Sunday, March 01, 2015

Monthly Update - February 2015


1. No cancer. No new developments. Again, CT scan in March.

2. Read books. Doing well on this one. Four more books down this month, which puts me at 8 so far for the year. I'd love it if I can maintain this "book a week" pace:
  • Queen of Stone by Keith Baker
  • Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
  • Bumper Crop by Joe Lansdale
  • Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
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. Didn't buy anything new this month, other than the two free games I get as Playstation Plus, and actually played Wolf Among Us and tried out two of the free PS+ games.

5. 12 More Boardgames. This month, I played a couple games of Pandemic and then had a boardgame night, where I played Machi Koro (three times, once with the Harbor expansion), Loonacy, King of New York, Diamonsters and Settlers of Catan. I also learned to play Star Realms. Also added X-COM, Netrunner, Epic Spell Wars: Battle Wizards of Mt. Skullzfyre, Pandemic: Contagion and Splendor to my game library. So that's three new games for this month, for a total of 7 this year so far. Also ran a game of Deadlands and a game of Pathfinder.

6. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was 202. This month was 204. Which, if my math is correct, means that in ten years I will weigh 440 lbs. This is unacceptable, and I need to stop it. Daylight saving time starts immediately after STAPLE!, so my plan is to start taking walks at least three days a week. Hopefully more like five. I am considering getting up an hour earlier than normal (so 11 AM... shut up, I'm a night person) and walking before I head to work, but I don't know if that'll happen.

7. Travel - I officially scheduled and booked our Disney World trip. That may be it for travel this year, it is not a particularly cheap trip. But it's gonna be fun.

8. Instagram - Uh... still trying to figure out that other resolution. Is "not karate chopping people who piss me off" a resolution?

9. Cook! - Another Mexican meatloaf (this time with pork mixed in and Diablo sauce toned down a little, and I was pretty damn happy with the results) and another go at the sausage & shrimp cajun pasta (also de-spiced a touch, could use a little less spice but turned out better this time). Also revisited the chicken thighs with mushrooms from last month and confirmed that it's a pretty simple and delicious recipe. Suzanne also made the Crockpot Carnitas again, which turned out pretty great.

In terms of new recipes? Made chicken fried steak for the first time. The steak was pretty tasty, the gravy could use some work. Grilled up some pork chops with "Texas seasoning" from HEB along with "sliced baked potatoes." The pork was good, the potatoes needed probably another hour to cook. Also made homemade mac and cheese for the first time (nailed it... smoked paprika was the "secret" ingredient) along with some basic grilled chicken with rosemary and thyme. Another new recipe for the month was chicken parmigiana and parmesan-garlic baked potato "fries," both of which turned out pretty great, if I do say so myself.

So that's only 7 meals (I ate out for dinner quite a bit this month), but three new recipes, all of which worked out pretty well.

10. NaNoWriMo - Created my profile on the site. If anybody else is doing this thing this year, feel free to send me a buddy request if that's a thing. Also began working on novel ideas, there are several I've been thinking about. My plan is to start outlining/developing characters next month.


Best Week of Comics This Month:
February 4th (Ant-Man, Birthright, Hellboy & BPRD, The Punisher, Shaft, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Saga, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye)

Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
  1. Darth Vader #1-2
  2. Saga #25
  3. Ms. Marvel #11
  4. Spider-Gwen #1
  5. Amazing Spider-Man #15
Comics I Read This Month:
  • Amazing Spider-Man #14-15
  • Ant-Man #2
  • Batgirl #39
  • Birthright #5
  • Bitch Planet #3
  • Chew #46
  • Cluster #1
  • Daredevil #13
  • Darth Vader #1-2
  • Ei8ght #1
  • Hawkeye #21
  • Hellboy and the BPRD #3
  • Ms. Marvel #11-12
  • Punisher #15
  • Rumble #3
  • Saga #25
  • Shaft #3
  • She-Hulk #12
  • SHIELD #3
  • Silk #1
  • Spider-Gwen #1
  • Spider-Man 2099 #9
  • Spider-Woman #4
  • Star Wars #2
  • Storm #8
  • Superior Iron Man #5
  • The Empty #1
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2
  • Velvet #9
Favorite Comic Panels This Month:
Graphic Novels I Read This Month

  • Starlight TP
  • Master Keaton Volume 1
  • Uncanny Vol 1 TP
  • Storm Vol 1 TP
  • Avatar The Rift HC
  • The Fade Out Vol 1 TP
  • Sex Criminals Vol 2 TP

TV I Watched This Month:
This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
  • Man Seeking Woman "Traib" (The texting situation room was good, but... I find the weird outrageousness so much more believable than any of the characters or that *anyone* is this awkward and terrible at dating) "Pitbull" (The pre-game sequence actually made me laugh, and may have kept me onboard for another couple episodes, and the second half of the episode was *so* weird as to maybe win me over) "Dram" (Maria Thayer guest-starring is always good, the torture/faked death stuff was really funny... I think I'm starting to get this show. I still think the lead character is shallow and kinda dim, but it's becoming funnier to me) "Sizzurp" (Mt. Olympus cracked me up. As did Tanaka the penis monster. The utter strangeness of this show took a while to grow on me, but I love it now.) "Gavel" (Weaker episode, but Mr. Raymond Holt as the judge of cheating court was fun) "The Stain" (Every time they focus on Josh being self-involved, it's a weaker episode, but a lot of the wedding in hell stuff, like buying a sword, was pretty entertaining)
  • Hacking the System "Season One" - Tons of good info, very entertaining, my daughter's favorite show
  • Archer "The Archer Sanction" (Mountain climbing, incompetence, spy action... good to have Archer back) "Edie's Wedding" (Archer vs. Barry, casting Alison Tolman as Pam's sister Edie is genius) "Vision Quest" (Bottle episode in the elevator, this was one of my favorite episodes so far this season) "Sitting" (A fun episode with guest star Kumail Nanjiani, with a nice stinger ending) "Nellis" (It's funny, all of this could have worked with last season's status quo, but the show just works better when they're spies instead of hapless drug dealers) "The Kanes" (Keith David and CCH Pounder as Lana's parents, a car chase through San Francisco in the Bullit car... the stuff with Pam, Krieger and the rest was just gravy... best episode of the season so far)
  • Star Wars Rebels "Path of the Jedi" (Ezra becoming a Jedi has been a thread that made him a much stronger character, and this was a pretty solid episode in that journey) "Idiot's Array" (Lando!) "Vision of Hope" (Love the new adversary presented here, I didn't see the reveal coming at all even though I should have) "Call to Action" (Grand Moff Tarkin was memorable in his small role in the movies, with this being a prequel of sorts, we get to really see what he can do, and he makes a great bad guy) "Rebel Resolve" (This early in, and they've already gotten their Empire Strikes Back, with the team desperate and down by one. It's an impressive show.)
  • Justified "Noblesse Oblige" (Choo-Choo is such an Elmore Leonard character. The intricate character stories this season are making this pretty great so far) "Trash and the Snake" (So much for The Wiz, I guess. Amazing tension with Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen facing off with Raylan and Ava, respectively) "Sounding" (They're doing a great job managing this big cast, giving everyone their moments, and still making room for past greats like Limehouse and Constable Bob) "Alive Day" (Not how I saw the Choo-Choo thing going, but I really liked it, and there's some great tension with the various pieces in motion)
  • Parks and Recreation "Donna and Joe" (It is somehow perfect that control freak Leslie has uncontrollable children... and I loved seeing Jen again. April as the meanest wedding coordinator ever. Drunken Ben and/or Leslie is the best thing ever. Both of them dancing together... somehow even better.) "Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington" (A really sweet wrap-up of April's story, loved all the politician cameos), "Pie-Mary" (More Kathyrn Hahn is always welcome, I loved their take on men's rights and seeing Ron at his giddy puzzle-solving best, and the Gerry/Donna story was sweet and fun) "Johnny Karate" (Just a really fun show within a show) "Two Funerals" (Bill Murray! A sweet wedding proposal for Tom! Mayor Gergich! So many guest stars... it's a great penultimate episode) "One for the Road" (The only thing that would have made this more perfect is if it had ended with a "Just kidding, one more season!" trick reveal)
  • Flash "Crazy for You" (I've been down on the past two, but this was great. Amazing stuff with Barry and his dad, Barry and Caitlin, the intro of Linda Park (!), a bit of Grodd (!), more Firestorm... just a great episode.) "The Nuclear Man" (Really like the device being part of Firestorm's costume, like that Joe is onto Wells and love the Barry-Linda relationship) "Fallout" (The full Firestorm... and Grodd. So happy as a comics fan right now)
  • Top Chef "Holy Escamoley" (I've liked the challenges in Mexico, love seeing some of the previous contestants as sous chefs - and glad to see Gregory pick up his game again after losing steam before the finals), "Finale" (Overall, this was a pretty great season of Top Chef. Lot less frustrating "why is that guy still on?" and I was happy with how the last meal played out, less gimmick-y and more just two great chefs getting to show what they can do.)
  • Arrow "Uprising" (There's a lot to like here... and stuff I still have difficulties with. Vinnie Jones is great, but I feel like they missed the opportunity to have a great African-American villain by sticking closer to the comics version. Laurel is... OK, but I miss Caity Lotz a whole lot. The Felicity/Ollie relationship continues to be frustrating. Their use of Wildcat was disappointing, as is the slow-burn-maybe-never use of Katana. And I love John Barrowman, but I feel like Merlyn is falling into the Buffy/Spike problem, where they love an actor so much they forget he's supposed to be a villain. It's a good show, occasionally great... but Flash is doing what it does so much better.) "Canaries" (Some long-held secrets finally out, some good action sequences - and I'm glad to be rid of Douchebag DJ, secret threat, who I never bought into) "The Return" (Really missing Felicity this episode, but they're doing nice work with Thea and I love that all the secrets are finally coming out) "Nanda Parbat" (Their take on the Atom is disappointingly generic, the twisted motivations they keep having to pull to keep Merlyn alive are becoming ridiculous... but the Diggle/Ollie invading Nanda Parbat scene was a great action sequence)
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "Charlie Work" (This late into a series, there's no way a show should be doing something that could legitimately be in its top five episodes ever. What a great episode, and a great show.) "The Gang Spies Like U.S." (Another of those "can't believe they did that on TV" combined with the return of the waiter from the restaurant episode) "The Gang Misses The Boat" (I love when they do the meta stuff about the show and its critics... and Def Poetry was great) "Mac Kills His Dad" (The extended cast on this show rivals that of Parks & Rec, and when they use them well, like they did here, as well as turning in some truly dark funny stuff about prison gangs and suicidal addicts... the show is at its best)
  • Broad City "Knockoffs" (So... they went there. Susie Essman, Bob Balaban and pegging... Broad City, you are amazing.) "Hashtag FOMO" (Abbi as "Val" definitely goes in the "best moments of TV" for this year) "The Matrix" (I don't know why this wasn't called Dog Wedding, because everything about that was hilarious. Abbi hallucinating is also always fun.) "Citizen Ship" (You either love Bevers or hate Bevers. I love him, because he's so sweet and well-meaning and yet a total pain in the ass, and seeing him locked up with Ilana and Abbi made for some good TV)
  • The Walking Dead "What Happened and What's Going On" (I've been happy with this show since they stopped having characters do stupid things and stopped killing their best characters off. This one did both. It's still better than it's been, but it's not what I wanted coming back.) "Them" (I'm so bored by this show right now.) "The Distance" (That's a relief. The first two episodes back angered and bored me, this one was a step back onto the right path, with much stronger character moments and forward story momentum)
  • Better Call Saul "Uno" (Similar but different sensibility to Breaking Bad, beautifully shot, and seeing Jimmy McGill in his early days turns out to be something I wanted after all. And that opening... and closing. I laughed out loud in the first two minutes and the last two minutes when I figured out what was going on.) "Mijo" (Just as tense as the best of Breaking Bad, just as beautiful to look at, love the montage - another Breaking Bad staple - and love Michael Mando here. Echoes it's predecessor in all the right ways, but doesn't feel like it's riding on its coat-tails, just the same talent telling different stories.) "Nacho" (Three episodes in and I'm loving this. Unpredictable stories, and Jimmy McGill is a very different character from Saul Goodman.) "Hero" (The bookends, with Jimmy and his old pal pulling a scam and Jimmy's brother making a crazed run for a paper, were great. The rest of the episode... also pretty great. Loving this show.)
  • The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO's true-crime documentary series, definitely hoping to play to fans of "Serial." It's... interesting so far, but not as compelling as Serial was, partly because it lacks the light touch that Sarah Koenig had. But some hated that light touch, so they might find The Jinx more to their taste.)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Windbreaker City" (A weaker episode, but still fun) "The Wednesday Incident" (Gina and Jake pairing up was fun, a much better episode)
  • Agent Carter "A Sin to Err" (The scene between Dotty and the scientist was a nice misdirect and bit of spycraft, and Jarvis's discomfort with children and Stark's mistresses was fun. And that badass fight scene in the Automat... wow.) "Snafu" (Lots of twists and turns... the period of all this makes it feel less Marvel Cinematic than Agents of SHIELD, but it's been a fun ride and I look forward to the conclusion) "Valediction" (This was a great series, but after the finale, I would dearly love to see a second season that's just Sharon Carter, Howard Stark, Edwin Jarvis and maybe the Howling Commandos. Dominic Cooper is great as Stark.)
  • Togetherness "Houston We Have A Problem" (This is the most real, complicated human relationship stuff I've seen... does what Married and You're the Worst does, but in a completely different, and in the case of Married, better, way. I was mad at each of the characters during this episode, and then completely understood their POV at other times. That's good writing and good performance.) "Kick the Can" (That Kick the Can sequence was amazing, and it got very real by the end) "Ghost in Chains" (The stuff with Lynskey and her "boyfriend" is breaking my heart, and Zissis continues to bring it to every moment on this show)
Top Five Shows This Month:
  1. Better Call Saul
  2. Togetherness
  3. Justified
  4. Parks & Recreation
  5. Broad City
Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
    Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:

    Movies I Watched This Month:

    • Maleficent
    • Book of Life

    Videogames I Played This Month:

    • Wolf Among Us

    Places I Ate This Month:
    • Kerbey Lane x2
    • Torchy's Tacos x3 (Last month it was Tuk-Tuk, this month the Scallywag)
    • Joe's Crab Shack
    • Smokey Mo's
    • Black Star Co-Op
    • The League
    • DiMassi's Mediterranean Buffet
    • Sushi Nini
    • BJ's Brewhouse x2
    • Juarez Mexican Bakery x3
    • PizzaRev
    • Salt & Time
    • Cover 2
    Added to the Food Wish List:

    Archived Links: