Saturday, October 31, 2009

Live at the Rose Bowl

Here's the U2 concert that was broadcast off of YouTube if anyone is interested.



Friday, October 30, 2009

When It Rains It Pours

For anyone zooming by this post there was a live streaming Foo Fighters concert here, but after they stopped streaming it, they had the video for "Wheels" going on a constant loop and it fired up every time you came to the page, which was kind of annoying. So, I took it off.



Monday, October 26, 2009

U2 at the Rose Bowl

Just finished watching the U2 concert that was broadcast live online via YouTube and I have to say that I'm not as disappointed as I thought I might be. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was actually pretty good.

As a huge U2 fan through the late '80s and the following decade, I've found myself less than appreciative of their current output. Where I used to skip school to run down to the record store to buy the singles when they came out, now I wait months, sometimes years before picking up their 'latest' album. I grabbed Atomic Bomb long after its release date for $9.99 and I have yet to buy No Line on the Horizon (although I did buy two songs off of iTunes). I'm sure it must be a reaction similar to the backlash they suffered from old school fans when they unleashed Achtung Baby! on the world but, if you ask me, the songwriting just hasn't been as strong as it used to be. Their post-Pop material has been a little too...transparent and obvious. When Bono used the line "the air was heavy/heavy as a truck" in the song "Electrical Storm" I knew it was a love affair that had ended.

I jokingly told my wife tonight when the streaming broadcast begun that U2 and I broke up a few years ago but we've agreed to have coffee tonight, and I think that was a pretty apt description of the affair. The evening was spent with reintroductions, reminiscing over old memories and times spent together, and talking about what's been going on with each other since last we spoke.

To continue the metaphor, I think there was still enough good to agree to start seeing each other again on a trial basis. I may even spring for the new album on iTunes and give that a whirl. I'll definitely be revisiting my back catalogue of albums over the next few weeks and conjure up some warm fuzzies.

The rebroadcast of the concert is playing as I type this, so if you catch this and wanna check it out, hussle on over.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Was Just Wondering...

...where is David Bowie these days and why haven't we seen any new material out of him in the last three or four years?

I can't be the only one wondering.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'Porky's Shell Game'

Here's some more Pogo goodness courtesy of YouTube:

I wish I could find the full-length feature this was clipped from. Hell, I wish I could find most any Pogo merch without having to embark on a major expedition but such is not the case. I covet the two Pogo treasuries I have and what little scraps I can dig up.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

World of Disappointment #3467

[This post may contain small bits of hyperbole]

I saw this in the bookstore today and, after briefly catching my eye as a possibly interesting thing, I set it down again and walked away disgusted.

Originally I thought to myself, "WTF, yet another Dracula edition?" before having my eye caught by the Jae Lee cover and the promise of an illustrated text. This could be a cool little thing to have, especially at the bargain price they were offering it for. I opened it up and saw that virtually every single image that Jae drew was a figure drawing with no background and very little detail in anything but exposed bits like hands, faces, etc. Any item of clothing being shown is just a grey tone shape and anything that is not humanoid in shape is a silhouette. How cheap is that.

I know he did some astonishing work on the Dark Tower comics and I've followed the guys work in the past so I know he's just totally phoned these images in. It probably shouldn't, but it bugs me.

Anyway, if you see this item and get tempted to pick it up, buyer beware! Flip through before purchasing. Or better yet, ignore it and grab the one illustrated by Ben Templesmith.

As an addendum, I wanted to add that some good did come from my bookstore trip since I grabbed a copy of Pullman's Once Upon a Time in the North, a copy of Christopher Golden, Stephen Bissette and Hank Wagner's Neil Gaiman wankfest, Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman and the lavishly illustrated and very eye-catching children's book, Varmints. I almost walked out of there with Hornby's new one, Juliet, Naked, but I have to finish The Beautiful and the Damned before getting into a new book. I read the first chapter sitting in the bookstore waiting for my daughter and I just knew I would get home and keep reading it with Fitzgerald odyssey of love and excess feeling the full on force of how fickle I can be.



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Clone Wars Season 2 - Not Disappointing

I've been posting a lot of negative thoughts on the ol' blog of late, which may be bad juju since I'm trying to do the whole 'Hey, I'm back and blogging regularly' thing, so I'm going to change gears briefly and throw out some positive thoughts regarding the second season of The Clone Wars.

If you saw season one, you probably were very aware of the various limitations of the show. Not a lot of characters, not a lot of settings/environments, characters whose models were a little stiff and whose faces did not move quite right, and the usual first season stumbling around and finding your rhythm kind of thing. With season two a lot of that has changed. Subtle bits of acting are not uncommon, better mouth movements to match the voice actors, humongous improvements to details, textures, editing and story. Most of all the stories.

Before there were a lot of two or three part arcs that were generally interesting, but there was a rhythm to the storytelling that felt off. Whether that was due to budget and time restrictions, I'm not sure. But lately I've just been feeling that I am, indeed, watching Star Wars, or a logical extension of it. Plus, watching the relationships develop is nice because it gives some context that was missing from Revenge of the Sith and, at the end of the day, may just make the prequel series a little bit better than it was a couple of years ago.

I'll leave you with the trailer for season two. There's some nice teaser stuff in there if you've yet to see any episodes, and other than that, it's just fun to watch.

May the force be with you.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


I was posting a message on a friends blog and I was prompted, both times, to verify that I was, indeed, a living breathing entity by punching in the random set of 7 letter combinations they provided. Looking at the two 'words', meaningless and random though they be, it reminded me of Douglas Adams and John Lloyd's wonderful little dictionary of non-words, The Meaning of Liff (an online version is available here). Wikipedia describes the book as 'a "dictionary of things that there aren't any words for yet"; all the words listed are place names, and describe common feelings and objects for which there is no current English word.'

Looking at the two 'words' I was prompted with - Wizizi and Grisms - I can't help but wonder what possible meanings they could have if they existed as real words. It is very early in the morning for me right now and I have a splitting headache, so I'm not going to venture a guess. I will, however, open the floor to anyone out there who is interested in kicking it Liff-style. If nothing comes of it, I'll return at some point and take a crack at it myself.

Either I am really reaching for blogging content or Meanwhile... just got mondo interactive.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Control

This is going to be a self-indulgent rant, so you've had your warning if you want to bail now.

Jen has been bugging me to watch some Burn Notice and I, honestly, have just not been in the mood. I love the show to bits and we were watching season three for a while but we got derailed when the second season of True Blood came on HBO and that was 'the show' we watched for the next few months. There are many shows that we like and watch separately when we have the chance (because we are notorious for not agreeing on just about anything) so, when we find a show like Burn Notice, something we both enjoy, we try and hold off and watch it together.

Recently, though, I've been accused of holding the television hostage since I'm not overly interested in watching what she wants to watch right now (meaning BN). This is partially true, but only in the sense that, if I give her any episodes to watch, she will be unable to stop herself until she hits the end and then I either have to catch up, give up, or shut up. I'm sure it's obvious which option she would suggest I take.

Take tonight, for example. I went out with some friends and conceded an episode as a gesture. One episode is not a hard thing to catch up on. Heck, I could watch it when I got home before bed and nobody would know the difference. We could pick it up again together any time. She'd be happy, I'd be happy and there would be happiness all around. However, me being the idiot I am, left her with 3 episodes at her disposal and she watched every damn one of them. I came home and 'walked in' on her watching the last one. "This is one of the best episodes of the series yet," she says to me.


So, now I'm pissed, she thinks I'm retarded, I'm aware of the level of self-pity but am feeling burned on the 'the show we watch together' factor (something that has happened at least three times in as many years), and now we're not talking to each other.

Another wonderful day in the corps.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will the Disappointments Never Cease?

One of my most enjoyable moviegoing experiences this year involved going to Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell with a couple of friends at a second run theatre here in town. I figured I would enjoy the movie but had no idea just how much. Like almost all the critical reviews, I felt that Raimi had put together one of the best horror movies in the last ten years and effortlessly recaptured the low-budget scare-fest that introduced him to cinema goers across the world.

Today marked the release of Drag Me To Hell on DVD and Blu-Ray and, like a good little soldier, I went out and bought my copy (in Hi-Def since having a PS3 now means I have no excuse not to). On my lunch break, no less. I wanted to be able to grab my copy, get it home and not have to stop anywhere between the end of work and sliding that puppy into my PlayStation.

Browsing through the disc I discovered that, with the exception of some production diaries, there are no meaty features to speak of. No commentary (which I was pretty sure would be there), no sizable documentaries, just 30-odd minutes behind-the-scenes clips showing how they created the nose-bleed scene or the maggot scene. I should probably check if they're branching, now that I think about it, because that might make them a little more entertaining. But, the point is, this is a 50GB disc and that's all you have to offer?


On the plus side, the video is flawless and the audio is source audio, so I don't regret the Blu-Ray purchase in the slightest. I'm especially looking forward to the movie night some friends and I are putting on where we'll watch it on a 52" plasma screen with the sound pumping out the roaring soundtrack. I just wish that there was a bit more in the extra features department to satisfy the features whore in me.

Anyway, watch the movie if you haven't, check out the DVD if you can.

Until next time...


Why Does Larry Niven Know So Much About Kryptonian Sperm?

I've been away from the blogosphere for some time (as I'll elaborate on in a future post) and, having some free time on my hands, took the opportunity to browse around and reacquaint myself with various and sundry online places and happenings. Along with hitting all the usual haunts, I took it upon myself to try out some new blogs, one of them being Steve Thompson's BookSteve's Library. Thompson is a pop culture enthusiast (as so many of us are) but he's operating on that Jedi-blogger level like Mark Evanier, so the deeper you go, the richer the rewards.

Among other things, I found the most amazing embedded videos on his blog. I'm talking about stuff that I have searched for extensively in the past but came up woefully empty-handed. Now, thanks to Steve, I'm buzzing over the fact that I found a long sought after Pogo special (one of two, I believe) that was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Kelly himself. I had long since given up on trying to find it online and then - BAM - there it was. Just sitting there and waiting to be watched.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to this evening, but I'm thinking maybe after work tomorrow.

Another video I ran across on Steve's site is this 1981 Superman documentary. It sort of covers the history of Superman through interviews with Siegel and Shuster, shows some behind-the-scenes footage over at DC Comics circa 1981, and gives some face time to Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder who gave their perspective on Superman through their involvement in the film series. They also talk to a psychiatrist, some amateur filmmakers who made a Superman spoof, and Larry Niven who, by the way, comes off as an incredibly unusual and creepy guy. His segments are some of the stranger elements of the doc, but when he starts talking about Kryptonian sperm (in Part 4 or 5, I think)...I just kind of tuned the guy out from that point on.

Anyway, Thompson claims that it's the best superhero doc ever made, but I've seen dozens that have been done better. I'm not sure what the yardstick is on this one, but just off-hand I can name Moebius Redux: A Life In Pictures, Comic Book Confidential, Tales from the Crypt: From Comic Books to Television, and In Search of Steve Ditko just off the top of my head. For the time, however, this was probably the the tippity top as far as production values, the quality of the overall presentation, and the analysis given to a comic book subject.

You can be the judge:

Up, up, and away!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Obi-Wan Insider

I took my daughter to the 7-11 this evening and along with our Big Gulps I purchased the latest issue of Star Wars Insider (#112) that puts the spotlight on my favourite Prequel Trilogy character (meaning Ewan McGregor), Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was an impulse buy but I've been in a Star Wars mood lately and I'm a sucker for Obi-Wan stuff. Whenever I see a clearance figure at Wal-Mart or some other Kenobi curio in my travels I can't help but pick it up. I know, it's probably a sickness, but I've learned to live with it. Anyway, this issue of Insider, with it's bold action shot of Ewan on the cover, was no exception to the rule.

When I got it home and cracked it open, though, I was disappointed to find that there was very little of substance inside. I mean, I'm not a regular reader but I've purchased issues of the Insider in the past and never regretted doing so. There has always been enough material (promotional fluff though it may be) to at least keep me entertained for 20 minutes or so. Usually there is some rare photos, trivia or a decent enough interview to serve as a pleasant distraction and feed my Star Wars craving. This time around they focused on the voice actor for the Clone Wars series, James Arnold Taylor and included random quotes from Ewan and Sir Alec who each got a single page bookending the Taylor interview. There is a history of Obi-Wan which seems fraught with EU inconsistencies and a couple of articles on the Death Troopers novel and the Mandalorian comics that DHC will be putting out, neither of which I am interested in exploring.

I probably should say that claiming there was nothing of substance was a bit of hyperbole since there is a piece on the newspaper strip that ran in the late '70s, and anything about Al Williamson or Russ Manning is worth a few minutes of my time. Also, there was an article on the exhibit of rare Star Wars artifacts that is travelling with the In Concert tour right now that may prove to be mildly interesting. Both articles are also accompanied by a number of pretty cool images, too.

I guess I'm just feeling burnt by the lack of useful Obi-Wan material.


For the record, I would one day like to see someone take a franchise like this and really go to town on a behind-the-scenes magazine. Instead of fluff pieces like you see here or in any of the other myriad licensed magazines you would have some in-depth commentary, interviews and behind-the-scenes reporting that would make it more than an all-in-one-sitting kind of read. You would have to come back to that puppy one or two more times to dig through the articles and features.

Pipe dream, I know, but I still foster dreams of one day being a content developer for someone. I'll probably have to start something on my own if I ever want to fulfill that particular dream.

May the Force be with y'all!


Friday, October 09, 2009

Is the Dude Being Rude?

Now, I'll go on record right off and say that Steve Rude is one of my favourite artists currently working in the comics industry. His seminal work on Nexus with Mike Baron has endured for two decades and remains, not only one of my top 5 comic book series of all time, but also relevant. Over the last little while I've been re-reading my Nexus collection from The Capitol issues to the most current Rude Dude issues and I'm continually amazed at how much of the '80s is reflected in those stories but how little they have dated over the years. So, when Steve Rude announced that they would be returning to the character and self-publishing new stories...well, let's just say that the return of Nexus to comic book shelves was one of the single most exciting things to happen for me in many, many years of collecting comics.

I was so pumped to have the book back and to have Rude and Baron working together again that I was willing to put out a little extra just to show my support. When they released the Free Comic Book Day book, Nexus' Greatest Hits, as a regular Rude Dude release, I bought it even though I already had it because I know self-publishing can be a tough racket. Then, when they released the Nexus Origin book I grabbed that one also, even though I already owned it from back when Dark Horse launched Nexus. Then, when Steve re-released it as a squarebound book with a new cover and 'extra pages' for a buck more, I bought that, too. It was supposed to be completely remastered and have extra stuff so damn the torpedos, right? Well, it was exactly the same as the previous Origin they published and featured 'extra' material that had been published elsewhere. I wasn't going to complain, though, because losing Nexus again was something that I did not want to see happen.

Lately I've been reading Rude's blog posts where he's been asking people to buy stuff at his store so he can pay his bills and how his brief return to comics was a failure and I can't help but be a little pissed. Not only have we, as readers/consumers, bit our collective tongues while waiting for each issue of "Space Opera" to come out (invariably late, it should be stressed) and spent money on materials we probably all already owned being Nexus fans, but now we're being asked to go and spend $250 at his online store for the privilege of having an original sketch?

When I think of how the 'failure' of Nexus may have had something to do with the irregularity of its schedule, and how opportunity and momentum was likely lost to whatever issues were being played out behind the scenes, I cringe. One of the lessons I thought most publishers learned throughout the last ten years was that when a book is solicited to come out, it better come out because, beyond just looking bad, readers are fickle and don't have a lot of money to spread around. Certain marquee books can weather that storm but, ultimately, if your book is not on the shelf readers will likely spend it on something else that is there.

Once retailers have lost confidence in your publishing schedule they will likely look at your book in Previews and pass you over because who knows if it's really going to show up. They'll order enough for their file customers and that's all she wrote. All the interviews, good faith, nostalgia, hype and media attention can't save you from general apathy once it sets in.

So, to be as supportive as I can as a consumer towards Rude Dude Productions and then have them tell me that not only is Nexus done but that I really should come by and give them some more money, has me just a little ticked.