Sunday, February 01, 2015

Monthly Update - January 2015


1. No cancer. So far, so good. CT scan in late March.

2. Read books. Doing well on this one. Four books down this month:
  • Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
3. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Haven't watched anything this month. But also haven't bought anything new. I watched a ton of TV, as noted below.

4. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I am doing terrible. Playstation network had a sale and I bought Wolf Among Us and Costume Quest 2 because I couldn't resist a sale. So that's 1/3 of my allotted budget in one month.

5. 12 More Boardgames. Doing well so far. I've played four new games (Betrayal at House on the Hill, Lost Legacy The Starship, Diamonsters and Red Dragon Inn) and added another four (Star Realms, Onward to Venus, Deus and Mythtopia) to my library. I also played the tabletop RPG Dread for the first time, and got in a couple games of Smash-Up and King of New York. Added to my "To Play" List: Roll for the Galaxy and X-COM.

6. Get below 190 lbs. Not as good. Right now I weigh 202... really need to get back to walking and exercising more, and get better about my soda intake.

7. Travel - I did well so far. Took a three-day trip out to San Francisco for the Image Expo, and brought Suzanne so we could go out and eat at a few places (and visit tourist-y Fisherman's Wharf) too. Heroes Con may conflict with some other stuff, like Free RPG Day... Emerald City Comic Con falls on the weekend of my daughter's birthday. San Diego just sounds like a damn nightmare at this point. But we're thinking Disney World for the summer.

8. Instagram - On *average*, I'm hitting the one picture a day, but I'm clearly not doing a picture every single day. Some days I just don't have anything (or don't see anything) photo worthy. But mostly this goal was to make sure I used Instagram, and so far that hasn't been a problem. I feel like I should probably make another resolution to replace this one.

9. Cook! I did pretty good this month, cooked over a dozen dinners. I need to adjust my spice, because I made three dinners that were almost too hot for Suzanne: A Mexican meatloaf recipe I've had for years, using Torchy's Diablo Sauce, a brisket, bacon & beer chili recipe I got from a friend and a Cajun shrimp & sausage pasta. All turned out good but could use some adjustment on spice.

I also cooked some more basic dishes, an improvised 5-ingredient brisket chili that turned out alright given the cost and time that went into it, steak & mushrooms a couple times, a shrimp & veggie stir fry a couple times, and a couple packaged meals from HEB for steak fajitas (but I did make fresh onions and peppers to go with) and butter chicken (which I liked well enough to find a real recipe instead of making it from a box next time.)

There was also an attempt, mostly unsuccessful, at shrimp scampi, and another, more successful, at crockpot carnitas. I also learned a new recipe for chicken with mushrooms and made them with bacon-roasted Brussels sprouts, which turned out pretty damn tasty. So that's five new recipes, two that were over-spicy, one that was underwhelming, two that turned out good. Not an ideal ratio, but not bad. Hoping to add 3-5 new recipes next month too.

Looking back at my Facebook status via Timehop, this is similar to the pattern I had last year. I hope to maintain cooking more than I did last year.

10. NaNoWriMo - This isn't really until November, but I do have a couple ideas percolating. I think it's gonna happen this year.


Best Week of Comics So Far This Year:
January 7th (Ant-Man, Birthright, The Fade Out, Hellboy & BPRD, The Punisher, Shaft, Storm, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Usagi Yojimbo Senso, X-Men)

Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:

  1. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
  2. Star Wars #1
  3. Ant-Man #1
  4. S.H.I.E.L.D. #2
  5. Shaft #2

Other Comics I Read This Month:
  • Alex + Ada #12
  • All New Captain America #3
  • Amazing Spider-Man #12
  • Amazing Spider-Man #13
  • Ant-Man #1
  • Batgirl #38
  • Birthright #4
  • Bitch Planet #2
  • Copperhead #5
  • Daredevil #12
  • Deathlok #4
  • Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldur's Gate #4
  • Fables Wolf Among Us #1
  • Graveyard Shift #2
  • Hellboy and the BPRD #2
  • Lazarus #14
  • Revival #27
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. #2
  • Sex Criminals #10
  • Shaft #2
  • Spider-Man 2099 #7
  • Spider-Man 2099 #8
  • Spider-Verse #2
  • Spider-Verse Team-Up #3
  • Spider-Woman #3
  • Spread #5
  • Star Wars #1
  • Storm #7
  • Superior Iron Man #4
  • The Fade Out #4
  • The Kitchen #3
  • The Punisher #14
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
  • Usagi Yojimbo Senso #6
  • X-Men #23
Favorite Comic Panels This Month:
Graphic Novels I Read This Month
*Grendel Omnibus Vol 3
*Saga Vol 1 HC (Re-read)
*American Vampire Volume 7 HC
*Superior Foes of Spider-Man Vols 1-3

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.
  • Friends Season One Episodes 1-9 (Background watching, mostly... I know most of these by heart)
  • A to Z ("J" through "M", sad to see it go)
  • Bob's Burgers "Best Burger," "Father of the Bob," "Tina Tailor Soldier Spy""Midday Run" "Speakeasy Rider" "Late Afternoon in the Garden of Bob and Louise" (The Midnight Run music homage in Midday Run was a favorite, but the song in Late Afternoon and the revelation of Bob's dad and diner backstory were also really good)
  • Top Chef Boston (I like how they're changing up the format here, having chefs challenge to come back in or drop out immediately, mixing up the Last Chance Kitchen, trying to eliminate crazy things where bad chefs stay in until the finals or great chefs wind up eliminated after one bad break. It wasn't my favorite season, but it was stronger than the last couple.
  • Agent Carter Episodes 1-4 (Really pleased with this at the halfway point. It's not as good as Arrow or Flash, and I'm not as connected as I was to the second season of SHIELD so far, but the cast is great, I love Atwell as Peggy and I like what they're doing with Jarvis)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Beach House", "Payback," "Defense Rests" (Beach House is one of the series' best episodes so far, with hilarious lines from Jake, and I'm loving the deepening of the Jake/Holt friendship in general, but all three of these are solid episodes)
  • The Simpsons "The Man Who Came To Be Dinner" "Bart's New Friend", "The Musk Who Fell to Earth" (A lot of the goodwill the marathon earned is wearing off, as none of these were great episodes and one (Musk) was so terrible I couldn't finish it. The post-credits Star Trek riff on "Dinner" was fun, the X-Men/Loki stinger on Bart's New Friend random and funny and "Bart's New Friend" generally has a touch of sincerity and sweetness that the old Simpsons had.)
  • Cougar Town (The Matrix riff, Tom's Speakeasy and the baby names were all favorite moments)
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "The Gang Beats Boggs" (Drinking games on the plane definitely potential best moment/best episode material) "The Gang Group Dates" (How the gang describes each other is really funny, and Dennis's creepy serial killer vibe is always funny) "Psycho Pete Returns" (So mean and so funny... always good to see Rickety Cricket.)
  • Man Seeking Woman (Definitely weird... not particularly funny. Gonna give it a couple more episodes, though, because the promos are really fun and promise a better show than the first episode delivered.)
  • Broad City (Really hilarious so far, and the naked singing bit in episode two was great)
  • Justified 6.1 & 6.2 (The return of Dewey Crowe, Raylan and Boyd maneuvering... great opener - Garrett Dillahunt is doing great reserved malice - great banter between Tim & Raylan, and Raylan's interaction with Choo Choo)
  • Modern Family - "They Day We Almost Died," "The Big Guns" (Potty training and a weak attempt at multi-storytelling, I think I'm almost off this show)
  • 12 Monkeys "Pilot" (Tense opening scene, like how they're doing time travel and how fast she believes him, solid SyFy opener)
  • Best New Restaurant (Not as good as Top Chef, but interesting, especially in the head-to-head. Colicchio is the difference between success and failure. And now I want to eat at Swift's Attic, which was on the second episode representing Austin.)
  • The Nightly Show (First two weeks were pretty solid - the Obama episode was probably strongest, with the Cosby episode runner-up. #Keepit100 is probably the best part.)
  • @Midnight (Patton Oswalt lured me in. The Archer episode was brilliant, Rory Scovel's "they have my family" runner was great)
  • Togetherness ((Three episodes in, and I know we're not even out of January yet, but I *love* Togetherness and think it has a shot at favorite show of the year. The chemistry between Amanda Peet and Steve Zissis is killer, and the whole thing is real and human and warm, it can be funny and kind of awkward and then sweet and then heartbreaking... love it.)
  • Mad Dogs (Really great cast, beautifully shot... I'm not sure where the show goes from here, it's like a fucked-up South American crime-tinged version of Men of A Certain Age, but I'm in)
  • Archer (After a bit of a misfire on season five, season six is stronger, the holographic office gag killed me and the return of Conway Stern was very welcome)
  • Flash (Heat Wave is a little over-the-top, and I had some issues with the Heat-Wave/Captain Cold/Flash fight, but... still a lot of fun, and love the character work and STAR Labs vs. Flash training)
  • Arrow (Loving how they restored Ollie, a little weary of weepy Felicity instead of kickass Felicity, and still disliking Laurel as Black Canary... I miss Caity Lotz.)
  • The Americans "EST Men" (I always forget how much I love this show until it comes back on. Tense, amazing character-work, amazing period design... and Frank Langella was a nice surprise)
  • Key & Peele Superbowl Special (Damn weird, but pretty funny. The guest stars, especially Craig Robinson and Allison Janney, were the high points.) 
Top Five Shows This Month:
  1. Togetherness Season One
  2. Broad City Season Two
  3. The Americans Season Three
  4. Justified Season Six
  5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season Two
Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:

Movies I Watched This Month:

  • Beverly Hills Cop
  • Alien Nation

Videogames I Played This Month:

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (PS4)
  • Disney Infinity (PS4)
  • Lego Batman 3 (PS4)

Places I Ate This Month:

  • 600 Degree Pizza
  • Ajisen Ramen (San Francisco)
  • Annie's Cafe at ABIA
  • BJ's Brewhouse
  • Chuys
  • Crab Shack (San Francisco)
  • Fork + Taco (x2)
  • Fuddrucker's
  • House of Nanking (San Francisco)
  • Jack Allen's Kitchen
  • Kaiju Ramen (San Francisco)
  • Kerbey Lane (x3) - Key Lime Pie Pancakes, Bacon & Pear Grilled Cheese, Cinnamon Roll Pancakes all lured me in
  • Michi Ramen (x3)
  • PizzaRev (x2)
  • Super Duper Burgers (San Francisco)
  • Sushi Nini
  • Torchy's (x5) - Tuk Tuk month is here!

Added to the Food Wish List:

Archived Links: