Saturday, September 29, 2007

To Build or Buy?

That is the question I am now facing with my computer situation. Jen and I have been talking about 'upgrading' our computer but we can't decide on whether or not that means buying a new one outright, or purchasing the components to upgrade the one that we currently have. Normally in these situations, I would consult my buddy Brad and throw some ideas around before making a final decision, but it looks like I'll have to go it alone this time seeing as he's a province away and probably glad to not have to worry about me and my computers anymore.

The factory machine I'm looking at is nicely put together but has most of its hardware onboard. I could almost live with the non-component nature of it but also I found that there aren't any real TV outs to speak of (that I can see, anyway). The overall price of it would be around $750 so we started talking about what I could do if I hit the local computer store and picked up the pieces individually. I'll probably head down there Monday and see what I can put together with one of the guys there, but until then my head will be a little spun, I'm sure.

Jen is also trying to get the system out of the living room and into the bedroom (which I really do not agree with) but that's a rant for another time.

Onwards and upwards!


Friday, September 28, 2007

The Comic Haul

My last comic haul post was about a month ago, so I figured it was time for another.

There has been quite a mix of books on my bedside table over the last 30
days, some new, some not-so-new. We'll start off with...

Annihilation Conquest: Starlord #2 - Giffen's still phoning it in with this mini-series but that's not really as bad as it sounds. This is all stuff we've seen before but Keith keeps it pretty lively with somewhat interesting characters who don't get along too well with each other and the artwork by Timothy Green is out of this world. There's an interesting contrast between the atypicalline work (which feels more European than American) and the cliché guys who don't like each other try to achieve the impossible hero story. I look forward to issue #3.

Giant-Size Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #1 - Fun fun fun fun fun fun! Although I am a big fan of Jeff Parker, I am not a great fan of Parker's
Marvel Adventures: Avengers run. Maybe it's the curmudgeonly old continuity troll in me having difficulty with Storm,Wolvie and Spider-Man on the team, or maybe it's just not my cup of tea. Still, team these guys up with the cast of my absolute favourite Marvel book of last year and you have a winner. The story is essentially a
What If...with Kang duping the Agents into freeing Captain America from the ice several years too early, thus changing history and allowing Kang to conquer the past. I'm going to scurry off to my LCS and nab the Spider-Man Family with the Agents. There is just not enough of these guys on the market.

Danger Girl: Back in Black #1 - I know this mini is a couple of years old, but I did say there was an odd mix on my nightstand, didn't I? Anyway, I really enjoyed the original Danger Girl series back in the day so when I found this in the dollar bins at myLCS I thought, what the heck, try it out. Nick Bradshaw is a great artist but he's still finding his way here, I think. The work he does on this issue is a little clumsy, which seems to match the writing of Andy Hartnell which fails to capture the spirit of fun that I remember from the Cliffhanger days. It may be due to the absence of Campbell but I don't know how much he contributed to the writing of the original series so I can't say for sure. The story seems like a venue for a lot of pointless cheesecake but lacking the tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that made such a ridiculous concept work so well. I have a few more of these on the unread pile so my opinion may change as the story progresses, but I doubt it.

Batman: Dark Victory - I liked this story much more than I did "The Long Halloween" partly because it didn't seem quite as locked in to a format as the holiday themed issues of its predecessor, and partly because I found the mystery far more compelling than simply, "Who is Holiday?" I did find the big extravaganza ending a little much, but the overall feeling about the book was definitely a positive one. Some of the better Batman stuff I've read in a while.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #45 - Definitely a step in the right direction as the Four go from doing absolutely nothing to doing something. I'm actually embarrassed to say that I never picked up on the bad guy as being Psycho Man. I think with the Surfer connection, and my relative unfamiliarity with the Ultimate universe outside of the FF and Spidey, I just assumed that this was a Galactus re-imagining. I like it much better knowing that it couldn't be farther
from the truth. It also makes me think I should maybe go back and reread the previous issue seeing as how it may have an entirely new spin on it now. At the very least, I am still enjoying this story and I'm looking forward to how it's going to end. That, and to see what Carey has up his sleeves for the next arc (not being tied into the
'must-have-a-Surfer-story' because of the movie and all).

JLA: World War III - I know the idea here was to have
Morrison go out with the biggest bang possible but all he really managed to accomplish with this storyline was 6 or 7 issues of total gobbledygook. It was no mystery that Morrison was taking the 'widescreen' approach with this book and he was playing to the fact that these are the Earth's mightiest heroes from the very beginning, but he was always able to tether these crazy ideas and epic battles to something real. The first story with the white martians ("New World Order") was
entertaining, the recruitment drive was entertaining, ConnorHawke running around the Watchtower fighting the Key with his dad's old trick arrows, pretty much everything right up to the World War III story had some balance and was fun on some level.

Not so much here.

And I don't even want to talk about the 'artistic contribution' by Howard Porter.

I guess if one is to look at the bright side of things, it did help with the overall transition to Waid as writer, although the darker tone of his run is something to be discussed at another time.

That's it for tonight. I should be back with some thoughts on Umbrella Academy #1, the new issue of The Flash and some other stuff.

Onwards and upwards!


Worried About The Spirit

I just saw this article on ICV2 and I have to say that my worries about Frank Miller handling the Spirit film are not unfounded. That tagline, "Down these mean streets a man must come. A hero born, murdered, and born again.", and that image make me shudder. I never thought Miller was the right guy for the job and the more I see and hear about this project the more I feel convinced that I'm right.

Shooting starts next month and my opinion may change once I start to see stills and the early reviews eventually roll in, but I'm not going to hold out hope for this one. I know Miller is a huge fan of Eisner and The Spirit but I think I would have rather had Jeph Loeb stay on as screenwriter. Loeb's body of work is hit and miss with me but Miller's output since 300 (and in some cases, even before 300) has stunk to high heaven (Dark Knight sequels or All-Star Batman & Robin anyone?).

I guess I should hold out a little hope that Miller will not turn this into another Sin City and stay faithful to the (pardon the pun) spirit of the source material.

Ugh. I just can't stand seeing that picture.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Full Moon Fever

How can I tell it's a full moon? Everyone around me goes a little wonky, that's how. My children and wife sleep restlessly, the customers at work get stranger and stranger as the day approaches, tensions in the workplace build to a boiling point and generally anything that could go wrong inevitably does. I've heard from some friends that they also see the evil and weirdness in their lives bubbling to the surface when the moon is full, so I know it's not just me. Our experiences are probably not as strange as, say, that of an ER or police services are, but the ER doesn't have to deal with my burnt out passenger side headlamp or my wife's retarded boss.

Anyway, it's been a bit since I've posted so I figured I'd give a bit of a State of the Union as my kids get ready for school (for anyone who cares).

September was birthday month for Jennifer and I and, as is usually the case, we had some fun for hers and mine sucked eggs. I posted about the long sordid history of my birthdays a couple of weeks ago, so I won't repeat the grisly details, but for Jen's we sort of celebrated all weekend. We had a very good and fun lunch at Montana's (a ranch-themed steakhouse in town) with a massive dessert that was the literal icing on the cake that afternoon. Jen also rented Bandidas (which turned out to be very entertaining and written by Luc Besson) and Rent (which turned out to be not-so-entertaining and proved that I just can't get into musical theatre). The weekend then ended with a successful supper over at Jen's parents, with mine also in attendance.

My crummy day was totally trumped, however, by the fact that I received the Emma Peel DVDs which have already brought countless hours of pure, unadulterated joy into my life and are apparently preferred by Jen as my late night viewing of choice since it replaced The X-Files in my DVD player (she hates the music and all the audio floating upstairs while she's trying to sleep). I'm 6 episodes and 2 discs into the set now which leaves my 15 to go. Woot! Right now my favourite episode is called "Death at Bargain Prices" and features some wonderful Steed and Emma dialogue and a perfectly written scene with Steed getting some information out of a female food clerk at a department store. As I told a friend recently, they don't make 'em quite like that anymore.

I also seem to have a convert to the Avengers fold. Jen doesn't care for them too much but her friend Jillian thinks they're pretty cool and stayed after Jen had gone to bed to actually watch an episode with me. It was called "Castle De'ath" and it was appropriately campy and fun to match the title.

Good times.

here's the opening titles for the show after they went to colour:

Actually, I should also mention that before I received the DVD set, I discovered that on the 9th of September, Lucasfilm announced the title of the new Indiana Jones movie, which I considered to be a gift since it happened right on my birthday. As a huge Indy fan, how could I not consider it deliberate?

The fourth film will be enetitled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, for anyone still not 'in-the-know', and the actual press release can be found at the official Indy site.

I'm thinking this post is getting a bit long so I'm going to cut it off there. I have the day off, however, so I may be back in a bit to get some more stuff out of my brain and onto the e-ther. Also, I have to go make my kids lunches for school, so...

As always, onwards and upwards!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Birthday Present to End All Birthday Presents

After much anticipation, window shopping, and web surfing, I've finally gotten my grubby little hands on the Complete Emma Peel Mega Set of The Avengers. 17 discs of Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee and the bonus disc has such cool, fun stuff on it.

I'm in heaven, what can I say.

I'll post a review or something when my brain has stopped processing this.


Monday, September 17, 2007

All Good Things...

Just to prove that the world is a cruel and unjust place, I've just read news that Abadazad book three, "The Puppet, the Professor and the Prophet", has been pulled by its publisher, Hyperion Books for Children, and will not be seen in bookstores this side of the Atlantic. To add insult to injury, they will also no longer be publishing any Abadazad books, effectively cancelling the series where it is at book three.

For more info, check out J.M. DeMatteis' Amazon blog here and to purchase your copy of book 3 go here.

I'm going to go soak my head or something.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Pre-Birthday Address

Well, it looks like I'll be turning the big 3-4 tomorrow. Another year, another birthday.

More than likely it'll be a bit of an anti-climax as so many birthdays and 'special' occasions tend to be for me. I probably won't be doing much since I gave up on the idea of 'doing something' to celebrate the passing of years a long time ago. I know that sounds a little bleak but I still remember the last real party that my wife tried to organize for me. I think it was 4 or 5 years ago and nobody could come. Friends, family...absolutely everyone passed on the invitation. That was not one of my best years.

I keep my expectations prettyb low these days but I used to get kind of grouchy when stuff like that would happen. Birthdays were always a big thing with me. Christmas and birthdays were the two 'holidays' or celebrations during the year where I really cared about who was around and what I/we were doing. I figure Christmas is supposed to be about family and goodwill and togetherness (which so often gets lost during the chaos), and the purpose of birthdays is to celebrate a person's coming into the world. If someone has had an effect/impact on you or your life, birthdays are as good a time as any to pay tribute to them. There's also an intimacy there since usually only friends and family bother with the whole birthday thing, so I think that's part of what's always made it sort of special in the past.

Oh, and I should give some credit to my friend Karl. That year everyone declined, he was one of those who had decided not to come for whatever reason but when he heard that nobody else was coming, however, he dropped whatever it was he was doing and came anyways. We met at a local burger joint and had a really good time.

So, if you're reading this, Karl, you'll always have points for that one.

Yeah, so, not to be broody or anything, but the main point of this post was to mention the two 'gifts' I picked up today. I was at my LCS and found the first issue of Glister by Andi Watson and the third volume of Southland Tales by Richard Kelley and Brett Weldele.

Glister is about a girl of the same name who has supernatural experiences: haunted teapots, disappearing houses, that kind of thing. There's a slight nod, I think, to books like the Courtney Crumrin series (or at least the material that originally influenced Ted Naifeh) and Watson has adopted a different style which has a Watson meets Ed Gorey kind of vibe to it. Having a new Watson book for my birthday was a treat and a half and I adored the material, especially the Skeleton Key back-up story, 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'. I miss those characters like nobody's business and it was great to see them again. Also cool to see them in the new style. I am very much looking forward to the second issue.

I have yet to finish Southland Tales but it reads much like the second volume. Richard Kelly is a relatively new discovery for me and exploring this world so soon after seeing Donnie Darko for the first time is an interesting trip. A lot of similarities and a lot of differences. The art reminds me of Ben Templesmith's 30 Days of Night and Fell stuff. Looks like the movie will hit in November as well, so we'll hopefully make it out to that when it arrives.

And before I sign off, a tip of the hat goes to the mother-in-law whose monetary gift provided the means to purchase these two books.

With that, I'm gonna blow. I'll try and blog tomorrow as well.

'Night all!