Monday, December 28, 2015

Best of 2015 - Graphic Novels

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

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

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

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

Best of 2015 - Top 10 Ongoing Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of 2015 - Comics Miniseries

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

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

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

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

Best of 2015 - Top 10 New Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Best of 2015 - Food

Last year I ate out over 50 times. This year it was more like 250. I counted lunch and stuff too, though.

I'm not qualified to be a food critic, but I did eat a lot of food and I do have opinions. So here are my top 10 favorites, the ones that are accessible, affordable *and* delicious enough that I went there numerous times during the year. My list of favorites is mostly down to how many times I went there, with a little fudging (I went to Alamo Drafthouse a lot, but it's not really the food that drew me. Conversely, Kerbey Lane made the cut not because their food is amazing, but because 24 hours + wide variety = more visits)

  1. Torchy's Tacos
  2. Sushi Nini
  3. Noble Sandwich
  4. Kerbey Lane
  5. Chuy's
  6. Chi'Lantro
  7. Michi Ramen
  8. Mambo House
  9. Peached Tortilla
  10. Jack Allen Kitchen
I also kept track of where I ate lunch this year, and these are my favorites, based on how often I ate there. It's not just quality of food, here, but also closeness to work, where I'm usually eating lunch.

Lunch Favorites:
  1. Popeye's
  2. PizzaRev
  3. Smashburger
  4. Tarka
  5. Fork + Taco (or Torchy's again, Fork + Taco actually already closed)
Then there were the places that I ate at once or twice, due to either it's location (downtown especially) or price. This list is purely down to my favorites, where I'd eat if location and price were no object.

Rare Treats:
  1. Franklin Barbecue
  2. Gus's Fried Chicken
  3. Terry Black's BBQ
  4. Haymaker
  5. Lucy's Fried Chicken
  6. Odd Duck
  7. Salt & Time
  8. TNT Tacos & Tequila
  9. 24 Diner
  10. French Quarter Grille
In addition, while I ate out a lot this year, I also tried to cook more, and added several new recipes to my repertoire.

New Recipes:
  1. Chicken with Mushrooms
  2. Chili with Bacon & Beer
  3. Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Pasta
  4. Crockpot Carnitas
  5. Chicken Fried Steak
  6. Macaroni & Cheese
  7. Chicken Parmesan
  8. Baked Alfredo Ziti
  9. Brussels Sprouts Gratin
  10. Pork Chops & Rice

Friday, December 18, 2015

Best of 2015 - Television

Best Shows (Every Category):
This was my first year without cable, and I still watched a ton of TV.

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 #48) to shows I'd cut last (starting with #1). Last year this list was 37 shows, and I dropped 13 shows from last year's list, so I added basically 24 new shows this year.

There are a couple shows I watch that don't show up on here. Agents of SHIELD and True Detective, though I watched every episode, neither one really belongs on a list of best TV for me. There were four shows cancelled off of last years list (The Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire, Enlisted and A to Z), one show that didn't have a new season (24), one show that didn't hit until really late in the year (Transparent), two shows dropped because they disappointed me (Married and Orphan Black) and eight shows are being left for when they show up on Netflix or another streaming service when I have more time to watch them (Humans, Rectify, Les Revenants, Ash vs. Evil Dead, The Walking Dead, Review, Bob's Burgers, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail).

Also, special award to HBO's 7 Days in Hell or being one of the funniest things I watched this year.
  1. Fargo (FX)
  2. Better Call Saul (FX)
  3. You're The Worst (FX)
  4. Daredevil (NETFLIX)
  5. The Flash (CW)
  6. iZombie (CW)
  7. Mr. Robot (USA)
  8. Togetherness (HBO)
  9. Catastrophes (AMAZON)
  10. Show Me A Hero (HBO)
  11. Game of Thrones (HBO)
  12. Master of None (NETFLIX)
  13. Justified (FX)
  14. The Americans (FX)
  15. Casual (HULU)
  16. The Leftovers (HBO)
  17. Parks & Recreation (NBC)
  18. Inside Amy Schumer (COM)
  19. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
  20. Broad City (COM)
  21. Veep (HBO)
  22. Silicon Valley (HBO)
  23. Last Week With John Oliver (HBO)
  24. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (COM)
  25. Hannibal (NBC)
  26. Rick and Morty (CARTOON)
  27. Deutchsland '83 (SUNDANCE)
  28. Sense8 (NETFLIX)
  29. Mad Men (AMC)
  30. Jessica Jones (NETFLIX)
  31. Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX)
  32. Rebels (DISNEY XD)
  33. Bojack Horseman (NETFLIX)
  34. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)
  35. Key & Peele (COM)
  36. Louie (FX)
  37. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
  38. Community (NBC)
  39. Supergirl (CBS)
  40. Agent Carter (ABC)
  41. Arrow (CW)
  42. Wayward Pines (FOX)
  43. Scream Queens (FOX)
  44. Man Seeking Woman (FXX)
  45. Narcos (NETFLIX)
  46. Man in the High Castle (AMAZON)
  47. The League (FXX)
  48. Wet Hot American Summer (NETFLIX)

Best New Show:
  1. Better Call Saul (FX)
  2. Daredevil (NETFLIX)
  3. iZombie (CW)
  4. Mr. Robot (USA)
  5. Togetherness (HBO)
  6. Catastrophes (AMAZON)
  7. Show Me A Hero (HBO)
  8. Master of None (NETFLIX)
  9. Casual (HULU)
  10. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
  11. Deutchsland '83 (SUNDANCE)
  12. Sense8 (NETFLIX)
  13. Jessica Jones (NETFLIX)
  14. Supergirl (CBS)
  15. Wayward Pines (FOX)
  16. Agent Carter (ABC)
  17. Scream Queens (FOX)
  18. Man Seeking Woman (FXX)
  19. Narcos (NETFLIX)
  20. Man in the High Castle (AMAZON)
Best Comedy:
  1. You're The Worst (FX)
  2. Togetherness (HBO)
  3. Catastrophes (AMAZON)
  4. Master of None (NETFLIX)
  5. Casual (HULU)
  6. Parks & Recreation (NBC)
  7. Inside Amy Schumer (COM)
  8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
  9. Broad City (COM)
  10. Veep (HBO)
Best Drama:
  1. Fargo (FX)
  2. Better Call Saul (FX)
  3. Daredevil (NETFLIX)
  4. The Flash (CW)
  5. iZombie (CW)
  6. Mr. Robot (USA)
  7. Show Me A Hero (HBO)
  8. Game of Thrones (HBO)
  9. Justified (FX)
  10. The Americans (FX)
Best Ensemble:

  1. Fargo (FX)
  2. You're The Worst (FX)
  3. Veep (HBO)
  4. Silicon Valley (HBO)
  5. Bojack Horseman (NETFLIX)
  6. Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX)
  7. Game of Thrones (HBO)
  8. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
  9. Togetherness (HBO)
  10. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Monthly Update - November 2015


1. Read books. Started at 19 this month. Read the Night Vale novel, so I'm up to 20.

2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. Still at 5. Battlefront has taken over my videogame life and I'm on no-buying until after Christmas, so I think I'm actually going to make this one.

3. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 33, and then played Age of War, Imperial Assault, Jaipur and Codenames, so I'm up to 37.

4. Cook! Added two new recipes this month, one for pork chops with rice and another for Brussels Sprouts Gratin.


Best Week of Comics This Month:
October 7th (Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Hercules, Howard the Duck, Klaus, Paper Girls, Star Wars, Velvet, We Stand on Guard)

Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
  1. Ms. Marvel #1
  2. Spider-Woman #1
  3. Amazing Spider-Man #3
  4. Howard the Duck #1
  5. All New All Different Avengers #1
                                                                        Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                        • Airboy #4
                                                                        • All New All Different Avengers #1
                                                                        • All New Hawkeye #1
                                                                        • All New Wolverine #1-2
                                                                        • Amazing Spider-Man #3
                                                                        • Archie #4
                                                                        • Astonishing Ant-Man #2
                                                                        • Beauty #4
                                                                        • Birthright #11
                                                                        • Black Magick #2
                                                                        • Captain America Sam Wilson #3
                                                                        • Contest of Champions #2
                                                                        • Darth Vader #12
                                                                        • Descender #7
                                                                        • Doctor Strange #2
                                                                        • Drax #1
                                                                        • Fade Out #11
                                                                        • Goddamned #1
                                                                        • Grayson #14
                                                                        • Hercules #1
                                                                        • Howard the Duck #1
                                                                        • Huck #1
                                                                        • Illuminati #1
                                                                        • Jacked #1
                                                                        • Klaus #1
                                                                        • Lazarus #20
                                                                        • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1
                                                                        • Ms. Marvel #1
                                                                        • Nova #1
                                                                        • Paper Girls #2
                                                                        • Rat Queens #13
                                                                        • Saga #31
                                                                        • Silk #1
                                                                        • Six #1
                                                                        • Spider-Gwen #2
                                                                        • Spider-Man 2099 #3
                                                                        • Spider-Woman #1
                                                                        • Star Trek/Green Lantern #5
                                                                        • Star Wars #11
                                                                        • Star Wars #12
                                                                        • Star Wars Vader Down #1
                                                                        • The Autumnlands #7
                                                                        • Thors #4
                                                                        • Twilight Children #2
                                                                        • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2
                                                                        • Usagi Yojimbo #150
                                                                        • Velvet #12
                                                                        • Wayward #11
                                                                        • We Stand on Guard #5
                                                                        • Web Warriors #1
                                                                        Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                        • Wayward Vol 1 HC
                                                                        • Astro City Lovers Quarrel HC
                                                                        • Our Expanding Universe

                                                                        TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                        This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year. Last month I gave up on posting thoughts on each episodes, for the last two months this will probably just be a list.
                                                                        • Rebels "Always Two There Are" "Brothers of the Broken Horn" "Wings of the Master"
                                                                        • The Leftovers "No Room At The Inn" "Love and Basketball" "Lens" "A Most Powerful Adversary"
                                                                        • iZombie "Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues" "Max Wager" "Abra Kadaver"
                                                                        • Supergirl "Stronger Together" "Fight or Flight" "Live Wire" "How Does She Do It"
                                                                        • Ash vs. Evil Dead "Pilot" "Episode Two"
                                                                        • Flash "Darkness and the Light" "Enter Zoom" "Gorilla Warfare"
                                                                        • Casual "Biden" "Home" "Bottles" "Mars"
                                                                        • Fargo "Fear and Trembling" "The Gift of the Magi" "Rhinoceros" "Did you do this? No, you did it!"
                                                                        • Arrow "Haunted" "Lost Souls" "Brotherhood"
                                                                        • You're the Worst "LCD Soundsystem" "A Right Proper Story"
                                                                        • One Mississippi "Pilot"
                                                                        • Edge "Pilot"
                                                                        • Master of None "Season One"
                                                                        • Agents of SHIELD "Among Us Hide..." "Chaos Theory" "Two Heads, One Tale"
                                                                        • W/Bob and David "Season One"
                                                                        • Scream Queens "Beware of Young Girls" "Mommie Dearest"
                                                                        • Jessica Jones "Season One"
                                                                        • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Into the Woods" "The Mattress" "Ava"
                                                                        Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                        1. Fargo
                                                                        2. You're The Worst
                                                                        3. Master of None
                                                                        4. The Flash
                                                                        5. Casual
                                                                          Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                          • Blazing Saddles
                                                                          • Johnny Dangerously
                                                                          • Peanuts
                                                                          • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
                                                                          Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                          • Peached Tortilla
                                                                          • Bullfight
                                                                          • Michi Ramen
                                                                          • Noble Sandwich
                                                                          • Chuy's
                                                                          • Torchy's Tacos x2
                                                                          • Gordough's Public House
                                                                          • PizzaRev
                                                                          • Popeye's (x3)
                                                                          • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                          • Hoody's Subs (x2)
                                                                          • Sushi Nini

                                                                          Sunday, November 01, 2015

                                                                          Monthly Update - October 2015


                                                                          1.Read books. Started at 19 this month. Bought but haven't read the Night Vale novel. Will probably end around 20 for the year.

                                                                          2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I was at six, but I canceled my Rock Band 4 preorder, so with Battlefront next month, I'm still at 5.

                                                                          4. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 31, then played Epic and Biblios, so I'm up to 33 for the year.

                                                                          5. Eat! - Two I want to revisit: Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor. On my "need to try" list: Bullfight (Spanish tapas on Airport, eating there early November), Porter Gastropub, and Southern's at PBK,


                                                                          Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                          October 7th (Amazing Spider-Man, Darth Vader, Doctor Strange, Paper Girls, Plutona, Spider-Island, Star Wars, We Stand on Guard)

                                                                          Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                          1. Ms. Marvel #19
                                                                          2. Amazing Spider-Man #1
                                                                          3. Paper Girls #1
                                                                          4. Star Wars #10
                                                                          5. Doctor Strange #1
                                                                                                                                              Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                              • Amazing Spider-Man #1-2
                                                                                                                                              • Astonishing Ant-Man #1
                                                                                                                                              • Black Magick #1
                                                                                                                                              • Captain America Sam Wilson #1-2
                                                                                                                                              • Chew #51
                                                                                                                                              • Civil War #5
                                                                                                                                              • Contest of Champions #1
                                                                                                                                              • Copperhead #10
                                                                                                                                              • Darth Vader #10
                                                                                                                                              • Darth Vader #11
                                                                                                                                              • Doctor Strange #1
                                                                                                                                              • Grayson #13
                                                                                                                                              • Jughead #1
                                                                                                                                              • Kanan the Last Padawan #7
                                                                                                                                              • Ms. Marvel #19
                                                                                                                                              • Paper Girls #1
                                                                                                                                              • Plutona #2
                                                                                                                                              • Sex Criminals #13
                                                                                                                                              • Spider-Gwen #1
                                                                                                                                              • Spider-Island #5
                                                                                                                                              • Spider-Man 2099 #1
                                                                                                                                              • Star Trek/Green Lantern #4
                                                                                                                                              • Star Wars #10
                                                                                                                                              • Star Wars Journey to Force Awakens #2-4
                                                                                                                                              • Switch #1
                                                                                                                                              • The Fade Out #10
                                                                                                                                              • Twilight Children #1
                                                                                                                                              • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
                                                                                                                                              • Usagi Yojimbo #149
                                                                                                                                              • We Stand on Guard #4
                                                                                                                                              Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                              • Star Wars The Marvel Covers HC
                                                                                                                                              • Quantum & Woody Must Die TP
                                                                                                                                              • Graphic Ink: DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke
                                                                                                                                              • Battling Boy: Fall of the House of West
                                                                                                                                              • Shaft Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                              • Two Brothers HC
                                                                                                                                              • Revival Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                              • Southern Bastards Vol 1 HC

                                                                                                                                              TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                              This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
                                                                                                                                              • You're The Worst "All About That Paper" (Janet Varney is excellent at playing terrible. The two improving Nathans. The pretentious author is fantastic. The texting between Jimmy and Gretchen was great. The rap feud promises to be entertaining. The sperm in the microwave is one of the most messed-up things this show has done, which is really saying something.) "We Can Do Better" (Jimmy's adventure with a pretentious writer, the texting back and forth.) "Side Bitch" (Jimmy's running NCIS: LA thing just keeps getting funnier. Lindey's inability to pay bills. And learning to walk. Janet Varney and her video was weird and funny. 6969 safe combination. Vernon is unexpectedly sweet. The return of the MUSTACHE disguise.) "There is Not Currently a Problem" (Hakuna Matata. The dancing. Vernon and Lindsey. Gretchen's depression issues and talk with Lindsey. Rocket ship to Heaven.)
                                                                                                                                              • The League "Deflate-gate" (The "juices" discussion, condoms, Sabbath goy, and Frank "The Body" Gibbiati) "The Bully" (Choad Juggler, Little Eskimo Brothers, Taco draws his own porn because of course he does, the child-endangering EBDB, Ellie's sex ed book and the teacher's utter disdain for Ellie and her parents.)
                                                                                                                                              • Rick and Morty "Look Who's Purging Now" (Rick & Morty plus The Purge - as fun as you'd expect.) "The Wedding Squanchers" (Jerry and Beth at the wedding, Tiny Earth. The death of Bird Person. Earth for space tourism. Great use of the song "Hurt.")
                                                                                                                                              • The Leftovers "Axis Mundi" (The new opening sequence, combined with the cavewoman sequence, was pretty harrowing. Miracle, Texas is instantly engaging. I love the new characters, there's a nice undercurrent of menace and mystery.) "A Matter of Geography" (Nora buying a house and selling a house, Kevin's hallucinations, Jill and her brother, more of the Miracle National Park, Kevin's father off to Australia.) "Off-Ramp" (Laurie running a support group to rescue Guilty Remnant.)
                                                                                                                                              • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Funeral" (Vulture as captain is as terrible and entertaining as I thought it would be. One drink dancing Terry. Bagpipe playing Jake. Terry's mango yogurt.) "Boyle's Hunch" (Fun episode, Boyle being creepy is always funny, no Vulture.) "The Oolong Slayer" (Captain Vulture pays dividends. Jake, Holt and Gina working a case in secrets. The Terry gets fat story was unfortunate. Gina's proper entrance.)
                                                                                                                                              • The Flash "The Man Who Saved Central City" (Cisco at CCPD. Atom Smasher costume and effects were pretty good. Professor Stein naming Atom Smasher, and the subsequent hug. Joe and Barry continues to be a fantastic relationship. The Flash light. And the first appearance of Jay Garrick. Not really buying the reason Henry Allen has to leave, though.) "Flash of Two Worlds" (So... many... Easter Eggs! Multiverse! Earth 2! Jay's origin! Joe's amused befuddled reaction to multiversal theory. Kind of love Patty Spivot immediately. Weird that all of the JSA are bad guys on Earth 2. Stein and Cisco working together is amazing. Jay as a depowered mentor of Barry is a neat role. The visual Flash of Two Worlds teaser was a little cheesy... and a little cool. Vibe. 52 breaches. Stein clearly still needs a fusion partner. And Harrison Wells of Earth 2.) "Family of Rogues" (Iris and Flash working together is awesome. Always fun to see the Snarts back. Joe and Iris... Jesse L. Martin continues to be the MVP of this show. I love the Cisco/Golden Glider flirtation.)
                                                                                                                                              • Agents of SHIELD "Purpose in the Machine" (Intriguing opener... wish they'd set it in 1602 for the Easter Egg factor. Mockingbird working with Fitz secretly is good. Sending Hunter out to kill Ward also good. Always fun to have Peter McNicol, even if his character isn't great. Bringing in Werner Von Strucker good, though Andrea & Andreas would have been better. Glad they didn't drag out Simmons being missing. I still don't care about random handsome Inhuman guy. Or most of the Inhumans stuff.) "A Wanted (Inhu)Man" (I don't care about random handsome electric Inhuman. This was his focus episode. The May/Hunter stuff is a little more interesting. I do love pretty much everything about the adversarial/flirty relationship between Coulson and the woman hunting down Inhumans.)
                                                                                                                                              • Grandfathered "Dad Face" (I think Paget Brewster is far and away the best part of this show. Although the baby mama throwing drums in the ocean and busting out a butterfly knife was pretty funny.)
                                                                                                                                              • Scream Queens "Haunted House" (Chanel-o-ween was hilarious. The pumpkin carving contest. Grace seems really eager to accuse everyone of being the killer. The reveal that the baby was a girl. I love the security guard in every minute she's in. Chad is a hilarious character, and his graveyard interlude with Hester was a lot of fun. The hag on Shady Lane. The "Mad About You" sorority beatdown. The haunted house with Chad and Hester was even better. And the mystery of who's doing the killings, while ultimately irrelevant, is so insanely complex that I love it.) "Pumpkin Patch" (Chad's clueless bravado makes him one of my favorites. Chanel's insanity makes her another. The scheming of the Chanels and the talk between the Dean and the security guard are both bonkers. Zayday's escape, and the reveal of who's in league with the Devil.) "Seven Minutes in Hell" (The frat guys continue to be my favorite part. Did not see that coming. Charles Manson's daughter's lesbian non-fling. Truth or dare.)
                                                                                                                                              • Arrow "Green Arrow" (Good job establishing Dahrk and his scary forces. Disappointed that they're still doing flashbacks. Dig and Oliver at odds is pissing me off, and I wish they'd quietly swept it under the rug instead of deciding to focus on it. The fight with Dahrk's men and Team Arrow was a great action scene. The new Green Arrow costume looks pretty good. Captain Lance being in with HIVE is not encouraging. Neither is the "is Felicity dead?" teaser. Because if she is, I'm done, and if she's not, it's unnecessary angst.) "The Candidate" (Cool to see Team Arrow working well together. Always good to see Jeri Ryan. Like the new Holt. It's really damn cool seeing Green Arrow and Red Arrow together on screen. And Ollie running for Mayor is great. Plus they're taking Sarah to Nanda Parbat. Lots going on this episode, and I like a lot of it.) "Restoration" (Glad they're moving faster this season. Dig/Arrow feud being yelled at by Felicity, Sarah being raised in Nanda Parbat... and nice if obscure nod to DC continuity with Double Down, who was a not-super-impressive villain who missed a lot, but lead to some nice action sequences and of course the Dig/Arrow feud ending. T-Spheres!)
                                                                                                                                              • iZombie  (Case of the week interesting enough, as always, but the Max Rager/Major tie-in, Major's new zombie-detecting power, Blaine's new job and especially the reveal about Liv's new roommate show an even more promising story arc for the season.) "Zombie Bro" (Liv's frat boy personality. Ravi and Major on Utopium. Blaine's dad. Zombie victim turned zombie turned drug addict? Man, Major has it rough.) "Real Dead Housewife of Seattle" (Seeing the killing up front is different. Liv as housewife is fun, as are all her personas. Poor Major's zombie hunting and corporate life are terribly depressing. Love the relationship between Von Du Clark and Liv's roommate. The stylist was a really, really obvious killer, though. Glad Peyton is back, and glad everybody knows about the zombie thing. Except Babineaux, who may be the worst detective ever if he hasn't noticed Liv's personality changes. Max Rager's zombie subbasement.)
                                                                                                                                              • Casual "Pilot" (Michaela Watkins is killer in this. I like everyone, but it's definitely her show. The awkward dates, the fitness-obsession and paleo diet scorn.) "Friends" (I really like Leon, and I love that he and Alex get into trouble so easily. I also love Valerie with the 20-somethings, reminds me of a similar thing they did on New Girl.) "Animals" (The opening sex ed sequence was great. The house hunting is a lot of fun.) "..." (Alex's interview at the bar, the crazy girlfriend of the patient, Alex's fuck-up with the blogger.)
                                                                                                                                              • Fargo "Waiting for Dutch" (Killer opening with the Ronald Reagan movie, love the introductions of the various characters, the fashions and looks of '79, as good as engaging as season one) "Before the Law" (Finding the murder weapon, the Gerhart family struggles, Mike Milligan everywhere, but especially facing down Hank on the road, that scene in the butcher shop with Lou and Ed)
                                                                                                                                              • Rebels "The Lost Commanders" (Using the head of an old droid was a neat trick, love that the Clone Troopers were on an old Republic tank. Hunting sandworms. Rex snipering the probe droid. "Relics of the Old Republic" (Rex trash-talking the Empire. The clones vs. AT-ATs. The new inquisitor.)
                                                                                                                                              Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                              1. Fargo
                                                                                                                                              2. You're The Worst
                                                                                                                                              3. The Leftovers
                                                                                                                                              4. The Flash
                                                                                                                                              5. Casual
                                                                                                                                                Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                • Devil
                                                                                                                                                • The Taking of Deborah Logan
                                                                                                                                                • Babadook
                                                                                                                                                Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                • Chi'Lantro (x3)
                                                                                                                                                • Hoodie's Subs
                                                                                                                                                • Noble Sandwich (x2)
                                                                                                                                                • Popeye's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                • Mambo House
                                                                                                                                                • Michi Ramen
                                                                                                                                                • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                • Korean Grill
                                                                                                                                                • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                                                                                                • Frank
                                                                                                                                                • Peached Tortilla
                                                                                                                                                • Shogun
                                                                                                                                                • Tropicana Cuban
                                                                                                                                                • Frank
                                                                                                                                                • Gus's Fried Chicken

                                                                                                                                                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