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