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