Saturday, August 01, 2015

Monthly Update - July 2015


1. Read books. This month I read Shadows Over Main Street, a Lovecraft anthology, putting me at 13 books for the year.

2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. The last week of June and first week of July were almost entirely given over to Batman Arkham Night. Did preorder Rock Band 4. So that's... four? I finally got a chance to play Evolve as well. I liked it OK, Aaron loves it.

3. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 21, held a boardgame night at my place. I played DC Deckbuilding Forever Evil (which I'm counting as a new game), Just Desserts, Sheriff of Nottingham and Mars Attacks Dice Game. Then at a friend's boardgame night, I played Concept and Double Feature, and then I played Takenoko at Gaming with Rogues, bringing me up to 28 new games for the year so far.

4. Get below 190 lbs. Last month I was at 208 lbs., this month I'm at 204 lbs. No more exercise than last month, but a lot less eating, at least.

5. Travel - Disney! That was a big trip. And I think, while fun, it has sated any need I have to travel for the rest of this year. Maybe next. I think next year's resolution will be "Stay-Cation."

6. Eat! - During ATX Festival, I tried out Second Bar + Kitchen. Three I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather). Sawyer & Company and Porter Gastropub remain on the "need to try" list. I also have a few I want to visit when they open:  Shake Shack, Thai Kun and Second Bar + Kitchen in The Domain and Voodoo Donuts on 6th.


Best Week of Comics This Month:
July 8th (1872, Archie, Civil War, Descender, Mad Max Fury Road Mad Max, Runaways, Saga, Spider-Island, Squadron Sinister, Star Wars Lando, Starve, Strange Fruit)

Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
  1. Archie #1
  2. Star Wars Lando #1
  3. Civil War #1
  4. Spider-Woman #9
  5. 1872 #1
                                                          Comics I Read This Month:
                                                          • 1872 #1
                                                          • A-Force #2
                                                          • Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #2
                                                          • Airboy #2
                                                          • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #2
                                                          • Ant-Man Annual #1
                                                          • Archie #1
                                                          • Birthright #9
                                                          • Captain Britain and Mighty Defenders #1
                                                          • Chew #50
                                                          • Civil War #1
                                                          • Copperhead #9
                                                          • Daredevil #17
                                                          • Darth Vader #7
                                                          • Descender #5
                                                          • Future Imperfect #2-3
                                                          • Godzilla in Hell #1
                                                          • Kanan - The Last Padawan #4
                                                          • Mad Max Fury Road Mad Max #1
                                                          • Marvel Zombies #2
                                                          • Mercury Heat #1
                                                          • Planet Hulk #3
                                                          • Princess Leia #5
                                                          • Punisher #20
                                                          • Red Skull #1
                                                          • Runaways #2
                                                          • Saga #30
                                                          • Secret Wars #4
                                                          • Sex Criminals #11
                                                          • Spider-Island #1
                                                          • Spider-Woman #9
                                                          • Squadron Sinister #2
                                                          • Star Wars #7
                                                          • Star Wars Lando #1
                                                          • Starve #2
                                                          • Strange Fruit #1
                                                          • The Empty #5
                                                          • Thors #2
                                                          • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7
                                                          • Usagi Yojimbo #147
                                                          • Wayward #10
                                                          • We Are Robin #2
                                                          • We Stand on Guard #1
                                                          Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                          • Mike Zeck Artist's Edition
                                                          • Storm Vol 2 TP
                                                          • East of West Vol 1 HC
                                                          • SHIELD Vol 1 TP
                                                          • Pathfinder Vol 3: City of Secrets HC
                                                          • BRPD 1946-1948 HC

                                                          TV I Watched This Month:
                                                          This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
                                                          • Wayward Pines "Betrayal" (The bombing of Burke's kid was a little hacky, but the contrast between Burke being the sheriff and his wife and former lover now not trusting him was really interesting.) "The Friendliest Place on Earth" (Burke's Jack Bauer moments of backstory and torture were a little weak, and I'm still not sure I buy the reasoning behind the experiment, but I'm also not sure we're entirely meant to. Pilcher and his sister are deranged in their own ways, and I'm not sure what the endgame for the show is. I do know, with two episodes left, that the big moment at the end is going to have major consequences next week.) " A Reckoning" (The yoyo between Pilcher and co. being reasonable and deranged makes them a bit cartoonish, but the good of this show definitely outweighs the bads. The young punks murdering everyone was chilling, and seeing Burke and the rest finally unveil the truth was really good as well.) "The Circle" (That was a weird finale. Everything went kind of action movie, and I thought they were going for a sort of measured happy ending, then there was the big twist, which I'm pretty sure means they decided to do a second season.)
                                                          • Hannibal "Aperitivo" (Jack, Alana and Chilton all re-enter, damaged by their interactions with Hannibal... none more so than the recast Mason Verger, though, who is revealed to be the planner behind the hunt for Hannibal.) "Contomo" (I am weirded out by this season's obsession with snails... but I love seeing Crawford in Italy, confronting Hannibal. And Hannibal killing the detective was a nod to the Hannibal novel and a really creepy, effective scene.) "Dolce" (This was a spotlight for Gillian Anderson, as she interacts with pretty much everyone. And I'm pretty pleased with their new Mason Verger, who is a creepy antagonist. Then there was that chilling confrontation between Will and Hannibal, which really the whole series has been building up to. I'm more than a little annoyed at the intervention of Chiyoh, who has proven to be a weak character overall. But it was worth it for that Hannibal, Jack and Will scene at the end... up until the WTF moment that interrupted for the shock ending. I have to admit, I'm anticipating the next episode more than I have any other this season so far.) "Digestivo" (Is Chiyoh Japanese for plot device? Because she keeps shooting people whenever the plot requires it. The show has definitely disappeared into pretentiousness, but I love the crazy weirdness of the Verger estate and Hannibal being caught not by the FBI but by a fellow psychopath. It's strange and I can see why some find it off-putting, but I'm still really enjoying it.) "The Great Red Dragon" (The final arc of Hannibal begins. Love the Red Dragon/Tooth Fairy so far, glad that they did go ahead with Will getting married and having a kid, seeing him go back was as heart-wrenching as expected. So happy to see Scott Thompson back! Wish they hadn't dissected poor Beverly so we could have her back too. And I love that they made us wait the whole episode before teasing Will and Hannibal together again.)
                                                          • Orange is the New Black "Mother's Day" (Lots of great flashbacks, and I thought the Boo/Pennsatucky scene was great.) "Bed Bugs and Beyond" (I'm actually interested in seeing prison guard Ben's Iraq days, I like where the Alex/Piper relationship is at and Litchfield's woes has fascinating arc potential.) "Empathy is a Boner Killer" (Healy/Red is not something I saw coming... and I like Caputo having to run to the previous warden) "Finger in the Dyke" (Boo is one of my favorite characters, so I like seeing her backstory. Always good to see Mike Birbiglia too.) "Fake It Til You Fake It Some More" (The Red/Healy romance seemed really weird, but when we saw she was trying to get the kitchen back, it made a lot more sense. And they're trying with Marisol and Daya, but nobody is as interesting as last season's Rosa. It feels like they're trying to do with the Latina gang what they did with Vee and her people last season, but they're missing a Vee. But Mary Steenburgen and Mike Birbiglia are great as always, and I like all the stuff with Soso. Although... I got a laugh at the irony of Marisol winding up sewing for a living.) "Ching Chong Chang" (Lorna's prison speed dating was hilarious, but with a nice dramatic twist at the end. The background on Chang was interesting as well. I don't know what's going on with the random Brit in the panty shop, though. Loved seeing Red come back to the kitchen with that great "Rebel Girl" song choice.) "Tongue Tied" (Crazy Eyes erotica was a hilarious runner, the new rookie guard was fun, and Piper's used panties plan is pretty entertaining as well. Red back in the kitchen was great... for a few minutes, until the world fell out from under her. And Norma's backstory was interesting. This was a lighter episode, but a good one.) "Fear, and Other Smells" (Timehump Chronicles continues to get more entertaining. Piper occasionally gets on my nerves with her chipper self, I'm surprised but I miss angsty Piper. But Alex's story is getting intense, and I loved the flashback. The Caputo/Birbiglia stuff is killer, though. And I loved Pennsatucky and the new CO. Healy/Birdy/So-So also great.) "Where My Dreidel At" (Wow, the Pennsatucky/CO thing went dark fast. Alex's stalker/assassin plot is intriguing as well. Piper's brother's knowledge about the used panty business pays huge comic dividends. And the backstory in this one was really interesting.) "A Tittin' and a Hairin'" (Sophia and Mendoza and their sons is a really interesting and heart-breaking story, I like the Piper relationship, and I'm mostly annoyed by Alex and Lolly. And I'm surprised to find Pennsatucky relatable. Norma's new cult I can take or leave. And I was wondering when someone was going to figure out how much money Piper was making off them.) "We Can Be Heroes" (Crazy Eyes erotica is the gift that keeps on giving this season. The accidental release change-up was interesting and another bit of how the prison's been screwed up by the private company. Also like seeing Caputo's nice guy backstory and how that didn't pay off for him, and seeing him help out his guys even now. Boo/Pennsatucky was also surprisingly effective.) "Don't Make Me Come Back There" (Man, Healy is a piece of shit to So-So. And then... he brought corn in for Red? If I'm interpreting correctly? Weird. Sophia being sent to solitary is so fucked up, as is everything with Birbiglia and his dad.) "Trust No Bitch" (Great finale.)
                                                          • True Detective "Night Finds You" (That ending... even if it's not what it appeared, my jaw dropped. And prior to that, I'm loving the interaction between the characters, the multiple goals of the investigation and especially Farrell and McAdams) "Maybe Tomorrow" (I like all the character work being done here, and the scenes with McAdams and Farrell continue to be my favorites... but I have to admit I'm losing track of what's supposed to be going on with the story.) "Down Will Come" (I find myself wandering off and losing interest, but there are a lot of good performances here... Vaughn's story was surprisingly engaging this week, and the hints that there's a deeper conspiracy involving power players and a guru cult type thing hearkens back to the plots in season one that ultimately didn't really go anywhere. The final gunfight was chaotic and brutal, but felt a bit cartoonish, and compared badly to season one episode four's mind-blowing final sequence) "Other Lives" (So big action sequence, time jump... they're really inviting comparisons to season one, and it's not doing them any favors. I'm officially done with Vaughn's storyline, and the others mostly interest me because of the performances by McAdams, Farrell and Kitsch.) "Church in Ruins" (Vaughn still seems out of his depth against Farrell, but the opening scene was pretty good. Farrell confronting his wife's rapist was an amazing scene. And I believe the scene with Ani and her sister means True Detective passes the Bechdel Test, which I found amusing given the complaints about season one. Still don't give a shit about Stan or most of what's going on with Vaughn's story. The orgy/infiltration scene was maybe the best scene of the season so far, marred only by my not recognizing either the guys that were talking about the deal or the girl Ani decided to rescue.)
                                                          • Mr. Robot "eps1.1-ones-and-zer0es.mpeg" (I'm not sure if the hacker collective is entirely in his head or not, but I love the detached weird morality of the main character and the POV of the show, and it's a pretty beautifully shot, interesting show so far) "eps1.2_d3bug.mkv" (Love the subversiveness of naming the episodes like a pirated file, love the Patrick Bateman-ness of Eliot's nemesis, like Eliot trying to live a normal life.) "eps1.3_da3m0ns.mp4" (That was one of the most harrowing drug trips I've seen outside of Requiem for a Dream, and I loved Darlene's descent into the Dark Army territory as well. Fully convined Mr. Robot is in Eliot's head, because the only other guy who talked to him was in Eliot's hallucination.) "eps1.4_3xpl0its.wmv" (You sons of bitches... they went out of their way to show that Mr. Robot was real this episode, after faking us out for four episodes. Unless this is an elaborate ruse. But my previous stance of "Of course he's fake" is now in danger. What's great is that the real/not real is a sideshow to the rest of the show, which is conspiracy and relationships and a really interesting lead character. Watching him heartlessly destroy Bill Harper was terrifying. And seeing him confront Tyrell reminded me how much I like that character too.) "eps1.5_br4ve-traveler.asf" (Drug dealer happy is actually scarier than drug dealer mad. Great opener. Angela investigating the CTO who was framed, and the convergence of all three girls Eliott cares about at the worst possible time was tense as hell. As was watching Eliott run at the edge of his wits as problems kept coming up. And I did not expect that last move from the drug dealer.)
                                                          • Why? With Hannibal Buress "Eighth of July Celebration" (I love Buress, but this first episode was pretty weak, aside from a funny bit with Amy Schumer.)
                                                          • Key & Peele "Y'All Ready For This" (The pirate feminist chantey was the highlight, but the terrorist plane sketch, Hilary's anger translator, the opening football pump-up to action movie and the trigger-happy cop were all great.) " " (The shorter sketches, like the Adventurer's Club talking about their sexual exploits, the kid with the money in his ear, were great. And the undercover women menstruation Ted Talk was amazing. The non spoiler double date was so sadly accurate.) " " (Children with beards was absurdist and dark and perfect. Black on black violence was really good. Never a big fan of Megan, but the first date sketch was funny too. 
                                                          • 7 Days in Hell (Easily the funniest thing I watched on TV all year.) "Severed Head Showcase" (Gullible guard was a fun gag, but teaching center was the hit of this one.)
                                                          • Sense8 "Limbic Resonance" (There's a lot of plot, a lot of setup and a lot of character to pack in, and they do it pretty well here. I'm intrigued by all the characters, wondering about the central gimmick, and already engaged with several of the stories.)
                                                          • Inside Amy Schumer "Foam" (The Princess sketch was hilarious and the titular foam story a fun little riff) "Wingwoman" (Listen Alert, Mike Birbiglia as her boyfriend, time travel sketch, and Amy's commitment in the Wingwoman sketch just killed me. Lots of great guest stars in the witchcraft sketch.) "3 Buttholes" (Opening oral sex sketch short and perfect, Cock Block was over-the-top, weird and funny as hell, "You poor barmy slag" cracked me up,)
                                                          • Pulling "Season 1" (Started off funnier and more cutting than it ended, but really fun series. Sharon Horgan is great here, albeit not as great as she is in Catastrophe.)
                                                          • Penny Dreadful Season 1 "Night Work" (The big reveal with Frankenstein was good if not surprising, I really like the setup and mood) "Seance" (Dorian Gray is interesting, Billie Piper has a good guest turn even if her Irish accent is occasionally impenetrable, and that seance performance from Eva Green makes me realize why there was Emmy talk from some quarters. And their take on Proteus is a fascinating take, a mix of childlike enthusiasm and haunting emptiness. Up until that shocker of an ending, that is.) "Resurrection" (After that great second episode, this was a return to the weaker first episode. Adam's flashbacks are a little dull, the revelations about Mina and her true identity not as surprising as I think they were meant to be... but still it's got nice mood and is coming together.) "Demimonde" (Did I just watch an episode about the characters watching a play? I mean, I get the point, but that sequence was a little long and required a lot of over-reacting from its characters in the audience. The whole thing is moving a little more slowly than I'd like, it's got good mood and interesting pieces but four episodes in I feel like we should be further along. Loved the dog vs. rat/Ethan vs. British assholes fight, though.) "Closer Than Sisters" (This show really likes flashbacks and asides... and I was already getting tired of backstory dumps by this point. That said, while it's a slog structurally, it's a well-done flashback that fills in important relationship information about several main characters. And once we got out of Downton Abbey territory and more into screaming crazy possession and asylums of the 19th century, it got much better. Eva Green really is the star of this show.)
                                                          • Deutschland '83 "Brave Guy" (There were a lot of convenient outs for Moritz, including a drunk soldier and a mysterious fellow spy, but the tension and action and surprises were so good I can forgive the narrative conventions. This is compared to The Americans a lot, but that's about trained professionals and tight spycraft, this is about a talented amateur forced to do things he doesn't want to. It's almost more Nikita. And it's great. As is the music.) "Atlantic Lion" (The East Germans trying to figure out the floppy disk was a great scene. Also, as someone with cat allergies, that allergy scene hit hard. Also, Duran Duran, The Cure, The Police... such great music. Moritz has the worst luck with people swapping gifts/rooms/desks. And his mom's a dissident? Holy crap.) "Northern Wedding" (There's something darkly hilarious about Renate being 100% right and 100% not credible. And the scene with Linda was as harrowing and chilling as The Americans, except that they wouldn't have turned back, because they're cold-blooded killers, not amateur spies. Which made it all the worse when she actually figured out what was going on. Again, convenient timing with his contact being able to find her and get to her so quickly, but I'm willing to forgive it for the effectiveness of the scene.) "Cold Fire" (I'm curious how in pre-GPS days, Tischbier always knows where Moritz is. Watching Tischbier try to turn Alex was a really good scene. Alex is kind of a spoiled little shit, though, as he proves throughout the rest of the episode. That Genesis-scored montage, tho. Nice.) "Brandy Station" (Alex's crazy rampage just gets crazier, dragging everyone in. And I thought all the AIDS discussion was a background detail, but it comes back in a big way here.) "Bold Guard" (That conversation between Martin and his aunt was great. the dinner with Schweppenstette was tense and exciting, and recruiting Martin's girlfriend to be a spy with his West German girlfriend is bound to be interesting as well. And it's terrifying that a few paranoid intelligence officers could have caused a nuclear war... which seems frighteningly plausible. Stamm blowing his own cover was inevitable but unpredictable at the same time.)
                                                          • BoJack Horseman Season 2 "Brand New Couch" (Jumps right in even though I didn't watch most of season one, I really like the new supporting cast on the film and the various supporting cast stories.) "Yesterdayland" (Todd's messed-up Disneyland the court battle over it is probably the strongest part of the episode, but I also love Lisa Kudrow's character) "Still Broken" (A riff on '90s sitcoms with a hackneyed treasure hunt, more great voice work, and Princess Caroline's extended stories were fun.) "After Party" (Owl's bad jokes, deer in the woods, phones in love, Mr. Peanutbutter fighting with his wife... and Paul McCartney as himself.) "Chickens" (Chickens farming chickens, the bock-bock jokes killed me, Bojack's get out of jail free card was cynical and hilarious." "Higher Love" (I love Ben Schwartz's Rutabaga, the auto-erotic asphyxiation plot with the various names cracked me up, and of course JD Salinger.) "Hank After Dark" (Philip Baker Hall as Hank Hippopopalous was fantastic, and using it to do a Cosby riff was perfect. Also, Prince of Cordovia/Todd switch) "Let's Find Out" (A stunning evisceration of game shows along with good character stuff with Mr. PB and Bojack.) "The Shot" (A heist story... with Margo Martindale... as herself. Amazing.) "Yes And" (Cruel and hilarious skewering of improv as a mixture of Scientology and a gang, and I love the various Hollywood gags in here.) "Escape from L.A." (Bojack's small town adventure is funny, the boat riff was probably the funniest.) "Out to Sea" (JK Simmons as the film executive is great, the Giggle Ship was a blast, nice to see Princess Caroline wake up a bit, Angela Bassett and Aisha Tyler's bit parts were really fun. And the Bojack/Todd stuff was actually kinda sweet.)
                                                          • Rick and Morty "A Rickle in Time" (Timeline splitting, Rick revealing that he actually cares about Morty, that poor bastard on the roof, time-traveling genital-headed monsters... Rick and Morty is back.)
                                                          Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                          1. 7 Days in Hell
                                                          2. Deutschland '83
                                                          3. Mr. Robot
                                                          4. Key & Peele
                                                          5. Bojack Horseman
                                                                Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                  Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
                                                                  • John Wick
                                                                  • Kingsman the Secret Service
                                                                  • Idiocracy
                                                                  • Inside Out
                                                                  • Ant-Man
                                                                  • Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
                                                                  Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                  • Chuy's
                                                                  • Hoodie's Subs (x2)
                                                                  • Threadgill's
                                                                  • Tarka
                                                                  • Noble Sandwich
                                                                  • Smashburger (x2)
                                                                  • BJ's Brewhouse
                                                                  • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                  • Torchy's
                                                                  • Mambo House (x2)
                                                                  • Kerby Lane
                                                                  • Deckhand Oyster Bar
                                                                  • Haymaker
                                                                  • Sushi Zushi
                                                                  • Tacodeli
                                                                  • Popeye's
                                                                  • Sushi Nini

                                                                  Wednesday, July 01, 2015

                                                                  Monthly Update - June 2015


                                                                  1. Read books. After a brief pause, this month I read Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell and Leviathan Wakes, so I've hit my 12 book goal. More on the way.

                                                                  2. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. No time this month, and Netflix dropped Orange is the New Black and Sense8, plus Amazon dropped Catastrophe, Star Wars Rebels started up again and there's the new Deutchsland '83 and three new HBO shows, so... not yet.

                                                                  3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. No videogames this month... still haven't played Evolve. Did preorder Rock Band 4. So that's... four? And Star Wars Battlefront is definitely on my radar. Also... I bought Walking Dead, X-Com Enemy Unknown and Need for Speed Most Wanted for PS3 and Witcher 3 for PS4... but I did it with trade-in credit from getting rid of my XBox 360 and all the games, so... does that count? I'm gonna say no. Because I'm a cheater.

                                                                  4. 24 More Boardgames. No new games this month, so I'm still at 21, but I've got a couple game nights in July.

                                                                  5. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was between 203 lbs. and this month, I walked around Disney a lot but also ate a lot and drank a bunch of soda. End result? 208 lbs. Fuck. I'm gonna need to get serious about dieting and exercising.

                                                                  6. Travel - Disney! That was a big trip. And I think, while fun, it has sated any need I have to travel for the rest of this year. Maybe next. I think next year's resolution will be "Stay-Cation."

                                                                  7. Eat! - During ATX Festival, I tried out Second Bar + Kitchen. Three I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather). There are four new ones: Sawyer & Company, Porter Gastropub, Shake Shack in The Domain (whenever that opens), Voodoo Donuts on 6th (whenever it opens, probably won't be in June)

                                                                  8. Cook! - Mostly grilling this month, although I cooked up a few now-standards like chicken with mushrooms and macaroni and cheese.


                                                                  Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                  June 3rd (Airboy, Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, Darth Vader, Future Imperfect, Princess Leia, Secret Wars, Spider-Woman, Star Wars, Superior Iron Man, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, X-Tinction Agenda, Years of Future Past #1)

                                                                  Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                  1. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6
                                                                  2. Spider-Woman #8
                                                                  3. Thors #1
                                                                  4. Ms. Marvel #16
                                                                  5. Howard the Duck #4
                                                                                                                    Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                    • Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1
                                                                                                                    • Airboy #1
                                                                                                                    • Alex + Ada #15
                                                                                                                    • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #1
                                                                                                                    • Ant-Man Larger Than Life #1
                                                                                                                    • Batgirl #41
                                                                                                                    • Big Man Plans #3
                                                                                                                    • Birthright #8
                                                                                                                    • Broken World #1
                                                                                                                    • Daredevil #16
                                                                                                                    • Darth Vader #6
                                                                                                                    • Descender #4
                                                                                                                    • E is for Extinction #1
                                                                                                                    • Empty Zone #1
                                                                                                                    • Fight Club 2 #2
                                                                                                                    • Future Imperfect #1
                                                                                                                    • Ghost Racers #1
                                                                                                                    • Grayson #9
                                                                                                                    • Harrow County #2
                                                                                                                    • Howard the Duck #4
                                                                                                                    • Infinity Gauntlet #2
                                                                                                                    • Kanan - The Last Padawan #3
                                                                                                                    • Kaptara #3
                                                                                                                    • Korvac Saga #1
                                                                                                                    • Legacy of Luther Strode #2
                                                                                                                    • Marvel Zombies #1
                                                                                                                    • Midnighter #1
                                                                                                                    • MODOK Assassin #2
                                                                                                                    • Ms. Marvel #16
                                                                                                                    • Planet Hulk #2
                                                                                                                    • Princess Leia #4
                                                                                                                    • Punisher #19
                                                                                                                    • Runaways #1
                                                                                                                    • Saga #29
                                                                                                                    • Secret Wars #3
                                                                                                                    • Secret Wars 2099 #2
                                                                                                                    • Secret Wars Battleworld #2
                                                                                                                    • Secret Wars Journal #2
                                                                                                                    • SHIELD #7
                                                                                                                    • Silk #5
                                                                                                                    • Southern Cross #4
                                                                                                                    • Spider-Gwen #5
                                                                                                                    • Spider-Verse #2
                                                                                                                    • Spider-Woman #8
                                                                                                                    • Squadron Sinister #1
                                                                                                                    • Star Wars #6
                                                                                                                    • Starve #1
                                                                                                                    • Superior Iron Man #9
                                                                                                                    • The Empty #4
                                                                                                                    • The Fade Out #7
                                                                                                                    • Thors #1
                                                                                                                    • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6
                                                                                                                    • Usagi Yojimbo #146
                                                                                                                    • Wayward #9
                                                                                                                    • We Are Robin #1
                                                                                                                    • X-Men 92 #1
                                                                                                                    • X-Tinction Agenda #1
                                                                                                                    • Years of Future Past #1
                                                                                                                    Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                    • Green Arrow: Trial of Oliver Queen TP
                                                                                                                    • Grayson Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                    • Usagi Yojimbo Vol 29 TP
                                                                                                                    • Captain America Epic Collection: Streets of Poison TP

                                                                                                                    TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                    This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
                                                                                                                    • iZombie "Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat" (The cheerleader personality was fun, as was the personality switch when she ate different brains, and Major's anti-zombie vigilante campaign is dark and interesting... also... Schrodinger's grenade! The Peyton reveal was great, and not a fakeout like the one with Major... and almost certain to cause Liv no end of trouble. Then there's that closing montage... can't wait for the season finale.) "Blaine's World" (Major's Taxi Driver rampage was the high point, but I'm also really interested in where the Max Rager story is going next season.)
                                                                                                                    • Wayward Pines "Don't Discuss Your Life Before" (The second episode hooked me. Not just for the surprising death, but for the creepy atmosphere and the terrific performances.) "Our Town, Our Law" (I was worried the mysteries might keep spooling with no development, but his family coming to town and the end of the sheriff and weird monsters in the walls? Plenty of developments going on.) "One of Our Senior Realtors Has Decided to Retire" (Melissa Leo is playing the creepiest bad guy here, and it's awesome. I also liked Burke as sheriff, the creepy vibe at the school and Hope Davis as the teacher in more of a headmistress type role.) "The Truth" (Saw this at ATX Fest, and that was pretty much the perfect way to see it. Turns the whole story on its head, and if they can follow through on the twist, I'll be pretty impressed.) "Choices" (The backstory is making a lot of sense, the insurgency now looks tragically misguided and the emotional shellshock for the first generation is brewing nicely. Every episode, I love this show more and more.)
                                                                                                                    • Inside Amy Schumer "Fight Like A Girl" (Fashion criticism is my least favorite thing, so the first couple didn't resonate with me, the Ambien sketch was random and hilarious, and fight like a girl was the title of the episode for a reason, because it was amazing. Her interviews, this time with a couple in an open relationship, have been great this year.)
                                                                                                                    • Hannibal "Antipasto" (Beautiful, especially any scene with Gillian Anderson about Europe. Terrifying, especially in the way any scene with Hannibal could turn to violence at any minute. Surprising to focus entirely on Bedelia and Hannibal in the first episode, but in no way disappointing.) "Primavera" (Will Graham in Europe, an old foe of Hannibal and ghost Abigail made for another creepy, intriguing episode) "Secondo" (When we first met Will Graham in Manhunter, he was truly messed up - I like seeing how he became that way, having to become Hannibal in order to catch him. Chiyoh and Lithuania were another stark, beautiful compelling chapter in the hunt,)
                                                                                                                    • Game of Thrones "Dance With Dragons" (Wow wow wow. The stuff in Dorne is still boring, but everything else was great. Stannis did what he was always going to do in a horrifying and really compelling way that's going to have major repercussions, Arya has lined up a target that is also going to have interesting repercussions and that final battle with the Sons of the Harpy and Drogon was as intense as the White Walker sequence the week before.) "Mother's Mercy" (So many "I didn't see that coming" moments. That finale with Jon Snow. Brienne and Stannis. Reek and Sansa. The walk of shame. Arya's vengeance. The impending Midnight Run in Mereen, with Tyrion and Varys running things. Such a great finale.)
                                                                                                                    • Silicon Valley "Binding Arbitration" (The arbitration story was really interesting, and their lawyer (not attorney) hilarious. But the Schrodinger's runner, complete with dark-as-hell ending, was the star of the show.) "Two Days of the Condor" (The flip-flop on the court decision, the delete/don't delete tension and of course, the Seinfeld-ian approach to that poor guy on their livestream.)
                                                                                                                    • Veep "Testimony" (If only for the flood of Jonah Ryan nicknames, this would have been fun. As is, it was a great episode in so many ways.) "Election Night" (Jonah flailing on stage, Amy's return to the campaign, the bashing of their Nate Silver stand-in and of course Selina's amazing rant made this a great finale.)
                                                                                                                    • Orange is the New Black "Mother's Day" (Lots of great flashbacks, and I thought the Boo/Pennsatucky scene was great.) "Bed Bugs and Beyond" (I'm actually interested in seeing prison guard Ben's Iraq days, I like where the Alex/Piper relationship is at and Litchfield's woes has fascinating arc potential.) "Empathy is a Boner Killer" (Healy/Red is not something I saw coming... and I like Caputo having to run to the previous warden) "Finger in the Dyke" (Boo is one of my favorite characters, so I like seeing her backstory. Always good to see Mike Birbiglia too.)
                                                                                                                    • Deutchsland '83 "Quantum Jump" (Good performances from its young star and older cast members alike, jumps right into the espionage of the thing, and what great music)
                                                                                                                    • Star Wars Rebels "Siege of Lothal" (Introducing Vader and Ahsoka could have unbalanced things, but instead it's a great transition as the characters move from a single Rebel cell to part of a growing army. Vader is scary and powerful, like he should be, the action sequences and space battles are fantastic. Can't wait for more.)
                                                                                                                    • True Detective "The Western Book of the Dead" (Different setting, more characters, more of an LA noir tale... still pretty much everything I love about True Detective. Colin Farrel in particular is fantastic.)
                                                                                                                    • The Brink "Pilot" (Lots of smarm in this one, not sure if it'll pay off, but I really like what Tim Robbins is doing as the most arrogant and also most right guy in the room, and Pablo Schrieber is, as always, terrific.)
                                                                                                                    • Ballers "Pilot" (Not the dude-bro show I expected it to be, at least so far. I mean, yeah, it's NFL wish fulfillment, but it's also about the downside of all that, and seems to have something to say... not as funny as I might have expected, but interesting.)
                                                                                                                    • Another Period "Pilot" (Another hit for Comedy Central, with an amazing cast and guest stars.)
                                                                                                                    • Catastrophes "All Six Episodes" (Like the lovechild of You're The Worst and Coupling, I adored this show and laughed throughout... I'm not 100% sold on the ending, which turned very dark and ugly and counter to everything we'd seen before, but the rest of it was great.)
                                                                                                                    Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                    1. Game of Thrones
                                                                                                                    2. Hannibal
                                                                                                                    3. iZombie
                                                                                                                    4. Catastrophes
                                                                                                                    5. Wayward Pines
                                                                                                                          Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                          Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                          • Inside Out
                                                                                                                          Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                          • Hopdoddy's
                                                                                                                          • Frank
                                                                                                                          • Smashburger (x2)
                                                                                                                          • Second Bar + Kitchen
                                                                                                                          • Gus's Fried Chicken
                                                                                                                          • Twisted Root Burgers
                                                                                                                          • BJ's Brewhouse
                                                                                                                          • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                                                                          • Torchy's Tacos (x2)
                                                                                                                          • Michi Ramen
                                                                                                                          • Tarka
                                                                                                                          • Terry Black's BBQ

                                                                                                                          Monday, June 01, 2015

                                                                                                                          Monthly Update - May 2015


                                                                                                                          1. Read books. Still at 10 books for the year so far. But I didn't read any this month. I bought a couple more, though. I'm sure I'll get some reading done on my June vacation, at least.

                                                                                                                          2. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Finally got the DVR mostly clear and started watching some DVDs and Blurays. Got around to re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season One and started in on Community Season Five. I also bought and re-watched You're The Worst Season One... does that count? I think it might count against me since I bought something despite having a huge stack of Blurays already.

                                                                                                                          3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. No videogames this month... still haven't played Evolve.

                                                                                                                          4. 24 More Boardgames. I went ahead and doubled this from last year's goal, since I cleared 12 new games in four months. This month, I played a new party game, Cinelinks, plus Roll for the Galaxy, the DC Deck-Building Game, Epic Spell WarsDixit, Bang!, and Castles of Mad King Ludwig, bringing my total to 21 games for the year. I also played Cards Against Humanity and Superfight more than once.

                                                                                                                          5. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was between 198-205 lbs. This month I finally dragged the elliptical out of storage and started using it, albeit irregularly, and settled in around 203 lbs.

                                                                                                                          6. Travel - Nothing until June, probably. I looked into Dallas Fan Days, but there's other stuff going on that weekend. Ditto Heroes Con, which is just too close to the Disney trip and our All-Ages event to be logistically possible, even if I could easily swing the budget. I'm also starting to consider GenCon at the end of July, but don't know feasible that is either.

                                                                                                                          7. Eat! -  I got out to Twisted Root Burgers and will definitely visit that again. Four I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co. and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather) and 3 new ones: Porter Gastropub, Shake Shack in The Domain (whenever that opens), Voodoo Donuts on 6th in June (if it opens on time).

                                                                                                                          8. Cook! - Mostly grilling this month. I need to get back to doing a little more cooking, but there was a lot of going out in May and there will probably be quite a bit in June. I did make the alfredo chicken ziti, chicken parmesan and chicken with mushrooms again.

                                                                                                                          9. NaNoWriMo - No progress this month, and I'm starting to reconsider whether I want to devote a whole month to it or not.


                                                                                                                          Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                          May 13th (Birthright, Darth Vader, Harrow County, Howard the Duck, Ms. Marvel, Saga, Secret Wars, Silk, Spider-Man 2099, Storm)

                                                                                                                          Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                          1. Howard the Duck #3
                                                                                                                          2. Spider-Woman #7
                                                                                                                          3. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5
                                                                                                                          4. Fight Club 2 #1
                                                                                                                          5. Afterlife with Archie #8
                                                                                                                                                                      Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                      • A-Force #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Afterlife with Archie #8
                                                                                                                                                                      • Amazing Spider-Man #18
                                                                                                                                                                      • Ant-Man #5
                                                                                                                                                                      • Birthright #7
                                                                                                                                                                      • Chew #49
                                                                                                                                                                      • Chrononauts #3
                                                                                                                                                                      • Copperhead #7
                                                                                                                                                                      • Daredevil #15.1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Darth Vader #5
                                                                                                                                                                      • Descender #3
                                                                                                                                                                      • Fight Club 2 #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Harrow County #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Howard the Duck #3
                                                                                                                                                                      • Inferno #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Infinity Gauntlet #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Insufferable #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Kaijumax #2
                                                                                                                                                                      • Kanan Last Padawan #2
                                                                                                                                                                      • Lantern City #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Mad Max Fury Road Nux & Immortan Joe #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Master of Kung Fu #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • MODOK: Assassin #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Ms. Marvel #15
                                                                                                                                                                      • Planet Hulk #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Punisher #18
                                                                                                                                                                      • Saga #28
                                                                                                                                                                      • Secret Wars #1-2
                                                                                                                                                                      • Secret Wars 2099 #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Secret Wars Battleworld #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Secret Wars Journal #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • SHIELD #6
                                                                                                                                                                      • Silk #4
                                                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Gwen #4
                                                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Man 2099 #12
                                                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Verse #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Spider-Woman #7
                                                                                                                                                                      • Star Wars #5
                                                                                                                                                                      • Storm #11
                                                                                                                                                                      • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5
                                                                                                                                                                      • Uncanny Avengers Ultron Forever #1
                                                                                                                                                                      • Usagi Yojimbo #145
                                                                                                                                                                      • Wayward #8
                                                                                                                                                                      Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                      • Sixth Gun Vol 2 HC
                                                                                                                                                                      • Bone Vol 1 HC Tribute Edition
                                                                                                                                                                      • Usagi Yojimbo Senso HC
                                                                                                                                                                      • D&D Legends of Baldur's Gate
                                                                                                                                                                      • Y The Last Man Vols 1-10 (Reread)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Bloodshot Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                                                      • Velvet Vol 2 TP

                                                                                                                                                                      TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                      This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
                                                                                                                                                                      • Game of Thrones "Sons of the Harpy" (A fantastic fight sequence with the Sons of the Harpy vs. Barristan and Grayworm, an interesting fight scene with Jaime, Bronn and some Dornish soldiers, the introduction of the Sand Snakes, maneuvering around Loras Tyrell and the Faith Militant and a nice scene between Sansa and Littlefinger) "Kill the Boy" (Every season, there's one of these piece mover episodes; important, but dull compared to everything surrounding it; this checks in with a lot of the less interesting connective tissue of the series, following impending marriages of Sansa and Daenerys, more doings with the Wildlings, Stannis moving on from the Wall, etc. - a short fight scene at the end with stone men was a little lacking compared to all that's gone before) "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" (While I'm not willing to swear off the show based on it, I did think that it was unimaginative to put Sansa right back into the status quo she was in with Joffrey, having learned nothing. But I love everything in Dorne, and I'm loving to hate Cersei and the Faith Militant as they push around the Tyrells, who are probably the most legitimately good people in the show. Also... Diana Rigg is back!) "The Gift" (That long-awaited Daenerys/Tyrion meeting was big, but there were a lot of good moments in this great episode. Ghost returns. Cersei finally faces the inevitable with the sparrows. A horrific possibility is dangled before Stannis, and for all the character work they've done on him, if he goes through with burning his daughter, it'll be hard to ever root for him again. Oh, and it turns out Bronn and the Sand Snakes are more interesting facing off in prison than on the battlefield.) "Hardhome" (I thought that Tyrion and Daenerys meeting for the first time was going to be the biggest thing in this episode, and the biggest thing we'd yet seen that hasn't been in the books. Nope. That final battle was pretty epic. And try as I might, I can't feel bad for Cersei's predicament. Jamie has been redeemed somewhat, but Cersei is the worst and has caused so much misery that I actually feel she deserves this and more. Oh, and Arya finally goes outside again! Yay!)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Mad Men "Lost Horizon" (Peggy rattling around SC&P, another ghost Burt appearance, Don feeling like a third wheel and pulling a disappearing act, Roger & Peggy skating and playing the organ, Don's secretary fitting in, Joan very much not... everyone we love is struggling, the minor characters are thriving... it's a weird mirror of most final seasons) "The Milk and Honey Route" (Pete gets a great job and his family back, Betty gets cancer, Don spends an entire episode in a hotel in the middle of nowhere... what is happening? This is a bizarre choice for the penultimate hour of Mad Men) "Person to Person" (Not at all what I would have predicted, but really satisfying, especially in the Peggy-Stan moment that I did not see coming.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Silicon Valley "The Lady" (I love the new addition to the company, but I'm already finding Russ more annoying than entertaining, and I don't care about Jian-Yang either. Still funny, but more uneven than it's been.) "Server Space" (Love seeing Andy Daly, and I love Erlich being afraid to lose his buddies to the outside world, I'm a sucker for a cheap monkey/cybernetics/masturbation joke, and Jared's night-German was hilarious) "Homicide" (The Dinesh/Gilfoyle "Let Blaine Die" chart was almost as spectacular as the extended dick joke that closed out last season, and has the beautiful payoff of Blaine discovering the board. The rest of the episode was just icing on the cake.) "Adult Content" (If all this episode gave us was the gloriously filthy names of various porn companies, I'd have been happy with this episode. But they also gave us Dinesh's doomed love life and Monica not wanting to be in the room for a meeting, and was a really fun episode.) "White Hat/Black Hat" (Kind of a frustrating episode, with various sitcom misunderstandings and mishaps. Watching every character fuck up for half an hour wasn't super entertaining.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Veep "Tehran" (I love the spiraling from on top to completely fucked that this show does so well. Dan as a lobbyist promises to be really fun, VP Doyle is a lot of fun to watch and Kevin Dunn continues to kill it every time) "Convention" (Amy's epic rant was a thing of beauty, Dan's work in lobbying is hilarious and Hugh Laurie as Tom James makes a killer entrance) "Storms and Pancakes" (Amy as a lobbyist is a lot of fun, Tom James overshadowing Selena is entertaining and the Jonah molesting story, while weird, continues to entertain as well) "Mommy Meyer" (Just a flood of great stuff this episode, including every second of Tom James, the attempt on Selina's life and her stilted evening with her friends and every bit of Amy and Dan lobbying. To be honest, I kind of want a lobbyist spin-off now.) "B/ill" (Unlike Silicon Valley, watching these guys fuck up is particularly hilarious to me, and watching Dan & Amy run counter to Jonah & Richard was really fun.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Agents of SHIELD "Scars" (Got my wish for a larger, more cohesive SHIELD, albeit in a really low-budget way, but I continue to not care at all about the TV version of the Inhumans. Also, they killed off Tripp and now they're getting rid of Mac? There are plenty of cast members to shed, why do they keep losing the most interesting ones? And I hate the waste of Olmos, and have zero interest in seeing the Inhumans vs. SHIELD.) "S.O.S." (There are moments here, most of them involving Mockingbird being a badass, but it's all so... cheap? Boring? Inhumans are a bunch of J. Crew models wearing street clothes and using guns, a really second-rate makeup job for Mr. Hyde and a lot of emotional arcs (like Cal's breakthrough or Agent 33's closure) that I really don't care about. I'll still watch, because it's Marvel Cinematic, but this has been a disappointing second half of what was a promising season early on.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • iZombie "Dead Air" (The murder of the week was a little on the predictable side, but still fun... but the ongoing mythology stuff, whether it's the zombie rat, Major's delve into darkness, or Liv's boss dating Liv's roommate, were all great.) "Patriot Brains" (The Blaine story is getting really interesting, and I liked Percy Daggs as our murderer, but seeing her zombie boyfriend offed was sad. I don't know where the arc story is going, and I love that.) "Mr. Berzerk" (The arc construction here has been great. Major's story and Blaine's story is one thing, but that Max Rager is tied in was a surprise. And Liv has her first zombie spawn, a psychotic hitman!) "Astroburger" (Lots of great running stories with the arc, I did not see the twist of delusions coming, and even though I'm disappointed that Major hasn't been let in on the truth, the panic on Liv's face when she realized what was happening made it worth it.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Flash "Grodd Lives" (A letter perfect version of Grodd, more of Well's sinister agenda and Iris being super-pissed *almost* pays off all the stupid lying to Iris they've been doing. This first season is coming together nicely.) "Rogue Air" (So much awesome. Transporting the metahumans, Cisco inventing a power damper, the Cisco/Glider flirtation, the formation of the Rogues, the formation of the Justice League (sort of), that epic fight, "I might need a favor from you. Wherever, whenever." This is pretty much everything I want from a superhero show.) "Fast Enough" (A great finale. Some questions unanswered, like why they'd let Thawne go, but some real heart-wrenching moments, super-cool superheroics and fun Easter Eggs like the Golden Age Flash's helmet, Rip Hunter's time sphere and a glimpse of the new Hawkgirl.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Inside Amy Schumer "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer" (If this doesn't win a comedy Emmy, we shouldn't have comedy Emmys) "I'm Sorry" (The late night talkshow sketch kept getting more and more darkly funny until the, uh... climax. Killer sketch. The scientific sketch was such an amazing send-up of women being trained to be deferential, Pizza World Nights was fun and earns bonus points for Boogie Nights references, and Amy Goes Deep with a Gigolo was hilarious) "Babies and Bustiers" (The weakest episode of the season so far, but still funny. Preteen beauty pageants are a fish in the barrel target, and while adding the Benjamin Button stuff made it weird, it didn't make it that much funnier. The "bakery in Maine" sketch was funny but a similar riff to previous sketches. The woman on the street interviews were my favorite parts of the episode.) "'80s Ladies" (The Universe featuring Bill Nye and the ladies of Broad City!, and a weird '80s runner, complete with Jerry Seinfeld and a disturbing Weird Science riff)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Arrow "This is Your Sword" (The constant reversals on Oliver being evil or not are ridiculous, since we know the end result, Ra's is a boring villain and the Hong Kong flashbacks are taking way too long to tell a story that isn't that interesting. Looking forward to the spark of life Flash will give this next week, and hoping they've got a much stronger season four in mind.) "My Name is Oliver Queen" (Built on a rocky foundation of nonsensical plot twists, but this still managed to be a pretty solid finale with a lot of fanservice, including the real origin of the Atom, the appearance of Speedy/Red Arrow and of course Felicity in the suit. And a great guest appearance by Flash. I can't get over how bad they missed on Ras Al Ghul, though. And I was really hoping they were gonna close out by calling him Green Arrow.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Played catch-up with about six episodes, including a strong season finale... it was more uneven this year, but almost always funny, and occasionally great)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Wayward Pines "Episode One" (I don't know if I'll stick with this or not, it's got some good actors and I'm interested in the mystery, but more from a "I'd like to look it up on Wikipedia and see what the twist is" than "I'd like to watch 9 more episodes" perspective. Would have liked it more as a bingable Netflix show, I think.)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Community (Caught up on episodes 8-12, which were much stronger, especially the espionage paintball)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Louie "Bobby's House" (What a weird episode, with Louie in makeup, another painful moment with Pamela and more of Bobby, his shitty brother) "Untitled" (Charles Grodin as the doctor was a great cameo, and I love the Midnight Run callback of "Ya-hey,"then there's this whole bizarre dream sequence thing that perfectly captured dream logic and got funnier the longer it ran) "Sleepover" (The turnaround on kids using phones was a great scene, The return of Pamela wasn't particularly welcome. But the sleepover trip to the police station was a thing of beauty. As was Bobby's tale of how he went to jail.) "The Road, Part One" ("Where's Roger?" "He's dead." JizzyBuns, And the bizarre adventures at the airport were a lot of fun.) "The Road, Part Two" (This season has been particularly strange... and this episode went from fart jokes to a poignant Civil War photo to an emotional breakdown to a death scene to a goofy final scene with his daughter, and it all fit together surprisingly well.)
                                                                                                                                                                      Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                      1. Game of Thrones
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Veep
                                                                                                                                                                      3. Flash
                                                                                                                                                                      4. Inside Amy Schumer
                                                                                                                                                                      5. Mad Men
                                                                                                                                                                            Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                              Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                              Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                              • Avengers Age of Ultron (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                              • Up In The Air
                                                                                                                                                                              • Pitch Perfect
                                                                                                                                                                              • Pitch Perfect 2 (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                              • Road Warrior
                                                                                                                                                                              • Mad Max Fury Road
                                                                                                                                                                              • Mission Impossible 3
                                                                                                                                                                              • Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol
                                                                                                                                                                              • Tomorrowland
                                                                                                                                                                              • Jersey Boys
                                                                                                                                                                              Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                              • Smashburger
                                                                                                                                                                              • Rudy's BBQ
                                                                                                                                                                              • Haymaker
                                                                                                                                                                              • Popeye's (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                              • Kerbey Lane
                                                                                                                                                                              • PizzaRev
                                                                                                                                                                              • Blind Squirrel
                                                                                                                                                                              • Fork + Taco
                                                                                                                                                                              • Alamo Drafthouse (x6)
                                                                                                                                                                              • Sushi Nini
                                                                                                                                                                              • Tarka (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                              • BJ's Brewhouse
                                                                                                                                                                              • Peached Tortilla
                                                                                                                                                                              • Chi'Lantro
                                                                                                                                                                              • Twisted Root Burgers
                                                                                                                                                                              • Odd Duck
                                                                                                                                                                              • Bush's Chicken

                                                                                                                                                                              Friday, May 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                              Monthly Update - April 2015


                                                                                                                                                                              1. Read books. Still at 10 books for the year so far. But I didn't read any this month. I bought a couple more, though. I'm sure I'll get some reading done on my June vacation, at least.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Finaly got the DVR mostly clear and started watching some DVDs and Blurays. Got around to re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season One and started in on Community Season Five.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I got Evolve for my birthday, which I say doesn't count as buying a game, so I'm still at 3 games for the years.

                                                                                                                                                                              4. 12 More Boardgames. This month, I played Battlestar Galactica and Dead of Winter had a boardgame night where I played Formula D and Superfight, both of which I loved. I also hosted International Tabletop Day at the store, where I got the chance to play Batman Love Letter and Geek Out. So that's 4 new games for this month, for a total of 14 already. Hit that goal early.

                                                                                                                                                                              5. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was 202... this month, I've wavered between 205 and 198.

                                                                                                                                                                              6. Travel - Nothing until June, probably. I looked into Dallas Fan Days, but there's other stuff going on that weekend. Ditto Heroes Con, which is just too close to the Disney trip and our All-Ages event to be logistically possible, even if I could easily swing the budget.

                                                                                                                                                                              7. Eat! - Not a resolution, but so far on my list of "places I want to eat in 2015" There were five on this list, and I went to Hopdoddy, as well as a birthday dinner at Barlata. So there are four I want to revisit: Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co. and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather) and 4 new ones: Porter Gastropub, Shake Shack in The Domain, Twisted Root Burgers on Burnet, Voodoo Donuts on 6th in June.

                                                                                                                                                                              8. Cook! -Made a few of my new standards: Alfredo Chicken Baked Ziti, Chicken Parmesan and Baked Parmesan "Fries." Cooked pork chops, burgers, salmon and steaks on the grill (the latter with HEB's garlic and herb finishing butter, which I'll now be using for every steak ever). Made the cajun and shrimp pasta and chicken and mushrooms again, which are now part of my regular standards. I also made a double batch of bacon/beef/coffee porter chili and a triple batch of macaroni and cheese for my birthday party.

                                                                                                                                                                              9. NaNoWriMo - No progress this month, and I'm starting to reconsider whether I want to devote a whole month to it or not.


                                                                                                                                                                              Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                              April 8th (Ant-Man, Birthright, Copperhead, Darth Vader, Descender, Howard the Duck, Kaijumax, Rat Queens, Saga, SHIELD, Southern Cross, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Woman, Storm)

                                                                                                                                                                              Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                              1. SHIELD #4
                                                                                                                                                                              2. Kanan the Last Padawan #1
                                                                                                                                                                              3. Saga #27
                                                                                                                                                                              4. Spider-Woman #6
                                                                                                                                                                              5. Howard the Duck #2
                                                                                                                                                                                Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                • Alex + Ada #14
                                                                                                                                                                                • Amazing Spider-Man #17
                                                                                                                                                                                • Ant-Man #4
                                                                                                                                                                                • Avengers: Ultron Forever #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Birthright #6
                                                                                                                                                                                • Bitch Planet #4
                                                                                                                                                                                • Chrononauts #2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Convergence Action Comics #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Convergence Detective Comics #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Convergence Green Arrow #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Convergence Plastic Man/Freedom Fighters #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Convergence Suicide Squad #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Convergence Superboy #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Copperhead #6
                                                                                                                                                                                • Darth Vader #4
                                                                                                                                                                                • Descender #2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Giant Days #2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Hellbreak #2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Howard the Duck #2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Kaijumax #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Kanan The Last Padawan #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Legacy of Luther Strode #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Ms. Marvel #14
                                                                                                                                                                                • New Avengers Ultron Forever #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Princess Leia #3
                                                                                                                                                                                • Punisher #17
                                                                                                                                                                                • Rat Queens #10
                                                                                                                                                                                • Rebels #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Rick & Morty #1
                                                                                                                                                                                • Sabrina #2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Saga #27
                                                                                                                                                                                • SHIELD #4
                                                                                                                                                                                • SHIELD #5
                                                                                                                                                                                • Silk #3
                                                                                                                                                                                • Southern Cross #2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Gwen #3
                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Man 2099 #11
                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Woman #6
                                                                                                                                                                                • Storm #10
                                                                                                                                                                                • Superior Iron Man #7
                                                                                                                                                                                • Superior Iron Man #8
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Fade Out #5
                                                                                                                                                                                • Wayward #7
                                                                                                                                                                                Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                • Absolute Green Arrow by Kevin Smith
                                                                                                                                                                                • Brody's Ghost Vol 6
                                                                                                                                                                                • Rutabaga The Adventure Chef
                                                                                                                                                                                • Empowered Unchained
                                                                                                                                                                                • Crogan Adventures: Catfoot's Vengeance
                                                                                                                                                                                • Bandette Vol 2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Zenith Phase 3
                                                                                                                                                                                • Scott Pilgrim Vol 6 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                • Cleopatra in Space Vol 2
                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Verse HC

                                                                                                                                                                                TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Flash "Tricksters" (Another huge episode, with the origin of the Reverse Flash, another identity reveal or two for Barry, fantastic work from the two Tricksters, and a long-awaited Flash trick. Plus, was this the first mention of the Speed Force?) "All Star Team Up" (I really want Atom to shrink, but this was a fun team-up. Loved their version of the Bug-Eyed Bandit, love the use of Tina McGee... but they have got to stop lying to Iris for no reason.) "Who is Harrison Wells?" (Really good elevation of a minor villain into a major threat, always fun to see Flash/Arrow cross-pollinate, *love* that Cisco provides the Canary Cry and that the Wells mystery is heating up. Also really like Eddie working with the Flash.) "The Trap" (Nice swerve on Wells, I didn't see the twist coming. Lots of answers, still plenty of questions, and they finally, finally seem to have let Iris figure it out.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Marvel's Agents of SHIELD "One Door Closes" (The assault on SHIELD by SHIELD was pretty good, even though I'm wishing they hadn't done the traitors storyline again. I kind of want SHIELD as a big organization rather than a small scrappy one, I hope they're leading to a merger and not more SHIELD on the run) "Afterlife" (I'm still not sure how a show that was firing on all cylinders has returned to the barely-watchable state of season one... but it has. It's not terrible, but it levels off at mediocre and rises above only for rare sequences, like Coulson and Hunter and Deathlok escaping SHIELD in this episode) "Melinda" (Solid at best action sequences the week after Daredevil was probably a mistake. The Cavalry story was OK, but I don't really care. Ditto the Inhumans stuff. Basically, another OK to mediocre episode, I guess that's what the show is now.) "Frenemy of My Enemy" (I wouldn't have guessed bringing Ward and Agent 33 in would work, but if you ignore a few things, it works, and makes the show stronger. Just having an enemy in Hydra helps a lot, I think that may be the biggest thing SHIELD has been missing, a conventional bad guy instead of the weird Inhumans/other SHIELD organization.) "The Dirty Half-Dozen" (I suppose it's possible there are people who care about seeing the original, boring team back together... I'm not one of them. Some good action (Skye's one-woman take down of a bunch of Hydra agents in particular) undercut as always by inconsistent characters whose abilities and skills are tailored to the needs of the plot, rather than the other way around. Fun little nods to the MCU, which ultimately serve to remind me how much more I like the source material than this limp spinoff.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Americans "Stingers" (Wow. It's been building, but the way the Paige story turned this episode was stunning, and game-changing. Add in a twist on the defector and the usual strong work from everyone involved, and this was a great episode) "One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov" (The Paige relationship has amped up this already tense show to new levels, and spun so many of the relationships in interesting directions. Great comic relief moment with Oleg and his comrade reading FBI mundane conversations too.) "I Am Abassin Zadran" (Many great moments, including the Jennings in the car with the Afghani warlord, the confrontation with Martha, more friction with Paige and the two KGB handlers in the diner... a strong penultimate episode, lots of tension winding up for the big finale.) "March 8, 1983" (A lot of plates left spinning in this overstuffed season, so this felt more like a midseason break than a season finale, but... it's still really good stuff, and that closing bit with Paige... I don't know where they're going next, but I want to see as soon as possible.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • iZombie "The Exterminator" (Great confluence of story-of-the-week and ongoing stories about Liv, her fiancee and her roommate, not to mention another zombie and more David Anders) "Liv and Let Clive" (Little info on Clive's past, fun connection between Ravi and Major, good case of the week, nice Matrix reference and I like it all so much it keeps my attention even though Anders's criminal zombie empire is a more interesting story) "Flight of the Living Dead" (The zombie love interest and missing persons case are interesting threads, the reveal of the zombie captain was huge and the case of the work was great too, with guest star Ryan Hansen and a Party Down nod to boot. Not to mention, left unsolved, so I think everything here plays into the ongoing story.) "Virtual Reality Bites" (They snuck in the Were-Terrier! Also like the continuing story of Major's hunt for his friend's killer. And the cyber-case was an interesting touch.) "Maternity Liv" (This show really does a great job of marrying dark subject matter (murdered pregnant girl) with a light tone. I like all the interactions on a moment-to-moment basis, and I'm invested in the mythology too... I'd forgotten the Lieutenant was a zombie.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Arrow "Public Enemy" (They make a big point here about things coming full circle, and it's not a good thing... I'm tired of the repeat of Arrow vs. the World. I'm annoyed that Ollie was known as the Arrow for like 20 minutes before they introduced a stupid way to roll it back. Their Ras Al Ghul is dull. The action sequences are good, though. And if that nanotech injection turns Ray into the Atom, I'll be very happy ) "Broken Arrow" (I feel like there's a lot of piece-moving and illogical stuff going on here in the name of plot, and it weakens the show... but the fight between Roy and the inmates was really good, Ray coming into his own as the Atom is great and I'm kind glad to see Thea and Roy taken off the board for a while, if only because they're some of the weaker actors on the show. Also... Opal City! Metahumans beyond Central City! Cool stuff for the overall DC TV-verse.) "The Fallen" (This whole Arrow becomes Ras story has been stupid and inconsistent... so he kills Thea, and in exchange for undoing it, Oliver agrees to join him? Felicity and Ollie get together, but they can't stay together, and nothing has really changed, but she can't be with Ray? I don't even know what we're supposed to make of Malcolm right now. They're going for divided loyalties, but landing on inconsistent, plot-driven character decisions, and it's wearisome.) "Ah-Sah-Him" (So I pretty much hated this. Oliver going dark Oliver is boring and stupid, Ras is a cartoon villain with no understandable motivations beyond what the plot requires, and it has amped up the CW drama that has always been the weakest part of the show. Some good action sequences, and a use of the new Canary Cry, don't make up for a plot that I've grown to hate. Oh, and I continue to not give a shit what happened in Hong Kong.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Archer "Drastic Voyage" (Killer finale, too many good gags to write them all down, finishing off a strong season)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Mad Men "Severance" (The Ken Cosgrove stuff was killer, the Don stuff I felt like I was missing something but it was still great, and I love dissatisfied, angry Joan as much as goofy, drunk Peggy - great opener to the final season) "New Business" (Don's continuing tour of his life that could have been continues, but the winning scene was Harry Crane being a complete jackass and of course the bits of Roger Sterling, hapless chauvinist) "The Forecast" (The first truly strong episode of the season, although still weirdly focused on sort of outlier characters. But Joan/Bruce Greenwood was great throughout, it's always fun to see Don and Peggy interact and misunderstand one another and though I wasn't crying out to find out what happened to creepy Glen, it was a weird but interesting story) "Time & Life" (Lou Avery having his victory moment was weird and funny, the rush to secure California reminded me of some of the best moments in Mad Men history, and Peggy/Stan was pretty important... but this still feels really scattershot for a final season, especially now that we're past the halfway point.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Community "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing" (Solid A, B and C plots, but this merely amiable, not the crazed hilarity that was Community at its best) "Laws of Robotics and Party Rights" (Fun Brian Van Holt guest spot, opens strong and peters out, not unlike the rest of the Yahoo! Community so far) "Basic Email Security" (The group confronting each other over leaks and trying to figure out the moral were fun, and they almost got somewhere good with the cop show/True Detective parody at the end, but... it's still not quite working.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Better Call Saul "Marco" (Jimmy's breakdown at Bingo, the con man montage and return of Slippin' Jimmy, and then... the turning point from Jimmy to Saul. Great season... and I find myself wishing it was longer)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Justified "Collateral" (A little more Bob, the finale of a few characters, some great stuff with Markham, Loretta & Boone and a preview of the Raylan/Boyd showdown... sad to see the show end, but can't wait to watch the finale) "The Promise" (A quieter finale than I expected, but a very good finale)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Louie "Potluck" (So much greatness. Little things like a pitch perfect version of Louis making fried chicken, the awkward party and wrong potluck, the whole thing with angry Myrna and her sweet, quiet, put-upon pregnant surrogate... just great.) "A La Carte" (The Bart Folding stinger killed me, but the A La Carte discussion was honest and interesting and also really funny. Adlon's character can be problematic, but I thought she mostly worked here.) "Police Story" (Kind of a weaker episode, leaning heavier on the uncomfortable and not much on the funny and I found most of the characters pretty awful.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Daredevil (13 episodes - My favorites were "Cut Man" with its amazing one-take fight sequence, "In the Blood" with its Kingpin flashback, "Stick" for everything, "Nelson vs. Murdock" for everything else, and "The Ones We Leave Behind" for the shocking development)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Game of Thrones "The Wars to Come" (A slow start, to be honest, but some great scenes, particularly between Tyrion and Varys.) "The House of Black and White" (That picked up the pace. So much to like here, from our first real glimpse of Dorne, Jaime and Bronn on a mission, Brienne meeting Sansa and that meeting not going well, Daenerys proving to maybe not be so great at ruling, and a big change at the Wall. Also, Arya being a total badass on her way to becoming even more of one. I confess I'm not looking forward to a whole season of Tyrion moping, and hope that ends sooner rather than later.) "High Sparrow" (I love seeing Cersei & Margaery spar, and marrying Sansa to another sadistic psychopath is terrible and yet compelling, I'd watch a whole show of Brienne and Podrick, ditto Tyrion and Varis. Jon Snow and Stannis make interesting scene mates and of course I love everything to do with Arya, and Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow? Fantastic episode. And I have *no* idea what's happening next in most cases, which is really great.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Silicon Valley "Sand Hill Shuffle" (I *love* Suzanne Cryer as Monica's new boss, the "negging" sequence was a lot of fun and there were some funny bits in the funeral as well) "Runaway Devaluation" (Great payoff to the negging sequence, and Dinesh trying to ruin his cousin's Kickstarter was a lot of fun as well) "Bad Money" (Fun episode, and their new backer is such a douche-bro it's hilarious, and yet... a lot of this was me feeling kinda bad for our guys and how screwed they are.)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Veep "Joint Session" (I love the transition to Selina in the White House.) "East Wing" (The unlikable Catherine, Mike's mustache, Amy's car connection, the Indian painting and the blow-up with Gary, not to mention Jonah's three stories in this episode all made for a great episode) "Data " (The HIV/medical records scandal, fireworks/music and more Catherine/Selina stuff)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Broadchurch (Watched all of season one and really enjoyed it... the psychic is sort of a weird presence, but otherwise I was really engaged and looking forward to catching season two at some point)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Inside Amy Schumer "Last Fuckable Day" (Booty Dance, Football Town Nights No-Raping, Last Fuckable Day full of guest stars, Birth Control ad, interview with the trans woman, an amazing first episode back) " " (It's Amy!, Not Cool With It, Girl You Don't Need Make-Up, Plain Jane, Bad Boyfriend, the interview with the sleaze from Ashley, what a dark and amazing episode)
                                                                                                                                                                                Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                1. Better Call Saul & Justified, but since they only had one and two episodes, respectively, I'm adding a #6
                                                                                                                                                                                2. Daredevil
                                                                                                                                                                                3. The Americans
                                                                                                                                                                                4. Game of Thrones
                                                                                                                                                                                5. iZombie
                                                                                                                                                                                6. The Flash
                                                                                                                                                                                      Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Non-Stop
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Let's Be Cops
                                                                                                                                                                                        Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Peached Tortilla (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kin & Comfort
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Alamo Drafthouse (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Popeye's
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Noble Sandwich
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hopdoddy
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hoody's Subs (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Culver's (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mesa Rosa Mexican
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sushi Nini
                                                                                                                                                                                        • PizzaRev
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Torchy's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chi'Lantro
                                                                                                                                                                                        • 24 Diner
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mighty Fine Burgers & Shakes

                                                                                                                                                                                        Wednesday, April 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                        Monthly Update - March 2015


                                                                                                                                                                                        1. No cancer. Well, the CT Scan and CEA markers came back clean. Next scan isn't until September. This is looking a lot more likely. I'll be taking this one off the count until September. No news is good news, in this case.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Read books. Slowed down a bit, but that still puts me at 10 books for the year so far. 12 books is gonna be a breeze, hope to hit a lot more than that:
                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Martin by Andy Weir
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Haven't watched anything this month. But also haven't bought anything new. I watched a ton of TV, as noted below.

                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I got three new games as part of Playstation Plus *and* I couldn't resist the siren's call of Helldivers. Since that puts me at three new games, it may be that I get more than six games this year... but I did just get a new system, which usually has me buying more games.

                                                                                                                                                                                        5. 12 More Boardgames. This month, I played Lords of Waterdeep and X-COM for the first time. Also played Carcassonne Winter Edition. So that's two new games for this month, for a total of 9 this year so far. (Although I already counted the digital Waterdeep last year, so I'm kinda cheating)

                                                                                                                                                                                        6. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was 204. This month I ate a lot during STAPLE! week, did not start my intended exercise routine, and still wound up around 202. So... yay?

                                                                                                                                                                                        7. Travel - Took a quick trip down to San Antonio so my daughter could enter the regional science fair. Disney World looms for June. Really wish I could have worked Emerald City Con into the mix, I think I have to do that next year.

                                                                                                                                                                                        8. Eat! - Not a resolution, but so far on my list of "places I want to eat in 2015" I've hit six, and that just leaves 5 on the list: Perry's Steakhouse, Hopdoddy, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co. and Texas Chili Parlor. I've also added a couple more places I want to try, both already open (Porter Gastropub and Barlata) and coming soon (Shake Shack in The Domain, Twisted Root Burgers on Burnet, Voodoo Donuts on 6th in June).

                                                                                                                                                                                        9. Cook! - Fell off a little bit due to STAPLE! and various other busy times, but did make Brussels Sprouts again, pretty off the cuff, so I feel like I'm comfortable with that recipe. I also learned a new recipe, a relatively easy Baked Chicken Alfredo Ziti that was pretty good. Also made the chicken and mushrooms recipe again, which I feel like I've got down. I also made chicken fried steak, but the steak needed to be thawed and wasn't perfect, and I totally botched the gravy by accidentally dumping in salt. However, on third attempt, I finally got it all pretty much right, and used some tenderized center cut sirloins from HEB, which will be my go-to from here on in. Also fired up the grill for the first time this years to cook some burgers and salmon. I've already planned my menu for the first two weeks of April, so I should be doing more cooking then.

                                                                                                                                                                                        10. NaNoWriMo - I'm set up the site. I've also started a few outlines for characters and general plot/chapter ideas.


                                                                                                                                                                                        Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        March 11th (Amazing Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Hellbreak, Howard the Duck, Ms. Marvel, Southern Cross, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man 2099, Star Wars, Superior Iron Man)

                                                                                                                                                                                        Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Howard the Duck #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Ms. Marvel #13
                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Saga #26
                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Spider-Gwen #2
                                                                                                                                                                                        5. Spider-Woman #5
                                                                                                                                                                                        Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Alex + Ada #13
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Amazing Spider-Man #16
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Amazing Spider-Man #16.1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ant-Man #3
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Batgirl #40
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Big Man Plans #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bill & Ted's Most Triumphant Return #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chew #47
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chrononauts #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Daredevil #14
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Darth Vader #3
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Descender #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Empty #2
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Frankenstein Underground #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Giant Days #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Grayson #8
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #4
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hellbreak #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Howard the Duck #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jem & the Holograms #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ms. Marvel #13
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nailbiter Hack/Slash
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Princess Leia #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Princess Leia #2
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rat Queens #9
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Saga #26
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Silk #2
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Southern Cross #1
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spider-Gwen #2
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spider-Man 2099 #10
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spider-Woman #5
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Star Wars #3
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Storm #9
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Superior Iron Man #6
                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Punisher #16
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wayward #6
                                                                                                                                                                                        Favorite Comic Panels This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        Graphic Novels I Read This Month

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Grendel Omnibus Vol 4
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Astro City Private Lives HC
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lazarus Vol 3 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bucko HC
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sexcastle TP
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Superior Spider-Man Vol 3 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                        • She-Hulk Vol 2 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Big Hard Sex Criminals HC
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wayward Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Private Eye (Digital)

                                                                                                                                                                                        TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Last Man on Earth "Alive in Tucson/Elephant in the Room" (A difficult premise that works because of the inventive, anarchic energy of Lord & Miller and the fantastic performances of Forte and Schaal) "Raisin Balls & Wedding Bells" (A weaker second episode, although still funny, with a great if predictable twist) "Sweet Melissa" (I haven't loved this show as much since the first episode, but I still like it quite a bit) "Dunk the Skunk/Some Friggin' Fat Guy" (Each episode is falling off a bit for me, and they've made Phil way too unlikable. I still haven't figured out what the status quo of the show is, and it's not consistently funny.) "She Drives Me Crazy/Moovin" (Aside from Todd, I'm growing to hate every character... and I'm sure at this rate they'll find a way to make me hate Todd too. Got fifteen minutes into Moovin and finally gave up. There are only so many "Phil is a giant douche" stories I can take)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Togetherness "Party Time" (Mary Steenburgen is great here in a totally different way than how she's great on Justified. I like how real everyone is about their emotions on this show, and I like that it has a mellow, emotional vibe combined with laugh-out-loud funny moments) "Not So Together" (It feels like this show was just ramping up, it's too early to be over, and this was a heart-breaking place to leave it. So good... I want more... NOW.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rebels "Fire Across the Galaxy" (This show has been getting better and better, and the season finale brought some familiar and welcome faces, featured an awesome infiltration sequence and lightsaber fight and started bridging the gap between the Clone Wars era and the classic Star Wars era. Loved it.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Better Call Saul "Little Alpine Boy" (The stuff with Jimmy and his brother was fascinating, the opening sequence of Jimmy finding clients was great, but the real gold was finally starting to see a little more of Mike's backstory) "Five-O" (Finally, we get Mike's backstory, and it's every bit what I wanted out of it) "Bingo" (After the heavy Mike episode, this could have been a disappointment, but the tangled web of the Kettlemans was fascinating and twisty, and carried emotional weight... and that music scene with Mike was killer) "RICO" (Wow. The elder law thing seemed like a gag, but it pivots to become an extremely important story for Saul and his brother's relationship, and the ramifications from "Five-O" continue to resonate as well.) "Pimento" (Mike vs.the militia douche was a killer scene, as was Mike meeting Ignacio, It's a testament to how compelling the Jimmy and Chuck scenes were that I don't just wish this was a Mike show.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Walking Dead "Remember" (After a rough start to season 5.2, I'm starting to warm to this again. The Alexandria story in the comics was somewhat frustrating, so I hope they avoid the same pitfalls, but so far, it's an interesting new status quo for the show) "Forget" (The badasses out in the world are scary monsters in Alexandria... I like that it's not what we've seen before, and Carol's little speech was scary as hell and horrifying) "Spend" (Finally back to where it had been for me, there were a ton of great scenes, and great use of zombies, here. Some really gory disturbing scenes, too. Mind you, I'm not thrilled that they're killing all their interesting characters. And in a way, I hate Gabriel more than I ever hated the Governor... at least the Governor stood for something besides his own self-interest.) "Try" (There's a lot I like here, and a lot of characters acting kinda dumb for dramatic purposes. But it's intense and interesting, so I'll give it a pass for the dumber stuff) "Wolves" (Took a while for season 5.2 to grab me, but I really enjoyed the finale. Lots of good character turns, *love* Morgan as a sort of wandering post-apocalyptic monk, and the Wolves are scary adversaries so far that are very different from what we've seen from the Governor or Terminus.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Justified "The Hunt" (Did a good job of showing what happens when a dangerous fugitive is on the hunt and Raylan isn't involved, was a welcome return of Natalie Zea and had more great tension between Ava and Boyd. Plus that scene with Markham and Art.) "Dark As a Dungeon" (Watching Art with Catherine reminds me how much I like Nick Searcy on this show, and Raylan and Boyd going at each other is always great TV) "Burned" (Wynn Duffy, snitch is yet another great turn for that character, Mary Steenburgen had a really badass moment with that gun, and that Markham party was a thing of beauty) "Trust" (I wish we could have had Sam Elliott in this show seasons ago, he's such a great bad guy. Also his scary new henchman has a great scene here. And that ending... did not see that coming.) "Fugitive Number One" (The scene that'll stay with me is the Mikey/Catherine scene, but there was a lot of great stuff here, including Raylan facing off with Boone and his face-off with the corrupt Sheriffs, as well as Boyd's escape. Brutal, ugly, amazing stuff that really feels like it's ramping up to the finale.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "The Gang Goes on Family Fight" (They keep finding great situations to put the Reynolds into, and this was another... the use of Keegan Michael Key as the host was a great bonus) "Frank Retires" (Stupid Mac is best Mac, the gang trying to scheme against one another is hilarious, the attempts to steal Frank's blood were uncomfortably hilarious, as were Mac's continuing blood oath cuts) "Ass-Kickers United: Mac and Charlie Join A Cult" (What a gloriously insane episode in a terrific season of TV)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Aftershocks" (I'm wary of the Inhumans on this show, but the takedown of Hydra was surprisingly dark and very well done) "Who You Really Are" (I'm already missing Tripp, and putting the focus back on the less interesting members of the team isn't doing the show any favors. Having the Kree and Sif in an episode should have been really cool, but things are moving at a slower pace, it's time to get to the revelations because the mysteries they're building are feeling a lot like the "why is Coulson alive" plot that was such a non-starter) "One of Us" (Weirdly, the Skye stuff was the best stuff this episode... the super-villain team was kinda low-rent, the Inhumans stuff feels tonally wrong for the show and introducing another secret faction of SHIELD is disappointing, at best) "Love in the Time of Hydra" (They're flailing again. It's not as bad as season one, but the best parts of this episode were the parts with Agent 33 and Ward as a spy Bonnie and Clyde, and even those were melodramatic and borderline goofy. The SHIELD vs. SHIELD plot has never been interesting in the comics, and it's not interesting here. And the takedown of Hydra may have been a huge mistake, as it left them without an interesting nemesis, forcing the creation of this artificial anti-SHIELD.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Broad City "Kirk Steele" (A weaker episode, but great use of Trey and guest-star Amy Ryan as a clueless rich woman) "Coat Check" (Kelly Ripa, wild woman, was a lot of fun, and it was weird seeing Alia Shawkat grown up, but that was a fun B-story as well) "St. Mark's" (Maybe the best episode the show has ever done, a night on the streets of New York with Abbi and Ilana)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • American Crime "Episode One" (Strong cast, nice music and cinematography, reminds me of what I liked about The Killing so far) "Episode Two" (It's a bit screechy and preachy at times, and Felicity Huffman is playing a really shrill, hateful character, but it's an amazing cast, looks beautiful and is very engaging. And the actress playing Aubry is fantastic, probably the best part of the show.) "Episode Three" (Again, engaging, beautiful, great actors... but this seems to be about showing every single character at their worst, and it's wearisome at times)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Archer "Pocket Listing" (The episode itself was just OK, although the dart gun was a great running gag... but what it means for Archer and Lana is promising) "Reignition Sequence" (Seeing Lana and Archer together is entertaining, as was the return of Katya... and anything that pits the "pit crew" of formerly ISIS against their two lead agents) "Achub y Morfilod" (Guest-starring Matthew Rhys, the Irish terrorist/MI 5 plot was funny, and the Ray's hand runner also had its moments... but the stingers to both stories at the end were both laugh out loud funny)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Powers "Episode One" (Pretty terrible... comes off a little low-budget and doesn't have the kick that the Powers comics did when they came out a couple decades ago)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Captain Peralta" (Bradley Whitford guest-starring, and still this was a weaker episode... couple funny moments, but not one of their best) "The Boyle-Linetti Wedding" (Strongest episode in a while, great moments between Jake and Amy, Holt's speech was sweet and well done)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Man Seeking Woman "Branzino" (Dating as college entrance letters, Late Night with Mom, Mike as active and interfering dog... this was a great episode) "Teacup" (Fun role reversal, seeing that Josh's sister is just as narcissistic as he is in many ways actually made me like the show more... it's not misogynist, it's misanthropic, and I can totally get behind that) "Scepter" (Possibly the best episode of the series; Trackanon, time travel, the last viable woman to date in a mountain expedition, so much good stuff)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bob's Burgers "L'il Hard Dad" (Remote control helicopter warfare... it remains weird, but it's not cracking me up as much. DVR deleted an episode and I didn't much care.) "Adventures in Chinchilla-Sitting" (Much stronger episode, with the date night at trivia and the kids seeking out a lost chincilla. Strong A- and B- stories, and a funny C- runner with Teddy driving around) "Runway Club" (Breakfast Club + Project Runway = Fun episode. The B-story with a magazine scam was less interesting, but overall, pretty good)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (All 13 episodes)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Flash "Out of Time" (Wow. So many reveals, all coming at once, so many good action sequences... one of the best episodes of the show) "Rogue Time" (Walks back a lot of the last episode, but in an interesting way. There are some groaners, including Golden Glider's gun, which works better in comics than in comic-based TV, and I'm not sure I'm cool with Flash basically letting the Rogues operate in his town because of blackmail, but... I also liked seeing the characters get to similar places through different means re: Wells.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Arrow "The Offer" (Maybe it's because the twists and CW drama are becoming predictable, or maybe it's because Flash is so much less a compromised version of DC's characters, but while Arrow is still good, it's fallen quite a bit in my estimation in this season. Good action... weak character arcs) "Suicidal Tendencies" (The Suicide Squad stuff was pretty great... the stuff with Arrow/Atom and the city is beyond stupid.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Community "Ladders" (Lesser Community is still pretty good TV. The show has lost too much to feel like itself anymore, but it's still better than most comedies left on network TV) "Lawnmower Man" (Great casting this season, the dean's VR adventures were pretty hilarious and Britta's family was unexplored territory that worked) "Basic Crisis Decorum" (This show feels weird, even for Community, but I thought this was the best episode of season six so far. The Japanese Dean texting was a really funny runner, Paget Brewster has fit into the cast really well and the crisis involving a dog getting a degree skirts too wacky but mostly works. OTOH, they still don't know what to do with Britta or Chang, which is kind of a problem.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • iZombie "Pilot" (Bears no resemblance to the comic, but that's OK because it's great. The vibe and style of Veronica Mars with a completely different premise, fun and clever and entertaining) "Brother, Can You Spare A Brain?" (David Anders is great, and Liv's venture into the art world made for a good, light plot of the week)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Americans "Baggage" (That was a creepy and fantastic opener. The other stories are in their early going, but I know from experience they'll pay off down the line.) "Open House" (This show's old school tradecraft, here notably in the extended tail sequence with the CIA and Elizabeth's car, is some of my favorite stuff.) "Dimebag" (Man, this show does not glamorize spying... Phillip recruiting a teenage girl, Nina working for the KGB inside the prison... creepy. And the stuff with Paige and her family and Stan and his ex is fantastic) "Salang Pass" (Phillip and Kimmie continues to be creepy and heart-breaking, and I'm liking the Stan/Oleg/defector story too... and that flashback to Phillip's training was super effective) "Born Again" (Martin Landau as Gabriel is great and there's a nice undercurrent of sinister in his interactions with Phillip and Elizabeth... and the interactions with Phillip and Kimmie and Elizabeth and Paige continue to be riveting) "Walter Taffet" (Starting to suspect the new agent has an agenda, some kind of internal affairs or something, based on these scenes. That big scene with the bug and Martha's reaction was a memorable one. As was the Martha/Clark scene later. And that final action sequence. Great episode) "Divestment" (Last time I saw that tire fire thing, it was on The Shield... this was more distressing and effective. Also, are IA type guys always distant and weird in fiction? And I continue to find Nina's story engaging, even though she's disconnected from the main narrative.) "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?" (The Martha/Clark thing has become one of the most fascinating plots on the show in the last couple episodes. The scene with the old woman in the mail robot shop was heart-breaking. And that final scene with Phillip and Gabriel was fantastic.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bloodline "Part 1" (I like it a lot, and will definitely be watching more. However... I also felt like it was a 2-hour premiere, where in fact it was only an hour. I enjoyed it the whole time, but I also felt like I was always checking my watch, sure that it was going to end soon. I don't know if that's because they packed so much into the episode that it felt like two hours, or if it was the pacing that had me wondering when they were going to get on with the story.) "Part 2" (A few more clues, a little more deepening of characters, this is definitely drawing me in) "Part 3" (Throwing a lot of characters at me, and I feel a little lost occasionally... that plus all the timeline jumps are giving a good sense of foreboding, but I worry about it all unraveling or just plain forgetting what's going on by the time they get to the explanation)
                                                                                                                                                                                        Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Better Call Saul
                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Justified
                                                                                                                                                                                        3. The Americans
                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Broad City
                                                                                                                                                                                        5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
                                                                                                                                                                                              Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                Movies I Watched This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Big Hero 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Robocop (2014)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Face/Off
                                                                                                                                                                                                • It Follows

                                                                                                                                                                                                Videogames I Played This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Swapper
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Valiant Hearts: The Great War
                                                                                                                                                                                                • CounterSpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Helldivers

                                                                                                                                                                                                Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Abel's North
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lucy's Fried Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hoover's
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Michi Ramen
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Baton Creole
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Gordough's
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Noble Sandwich (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Peached Tortilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Franklin Barbecue
                                                                                                                                                                                                • French Quarter Grille
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Juarez Mexican Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                                • PizzaRev (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sushi Nini (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Chuy's
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Garbo's Lobster
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kin & Comfort
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Torchy's Tacos
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Smashburger
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Alamo Drafthouse (x2)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Sunday, March 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                Monthly Update - February 2015


                                                                                                                                                                                                1. No cancer. No new developments. Again, CT scan in March.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Read books. Doing well on this one. Four more books down this month, which puts me at 8 so far for the year. I'd love it if I can maintain this "book a week" pace:
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Queen of Stone by Keith Baker
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bumper Crop by Joe Lansdale
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Haven't watched anything this month. But also haven't bought anything new. I watched a ton of TV, as noted below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Buy no more than six videogames this year. Didn't buy anything new this month, other than the two free games I get as Playstation Plus, and actually played Wolf Among Us and tried out two of the free PS+ games.

                                                                                                                                                                                                5. 12 More Boardgames. This month, I played a couple games of Pandemic and then had a boardgame night, where I played Machi Koro (three times, once with the Harbor expansion), Loonacy, King of New York, Diamonsters and Settlers of Catan. I also learned to play Star Realms. Also added X-COM, Netrunner, Epic Spell Wars: Battle Wizards of Mt. Skullzfyre, Pandemic: Contagion and Splendor to my game library. So that's three new games for this month, for a total of 7 this year so far. Also ran a game of Deadlands and a game of Pathfinder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                6. Get below 190 lbs. Last month was 202. This month was 204. Which, if my math is correct, means that in ten years I will weigh 440 lbs. This is unacceptable, and I need to stop it. Daylight saving time starts immediately after STAPLE!, so my plan is to start taking walks at least three days a week. Hopefully more like five. I am considering getting up an hour earlier than normal (so 11 AM... shut up, I'm a night person) and walking before I head to work, but I don't know if that'll happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                7. Travel - I officially scheduled and booked our Disney World trip. That may be it for travel this year, it is not a particularly cheap trip. But it's gonna be fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                8. Instagram - Uh... still trying to figure out that other resolution. Is "not karate chopping people who piss me off" a resolution?

                                                                                                                                                                                                9. Cook! - Another Mexican meatloaf (this time with pork mixed in and Diablo sauce toned down a little, and I was pretty damn happy with the results) and another go at the sausage & shrimp cajun pasta (also de-spiced a touch, could use a little less spice but turned out better this time). Also revisited the chicken thighs with mushrooms from last month and confirmed that it's a pretty simple and delicious recipe. Suzanne also made the Crockpot Carnitas again, which turned out pretty great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                In terms of new recipes? Made chicken fried steak for the first time. The steak was pretty tasty, the gravy could use some work. Grilled up some pork chops with "Texas seasoning" from HEB along with "sliced baked potatoes." The pork was good, the potatoes needed probably another hour to cook. Also made homemade mac and cheese for the first time (nailed it... smoked paprika was the "secret" ingredient) along with some basic grilled chicken with rosemary and thyme. Another new recipe for the month was chicken parmigiana and parmesan-garlic baked potato "fries," both of which turned out pretty great, if I do say so myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                So that's only 7 meals (I ate out for dinner quite a bit this month), but three new recipes, all of which worked out pretty well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                10. NaNoWriMo - Created my profile on the site. If anybody else is doing this thing this year, feel free to send me a buddy request if that's a thing. Also began working on novel ideas, there are several I've been thinking about. My plan is to start outlining/developing characters next month.


                                                                                                                                                                                                Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                February 4th (Ant-Man, Birthright, Hellboy & BPRD, The Punisher, Shaft, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Saga, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Darth Vader #1-2
                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Saga #25
                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Ms. Marvel #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Spider-Gwen #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Amazing Spider-Man #15
                                                                                                                                                                                                Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Amazing Spider-Man #14-15
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ant-Man #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Batgirl #39
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Birthright #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bitch Planet #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Chew #46
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Daredevil #13
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Darth Vader #1-2
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ei8ght #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hawkeye #21
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hellboy and the BPRD #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ms. Marvel #11-12
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Punisher #15
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rumble #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Saga #25
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Shaft #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                • She-Hulk #12
                                                                                                                                                                                                • SHIELD #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Silk #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Gwen #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Man 2099 #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Spider-Woman #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Star Wars #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Storm #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Superior Iron Man #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Empty #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Velvet #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                Favorite Comic Panels This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                Graphic Novels I Read This Month

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Starlight TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Master Keaton Volume 1
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Uncanny Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Storm Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Avatar The Rift HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Fade Out Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sex Criminals Vol 2 TP

                                                                                                                                                                                                TV I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                This is mostly for me so I can keep better track of favorite moments, best and worst episodes and do a little less homework in prepping for my "Best of the Year" list next year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Man Seeking Woman "Traib" (The texting situation room was good, but... I find the weird outrageousness so much more believable than any of the characters or that *anyone* is this awkward and terrible at dating) "Pitbull" (The pre-game sequence actually made me laugh, and may have kept me onboard for another couple episodes, and the second half of the episode was *so* weird as to maybe win me over) "Dram" (Maria Thayer guest-starring is always good, the torture/faked death stuff was really funny... I think I'm starting to get this show. I still think the lead character is shallow and kinda dim, but it's becoming funnier to me) "Sizzurp" (Mt. Olympus cracked me up. As did Tanaka the penis monster. The utter strangeness of this show took a while to grow on me, but I love it now.) "Gavel" (Weaker episode, but Mr. Raymond Holt as the judge of cheating court was fun) "The Stain" (Every time they focus on Josh being self-involved, it's a weaker episode, but a lot of the wedding in hell stuff, like buying a sword, was pretty entertaining)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hacking the System "Season One" - Tons of good info, very entertaining, my daughter's favorite show
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Archer "The Archer Sanction" (Mountain climbing, incompetence, spy action... good to have Archer back) "Edie's Wedding" (Archer vs. Barry, casting Alison Tolman as Pam's sister Edie is genius) "Vision Quest" (Bottle episode in the elevator, this was one of my favorite episodes so far this season) "Sitting" (A fun episode with guest star Kumail Nanjiani, with a nice stinger ending) "Nellis" (It's funny, all of this could have worked with last season's status quo, but the show just works better when they're spies instead of hapless drug dealers) "The Kanes" (Keith David and CCH Pounder as Lana's parents, a car chase through San Francisco in the Bullit car... the stuff with Pam, Krieger and the rest was just gravy... best episode of the season so far)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Star Wars Rebels "Path of the Jedi" (Ezra becoming a Jedi has been a thread that made him a much stronger character, and this was a pretty solid episode in that journey) "Idiot's Array" (Lando!) "Vision of Hope" (Love the new adversary presented here, I didn't see the reveal coming at all even though I should have) "Call to Action" (Grand Moff Tarkin was memorable in his small role in the movies, with this being a prequel of sorts, we get to really see what he can do, and he makes a great bad guy) "Rebel Resolve" (This early in, and they've already gotten their Empire Strikes Back, with the team desperate and down by one. It's an impressive show.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Justified "Noblesse Oblige" (Choo-Choo is such an Elmore Leonard character. The intricate character stories this season are making this pretty great so far) "Trash and the Snake" (So much for The Wiz, I guess. Amazing tension with Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen facing off with Raylan and Ava, respectively) "Sounding" (They're doing a great job managing this big cast, giving everyone their moments, and still making room for past greats like Limehouse and Constable Bob) "Alive Day" (Not how I saw the Choo-Choo thing going, but I really liked it, and there's some great tension with the various pieces in motion)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Parks and Recreation "Donna and Joe" (It is somehow perfect that control freak Leslie has uncontrollable children... and I loved seeing Jen again. April as the meanest wedding coordinator ever. Drunken Ben and/or Leslie is the best thing ever. Both of them dancing together... somehow even better.) "Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington" (A really sweet wrap-up of April's story, loved all the politician cameos), "Pie-Mary" (More Kathyrn Hahn is always welcome, I loved their take on men's rights and seeing Ron at his giddy puzzle-solving best, and the Gerry/Donna story was sweet and fun) "Johnny Karate" (Just a really fun show within a show) "Two Funerals" (Bill Murray! A sweet wedding proposal for Tom! Mayor Gergich! So many guest stars... it's a great penultimate episode) "One for the Road" (The only thing that would have made this more perfect is if it had ended with a "Just kidding, one more season!" trick reveal)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Flash "Crazy for You" (I've been down on the past two, but this was great. Amazing stuff with Barry and his dad, Barry and Caitlin, the intro of Linda Park (!), a bit of Grodd (!), more Firestorm... just a great episode.) "The Nuclear Man" (Really like the device being part of Firestorm's costume, like that Joe is onto Wells and love the Barry-Linda relationship) "Fallout" (The full Firestorm... and Grodd. So happy as a comics fan right now)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Top Chef "Holy Escamoley" (I've liked the challenges in Mexico, love seeing some of the previous contestants as sous chefs - and glad to see Gregory pick up his game again after losing steam before the finals), "Finale" (Overall, this was a pretty great season of Top Chef. Lot less frustrating "why is that guy still on?" and I was happy with how the last meal played out, less gimmick-y and more just two great chefs getting to show what they can do.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Arrow "Uprising" (There's a lot to like here... and stuff I still have difficulties with. Vinnie Jones is great, but I feel like they missed the opportunity to have a great African-American villain by sticking closer to the comics version. Laurel is... OK, but I miss Caity Lotz a whole lot. The Felicity/Ollie relationship continues to be frustrating. Their use of Wildcat was disappointing, as is the slow-burn-maybe-never use of Katana. And I love John Barrowman, but I feel like Merlyn is falling into the Buffy/Spike problem, where they love an actor so much they forget he's supposed to be a villain. It's a good show, occasionally great... but Flash is doing what it does so much better.) "Canaries" (Some long-held secrets finally out, some good action sequences - and I'm glad to be rid of Douchebag DJ, secret threat, who I never bought into) "The Return" (Really missing Felicity this episode, but they're doing nice work with Thea and I love that all the secrets are finally coming out) "Nanda Parbat" (Their take on the Atom is disappointingly generic, the twisted motivations they keep having to pull to keep Merlyn alive are becoming ridiculous... but the Diggle/Ollie invading Nanda Parbat scene was a great action sequence)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "Charlie Work" (This late into a series, there's no way a show should be doing something that could legitimately be in its top five episodes ever. What a great episode, and a great show.) "The Gang Spies Like U.S." (Another of those "can't believe they did that on TV" combined with the return of the waiter from the restaurant episode) "The Gang Misses The Boat" (I love when they do the meta stuff about the show and its critics... and Def Poetry was great) "Mac Kills His Dad" (The extended cast on this show rivals that of Parks & Rec, and when they use them well, like they did here, as well as turning in some truly dark funny stuff about prison gangs and suicidal addicts... the show is at its best)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Broad City "Knockoffs" (So... they went there. Susie Essman, Bob Balaban and pegging... Broad City, you are amazing.) "Hashtag FOMO" (Abbi as "Val" definitely goes in the "best moments of TV" for this year) "The Matrix" (I don't know why this wasn't called Dog Wedding, because everything about that was hilarious. Abbi hallucinating is also always fun.) "Citizen Ship" (You either love Bevers or hate Bevers. I love him, because he's so sweet and well-meaning and yet a total pain in the ass, and seeing him locked up with Ilana and Abbi made for some good TV)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Walking Dead "What Happened and What's Going On" (I've been happy with this show since they stopped having characters do stupid things and stopped killing their best characters off. This one did both. It's still better than it's been, but it's not what I wanted coming back.) "Them" (I'm so bored by this show right now.) "The Distance" (That's a relief. The first two episodes back angered and bored me, this one was a step back onto the right path, with much stronger character moments and forward story momentum)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Better Call Saul "Uno" (Similar but different sensibility to Breaking Bad, beautifully shot, and seeing Jimmy McGill in his early days turns out to be something I wanted after all. And that opening... and closing. I laughed out loud in the first two minutes and the last two minutes when I figured out what was going on.) "Mijo" (Just as tense as the best of Breaking Bad, just as beautiful to look at, love the montage - another Breaking Bad staple - and love Michael Mando here. Echoes it's predecessor in all the right ways, but doesn't feel like it's riding on its coat-tails, just the same talent telling different stories.) "Nacho" (Three episodes in and I'm loving this. Unpredictable stories, and Jimmy McGill is a very different character from Saul Goodman.) "Hero" (The bookends, with Jimmy and his old pal pulling a scam and Jimmy's brother making a crazed run for a paper, were great. The rest of the episode... also pretty great. Loving this show.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO's true-crime documentary series, definitely hoping to play to fans of "Serial." It's... interesting so far, but not as compelling as Serial was, partly because it lacks the light touch that Sarah Koenig had. But some hated that light touch, so they might find The Jinx more to their taste.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Windbreaker City" (A weaker episode, but still fun) "The Wednesday Incident" (Gina and Jake pairing up was fun, a much better episode)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Agent Carter "A Sin to Err" (The scene between Dotty and the scientist was a nice misdirect and bit of spycraft, and Jarvis's discomfort with children and Stark's mistresses was fun. And that badass fight scene in the Automat... wow.) "Snafu" (Lots of twists and turns... the period of all this makes it feel less Marvel Cinematic than Agents of SHIELD, but it's been a fun ride and I look forward to the conclusion) "Valediction" (This was a great series, but after the finale, I would dearly love to see a second season that's just Sharon Carter, Howard Stark, Edwin Jarvis and maybe the Howling Commandos. Dominic Cooper is great as Stark.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Togetherness "Houston We Have A Problem" (This is the most real, complicated human relationship stuff I've seen... does what Married and You're the Worst does, but in a completely different, and in the case of Married, better, way. I was mad at each of the characters during this episode, and then completely understood their POV at other times. That's good writing and good performance.) "Kick the Can" (That Kick the Can sequence was amazing, and it got very real by the end) "Ghost in Chains" (The stuff with Lynskey and her "boyfriend" is breaking my heart, and Zissis continues to bring it to every moment on this show)
                                                                                                                                                                                                Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Better Call Saul
                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Togetherness
                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Justified
                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Parks & Recreation
                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Broad City
                                                                                                                                                                                                Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Favorite Daily Show Segments This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Movies I Watched This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Maleficent
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Book of Life

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Videogames I Played This Month:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wolf Among Us

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kerbey Lane x2
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Torchy's Tacos x3 (Last month it was Tuk-Tuk, this month the Scallywag)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Joe's Crab Shack
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Smokey Mo's
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Black Star Co-Op
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The League
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • DiMassi's Mediterranean Buffet
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sushi Nini
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • BJ's Brewhouse x2
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Juarez Mexican Bakery x3
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • PizzaRev
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Salt & Time
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cover 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Added to the Food Wish List:

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