Monday, February 01, 2016

Monthly Update - January 2016

RESOLUTIONS:

1. Reasonable Bedtime - I did really well with this at first, but then got addicted to Making A Murderer and missed my 1 AM bedtime by first half an hour and then an hour and a half. And I had more than a few nights where I was planning a D&D game, or playing Battlefront, where I stayed up until 2 AM or a little later, but at least I was asleep by 3 AM most of those nights, which is... an incremental improvement. And then new TV started up and I still wanted to play Battlefront and I haven't totally abandoned this but it's more of a 2 AM in bed, asleep by close to 3 AM. And I didn't sleep in past noon on any days, so... making progress. Next month I need to really try to hit that 1 AM bedtime mark. Maybe 1:30 AM, and ease into it. (Most of this update was typed after 1 AM, for the record.)

2. Cook More - Several new recipes for the repertoire getting tried out this month. Chicken Pot Pie Casserole (which I wasn't crazy about), Shrimp and Cheesy Grits (which turned out pretty great, and were really easy), Red Beans & Rice (needs a thicker consistency and maybe ham hock instead of sausage, but a pretty tasty first attempt), Sweet & Salty Chicken Thighs (delicious and easy, paired nicely with soy-sauce and Asian spiced Brussels Sprouts), Panko Breaded Asparagus (turned out great, and really easy) and Fried Rice (three times, still adjusting the spice/flavor but pretty happy so far)... and a few more other recipes added to the try out list, including Curried Fried Chicken, Bacon & Egg Ramen and another new recipe for chicken thighs. I've also done pretty good in terms of cooking at home instead of going out to eat. My goal for the year was 12 new recipes... I'm already almost halfway there.

3. Exercise - I dragged the elliptical into the office the first Monday and managed 0.8 of a mile, then 1 mile even the next, then 1.2 miles the next and then, uh, 0.7 of a mile. Slow and mostly steady. Probably ought to add a midweek treadmill run, or even do a short run every day, since I'm keeping it in the office again.


4. No Cancer - Had my first CT scan early in January, and it was clear. So I'm good on this until April, at least. 


5. Halloween Costume - Costume ideas: Green Arrow (Etsy-made costume available for a couple hundred bucks), which would work well with a Flash/Black Canary/etc. etc. theme - Dead of Winter costumes with everyone dressed as one of those characters - King of Tokyo kaiju (maybe hard to find/make, but Aaron would love this)... more to come, but that's three good ideas, one with an actual source.


6. Spend More Time With My Kids - I played several hours of Plants vs. Zombies 2: Garden Warfare, Battlefront and Mass Effect 2 with Aaron, and watched Supergirl and Agent Carter with Katy. Also made a list of older Youtube videos that Aaron greatly enjoyed. Katy finished Firefly, so I got to watch Serenity with her for the first time, and see her reactions to some of the big moments in that movie, which was a lot of fun.


7. Stay on budget. I bought Angie Tribeca Season One on iTunes. Ate at Texas Roadhouse, but I mostly paid with a gift certificate. So... three dinners (two Sushi Nini and one Jack Allen) for the month. This budget thing is gonna be easy... which probably means I gave myself too much of a budget. Next year I definitely need to include lunches.


8. Try New Things. I didn't get to anything in January, but I've got a puzzle room challenge and the new archery range near the store for February. And I guess, if you count planning, I made flight and hotel reservations for Heroes Con in January.


9. Less Negative - This one was hard. Especially since people kept dying those first two weeks. And I had to resist posting something snarky or negative at least twice a day. That said, I think I'm managing. I mean, yes, I might have wished cancer on the GOP Presidential candidates, but that was in mourning for Rickman, Bowie and more and, though sincere, mostly there for comedic effect. And yes, I might have gone on a mini-rant about someone trying to get a PG-13 Deadpool, but that was mostly tied to finding the Deadpool response to the asinine idea hilarious. I griped a bit about all the "comics are dying" articles, which have been a pet peeve of mine for at least a decade. And I might have, at the eleventh hour, accused Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel, of being a vampire. I like to think my negativity was also leavened with comedy.



POP CULTURE GOALS:

1. Read 15 Books (2)
  • Eberron: Son of Khyber
  • Star Wars Before The Awakening
2. Read 100 Graphic Novels (15)
  1. Green Arrow Vol 4: Blood of the Dragon TP
  2. Fatale Vol 1-2 HC
  3. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 HC
  4. Hawkeye Vol 2 HC
  5. Starve Vol 1 TP
  6. Ciudad HC
  7. Pathfinder Vol 4 Origins
  8. Grayson Vol 1-2 TP
  9. 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man
  10. Revival Vol 3 HC
  11. Dark Night: A True Batman Story
  12. Captain America: Scourge of the Underworld\
  13. Double D
  14. Zenith Phase Four
  15. Strongman 
3. Catch up on TV/Movie DVDs and Blurays
  • Running Scared
  • Ant-Man
  • Agent Carter Season One
4. Play 15 new Boardgames (4)
  • T.I.M.E. Stories (1)
  • T.I.M.E. Stories: Marcy Case (2)
  • 7 Wonders (3)
  • Star Wars Armada (4)
  • DC Deck-Building
  • Dead of Winter
  • Machi Koro
5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions
  • Dallas Comic Con (February)
  • STAPLE! (March)
  • Heroes Con (June)
  • Alamo City Con (October)
My Picks of the Week For This Month:
  1. Captain America Sam Wilson #5
  2. Amazing Spider-Man #6
  3. Captain Marvel #1
  4. Ms. Marvel #3
  5. Spider-Woman #3
  6. All New All Different Avengers #4
  7. Interceptor #1
  8. Gutter Magic #1
      Other Comics I Read This Month (45):
      • Agents of SHIELD #1
      • All New All Different Avengers #3-4
      • All-New Hawkeye #3
      • All-New Wolverine #4
      • Amazing Spider-Man #6
      • Astonishing Ant-Man #4
      • Astro City #31
      • Beauty #6
      • Birthright #13
      • Captain America Sam Wilson #5
      • Captain Marvel #1
      • Cry Havoc #1
      • Daredevil #3
      • Darth Vader #15
      • Descender #9
      • Devolution #1
      • Doctor Strange #4
      • Grayson #16
      • Gutter Magic #1
      • Hercules #3
      • Huck #3
      • Interceptor #1
      • Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #3
      • Ms. Marvel #3
      • Nova #3
      • Obi-Wan & Anakin #1
      • Paper Girls #4
      • Red Wolf #2
      • Saga #33
      • Scarlet Witch #2
      • Silk #3
      • Spider-Woman #3
      • Spidey #2
      • Squadron Supreme #3
      • Star Wars #14-15
      • Symmetry #2
      • The Fade Out #12
      • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4
      • Uncanny X-Men #1-2
      • Usagi Yojimbo #151
      • Violent #2
      • Web Warriors #3
      TV I Watched This Month:
      • Agent Carter "The Lady in the Lake" "A View in the Dark" "Better Angels"
      • Angie Tribeca "Pilot" "The Wedding Planner Did It" "The Famous Ventriloquist Did It"
      • Arrow "Blood Debts" "A.W.O.L."
      • Baskets "Pilot (Renoir)"
      • Billions "Pilot" "Naming Rights"
      • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "9 Days"
      • Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life "Pilot"
      • DC's Legends of Tomorrow "Pilot Part 1" "Pilot Part 2"
      • Flash "Potential Energy" "The Reverse Flash Returns"
      • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo" "Frank Falls Out The Window" "The Gang Hits The Slopes" "Dee Made A Smut Film"
      • iZombie "Method Head"
      • Mad Dogs "Xtabai" "Well" "Flares" "Hat" "Leslie"
      • Making A Murderer "Season One"
      • Man Seeking Woman "Wings"
      • Man in the High Castle "End of the World" "Kindness" "A Way Out"
      • Scream Queens "Ghost Story"
      • Supergirl "Hostile Takeover" "Blood Bonds" "Childish Things"
      • Superstore "Pilot"
      • Telenovela "Pilot"
      • The Magicians "Pilot"
      • Transparent "Kina Hora" "Flicky-Flicky-Thump-Thump"
      • X-Files "My Struggle" "Founder's Mutation"
      Top Ten Shows This Month:
      1. Angie Tribeca
      2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
      3. Flash
      4. Agent Carter
      5. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
      6. Supergirl
      7. Arrow
      8. DC's Legends of Tomorrow
      9. Billions
      10. Mad Dogs
      Movies I Watched This Month:
      • Ant-Man
      • Bad Words
      • Hateful Eight
      • Running Scared
      • Serenity
      • What We Do In The Shadows
      Places I Ate This Month (22):
      • Chi'Lantro (x2)
      • Chuy's
      • Fogo de Chao
      • Fuddruckers
      • Hopdoddy
      • Hoodie's Subs
      • Jack Allen's Kitchen
      • Juarez Mexican Bakery
      • La Barbecue
      • New Fortune
      • PizzaRev
      • Popeye's
      • Shake Shack
      • Sushi Nini
      • Tarka
      • Texas Roadhouse
      • Thai Spoon
      • Torchy's (x2)
      • Wendy's
      • Whataburger

        Friday, January 01, 2016

        New Year's Resolutions - 2016 Edition

        2015 was a pretty good year. No big weddings, but two of my best friends had new babies. No new car, but I am still driving (and loving) my Mustang. And there was no chemo, even if there was a surgery.

        Time for 2016 resolutions, and time to check in on last year.

        Last year's resolutions:

        1. No cancer. SO... CLOSE. But then I had stupid cancer in October that we had to take out. Still, like... 75% no cancer.

        2. Read books. Last year I posted a picture of all the novels I had. Most of those novels are still there. But I did read over 20 books. And I read a total of 134 books including graphic novels. I also bought a lot of new books, including a couple of trips to Half Price Books and a fair number of Kindle purchases.

        3. Watch all the TV & movies I have saved. Last year I posted a picture of all the Blurays and DVDs I had, and made an additional list of DVDs not pictured. I, uh... didn't watch most of them. But I did cut down on my buying, even though I did break on a few movies and TV shows.

        4. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I just barely managed this.

        5. 12 More Boardgames. This one I totally nailed, I actually played 36 new games:

        1. Age of War
        2. Bang!
        3. Batman Love Letter
        4. Betrayal at House on the Hill
        5. Biblios
        6. Castles of Mad King Ludwig
        7. Cinelinks
        8. Codenames
        9. Concept
        10. Cthulhu Wars
        11. DC Deckbuilding Game
        12. Dead of Winter
        13. Diamonsters
        14. Dixit
        15. Double Feature
        16. Epic
        17. Epic Spell Wars
        18. Exploding Kittens
        19. Formula D
        20. Geek Out
        21. Imperial Assault
        22. Jaipur
        23. Just Desserts
        24. Loonacy
        25. Lords of Waterdeep
        26. Lost Legacy the Starship
        27. Machi Koro
        28. Mars Attacks Dice Game
        29. Red Dragon Inn
        30. Red Flags
        31. Roll for the Galaxy
        32. Sheriff of Nottingham
        33. Star Realms
        34. Takenoko
        35. The Captain is Dead
        36. X-COM Boardgame
        6. Get below 190 lbs. Uh... 204. Moving on...

        7. Travel. Pretty good, actually. I didn't get out to New Orleans, Emerald City or Heroes, but I did take us all on a big Disney World trip, and we had a trip to San Francisco, and I had a couple smaller trips to San Antonio and other Texas local places.

        8. Instagram - I abandoned this pretty early, but I still got over 300 pictures, so almost one a day.

        9. Cook! I got to 10 new recipes, so not exactly one a month, but not bad.

        10. NaNoWriMo - Abandoned this one. Not sure what I was thinking.

        Also, less a resolution and more a plan, I got to eat at pretty much all the restaurants I was trying to get to, except for Perry's Steakhouse, Estancia Churrascaria, Sawyer & Co., and Texas Chili Parlor. The first two because they were expensive, the third because I decided it wasn't that important and the fourth just because time didn't work out.

        By The Numbers:

        1. I read almost 500 single-issue comics this year. Well, I'm sure I read a few more than that, but I read and liked that many.

        2. I ate at 56 different restaurants this year. On average, I ate out about 20 times a month, which means roughly 1/3 of my meals were out. My favorites, the ones I went to at least a half-dozen times, were Chi'Lantro, Chuy's, Hoody's Subs, Kerbey Lane, Mambo House, Michi Ramen, Noble Sandwich, Peached Tortilla, PizzaRev, Popeye's, Smashburger, Sushi Nini and Torchy's Tacos.

        Chuy's, Torchy's, Michi, PizzaRev, Sushi Nini and Noble were all on last year's list too.

        This Year's Resolutions:

        1. Reasonable Bedtime. For a while there in 2015, I was getting to bed by midnight, waking up around 10 AM. Then Battlefront came out and I backslid to 3 or 4 AM again. So my plan is, in bed by 12:30, asleep by 1:30, up by 11:00 at the latest. I know to most people this sounds like a crazy schedule, but I'm on a night owl schedule.

        2. Cook More - I did OK learning a few new recipes in 2015, but I slacked off as always toward the end of the year. This year I resolve to learn to cook 12 new recipes... possibly one per month, probably I'll knock that out in the first six months and then fall again into bad eating-out patterns by the end of the year.

        3. Exercise - For real. I make this one every year, and every year I fail. I think maybe I'll make Monday an exercise day. So that means at least a two-mile walk, or a mile on the elliptical, or even joining a gym if I get real ambitious.

        4. No Cancer - Maybe this will be the year. First CT scan since the surgery is next week.

        5. Halloween Costume - Every year, I promise myself I'm going to do a Halloween costume, and every year I fail. This year I have a plan. A goal each month, small and getting bigger, ending in a complete Halloween costume by the end of September. Goal One: Come up with five options for what I'm going to dress up as for Halloween. At least one of these will be a family option I can drag my kids (and possibly my wife) into. Another will be an option I can drag my friends into.

        6. Spend More Time With My Kids - My goal is to spend at least one day a week either gaming or watching movies with Aaron and one day a week gaming or watching TV with Katy. That's because those are things they enjoy and I enjoy doing with them. If we can think up some actual activities to do, so much the better.

        7. Stay on budget. I'm allocating myself enough money to buy one videogame bimonthly, one TV season per month and two dinners out per week. Not necessarily broken down by those units, but what that means is 6 videogames in a year, 12 TV seasons in a year and 104 dinners in a year. That last one is gonna be the tricky one, and even then I'm cheating by not including lunches. Next year we'll try to scale it back further.

        8. Try New Things. I'm going to try at least one new thing each month of 2016. It may be big (like indoor skydiving) or small (like a food I haven't eaten before). I will no doubt be crowdsourcing some ideas on Facebook.

        9. Less Negative - I am going to try really, really hard to present a more positive Facebook profile. This probably means me occasionally deleting posts when I decide they're only adding to the negativity of conversation. I will not be going all Pollyanna or stepping back on talking about legit social/political issues that piss me off, but I'm going to do my part to stop the spread of useless click-bait and rage-posting. And I'll try to stop wishing death on my political enemies, but I can't help but feel the planet would be better off without Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Dick Cheney and so many others so no promises there.

        I am also going to do my damndest to not post about Deadpool, Superman vs. Batman or any other pop culture thing I hate. If someone *else* posts about it on my page, I will damn sure unleash every bit of venom I've been saving, but I'm going to try really hard not to take potshots for no good reason.

        This Year's Pop Culture Goals:

        1. Read 15 new books. Book books, without pictures. Specifically, the 15 books I already bought in the last few years, pictured below. If I finish those, I''ll allow myself to buy some new books, maybe finish up the trilogies I started or continued reading this year, notably The Expanse series and Newsflesh trilogy.


        2. Read 100 new graphic novels. Easy. The plan is to read all of the ones in these pictures first. So that's 45, which means if I read 3-4 a week, and keep adding at the rate I've been doing, I'll have them all read in maybe four months.




        3. Catch up on my TV and movie Blu-Rays and DVDs. Pictured below are 6 seasons of TV on DVD and about 30 seasons of TV on Bluray (I've watched some of the Clone Wars). Throw in 10 movies and the DVDs not pictured (including Space: Above and Beyond, Max Headroom and Wonderfalls) and it seems unlikely that I'll get through all of it. But the goal is to watch at least one movie a month and if possible, a TV season each week. There is almost no way I'll hit that goal. But I'll be tracking it here.




        4. Play 15 new boardgames. On the list from last year: 7 Wonders, Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures, Gloom, Splendor, Terror in Meeple City. Considering that my list last year had 20 games on it, and I only dropped a couple, that's not bad for 2015. Adding to the list for this year: TIME Stories, Isle of Skye, Star Trek 5 Year Mission, Portal Boardgame, Monarch, Above & Below, Mysterium, Mafia De Cuba, Legends of Andor, Welcome to the Dungeon and Sapiens. Also have two games coming from Kickstarter, On The Air and Posthuman.

        5. Go to 5 Comic Book Conventions. Really want to go to Heroes Con this year. Also considering Emerald City or possibly Wonder Con. Will probably go back to Alamo City Con and will possibly exhibit at Wizard World Austin, will definitely be at STAPLE! This is all contingent on not having to spend money on cancer.

        Monthly Update - December 2015

        LISTS:

        Best Week of Comics This Month:
        December 2nd (All New All Different Avengers, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Paper Girls, Spidey, Star Wars)

        Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
        1. Amazing Spider-Man #4
        2. All New All Different Avengers #2
        3. The Goddamned #2
        4. Daredevil #1
        5. Ms. Marvel #2
                                                                                    Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                    • All New All Different Avengers #2
                                                                                    • All New Hawkeye #2
                                                                                    • All New Wolverine #3
                                                                                    • Amazing Spider-Man #4-5
                                                                                    • Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #8
                                                                                    • Birthright #12
                                                                                    • Black Magick #3
                                                                                    • Chew #53
                                                                                    • Daredevil #1-2
                                                                                    • Darth Vader #14
                                                                                    • Darth Vader Annual #1
                                                                                    • Doctor Strange #3
                                                                                    • Goddamned #2
                                                                                    • Hercules #2
                                                                                    • Huck #2
                                                                                    • Illuminati #2
                                                                                    • James Bond #2-3
                                                                                    • Jughead #3
                                                                                    • Kanan the Last Padawan #9
                                                                                    • Klaus #2
                                                                                    • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2
                                                                                    • Ms. Marvel #2
                                                                                    • Paper Girls #3
                                                                                    • Plutona #3
                                                                                    • Rat Queens #14
                                                                                    • Red Wolf #1
                                                                                    • Rocketeer At War #1
                                                                                    • Saga #32
                                                                                    • Silk #2
                                                                                    • Spider-Man 2099 #4
                                                                                    • Spider-Woman #2
                                                                                    • Spidey #1
                                                                                    • Star Trek Green Lantern #6
                                                                                    • Star Wars #13
                                                                                    • Symmetry #1
                                                                                    • The Beauty #5
                                                                                    • Totally Awesome Hulk #1
                                                                                    • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3
                                                                                    • Violent #1
                                                                                    • We Stand on Guard #6
                                                                                    • Web Warriors #2
                                                                                    Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                    • Unity Vol 1 HC
                                                                                    • Mae
                                                                                    • Private Eye HC
                                                                                    • Star Wars Adventures Omnibus
                                                                                    • Crogan Adventures: Last of the Legion
                                                                                    • Kaptara Vol 1 TP
                                                                                    • Rat Queens Vol 1 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. Last month I gave up on posting thoughts on each episodes, for the last two months this will probably just be a list.
                                                                                    • Supergirl "Red-Faced" "Human for a Day"
                                                                                    • Man in the High Castle "Sunrise" "The Illustrated Woman" "Revelations" "The New Normal"
                                                                                    • Fargo "Loplop" "The Castle" "Palindrome"
                                                                                    • Flash "Legends of Today" "Running to Stand Still"
                                                                                    • Rebels "Blood Sisters" "Stealth Strike" "The Future of the Force" "Legacy"
                                                                                    • The Leftovers "International Assassin" "Ten Thirteen" "I Live Here Now"
                                                                                    • Arrow "Legends of Yesterday" "Dark Waters"
                                                                                    • You're The Worst "Other Things You Could Be Doing" "Heart is a Dumb-Dumb, The"
                                                                                    • Casual "Dave"
                                                                                    • Agents of SHIELD "Closure" "Maveth"
                                                                                    Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                    1. Fargo
                                                                                    2. You're The Worst
                                                                                    3. The Flash
                                                                                    4. The Leftovers
                                                                                    5. Supergirl
                                                                                      Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                      • Star Wars A New Hope
                                                                                      • Star Wars The Force Awakens x2
                                                                                      • Die Hard
                                                                                      • The Ref
                                                                                      • Hateful Eight
                                                                                      Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                      • Olive Garden
                                                                                      • Popeye's x2
                                                                                      • Patrizi's
                                                                                      • Torchy's Tacos x2
                                                                                      • Hoody's Subs
                                                                                      • Mighty Fine Burgers
                                                                                      • Wingstop
                                                                                      • Smashburger
                                                                                      • Michi Ramen
                                                                                      • Chi'Lantro
                                                                                      • Potbelly
                                                                                      • Alamo Drafthouse

                                                                                      Monday, December 28, 2015

                                                                                      Best of 2015 - Graphic Novels

                                                                                      Last year I noted that I had a hard time coming up with even a top 8 for best original graphic novel. This year? I have six. Several of which I merely liked, and wouldn't necessarily have put on a more competitive best of.

                                                                                      1. Rutabaga Adventure Chef
                                                                                      2. Space Dumplings
                                                                                      3. Sexcastle
                                                                                      4. Our Expanding Universe
                                                                                      5. Two Brothers
                                                                                      6. Fall of the House of West

                                                                                      A lot of the collected editions I bought this year are collections of series mentioned in my other Best of posts (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Descender, Birthright, etc.) but here's a list of my favorite collected editions not otherwise mentioned:

                                                                                      1. Graphic Ink: DC Comics Darwyn Cooke HC
                                                                                      2. Private Eye HC
                                                                                      3. Ms Marvel Vol 1 HC
                                                                                      4. Rat Queens Vol 1 HC
                                                                                      5. Big Hard Sex Criminals HC
                                                                                      6. Spider-Verse HC
                                                                                      7. Grendel vs. Shadow HC
                                                                                      8. Avatar The Rift Library Edition
                                                                                      9. Astro City Private Lives / Lovers Quarrel HC
                                                                                      10. Absolute Green Arrow HC
                                                                                      11. Absolute Transmet Vol 1 HC
                                                                                      12. BPRD 1946-1948 HC
                                                                                      13. Star Wars: The Marvel Covers HC
                                                                                      14. Suicide Squad Vol 1-2 TP
                                                                                      15. Birds of Prey Vol 1 TP
                                                                                      16. Robin Vol 1: Reborn TP
                                                                                      17. Black Panther by Priest Complete Collection Vol 1-2 TP
                                                                                      18. Bandette Vol 2 HC
                                                                                      19. Sixth Gun Vol 2/Vol 3 HC
                                                                                      20. Crogan Adventures: Catfoot's Vengeance
                                                                                      21. Usagi Yojimbo Senso HC
                                                                                      22. D&D Legends of Baldur's Gate TP
                                                                                      23. Southern Bastards Vol 1 HC
                                                                                      24. Wayward Vol 1 HC

                                                                                      Best of 2015 - Top 10 Ongoing Comics

                                                                                      Last year, Image had 7 of my top 10 in this category, with Archie Comics sneaking one in and Marvel claiming the other two.

                                                                                      This year, despite Marvel making a pretty strong showing (they've got 4), Image maintains the other 6 spots. So they're still my favorite publisher, especially when you consider that three that just missed the cut are also Image again. There are four superhero books (up from 2 last year), 4 sci-fi fantasy (down from 6), 1 crime (Fade Out replacing Velvet) and Sex Criminals taking over from Chew in the hard-to-quantify category that definitely includes humor.

                                                                                      Last year I also noted the "appeals to women" in my top 10, and the same is true here. Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman and Lazarus join Saga, Rat Queens and Sex Criminals as books with either strong female leads or a strong female following. There's only one book written by a woman on the list (Ms. Marvel), and two that feature female artists, and I could do better in terms of diversity (Ms. Marvel and arguably Saga are the only two featuring non-white leads), but I still feel like the market is moving in the right direction on that score.

                                                                                      Last year, only one of the series in my top 13 published 12 issues. This year, none of them did. The monthly grind doesn't seem to benefit the kind of comics I like.

                                                                                      1. Ms. Marvel #11-19/#1-2 (Last year: #1 on my new series)
                                                                                      Ms. Marvel was my favorite new series last year, but it got even better this year. After finishing up the Inventor story and a one-shot with Loki, there was a three-parter that featured Kamala's crush on another Inhuman with art by Takeshi Miyazawa and a fantastic Last Days arc that saw her meet her idol, deal with the end of the world and have a really sweet relationship change with one of her parents. The first two issues of the new series have done some interesting stuff with gentrification, but in that Ms. Marvel superhero way, and I expect this to remain high in my favorites next year as well.

                                                                                      2. Spider-Woman #5-9/#1-2 (Last year not on my list)
                                                                                      The first four issues of Spider-Woman were fun enough, a Spider-Verse tie-in, but the series really became what it was meant to be when Javier Rodriguez took over on art and the new costume and direction were set. Ben Urich as supporting cast and the C-list villain story that started the first arc were good enough, but the 8 months later relaunch with Porcupine as her new ally and Jess pregnant (!) has been even better.

                                                                                      3. Saga #25-32 (Last year: #1 and the year before that)
                                                                                      Still great, this was my favorite series for the last two years. As the story goes on and the characters age and change, I continue to be surprised by every arc and continue to love Vaughan's exceptional dialogue and Staples' beautiful artwork.

                                                                                      4. Birthright #4-12 (Last year: #2 on my series too new to judge list)
                                                                                      Last year, this was off to a strong start, but I wasn't sure if it could maintain. As it turns out, it's right behind Saga and Descender as my most-recommended Image series. Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas are giving me the modern urban fantasy I didn't know I wanted. The big twist at the end of issue one is but one of the twists and turns in this series, where the bad guys are really bad and the heroes are all kinds of messed up too. The flashbacks to Mikey's time in the fantasy world, and how those are following him into our world, are great, as are seeing him adjust to his family and his new life.

                                                                                      5. Rat Queens #9-14 (Last year #9)
                                                                                      The artistic turmoil of this book is unfortunate, but throughout the brief tenure of Stepjan Sejic and the newly-added Tess Fowler, the book has continued to look great and, just as importantly, Kurtis Wiebe has done a great job blending D&D tropes with feminist thought into a kickass, fun-as-hell, dirty-as-hell comic series. Pitting them against their world's equivalent of Cthulhu early on, delving further into the backstories of the characters and heading into the necromantic backstory of Hannah in particular has made this a fantastic read. I'd love it if it could get on a more consistent schedule, but even with the turmoil, they only produced 2 or 3 less issues than most of my favorites this year.

                                                                                      6. The Fade Out #4-11 (Last year: #11 on my series too new to judge list)
                                                                                      Last year Fatale was #8 on my list. And I loved Fatale, a mix of supernatural and the noir that Brubaker and Phillips do so well. But this is my favorite project they've done since Criminal. Pure noir, untouched by any other genres, just a '50s murder mystery set against the backdrop of communist-hunting Hollywood. It's set to wrap with issue 12, which means technically it could go in the miniseries category, but it belongs here, among my top 10 reads of the year.

                                                                                      7. Amazing Spider-Man #12-18/#1-6 (Last year: #5 on my new series)
                                                                                      I know a lot of people swore off Spider-Man after One More Day, and a lot of those who stuck around swore off after Superior Spider-Man. But Superior turned out to be a pretty great limited run, and set up what Slott has been doing with Amazing, which lives up to its sobriquet quite nicely. The finale of Spider-Verse and the fallout contained herein was solid enough, but the relaunch, with Peter at the head of an international company and yet still remaining himself, teamed with one of my favorite SHIELD agents, running a squad of Spider-agents including Prowler, Spider-Man 2099 and others? It sounds, like Superior or Spider-Verse, like a terrible idea, but the execution is somehow exactly what I want from the character. It's fun and lively and just about makes me forget how much I'd prefer him married to Mary Jane.

                                                                                      8. Sex Criminals #10-13 (Last year #2)
                                                                                      Only four issues this year, which would disqualify most series. But Sex Criminals isn't most series. Fraction and Zdarsky put out a book that's as full of serious thought about depression, sex and relationships as it is hilariously dirty and funny and weird.

                                                                                      9. Daredevil #12-18 (Last year #3)
                                                                                      Mark Waid closes out his run with longtime artist Chris Samnee in fine style, returning to the Kingpin, Ikari, the question of Matt's not-so-secret identity and Foggy's faked death, and serves up a fine cap to what has become one of the best runs on a character known for great runs.

                                                                                      10. Lazarus #14-21 (Last year: Just outside the top 10)
                                                                                      Greg Rucka is the king of the slow burn. I quite liked Lazarus, but it didn't make the top 10 last year. This year it squeaks in at the 10 spot, largely on the strength of the world-building being done here, which is best observed in the longform of the gorgeous hardcover that they produced this year. The artwork by Michael Lark is beautiful and realistic, giving a nice depth to Rucka's dystopian sci-fi future.

                                                                                      Just outside the top 10 this year that were inside the top 10 last year were Velvet #9-12 (Last year #5, and largely missing the top 10 because there were only four issues this year) and Chew #46-51 (Last year #4). There were five more that didn't quite make the cut: Usagi Yojimbo #145-150, Storm #7-12, Copperhead #6-10, Grayson #8-14 and Superior Iron Man #4-8.

                                                                                      Best of 2015 - Comics Miniseries

                                                                                      I didn't have this category last year, but there were a lot of miniseries this year, in no small part due to Marvel's Secret Wars event.

                                                                                      In fact, more than half of the series on this list came from Marvel's Secret Wars event, even though I wound up souring on the main event before the end. The rest are all Marvel too, with the notable exception of We Stand on Guard, another great Brian K. Vaughan book with fantastic art by Steve Skroce.

                                                                                      Best Miniseries:
                                                                                      1. Civil War #1-5
                                                                                      2. Spider-Island #1-5
                                                                                      3. We Stand on Guard #1-6
                                                                                      4. Shield (The Cavalry, Mockingbird, Quake, Agent Carter)
                                                                                      5. Runaways #1-4
                                                                                      6. Thors #1-4
                                                                                      7. 1872 #1-4
                                                                                      8. Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #1-5
                                                                                      9. Star Wars Journey to Force Awakens #1-4
                                                                                      10. Avengers: Ultron Forever (Avengers #1, New Avengers #1, Uncanny Avengers #1)

                                                                                      Just missing the cut are five more Secret Wars tie-ins (Planet Hulk, Captain Britain & Mighty Defenders, Infinity Gauntlet, Future Imperfect and Squadron Sinister), Princess Leia, Star Trek Green Lantern and two Image books, Airboy and Chrononauts.

                                                                                      Best of 2015 - Top 10 New Comics

                                                                                      Best New Series:
                                                                                      Marvel has eight of my top 10 (up from six last year), Image has one and Archie has one as well. This year, none of them are in any danger of cancellation, which is nice.

                                                                                      Five of them are superhero books, although three of those fall much more comfortably into humor comic territory. Four of the remaining are sci-fi (three of them Star Wars) and the last one is Archie, which qualifies as... humor? slice-of-life? I note that four of my books are notably humorous, with Silk and Captain America also having something of a humorous tone, or at least a bit of snark thrown in the mix.

                                                                                      1. Star Wars #1-13/Annual #1
                                                                                      I was more than a little skeptical about Marvel taking Star Wars back from Dark Horse, who have done well by the property for over 20 years. I needn't have worried. Jason Aaron, along with artists John Cassaday, Stuart Immonen and others, have created a Star Wars comic that feels like the Star Wars movies. The Dark Horse books, while great, always had a bit of an expanded universe feel to them, but somehow this big return feels like the story that took place between New Hope and Empire. Luke going off to find out more about being a Jedi, Chewie and C3PO teaming up, Han and Leia having misadventures with an old flame of Han and so much more. Amazing stuff, funny and clever and exciting... I hope we get a hardcover collection in 2016.

                                                                                      2. Darth Vader #1-14/Vader Down #1/Annual #1
                                                                                      Arguably better than the main Star Wars book is Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca's Darth Vader. It features Vader being the taciturn badass we all know him as, but it also introduces a stellar supporting cast, including rogue archaeologist Dr. Aphra, the protocol droid with a flair for torture Triple Zero and the homicidal R2 unit Beetee. It's funnier than it has any right to be, but it also shows Vader being clever, avoiding the bureaucracy of the Empire to cover for his own goals, and clears up a few things, like how and when he learned about Luke but not about Leia.

                                                                                      3. Descender #1-8
                                                                                      A beautifully realized science-fiction world courtesy of Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen and Image Comics. Epic sci-fi is a rarity in comics, but Descender does some amazing world-building, reminiscent of that done in the Mass Effect universe, and features a lot of great characters, notably supporting cast member Driller the robot. It's also got a lot of twists and turns and mysteries, and I can't wait to keep exploring this universe in years to come.

                                                                                      4. Howard the Duck #1-5/#1-2
                                                                                      Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones take a pinch of Soule's She-Hulk, a healthy dollop of the Gerber Howard the Duck and more than a little of their own style and create a funny detective comic set square in the weird part of the Marvel Universe. Making fun of the heroes and villains while also making great use of them, introducing a new supporting character who's a great addition and running a goofy version of the Infinity Gauntlet story for its opener, this was a favorite. The relaunch so far has been pretty good as well, save a very weird second issue that might make more sense in context of the whole run.

                                                                                      5. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1-5/#1-3
                                                                                      Ryan North and Erica Henderson take a goofy one-joke character and, while still remaining true to her one-joke nature, turn her into one of the most endearing new characters at Marvel. Bonus points for the Twitter style recap page and footnotes that make this a denser-than-usual funnybook.

                                                                                      6. Ant-Man #1-5, Annual #1, Larger Than Life #1/Astonishing Ant-Man #1-3
                                                                                      Scott Lang has always been my favorite Ant-Man, and I'm glad to see him getting the spotlight in the movies. Nick Spencer's take is closer to the movie take, a bit of a smartass screw-up, than the comics take, but has comics continuity built in as well, and it reminds me pleasantly of what Spencer did on Superior Foes of Spider-Man. No Steve Lieber here, sadly, but the artwork on the series has been pretty solid as well.

                                                                                      7. Captain America Sam Wilson #1-4 (Marvel)
                                                                                      This was a latecomer that almost went in the "too new to judge" list, but with four issues in, and a general record of liking Nick Spencer's stuff at Marvel (Ant-Man, Superior Foes) I think it's fair to put this in the top ten. Sam Wilson makes a very different and very interesting Cap, more overtly political and socially conscious than Steve Rogers, a black man from the '70s rather than a white man from the '40s, and I love that Spencer has taken things in that direction. What I love even more is that his touchstone seems to be the '80s Gruenwald Cap, which remains my favorite take on the character. Cap-Wolf, D-Man, the Serpent Society, Diamondback all make appearances in the first four issues. Throw in Misty Knight as one of his new supporting cast and great art by Daniel Acuna and you've got a great new Captain America book.

                                                                                      8. Archie #1-4
                                                                                      Last time Archie made my top ten, it was a full-on zombie book with gorgeous Francavilla art. This time? Mark Waid delivering a note-perfect modern take on the teens of Riverdale with beautiful art, first by Fiona Staples and then by Annie Wu. The reinvention of Jughead as the smarter-than-everybody narrator, a more sophisticated take on Betty and Veronica and his hapless-yet-noble Archie are all terrific.

                                                                                      9. Silk #1-7/#1-2
                                                                                      The Spider-verse (not the crossover, the editorial group) is, all told, probably my favorite thing at Marvel right now that didn't spring from a Lucasfilm property. Silk, the girl who was bitten by the same spider as Peter Parker but then locked in a vault for a decade or so, is a character I didn't know I wanted, but like Spider-Verse, Superior Spider-Man or Parker Industries or Spider-Gwen or any of the other curveballs Dan Slott and crew have thrown out, it turns out it's exactly what the Spider-Man universe needed to keep it fresh. A clever use of J. Jonah Jameson and Black Cat, strong writing from Supernatural's Robbie Thompson and fresh, fun artwork from Stacey Lee have made this a must-read. And the "eight months later" relaunch, bringing in Silk's lost brother as part of the Goblin Nation (another great Slott invention), Black Cat as her new "boss" and Mockingbird as her new partner or sorts, has only made me love it more.

                                                                                      10. Kanan the Last Padawan #1-9
                                                                                      I love Rebels, and I love Greg Weisman's work. So this prequel to Rebels by Greg Weisman is, no surprise, a real favorite. Showing off the early days of Kanan when he was a padawan, post-Order 66, becoming the more jaded man that Kanan will eventually become, is rich story material. The series is ending at issue 12, which is probably OK, as I'm not sure how much prologue I really want, but I'd love to see more of the Rebels universe in comic book form and hope Weisman will be back for that.

                                                                                      Just outside the top 10 is the Image book Beauty and the Marvel books Spider-Gwen and Agents of SHIELD.

                                                                                      New Series That Are Too New To Judge:
                                                                                      These series are not quite far enough for me to judge them Best New Series yet, but I really like them all, and I can see any of them making my Best Continuing Series next year. Because I don't think it's fair to compare a single issue or a two- or three-issue run to the more extended runs above, I'm ranking these separately. Last year, two of the 17 series (Birthright and Fade Out) on this list made my Best Continuing Series.
                                                                                      1. Daredevil #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                      2. All New All Different Avengers #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                      3. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                      4. Paper Girls #1-3 (Image)
                                                                                      5. Goddamned #1-2 (Image)
                                                                                      6. Doctor Strange #1-3 (Marvel)
                                                                                      7. All New Wolverine #1-3 (Marvel)
                                                                                      8. Jughead #1-3 (Archie)
                                                                                      9. Plutona #1-3 (Image)
                                                                                      10. Hercules #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                      11. Spidey #1 (Marvel)
                                                                                      12. Huck #1-2 (Image)
                                                                                      13. Web Warriors #1-2 (Marvel)
                                                                                      14. Black Magick #1-3 (Image)
                                                                                      15. Klaus #1-2 (Boom! Studios)
                                                                                      16. All New Hawkeye #1-2 (Marvel)

                                                                                      Monday, December 21, 2015

                                                                                      Best of 2015 - Food

                                                                                      Last year I ate out over 50 times. This year it was more like 250. I counted lunch and stuff too, though.

                                                                                      I'm not qualified to be a food critic, but I did eat a lot of food and I do have opinions. So here are my top 10 favorites, the ones that are accessible, affordable *and* delicious enough that I went there numerous times during the year. My list of favorites is mostly down to how many times I went there, with a little fudging (I went to Alamo Drafthouse a lot, but it's not really the food that drew me. Conversely, Kerbey Lane made the cut not because their food is amazing, but because 24 hours + wide variety = more visits)

                                                                                      Favorites:
                                                                                      1. Torchy's Tacos
                                                                                      2. Sushi Nini
                                                                                      3. Noble Sandwich
                                                                                      4. Kerbey Lane
                                                                                      5. Chuy's
                                                                                      6. Chi'Lantro
                                                                                      7. Michi Ramen
                                                                                      8. Mambo House
                                                                                      9. Peached Tortilla
                                                                                      10. Jack Allen Kitchen
                                                                                      I also kept track of where I ate lunch this year, and these are my favorites, based on how often I ate there. It's not just quality of food, here, but also closeness to work, where I'm usually eating lunch.

                                                                                      Lunch Favorites:
                                                                                      1. Popeye's
                                                                                      2. PizzaRev
                                                                                      3. Smashburger
                                                                                      4. Tarka
                                                                                      5. Fork + Taco (or Torchy's again, Fork + Taco actually already closed)
                                                                                      Then there were the places that I ate at once or twice, due to either it's location (downtown especially) or price. This list is purely down to my favorites, where I'd eat if location and price were no object.

                                                                                      Rare Treats:
                                                                                      1. Franklin Barbecue
                                                                                      2. Gus's Fried Chicken
                                                                                      3. Terry Black's BBQ
                                                                                      4. Haymaker
                                                                                      5. Lucy's Fried Chicken
                                                                                      6. Odd Duck
                                                                                      7. Salt & Time
                                                                                      8. TNT Tacos & Tequila
                                                                                      9. 24 Diner
                                                                                      10. French Quarter Grille
                                                                                      In addition, while I ate out a lot this year, I also tried to cook more, and added several new recipes to my repertoire.

                                                                                      New Recipes:
                                                                                      1. Chicken with Mushrooms
                                                                                      2. Chili with Bacon & Beer
                                                                                      3. Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Pasta
                                                                                      4. Crockpot Carnitas
                                                                                      5. Chicken Fried Steak
                                                                                      6. Macaroni & Cheese
                                                                                      7. Chicken Parmesan
                                                                                      8. Baked Alfredo Ziti
                                                                                      9. Brussels Sprouts Gratin
                                                                                      10. Pork Chops & Rice

                                                                                      Friday, December 18, 2015

                                                                                      Best of 2015 - Television

                                                                                      Best Shows (Every Category):
                                                                                      This was my first year without cable, and I still watched a ton of TV.

                                                                                      In general, this list is the "If I had to cut back to a certain number of shows, based on money, time, etc., this is the list of shows I'd cut first (starting with #48) to shows I'd cut last (starting with #1). Last year this list was 37 shows, and I dropped 13 shows from last year's list, so I added basically 24 new shows this year.

                                                                                      There are a couple shows I watch that don't show up on here. Agents of SHIELD and True Detective, though I watched every episode, neither one really belongs on a list of best TV for me. There were four shows cancelled off of last years list (The Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire, Enlisted and A to Z), one show that didn't have a new season (24), one show that didn't hit until really late in the year (Transparent), two shows dropped because they disappointed me (Married and Orphan Black) and eight shows are being left for when they show up on Netflix or another streaming service when I have more time to watch them (Humans, Rectify, Les Revenants, Ash vs. Evil Dead, The Walking Dead, Review, Bob's Burgers, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail).

                                                                                      Also, special award to HBO's 7 Days in Hell or being one of the funniest things I watched this year.
                                                                                      1. Fargo (FX)
                                                                                      2. Better Call Saul (FX)
                                                                                      3. You're The Worst (FX)
                                                                                      4. Daredevil (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      5. The Flash (CW)
                                                                                      6. iZombie (CW)
                                                                                      7. Mr. Robot (USA)
                                                                                      8. Togetherness (HBO)
                                                                                      9. Catastrophes (AMAZON)
                                                                                      10. Show Me A Hero (HBO)
                                                                                      11. Game of Thrones (HBO)
                                                                                      12. Master of None (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      13. Justified (FX)
                                                                                      14. The Americans (FX)
                                                                                      15. Casual (HULU)
                                                                                      16. The Leftovers (HBO)
                                                                                      17. Parks & Recreation (NBC)
                                                                                      18. Inside Amy Schumer (COM)
                                                                                      19. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      20. Broad City (COM)
                                                                                      21. Veep (HBO)
                                                                                      22. Silicon Valley (HBO)
                                                                                      23. Last Week With John Oliver (HBO)
                                                                                      24. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (COM)
                                                                                      25. Hannibal (NBC)
                                                                                      26. Rick and Morty (CARTOON)
                                                                                      27. Deutchsland '83 (SUNDANCE)
                                                                                      28. Sense8 (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      29. Mad Men (AMC)
                                                                                      30. Jessica Jones (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      31. Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      32. Rebels (DISNEY XD)
                                                                                      33. Bojack Horseman (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      34. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)
                                                                                      35. Key & Peele (COM)
                                                                                      36. Louie (FX)
                                                                                      37. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
                                                                                      38. Community (NBC)
                                                                                      39. Supergirl (CBS)
                                                                                      40. Agent Carter (ABC)
                                                                                      41. Arrow (CW)
                                                                                      42. Wayward Pines (FOX)
                                                                                      43. Scream Queens (FOX)
                                                                                      44. Man Seeking Woman (FXX)
                                                                                      45. Narcos (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      46. Man in the High Castle (AMAZON)
                                                                                      47. The League (FXX)
                                                                                      48. Wet Hot American Summer (NETFLIX)

                                                                                      Best New Show:
                                                                                      1. Better Call Saul (FX)
                                                                                      2. Daredevil (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      3. iZombie (CW)
                                                                                      4. Mr. Robot (USA)
                                                                                      5. Togetherness (HBO)
                                                                                      6. Catastrophes (AMAZON)
                                                                                      7. Show Me A Hero (HBO)
                                                                                      8. Master of None (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      9. Casual (HULU)
                                                                                      10. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      11. Deutchsland '83 (SUNDANCE)
                                                                                      12. Sense8 (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      13. Jessica Jones (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      14. Supergirl (CBS)
                                                                                      15. Wayward Pines (FOX)
                                                                                      16. Agent Carter (ABC)
                                                                                      17. Scream Queens (FOX)
                                                                                      18. Man Seeking Woman (FXX)
                                                                                      19. Narcos (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      20. Man in the High Castle (AMAZON)
                                                                                      Best Comedy:
                                                                                      1. You're The Worst (FX)
                                                                                      2. Togetherness (HBO)
                                                                                      3. Catastrophes (AMAZON)
                                                                                      4. Master of None (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      5. Casual (HULU)
                                                                                      6. Parks & Recreation (NBC)
                                                                                      7. Inside Amy Schumer (COM)
                                                                                      8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      9. Broad City (COM)
                                                                                      10. Veep (HBO)
                                                                                      Best Drama:
                                                                                      1. Fargo (FX)
                                                                                      2. Better Call Saul (FX)
                                                                                      3. Daredevil (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      4. The Flash (CW)
                                                                                      5. iZombie (CW)
                                                                                      6. Mr. Robot (USA)
                                                                                      7. Show Me A Hero (HBO)
                                                                                      8. Game of Thrones (HBO)
                                                                                      9. Justified (FX)
                                                                                      10. The Americans (FX)
                                                                                      Best Ensemble:

                                                                                      1. Fargo (FX)
                                                                                      2. You're The Worst (FX)
                                                                                      3. Veep (HBO)
                                                                                      4. Silicon Valley (HBO)
                                                                                      5. Bojack Horseman (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      6. Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX)
                                                                                      7. Game of Thrones (HBO)
                                                                                      8. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
                                                                                      9. Togetherness (HBO)
                                                                                      10. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NETFLIX)

                                                                                      Tuesday, December 01, 2015

                                                                                      Monthly Update - November 2015

                                                                                      RESOLUTIONS:

                                                                                      1. Read books. Started at 19 this month. Read the Night Vale novel, so I'm up to 20.

                                                                                      2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. Still at 5. Battlefront has taken over my videogame life and I'm on no-buying until after Christmas, so I think I'm actually going to make this one.

                                                                                      3. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 33, and then played Age of War, Imperial Assault, Jaipur and Codenames, so I'm up to 37.

                                                                                      4. Cook! Added two new recipes this month, one for pork chops with rice and another for Brussels Sprouts Gratin.

                                                                                      LISTS:

                                                                                      Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                      October 7th (Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Hercules, Howard the Duck, Klaus, Paper Girls, Star Wars, Velvet, We Stand on Guard)

                                                                                      Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                      1. Ms. Marvel #1
                                                                                      2. Spider-Woman #1
                                                                                      3. Amazing Spider-Man #3
                                                                                      4. Howard the Duck #1
                                                                                      5. All New All Different Avengers #1
                                                                                                                                                            Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                            • Airboy #4
                                                                                                                                                            • All New All Different Avengers #1
                                                                                                                                                            • All New Hawkeye #1
                                                                                                                                                            • All New Wolverine #1-2
                                                                                                                                                            • Amazing Spider-Man #3
                                                                                                                                                            • Archie #4
                                                                                                                                                            • Astonishing Ant-Man #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Beauty #4
                                                                                                                                                            • Birthright #11
                                                                                                                                                            • Black Magick #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Captain America Sam Wilson #3
                                                                                                                                                            • Contest of Champions #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Darth Vader #12
                                                                                                                                                            • Descender #7
                                                                                                                                                            • Doctor Strange #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Drax #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Fade Out #11
                                                                                                                                                            • Goddamned #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Grayson #14
                                                                                                                                                            • Hercules #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Howard the Duck #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Huck #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Illuminati #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Jacked #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Klaus #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Lazarus #20
                                                                                                                                                            • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Ms. Marvel #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Nova #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Paper Girls #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Rat Queens #13
                                                                                                                                                            • Saga #31
                                                                                                                                                            • Silk #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Six #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Spider-Gwen #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Spider-Man 2099 #3
                                                                                                                                                            • Spider-Woman #1
                                                                                                                                                            • Star Trek/Green Lantern #5
                                                                                                                                                            • Star Wars #11
                                                                                                                                                            • Star Wars #12
                                                                                                                                                            • Star Wars Vader Down #1
                                                                                                                                                            • The Autumnlands #7
                                                                                                                                                            • Thors #4
                                                                                                                                                            • Twilight Children #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2
                                                                                                                                                            • Usagi Yojimbo #150
                                                                                                                                                            • Velvet #12
                                                                                                                                                            • Wayward #11
                                                                                                                                                            • We Stand on Guard #5
                                                                                                                                                            • Web Warriors #1
                                                                                                                                                            Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                            • Wayward Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                                            • Astro City Lovers Quarrel HC
                                                                                                                                                            • Our Expanding Universe

                                                                                                                                                            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 month I gave up on posting thoughts on each episodes, for the last two months this will probably just be a list.
                                                                                                                                                            • Rebels "Always Two There Are" "Brothers of the Broken Horn" "Wings of the Master"
                                                                                                                                                            • The Leftovers "No Room At The Inn" "Love and Basketball" "Lens" "A Most Powerful Adversary"
                                                                                                                                                            • iZombie "Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues" "Max Wager" "Abra Kadaver"
                                                                                                                                                            • Supergirl "Stronger Together" "Fight or Flight" "Live Wire" "How Does She Do It"
                                                                                                                                                            • Ash vs. Evil Dead "Pilot" "Episode Two"
                                                                                                                                                            • Flash "Darkness and the Light" "Enter Zoom" "Gorilla Warfare"
                                                                                                                                                            • Casual "Biden" "Home" "Bottles" "Mars"
                                                                                                                                                            • Fargo "Fear and Trembling" "The Gift of the Magi" "Rhinoceros" "Did you do this? No, you did it!"
                                                                                                                                                            • Arrow "Haunted" "Lost Souls" "Brotherhood"
                                                                                                                                                            • You're the Worst "LCD Soundsystem" "A Right Proper Story"
                                                                                                                                                            • One Mississippi "Pilot"
                                                                                                                                                            • Edge "Pilot"
                                                                                                                                                            • Master of None "Season One"
                                                                                                                                                            • Agents of SHIELD "Among Us Hide..." "Chaos Theory" "Two Heads, One Tale"
                                                                                                                                                            • W/Bob and David "Season One"
                                                                                                                                                            • Scream Queens "Beware of Young Girls" "Mommie Dearest"
                                                                                                                                                            • Jessica Jones "Season One"
                                                                                                                                                            • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Into the Woods" "The Mattress" "Ava"
                                                                                                                                                            Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                            1. Fargo
                                                                                                                                                            2. You're The Worst
                                                                                                                                                            3. Master of None
                                                                                                                                                            4. The Flash
                                                                                                                                                            5. Casual
                                                                                                                                                              Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                              • Blazing Saddles
                                                                                                                                                              • Johnny Dangerously
                                                                                                                                                              • Peanuts
                                                                                                                                                              • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
                                                                                                                                                              Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                              • Peached Tortilla
                                                                                                                                                              • Bullfight
                                                                                                                                                              • Michi Ramen
                                                                                                                                                              • Noble Sandwich
                                                                                                                                                              • Chuy's
                                                                                                                                                              • Torchy's Tacos x2
                                                                                                                                                              • Gordough's Public House
                                                                                                                                                              • PizzaRev
                                                                                                                                                              • Popeye's (x3)
                                                                                                                                                              • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                                                                                                              • Hoody's Subs (x2)
                                                                                                                                                              • Sushi Nini

                                                                                                                                                              Sunday, November 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                              Monthly Update - October 2015

                                                                                                                                                              RESOLUTIONS:

                                                                                                                                                              1.Read books. Started at 19 this month. Bought but haven't read the Night Vale novel. Will probably end around 20 for the year.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I was at six, but I canceled my Rock Band 4 preorder, so with Battlefront next month, I'm still at 5.

                                                                                                                                                              4. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 31, then played Epic and Biblios, so I'm up to 33 for the year.

                                                                                                                                                              5. Eat! - Two I want to revisit: Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor. On my "need to try" list: Bullfight (Spanish tapas on Airport, eating there early November), Porter Gastropub, and Southern's at PBK,

                                                                                                                                                              LISTS:

                                                                                                                                                              Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                              October 7th (Amazing Spider-Man, Darth Vader, Doctor Strange, Paper Girls, Plutona, Spider-Island, Star Wars, We Stand on Guard)

                                                                                                                                                              Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                              1. Ms. Marvel #19
                                                                                                                                                              2. Amazing Spider-Man #1
                                                                                                                                                              3. Paper Girls #1
                                                                                                                                                              4. Star Wars #10
                                                                                                                                                              5. Doctor Strange #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Amazing Spider-Man #1-2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Astonishing Ant-Man #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Black Magick #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Captain America Sam Wilson #1-2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Chew #51
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Civil War #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Contest of Champions #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Copperhead #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Darth Vader #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Darth Vader #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Doctor Strange #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grayson #13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Jughead #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kanan the Last Padawan #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ms. Marvel #19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Paper Girls #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Plutona #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sex Criminals #13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Spider-Gwen #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Spider-Island #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Spider-Man 2099 #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Star Trek/Green Lantern #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Star Wars #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Star Wars Journey to Force Awakens #2-4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Switch #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Fade Out #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Twilight Children #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Usagi Yojimbo #149
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • We Stand on Guard #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Star Wars The Marvel Covers HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Quantum & Woody Must Die TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Graphic Ink: DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Battling Boy: Fall of the House of West
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Shaft Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Two Brothers HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Revival Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Southern Bastards Vol 1 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • You're The Worst "All About That Paper" (Janet Varney is excellent at playing terrible. The two improving Nathans. The pretentious author is fantastic. The texting between Jimmy and Gretchen was great. The rap feud promises to be entertaining. The sperm in the microwave is one of the most messed-up things this show has done, which is really saying something.) "We Can Do Better" (Jimmy's adventure with a pretentious writer, the texting back and forth.) "Side Bitch" (Jimmy's running NCIS: LA thing just keeps getting funnier. Lindey's inability to pay bills. And learning to walk. Janet Varney and her video was weird and funny. 6969 safe combination. Vernon is unexpectedly sweet. The return of the MUSTACHE disguise.) "There is Not Currently a Problem" (Hakuna Matata. The dancing. Vernon and Lindsey. Gretchen's depression issues and talk with Lindsey. Rocket ship to Heaven.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The League "Deflate-gate" (The "juices" discussion, condoms, Sabbath goy, and Frank "The Body" Gibbiati) "The Bully" (Choad Juggler, Little Eskimo Brothers, Taco draws his own porn because of course he does, the child-endangering EBDB, Ellie's sex ed book and the teacher's utter disdain for Ellie and her parents.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Rick and Morty "Look Who's Purging Now" (Rick & Morty plus The Purge - as fun as you'd expect.) "The Wedding Squanchers" (Jerry and Beth at the wedding, Tiny Earth. The death of Bird Person. Earth for space tourism. Great use of the song "Hurt.")
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Leftovers "Axis Mundi" (The new opening sequence, combined with the cavewoman sequence, was pretty harrowing. Miracle, Texas is instantly engaging. I love the new characters, there's a nice undercurrent of menace and mystery.) "A Matter of Geography" (Nora buying a house and selling a house, Kevin's hallucinations, Jill and her brother, more of the Miracle National Park, Kevin's father off to Australia.) "Off-Ramp" (Laurie running a support group to rescue Guilty Remnant.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Funeral" (Vulture as captain is as terrible and entertaining as I thought it would be. One drink dancing Terry. Bagpipe playing Jake. Terry's mango yogurt.) "Boyle's Hunch" (Fun episode, Boyle being creepy is always funny, no Vulture.) "The Oolong Slayer" (Captain Vulture pays dividends. Jake, Holt and Gina working a case in secrets. The Terry gets fat story was unfortunate. Gina's proper entrance.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The Flash "The Man Who Saved Central City" (Cisco at CCPD. Atom Smasher costume and effects were pretty good. Professor Stein naming Atom Smasher, and the subsequent hug. Joe and Barry continues to be a fantastic relationship. The Flash light. And the first appearance of Jay Garrick. Not really buying the reason Henry Allen has to leave, though.) "Flash of Two Worlds" (So... many... Easter Eggs! Multiverse! Earth 2! Jay's origin! Joe's amused befuddled reaction to multiversal theory. Kind of love Patty Spivot immediately. Weird that all of the JSA are bad guys on Earth 2. Stein and Cisco working together is amazing. Jay as a depowered mentor of Barry is a neat role. The visual Flash of Two Worlds teaser was a little cheesy... and a little cool. Vibe. 52 breaches. Stein clearly still needs a fusion partner. And Harrison Wells of Earth 2.) "Family of Rogues" (Iris and Flash working together is awesome. Always fun to see the Snarts back. Joe and Iris... Jesse L. Martin continues to be the MVP of this show. I love the Cisco/Golden Glider flirtation.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Agents of SHIELD "Purpose in the Machine" (Intriguing opener... wish they'd set it in 1602 for the Easter Egg factor. Mockingbird working with Fitz secretly is good. Sending Hunter out to kill Ward also good. Always fun to have Peter McNicol, even if his character isn't great. Bringing in Werner Von Strucker good, though Andrea & Andreas would have been better. Glad they didn't drag out Simmons being missing. I still don't care about random handsome Inhuman guy. Or most of the Inhumans stuff.) "A Wanted (Inhu)Man" (I don't care about random handsome electric Inhuman. This was his focus episode. The May/Hunter stuff is a little more interesting. I do love pretty much everything about the adversarial/flirty relationship between Coulson and the woman hunting down Inhumans.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grandfathered "Dad Face" (I think Paget Brewster is far and away the best part of this show. Although the baby mama throwing drums in the ocean and busting out a butterfly knife was pretty funny.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Scream Queens "Haunted House" (Chanel-o-ween was hilarious. The pumpkin carving contest. Grace seems really eager to accuse everyone of being the killer. The reveal that the baby was a girl. I love the security guard in every minute she's in. Chad is a hilarious character, and his graveyard interlude with Hester was a lot of fun. The hag on Shady Lane. The "Mad About You" sorority beatdown. The haunted house with Chad and Hester was even better. And the mystery of who's doing the killings, while ultimately irrelevant, is so insanely complex that I love it.) "Pumpkin Patch" (Chad's clueless bravado makes him one of my favorites. Chanel's insanity makes her another. The scheming of the Chanels and the talk between the Dean and the security guard are both bonkers. Zayday's escape, and the reveal of who's in league with the Devil.) "Seven Minutes in Hell" (The frat guys continue to be my favorite part. Did not see that coming. Charles Manson's daughter's lesbian non-fling. Truth or dare.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Arrow "Green Arrow" (Good job establishing Dahrk and his scary forces. Disappointed that they're still doing flashbacks. Dig and Oliver at odds is pissing me off, and I wish they'd quietly swept it under the rug instead of deciding to focus on it. The fight with Dahrk's men and Team Arrow was a great action scene. The new Green Arrow costume looks pretty good. Captain Lance being in with HIVE is not encouraging. Neither is the "is Felicity dead?" teaser. Because if she is, I'm done, and if she's not, it's unnecessary angst.) "The Candidate" (Cool to see Team Arrow working well together. Always good to see Jeri Ryan. Like the new Holt. It's really damn cool seeing Green Arrow and Red Arrow together on screen. And Ollie running for Mayor is great. Plus they're taking Sarah to Nanda Parbat. Lots going on this episode, and I like a lot of it.) "Restoration" (Glad they're moving faster this season. Dig/Arrow feud being yelled at by Felicity, Sarah being raised in Nanda Parbat... and nice if obscure nod to DC continuity with Double Down, who was a not-super-impressive villain who missed a lot, but lead to some nice action sequences and of course the Dig/Arrow feud ending. T-Spheres!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • iZombie  (Case of the week interesting enough, as always, but the Max Rager/Major tie-in, Major's new zombie-detecting power, Blaine's new job and especially the reveal about Liv's new roommate show an even more promising story arc for the season.) "Zombie Bro" (Liv's frat boy personality. Ravi and Major on Utopium. Blaine's dad. Zombie victim turned zombie turned drug addict? Man, Major has it rough.) "Real Dead Housewife of Seattle" (Seeing the killing up front is different. Liv as housewife is fun, as are all her personas. Poor Major's zombie hunting and corporate life are terribly depressing. Love the relationship between Von Du Clark and Liv's roommate. The stylist was a really, really obvious killer, though. Glad Peyton is back, and glad everybody knows about the zombie thing. Except Babineaux, who may be the worst detective ever if he hasn't noticed Liv's personality changes. Max Rager's zombie subbasement.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Casual "Pilot" (Michaela Watkins is killer in this. I like everyone, but it's definitely her show. The awkward dates, the fitness-obsession and paleo diet scorn.) "Friends" (I really like Leon, and I love that he and Alex get into trouble so easily. I also love Valerie with the 20-somethings, reminds me of a similar thing they did on New Girl.) "Animals" (The opening sex ed sequence was great. The house hunting is a lot of fun.) "..." (Alex's interview at the bar, the crazy girlfriend of the patient, Alex's fuck-up with the blogger.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fargo "Waiting for Dutch" (Killer opening with the Ronald Reagan movie, love the introductions of the various characters, the fashions and looks of '79, as good as engaging as season one) "Before the Law" (Finding the murder weapon, the Gerhart family struggles, Mike Milligan everywhere, but especially facing down Hank on the road, that scene in the butcher shop with Lou and Ed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Rebels "The Lost Commanders" (Using the head of an old droid was a neat trick, love that the Clone Troopers were on an old Republic tank. Hunting sandworms. Rex snipering the probe droid. "Relics of the Old Republic" (Rex trash-talking the Empire. The clones vs. AT-ATs. The new inquisitor.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Fargo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. You're The Worst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. The Leftovers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. The Flash
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5. Casual
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Devil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Taking of Deborah Logan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Babadook
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Chi'Lantro (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hoodie's Subs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Noble Sandwich (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Popeye's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Mambo House
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Michi Ramen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jack Allen's Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Korean Grill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Alamo Drafthouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Frank
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Peached Tortilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Shogun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Tropicana Cuban
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Frank
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Gus's Fried Chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thursday, October 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Monthly Update - September 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    RESOLUTIONS:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. No cancer. Well, didn't make it. Small regrowth in the lung, getting surgery to take care of it in October. Could have been worse, but have not had a year cancer-free since 2012 when we found the damn thing. (Probably technically since 2010 or 2011 when it first grew, but I hadn't caught it yet.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Read books. Started at 17 this month. Finished Gillian Flynn's "Dark Places" (in two days, I couldn't put it down) and The Showrunners book, bringing me to 19.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Buy no more than six videogames this year. So as of last month, if I cheat and don't consider DLC to be "buying" and count my two preorders of Star Wars Battlefront and Rock Band 4, I'm at... six.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 30, played The Captain is Dead, a cooperative sci-fi game, as well as a few more rounds of DC Deck-Building, Machi Koro and its expansion. Also added Machi Koro Deluxe, Epic Card Game and Star Trek Five Year Mission to the game library.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5. Eat! - Tried out Shake Shack, which I liked pretty well. Two I want to revisit: Estancia Churrascaria, and Texas Chili Parlor (probably not until colder weather, so relatively soon). On my "need to try" list: Bullfight (Spanish tapas on Airport), Sawyer & Company, Porter Gastropub, and Southern's at PBK, Everything else new probably isn't opening until 2016.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LISTS:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    September 2nd (Daredevil, Future Imperfect, Lazarus, Mockingbird One-Shot, Plutona, Silk, Spider-Island, Squadron Sinister, Thors, We Stand on Guard)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Ms. Marvel #18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Rat Queens #12
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Sex Criminals #12
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Daredevil #18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5. Star Wars #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Agent Carter One-Shot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Archie #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Beauty #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Civil War #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Daredevil #18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Darth Vader #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Future Imperfect #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Grayson Annual #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Infinity Gauntlet #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Journey to Star Wars Force Awakens - Shattered Empire #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lazarus #19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mockingbird One-Shot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ms. Marvel #18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Plutona #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rat Queens #12
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • SHIELD #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Secret Wars 2099 #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sex Criminals #12
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Shield: The Cavalry #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Silk #7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spider-Island #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spider-Island #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Squadron Sinister #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Star Trek Green Lantern #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Star Wars #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Starve #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Fade Out #9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Thors #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Usagi Yojimbo #148
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • We Stand on Guard #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Suicide Squad Vol 1: Trial By Fire TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ms. Marvel Vol 1 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Master Keaton Vol 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bloodshot Reborn Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Valiant TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Imperium Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Fade Out Vol 2 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Birthright Vol 2 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Descender Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chrononauts TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Divinity TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mind Mgmt Vol 4 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ivar, Timewalker Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Archer & Armstrong Vol 2 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Harbinger Vol 1-2 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Quantum & Woody Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rai Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Armor Hunters TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Eternal Warrior Vol 1 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Narcos "You Will Cry Tears of Blood" (The kidnappings and bombings made this an even darker show, and this was definitely an hour when the Narcos weren't winning, but they were doing a lot of damage. The Cali cartel using Gustavo's affair against him was good. Also liked the chase, and was kind of horrified that Escobar's men were so callous and willing to murder a baby.) "La Gran Mentira" (The death of Diana was a rough moment, Pablo building his own prison is dark comedy, Pacha and Ochoas moving against Pablo, Gustavo's capture and beating and murder. I feel like the show wants me to be more conflicted, though, and I'm wholly for the savage murder of Escobar and all his compatriots, even as we're shown their human side, given all that they've been responsible for.) "La Catedral" (The prison sequence reminds me of Goodfellas and prison as party, another nod. The traffic accident was the very definition of "escalated quickly." The pigeon hunting was a rare spot of humor, but also an interesting bit of history. Then there were the paranoia murders.) "Despegue" (The raid on the prison, the minister of justice at the prison, the Cali Cartel in bed with the DEA, and where it all leaves it... I was hoping for a tidier resolution in case they don't come back, but this was a solid finale.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mr. Robot "eps1.9_zer0-daY.avi" (The return of philandering Michael/Lenny and the Ashley Madison reference is frighteningly timely. And that meeting with Wellick's wife... holy shit, is Elliot actually Tyrell too? I don't think so, given how Tyrell's assistant reacts to him, but... what a great scene. The public suicide, a.k.a. reason the finale was delayed, was striking, as was the tense scene between Angela and the Evil Corp CEO. There's a great pre-apocalyptic vibe all through this episode. "I don't know who you think you're talking to... but I'll try the Pradas next." Wow, great line. I was hoping for more concrete answers, but this was a fantastic season, not series, finale.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key & Peele "The 420 Special" (Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the valets discuss Game of Thrones and the telemarketer hang-up strategy) "Meegan & Andre Break Up" (The Meegan/Andre and Young Business both escalated for funny, but never quite made me laugh. The Nazi sketch, though... kept getting funnier. ) "The End" (Those goddamn Ray Parker Jr. songs are gonna be stuck in my head. The 911 sketch had a great punchline. I want to see their theoretical black revolution alternate universe as a movie. Negrotown was an amazing sketch with a dark-as-fuck punch-in-the-gut ending. Good, if not great, finale to a great show.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • You're The Worst "The Sweater People" (Man, did I miss this show. The Lindsey/Gretchen scene about relationships, Edgar's crush on Lindsey, Lindsey and Paul, the mutual too-tired-but-can't-admit-it, "Sleepy bitches lose their right to use normal people phones." The exact wrong pitch for a family plan. They stole the Zoiddle street car! Oh, I love this show so much. And I love that Lindsay is a little psycho, it just makes me love her more.) "Crevasses" (Gretchen tormenting Jimmy with Trivial Pursuit, Lindsey abusing Edgar's affection and the resulting turnaround with the guys at the bar, Gretchen's shopping meltdown) "Born Dead" (It's OK not to have friends, "I've been busy... with my dick!", alcohol shopping with Jimmy and Edgar, the recumbent bike sad story, the party)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The League "That Other Draft" (Andre and Pete's ex. Taco enjoying his punishment, more NFL players who can't act - kind of a weak opener.) "The Draft of Innocence" (Ruxon being the worst... always funny. Pete bringing Raffi to the draft was great and of course he would kidnap a woman and bring her to the auction. Of course. Andre's alley fight was... unexpected. And awesome.) "The Blind Spot" (The titular blind spot is pretty funny. And I always love EBDB. Dick Chicken)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rick and Morty "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez" (TINY RICK! The opening kitchen table scene, Jerry and Beth's dysfunctional relationship given form, and Rick's constant cry for help in song and dance... good episode.) "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" (Weaker than the original)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Minority Report "Pilot" (The female lead is deadly dull, the technology and special effects look creaky and old and they're trying way too hard, putting every little bit of the movie into the pilot and not really doing much new with it. I'll give it a couple more episodes to improve, but mostly it makes me wish the much-better Almost Human FOX canceled two years ago.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Muppets "Pig Girls Don't Cry" (I didn't hate it... but I also didn't laugh much. Great seeing Jere Burns, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Elizabeth Banks, but... the show needs to be funny to keep me.) "Hostile Makeover" (Some jokes I laughed at in the episode, but it's still not quite grabbing me. Maybe I'm just not that big of a Muppets fan?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brooklyn Nine-Nine "New Captain" (Bill Hader's intro was fantastic. Jake and Amy's date awkwardness. Linetti's narcissistic pep talk. And bringing in the Vulture? Genius.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Last Man on Earth "Is Anybody Out There?" (I decided to give this another shot, and while the first episode back was better, it was surprisingly dark and maudlin, and wasn't as fresh as it was the first time around. Like Sudeikis, like Schaal, like Forte but this just isn't the show for me.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Scream Queens "Pilot" (Based on my interest in Ryan Murphy projects, expected to hate it. Instead it's my favorite pilot so far, which is still grading on a curve. Jamie Lee Curtis gets it a lot of leeway, but this also does remind me of what I liked about Scream. It's goofy and bloody and extreme, and I don't know if it'll hold my interest long-term, but I liked it more than I expected.) "Chainsaw" (Charisma Carpenter! Also, the toxic relationship between Chanel and Chad continues to be amusing. The Coney interlude was... weird. Neck brace in Chanel's closet and getting a makeover. I love the clueless frat guys and chainsaw duels. And the white noise machine.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Grandfathered "Pilot" (Very likable cast, Paget Brewster alone makes it worth watching. It's not great, but it's a solidly put together comedy that could easily become better.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Agents of SHIELD "Laws of Nature" (I was really hoping the new base would be an actual Helicarrier. The Bobbi/Joey scene was pretty good. Bobbi being a scientist makes me happy. I like Fitz on the edge.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. You're The Worst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Mr. Robot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Rick and Morty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Key & Peele
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5. The League
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Gone Girl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mad Max Fury Road
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Time Lapse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Limitless
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Shaun of the Dead
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hot Fuzz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pitch Perfect
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pitch Perfect 2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Stripes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • A Most Violent Year
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mambo House (x3)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Torchy's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Chuy's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Shake Shack
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Popeye's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Saltgrass Steakhouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sushi Nini
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Culver's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fork + Taco
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hoodie's (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bush's Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jason's Deli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Noble Sandwich

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tuesday, September 01, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Monthly Update - August 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          RESOLUTIONS:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Read books. Started at 13 this month. Finished Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and read Elmore Leonard's Freaky Deaky and La Brava and Mira Grant's Deadline, bringing me up to 17.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Buy no more than six videogames this year. I've bought four, but last month I did get the free Rocket League Soccer on PS4 and have been playing the hell out of it, and played Limbo (also free) through to the end. I also bought two expansion packs for Arkham Knight and two DLC packs for Helldivers. And bought Disney Infinity 3.0... mostly for Aaron, but I think it still counts. So I'm at five... and I've already preorded Star Wars Battlefront, making a total of six, even if I cheat really hard. Odds are I'm going to fail this particular resolution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. 24 More Boardgames. Started at 28, Added Exploding Kittens and Chew Cases of the FDA to the game library. Played Cthulhu Wars and Exploding Kittens, so up to 30 new games for the year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Get below 190 lbs. Last month I was at 204 lbs., this month I'm at 203 lbs. The odds on this one aren't looking good either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Eat! - Got out to Lucky Robot for sushi and Japanese cuisine and it was delicious. 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've also added Hanabi for sushi and Southern's at PBK. 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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LISTS:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Best Week of Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          August 19th (1872, Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, Archie, Birthright, Captain Britain and Mighty Defenders, Kanan-The Last Padawan, Rat Queens, Runaways, Silk, Star Wars)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Top Five Favorite Comics This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Civil War #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Birthright #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Rat Queens #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Archie #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Ms. Marvel #17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Comics I Read This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • 1872 #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • A-Force #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Airboy #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #3-4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ant-Man Last Days #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Archie #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Beauty #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Birthright #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Captain Britain and Mighty Defenders #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Civil War #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Civil War #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Darth Vader #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Descender #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Future Imperfect #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Grayson #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Howard the Duck #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Howard the Human #1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Infinity Gauntlet #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kanan - The Last Padawan #5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kaptara #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mad Max Fury Road Mad Max #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ms. Marvel #17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Planet Hulk #4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rat Queens #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Red Skull #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Runaways #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Silk #6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spider-Island #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spider-Woman #10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Star Trek Green Lantern #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Star Wars #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Star Wars Lando #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Starve #3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Fade Out #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Velvet #11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • We Stand on Guard #2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Graphic Novels I Read This Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Evil Empire Vol 1 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Stumptown Vol 3 HC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Deep State TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Supreme Blue Rose TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sunstone Vol 3 TP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Autumnlands Vol 1 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • True Detective "Black Maps and Hotel Rooms" (Vaughn playing blackjack against himself while Kelly Reilly gives another dead-eyed co-performance is maybe the best metaphor for this season that I've seen. And we're still in a whirlwind of characters I don't know or care about. Farrell finding the D.A. dead was a surprise, though. Vaughn's scene with his goon was his best scene so far. But the plot is so damned labyrinthine and full of forgettable characters. Woodrugh's underground chase scene was well-shot.) "Omega Station" (How are two actors as good as Vaughn and Reilly so wooden in their scenes together? The cliched dialogue and situation doesn't help, but... yeesh. Especially when compared to Velcoro and Ani hearing about Woodrugh and reacting to that. Also a good tearful performance from random redhead girl I don't remember, even if I know her role in the narrative now. Also, once Vaughn gets away from Reilly and goes into gangster mode he gets more interesting. The scene at the airport was pretty damn fantastic, though. Also great tension as we wonder whether Velcoro and/or Frank are going to make it out alive. But... I feel like they went out of their way to make sure they both died stupid, victims of their own pride, at a point when they should have been smarter. And in the end, the men die heroic deaths so the two women can go off and raise a baby... not so good on answering the sexism charges there, Pizzolato.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Deutschland '83 "Able Archer" (That tense border crossing with Stamm in the trunk of the car. But apparently it runs in the family to confess, given his mom's actions. Yvonne tumbling to Martin's true identity was great too. love the complicated reunion with Yvonne and Annette. And the father revelation was huge and unexpected. And with all the twists and turns at the end, I hope they do Deutschland '86 to follow up.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Review "Bare Knuckle Brawl, Blackmail, Glory Hole" (Allison Tolman is amazing, Forrest's cluelessness and AJ's sly look at the end of Glory Hole was hilarious.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hannibal "And the Woman Clothed With the Sun..." (The flashback to Abigail's "murder" was creepy and effective, as were all the flashbacks to that relationship. Loved seeing Alanna and Will together again, healing slowly. Love the use of the "memory palace" when Will and Hannibal are working together. Armitage is killing it with the physicality of his performance. Still really glad to have the lab boys and the FBI back in the mix. Also great to see Freddie back too. So far their take on the Red Dragon story is as perfect as I'd imagine.) "And the Woman Clothed in Sun" (Will and Bedelia interacting these years later was really interesting. The romance between Dolarhyde and Reba is a really perfect version. Dolarhyde consuming the painting was creepy as hell, and the confrontation with Will was surprising.) "And the Beast from the Sea" (I'm still just bowled over by how great Armitage is. The creepy tension of him stalking Will's family, from the poisoned dogs on, was nearly unbearable. And then his breakup with Reba was heart-breaking in a different way. Hannibal playing games with everyone is always entertaining too. Will's talk with his wife... also heart-breaking. And then Will facing off with Hannibal at the end. So good.) "The Number of the Beast is 666..." (Will's angry interview with Freddy Lounds is a fantastic bit of revenge on the Red Dragon. Chilton and the Red Dragon was intense, with a horrifying finale.) "The Wrath of the Lamb" (The opening with Reba and Dolarhyde was moody and effective and grisly, but my first thought was...Will is never going to catch anyone, is he? And then... Dolarhyde turns up, very much alive. "We fake an escape." Hannibal's threat to Bloom, And a bloody finale, almost great except for the near-cartoonish invincibility of Will and Hannibal.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Summer "Campers Arrive" (A big parade of people I recognize, but it mostly reminds me I didn't like the movie all that much. Great cast, captures the feel of '80s camp movies but... isn't as funny as I'd like.) "Lunch" (Abby's transformation into a woman was funny, Miss Patti Pancakes was delightfully weird) "Activities" (I'm actually more interested in the Josh Charles/Rich Sommers parody snob camp, because they're so committed. Chris Meloni is also the best. Reagan and the government computer was ridiculous and fun as well, and Jon Hamm as The Falcon drew me in) "Auditions" (Yay David Hyde Pierce! And Kerry Kinney's chatty real estate agent was a fun character. Jon Hamm's Falcon continues to delight, as is everything with Paul Rudd, Chris Meloni and Molly Shannon. Plus Weird Al as a hypnotist!) "Dinner" (The extended Cape Fear-esque chase of Ken Marino by Chris Meloni was great fun.) "Electro/City" (The musical was fantastic, I also like the courtroom story with Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig is the best part of a great side bit with Camp Tigerclaw, and then there was the reappearance of Falcon, which makes everything better) "Staff Party" (Perfect culmination and a dead-on parody of every '80s sex comedy/party movie, plus the Elizabeth Banks Almost famous riff) "Day is Done" (The penultimate episode felt like a good finale, but Reagan launching an attack on the camp simultaneously with Camp Tigerclaw is a good finale. The Gene vs. Falcon fight was a thing of beauty. And I want more of Chris Meloni and Jon Hamm doing comedy together.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rick and Morty "Mortynight Run" (Jerry Daycare, the assassin who buys guns, Blips and Chips, Roy: A Life Well Lived game and Jemaine Clement as David Bowie the space fart) "Auto-Erotic Assimilation" (Rick's very specific sex fantasy with Unity cracked me up. Jerry and Beth fighting in the lair and the alien's response was also funny as hell.) "Total Rickall" (The meta gags of wacky characters and flashbacks combined with the alien parasite runner... so good.) "Get Scwhifty" (Keith David as the President, Rick's hidden snake holster, Also, religion in the face of giant heads was fun. And of course, Ice-T's bizarre backstory.) "The Ricks Must Be Crazy" (Rick's microverse counterpart was a lot of fun, but the best part was the "B" story of Summer being "safe")
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mr Robot "eps1.6_v1ew-s0urce.flv" (The meet cute done as flashback after the girl is dead. Loved the "honest self" scene. Tyrell killing the CTO's wife on the roof was unexpected but I'm not sure where that story is going. And that closing scene with Eliott and his shrink was creepy and heart-wrenching at the same time.) "eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v" (So... Angela and Darlene know each other? Whoa. The meeting with the Dark Army was tense and intriguing, as was the frenetic rush afterwards. And Mr. Robot knows Wellick? Holy shit. Darlene is Eliott's sister?! And... is Mr. Robot real? Is he Elliott? WTF? Cannot wait until next week.) "eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt" (It's weird to see Elliott so angry, and really weird that Darlene and Angela know each other. This whole thing has really kicked into high gear. The big reveal about Mr. Robot is both what I guessed at first and completely surprising and interesting. And Wellick and Elliott together? I never saw that coming.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key & Peele "Killer Concept Album" (The confession rap song killed me, lightning in a bottle made me laugh like a goon, The catcalling sketch. The awkward ghost sketch. "Tell that to his widow" was short and perfect.) "The Job Interview" (Judge Jessie was a brief but amazing sketch. The return of the valets was welcome. And the return of Dekker! The dinner sketch with Lynskey was genius.) "MC Mom" (The MC Mom sketch was amazing. The rest not as memorable, but solid enough.) "Hollywood Sequel Doctor" (The sequel doctor would explain a lot. The Ron/Rob Riggle was one-joke, but it was a funny joke.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sense8 "I Am Also A We" (The Bollywood number was really fun, Nomi's mother is horrible, some of the dialogue and moments, especially in Mexico and Chicago, are a little goofy and on the nose. And there are a *lot* of characters in this. But... I still like it. Also.. transgender character, gay character, a guy with an ostomy, tons of cultures... this may be the most diverse show ever made.) "Smart Money is on the Skinny Bitch" (Nomi's story is the most interesting of the bunch, but I also like the story in Mexico quite a bit. The gangster/ex over lunch was really tense and interesting. But the Korean/Van Damm martial arts switch was the highlight of the episode.) "What's Going On?" (The surgery story is throwing me, because I don't know how it's at all legal. The story in Africa is heating up, but my favorite story is still in Korea. loved the scene with the 4 Non Blondes song, and the lockpicking scene was pretty badass.) "Art is Like Religion" (Seeing Capheus pray to "spirit of Van Damme Korean Lady" cracked me up. The big Mexican movie shoot out was fantastic. As was the meeting of Sun and Capheus.) "Demons" (I love seeing the characters start to figure out how they can interact with one another. The Riley assault, and resulting ass-kicking, was hard to watch but paid off nicely. I continue to love the Van Damm story, and the girl is adorable, which makes me fear for what's going to happen to her. Then there was the Sensate orgy party... wow. Also a very sweet conversation between Sun and Riley.) "W.W.N. Double D?" (I *love* Bug. I thought the story with Will and his partner wasn't connected, but it seems they're looking in from another angle. And I continue to love everything with Nomi and Amanita. And the cross-continental romance between Kala and Wolfgang is interesting... although I feel for her fiance, who seems like a decent and sincere guy. And "Whispers" is a suitably terrifying big bad.) "We Will All Be Judged by the Courage of Our Hearts" (Sun's prison yard fight was pretty badass. Love Nomi and Gorski investigating BPO. And Nomi, Sun, Gorski and Capheus teaming up for an escape was a great action scene.) "Death Doesn't Let You Say Goodbye" (I'm trying to figure out Jonas's agenda, and it's interesting to watch. This was an emotional episode, and the harrowing stuff with Lito at the end was particularly engaging.) "What Is Human?" (Wolfgang's action sequence was surprisingly satisfying, but not as satisfying as Wolfgang and Lito beating up the abusive asshole. Always good to see Joey Pants in a supporting role. And the birth montage was amazing, with a great cliffhanger.) "Just Turn the Wheel and the Future Changes" (The return of Bug! The shootout/fight in Africa. Whispers closing in on them.) "I Can't Leave Her" (Gorski and Nomi working together to break out Riley is fantastic. Wolfgang's assault, with Will and Kala's help, was great. The Wachowskis really like their "power of love" ending, though.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Show Me A Hero "Episodes 1-2" (Oscar Isaac is definitely the star of the show here and he's great, but I'm loving the supporting performances, especially from Jon Bernthal and Winona Ryder.) "Episodes 3-4" (The phone montage that opens episode three is fantastic. So was Wasiscko at the house. Molina's Councilman Spallone is a complete asshole, he's playing a great role. Watching his cameraman ignore anything normal and only take pictures of things that would scare people was very effective. And I can't believe how compelling city council meetings are in Haggis's and Simon's hands.) "Episodes 5-6" (Always good to see Clarke Peters again... acting with Catherine Keener is even better. Also good to see Winona Ryder back. Wasiscko on the outs is interesting to watch. The closing moments of episode 5 as the residents come home and the current residents act like racist dicks were powerful and a little too real. And they really made Wasiscko unlikable by the end, I didn't expect that. I also didn't expect the heartwarming moment between "poodle lady" and the kid. Too much George Pelecanos in Simon's past had me expecting the worst. Which, it turns out, they saved for last. But Wasiscko's story is only part of it, because the happy endings for Carmen, Doreen and other were more powerful.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Married Season 2 (Watched the first six episodes, and it's still uneven and doesn't make full use of its great cast, but still has funny moments as well.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Banshee Season 1 (A fantastic mix of sex and violence, both at the levels you'd expect from Cinemax. The action scenes are truly bonkers, with great chases and fights and a few fights that go the right kind of long (think They Live) and plenty of brutal after-effects for those in the fights. Proctor, the ex-Amish gangster, is a great villain. Lucas Hood and Carrie/Anna are good badass characters. The Albino is a terrifying adversary for one episode. And I loved the supporting cast like cross-dressing hacker Job and ex-boxer Sugar. Rural noir with a gonzo edge, right up my alley.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Narcos "Descenso" (Heavy voice-over, stole liberally from Goodfellas, which is one of my favorites, so I liked it quite a bit. Good setup.) "The Sword of Simon Bolivar" (The M-19 kidnapping, the formation of the Cartel.) "The Men of Always" (I don't know much about Escobar's political career, so this was an interesting hour. Also interesting to see that the DEA were protected in some ways.) "The Palace in Flames" (Barry Seal the pilot, the raid on Escobar's house, Reagan-era communist-hunting, and Escobar's use of the M-19) "There Will Be a Future" (The intersection of politics and narcos Gustavo's affair with the Ochoa's sister. Carillo's special unit. And that final phone call between Carillo and Escobar.) "Explosivos" (The border crossing with the two women was tense. The DEA security meeting was a funny bit. The Spaniard. And that poor dumb innocent kid who didn't know he was signing up to be a suicide bomber. I was surprised that the politician was talked out of getting on the plane.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Top Five Shows This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Mr. Robot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Deutschland '83
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Show Me A Hero
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Sense8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5. Rick and Morty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Favorite Last Week with John Oliver Segments This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Movies I Watched This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wet Hot American Summer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Birdman
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ant-Man
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Gravity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Places I Ate This Month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hopdoddy's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jason's Deli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Popeye's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Pacific Rim
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • PizzaRev (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sushi Nini (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • DK Sushi
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Smashburger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Alamo Drafthouse (x2)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Palermo's Pasta
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Noble Sandwich
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Tarka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lucky Robot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Chuy's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Culver's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • TNT Tacos & Tequila
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kin & Comfort