Friday, February 25, 2005
Today also marks the 4.5 year mark of our marriage and is also our Godson’s second birthday. He is quite possibly, the most charismatic 2-year old I have ever known.
Last night, like every Thursday night between October and May was my bowling league night. I had a pretty good night, but unfortunately, we didn’t win any games. The first game is a snapshot of how this season has been going - I’m the “lead off” bowler, the first on the team to bowl, and I bowled a 204 – well above my average, and a clean game to boot (I threw a strike or spare every frame). However, the “lead off” guy on the other team threw a perfect game, a 300. Shit like this has been happening to our team the whole season.
I finished Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold yesterday. This is an omnibus of two novels (The Warrior’s Apprentice and The Vor Game) and one novella (The Mountains of Mourning). I’d been mildly hesitant to try the Vorkosigan novels for a couple of reasons. I have never been too thrilled with Baen’s mainly Military SF list, the cover art was less than appealing, and the books seemed almost too much like romance. Boy was I wrong. Thanks to the good folks in the forums I moderate, and some fellow bloggers, I purchased Young Miles (Yes, I know this is not the first, chronologically, but the store didn’t have Cordelia’s Honor at the time). Miles is very short of stature and brittle of bone, something that sets him up as a target for scorn, hatred and prejudice. He is also the son of one of the most powerful men in the galaxy. Bujold puts Miles in some tough situations, and through his great intellect, ability to think on his feet and sheer will power, he gets through things better than he had any right to get through them. He is a bit arrogant, but just through the three stories in Young Miles, he has grown as a character, and grown on me. Suffice it to say, I am hooked on following Miles adventures.
As always, Lost was great on Wednesday. These characters are full of surprises and even the ones aren’t particularly likeable (Jin, Sawyer) are intriguing. It looks like next week is finally going to show Hurley’s back-story, who did pop up in Jin & Sun’s back-story.
I'll be hitting the comic shop tomorrow to pick-up the haul from the last two weeks:
Ex Machina #8
Green Lantern: Rebirth #4
GrimJack: Killer Instinct #2
Wonder Woman #213
Fantastic Four #523 **
Seven Soldiers #0
** Sadly this is the final issue of the Waid/Ringo era. After reading JMS's Amazing Spider-man on and off for the past couple of years, I am a little cautious about what he's plonning on doing to the FF. Though Mike McKone on pencils should be good.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Thursday, February 17, 2005
It’s been a while since I did a beer of the week and a writer of the week. Perhaps they will now be on monthly basis. My beer of the week is a new one from Sam Adams, or at least one that’s new to me: Samuel Adams Black Lager. A pretty smooth beer with a pleasant after-taste, not the best one from Samuel Adams, but one I’d definitely partake in again. Though I really wish they would bring back their Honey Porter, loved that beer.
Writer of the month is Gene Wolfe, one of the finest living writers. Period. I finished The Wizard Knight about two weeks ago, and like all of his work that I’ve read, it continues to float in my senses and in my head. One of his greatest strengths is that his writing gets better with multiple readings, and he packs so much into what he writers, that multiple readings are a necessary joy. His Book of the New Sun is one of the acknowledged masterpieces of the SF genre, often mentioned in the same breath as Tolkien’s work, Herbert’s work, Heinlein’s work, and Vance’s work.
Sad sad news as the NHL season is cancelled. Let’s hope, as some are speculating, that when things are settled, their hopes of changing some of the rules, and what not will draw more fans. Probably the best would be the shoot-out to break ties – a no-brainer for SportsCenter highlights.
The Nebula awards have been announced:
· Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
· Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Cory Doctorow
· The Knight, Gene Wolfe
· Omega, Jack McDevitt
· Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold
· Perfect Circle, Sean Stewart
The only one I’ve read is The Knight, so I’d like to see that win. I have read and enjoyed a good handful of books by McDevitt (Moonfall, The Engines of God, Ancient Shores, and Infinity Beach), Sean Stewart’s wonderful Galveston and right now I’m reading Bujold’s Young Miles and enjoying that quite a bit.
DC Comics recently told us what they are publishing in May, and there are some interesting things. The bad news is that Fallen Angel #20 is the final issue of the series. Aside from my normal haul, I'll give Action Comics shot to see how Byrne & Simone work together, JSA since it’s touting the return of Captain Marvel and Morrison’s Seven Soldiers . I’m a sucker for big crossovers so I’ll at least try The Rann/Thanagar War & Villains United. I’m probably most looking forward to Green Lantern #1 since Pacheco’s art is amazing and I like what Johns is doing in Green Lantern: Rebirth. I may try out Desolation Jones, too. No new collections from Vertigo in May to look forward to.
And lastly, as one who blogs about comics, I’m sort of obliged to post The 100 things I love about comics:
- 80-page and 100-page Giants
- Alan Davis
- Alan Moore
- Alan Scott
- All the Marvel comics my friend John lent me
- back issue bins
- Bizarro - not just the character, but the idea of Bizarro things in life
- Bizarro Justice League
- Booster Gold - not just the character but all 25 issues
- Calvin & Hobbes
- Captain America by Waid/Garney
- Captain Marvel's rogue's gallery - Mr. Mind, Black Adam, etc
- Comic Book catch-phrases "Great Hera!" "Merciful Rao!" "I SAY THEE NAY" "HOLY MOLEY!" "AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!" "HULK SMASH!"
- Comic book conventions
- Comic book "science and logic"
- Crisis on Infinte Earths
- DC Comics Presents
- Definitive Runs
- Discovering new titles and hunting down the back issues
- Dr. Doom
- Dressing up like Superman, Spider-man and Captain America for Halloween
- Earth-2, Earth-S, Earth-X, Pre-Crisis DC
- Elseworlds - before it was over-used
- Evil Dopplegangers
- For the Man Who Has Everything by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
- George Perez
- Gil Kane - one of the first artists whose style I instantly recognized
- Gorillas, especially talking telepathic gorillas
- Grant Morrison
- Great creative teams with Synchronicity in storytelling - Waid/Wieringo, Morrison/Quietly, Kirby/Lee, Claremont/Byrne, O'Neill/Adams
- Green Lantern
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow by O'neill and Adams
- http://fanboyrampage.blogspot.com, http://www.progressiveruin.com and the rest of the comics blogo-verse
- "Imaginary Stories"
- In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight, let those who worship EVIL's might...beware my power..GREEN LANTERN'S LIGHT
- Jack Kirby
- Jack Kirby's DC Super Powers miniseries
- John Byrne's work in the 80s
- Julius Schwartz
- Keeping Ma & Pa Kent alive
- King Kirby
- Kingdom Come
- Kurt Busiek
- Letter columns
- Mark Waid's run on The Flash
- Martha Washington Goes to War by Miller/Gibbons
- Marvel's 25th anniversary covers
- Marvel v. DC - not so much the limited series but the years of fans bickering that inspired it
- Marvels by Busiek & Ross
- Morrison's JLA
- Nazis - the ultimate comic book villians
- Neal Adams' Batman
- Neil Gaiman
- Neil Gaiman's Sandman
- Nightcrawler Limited series from the '80s
- Parallel Universes
- Peter David's The Incredible Hulk
- Rogues Galleries
- Secret Wars
- Spider-man and his Amazing Friends
- Stan the Man
- Superhero Records
- Superman/Captain Marvel battles
- Superman/Flash Races
- Superman: Secret Identity
- The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay
- The Amalgam Age of Comics
- The Big Red Cheese - the original Captain Marvel SHAZAM!
- The Crime Syndicate of Amerika of Earth-2 and Earth-3
- The Crow
- The Dark Knight Returns
- The Fantastic Four
- The Far Side
- The Flash - all incarnations and the handling of the legacy of the character
- The Tribute to the death of Barry Allen in Quasar
- The Golden Age by Robinson & Smith
- The Killing Joke
- The old comics and electronics shop I visited in my youth to get $.25 & $.50 back issues
- The Rainbow Bridge to Asgard
- The Rogues
- Trade Paperbacks
- Treasury Editions from the '70s
- Underoos - lets face they wouldn't be around without comics & superheroes - and who DIDN'T own a pair?
- Walt Simonson's Thor
- Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
- Wonder Woman
- X-Men annual #11
- Y: The Last Man
- You will believe a man can fly - The first Superman movie
- 12.95 Marvel Masterworks at Barnes & Noble
Monday, February 14, 2005
|You scored as Wrath.|
Seven deadly sins
created with QuizFarm.com
Picked up the GrimJack trade over the weekend, recently published by IDW. People who’s opinion on comics I generally trust have mentioned this book as being great and groundbreaking. I was a wee lad when GrimJack made his first appearances, so I can’t clearly recall the book or the relevance at the time, but for a comic not published by Marvel or DC to run 80+ issues in the 80s is a pretty big deal, from any standpoint. At the time I was pretty much reading Flash, DC Presents, Superman and probably GI Joe. I can see now how, judging from those issues contained in The Legend of GrimJack: Volume 1 stand apart from what I was reading. No superheroes in tights; however, John Gaunt (aka GrimJack) does sport a pretty cool cloak/cape. This is a great concoction of Heroic Fantasy, potboiler and Science Fantasy. Just from the first pages, there are references I know that wouldn’t have clicked in my pre-pubescent 11 year world, like Melnibone and some of the other worlds mentioned, that have much more resonance now. Ostrander, in his intro, paints a really cool picture of the genesis of GrimJack, and as I was reading just that part of the book, I grew more excited about what’s down the pipe in the next GrimJack volumes, since Ostrander listed a bunch of authors, like the good ‘ol Texan Robert E. Howard, who’s work I hold in high esteem.
This was also the first purchase of any IDW comic I’ve made, though that changed as soon as I purchased GrimJack: Killer Instinct #1. The inking and coloring process has improved over the years between GrimJack’s first appearance in the new book, but the storytelling simpatico of Ostrander and Truman is still on great display.
One of the folks who got me thinking more about GrimJack is SuperCoolWriterGuy Matt Stover as a discussion on GrimJack has been going on over at [dead cities]. Anybody who reads this blog and has enjoyed Stover’s work should check out GrimJack and conversely, if you enjoy GrimJack RUN and buy Stover’s powerful novel Heroes Die, I reviewed the sequel, Blade of Tyshalle, for SFFWorld a couple of years ago and plan on re-reading it soon.
And oh yeah, Happy Hallmark day,...er rather Valentine's Day.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
|You scored as Fortitude. Fortitude- with you is the strength of mind and body.
The Seven Heavenly Virtues
created with QuizFarm.com
From pal Scott
I started Wicked by Gregory Maguire the other day, I'm about 100 pages in, and I really like it. I haven’t read any of the Oz books, but the Movie is one of my all-time favorite films. I remember watching it every year around Easter-time, and being captivated everytime and even to this day. It is really interesting seeing how Maguire is constructing the world of Oz and comparing that against what the film shows. I’ll be seeing Wicked the Musical in a couple of weeks with Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
The following questions found on Nate's blog:
1. First name?
2. Were you named after anyone?
My father, though my mother claims to have liked the name before my dad came along. Middle name after my godfather and my dad’s favorite uncle. Two different people, one name.
3. Do you wish on stars?
4. When did you last cry?
Probably when I was drunk.
5. Do you like your handwriting?
6. What's your favorite lunch meat?
Ham, of course.
7. What is your birth date?
8. What is your most embarrassing CD?
Probably half of the ones I now “own” since being married and “inheriting” my wife’s collection. You name it – Poison, REO Speedwagon, No Doubt, ABBA, Ace of Base.
9. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you?
Sure, and me as the other person would make fun of me-me.
10. Are you a daredevil?
No my name isn’t Matt Murdock, but sometimes I do crazy-silly things.
12. Do looks matter?
13. How do you release anger?
Going to the gym, cursing, writing, hitting things and listening to Godsmack.
14. Where is your second home?
Yankee Stadium, I turn into a 9-year old every time I walk out and see the field, despite the fact I’ve been there dozens and dozens of times.
15. Do you trust others easily?
Too much when I shouldn’t and not enough when I should.
16. What was your favorite toy as a child?
A few – Mat the Bat and Spiddy the Spider I think they were both won on the Boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. Real inventive names, I know. I also had a really cool Superman doll.
17. Which class in high school do you think was totally stupid?
Calculus and when we learned square dancing in gym class.
18. Do you have a journal?
This is probably the closest thing.
19. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
No, not me.
20. What are your nicknames?
Rob. Bob. Robbie. Rob-Bob. Mark. Mark Larrold. Hess. Dinosaur. Rutgers-boy. Hubba-Bubba. Ba-Ba-Booey. The Honky-Tonky-man.
21. Would you bungee jump?
I have and I’d do it again.
22. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
23. Do you think that you are strong?
24. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Only one? Edy’s Light French Silk.
25. Shoe size?
26. Red or pink?
27. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
28. Who do you miss most?
My first dog, and my friend Jay.
29. Do you want everyone to whom you send this to send it back?
Didn’t receive it, cribbed it from Pal Nate.
30. What color pants and shoes are you wearing?
Light Khaki pants, brown shoes.
31. What are you listening to right now?
When I originally typed this thing Howard Stern. Now that I'm posting it Kill 'em All by Metallica.
32. Last thing you ate?
Reese’s Puffs cereal.
33. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
34. What is the weather like right now?
Grey, after all, I do live in New Jersey.
35. Last person you talked to on the phone?
When I originally typed this thing - My Wife. Now that I'm posting it - A co-worker/supervisor.
36. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Probably overall appearance, how she’s put together.
37. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Sure, Nate seems like a pretty good guy.
38. What is your ethnicity?
American – German, Polish, Slavish and my grandfather on my dad’s side always claimed to have some Native American Indian blood. So I’m you’re average garden-variety American mutt.
39. Favorite drink?
40. Favorite sport?
41. Hair color?
42. Eye color?
43. Do you wear contacts?
44. Are you single?
45. Favorite food?
46. Last movie you watched?
At home - Remember the Titans. A far superior football movie to Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday , Denzel is a more convincng coach than Pacino, who seemed a caricature of himself in Any Given Sunday. In theaters, probably Saw.
47. Favorite day of the year?
Christmas, for the giving.
48. Scary movies or happy endings?
49. Summer or winter?
50. Hugs or kisses?
51. Do you have any favorite rants and, if so, what are they?
When I was into watching wrestling, I enjoyed reading Scott Keith’s rants about how crappy wrestling was. I do enough ranting of my own.
52. What is your favorite dessert?
53. Who is most likely to respond?
Banzai cat may copy this to his blog.
54. Who is most likely not to respond?
Don’t really care.
55. What books are you reading?
Wicked, Gregory Maguire
Sandman Volume X: The Wake, Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess et al.
56. What's on your mouse pad?
At work – the corporate logo.
At home – dogs.
57. What did you watch last on TV?
CSI, Numbers (taped from Friday) and Family Guy
58. Favorite smells?
My wife, beer, steak, onions sautéing in butter.
59. Favorite sounds?
My wife’s laughter, the sounds of dogs in the house, the sound of steak grilling, the crack of the bat at a ball park, all the sounds associated with a hockey game.
60. Rolling Stones or Beatles?
Do I have to choose? There are a lot more I'd pick before those two.
61. What's the farthest you've been from home?
62. Do you have a special talent?
Ask my wife. Or making people laugh, lightening the mood.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Also finished up The Wizard by Gene Wolfe over the weekend. Even though this was really the second part of a novel, it started off a bit more weakly than The Knight. I think that is because Wolfe switched from Able’s first person narrative to Able referring the story of his companions after they separated. Once Able came onto the stage, though, the book returned to the level of excellence Wolfe accomplished with The Knight. This isn’t to say that the early portion of The Wizard was bad, just that by comparison, not as strong as the other portions of the story. And let's face it, those who have read Wolfe will agree that reading Wolfe when he is a notch below his strongest efforts is far superior to 99% of most writers at their absolute best.
The last 100 or so pages of the novel were absolutely wonderful. Packed with emotion, thought, choices and introspection, I think it will be difficult for anything I read for the remainder of this year to move me emotionally and entertain me as much as did Wolfe’s Wizard Knight. I don’t know if Mr. Wolfe plans on penning more stories of Sir Able or any of the characters from this rich novel, but the door is open. While any of Gene Wolfe’s work is worthy of excitement, more tales of these characters would be most welcome.
Mrs. Blog o' Stuff and I went to the Rutgers vs. Georgetown Basketball game on Saturday and both teams didn’t look good. Rutgers was sloppy at the end of the first half arrived, but did make a nice little comeback towards the end of the game, which was too late. Rutgers basketball does look to be getting a better profile now that Gary Waters is doing such a fine job. It would be real nice to see them in the NIT again this year, though I highly doubt they will be invited.
Good Superbowl last night, I was really hoping the Eagles would pull it off, and at the end of the game, they came pretty close, too.
A new Batman Begins trailer was shown during the game and the Web site for the movie has been pretty substantially updated. Interviews, Wallpapers & other downloads, (one of which is now on my computer). Have I geeked-out enough for this film on my blog yet? I think I'm looking forward to this even more than Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith even though super-cool writer Matthew Woodring Stover has written the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novelization. Though I think am more looking forward to the novlization than the movie, I think.
Lastly, less than two weeks until Pitchers and Catchers!
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Watching Celebrity Poker right now on Bravo and goddamn is Chris Kattan one annoying little bastard. He sucked on SNL and he almost sucked the life out of the show tonight. Mary McCormack, on the other hand, wow is she flaunting what she has.