Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Join 4 other subscribers
Doesn't get much better than being portrayed by Brad Pitt in a movie. (Photo courtesy nsusco)
It’s fitting that I watched a movie about baseball considering how much baseball I also watched this weekend. Had to watch to support the Rays. They’ve got three games to make up a one game deficit. You can do it, Tampa Bay!
Moneyball – Not too bad at all. We’re not talking “the best baseball movie ever” or anything, but it was enjoyable. It’s always nice to see a good baseball movie. I didn’t love the stylized baseball shots with the all black backdrops (looked kind of cheap), but it was still lots of fun. Seeing Chris Pratt (Andy from Parks and Recreation) play a more serious dramatic role (but still kind of comedic) was really neat. I liked it, but I’m glad I saw it with Ryan. Tiffany would have hated it.
Up All Night – This show is actually pretty neat. Will Arnett and Christina Applegate make a good pairing for a show about an unplanned baby that they do genuinely love, even if they haven’t figured out how to integrate it into their lives yet. I’ve got another episode waiting on the DVR to get around to sometime this week. It’s not nailing it yet, but it’s good enough that I’ll give it a few more episodes.
Top Gear – Saw both last week and this week’s eps and the guys turned cars into trains to pull cars down the tracks. It was pretty hilarious. The demolitions competition at the end of this week’s was pretty cool too.
Talking Funny – I kind of wish they had a woman on the panel too. I mean, what’s that say when you’re advertising your special as a look at comedy from the who’s who of the biz, but you don’t have any women on the panel? Ricky Gervais was the most “intellectual” of the bunch (almost to pretension) and Seinfeld was the purest, most “elemental”. I wish Chris Rock said more and I thought Louie C.K. was among the funnier of the four.
How I Met Your Mother – The worst part of any episode remains any time Ted is on screen. I don’t know if the writers get that his pretentiousness is super off-putting, but it’s kind of terrible. There were definitely some funny moments in the first disc (I’m catching up on Season 5), but, while I like the show, I don’t love it. ESPECIALLY when Ted is on screen
2 Broke Girls – This was decent. I mean, it’s a totally safe sitcom being mostly carried by Kat Dennings, but I like Kat Dennings, so I’ll give it two or three more episodes. Wait, did I say safe? Definitely a decent amount of jokes about semen, orgasms, and exchanges like “You’re getting me wet.” “That’s the point.” It seems kind of edgy for 2130 on CBS, I guess, but definitely not that edgy compared to other stuff I watch. I like the gimmick with the money raised counter at the end. Reminds me of a reverse Battlestar Galactica.
Weeds – They totally had a Vonnegut reference in there (“So it goes.”), but there’s so much going on and unresolved with only one episode left that I’m at a loss to see how they end it effectively. It’s been a good season with the budding rivalry between her and Silas growing, but I worry about how it can have a satisfactory ending with only 30 mins to go.
Extra Hot Great – One of my favorite podcasts, Extra Hot Great did a Fall TV preview this week that was funny and cool, per usual. Their mixing things up for Game Time for the next few episodes since Joe clinched the crown. This is definitely a great podcast to listen to if you’re into pop culture stuff (specifically TV and movies).
Reamde – Neal Stephenson’s latest hit shelves this past week. So far so good. It’s got a lot of Stepehnson elements (obsession with guns/weapons), but hasn’t had any of his stereotypical nerdiness yet. Mentions of twitter/facebook/wikipedia kind of date the book, but, at the same time, I think that’s kind of what he’s going for.
(AHOY, THAR BE COMICS AHEAD!)
SI: Cloak and Dagger – Just gorgeous art and fantastic writing. Comic books like this remind me why it’s worth spending my money on them. Just beautiful.
Daredevil – Not as good as the first three, but still quite good. The cliffhanger panel is killer awesome.
The Red Wing – A very interesting premise with the traveling across dimensions too. The way the pilots explode across time when they’re destroyed remains the most striking image in this book.
SI: Spider-Woman – Didn’t really do it for me. Not that interesting.
Ultimate Comics Hawkeye – Good, but not great. I still feel like Hawkeye as a character is almost non-existent
Wonder Woman – So popular this week that I had to buy it digitally (sold out in all other formats). It was a good book with neat art (I love how Chiang draws Diana as full-figured/muscular) and I hope they continue with the Greek mythology bit because that will lead to great horror comics. Greek gods and their mythology are among the most interesting, graphic, and crazy sources for stories out there.
SO MUCH GEARS OF WAR 3 – Tons of it. Still so much fun. I can’t wait for Min to be done with his schoolwork.
Left 4 Dead 2 – Dave and I finally finished all of the main story campaigns in this. We might go back and do some other extras, but for now I think we’re done. Lots of fun.
Resident Evil 5 – Back playing this. I miss actually having to buy and upgrade weapons, but it’s still tons of fun. Glad I’m playing this again. It’s insane and super fun.
It may look like I’m insulting Gears, but I’m really not. That’s legitimately the closest those guys come to eloquence most games. They’re fantastic games, but their stories are fundamentally idiotic.
Thor – I’m pretty sure that complaining about blatant product placement in a movie was last interesting five years ago, but I found the Southwest Airlines advertising in Thor to be too much. Did not like. The movie itself was cool, although Natalie Portman’s character had nothing to do but be a pretty damsel. Don’t get me wrong, she’s good at that, but I wouldn’t have minded her being more active (like Peggy in Captain America). Her portrayal of Jane was true to Thor: The Mighty Avenger, aside from her career, so at least there’s that. I hope she comes back for The Avengers (and that The Avengers is good).
Adaptation – Charlie Kaufman (of Being John Malkovich fame) really kind of cheats here in a movie screenplay that we’ve all just thought about handing in, but that is ultimately kind of lazy on a spectacular level. On the other hand, it’s not too much unlike the New Yorker articles it’s quasi-about where the writer is as much a part of the story as the story (in that Gonzo/New Journalism kind of way). Adaptation is postmodern and deconstructionalist and it works best when it’s not pointing out how obvious it is that Kaufman’s doing this (see the obnoxious callback to McKee and voiceover in its final voiceover), but it’s a clever movie that’s more interesting that it ever should be. If you’re really bored this can entertain you, but this movie about writing a movie strains interest. Perhaps if it was written a little better?
Weeds – About two weeks too late I called that this season is all about Silas and Nancy and it became truly obvious now. It’s funny how the Botwin lines have been drawn since the Lars revelation last season. I can see trouble starting in a lot of directions for Nancy, so I wonder if the payoff this year will be worth it, because I’m not seeing it yet.
Top Gear – Didn’t finish the episode!
Archer – So funny this week! This three-episode mini got off to a great start. Can’t wait for the rest of it next week. The jokes about Rip Riley being a 1930s relic were absolutely hilarious.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Yep, these guys are still the worst people in existence. Loved the closing scene with abandoning the prostitute in the hallway, even if it was shockingly terrible. I don’t think the “Mac gains 50 pounds” gag is working yet.
Parks and Recreation – Finished rewatching S3 with Min this week. So great! “Calzones are useless. No one likes them.”
Even more Wild Flag – I think I’ve hit my threshold with obsessively listening to this new release. I’ve got tickets to see them in October, so I can’t wait.
Collected Stories – Still no stories not obsessing with death. Still interesting in a surreal, well-written way. Still tough to read.
(THAR BE COMICS BELOW!)
Batwoman – Not sure if this was the best book of the week or Daredevil was, but it was certainly the prettiest. J. H. Williams III’s art was astounding. I’m so in for this new book.
Amazing Spider-Man – Still enjoying Spider-Island, even if this book was relatively mediocre. Stage 2 mutations begin!
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man – The new Spider-Man is Miles Morales. I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to see where this goes. It was surprisingly well done and unique from Peter Parker’s story.
Spider-Island: Herc – This book was terrible. What a waste of time. If you want a good Silver Age-style story, read Thor: The Mighty Avenger instead.
Spider-Island: Spider-Girl – Middling. When you’ve only got three issues, you can’t waste the first one because then your second and third will feel rushed. This felt kind of rushed.
Daredevil – Still the best book, all-around, that Marvel is putting out. Loved it and I loved the way that the sound villain was integrated with Daredevil’s sound “vision” for ludonarrative resonance. Great stuff.
Nedroid Read the first printed collection that Anthony Clark signed and sketched in. Super funny stuff. I love Nedroid.
Team Fortress 2 – I’m up to 210 achievements in this. I think I’ve got 169 to go! Can’t believe how much I play this game nowadays, it’s so good! Loving the way that the new trading systems are integrated with Steam. It might even get me playing Spiral Knights at Min’s behest.
Gears of War 2 – Min and I beat it this weekend. As I said before, the story is idiotic while the gameplay is mostly solid. Hey game devs: the parts where you make us drive tanks or ride Reavers and stuff are stupid. Torque bow enemies are also assholes. Min and I spent an hour clearing this one room because we kept getting shot with arrows. Ian was also over on Saturday for a marathon session that was lots of fun. Can’t wait for Gears of War 3. I’ve always felt that I’d missed the boat with the releases so now I’ll get the chance to be “in it” for the co-op campaigns and maybe a little Horde/Beast multiplayer. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
Best NPR First Listen!
Tokyo Godfathers – I wrote at length about this movie here, but I just wanted to take a few words to say how truly fantastic it was. Great movie.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. – Tiffany and I were choosing between this and Our Idiot Brother (ostensibly because they were the only two “date” movies, but really because of my dual crushes on Emma Stone and Zooey Deschanel), but I think this would have been the better choice. Crazy, Stupid, Love. was sweet and funny. Only real downside was the C-plot being a little creepy. Easily the best romantic movie I saw this summer (Best comedy goes to Bridesmaids).
Super – James Gunn is a sick man, haha. The movie was middling to me, but it was much better at showing how sick and ridiculous everyone involved would have to be than Kick-Ass was, so I liked it more than that. Ever wanted to see an awkward sex scene/quasi rape of Rainn Wilson by Ellen Page? This movie’s got it and it’s just as off-putting as you’d think it would be. Ellen Page does a great job playing a quasi-psychopath in this. She’s fantastic.
Weeds – I can’t believe I’ve missed what’s been in front of my face this whole time. The whole season has been about Silas and Nancy’s relationship with each other after he found out who his real father was. Things are really ramping up here.
Top Gear – What a fantastic show. Makes me think stupid things like that I want to buy a BMW, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. The segment where they tried to escape that Italian town was hilarious.
Dexter – Lent my mom Seasons 1 and 2 and ended up watching part of the first episode. Always neat to watch the pilot and see how the show has changed from its inception.
Better Off Ted – An adequate way to kill a half hour while I eat or need a break. The show wasn’t gonna break any funny records, but it’s better than some of what’s out there. Just no real place for it on ABC, I guess.
Retro Game Master – The affirmation section of The Wing of Madoola was really funny. This show is at its best when the Kacho is able to make all kinds of silly jokes. Also hilarious was the part where he called the game company to see if he could still win a raffle from the 1980s.
WILD FLAG – NPR’s First Listen looks like might it’s still up. Go check it out. I listened to this disc all last week and loved it.
The Civil Wars – Really got into them last week. Joy’s voice is so sweet and John Paul harmonizes well with her. Delightful to listen to.
Jonathan Coulton – His new album, Artificial Heart, came out this week. Good times, good music. I really like “Dissolve”.
Collected Stories – So far Márquez is obsessed with twins and death.
(Comics from here down)
Amazing Spider-Man – Spider-Island continues! Still lots of fun.
Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu – Felt just a little too stereotypically Asian for me. Good art, but the story was kind of boring.
Ultimate Comics Hawkeye – I can’t say I’m that interested in Hawkeye as a character, but Hickman’s writing remains really cool and the consequences on the Ultimate U are huge. To have the X-gene eliminated in all but one region is a tremendous tactical advantage. Wonder if it will stick.
Bastion – I agree with most people, the Narrator is super awesome. This game is fun, but it couldn’t tear me away from TF2 and…
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Got in the beta. Can’t say anything else or I’d violate the NDA.
Team Fortress 2 – TF2 remains awesome. Playing with Dave and Lee this weekend was a lot of fun. Got a lot of new achievements, but Sentry Gunner continues to elude me. I will have it one day. Oh yeah, I also played with KENDRA. Killed her once too. She did not get me back…yet.
Dragon Age 2 – Still working on that second playthrough as a Templar supporter this time. Reminds me that I’ve gotta go back and fix my ME2 playthrough for ME3 in March.
Thankfully the damage was minimal in MD.
Paprika – When the week started I didn’t realize I’d be getting back into Satoshi Kon so hardcore. I actually put off watching it two weeks ago because I thought it would be scarier, but it turned out to not be so bad (and it was awesome). Made me put Perfect Blue at the top of the queue. More here.
Perfect Blue – Definitely the freakier of the two movies. Excellent to see the roots of Satoshi Kon’s work. More here.
Weeds – I was thinking that Nancy getting out of her problems would take a lot longer than one episode, wow. Still good, but wow. Silas and Nancy have always had an antagonistic relationship, but it’s weird to see them so at odds and it blowing up in Silas’ face when he trusts Harriet the Spy.
The Hour – Finished the episode. The spy elements are stupid and I don’t really understand why everyone thinks this is so great. Maybe another episode is required?
Retro Game Master – This week the Kacho tried to beat 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō. They added a nice touch where each time he entered a new area/prefecture they would give him a local delicacy. The episodes they’ve been choosing to localize have gotten funnier each week and I’m kind of bummed their “season” is about to end.
Alt Latino – Mala Rodriguez was the guest on this week’s show and her brand of hip hop was pretty neat. It’s weird to hear vulgarity in Spanish music since I grew up only listening to the tamer stuff.
Cartoon Medley – This was on my tumblr, but it’s awesome, so repost:
Only criticism is during the TMNT part. They’re not “turtles in a half-shell”, they’re “heroes in a half-shell”. The other lyric makes no sense.
No real reading this week, just comics.
The Ultimates – Great start to the book. They really set it up as “everything goes wrong at once!” and I’m digging it. It also helps that Hickman is a fantastic writer.
Chew – The Flambé arc comes to a close. It didn’t have as many “wow” moments as some of the earlier ones, but it’s definitely intriguing as the Avian Flu mystery deepens.
X-Men – The FF were in this book so I picked it up at Eric’s behest. Funny. Not great, but fun.
X-23 – Spidey was in this one so I grabbed it since Eric liked it. Pretty good book and I like supporting female comic talent too.
Captain America and Bucky – Chris Samnee’s art makes this book worth the cover price. The story’s just ok, but the art I love.
Incorruptible – Not the most exciting start to a new arc, but whatever just showed up seems to be really scary to everyone?
Secret Warriors – Can’t wait for the last volume. I want to see where this goes. The first parts of this series were better than the middle parts so hopefully the last book goes out with a bang.
FF – The action is back and this issue is really great. Doom pimp slapping one of the Reeds was awesome.
Team Fortress 2 – I was worried about losing power this weekend so I tried to take advantage of as much power as possible. That resulted in too much TF2. I think I played over 20 hrs. Maybe even over 30. So much fun. I got a few new stranges that make things even better (stranges count kills).
Dragon Age 2 – Beat the game a first time this weekend. Really good stuff. I like how they narrowed down the narrative to keep things more focused. Really made me care about what happened in Kirkwall. On my second playthrough now.
Music joins WIBD!
Well, “music” of a sort. I have a last.fm thing that is linked to my tumblr that you can use to see what I’ve been listening to, artist-wise. No, unless a new awesome album comes out, the point of this is to talk about audio programming I’ve been listening to.
Morning Glory – This one came off the girlfriend’s Netflix queue. I had some interest in seeing it myself, but I didn’t realize just how much of a chicklit movie it was. It’s not actually based on a chicklit book, but I still got that vibe. Really didn’t do it for me. Also: full bangs are terrible.
Weeds – My favorite part about this show is how it gets Nancy into these ridiculously complicated and difficult situations so I can watch her try to extricate herself from them. Hard to imagine something worse than what she just got involved in!
The Hour – I haven’t finished the first episode, but a few thoughts. 1. The BBC tends to have a house style that makes everything look kind of same-y. I don’t really appreciate that. All the comedies have the same “look” and all the dramas have a different, but similar “look”. 2. Idris Elba and Dominic West are so entwined with The Wire in my head that it blows my mind every time I hear their native English accents. 3. America has its share of class-based struggles with rich and poor, but I feel like England still has it a lot worse with where you went to school and nobility.
Retro Game Master – This week’s game was a golf RPG, Battle Golfer Yui. The best part of the show was how the computer kept losing by making bad shots and giving up. Definitely one of the funnier episodes to date.
All Songs Considered – As a response to the “Songs That Make You Cry” episode from not long ago, All Songs came back with “Songs That Make You Feel Good“. I’m not done yet, but the episode has had a great Stones song along with that catchy whistle tune by Peter Bjorn and John and Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over”. They should rename the episode “Songs That Make You Speed” because all of these are so fun and happy that it made me worry about tickets.
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Read the beginning while waiting for my replacement car window. Seems cool. I like Melquiades and I can vaguely see some of the connections between this and Mother 3.
Collected Stories – Finished that other short story. It was an interesting look at an identical twin whose brother died. He felt like he was choking on the smell of formaldehyde and mused as to whether his dead brother was dragging him toward death too or he was dragging him toward life. Kind of interesting. We’ll see if the rest of Márquez’ stories are as obsessed with death.
Ultimate Fallout – (the rest of these are comics) The mini-series ended with this issue. Set up some neat plot points to go from in the future. I like how much Fallout is differentiating itself from the 616 continuity. Can’t wait for the new stuff to start this week.
Spider-Girl – Very action-y with not a lot of substance, but that’s cool with me. It was fun. Good to see female characters around.
Venom – Supposed to be really good, but it was just kind of meh to me.
Daredevil – My favorite book of the week. Good art, fantastic writing, and great attention to detail. You should check this book out.
Dragon Age 2 – I think I’m somewhere in the 50-60 hour range with this game now. I was not expecting it to be this good. The decision to scale it down and focus it on a single family and city was pretty brilliant. It allows for a more character driven story. There’s also a nice benefit to making it about a different character in that I get to meet old guys from the past games and talk about my old char. Mass Effect is slightly different in that you play the same guy and they’re reacting to you. If they continue the series past 3 and Shepard isn’t the hero I hope they still keep some of the ME chars around.
Team Fortress 2 – I had one of my favorite rounds of TF2 yesterday when both my brothers and Lee were in a game with me. This game is just fantastic. Really great stuff.
Left 4 Dead 2 – Played a half hour with Dave until his net connection crapped out. Maybe we’ll finish the Dark Carnival tonight.
There are no blades in this movie.
Blade Runner – Until today I’d never seen what many people consider to be the greatest sci-fi movie ever made. Fixed that this week. It’s an amazing movie full of symbolism and all kinds of neat visual imagery, but I didn’t love watching it. Definitely important to see, but you might not have a lot of fun watching it.
Weeds – The shady accounting subplot they were slowly building looks like it’s coming to a head, but this season has been lacking some of the razor-sharp focus of last season. It makes sense considering last season had a goal of getting away from Esteban. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying it, but I’m very curious. It is neat to see how hamstrung Nancy has been by her son, job, and the halfway house, which is not her way, being turned into an empowered role yet again by working with the SEC.
Top Gear – My favorite show on British television. Watched part of an episode where Jeremy was racing the other two to Oslo or something via car while they were hiring other people and taking a boat. Had a funny ending, per usual. Great show.
How I Met Your Mother – I stopped watching this show about three years ago. Went back to finish off that season. It can be a fantastic show, provided that Ted isn’t in a scene. He’s so obnoxious and elitist and preachy that any episode not dealing with the mother/Ted is instantly in the top ten.
Retro Game Master – The Kacho played S.O.S. (AKA Septentrion in Japan) this week and declared himself a winner despite not getting a “good ending”. It was a funnier episode, but it was kind of quiet with so little action from the ADs
One of Our Thursdays Is Missing – Finished the book. There was no shift to the real Thursday Next, which was a bummer. I wonder if Jasper Fforde is preparing us to make her the protagonist? Not my favorite Thursday Next book, but enjoyable.
Collected Stories (Gabriel García Márquez) – Only read one short story and half of another, but it seems that Márquez was obsessed with death in his early career. His writing has that definite postmodern surrealism that I’ve seen in guys like Murakami, so it’s very interesting.
Comics from here down.
Ultimate Fallout – This week’s issue was terribly weak. A budget story for Nick Fury and a too long explanation of how Quicksilver plans to enslave and exploit mutants for profit. Not worth reading.
The Red Wing – The plot thickens! I bet the ending of this mini is the beginning of the mini (it’s about time travel and cycles). More of Hickman’s obsession with fathers and sons too.
Morning Glories – I really like Nick Spencer’s book about a homicidal and insane prep school. Things remain unpredictable and I love that about the book.
Secret Warriors – Neat installment. Makes me excited to see more. Very well done.
Captain America and Bucky – Bought it on the strength of Chris Samnee’s art and it did not disappoint. Don’t really care for Cap, but it’s worth it.
Amazing Spider-Man – Spider-Island begins! I like the premise and I like the interaction between Peter and his girlfriend, Carlie, who now has spider powers. A lot more humor in this book than in the past few issues, so I’m all about it. The jokes are why I love Spider-Man, after all.
SI: Cloak and Dagger – A Spider-Island tie-in, this was actually my favorite book of the week. Beautifully illustrated by Emma Ríos, this book delivered on all counts. Filled with gorgeous art and Nick Spencer’s insightful writing, this book was a must read for comic book fans whether or not it had to do with Spider-Island.
SI: Deadly Foes – The Hobgoblin part of this book far outweighed The Jackal part. Very uneven.
Nonplayer – Amazing art and a neat take on MMOs bleeding into the real world. Could be neat.
Team Fortress 2 – Got to 2004 kills! My long journey is over! I’m moving on to other class achievements, but this was a lot of fun.
Catherine – Got a Catherine ending (and golds on the other levels so I can easily skip ahead for other endings) and it was really funny! Two endings down, six to go.
Dragon Age 2 – (I also played about 20 mins of DA:O) I put off playing this game for a long while thinking it couldn’t be as good as the first, but I’m really digging this game. It consumed 11 hours of my Sunday and before I knew it the clock read 0200! Can’t wait to get back into this game! It’s got a lot more crunch than Origins and I’m loving the characters so much I can’t decide who to keep in my party.
The new Spider-Man is Miles Morales, a previously unseen character motivated to do good by Peter's sacrifice...or so Marvel says. I've yet to read a story issue with him in it.
Horrible Bosses – Part of me thought it was hilarious and part of me thought it was passable. There were some really strange story beats in this no doubt because this wasn’t the dark comedy it was advertised to be. I dunno what the proper word for it would be…dim comedy? Without implying that the comedy was stupid, I mean to say that Jennifer Aniston’s part in the story was treated completely differently than the two male bosses and was resolved in a way that felt tacked on. Decent movie, just not the funniest thing I saw this summer (:cough: Bridesmaids :cough:)
Weeds – Having Heylia return to the show last week just reminds me how well-served this show is by its travels and changes. Being able to call back to the first couple of seasons and get a great emotional response is not easy. The story is moving in an interesting direction, but I’ve yet to see it thematically gel yet. I wonder if that has to do with Jacob Clifton’s fantastic summaries on TWoP being canceled? Great season so far.
Frisky Dingo – This is one of those 11-minute Cartoon Network comedies that Adult Swim specializes in. Had some genuine laugh out loud moments and some stupid stuff too. I think I like Archer a lot more (not CN).
Retro Game Master – I totally forgot to mention that I’ve been watching this. Kotaku bought licensing rights to bring RGM to the states and I’ve been enjoying watching the Kacho, Shinya Arino, try to conquer all kinds of classic games. Some episodes are better than others, but they’re usually pretty funny/interesting.
One of Our Thursdays Is Missing – The central conceit of this book, that the real Thursday Next is missing, ends up being somewhat detrimental. I’m still legitimately enjoying the book, but I find that following the “fictional” Thursday around is less interesting than the “real” Thursday. Still got about a hundred pages left and I’m loving the book.
Slaughterhouse Five – Finished up the reread. Poignant and interesting. I love how layered Vonnegut’s writing is. You can choose to believe that Billy is telling the truth or not. There are clues layered all throughout the book that would prove either interpretation.
Ultimatum – Went back to read the old crisis for the Ultimate Universe that was supposed to change/relaunch it before this whole Death of Spider-Man thing. Wow, this was terrible. It was pointlessly violent, jumped around with no real narrative focus, and was just plain bad. I’m glad the side-universe is not mired in this anymore.
Secret Warriors – Got another book in. Still really interesting. Can’t wait to keep reading it.
Y: The Last Man – Finished my reread. It’s even better the second time. I love how deep the characters became and where the whole thing ended. Post-Y-chromosome Earth was interesting, but I really hope that kind of thing never happens for real!
Ultimate Fallout – The above panel came from this book. Our new Spider-Man is neat, but I won’t know more about him until this week. Racial controversy aside, he seems cool, but a little too similar to Peter in personality. Can’t reinvent all parts of the wheel, I guess. The other two parts of this book were pretty neat too. Always nice to read Hickman’s work.
Snarked – Roger Langridge’s look into the world of The Walrus and The Carpenter seems neat, but I don’t know if I’ll keep reading.
Moon Knight – I think this may have been my favorite of the releases this week. The art was just stunning and fun. This is a pretty cool book that I’m sure a lot of people aren’t reading or giving a chance.
Irredeemable – Speaking of underground books (I don’t actually know the circulation for this, but it can’t be huge), this was way depressing this week. Interesting, per usual, but depressing. The Plutonian is back and kicking all kinds of ass and he’s caught Earth with its pants down…again. The story is interesting, but it’s a bummer my favorite character didn’t make it in this issue.
SHIELD – Another gorgeous comic book. It’s still very confusing, but a book filled with Renaissance and Enlightenment scientists is always gold in my eyes.
Catherine – I played this game just a little too haphazardly to get the ending I wanted. See, I was actively pushing away Katherine, who I find obnoxious, while answering questions like I would (in a quasi-responsible way), which resulted in me getting a Katherine ending. Ah, well. At least I’m having fun with the game on my second playthrough. I’m really down with the block puzzles. I might have more to say about the game in its own detailed post, but we’ll see.
Team Fortress 2 – Played so much of this over the weekend! I’m so close to getting the Scout achievement I’ve been chasing so long (1900-something/2004 kills). I’ll probably get it tonight or tomorrow night. It’s a lot of fun, but I’m kind of sad about having to play some other classes for a bit for achievement’s sake.
My favorite cosplay from the con
Otakon was this weekend, but my stolen camera prevented me from photographing any of the cosplay. The example above was taken by Eric.
This week was comic book heavy. There was a huge sale at Eric’s shop that I took advantage of along with some Amazon orders to finish off small runs of series I was reading.
Barney’s Version – It’s weird to see movies prominently set in Canada. This Can-Lit adaptation is pretty good. I can see why Paul Giamatti won a Golden Globe for this. Again, solid, but not great. I think this one was probably better as a book.
Be Kind Rewind – I liked Eternal Sunshine, so I figured I’d give this Michel Gondry film a try. It’s another passable movie. It’s got heart, which I love, and Jack Black not Jack Black-ing it up too hard, which I also love, but, and this may just be me, Mos Def’s earnestness came off more like he might be developmentally challenged, not sincere. Not a terrible way to spend 102 minutes, but not the best way either.
Better Off Ted – I thought this show was really funny when it was on. It still is, but I can also totally see why it was canceled. Not bad for when I want to watch something no streaming when I’m eating a meal or something.
Weeds – This season has been really good! I love how much this show evolves and I actually dig the new NYC setting. I’m interested in where this Doug plotline is going (for once!) and I’m also impressed by how much Hunter Parrish is killing it yet again as Silas. This week also brought back a character from the early seasons, which is part of what makes this show so great. There’s an established past that can be referred to even though the present keeps evolving…you know, like real life.
One of Our Thursdays is Missing – A REAL BOOK?! Yep! The Thursday Next series has always been remarkably funny and clever to a sneaky degree. Sure, some knowledge of literature is assumed, but it’s mostly stuff that any educated person would come across naturally. Any other gaps can be filled by Wikipedia. Funny in a way that books rarely are anymore, this one is really pulling me in.
Slaughterhouse Five – Still making progress, but sidelined by OoOTiM (see above), this story remains one of my favorites.
Daytripper – Twin brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá created this fantastic, beautiful, somber series about the important moments that define our lives. Like real life, they frame the beautiful with the somber. Each issue is framed with the death of the protagonist, an obituary writer for part of his life, and an obit about where his life is when he “died”. Beautiful art, good writing, and a plot that is deep and engaging while remaining light and digestible.
Air – A series that’s supposedly acclaimed, but whose premise falls entirely flat to me. It’s about a stewardess who is afraid of heights and shadowy conglomerations trying to get air technology that doesn’t use oil. Just…boring. I didn’t really like the art either. Really did not resonate with me.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger – Finished off the eight-issue (over WAY too soon) run of the delightful and excellent series by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee. Fantastic lines, beautiful art, and light, happy dialog that reminds us our heroes don’t have to be angsty or violent to be interesting. It’s just sweet and fun and if you don’t like it, it’s entirely possible that your heart has turned to stone.
Amazing Spider-Man – I gave the book another try after thoroughly disliking #665. The latest, #666, remains far too wordy and doesn’t let the characters or art breathe, but I also read some back issues around where Peter joins the FF that were absolutely delightful. More importantly, they were funny. That’s what Spider-Man books are all about. Sure, there’s plenty of Peter angsting and brooding, but there should also be jokes. Funny jokes! I’m on-board for Spider Island (or, should I say, #SpiderIsland (no, don’t ever say that))! Hope it doesn’t disappoint.
Ultimate Fallout – The book lost a little focus and fun this issue between Tony Stark’s mystery rich people secret society and Kitty’s angst (overusing that word today, I know), but I still enjoyed the writing of the latter while I was intrigued by Jean Grey and The Hulk. Not the best issue, but I can’t wait for the reveal of the new (Ultimate) Spider-Man in this week’s book.
Irredeemable – This book continues to get better and better. I’m all caught up in continuity and I’m just loving the drama and struggles between The Plutonian and the remaining, surviving heroes. The most recent issue had quite the cliffhanger as the end of the arc, which is disappointing to me only in that my favorite character may be out of the story for a few issues. Mark Waid’s book remains one of my favorite reads at the moment.
Incorruptible – The companion piece to Irredeemable has the world’s worst supervillain reforming and becoming a superhero after witnessing The Plutonian’s mass murder/destruction of Sky City. Max Damage (dumb name, I know) is initially clueless about being a hero, but his development (and the addition of Alana Patel, The Plutonian’s ex-girlfriend, to his cast) makes for a really interesting story. I love the unstable partners (Jailbait and Headcase) and the recovering alcoholic police lieutenant on his side. Irredeemable has a grander scale and a more interesting ensemble, but Incorruptible’s more focused nature makes for an equally interesting character study. I wish the two intersected a little more, but it’s not the biggest problem.
FF and Fantastic Four: Dark Reign – Guess what? I like Jonathan Hickman’s writing. You’ll see more of that later on in this blog, but I enjoy it. FF is currently mired in some backstory that has me intrigued, but most fans bored, while the old issues I read in Dark Reign were funny, satisfying, and tied in nicely with later Fantastic Four/FF books.
Ultimate Fantastic Four – Nearly done with my run through this series. Main continuity beats it in terms of quality, but the situations inherent to the Ultimate Universe are still interesting.
Secret Warriors – More Hickman, this time writing about Nick Fury exiled from SHIELD. Makes sense why he started the Brotherhood of the SHIELD book, but I’m wondering now if the two are related, especially since HYRDA called themselves “The Spear” in an early issue of this book. I’d love for Hickman to just revamp the Marvel universe’s perceptions of SHIELD and, considering the huge revelation of this book’s first issue, I’d say he probably succeeded at that. Yet another book for me to collect!
Moon Knight – Bendis’ attempt to revive the oft-canceled series about a multiple personality disorder superhero has been remarkably good. I don’t want to spoil any of it, but I doubt you can be disappointed with the first two issues of this. I haven’t read beyond that (there’s one more), but it’s a lot of fun. I’m digging it.
Cowboy Ninja Viking – Just trying to finish off the book. Two volumes. Most certainly canceled due to lack of sales, but not with enough lead time to get a satisfying conclusion. I really feel like the second set of issues didn’t deliver on the fun promised by the first five.
Morning Glories – I get such flashes of Lost every time I read this book, which is a good thing. Sure, the whole “violence at a prep school” thing has been done to death, but it’s quite interesting here in this context. I’m at the edge of my seat wanting to find out what will happen next issue.
Wolverine/Deadpool One-Shot – The first story in this book was funny, involving Deadpool, Wolverine, cross-dressing, and a robot, but the second story was a little too madcap and stupid.
Y: The Last Man – The reread continues after much delay! I really dig this story and how well it deals with the post-apocalyptic aftermath of the elimination of the Y chromosome.
Team Fortress 2 – I’m tantalizingly close to realizing my Scout achievement goal of 2004 kills (3/4 of the way there is closer than you’d think!). Getting back into this game was definitely a shock to me.
Catherine – The central conflict of this game is choosing responsible, bossy Katherine or impulsive, immature Catherine. It’s impossible to go into this game without any baggage (unless you’ve never dated anyone) and mine is screaming out at me every time I play this game. Sure, I abhor cheating, but Katherine’s bossiness and smothering, maternal nature reminds me so much of my Ex that I can’t stand her character. Throw in tons of blatant (and subtle) masculine/feminine symbolism and Freudian levels of horror and fear toward women and you’ve got a game that is more interesting to think about than to play. The block puzzles are neat, but they’re not doing it for me. Probably doesn’t help that I’m not very good at them either…
So glad I found this at my local Borders. An absolute delight to read. I'm keeping my eye on Langridge and Samnee
Gentlemen Broncos – Netflix told me. It said, “Dan, you’re not gonna like this movie. Two Stars.” I said, “WHAT DO YOU KNOW, NETFLIX?! YOU DON’T OWN ME!” and then Gentlemen Broncos arrived and it was terrible. I didn’t really dig Jared Hess’ work on Napoleon Dynamite, but it was still funny. Broncos has all of Hess’ excesses without any balance. I watched it at 1.5 speed so I could still hear the dialogue, but be done with the movie faster. Don’t watch it.
Wet Hot American Summer – Saw this a long time ago. Didn’t really dig it. Heard Marc Maron talk with one of the creators about how it was the 10th anniversary this year. Since I last saw it I’ve gone a little deeper into the rabbit hole of comedy nerdiness and I actually liked it a lot more this time. There’s a lot of genuinely funny comedy in here, especially the intentionally bad comic near the end.
El secreto de sus ojos – Another rewatch, this time with Min. One of my all-time favorites.
Star Trek – Min and I went to see Captain America and he told me he never saw the remake. Naturally I figured we’d remedy that and Netflix’s giant Star Trek deal came to the rescue. Netflix Instant quality is way terrible for how great Star Trek should have looked, but it’s still a really fantastic movie. I also was looking out for lens flare this time. I’d noticed it before, but now that I was looking for it…HOLY COW. They need to tone that down a bit!
Captain America: The First Avenger – Better than I thought it would be. Aside from a few nitpicks here and there, the best action movie I saw this summer. There’s a lot of earnestness and honesty in Chris Evans’ Cap that makes this movie work. Stay until after the credits. You won’t be sorry (DISCLAIMER: You might be sorry).
The League – A little more of this. Finished off season 1. It was good to get a little background into season 2. Still very juvenile and silly, but a fun diversion.
Weeds – This season is only three episodes old, but they’ve really been fantastic. Post-prison Nancy has got some secrets up her sleeve that I know we haven’t had a chance to see. Her struggles with her son and sister are dramatic gold and I’m loving everything this season is bringing to the table.
Slaughterhouse Five – Rereading one of my favorite books. It’s quite good. Vonnegut’s talent for reducing things to the absurd is at its best with Billy Pilgrim. I love Vonnegut’s humanist ways and anti-war leanings. He’s a literary hero of mine.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger – I don’t really care for Thor. He’s kind of silly. However, everywhere I looked people were telling me that this mini-series was fantastic. Thanks to Borders’ going out of business sale, I picked up part 1 (of 2) of this book and I’m really quite amazed. Roger Langridge’s writing hearkens back to the Golden/Silver Age of comics where heroes didn’t have to be brooding, angsty messes without getting too corny. The relationship between Thor and Jane is so sweet that it’s a joy to read. On top of that, Chris Samnee’s art is just perfect. It’s got that old-school look of innocence and purity that works when you’re writing about a Norse god.
Morning Glories – Nick Spencer’s series was described to me as Lost meets Runaways. Those kinds of x-meets-y descriptions don’t always bear fruit, but this one seems to work. It’s dark, violent, and horrific with a hint that there’s all kinds of intrigue in the pipe. If Spencer’s got a good plan, this could be really great. I’m liking it so far and the first trade paperback is only $10
Irredeemable – Another series with some acclaim, Irredeemable is about a Superman-like hero going ballistic and becoming a super villain. It’s really a character piece on what might cause a guy like Superman to just snap and turn evil. There’s a lot of suspense in the first issues because of how powerful he is as the remaining heroes search for clues and weaknesses. A real sharp read that I picked up especially because it’s by Mark Waid, who wrote the next thing I read.
Daredevil – It’s kind of odd that I never was into Daredevil. He’s another one of those heroes in NYC that gets no respect, kind of like Spider-Man, but perhaps a little darker. Well, Daredevil had apparently gone super, ridiculously dark in recent years. Like depressingly so. Waid has stepped in for a new #1 and a new take on Matt Murdock. He’s either got to start looking at the world with a little levity or go insane from his troubles and I’m digging it. Throw in some sharp art and Waid’s good writing and you’ve got a series that I’m really excited to keep reading.
Left 4 Dead 2 – Not a lot of change here, just going through the campaigns with David. Such a perfect game. Lots of fun.
Team Fortress 2 – Every time I check Eric’s inventory he’s got another item that I want for classes he doesn’t really play. It’s kind of unfair! We need to initiate some trades, pronto.
I love the art in this book!
Weeds – New season started yesterday. The three year time gap puts Nancy in New York City and moves far past the storylines from last year by also claiming that Esteban is dead and his cartel disbanded. It seems that Nancy is heading toward working in the weapons trade instead, which is interesting, but we’ll see where the season goes. Ever since they left Agrestic this show has really started to shine as it changes every year. Can’t wait to see where it goes this year.
Tremé – Only one episode left this season. The culmination of the events lacks the oomph of old finales of The Wire, but this show remains solidly entertaining even without being thrilling.
X-Men: First Class – One of the better action movies I’ve seen in a while with only a few disappointments:
- January Jones does not exercise her talents at all in this movie. Emma Frost is a little uninspired.
- Any moment where the characters feel the need to say “We should be called the X-Men!” or “Call him Magneto”. They all fall flat for me where they’re supposed to be great moments?
McAvoy, Byrne, and Fassbender, especially, are all great in their more senior roles in the movie. Jennifer Lawrence is mostly great, but gets saddled with some of those terrible lines that I hate. Worth seeing.
Bad Teacher – Not as bad as the critics make it seem, but the implied shared heritage with Bad Santa doesn’t seem to be helping the movie any. I didn’t really like Bad Santa, so I’m ok either way. Kind of long, but stupid, passable comedy. See Bridesmaids instead, but if you’ve already seen it, no harm in coming here.
Shadows of the Damned – Played the first act with Min watching. Delightfully juvenile and chock full of style. Stay away if dick jokes offend you. I’m serious. Still early, but I dig Resident Evil 4-style gameplay so I’m down so far.
Hot Springs Story – Playing this on my Android phone. Sounds like a dating sim or H-game, but it’s really not. A management sim that will easily pass the time and be very entertaining. Fun for short bursts.
FF (Future Foundation) – The First Family continues on after the death of Johnny Storm. Things are really starting to heat up with this initial arc and I’m really drawn in. Went back and picked up the rest of Jon Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four to try and catch up on the plot points being explored in FF. Can’t wait for the next issue tomorrow.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – The Invisible Man really put me off of this book for some reason since we’re introduced to him in a female boarding school where he was raping women and making them think it was the Holy Ghost doing so. There are plenty of bad people in comic books, but I just can’t get behind rooting for him as one of the heroes.
Proof – Supernatural cop series where “Proof” is John Prufrock, a Sasquatch working for “The Lodge” to investigate other cryptids and cryptid-related crimes. Seems neat, but didn’t grab me as much as…
Cowboy Ninja Viking – Ridiculously silly title and premise, but the book is about multiple personality disorder patients called Triplets who were trained to be assassins. The title character’s identities are self-evident, but the other combinations are pretty funny. Kind of confusing to follow some of his art, but I still dig it anyway.
Ultimate Spider-Man – (Ultimate) Spider-Man is dead. Who will be the next Spider-Man? I’m intrigued. Always loved this book and I can’t wait to see where it evolves.
Ultimate Fantastic Four – It’s interesting to see where this universe diverges from 616. The UFF has been pretty interesting, but the storytelling isn’t quite as sharp as I want it to be. I feel kind of like this book got a little less creative attention than some of the other Ultimate titles, but I still dig the team so I’ll finish off it’s run. I’m halfway done with it anyway.