Friday, November 30, 2018

Funko Friday--Funko's 12 Days of Christmas Starts Tomorrow!

Readers of the blog are well aware that I am a fan of Funko and their assorted products--especially Pops. Therefore, I am excited for the start of Funko's big, "12 Days of Christmas Event," starting tomorrow, December 1st, and running all the way through the 12th. Each day there will be a unique item made by Funko--it could be a Pop, Dorbz, Rock Candy, shirt, cereal, or any other interesting thing they produce. They may have a special deal to pay in advance for everything that will be released (which may not be revealed until each item's day), but I myself will probably just check everyday to only buy the stuff I want/can afford. I'll be sure to keep an eye on the Funko, "Pop-up Shop," website and would encourage anyone potentially after the releases to do so as well!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Red Dead Redemption 2," is All the Things a Masterpiece Usually Is--Beautiful, Incredible, Flawed

Not a Review
This is not a review of, "Red Dead Redemption 2." I am by no means far enough into the game to offer a general overview of everything, especially because this is a game that is so full of content that it slowly unveils you could be hours in and still learning something new. No, instead I'll just break down three ways that I can already conclude the game is a masterpiece.

A List
It's Beautiful
This may be one of the most absolutely gorgeous games ever. Just simply spending chunks of time riding your horse up into snowy mountains, along winding plains, and into muddy swamps inspires awe. Animals appear flying and/or running around for you to track and hunt, or simply study. It feels like you're in this majestic world full of living, breathing characters all going about their business in bustling towns, or setting-up tents for the night in the wilderness. It is utterly awe-inspiring.

The story itself has a unique beauty as well, dropping much of the usual cynicism and snark found in titles produced by Rockstar Games (look at the parody-styled take on America in the, "Grand Theft Auto," series for abundant examples), instead telling a story about the myth of the American West, masculine toxicity, and regret, lots and lots of regret. A prequel to the first game, "Red Dead Redemption 2," opens in 1899 as your main character, Arthur Morgan, and his team are on the run due to a botched heist. Bandits who live off the land and pride themselves on being free of the constraints of an increasingly-modernized America, the game follows your crew as things just seem to get worse. The good old days of the West are often discussed, yet many of the older characters dismiss this idea as things having always been the same, despite the rosy-lens folk like to view the past through. It's a depressing and stark story, miles away from the non-stop dirty jokes and sarcasm of the aforementioned, "Grand Theft Auto," games, with its own depressing beauty in how the epic tale methodically tells itself.
It's Incredible
A lot of today's new and modern games seem to want to overwhelm the player with options. Everything feels rushed as a player is told to do this main mission, accomplish a side-mission, gather all the rare trinkets marked on the increasingly-cluttered HUD, the whole thing exhausting. "Red Dead Redemption 2," does not do this. It never holds your hand beyond when it gives you instructions on how to do things, then leaves you to it. You can go hunting, look for herbs, mill about town greeting folk in-between some hands of poker at the saloon, and while there is a checklist of tasks for full game completion, it never feels forced. "Red Dead Redemption 2," doesn't want players to rush through the main storyline, it wants you to take your time doing the main tasks for your crew and in-between the bouts of action let yourself relax, explore, and otherwise take things slowly. 

When I hear people talking about the game/read comments online it isn't usually the big missions that are discussed, but the small seemingly random moments the game can suddenly surprise players with. That time you were riding your horse down main-street and a man was thrown out a window in an apparent brawl. When you tried to stop and assist someone with a wildly-bucking horse but before you could do anything the animal kicked its owner dead with a hoof-to-the-head and took-off, leaving you to debate the lack of honor in looting a dead man (I mean, he isn't going to be using his supplies anytime soon now). The world is utterly massive yet it is the small moments that seem to impart the most gravitas.
It's Flawed
There has been a lot of controversy over the work conditions at Rockstar Games. Apparently as the game neared its end of development employees were expected to engage in, "Crunch," where they could work up to 100-hour weeks with no expectation of overtime pay beyond hopefully big bonuses now that the game is a mega-hit. Talk of this seemingly-mandatory crunch along with the recent implosion of Telltale games sparked further discussion of how game-makers should be able to unionize and have some kind of protection. Even putting aside the behind-the-scenes drama, the game itself is not without its own troubling flaws. Mega-bugs that one would've expected to be noticed persist, and some individuals have found the slow pace and minimalist nature of the game off-putting in this era of games with constant action and hand-holding on maps loaded with symbols of all the content to do. 

I've already said I love how, "Red Dead Redemption 2," doesn't force you into anything (after a relatively on-rails opening), instead letting random little things occur in the world that make it feel strangely alive...but then, when everything is so carefully constructed and perfected one notices how the tiniest cracks can seem massive. After all, you could shoot someone out in the wilderness and another person who seems far out of the line-of-sight will witness it and try to run to the law, yet if you stick-up a shop you will see how all the people milling around outside a few mere feet away--basically peering in the window--won't respond. It isn't game-breaking, but when the company brags about how it paid so much attention to every detail that even horse testicles rise and fall in varying weather, you notice it.

I am a sucker for looking-up spoilers in regards to games (and movies, books, etc.) so I already have read-ahead to see how, "Red Dead Redemption 2," will proceed for my playtime and how it will conclude. As odd as it may sound, now that I know how interesting things will continue to be when things sorta-end (don't worry, no spoilers, but as with many Rockstar games you can keep playing after the credits roll), it makes me all the more eager to keep going slowly and take my time getting to stuff even more impressive than what I've already seen. "Red Dead Redemption 2," is a masterpiece, from all its impressive elements to its problems. Plus, with a game so massive as this I think that another title I'm interested, "Cyberpunk 2077," might finally be released by the time I'm finished, so that's cool.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I'm Pumped for the Upcoming Mirco Con on December 1st!

Anytime STL Comics puts on a Micro Con that I'm able to attend I get very excited. For a very reasonable price ($3, kids 10 and under are free, parking has no cost) you can visit with a variety of cool guests, observe the wares of an assortment of vendors, and otherwise have a great comic-con experience in a smaller form--instead of having to dedicate a whole day or two you just need a couple hours to have some fun. With guests including (but not limited to) Kyle Strahm and Lorenzo Lizana as well as vendors I love buying from such as Cabal Books and Wayne Kent Comics, it is sure to be a great show. I'll be there for sure sometime between 10AM-4PM at the Holiday Inn Airport West (located at 3400 Rider Trail S, Earth City, MO 63045). I hope to see anyone else who is able to attend there!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The 12th and Final Issue of, "Mister Miracle," Has Me (and Everyone Else) Puzzled

Normally when a comic reaches its conclusion (be it the end of an arc in an ongoing, the last issue of a mini/maxi-series) almost all of the questions that have been raised are answered for readers (with maybe one or two left behind for a potential sequel or the next story-arc). The concluding issue of, "Mister Miracle," by Tom King and Mitch Gerads does not do that however. It just lets most of the questions we readers have been puzzling-over throughout the run be raised and just sit there, unanswered. The book instead basically says, "Well, what do you think the right interpretation is?" and has us, the readers, discuss. It's both clever and infuriating.

Did the book's hero, Scot Free, in fact stop an evil force, or did he die in the first issue and has been trapped in some form of Heaven or Hell (depending whom you ask)? Does his story take place in the DC Universe before Flashpoint, after, or is it even completely unrelated to the regular DC Universe and in its own strange place? Is the relatively happy ending we are witnessing in the book all a lie and Scot Free didn't die in the first issue but maybe a later one a the dude seemed prone to getting hurt or hit with anti-life beams, is he trapped in an alternate reality? Nobody knows, everyone online is guessing, and the book even says at the end to not expect any kind of continuation of this story, instead expect another interesting comic from King and Gerads in the near-future. This was among my favorite comics in 2017 and I still loved it with this ending, but boy am I befuddled. I guess all I can do is say, "Darkseid is," and accept that the lack of answers King and Gerads wanted to provide are in a way a part of the story itself.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Issue #2 is Already Out, but Here is a Glowing Review of, "Mars Attacks," #1!

I am a big fan of Kyle Starks, enjoying both his writing and art-work. He was kind enough to make me an amazing sketch of Moon Knight when I last saw him at a local Wizard World, and I've continued to follow his projects with enthusiasm. He is the writer for the latest, "Mars Attacks," comic published by Dynamite and Chris Schweizer contributes the great artwork, resulting in a new comic I already love.

"Mars Attacks," for those only vaguely familiar with the brand, was a trading-card series released by Topps that developed a cult following, later had further cards released as well a comics by Topps (they published comics for a bit some years ago), was made into a Tim Burton-directed movie that I think is charmingly weird, but tragically was a box-office bomb, and has continued to enjoy a cult-style popularity thanks to its mixture of sci-fi and dark humor. Kyle Starks' writing style fits this perfectly as his past projects would show, and Chris Schweizer's art is pitch-perfect for the book as well. The majority of this issue follows a young man visiting his father at a retirement home as they learn about the alien invasion and proceed to try and escape--with the book then pivoting to displaying what is going on at a National-scale as an issue-closer. The comic is loaded with humor, discussing how the martians kind of look like walking testicles, discussion of how an elderly woman name Shirley who cheats at bingo arguably deserves the vaporization she receives, and things generally are wacky and hilarious.
I am thankful that Topps, despite no long doing comics themselves, licensed Dynamite the rights to make a, "Mars Attacks," series, and I'm double-thankful such a fantastic creative team for this property, Starks and Schweizer, are making this book. The 2nd issue just recently came out and I'm going to be sure to grab it, and I would encourage you to purchase these initial issues as well!
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

I'm Happy, "Umbrella Academy," is Back

Back when it was announced how a man I'd never heard of, Gerard Way, would be making a comic for Dark Horse, I looked into who he was and learned he was the lead in the band, "My Chemical Romance." I thought to myself, "Oh great, another celebrity pretending to make a comic who isn't going to actually do anything besides slap their name on it." That was in 2007, and then the Free Comic Book Day preview of the series, "Umbrella Academy," came out from Dark Horse and made me say, "Whoa." Afterwards I read the first series/volume, "Apocalypse Suite," and loved it, followed by the equally delightful, "Dallas." With the artwork of Gabriel Ba complimenting Way's surreal writing expertly, I adored this series and realized Gerard Way was a comic-crafting master.

Kind of super-hero comic, but not really, "The Umbrella Academy," were super-powered kids adopted by an eccentric rich guy who grew-up into a variety of dysfunctional adults. Way's writing style had the strange otherwordly-elements of Grant Morrison mixed with the sharp cynicism of Warren Ellis, and I couldn't get enough. The only problem was, those two volumes plus some assorted one-shots and such were all we got, for some time. Way went on to be busy both with his band and embarking on other comic-related projects such as the tragically short-lived imprint, "Young Animal," at DC. However, it was announced recently there will be a Netflix series based on the comic, and I guess either that inspired Way and Ba to make more, "Umbrella Academy," or they realized if they want it to have a bunch of seasons there needs to be additional material--whatever the case, "Umbrealla Academy," has returned and I am happy.
The first two issues of the third volume, "Hotel Oblivion," have followed the even further-fragmented team as it picks up the pieces of what's left of the family after how volume 2, "Dallas," ended with only further ruins and anger. These issues have introduced some interesting new elements as well, whilst drawing from the previous entries. "Umbrella Academy," has always been a dense read and the third volume is not the place to try to start reading it by any means, as there is little in the way of recap as opposed to the book just going full-steam ahead with its usual weird and wacky fun. Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba both continue to be on the top of their game, resulting in a stellar read. I'm loving what has come out so far and just hope after this volume concludes it we won't have to again wait a number of years for more, "Umbrella Academy,"-brand goodness.
5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Manga Reviews Yet Once More!

More Upon More Manga!
I've continued to enjoy reading manga that I find through various recommendations of others online and with assistance from the stellar folk at Animeggroll, whom I've written about being awesome before. I shall now share some reviews...
The Latest Manga
Biomega Volume 1
This book was a mixture of sci-fi and horror with some absurdist comedy thrown in for good measure. Created by Tsutomu Nihei, I was intrigued by the minimalism in the comic, as it is not especially dialogue-heavy. A plot is established, and long stretches of silence occur which often build tension before various bouts of violence. Basically, much of the world is threatened by a zombie-like plague and various interests want to utilize people who may be immune. Also, there is a humanoid bear that drives very well for reasons never explained other than it makes the comic a bit quirkier. It is a gorgeous book though and I liked it, even if I didn't quite love it.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Knights of Sidonia Volume 1
Also made by Tsutomu Nihei, I feel like there are so many ideas and concepts in this sci-fi manga that it only barely manages to scratch the surface of what it wants to discuss. It's the future and humanity is looking for a new place to live after the destruction of the solar system by hideous space-monsters. There is a young boy who has been hidden for years within the ship with his grandpa before being discovered and trained to pilot mechs that defend the big spaceship everyone lives on from the monsters. Also, some humans can now photosynthesis food, change their gender and how they reproduce, or even look like animals with humanoid features. Clearly a lot is going on and only so much can be discussed in a relatively short initial volume, making the proceedings feel a bit rushed. I'm curious about what comes next though, so I will seek out volume 2, methinks.
3 out of 5 stars.
After School Vanilla Volume 1
I previously reviewed the highly-erotic/sex-focused book, "Vanilla Essence," which is how I learned that manga with the genre-label of, "Vanilla," tend to be comics with lots of erotica and a focus on sex-positivity and great artwork. Hence, when someone who saw that review recommended, "After School Vanilla," to me I figured I'd give it a shot as well. Created by the writer and artist known only as, "Key," this book focuses on recently of-age high-school students as well as collegiate characters in various vignettes who fall into assorted romantic situations that are at times humorous and at other points more heartfelt. The artwork is gorgeous and extremely vivid in its depictions of intimacy, with the plot of the various vignettes varying between clever scenes to somewhat hackneyed concepts. Still, I quite enjoyed this comic in all its raunchy glory and would rate it
4 out of 5 stars.
Food Wars! Volume 1
Cooking competition shows are something I love watching on Food Network, so when I told the good folk at Animeggroll this one visit when we were chatting they instantly knew this was a book for me to try out. Focused on a young man whose mastery of cooking allows him to get into a cooking school normally only rich kids can enter, the book is very humorous and also impressive in its discussion of various interesting food-dishes. It is a comic that left me both entertained and hungry, even if there isn't anything especially clever to its, "Underdog shows-up the snobs," concept beyond some unique items being cooked-up. It is a nice leisurely read, just like a tasty meal.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Black Lagoon Volume 1
If one were to ask what an over-the-top action movie circa the explosion-filled blockbusters of the 1980's era might look like in manga form, this is the comic I'd show them. I have a fondness for those so I found the crazy wham-bam explosions of this book charming even if I never really felt myself especially invested in the characters or the plot (missing disk with valuable information, stuff like that). It's a passably entertaining read that gets by mainly on its enthusiasm and decent bits of action, but I found myself at times a bit bored--so overall pretty average.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Pluto Volume 1
Astro Boy is of course an extremely popular character. What if you made a new reinterpretation of Astro Boy in a whole new universe and focused on the secondary characters however? Also, what if you made it a dramatic piece of introspection on war, humanity, and had great art? You'd get what I've read so far of, "Pluto." If I may spoil one aspect of this first volume (I've read a couple more but want to just review the first for this segment), the Astro Boy-character doesn't actually even appear until right at the end of this first volume, to give you an idea of its interesting take on everything. This volume essentially focuses on setting up a big murder mystery with a strange entity (possibly human, possibly robotic) that has been destroying various robots and potentially killing humans too (which despite this world having mostly-equal rights for robots and humans, electronic beings still can't kill flesh-and-bone humans, normally).We see some of the most powerful robots in the world as they deal with this encroaching threat and get a lot of ruminations on war, life, and such. Creator Naoki Urasawa also made the series, "Monster,"which I somewhat enjoyed, but I can say from what I read even in just the first volume of, "Pluto," I loved this series even more, and I look forward to finishing the other volumes I've purchased and begun reading.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Always Fun to Explore Another Style of Comic-Making
I am of course not as knowledgeable about Western comics as some masterful professionals and historians, but I like to think I know  a decent amount. I know a lot less about manga however, which always makes it fun to explore another style of comic-making I have less familiarity with but tend to enjoy whenever I dive-in. I appreciate the suggestions I get from the fine folk at Animeggroll, from folk who message me online, and in my general searching. I hope to continue finding plenty of great reads.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving/Thursday!

To everyone in America and its territories/protectorates, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Everyone else, I hope you have a nice regular ol' Thursday. So yeah, spend time with your friends, your family of birth and/or choice, plus of course have plenty to eat and drink.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"Go-Bots," #1 by Tom Scioli is Jam-Packed with Goodness

Note: Some people spell it, "Go-Bots," and others insist upon, "Gobots." The comic is officially titled, "Go-Bots," so I shall refer to it as such in the article.

Tom Scioli is a creator who knows how to make some stellar work. Whether he's doing his, "American Barbarian," comic, creating the magnum-opus which was, "Transformers VS G.I. Joe," or his latest project, "Go-Bots," his comic pages are a mixture of modern ingenuity with a nostalgic touch. I mean, the man hand-draws his art, colors it digitally, and then also hand-letters his work. There are not many hand-letterers in comics, let alone someone who does it all. Well, as he did with his, "Transformers VS G.I. Joe," comic for IDW, here Scioli brings us a his own unique take on another retro property, Go-Bots. Incorrectly assumed by some to be a Transformers rip-off, Go-Bots actually existed first, but as with many things that are the initial creation yet overshadowed by a later version (think Betamax and VHS), Go-Bots were kind of forgotten and/or outright mocked as a historical footnote--even once their rights were bought by the same company that owns the Transformer's license (Hasbro) and they were considered an alternate-universe of sorts of the Transformers...making them an, "Alternate," to an idea they were the original of, ouch.

Here's the thing though, Tom Scioli doesn't care about any of the past baggage carried by Go-Bots. He says in the back-matter of the comic how he had an idea and this comic is an expression of that idea. It's a world where humans created Go-Bots so they could have a car that basically walked with them, but over some time the Go-Bots got so advanced they were used for everything from warfare to medicine to NASCAR-esque racing, and even underground fight-rings. They are programmed to almost never be able to hurt a human, but some defy this through various means (both allowed or illicit). The, "Go-Bots," comic introduces us to an assortment of characters and leads-up to an evil Go-Bot and his ilk turning off any safeguards in Go-Bots, allowing them to rebel and hurt/kill any human if they so choose. It's a regular-length comic yet it feels absolutely jam-packed with the goodness of a super-sized book.
Scioli is a master of the comic-page. He can fill the space with many small panels, a big splash-page, or completely change the format from more grid-based to curving on the page as if to represent the speed in a scene, as the image up above shows. He jumps around to a number of stories but it feels like they all get to breathe, whether its a military Go-Bot and its operator, a famous racing Go-Bot and its self-absorbed driver, or a peppy commuter-focused Go-Bot with a young woman who rides it. Within this first issue the stories of everyone unfold in a way both isolated yet clearly interconnected in an assortment of ways. Plus, good God is everything just so gorgeous. Scioli's artwork makes you feel like the vintage toys have come to life through his art and it is simply astounding to witness. Scioli is a creator whose talent cannot be overstated in the least.

This first issue of, "Go-Bots," is spectacular (like much of Scioli's work) and I know Scioli will continue to impress with all the upcoming issues as he gives us a, "Go-Bot," story worthy of their status as the original transforming robots. Between an intriguing plot and his usual jaw-dropping artwork, Tom Scioli has done it again, and boy-howdy does, "It," always impress with him. I without question rate this comic 5 out of 5 stars and urge you to get to your newest comic shop to purchase a copy, as it is officially out today (with the Local Comic Shop edition having come out this previous Saturday, thereby giving some readers a head-start on ogling the gorgeous book). Seriously. regardless of if you've ever even heard of the Go-Bots you'll most likely love this comic, I know I did.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The, "Old Farmer's Almanac," 2018 is An Informative and Fun Read That Has Me Eager to Buy the Latest One

I've always had a soft-spot for the, "Old Farmer's Almanac." I am not a farmer so I don't benefit from the complex graphs about planting seasons, calculating sunrises or sunsets, and the like. I also like to see how accurate its weather predictions are so I bought the 2018 edition as the 2019 one starts hitting stores. I enjoyed the assorted fun articles on random subjects though such as little tidbits about the US-Canada border, Woodchucks, National trends, and reading a special report on expanding diversity in the field of farming.

The main reason I got this older one though was to check the weather accuracy, and I continue to be impressed by the (top-secret) method the Almanac uses to call the weather with an accuracy that trends at 80%. It predicted we would get snow in Mid-November around Eastern-Missouri and sure enough there was a rare November snowstorm on the 15th that cancelled schools. The, "Old Farmer's Almanac," has jokes, recipes, and otherwise always is a good read. I'm excited to buy the 2019 edition that is available in stores now and check out what predictions it holds for our weather in addition to fun articles and facts.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tales From The Dollar Bin: Ted Naifeh's "Heroines," and the Gruesome Fate of Space Goat Productions

There are comics which are worth incredible sums of money, but so many of the most interesting, tragic, or just downright weird can be found for a simple dollar or less in a store's "dollar bin". There, comics that never gained much popularity can be found alongside those that sold so much as for a copy to be worthless. "Tales From the Dollar Bin" aims to explore these comics, be they a single issue or an entire run of a series. From the great to the miserable, some of the best treasures and worst nightmares can be found in those infamous boxes. Let's have a "tale" now...

Another Time I Was Wrong
This story has many elements and gets weirder as we go along, but bear with me--the basic idea is I was wrong about something yet again (it happens sometimes). Back in the Summer of 2017 I sang the praises of a publisher by the name of Space Goat Productions Inc. when they announced they were making a, "Retailer Advisory Board," which would allow comic retailer to speak with the publisher about how sales of the comics were going, their suggestions, etc. I thought it was a cool idea. In the Fall of 2017 it turned out the CEO of Space Goat--a guy named Shon Bury--was allegedly a horribly mean man who liked to sexually harass female employees, oh and a number of Space Goat Kickstarters that had been funded for two board games (one for, "Evil Dead 2," and the other for, "The Terminator,") had been horribly delayed. The company launched a Kickstarter to make a collection of the earlier issues of a comic they had published three issues of and include the issues that would've finished it. The book was, "Ted Naifeh's Heroines." I made a post about the Kickstarter which later failed, and in retrospect that maybe was for the best because odds are backers would've never received their rewards. Why? As I said, things get weirder.

The rest of 2017 wasn't kind to Space Goat as they quit releasing any solicited comics, and the start of 2018 heaped more money woes upon them because as the Summer of 2018 approached Space Goat tried to have people fund the company for promises of minimal rewards so that it could fulfill its promises to people who had already given it almost one million dollars on Kickstarter for board games they still hadn't created or sent-out. The idea was basically, "Hey, why not give us more money and we promise now we'll make good on our earlier promises?" It didn't go anywhere, and the company said it would explore other ideas. Then the Facebook and Twitter were abandoned a couple months ago and now promote random junk, the website quit existing and a warehouse that was holding a bunch of supplies for Space Goat is actually going to auction the stuff off because they quit paying their bills--that's right, Space Goat now is basically like one of those unpaid units on, "Storage Wars." Backers of the board games are furious, people are wondering what the Hell happened, and I just feel bad for Ted Naifeh as he honestly didn't do anything wrong besides partner with this shitty company for his decent comic I found the three published issues of in a dollar bin last week.

So, What Happened?
Ted Naifeh is a talented creator especially known for a comic he did with Oni Press, "Courtney Crumrin." From what I recall of press for the, "Heroines," comic when it was first announced, Ted had the idea for his comic focused on female superheroines putting-up with sexist male superheroes but knew Oni wouldn't publish it because as a sort of company rule they don't publish super-hero works. This isn't some kind of insult to super-hero books, Oni just figures they won't make money in the market with such a property, I imagine, and the closet they've come to something related to superheroes would be maybe that, "Vindicators," one-shot related to, "Rick and Morty," and that was more of a parody of superheroes than anything else. Anyways, Ted had a superhero idea, Oni was cool with him going somewhere else, and somehow he ended-up with Space Goat. How that occurred I do not know. I guess they offered him more money than another publisher who probably would've been happy to release the book like Image, but I can only wager guesses.

The first three issue of, "Ted Naifeh's Heroines," came out earlier in 2017, and when I saw them in the dollar bin last week at a store I was browsing I bought them and enjoyed them. They feature his stellar artwork and some pretty solid storytelling. The book is mainly about a young woman with superpowers who wants to join a mostly-male super-hero team and is belittled for it. She makes her own team of assorted powered women and they fight crime whilst uncovering a conspiracy about a rich businessman famous for funding lots of superheroes. It is entertaining stuff, although I was a little put-off by how he made a lesbian character super-masculine and super sexually-aggressive. To his credit, the character admits in the third issue it is a front she puts-up to avoid being hurt, saying if she acts like a tough masculine-jerk people can't pick on her for being gay for fear of her beating them up. I liked the three issues that came out in early 2017 and unless Naifeh can take the series somewhere else (I have no idea if the now-defunct Space Goat owns/owned any rights and if they are tied-up) that may be all we get. To his credit, Naifeh spoke-out against Bury's alleged behavior and said if the book didn't get Kickstarted he would take that as a sign there maybe wasn't a demand for it and would create other works instead, so clearly Naifeh is a class-act who got taken for a ride by Space Goat like much of us.

But, Back to Me Being Fooled
Clearly I was duped by Space Goat Productions Inc. when it came to thinking they were a good company. Shon Bury clearly is a sexual harasser with a mean-streak who also enjoys habitually lying, and as much as I would like to think they weren't trying to defraud people with their board game Kickstarters there are many red flags to consider when a company tries to raise money for a new game so as to basically use that money to also pay for the first, as I've read was apparently the idea. In order words, failure led to scamming. I was fooled, Ted Naifeh was taken advantage of, the many backers of the board games who will never see those products delivered were especially screwed-over and Shon Bury and his friends seem to have absconded with whatever money they could, leaving Space Goat Productions Inc. a rotting carcass. The whole story is tragic, leaves a lot of people ripped-off, and generally just makes me angry. In all of this a quite good comic by Ted Naifeh suffered as well, but I guess we can't expect too many happy endings when we're talking about a....tale from the dollar bin!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

"Lookers: Ember," #11 Review

The 11th and final issue of "Lookers: Ember," ends as it began--having just the right mixture of self-awareness and self-indulgence to be a fun read. Published by the more cheesecake-focused imprint of Avatar Press, Boundless Comics, this series mashed-up two entites who had previously appeared in their own one-shots (Ember and the Lookers) into one surreal and interesting story. The Lookers are private investigators who specialize in helping women at risk of having private photos or videos leaked by vengeful ex-boyfriends/husbands, and Ember is a super-powered celebrity who can manipulate fire and utilizes that to achieve movie-stardom.

The focus of the series itself is how Ember has a sex-tape stolen of her and and a U.S. congressman, which results in a myriad of interested parties trying to acquire it from drug-lords hoping to blackmail the politician to so-called, "Men's Rights Activists," hoping to smear the name of Ember. Also, lots of graphically illustrated sex occurs between men and women, women and women, and so forth because this series had enough plot to apparently not have it be in the, "Adult," section of Previews magazine (besides some really risque covers) for people ordering it, but boy-howdy this book can be pretty raunchy. The weird thing about the mini-series, "Lookers: Ember," as well as the one-shots that preceded it that made me love it enough to consider it one of my favorite mini-series/maxi-series of 2017, is that it can at times be kind of genius despite at least half the audience probably just buying it for the T&A (which is admittedly very well-illustrated along with all the other story-elements thanks to the artwork by Gabriel Andrade and back-up story by Christian Zanier).
Every issue has been loaded with observations about internet culture/the digitization of of sex, sexism (the MRA group and their twisted logic are soundly mocked), and the idea is heavily explored how it is depressing to even think we would need people to be hired to help women suffering from threats of revenge-porn. It is becoming a more and more common news story these days as jilted exes purposely put private pictures and videos of women who trusted a partner enough to send private such imagery online for all to see in hopes of basically slut-shaming a woman for the, "Crime," of being a sexual being. Besides exploring a lot of concepts the book did interesting things with its storytelling too, jumping around in time enough that it wasn't annoying but instead set-up interesting plot twists. Plus, fun and weird characters were introduced like one finally taken down in this concluding issue, "Cobra," a sex-obsessed drug-lord who becomes absurdly violent after having his--ahem--member shot off by the Lookers--he then finds his only pleasure in life that makes him feel manly now is hurting others (a lot of psychological concepts to unpack there for sure). Much appreciation is due to writer Patrick Shand for such a well-written series.

"Lookers: Ember," has its characters often having sex, but it never treats the idea as something dirty, instead trying to shame the haters. It is a book that says being monogamous, poly, or any other configuration of a relationship one wants is fine, and if you say otherwise or are a jerk the Lookers will beat -up and/or Ember will quite literally burn you. There is just enough self-aware winking at the reader weaved into the series that you don't feel like you're reading some silly dirty comic so much as a cleverly sarcastic mixture of action, social commentary, and saucy romance. This final issue does all this and sets up the possibility of future storylines that has my interest piqued as well. This last issue of, "Lookers: Ember," is just as great as the first and the lead-in one-shots. I ecstatically rate it...
5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Cheryl's Cookies are Great!

During October my wife surprised me with some fun mail-order treats. They were from a place called, Cheryl's Cookies. I was touched by her sweet gesture and surprised by just how delicious the cookies were. You see, normally I don't like cookies with buttermilk frosting but the buttermilk frosting on these cookies (that looked like little Autumn pumpkins) were amazing. The non-frosted cookies such as snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, and so forth tasted spectacular too. The key is apparently they use good ingredients so as to not taste plastic-y or otherwise nasty. I've seen some reviews online of people who hate the cookies which surprises me as I'm as picky as they come in regards to baked goods and I loved these. I've told my wife to feel free to surprise me with more of Cheryl's cookies whenever she liked.

Note: I was not contacted by Cheryl's cookies or any other entity to make a post about them. This is not some kind of advertising/sponsored post, I legitimately just felt like discussing my affinity for Cheryl's cookies

Friday, November 16, 2018

Flashback Friday: I Adored "Saints Row," 2 and 3 and Continue to Fondly Remember Them

As longtime readers of the blog may recall, years ago I made a long and rambling post about my affinity for the first, "Saints Row," game. Despite it being a blatant rip-off of the, "Grand Theft Auto," series it really rose above the sum of its parts to be a game I fondly remember. As the series went on it eventually somewhat escaped the shadow of the GTA games, becoming its own weird super-hero-alien-fighting-mash-up around the fourth entry. For my money, however, the second and third games really hit that sweet spot of good gameplay, great storytelling, and otherwise being a grand time.

"Saints Row 2," took everything fun in the first game--customization, zany characters, wild plot, base-building--and gave us more. It wrapped up certain plot-elements from the first but also mostly stood alone, and was ingenious in who the final boss you ended-up facing was--gentrification. You see, the Ultror corporation had bought-up much of the city at the end of the first game while your character was in a coma. Throughout a lot of the second game you fight other gangs that all seem to have little ties to Ultor before you seem to have beaten the game...but nope, now Ultor makes it move. With all the gangs except the Saints wiped-out they can sic their corporate hit-squad on the Boss (you), and try to eliminate the last group of folk keeping them from essentially taking over the city and maximizing profits. It is such a clever indictment of capitalism in a game most people think of for its dick jokes that it really surprises you. The other fascinating thing about Ultor is that it isn't made-up of wild and crazy gang-members. It is just a big, cold, corporation, that wants to wipe you out for reasons that aren't personal, you are simply in the way of profits. The cutscenes for the Ultor missions makes this clear, with the initial prologue-style one being especially chilling in its depiction of how Ultor will get rid of the, "Wrong people," for the city of Stillwater:

"Saints Row 3," which is also known as, "Saints Row the Third," is a bit more over-the-top than the second game (as the trend goes with this series), but not to any kind of extra success or harm, it just goes even harder on the metaphorical pedal. You're dropped into a new city known as Steelport and it is everything in the other games amped-up even further (just as 2 built upon 1, this builds upon 2). It has the Saints as worldwide celebrities who yet again take-on more gangs, corporations, and even a paramilitary organization. It's good fun as well and even though I have a fondness for, "Saints Row 4," I think the series achieved perfection on the 3rd game. The final fourth game in the series (spin-offs notwithstanding) became more of a super-hero simulator whilst the 3rd was still a bit more grounded (at least as grounded as a game with gigantic naked clone-monsters and helicopter-based bank-robberies can be.

The first three, "Saints Row," games all had certain story-elements, missions, and general aspects I loved. The first game set a stellar foundation and had a killer ending, the second game had some ingenious story-telling as well as in-depth customization not yet previously seen, and the third was where it felt like the gameplay and mission-design had been mastered by the developer. Speaking of the developer, Voltion, they actually were bought-out by another company known as Deep Silver after their most recent game, "Agents of Mayhem," had underwhelming sales. Hopefully there is something really good cooking still, be it a, "Saints Row 5," or something else intriguing. In the meantime, I'll fondly recall all the previous entries, even the bit-much final one and its Johnny Gat-focused spin-off that sent a secondary character literally to Hell. As I said, things got weird towards the end.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again," is a Fresh and Clever Take on an Old Classic

I love whenever someone takes old classic stories/fables/etc. and gives them a weird twist. For example, I am a huge fan of the incredible anthology of tales, "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales," as well as any yarns that provide a view of a story from another character's viewpoint (like the villain) or which, "Continue," an old tale, as it were. "Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again," by Dave Horowitz is a bit of a sequel to the tragic original, "Humpty Dumpty,"rhyme, following the poor guy/egg as he falls, is horrifically injured, but then in a new twist put back together by a doctor. My wife and I found it when on a trip at a local bookstore and are glad we did as it is a great book for kids--such as our son Clarkson--and adults alike!

After his injury Humpty doesn't try to climb any more walls, mountains, or anything vertical of any sort. Instead, he just sits around in his underwear, watching television, feeling glum. Even when the Dish (famous for running away with the Spoon) stops by to try and motivate Humpty, it is to no avail. Eventually Humpty does get motivated to climb again, so as to save the King's men who originally were of no use in putting him back together when they get stuck on a mountain. After that, Humpty finds himself reinvigorated and ready to climb all kinds of structures again--from now on always using the proper safety gear.
Horotwitz uses a great mixture of rhyme, humor (who doesn't find an egg in underwear funny?), and has an encouraging message as well, telling us it is okay to fail/fall down, and the key is to keep trying as opposed to getting discouraged when something goes wrong. Horotwitz's illustrations are delightful and full of fun little touches that make every page a pleasure to flip-through. "Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again," is a stellar read and one I enthusiastically rate 5 out of 5 stars. I'd encourage anyone interested in this book to see if their local library carries it, purchasing it online or at a local store, and visiting Dave Horowitz's website to check out his other works too!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"The Green Lantern," #1 by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp is A Solid Start

I am a big fan of Grant Morrison, having loved a lot of his works (and admittedly hated a handful too). His latest work is writing, "The Green Lantern," ongoing comic with artist Liam Sharp that I believe takes place in the current DC Universe/continuity but seems in other ways somewhat removed and almost had me wondering if it was set in the past if not for some more-recent references (I'm not alone in this either, as this cool annotation of the comic talks about). This issue follows some Green Lanterns investigating a crime that it turns out released some kind of horrific and dangerous force that results in Hal Jordan being called-upon by the Guardians (who run the Green Lantern Corps) to investigate what could be going on. It all may sound straightforward, but Morrison works in all kinds of weirdness from a virus that serves as a member of the Corps to a, "Fleshmen," alien with a hive mind plus all kinds of weird little callbacks to past comics that hardcore readers as well as those only a little familiar with the assorted Lanterns (such as myself) can both enjoy regardless of how extensive or limited their knowledge is.

The first issue of, "The Green Lantern," with Morrison at scripting-helm is well-written and fun if not immediately awe-inspiring, but Liam Sharp's artwork picks-up any slack in what Morrison presents us. Sharp's illustrations of alien worlds and creatures are lush, detailed in their surreal abstract nature, and otherwise had me staring at pages long after I'd read any plot-points or dialogue just to absorb the mixture of his beautiful and hideous drawings (some aliens are incredibly ugly in an impressive way). He assembles the panels on the pages in a way that the story flows perfectly and his art-style contributes to the retro-futuristic vibe I got from the comic.
Liam Sharp provides some amazing artwork.
This first issue of "The Green Lantern," is a mixture of solid writing from Grant Morrison and superb artwork from Liam Sharp. It contains plenty of action, sets up a mystery, and otherwise is a solid start to what will hopefully be a hum-dinger of a run. I eagerly look forward to more.
4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Television Tuesday: I Hate A Particular Kind of Contestant on, "The Price is Right,"

There are three kinds of people in this World I hate with a passion:

1. Those who hurt others for no reason.
2. People who give their word and don't keep it.
3. Contestants on, "The Price is Right," who bid $1 over the otherwise highest guess.

I would imagine we all at one point in time have said something hurtful for no reason or hit someone out of anger, and if we have nothing else we at least have our word but maybe have even gone back on that once. I  sincerely hope nobody reading my blog has ever gone $1 above the otherwise highest bid on, "The Price is Right," however, because those people have a special place in Hell.
For anyone unaware of what I'm talking about, contestants on, "The Price is Right," get called-down from the audience and are shown an item which they have to guess the price of--without going over. It can be basically anything and whoever guesses the closest amount without being too high wins and gets to compete for other awesome prizes. All too often however there will a person who asks what the highest bid was and goes a single dollar higher, thereby dooming the other person who bid what they felt was reasonable to losing if it turns out the item is more expensive than everyone's guess. Sometimes it backfires, with a lower guess winning, but far too often someone tells the host Drew Carey, "I"ll bid $751 over their $750," and it turns out the product is 900-ish, resulting in a huge jerk getting to play for even better items. 

Whenever this happens it is cruel, terrible, and if I were on, "The Price is Right," I would make my displeasure loudly known with a number of expletives if someone pulled this move on me. I implore anyone who ever happens to be on, "The Price is Right," to please never bid a single dollar over the highest guessed amount, it paints you as a terrible human being. At least guess $50 or so higher, that way you still are now the highest guess, but also don't look like a despicable monster. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Stan Lee Has Died

Stan Lee, one of the last living greats in the field of comic-books, has died. We recently lost Ditko, Kirby left a awhile ago, Eisner is no longer of this world as well, and it seems the people who had a hand in the creation of some of the biggest comics/properties ever leave us more often than ever due to age and illness. I of course wrote many a time about my complicated feelings regarding Stan Lee, and had expressed concern about his recent treatment by those who were supposed to be looking out for his best interests, but the bottom line was that Lee had his fingerprints so deeply ingrained in the foundation of super-hero comics it would be impossible to imagine what we have today (in terms of movies, merchandise, and modern-comics) without his contributions.

I've already seen posts online deifying him as some kind of God who could do no wrong as well as hot-takes decrying him as a terrible and shitty person. He of course was not an artist, he was a writer, and people debate whether he contributed a ton of the effort or barely any work behind some of the greatest creations he and his collaborators made, with the truth undeniably being somewhere in the middle. The big thing with Lee though was how he was a natural showman. The guy practically bleed charisma, enthusiasm, and was generally just a super-fun person you wanted to listen to. His ability to promote the art-form of comics in the past decades before they were as accepted by the mainstream as a form of entertainment, "For more than just for kids," is a contribution I personally feel could not be overstated, regardless of people's personal feelings about the man or how much work he did in comics. Stan Lee has died and I am sad. I will miss him.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Toxic Fandoms Make Being a Fan Hard

The, "Toxic," versions of Rick and Morty.
They ironically reflect some of the worst members of the fan-base.
I love the television program, "Rick and Morty." I sometimes am nervous to express this in public however as the show has become notorious for a chunk of its fan-base being people who behave abhorrently, and I fear someone thinking I'm one of those fans who believe Rick is someone to be modeled after as opposed to hated and pitied, or who lined-up and screamed at McDonald's restaurants when they ran out of Schezwan sauce (which actually did taste pretty good). I also have enjoyed the, "Star Wars," films, finding the original trilogy to be great fun, not hating, "Episode 3," and being relatively pleased with, "Episode VII." I still haven't seen the spin-off movies or the latest main-flick but I will get around to doing so at some point. There are other people who obsess over, "Star Wars," however, and it has developed a fan-base which can at times be so toxic it has harassed writers, actors, and others to a disgusting degree. I love being a fan of things, but I"ll be damned if toxic fandoms don't make being a fan hard.

The word, "Fan," is basically a shortened and colloquial version of the word, "Fanatic." Basically, fanaticism is bad if looking at a strict definition of the word, as it means you are dangerously obsessed with something, worshiping it to a degree. As with many words and phrases its modern usage just means you really like something, but maybe there is more and more accuracy in the old definition. After all, fanatics of something would love their interpretation so much anything that challenged it they would hate and attack...much like some of the toxic fandoms today despising anything done with/to their beloved intellectual property that they disagree with. Pretty much any somewhat-popular show, movie, book-series, comic, video-game, and so forth will have an element of its fan-base that can be toxic, but the problem arises when there is a good deal of toxicity, and it seems to overpower and overwhelm the much less hateful majority of folk. Still, when a toxic fandom seems to saturate the discussion it really makes being a fan hard. I don't have a solution, if I did I sure as Hell would offer it to any fandoms overloaded with toxicity. I just wanted to vent and advise others to call out toxic people in a fan-community when they see such behavior. Make sure it is known that their horrendous behavior won't be tolerated because if they claim to love something so much all they want to do is hate-on anyone else who likes it too (and maybe likes different aspects, even) then they aren't fans, they're just jerks.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Nostalgic Nerd Part of Me is Sad--Prima Games is Shutting Down

Sit down you young whippersnappers and I'll tell you a story about the era of gaming in the late 90's and early 00's. You see, the internet wasn't quite what it is today and folk would buy these big things called, "Strategy Guides," to have help playing video-games. Yeah, yeah, I know guides are still made these days, but they get a lot less people buying them and sometimes they are almost more like video-game art-books with a bit of gameplay tips thrown in. Those are designed to appeal to collectors with their art-prints and hardcovers, I"m talking about the old paper-guides that broke-down all the stuff the game manual didn't--yes, yes, our games used to have paper manuals too! Well, one company that made a lot of those guides back in the past and has struggled to keep-up with stuff like wikipedia, gamefaqs, blogs, etc. is known as Prima Games...and well, Prima is going out of business.

Another big company, Bradygames, was actually absorbed by Prima back in 2015, so Prima was arguably one of the last big strategy guide companies left. I am sad for the employees at Prima this impacts and the nostalgic nerd part of me is quite distressed. The kids these days really don't know how good they have it when they get stuck in a game, able to look-up written directions or watch somebody else master a difficult part via  Youtube/Twitch/etc. I guess strategy guides are becoming another one of those things made irrelevant by the almighty power of technology.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Film Friday: The Spy Who Dumped Me

Have you ever watched a movie that was good but felt like it went a little longer than it needed to? That is, "The Spy Who Dumped Me," without a doubt. With a running-time of an hour and 58 minutes this feels like a movie that would have been perfect at a strict 90 minutes and no more. Focusing on Mila Kunis' character who learns her boyfriend she just broke up with is actually a spy, within the first 15 minutes he appears at her house and dies whilst telling her what she can do to help protect the World through some globe-trotting-shenanigans. Kate McKinnon plays Kunis' best friend/partner in helping save the world and much of the funniest parts of the movie come from the hilarious chemistry the two have together as close chums. The flick moves along breezily, but right when you think it has reached its climax and is keeps going, for another half-hour. It is still entertaining as the stakes keep rising as Kunis and McKinnon find themselves in crazier and crazier situations (posing as Canadian ambassadors and Cirque De Solei performers), but I was kind of wonder, "When does this end?" My wife said she felt this way too while watching it, so I'm not alone.

"The Spy Who Dumped Me," is a solidly entertaining film, albeit one that goes a little long. Thanks to Kunis and McKinnon's hilarious banter it kept my attention throughout and overall it was worth the Redbox rental. Also, it presents to us in all its unedited glory the biggest, saggiest ball-sack I've ever seen in a mainstream Hollywood movie, so that counts for something too, I suppose.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Season Finale of, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Did the Last Thing We'd Ever Expect--It Was Beautiful and Sincere

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," has been running for 13 seasons now, with the finale for season 13 airing last night. The gang of Charlie, Dennis, Dee, Mac, and Frank (played by Danny DeVito who joined in the 2nd season) has always surprised viewers here-and-there with little funny twists or turns, but the whole point has always been that these are terrible, horrible people who are doomed by their own hubris to be miserable. Anytime something good has happened for any one of them it has been undone by their own actions, cruelly revealed to be a dream, hallucination, overdose on booze, or otherwise ended poorly . The characters may change a bit--Dennis becomes a dad, Mac came out as gay last season--but they never truly grow, they just stay stagnant and awful, which is where much of the comedy comes from. We viewers basically expect the worst from the characters of, "Sunny," and the worst to happen to them, so what could the ultimate twist be? Why, a genuinely deep, artistic, and human scene to end the season, with no, "Rug being pulled out," from us at the last minute, just pure raw emotion and beauty. Who the Hell saw that coming?

The final episode of this 13th season of, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," focuses heavily on Mac and Frank. It is time for Pride and they need Mac--their, "Token gay," to ride on the float for the bar in a parade to hopefully attract customers who are, "High-spending gays." Mac is struggling though. He is out now, but isn't sure where he fits in the world as a gay man, or just a person in general. He still hasn't come-out to his Father whom he has always had a complicated and difficult relationship with. Frank says how he never got Mac--when he was in the closet or out--Mac's imprisoned Dad even says he never got his son (without Mac even telling him he is gay). Mac hints at an idea to show how he is gay, a complicated dance with a woman who represents God or an angel, he isn't sure, but that idea is seemingly written-off by Frank as Mac clearly having some complex issues with his Catholic faith and being gay.
The episode carries on with Frank making crass comments about gay people because he's an old bigot (which he readily admits) and Mac seeming just down in the dumps. There are plenty of dumb jokes at the expense of the gang (the whole episode Frank is suffering a massive nosebleed from bumping into a door which he tries to stop in various disgusting ways) and it seems like nothing that crazy is going to happen, but then we reach the episode's climax. Thanks to Frank's money (a long-running gag in the show is that he enables the gang's bad behavior as formerly highly successful businessman), they are able to get the prisoners at the prison where Mac's Dad is incarcerated within an event-space for what is stated to be a Blake Shelton concert. In truth, it is actually a way for Mac to do something incredible though. He tells his Father, "Dad, I'm gay," with a nervous, quivering voice, then suddenly the screen goes dark. The sound of rain and thunder is heard (it is mentioned there was a rain machine for the parade float to explain this element) and then upon the stage it is Mac with a woman, doing a complex and beautiful dance in the rain, full of emotion, expression, beauty, and I was sitting there wondering if something was going to go wrong for some reason. I thought there would be a joke or mishap, but there wasn't. Mac's Dad gets up and leaves, but Mac continues the dance, and when he's done the prisoners cheer and Frank says with an bewildered and smiling visage--still covered in his dried-up nose-blood, "Oh my God. I get it. I get it."

This show, which for 13 seasons rarely gave the slightest hints at decency or happiness only to immediately destroy those glimmers of joy suddenly brings us viewers something astonishingly gorgeous and delicate, amazingly heartfelt, and it actually made me tear-up some. Is it some kind of sign that this far into, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," it could turn a new corner with a well-adjusted Mac dealing with a still awful gang? Will this somehow be undone so as to not, "Break," the show or can, "Sunny," have a moment of genuine humanity that isn't then kicked in the metaphorical balls but allowed to just exist, admired for its vulnerability as opposed to mocked? I was utterly dumbstruck that a show so rooted in exploring the grimy and brutal would swerve into some kind of magical realism, with other reviewers appearing equally surprised.
I've seen a mixture of responses to this episode online, with some folk cheering it as genius, touching, and amazing, whilst others have felt it was a jarring way to end the season completely counter to what the show has usually been like before. I clearly am of the viewpoint that it was great, doing something I never, ever, would have predicted and doing it in a way that mesmerized me. I guess it makes sense now why Rob McElhenney got so fit for this season, he needed to be in the best shape possible to do the amazing dance that Mac and the unnamed woman (played by Kylie Shea) perform. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," is a show I've consistently loved during its stronger seasons as well as its weaker ones, but I never would've predicted it could have surprised me with something so raw and so lacking in the jaded cynicism the show normally trades in. If the show doesn't finally win a damn Emmy after this I don't know what it will take.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I Tried Some Weird Hot Chocolate Recently

This past weekend when shopping with Samii and Clarkson (it was the same day the unfortunate problems occurred with Best Buy) I purchased and tried some hot chocolate that was really weird. Created by a brand known as the, "Redneck Cafe," which is a part of the store we bought it at (World Market) the drink was bacon hot chocolate. I'll get one thing out the way--it wasn't good--but it was interesting. When I drank it I heated up some water and poured in the mix which looked perfectly normal. There was a slight artificial bacon-smell which only intensified as I mixed-in the powder. I eventually took a sip and it tasted like a decent hot chocolate...followed by the nastiest fake-bacon aftertaste one could imagine.

It didn't make me feel sick, it just struck me as having more of a chemical-taste reminiscent of bacon than actually feeling like hot chocolate with bacon in fact mixed into it somehow. Still, it was a fun little thing to try as I am someone who loves hot chocolate as well as of course coffee (but I don't really like them together AKA as a mocha, go figure). I maybe didn't like bacon hot chocoalte, but I did like the combination of cola and orange juice in a drink I bought, so live and learn.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I Hope Everyone Voted Today

I hope everyone voted today if they were eligible (or already did an absentee ballot). Even if you're voting wrong (e.g. for anyone Trump supports) I want you to exercise your right to vote because countless people fought and died for our right to do so in this nation. Not all areas had massive things to vote for, but some did, and even if you had little local ordinances or amendments to vote on the important thing is to vote. Some polls are still open, a chunk are closed, and before too long we will see what the Senate and House look like for the foreseeable future. Hopefully it is a future that looks a lot better than what has been happening in the past couple of years.