Thursday, October 01, 2015

Monthly Update - September 2015


1. No cancer. Well, didn't make it. Small regrowth in the lung, getting surgery to take care of it in October. Could have been worse, but have not had a year cancer-free since 2012 when we found the damn thing. (Probably technically since 2010 or 2011 when it first grew, but I hadn't caught it yet.)

2. Read books. Started at 17 this month. Finished Gillian Flynn's "Dark Places" (in two days, I couldn't put it down) and The Showrunners book, bringing me to 19.

3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. So as of last month, if I cheat and don't consider DLC to be "buying" and count my two preorders of Star Wars Battlefront and Rock Band 4, I'm at... six.

4. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 30, played The Captain is Dead, a cooperative sci-fi game, as well as a few more rounds of DC Deck-Building, Machi Koro and its expansion. Also added Machi Koro Deluxe, Epic Card Game and Star Trek Five Year Mission to the game library.

5. Eat! - Tried out Shake Shack, which I liked pretty well. Two I want to revisit: Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather, so relatively soon). On my "need to try" list: Bullfight (Spanish tapas on Airport), Sawyer & Company, Porter Gastropub, and Southern's at PBK, Everything else new probably isn't opening until 2016.


Best Week of Comics This Month:
September 2nd (Daredevil, Future Imperfect, Lazarus, Mockingbird One-Shot, Plutona, Silk, Spider-Island, Squadron Sinister, Thors, We Stand on Guard)

Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
  1. Ms. Marvel #18
  2. Rat Queens #12
  3. Sex Criminals #12
  4. Daredevil #18
  5. Star Wars #9
                                                                      Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                      • Agent Carter One-Shot
                                                                      • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #5
                                                                      • Archie #3
                                                                      • Beauty #2
                                                                      • Civil War #4
                                                                      • Daredevil #18
                                                                      • Darth Vader #9
                                                                      • Future Imperfect #5
                                                                      • Grayson Annual #2
                                                                      • Infinity Gauntlet #4
                                                                      • Journey to Star Wars Force Awakens - Shattered Empire #1
                                                                      • Lazarus #19
                                                                      • Mockingbird One-Shot
                                                                      • Ms. Marvel #18
                                                                      • Plutona #1
                                                                      • Rat Queens #12
                                                                      • SHIELD #10
                                                                      • Secret Wars 2099 #5
                                                                      • Sex Criminals #12
                                                                      • Shield: The Cavalry #1
                                                                      • Silk #7
                                                                      • Spider-Island #3
                                                                      • Spider-Island #4
                                                                      • Squadron Sinister #3
                                                                      • Star Trek Green Lantern #3
                                                                      • Star Wars #9
                                                                      • Starve #4
                                                                      • The Fade Out #9
                                                                      • Thors #3
                                                                      • Usagi Yojimbo #148
                                                                      • We Stand on Guard #3
                                                                      Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                      • Suicide Squad Vol 1: Trial By Fire TP
                                                                      • Ms. Marvel Vol 1 HC
                                                                      • Master Keaton Vol 2
                                                                      • Bloodshot Reborn Vol 1 TP
                                                                      • The Valiant TP
                                                                      • Imperium Vol 1 TP
                                                                      • The Fade Out Vol 2 TP
                                                                      • Birthright Vol 2 TP
                                                                      • Descender Vol 1 TP
                                                                      • Chrononauts TP
                                                                      • Divinity TP
                                                                      • Mind Mgmt Vol 4 HC
                                                                      • Ivar, Timewalker Vol 1 TP
                                                                      • Archer & Armstrong Vol 2 TP
                                                                      • Harbinger Vol 1-2 TP
                                                                      • The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage Vol 1 TP
                                                                      • Quantum & Woody Vol 1 TP
                                                                      • Rai Vol 1 TP
                                                                      • Armor Hunters TP
                                                                      • Eternal Warrior Vol 1 TP

                                                                      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.
                                                                      • Narcos "You Will Cry Tears of Blood" (The kidnappings and bombings made this an even darker show, and this was definitely an hour when the Narcos weren't winning, but they were doing a lot of damage. The Cali cartel using Gustavo's affair against him was good. Also liked the chase, and was kind of horrified that Escobar's men were so callous and willing to murder a baby.) "La Gran Mentira" (The death of Diana was a rough moment, Pablo building his own prison is dark comedy, Pacha and Ochoas moving against Pablo, Gustavo's capture and beating and murder. I feel like the show wants me to be more conflicted, though, and I'm wholly for the savage murder of Escobar and all his compatriots, even as we're shown their human side, given all that they've been responsible for.) "La Catedral" (The prison sequence reminds me of Goodfellas and prison as party, another nod. The traffic accident was the very definition of "escalated quickly." The pigeon hunting was a rare spot of humor, but also an interesting bit of history. Then there were the paranoia murders.) "Despegue" (The raid on the prison, the minister of justice at the prison, the Cali Cartel in bed with the DEA, and where it all leaves it... I was hoping for a tidier resolution in case they don't come back, but this was a solid finale.)
                                                                      • Mr. Robot "eps1.9_zer0-daY.avi" (The return of philandering Michael/Lenny and the Ashley Madison reference is frighteningly timely. And that meeting with Wellick's wife... holy shit, is Elliot actually Tyrell too? I don't think so, given how Tyrell's assistant reacts to him, but... what a great scene. The public suicide, a.k.a. reason the finale was delayed, was striking, as was the tense scene between Angela and the Evil Corp CEO. There's a great pre-apocalyptic vibe all through this episode. "I don't know who you think you're talking to... but I'll try the Pradas next." Wow, great line. I was hoping for more concrete answers, but this was a fantastic season, not series, finale.)
                                                                      • Key & Peele "The 420 Special" (Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the valets discuss Game of Thrones and the telemarketer hang-up strategy) "Meegan & Andre Break Up" (The Meegan/Andre and Young Business both escalated for funny, but never quite made me laugh. The Nazi sketch, though... kept getting funnier. ) "The End" (Those goddamn Ray Parker Jr. songs are gonna be stuck in my head. The 911 sketch had a great punchline. I want to see their theoretical black revolution alternate universe as a movie. Negrotown was an amazing sketch with a dark-as-fuck punch-in-the-gut ending. Good, if not great, finale to a great show.)
                                                                      • You're The Worst "The Sweater People" (Man, did I miss this show. The Lindsey/Gretchen scene about relationships, Edgar's crush on Lindsey, Lindsey and Paul, the mutual too-tired-but-can't-admit-it, "Sleepy bitches lose their right to use normal people phones." The exact wrong pitch for a family plan. They stole the Zoiddle street car! Oh, I love this show so much. And I love that Lindsay is a little psycho, it just makes me love her more.) "Crevasses" (Gretchen tormenting Jimmy with Trivial Pursuit, Lindsey abusing Edgar's affection and the resulting turnaround with the guys at the bar, Gretchen's shopping meltdown) "Born Dead" (It's OK not to have friends, "I've been busy... with my dick!", alcohol shopping with Jimmy and Edgar, the recumbent bike sad story, the party)
                                                                      • The League "That Other Draft" (Andre and Pete's ex. Taco enjoying his punishment, more NFL players who can't act - kind of a weak opener.) "The Draft of Innocence" (Ruxon being the worst... always funny. Pete bringing Raffi to the draft was great and of course he would kidnap a woman and bring her to the auction. Of course. Andre's alley fight was... unexpected. And awesome.) "The Blind Spot" (The titular blind spot is pretty funny. And I always love EBDB. Dick Chicken)
                                                                      • Rick and Morty "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" (TINY RICK! The opening kitchen table scene, Jerry and Beth's dysfunctional relationship given form, and Rick's constant cry for help in song and dance... good episode.) "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" (Weaker than the original)
                                                                      • Minority Report "Pilot" (The female lead is deadly dull, the technology and special effects look creaky and old and they're trying way too hard, putting every little bit of the movie into the pilot and not really doing much new with it. I'll give it a couple more episodes to improve, but mostly it makes me wish the much-better Almost Human FOX canceled two years ago.)
                                                                      • The Muppets "Pig Girls Don't Cry" (I didn't hate it... but I also didn't laugh much. Great seeing Jere Burns, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Elizabeth Banks, but... the show needs to be funny to keep me.) "Hostile Makeover" (Some jokes I laughed at in the episode, but it's still not quite grabbing me. Maybe I'm just not that big of a Muppets fan?)
                                                                      • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "New Captain" (Bill Hader's intro was fantastic. Jake and Amy's date awkwardness. Linetti's narcissistic pep talk. And bringing in the Vulture? Genius.)
                                                                      • Last Man on Earth "Is Anybody Out There?" (I decided to give this another shot, and while the first episode back was better, it was surprisingly dark and maudlin, and wasn't as fresh as it was the first time around. Like Sudeikis, like Schaal, like Forte but this just isn't the show for me.)
                                                                      • Scream Queens "Pilot" (Based on my interest in Ryan Murphy projects, expected to hate it. Instead it's my favorite pilot so far, which is still grading on a curve. Jamie Lee Curtis gets it a lot of leeway, but this also does remind me of what I liked about Scream. It's goofy and bloody and extreme, and I don't know if it'll hold my interest long-term, but I liked it more than I expected.) "Chainsaw" (Charisma Carpenter! Also, the toxic relationship between Chanel and Chad continues to be amusing. The Coney interlude was... weird. Neck brace in Chanel's closet and getting a makeover. I love the clueless frat guys and chainsaw duels. And the white noise machine.)
                                                                      • Grandfathered "Pilot" (Very likable cast, Paget Brewster alone makes it worth watching. It's not great, but it's a solidly put together comedy that could easily become better.)
                                                                      • Agents of SHIELD "Laws of Nature" (I was really hoping the new base would be an actual Helicarrier. The Bobbi/Joey scene was pretty good. Bobbi being a scientist makes me happy. I like Fitz on the edge.)
                                                                      Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                      1. You're The Worst
                                                                      2. Mr. Robot
                                                                      3. Rick and Morty
                                                                      4. Key & Peele
                                                                      5. The League
                                                                        Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                        • Gone Girl
                                                                        • Mad Max Fury Road
                                                                        • Time Lapse
                                                                        • Limitless
                                                                        • Shaun of the Dead
                                                                        • Hot Fuzz
                                                                        • Pitch Perfect
                                                                        • Pitch Perfect 2
                                                                        • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
                                                                        • Stripes
                                                                        • A Most Violent Year
                                                                        Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                        • Mambo House (x3)
                                                                        • Torchy's (x2)
                                                                        • Chuy's (x2)
                                                                        • Shake Shack
                                                                        • Popeye's (x2)
                                                                        • Saltgrass Steakhouse
                                                                        • Sushi Nini
                                                                        • Culver's (x2)
                                                                        • Fork + Taco
                                                                        • Hoodie's (x2)
                                                                        • Bush's Chicken
                                                                        • Jason's Deli
                                                                        • Noble Sandwich

                                                                        Tuesday, September 01, 2015

                                                                        Monthly Update - August 2015


                                                                        1. Read books. Started at 13 this month. Finished Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and read Elmore Leonard's Freaky Deaky and La Brava and Mira Grant's Deadline, bringing me up to 17.

                                                                        2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I've bought four, but last month I did get the free Rocket League Soccer on PS4 and have been playing the hell out of it, and played Limbo (also free) through to the end. I also bought two expansion packs for Arkham Knight and two DLC packs for Helldivers. And bought Disney Infinity 3.0... mostly for Aaron, but I think it still counts. So I'm at five... and I've already preorded Star Wars Battlefront, making a total of six, even if I cheat really hard. Odds are I'm going to fail this particular resolution.

                                                                        3. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 28, Added Exploding Kittens and Chew Cases of the FDA to the game library. Played Cthulhu Wars and Exploding Kittens, so up to 30 new games for the year.

                                                                        4. Get below 190 lbs. Last month I was at 204 lbs., this month I'm at 203 lbs. The odds on this one aren't looking good either.

                                                                        5. Eat! - Got out to Lucky Robot for sushi and Japanese cuisine and it was delicious. Three I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather). Sawyer & Company and Porter Gastropub remain on the "need to try" list. I've also added Hanabi for sushi and Southern's at PBK. I also have a few I want to visit when they open:  Shake Shack, Thai Kun and Second Bar + Kitchen in The Domain and Voodoo Donuts on 6th.


                                                                        Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                        August 19th (1872, Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, Archie, Birthright, Captain Britain and Mighty Defenders, Kanan-The Last Padawan, Rat Queens, Runaways, Silk, Star Wars)

                                                                        Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                        1. Civil War #2
                                                                        2. Birthright #10
                                                                        3. Rat Queens #11
                                                                        4. Archie #2
                                                                        5. Ms. Marvel #17
                                                                                                                                      Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                      • 1872 #2
                                                                                                                                      • A-Force #3
                                                                                                                                      • Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #3
                                                                                                                                      • Airboy #3
                                                                                                                                      • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #3-4
                                                                                                                                      • Ant-Man Last Days #1
                                                                                                                                      • Archie #2
                                                                                                                                      • Beauty #1
                                                                                                                                      • Birthright #10
                                                                                                                                      • Captain Britain and Mighty Defenders #2
                                                                                                                                      • Civil War #2
                                                                                                                                      • Civil War #3
                                                                                                                                      • Darth Vader #8
                                                                                                                                      • Descender #6
                                                                                                                                      • Future Imperfect #4
                                                                                                                                      • Grayson #11
                                                                                                                                      • Howard the Duck #5
                                                                                                                                      • Howard the Human #1
                                                                                                                                      • Infinity Gauntlet #3
                                                                                                                                      • Kanan - The Last Padawan #5
                                                                                                                                      • Kaptara #4
                                                                                                                                      • Mad Max Fury Road Mad Max #2
                                                                                                                                      • Ms. Marvel #17
                                                                                                                                      • Planet Hulk #4
                                                                                                                                      • Rat Queens #11
                                                                                                                                      • Red Skull #2
                                                                                                                                      • Runaways #3
                                                                                                                                      • Silk #6
                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Island #2
                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Woman #10
                                                                                                                                      • Star Trek Green Lantern #2
                                                                                                                                      • Star Wars #8
                                                                                                                                      • Star Wars Lando #2
                                                                                                                                      • Starve #3
                                                                                                                                      • The Fade Out #8
                                                                                                                                      • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8
                                                                                                                                      • Velvet #11
                                                                                                                                      • We Stand on Guard #2
                                                                                                                                      Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                      • Evil Empire Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                      • Stumptown Vol 3 HC
                                                                                                                                      • Deep State TP
                                                                                                                                      • Supreme Blue Rose TP
                                                                                                                                      • Sunstone Vol 3 TP
                                                                                                                                      • Autumnlands Vol 1 TP

                                                                                                                                      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.
                                                                                                                                      • True Detective "Black Maps and Hotel Rooms" (Vaughn playing blackjack against himself while Kelly Reilly gives another dead-eyed co-performance is maybe the best metaphor for this season that I've seen. And we're still in a whirlwind of characters I don't know or care about. Farrell finding the D.A. dead was a surprise, though. Vaughn's scene with his goon was his best scene so far. But the plot is so damned labyrinthine and full of forgettable characters. Woodrugh's underground chase scene was well-shot.) "Omega Station" (How are two actors as good as Vaughn and Reilly so wooden in their scenes together? The cliched dialogue and situation doesn't help, but... yeesh. Especially when compared to Velcoro and Ani hearing about Woodrugh and reacting to that. Also a good tearful performance from random redhead girl I don't remember, even if I know her role in the narrative now. Also, once Vaughn gets away from Reilly and goes into gangster mode he gets more interesting. The scene at the airport was pretty damn fantastic, though. Also great tension as we wonder whether Velcoro and/or Frank are going to make it out alive. But... I feel like they went out of their way to make sure they both died stupid, victims of their own pride, at a point when they should have been smarter. And in the end, the men die heroic deaths so the two women can go off and raise a baby... not so good on answering the sexism charges there, Pizzolato.)
                                                                                                                                      • Deutschland '83 "Able Archer" (That tense border crossing with Stamm in the trunk of the car. But apparently it runs in the family to confess, given his mom's actions. Yvonne tumbling to Martin's true identity was great too. love the complicated reunion with Yvonne and Annette. And the father revelation was huge and unexpected. And with all the twists and turns at the end, I hope they do Deutschland '86 to follow up.)
                                                                                                                                      • Review "Bare Knuckle Brawl, Blackmail, Glory Hole" (Allison Tolman is amazing, Forrest's cluelessness and AJ's sly look at the end of Glory Hole was hilarious.)
                                                                                                                                      • Hannibal "And the Woman Clothed With the Sun..." (The flashback to Abigail's "murder" was creepy and effective, as were all the flashbacks to that relationship. Loved seeing Alanna and Will together again, healing slowly. Love the use of the "memory palace" when Will and Hannibal are working together. Armitage is killing it with the physicality of his performance. Still really glad to have the lab boys and the FBI back in the mix. Also great to see Freddie back too. So far their take on the Red Dragon story is as perfect as I'd imagine.) "And the Woman Clothed in Sun" (Will and Bedelia interacting these years later was really interesting. The romance between Dolarhyde and Reba is a really perfect version. Dolarhyde consuming the painting was creepy as hell, and the confrontation with Will was surprising.) "And the Beast from the Sea" (I'm still just bowled over by how great Armitage is. The creepy tension of him stalking Will's family, from the poisoned dogs on, was nearly unbearable. And then his breakup with Reba was heart-breaking in a different way. Hannibal playing games with everyone is always entertaining too. Will's talk with his wife... also heart-breaking. And then Will facing off with Hannibal at the end. So good.) "The Number of the Beast is 666..." (Will's angry interview with Freddy Lounds is a fantastic bit of revenge on the Red Dragon. Chilton and the Red Dragon was intense, with a horrifying finale.) "The Wrath of the Lamb" (The opening with Reba and Dolarhyde was moody and effective and grisly, but my first thought was...Will is never going to catch anyone, is he? And then... Dolarhyde turns up, very much alive. "We fake an escape." Hannibal's threat to Bloom, And a bloody finale, almost great except for the near-cartoonish invincibility of Will and Hannibal.)
                                                                                                                                      • Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Summer "Campers Arrive" (A big parade of people I recognize, but it mostly reminds me I didn't like the movie all that much. Great cast, captures the feel of '80s camp movies but... isn't as funny as I'd like.) "Lunch" (Abby's transformation into a woman was funny, Miss Patti Pancakes was delightfully weird) "Activities" (I'm actually more interested in the Josh Charles/Rich Sommers parody snob camp, because they're so committed. Chris Meloni is also the best. Reagan and the government computer was ridiculous and fun as well, and Jon Hamm as The Falcon drew me in) "Auditions" (Yay David Hyde Pierce! And Kerry Kinney's chatty real estate agent was a fun character. Jon Hamm's Falcon continues to delight, as is everything with Paul Rudd, Chris Meloni and Molly Shannon. Plus Weird Al as a hypnotist!) "Dinner" (The extended Cape Fear-esque chase of Ken Marino by Chris Meloni was great fun.) "Electro/City" (The musical was fantastic, I also like the courtroom story with Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig is the best part of a great side bit with Camp Tigerclaw, and then there was the reappearance of Falcon, which makes everything better) "Staff Party" (Perfect culmination and a dead-on parody of every '80s sex comedy/party movie, plus the Elizabeth Banks Almost famous riff) "Day is Done" (The penultimate episode felt like a good finale, but Reagan launching an attack on the camp simultaneously with Camp Tigerclaw is a good finale. The Gene vs. Falcon fight was a thing of beauty. And I want more of Chris Meloni and Jon Hamm doing comedy together.)
                                                                                                                                      • Rick and Morty "Mortynight Run" (Jerry Daycare, the assassin who buys guns, Blips and Chips, Roy: A Life Well Lived game and Jemaine Clement as David Bowie the space fart) "Auto-Erotic Assimilation" (Rick's very specific sex fantasy with Unity cracked me up. Jerry and Beth fighting in the lair and the alien's response was also funny as hell.) "Total Rickall" (The meta gags of wacky characters and flashbacks combined with the alien parasite runner... so good.) "Get Scwhifty" (Keith David as the President, Rick's hidden snake holster, Also, religion in the face of giant heads was fun. And of course, Ice-T's bizarre backstory.) "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" (Rick's microverse counterpart was a lot of fun, but the best part was the "B" story of Summer being "safe")
                                                                                                                                      • Mr Robot "eps1.6_v1ew-s0urce.flv" (The meet cute done as flashback after the girl is dead. Loved the "honest self" scene. Tyrell killing the CTO's wife on the roof was unexpected but I'm not sure where that story is going. And that closing scene with Eliott and his shrink was creepy and heart-wrenching at the same time.) "eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v" (So... Angela and Darlene know each other? Whoa. The meeting with the Dark Army was tense and intriguing, as was the frenetic rush afterwards. And Mr. Robot knows Wellick? Holy shit. Darlene is Eliott's sister?! And... is Mr. Robot real? Is he Elliott? WTF? Cannot wait until next week.) "eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt" (It's weird to see Elliott so angry, and really weird that Darlene and Angela know each other. This whole thing has really kicked into high gear. The big reveal about Mr. Robot is both what I guessed at first and completely surprising and interesting. And Wellick and Elliott together? I never saw that coming.)
                                                                                                                                      • Key & Peele "Killer Concept Album" (The confession rap song killed me, lightning in a bottle made me laugh like a goon, The catcalling sketch. The awkward ghost sketch. "Tell that to his widow" was short and perfect.) "The Job Interview" (Judge Jessie was a brief but amazing sketch. The return of the valets was welcome. And the return of Dekker! The dinner sketch with Lynskey was genius.) "MC Mom" (The MC Mom sketch was amazing. The rest not as memorable, but solid enough.) "Hollywood Sequel Doctor" (The sequel doctor would explain a lot. The Ron/Rob Riggle was one-joke, but it was a funny joke.)
                                                                                                                                      • Sense8 "I Am Also A We" (The Bollywood number was really fun, Nomi's mother is horrible, some of the dialogue and moments, especially in Mexico and Chicago, are a little goofy and on the nose. And there are a *lot* of characters in this. But... I still like it. Also.. transgender character, gay character, a guy with an ostomy, tons of cultures... this may be the most diverse show ever made.) "Smart Money is on the Skinny Bitch" (Nomi's story is the most interesting of the bunch, but I also like the story in Mexico quite a bit. The gangster/ex over lunch was really tense and interesting. But the Korean/Van Damm martial arts switch was the highlight of the episode.) "What's Going On?" (The surgery story is throwing me, because I don't know how it's at all legal. The story in Africa is heating up, but my favorite story is still in Korea. loved the scene with the 4 Non Blondes song, and the lockpicking scene was pretty badass.) "Art is Like Religion" (Seeing Capheus pray to "spirit of Van Damme Korean Lady" cracked me up. The big Mexican movie shoot out was fantastic. As was the meeting of Sun and Capheus.) "Demons" (I love seeing the characters start to figure out how they can interact with one another. The Riley assault, and resulting ass-kicking, was hard to watch but paid off nicely. I continue to love the Van Damm story, and the girl is adorable, which makes me fear for what's going to happen to her. Then there was the Sensate orgy party... wow. Also a very sweet conversation between Sun and Riley.) "W.W.N. Double D?" (I *love* Bug. I thought the story with Will and his partner wasn't connected, but it seems they're looking in from another angle. And I continue to love everything with Nomi and Amanita. And the cross-continental romance between Kala and Wolfgang is interesting... although I feel for her fiance, who seems like a decent and sincere guy. And "Whispers" is a suitably terrifying big bad.) "We Will All Be Judged by the Courage of Our Hearts" (Sun's prison yard fight was pretty badass. Love Nomi and Gorski investigating BPO. And Nomi, Sun, Gorski and Capheus teaming up for an escape was a great action scene.) "Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye" (I'm trying to figure out Jonas's agenda, and it's interesting to watch. This was an emotional episode, and the harrowing stuff with Lito at the end was particularly engaging.) "What Is Human?" (Wolfgang's action sequence was surprisingly satisfying, but not as satisfying as Wolfgang and Lito beating up the abusive asshole. Always good to see Joey Pants in a supporting role. And the birth montage was amazing, with a great cliffhanger.) "Just Turn the Wheel and the Future Changes" (The return of Bug! The shootout/fight in Africa. Whispers closing in on them.) "I Can't Leave Her" (Gorski and Nomi working together to break out Riley is fantastic. Wolfgang's assault, with Will and Kala's help, was great. The Wachowskis really like their "power of love" ending, though.)
                                                                                                                                      • Show Me A Hero "Episodes 1-2" (Oscar Isaac is definitely the star of the show here and he's great, but I'm loving the supporting performances, especially from Jon Bernthal and Winona Ryder.) "Episodes 3-4" (The phone montage that opens episode three is fantastic. So was Wasiscko at the house. Molina's Councilman Spallone is a complete asshole, he's playing a great role. Watching his cameraman ignore anything normal and only take pictures of things that would scare people was very effective. And I can't believe how compelling city council meetings are in Haggis's and Simon's hands.) "Episodes 5-6" (Always good to see Clarke Peters again... acting with Catherine Keener is even better. Also good to see Winona Ryder back. Wasiscko on the outs is interesting to watch. The closing moments of episode 5 as the residents come home and the current residents act like racist dicks were powerful and a little too real. And they really made Wasiscko unlikable by the end, I didn't expect that. I also didn't expect the heartwarming moment between "poodle lady" and the kid. Too much George Pelecanos in Simon's past had me expecting the worst. Which, it turns out, they saved for last. But Wasiscko's story is only part of it, because the happy endings for Carmen, Doreen and other were more powerful.)
                                                                                                                                      • Married Season 2 (Watched the first six episodes, and it's still uneven and doesn't make full use of its great cast, but still has funny moments as well.)
                                                                                                                                      • Banshee Season 1 (A fantastic mix of sex and violence, both at the levels you'd expect from Cinemax. The action scenes are truly bonkers, with great chases and fights and a few fights that go the right kind of long (think They Live) and plenty of brutal after-effects for those in the fights. Proctor, the ex-Amish gangster, is a great villain. Lucas Hood and Carrie/Anna are good badass characters. The Albino is a terrifying adversary for one episode. And I loved the supporting cast like cross-dressing hacker Job and ex-boxer Sugar. Rural noir with a gonzo edge, right up my alley.)
                                                                                                                                      • Narcos "Descenso" (Heavy voice-over, stole liberally from Goodfellas, which is one of my favorites, so I liked it quite a bit. Good setup.) "The Sword of Simon Bolivar" (The M-19 kidnapping, the formation of the Cartel.) "The Men of Always" (I don't know much about Escobar's political career, so this was an interesting hour. Also interesting to see that the DEA were protected in some ways.) "The Palace in Flames" (Barry Seal the pilot, the raid on Escobar's house, Reagan-era communist-hunting, and Escobar's use of the M-19) "There Will Be a Future" (The intersection of politics and narcos Gustavo's affair with the Ochoa's sister. Carillo's special unit. And that final phone call between Carillo and Escobar.) "Explosivos" (The border crossing with the two women was tense. The DEA security meeting was a funny bit. The Spaniard. And that poor dumb innocent kid who didn't know he was signing up to be a suicide bomber. I was surprised that the politician was talked out of getting on the plane.)
                                                                                                                                      Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                      1. Mr. Robot
                                                                                                                                      2. Deutschland '83
                                                                                                                                      3. Show Me A Hero
                                                                                                                                      4. Sense8
                                                                                                                                      5. Rick and Morty
                                                                                                                                            Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                              Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                              • Wet Hot American Summer
                                                                                                                                              • Birdman
                                                                                                                                              • The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
                                                                                                                                              • Ant-Man
                                                                                                                                              • Gravity
                                                                                                                                              Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                              • Hopdoddy's
                                                                                                                                              • Jason's Deli
                                                                                                                                              • Popeye's
                                                                                                                                              • Pacific Rim
                                                                                                                                              • PizzaRev (x2)
                                                                                                                                              • Sushi Nini (x2)
                                                                                                                                              • DK Sushi
                                                                                                                                              • Smashburger
                                                                                                                                              • Alamo Drafthouse (x2)
                                                                                                                                              • Palermo's Pasta
                                                                                                                                              • Noble Sandwich
                                                                                                                                              • Tarka
                                                                                                                                              • Lucky Robot
                                                                                                                                              • Chuy's
                                                                                                                                              • Culver's
                                                                                                                                              • TNT Tacos & Tequila
                                                                                                                                              • Kin & Comfort

                                                                                                                                              Saturday, August 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                              Monthly Update - July 2015


                                                                                                                                              1. Read books. This month I read Shadows Over Main Street, a Lovecraft anthology, putting me at 13 books for the year.

                                                                                                                                              2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. The last week of June and first week of July were almost entirely given over to Batman Arkham Night. Did preorder Rock Band 4. So that's... four? I finally got a chance to play Evolve as well. I liked it OK, Aaron loves it.

                                                                                                                                              3. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 21, held a boardgame night at my place. I played DC Deckbuilding Forever Evil (which I'm counting as a new game), Just Desserts, Sheriff of Nottingham and Mars Attacks Dice Game. Then at a friend's boardgame night, I played Concept and Double Feature, and then I played Takenoko at Gaming with Rogues, bringing me up to 28 new games for the year so far.

                                                                                                                                              4. Get below 190 lbs. Last month I was at 208 lbs., this month I'm at 204 lbs. No more exercise than last month, but a lot less eating, at least.

                                                                                                                                              5. Travel - Disney! That was a big trip. And I think, while fun, it has sated any need I have to travel for the rest of this year. Maybe next. I think next year's resolution will be "Stay-Cation."

                                                                                                                                              6. Eat! - During ATX Festival, I tried out Second Bar + Kitchen. Three I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather). Sawyer & Company and Porter Gastropub remain on the "need to try" list. I also have a few I want to visit when they open:  Shake Shack, Thai Kun and Second Bar + Kitchen in The Domain and Voodoo Donuts on 6th.


                                                                                                                                              Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                              July 8th (1872, Archie, Civil War, Descender, Mad Max Fury Road Mad Max, Runaways, Saga, Spider-Island, Squadron Sinister, Star Wars Lando, Starve, Strange Fruit)

                                                                                                                                              Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                              1. Archie #1
                                                                                                                                              2. Star Wars Lando #1
                                                                                                                                              3. Civil War #1
                                                                                                                                              4. Spider-Woman #9
                                                                                                                                              5. 1872 #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 1872 #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • A-Force #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Airboy #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ant-Man Annual #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Archie #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Birthright #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Captain Britain and Mighty Defenders #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Chew #50
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Civil War #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Copperhead #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Daredevil #17
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Darth Vader #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Descender #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Future Imperfect #2-3
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Godzilla in Hell #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kanan - The Last Padawan #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mad Max Fury Road Mad Max #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Marvel Zombies #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mercury Heat #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Planet Hulk #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Princess Leia #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Punisher #20
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Red Skull #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Runaways #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Saga #30
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Secret Wars #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sex Criminals #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Island #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Woman #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Squadron Sinister #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Star Wars #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Star Wars Lando #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Starve #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Strange Fruit #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Empty #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Thors #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Usagi Yojimbo #147
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Wayward #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • We Are Robin #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • We Stand on Guard #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mike Zeck Artist's Edition
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Storm Vol 2 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • East of West Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • SHIELD Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pathfinder Vol 3: City of Secrets HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • BRPD 1946-1948 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Wayward Pines "Betrayal" (The bombing of Burke's kid was a little hacky, but the contrast between Burke being the sheriff and his wife and former lover now not trusting him was really interesting.) "The Friendliest Place on Earth" (Burke's Jack Bauer moments of backstory and torture were a little weak, and I'm still not sure I buy the reasoning behind the experiment, but I'm also not sure we're entirely meant to. Pilcher and his sister are deranged in their own ways, and I'm not sure what the endgame for the show is. I do know, with two episodes left, that the big moment at the end is going to have major consequences next week.) " A Reckoning" (The yoyo between Pilcher and co. being reasonable and deranged makes them a bit cartoonish, but the good of this show definitely outweighs the bads. The young punks murdering everyone was chilling, and seeing Burke and the rest finally unveil the truth was really good as well.) "The Circle" (That was a weird finale. Everything went kind of action movie, and I thought they were going for a sort of measured happy ending, then there was the big twist, which I'm pretty sure means they decided to do a second season.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hannibal "Aperitivo" (Jack, Alana and Chilton all re-enter, damaged by their interactions with Hannibal... none more so than the recast Mason Verger, though, who is revealed to be the planner behind the hunt for Hannibal.) "Contomo" (I am weirded out by this season's obsession with snails... but I love seeing Crawford in Italy, confronting Hannibal. And Hannibal killing the detective was a nod to the Hannibal novel and a really creepy, effective scene.) "Dolce" (This was a spotlight for Gillian Anderson, as she interacts with pretty much everyone. And I'm pretty pleased with their new Mason Verger, who is a creepy antagonist. Then there was that chilling confrontation between Will and Hannibal, which really the whole series has been building up to. I'm more than a little annoyed at the intervention of Chiyoh, who has proven to be a weak character overall. But it was worth it for that Hannibal, Jack and Will scene at the end... up until the WTF moment that interrupted for the shock ending. I have to admit, I'm anticipating the next episode more than I have any other this season so far.) "Digestivo" (Is Chiyoh Japanese for plot device? Because she keeps shooting people whenever the plot requires it. The show has definitely disappeared into pretentiousness, but I love the crazy weirdness of the Verger estate and Hannibal being caught not by the FBI but by a fellow psychopath. It's strange and I can see why some find it off-putting, but I'm still really enjoying it.) "The Great Red Dragon" (The final arc of Hannibal begins. Love the Red Dragon/Tooth Fairy so far, glad that they did go ahead with Will getting married and having a kid, seeing him go back was as heart-wrenching as expected. So happy to see Scott Thompson back! Wish they hadn't dissected poor Beverly so we could have her back too. And I love that they made us wait the whole episode before teasing Will and Hannibal together again.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Orange is the New Black "Mother's Day" (Lots of great flashbacks, and I thought the Boo/Pennsatucky scene was great.) "Bed Bugs and Beyond" (I'm actually interested in seeing prison guard Ben's Iraq days, I like where the Alex/Piper relationship is at and Litchfield's woes has fascinating arc potential.) "Empathy is a Boner Killer" (Healy/Red is not something I saw coming... and I like Caputo having to run to the previous warden) "Finger in the Dyke" (Boo is one of my favorite characters, so I like seeing her backstory. Always good to see Mike Birbiglia too.) "Fake It Til You Fake It Some More" (The Red/Healy romance seemed really weird, but when we saw she was trying to get the kitchen back, it made a lot more sense. And they're trying with Marisol and Daya, but nobody is as interesting as last season's Rosa. It feels like they're trying to do with the Latina gang what they did with Vee and her people last season, but they're missing a Vee. But Mary Steenburgen and Mike Birbiglia are great as always, and I like all the stuff with Soso. Although... I got a laugh at the irony of Marisol winding up sewing for a living.) "Ching Chong Chang" (Lorna's prison speed dating was hilarious, but with a nice dramatic twist at the end. The background on Chang was interesting as well. I don't know what's going on with the random Brit in the panty shop, though. Loved seeing Red come back to the kitchen with that great "Rebel Girl" song choice.) "Tongue Tied" (Crazy Eyes erotica was a hilarious runner, the new rookie guard was fun, and Piper's used panties plan is pretty entertaining as well. Red back in the kitchen was great... for a few minutes, until the world fell out from under her. And Norma's backstory was interesting. This was a lighter episode, but a good one.) "Fear, and Other Smells" (Timehump Chronicles continues to get more entertaining. Piper occasionally gets on my nerves with her chipper self, I'm surprised but I miss angsty Piper. But Alex's story is getting intense, and I loved the flashback. The Caputo/Birbiglia stuff is killer, though. And I loved Pennsatucky and the new CO. Healy/Birdy/So-So also great.) "Where My Dreidel At" (Wow, the Pennsatucky/CO thing went dark fast. Alex's stalker/assassin plot is intriguing as well. Piper's brother's knowledge about the used panty business pays huge comic dividends. And the backstory in this one was really interesting.) "A Tittin' and a Hairin'" (Sophia and Mendoza and their sons is a really interesting and heart-breaking story, I like the Piper relationship, and I'm mostly annoyed by Alex and Lolly. And I'm surprised to find Pennsatucky relatable. Norma's new cult I can take or leave. And I was wondering when someone was going to figure out how much money Piper was making off them.) "We Can Be Heroes" (Crazy Eyes erotica is the gift that keeps on giving this season. The accidental release change-up was interesting and another bit of how the prison's been screwed up by the private company. Also like seeing Caputo's nice guy backstory and how that didn't pay off for him, and seeing him help out his guys even now. Boo/Pennsatucky was also surprisingly effective.) "Don't Make Me Come Back There" (Man, Healy is a piece of shit to So-So. And then... he brought corn in for Red? If I'm interpreting correctly? Weird. Sophia being sent to solitary is so fucked up, as is everything with Birbiglia and his dad.) "Trust No Bitch" (Great finale.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • True Detective "Night Finds You" (That ending... even if it's not what it appeared, my jaw dropped. And prior to that, I'm loving the interaction between the characters, the multiple goals of the investigation and especially Farrell and McAdams) "Maybe Tomorrow" (I like all the character work being done here, and the scenes with McAdams and Farrell continue to be my favorites... but I have to admit I'm losing track of what's supposed to be going on with the story.) "Down Will Come" (I find myself wandering off and losing interest, but there are a lot of good performances here... Vaughn's story was surprisingly engaging this week, and the hints that there's a deeper conspiracy involving power players and a guru cult type thing hearkens back to the plots in season one that ultimately didn't really go anywhere. The final gunfight was chaotic and brutal, but felt a bit cartoonish, and compared badly to season one episode four's mind-blowing final sequence) "Other Lives" (So big action sequence, time jump... they're really inviting comparisons to season one, and it's not doing them any favors. I'm officially done with Vaughn's storyline, and the others mostly interest me because of the performances by McAdams, Farrell and Kitsch.) "Church in Ruins" (Vaughn still seems out of his depth against Farrell, but the opening scene was pretty good. Farrell confronting his wife's rapist was an amazing scene. And I believe the scene with Ani and her sister means True Detective passes the Bechdel Test, which I found amusing given the complaints about season one. Still don't give a shit about Stan or most of what's going on with Vaughn's story. The orgy/infiltration scene was maybe the best scene of the season so far, marred only by my not recognizing either the guys that were talking about the deal or the girl Ani decided to rescue.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mr. Robot "eps1.1-ones-and-zer0es.mpeg" (I'm not sure if the hacker collective is entirely in his head or not, but I love the detached weird morality of the main character and the POV of the show, and it's a pretty beautifully shot, interesting show so far) "eps1.2_d3bug.mkv" (Love the subversiveness of naming the episodes like a pirated file, love the Patrick Bateman-ness of Eliot's nemesis, like Eliot trying to live a normal life.) "eps1.3_da3m0ns.mp4" (That was one of the most harrowing drug trips I've seen outside of Requiem for a Dream, and I loved Darlene's descent into the Dark Army territory as well. Fully convined Mr. Robot is in Eliot's head, because the only other guy who talked to him was in Eliot's hallucination.) "eps1.4_3xpl0its.wmv" (You sons of bitches... they went out of their way to show that Mr. Robot was real this episode, after faking us out for four episodes. Unless this is an elaborate ruse. But my previous stance of "Of course he's fake" is now in danger. What's great is that the real/not real is a sideshow to the rest of the show, which is conspiracy and relationships and a really interesting lead character. Watching him heartlessly destroy Bill Harper was terrifying. And seeing him confront Tyrell reminded me how much I like that character too.) "eps1.5_br4ve-traveler.asf" (Drug dealer happy is actually scarier than drug dealer mad. Great opener. Angela investigating the CTO who was framed, and the convergence of all three girls Eliott cares about at the worst possible time was tense as hell. As was watching Eliott run at the edge of his wits as problems kept coming up. And I did not expect that last move from the drug dealer.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Why? With Hannibal Buress "Eighth of July Celebration" (I love Buress, but this first episode was pretty weak, aside from a funny bit with Amy Schumer.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key & Peele "Y'All Ready For This" (The pirate feminist chantey was the highlight, but the terrorist plane sketch, Hilary's anger translator, the opening football pump-up to action movie and the trigger-happy cop were all great.) " " (The shorter sketches, like the Adventurer's Club talking about their sexual exploits, the kid with the money in his ear, were great. And the undercover women menstruation Ted Talk was amazing. The non spoiler double date was so sadly accurate.) " " (Children with beards was absurdist and dark and perfect. Black on black violence was really good. Never a big fan of Megan, but the first date sketch was funny too. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • 7 Days in Hell (Easily the funniest thing I watched on TV all year.) "Severed Head Showcase" (Gullible guard was a fun gag, but teaching center was the hit of this one.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sense8 "Limbic Resonance" (There's a lot of plot, a lot of setup and a lot of character to pack in, and they do it pretty well here. I'm intrigued by all the characters, wondering about the central gimmick, and already engaged with several of the stories.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Inside Amy Schumer "Foam" (The Princess sketch was hilarious and the titular foam story a fun little riff) "Wingwoman" (Listen Alert, Mike Birbiglia as her boyfriend, time travel sketch, and Amy's commitment in the Wingwoman sketch just killed me. Lots of great guest stars in the witchcraft sketch.) "3 Buttholes" (Opening oral sex sketch short and perfect, Cock Block was over-the-top, weird and funny as hell, "You poor barmy slag" cracked me up,)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pulling "Season 1" (Started off funnier and more cutting than it ended, but really fun series. Sharon Horgan is great here, albeit not as great as she is in Catastrophe.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Penny Dreadful Season 1 "Night Work" (The big reveal with Frankenstein was good if not surprising, I really like the setup and mood) "Seance" (Dorian Gray is interesting, Billie Piper has a good guest turn even if her Irish accent is occasionally impenetrable, and that seance performance from Eva Green makes me realize why there was Emmy talk from some quarters. And their take on Proteus is a fascinating take, a mix of childlike enthusiasm and haunting emptiness. Up until that shocker of an ending, that is.) "Resurrection" (After that great second episode, this was a return to the weaker first episode. Adam's flashbacks are a little dull, the revelations about Mina and her true identity not as surprising as I think they were meant to be... but still it's got nice mood and is coming together.) "Demimonde" (Did I just watch an episode about the characters watching a play? I mean, I get the point, but that sequence was a little long and required a lot of over-reacting from its characters in the audience. The whole thing is moving a little more slowly than I'd like, it's got good mood and interesting pieces but four episodes in I feel like we should be further along. Loved the dog vs. rat/Ethan vs. British assholes fight, though.) "Closer Than Sisters" (This show really likes flashbacks and asides... and I was already getting tired of backstory dumps by this point. That said, while it's a slog structurally, it's a well-done flashback that fills in important relationship information about several main characters. And once we got out of Downton Abbey territory and more into screaming crazy possession and asylums of the 19th century, it got much better. Eva Green really is the star of this show.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Deutschland '83 "Brave Guy" (There were a lot of convenient outs for Moritz, including a drunk soldier and a mysterious fellow spy, but the tension and action and surprises were so good I can forgive the narrative conventions. This is compared to The Americans a lot, but that's about trained professionals and tight spycraft, this is about a talented amateur forced to do things he doesn't want to. It's almost more Nikita. And it's great. As is the music.) "Atlantic Lion" (The East Germans trying to figure out the floppy disk was a great scene. Also, as someone with cat allergies, that allergy scene hit hard. Also, Duran Duran, The Cure, The Police... such great music. Moritz has the worst luck with people swapping gifts/rooms/desks. And his mom's a dissident? Holy crap.) "Northern Wedding" (There's something darkly hilarious about Renate being 100% right and 100% not credible. And the scene with Linda was as harrowing and chilling as The Americans, except that they wouldn't have turned back, because they're cold-blooded killers, not amateur spies. Which made it all the worse when she actually figured out what was going on. Again, convenient timing with his contact being able to find her and get to her so quickly, but I'm willing to forgive it for the effectiveness of the scene.) "Cold Fire" (I'm curious how in pre-GPS days, Tischbier always knows where Moritz is. Watching Tischbier try to turn Alex was a really good scene. Alex is kind of a spoiled little shit, though, as he proves throughout the rest of the episode. That Genesis-scored montage, tho. Nice.) "Brandy Station" (Alex's crazy rampage just gets crazier, dragging everyone in. And I thought all the AIDS discussion was a background detail, but it comes back in a big way here.) "Bold Guard" (That conversation between Martin and his aunt was great. the dinner with Schweppenstette was tense and exciting, and recruiting Martin's girlfriend to be a spy with his West German girlfriend is bound to be interesting as well. And it's terrifying that a few paranoid intelligence officers could have caused a nuclear war... which seems frighteningly plausible. Stamm blowing his own cover was inevitable but unpredictable at the same time.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • BoJack Horseman Season 2 "Brand New Couch" (Jumps right in even though I didn't watch most of season one, I really like the new supporting cast on the film and the various supporting cast stories.) "Yesterdayland" (Todd's messed-up Disneyland the court battle over it is probably the strongest part of the episode, but I also love Lisa Kudrow's character) "Still Broken" (A riff on '90s sitcoms with a hackneyed treasure hunt, more great voice work, and Princess Caroline's extended stories were fun.) "After Party" (Owl's bad jokes, deer in the woods, phones in love, Mr. Peanutbutter fighting with his wife... and Paul McCartney as himself.) "Chickens" (Chickens farming chickens, the bock-bock jokes killed me, Bojack's get out of jail free card was cynical and hilarious." "Higher Love" (I love Ben Schwartz's Rutabaga, the auto-erotic asphyxiation plot with the various names cracked me up, and of course JD Salinger.) "Hank After Dark" (Philip Baker Hall as Hank Hippopopalous was fantastic, and using it to do a Cosby riff was perfect. Also, Prince of Cordovia/Todd switch) "Let's Find Out" (A stunning evisceration of game shows along with good character stuff with Mr. PB and Bojack.) "The Shot" (A heist story... with Margo Martindale... as herself. Amazing.) "Yes And" (Cruel and hilarious skewering of improv as a mixture of Scientology and a gang, and I love the various Hollywood gags in here.) "Escape from L.A." (Bojack's small town adventure is funny, the boat riff was probably the funniest.) "Out to Sea" (JK Simmons as the film executive is great, the Giggle Ship was a blast, nice to see Princess Caroline wake up a bit, Angela Bassett and Aisha Tyler's bit parts were really fun. And the Bojack/Todd stuff was actually kinda sweet.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rick and Morty "A Rickle in Time" (Timeline splitting, Rick revealing that he actually cares about Morty, that poor bastard on the roof, time-traveling genital-headed monsters... Rick and Morty is back.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 7 Days in Hell
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Deutschland '83
                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Mr. Robot
                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Key & Peele
                                                                                                                                                                                                      5. Bojack Horseman
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • John Wick
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kingsman the Secret Service
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Idiocracy
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Inside Out
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ant-Man
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Chuy's
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hoodie's Subs (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Threadgill's
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Tarka
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Noble Sandwich
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Smashburger (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • BJ's Brewhouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Torchy's
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mambo House (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kerby Lane
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Deckhand Oyster Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Haymaker
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sushi Zushi
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Tacodeli
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Popeye's
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sushi Nini

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wednesday, July 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Monthly Update - June 2015


                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Read books. After a brief pause, this month I read Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell and Leviathan Wakes, so I've hit my 12 book goal. More on the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. No time this month, and Netflix dropped Orange is the New Black and Sense8, plus Amazon dropped Catastrophe, Star Wars Rebels started up again and there's the new Deutchsland '83 and three new HBO shows, so... not yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. No videogames this month... still haven't played Evolve. Did preorder Rock Band 4. So that's... four? And Star Wars Battlefront is definitely on my radar. Also... I bought Walking Dead, X-Com Enemy Unknown and Need for Speed Most Wanted for PS3 and Witcher 3 for PS4... but I did it with trade-in credit from getting rid of my XBox 360 and all the games, so... does that count? I'm gonna say no. Because I'm a cheater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. 24 More Boardgames. No new games this month, so I'm still at 21, but I've got a couple game nights in July.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              5. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was between 203 lbs. and this month, I walked around Disney a lot but also ate a lot and drank a bunch of soda. End result? 208 lbs. Fuck. I'm gonna need to get serious about dieting and exercising.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              6. Travel - Disney! That was a big trip. And I think, while fun, it has sated any need I have to travel for the rest of this year. Maybe next. I think next year's resolution will be "Stay-Cation."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              7. Eat! - During ATX Festival, I tried out Second Bar + Kitchen. Three I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather). There are four new ones: Sawyer & Company, Porter Gastropub, Shake Shack in The Domain (whenever that opens), Voodoo Donuts on 6th (whenever it opens, probably won't be in June)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              8. Cook! - Mostly grilling this month, although I cooked up a few now-standards like chicken with mushrooms and macaroni and cheese.


                                                                                                                                                                                                              Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              June 3rd (Airboy, Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, Darth Vader, Future Imperfect, Princess Leia, Secret Wars, Spider-Woman, Star Wars, Superior Iron Man, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, X-Tinction Agenda, Years of Future Past #1)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Spider-Woman #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Thors #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Ms. Marvel #16
                                                                                                                                                                                                              5. Howard the Duck #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Airboy #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Alex + Ada #15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ant-Man Larger Than Life #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Batgirl #41
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Big Man Plans #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Birthright #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Broken World #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Daredevil #16
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Darth Vader #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Descender #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • E is for Extinction #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Empty Zone #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fight Club 2 #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Future Imperfect #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ghost Racers #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Grayson #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Harrow County #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Howard the Duck #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Infinity Gauntlet #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kanan - The Last Padawan #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kaptara #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Korvac Saga #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Legacy of Luther Strode #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Marvel Zombies #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Midnighter #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • MODOK Assassin #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ms. Marvel #16
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Planet Hulk #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Princess Leia #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Punisher #19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Runaways #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Saga #29
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Secret Wars #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Secret Wars 2099 #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Secret Wars Battleworld #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Secret Wars Journal #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • SHIELD #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Silk #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Southern Cross #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Gwen #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Verse #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Woman #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Squadron Sinister #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Star Wars #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Starve #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Superior Iron Man #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Empty #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Fade Out #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Thors #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Usagi Yojimbo #146
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wayward #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • We Are Robin #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • X-Men 92 #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • X-Tinction Agenda #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Years of Future Past #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Green Arrow: Trial of Oliver Queen TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Grayson Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Usagi Yojimbo Vol 29 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Captain America Epic Collection: Streets of Poison TP

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • iZombie "Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat" (The cheerleader personality was fun, as was the personality switch when she ate different brains, and Major's anti-zombie vigilante campaign is dark and interesting... also... Schrodinger's grenade! The Peyton reveal was great, and not a fakeout like the one with Major... and almost certain to cause Liv no end of trouble. Then there's that closing montage... can't wait for the season finale.) "Blaine's World" (Major's Taxi Driver rampage was the high point, but I'm also really interested in where the Max Rager story is going next season.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wayward Pines "Don't Discuss Your Life Before" (The second episode hooked me. Not just for the surprising death, but for the creepy atmosphere and the terrific performances.) "Our Town, Our Law" (I was worried the mysteries might keep spooling with no development, but his family coming to town and the end of the sheriff and weird monsters in the walls? Plenty of developments going on.) "One of Our Senior Realtors Has Decided to Retire" (Melissa Leo is playing the creepiest bad guy here, and it's awesome. I also liked Burke as sheriff, the creepy vibe at the school and Hope Davis as the teacher in more of a headmistress type role.) "The Truth" (Saw this at ATX Fest, and that was pretty much the perfect way to see it. Turns the whole story on its head, and if they can follow through on the twist, I'll be pretty impressed.) "Choices" (The backstory is making a lot of sense, the insurgency now looks tragically misguided and the emotional shellshock for the first generation is brewing nicely. Every episode, I love this show more and more.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Inside Amy Schumer "Fight Like A Girl" (Fashion criticism is my least favorite thing, so the first couple didn't resonate with me, the Ambien sketch was random and hilarious, and fight like a girl was the title of the episode for a reason, because it was amazing. Her interviews, this time with a couple in an open relationship, have been great this year.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hannibal "Antipasto" (Beautiful, especially any scene with Gillian Anderson about Europe. Terrifying, especially in the way any scene with Hannibal could turn to violence at any minute. Surprising to focus entirely on Bedelia and Hannibal in the first episode, but in no way disappointing.) "Primavera" (Will Graham in Europe, an old foe of Hannibal and ghost Abigail made for another creepy, intriguing episode) "Secondo" (When we first met Will Graham in Manhunter, he was truly messed up - I like seeing how he became that way, having to become Hannibal in order to catch him. Chiyoh and Lithuania were another stark, beautiful compelling chapter in the hunt,)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Game of Thrones "Dance With Dragons" (Wow wow wow. The stuff in Dorne is still boring, but everything else was great. Stannis did what he was always going to do in a horrifying and really compelling way that's going to have major repercussions, Arya has lined up a target that is also going to have interesting repercussions and that final battle with the Sons of the Harpy and Drogon was as intense as the White Walker sequence the week before.) "Mother's Mercy" (So many "I didn't see that coming" moments. That finale with Jon Snow. Brienne and Stannis. Reek and Sansa. The walk of shame. Arya's vengeance. The impending Midnight Run in Mereen, with Tyrion and Varys running things. Such a great finale.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Silicon Valley "Binding Arbitration" (The arbitration story was really interesting, and their lawyer (not attorney) hilarious. But the Schrodinger's runner, complete with dark-as-hell ending, was the star of the show.) "Two Days of the Condor" (The flip-flop on the court decision, the delete/don't delete tension and of course, the Seinfeld-ian approach to that poor guy on their livestream.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Veep "Testimony" (If only for the flood of Jonah Ryan nicknames, this would have been fun. As is, it was a great episode in so many ways.) "Election Night" (Jonah flailing on stage, Amy's return to the campaign, the bashing of their Nate Silver stand-in and of course Selina's amazing rant made this a great finale.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Orange is the New Black "Mother's Day" (Lots of great flashbacks, and I thought the Boo/Pennsatucky scene was great.) "Bed Bugs and Beyond" (I'm actually interested in seeing prison guard Ben's Iraq days, I like where the Alex/Piper relationship is at and Litchfield's woes has fascinating arc potential.) "Empathy is a Boner Killer" (Healy/Red is not something I saw coming... and I like Caputo having to run to the previous warden) "Finger in the Dyke" (Boo is one of my favorite characters, so I like seeing her backstory. Always good to see Mike Birbiglia too.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Deutchsland '83 "Quantum Jump" (Good performances from its young star and older cast members alike, jumps right into the espionage of the thing, and what great music)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Star Wars Rebels "Siege of Lothal" (Introducing Vader and Ahsoka could have unbalanced things, but instead it's a great transition as the characters move from a single Rebel cell to part of a growing army. Vader is scary and powerful, like he should be, the action sequences and space battles are fantastic. Can't wait for more.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • True Detective "The Western Book of the Dead" (Different setting, more characters, more of an LA noir tale... still pretty much everything I love about True Detective. Colin Farrel in particular is fantastic.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Brink "Pilot" (Lots of smarm in this one, not sure if it'll pay off, but I really like what Tim Robbins is doing as the most arrogant and also most right guy in the room, and Pablo Schrieber is, as always, terrific.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ballers "Pilot" (Not the dude-bro show I expected it to be, at least so far. I mean, yeah, it's NFL wish fulfillment, but it's also about the downside of all that, and seems to have something to say... not as funny as I might have expected, but interesting.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Another Period "Pilot" (Another hit for Comedy Central, with an amazing cast and guest stars.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Catastrophes "All Six Episodes" (Like the lovechild of You're The Worst and Coupling, I adored this show and laughed throughout... I'm not 100% sold on the ending, which turned very dark and ugly and counter to everything we'd seen before, but the rest of it was great.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Game of Thrones
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Hannibal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. iZombie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Catastrophes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Wayward Pines
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Inside Out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hopdoddy's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Frank
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Smashburger (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Second Bar + Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gus's Fried Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Twisted Root Burgers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • BJ's Brewhouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Torchy's Tacos (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Michi Ramen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tarka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Terry Black's BBQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Monday, June 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Monthly Update - May 2015


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Read books. Still at 10 books for the year so far. But I didn't read any this month. I bought a couple more, though. I'm sure I'll get some reading done on my June vacation, at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Finally got the DVR mostly clear and started watching some DVDs and Blurays. Got around to re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season One and started in on Community Season Five. I also bought and re-watched You're The Worst Season One... does that count? I think it might count against me since I bought something despite having a huge stack of Blurays already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. No videogames this month... still haven't played Evolve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. 24 More Boardgames. I went ahead and doubled this from last year's goal, since I cleared 12 new games in four months. This month, I played a new party game, Cinelinks, plus Roll for the Galaxy, the DC Deck-Building Game, Epic Spell WarsDixit, Bang!, and Castles of Mad King Ludwig, bringing my total to 21 games for the year. I also played Cards Against Humanity and Superfight more than once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was between 198-205 lbs. This month I finally dragged the elliptical out of storage and started using it, albeit irregularly, and settled in around 203 lbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6. Travel - Nothing until June, probably. I looked into Dallas Fan Days, but there's other stuff going on that weekend. Ditto Heroes Con, which is just too close to the Disney trip and our All-Ages event to be logistically possible, even if I could easily swing the budget. I'm also starting to consider GenCon at the end of July, but don't know feasible that is either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7. Eat! -  I got out to Twisted Root Burgers and will definitely visit that again. Four I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co. and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather) and 3 new ones: Porter Gastropub, Shake Shack in The Domain (whenever that opens), Voodoo Donuts on 6th in June (if it opens on time).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8. Cook! - Mostly grilling this month. I need to get back to doing a little more cooking, but there was a lot of going out in May and there will probably be quite a bit in June. I did make the alfredo chicken ziti, chicken parmesan and chicken with mushrooms again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9. NaNoWriMo - No progress this month, and I'm starting to reconsider whether I want to devote a whole month to it or not.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      May 13th (Birthright, Darth Vader, Harrow County, Howard the Duck, Ms. Marvel, Saga, Secret Wars, Silk, Spider-Man 2099, Storm)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Howard the Duck #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Spider-Woman #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Fight Club 2 #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5. Afterlife with Archie #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • A-Force #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Afterlife with Archie #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Amazing Spider-Man #18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ant-Man #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Birthright #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Chew #49
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Chrononauts #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Copperhead #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Daredevil #15.1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Darth Vader #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Descender #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fight Club 2 #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Harrow County #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Howard the Duck #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Inferno #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Infinity Gauntlet #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Insufferable #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kaijumax #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kanan Last Padawan #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lantern City #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mad Max Fury Road Nux & Immortan Joe #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Master of Kung Fu #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • MODOK: Assassin #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ms. Marvel #15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Planet Hulk #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Punisher #18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Saga #28
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Secret Wars #1-2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Secret Wars 2099 #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Secret Wars Battleworld #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Secret Wars Journal #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • SHIELD #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Silk #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Spider-Gwen #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Spider-Man 2099 #12
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Spider-Verse #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Spider-Woman #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Star Wars #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Storm #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Uncanny Avengers Ultron Forever #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Usagi Yojimbo #145
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wayward #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sixth Gun Vol 2 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bone Vol 1 HC Tribute Edition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Usagi Yojimbo Senso HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • D&D Legends of Baldur's Gate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Y The Last Man Vols 1-10 (Reread)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bloodshot Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Velvet Vol 2 TP

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Game of Thrones "Sons of the Harpy" (A fantastic fight sequence with the Sons of the Harpy vs. Barristan and Grayworm, an interesting fight scene with Jaime, Bronn and some Dornish soldiers, the introduction of the Sand Snakes, maneuvering around Loras Tyrell and the Faith Militant and a nice scene between Sansa and Littlefinger) "Kill the Boy" (Every season, there's one of these piece mover episodes; important, but dull compared to everything surrounding it; this checks in with a lot of the less interesting connective tissue of the series, following impending marriages of Sansa and Daenerys, more doings with the Wildlings, Stannis moving on from the Wall, etc. - a short fight scene at the end with stone men was a little lacking compared to all that's gone before) "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" (While I'm not willing to swear off the show based on it, I did think that it was unimaginative to put Sansa right back into the status quo she was in with Joffrey, having learned nothing. But I love everything in Dorne, and I'm loving to hate Cersei and the Faith Militant as they push around the Tyrells, who are probably the most legitimately good people in the show. Also... Diana Rigg is back!) "The Gift" (That long-awaited Daenerys/Tyrion meeting was big, but there were a lot of good moments in this great episode. Ghost returns. Cersei finally faces the inevitable with the sparrows. A horrific possibility is dangled before Stannis, and for all the character work they've done on him, if he goes through with burning his daughter, it'll be hard to ever root for him again. Oh, and it turns out Bronn and the Sand Snakes are more interesting facing off in prison than on the battlefield.) "Hardhome" (I thought that Tyrion and Daenerys meeting for the first time was going to be the biggest thing in this episode, and the biggest thing we'd yet seen that hasn't been in the books. Nope. That final battle was pretty epic. And try as I might, I can't feel bad for Cersei's predicament. Jamie has been redeemed somewhat, but Cersei is the worst and has caused so much misery that I actually feel she deserves this and more. Oh, and Arya finally goes outside again! Yay!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mad Men "Lost Horizon" (Peggy rattling around SC&P, another ghost Burt appearance, Don feeling like a third wheel and pulling a disappearing act, Roger & Peggy skating and playing the organ, Don's secretary fitting in, Joan very much not... everyone we love is struggling, the minor characters are thriving... it's a weird mirror of most final seasons) "The Milk and Honey Route" (Pete gets a great job and his family back, Betty gets cancer, Don spends an entire episode in a hotel in the middle of nowhere... what is happening? This is a bizarre choice for the penultimate hour of Mad Men) "Person to Person" (Not at all what I would have predicted, but really satisfying, especially in the Peggy-Stan moment that I did not see coming.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Silicon Valley "The Lady" (I love the new addition to the company, but I'm already finding Russ more annoying than entertaining, and I don't care about Jian-Yang either. Still funny, but more uneven than it's been.) "Server Space" (Love seeing Andy Daly, and I love Erlich being afraid to lose his buddies to the outside world, I'm a sucker for a cheap monkey/cybernetics/masturbation joke, and Jared's night-German was hilarious) "Homicide" (The Dinesh/Gilfoyle "Let Blaine Die" chart was almost as spectacular as the extended dick joke that closed out last season, and has the beautiful payoff of Blaine discovering the board. The rest of the episode was just icing on the cake.) "Adult Content" (If all this episode gave us was the gloriously filthy names of various porn companies, I'd have been happy with this episode. But they also gave us Dinesh's doomed love life and Monica not wanting to be in the room for a meeting, and was a really fun episode.) "White Hat/Black Hat" (Kind of a frustrating episode, with various sitcom misunderstandings and mishaps. Watching every character fuck up for half an hour wasn't super entertaining.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Veep "Tehran" (I love the spiraling from on top to completely fucked that this show does so well. Dan as a lobbyist promises to be really fun, VP Doyle is a lot of fun to watch and Kevin Dunn continues to kill it every time) "Convention" (Amy's epic rant was a thing of beauty, Dan's work in lobbying is hilarious and Hugh Laurie as Tom James makes a killer entrance) "Storms and Pancakes" (Amy as a lobbyist is a lot of fun, Tom James overshadowing Selena is entertaining and the Jonah molesting story, while weird, continues to entertain as well) "Mommy Meyer" (Just a flood of great stuff this episode, including every second of Tom James, the attempt on Selina's life and her stilted evening with her friends and every bit of Amy and Dan lobbying. To be honest, I kind of want a lobbyist spin-off now.) "B/ill" (Unlike Silicon Valley, watching these guys fuck up is particularly hilarious to me, and watching Dan & Amy run counter to Jonah & Richard was really fun.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Agents of SHIELD "Scars" (Got my wish for a larger, more cohesive SHIELD, albeit in a really low-budget way, but I continue to not care at all about the TV version of the Inhumans. Also, they killed off Tripp and now they're getting rid of Mac? There are plenty of cast members to shed, why do they keep losing the most interesting ones? And I hate the waste of Olmos, and have zero interest in seeing the Inhumans vs. SHIELD.) "S.O.S." (There are moments here, most of them involving Mockingbird being a badass, but it's all so... cheap? Boring? Inhumans are a bunch of J. Crew models wearing street clothes and using guns, a really second-rate makeup job for Mr. Hyde and a lot of emotional arcs (like Cal's breakthrough or Agent 33's closure) that I really don't care about. I'll still watch, because it's Marvel Cinematic, but this has been a disappointing second half of what was a promising season early on.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • iZombie "Dead Air" (The murder of the week was a little on the predictable side, but still fun... but the ongoing mythology stuff, whether it's the zombie rat, Major's delve into darkness, or Liv's boss dating Liv's roommate, were all great.) "Patriot Brains" (The Blaine story is getting really interesting, and I liked Percy Daggs as our murderer, but seeing her zombie boyfriend offed was sad. I don't know where the arc story is going, and I love that.) "Mr. Berzerk" (The arc construction here has been great. Major's story and Blaine's story is one thing, but that Max Rager is tied in was a surprise. And Liv has her first zombie spawn, a psychotic hitman!) "Astroburger" (Lots of great running stories with the arc, I did not see the twist of delusions coming, and even though I'm disappointed that Major hasn't been let in on the truth, the panic on Liv's face when she realized what was happening made it worth it.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Flash "Grodd Lives" (A letter perfect version of Grodd, more of Well's sinister agenda and Iris being super-pissed *almost* pays off all the stupid lying to Iris they've been doing. This first season is coming together nicely.) "Rogue Air" (So much awesome. Transporting the metahumans, Cisco inventing a power damper, the Cisco/Glider flirtation, the formation of the Rogues, the formation of the Justice League (sort of), that epic fight, "I might need a favor from you. Wherever, whenever." This is pretty much everything I want from a superhero show.) "Fast Enough" (A great finale. Some questions unanswered, like why they'd let Thawne go, but some real heart-wrenching moments, super-cool superheroics and fun Easter Eggs like the Golden Age Flash's helmet, Rip Hunter's time sphere and a glimpse of the new Hawkgirl.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Inside Amy Schumer "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer" (If this doesn't win a comedy Emmy, we shouldn't have comedy Emmys) "I'm Sorry" (The late night talkshow sketch kept getting more and more darkly funny until the, uh... climax. Killer sketch. The scientific sketch was such an amazing send-up of women being trained to be deferential, Pizza World Nights was fun and earns bonus points for Boogie Nights references, and Amy Goes Deep with a Gigolo was hilarious) "Babies and Bustiers" (The weakest episode of the season so far, but still funny. Preteen beauty pageants are a fish in the barrel target, and while adding the Benjamin Button stuff made it weird, it didn't make it that much funnier. The "bakery in Maine" sketch was funny but a similar riff to previous sketches. The woman on the street interviews were my favorite parts of the episode.) "'80s Ladies" (The Universe featuring Bill Nye and the ladies of Broad City!, and a weird '80s runner, complete with Jerry Seinfeld and a disturbing Weird Science riff)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Arrow "This is Your Sword" (The constant reversals on Oliver being evil or not are ridiculous, since we know the end result, Ra's is a boring villain and the Hong Kong flashbacks are taking way too long to tell a story that isn't that interesting. Looking forward to the spark of life Flash will give this next week, and hoping they've got a much stronger season four in mind.) "My Name is Oliver Queen" (Built on a rocky foundation of nonsensical plot twists, but this still managed to be a pretty solid finale with a lot of fanservice, including the real origin of the Atom, the appearance of Speedy/Red Arrow and of course Felicity in the suit. And a great guest appearance by Flash. I can't get over how bad they missed on Ras Al Ghul, though. And I was really hoping they were gonna close out by calling him Green Arrow.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Played catch-up with about six episodes, including a strong season finale... it was more uneven this year, but almost always funny, and occasionally great)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wayward Pines "Episode One" (I don't know if I'll stick with this or not, it's got some good actors and I'm interested in the mystery, but more from a "I'd like to look it up on Wikipedia and see what the twist is" than "I'd like to watch 9 more episodes" perspective. Would have liked it more as a bingable Netflix show, I think.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Community (Caught up on episodes 8-12, which were much stronger, especially the espionage paintball)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Louie "Bobby's House" (What a weird episode, with Louie in makeup, another painful moment with Pamela and more of Bobby, his shitty brother) "Untitled" (Charles Grodin as the doctor was a great cameo, and I love the Midnight Run callback of "Ya-hey,"then there's this whole bizarre dream sequence thing that perfectly captured dream logic and got funnier the longer it ran) "Sleepover" (The turnaround on kids using phones was a great scene, The return of Pamela wasn't particularly welcome. But the sleepover trip to the police station was a thing of beauty. As was Bobby's tale of how he went to jail.) "The Road, Part One" ("Where's Roger?" "He's dead." JizzyBuns, And the bizarre adventures at the airport were a lot of fun.) "The Road, Part Two" (This season has been particularly strange... and this episode went from fart jokes to a poignant Civil War photo to an emotional breakdown to a death scene to a goofy final scene with his daughter, and it all fit together surprisingly well.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Game of Thrones
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Veep
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Flash
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. Inside Amy Schumer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5. Mad Men
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Avengers Age of Ultron (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Up In The Air
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pitch Perfect
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pitch Perfect 2 (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Road Warrior
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mad Max Fury Road
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mission Impossible 3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tomorrowland
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jersey Boys
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Smashburger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rudy's BBQ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Haymaker
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Popeye's (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kerbey Lane
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • PizzaRev
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Blind Squirrel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fork + Taco
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Alamo Drafthouse (x6)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sushi Nini
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tarka (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • BJ's Brewhouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Peached Tortilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Chi'Lantro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Twisted Root Burgers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Odd Duck
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bush's Chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Friday, May 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Monthly Update - April 2015


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Read books. Still at 10 books for the year so far. But I didn't read any this month. I bought a couple more, though. I'm sure I'll get some reading done on my June vacation, at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Finaly got the DVR mostly clear and started watching some DVDs and Blurays. Got around to re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season One and started in on Community Season Five.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I got Evolve for my birthday, which I say doesn't count as buying a game, so I'm still at 3 games for the years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. 12 More Boardgames. This month, I played Battlestar Galactica and Dead of Winter had a boardgame night where I played Formula D and Superfight, both of which I loved. I also hosted International Tabletop Day at the store, where I got the chance to play Batman Love Letter and Geek Out. So that's 4 new games for this month, for a total of 14 already. Hit that goal early.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was 202... this month, I've wavered between 205 and 198.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6. Travel - Nothing until June, probably. I looked into Dallas Fan Days, but there's other stuff going on that weekend. Ditto Heroes Con, which is just too close to the Disney trip and our All-Ages event to be logistically possible, even if I could easily swing the budget.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7. Eat! - Not a resolution, but so far on my list of "places I want to eat in 2015" There were five on this list, and I went to Hopdoddy, as well as a birthday dinner at Barlata. So there are four I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co. and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather) and 4 new ones: Porter Gastropub, Shake Shack in The Domain, Twisted Root Burgers on Burnet, Voodoo Donuts on 6th in June.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8. Cook! -Made a few of my new standards: Alfredo Chicken Baked Ziti, Chicken Parmesan and Baked Parmesan "Fries." Cooked pork chops, burgers, salmon and steaks on the grill (the latter with HEB's garlic and herb finishing butter, which I'll now be using for every steak ever). Made the cajun and shrimp pasta and chicken and mushrooms again, which are now part of my regular standards. I also made a double batch of bacon/beef/coffee porter chili and a triple batch of macaroni and cheese for my birthday party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          9. NaNoWriMo - No progress this month, and I'm starting to reconsider whether I want to devote a whole month to it or not.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          April 8th (Ant-Man, Birthright, Copperhead, Darth Vader, Descender, Howard the Duck, Kaijumax, Rat Queens, Saga, SHIELD, Southern Cross, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Woman, Storm)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. SHIELD #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Kanan the Last Padawan #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Saga #27
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Spider-Woman #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Howard the Duck #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Alex + Ada #14
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Amazing Spider-Man #17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ant-Man #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Avengers: Ultron Forever #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Birthright #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bitch Planet #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Chrononauts #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Convergence Action Comics #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Convergence Detective Comics #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Convergence Green Arrow #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Convergence Plastic Man/Freedom Fighters #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Convergence Suicide Squad #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Convergence Superboy #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Copperhead #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Darth Vader #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Descender #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Giant Days #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hellbreak #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Howard the Duck #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kaijumax #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kanan The Last Padawan #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Legacy of Luther Strode #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ms. Marvel #14
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • New Avengers Ultron Forever #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Princess Leia #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Punisher #17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rat Queens #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rebels #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rick & Morty #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sabrina #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Saga #27
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • SHIELD #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • SHIELD #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Silk #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Southern Cross #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Spider-Gwen #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Spider-Man 2099 #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Spider-Woman #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Storm #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Superior Iron Man #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Superior Iron Man #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The Fade Out #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wayward #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Absolute Green Arrow by Kevin Smith
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Brody's Ghost Vol 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rutabaga The Adventure Chef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Empowered Unchained
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Crogan Adventures: Catfoot's Vengeance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bandette Vol 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Zenith Phase 3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Scott Pilgrim Vol 6 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cleopatra in Space Vol 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Spider-Verse 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The Flash "Tricksters" (Another huge episode, with the origin of the Reverse Flash, another identity reveal or two for Barry, fantastic work from the two Tricksters, and a long-awaited Flash trick. Plus, was this the first mention of the Speed Force?) "All Star Team Up" (I really want Atom to shrink, but this was a fun team-up. Loved their version of the Bug-Eyed Bandit, love the use of Tina McGee... but they have got to stop lying to Iris for no reason.) "Who is Harrison Wells?" (Really good elevation of a minor villain into a major threat, always fun to see Flash/Arrow cross-pollinate, *love* that Cisco provides the Canary Cry and that the Wells mystery is heating up. Also really like Eddie working with the Flash.) "The Trap" (Nice swerve on Wells, I didn't see the twist coming. Lots of answers, still plenty of questions, and they finally, finally seem to have let Iris figure it out.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Marvel's Agents of SHIELD "One Door Closes" (The assault on SHIELD by SHIELD was pretty good, even though I'm wishing they hadn't done the traitors storyline again. I kind of want SHIELD as a big organization rather than a small scrappy one, I hope they're leading to a merger and not more SHIELD on the run) "Afterlife" (I'm still not sure how a show that was firing on all cylinders has returned to the barely-watchable state of season one... but it has. It's not terrible, but it levels off at mediocre and rises above only for rare sequences, like Coulson and Hunter and Deathlok escaping SHIELD in this episode) "Melinda" (Solid at best action sequences the week after Daredevil was probably a mistake. The Cavalry story was OK, but I don't really care. Ditto the Inhumans stuff. Basically, another OK to mediocre episode, I guess that's what the show is now.) "Frenemy of My Enemy" (I wouldn't have guessed bringing Ward and Agent 33 in would work, but if you ignore a few things, it works, and makes the show stronger. Just having an enemy in Hydra helps a lot, I think that may be the biggest thing SHIELD has been missing, a conventional bad guy instead of the weird Inhumans/other SHIELD organization.) "The Dirty Half-Dozen" (I suppose it's possible there are people who care about seeing the original, boring team back together... I'm not one of them. Some good action (Skye's one-woman take down of a bunch of Hydra agents in particular) undercut as always by inconsistent characters whose abilities and skills are tailored to the needs of the plot, rather than the other way around. Fun little nods to the MCU, which ultimately serve to remind me how much more I like the source material than this limp spinoff.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The Americans "Stingers" (Wow. It's been building, but the way the Paige story turned this episode was stunning, and game-changing. Add in a twist on the defector and the usual strong work from everyone involved, and this was a great episode) "One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov" (The Paige relationship has amped up this already tense show to new levels, and spun so many of the relationships in interesting directions. Great comic relief moment with Oleg and his comrade reading FBI mundane conversations too.) "I Am Abassin Zadran" (Many great moments, including the Jennings in the car with the Afghani warlord, the confrontation with Martha, more friction with Paige and the two KGB handlers in the diner... a strong penultimate episode, lots of tension winding up for the big finale.) "March 8, 1983" (A lot of plates left spinning in this overstuffed season, so this felt more like a midseason break than a season finale, but... it's still really good stuff, and that closing bit with Paige... I don't know where they're going next, but I want to see as soon as possible.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • iZombie "The Exterminator" (Great confluence of story-of-the-week and ongoing stories about Liv, her fiancee and her roommate, not to mention another zombie and more David Anders) "Liv and Let Clive" (Little info on Clive's past, fun connection between Ravi and Major, good case of the week, nice Matrix reference and I like it all so much it keeps my attention even though Anders's criminal zombie empire is a more interesting story) "Flight of the Living Dead" (The zombie love interest and missing persons case are interesting threads, the reveal of the zombie captain was huge and the case of the work was great too, with guest star Ryan Hansen and a Party Down nod to boot. Not to mention, left unsolved, so I think everything here plays into the ongoing story.) "Virtual Reality Bites" (They snuck in the Were-Terrier! Also like the continuing story of Major's hunt for his friend's killer. And the cyber-case was an interesting touch.) "Maternity Liv" (This show really does a great job of marrying dark subject matter (murdered pregnant girl) with a light tone. I like all the interactions on a moment-to-moment basis, and I'm invested in the mythology too... I'd forgotten the Lieutenant was a zombie.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Arrow "Public Enemy" (They make a big point here about things coming full circle, and it's not a good thing... I'm tired of the repeat of Arrow vs. the World. I'm annoyed that Ollie was known as the Arrow for like 20 minutes before they introduced a stupid way to roll it back. Their Ras Al Ghul is dull. The action sequences are good, though. And if that nanotech injection turns Ray into the Atom, I'll be very happy ) "Broken Arrow" (I feel like there's a lot of piece-moving and illogical stuff going on here in the name of plot, and it weakens the show... but the fight between Roy and the inmates was really good, Ray coming into his own as the Atom is great and I'm kind glad to see Thea and Roy taken off the board for a while, if only because they're some of the weaker actors on the show. Also... Opal City! Metahumans beyond Central City! Cool stuff for the overall DC TV-verse.) "The Fallen" (This whole Arrow becomes Ras story has been stupid and inconsistent... so he kills Thea, and in exchange for undoing it, Oliver agrees to join him? Felicity and Ollie get together, but they can't stay together, and nothing has really changed, but she can't be with Ray? I don't even know what we're supposed to make of Malcolm right now. They're going for divided loyalties, but landing on inconsistent, plot-driven character decisions, and it's wearisome.) "Ah-Sah-Him" (So I pretty much hated this. Oliver going dark Oliver is boring and stupid, Ras is a cartoon villain with no understandable motivations beyond what the plot requires, and it has amped up the CW drama that has always been the weakest part of the show. Some good action sequences, and a use of the new Canary Cry, don't make up for a plot that I've grown to hate. Oh, and I continue to not give a shit what happened in Hong Kong.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Archer "Drastic Voyage" (Killer finale, too many good gags to write them all down, finishing off a strong season)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mad Men "Severance" (The Ken Cosgrove stuff was killer, the Don stuff I felt like I was missing something but it was still great, and I love dissatisfied, angry Joan as much as goofy, drunk Peggy - great opener to the final season) "New Business" (Don's continuing tour of his life that could have been continues, but the winning scene was Harry Crane being a complete jackass and of course the bits of Roger Sterling, hapless chauvinist) "The Forecast" (The first truly strong episode of the season, although still weirdly focused on sort of outlier characters. But Joan/Bruce Greenwood was great throughout, it's always fun to see Don and Peggy interact and misunderstand one another and though I wasn't crying out to find out what happened to creepy Glen, it was a weird but interesting story) "Time & Life" (Lou Avery having his victory moment was weird and funny, the rush to secure California reminded me of some of the best moments in Mad Men history, and Peggy/Stan was pretty important... but this still feels really scattershot for a final season, especially now that we're past the halfway point.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Community "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing" (Solid A, B and C plots, but this merely amiable, not the crazed hilarity that was Community at its best) "Laws of Robotics and Party Rights" (Fun Brian Van Holt guest spot, opens strong and peters out, not unlike the rest of the Yahoo! Community so far) "Basic Email Security" (The group confronting each other over leaks and trying to figure out the moral were fun, and they almost got somewhere good with the cop show/True Detective parody at the end, but... it's still not quite working.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Better Call Saul "Marco" (Jimmy's breakdown at Bingo, the con man montage and return of Slippin' Jimmy, and then... the turning point from Jimmy to Saul. Great season... and I find myself wishing it was longer)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Justified "Collateral" (A little more Bob, the finale of a few characters, some great stuff with Markham, Loretta & Boone and a preview of the Raylan/Boyd showdown... sad to see the show end, but can't wait to watch the finale) "The Promise" (A quieter finale than I expected, but a very good finale)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Louie "Potluck" (So much greatness. Little things like a pitch perfect version of Louis making fried chicken, the awkward party and wrong potluck, the whole thing with angry Myrna and her sweet, quiet, put-upon pregnant surrogate... just great.) "A La Carte" (The Bart Folding stinger killed me, but the A La Carte discussion was honest and interesting and also really funny. Adlon's character can be problematic, but I thought she mostly worked here.) "Police Story" (Kind of a weaker episode, leaning heavier on the uncomfortable and not much on the funny and I found most of the characters pretty awful.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Daredevil (13 episodes - My favorites were "Cut Man" with its amazing one-take fight sequence, "In the Blood" with its Kingpin flashback, "Stick" for everything, "Nelson vs. Murdock" for everything else, and "The Ones We Leave Behind" for the shocking development)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Game of Thrones "The Wars to Come" (A slow start, to be honest, but some great scenes, particularly between Tyrion and Varys.) "The House of Black and White" (That picked up the pace. So much to like here, from our first real glimpse of Dorne, Jaime and Bronn on a mission, Brienne meeting Sansa and that meeting not going well, Daenerys proving to maybe not be so great at ruling, and a big change at the Wall. Also, Arya being a total badass on her way to becoming even more of one. I confess I'm not looking forward to a whole season of Tyrion moping, and hope that ends sooner rather than later.) "High Sparrow" (I love seeing Cersei & Margaery spar, and marrying Sansa to another sadistic psychopath is terrible and yet compelling, I'd watch a whole show of Brienne and Podrick, ditto Tyrion and Varis. Jon Snow and Stannis make interesting scene mates and of course I love everything to do with Arya, and Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow? Fantastic episode. And I have *no* idea what's happening next in most cases, which is really great.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Silicon Valley "Sand Hill Shuffle" (I *love* Suzanne Cryer as Monica's new boss, the "negging" sequence was a lot of fun and there were some funny bits in the funeral as well) "Runaway Devaluation" (Great payoff to the negging sequence, and Dinesh trying to ruin his cousin's Kickstarter was a lot of fun as well) "Bad Money" (Fun episode, and their new backer is such a douche-bro it's hilarious, and yet... a lot of this was me feeling kinda bad for our guys and how screwed they are.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Veep "Joint Session" (I love the transition to Selina in the White House.) "East Wing" (The unlikable Catherine, Mike's mustache, Amy's car connection, the Indian painting and the blow-up with Gary, not to mention Jonah's three stories in this episode all made for a great episode) "Data " (The HIV/medical records scandal, fireworks/music and more Catherine/Selina stuff)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Broadchurch (Watched all of season one and really enjoyed it... the psychic is sort of a weird presence, but otherwise I was really engaged and looking forward to catching season two at some point)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Inside Amy Schumer "Last Fuckable Day" (Booty Dance, Football Town Nights No-Raping, Last Fuckable Day full of guest stars, Birth Control ad, interview with the trans woman, an amazing first episode back) " " (It's Amy!, Not Cool With It, Girl You Don't Need Make-Up, Plain Jane, Bad Boyfriend, the interview with the sleaze from Ashley, what a dark and amazing episode)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Better Call Saul & Justified, but since they only had one and two episodes, respectively, I'm adding a #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Daredevil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. The Americans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Game of Thrones
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5. iZombie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. The Flash
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Non-Stop
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Let's Be Cops
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Peached Tortilla (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kin & Comfort
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Alamo Drafthouse (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Popeye's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Noble Sandwich
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hopdoddy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hoody's Subs (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Culver's (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Mesa Rosa Mexican
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sushi Nini
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • PizzaRev
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Torchy's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Chi'Lantro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • 24 Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Mighty Fine Burgers & Shakes