Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Television Tuesday: The Mick

I just recently did a brief, "Television Tuesday," post about the then-imminent return of, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a show which shares a lot of linkages with, "The Mick." From some of the same creative team to the most obvious unifying feature--Kaitlin Olson as a main character--"The Mick," isn't quite as mean-spirited as, "Sunny," but has enough of an edge to it that I'm already endeared to the darn series a scant four episodes in.

The overall concept is deceptively simple--Aunt Mickey is forced to take care of her rich sister's children after she and her husband flee the country on a tax-evasion charge. Mickey makes friends with the housekeeper Alba, her kinda-boyfriend Jimmy moves in, the kids have mixed feelings about her, hi-jinks ensue. The thing that makes this work so well however is just how utterly insane the show has already been, brandishing some surprisingly limit-pushing humor. From raunchy sex-jokes, to Mickey's fondness for drugging people, to a Grandma that slapped the Hell out of mouthy teen, to a child accidentally swallowing what might be a heroin balloon, all of these people are sometimes pretty abhorrent, and the show (unlike other sitcoms) isn't afraid to let them behave badly yet not be, "Bad," guys or gals.
This brings us to the thing about, "The Mick," that is most different from, "Sunny," which is that you don't hate all the characters. The reason for this is because at their heart many of them are good people--whereas with, "Sunny," everyone is basically rotten to their core (or in Charlie's case, a dangerously demented savant). That hint of sweetness in, "The Mick," is probably what will help make it palatable for a general audience as this baby is on network television--Fox. Plus, Kaitlin Olson is fantastic as Mickey and unlike the perpetually trying-to-hard Dee on, "Sunny," Mickey doesn't give a shit about almost anything and that lackadaisical nature makes for many guffaws.

Then again, the surprisingly brutal humor that does appear with bits of, "Oh my God, how did they get away with that in prime-time?" moments may make this dish just a bit too harsh for mainstream viewers (and if you think I'm being hard on most prime-time network viewers considering my guilty pleasure of reality-television on cable, shut-up, I'm a hypocrite and I love it). Oh, plus the fact that the show keeps getting shuffled around so much I would miss it without a handy DVR doesn't help matters--you gotta let a show sit in its time-slot and garner a following instead of constantly moving it around. Seriously, the first episode premiered on a Sunday, followed by its regular episode the following Tuesday. Then a week later there was an episode (so last Tuesday) and then we had the fourth serving this most recent Sunday. What the Hell, Fox?
"The Mick," is as ingenious in its construction as its kinda-sorta sibling, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." However, "The Mick," is clearly a different beast in that we don't despise the cast, we actually kind of root for them. This allows, "The Mick," to already be a show I love as much as, "Sunny," yet also ca consider wonderfully unique. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that if you can figure out when the damn show is on, you should watch, "The Mick," for sure, because its awesome, and as I said, it's on network television so you don't even need cable to check it out. Viewit, love it, and then thank me (if you want).
5 out of 5 stars (for the overall four episodes so far).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Mid-Month Links for January 2017

Middle of the Month!
I've done links at the end of months and start of months, so why not have some near the middle of the month?

I love both Big Boi and Andre 3000 of OutKast, and value the occasional brief appearance of Andre on tracks. This article's discussion of him as, "The most ominous instrument in Hip-Hop," is a great read.

Here's an interesting discussion about how when someone believes something contrary to all evidence, that being shown something that proves them wrong can cause them to just double-down on their beliefs-e.g. this is why people believe those so-called news stories that a dumb clickbait and really are exploding more and more lately online.

The Klan may have been in decline for some time, but this domestic terrorist group continues to pose a danger and with the rise of the alt-right AKA neo-Nazis, seeming to be more and more prevalent one can easily worry that hate will only keep growing.

They're up to five of these now? Wow.
January seems to often be a dumping-ground for, "Movie that suck," but this article argues it doesn't have to be. In related news (as the article discusses the franchise too), here is an interesting little history of the, "Underworld," movies that aren't especially popular but keep on coming out. Fun fact: the first, "Underworld," was the first R-rated movie I ever saw by myself. It was at a small local theater and my family always went with me to R-rated films so the theater folk didn't blink an eye when I went by myself even though I wasn't old enough (and I thought it was PG-13 for some reason). For that reason alone, "Underworld," holds a little spot in my heart.

HP Lovecraft of course created some amazing horror and had some superb ideas that continue to inspire people. He also was a horrific racist during an awfully racist time. Reading about how writers of color both take inspiration from Lovecraft while also critiquing and criticizing him is fascinating.

Please, God, please, do not have it be true that DC is thinking doing more of those gimmicky, "3-D," covers that impressed almost zero folk and were a hot collector's item for about a month before they ended-up in dollar bins collecting dust.

Memmmmories, light the corner of my miiiiind.
Of all things, cassette tapes are making a comeback (genuinely and not just in a hipster-way), and I would agree that's kind of cool in some aspects and simply weird in others.

On the subject of musical throwbacks, during the earlier 2000's I listened constantly to Kool Keith, specifically his first Dr. Octagon album that came out in 1996 but which I didn't discover till a bit later. Therefore,when my friend Natalie Jane tweeted out a link to when  Keith performed a favorite track of mine from the album--"Blue Flowers"--on a late-night show back in 2016 I was ecstatic! Watching it really took me back. Here's the link to him doing the song.

Lastly, in yet another example of, "Everything you know and believe could be wrong," it seems our appendix may very well serve an important biologic function and reduces our risk of various infections.

Enjoy the rest of the month!
Try to stay warm the rest of this January!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reviews of 2 Short Michael DeForge Books--"Big Kids," and, "First Year Healthy"

A Master of the Comic Art-Form
Michael DeForge has been argued by many (including me) to be one of the most talented comic-makers around today. His odd art-style and surreal stories almost always impress with their mixture of psychedelics, melancholy, and skill. His work will appear in everything from anthologies, to his own comics, to big or small books. I read two short-ish books that feature some really wild stories but at their heart are about things we all relate to--DeForge has a way of making even the simplest concept seem wild, you see.

Big Kids

A story about growing-up and our nostalgia for the past/our childhood is a story that has been told many times, but not quite like this. The whole thing is arguably a metaphor, with our main character (who I don't think is ever named) seeing life in a normal way before suddenly growing into a, "Tree." At this point the entire world becomes different. Everything tastes unique, feels weird, and how he used to view the world he can remember, but is unable to return to. Other people have turned into trees too, but plenty of grown-ups are still stuck as, "Twigs," as the trees see them, and some of the trees yearn for when the world looked and felt the way they remember--including our main character's Mother.

DeForge's artwork is as always impressive, but once our protagonist turns into a , "Tree," things get even more interesting with all the abstract shapes that represent everyday objects but which now are incredible and different. At the heart of all this strange stuff is something we all relate to-- how growing-up is hard. DeForge takes this concept everyone can understand and morphs it into something delightfully off-kilter, resulting in a great little book.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

First Year Healthy
I didn't enjoy, "First Year Healthy," as much as I loved, "Big Kids," but it was still a solid read. Again we have a main character who is never actually named, but through the occasional reveal of her history it is made apparent she had some kind of outburst/mental break and spent a good deal of time recovering in a hospital of sorts before returning to town. We see bits and pieces of this first year she's back in town, "Healthy," as she struggles to acclimate to regular life again despite sensing the people of the town are wary about her, and that only a man she starts dating and living with--"The Turk," seems to care about her much. Things proceed to get weird with organized crime, our protagonist caring for the Turk's child with another woman, and a mythical cat-creature. Throughout all of this our main character narrates her life in a plain and eerily calm manner, be it simple things she discusses or outlandish and unreal events.

"First Year Healthy," is interesting, with it not always being apparent what is real and what could be the fanciful creation of our main character. The whole story is from her point-of-view, so that influences many things. I found myself wanting more from the story however, as right when it seems to really get going and become utterly bizarre it suddenly ends. Give me more weirdness, DeForge! Qualms with the story aside however, the artwork is just as amazing as anything else DeForge creates and makes the story extra-engaging as it gets increasingly out-there.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

An Explosion of Creativity
A moment from, "Big Kids."
Almost anytime you read a comic by Michael DeForge you are guaranteed one thing, that the comic will contain an explosion of creativity. "Big Kids," and, "First Year Healthy," deliver this without a doubt. I preferred one story over the other, but as with all of DeForge's works, I'm glad I read them and got to enmesh myself in his fantastical worlds.

Monday, January 9, 2017

More Manga I've Read

Even More Manga!
I made a post somewhat recently about manga I've read in an effort to further broaden my horizons in regards to the kind of stuff I read. Besides getting used to reading the books somewhat, "Backwards," I've been mostly pleased by my ability to locate some decent yarns thanks to various recommendations from people I know personally or have read the words of/listened to on podcasts. Here are some more books I checked-out recently.

Gantz Volume 3
I was entertained without having to think too much by the first two volumes of, "Gantz," and their absurdly gory violence mixed with T&A definitely was zany. In this third volume I was kind of disappointed. I understand that after all the action of the 2nd volume this one is a bit of a cool-down, and a bit of quiet is fine...it's just that time of quiet is used to throw in some weirdly homophobic and sexist bits. A scene occurs with discussion about some bullies who have a gay crew-member who likes to rape male gang-victims, and the mentioning of this bully being gay and apparently sexually-assaulting other men serves no purpose to the story other than to foster the usual gay-panic concept in some stories of, "Oh no, the hero will be sexually violated and less of a man if he doesn't fight back!" Also, the only main female character basically continues to act hapless and asks another character if she can live with him, but as a, "Pet," which is a weird added element to how she's just crashing at this guy's house but wants to be thought-of as his, "Pet." Again, this doesn't really serve any purpose to the story or is used to make a statement, it's just odd.

These weird and off-putting elements in the volume don't ruin things, however, as there are still some interesting parts to the story--such as discussion of if the characters who thought they were saved at the last minute by the Gantz (weird orb-thing) are actually just soulless constructs/copies that think they are human, and the further intrigue about just why the mysterious Gantz is having people kill aliens continues as well. Still, compared to the general enjoyment I got from the first two volumes this one was pretty underwhelming.
2 out of 5 stars.

Inuyashiki Volume 1
Somewhat moving on from our discussion of, "Gantz," here is the latest series coming out from its creator Hiroya Oku, who is now doing this series. It is a bit less violent and sexual (the company releasing it has rated it as recommended for 16-and-above as opposed to, "Gantz," which has a strong, "Mature Readers Only," tag). That doesn't mean it is any less odd or over-the-top than you would expect from someone behind a book as strange as, "Gantz," and in a clever bit of being meta the first volume even has two characters arguing over whether the series is cool or lame. Basically a man who is 58 but looks older, is hated by his family, and all-around has a miserable life suddenly is hit by an alien object, rebuilt, and now has a ton of powers.

He uses these powers in this first book to save the life of a homeless man from some violent teenagers and that's basically it other than a glimpse of another person who may have gained powers (and maybe is not going to do good things with them). It is way too early in this series to have a clear picture of the tale, but based on just this book alone I was relatively pleased. A decent story so far and some great art makes me want to seek out at least the next number of books that are available in English (the story is still coming out and of course is released in Japanese volumes first). I would rate this a solid all-around...
3 out of 5 stars.
The page for the campaign has this edited image that isn't as blurred on the actual book
Vanilla Essence 
All joking aside about manga sometimes being mistakenly thought of as nothing-but-porn-comics by U.S. citizens who don't know how many varieties of manga exist, this book is without a doubt extremely erotic. I became familiar with this book because I am often on Kickstarter looking at campaigns for all the wide-variety of stuff on there, but usually comics as some cool stuff at times occurs on the site. That is how I one day came across a Kickstarter campaign for, "Vanilla Essence (note this link isn't exactly the most safe-for-work)." I was surprised as Kickstarter can be pretty strict about erotic-stuff on their site, and this book by the writer/artist named Yamatogawa looked quite sexual. Kickstarter will allow things that are overall judged to be sex-positive and aren't porn so much as erotica thanks to, "A positive message and artistic value." So yeah, this book by Yamatogawa was judged to be okay under the rules of Kickstarter and got funded handily.

I didn't back the Kickstarter as even though I was curious what allowed this book to be classified more as, "Erotica/Borderline H," than, "Straight-up porn/Hentai," I lacked the funds at the time. However, I was able to sell some stuff on eBay later on and ordered me a copy of the exact same book that would have been sent to Kickstarter-backers so that I could see just all the fuss was about regarding this publication. Having given it a read I can conclude it is extremely explicit and full of illustrated-in-a-hardcore-manner sex, but also that yeah, it is pretty sweet and pleasantly sex-positive. The stories often have a fun or clever motif and they all portray sex as something fun and enjoyable with a humorous-bent that compliments the proceedings well. Whether a young woman who enjoys secretly video-taping others having sex meets her match, or a cyclist engages in a whole different kind of exercise with a new partner, "Vanilla Essence," maintains a chipper and fun attitude that reminds readers how despite all the hang-ups and taboos regarding sex, at the end of the day when everyone is consenting and eager it can be a really fun and wonderful thing. Plus, Yamatogawa's notes about his writing and drawing of the stories at the end of some of the yarns gives everything a nice personal touch as well. I know a lot of Borderline H/Hentai manga can be extremely sex-negative and exploitative, but this was a great read which was as charming as it was erotic!
5 out of 5 stars.

Goodnight Punpun Volume 2
The first volume of this book was one of the weirdest stories I've read in some time. The second volume is weird as well, but a Hell of a lot darker and shifts a lot of its focus to Punpun's Uncle and why he's so miserable. Inio Asano continues to follow the unique art-style of having everyone and everything be drawn super-detailed except for Punpun and his family, which always creates a weird clash between what we see on the page, yet it weirdly works quite well too. This volume overall just shows life offering a hint of things getting better for Punpun and his loved ones, before towards the end it becomes apparent that yeah, things are actually going to just get even worse. It's fascinatingly sad stuff and even though I felt awful after finishing this volume I now just want to seek out the 3rd even more. Amazing stuff.
5 out of 5 stars.

Citrus Volume 1
I heard about this manga written and illustrated by Saburouta when I saw it mentioned briefly by J. Caleb Mozzocco on his blog in an almost embarrassed manner as it is a, "Yuri," title. He always seems to post good reviews of manga and if he's, "Suddenly really into," something I figure it must likely be good. I looked into it and this slice-of-life manga sounded interesting and raunchy enough to be fun. For those who don't know, "Yuri," basically translates into, "Girl-love," and centers of stories about two women who love each other--not always in a lesbian manner, but often with that as an element. Yuri is generally a lot less popular than, "Yaoi," which means ,"Boy-love," and involves stories about men in love (and are hugely popular in Japan). These stories are generally not pornographic in nature (e.g. the aforementioned Hentai/Borderline-H), but instead could be thought of as a genre umbrella. Just as how in the United States we have LGBTQ-focused stories that can be everything from slice-of-life to science-fiction, to fantasy, Japan has that too. I'm not opposed to reading Yaoi or Yuri in my effort to read more manga (I love plenty of American stories with a LGBTQ-focus after all) and seeing positive things about this made me want to try it out. I was pretty pleased.

"Citrus," involves a high-school student (Yaoi and Yuri often will have barely-of-age characters, but as the stories aren't pornographic people generally don't mind) named  Yuzu whose mother has married someone new, resulting in her having to move into a new house and enroll in an all-girls school. On the first day of school she quite irritates the Student Council President, Mei, with her outspoken nature and flagrant disregard for the dress code. Then she comes home and meets her new step-sister, and yep, it's Mei. Things get more interesting though as Mei strangely alternates between flirting with and being mean to her step-sister. Yes, I did not realize this but, "Citrus," is both a Yuri story and a step-sibling romance story. The whole thing sounds really racy but is presented in a matter-of-fact manner as opposed to being taboo that the story never feels, "Dirty," it just is kind of edgy. Plus, Saburouta's artwork is cutesy enough things don't feel too, "Wrong." I mean yes, there are some saucy moments of kissing but this book is labeled as, "Ages 16+," and does't push the envelope too far in that regard. It's an odd story with all these strange elements but the characterization of Yuzu and Mei is fascinating enough I think I would like to check-out the other books from my local library where I got this one.
4 out of 5 stars.

Interesting Reads
As I said, reading the books in a, "Backwards," style of somewhat right-to-left is still a bit jarring for me considering I've spent 99.9% of my life reading left-to-right, but that aside these have been some great reads. The stories in these books sometimes feel a little strange, ("Citrus," and its step-sibling romance) but that may be more of a cultural difference than anything else. In my effort to read more manga I think I'm coming along pretty well, and clearly there are a wide-range of books and stories out there for sure.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Valiant Comics Cat-Cover Reviews

An Incredible Promotion
My cats loved the comics too and wanted to check them out!
I enjoy looking at photos of cool cosplay and enjoy looking at photos of cats. Therefore, when Valiant first told us about their intention to release variant covers for a number of their comics featuring cats cosplaying as their characters I declared without hesitation how they had won the internet that day. Through their teaming-up with the blog, "Cat Cosplay of the Feline Variety," they have now made and released a number of awesome cat-themed covers--with much props going to them for donating a chunk of the proceeds from these variants to the animal-adoption agency, BARC.

I'm on Valiant's press-mailing list so I reached out to them as a member of the press and proud cat-daddy of two adopted kitties to inquire if I could review the cat-themed covers. Now, I told Valiant the same thing I am about to tell you, my dear readers: I am not going to review the actual comics. Yes, you read that right, for the first time ever I am not going to be reading and reviewing the inside of these comics, I am actually just going to review the covers! I am going to rate these comics based on two attributes with my usual 0-to-5 star system: Cutness and, cat-attitude, or, "Catittude." I told the good folk at Valiant this plan and they were down with it and more than happy to mail me the comics so that I could examine and review each cover with a physical copy I closely examined to determine the exact degree of adorableness and my aforementioned, "Catittude." I now present the comics in alphabetical order!

The Covers
The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong #10
The first comic-cover I'll be discussing is also the only one to feature both of the cat models found on the comic-covers so it already is superb for its double-catness. The outfits on each cat fit snugly and look great, and they have a happy and relaxed look as if they are getting ready to go on a fun adventure! They are very chill however so despite the immense cuteness there isn't a ton of catittude.
Cuteness: 5 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 3 out of 5 stars.

Blood Shot U.S.A. #3
Our model looks absolutely fierce on this cover, with his eyes squinted as if he's getting ready to cause just as much violent trouble as the titular character Bloodshot has been known for doing. The outfit is pretty minimalist just as with the real Bloodshot, and it isn't cute so much as extremely intimidating. The catitude is off-the-charts with this one!
Cuteness: 3 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 5 out of 5 stars (and then some)!

Britannia #4
Not only does out cat-model look absolutely incredible in his Roman garb, he also is utterly adorable. He's giving off an aura of strength, but also love and kindness. This was one of my wife's favorite covers when she looked through the books and I can see why it appealed to her so much, it's just stellar!
Cuteness: 5 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 5 out of 5 stars.

Divinity III: Stalinverse #1
Oh my God, is that a cosmonaut kitty? Is he looking incredible in that outfit but also giving off an intense look in his eyes too? The answer to all of those questions is yes, and I think we may have found my favorite cover!
Cuteness: 5 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 5 out of 5 stars.

Eternal Warrior #14
Our model in this picture has a mysterious look going, with some of his face hidden in a cloak. I would be hesitant to get too close however because that battle-axe looks freshly sharpened! Between the axe and cloak-placement this picture is dripping with cattitude, but the cloak hides way too much of that cute face!
Cuteness: 3 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 5 out of 5 stars.

Faith #6
I know I said I wouldn't comment about the comics themselves, but, "Faith," really is a good comic, and I'm happy it has a cover this cool to compliment it. Cats wearing wigs is always a fun sight, and our cat-model absolutely rocks that blonde hair. The kitty looks like it is staring off into the distance as if to say, "Look out World, I'm gonna mess you up, and I've got great hair too!" A great cover fur sure (that isn't a spelling error, I wanted to make that pun)!
Cuteness: 5 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 4 out of 5 stars.

Generation Zero #5
This was my wife's other favorite color because she said, "I really like the lighting on the cat." I agree with her wholeheartedly, as our kitty here has its gorgeous fur looking bright and complimenting its blue and red outfit perfectly. The cat doesn't look too full of catittude, but it sure looks perfect for a snuggle!
Cuteness: 5 out of 5 stars.
Catittue: 3 out of 5 stars.

Harbinger Renegade #2
This cover is a favorite of mine (along with the, "Divinity," one) as our model just looks so purrfect with its snazzy glasses and delightfully grey-and-blue outfit. The glasses give off an intense and smart vibe that make me feel like this kitty would be just as comfortable getting a tummy rub as it would be delivering a big science-lecture. Just plain great!
Cuteness: 5 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 5 out of 5 stars.

Ninjak #22
As with the, "Bloodshot," cover or, "Eternal Warrior," cover this just oozes catittude, with our model dressed in appropriately-stealthy gear that looks as silent as it does comfy. Just as with the, "Eternal Warrior," cover however too much of our model's adorable face is obscured! I want to be able to enjoy the cosplay and ooh and ahh over the kissable kittens, after all. 
Cuteness: 3 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 5 out of 5 stars.

Savage #2
Our last cover is a great one as well, with equal doses of cuteness and cattitude for readers to enjoy. The model seems both relaxed and ready to pounce, with the feathers in the head-fur complimenting everything quite well too--after all, plenty a cat would love to keep a trophy of his or her hunts!
Cuteness: 5 out of 5 stars.
Catittude: 4 out of 5 stars.

Beautiful Stuff
"These comics are as snazzy as my hat!"
This post was a bit less snarky than some of my stuff, probably because cats have the ability to melt my cold and cynical heart, resulting in me wanting to make cute cat-based puns as opposed to bemoaning the latest stupid event-delay in comics or the fact that the United States appears to be on the road to political ruin--but I digress because my stress-levels won't rise as much as long as I have these superb cat-covers to enjoy. I hope you all enjoyed this post and thanks again to Valiant for being willing to provide these comics--I can just picture them confusedly asking, "Wait, he just wants to review the covers with the cats?" upon receiving my email and delighting me by saying, "Sure!" I just hope that more cat-themed variant covers come soon from Valiant, and considering how fantastic these are I wouldn't be surprised if we see other comic-publishers following Valiant's lead and doing animal-cosplay covers of their own!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Book Collecting the Oral History of the Wildstorm Universe is On Kickstarter and I'm Intrigured

As my headline/title states, there is currently a Kickstarter going on to fund the initial print-run for a book that collects an oral history of the Wildstorm Universe. Titled, "Wild Times: An Oral History of Wildstorm Studios," it had been in the making for some time, with author Joseph Hedges having conducted numerous interviews so as to create a fascinating picture of the complicated little sub-company of Image, that then did work for Marvel, before then becoming an imprint of DC until it was shut-down/died and the characters were folded into the normal DC-Universe (kinda sorta, there is this new series being worked on by Warren Ellis that isolates stuff again).

The Kickstarter page and video explain how an, "Oral History," works and I'm pleased that Mr. Hedges says the manuscript and everything else is done, he just needs funds to get an initial print-run completed and out to interested readers/backers. As someone who has read both older and newer Wildstorm titles when the books were still coming out and via my hobby of digging in back-issue bins I have a fondness for the departed company/studio and would be interested for sure in an thorough examination of its twisty-turny history.
You can learn more about the book at its official website, or by visiting the Kickstarter page. I know if I can get some funds together I'll be backing it for sure!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Television Tuesday: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" Returns!

This is just a a Public Service Announcement for everyone that one of the most darkly-hilarious shows of all time, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," will have its 12th season premiere tomorrow, January 4th, 2017, on the FXX channel at 10:00 PM Eastern-Time (so at 9:00 PM for me).

In the meantime, it is also worth knowing that as of today, January 3rd, the most recent (11th) season of the show can be streamed on Netflix!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 In Review Master-List/Happy New Year!

The Year That Was...Well, It Was  Year for Sure
2016 has completed and I hope everyone has a great 2017. I of course had my many, "2016 in Review," posts go up in the days between Christmas and the New Year and in my effort to be helpful to you (my dear reader/s), I now present the master-list of all the post--with some general sorting into categories.

Comic-Related Posts
Anthologies of the Year
Best Cancelled Comics
Best, "Cheesecake," Comics
Best Colorist
Best Comic-Artists
Best Comic-Book Writers
Best Ongoing Series
Best Mini or Maxi-Series
Best New(er) Comics
Best New Imprint
Best Single Issues
Creators/Creative Teams I was Happiest to See Return
Relaunch That Surprisingly Didn't Suck
Weirdest Comic

Other Entertainment-Related Posts
Album of the Year
Best Television Show
(Potentially) Best Movies I Didn't See
Video Game of the Year

Random Posts
Biggest Embarassment This Year
Food of the Year
Pregnancy of the Year

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pregnancy of the Year AKA My Wife and I Are Expecting!--2016 in Review

A Baby on the Way!
That's right, I haven't officially announced it on the blog here, but my wife, Samii, and I are expecting a baby boy around May of 2017! I know many people were pregnant or became pregnant during 2016, and as always you can disagree with my opinion, but I feel that my wife has been the most awesome pregnancy of this year!

I am extremely excited to become a Father during the next year and am so amazed by how Samii has handled the difficulties of pregnancy with good humor and grace. I am so happy to call her my wife and just as honored to have our first child together.

Food of the Year: Sweet and Sour Chicken from A Specific Restaurant--2016 in Review

Sometimes I'll have a favorite food of a year, other times it might be a beverage. This year it was for sure a particular dish, however. In 2016 I often ate Sweet and Sour Chicken, with me purchasing it almost every Friday night (or other weekend day) from one of my favorite Saint Louis-region restaurants, China in Bombay. China in Bombay is a smaller restaurant that doesn't have a ton of seating because much of their business is from carry-out. They don't deliver, but their food is so good I'm more than willing to drive the 10-ish minutes there to get some awesome food. It isn't just their Sweet and Sour Chicken that is delicious, they have great wontons, soups, and superb Chicken Fried Rice. I just really love the Sweet and Sour Chicken though.

I'll usually order a differing number of items for other friends and relatives hanging-out with me when I call, but when I get to my order they know exactly what I'm going to say, "Sweet and Sour Chicken, no vegetables, sauce on the side." I get it that way because I find vegetables just get in the way of the crunchy-goodness, and I enjoy dipping my chicken in the sauce as opposed to it being pre-sauced. That way I cat get just the right amount of juices on my chicken before biting into sheer heaven. Without a doubt the meal I ate the most this year was Sweet and Sour Chicken from China in Bombay, and quite frankly, I wish I ate it even more than I already did (it's that good). I know no matter what trials and tribulations 2017 may bring that I will be calling China in Bombay whenever the mood for Sweet and Sour Chicken strikes....so basically, anytime I'm hungry.