All of the Sarah's and Todd's near the stage (with Amy back and to the right)
Note: There are three other new posts below, so heads up. That is all.
Tonight Amy and I attended a very special event. Since Sarah Palin was nominated as the GOP's VP candidate, Alaska has went a little Palin crazy. The fervor over the vice presidential candidate is clearly up about three hundred ticks above what everyone else is at, but I guess that should not be surprised given her origins. No less, one other thing that has been going on since the nomination is Blues Central running a Sarah and Todd Palin lookalike contest. Tonight were the finals of that contest.
Of course, little did we know we'd be walking into an absolutely insane set up. As we drove into the parking lot, we agreed that Blues Central had never looked more packed. BB King had played there once, and I made the comment that I bet it was less packed that night. Sure enough, it was filled to the brim with all kinds of characters. You had tons of Palin lookalikes (including a cougar version who was parading around with her far younger partner - controversial!). You had your Todd's. You had the German woman next to me who was petting my butt as Amy and I leaned against the bar (I wish I was kidding). You had your waitresses wearing baby sized sweaters when they were clearly not baby sized (I'm so glad I'm not kidding).
So yeah, it was an eclectic night.
The first couple (perhaps?) dancing
Given that it was an event, it of course didn't start right off like you'd imagine it. As we got a drink, we found out that there was at least forty five minutes 'til the start. That's fine, we came here to hang out and talk as well, and we knew that it wasn't starting until nine. Then we found out nine was when the band was going to come on. That band? Sarah and the Pitbulls, a band who was created for the event and comprised of local musicians featuring a lead singer who looks similar to Palin (except is much hotter - much). Besides that? Fifty percent of their songs were Pink covers. Take that how you will. I'll take that as they weren't exactly my thing.
They played four quick songs, and then we were introduced to the participants. There were obviously varying degrees of quality, from uncanny resemblances to "are you kidding me?" levels of far off. Then the Todd's went up for their quick interviews and strolling sessions, to which the clearly bipartisan audience (a mix of incredibly democrat and incredibly republican was the deal for the night) either loved or hated. None of them were great, but all of them were ridiculous. My choice for the victor (the only one who looked like him in my book) pretty much bombed on the Q&A session, drawing the sound of crickets only from the audience.
The band started back up, and even though we both desired to see the finale (though it was already getting late), we just couldn't stand anymore of Sarah and the Pitbulls. Even if the lead singer did "dance like a stripper" as Amy said (I of course nodded in agreement as I ogled her like a 13 year old boy), we just couldn't take any more of the grating rendition of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." We paid our tab and began to depart.
A secret service agent and I - serious faced
Predictably (as I'm sure Amy could attest to), I have to bring up the "on the way to the door" highlight. As we were leaving, we had to walk by this man and woman dressed as Palin's Secret Service agents, and the woman was quite attractive if I do say so myself. Of course, given that she was "Secret Service" I had to try and make her laugh (they have to keep their faces straight I assume - somewhat akin to the guards outside Buckingham Palace). I did, and of course told her that she fails at Secret Service. She laughed, and we took a serious picture (see above).
We're marrying in the summer.
I kid of course, but it was a nice finale to the evening, even with Sarah screeching "I'm going off the rails on a crazy train!" in the background. I floated out of there as Amy shook her head in disbelief at my predictability.
Another fine night out in Anchorage if I do say so myself.
Obviously everyone runs into this problem, but lately it's really, really getting to me. There are so many things I want to do, I absolutely don't have the time. I've noticed that especially since I've gotten a job that there is just not enough time in the day to get nearly all that you want to do accomplished. The weirdest thing is, it's the little things that make me notice this.
For example, I'm still plenty social, choosing not to sacrifice any time going out and doing things with friends and partying like a ridiculous person on weekends. Hell, I'm young, I figure I might as well get it out of the way early. I read a lot, whether I mean comics or books. I'm pretty much always reading and really am enjoying it more than I have in years. I listen to all of the music I can handle, as I listen all day at work and quite often at night as well (it combines well with sociability and reading).
But to be honest, I miss things that I loved to do throughout my childhood and school. Two years ago, I was pretty much obsessed with TV. I had probably an 8 to 10 show a week diet, and it was crazy. Now? I'm watching exactly three shows, regularly watching Entourage, How I Met Your Mother, and Chuck. My DVR's cup runneth over with other programming, but I just don't have time (or make time).
I love sports still. I continue to play tons of fantasy sports and watch football to a degree, but now I have a hard time following basketball or watching it. I used to live and breathe it! I suppose it might have something to do with my favorite team (the Indiana Pacers) falling from the land of the rich to the land of the really, really poor. Plus my favorite player (Reggie Miller) retired. But still I've pretty much abandoned it. Very sad.
Finally, the point of this post. I used to dedicate hundreds of hours to video games. Final Fantasy, Counter-Strike, Warcraft III. I was a freak. I just couldn't stop playing. Now, there are brilliant games in my closet that I've had for years (sorry Mass Effect, Bioshock, etc.) and games I'm dying to play now (Little Big Planet! I want you so bad! Fallout 3! Be mine!) but I don't buy them for one reason - I know I'd never play them. I'd play them for all of an hour, and then go off and start having fun with friends and that would simply become a waste of time for me.
I suppose that's both the good thing and bad thing of getting older. It's not that I don't love TV anymore. It's not that I don't love sports. Hell, I'd give my liver for 36 hours in a day so I could drop some serious time on Little Big Planet. It's just not realistic. You have to be economical with your time when you get a job that demands one third of your day (if you're lucky), and that demands you to cut things out of your life.
I guess this is the sorrow and problems of a twenty-something with way too many interests. It's not that you want to grow up, you just don't have enough time to do anything else.
At least I still have time to be ridiculous.
My future is now...
Apparently Sam Mendes, he of American Beauty and Road to Perdition fame, is going to be directing an adaptation of Preacher, my favorite comic series of all time.
I'm just going to let that sink in for a second. Mendes. Preacher. Awesome.
We've come a long ways since the guy that directed Daredevil producing the TV series.
Congrats to Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, you guys have gotten pretty much the biggest swing in published material adaptation ever.
In the cougar den.
Why are there so many people?
So I generally don't like doing this, but as I said in my previous Slices post, I've been going through too much stuff lately and a lot of it has been very, very good. That just makes me want to share, because honestly, what's fun about finding cool things and not sharing with everyone? Very good question. So onwards and upwards.
Movies: In Search of a Midnight Kiss (Directed and written by Alex Holdridge)
Hannah and I once again attended Art House Monday's at Bear Tooth, and were once again treated to a most excellent film. This week was a very small black and white indie film by Alex Holdridge (probably most famous for writing and directing the 30th Miss America Pageant - nice), and from the first scene it was very funny and incredibly real. Of course, being that it was a black and white indie about regular people in America and was full of sharp wit, it's easy to compare it with Clerks.
That would be too easy.
But doesn't mean it isn't the right comparison, except with a lot more innocence and less dependence on pop culture for laughs. It tells the tale of a normal guy, three months off a bad breakup and down on his luck in L.A., as he turns to Craig's List at the insistence of his best friend to find a date for New Year's Eve. It really captures what it's like on New Year's Eve, both for the couple looking to make a big transition and for the single folk out there.
Kiss is a very funny movie with occasional crude language, but overall doesn't use it as a crutch but as a tool to add to the realism of being a twenty something in Los Angeles. It relies on situation and conversations to bring entertainment to the audience, and the charm of the two leads to take you through the whole movie. And charming they are, even with the female lead (Sara Simmonds) being a fairly frustrating character at first.
Unknown Scoot McNairy is a very appealing lead, who really progressed throughout the movie from a two dimensional sad sack into a fully realized and engaging lead. Without him, the movie wouldn't have been nearly the success that it was, but thankfully he carried the film with ease. Definitely recommend this and suggest it for the more adventurous of viewers who are okay with films based entirely in conversation.
Music: Razia's Shadow: A Musical by Forgive Durden
Forgive Durden is a band I found a few years back as someone who really stood out in the sea of technical rock bands that came out of the Seattle area over the last decade. They appealed to me more than others because of their impression of scene titans Gatsby's American Dream wasn't overwhelming and had enough of their own personality and wit to stand on their own too feet. Plus, Thomas Hunter could shred and Thomas Dutton could write a catchy as hell melody.
Enter the band essentially breaking up this year, with everyone but Dutton leaving the band. Dutton was at a crossroads, but instead of quitting entirely, he rethought his musical approach and came out with Razia's Shadow, a musical (yes, like Moulin Rouge! or a Broadway play) supported by his brother Paul, Gatsby's drummer Rudy Gajadhar, and a who's who of the pop-punk and emo scene. Who appears on the album? See below for highlights:
- Casey Crescenzo (the Dear Hunter)
- John Gourley (Portugal. the Man)
- Nic Newsham (Gatsby's American Dream)
- Brandon Urie (Panic at the Disco)
- Greta Salpeter (the Hush Sound)
- Max Bemis (Say Anything)
- Aaron Weiss (mewithoutyou)
So yeah, there are enough guest stars on there to get every thirteen year old girl in America to pick up this album.
However, does it manage to succeed where Bemis' own, guest star heavy album In Defense of the Genre mostly failed?
I'm going to go with mostly yes.
Overall, the album is quite the journey. Dutton himself describes it as this: "the first half is the creation and ultimate division of the world. The second half is the story of destined love and the world being reunited as one." Sounds about right. The music itself is full of orchestral elements arranged by Dutton himself that really add to the overall magnitude of tracks, especially on show stopper "Life is Looking Up," featuring solely Dutton and narrator Aaron Weiss.
One worry from hearing early tracks without the connection the full album provides was whether or not a level of pretentiousness would overshadow the things that Dutton does well, and while it does suffer from the weight of the task he has put upon himself, overall Dutton succeeds in creating a world that feels real and not overly dramatic for the sake of drama.
This of course leads into the problem of the fact that no track really works incredibly well by itself, but that is the nature of the situation. For Dutton to succeed in creating this album the way he wanted (which he mostly did), he needed to ignore pure pop sensibilities and the almighty radio dollar. The album as a whole is all the better for it, but this is not something you can just pick up midway through and appreciate fully (somewhat akin to your average book or Arrested Development).
Overall, the vocals are stellar. Dutton and Weiss provide steadying focuses throughout the album as the primary characters and narrator of the story (Weiss was a perfect choice as the narrator), while Bemis, Gourley, Newsham, and Lizzie Huffman really stand out amongst the guest stars. They don't all work however, as Shawn Harris (of the Matches fame) provides a really bizarre and distracting vocal performance on penultimate track "Doctor, Doctor," and Chris Conley doesn't feel as if he fits the role correctly in "Toba and Tura."
So overall, even though the hype of the album was really starting to bother me and the early cuts concerned me, I have to admit, I really dig it. I've listened to it nearly five times today (which is a hell of a thing considering it's a ridiculously long album, clocking in at over 80 minutes long) and it's went from decent to good to mostly great. It's still not flawless, as some tracks fall flat, lyrics can be quite cheesy, and the story doesn't connect outright. But it is a very good album, and quite the achievement by a man who didn't even have a band until recently.
Good for you Mr. Dutton.
I've now completed what may be one of the weirdest weekends of my life.
Sure, it was super fun, but man, incredibly weird. Of course, they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and in that case, I feel like I'm reaching near Herculean levels of strength. So what exactly happened?
- Rock Band 2 and How I Met Your Mother with Jason while pre funking
- Going out on the town with Jason, Hannah, and the bachelorette/bachelor party
- Snow City with Hannah
- Watching Amelie
- UFC 90 - Go Anderson Silva, but seriously, that was kind of a crappy UFC
- Nick's birthday party - beer pong, Rock Band, and cool people? Not too bad
- The Anchor with Colver and Lorna
- (Insert weirdest possible bar/after bar scenario humanly imaginable)
- Lunch with Colver and Lorna to recap
- Hanging out with Claire at Kaladi's and starting the People of Sparks
- Finishing Amelie and watching Ratatouille (for the billionth time) to cap off a very French weekend
So I'm not going to go into details as to what the "Insert" area is because frankly, this is a very G rated blog, but I can tell you one thing, there are some things I never imagined I'd see/be at, and what I inadvertently fell into would probably be at the tip top of the list. The good news is I had fun, survived, and was not personally responsible for any of the aforementioned sketchness. Plus, I got a killer story out of it. One that was so legendary that I immediately jotted down notes about it upon my return home. That's how you know it's good.
There is no real bad news about it. I stayed out of trouble and really beared witness to what may or may not be the seedy suburbian underworld of all that is Anchorage. In this regard, I was like the Marvel Comics character the Watcher. I was there to see, but not to intervene. There are just some things you wish you could unsee, as I'm sure good ol' Uatu would surely agree with me on.
This is the perfect spot to interject with the tiniest morsel from the story - a guy on the streets of Anchorage actually tried to intimidate me by calling me a dork (I was wearing glasses - very well received glasses, but apparently that's all it takes to be a dork). Never in my wildest dreams did I envision a time where an adult would actually call me a dork, but you know what, last night was a night of firsts. Also, he's right. I am totally a dork. I just compared myself to Uatu the Watcher in the previous paragraph. That dude had me pegged.
The best of the best are below.
Movies: Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le
This is obviously a very well regarded classic, and something I'd seen before and quite liked. However, recently I've grown quite obsessed with Yann Tiersen's brilliant score for this film, so I borrowed Hannah's DVD of this to see if my love for the score would spread to the movie as well now.
Sure enough, it absolutely did as I pretty much fell in love with Audrey Tautou and her incredible character. Not only that, but the cinematography blew me away this time. The visuals in the film are absolutely stellar, really accentuating the fairy tale, fantasy world Amelie lives in. Everything about what is happening on the screen is magical, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet succeeds in crafting an awesomely quirky and marvelous total package.
Definitely a must see.
Music: The Week That Was - Self Titled
This band rose from the ashes of Field Music, as it features most of its lineup plus a lot of friends (11 band members!). It's a really hard album to describe, as it isn't really similar to anything else and doesn't stick to any real genres.
The word that probably describes the album best for me is atmospheric, as the instruments and vocals are presented in a very haunting manner. It's almost as if the music doesn't fight for your attention, you have to dig into it to really find the brilliance within it. Other tracks feel ripped from the 80's, reminding me of growing up listening to Genesis while driving with my mom. But not in a bad way - good Genesis.
For the best example, try "It's All Gone Quiet," which in my opinion is not only the standout track on the album but one of the top tracks off any album this year.
Mignola. Mignola. Mignola.
For the past two years, I've been reading the mini series that Dark Horse has been releasing in the Hellboy 'verse, and I've been really enjoying them. They really are some of the best books on the market, although I obviously had some major holes in my knowledge base. To be honest, I was getting by, but I wasn't understanding everything that was happening because of missing the first decade plus of its publishing history.
Enter the library.
With my new found discovery of many graphic novels at the library, I went hog wild picking up Hellboy books. To be blatantly honest, after reading through a majority of them, this is really one of my all time favorite series. The attention to detail creator Mike Mignola follows, the personality of the characters, the outlandish plots, the little feeling in the back of your brain that this is all leading somewhere big. It's fantastic. Plus, it's really, really funny. For a good example of that, read Mignola's simple story "Pancakes" that tells of Hellboy's first experience with the delicious breakfast food. You can check the two page story out here and here.
I can't believe I'm late on reporting this. This is the best news ever!
Due to the new Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy being a mix between purely fabricated (somewhat akin to Nessie or Sassy, aka the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch) and merely a pipe dream (like Starcraft: Ghost or Duke Nukem Forever), Dr. Pepper decided at the beginning of the year that they would give away one of their beverages to every person if Democracy was released in 2008.
And against all odds, it's being released on November 23rd.
True to their word, Dr. Pepper announced that they will have a downloadable coupon on their website for every person to get a free 20 oz. drink on them. "We never thought this day would come," said Tony Jacobs, their VP of Marketing. Neither did I, but man, am I glad it did. Free DP for everyone!
I saw this in the paper a couple days back and was taken aback. No way is that legit. Then today I saw it again and was a little shocked. I read the article and it was true.
San Francisco has an open ballot question, called Proposition K, which will determine whether or not prostitution will be legal in the city.
Technically, it doesn't legalize prostitution. It will still be illegal by state law. However, local law enforcement would no longer be able to question or pursue prostitutes (and not pursuing like that), so for all intents and purposes, it would be legal. The reasoning behind it is it would make the world's oldest profession a far safer one in the Bay area (yay! prostitute unions!) and it would save the city upwards of $11 million a year in arresting them on misdemeanor solicitation charges.
I just finished Warren Ellis' debut novel Crooked Little Vein and it discusses how at this point in America, everything is mainstream and nothing is sacred. I agree with this, that we've reached a point where anything goes. However, this feels like a step down a bad path to me. There is a level of lawlessness to this proposition that could lead to many other things, and I can't imagine the people of San Francisco will actually vote it in.
Think about it. If this gets legalized, this essentially becomes Amsterdam, California. With protection available for them and no worries about police, I bet the number of prostitutes triple in the first year. For some reason, I can't imagine the tourism board is really excited about this (I really can't wait to see how they capitalize on that though). One good note for them is I bet the amount of business travellers will also increase, so they'll have that to look forward to.
At the very least, the San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors, and San Francisco 49ers will now have new (or at least newly legal) methods of throwing their opponents off their game. Here's to small victories San Fran!
Secret Invasion vs. Final Crisis
Today was a really big day for comics. Rarely do we see two major events like Marvel's Secret Invasion and DC's Final Crisis have releases coinciding with each other, but today that happened. SI released its penultimate issue with issue #7 of 8, while we crossed the midway point with FC #4 of 7. That kind of timing is guaranteed to do two things: make comic dorks squeal with you (wheeeeee!) and make a person compare the two books.
Of course, going by what I wrote about issue 1 and issue 2 of Final Crisis, one would probably think that it would have no chance of standing up. To anyone who would listen to me, I have been unabashedly ripping Grant Morrison for the complicated mess that he's provided us in both that series and his Batman magnum opus, Batman R.I.P. As per usual, both have provided us with huge concepts, tons of characters, and a near encyclopedic knowledge of everything within that specific universe, however he wasn't letting readers in. Neither made much sense, to be quite honest.
However, just like what happened with the last issue of R.I.P., it's like Morrison pulled back the curtain and everything was revealed. The machinations of the previous three issues of Crisis all congealed to make issue four hit like a hammer, one that gave us an event where the fictional universe truly wouldn't be the same again, where everything seemed to feel deadly and irreversible. In short, Morrison did it again.
Over in Marvel's neck of the woods, Secret Invasion started off strong. The build up was perfect, the issues were fun, the tie-ins were incredibly revealing. However, everything began spinning its wheels about midway through (meaning the series and its' tie-ins), and I came to realize that the series has pretty much been seven straight issues of punching with intermittent discussions along the lines of this:
- Unknown hero A: Are you a Skrull?
- Unknown hero B: No. Are you a Skrull?
- Unknown hero A: No.
- Unknown hero B: Really?
Of course, now we've graduated to having cool character moments featuring all time favorites like Thor, Nick Fury, and Hawkeye plus some cool stuff featuring others like Maria Hill and the Hood, but still, there just isn't a lot of depth to the series and everything feels too stretched. There are too many characters, there are too many issues, there is just too much. It's still really fun in a summer action movie sort of way, but in terms of Earth shattering changes, we're simply not getting that.
So here I am, incredibly surprised by my own thoughts. Against the odds, Crisis has surpassed Invasion as the current leader in event wars with three issues remaining for the former and one for the latter. It's still anyone game, and Morrison has proved he can lose it at any time. However, from where I stand, DC is winning and Marvel can just sit and watch.
Also, one note about why I think this happened: right now, Marvel is spending every waking moment hyping Dark Reign, their post Invasion event. However, DC just keeps focusing on Crisis. While it's great to look forward, doing that removes focus from the present and devalues the package as a whole, and it also tells you "well I guess not a whole lot is going to change." Reading should be perpetually surprising, especially for such a plot oriented medium like comic books. Someone needs to remind Marvel of that before their next big event.
Pretty much everyone at some point in their life has gotten tanked and made a call that they regretted. You know...drunk dialing. Of course, today in this technological utopia we live in, we don't just drunk dial, we drunken text, we drunken email, we send messages on Myspace and Facebook (and write blogs and post on Twitter...) while smashed. Really, if the usage of Messenger Pigeons were feasible and all other options were exhausted, a drunk person would more than likely find a way.
The point is, it kind of sucks. You always think you are sharing something profound or that you simply have to tell someone something, but more often than not, it isn't and you don't. Thankfully Google, the innovators that they are, have now thought of a rather hysterical way to drunk proof their mail site Gmail (thanks to Claire from Time for actually testing this - that was a remarkably entertaining article). You can go into options and set your Mail Goggles to run during certain days at certain times, and when you try and send an email you're forced to solve five math questions before you can send it.
That's why Google is so great - they find problems and create simple solutions for the average person. You have to love it. Even though I'm savvy at math while intoxicated, I know certain people who are not so inclined (you know who you are). This would pretty much eliminate their ability to email after a nice run at the bars. Game, set, match - Google.
Of course, now I just have to pick up a Samsung LP4100 so I can't make embarrassing calls or texts (it has a breathalyzer on it, if you don't pass, you can't call or text), load up my Mail Goggles, and always get a friend to change my Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter passwords before I go out and I'll be all set. No more "god, I can't believe I said that" the next day. No more "I really didn't mean to put that picture on Facebook." No more "I really didn't mean that."
Of course my neighbors do have a bunch of birds. If desperation really sinks in, I could always co-opt one of those and try to get it to deliver my message. Odds are it won't work. But there's always the chance...
You may have heard of this movie. It's a little documentary called Man on Wire and it is about a tightrope walker named Philippe Petit and his friends on an adventure to walk across a wire suspended between the Twin Towers. Hannah and I went and saw it tonight at Bear Tooth, and it flat out blew me away. Definitely one of the best movies I've seen this year, and probably the best documentary I've ever seen (although I do not consider myself a documentary connoisseur).
The whole film is an emotional powerhouse, providing the viewer with alternating moments of great levity and true sorrow. The story of one man's quest to live his dream and how it affects those around him, about the drive it takes to really accomplish what you want to do in life. It is absolutely incredible and inspirational, but the parts that really struck home were the ones that expressed what a person has to give up to get what they want. Of course, in the end I don't believe Petit would trade what he did for anything, as he was filled to the brim with joy over what he had accomplished.
All of the people within the film are brilliant, so full of life and so haunted by the one act they all shared. Haunted by the fear, by the joy, by the success, by everything it presented to them. This is the type of movie that makes you want to reconsider delaying your own dreams, and one that throws caution into your mind as you attempt to fulfill them. One way or another, it is more full of life than nearly any other movie you'll see.
This is a great film, and one that should be seen by everyone. It's for all of the dreamers out there, whether your dreams have been fulfilled or not.
This weekend was another one that was fun and fundamental, meaning that it was again full of all kinds of good natured fun and lots of reading. Of course, I really had to stay with my standard persona of all or nothing, and this weekend, from a partying and bizarre times standpoint at least, was definitely on the nothing side. But man, it was freaking awesome. What went down?
- GCI vs. the Biz Bee
- Being asked to be interviewed in a piece about cougars (not even joking)
- Catching City of Ember (not bad overall, but definitely didn't follow the book and had some ridiculously hokey CGI and an incessant need to speed through details, or ignore them entirely)
- Organizing my comic collection with my sister and mom
- Dinner with parents, sister, and two nieces
- Getting wiped out at scrabble
- Coffee discussions with dad and sister
- Finishing Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein
- Seeing the Rays make the World Series
It was definitely heavy on getting things done, but doing those things were a lot of fun. The highlight for the weekend?
"What in gods name did we get ourselves in to?"
Somehow I coerced my sister and mom into helping me organize my comic collection. Note to all: I'm a comic freak. There are probably comic stores out there that have less than me. Negotiating all of these comics to fit into the boxes I had, splitting up the series and then organizing them numerically, and managing to do that in one day was a Herculean effort (Greek god or comic character, you decide) by all of us, and it was strangely therapeutic and incredibly fun in the midst of the torturous aspect.
By torturous, I of course am referring to the fact that I woke up this morning actually feeling sore from the experience. Sore. From moving comic book from box to box. Good lord. I am the world's biggest pansy.
Of course, most of the heavy lifting was done by my mom and sister, as I spent most of the time clarifying and finding old gems in my collection for me to read later (Examples of statements from me: "No, that is not a comic version of a soap opera." "The Initiative is not a comic. Avengers: The Initiative is, the other is just a branding Marvel used because of the after effects of Civil War. Why are you looking at me like that?" "It's okay that I read Spider Man Loves Mary Jane, I swear."). Thanks so much for the help, and I'm sure the both of you can hardly wait for next year when we do it again. Hopefully that won't have to happen, as theoretically I should be able to just organize as I go and not have to worry about any more all day affairs.
Oh who am I kidding. Of course I won't do that and we'll just have to do it again. But man, they sure look nice now! One unnecessary side effect is I believe my family thinks I'm either crazy or horribly addicted (little of both more than likely) but that's okay. They seem understanding of it at least. Everyone has their little thing. Mine just happens to be a 15 book a week comic diet.
I love Cinderella stories, and you can't get much better than the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year they were one of the worst teams in baseball. This year? Going to the World Series with one of the top young rosters in baseball, for a chance to win the Championship in their first time experiencing the postseason. They just have to get through the Phillies, and I really hope they do. Congrats to them, as they are the feel good story of the baseball season.
Also, good luck to the majors against David Price next year. Word on the street is that you're pretty much screwed.
Friday night was the event of events, the Biz Bee. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Biz Bee is a spelling bee for Alaskan businesses and my coworker Sharee recruited myself and my boss David for the event, as well as secured our donation to the Alaskan Literacy Program that allowed us to participate. With a highly competitive field featuring our most hated rival (ACS) and twelve other companies, I felt like our chances for victory were very high. At the very least, I thought it would be a great time.
Sadly though, only the latter was true, as we lost in the fifth round on the word "commissar." Both David and I insisted to Sharee (our speaker at the time) that it was "commisar." Of course, now seeing it in print I think "wow, what a freaking idiot I am." We were devestated, especially after listening to word after word that we knew, including many crowd pleasers in difficulty as "witloof" (pronounced wit-lohf), "zeitgeber" (pronounce tsahyt-gey-ber) and others came up in later rounds.
The worst part of the deal is that they forced us to stay the whole time, and the event as a whole lasted twenty three rounds, a seemingly interminable amount of time that sucked my will to live out of my body. Also terrible? ACS being in contention, making it all the way into the final two until BP mercifully took them out to take the victory. Thank god for that, as we would have never heard the end of it the following week at work.
It definitely was a blast though, as Sharee, David and I made ridiculous joke after ridiculous joke, had some tasty free food for dinner, got to see some old Boscos buddies, and had a great time afterwards hanging out with David, Moe, and Sharee at McGinley's and then Sub Zero. As we drove back from Sub Zero, bumping T.I. and discussing how it sounds like he is talking about Joe Biden in the song while dancing, I couldn't get past it.
I guess at least we weren't the first team out, and at the very least, there is always next year.
Another week, another set of recommendations from me. This week I have two things I'm massively late on and another something that I'm sure anyone who reads this regularly is likely absolutely sick of hearing. No less, here are my recs for the week.
Anything and everything Ratatat. Almost entirely instrumental, pretty much entirely fantastic as well. If you're the type who doesn't enjoy beat oriented electronic music, this isn't likely for you. Looking for deep lyrics? You don't get any lyrics here.
However, if you're looking for wondrously layered soundscapes, amalgamations of many electronic sounds, and actual panther roars in your music...well, have I got some music for you to listen to.
They drop some fat (phat?) beats here, and whether you want to listen to 2008 release LP3, 2006 release Classics, or 2004's self titled affair, you're going to get some damn fine music. Also, yes, I am rather late to this party. But it's cool, I'm making up for lost time quickly.
Books: Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
Warren Ellis is my favorite comic writer. Well, to be fair, it's probably a tie between him and Brian K. Vaughan. Both dabble in extracurricular activities however, with BKV being a top writer for Lost and Ellis working the occasional prose based novel as well.
This is Ellis' first release, and I'm only a little ways in but I love it all the same. It captures the high concept plots he always brings to the table, the vulgarity of Transmetropolitan, and the new wave, sci-fi anglings on political situations that he so often injects into his writings.
In short, this novel is about an extremely down on his luck private eye, hired by the government to essentially restart America by finding the second, secret Constitution that's been lost somewhere in the underworld. Pretty bizarre, but so far? Hilarious, and extremely well written. Like I'd expect from Ellis, any day of the week.
TV: How I Met Your Mother season 4
I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but I kind of like this show. So far, the season has been as good as ever, somehow making hysterical episodes out of the following concepts: hatred of New Jersey, picking up women in an old man costume, Regis Philbin, the world's greatest burger, interventions, Canadian alter egos that only come out when plastered, renaissance faires, not seeing Star Wars, and taking orders from bears.
This show can make a joke out of anything. It's proven it this season, plus it maintains its ability to be touching without laying on the sap too thick. That's a hard line to walk, but they walk it well.
Plus, Barney Stinson maintains his position as the single funniest character on television. You were robbed of an Emmy NPH. Jeremy Piven cannot hold a candle to you.
As per usual, I'm here to ask the hard questions. With Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin sinking in with the American public and the McCain/Palin tickets numbers dropping precipitiously, only one question is on the mind of this blogger: is this the single biggest cougar overlap in the history of America? Are we seeing modern day cougar history with this momentous occasion?
It's a fair question, and one that needs to be prefaced with a story. My good friends Colver and Lorna purchased a Christmas present for me after a couple of run-ins with cougars (also known as attractive older women who happen to be interested in younger men - not to be confused with their opposite number, the puma, which is an unattractive older woman who is interested in younger men). That present?
My Christmas present
The present was a t-shirt that was akin to the design above, except much darker. No less, it identified myself as a cougar hunter, which is hilarious and untrue, but I wore it with pride no less. I swear, they hunt me.
My point is, I think this shirt qualifies me as an aficionado on all things cougar related. Thus the question - is this the single greatest cougar overlap in the history of America? I say yes. I'd say Sarah Palin and Tina Fey, in some order, may be our top two cougar candidates in this great country, and Fey portraying Palin simply overloads the cougar scale to some sort of "queen of the jungle" levels. Even with the economic crisis and the uncertainty in the upcoming presidential election, I can say unequivocally one thing.
It's never been a better time to be a young man in America. We're in the midst of some sort of cougar renaissance. Bask it in America.
Note: I'd take Fey over Palin any day. Nerds are always better than hockey moms in my book.
I'm working on this major project right now where I had to get a variety of codes set up for our front lines to be able to offer the product to customers, proof copy and advertisements that were being put out, design a coupon as a handout at point of sale, deal with processes for getting the customer from point A to point B and ending up with their services, and getting every detail out to the front lines without generating a ton of questions.
And I did it.
I mean, come on. I've got skills, son (as per usual, saying this exactly like Martin Lawrence in my head).
My opposite number with the business my company is working with calls me up after the project is ready to launch asking how many total coupons I delivered to him. I printed 1,012 two part carbonless coupons, so I said it's easy, I'll count mine and let him know how many I have - that will give him his number.
Except I forgot one major detail.
I suck at count.
It's kind of unbelievable that I can do nearly everything that is brought to my desk, but when presented with the simple concept of counting coupons, I get pretty much dominated. I blame the fact I nearly constantly am thinking of other things, which is why I'm really good at multitasking, but a great reason for why I'm terrible at counting. No less, I lost count roughly 76 times (roughly because I lost count of how many times I lost count) and it took me way too long, until I finally estimated the number as 212 and called the guy back.
Estimation is way easier than counting. Underrated as well, if you ask me.
- Signed up for my very own Alaska Club membership!
- Went out with Amy to the Buckaroo Club and all over downtown (ridiculous as per usual, but Amy stomped the crap out of me in the rubber round of darts, many bizarre conversations were had, and we saw a fist fight - not bad for a Friday night!)
- Sleeping in like crazy
- Checking out my company's live remote at our conversion center
- Mmmm....Middle Way
- Watching the Pats for the first time this season...and seeing them get killed
- Reading. A lot. An unbelievable amount really.
So yeah, like I said, it snowed so I bunkered down. I essentially lived in two places this weekend - my apartment and Kaladi Brothers over by Title Wave. I poured through every piece of writing I had. I read through the remainder of my comics for the week (had no less than 12 to read at the beginning of the weekend). I caught up in 100 Bullets (which means I read, starting with book 7, fifty-three total issues of the comic - with 4 issues remaining in the entire series I'm now entirely caught up). I read through B.P.R.D. - War on Frogs. I read City of Ember by Jeanne DePrau (just in time to be one of the 14 people in the country who see it - massive bomb of a movie).
I read so much this weekend that if I was still tracking all the books I read this year, there is a fairly good chance that I may be nearing my goal of 52 for the year off this weekend alone. It was fun and fundamental, and while it's not the best thing to do every weekend (although this weekend definitely captured the balance of social and anti-social that I yearn for in my existence) I was glad to do it. I feel like I'll be energized for a week of fast moving business at my job, which is something I haven't felt like in a while.
I'm going to be in the Spelling Bee!
Not the children's version of course (those kids would absolutely dominate me) but the Alaska Businesses Spelling Bee, also known as the Biz Bee. It's Friday, October 17th at 6 PM and my team and I are going to absolutely rock the house. It's my good friend and coworker Sharee and my boss David and we are going to pity some fools.
Of course I do have to give up a Friday night to partake in the aforementioned pitying, but so be it! If it takes a weekend night to vanquish our foes at ACS and other local businesses, then that's what I have to do.
Also, if for some reason watching myself and two teammates stand tall amongst Alaskan businesses (in spelling), we have a table for ten that is open for our guests. I totally understand if you don't want to. I'd probably prefer otherwise, because frankly I'm going to be sweating it up there. I get real nervous in public.
Books: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Welcome to the written word.
I'm sure that's what many of you are thinking after I'm saying I just got to this book, but hey man, at least I'm getting there. I got it for my mom two Christmases ago based off a recommendation from Erik, and then the thing blew up after being on Oprah's book club. Of course it did. It won all kinds of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. Yeah yeah, whatever, people love hype.
This book was under hyped. I tore through this book with a ferocity I rarely have for the medium, and it was just an absolute study in near-perfect fiction writing. McCarthy put the world through a clinic on the effectiveness of the English language with this book, and the world he created along with the relationship between the two characters - man (or Papa) and boy - will haunt me for weeks after this. Every word McCarthy wrote was seemingly calculated to garner emotions in the reader, and he succeeded greatly. This isn't just for the fan of post apocalyptic style stories, this is just for the fan of the written word.
Comics: The Stand: Captain Trips by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Mike Perkins
When I heard that Marvel Comics was adapting Stephen King's The Stand into a comic, I was incredibly excited. While I had never read the book, I loved the brilliant TV movie and wanted to see what they could do with it after the incredible success they've had with The Dark Tower series also being adapted into comics.
Then instead of a industry giant like Peter David, they had relative unknown Aguirre-Sacasa take the reins of the writing and somewhat small time penciler Mike Perkins (someone I only knew as the other artist on Brubaker's stupendous Captain America run) on art instead of the man that is Jae Lee. I grew skeptical.
Of course, the series came out and absolutely blew me away. King himself has said this is going to be an incredible adaptation, and then I found out this is the first of five mini-series Marvel is publishing to tell the entire story. If they keep up the quality they've reached in the first two issues, they may tell one of the best comic adaptations of literature ever and dwarf the massive achievement that is The Dark Tower.
TV: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
I feel like I need to preface this like I might an indie band that recently blew up, so here goes. I've been watching this since season one. Hell, I even have all of the seasons on DVD. So now that the show is blowing up and people are acting as if it's this new thing, well folks, it isn't.
It's the funniest show on TV, absolutely. It has been for four seasons, and there is no convincing me otherwise. Any show that can make the hunting of men, cancer as a pickup line, and cannibalism absolutely hilarious is a show that isn't worried about offending anyone, thusly a show for me.
Plus, watching the show just to see the wild card that is Charlie Day is excusable as well. Between Green Man, his foray into being a street fighter, and "wild card, bitches!" he may be the stand out in an ensemble of hilarious performers. And by may be, I mean is. As in there is nothing else to discuss. Simply put, if you say something else, you're wrong.
Well this weekend was a fantastic one, with lots of great times to be had, but really it was Kim's weekend. Quick synopsis on what happened, and then on with the fun.
- Quick tour of First Friday
- Dinner at Crush with Amy, Jason, and Hannah
- Watching How I Met Your Mother with Jason, Amy, Hannah, and Kim
- Getting freaking obsessed with the Road
- Denny's with Kim in a leaf costume
- Kobefest 2008 (aka Kim's goodbye party)
- Snow City with Hannah and Kim
- Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist with Hannah and Kim
- Goodbye dinner with Kim, Hannah, Lorna, and Colver
Very busy weekend, and a super crazy one. Clearly the highlight was all of the fun we planned for Kim, capped by a party at the Captain Cook Hotel followed by going out that night. We had a ton of people over that night to celebrate Kim's time in Alaska and what she means to us as one of the primary Crewnit members, and it was an absolute blast (although not good for my head in a number of ways - aka hangover + racking my head against the ceiling while bouncing on bed + unknown eye injury = ouch).
The suite that we got for the party was absolutely, ridiculously awesome. It was on the 12th floor in one of the biggest hotels in downtown Anchorage, had a gorgeous view of the inlet and downtown, great access to everywhere we'd want to go, and ample space for everyone to have a great time. I mean come on, it was bigger than most of our apartments. I'm fairly certain I want to live there. Plus, we had (through various charitable donations) a tidy sum of alcohol for the party - most of which was consumed that night due to the voraciousness of us youngsters (and partially because of our family members who came by to say goodbye as well).
It was definitely a night I'll remember forever (most of it at least), as we had a ton of fun - whether it was just Kim, Hannah, and I, the full Crewnit, or the whole party, it was a blast and a half. There were dance parties, there were drinking games, there was storytelling, there was bartending, there was a group of us nearly getting in a brouhaha with a local foosball tough, there were makeshift beds, there were bath robes, there were sneaky hookers, and then there was Kim.
The whole night was to celebrate Kim, and we did. Kim is an integral part of our group and one of the best friends we all have. Of course, we had her for two years here in Alaska which is a full year longer than we originally expected, so it was only fair of us to share her with our good friends in Portland. However Kim, please remember that you are not only always welcome here, but encouraged to return.
Like now. Seriously. You may have dominated my apartment for 6 days and turned me into some sort of QVC watching, handbag dealing, reborn aware person with a significantly more dirty apartment (and far less healthy dracaena) than before but you were a great roommate and are an even better friend. Already counting the days until next summer when you're back for Brian's wedding, and good luck in Portland. Of course you won't need it, but it's there if you do.
Hannah, me, and Kim behind our glorious bar
Beginning of October and it's already snowing relatively heavily.
I told my good friend Raechelle that earlier and she cheerfully told me that it was 65 right then and that it was in the 80's that past weekend. She lives in Couer D'Alene, Idaho.
Why do I live here?
I think I'm going to go cry myself to sleep in my bed I made out of dollars from the Permanent Fund Dividend I cashed on Friday.
While waiting for Kim as she rode the bus to the Loussac Library in Anchorage, I went in myself to go find a couple of books (the Road and City of Ember, shockingly because they both are being turned in to movies). Due to my stupidity and inability to understand what the computer monitor said, I ended up in the entirely wrong section of the library. Apparently it's been quite some time since I'd been there.
However, this is a great example of happy accidents. While I was wandering aimlessly wondering where exactly Fiction Level 2 was (right where I typed it into the computer) I found their glorious section of graphic novels and trade paperbacks. Comics! Beautiful comics, all over the library! Who knew this? All kinds of favorites were there, from Fables to Planetary to Hellboy, plus series that I've never read before but always wanted to like Astro City and Sandman.
It was awesome. I excitedly grabbed a large stack of them and went off to check them out, until they announced I can only get 3 because I didn't give them back the postcard they mailed me. Oops! No less, I'm stoked. I'm going to start living at the library now! Good work Anchorage Library system!
Over the next week or so I'm going to be rather busy. I'm going to try and post as much as possible - mostly because in lieu of recreational drugs I blog - but if I can't, my bad! I have big plans coming up and a roommate for the next few days with Kim staying with me before she moves. No less, it should be a great time. I have all kinds of events, from my first foray with the How I Met Your Mother drinking game, to Kobefest 2008, to three straight nights of ridiculously delicious dinner with HBO (Bear Tooth, Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Club Paris? Don't mind if I do!).
I'm extremely excited. So excited, I made a flyer for Kobefest in 15 minutes that sucks terribly, but it gets the point across. I predict it will be the single greatest night.
Also, check out the rules for the HIMYM drinking game. If you've seen the show, you will understand the awesomeness.
* Anyone says "Awesome!"
* Robin says "literally"
* Barney says "legendary"
* Barney uses a pickup line
* Barney says "Suit up"
* Lily talks about or is around her kindergarteners
* Anyone says "Have you met..." (Ted, Barney, Me, etc.)
* Barney does magic
* Barney makes someone do a high five
* Barney says "Ha, please."
* Barney says "daddy's home"
* Marshall says "Lawyered!"
* Ted does a voiceover
* There is a flashback
* Any mention of the Fierro
* Barney says "Legen---wait for it---dary"
* Barney says "What up?"
* Barney mentions his blog
* Marshall sings about what he's doing
* Ted corrects somebody
* Robin mentions something Canadian
* Barney calls himself Ted's best friend
* Any time a cab/limo driver is called by name
Finish Your Drink
* Ted says "How I Met Your Mother"
* Barney rips on Canada
* Any mention of a slap bet
* Telepathic Conversation
* Ted makes a Star Wars reference
As I was sitting around reading, I realized that nearly every body part I have hurt. For some reason my right arm is tweaked (besides the obvious reason - you know, that it's permanently dislocated). For the rest of my body, that's because of basketball. In a single two hour session of basketball, I hurt the following body parts - left pinky, left arm, right arm, face (times two - I inadvertently was slapped and I was hit in the face by the basketball, the latter of which made me woozy enough to fall over, which is always a goofy sight), left side of my right knee, right side of my right knee, and left foot.
Most of that is my fault. It's part of my allure - my unbelievable ability to hurt myself (physically, socially, emotionally...really all of the ways you can hurt yourself) in every situation and somehow always survive relatively unscathed and chipper at the end. My friend Colver is endlessly amused by this, that somehow I can continuously do all of these things (break myself physically, embarass myself in front of girls, do unquantifiable amounts of stupid things) yet carry them off in such nonchalant ways.
Or at least I assume that is why he is entertained. He may just be a freak masochist who is amused by my misfortunes.
No less, realistically, I'm best at hurting myself socially really when you get down to it. I have this horrible flaw that I can never say no outright really. I rarely say no. I agree at first, and then I hem and I haw (that's right, I just dropped hem and haw) and bail at the last moment. That's my style. I like to make it seem like I'm going to do something, and then, just when it's about to happen, snatch it out of your hands and laugh hysterically.
Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic. Really, I somehow always talk myself out of things. It's a skill, and perhaps it's one of my better (or at least most prolific) ones. God forbid I actually do something. Odds are if I am I'm probably going to do something incredibly ridiculous and embarrassing, but man, I will definitely have fun doing it.
I guess that's why when I sit and realize my entire body hurts and that I do all kinds of stupid and occasionally lame things, I smile. I know in the long run the things I do were either fun to begin with (basketball, partying), fun afterwards (stupid things I say or do), or fun always (relaxing instead of trying to deal with social situations). I suppose worst case scenario, even if I do tons of dumb things and continue to hurt myself, at least I'll still be entertaining to Colver. Even if he is just amused by my misfortunes.