Friday, June 26, 2009

Closing Time

Well, today is the 5th anniversary of this blog. And it's high time to admit to myself that after five years, the blog has run its course. Not that this is a big surprise to anyone. I mean, it's been over four months since I last updated. Even Frank Miller keeps to a tighter schedule than that! (Ah, my final gratuitous comic book joke.)

I have to say, I'm more than a little disappointed in myself. This blog was a great deal of fun for a great deal of time. I don't know exactly how I lost my last bit of interest in updating, but I know it had been a long time coming. Looking back through my archives, I can't help but notice how many times I abandoned updating here for weeks at a time. With real life intruding so often on my internet time, updating became a chore rather than a pleasure.

But as I said, it was fun for a long time. I got a real kick out of talking about all my pop culture obsessions. By examining my favorite TV shows, movies, books, etc., I think I even learned a few things about just why I like what I like, and how to articulate and share my enjoyment with others. And I even shed some light on why I hate Whoopi Goldberg so very very much. (Hint: she sucks.)

I especially enjoyed the running features -- the Abecedarian Lists, the Unfair Previews, the Minute-By-Minute liveblogging of awards shows, and of course the Object of My Affection (all of which remain archived for easy access on the sidebar). In fact, why don't I pick one final OoMA, for old time's sake:


Can't believe I never picked Sarah Chalke as OoMA before. I think she's lovely as the day is long, and damn funny, to boot. I hope she gets herself into a good project post-Scrubs (yes, she'll be back on Scrubs for a few episodes next year... but after that, I mean).

I'm not going to say that I'll never blog again. Every once in a while I find myself wishing I could share my thoughts on some pop culture item, like how kick-ass I thought the finale of Lost was, or how tremendously I enjoyed seeing Star Trek in IMAX (real IMAX, not that bogus small-screen "IMAX" they're foisting on unsuspecting filmgoers these days) and Up in 3-D (the first time I've ever been wowed by 3-D in a film; the fact that the movie was another Pixar instant classic didn't hurt), or how essential it is for you to see Richard Cheese in concert if you haven't yet had the chance. Or, thinking ahead to next week, telling you how my tryout for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in Houston goes.

Regarding that: hey, I'm going to audition for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in Houston next week! I'll be letting you know how it turns out on my Twitter page, if you feel like following along there. I update frequently, with both info on my daily life and irrelevant nonsense. So... kind of like this blog, 140 characters at a time.

Maybe one day I'll create a new blog, or even revive this one, but for now, Twitter satisfies in full what little blogging urges remain in me. I'll be leaving this blog intact in the meanwhile -- if only because it has an easy-to-use list of links to my favorite webcomics and bloggers on the sidebar.

Speaking of other bloggers, a big thank you to my California weblogging friends Mike, Dorian, and Ian, all of whom inspired my efforts on this blog. And thank you to all the people who read this silly thing over the years, and especially the ones who engaged me in the comments, and even became friends.

And that'll do it for me, and for this blog, for now.

Push the button, Frank.

Monday, February 23, 2009

This is not an update

I am updating today because Jeffrey Rowland updated his Wigu webcomic today. The last time he ran a new comic was the same day I last posted here, February 3. I am not a good blogger, but apparently I would make an excellent webcomic artist.

I have nothing else to add, despite the Oscars having occurred last night. I said I was not a good blogger.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

You're the Great One, I'm Marty McSorley

I appear to have lost all interest in updating this blog. Why don't you enjoy this video of one of my favorite songs from last year while I decide if I'm ever going to get back to posting here again.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

TV Update: 3 Season Premieres

Spoilers ahead.

Battlestar Galactica: I'm tremendously glad to see the return of one of my favorite shows, but the first two episodes, while they haven't been bad, have just kind of been... there. There have been a few shocker moments, mostly in the first episode: Starbuck finding her crashed ship containing what appears to be her own charred corpse inside; Dee blowing her brains out; Ellen Tigh being revealed as the final Cylon (maybe -- I'm not sure I'm ready to swallow that one yet); Tyrol learning he's not the father of his child. And, to the delight of shippers everywhere, Adama and Roslin finally did the nasty. But there hasn't been much real forward progress. The political machinations of the Council just don't grab me, and Gaeta's fomenting mutiny rings false (though I certainly wouldn't blame him if he put a bullet in the back of Starbuck's head). In all fairness, after the letdown of Earth, it's realistic that the fleet would be reeling in bitterness and depression, and mostly spinning its wheels. But I'd like to see a little movement next episode, please. Hell, at least let us see what the Cylons are up to!

Lost: Another returning show I'm thrilled about. The two-hour premiere was packed with action and dizzying revelations. The island is skipping around in time? Neat. Sayid kicks a bunch of ass? Super. Sun totally rubs Kate's face in the fact that she basically let Jin die? Cold. Ana-Lucia appears to Hurley, and lets him know "Libby says hi"? Whoa. There were a couple of bits that I didn't even understand until doing some internet research. I had forgotten about Miles' ability to see/hear ghosts, so I didn't initially get how he found the dead boar in the jungle. And I didn't recognize Ms. Hawking, played by Fionnula Flanagan; I had forgotten her original appearance, when she laid out Desmond's destiny for him in season 3. I assumed she was Faraday's mother when she appeared at the end of the episode, talking to Ben. (And who knows, maybe she is.) But, despite all the cool things that happened, I was slightly disappointed. There was forward momentum, there were great character moments. I just never really felt utterly blown away, as I always am following Lost premieres and finales. I think my expectations were a bit high, because really, these were two great hours of television. I'm being greedy, asking for anything more. And yet, here we are.

The United States of Tara: Toni Collette is absolutely amazing in this new Showtime series as Tara, a suburban housewife with multiple personalities. (I don't even want to get into what the proper technical term for her disorder is; you know what I mean.) It's truly an incredible performance -- performances. She's utterly different as each personality she inhabits; her facial expressions, the cadence of her speech, her walk and body language. It's more than enough to make up for the several forcibly quirky Diablo Cody-isms peppered throughout the script (Collette can even sell a line as absurd as "I hate you for not fucking me" with an immature pout and a petulant exit). I loved Cody's Juno, but her dialogue can definitely be a hindrance to connecting with her characters. To her credit, both in that film and on this show, her characters are strong enough to transcend the occasional gibberish line, and to sell their emotional reality. What I especially love about Tara, beyond Collette, is the way her family accepts and supports her, even when they're frightened or confused by her (especially her "Buck" persona, a belligerent redneck who derides Tara's son with homophobic name-calling, yet also leads a standing ovation for Tara's daughter's ballet recital). It's a compelling familial dynamic, one not often seen on TV, where even in family sitcoms the characters do nothing but sling put-downs back and forth. Tara's family is completely messed-up, yet fully functional. I loved the first episode of this show, and can't wait for the new episode tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hottie or nottie?

I think we all know which side I take in the big debate on The Office tonight:

Still the only former 90210 castmember with two Oscars.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Everything's fixed now, right?

The two lines that stood out as perhaps most significant in Obama's Inaugural Address (emphasis mine):

1. "We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost."

I adored how a majority of the speech was a big "screw you" to Dubya (who, as Jon Stewart pointed out to Obama on The Daily Show, is "sitting right behind you!"). But above rejecting Bush's partisan politics, the politics of fear, the exclusive favoring of the wealthy, and the explicit authorization of torture we suffered under Bush's dictatorship... above even all that, I was made hopeful by the idea of a President and his administration once again embracing science over religious dogma. Intelligent Design is not science, folks. It's bullshit. As is willful ignorance in the face of global warming. As is banning stem cell research. You get the idea. Yay, science!

2. "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers."

Is this the first time a standing President has even acknowledged atheism/agnosticism in a public address, let alone embraced atheists/agnostics as an important part of the American fabric? Jaw-dropping. Now, if he'd only stop peppering phrases like "God-given promise" and "God calls on us" and "God's grace" throughout his speeches... though I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath for that.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations! Now get working!

And... zero.



I almost forgot what being proud of my country feels like, and I had completely forgotten what it's like to have confidence in a President. Today is the most hopeful day for America in the 21st Century thus far. And, with one gigantic, eight-year mistake rectified, and so many, many others hopefully soon to be addressed, it can only get better.

A TOAST: Here's to a new day.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

GrimJack: "Blood Sport"

It's been a while since my last GrimJack update. And I know how much you all have been missing them. Not a day goes by that I don't receive three or four hundred emails demanding the return of this incredibly popular feature. Well, your wait is over, you lucky ducks! Cover date: September, 1984. Written by John Ostrander, drawn by Timothy Truman. From GrimJack #2, this is the 20-page story, "Blood Sport."

Surprisingly, this turns out to be a yodeling competition.

We begin our tale, as we so often do, in Munden's Bar, with John Gaunt getting good and liquored up, in the company of the equally liquored-up watchlizard Bob.

Bob's got it made.

An adorable little urchin braves the dangers of Munden's to track down Gaunt and enlist his aid.

Wait, what KIND of stuff? What've you heard, kid?

In issue #1, we saw the harder side of John Gaunt -- the cruel streak that feeds his loneliness and drives people away. Here, we get a look at his softer side, as the kid's sorry tale (and meager funds) win him over.

Still worth more than the peso.
Overpaid? Gaunt must used to have been a public school teacher.

The child is Seth Bailer, and his family is in a bad way. His mother is sick, and his father has lost his job. They've had to relocate to the Pit to scrape by. And the Pit, as you'll recall, is not a nice place (click to Biggie Size):

Click for full scale poverty.

I love that double-page panel. Truman packs a lot of grime and despair in there. (And Ostrander makes first mention of John's brothers, Nick, Jake and Joe.) He also throws in a few little jokes. Here's a street sign/personal greeting:

Franklin? Edlund? Affleck? Dover?

Here's a shout-out to Matt Feazell, master of the stick figure:


And here, next to graffiti reading "Howlin' Wolf lives!" is what seems to be the first appearance of Feetus, Gaunt's most reliable informant in the Pit. Kind of his Huggy Bear. We'll get to know him better in issue #7.

Could be some OTHER legless veteran on a hover sled, I suppose.

Anyway, Gaunt pays a visit to Seth's mom, who fills him in a bit more on why Seth came looking for him: Seth's dad, Doug, has left to do something foolish, and most likely fatal.

MARRY him, you get 100,000.

Doug is no fighter, and in a match like this, he's likely to get killed. The situation brings up some unpleasant memories for Gaunt.

Yeah, well, I didn't get the Millennium Falcon I wanted for Christmas '78, so boohoo.

Gaunt did not have a good childhood, is the point he's trying to make here, I think. We'll eventually learn that his aforementioned brothers had a lot to do with his misery. And we first hear about the Dancer, the greatest fighter in the history of the Arena. GrimJack only rated as number two.

Also, notice the picture of Bruce Lee on the flyer, with the text, "Kato vs. Butcherboy." Man, if Kato didn't beat Butcherboy, Doug is screwed.

Gaunt treks to the deepest, nastiest part of the Pit to locate the Blood Sport matches. And he gets a big surprise when he finally arrives -- the ringmaster is Mac Cabre, right hand man to the Dancer during his ill-fated rebellion, and a man who should be dead.

Is it Mardi Gras already?

Gaunt intercepts Doug just before he's about to enter the ring, and takes his place. Click to enlarge:

Click for full scale nipple rings.

Not sure why Butcherboy is a different color here than on the cover, but once you accept an eight foot genetic mutant with giant nipple rings, I guess color is irrelevant.

Gaunt spends the next three pages getting his ass thoroughly kicked. Names from the Arena float into his mind as he reels: Blacjacmac, the Dancer, the Wolfpack, Uncle Willy. We'll discover more about those names in due time.

Just as Butcherboy is about to deliver the killing blow, Gaunt turns the tables as he so often does: he fights dirty.

'Pan'? What is he even hitting to get the 'Pan' sound effect?

"Gertch!" indeed. With Gaunt back in control, he delivers an ultimatum to Mac Cabre.

Really, it's Mac Cabre's fault for leaving his spikes lying all over the place like that.

"Your choice." Classic Gaunt.

Mac Cabre caves, and pays up. And he lets Gaunt know that he's not the only one who should be dead that's still alive and kicking: the Dancer is back.

Gaunt walks Doug back home, and settles up with him, again revealing his soft heart:

To counterfeit a cred, looks like all you need's a sheet of green construction paper.

But Gaunt is troubled by Dancer's return, and puzzled by his motivations: why the Blood Sport matches? What was he planning? Maybe we'll get some clues next issue. For now, we take our leave of GrimJack for the week.

Oh, but not before a final phone call to good buddy Blacjacmac:

And he's having your baby!!

Dun dun dunnnn!!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sidebar Update, '09 Style!

It's the first Sidebar Update of '09, on the cusp of a new and brighter era. Love it!

The current Object of My Affection is Rosario Dawson. That's right: Rosario Dawson! I'm calling her my own! As she is apparently the official Object of Affection of every hetero male on the internet (and a significant number of females as well), I fully expect war over this declaration. Bring it, bitches! She's mine!!

I am now Reading David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster, having finished David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. I sense a pattern. If you are curious about DFW and are a bit intimidated by a 1,000+ page novel, you should probably take a shot at Lobster. It's a fantastic collection of essays, featuring the full array of DFW's literary quirks (primarily multiple footnotes). And the first essay is all about the Adult Video News Awards, which is awesome.

Watching the second season of Venture Bros. on DVD, having recently completed the first season. This is one of the smartest, weirdest, funniest cartoons ever created. Even if you don't like cartoons, I suspect you might like this one, if only for its clever references to a vast array of pop culture (for example, David Bowie and Iggy Pop are significant characters in the final two episodes).

Listening to R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People. Aside from it being a flat-out incredible album, I will always have a particular personal fondness for Automatic due to its serving as my European soundtrack. Over Christmas/New Year's 1992-93, I spent a month in Europe, visiting my sister (who was spending a year studying abroad in Barcelona). I went to Ireland, Geneva, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, and much more, with Automatic as almost the only music I listened to on my Walkman; it eventually became inextricably linked to Europe in my mind. (Though the night club in Brussels, in which the entire bar sang along to Ice-T's "Cop Killer" on the radio, was another peculiar musical highlight.) I haven't owned the CD for ages now, and when Amazon offered the album as an mp3 download for only $1.99 yesterday, I jumped at the chance to own it again. It makes me very happy (even while listening to "Everybody Hurts").

Hating: Dubya. Still. Less than 48 hours left!

And the Lyric of the Moment is one final illustration of the failure of the Bush years, from "Everybody Wants To Rule the World," by Tears for Fears. Don't let the door hit you in the ass, 43.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Part hope. Part change. All cop.

I promise this is the last one for tonight.

Vote for me or there will be... trouble.

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Hope works here. Change works there. Swords work everywhere.

One more GrimJack picture, courtesy of Obamiconme:

Call me a mercenary. Call me an assassin. Call me a president. I am all that and more.

I would've voted for him.


Guns work here. Magic works there. Sketches work everywhere.

Courtesy of Johnny Bacardi, who recently took requests for a sketch meme on his blog, here is the finished product of my request: GrimJack (of course!).

Now if you can just have him fighting RoboCop...

Very, very cool. Thanks, JB!

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