Saturday, June 28, 2014

SWC Videos

So I went to Spirit West Coast this past Sunday with some friends and filmed some videos of Kutless and Tenth Avenue North. Enjoy the videos.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big Wow pics and highlights

So I went to the Big Wow Comicfest 2014 this past Saturday with my friend Luke, his dad, his brother. We saw a lot of neat stuff and got some good deals.

As we walked into the convention, Iron Lady was getting set up. I thought the display looked pretty cool.

 After walking around for a bit, we checked out the Batman museum, which had a lot of neat stuff.

 The Batmobile was even on display.
 It was cool to see artwork that wasn't Batman-related as well.

 When walking towards the artists' alley, the DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies was on display and some Judge Dredd cosplayers were enjoying a conversation.
It's always cool to see the Bay Area Ghostbusters around and they were posing for pictures.

 Luke, his dad, and his brother had to leave early, so I hung around for about two hours and got some good deals on comics. There was these two people there -- I guess they're a married couple -- that I bought some comics from last year for a dollar each. I was wondering if they were gonna be there again this year and they were, so I bought some old Fantastic Four and Avengers comics as well as two Doom Patrol comics. I'm starting to become a Doom Patrol and although my Doom Patrol collection is just getting started, I do plan on checking out the rest of John Arcudi's run since I've heard good things about it. When I was at the booth, one of the Doom Patrol comics that caught my attention was from John Arcudi's run.
Anyway, I got around to meeting some of the artists I wanted to meet, which was nice. I started off with Shelly Byers and Gerhard.

 They were nice and I enjoyed talking to Gerhard all things Cerebus and comics-related. I had him sign some of my stuff and he was particularly fond of my copy of TMNT Vol. 1 #8, where Cerebus had made an appearance. I even got to check out a Swamp Thing Bernie Wrightson piece that he had done the background art for.

 Next was Mike Zeck, who signed my copy of Kraven's Last Hunt.
And least but not least, I talked to Nick Bradshaw for a bit and had him sign some of Army of Darkness comics.
On my way out, I snagged the Silver Surfer: Requiem series and the Marvel Select Lizard figure. I had a fun time overall except for the part where my legs felt like Jell-O. I look forward to next year's convention.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Goodreads review: Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol. 1: The Fantastic

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The FantasticUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The Fantastic by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had been wanting to check out some of the comics from the Ultimate universe for a while and decided to give Ultimate Fantastic Four Volume 1 a try. I had read some of Earth 616 comics of the Fantastic Four, so I was already somewhat familiar with the characters and storylines. Bendis and Millar's collaboration, I thought, was a refreshing take on the origin that kept me engaged the whole time through. I liked the fact that Reed Richards was a science geek in high school that got picked on a lot and would help Ben Grimm out with his homework in exchange for him beating up bullies. It gave insight into their relationship as well as how they came to know Sue and Johnny Storm. Reed would conduct experiments in his garage and his dad would get mad at him about it, but it allowed for Reed to go to learn and grow in the Baxter Building which led to his teleportation experiment. In this volume, the teleporation experiment, not the cosmic rays, was what gave the Fantastic Four their powers, which was much akin to David Cronenberg's The Fly.

The fact that Bendis and Millar were able to work together despite their stylistic differences never felt forced nor was it ever anything I had a problem with. Adam Kubert's art -- particularly in the action sequences -- to me, flew off the pages with fluid movement and vibrant motion. Never before did I think that'd I see The Thing used as a target practice for machine gun fire or Mr. Fantastic fold himself up into a ball to deal with a monster. There were so many great and creative moments that stand out that give the book that edge. Even though Bendis and Millar were writing characters that have been around for a while, they still found new ways to utilize their powers and develop their relationships ever further. I thought the Mole Man character, although kind of creepy, was kind of cool too because he had a skin condition and to me, looked very much Todd McFarlane-esque.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more Ultimate Marvel stories. This books comes highly recommended whether you've been into comics for a long or you're interested in them and aren't sure where to start.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Goodreads review: The Road

The RoadThe Road by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perhaps this isn't one of McCarthy's best works, but I still liked it. Having recently played The Last of Us, I was curious about some of the book and movies that inspired it, so I decided to give The Road a try. I found it to be slow paced and hard to follow at times, which to me, were the only negatives. I really liked the relationship between the boy and his father because not only did they did try to cooperate and get along in a post-apocalyptic world, but the moments of the boy's disobedience towards his father were a nice touch because it gave insight to their conflicts and struggles in a hostile world. Discussion about God and other survivors and whether they're good or bad showed me that the relationship of the boy and his father was very open as well as childlike due to the boy's curiosity. It's as if their conversations were a sort of coping method as a way to deal with the world around them.

I liked the structure of the book in terms of the fact that it was a continuous story and didn't really have chapter stops. McCarthy experimented with this, in a way, in All the Pretty Horses because the chapters, for the most part, were lengthy. With that in mind, the structure, I found, worked really well for The Road because the boy and his father were on a journey that had, for the most part, no reason for there being chapter stops. It only adds, in a good way, to McCarthy's already organic use of imagery and language.

The violent and lawless landscape that the boy and his father traveled -- which is a common theme in post-apocalyptic stories -- didn't feel cliché or overused because McCarthy made it his own. What I mean by that is he didn't use that theme and not put any depth of thought into it because he took time to make it interesting, with the road almost being a character itself because, while being the title of the book, it plays a big part in the story. It has a nature -- a characteristic about it -- that seemed have to a degree of mystery, which kept me intrigued.

I have a feeling that The Road will resonate with me for a while. I'm glad I checked it out because I was pleasantly surprised. I was hesitant to at first because I wasn't familiar with it, but it hit me hard and shocked me in some places, which I probably won't be forgetting anytime soon.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Capitalism in school today

The kids filed into class Monday morning. They were all very excited. Their weekend assignment was to sell something, and then give a talk on salesmanship.

Little Sally led off. "I sold Girl Scout cookies and I made $30" she said proudly. "My sales approach was to appeal to the customer's civil spirit, and I credit that approach for my obvious success."

"Very good", said the teacher.

Little Debbie was next. "I sold magazines" she said. "I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events.

"Very good, Debbie", said the teacher.

Eventually, it was Little Johnny's turn. The teacher held her breath.

Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom, and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher's desk. "$2,467", he said.

"$2,467!" cried the teacher, "What in the world were you selling?"

"Toothbrushes", said Little Johnny.
"Toothbrushes" echoed the teacher. "How could you possibly sell enough toothbrushes to make that much money?"

"I found the busiest corner in town", said Little Johnny. "I set up a Dip & Chip stand, and I gave
everybody who walked by a free sample." They all said the same thing: "Hey, this tastes like dog poop!" Then I would say, "It is dog poop. Wanna buy a toothbrush? I used the President Obama method of giving you some crap, dressing it up so it looks good, telling you it's free, and then making you pay to get the bad taste out of your mouth."

Little Johnny got five stars for his assignment. Bless his little heart.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Goodreads review: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Crooked Letter, Crooked LetterCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the few books to remind me that life is beautiful yet heartbreaking at the same time. Right from the start, Franklin nailed it and kept me wanting more. Having recently taken an interest in the southern gothic genre, I was pleasantly surprised by this character driven crime thriller. You have Larry and Silas -- who are both connected to a girl that went missing when Larry took her to a drive-in movie when he was young. With that in mind, Franklin's use of both, should I say, past and present narrative didn't feeling jarring whenever he transitioned because he maintained that balance. I also liked the used of narrative concerning the childhood of Larry and Silas because it provided a background for the characters as a way of letting me know were they came from and also as a way of illustrating how their past impacted the plot. If Franklin left those moments out, I don't think I would have been all that interested in the characters.

I found it interesting that in the present day, Silas and Larry didn't have the friendship they did when they were young, which probably had to do with what happened at the drive-in. In the book, Silas is the town constable and Larry lives in solitude. It's as if they were having a conversation even though, for most of the book, they didn't have contact with one another. I could probably analyze that to death and point out some examples, but I'll say the way that Franklin utilized that kind of reminded me of those police procedurals or what have you where you'll have investigations taking place. From what I recall, Larry and Silas do come in contact with one another in the last few chapters, but you'll have to read the book in order to get the full understanding of that.

I thought, for the most part, the story moved along at a pretty good pace and I was never really bored with it. Franklin's use of poetic language was something I caught onto quickly, and I'd say it helped to draw me in.

Overall, I rather enjoyed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and I hope you do too if you decide to pick it up. I'm glad I've been exploring the southern gothic genre lately, especially after giving this one a try.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

SWC Videos

So I went to Spirit West Coast Monterey from the 1st to the 3rd and had a great time as these videos depict. There weren't as many people there in previous years, but it was still a blessing. The video that is a direct non-YouTube upload is of The Red Airplanes performing. The sound on them cut got off of it when I uploaded it on YouTube, so I thought I'd just post it as a direct file. I did record one of Building 429, but the sound got cut off, so perhaps there's a way around that. Enjoy the videos.