Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Panel of the Week: 3/25/15

Here's another Panel of the Week winner, and in a totally-unplanned-I-promise bit of synergistic timing, it's from this week's issue of the Walking Dead, #139 (written, of course, by Robert Kirkman, pencilled by Charlie Adlard). I promise it isn't anything too spoilerific, especially for the fans out there who only watch the show and don't read the comic. Fans who have no idea what they're missing out on, by the way. But first, a bit of an appetizer to whet your whistle, the funniest scene I read this week, which comes from Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 3) #32 (written by Brian Michael Bendis, pencilled by Chris Bachalo), a touching moment between Cyclops and his former girlfriend, the White Queen.

It's sort of amazing he wanted to touch her in the first place, all things considered...
And now, this week's winner.

Yeah, Michonne's a friggin' pirate. She is, at this point, her own Ninjas vs. Pirates special waiting to happen. A lot of this week's issue was filler, but considering she hasn't been seen in like nine issues, her swooping in on the ship's prow like this was pretty great.

Hopefully tonight's season five finale will be just as good!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - Cold Days

Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14)Cold Days by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fifteen books in and my excitement for this series has yet to diminish. The only other author who has held my attention this long in a single series is Terry Brooks, who is my all-time favorite, so Butcher is in rarefied air here. Like the rest of the Dresden Files, this book is filled with fun characters and awesome moments, with great beats of magical action throughout. The series' great mysteries are still slowly unfurling, and while I wasn't necessarily happy with all of the changes that took place in this installment, that doesn't take anything away from how fun a read it was. My only real complaint is that it felt Butcher got a little too repetitive this time around, explaining the same points a few times through the book as if they weren't mentioned not just earlier in this book, but in the ones before it aw well. I know a writer in his position can't assume the readers know everything in case a new reader picked the book up on a whim, but still, don't overdo it. Otherwise, I loved it. So much so, in fact, that I might just be picking up Skin Game from the store later on today.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Focus" Review - Written by Jim Herling

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Panel of the Week: 3/18/15

This week's Panel of the Week comes from Magneto #16 from Marvel Comics, written by Cullen Bunn with art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta. It's a bit of a controversial choice for our second week here, but first, some set-up. In the X-Men side of the Marvel Universe, Magneto has once again set up shop on the island of Genosha, turning it into a sanctuary for mutants. Yes, it's the third time he's done this, and he really should know better by now because it never ends well. This time, there's someone on the island slaughtering mutants, which would be bad enough, but he left a little message for Magneto at the scene of the crime. But first, a little something to keep the suspense going for our friends on Facebook. And to avoid having what you're about to see popping up on people's timelines. So...

And now, the killer's message:

I picked this panel this week firstly for the ballsiness of Marvel to run with it, and also for the promise of what will inevitably follow. Killing mutants he's promised to protect is one thing, but throwing that symbol in Magneto's face... well, we can all be pretty sure it won't end well for the murderer. I can almost guarantee Magneto's revenge might end up as another entry here in a few week's time.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea

The Best in the World: At What I Have No IdeaThe Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea by Chris Jericho

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've enjoyed all of Jericho's books so far. Like the previous two, this one is well-written, funny, and insightful. I enjoyed all the stories of the behind the scenes politics of WWE, especially from the periods like now where I don't care enough to watch anymore. I have to admit I skipped through most of the sections about Fozzy, as I have no interest in that whatsoever. The only thing about the book I didn't like was the constant references to how the other two books are still available every few pages. It was cute at first, but eventually it got annoying. Yes, we know you wrote other books and you want us to buy them, but we also know you aren't hurting for money, so it's obnoxious when you shill. Nevertheless, this is definitely a fun read for a wrestling fan.

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Panel of the Week: 3/11/15

I've decided to try out a new type of post here, one related to comic books, which is probably my area of interest that I blog the least about. The theme of this one is simple: Panel of the Week. Comics come out every Wednesday, and for each week I'll be highlighting the single comic book panel I think is the best of the week from all the books I read that week. Sometimes the one I pick will be chosen because it made me laugh. Other times because it's a gorgeous piece of art. Other times, it'll be because it's a momentous moment. You get the picture. Each week it'll be whichever panel I think is the best for that week. And this is also a good quick, easy way to keep me blogging a little while I start a new full-time, possibly permanent job tomorrow. More on that to come eventually.

Anyway, this week's Panel of the Week is from Fantastic Four #644, written by James Robinson, pencilled by Leonard Kirk. The set-up is simple: Earth is being invaded by monsters from the Earth Franklin Richards created during Heroes Reborn, and the Avengers of that reality are on the side of the monsters. Which is how we get a shot of what happens when the Thor from that world goes after the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing:

It's not necessarily the most auspicious start, I know, but it made me laugh out loud. War-mongering god of thunder, Thor, a hippy, dismissed by the Thing like he's just another bum from Yancy Street. Pretty great. We'll see what next week brings!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Apartment 13 Vs. the Squirrel

You might think I'm about to do a Fiction Friday post a day early with a title like that, but the story you're about to read is all true. Although I really should do a Fiction Friday post at some point. Anyway. Last Wednesday my girlfriend, Marisa, and I had dinner with her brother for Restaurant Week at Empire Steakhouse in Manhattan (quick review: nice atmosphere, annoyingly over-attentive staff, great wine selection, mind-blowing fried calamari, good chocolate cake, and a "well done" hamburger that was so rare it could have jumped off the plate and done the Macarena). We got home at about 10:45pm, I stop by the door to take my boots off, and she goes into the kitchen to put her doggie bag in the fridge.

And then I hear her scream.

Marisa comes running out of the kitchen, telling me there's a squirrel in the kitchen. She damn near runs past me and out the door as she tells me I need to do something about it, but she warns me the squirrel is "the size of a cat."

I figure she's exaggerating because she's scared, and I have no idea what she wants me to do. I'm a city boy; the only creatures that have ever been in any of my houses are either invited guests or mice, who run away the minute I breathe. By the time I get into the kitchen with a bucket I'm thinking I can use to trap the little guy and escort him to the door, he's taken his egress through a hole around the pipe under the kitchen sink, a hole that was made because of some prior plumber work that never got patched up. So now we can hear him in the walls. Marisa is freaking out and is calling everyone from the super to a random friend to her parents, none of whom can do anything because it's almost 11. I barricade the cabinet doors under the sink so if and when our furry friend comes back, he can't get out the doors and into the apartment and we do the only thing we can do: go to bed.

The next morning Marisa sets off for work and let's me know when she hears from the landlord that they're trying to get animal control to come, and then she's going to get one of the other tenants in the complex, Gary, who works with walls and whatnot to come over and patch the hole. of course, it snowed like the damn dickens on Thursday and animal control takes the day off. While I'm waiting for them, all morning I can here the little bastard coming and going through the wall, into the cabinet, banging our pots and pans and shit around. Every now and then I bang on something and send him away. Eventually Gary walks over from his apartment next door and throws some sheet rock over most of the hole and spackles over what's left. I'm looking at this, thinking a squirrel can chew through that, but Gary assures me that it'll take him a day or two to do so, and by then animal control will have come to get rid of him.

Y'know, if he doesn't die in the walls and stink the joint up first. But it's okay, my concern was misplaced.

Just to backtrack a bit, all day as I'm listening to this thing bang around, I'm contemplating the absurd amount of noise it's making and starting to doubt Marisa a little, because I'm thinking there's no way a little squirrel can be making THAT much noise. And my fears felt confirmed when it took that son of a bitch less than four hours to chew through the sheet rock and get back into the cabinet. Luckily, I had barricaded it back up in time to keep him in there. I call Marisa at work as it's about 5pm now, she calls the landlord, who's big idea is to send Gary back over. Because this worked so well the first time. Meanwhile, just to be on the safe side, I close the bedroom and bathroom doors, so in case the squirrel gets out of the cabinet he doesn't have free reign of the house. When Gary, who really is a very nice older guy, shows back up I tell him what's going on, and he wants to take a look. I warn him the squirrel, if that's what it really is, is right there. He slowly cracks one of the cabinet doors open barely an inch before the door gets banged open from the inside and a blur shoots out the door, out of the kitchen, does a lap around the living room, runs back into the kitchen, jumps on top of one of the laundry baskets I had used as a barricade, stands up on its hind legs, and just looks at us. Sort of like this:

So it IS a squirrel. But not a tree squirrel. No, it's a ground squirrel. Which is basically a bigger, longer, fatter tree squirrel. This one was so big that, after it looked at us and we looked at it in one of the weirdest Mexican standoffs ever, it hopped off the laundry basket and went over to one of our recycling bins and looked inside it, still on it's hind legs. That's how tall this thing was.  So I tell Gary not to startle it as I run to the front door, open it up, and then open the screen door. Then I tell Gary to scare it, so he tries to kick it, something I never would have done considering it wasn't at all showing the appropriate level of fear and I half-thought it was going to attack us. The squirrel jumps around him and saunters... yes, the motherfucker literally sauntered... out the front door and into the snow without so much as a "by your leave" or a "so long and thanks for all the fish."

We look into the cabinet, after I locked the door back up like I half-expected the squirrel to stroll back through the door and dropkick his jacket Mr. Belvedere-style and set up residence, and see that he was chewing and scratching through our paper towels and plastic bags, basically nesting. Gary says he doesn't have anything that can plug the hole up anymore securely than sheet rock would at the moment and leaves, promising to come back in the morning. Meanwhile, I empty the cabinet of everything, in case the squirrel finds its way back in, so it'll have nothing to play with and hopefully move along. He never did come back, and in the morning Gary came back with not one but two lays of steel wire mesh and two cement boards, plugging the hole up but good. It's been a week since, and no sign of our friend since.

I did Google him after I saw him, which is how I found out it was a ground squirrel. Interesting fact about ground squirrels. When they feel threatened, they start screeching loudly to warn other ground squirrels nearby. Which, since he never uttered a sound, comfortingly means he was a lone wolf. Or, less comfortingly, means he knew he could take us.

Either way, if he had screeched at us in our kitchen, I swear I would have grabbed my things and let him keep the apartment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - The Lesser Dead

The Lesser DeadThe Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Despite how much I enjoyed Buehlman's The Necromancer's House, I ended up really disappointed in this one. Not because of the writing, such as it is; the author's style is very enjoyable and has a lot of artistic merit. His characters are great, his scenes are painted vividly, and the world he sets up is fully realized and alive on the page. The problem for me is that, as much as I liked how the book started, it ended up very much not being the story I wanted it to be. And yes, I understand that that is of course the writer's prerogative, and was in fact possibly even the entire point, as the coda touches on (that coda is also the saving grace of the end of the story for me). Still, it just ended up leaving me unfulfilled and disappointed, hence the low score despite how good the writing itself actually is.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Goodreads Book Review - Revival

RevivalRevival by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a good Stephen King book, which is a pretty safe statement considering I don't even know if there is a such a thing as a bad Stephen King book, But if there is, Revival isn't one of them. It has all the King hallmarks: small northeast town, childhood trauma, an aspect of the mundane becoming so much more. When he's just a boy, Jamie Morton meets the new town pastor, Charles Jacobs, and their lives are forever intertwined. They share tragedy that leads to pain, and that pain leads to a morbid curiosity of the unknown that opens some truly freaky and disturbing doors that should stay closed. All of the emotion is beautifully realized. The frights, while subtle, are there. They're more psychological than anything else, but they can get their hooks into you. I definitely recommend this one.

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