Friday, May 01, 2015

Monthly Update - April 2015


1. Read books. Still at 10 books for the year so far. But I didn't read any this month. I bought a couple more, though. I'm sure I'll get some reading done on my June vacation, at least.

2. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Finaly got the DVR mostly clear and started watching some DVDs and Blurays. Got around to re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season One and started in on Community Season Five.

3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I got Evolve for my birthday, which I say doesn't count as buying a game, so I'm still at 3 games for the years.

4. 12 More Boardgames. This month, I played Battlestar Galactica and Dead of Winter had a boardgame night where I played Formula D and Superfight, both of which I loved. I also hosted International Tabletop Day at the store, where I got the chance to play Batman Love Letter and Geek Out. So that's 4 new games for this month, for a total of 14 already. Hit that goal early.

5. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was 202... this month, I've wavered between 205 and 198.

6. Travel - Nothing until June, probably. I looked into Dallas Fan Days, but there's other stuff going on that weekend. Ditto Heroes Con, which is just too close to the Disney trip and our All-Ages event to be logistically possible, even if I could easily swing the budget.

7. Eat! - Not a resolution, but so far on my list of "places I want to eat in 2015" There were five on this list, and I went to Hopdoddy, as well as a birthday dinner at Barlata. So there are four I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co. and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather) and 4 new ones: Porter Gastropub, Shake Shack in The Domain, Twisted Root Burgers on Burnet, Voodoo Donuts on 6th in June.

8. Cook! -Made a few of my new standards: Alfredo Chicken Baked Ziti, Chicken Parmesan and Baked Parmesan "Fries." Cooked pork chops, burgers, salmon and steaks on the grill (the latter with HEB's garlic and herb finishing butter, which I'll now be using for every steak ever). Made the cajun and shrimp pasta and chicken and mushrooms again, which are now part of my regular standards. I also made a double batch of bacon/beef/coffee porter chili and a triple batch of macaroni and cheese for my birthday party.

9. NaNoWriMo - No progress this month, and I'm starting to reconsider whether I want to devote a whole month to it or not.


Best Week of Comics This Month:
April 8th (Ant-Man, Birthright, Copperhead, Darth Vader, Descender, Howard the Duck, Kaijumax, Rat Queens, Saga, SHIELD, Southern Cross, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Woman, Storm)

Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
  1. SHIELD #4
  2. Kanan the Last Padawan #1
  3. Saga #27
  4. Spider-Woman #6
  5. Howard the Duck #2
    Comics I Read This Month:
    • Alex + Ada #14
    • Amazing Spider-Man #17
    • Ant-Man #4
    • Avengers: Ultron Forever #1
    • Birthright #6
    • Bitch Planet #4
    • Chrononauts #2
    • Convergence Action Comics #1
    • Convergence Detective Comics #1
    • Convergence Green Arrow #1
    • Convergence Plastic Man/Freedom Fighters #1
    • Convergence Suicide Squad #1
    • Convergence Superboy #1
    • Copperhead #6
    • Darth Vader #4
    • Descender #2
    • Giant Days #2
    • Hellbreak #2
    • Howard the Duck #2
    • Kaijumax #1
    • Kanan The Last Padawan #1
    • Legacy of Luther Strode #1
    • Ms. Marvel #14
    • New Avengers Ultron Forever #1
    • Princess Leia #3
    • Punisher #17
    • Rat Queens #10
    • Rebels #1
    • Rick & Morty #1
    • Sabrina #2
    • Saga #27
    • SHIELD #4
    • SHIELD #5
    • Silk #3
    • Southern Cross #2
    • Spider-Gwen #3
    • Spider-Man 2099 #11
    • Spider-Woman #6
    • Storm #10
    • Superior Iron Man #7
    • Superior Iron Man #8
    • The Fade Out #5
    • Wayward #7
    Graphic Novels I Read This Month
    • Absolute Green Arrow by Kevin Smith
    • Brody's Ghost Vol 6
    • Rutabaga The Adventure Chef
    • Empowered Unchained
    • Crogan Adventures: Catfoot's Vengeance
    • Bandette Vol 2
    • Zenith Phase 3
    • Scott Pilgrim Vol 6 HC
    • Cleopatra in Space Vol 2
    • Spider-Verse 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.
    • The Flash "Tricksters" (Another huge episode, with the origin of the Reverse Flash, another identity reveal or two for Barry, fantastic work from the two Tricksters, and a long-awaited Flash trick. Plus, was this the first mention of the Speed Force?) "All Star Team Up" (I really want Atom to shrink, but this was a fun team-up. Loved their version of the Bug-Eyed Bandit, love the use of Tina McGee... but they have got to stop lying to Iris for no reason.) "Who is Harrison Wells?" (Really good elevation of a minor villain into a major threat, always fun to see Flash/Arrow cross-pollinate, *love* that Cisco provides the Canary Cry and that the Wells mystery is heating up. Also really like Eddie working with the Flash.) "The Trap" (Nice swerve on Wells, I didn't see the twist coming. Lots of answers, still plenty of questions, and they finally, finally seem to have let Iris figure it out.)
    • Marvel's Agents of SHIELD "One Door Closes" (The assault on SHIELD by SHIELD was pretty good, even though I'm wishing they hadn't done the traitors storyline again. I kind of want SHIELD as a big organization rather than a small scrappy one, I hope they're leading to a merger and not more SHIELD on the run) "Afterlife" (I'm still not sure how a show that was firing on all cylinders has returned to the barely-watchable state of season one... but it has. It's not terrible, but it levels off at mediocre and rises above only for rare sequences, like Coulson and Hunter and Deathlok escaping SHIELD in this episode) "Melinda" (Solid at best action sequences the week after Daredevil was probably a mistake. The Cavalry story was OK, but I don't really care. Ditto the Inhumans stuff. Basically, another OK to mediocre episode, I guess that's what the show is now.) "Frenemy of My Enemy" (I wouldn't have guessed bringing Ward and Agent 33 in would work, but if you ignore a few things, it works, and makes the show stronger. Just having an enemy in Hydra helps a lot, I think that may be the biggest thing SHIELD has been missing, a conventional bad guy instead of the weird Inhumans/other SHIELD organization.) "The Dirty Half-Dozen" (I suppose it's possible there are people who care about seeing the original, boring team back together... I'm not one of them. Some good action (Skye's one-woman take down of a bunch of Hydra agents in particular) undercut as always by inconsistent characters whose abilities and skills are tailored to the needs of the plot, rather than the other way around. Fun little nods to the MCU, which ultimately serve to remind me how much more I like the source material than this limp spinoff.)
    • The Americans "Stingers" (Wow. It's been building, but the way the Paige story turned this episode was stunning, and game-changing. Add in a twist on the defector and the usual strong work from everyone involved, and this was a great episode) "One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov" (The Paige relationship has amped up this already tense show to new levels, and spun so many of the relationships in interesting directions. Great comic relief moment with Oleg and his comrade reading FBI mundane conversations too.) "I Am Abassin Zadran" (Many great moments, including the Jennings in the car with the Afghani warlord, the confrontation with Martha, more friction with Paige and the two KGB handlers in the diner... a strong penultimate episode, lots of tension winding up for the big finale.) "March 8, 1983" (A lot of plates left spinning in this overstuffed season, so this felt more like a midseason break than a season finale, but... it's still really good stuff, and that closing bit with Paige... I don't know where they're going next, but I want to see as soon as possible.)
    • iZombie "The Exterminator" (Great confluence of story-of-the-week and ongoing stories about Liv, her fiancee and her roommate, not to mention another zombie and more David Anders) "Liv and Let Clive" (Little info on Clive's past, fun connection between Ravi and Major, good case of the week, nice Matrix reference and I like it all so much it keeps my attention even though Anders's criminal zombie empire is a more interesting story) "Flight of the Living Dead" (The zombie love interest and missing persons case are interesting threads, the reveal of the zombie captain was huge and the case of the work was great too, with guest star Ryan Hansen and a Party Down nod to boot. Not to mention, left unsolved, so I think everything here plays into the ongoing story.) "Virtual Reality Bites" (They snuck in the Were-Terrier! Also like the continuing story of Major's hunt for his friend's killer. And the cyber-case was an interesting touch.) "Maternity Liv" (This show really does a great job of marrying dark subject matter (murdered pregnant girl) with a light tone. I like all the interactions on a moment-to-moment basis, and I'm invested in the mythology too... I'd forgotten the Lieutenant was a zombie.)
    • Arrow "Public Enemy" (They make a big point here about things coming full circle, and it's not a good thing... I'm tired of the repeat of Arrow vs. the World. I'm annoyed that Ollie was known as the Arrow for like 20 minutes before they introduced a stupid way to roll it back. Their Ras Al Ghul is dull. The action sequences are good, though. And if that nanotech injection turns Ray into the Atom, I'll be very happy ) "Broken Arrow" (I feel like there's a lot of piece-moving and illogical stuff going on here in the name of plot, and it weakens the show... but the fight between Roy and the inmates was really good, Ray coming into his own as the Atom is great and I'm kind glad to see Thea and Roy taken off the board for a while, if only because they're some of the weaker actors on the show. Also... Opal City! Metahumans beyond Central City! Cool stuff for the overall DC TV-verse.) "The Fallen" (This whole Arrow becomes Ras story has been stupid and inconsistent... so he kills Thea, and in exchange for undoing it, Oliver agrees to join him? Felicity and Ollie get together, but they can't stay together, and nothing has really changed, but she can't be with Ray? I don't even know what we're supposed to make of Malcolm right now. They're going for divided loyalties, but landing on inconsistent, plot-driven character decisions, and it's wearisome.) "Ah-Sah-Him" (So I pretty much hated this. Oliver going dark Oliver is boring and stupid, Ras is a cartoon villain with no understandable motivations beyond what the plot requires, and it has amped up the CW drama that has always been the weakest part of the show. Some good action sequences, and a use of the new Canary Cry, don't make up for a plot that I've grown to hate. Oh, and I continue to not give a shit what happened in Hong Kong.)
    • Archer "Drastic Voyage" (Killer finale, too many good gags to write them all down, finishing off a strong season)
    • Mad Men "Severance" (The Ken Cosgrove stuff was killer, the Don stuff I felt like I was missing something but it was still great, and I love dissatisfied, angry Joan as much as goofy, drunk Peggy - great opener to the final season) "New Business" (Don's continuing tour of his life that could have been continues, but the winning scene was Harry Crane being a complete jackass and of course the bits of Roger Sterling, hapless chauvinist) "The Forecast" (The first truly strong episode of the season, although still weirdly focused on sort of outlier characters. But Joan/Bruce Greenwood was great throughout, it's always fun to see Don and Peggy interact and misunderstand one another and though I wasn't crying out to find out what happened to creepy Glen, it was a weird but interesting story) "Time & Life" (Lou Avery having his victory moment was weird and funny, the rush to secure California reminded me of some of the best moments in Mad Men history, and Peggy/Stan was pretty important... but this still feels really scattershot for a final season, especially now that we're past the halfway point.)
    • Community "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing" (Solid A, B and C plots, but this merely amiable, not the crazed hilarity that was Community at its best) "Laws of Robotics and Party Rights" (Fun Brian Van Holt guest spot, opens strong and peters out, not unlike the rest of the Yahoo! Community so far) "Basic Email Security" (The group confronting each other over leaks and trying to figure out the moral were fun, and they almost got somewhere good with the cop show/True Detective parody at the end, but... it's still not quite working.)
    • Better Call Saul "Marco" (Jimmy's breakdown at Bingo, the con man montage and return of Slippin' Jimmy, and then... the turning point from Jimmy to Saul. Great season... and I find myself wishing it was longer)
    • Justified "Collateral" (A little more Bob, the finale of a few characters, some great stuff with Markham, Loretta & Boone and a preview of the Raylan/Boyd showdown... sad to see the show end, but can't wait to watch the finale) "The Promise" (A quieter finale than I expected, but a very good finale)
    • Louie "Potluck" (So much greatness. Little things like a pitch perfect version of Louis making fried chicken, the awkward party and wrong potluck, the whole thing with angry Myrna and her sweet, quiet, put-upon pregnant surrogate... just great.) "A La Carte" (The Bart Folding stinger killed me, but the A La Carte discussion was honest and interesting and also really funny. Adlon's character can be problematic, but I thought she mostly worked here.) "Police Story" (Kind of a weaker episode, leaning heavier on the uncomfortable and not much on the funny and I found most of the characters pretty awful.)
    • Daredevil (13 episodes - My favorites were "Cut Man" with its amazing one-take fight sequence, "In the Blood" with its Kingpin flashback, "Stick" for everything, "Nelson vs. Murdock" for everything else, and "The Ones We Leave Behind" for the shocking development)
    • Game of Thrones "The Wars to Come" (A slow start, to be honest, but some great scenes, particularly between Tyrion and Varys.) "The House of Black and White" (That picked up the pace. So much to like here, from our first real glimpse of Dorne, Jaime and Bronn on a mission, Brienne meeting Sansa and that meeting not going well, Daenerys proving to maybe not be so great at ruling, and a big change at the Wall. Also, Arya being a total badass on her way to becoming even more of one. I confess I'm not looking forward to a whole season of Tyrion moping, and hope that ends sooner rather than later.) "High Sparrow" (I love seeing Cersei & Margaery spar, and marrying Sansa to another sadistic psychopath is terrible and yet compelling, I'd watch a whole show of Brienne and Podrick, ditto Tyrion and Varis. Jon Snow and Stannis make interesting scene mates and of course I love everything to do with Arya, and Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow? Fantastic episode. And I have *no* idea what's happening next in most cases, which is really great.)
    • Silicon Valley "Sand Hill Shuffle" (I *love* Suzanne Cryer as Monica's new boss, the "negging" sequence was a lot of fun and there were some funny bits in the funeral as well) "Runaway Devaluation" (Great payoff to the negging sequence, and Dinesh trying to ruin his cousin's Kickstarter was a lot of fun as well) "Bad Money" (Fun episode, and their new backer is such a douche-bro it's hilarious, and yet... a lot of this was me feeling kinda bad for our guys and how screwed they are.)
    • Veep "Joint Session" (I love the transition to Selina in the White House.) "East Wing" (The unlikable Catherine, Mike's mustache, Amy's car connection, the Indian painting and the blow-up with Gary, not to mention Jonah's three stories in this episode all made for a great episode) "Data " (The HIV/medical records scandal, fireworks/music and more Catherine/Selina stuff)
    • Broadchurch (Watched all of season one and really enjoyed it... the psychic is sort of a weird presence, but otherwise I was really engaged and looking forward to catching season two at some point)
    • Inside Amy Schumer "Last Fuckable Day" (Booty Dance, Football Town Nights No-Raping, Last Fuckable Day full of guest stars, Birth Control ad, interview with the trans woman, an amazing first episode back) " " (It's Amy!, Not Cool With It, Girl You Don't Need Make-Up, Plain Jane, Bad Boyfriend, the interview with the sleaze from Ashley, what a dark and amazing episode)
    Top Five Shows This Month:
    1. Better Call Saul & Justified, but since they only had one and two episodes, respectively, I'm adding a #6
    2. Daredevil
    3. The Americans
    4. Game of Thrones
    5. iZombie
    6. The Flash
          Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
            Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:

            Movies I Watched This Month:
            • Non-Stop
            • Let's Be Cops
            Places I Ate This Month:
            • Peached Tortilla (x2)
            • Kin & Comfort
            • Alamo Drafthouse (x3)
            • Popeye's
            • Noble Sandwich
            • Hopdoddy
            • Jack Allen's Kitchen
            • Hoody's Subs (x2)
            • Culver's (x3)
            • Mesa Rosa Mexican
            • Sushi Nini
            • PizzaRev
            • Torchy's (x2)
            • Chi'Lantro
            • 24 Diner
            • Mighty Fine Burgers & Shakes