Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekly Recap - July 31st, 2010

After she became obsessed with the iPhone app "Pocket God" I have introduced my daughter to The Sims. That should keep her busy for a while. (Actually, she got bored with The Sims - too many things to figure out - but she loves Pocket God)

Cleared cached, turned off hardware acceleration, video still choppy on my computer. I believe the problem is "my computer is old" which is harder to fix.

Comics I Read This Week:
Thor Mighty Avenger #2 - Really loving the artwork on this book by Chris Samnee, and the all-ages, new-reader approach to Thor by Langridge is interesting.

Comics Retailing Thoughts of the Week:
Scott Pilgrim Vol 6 sold out in its first week, but Oni and Diamond managed to get it back in print before we sold out at the store... which is not how things usually go with books that sell out fast. Kudos to them for making sure the books are available for sale at the peak of movie interest.

Wish it was common. Because now probably isn't the best time for Thor Volume 1 by Straczynski to be out of print... and it's been out of print for at least a month. And kind of surprised Irredeemable Volume 1 has been out of print this long, too.

Interesting article on the closing of Rocketship. Alex seems very sanguine about the whole thing. If Rogues Gallery ever closes, my exit interview will be insane and no doubt profane.

Comics News:
Talking comics retail with Brandon from Austin Books, Eric from Tribe and the LEOG guys... this was a lot of fun to record, hopefully it's fun to listen to.

Stabbing at increasingly crowded Comicon Hall H. Had to happen eventually.

That said, I'm glad to see Comicon has been going so well for many of my friends, and particularly happy for Rob Guillory and John Layman who are clearly the king and queen of this year's Con. If you discount Oni, Edgar Wright and Bryan Lee O'Malley, who clearly win at Comicon-ing thanks to Scott Pilgrim.

Also out of San Diego, the news that Dwayne McDuffie is helming an animated adaptation of All-Star Superman is spectacularly awesome news.

Alright, Ryan Reynolds... you had me at saying the oath for the little kid. I guess you can be Green Lantern.

Aaannd it looks like I won't be going to Comicon next year, either. Or possibly ever again. It's not that I couldn't get a retailer pass, it's that if it's going to be this crowded, I'm out.

I had to prep and run two D&D games (Chaos Scar and Eberron) this week. Not much Transformers getting played this week... although I did make time for a little single-player Decepticon and a co-op Autobot game.

I thought it'd be the Chuck panel, but it turns out this is the panel I'm most sad I missed at Comicon. And clearly, my Comicon interest is actually mostly TV-related.

Watched one of the Cougar Town reruns on the DVR. Alan Sepinwall was right. Against all odds, this show (with the *horrible* name and premise) turned into a really funny comedy about midseason.

Speaking of Sepinwall, here's his interview of Donald Glover & Danny Pudi of Community outside San Diego Comicon.

New episode of LOUIE had Matthew Broderick as a guest star, and he was great. But the opening bit with Louie dealing with a heckler was one of the foulest, funniest, cringe-worthy comedy I've seen outside of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

OK, now I've seen the Thor trailer and... damn. Skepticism gone. That was a pretty damn good trailer.

Other Links:
I love this Bollywood-themed video for The Guild. Maybe even more than "Do You Want To Date My Avatar?"

What we have here is some weapons-grade crazy, folks.

Funniest thing I've seen on the Internet in weeks.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekly Recap - July 24th, 2010

Why does Google Ad Words keep suggesting a cell phone snoop to track my two-timing husband? Is it accusing *me* of something, or does it think I'm secretly gay-married to a philanderer?

Mostly not sorry I skipped Comicon this year. Sorry not to be seeing friends, but I think the money savings, and not having to fight the crowds, more than makes up for it.

My Tuesday: Starting to feel the Comicon blues, bummed that my shop didn't jump on the Scott Pilgrim midnight release thing, and my Transformers XBox game won't be here until tomorrow. On the other hand, Texas found my last paycheck from ACC and wants to send me close to $700 in free money. So... on balance? Not a bad day.

Comics I Read This Week:
GI Joe A Real American Hero #156 - Not a fan of the Jugglers or Billy and the ninjas, which dominated too much of the latter half of Hama's run. And COBRA becoming a "Blackwater" type organization is kinda goofy. That said, if you can roll with it, and I can, because I loved Hama's GI Joe, it's a fun return to form for Hama, and the artwork is surprisingly good.

Graphic Novels I Read This Week:
Just Scott Pilgrim Volume 6, actually. Which I thought was really good, maybe not quite great. Volume 4 remains my favorite volume of the series. But the series as a whole is definitely great.

Comics Retailing Thought of The Week:
Talking comics retail with Brandon from Austin Books, Eric from Tribe and the LEOG guys... this was a lot of fun to record, hopefully it's fun to listen to.

Comics News:
Modern Comic covers re-imagined in the Silver Age by Chris Sims. Awesome.

So far, this is my favorite news out of San Diego.

Inception was amazing, one of my favorite movies in years. Also gave up some sleep to catch REC 2, and it was also fantastic, better than the first (which I loved.)

Speaking of Inception, Udon Studios has done a pretty decent prequel comic. Which I recommend reading after you've seen the movie.

And this Roger Ebert piece springboards off Inception, but it's mostly about the craft of reviewing and the reactions to it. He also raises the question of whether any movie is universally loved, and a commenter suggests Casablanca. So... anybody out there dislike Casablanca? Because I think that commenter is probably right.

Started playing Transformers: War for Cybertron this week. It's good, and lots of fun doing the transformations. Love that you can play the whole game as a 3-person co-op. However... the boss battles are frustratingly hard. Not enough to ruin the game, but enough to be annoying.

Rock Band 3 playlist is shaping up nicely

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekly Recap - July 17th, 2010

Good news from the exterminator... just ants, not termites. And not many ants, at that. Whew!

This week I had mini-churros from Jack in the Box and a Son of a Peach donut from Gordough's. Both were quite delicious in very different ways.

Video is running kinda slow on my computer of late... thinking I need a new system. Also thinking I can't afford said system. I also want an HDTV, an iPhone 4, one of the new XBoxes, a new computer desk and any number of other gadget-y type things I can't afford.

Berkeley Breathed is going to be signing at the IDW booth in San Diego. There's my first slight twinge of sadness I'm not going. On the other hand, knowing I'd probably have to wait in line for hours to get my book signed takes the edge off considerably.

Comics I Read This Week:
Avengers Academy #2 - Not bad. I'm still not really invested in the kids, but Gage is doing interesting stuff with their powers and personalities.

Chew #12 - I continue to love this book. Love the "mistaken page" bit of storytelling this issue, love the Chu/Amelia relationship, love the last page cliffhanger, love Poyo, love the art throughout... just one of my favorite books.

Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #1-2 - A great take on the "year one" story for Cassie Hack. I've long been a fan of this series, and I'm glad to see it getting a new spotlight and a chance for new readers at Image.

Sixth Gun #2 - It was a long wait for the second issue, but totally worth it. Much as I loved Damned, Sixth Gun is even better. Great western/supernatural adventure, love the characters and Hurtt's artwork is fantastic.

Sweets #1 - The book looks fantastic, which is no surprise... the story is expansive and scattered, and it's either going to come together beautifully or wind up being an over-ambitious mess by the end. But there's enough potential in this New Orleans-based crime story that I want to follow up and see which way it goes.

Thanos Imperative #2 - If this is the swan song for the Abnett/Lanning cosmic stuff, they're going out big. So far, it's as good as Annihilation and Conquest. I sure hope these guys are doing the new Cosmic Avengers book, because they've got this stuff down to a science.

Unwritten #15 - Wow, things are happening fast in this book. The literary geography, conspiracy elements and just generally great character interaction make this easily my favorite Mike Carey book, and easily my favorite new Vertigo book since Y and Fables.

Graphic Novels I Read This Week:
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
BPRD Vol 13 1947

Reread Absolute Planetary Volume 1 and it was actually even better than I remembered it, Was very pleased with Absolute Planetary Volume 2 as well.

Brody's Ghost Vol 1 - Mark Crilley is *criminally* underrated in the comics industry. He's beloved by those that know him, but too few know him. Akiko, his earlier work, is a masterpiece that can most easily be described as Star Wars meets Wizard of Oz filtered through the sensibilities of Miyazaki. After that, the four part Miki Falls is a wonderful piece of supernatural romance.

And now we have Brody's Ghost, drawing on Crilley's asian influences to create a story of ghosts and psychic power wrapped up in a empowering oneself theme with fantastic characters, beautiful art and a very promising story.

Fans of Jeff Smith or Kazu Kibuishi's work should *definitely* check this out. It's a great opener, I can't wait for more, and I hope more people discover Crilley's work

Retailer Thought of the Week:
Almost as annoying as Marvel/DC's "three Wolverine/three Batman" in one week? The *flood* of long-delayed indie books that inevitably crowds my shelves the week before San Diego. At which point they're all competing much harder for the few indie fans' dollars, just like the Wolverine books compete for Wolverine fans' money.

On the upside, however, the flood of IDW material includes Scott Morse's new Strange Science Fantasy *and* Darwyn Cooke's Man With The Getaway Face teaser.

Missed Karate Kid at the Drafthouse, so we went to see it at Tinseltown. I actually saw three movies in the theater this week, which is a bit of a rarity. Saw Karate Kid (better than expected, Katy really liked it), Sorcerer's Apprentice (surprisingly solid little urban fantasy action movie. Would have liked more wacky Nic Cage (TM), but... fun!) and Inception (which I'm actually seeing after I write this recap, but I'm excited for).

Covert Affairs: Interesting opener, love some of the supporting cast, and it does have sort of a low-rent Alias feel to it. Of course, I loved the first couple seasons of Alias, and this is merely OK, but... I'll keep up with it for a few episodes, at least.

Accidentally watched about five minutes of a Castle rerun, including the fun opening sequence. Damn it, I'm gonna have to watch this show now, aren't I?

Does it make me a bad fan that I don't care at all whether Edward Norton is the Hulk or not? I like Edward Norton, but I didn't think he embodied Banner the way Downey Jr. just nailed Tony Stark, and I doubt Banner will be very prominent in the Avengers movie.

Along similar lines, if you think we should cast a wrestler for Thor or Captain America because "they're big enough" we can't have a serious discussion about superhero casting.

Walking Dead on AMC is looking pretty promising. The new cast shot is great, and this interview with Michelle MacLaren is pretty good as well.

Other Links:
My sister writes about their son's autism... and I thought she did an amazing job.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekly Recap - July 10th, 2010

It's been a pretty good week. I played D&D in three different games, recorded a LEOG and caught Spy Kids at the Alamo, which let me spend a lot of time with many friends and my daughter. And my son and I spent a lot of Friday and Saturday morning watching Backyardigans on the XBox/Netflix.

Shockingly, the Tuesday & Friday off, work Saturday schedule is, so far, better than having Friday & Saturdays off. Not working all of our slowest days, and working one of our busiest, is better for my mental health.

First Saturday night back at work was not too bad. Nice, busy day, nice quiet night that allowed me to get a lot done. Would have loved to have been busy at night, too, but we had a busy enough day that a quiet night was a good thing, not a bad thing.

Apparently we have termites in the house. Possibly only in my home office, but either way... not thrilled. Exterminator is coming on Tuesday. Think happy, non-termite-y thoughts at us.

The San Diego schedules are being announced, folks are announcing product they'll have there, and aside from a couple minor twinges... I'm pretty OK with not going this year. Realization of how much money it cost and how much hassle it was to get into *anything* last year have soured me a bit. I think it's a good thing I'm taking this year off. Also, Fred Phelps and his gang of loons are headed to San Diego, and since it's been a lifetime dream of mine to stomp one of those fuckers to death, it's probably best I'm not being presented with the temptation.

Comics I Read This Week:

Avengers The Children's Crusade #1 - It's not a bad read, and I really liked the Heinberg/Cheung run originally, but... it feels dated, given how much has changed since Civil War, etc. More importantly, it's rooted in the Avengers Disassembled stupidity, which means every page or so is slapping me in the face with the out-of-character behavior the various Avengers (especially Scarlet Witch) have been engaging in. Solidly done, clearly not for me.

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #2 - The WCA codenames are a bit goofy, but in an '80s way I appreciate, and in every other way, this book is being written just for me. McCann broadcasts his last page reveal a bit much, and it's a little darker than I'd like in a book that I want to be kind of caper-y and fun, but overall, I'm really enjoying this.

Hellboy The Storm #1 - I love the new status quo for Hellboy, I love Duncan Fegredo's art and I loved the fight scene that closed out the book.

I Zombie #3 - This has a really weird vibe, an unusual cast and of course, spectacular art. I'm digging it so far.

Shadowland #1 - I've been enjoying Diggle's Daredevil, but I've lost interest in the last couple issues, and I'm really not sold on Shadowland. The writing felt a bit clunky, and I really don't like the moral relativity the Avengers have developed since Bendis relaunched them, and I *really* don't like the new "Do what we tell you or we'll shut you down" arrogance they've had since he relaunched them again. But the biggest problem? Can someone honestly tell me why killing Bullseye, who is an unrepentant mass murderer that they can't keep imprisoned for more than a week, is a bad idea? This is Daredevil's big break with heroism? Sorry, I don't see it.

Steve Rogers Super Soldier #1 - This new spy Cap just doesn't feel like Steve Rogers to me, and I can't stand that no one at Marvel thought to give him an actual job title instead of just "Top Cop of the World and Commander of the Mighty Avengers," both of which are meaningless. That said, if I just view it as a superhero-tinged spy/action book, it's a pretty solid read.

Thor The Mighty Avenger #1 - A continuity-free new Thor series, starting from the beginning in an "Ultimate" type of way (modernizing his origin and his supporting cast) by Roger Langridge & Chris Samnee? Yes, please! Fantastic stuff.

X-Women #1 - Damn near unreadable with the Claremontese, but beautiful to look at.

Young Allies #2 - The "Heroic Age" still has an awful lot of civilian deaths for my tastes, but I really like Gravity and Firestar, and this book is reminding me a bit of what a revamped, new take on the '90s New Warriors would look like, and that's no bad thing.

Retailer Thought of the Week:
Had somebody get kinda surly with me this week because we sold out of Shadowland #1 first day. Now I get that selling out of one of Marvel's big books on the first day seems like an inconceivable error, like I must not have any idea what I'm doing, but here's the thing: It was one of over 75 books we ordered this week. Not including graphic novels and other merchandise, just single issues. We got maybe two or three wrong and sold out too early. I would *love* to be perfect. I hate selling out of stuff too early and I hate having to turn someone away without being able to buy what they want... but asking me to have perfect 100% ordering just seems a bit much.


My Monday D&D group saw them facing down gnomes, bandits, a swordmage and a couple halfling warlocks... not to mention wraiths and the half-mad betraying half-elf warlock who hired them... before turning into an aberrant creature of darkness and trying to murder them all.

Started playing Brutal Legend, which I got for my birthday from my friend Jason, and I'm really enjoying it thus far. Pretty funny writing and voice-acting, solid gameplay.

I was thinking of trading in some old games to get the new Transformers War on Cybertron game, which has been getting amazing reviews, but 8 XBox 360 games would net me about $20 in trade credit at Gamestop. Yeah, that's why I pretty much don't trade in games.

New Red Dead Redemption DLC! Multiplayer Poker, Liar's Dice & Horse Racing! New characters! New weapons! Zombies! Hell yes!

Damn it Bioware, I can't afford to buy a new computer! And I don't have time for a new MMO! But you're going to make me do it, aren't you?

Roger Ebert can't resist poking the bear further, in regards to videogames. Ironically, whenever Ebert writes about videogames, I think of a Twain quote: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." How the guy can be so smart, observant and thoughtful on so many subjects and just pig-headedly, willfully and *loudly* ignorant about videogames is frustrating to me. (I have been reliably informed that this is not actually a Twain quote, even though it has been attributed to him... still, the quote seems apropos)


Louis CK - Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy from Conan O'Brien and The Poker Scene from Louie Episode 2

It turns out that I have an opinion on Blue's Clues. The ones with Steve are better than the ones with Joe. And I'm as shocked that I have an opinion on that as anyone.

Netflix decided that Starz canceling Party Down wasn't enough of a kick in the teeth for fans

Regarding Texas Heat:
Having mowed the yard and taken the kids to Amy's for ice cream & playground time on Tuesday, I can confirm: It was super-fucking hot out. You won't get that kind of measurement from our weather people, but you should. Texas heat should be measured not in degrees, but by how many times, on average, you mutter "FUCK! It's Hot!" while outside.

This guy's a tool. "I have to say, it's about 80 right now and perfectly comfortable." Yeah, well, it's usually a hundred here in Texas, and we need our goddamned A/C! Most of his "Republican victories are due to air-conditioning" type points feature spotty logic, as well.

Other Links:

I Love The Onion

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weekly Recap - July 3rd, 2010

Intro/Random Stuff:
*blows out the cobwebs*

Stepped away from the blog again. I've been posting quite a bit on Facebook, occasionally on Twitter, but I've gotten really bad about blogging. However, my work schedule has changed, so I'm going to try and make Saturday night a night to write a weekly post from now on. It will be a potpourri of random topics and links, and will hopefully be of interest to some of you.

For an example of the kind of random stuff that will usually be in this section, apparently I type about 89 words per minute. I am reasonably informed that this is my super-power, and as a super-power, it is quite lame.

I make no promise that I will actually do these weekly. Or that they'll be even remotely interesting. But I do promise to try.

Comics I Read This Week:
Batman Beyond #1 - I really liked this in terms of writing and art, but was disappointed in the plot. Specifically, given how fresh Batman Beyond was (and I'm one of those people who *loved* the cartoon), I was bummed to see the plot focusing heavily on old Batman villains. Especially given the reveal about the modern-day villain making the transition to "Beyond." I won't spoil it, but I've hated the character since his inception, and really didn't want to see him again in the main Batman books, let alone in the future book.

Captain America #607 - It's weird to me that Zemo/Fixer are in heavy use simultaneously here and in Thunderbolts, and I actually prefer Fixer redeemed as opposed to Zemo flunky mode, and it's a little annoying to me that Bucky Cap keeps getting set up by his foes to look/act stupid. All of that said, after a brief hiatus of reading this inspired by my intense dislike of Reborn, I'm back reading this and it's still the same great action-adventure/espionage book that it's been since Brubaker took it over.

Secret Avengers #2 - Liked this one too... not as much as the first issue, which I loved, but it's a very un-Brubaker type book in terms of tone and style, while maintaining the usual Brubaker quality of writing. The tonal shift from espionage to localized sci-fi threw me, and I'm not at all sold on Deodato's somewhat-bland "space" costumes for the characters, but there's more to like here than not. And I like seeing the Avengers having some action, rather than just talking all the time.

Comics News:
Spider-Man Cast, Randy Doesn't Care: Snoooorreeee. So they're starting him as a college student? What exactly was the point of re-booting the franchise? Are they going to do the origin movie *again*? Not surprised, but this has moved the movie pretty firmly into "who gives a shit" territory for me.

Ever since completing the story of Red Dead Redemption, I've been going back from time to time to complete Outfits, Strangers, Challenges, etc. But every time, I seem to devolve into murderous rampages. I don't know if this says something about me, Red Dead Redemption, or both. But I have been playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption, and I love the new free co-op missions.

Having finished the single player mission, however, I have to say: Much as I love the game, the storytelling is abysmal. You're railroaded into doing or turning a blind eye to horrible things, and you're never really given the chance to get any revenge. And the ending, while thematically appropriate to the story they're trying to tell, just enraged me and left me with a "Well, then what was the goddamned point!?"

I don't regret playing it or anything, because the gameplay is so good, and some of the supporting characters are fun, but maybe I've been spoiled by the branching gameplay of Mass Effect and games like it where your actions actually impact upon the game, rather than leading to the story the designers wanted to tell, no matter what your character does.

Credence Clearwater Revival Comes to Rock Band - Finally!

Finally caught the preview of Rubicon on AMC... it's really slow, has a '70s film style pacing to it... but I dug it, and can easily see it becoming as good as their other shows.

And with that, HBO, I bid you adieu until Treme comes back or Game of Thrones comes on. I'm just not willing to pay money every month for sexy vampires, even with Anna Paquin. Treme was great, though.

Party Down Cancelled - Not surprised, but sad. Both seasons available for viewing on Netflix Instant Watch, and I can't recommend it highly enough. From several of the writers of Veronica Mars, starring Mars and Apatow alum. Here is a sample, very funny, clip from the final episode.

Louis C.K. interview - Louis C.K.'s stand-up (Chewed Up is available on Netflix Instant Watch) is hilarious, and his new show, Louie, on FX, is a pretty good translation of his sense of humor into a weird stand-up/sitcom/skit show.

Other Links:
This is a masterpiece of a negative review of the film Grown-Ups

Karaoke Apocalypse at the Nomad - Karaoke with a live band. Awesomly fun.

I'm Not Sure I Have The Willpower to resist buying Dr. Seuss Converse All-Stars - I've worn pretty much nothing but Converse All-Stars since college, and I love Dr. Seuss. These might be the only thing that could top my cool Scott Morse custom-painted Converse.