Saturday, December 20, 2014

Best of 2014 - Television

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Best of 2014 - Restaurants

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

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

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

Monday, December 01, 2014

Monthly Update - November 2014

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

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


Where I Ate This Month:

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

Saturday, November 01, 2014

What I'm Watching - November 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Friday:
Constantine (NBC)

Saturday:
Doctor Who (BBCA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monthly Update - October 2014

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

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

Where I Ate This Month:

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

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Monthly Update - September 2014

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

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

Where I Ate This Month:

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

Monday, September 01, 2014

Monthly Update - August 2014

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

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

Where I Ate This Month:

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

Stuff I Podcasted:

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

Friday, August 01, 2014

Monthly Update - July 2014

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


Resolutions Update:

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

Where I Ate This Month:

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

Stuff I Podcasted:

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

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Monthly Update - June 2014

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

Resolutions Update:

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

Where I Ate This Month:

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

Stuff I Wrote:
1. Interview with Graham Yost

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

Stuff I Podcasted:

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

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Monthly Update - May 2014

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


Resolutions Update:

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

Where I Ate This Month:

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

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

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

Stuff I Podcasted:

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

Monday, May 05, 2014

Free Comic Book Day 2014

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

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

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






Thursday, May 01, 2014

Monthly Update - April 2014

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


Resolutions Update:

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

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

Where I Ate This Month:

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

Stuff I Wrote:
1. About A Boy Review


Stuff I Podcasted:

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

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Monthly Update - March 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Afterlife with Archie #4
Alex + Ada #5
All-New Ghost Rider #1
Avengers Undercover #1
Daredevil #1
Deadly Class #3
Fatale #21
Hawkeye #17-18
Injustice Year Two #3
Iron Patriot #1
Lazarus #7
Magnus #1
Ms. Marvel #1-2
New Warriors #2
Punisher #3
Secret Avengers #1
Sex Criminals #5
She-Hulk #2
Silver Surfer #1
Sovereign #1
Starlight #1
Stray Bullets The Killers #1
The Fuse #2
Turok #1-2
Velvet #4
Winter Soldier #2

Resolutions Update:

1. Learn Spanish - OK, lost a little steam on this one this month. I'm still doing it every few days, but not every day like I was.
2.. Read at least 12 books. This month was movie challenge night, which cut pretty seriously into my reading. But at the very last minute, I got Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and powered through it in two days. Total right now: 5.
3. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Well, STAPLE! is about as social as I get, saw a ton of people I don't see a lot of, plus I had some game nights, some lunches and a big 'ol Godfather movie and dinner night.
4. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. Finally got a chance to play Battlestar Galactica, which I really liked, bringing my total to 3 new games. I'm on track for 12, and I also played some Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and set up a biweekly Tuesday game night that should keep me playing games regularly.

5. Stay under 200 lbs. I'm doing push-ups and sit-ups every day, adding 1 to the number each day, and moving on the elliptical a little more each day as well. I've skipped a few days here and there, and I probably need to be more serious about it. I vary between 195-200 right now. So technically I'm accomplishing it, but I'd sure like to lose about 20-25 lbs.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Black Star Co-Op
2. Stiles Switch BBQ
3. Tam Deli
4. French Quarter Grille
5. Chuy's
6. Mooney's Burger House
7. Jack Allen's Kitchen
8. Outback Steakhouse (uh... like five times. It's close to work and it's relatively cheap and it's steak.)
9. DiMassi's Mediterranean Buffet
10. Torchy's Tacos
11. Lucy's Fried Chicken
12. Hopdoddy
13. Zorba Greek Restaurant
14. Haymaker

Stuff I Wrote:
1. Veronica Mars Season One Part Two Rewatch


Stuff I Podcasted:

1. Roguecasts Episode 24-25 - Mass Effect, The West Wing, LEGO Movie, Usagi Yojimbo
2. TV Dudes - True Detective, The Americans, Film to TV, Cosmos, Hannibal, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Justified, Dan Harmon and more

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Monthly Update - February 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Alex + Ada #4
Chew #40
Daredevil #36
Deadly Class #2
Fatale #20
Five Weapons #7
Fuse #1
Hawkeye #15
Injustice Year Two #2
Lazarus #6
New Warriors #1
Punisher #1-2
Rat Queens #5
She-Hulk #1
Winter Soldier Bitter March #1

Resolutions Update:

1. Don't die - 2 months in, still accomplished. In fact, with cancer in remission, this one's looking pretty good.

3. Learn Spanish. Still working on the Duolingo, still on track and reaching level 8 according to my animated owl coach. And I can say "The elephant walks across the strawberries" in Spanish. In case I ever need to.

4. Read at least 12 books. Looking real good. Got in three this month: Nick Pizzolato's Galveston, Elmore Leonard's Pagan Babies and Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree. Plus started reading King in Yellow, and made some progress on Sherlock Holmes and the Elmore Leonard Complete Westerns. Total right now: 4.

5. Be 10% less of an asshole. Again, at least 5%. Some days 10.

6. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Managed this as well, especially in the last couple weeks when my cancer was pronounced in remission. In addition to podcasting, I managed a few dinner and lunch outings (including some new places with new people, like Gus's Fried Chicken, Uchiko, Titaya Thai Cuisine and Stuffed Cajun Meat Market), a movie night to watch Midnight Run, another round of Karaoke Apocalypse, had a Rock Band get together and attended a few birthday bashes.

7. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. I got the expansions for King of Tokyo, but other than that, no boardgaming this month. Also discovered via the iPad that I may just be too dumb to play Agricola. I'm slowly getting better at it, though. And my plans already include Battlestar Galactica in March. Right now I'm holding at 2 new games.

8. Stay under 200 lbs. Still holding in the 190s. Slacked off on exercise a bit this month, now that chemo is done for a while it's time to get serious again. In the last week, I started doing push-ups, situps and then elliptical. Not a lot right now, but building up each day.


9. Go bike riding with my kids. Funny story. Did this once, and found out my old (college days) bike is just not up to the task. I need either a new bike or a serious overhaul of this one.

10. Travel. Considered Chicago's C2E2 or Wondercon, but ultimately decided I'd rather spend the money on a birthday party or something local. Thinking about where to go in May for our anniversary, if anywhere. Considering L.A. in the summer so I can visit a friend and see one of Jason Reitman's live readings. Considering a summer beach trip for Suzanne and the kids. Started doing a little research on Spain trips... turns out they're super-expensive.


11. Cook More - Still perfecting my Brussels Sprouts recipes, learned how to cook a good steak on the cast iron skillet, but nothing new added to the repertoire this month.

Where I Ate This Month:

1. Curly's BBQ
2. Torchy's Tacos
3. Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
4. Stuffed Cajun Meat Market
5. Uchiko
6. Opal Divine's
7. Black Star Co-Op
8. Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
9. Lucy's Fried Chicken
10. Titaya's Thai Cuisine

Stuff I Wrote:
1. Veronica Mars Season One Part One Rewatch


Stuff I Podcasted:

1. Roguecasts Episode 20-23 - Comic news, Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, Image #1s, Marvel Now, Frozen, Firefly, Star Wars and lots more
2. TV Dudes - True Detective, Black Mirror, Lost Watch With Us, Top Chef, Rick and Morty, The Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD, Almost Human, Mind Games, Enlisted & Community

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Monthly Update - January 2014

Comics I Read And Liked:
Afterlife with Archie #3
Alex + Ada #3
Chew #39
Daredevil #35
Deadly Class #1
Disney Kingdoms Seekers of Weird #1
Fatale #19
Five Weapons #6
Hawkeye #16
Injustice Year Two #1
Minimum Wage #1
Rat Queens #4
Revival #17
Saga #18
Sex Criminals #4
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7
Velvet #3

Resolutions Update:
1. Don't die - Check. Easy one first.

2. Learn Spanish. According to Duolingo, I'm level 6. Which mostly means I can tell you that The penguin does not drink milk. But, y'know, baby steps.

4. Read at least 12 books. Off to a good start. I finally got around to Greg Rucka's The Walking Dead, the latest Atticus Kodiak novel.

5. Be 10% less of an asshole. Uh... let's call it 5%. Still working on it.

6. Spend time with as many of my friends as possible, as much as possible. Did plenty of this, even had lunch with Jamie, which given how busy she is is a rarity. Tried out some new restaurants (Kome, Curly's Carolina, TX BBQ, Haymaker, Hi-Hat Public House), ate at a couple favorites (Michi Ramen, Torchy's Tacos more than once), went out to Karaoke Apocalypse, played the Pathfinder card game, South Seas Carcassonne, Machine of Death and more with friends. Took my wife to Perry's Steakhouse, went with friends to Hoover's and Archer Live... I didn't see everybody in my social circle this month, but I saw a lot of friends.

7. Play at least 12 new board/card games this year. Two new games this month. Unspeakable Words and Machine of Death.

8. Stay under 200 lbs. Technically? Yes. 195 or so. Still working out on the elliptical, hoping to lose weight instead of just maintaining.

9. Go bike riding with my kids. It's been cold? This one I haven't done yet.

10. Travel. Nothing yet, but this isn't until later anyway.

New Resolutions:

1. Cook More - This month, I added a few recipes to my repertoire, notably goat cheese & bacon stuffed chicken breasts, roasted mushrooms (with garlic, butter and capers) and roasted Brussels sprouts (with bacon). I also managed to throw together a scampi-esque pasta with butter, garlic, onions, frozen shrimp and some Italian seasoning. I'm hoping to add one or two new dishes a month.

Stuff I Wrote:

1. Simpsons Season 3 Overview
2. Simpsons Season 4 Overview
3. What's On My DVR

Stuff I Podcasted:
1. Roguecast Episode 17

2. Roguecast Episode 18
3. Roguecast Episode 19
4. Loose Canon Comics Episode 401
5. TV Dudes - Too much to mention, just check out the podcasts and Watch With Us sections