Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/26/2010

Man, lots of crazy stuff going on.  Tis the Season for nuttiness to grind your ass down and make you ill.  Oh well, there were some cool things going on though...

Asterios Polyp - Written and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, published by Pantheon.  Again, I'm a little late to the party on this one, but then again, aren't I always?  Asterios Polyp was released in 2009 and won three Harvey awards (best lettering, best OGN, best single issue or story) among many others awards across the board. Oftentimes it was competing neck and neck with Darwyn Cooke's Parker: The Hunter for best release of the year, but the books are so vastly different that I can only say that they are both two of the best releases of 2009 and both deserve to be proudly displayed on peoples' shelves.
Asterios Polyp is the story of Asterios Polyp, a world-reknowned award-winning architect.  The problem is that he has never had a single one of his designs built, and he remains a "paper architect."  Asterios is arrogant, selfish and lost to the needs of others, primarily his good-hearted and brilliant sculptor wife, Hana, and as a fire destroys his apartment and belongings, he sets out on a journey to understand his life and what has led him to the events prior to the fire.
Beautifully written, and remarkably illustrated in an abundance of differing and oftentimes intentionally conflicting styles with a vast array of lettering, this book has it all.  I loved it.  You will love it.  Buy it.

Asterios Polyp
Asterios Polyp...just buy this amazingly beautiful book.

Comics Experience Comic Creators Workshop - Alrighty, I am well aware of the fact that I mention this workshop that I am involved with often enough, if not every single week that I post FSH/SIW, but the group continues to be an immensely inspiring venture.  Prior to this month's meeting I finished the first draft of my fourth short comic script and have received vital feedback I can apply to the second draft that will help me improve not just the script but my comics writing as a whole.  During the meeting, we listened to and commented on another writer's script, and listened to a critique of five beautifully drawn pages of pencils from an artist.  This was only the first hour.
The second hour was led by Panda Dog Press founder and Comic Creator Workshop moderator Rob Anderson for a question and answer session with Nathan Edmondson, writer of The Light, Olympus and the soon to be released Who Is Jake Ellis.  I personally found Edmondson's story immensely inspiring and he provided much to think about.  I cannot express enough the honesty and willingness of Edmondson to answer questions and provide a history of the steps he took to become noticed.  *note - Immediately after the workshop,  I downloaded all five issues of The Light from ComiXology.  The TPB should have a ton of extra info and will be available at the end of December...I just could not wait a month to get it.*
Overall a great night and if you are at all interested in creating comics from any aspect of the medium then you should give this a try or take one of the classes that will be offered next year.  Taking the writing course and signing up for the workshop are two of the best decisions that I have ever made.

Thanos Imperative #5 - Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, illustrated by Miguel Sepulveda, pubished by Marvel Comics.  Finally!  I waited for two weeks for this series concluding issue that was left out of my pull to finally show up.  Good things come to those who wait.  I can't say anything about this without giving away anything, so let's just say the shit goes down in this issue.  I will be rereading the entire series again to see if I missed anything...primarily, what the hell happened to Adam Magus/Adam Warlock.  Huh...yeah, where did one of my favorite Marvel characters of all time go.  Weird.  In January, there will be an epilogue issue titled Thanos Imperative: Devastation that I cannot wait to get my hands on, and here's to hoping that I don't have to wait an excessive amount of time to get it.  I'm looking at you LCS!

Thanos Imperative #6 - Definitely worth the wait!

Secret Avengers # 7 - Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Mike Deodato, Jr., published by Marvel Comics.  Yup.  Still loving this series.  All it needs is for Iron Fist to show up and I will be a happy camper.  Shang-Chi, John Aman the Green Mist, Steve Rogers, Black Widow and another surprise--and effectively utilized--character try to research the reasoning for a mysterious groups' attempt to raise Shang-Chi's evil father from the dead.  Still a great book.

Secret Avengers #7 - Still great!

Slice Into the Woods

Getting Sick God Damnit - I really shouldn't be surprised that I'm sick.  For the past 30 years of living in Santa Barbara, every single Thanksgiving and/or Christmas I have been sick with the exception of one of those years.  Why should this year be any different?  For the past week, without fail, I have woken up between the hours of 2:30 AM and 3:15 AM.  The odd thing is that I don't wake up sneezing, or coughing, or in pain, or anything like that, I just wake up.  Then I lay there.  "Humpty hump, I'm a lump, why the fuck can't I go back to sleep?"  I then toss and turn until I finally pass out in a deep sleep...15 minutes before the damn alarm goes off.  *sigh*

Thanksgiving Day Ruckus - This year we stayed in town for Thanksgiving and avoided the whole busiest traveling day bullshit, but unfortunately we were unable to avoid some of the other bullshit that tends follow this "joyous time of year."  Amy and I met my mom, her husband, Grandma and Jeff at Harry's Plaza Cafe for Thanksgiving dinner and apparently so did everyone else in the city.  The place was packed, but after a half hour wait, despite our reservation, we were seated and having Blue Moon Martinis and dinner.  Everything was progressing along nicely and we had just paid our bill when we heard some sort of ruckus over near the entrance, and then the children started screaming.  Someone who looked to be in his sixties was physically fighting someone else.  I'm not sure if it was "Drunken asshole #1" vs. a family member or vs. the staff of Harry's, but the whole event was a nightmare for everyone else in the restaurant and doubly so for the poor children who will forever hate Thanksgiving going forward.  What happened exactly I do not know, but I did hear someone say, "...we have had problems with him in the past."
Here comes Donist's heartless side...I don't understand why people feel the need to put themselves, and in this case complete strangers, through crazy amounts of torment because we are told that Thanksgiving is the time of year to tear down walls and fences and reach out a helping hand to those less fortunate.  That's fine, but what about the rest of the fucking year?  "Oh they'll be fine, just be sure to invite them for Thanksgiving, that's when it matters most."  Last night, I suspect that Uncle Dickwad is an unpleasant person to be around and I am certain that he's sure to make everyones' lives as miserable as the life that he actively pushes upon himself.  "But what about Uncle Dickwad?  He's family!  You can't just leave him at home alone!  It's Thanksgiving for god's sake!"  Well, you leave Uncle Dickwad alone for most of the year because...well, because frankly he's a mean spirited dickwad who makes everyone miserable.  I can see this guy doing this kind of thing every year.  Simple solution, don't invite him back and tell him why.  He's the one who needs to make the effort not the family.
Such a mean, mean ol' Donist, but I did not need to see that, my family did not need to see that, and Uncle Dickwad's family did not see that, especially the children did not need to see that.  I hate what the holidays do to people.  Up next...Christmas, aka how to go broke in 30 days!  

Accidentally Hurting Tulip's Toe - Look...I'm sorry, alright.  Shit, it's not like I did it on purpose?  I love you, you know that right?  Seriously, it was totally an accident.  I would never knowingly hurt you.  Fuck!  Why don't you believe me?  I mean...I'm not mad or anything, but in case you forgot, I was sitting calmly on the couch when you came flying out of nowhere, with that...that...sopping wet plush bone that is as big as you are.  Do you remember landing on my nuts?  Twice for god's sake?!  You totally pushed that thing, what do you call it, "Fuzzby" right in my face.  Did I shoo you away?  Did I call you a bad dog?  No, no I didn't.  I stopped what I was doing, cupped a protective hand over the ol' twig and berries and got down to the tug of war.
Then you bumped your toenail on my hand and yelped.  Sure, I don't doubt that it hurt, I'm not saying that, but why would I ever do that on purpose?  I raised you from a puppy, losing massive amounts of sleep in the process.  I also feed you, come home everyday at lunch to be with you, and play with you., for fucks sake.  Now you skulk over to Amy and climbing into her lap grumbling the whole while, turning your back on me and only looking over your shoulder to be sure that I can see your ears routinely flattening against your head.  I get it, okay.
I'm sorry.  Please, forgive me.  What?  Well, yes I suppose I was giving you a bit of guilt trip, but I went on the defensive.  You know how I get.  Can, I give you a chicken Zukes?  Would that make you feel better?  Okay, FINE.  Sit there on Amy's lap looking all dejected.  See if I care...ummm...can I see your paw?  I'm sorry.  C'mon, let's go get those Zukes.

Donist, your a dick.
Whoa there, cowboy...did you say Zukes?!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 6

@#$# it.  Stupid @#$#ing sleep deprived night of...Oh!  Hello there.  C'mon in, make yourself at home.  Um, sure you can have a's 5:30 AM, but hey it's 5:30 PM somewhere, right?  Yeah, not the Black Maple Hills though, that's only for Donist consumption.  You get the Makers Mark, yeah that one.  Wait, no.  The bottle with the, you got it.

Okay, on with more concerts and weirdness.

Harry Connick, Jr. at the Santa Barbara County Bowl Aug 2, 1994 - My brother forced me to go to this show.  At the time he was a big Harry Connick, Jr. fan and I was working at the evil music corporation store and was all too familiar with Connick's current album at the time She.  Yes I would have preferred to be listening to The Cure, Love and Rockets or the Pixies, but Jeff was frothing at the mouth to go to this show, so I went.  Thank god I did.  It ended up being an amazing performance.  Connick had incredible stage presence and passion for his music and honestly seemed to be thrilled to be performing for everyone.  During the encore, he and his live band rotated instruments during the song until Connick had played a solo on every instrument before finishing out the set.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would gladly see a performance of that caliber from Harry Connick, Jr. again.  Bring it!
*side note* After the show we went to the Wild Cat, which was actually a cool place back in those days--much less douchebaggery and fighting--and when my brother went to the restroom, one of my coworkers came up to me and asked what I would do if she kissed me.  I was shocked, flattered and wholly interested, but I stupidly replied, "If I wasn't with my girlfriend I would love that."  My coworker accepted that, but honestly, I didn't.  The problem is that my now second evil ex-girlfriend was probably off somewhere doing meth and riding least she wasn't there being diabolically cruel to me.  A shame, really, that I didn't take my coworker up on the offer, maybe I wouldn't have been such a quivering fucked up mess once I eventually dumped the evil bitch.

Tori Amos at the Arlington Theatre Aug 28, 1994 - This was for Tori Amos's Under the Pink album and all in all it was a decent show.  It would have been better if two things did not happen:
1)  I had not gone with my stupid, evil ex-girlfriend number two.  I vaguely remember her being in pretty good spirits that night and she was not wasted on meth or being cruel to me, so that was a plus.
2)  Slight setup here.  The Arlington seating situation sucks.  If someone is seated behind me, then they are screwed; I'm 6' 2".  If someone taller than 5' 8" sits in front of me, then I am screwed.  For the first half of the show, there were three empty seats in front of us and it was magical.  Tori played Prince's "Purple Rain" and things were happy-go-awesome, but then the big man came.  The big man was easily a few inches taller than me and definitely 100+ pounds heavier than me.  For the last half of the concert, I essentially watched an incredibly beautiful light show coming out of this guy's ears set to nice music.  At least he left two songs early, but still.

Toad the Wet Sprocket at the Arlington Theatre - Okay, here's the situation.  My second evil ex-girlfriend liked this band so I bit the bullet and bought tickets to this show for her birthday.  As for the show itself, well...I went.  *sigh*

Sarah McLachlan at the Universal Amphitheatre March 3, 1995 - I also saw Sarah McLachlan at some point prior (?) to this concert at the Ventura Theatre.  There was a time that I loved Sarah McLachlan primarily for her Solace and Fumbling Towards Ecstasy albums and the really cool Touch album.  Faithful readers (Mom and my friend's dog) please understand something.  This was before Fumbling Towards Ecstasy was severely overplayed to the point where if I heard that damn song "Ice Cream" I would collapse in a fit of anger, then become overwhelmed with a sense of despair and abandonment from which I could only escape by listing to Nine Inch Nails's song "Wish."  She did, however, put on a great show and she was exceptionally charming and beyond talented and this was before the release of Surfacing which is probably not a bad album.  But, the god damn radio station at my payroll job would years later end up playing that fucking song "Adia" every hour all day long for two years straight.  I can no longer listen to Sarah McLachlan because of that stupid radio station which is probably still playing the same Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Chumbawumba and that fucking "Closing Time" song to this day.  Oh shit!  Oh god no!  I said Paula Cole!  Crap cakes.  Now I'll be hearing "I Don't Want to Wait" in my mind all day long.  Oh the humanity!  *Oh yeah, Paula Cole opened for Sarah McLachlan.  *sigh*

Adam Ant at the Ventura Theatre April 19, 1995 - Okay, finally something I can totally get behind.  Lael and I went this show supporting the Wonderful album tour, but we were and still are, huge Adam Ant fans.  Mr. Ant put on an energetic show that touched on some of the newer songs and hit almost every one of his greatest hits.  I lost my marbles when I heard "Stand and Deliver," "Friend or Foe," and "Desperate But Not Serious."  Marco Pirroni was in the house to rock the guitar and he was a massive guy, towering in all ways over Mr. Ant who danced and strutted his way to a great show.  One thing I could not help but notice was a slight pervading sadness from Adam Ant over the lack of response to his newer material with the exception of "Wonderful" that had throngs of radio listeners, who barely knew any of his other hits, making out in unison.  "Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Gary Tibbs and your truly.  In the naughty North and the sexy South, we're all singing I have the mouth."

Elastica at the Palace October 17, 1995 - At the time, Elastica was a pretty big deal with their Wire sampling hit "Connection" from their self-titled album Elastica.  I remember the show being fairly short, but how could it be anything but short with only one album under their belt?  Addictive pounding energy flowed through the crowd and even though things wrapped up quickly, everyone left happy.  Isn't that what everyone wants?

Wow, where does the time go.  I still have about three or four more of these entries in me.  Back soon.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/19/2010

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  "Donist, no entry for To All the Concerts I Loved Before?  What the f_ing H-E-double hockey sticks, you g.d. son of a b?"  Well, I've been working on my fourth short comic script for the Comics Experience Comic Creators Workshop.  All I need to do is lay down dialogue for the final page and clean it up a little bit and I can submit it tonight or tomorrow morning; this time it will be in hours before the deadline.  I'm pretty pleased with it.

I'm also trudging along on the fourth draft of the novel and I know that the final 200 pages are going to be a bloodbath of chopping, editing and letting go of the sections that are not vital to future books and that do not move the characters and story forward; so much wordiness...ugh.

Okay g.d. it my loyal readers, you son's of b_es--ugh, that would be Obie the Boston Terrier and possibly my mom or something--here it is...

Friday Slice of Heaven

G.I. Joe: Cobra - Written by Christos N. Gage and Mike Costa with illustrations by Antonio Fuso, published by IDW.  Alright, alright.  Simmer down class.  I said simmer DOWN.  Okay.  Yeah G.I. Joe: Cobra is on here, hell it's at the top of the list.  First thought would be that I am going for a nostalgia-ridden, retro-type, reclaim-my-rapidly-dying youth sort of trip on this one, but that could not be further from the truth.  This book is good.  Really fucking good.  This is not the G.I. Joe with silly guys with red and blue colored lasers who could not hit the side of a barn if their life depended on it.  No, this book is deeply serious, very heavy on the intrigue and in a few instances severely harsh and wicked.  
G.I. Joe Cobra centers around Chuckles a G.I. Joe who is placed deep under cover to investigate a mysterious organization that has recently begun to emerge--sorry, no spoiler warning here--COBRA.  As Chuckles pushes the boundaries of acceptable behavior to garner the attention of the mysterious organization, he must commit increasingly severe acts to gain their trust, including something that threatens to push the undercover agent over the edge and consume his very soul--I am shocked that Hasbro actually let this one fly.
G.I. Joe: Cobra contains issues 1-4, a short prelude and the first award winning G.I. Joe: Cobra Special #1, which is a thought provoking and incredibly well written book.  I would love to talk about the special, but I cannot do it without giving away reveals from issues 1-4.  Just know that this book has everything: international spy intrigue, a noirish crime vibe, and intense action and suspense.  An excellent, great book that I cannot recommend enough. 
*note*  If you get this, and want more, IDW did something very confusing in how they continued the series.  Here is the order of how this series was printed and needs to be read:
G.I. Joe: Cobra #1-4
G.I. Joe: Cobra Special #1
G.I. Joe: Cobra II #1-4
G.I. Joe: Cobra #5-present
G.I. Joe: Cobra Special #2
I will be buying everything else that is available for this series on Comixology on my iPad this weekend. Just buy it!  Plus, the second TPB came out this week, but I suspect you CANNOT read the series out of order.

G.I. Joe: COBRA (G. I. Joe (Graphic Novels))
G.I. Joe: Cobra vol. 1...I don't believe the cover looks like this though, mine doesn't

Superboy #1 - written by Jeff Lemire with illustrations by Pier Gallo, published by DC Comics.   My comic shop initially ran out of this book, which I should have put on my pull list (not that this would matter...more on this later), but after all of the praise that it received I had to pick it up, and I am so glad that I did.  I am a fan of Sweet Tooth and I am going to be moving from trade-waiting to buying that series in issues, because waiting basically sucks and tends to hurt the series and the creators.  
Superboy focuses on Conner Kent, who is....wait for it...Superboy, who was essentially grown in a test tube from a mixture of DNA from Superman and Lex Luthor...yeah, I know, but it makes sense and flows when you read this issue.  Within a few short pages, Lemire had me understanding and feeling for a character who I knew precious little about.  The Parasite appears to stir shit up and a surprise (as in surprisingly HOT) character shows up at the end promising a mixed bag of good and bad.  I also love the relationship between Krypto and Conner.  Great book thus far and I cannot wait for the rest.  Now I need to pickup Lemire's highly praised and awarded Essex County, too.  

Superboy #1...if you can find it, get it.

Chew #15 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics.  Chew continues to be one of those comics that gives me a chill of happiness every time I see it shows up in my pull.  This particular issue has a Last Supperish fold out cover that would make a lovely poster if someone wanted to destroy their comic.  The issue rounds out the "Just Desserts" storyline and introduces a bunch of Tony's other family members, including more than a few surprises.  I especially liked the the interior cover of Mason, and the chopped and rearranged first page of the interior cover, as well as Mason's slow revelations...very cool.  I even felt a little sorry for Applebee...not too sorry, just a little.  This continues to be a great book.

Chew #15 with a cool fold-out cover

Ultimate Thor #2 - Written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Carlos Pacheco, published by Marvel Comics.  Ultimates 1 & 2 are two of my all-time favorite superhero series, with everything that came afterwards a crushing disappointment and a total departure from what Millar had created. Now comes Ultimate Thor from Johnathan Hickman, which is set before the events of Millar's run and I decided to give the four-issue mini a try.  Thank goodness for that.  I loved the first issue and number two continues to be very good as well, although I am a little confused as to how Thor and Loki went from the close brotherly relationship in #1 to the competitive distrustful one of #2.  Regardless, this book is fun and does justice to the Norse mythology and one of the key reveals at the very end was unexpected.  I look forward to the next issue of this thus far killer series.

Ultimate Thor #2

AMC's The Walking Dead: "Tell It to the Frogs" S01E03 - Surprise!  Love it still.  Yeah, not that big of a surprise.  We meet some new characters and get a little more from Dale and meet Merle's brother, Daryl and what do you know, he too is kind of a dick.  Another strong episode that has the group, and primarily Rick, struggling to hold on to their humanity in the face of disaster.  The show even had me feeling sorry for Shane despite some of the possibly treacherous actions that he may have committed to have sole access to Lori.  My biggest complaint is how Glenn was treated in this episode.  Sure I could accept Glenn blowing out of the city in the super-duper sports car with the blaring alarm going off, but then driving it all the way back to the groups camp?!  You have got to be kidding me.  Here is the character who is the one valued for stealth and running solo missions into the city for supplies and now he pulls a stunt like this?  Very out of character, and I could almost envision a conga line of zombies dancing/shuffling their way to the Hometown Survivor Buffet.  Regardless, this show rocks and I am biting my nails for Sunday's episode.

Cascadian Dark Ale / Black IPA - I had one of these for the first time and I have to say that I love it.  For Walking Dead Night, my buddy brought over a Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and it tasted like a Porter and an IPA had a beautiful love child.  It does not say anywhere that this is a Cascadian dark ale or a Black IPA, but just know that it is, and know that it is good.

Slice Into the Woods

Not Getting the Three Comics I Wanted Most - I just need to vent for a moment.  For the past two months my LCBS has shorted me on three books that I was looking forward to the most.  In October it was Thanos Imperative #5 and this month it was Thanos Imperative #6 and Morning Glories #4.  What the heck?  Why couldn't it be Brightest Day or Captain America?  Trust me, I like those books, but I could easily wait a week or two to get ahold of them, but TI and MG???  I was dying for those since the previous issues came out.  TI #5 luckily showed up quickly, but TI# 6 has been out for going on two weeks now and it was the end of the series...I hear they are pretty good.  *Sigh*  Next time it happens I'm going to suggest that someone else gets shorted.  Sure, I sometimes only buy three titles in a week, but then there are the times that I buy eight and a TPB.  Dang, I have been going there for 21 years.  I was there the day the store opened.  I even won a drawing for the X-Force/Spider-Man crossover issues in 1991!  Hopefully I don't have to wait too long.

A Bad Case of the Sundays - Fuck a duck.  I woke up on Sunday with a headache and foul mood that boggled the hell out of me.  I believe my first thought upon opening my eyes was, "Why?"  What the hell is up with that.  The mood then proceeded to progress through the day until the point that I had a beer at Hollister Brewing Company.  There were a few good things that broke through the dark cloud like seeing our friend Erin and having breakfast with her.  Then there was going for a walk with Tulip out at Elwood and the dinner with friends at Hollister, but seriously, the dark mood...very bad.  I think I was beginning to get sick and that had something to do with it.  Who knows, but I am glad that day is in the past along with the bad attitude.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/12/2010

Another week come and gone and I can definitely say that it was not as annoyingly frustrating as last week.  This week was a bit uneventful, but then again, there is something to be said about that.

Friday Slice of Heaven

AMC's The Walking Dead: "Guts" S01E02 - Okay, I might as well get this out of the way and will probably end up repeating myself every week that I talk about TWD.  If a new episode is on it will be in Friday Slice of Heaven, that's just how it is.  I love this damn show.  When it finishes its painfully short six-episode season, I fully anticipate lamenting the fact that I will be waiting for 11 months for the new season to begin.  Prepare.
The second episode was of course a great tension-filled viewing experience with Rick meeting Glenn--one of my favorite characters from the comic series.  The show follows the comics quite faithfully until the introduction of some new characters who accompany Glenn on his scavenging mission within the city and things go awry.  This is not a bad thing.  I liked the introduction of the instantly hatable, Merle Dixon, who I am certain will show up again in the near future and gives the first glimmer of the idea that "The Walkers" are the least of problems for humanity's survivors.  I cannot wait for episode three.

Mission City Brawlin' Betties vs. V-Town Derby Dames - This was the third roller derby bout that I was able to attend this year and it was out of control.  For the majority of the first half, the Betties were unable to be anywhere but at half the score of the Dames.  They had 10 points, we had 5.  They had 55, we had 27.  It was weird.  But then something changed in this game, which was much more brutal than the one I saw over a month ago.  The Betties changed up their strategy from trying to match V-Town's aggressive blocking to relying heavily on aiding the speed and maneuverability of the Jammer to pull ahead and steadily stretch out the lead.  An intensely exciting and great way to end the season with a decisive win.  *Full double rainbow unrelated side note: I met someone's brown colored 8-week old Boston Terrier puppy.  Charlie, a she, was beyond cute and I considered stealing her from her owner, but then again that is not a very nice thing to do.

Wolverine Weapon X: Insane in the Brain - Written by Jason Aaron with art by Yanick Paquette and C.P. Smith, published by Marvel Comics.  The first four issues in this graphic novel deal with an insane doctor, who has abducted Wolverine and messes with his mind.  I liked the story arc just fine, but the real gem of this TPB is the final one-issue story wherein Wolverine "seeks" out advice about a woman from his women friends.  It was refreshing to see how even a man who is over 100 years old can be at a complete loss over what to do with a woman he actually cares about.  His reluctance to just say what he wants, and the dancing around the subject is realistic for the character and touching at the same time.  My favorite "advice" that he receives is that which he gives to himself while talking through his problem with Rogue, who never says a word on the subject.  An incredibly well-written story and well worth the price to buy the whole graphic novel.  Hmmmm...I wonder what kind of girl it would take for Wolverine to seek out advice from his male would probably be someone like Emma Frost or some other wild Marvel lady he should not be around messing with.  Great read.

Wolverine: Weapon X, Vol. 2: Insane in the Brain

Iron Man / Thor - written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with art by Scot Eaton, published by Marvel Comics.  I have been loving the work that these two have been doing on The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Thanos Imperative and it looks like I'm going to love this new series as well.  While Iron Man and Thor sift through the rubble of what was once Asgard, two immensely powered up villains, Ulik the Troll and the Crimson Dynamo, appear on the scene to cause all sorts of trouble.  A third surprise villain (?) shows up near the end and heaps of trouble lurk around the corner for the heroes.  I cannot wait for the next issue!

Veteran's Day Off From Work - Amy had this day off, so I decided to take the plunge and use one of my more-precious-than-gold PTO days and took the day off as well.  We slept in and picked up bagels with cream cheese, tomatoes and lemon pepper with a Mocha Chip scone for breakfast while we watched the rest of the amazing Toy Story 3 on blu-ray.  I need to mention that Toy Story 3 is a MUST OWN blu-ray for the story, and the amazing quality of the video...just look at detail of Lotso Huggin Bear's fur.  Yes, I almost cried...I'm so sorry to all of my old toys, you're in my heart.  After that I reworked my second five-page comic script based off of feedback I received from Jason Aaron--yup, that one--and began to setup having a really amazing artist illustrate my first five-page script.  Then there was the three mile run in my new shoes, hanging out with Tulip and heading downtown for coffee, comic books, drinks at Paradise and dinner at Jane.   I desperately needed the day off, thank goodness I took it.

Toy Story 3 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Slice Into the Woods

Veteran's Day Off From Work - As glad as I was to take the day off, there was a lurking dark side to the day that affected everyone at some point.  I cannot put my finger on the problem, but it was out there and it even managed to affect me for about an hour or two.  It started even before I got to the comic book store and found out that they had again shorted me on my Thanos Imperative comic...the one I was looking most forward to reading.  This furthered me to become pissy and annoyed, especially with the crazy people that seemed to be laying siege to State Street and getting on my nerves.  Take for instance the two weird and overly outspoken recovering alcoholic older guys who sat next to Amy and I at the coffee shop.  I was having enough difficulty focusing on the odd physics article that I was reading without hearing about "talkin' to bitches" and other weird inane subject matter that I could not even understand.  After we left and I had a margarita at Paradise, which helped me feel much better, my friends then each proceeded to have some bad ju-ju go down.  Weird, scary and I kind of think it would have been best to hole up at home and just read.  Oh well, hopefully everyone--me included--is doing better.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 5

Last week I went out to the big, bad, terrible, claustrophobia inducing storage unit and readily--thank god--found my old ticket stubs.  I'm certain there are a ton that I'm missing for whatever reason, but I still have enough to go on for a bit.

Depeche Mode - DM played at Dodger Stadium back in 1990 for their Violator tour.  I was still with my first girlfriend back then and we had both spent a ridiculous amount of time pouring over Depeche Mode's appropriately titled Catching Up With Depeche Mode video, which in all likelihood is sitting somewhere in the scary storage unit.  We loved the Mode and made the trip to LA to see our favorite band.  Parking took forever, getting to the gate took forever, getting inside took forever, and getting to our goddamn seats took forever as well.  We ended up only seeing the last couple of songs for opening band Nitzer Ebb, who I really loved--"Control I'm Here" is my favorite song from them.
When Depeche Mode finally took the stage, they played all of the old and new favorites and they put on a great show, but something just didn't click with me the way that other shows had; something was missing.  I still can't even describe what the problem was, but near the end I was glad to be on our way back home.  Maybe their albums sounded much too much like their live show...who knows.  What I do know is that it took us a fucking eternity to get out of the damned Dodger Stadium and on the freeway.  I am almost fine never going back there for the rest of my life just to avoid the traffic issues.  Shit...I'm old.

Morrissey - This show was at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in 1991 and I should not have gone.  This was in my bad student days of skipping classes to boogie board, playing 720 with my housemates at the quad or traveling to comic book stores in Ventura with the guy, who at the time was my best friend, but ended up becoming a doucebag criminal.  Anyways, I should have been studying for my final, which was the next day...actually, I should have been studying for my final a week prior, but I was a dumb college student basking in my freedom and dead set to implode and--as usual--learn my lessons the hard way.  As it happens someone had an extra ticket to see Morrissey live and I immediately forgot about the final, wrote out a check, and was making plans to head off to dinner with friends.  Hours later we were sitting in our seats and watching the opening band, which might have been the Godfathers, but then again, they might have been the openers for Elvis Costello...not sure.
Anyhow, Mr. Bona Drag himself eventually hit the stage--very late--and shit went nuts...seriously nuts.  For years, I have complained that Santa Barbara concert audiences are comprised of a handful of super-fans who ruin the show for everyone, or for the most part medically sedated drones who won't dance or sing or enjoy themselves.  This was not the case at this show.  People were losing their fucking marbles.  A steady stream of flowers and carrots (???) were flying onstage to the point that it looked like Morrissey was singing in the middle of a big salad.  People were singing, dancing, screaming, and a four-eyed fat kid (not me) jumped on stage to hug him.
One of the guitarist was so into dancing while he was playing that he slipped on a flower and slammed face down on the ground.  My initial reaction at seeing the poor soul stack in front of thousands was "oh my god, that must have hurt," but he was right back up and playing; that is dedication...or at least a healthy fear of Morrissey.  Flowers continued to rain down and on the fourth or fifth song he casually walked offstage.  The crowd was freaking out and I thought that he was going to change outfits or do something dramatic and people began to really chant and scream for him to come back out.  With my heart pumping the thought crossed my mind that I had made the right decision in coming.  Fuck MacroEconomic, I'm at the best concert of my life!
Not even a second later came an odd sort of feeling.  Call it dread.  Call it foreboding.  Morrissey was taking a VERY long time to return and the crowd was slowly figuring this out, but denial is a resilient emotion and even that was dashed as the tour van sped down the hill and away.
Are you fucking kidding me?  Four, maybe five songs and he just drives off?  What?  I shelled out a lot of money that I did not necessarily have to spend, I should not have gone to dinner to prepare for the show, I should have been home studying and it was still going to take about an hour to get out of the Bowl and back to Isla Vista.  Shit.  Suffice to say, I did not do so hot on the final, which is my own fault, but I was so mad at Morissey that I never went to another show or bought another album by him after that.  Five songs?  C'MON!!!

1st Annual Weenie Roast - 1993.  This was one of those KROQ all day concerts, but it was fun because we actually had fairly good seats and did not have to contend with moshing morons like at Lollapaloozer.  Only the severely soul-crushing heat diminished the experience of this show.  After we downed an economy sized bottle of Jaggermeister we saw: Terrence Trent D'arby(seriously, and he was great), Dramarama, Gin Blossoms, Lemonheads, Suede (yay), The Posies, Rocket From the Crypt, Bettie Serveert, Stone Temple Pilots (great show), The The and X.

2nd Annual Weenie Roast - 1994.  For this one we saw: The Violent Femmes, Oingo Boingo (Yay!), The Pretenders (amazing), Counting Crows (wake me when it's over), Green Day (a blast), Rollins Band, The Offspring (people went berserk), James, Beck, The Afghan Wigs, Pavement, Frente, Candlebox (who?).  Again, long hot day, but well worth the trip.

More later.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/05/2010

Holy crud, I'm glad this damn week is over.  Lack of sleep, unnecessarily frustrating days at work and exhaustion have plagued each day and succeeded in putting me in the most surly of moods. "F-you Monday through Thursday, you jerk faces...F-you."

Then of course there were the disappointing election results with the Republicans taking the house as many Tea Baggers (Big Business appointees) took key positions throughout the States.  At least California had the sense to shoot down Texas Oil's prop 23.  If only the younger voters had actually got up off of their lazy asses and voted, then some of the bat-shittery could have been avoided.

Maybe it would have taken Christine O'Donnell being more forward in pursuing her anti-masturbation campaign to turn out the youth vote.  "C'mon kids, you like to bop the bologna?  How's about twiddlin' the bean?  Well, if you enjoy your freedom then put down the mouse and get out there and make a difference!  Christine O'Donnell wants to take away your god given right to a tug of war session with cyclops, so get off your laurels, take a break from watching the...what's that you're watching?  Damn, that's gross, but whatever floats your boat...I happen to like sexy trees, but whatever...take a break and vote.  Rock the Vote, rock out with your cocks out.  Defend your right to pud whack!"  A few more political morons with psychotic beliefs spread throughout the states could have made a difference in getting the kids out there, but too late now.  Hmmmmm...I wonder what's going on over at porntube?

Friday Slice of Life

The Walking Dead on AMC - Okay, as pissy and grumpy as I was this entire week, this new show from AMC, based on the hit comic book series from Robert Kirkman (now on issue number 78) was everything that I could have hoped for in a very faithful adaptation.  The cinematography was beautiful and retained several key visuals from the comic and the sparse musical score succeeded in maximizing the spine-tingling chills from this visually striking and emotionally charged show.
Briefly, Sheriff Rick Grimes after being shot in the line of duty awakens alone in a hospital...completely alone with the exception of the dead walking about what remains of the world he used to know.  It is up to Rick to piece together what has happened and to retain the hope of finding his wife and son, or at the very least another living human being.
The comic itself can be described as a zombie comic, but at its core it is actually a look at humanity and the will to survive with a zombie backdrop.  The Walking Dead is primarily about the characters and how they interact with each other and the world they currently live in; The TV show looks to stay faithful to Kirkman's work.
That said, I cannot wait for the second episode when the voice on the radio is revealed--one of my favorite characters in the series.  I already know that despite buying each episode through the Playstation Store for my PS3, I will be double-dipping when this show is eventually released on Blu-Ray.  Part of me is hoping that the writer of the TV Show, Frank Darabont, releases a Blu-Ray version of The Walking Dead in black and white, as was done with his film The Mist.  Although TWC is great filmed in muted color, I am curious to see if black and white version would add extra creep-out factor to the show or not.  We'll see.
If you even remotely like this show, and have not read the comic series, go out and buy The Walking Dead Compendium, which contains issues 1-48 of this intensely engaging series in one large volume.  Warning though, it, like the show, is not for the faint of heart.

The Walking Dead: Compendium One

Ed Brubaker week at the comic shop - For last weeks comics, three Ed Brubaker books were released:  Captain America #611, Incognito: Bad Influences #1 and Secret Avengers #6.  All three comics were, of course, great with Secret Avengers being the book that I enjoyed the most because of the introduction of Shang-Chi to the group and a brief appearance by a character brought back to the comic spotlight from my personal favorite The Immortal Iron Fist; yup, I'm not saying who.  I really enjoyed the return of Brubaker to some of the coolest of the martial art characters.  Now, if only Iron Fist would show up...
Captain America saw Bucky's past as the Winter Soldier beginning to play out in the media and "the people" demanding to know answers; thanks Baron Zemo, you jackass.  I love how Brubaker brings modern problems into his books and tweaks them just enough, except when some tea baggers got their feathers ruffled a while back.  I could see FOX "News" covering the great Bucky Barnes Duping of America story to death.
Incognito: Bad Influences continues from where the first limited series left off.   Although I was not blown away by the first series, I still enjoyed it immensely and this book is still definitely worth picking up.  I need to reread the first series all at once and see if it hits me with a stronger one-two punch, but this book sees Zack Overkill now out of witness protection and working with the government.  Things don't seem all that different for poor ol' Zack.

Halloween Party last Saturday and the Cake of Horror - Went to a mellow yet fun halloween party dressed as Thundarr the Barbarian, or rather, Thundarr the Barbarian with eye problems.  I look pretty stupid, but that's the point. Once I get ahold of some pictures, I will post a couple.  The one picture I do have is of the cake that a friend brought that is not for the faint of me.  My friend was dressed as a zombified grandmother, complete with blood running down her night dress and fake cigarettes, and she walked into the party saying, "Hey kids, I brought you a cake."  Here it is:

Okay, this thing looked so damn realistic that no one wanted to go near it, but after a few more drinks and a dare, people cut into it.  I was second in line and I have to say that it was pretty damn good.  Supposedly it was made from vanilla and chocolate cake, mixed with vanilla pudding.  On top vanilla wafers were crumbled up and some green dye sprinkled around.  The part I could not eat were the microwaved Tootsie Roll "poops" that I could just not bring myself to try.  Again fun party and with Army of Darkness playing in the background a great time overall.
Yup, and here is Thundarr...I don't know why I have the doll head.
Demon dogs!!!  Lords of light!!!

Slice Into the Woods

Banned Books - Okay, I'm a little late to the party on this one as Banned Book Week was over a month ago, but better late than never.  The banning of books and the attempted removal of materials deemed as "offensive" from libraries by certain groups throughout the United States is a delicate matter.  A dialogue needs to be opened with such groups so that they can adequately express their concerns regarding why books such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher In the Rye, His Dark Materials trilogy, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Harry Potter, and hundreds more should be removed not just from school libraries, but public libraries.  It is important that everyones' concerns are considered when attempting to remove a book from an establishment because of language, references to sex, homosexuality, mentioning that homosexuality exists, mentioning that people might actually have sex, tolerance of any kind, mentioning drug use, expressing a belief other than the offended party's belief (political or religious), consumption of alcohol, etc.  Understanding is the key...
Yeah, just kidding...the best way to deal with the whack jobs attempting to infringe upon the rights of adults and someone else's child to choose what they want to read and to their right of free speech is to take a stance involving two words..."fuck"..."them"..."fuck them."  Simple.  If some insane snake handler takes it upon themselves to have a book removed from a library--usually, I suspect, a book they have never read--they are attempting to undermining my right to determine what is right for me.
Now, I'm not a fan of the Twilight books and for the life of me I don't understand why spooning a mopey vampire for what....1200 pages would be interesting, do I try to ensure that some kid cannot check it out from their school library?  No, I don't.  Why not, Donist?  Well, why would I?  I don't have the right.  It's not like the school library has the latest compilation of Letters to the Penthouse Forum: Children's Edition sitting on the shelves.
Twilight is a vampire book, bfd.  If a kid wants to read it, let them.  If your the parent of a kid and you don't want them to read The Catcher In the Rye because it says *gasp* a bad word, then use your parental right and monitor what your child reads even though your over-domineering ways will eventually push them to rebel against you.  If the book is part of a school curriculum, then there are usually other options available to appease your insanity over something you have never read.  Better yet, read the book beforehand and see what the book is about and why it is being taught.
On the otherhand, if you don't want me to check out His Dark Materials because of the mention of daemons, well, kindly go fuck yourself; I will read what I want.  This is a capitalist society, so vote with your dollars by not buying the book.  Heck, go spread the word to fellow closed minded individuals.  While you're at it, organize a book burning and make sure that the event is highly publicized...authors love that because book sales spike and the burned books were usually already paid for.
Enough ranting.  Moral of the story:  Don't be a douche and attempt to take away someone's freedom to read what they want, just because you disapprove.  In regard to your own children, exercise parenting at home for a change.  In regard to me, mind your own don't see me trying to ban any of Glenn Beck's books now do you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 4

After taking a pass last week to work on the book--now over half way done on the fourth draft--I'm back to reminisce about the concerts that I have been to throughout my life.  On to it!

Ruby -  Ruby performed somewhere in LA...the Whisky?  The Viper Room?   The Roxy?  I have no idea, but I'm guessing it was the Roxy.  Ruby was touring for the Salt Peter album, primarily on the popularity of the song "Tiny Meat".  At times delving into then popular trip-hop and mixing in a semi-industrial tinge, I remember having a pretty good time at this show.  I also remember seeing a guy practically boning his girlfriend from behind, on the dance floor during Ruby's set.  Hell, come to think of it, "practically" might need to be changed to "actually," as it was dark, crowded and you's not polite to stare.  At least the couple was attractive, unlike what I had to witness going down at the TV On the Radio concert in Ventura last year*.  I wrote about that ages ago when I talked about super-fans and why they suck ass.

Cranes x2.5 - I first saw Cranes open for the Cure at Dodger Stadium, but I did not fully appreciate them at the time.  I then saw them two albums later at the Roxy back when they were touring for Loved and the concert blew me completely away, especially when they played my favorite songs of the moment such as "Shining Road," "Reverie," "Lilies," and older tracks like "Jewel," "Everywhere," and "Starblood."  The venue was completely packed.  At times powerful and driving and then calm and wistful.  One of my most favorite shows of all time.
I then saw them a few years ago in 2005 for their "Particles and Waves" tour at the El Rey and although the band had changed many of the members and their music had evolved to a quieter and more complex sound, the show was almost as amazing.  A hypnotic light show dazzled the audience and coupled with the music succeeded in pulling everyone from out of their thoughts and worries for a night of intensely beautiful music.  This would have been the second perfect Cranes concert for me had I not parked the goddamn car next to a "Parking By Permit Only" sign that happened to be hidden behind a bushy tree in the surrounding neighborhood...this still seems kind of Dukes of Hazard/Rosco P. Coltrane to me.  Stupid city parking tickets.

Pigface - Again, no idea where I saw this one--maybe I need to dig my ticket stubs out of storage.  This particular lineup had Ogre (Skinny Puppy), Jaz Coleman (Killing Joke), Genesis P. Orridge (Throbbing Gristle), Levi (My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult) and who knows who else.  The show was fine, but I mostly remember the two female friends that I went to the show with disappeared back stage, leaving me to wander around by myself.  Thankfully, I had the keys to the car and went to the parking structure to sleep in the freezing cold while I waited for at least an hour for them.  I was fucking pissed.

Garbage x3 - The first time I saw Garbage was right when their debut album had just been released and they were playing tiny venues.  As luck would have it, they played at Revival here in Santa Barbara.  For god only knows what reason, the evil music corporation that I worked for had convinced Revival to allow them to have a table at the show and to sell CDs and cassettes (yeah, remember those?) in the back.  I think I sold four items, but I honestly had one of the best seats in the house, except that there were rumors that Shirley Manson went alfresco or panty-less.  If that was true, then I missed out for sure.
Next I saw them at some club in LA for the same album tour, but Garbage had grown in popularity exponentially.  A great show that sounded perfect, but then again how could it sound anything less than perfect when the musicians are all sound engineers.
Lastly was for the Version 2.0 album at the Santa Barbara County Bowl and again, great show.  They played everything that I ever wanted to hear, including a B-side or two and Amy and I were dancing maniacs on the general admission lawn area.

I know, not much added today, but I had to dig around for some info for these.  Off to the storage unit to find ticket stubs for the next entry!