Daredevil #4
Elektra #3
Fatale #23
Ms. Marvel #4-5
Nailbiter #2
Punisher #6-7
Revival #21
Saga #20
Sex Criminals #6
She-Hulk #5
Stray Bullets The Killers #4

Resolutions Update:

1. Don't die. Had surgery to remove the cancer on my lung. The news is good, although there may still be more chemo in my future.
2. Read at least 12 books. I re-read The Hunter after getting the new edition from IDW, which brings my total up to 9 as of six months.
3. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Had a great time with my All-Ages Awesomeness event and at ATX Fest, which included several bar and restaurant outings with friends. And I made plans to rejoin my regular gaming group for Pathfinder in July, and plans for a July vacation to visit college and high school friends in Colorado.
4. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. No new boardgames this month, which makes two months in a row. I need to get boardgaming again in July. Still, 6 new games in 6 months, I'm on track for my goal. And I picked up Ninja Dice, and packed up games to take with us to Colorado.
5. Stay under 200 lbs. Uh... wavering. I'm right at 200 most of the time, occasionally a little over, occasionally a little under. I'm using the elliptical most nights, probably need to find a better exercise routine. Or more realistically, motivation to find a better exercise routine and stick to it.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Gus's Fried Chicken
2. Michi Ramen
3. Pourhouse Pub
4. Curly's BBQ
5. Lucy's Fried Chicken
6. Outback Steakhouse
7. Chicken Lollipop
8. Torchy's Tacos
9. Noble Sandwiches
10. Threadgill's

Stuff I Wrote:
1. Interview with Graham Yost

2. Summer TV: June & July 2014
3. ATX Fest: Mulaney Panel
4. ATX Fest: Review Panel

Stuff I Podcasted:

1. TV Dudes - Louie, Rectify, Veep, Fargo, ATX Fest, Orange is the New Black

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Monthly Update - May 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Afterlife with Archie #5
Alex + Ada #6
Amazing Spider-man #1.1-2
Avengers Undercover #4
Chew/Revival #1
Cyclops #1
Daredevil #2
Doctor Spektor #1
Elektra #2
Fatale #22
Flash Gordon #2
Hulk #3
MPH #1
Ms. Marvel #4
Nailbiter #1
Original Sin #1
Punisher #5
Rat Queens #6
Revival #20
Saga #19
She-Hulk #4
Starlight #3
Stray Bullets The Killers #3
Trees #1
Turok Dinosaur Hunter #4
Velvet #5


Resolutions Update:

1. Read at least 12 books. Read two books this month: Matt Taibbi's political book The Great Divide and John Green's amazing The Fault in Our Stars. Total right now: 8. I should have no trouble exceeding 12 this year.
2. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Less social this month, but I still managed to see a couple movies with friend, start a biweekly watch of 24: Live Another Day and go out for a few lunches. And I threw a big karaoke party at Hi-Tunes Karaoke and went to my friend's police academy graduation.
3. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. No new boardgames this month, although I did get a copy of Shinobi Wat-Aah!, from the publishers of King of Tokyo, and borrowed the Adventure Time Card Wars from work... just haven't had time to play them yet. Still, 6 new games in 5 months, I'm on track for my goal.
4. Stay under 200 lbs. Uh... wavering. I'm right at 200 most of the time, occasionally a little over, occasionally a little under. I'm using the elliptical most nights, probably need to find a better exercise routine. Or more realistically, motivation to find a better exercise routine and stick to it.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Noble Sandwiches
2. Tarka
3. Cheesecake Factory
4. Gus's Fried Chicken
5. Chuy's
6. Jack Allen's Kitchen
7. Estancia Churrascaria
8. Michi Ramen
9. Pourhouse Pub

Stuff I Wrote:
1. Last Week With John Oliver Review

2. What's On My DVR (Q2 2014 Edition)
3. Comic Book TV for Fall 2014

Stuff I Podcasted:

1. TV Dudes - Game of Thrones, Mad Men, 24: Live Another Day, Louie and lots more

Monday, May 05, 2014

Free Comic Book Day 2014

It was another great Free Comic Book Day at Rogues Gallery Comics & Games in 2014. We started the day with over 3,000 comics and ended with less than 300. Probably a lot less, actually. We also had our best sales day ever. But that's really secondary, because what the day was all about was a flood of happy families and kids, getting to try out comics, some of them for the first time ever, some for the first time in a while, some for the first time since the day before. 

A wide variety of readers, a wide variety of comics and a great time for everybody. The early folks in line, most since about 9 AM (we opened at 10 AM), got bonus Adventure Time or My Little Pony books and free Rogues Gallery T-Shirts.

We also had a new display up by our custom-building genius Nick Budd, who used a handful of action figures, some foam core and other materials to build Super-Villain Jeopardy!, the latest in a long line of beautiful, imaginative action figure dioramas in our display case. And we had a few folks come in costume, from the father & son Batman & Robin to a dead-on Dark Knight Returns Carrie Kelly.






Thursday, May 01, 2014

Monthly Update - April 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
All New Ghost Rider #2
All New Ultimates #1
Amazing Spider-Man #1
American Vampire Second Cycle #2
Batman Eternal #1
Chew #41
Daredevil #1.5-2
Elektra #1
Evil Empire #1-2
Flash Gordon #1
Hulk #1
Lumberjanes #1
Magnus Robot Fighter #2
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude #1
Ms. Marvel #3
Punisher #4
She-Hulk #3
Silver Surfer #2
Solar Man of the Atom #1
Southern Bastards #1
Star Wars Rebel Heist #1
Starlight #2
Stray Bullets The Killers #2
Turok #3
Winter Soldier The Bitter March #3


Resolutions Update:

1. Learn Spanish - Um... whoops. This one fell under the wheels of the busy schedule of April, and doesn't look to be coming back soon. But I learned at least a little bit, and will return to it when I get a little more free time again.
2.. Read at least 12 books. Kept up my one book a month goal, and read Leather Maiden by Joe R. Lansdale, a birthday gift from my buddy Nate. Total right now: 6.
3. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Uh, yeah. This one I did. My friend Nick's birthday, for which there was a dinner and boardgame night *and* a family dinner, my own birthday, which was a big old party at which I got more than a little drunk and played more than a few boardgames, several lunches with friends at Haymaker, lots of dinners out, some game nights, karaoke with a friend in town from LA. - very social this month.
4. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. This was a big month for games. We played for my birthday, for a friend's birthday and at a game day. In addition to playing a lot of King of Tokyo (possibly my favorite game of the moment), I got to try out Boss Monster and Forbidden Desert, and I got Lords of Waterdeep for my birthday. I've been playing that on my iPad addictively, and can't wait to try it out for real. So I'm at 6 new games, halfway through the goal.

5. Stay under 200 lbs. My exercise habits also slipped in April, but miraculously, I'm still within my goal of 200 lbs., some days a touch over, but usually a touch under. I've been doing the elliptical every few days, I really need to make it a more regular thing. And now that it's nice out, I need to start walking outside more.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Torchy's Tacos
2. Michi Ramen
3. Deckhand Oyster Bar
4. Chuy's
5. Noble Sandwich Central
6. Haymaker
7. Outback Steakhouse
8. Easy Tiger
9. Jack Allen's Kitchen
10. Texas Roadhouse
11. California Pizza Kitchen
12. Mighty Fine Burgers & Fries

Stuff I Wrote:
1. About A Boy Review


Stuff I Podcasted:

1. Roguecasts Episode 26-29 - Marvel Now, Battlestar Galactica Boardgame, Game of Thrones, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and more
2. TV Dudes - Review, How I Met Your Mother, Agents of SHIELD, Veronica Mars movie, Veep, Turn, Silicon Valley, Game of Thrones, The Americans, Mad Men, Justified, Hannibal and more