Saturday, May 25, 2013

Robes and Tumblrs

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it in the long term, but I do have a Tumblr. I don't want it to be a just a mirror of my blog, anymore than I want my sad lonely Twitter account to be a linkfest leading here either, but I haven't found it's voice yet. Hell, I'm still working on the voice for this blog.

For now, I mostly reblog cool things I find there, adding commentary as it presents itself. My one original contribution thus far is telling the world what my robe collection would look like, should I feel the need to start one.

Here is a preview:

If you're interested in my other choices, you can see them here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

OK, so what are Thursdays for?

Thursdays. Like Tuesdays, don't quite know what those are for yet. I suppose all the other stuff from my previous post applies here.

Fridays, however, I know what they're about. Come back tomorrow and I'll share some of my brain pickings with you.

That was a horrible pun. But you won't know why until tomorrow.

No, come back tomorrow, I shan't tell you now. Go back to Monday and look at my cool new shirt to tide you over.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What are Tuesdays for now?

Last week I finished up the graphic design class I had been taking since September, so tonight will be my first free Tuesday evening (barring school holidays and being sick) in months. It will continue thus until I find something to do besides be lazy.

I have to find a job, that's top priority now. Well, it's been priority for a while since I lost my job last year, but unemployment doesn't last forever. The good news is I've had more luck with getting interviews lately. The bad news is it won't be in the graphic design field because most of what we learned was how to use a few Adobe products, with comparatively little actual graphic design training. This is OK, as I was mostly interested in getting a head start in those programs, and didn't expect much else, so I got out of it what I wanted. I have more to learn before I can enter that field, including if that's what I truly want to do.

None of this actually answers my question as to what Tuesdays are for now. Maybe an extra nap? Regular blogging? Maybe getting some of those 23 in '13 projects I have in my head going? A weekly Buffy re-watch? (Wasn't Buffy on Tuesdays at some point during its run?)

Hmm. Lots of questions, no answers right now. I'll guess I'll table this until Thursday, since I won't have class then, either.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Favorite shirt this week: Unexpected Guests

In case you don't watch Big Bang Theory, or haven't otherwise heard of the expansion pack for Rock-Paper-Scissors, look here.

This one is by wirdou (aka Pablo Bustos). Check out his site, lots of other cool shirt designs there. You can find this one at Shirt.Woot.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Favorite shirt this week: The Future is in the Past

In honor of Iron Man 3 hitting theaters next month, I think this is a good shirt to feature this week.

Image by chrylkk and Melissa Chen, you can get it here.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

COMICS! SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

Gemma and Frances
School wasn't very magical for me. Either in the Harry Potter sense or the 'This is the best time of my life!' sense. For some of the kids at SuperMutant Magic Academy I think the same can be said about the latter. They do get the Potter part, though, damn them!
Much like the previously featured artist Emily Carroll, I can't remember where exactly I discovered Jillian Tamaki's SuperMutant Magic Academy. It was most likely a link from one of the other comics I read online, but I do remember it being fairly early on in the run, and being entranced from the first strip I read.

SMMA usually punches me in the gut, occasionally in the face, and maybe once or twice below the belt. That's how good it is. Whether it's Marsha's undying and unrequited love for Wendy, Frances' quest for truth through art, or Everlasting Boy's cosmic (and otherwise)  adventures, Tamaki delivers simple truths and heartbreaking realities. 

I noted earlier that they get to live in a Harry Potteresque world, but their life is anything but earth-saving battles. As Lauren Davis noted in her review of SMMA for io9, "their concerns are largely mundane." Boys, girls, school, hanging out, reading books, playing games. In other words, they're just teenagers living drama-filled, complicated lives. A lot of drama.

Another thing SMMA has in spades: a whole mess of awesome fan art. And the occasional guest strip, such as the haunting "Ephemeros" from Matt Forsythe:

While it's hard for me to pinpoint a favorite in anything these days, as my love for comics, art, writing, etc. grows and I see the awesome in and throughout so many things, character-wise I do have a soft spot for Trevor (Everlasting Boy is pretty cool, too):

Trevor, being doing bad things

In some ways SMMA reminds me of Lev Grossman's novel The Magicians, which riffs on the Potter books with a heavy does of The Chronicles of Narnia mixed in, making something unique and magical all its own (it's late as I write this, puns are acceptable). Among other things, I see connections between the character Penny from Grossman's novel and my boy Trevor. Though Penny is a bit more extreme, and obnoxious. If you want to know how much more, I suggest you check out the book.

Speaking of books, Ms. Tamaki has recently said there will be a collection somewhere down the line, but first she has to finish a graphic novel she is working on with her cousin. She's promised bonus strips for that, and I'm sure it will be worth the wait. In the last year or so she's released a couple of mini-comics, each with its own extra content. I believe the first one is sold out, but the second one just debuted a couple of weeks back in time for this year's MoCCA Fest--where she was guest of honor--and I think you can still nab that one if you hurry.

And if you don't get one of them, or you're new to SMMA, just take a leisurely trip through the archives  of SuperMutant Magic Academy and enjoy. Here's a few to get you started, have fun:


SuperMutant Magic Academy is © Jillian Tamaki

Monday, April 8, 2013

Favorite shirt this week: The Puppet Paradox

This parallels Sheldon and Leonard pretty accurately:

by Wenceslao Almazan, his second outing here for Favorite Shirt. You'll find it at Redbubble.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Page: Book covers that never were...

People are awesome, that's one of the phrases I tag posts with. I do that because it's true.

Take book covers. They're an art form unto themselves, made to sell another person's work, but often of equal or greater value than that work. And sometimes, people make covers for books they love that will never wrap around the words that inspired them. They do it because something drives them to: a new way to present the story, a homage to the author, an afternoon to kill, whatever.

One of my favorite types of reworked book covers are the ones inspired by the various Penguin Classics series. They're not all the same, but there is a look and feel to them that makes them instantly recognizable. I appreciate the artists who do them, and have decided I want to share some with you fine folks. So to that end, if you check out the menu bar up top, you'll see I added a new page, "The Classic Penguin Book Club."

Here I'll showcase some of my favorites, and point you to the artist who created them. You don't have to thank me, I'm selfless that way. But maybe you visit their sites, and even send a few bucks their way, get a nice print in return. See selfless.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MUSIC! R.E.V.O. by Walk Off the Earth

My favorite band dropped their first full length, major label album this week, and it's as good as the EP they released last fall promised it would be.

Realize Every Victory Outright! That's what the title of Walk off the Earth's new album means. Anthemic, exciting, joyfull, and all around absorbing, the WOTE crew have gone beyond doing awesome arrangements of other people's songs (often owning and surpassing the original versions), and even their own previously released original material, to create some truly memorable music.

I've been a fan for a few years. They've always been fun and innovative in all their releases (everyone in the group seems to be a multi-instrumentalist), and vocalists Ryan Marshall, Gianni Luminati and Sarah Blackwood harmonize beautifully, while switching off lead vocals with a natural air as if they had been doing it all their lives. Joel Cassady and Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor round out the band's lineup, adding their  vocals to the mix and providing the foundation that lets the three lead singer do their thing.

Taylor, Marshall, Gianni, Sarah, and Joel
My favorite songs from the LP are the title track "REVO", "Speeches" and "Red Hands". The latter, their first single, I've embedded below for your enjoyment (and mine).

They did include one song they didn't write, the cover they did of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" which grabbed something like ten million views in a matter of days after they released their five peeps, one guitar version of it in early 2012. That song, and their unique way of playing it, brought them to the attention of the world. That attention is well deserved in my opinion, and that song definitely has a place on this album (regardless of how sick of it you may be at this point).

Right now WOTE is on tour in Europe, with stop overs in Toronto, New York (I'm going!), and Vancouver Island before wrapping it up for a while. They make fabulous music, they make cool videos, they even make babies. So, check them out and fall in love with their infectious music and personalities.

Like many of their videos, they did this in one take. Don't believe me? Check out this unedited version of the video.

Monday, March 18, 2013

COMICS! The 3 Snake Leaves by Emily Carroll

 Emily Carroll is a lovely cartoonist from Vancouver, British Columbia. I discovered her a few years ago when I clicked on a link to her comic "His Face All Red"--sadly I don't remember where exactly that link was, but, thank you to whoever posted it!

From that point on I was a fan. I love her style, color palette, and the way she presents stories online. She also did one of my favorite pieces of SuperMutant Magic Academy fanart (a comic which I'll gush about another time). Her latest is up now, an adaptation of one of her favorite fairy tales, done as a part of an assignment she gave to her students and which she decided to participate in. Make sure you follow both threads, the princess' story and the prince's, at the bottom of the first page.


 The 3 Snake Leaves is © Emily Carroll

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Go Plus Yourself : RIP Google Reader

Indie Rock Pete and I have something in common now, no Google Reader. Sigh.

Go Plus Yourself : RIP Google Reader:


Tonight’s comic just heard about Google Reader and is also available as standard RSS. (Which you very well may be reading right now.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dark Horse Motion Comics: Usagi Yojimbo

One of my favorite comics has gotten a bit animated, courtesy of the fine folks at Dark Horse and Geek & Sundry.

I started reading Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo back during its run at Mirage Studios, not too long before it moved to Dark Horse Comics. Sakai's rabbit ronin had something for me that most of the other anthropomorphic comics born out of the 80s black & white boom did not, mainly story, humor and heart. It was a more or less serious tale with funny looking animals, rather than another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle knock-off working some other gimmicky angle (like, say, Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils. Yes, that's a real comic. Yes, I bought it. Yes, it's horrible, let us speak of it no further). 

In recent years I've fallen out of reading monthly comics, but last year I began picking up a few new titles, including Rachel Rising, which I talked about not too long ago. That made me miss some of my old regulars, including this one. So, I'm about to embark on a massive Usagi Yojimbo read/re-read, starting with the Fantagraphics Books collections--where the first regular, ongoing series was published--and working my way up to the most recent story, catching up on all the the tales I missed the first time around.

Hope you like this short tale, and if so, give the comic a try!

And a bonus! A horrendous copy of an aborted Space Usagi animated series, interesting to see what could have been if Usagi's futuristic counterpart would've made it to the small screen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Popular Science Fleischer Studios The Cartoon Process

This is a pretty cool piece on Fleischer Studios, what is really neat about it is how many women you see working at the studio as artists during the production process.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MUSIC! Nick Pitera, Les Miserables Medley

Don't remember how I got to him the other day, but found this incredible medley from Les Miserables by Nick Pitera. For his day job he's an animator at Pixar, which is cool enough, but he's been online making awesome music before he landed that gig. His vocal range is incredible, which you'll see amply demonstrated in this video.

Still haven't seen the film (maybe next weekend), but I did see the play years ago when I was most likely too young--early teens--to really get it. I do remember liking the music, and being amazed by the performances, but that's really all. The Master of the House segment is probably my favorite.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Favorite shirt this week: Klimt Eastwood

Amusing mostly if you're familiar with the artist whose name and style are parodied here. This was found at Qwertee. Art by Frederick Jay.

No, I don't get a cut or anything, I'm just gonna post shirts here I would love to have but can't buy for budgetary reasons, so I share instead to tempt you into taking the financial hit support independent artists!

Edit to add: Found an alternate version here. Nice as well, but I like the less smiley version I posted.

Edit to add again: Got my friend Paul to buy it. HA! G0 read his blog and tell him to write more!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

COMICS! Rachel Rising by Terry Moore

Note: I originally posted this back in October of 2012, I am posting it again (unchanged) since I have revamped the blog a bit for the New Year.
I've been a fan since fairly early on in Terry Moore's first major comic series Strangers in Paradise. There Moore explored the lives of Francine and Katchoo, and their friend David, in a complicated love triangle set against a thriller-type story of political infiltration and shadowy organizations. But that's not this.

Neither is Echo, Moore's second series. In Echo, he took a turn to the SF side of life and followed photographer Julie Martin as she became entangled in a mystery surrounding a new kind of battle suit, one which bonds to her, despite the fact that the government wants it back.

So what is Rachel Rising? It's Terry Moore's third self published series, and this time he's raising the dead.

It's not spoiling anything to tell you that Rachel Beck, the titular character, is introduced in the series as a corpse rising from the ground. She doesn't realize she's dead, or really know what's happened to her (and neither do we), all she feels is an overwhelming need to get home.

As she begins to realize not everything is right in her world, home doesn't offer any answers. She can't remember what happened the nigh before when she went out with her best friend Jet. She goes out into town and is told she isn't Rachel by one of her neighbors. And her aunt, who works in the morgue, thinks she's dead and just a hallucination.

Add to the mix a mysterious woman who appears atop buildings looking down at Rachel with a devilish smile, a little girl who has gotten herself in a lot of trouble, and a growing body count, Rachel starts to realize her life is not the same. Starting with the fact that she shouldn't have one because she's not breathing.

During the story Rachel, her aunt Johnny and Jet are trying to figure out what happened to her as she begins seeing things no one else can. Other pieces of the puzzle are given to the reader, but they only deepen the mystery and ask more questions (and answer few). Things come to a head, or rather a crash, as the car they're in rams into a truck and another death occurs. But in Rachel's world, that's doesn't stop you from getting up.

After reading the first six issues I am completely hooked. I was hooked on the first, really. The opening story arc is complete with issue six, and a collection called Shadow of Death is already available.

I suppose the highest compliment I can give it is the fact that I pick up the monthly issues as they come out, as opposed to waiting for the trade collections. I haven't regularly collected a monthly comic for more than a decade, but I'm enjoying the heck out of this one and don't want to wait and don't mind the expense.

Terry Moore is a man who has managed to do what few artists can, not get stuck in one genre, or one series. He has produced two amazing series so far, and Rachel's Rising has now been added to that list.

Rachel Rising is © Terry Moore

Friday, January 11, 2013

2012: My Year in Media

For the past several years I've been keeping track of what I read. One of the new things I did last year was post publicly what I had consumed. This also included movies, TV, web series and podcasts. Originally, I had been keeping more detailed lists of those additions at the start of the New Year, but the insanity of listing every single episode of a show or podcast I enjoyed soon became apparent, and I stopped that, choosing to confine my detailed listing to what I read. In the end I settled for a simple listing of new films, the TV shows I watched regularly (or entirely if it was something older and available to watch via DVD, Netflix, etc), the web series I enjoyed and the podcasts I listen to. For 2013, I'm adding music to the mix, because we all have a soundtrack.

Last year I had set a goal to read a book a week, a goal I fell short of. That doesn't mean I didn't get a lot done, as I did. I was fairly active throughout the year, but I noticed my reading trended down for novels and up for comics (consisting of single issues, graphic novels, and collected editions). I definitely got fatigued a little short of the halfway point in 2012. I got as far as I did in part because the year before I discovered the joys of audiobooks, and had a job with a commute that afforded me time to listen.

Among my favorites in general were Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box, Terry Moore's Rachel Rising comic series, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Doctor Who (the new companion is awesome!), Life on Mars, the If You're Just Joining Us podcast, and, of course, the latest season of The Guild. I've highlighted a bunch of my other favorites from last year below.

So, here it is, the list of things enjoyed (or not) in 2012, more or less complete:

Novels & Novellas:

Farhenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (audio)
The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis (audio, re-read)
Psycho by Robert Bloch (audio)
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (audio, re-read)
The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi (print)
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (audio)
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (print/audio)
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler (audio)
Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale (audio)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (audio)
Baby Moll by John Farris [writing as Steve Brackeen] (print)
The Witches by Roald Dahl (audio)
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (audio, re-read)
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (audio)
Matilda by Roald Dahl (audio)
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audio)
Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book One) by Jim Butcher (audio)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (audio, re-read)
The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison (audio)
Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen (audio)
Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker (audio)
John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (audio, re-read)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (audio)
Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock (audio)
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (audio)
Sailor in the Seas of Fate by Michael Moorcock (audio)
The Little Sisters of Eluria by Stephen King (audio)
Everything's Eventual by Stephen King (audio)
Fair Coin by E. C. Myers (print)
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (audio)
Kid Vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout (print)
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (audio)
Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson (audio, re-read)
Redshirts by John Scalzi (print)
Dead Harvest by Chris F Holmn (audio)
The Man with the Getaway Face by Richard Stark (audio)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (audio)
Devil in the Dollhouse by Richard Kadrey (ebook)
Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny (audio)
Butch Fatale, Dyke Dick in Double-D Double Cross by Christa Faust (ebook)
Doctor Who: Devil in the Smoke by Justin Richards (ebook)
Legion by Brandon Sanderson (audio)
Abarat by Clive Barker (audio, re-read)

Short Stories:

From the collection Doug Bradley's Spine Chillers, Vol. 1, an audiobook:
  • The Signalman by Charles Dickens
  • August Heat by William Harvey
  • The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (re-read)
  • The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft
  • The Open Window by Saki
  • The Beast With Five Fingers by William Harvey

Comics & Graphic Novels:

Locke & Key Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill [w] and Gabriel Rodriguez [a]
Locke & Key Vol 2: Head Games by Joe Hill [w] and Gabriel Rodriguez [a]
Locke & Key Vol 3: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill [w] and Gabriel Rodriguez [a]
Locke & Key Vol 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill [w] and Gabriel Rodriguez [a]
Locke & Key Vol 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill [w] and Gabriel Rodriguez [a]
Nemesis by Mark Millar [w] & Steve McNiven [a]
Rachel Rising Issue, 5-11 by Terry Moore [w/a]
Boneyard Issues 1-2 by Richard Moore [w/a]
The Walking Dead Vol. 15: We Find Ourselves by Robert Kirkman [w] and Charlie Adlard [a]
Gantz, Vol. 1 Hiroya Oku, [w/a]
Hellraiser: Pursuit of the Flesh by Clive Barker/Christopher Monfette [w], Various [a]
Hellraiser: Reqium by Clive Barker/Christopher Monfette [w], Various [a]
The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher [w], Ardian Syaf/Various [a]
Wolves by Becky Cloonan [w/a]
Goliath by Tom Gauld [w/a]
Athos in America by Jason 
ST:TNG/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 Issue 1 by Scott & David Tipton [w], J.K. Woodward [a]
Superior by Mark Millar [w], Leniel Yu [a]
The Moon Moth by Jack Vance [original writer], Humayoun Ibrahim [art/adaptation]
The Hidden by Richard Sala [w/a]
Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns [w], Gary Frank [a]
RASL by Jeff Smith
Northlanders, Vol 1: Sven the Returned by Brian Wood [w], Davide Gianfelice [a]
Northlanders, Vol 2: The Cross + the Hammer by Brian Wood [w], Ryan Kelly [a]
Northlanders, Vol. 3: Blood in the Snow by Brian Wood [w], Various [a]
Northlanders, Vol. 4: The Plague Widow by Brian Wood [w], Leandro Fernandez [a]
Northlanders, Vol. 5: Metal by Brian Wood [w], Various [a]
Northlanders, Vol. 6: Thor's Daughter by Brian Wood [w], Various [a]
Beartato and the Various Things That Happened by Anthony Clark
Irredeemable Vol 1-10 by Mark Waid [w], Peter Krause [a] and Various [a]
Incorruptible Vol 1-7 by Mark Waid [w], Various [a]
Joker  by  Brian Azzarello [w], Lee Bermejo [a]
X'ed Out by Charles Burns


Theatrical Release:
  • John Carter
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Avengers
  • Prometheus
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Brave
  • The Bourne Legacy
  • Total Recall (2012)
  • Dr. No (yes, a re-release, but I never saw the whole thing, let alone in a theater, so I'm counting it!) 
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  • Let the Right One In (Swedish version)
  • Toy Story 2
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Hugo
  • 21 Jump Street (Yeah, I know, it was stupid. Stupid funny!)
  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Conan the Barbarian (2011) 
  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green
  • Ted

TV Shows:

Ongoing current series:
  • Doctor Who
  • Community (Fourth Season: Yay!, Dan Harmon fired: Boo! Delayed to 2013: Boo, again!)
  • Castle
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Person of Interest
  • New Girl
  • Games of Thrones
  • Grimm
  • Tron: Uprising
  • Go On 
  • Elementary
  • Revolution

  • Life on Mars (UK version, which is awesome)
  • Kingdom (Stephen Fry series)

Web Series/Movies:

  • The Guild (Season 5)


Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing hosted by Shaun Farrell, Moses Siregar III and Brent Bowen
If You're Just Joining Us hosted by Jon Armstrong
Radio Free Burrito hosted by Wil Wheaton
The SF Signal Podcast hosted by Patrick Hester
The Functional Nerds hosted by Patrick Hester and John Anealio
Writing Excuses hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and Mary Robinette Kowal
Webcomics Weekly hosted by Scott Kurtz, Dave Kellett, Brad Guigar, and Kris Straub (I don't think they are doing any new ones at this point, but well worth the time for the backlist for the info and advice they have) (Updated: they got back together recently for a new one in December, with a hint they might do more, cool!)

The Nerdist hosted by Chris Hardwick
Martini Shot hosted by Rob Long
The Memory Palace hosted by Nate DiMeo
Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast hosted by John Champion and Ken Ray