Monday, December 28, 2009

The End

2009 just so happens to be the year of the Beatle. The Beatles mono releases took albums that couldn't be better and made them better. It took familiar tracks and added layers that went unheard/unfelt. Moreover, exploding auditory experiences wasn’t enough; Apple also released Beatles Rock Band. And hands down this is video game of the year. The beautiful visuals, simple, fun, and clean story mode, and the instrument handling do justice to The Beatles' catalogue. While I love my video games that provide revolutionary gaming graphics, insane tales, running through hell-fire and brimstone, evolving a character, realistic burps, etc.- eventually I will stop playing those games, waiting for a new version to come out. Not so for Beatles Rock Band.

Music 2009 also leaves much to be desired. As of late, I haven’t been on the pulse of music. And there have been tons of 09 releases, to name a few: Tortoise, Kings of Convenience, Wolfgang Phoenix, Flaming Lips, Japandroids, Grizzly Bear, Coconut Records, Harlem Shakes, and Owen put out albums. So who stands on top? The cop out answer is The Beatles mono-masters. The real answer though is no one. Not one album stands out as the most amazing piece of 2009. Perhaps I’m missing something and a friend can point me in a better direction. I was digging Kings of Convenience a few weeks back but it isn’t the best of 2009. This year remains largely uninspired and I would show gaping bias to mark Owen as the best of 2009 (although it is). As it stands, I’d rather listen to "The Ricky Gervais Guide To…" series.

Now for a quick and dirty list:

Best Movie: Zombieland

Runner-up: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best TV program: Dexter

Runner-up: Community

Best let down on film: Watchmen

Runner-up: Wolverine

Best Restaurant: Zelda’s Pizza (you can find Cristina and myself there once a week)

Best Comic book: Walking Dead

2009 was sort of a lackluster year more transitory than staple inducing. Sure it had its highlights but I think like most Americans, I believe 2010 will be better. At least I’ll be riding my bike a whole lot more.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pixelated




I'm normally not one to wax massive on daily activities but a relaxing few days has inspired a more wordy post than usual. This weekend I combatted a minor cold and could only fit in an hour or so on the bike. However, it was a tremendous weekend for food, video games, and rocking out to The Beatles. It all began with a rousing game of zombie massacring with my buddy Gabe. Left 4 Dead 2 ups the ante with better levels, added destructive melee weapons (see chainsaw, machetes, and frying pans), improved artificial intelligence, and more skull crushing good times.

Then Cristina and I played so much Beatles Rock Band we could have started calling each other Ringo and George. We essentially played through the entire game in 2 days- it's that good. We grew up on The Beatles, it definitely shows when we're playing, nerdy but fun as hell. Later, we had some pretty good pizza, beer, wine, espresso, etc. at a joint called Onespeed. Their decor is cycling inspired and if you're in Sacramento it's worth checking out.

[Whad' ya mean, you're sold outta pizza!]
I also squeezed in some time with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The multiplayer on this game is so badass I won't be messing with the solo-campaign for awhile. It's the same routine of running around and exploding/blasting players up or sneaking up on them and giving them the ol' what-for, despite the repetition it's endless enjoyment. On the flip side of this game is Beatles Rock Band. The Apple marketing engine is brilliant and constantly gobbles up money in the most worthy ways (see mono-remixes). The Beatles, without a doubt, deserved their own title to make the Rock Band paradigm work. The sheer number of songs/albums, quality of tracks, and history demands it's own setup and experience.
I'm no musician but the rock band titles allow you to enjoy music in new and fun ways; just like I'm no super-soldier but launching video-game grenades satisfies the kid in me (but I am a zombie-slayer). So yah, even in sickness, the weekend was fantastic.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Boy and His Bike

My first bike was a blue BMX equipped with training wheels. As soon as I got those trainers off I broke out of our cul-de-sac and into the wild desert, traversing onto large hills and racing down them as fast as possible. Like many kids I had a deep desire for speed, quickness, and the unknown; and the vehicle that could deliver it all was the bicycle. It was the greatest rush a 5 year old me had ever tapped into. Oh, how little things change.

CIMG4951.JPG

I picked up a Cannondale CAAD9 5 from my local bike shop, Mike's Bikes in Sacramento. Their service was top-notch and I didn't feel alienated because this was my first "real" road-bike. I had my heart set on the CAAD but just to compare, I test rode a Specialized Tarmac (impressive bike) but the bike guys even agreed that the CAAD was a better deal- the aluminum frame is second to none. This was also my first proper bike fit and it made all the difference. On this beast, I feel like I can ride over 10 hours no problems and in comfort (maybe I'll test that theory next spring).

This is a frame any cyclist can pick up and improve with little hassle; and plenty of people race on these frames, road and cyclocross. It's equipped with Shimano 105s (perfect for the apprentice me) and I added Shimano Ultegra pedals. There's really no nice comparison with the ol' 1983 Peugeot and a 2010 bike. The CAAD handles amazingly well, holds true/stiff, and is incredibly light. In short, it's swift and smooth. This bike has a lot to offer and I have plenty to learn and much like the blue BMX, I will grow with it.


CIMG4952.JPG

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Requiem for a Peugeot

My bike sits against the wall lifeless without a functioning derailleur. The sun rises early but I can't greet it in the way I want. I run yet the desire to crush scores of miles remains unfulfilled. Scouring the depths of the web and bike junkyards yields only sore eyes and greasy hands, respectively. It's time to move past the old frame, old wheels, old gears, and worn out everything. I've been hindered repeatedly in continual ways, from slipping gears, damaged brakes, bent chains, and now complete dysfunction.



It's only a matter of moments before you hurt me: rattling and crashing during a steep drop, sliding and crashing on a simple turn, or not able to brake leading to an unknown mess. Perhaps you will be resurrected for commutes, a river-ride, or a happy-hour; but for now, old friend, sleep and rest- you've earned it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Journey of the Century Dérailled


I didn't want to end 2009 without completing my first 100 mile bike ride. With the arrival of fall, rain, wind, and cold weather the window to tackle the endeavor was closing. This past Saturday, Nov. 7th, it was an all or nothing ride. A ride that took me over unfamiliar road, endless farmland, and daunting hills. The morning began early and I loaded up on a nutritious breakfast and an espresso (in hindsight I should have had a double). Overall I felt good, the bike was tuned, the road food stored, and an extra bag of supplies ready for pick-up. I was fortunate to have Cristina acting as Directeur Sportif, providing necessary nourishment and water after I hit the 50-60 mile mark.

The scenery surrounding the small country roads outside of Davis, CA are simply stunning. It's a view that keeps you going. The rolling landscape is dream-like and feels endless. It's something you don't see when you drive over freeways and major highways. It provides for a grand bike ride until you hit suburbia. I was able to handle rolling hills and natural grades; then I rolled through a small suburban community and met hills of the likes I had never tackled. They weren't major but after going 50-60 miles they took a toll on me. The toll it exacted made the return trip feel worse but invigorating. When going over some of those hills I felt pain in my legs such as I had never felt. Yet, it fueled me to continue and fight it out.

I was lucky that day for several reasons. The weather was perfect in that I never had to remove my top layer merino sweater over a short-sleeve merino jersey. The air proved crisp enough to cool me down but not enough to have me shivering or feeling cold and the wind was mild. A small seat adjustment fit me into the saddle better than ever and Cristina's support made the trip easier. Then I got unlucky. I reached Davis, the final destination that got me into striking 100 miles. And then it happened...my bike would not stay in gear. The chain was jumping up a gear then down and around. I hopped off only to notice a damaged cage.



This would have really sucked 25 miles prior or even 10. I finished the ride and have learned several valuable lessons (other than carry a spare derailleur ha.ha.):
  • know where your water refill and restroom stations will be
  • pack plenty of water packets (I used propel and it worked out well)
  • eat, eat, and eat
Biking this distance was tremendously enjoyable and didn't leave me hurt or exhausted the next day. However, it does leave me wanting a more reliable bike (my Peugeot is older than I). It has also left me wanting more: more bike rides, longer distances, faster speeds, improved pacing, etc. etc. My 2009 cycling goal is complete and the winter season will leave me with strength conditioning, indoor cycling fun, and chilly weekend rides.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunken Ships

Daylight savings hath arrived and it doth provide morning shine.


I'm not much of a fan of getting up early to go for a run, head to the gym, or entertain an exercise routine. However, it has become enjoyable and easier to wake up when heading out for a bike ride. It's sort of like the first day of school or Christmas, but probably more like Saturday morning cartoons; I can't wait to get up, down an espresso, get the gear on, and carry my bike down the stairs. In short, it's fun.

Sacramento is blessed with many biker friendly streets and several bike trails. As of late I have been journeying south, after trekking the Davis and American River trail routes numerous times. Sometimes I see an odd bum peering through bushes, deer munching on foliage, squirrels jetting for dear life, etc. But on the journey south I found a washed up paddle-boat along the river banks. It's novel just to see it resting there, reminding me that biking on a river trail beats the hell out of weaving through traffic and swearing at cars that cut in front of you. The river appears motionless, a once powerful ship sits dead, and the only thing moving with great speed is you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Warmer Climes Kill

Sacramento's mid 60s to mid 70s weather filled with sunshine and light breezes are effectively making me semi-insane. It's perfect weather for a long bike ride, a light cruise to the park for a picnic, and/or sitting on the balcony enjoying some cold cold ones. Unfortunately, I'm stuck. Stuck in a building with regulated temperatures and pumped in air. A building that offers large windows displaying an unusually gorgeous November day; and what will probably be a gorgeous week. In short, the 9-5 has me in a strait-jacket.

Once I'm off work the sun is setting and outdoor fun is no longer within grasp. I have an hour for lunch that will allow me to take a brisk bike ride to the river and take in the invigorating atmosphere, but that's a tease. Luckily daylight savings is in effect and I can knock out a quick morning ride as the sun slowly takes shape around 6:AM or so, a longer tease but a tease nonetheless.

Winter is right around the corner and thoroughly enjoying what's left of the Indian Summer feels unattainable.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ewoks on The Today Show

4 minutes and 45 seconds of your life well spent if you watch this funny Star Wars themed Today Show episode; in which the ewoks steal the show:



The brown Ewok appears to be the infamous dancing Dwarf of the New York subway. And this video comes just in time for my annual Star Wars Holiday Special viewing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Windy & Sunless Fall : Gear Reviewed

I've been complaining, more often than not, about the lack of sun during this time of year: it prevents before and/or after-work rides. Cycling lights don't cut it and Sacramento lacks regular street lighting, added to the dilemma is a surplus of trees that blot out the moon and stars. Today I had enough and set out at 5:30 AM. I chose the day that proved the coldest and windiest it has been in weeks; a day which ended summer weather and rolled in fall. I also learned that it is truly darkest before the dawn. Despite the atmosphere that surrounded the ride I was prepared. Two layers of merino wool, killer Hincapie socks, and Pearl Izumi thermafleece bib ensured cold and wind were kept at bay.



The first layer of merino I was lucky to have owned for ages. It was a lightweight long-sleeve zip up sweater from the gap. I know, not exactly premium made for cycling gear but this thing really worked. The ol' gap sweater was well worn in and flexible. I had it over a swobo merino jersey. The swobo jersey needs to be broken in and proved, initially, a bit itchy. Once I was on the road I didn't notice it at all and was plenty warm. All the hype surrounding merino is hardly hype.

The Izumi bib was great and my lower half was never a concern, neither too warm nor too cool. The chamois wasn't overly bulky or thin, in short it complimented my saddle (albeit an old saddle). Anxious to test out the gear further I went for two rides today and was comfortable both early early morning and early evening.

And my ride.

I've owned this '83 Peugeot for a couple of years. It is mostly stock, minus the Shimano handlebars, SRAM chain, and of course the handlebar tape. It must have been housed for most of it's life as the rims, tires, chainsets, and crank are original. The original chain only met it's maker just a few weeks ago. The water-bottle comes from non-other than one of the most amazing cycling performance-wear companies Rapha. The water-bottle actually belongs to Cristina but she's gone for the week and I'll be damned if I give my girlfriend a lemon for a water-bottle; thus obligating my testing it out in the rigors of fall cycling.

Having established that an old merino sweater works incredibly well I am happy to not have to retire my Rapha jersey for the cold months. Worrying about your gear, to be blunt, sucks- and Rapha ensures not only that you will be comfortable and traveling with less worry but you'll be looking slick as well. With any luck I'll pick up some Rapha merino base-layers and remain comfortable and warm as the temperatures continue to drop.


Here's to the fall/winter- stay warm!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Google Wave

I have a few Google Wave invites to share. So as to share the love, leave me a comment with your favorite Beatles album and/or cyclist(s) and I'll invite you. First come first served.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Better Than The Beatles

Last night was an awakening. It was one of those moments when you think you know something, I mean honestly get it and live by it. And then something happens and bam, your life is changed for better or worse. The moment at hand is tied to the remastered collection of The Beatles. I grew up on The Beatles, like most people that can be trusted. I listened to the vinyls, cassettes, CDs, and even took a college course focused solely on them.

The conflict and history of mono and stereo gets a bit convoluted. All you really need to know is that The Beatles recorded most of their albums in mono and paid no attention to the stereo mixing. It was new, unrefined, and gimmicky technology; their musical vision was in mono. Last night, Cristina and I listened to Revolver in remastered mono. The comparison to the CD/mp3 versions is something you have to experience. Vocals, bass, piano, guitar, drums, etc. etc. are full and warm. The sounds capture real life better than ever before. You hear/feel instruments and sounds that were never accessible before. The same holds true for vinyl record holders of these albums, the mono will sound better than the stereo. [great article from Gizmodo: Sorry Stereo, But Beatles in Mono Rocks a Lot More]

The fun isn't over. There are more albums to enjoy and the stereo remastering of all their albums aims to beat out the old mono versions. Thanks to modern audio technology the stereo versions should deliver an even better sound. I'm skeptical because the mono remasters blew my head off my shoulders. I'll run another comparison and report back. Until then, do yourself a favor and get your hands on these remastered collections.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Paris-Roubaix

This picture captures a level of cycling that is full of grit, blood, and pain. Want to know more? Wikipedia has an informative entry on the famous race known as the "Paris-Roubaix": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris%E2%80%93Roubaix

photo via [ BIKE PGH ]

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Official Red Sox Statement by Me

I was recently asked about the 2004 World Series Championship, knowing now that Manny and Papi are known performance drug-users, before and maybe after that season. My questioner called it a tainted year. My response:

If you take the few players who have tainted the game and dwell on their actions, applying it to every game and the whole season/post-season then all is tainted. I prefer to look at the players individually. Bonds' record is a sham, but his team did get to the world series and played hard, and lost thankfully. Manny and Papi, while I love'em, are dirty players. Manny for sure, but Papi still has to release a statement that might cover him, but probably not.

If I took down a whole team because of the actions of a few then I might as well give up MLB, NFL, TdF, etc. etc. That's me though, anti-sox will jump for joy and take down the whole banner despite the honest and hardworking players, staff, management, and fans that went into that 2004 season.

That's how I feel and I'm sticking to it. If it comes out that a great cyclist was doping, I blame that person not the entire team and their success.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tour de France

Cristina and I have been watching The Tour de France all month. We started off watching the late night repeats, however as the race comes closer to an end I've found myself waking up early everyday to catch the final hour. I'll admit that right off the cuff cycling may not be the most exciting event if you're unfamiliar with it. While there are the obvious technical aspects and grueling passion of combat with cycling, The Tour de France is also a thing of beauty. The scenery in which they travel and the colors of the flying team jerseys and bikes make for constant awe inspiration. There's also plenty of drama between riders and teams.


This weekend will prove to be the most exciting, as it is the final two days of racing. If you have the chance I highly recommend watching this weekend's events- schedule here. And how often do you see a champion like Lance Armstrong make a comeback of this magnitude in any sport?!

Links to guides on the Tour de France for beginner's and semi-enthusiasts:

http://www.tdfblog.com/2003/07/beginners_guide.html

http://bicycling.suite101.com/article.cfm/beginners_guide_to_the_tour_de_france

http://www.itv.com/sport/tourdefrance/beginnersguide/default.html

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Music Mixxes

My new mix will be dropping sometime soon, I hope. Until then enjoy this gentle giant's latest and greatest. It's quite the feel good album and it will have you saying, "hey! I know that song" in no time.

Here's the master list to an amazing amount of great music mixes:

http://bigredrobot.blogspot.com/2008/12/2008-brr-mixxes-master-list.html

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in this history of mankind. Mankind -- that word should have new meaning for all of us today.We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests.

Perhaps its fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution -- but from annihilation.We're fighting for our right to live, to exist. And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:

"We will not go quietly into the night!

We will not vanish without a fight!

We're going to live on!

We're going to survive!"

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Magic Boy #3

Magic Boy #3 is now available. This issue has been done up in a special format. Enjoy.

http://www.box.net/shared/7kkt4uk6pl


The preview function messes up some of the text, best to download.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Must see movie rentals

This passing week has been a momentous one for movies. I've watched a handful of Woody Allen films and Manhattan is one that stands out as particularly smart, witty, wholesome, and worth your time. It's done up in black and white (an easy way to win my approval) and full of quick-dialogue (another way to gain my heart). It is Allen at his best.

In the Mood for Love is another Wong Kar-wai joint and it delivers to the umpteenth level. It's full of awkward tension and raw emotion in the face of a modernized/globalized China. A definite must rent; and the soundtrack is tops.

Lastly, was Le Samourai. I got into this movie all kinds of quick, as it's full of action, intellectual detective work, stoic-strength, and a French police force that isn't afraid to abuse personal privacy to solve a crime. The ending certainly left me thinking, and as I ponder it more and more I find myself liking it more and more.

Due up this week: Match Point and Lady Vengeance. Yep more Woody Allen and a taste of the orient, by Chan Wook Park (of Oldboy fame).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sega Activator

There's a lot of hubbub and woopty-doo over the Xbox 360 demo of Natal. I say, yawn. This has been done before:




Meet me at my house after school, my mom will have pizza bites and Sunny-D ready for us, then we can play some Mortal Kombat on the Sega Activator!

For Thursday.

Must rent movies are on the way:

In the Mood for Love

Le Samourai

Why I've waited so long to see Le Samourai I'll never know. Netflix description:

A little bit gangster film, a little bit samurai flick, this 1960s French masterpiece from Jean-Pierre Melville introduces the memorable anti-hero Jef Costello (Alain Delon), a contract killer with the instincts of a Japanese warrior and the features of Adonis. After offing a nightclub owner, Costello has two big problems: his double-crossing employer, who now wants him dead, and the dogged police investigator who's determined to rein him in.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Must see movie rentals

For some reason or another (BSG) my dedication to watching an amazing amount of movies has diminished. While in Grad School, living in the snow and negative temperatures of Syracuse, Cristina and I watched tons of baseball and movies. Last week Cristina and I watched Annie Hall for the first time. It lives up to all the grandeur that it has been given and was certainly more than we expected. The brief Christopher Walken moment was something we didn't anticipate but totally loved.

This weekend I watched Planet of the Apes (again) and Chungking Express. Two movies that are unlike each other in every way, yet they both have pushed me back to a desire to watch more films. They have enhanced my craving for the Planet of the Apes sequels and other movies by Wong Kar-Wai.

Hope to add additional titles, maybe more obscure, in the weeks to come; there you have it must see movie rentals, even if it's for the umpteenth time:

Annie Hall (and other Allen films)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Chungking Express

Bonus! Must see in theatres: Star Trek. If you didn't like, you must be a 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture kinda person.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man

Spider-Man was one of the first super-heroes to enter my world of fiction and fantasy. My father collected comic-books and the web-head was a strong staple of that collection. As such, I've had comic action figures since I was born and a plastic Spider-Man with limited points of articulation graced my room. In elementary school I read classic reprints of the original volumes written by Stan Lee. As a kid, I made it a point to give gifts of Spidey Super Stories (as my dad had multiple copies), to others for birthday gifts. I think those comics were largely sponsored by Hostess Cupcakes or something.

Amazing Spider-Man happens to be my go to comic when I'm in the middle of a 2 for 1 deal and I need a freebie. Some of the story lines have been lame, see clones, while others triumphs, see Straczynski. However, as of many years ago, I no longer pick it up on a monthly basis. This changes again, I'll be picking it up regularly as the last issue I read proved interesting and captures the oddity of Peter Parker's superhuman life. I guess Spider-Man has been gone for some months, being trapped in an alternate dimension with the Fantastic Four, and finds that J. Jonah Jameson is mayor of New York and mounting a battle for a Spider-Man free city. Peter Parker also manages to walk in on Aunt May, whilst she is under the covers with none other than, Spider-Man supporter, John Jonah Jameson Sr. Iegads!



















(Spidey Super Stories #21)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Batman update

Glad I never read it cause I knew it and this blog told me so:

Five Reasons Why "Batman: Battle for the Cowl" is Terrible

http://geniusboyfiremelon.blogspot.com/2009/05/five-reasons-why-batman-battle-for-cowl.html

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Haiku

This is a haiku I wrote when the Internet was down at work.

Internet Disruption

Internet was down
Oh, how we talked and wondered
Up, now we don't talk.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Instrumenting Around - Mixtapery


Coming at you for the month of May is my latest mixtape. It's a special edition of only instrumental tunes. Enjoy!

Available ici.


Social Networking Experience


[image from http://www.websocialarchitecture.com/community/2008/06/a-conceptual-ma.html]


For a couple weeks now I've stayed away from Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook. I've had my fill of them and found them to be time-wasters that didn't necessarily enhance my communication with friends and family. Myspace and Facebook alike allow people I haven't talked to in years to find me and then we catch up with a 'how do you do' then nothing. It's seems rather impersonal and repetitious. However, the facebook chat, which is nothing more than an instant messenger is handy. I was able to catch-up with friends immediately and have an actual conversation. There are options to have the chat in a stand alone application, maybe I'll look into that.

I've saved a lot of time and have been able to use my work breaks to step away from the computer screen instead of checking updates taking place on the social web. That was one problem with twitter. You're waiting for the next sentence. Yet, many people don't blog, or blog that often, so Twitter is something that I may have to get back to, to stay in the loop with friends; where one sentence is really all any of us need. I missed some news by not being on Twitter and I am reconsidering jumping back on but limiting my time on it.

So what have I been able to do with all this great time I've saved? I've read a lot of comics, started watching Woody Allen films, watched plenty of baseball and Battlestar, enjoyed neighborhood jogs, have been caught up on my RSS feeds, etc. whilst being less attached to a my computer and cell phone. Social networks were go-to places while on the computer but now I stick with blogs and news sites. In the end it's boils down to time management and social networks were wasting my time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mighty ! Alpha One



I learned long ago not to judge a comic book by it's cover. Usually it's something outrageous: the hero or heroine on the cover in a precarious and impossible situation, finding out they have an illegitimate child, losing their powers forever, their identity has been revealed, and/or wrestling a reptile-alien of godlike proportions. All of which never take place in the comic in any way shape or form. It's like they have the artist draw the coolest most enticing cover ever only to reveal nothing of the sort on the pages within. The Mighty isn't exactly on par with that discovery but if you look at this cover (above) it looks quite ominous and you would think the pages within are going to contain some major action.

Nope, not at all. For some reason this comic was added to my monthly comic pick-ups; I may have added it because some reviewer on the inter-webs said it was good. It's a comic that is trying to do a lot but it's still dull. It tries to be funny but it's forced. It wishes it was new and cutting-edge but it's recycled. I read 3 issues and wanted to get the 4th, maybe it would grow on me or something would happen that would improve it. However, I gave up on that, why should someone have to get 4 issues of a comic to find out if it's any good. By that time I am out over $10. So yah, I'm done with this comic book.




On the flip side, Walking Dead is a comic book which proves it's value and I've only read one issue! It's about a zombie filled world where the characters- adults and kids- have depth and are interesting. I actually care about their struggle against the zombies, some of which are their friends and family (as one can expect). This lead me to pick up about 5 or so back issues and request vol. 1 of the trade paper back from the local library. However, I might just buy the tpbs anyway because it IS that good.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

United Kingdom Music Presents

Sacramento doesn't happen to get all that many shows that I find myself interested in checking out. However, last night, I was fortunate enough to catch 2 bands: Los Campesinos! and Sky Larkin. My predilection for Los Campesinos! developed sometime ago but I had never heard Sky Larkin. Both bands are from the U.K., have an approvable rough around the edges sound, and have been on what seem to be extensive tours. They've been constantly touring around the USA (and I imagine the world) but were still able to bring massive energy and rock to Sacramento.

Their music isn't for everyone but I dig'em. Sky Larkin reminds me of a Rainer Maria with a bit more pop. Additionally, I've been reading more about improving one's music experience and may find myself investing heavily into a new record player, speakers, integrated amp, more vinyl records, etc. More on that should it come to fruition.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

For the Kids


Yesterday I purchased and built Darth Vader's T.I.E. Fighter. After that I went ahead and did a LEGO version too. It shoots photon torpedoes- eyeballs in my apartment beware.



Following the construction, sounds of "pew pew pew" and "vroooom" could be heard across my street.

Friday, April 10, 2009

RSS Stars

I have starred/saved so many blog posts that going through them gives me a headache whilst the computer cooling unit whinnies and screeches at the sheer magnitude of it all. I will thusly pass on a fine hit with my audience. Bands in Town is a website that provides information on upcoming shows in cities and towns, providing a radius option as well. They display concert results in a cloud of band names. Clicking on a band link leads show info, complete with date and location, picture of the band, map to the venue, and it's all in a web-twopointy format. Bands in Town runs smoother than Pollstar and trumps it presentation too.




Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Star Wars Sitcom

Introducing the Star Wars Sitcom!

Friday, March 27, 2009

More on Comics

There's nothing like reading through comic story lines, moments, and history. Ugo.com delivers a list of their top 50 WTF?! moments in comicdom. While some are more enticing than other it's a good read and fills you in on things you may have never known. It will leave you a better person for learning it too. Read on true believer ! http://www.ugo.com/comics/wtf-moments-in-comics

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Curt Schilling is a king amongst men. In honor of his service and retirement I will commence a rewatching of game 6 ALCS 2004. This will be enjoyed with Stone Ruination IPA.



Thank you my girl Friday for this gift of 2004 ALCS/World Series DVDs that keep on giving. And no Joe Morgan announcing!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wathchmen the flimsy film

Again, I will not jump into the fray by expounding on the instant classic Watchmen movie. However, I will quote others that capture my sentiment and point you towards their quality reviews:

"But it [Watchment] is certainly not the graphic novel, not even what you could honestly think of as an adaptation of it. It's a completely new, post-"Mystery Men" cheesy, faux-grand superhero epic without any kind of humanity to it. It's all artifice. I really do think it's a terrible movie, with moments that made me cringe for aesthetic reasons, but I'm kind of fascinated by it and maybe that's why I get some perverse enjoyment out of it. I certainly wouldn't recommend the movie to anyone..."
http://geniusboyfiremelon.blogspot.com/2009/03/zack-snyders-watchmen-hits-splash-page.html

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What I'm Reading / Have Read


As usual I'm knee deep in some fine comic literature. I picked up vol. 1 of J. Michael Straczynski's Thor and Amazing Spider-man Happy Birthday. Sure to be greats, by a most enjoyable author. I also started Nevermore, a graphic novel that tells Poe's stories in a new and enticing way. I could see this as being useful for getting school kids into classic English literature but so far I'm not Impressed.


Last week I finished up Honoré de Balzac's The Wild Ass's Skin. Not his greatest work, yet his story telling, description, and ability to take you through Parisian/European history, customs, classes, etc. remains undisturbed. This is more of a fantastical tale, (using the term lightly) in comparison to his other works, and the story has a certain je ne sais quoi. As always, I find his novels and short stories most rewarding.





Now, I'm rereading J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories. As I get older and with each reread his works get better. Before, some stories I found less fascinating and less worthwhile than others; now I get into each one and am able to pick apart pieces I didn't care to register before. Salinger's artistry is apparent, the amount of substance he can fit into a handful of pages makes him a quintessential writer of 1940s America.



And in case you were saying, I don't care what you're reading, what are you eating? I ate a burrito from Senor Burrito on I and 7th. That burrito cart is tops!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Watchmen the Reel Rant

I will rant up and down about Watchmen the movie, but have decided not to waste my time over-blogging. If I meet you at a bar, restaurant, or the Liberace Museum then we can discuss. For the time being, please allow Hitler to voice his opinions. (best viewed in full screen, lots o' swearing in subtitles)



He said it, however, he left out the utter lack of hoverbikes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kevin Smith : Batman Cacophony

I just finished reading Kevin Smith's 3 part mini-series Batman Cacophony and honestly, I've thoroughly enjoyed his prior comic work: all the Jersey comics Bluntman & Chronic, Chasing Amy, etc. (aside: any blog post where I use "Bluntman" is a winner), Green Arrow, Daredevil, and Spider-man miniseries. I even put up with the erratic and lengthy nature of his comic releases and follow-ups. His work has always been pleasing and something I look forward to. However, this latest disappoints- the banter is overworked and he's working with characters that require more complexity than he can provide.

While his Joker is reminiscent of the Batman character that was on Fox TV, the jokes fall flat and lacks wit. Joker's dialogue ( and all the dialogue really) does little for the story's development and my interest in it. He also attempts to shed greater light on the Batman-Joker relationship. An attempt that manages to read like a second rate copy of Alan Moore's Killing Joke, a story that successfully highlighted and deepens a relationship's inevitable 'bang'.



This brings me to the super-villain Onomatopoeia (see what I did there?), originally introduced in Smith's Green Arrow run. An enjoyable character, that could be done well in an exclusive miniseries. Smith works best with what he knows, and he knows this character. Sure we all know Batman and the Joker, but writing and recreating a story about them is like trying to reinterpret Jesus and The Apostles- many try but few succeed. I'll still pick up any future Smith funny books. Just the same though, the feeling of being ripped off hasn't faded and I definitely want my nine bucks back.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Time to drop some more musical shares and allow you to diversify your portfolio while you can! Phoenix is registered as a French music entity and will be releasing a full length in May, following a 2006 release It's Never Been Like That. You may recognize their handy-work on the Lost In Translation soundtrack. Here is one free share and a letter from their Board of Trustees:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maps & Atlases


As of late I have been thoroughly enjoying Maps & Atlases (home page). Cristina introduced me to one of their tunes and I recently picked up their full length - Tree, Swallows, Houses. She knew I would dig them and couldn't have been more right. They are in the same vein as Sharks Keep Moving and Minus the Bear, making them an automatic winner in my book. Tom Lynch of newcitychicago.com had this to say:

"The first word that comes to mind when attempting to describe local band Maps & Atlases: complicated. Spastic rhythms and anti-rhythms assault with both a math-rock and lo-fi pop foundation, while the vocals--with lyrics apparently jammed together, seemingly in an Exquisite Corpse method (which only adds to the aural confusion)--surf a giant wave of pin-prick guitar lines and slaughterhouse drums. "

Maps & Atlases look to play in San Francisco some time soon, and they are band I will consider renting a car just to see perform.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Magical Adventures of Magic Boy #2 - ORIGIN !


While many fans have voiced concerns in revealing the identity and secret behind Magic Boy, likening it to Wolverine, I must share the story. Now for the first time ever -ISSUE 2 THE ORIGIN of MAGIC BOY !

Magic Boy #1 - NOV/DEC


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spruce Goose Mixtapery


This is my first mix as part of the Monthly Mixtape Brigade. However, I'm staring at more of a bimonthly brigadiering type of thing.

Enjoy, mes amies :


Spruce Goose Jan/Feb 2009

Australia 3:57 The Shins
Our Swords 2:26 Band Of Horses
Doctor Doctor 2:59 The Who
Badonkadonkey 2:57 Born Ruffians
A-Punk 2:18 Vampire Weekend
Hateful 2:44 The Clash
Hybrid Moments 1:42 The Misfits
Cut Cut Paste 1:46 Tokyo Police Club
Getchoo 2:53 Weezer
Apeman 3:52 The Kinks
Not Fade Away 1:49 The Rolling Stones


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Marvel 1984

Last night, Cristina was reading Watchmen while I read the comic series by Mark Millar Marvel 1984. The comparison between the series I was reading and the series she was reading is large. Everyone knows that Watchmen is a serious effort to deliver a thinking person's comic. Marvel 1984 while entertaining, was one of the nerdiest story lines I've ever read. While the superheroes are really side-characters to the "real" humans of our universe, it manages to make comic book readers look like huge dorks who constantly fantasize about possible realities in which our fantastic comic characters journey to our earth! It made me think that comic book enthusiasts are barely fit to exist on this earth as they live in ivory towers caring only about themselves and their funny books. We aren't a species grounded in reality.

I liked this series and it put a different twist on merging our world with the Marvel universe and it works as a six shot miniseries. Yet, in the end though it made me feel like a massive nerd (which I am) but also glad that I'm not up to par in geekdom as the characters in Millar's work.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Music Music Music

I've had a list on my desk collecting dust of different musical artist that I happen to hear on Pandora radio that catch my fancy. It's been my intention to locate their albums and/or sample more of their tunes. Needless to say I haven't gotten around to it. So, for your viewing pleasure I'll put up the list- and if you want: check'em out. Let me know if they suck, rock, pwn, or otherwise.


  • Julia Sokolow

  • Whiting Tennis

  • The Radio Dept.

  • All India Radio

  • Yelle

  • b.fleischmann

  • The Research

If you don't get around to them, then who will?! Another thing I haven't gotten around to doing (other than the comic) is my bimonthly mix tape, as part of my buddy Dylan's quest to indoctrinate the masses into eventual nerdom and Star Wars fandom. Once I get that out I'll be cool enough to put this on my blog:


I also need an ultra portable nonbulky mp3 player that plays well with Mac ... any recommendations?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obama isn't fat and doesn't have a pony-tail, but acts like it.

From a respected news source:

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama expressed frustration Wednesday after members of his cabinet failed to recognize his allusion to the 24th issue of the comic series Savage Sword Of Conan during their first major meeting together. {CLICK FOR MORE}

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Left 4 Dead




If you're into L4D, check out this compilation of fan art and vids by Geekanerd:

http://www.geekanerdblog.com/2009/01/dying-artforms-best-left-4-dead-fan-art.html

"Most embarrassing death" stands as the funniest.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Comic Gimmickery



In case you didn't know : the DC universe "killed" Batman. I read an issue of Batman and didn't bother with the Final Crisis story. All in all it makes me think, "yawn, boorring". This is a gimmick. And not a very good one at that. When Marvel peaced out Captain America that made people think and it actually got people into comics. The Batman being dead ordeal is annoying, you can write his death but you can't really kill the guy- he's a legend. DC "killed" Superman and that goofy storyline captures the horror that was 90s comic writing. Understanding how Batman died and cycling through crossovers beckons back to the 90s. Killing a timeless superhero is a last ditch effort.

While DC and Marvel both issued gimmicks this month, when it comes to comic gimmickery, Marvel wins by putting Obama on the cover of Amazing Spider-man. It was something that actually brought people to comic stores and had them lining up.

Watchmen

Check out this video of a special newscast, looking back on the legacy of Dr. Manhattan.




I remain skeptical but excited for the film.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To boldy go.

Motivation has been lacking in some areas and I haven't got around to the great many things I would like to do. While I've been able to turn up my music listening, reading, television program enjoying, and look to begin a gym routine; I've let down my comic writing, movie watching, and apartment organization. I look towards February to repair that which falters, however tonight I expect to try something new.


Microsoft has offered a beta version of Windows 7 and I'll throw a partition on the trusty Macbook and see how it drives. My buddy, Neverbesocial, is probably saying WTH for? I used to have Windows XP and used it when the rare instance of needing an odd program (metadata software) that wasn't done well enough on Mac. That and Ultimate Baseball, the online baseball game, was PC only. Plus I like to compare video playback on the two OSes. However, I'm not to sure what I'll do with Windows 7. I'm done with metadata (for now), the baseball game, and video is stellar on my Mac. The sake of trying something new and exploring Microsoft's attempt to overcome Vista woes.




It's a beta and will expire in August- so I'll have fun with it and see if there are big deal OS features. I DOUBT that I will ever buy it or use it for reals. I imagine. Mac will release a real OS update within a year, not including "snow" leopard. I'll give it whirl and will let you know if it sticks out as a worthy OS and XP replacement.
[photo from gizmodo.com]

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

THX 1138



George Lucas' debut feature film is a work everyone should watch, especially if you're into Star Wars.I watched the updated edition with added CGI scenes, and those scenes were wholly unnecessary: futuristic cars zooming around, hairy monkey beasts, a scorpion, etc. Yet, the movie's themes and motifs stand on their own. Also, Robert Duvall does a great job portraying THX 1138, a clone who cuts down on his sedation drugs and begins to feel emotion and rebel against the status-quo. What ensues is a mind-boggling journey into a dystopian future.

It reminds me of Brave New World or Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano. The way it is filmed feels like a Kubrick movie, namely 2001: A Space Odyssey, amazing shots of technology and mankind's interaction with it. The movie takes place in a sterile world where human goals are to build machines- machines that police mankind and dictate their growth, progress, and movement. People are inebriated with sedatives, religion, holograms (SWHS, anyone?), toil, and appeasing the system.

I've gained incite into Lucas' younger days and his molding of future films. If he had stuck with this deep and cynical viewpoint who knows what he could have done. Not that Star Wars and Indiana Jones aren't fantastic movies; but imagine if they were combined with serious sensory explosions and serious qualitative drama (admit it: Lucas bought the farm, jumped the shark, sold out, etc. Maybe not in one sitting but there's a progression that begins with SWHS and ends with Indialiena). Not to spoil anything further, I thoroughly enjoyed THX 1138 and give it an A-

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reading my heart's desires

This picture had me LOLing all over the place:


Today while waiting for the light rail I wanted to check my RSS feeds. I removed my gloves to fiddle with my cellphone and my hands were starting to freeze. As it stands there isn't a remedy just waiting for the train and removing my gloves then. However, a new patent by Apple hopes to give humankind thermal protection with technology access.