A Slice of Fried Gold

The One Armed Man

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When I was four I was bouncing on my parents bed and I decided it'd be a good idea if instead of landing on the bed again with my feet it would be a better idea if I landed on the floor arm first.

Probably not my best decision ever.

No less, breaking your arm sucks. Especially when the doctor sets your broken bone incorrectly, leading you to a life with a "freaky elbow" as I so lovingly refer to it (or a permanently dislocated elbow as it really is). Really, besides the fact that it may have affected my ability to be a professional baseball player (that was the only roadblock really - seriously, you may have been reading about me throwing a no-hitter right now if it weren't for that doctor) it rarely ever bothered me. In fact, it always provided a bit of a fun conversation starter, and through the years I developed a series of entertaining examples to show what exactly was wrong with it.

In short, life gave me lemons, and I made some very delicious lemonade with them.

Granted at this point I do not throw a lot of things (I toss things, such as baseballs or footballs, from time to time, but rarely really throw them), so this never really seemed like it would be a problem for me ever again. Of course, occasionally life throws you curve balls. Or in my case, a curved distance driver.

I've developed a rather intense love for the sport of frisbee golf and over the years I've become fairly decent at it, able to throw hammer (overhead), backhand, and forehand very well and able to get good scores most any time. The only problem is I developed such an affinity for it that I feel the need to play most any chance I get, and yesterday I played 27 holes including 18 at Kincaid Park which is an extremely long course. I had to really bomb my throws and throw hammer style which I try not to do because it hurts my arm an extra large amount. My arm was quite mad at me, but it was cool because I shot a negative 2 from the pro tees and I survived.

No harm, no foul.

Today after work I was on my way home from getting comics and I thought "hmmm...going straight takes me to Westchester (frisbee golf course) and right takes me home...left it is!" I played nine holes, with my arm getting progressively worse each hole. Due to my horrible nature of being a completionist, I couldn't just quit, and afterwards my arm was hurting so bad I felt like getting sick and, even worse, I couldn't feel my fingers. Both rather new conditions, and rather concerning ones at that.

So that's that. Sometimes it takes something dire to make you realize things need to change (such as when my heart hurt from running in college, so I decided perhaps it was time to lose a few pounds) and this tells me that I need to cool it on my arm. I don't think I'll see a doctor because frankly I figure he'll recommend surgery and I can't have that, but I do know I need to tone it down on the frisbee golf for a while. When my arm hurts bad enough that I feel the need to take two of my hydrocodone from when I had my wisdom teeth removed, that's how you know it's in bad shape.

But I was in a wondrously goofy mood for two straight hours that led to me proposing roughly 27 fantasy baseball trades ranging from ludicrous to insane, so there is that. Hooray for silver linings!

2008 Eisner Award winners are out!

Lost in all of the hullabaloo that is the San Diego Comic Con (you know, like the insane buzz the Watchmen movie developed, the new Wolverine movie going from "cautious but intrigued" to "give me it now!" in interest levels, incredible panels like the Gerard Way/Grant Morrison love fest, and even Gnarls Barkley performing a cover of Radiohead's "Reckoner") was actually a lot of really awesome comic related news. I know, I know, who wants to go to the SDCC to talk about actual comic books right?

Well I do! It is kind of the point isn't it? I know it's become the de facto celebrity event of the year somehow and the biggest launching pad for movies known to man (take that France! Keep your Cannes, we have Comic Con!) but I like to think there is still interest in the published portion of the deal. One of the most ignored topics from the SDCC (besides the great news that Image has taken on Robert Kirkman as a full partner - congrats Robert!) was the announcement of the 2008 Eisner Award winners, which is essentially the Academy Awards of comics.

As a huge fan of both award ceremonies of the sort and of comics, it was an exciting announcement for me, and unlike other similar events they got everything mostly correct. Best continuing series? Y the Last Man!!! Best writer? Ed Brubaker!!! Best limited series? The Umbrella Academy!!! Heck, they even nailed the best publication for kids category by giving that one to the deadly duo of Mouse Guard mini's. So they pretty much rocked the house.

But they still had one massive mistake. They gave single issue of the year to Justice League of America #11, an issue called "Walls" that was written by New York Times best seller (as he is always referred to in comic ads) Brad Meltzer and drawn by Gene Ha. Great creators, very good issue especially considering it was sandwiched between 26 issues of unabashed mediocrity.

But issue of the year? Seriously? You had Y the Last Man #58 and #60, Captain America #25, Silver Surfer: Requiem #4, any issue from Immortal Iron Fist's excellent "The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven" arc, All-Star Superman #10, any issue from Brubaker's Criminal, and Civil War: Confession to work with, and that issue gets the award? Those are just the issues I could think of right off hand that were far superior to that issue. Even within the category you had the absolutely breathtaking Sensational Spider-Man Annual by young gun Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca.

I know they can't satisfy everyone with every award, I just don't understand how they can be so far off on such a major award. Of course, there is the very likely chance that it is just me on this one.

When does summer start?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Alaska has a bit of reputation. When out of the state, people all over will ask you questions (joking questions of course, but still stupid) about what it's like to live in an igloo, or what it's like to have to ride a dog sled to work, or even what it's like to have a polar bear for a pet. You know, standard hilarious jokes that absolutely never get tired.

For the most part they're very incorrect, because even though the winter's do suck and are long and cold and dark, the summers are extremely pleasant typically. Never gets too hot, but generally it stays pretty warm and we see many days in the perfect area of 75 with a light breeze. They really make the whole "living in Alaska" thing worth it, even if in the other nine months of the year the weather is pretty much miserable.

One problem this year however.

There is no summer!

Recently the Anchorage Daily News wrote an article about how this is, statistically speaking, the coldest summer ever in Alaska.

Kill me.

We're looking at a summer with two days above 70 degrees, zero days over 75, and only 35 days over 60. Sixty!!! The average for a summer is 88, and we haven't even hit half that yet.

So needless to say, this summer in terms of weather has absolutely sucked. It's been a great one with lots of fun and tons of memorable times, but come on now, throw us a bone Mother Nature. I know you already have some snow on the mountains (ridiculous but absolutely true) but can't you give us a few weeks of phenomenal weather? Hell, I'd satisfy for 65 with sun and no clouds. That isn't that much to ask is it?

When it's July still and I'm legitimately concerned about the frost that's gathering on my car, well...that's when you know it's a pretty messed up summer.

One bit of good news from the article I linked to above - while they claim that we're facing below average weather right now, they are also suggesting that we'll have unusually warm weather between October and December. I have to admit, I really like the sound of that.

In Bruges

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson In Bruges

Bruges has been coming up way more than ever lately. That isn't exactly difficult because until recently I was very similar to Colin Farrell's character Ray in In Bruges in that I had absolutely no clue where the stupid place was.

Well, it's in Belgium.

No less, I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's Neither Here nor There, his ode to travelling across Europe, and within those pages Bryson absolutely raves about Bruges. Apparently it was one of the few places that maintains its pristine nature that it had before World War II, surviving relatively unscathed and keeping up the cobblestone streets, the glorious churches, beautiful bridges, and the best canals this side of Venice. It looks and sounds incredible.

Of course...there are differing perspectives on the subject. Farrell's Ray directly compares Bruges with Hell in the film and hates the place from the very beginning, but really that isn't important to the movie. It's important in the fact that Bruges is small and gives writer/director Martin McDonagh a play like atmosphere to work with and provides Ray lots of opportunities to make many hilarious comments about it, but that is about it. Well, and it provides the location of one of the best movies so far this year, In Bruges.

I'm not going to say it's better than Wall-E or the Dark Knight because it isn't. However, in a year heretofore dominated by summer flicks and not much else, it's great to see a movie like this really do a lot with not much. It's an classic styled film, very dialogue oriented and based entirely around character interactions - no special effects, just straight up good filmmaking. Well, and incredible acting as Brendan Gleeson does what he does (he continues to be one of the best supporting actors out there), Ralph Fiennes tries really, really hard to steal every scene, and Colin Farrell gives the best performance of his career.

He's funny. He's tragic. He's pretty much brilliant, and any time he's off the screen you're thinking in the back of your head "what is Ray doing right now?" Whether it's giving midgets thumbs up to make sure they have a better day or punching women in the face because she swung a bottle at him (and may or may not have known karate), everything he does is awesome.

This is a great movie, and one that is poorly represented by the trailer (which I enjoyed and made me sad that I missed it - because Alaska sucks at movie) in the fact that it shows nothing at all about the movie, and doesn't even accurately represent its feel. Rent this movie, I demand it. It's definitely worth a watch for the black humor, crime movie lover in all of us.

Also known as, Erik, seriously, watch this movie right now. You'll greatly enjoy it.

The Weekend Edition

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This weekend, as per usual, was a very good one that was packed to the gills with adventure and fun. What happened this glorious (and extremely wet) Alaskan weekend?

  • Westchester with Colver, Lorna, and Nick
  • Step Brothers with Jason, Hannah, Colver, Lorna, and Nick (short review: retarded but funny, you better like Will Ferrell a lot if you're going)
  • Lunch with Kim at Sweet Basil
  • Repotting my precious Dracena with my Mom
  • Predator and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang with Hannah
  • Wilco absolutely rocking faces at Moose's Tooth
  • Spicy Thai Chicken Pizza to go from the Tooth (mmmm)
  • Partying downtown!
  • Acting as Cate's signpost for 30 minutes
  • Amy dancing with a guitarist from Wilco (incredibly amusing)
  • Snow City with Kim, Amy, Hannah, and Jason
  • Finally catching Sigur Ros' documentary Heima

Needless to say, considering I'm a huge fan of concerts the highlight of the weekend was Wilco at the Moose's Tooth 12th Anniversary show. Hannah and I attended but many other known people were there (for example, my mom and two sisters - rocking the front like concert superstars, Hannah's sister and brother-in-law, Alex, etc. etc.) even though it was raining quite emphatically. I'm pretty much the worst Alaskan ever, so I of course wore slip on shoes, a button up, a hoodie, and a blazer...because that makes sense. However, I did have an umbrella from Hannah and part way through I honestly stopped caring.


Because Wilco rocked.

I was a bit concerned they would be somewhat boring because frankly, their music is kinda that way. However, they were absolutely incredible, sounding even better than they do recorded while jamming endlessly on some songs. Not only that, but Jeff Tweedy had fantastic rapport with the audience, they did three encores, and somehow the combination of rain and beer turned the audience into one of the best I'd ever experienced. It was a strangely friendly crowd and the music knowledge of most of the audience members was pretty stellar - there was a lot of singing along.

Hannah and I under the umbrella before the show

There were plenty of entertaining moments, like the girl who thought I was her friends son (seriously), the weird hippy couple who apparently loved Hannah and I (the girl was pinching my side constantly, it was cute and bizarre), and the strange moment where everyone in a 3 person radius heard me call Hannah by name so everyone also began referring to her by name. They did not know her.

Jeff Tweedy rocking it

All that, and they played one of my all-time favorite single song performances when they performed "A Shot in the Arm" off their album from 1999 Summerteeth. It was the first Wilco song I'd ever heard, and you better believe I belted out those vocals as loud as I could and danced like an idiot. It was absolutely incredible, just like the rest of the show.

See below for photographic evidence of said incredibleness.

Me with a Hef before the show

Hannah with the umbrella before the show

Jeff Tweedy and Amy's dance partner jamming

Kim (Hannah's sister) and Hannah during the show

Wilco rocking it during an encore

Favorite Comics

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding a good comic store is a very hard thing to do. You wouldn't think so in most cities because most of the time there are bunches of them to choose from (not so in Alaska) but even then I think it's probably difficult. You need a place that takes care of their comics, somewhere that remembers customers, somewhere that has knowledgeable and friendly staff, and staff that doesn't fall into the "oh my god, look how socially awkward we are!" stereotype comic guys normally fall into.

For me, that's the Boscos's on Spenard in Anchorage. Now I used to work there when I was 16 so that's kind of cheating, but I don't care. The store is very well kept, the people are fantastic (I regularly play in fantasy sports leagues with the guy who runs the sporting cards department), and they make buying comics an absolute joy on a week to week basis. Sometimes I think I like reading comics just so I can discuss them with the employees there.

By far my favorite people on the comics side are Will and Jared. I personally blame Will for making my weekly reading list nearly double in the last year, but Jared...well, he may have had a far worse crime. I stopped reading for around 3 years, but because of Jared's suggestion (pre-regular status) of a comic I became addicted again and now I'm at an all-time high for monthly titles I pick up. It's terrible, and he's entirely to blame. Or thank. Depending on who you ask I suppose.

However, the point of this story is that Jared is moving to Portland this week and it makes me sad. It's definitely going to bring down my weeks a bit because I don't have my weekly discussions with him (obviously this guy is going to be a fan, the last four digits of his phone number spell out XMEN - yes, it was intentional) and Bosco's as a whole is going to miss the charm and knowledge Jared brought to the store. I wish him luck, and in honor of him I'm going to finally post this - my 25 favorite comic/comic series of all time. Enjoy!

1. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

Tidbit: No comic has ever so thoroughly engrossed me. I've read the whole series no less than five times, and is the one series I've managed to successfully share with nearly all of my friends. They love it as well.

2. Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

Tidbit: For a short period I thought of it as my favorite, but once the honeymoon settled down this series slotted in at my number 2 slot. BKV is arguably my favorite writer, and this is his best work.

3. Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (ongoing)

Tidbit: Fairy tale characters running around in the real world with elements of war, spying, love, and magic running through it? Sign me up!

4. Bone by Jeff Smith

Tidbit: I can't believe this is fourth, but it is. Absolutely incredible series that is like a mix of Peanuts and Lord of the Rings. But more awesome.

5. Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley (ongoing)

Tidbit: This series defies my general distaste for anime by filling it with everything else I love - indie rock, video games, being young and ridiculous, and the pursuit of love.

6. Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday

Tidbit: Maybe the single coolest series ever made, this is Ellis going through his cookbook and throwing down everything he's got into a bizarre and engrossing mystery. Bonus points for featuring the pencils of the single greatest artist in comics - John Cassaday.

7. Hitman by Garth Ennis and John McCrea

Tidbit: Impossible to find in collected form (got every issue suckers!), this series came from one of the all time worst crossovers in comic history and managed to be hilarious, touching, and badass. Sometimes simultaneously. Did I mention I like Garth Ennis?

8. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (ongoing)

Tidbit: Maybe the single greatest zombie story ever. Seriously. Bonus points for being this awesome with truly mediocre art. If it had great art it'd be a top five contender.

9. Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Tidbit: Best X-Men story arc ever in my opinion. This arc really is all about Kitty Pryde, but its success is based around Whedon's incredible grip on the characters, his witty dialogue, and Cassaday doing what he does better than anyone else.

10. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Tidbit: The only "classy" graphic novel on this list, this is one of the most touching stories I've ever read and depicts what it's like to be a young person as well as anything out there.

11. Impulse by Brian Augustyn and Humberto Ramos

Tidbit: This is my favorite superhero comic of my youth, and it's just as good now as it was then. Humberto Ramos will never do better art than he did on this book in my opinion, and forever influenced how I draw with this series.

12. Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Tidbit: My favorite Batman story ever (and quite likely Christopher Nolan's) is by the team supreme of Loeb and Sale. Gripping story told from the beginning of Batman's career.

13. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli

Tidbit: Clear influence on Nolan's Batman Begins with entire scenes being lifted from it. This series depicts the beginning of Batman and James Gordon's careers, and is Miller's all time best work in my opinion.

14. Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

Tidbit: The best DC Universe story ever told. Also features the greatest comic art ever seen, as produced by Alex Ross.

15. The Authority by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch

Tidbit: Somewhat like Watchmen did 15 years earlier, this series deconstructs the superhero genre while reimagining it for the world today. Also features Hitch's magnificently detailed pencils, which are intense and need to be seen to be believed.

16. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Tidbit: Quite possibly the most critically acclaimed comic ever (possible exception of Maus) deserves most all of its praise. I just finished it for the third time, and that was by far its best reading ever. Alan Moore's magnum opus.

17. Ex-Machina by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris (ongoing)

Tidbit: Shocker - I'm such a sucker for BKV. One of the most original series ever, and certainly one of the most on the market now.

18. The Goon by Eric Powell (ongoing)

Tidbit: Ridiculously bizarre but incredibly hilarious. Like a B movie from the 40's or 50's as directed by Tim Burton. In short, it rules.

19. Top 10 by Alan Moore and Gene Ha

Tidbit: Up until about a week ago, I would argue 'til I turned blue that this was Alan Moore's best work. It's close, and features what Wizard Magazine named the best single issue of the past 25 years.

20. JLA: Tower of Babel by Mark Waid and Howard Porter

Tidbit: Hooked on Batman after seeing the Dark Knight? Look no further for the single most awesome Batman story ever, as you find out why no one in comics could take him down if the chips were on the line.

21. Captain America by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting (ongoing)

Tidbit: Ed Brubaker has rapidly went from being someone I didn't know to one of my favorite writers thanks to books like this. Managed to kill the title character of the book and somehow make it better. Epting can't be ignored, as he is doing career defining work here.

22. The Punisher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Tidbit: Same team as Preacher, they combined to remind the world that no character is more badass than Frank Castle. I mean he punches a polar bear in the face in this series. What is more awesome than that?

23. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Tidbit: Joss Whedon took this book over after BKV left and was massively overshadowed. One of the only books on the market that could happen to, and that's because this is one of the best duos in comic history.

24. Nextwave by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen

Tidbit: A giant dragon takes a woman and puts her in his underwear. Much hilarity ensues. Maybe the single funniest scene in comic history. I laugh just thinking about it. This is the funniest series I've ever read.

25. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Tidbit: Amazingly forward thinking, wonderfully bizarre, and incredibly awesome look into what the future could be if we continue the way we are going now - except it was started a decade ago.

So that's that. Those are my 25 favorite comics ever, and I just wanted to note that I apparently am a sucker for anything written by Garth Ennis (3 titles), Brian K. Vaughan (3 titles), or Warren Ellis (4 titles). Also wanted to note that there are two series that I either need to get reading more of or get started on: Hellboy (I currently love it, but need to read the beginning) and Sandman. Some day I will get on that, but for now these are my 25.

The Birds! The Birds!

Baby Seagulls - precious...but deadly

My office has had a ton of visitors lately. Due to the presence of some baby Seagulls, their parents, extended family, friends, enemies, and pretty much any other Seagull in Anchorage is now hanging out around my office. What do they do?

They spend their days amusing my boss by dive bombing any person who walks within 50 feet of their babies.

One time I was around for it, and it was pretty much the most hysterical thing I've ever seen. This guy I'd never seen was walking out wearing a full suit and carrying a briefcase (non-traditional apparel for the office, if I do say so myself) minding his own business, when two Seagulls begin alternately dive bombing him. At first he was laughing because it was bizarre, and then they got fairly close. At that point he brought out his game face and started doing some sort of variation of the Thriller dance while hissing at them as they flew by. Hilarious to my boss and I, but in no way effective. He was hounded every step of the way out to his car, probably never once understanding why this was happening to him.

However, this amusing tale has a sad ending as today one of the baby Gulls was run over by a car in our parking lot. Seriously people, keep your eyes on the prize! I hope to god that you're paying enough attention in the parking lot to be aware of your surroundings. I know they aren't exactly giants, but some basic awareness is not that much to ask for. It made me feel terrible, and really brought me down from the previous highs of the great Gull adventure of 2008. No less, there are two left so if you're ever around the Bush Company in Anchorage, Alaska may I please ask you to mind your surroundings. You never know if a baby Seagull is nearby.

The new Last.FM

Recently, Last.FM went through some serious changes. If you haven't heard of Last.FM (which I highly doubt if you're trolling the internet for things of this sort) it is a music social networking site of sorts, but at its heart it is a tool for the music aficionado in everyone. What you do is sign up, download the scrobbling plug-in for your audio program of your choice, and from there it tracks what you listen to by artist, track, and album. Once it gets enough information, it can make cool little widgets for you, gives you recommendations, and even builds radio stations of those recommendations and your very own music.

In short...it rocks.

As I said though, it went through some serious changes that are pretty incredible. Before you could only view charts off one static date (weekly was monday to sunday, monthly was based off the last four weeks starting the previous monday, etc.) and now it updates pretty much instantly. For example, today I was on a Beatles kick at work and it already has my chart updated to have them as the second most popular band of my last week. As a person who is strangely intrigued by charting and by tracking listening habits, this pretty much makes my day/week/month/year.

Not only are there cool changes in their charting, but the actual interface is far more intuitive, much more attractive, and laid out far more intelligently. You can take tracks that you listened to and build libraries of music out of them on the site. Simply plugging in your ipod now automatically scrobbles tracks you listened to (before you had to download a second plug-in that was not exactly "user friendly").

In short, it's everything a music nut could ask for out of a site. It's shiny, it's easy to use, and it's functional as all hell, all now for the low, low price of free. What are you waiting for? Join up, and make sure you add fluke182 to be your friend.

Again?! We just did it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, musical wunderkinds and the only reason it's acceptable that Gatsby's American Dream broke up, are up to something. Today they released a new track called "Diggin'" (it rocks) on their Myspace and they announced that they are already half way through production on a new album. A newer album I should say, considering their last album came out in February.

The album is apparently titled Introducing Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground and it went from not even known to being my most anticipated album of 2008 or 2009 (depending on when it comes out I suppose). Cannot wait for this release.

Also, you'd be a fool if you passed up a chance to catch them touring right now with Portugal. The Man and headliner RX Bandits, as you'd be hard pressed to find a better show than that. Extremely talented trio of bands, and very entertaining ones as well. Get on that, and see that show for me, your lowly Alaskan friend.

The Weekend Edition

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Well, back to our regularly scheduled postings. I'll be getting back to my regular posts this week, starting with the weekend and a quick breakdown of what went down for myself this past weekend in an attempt to make it seem like I have a life outside of my computer. Anything to make that seem true.

So what went down this weekend?

  • Dinner with my mom at Villa Nova (crazy delicious Italian restaurant in Anchorage)
  • Going through Sasquatch and Sobo's wedding week pics with her after words
  • Boston's and the Office Lounge with Colver, Lorna, Kim, and Hannah (tons of fun!)
  • Snow City with my sister
  • Hitting up the 5th Avenue mall and the downtown area afterwards with my sister as well (awesome new shoes - booyah!)
  • Buying a pair of jeans and horribly regretting it - the ability to bend in jeans is a very underrated attribute to a good pair of jeans
  • Shooting a negative two at Kincaid and getting my first eagle in frisbee golf
  • Bizarre late lunch with Amy, Blake, Cate, Darren, and Eric at the Millennium Hotel
  • Walking to the downtown bars with the same crew on a nice night
  • Bar hopping with Cate, Darren, Eric, and Nick
  • Denny's at 4:30 AM with Nick and four girls (fun!)
  • Free french toast and coffee from Amy (is there anything better?)
  • Negative three and a ridiculously long birdie make at Westchester with Sharpe and Nick
  • Starting to reread Watchmen at Kaladi's

So yeah, as per usual it was a really awesome time with a lot going down. Nothing really stood out amongst everything else as something I really need to write about. The primary discovery of the weekend was how much fun it is to go out on the town with Cate and her crew, and also how great Amy's friend Blake is. He's visiting for the week and it's been great getting to know him.

These non-traditional weekend folk definitely helped the weekend have a unique feel, and the fact that it was the first weekend in seemingly forever with sunshine and blue skies definitely helped as well. Now if we could just keep that up and avoid gray days and rain for a while, I'd be very pleased. Ok Alaska?


I am not a great writer.

By no means, am I one.

However, I feel as if I'm the type of person who can recognize high quality writing and moreso, I feel as if I can identify very low quality writing. In my mind, you can treat an average sentence like a mathematical equation. Each word has an intrinsic value based off of two different things: quality of word and quality of fit. When I say quality of fit, I mean "how well does this word fit into the sentence?"

I think the latter quality is even more important than the former, as any person can grab a thesaurus and use large and stuffy sounding words to sound smart, but a person's ability to properly place the correct one makes them sound intelligent. If you don't place the word correctly the sentence is going to be worth less than the sum of its parts. That's where writing goes from good to bad, and that is where you lose readers.

It's ironic really. In a desperate ploy to pass themselves off as writers with high IQ's, the average writer will toss out scrabble worthy words right and left and hope that they stick. This just leads them to sounding fake and like they are trying too hard. It ends up being incredibly frustrating to read and quite often very laughable, and it causes a person to openly wonder "why there is no self-editing in the world today?"

I spent most of my day reading and even though what I read had no issues of this sort (I started rereading Watchmen and Alan Moore isn't exactly the type of guy who does that), I did have other examples that led to this thought process. Blogs are a primary source for this as they are the DIY flagship for aspiring writers these days. Even sources like the Anchorage Daily News and the stellar articles they run these days reek of what I'm speaking of and even more often a complete lack of all things resembling common sense.

There is a commonly said acronym that fits in all facets of life, but it is frustratingly ignored in the world of writing. KISS: keep it simple stupid. Why write with horribly overdramatic flair and maddeningly poor sentence structure by choice, when you could put your thoughts into concise and logical sentences that are pleasing to both you as a writer and your readers. Is that so much to ask really?

Of course, this is all coming from someone who just rambled for five paragraphs needlessly, so make sure you take what I say with a grain of salt. I at least have my fall back argument of "I just woke up from a nap so my brain isn't operating at 100%" to use. What's your excuse?

The Dark Knight Returns

Friday, July 18, 2008
And the winner is...

So I just got out of the 12:01 AM showing of the Dark Knight and I wanted to do a quick review of the movie. I might get into it more later, but I figured I'd jot some things down while they were fresh. In short, it was incredible, however it was still not without its flaws. My initial instinct is I still prefer the life affirming glory of Wall-E to it so far this year, but dear god, this little guy pretty much takes the cake for all things comic book related to date.

  • Heath Ledger gives one of the best performances I've ever seen - he was the Joker (tragedy we can never see him do it again)
  • Cast was nearly uniformly excellent, especially Gary Oldman and Michael Caine
  • Christopher Nolan transcended from genius to filmmaking god - his juggling of the storylines, brilliant handle on the characters, and near flawless shot angle/type choice were moviemaking at its best
  • Hans Zimmer brought it
  • Christian Bale continues to provide both the best Batman and the best Bruce Wayne ever, his grip on the character is unparalleled
  • The Nolan boys writing of Dent, Gordon, and Batman's relationship is the best representation of it this side of Batman: the Long Halloween (the parallels to that story were very interesting - a clear influence to the layout)
  • Did I mention Heath Ledger was good?


  • Aaron Eckhart felt somewhat stale as Harvey Dent - perhaps because of those around him moreso than his performance
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes didn't upgrade the Rachel Dawes role enough to justify the distraction caused by the actual replacement
  • Cell phone sonar? Seriously?
  • Nitpick from a comic guy here, but Ramirez was pretty obviously Renee Montoya and Wuertz was pretty clearly Harvey Bullock
  • It ran really long and its three fake endings before the real ending were mildly distracting (this may be actually because of my conditioning as a movie goer though)

So like I said, there are flaws to it. Sure, not huge flaws and one that are fairly easy to explain. Definitely not deal breakers either in any way. But flaws no less. I loved it to pieces, it's every bit of a worthy successor to Batman Begins and even is superior in many ways. I just love the universe Nolan is creating and the sense of real power he is providing to this rendition of Batman. As much as I love the comics and the animated series, Nolan's vision is rapidly surpassing them as the definitive vision of the character.

There is definitely something to be said about that.

Grade: A (if Wall-E was a 97%, I'll give this guy a 95%)

Why so serious?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tonight at 12:01 AM Colver and I will be attending the first showing in Anchorage of Christopher Nolan's new Batman flick, the Dark Knight. Reviewers have thrown around terms such as "masterpiece" and "revolutionary" while using the word "best" in conjunction with many other words (such as "superhero movie" or "crime drama of the past 25 years").

Really, if it's good as Batman Begins (I'm watching it right now to prepare!) I will be happy beyond words.

Needless to say, I'm mildly excited.

Going Away Party

At work this week I was thrown a very awesome going away bash. It was really fun and it featured some of my favorite people at work. What's that? I'm not leaving my job? Then why were they throwing me a going away party?!

Because I'm moving to the other side of the building.

Coworkers Judy and Sharee decided after it was announced that I had to move from cubicle between the two of them to the other side of the building that I needed to have a going away party, and they succeeded at providing it for me. About seven people showed up (including the VP/GM of our section of the company) which is a pretty amazing total for a party honoring someone moving 150 feet.

It was a hilarious party, and I got to spend thirty minutes joking around and eating strawberry shortcake. Sounds like a great time right?

I have the best coworkers.

Holy crap.

As many will know, I'm a huge, huge fan of comics. Have been since pretty much as long as I can remember (excluding a 3 to 4 year period where I stopped reading entirely) and I'm rather encyclopedic with my knowledge. I love the medium absolutely, and for the general populace, Watchmen remains as the single greatest creation the comic form has made. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created a deconstructionist view of superhero comics that both tore apart the medium and rebuilt it stronger than ever.

Or so they say.

I'm a fan of the series. Don't get me wrong, just like I'm a fan of Dark Knight Returns. But a certain level of "is this overrated?" constantly creeped into my head while reading these two books. I very much enjoyed Watchmen but I had to ask - is this really the best the medium has produced? Of course the last time I read it must have been 5 or 6 years ago (if not more) and perhaps my less developed teen mind couldn't wrap itself around the complexities the alternately straightforward comic/dense prose present. I'd say it's still one of my top 20 all time comic stories, but when most others put it at number one with a bullet, I scoff a tad.

However, the trailer for Zack Snyder's (300) adaptation of it is out, and good god...it's spine tinglingly delicious. Maybe it's because the focuses are clearly Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach (my two favorite characters) within the trailer, but I don't know. It rocks hard. Watching it gave me goosebumps. I feel as if I may have to dust off my old copy this weekend and try to figure out what I missed, because clearly Snyder is aware of it and wants to rub my nose in it.

Well bring it on Zack.

Check out the new trailer here. It's worth it. Or you can go see the Dark Knight as it is supposedly playing before hand. I hear that may be a good movie or something.

Back in Action

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So I've been kinda busy lately. Over the last little while, I had a bunch of friends visit, a wedding to go to, dates, working longer than usual hours, much socializing, and as per usual, a significant amount of ridiculousness. Really, what else would you expect from me? However, I do want to say I promise to get back on a more regular schedule. Things are starting to settle down and I've officially decided that I'm going to use this weekend to rest and get everything back on track as the fourth of July time period really threw me out of whack.

But it's all good, there are worse things in the world than getting out of touch with your blog. Also, I just wanted to apologize really quick to someone that I wrote about long ago who discovered what I wrote and did not appreciate it. I should have thought that out and your email definitely made me think about how open of a forum this really is. I'll handle this bad boy with more care in the future.

One thing I did want to mention was how unbelievably awesome Motion City Soundtrack were when they visited the great and frequently white north. They came up with Anchorage band (and current pop punk fave) the Lives of Famous Men and were supported by local sensations the Hoons (still managing to be incredibly shocking in their ability to go from crap to awesome in a year), and both openers were excellent.

However, MCS blew them out of the water, as they played a stellar 14 song set and then followed it up with a three song encore, culminating with "the Future Freaks Me Out" from their debut album I am the Movie. Even better than that were other random things like Justin Pierre (the lead singer) taking people's hats from the front row during the set and wearing them, the out and out fist fight between two girls and a wasted guy that happened during the set (the girls win! the girls win!), and the fact that when everyone was chanting for the encore Justin came out into the crowd and yelled encore with us.

Needless to say they played one, and it rocked. Hopefully MCS spreads the word about how great Alaskan crowds can be, but if not, we at least had the great time that they shared with us last Thursday.

Motion City Soundtrack rocking Koots

Lead singer Justin Pierre trying on someone in the front rows hat

Justin from MCS yelling "Encore! Encore!" with the crowd


Keanu Reeves, Joel Silver, and the Wachowski brothers are going to make another movie. That movie?

An adaptation of the Plastic Man comics.

Hilarious. Ridiculous. But definitely, oh, most definitely, awesome.

Obsessed, much?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Every once in a while I get kind of obsessed with a band. Sometimes it's something entirely new, sometimes it's something old that's new to you, and other times (far more rare) it's something you've heard before, had for a while, but all of a sudden something snaps into place and you say "holy crap! this is awesome!"

Right now? That's Hot Chip for me. These guys are rocking my world over the last few days. All three of their albums are pretty much being constantly played on my iPod at work, and once again, thanks to my mom for getting me hooked up with them. I probably would have let those albums slip by when I was working at my school's radio station in college, but she asked for them and now I'm really thankful that she did.

I thoroughly recommend checking them out if you get a chance. They are pretty awesome dancey electro pop. The song up above ("Over and Over" off 2006's The Warning) is a great example of the dance part, and is just an absolute blast of a song. Enjoy!

The Wedding

Sunday, July 13, 2008

So I've been rather busy lately so I've slacked quite a bit on the ol' blog. I made a decision though, and that is to get a post up about the wedding and then everything else will fall into place after that (big posts get me anxious because they're a lot more work and take a lot more time). I made a decision about this post though, as there were a lot of different ways I could take it. My decision is this: picture blog! I'm just introducing up here, but I think the pictures themselves tell the story of the wedding fairly well. Below is a quick snippet of what stood out from the wedding:

  • Lil' Sobo gets the wedding MVP for his awesome best man speech
  • Eating dinner with your best friends parents while watching pictures being projected of you at your ridiculous best is strange and very fun
  • Sarah was an incredibly beautiful bride
  • I'm so proud of Sobo! Go Sobo!
  • Amy is definitely losing the 12/12/12 bet (she caught the bouquet)
  • Weddings are pretty much the best time ever
  • Dance floors that are at an incline and on grass while you are wearing slick shoes = bad idea
  • Music playlist > DJ every time
  • The guys and I did the Safety Dance...that's right...the Safety Dance
  • The bridesmaids were awesome
  • The groomsmen were even awesomer

Without further ado, see below for a bevy of photographic treats. We had a great time, and I can't wait to do it all over again for Erik and Katie's wedding in September.

The groomsmen/groom before the wedding

Our posse before the wedding

Kellie and I taking our walk

Sarah and her Dad during the ceremony

The wedding party toasting

Best. Picture. Ever.

Run wedding party! Run!

I am the Captain

Bringing back the hand clasp!

The first dance

Katie double fisting

Amy and her lil' buddy

Kim holding court with the Charbonneau's and Naylor's

The first bite of cake!

Colver, Lorna, Kim, Katie, and myself

Kim, Lorna, and Katie

The bouquet toss!

The cuban shuffle

The bride and her maids

Todd and Brian having a gay old time

"Dragon Bears!!!"

Amy and David: Breaking it down part 1

Amy and David: Breaking it down part 2

Amy and David: Breaking it down part 3

Amy and David: Breaking it down part 4

Erik and Sobo

"Greased lightning!"

I don't know what's going on there - the fearsome foursome

Amy apparently being entertaining

Marcuzio and myself

Sobo and Sarah making the run!

Have a good honeymoon!