Archive for category Marvel Comics

And now for something completely different…

I’m actually not a huge Monty Python fan, which is weird considering what a huge nerd I am and how much I love British stuff, but that line just seemed to fit in the title.

I wanted to talk about something that I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about on this blog. Mostly because I tend to talk about the stuff around me in my nerd life (TV shows, books, comics, movies, games, technology etc) and the people around me in my professional life (crazy guests).

In a little less than a month, I will be marrying the most wonderful and amazing woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I really couldn’t be happier or more excited at the prospect. We’ve been together 2 1/3 years now and look forward to many many more to come. Although, I have to say that work has been so exhausting for us both lately, and planning the wedding so stressful, that really we’re just counting down the days to the honeymoon! A week in Cancun is just what the doctor ordered.

No! Not that Doctor...but good guess

It’s really kind of hard to believe that only 2ish years have gone by since we met at a mutual friend’s baby shower (weird I know). Where she managed to not die of laughter when one of my friends insisted that I show her the Super Mario tattoo on my right shoulder and the Star Trek TOS command badge I have tattooed on my chest (T.A.R.D.I.S. tattoo on my left shoulder still pending).

After some Facebook stalking that seems to be the norm for meeting someone new these days, we had our first date. And then a 2nd date. And a 3rd. It really just spun away after that. We managed to pass – more or less pass – each and every little test that we put before one another.

We both finally understand all that stuff that people used to say about finding your partner. You know that stuff that when you’re bitterly single makes you roll your eyes in annoyance when spouted by your happily coupled friends. And yes, now we’re one of those disgustingly cute couples. We often call ourselves on it when we do something that makes us go, “Awwww.” Then we pause and one of us says, “We’re one of those couples that would have made us puke watching when we were single.” But it’s true, and yet that’s not what makes us great partners. It’s that we make each other stronger than either of us could be individually. Recently we were faced with the prospect of moving to Seattle for a new job for one of us. That job fell through, and we got more excited then maybe we should have, but at the same time it brought me to a minor epiphany one night when driving home. That the prospect of moving to Seattle for a new job would be daunting, even terrifying to the point of being paralyzed, if I was facing it by myself. It’s something I’d have a hard time even contemplating if I was single. Yet, there was really no fear at the prospect of doing it with her by my side. Because I knew that we’d be there to back each other up the whole time. It was just a small realization in the grand scheme of things, but it shifted my entire way of looking at challenges. We’ve already been living together for over a year. In most major decisions we think of them in terms of “us” and not in terms of ourselves individually.

This would be so awesome....

I really and truly love this woman who I’m going to be vowing to spend the rest of my life with. Even though she doesn’t like the Lord of the Rings movies. It certainly helps that she enjoys Doctor Who though! We don’t share every interest. In fact often times finding something to watch on TV together can be a bit of a struggle. We’ve found shows we can both agree on and when we don’t that’s what tablet computers are for – my Xoom and her iPad. In that respect we’re a house divided. I’m a PC/Droid and she’s a Mac. Yet we make it work! At the same time we push each other to grow and experience new things. I never would have come to know the glory that is butter chicken and naan if I hadn’t let her talk me into trying Indian food one day for lunch. And she probably wouldn’t have discovered how fun playing video games together can be if we’d never gone to PAX together. We don’t share every interest, but that’s OK, we know how to give each other space to enjoy our own interests and occasionally we push one another into trying something new that we end up enjoying more together. We challenge each other mentally and morally by talking about stuff that you can’t talk about in polite company, and we’re allowed to disagree with one another. We come down on two very different sides of the argument when it comes to corporal punishment/the death penalty. We manage to agree on most of the important things, except that if we have twins (which run in her family) I think we should name them Luke and Leia. Still trying to sell her on that one…

I know she tends to skim my blog, glazing over the nerdier things that don’t interest her as much. Come to the Dark Side of the Nerd my love. We have cookies. Don’t get me wrong, she has some nerdy qualities, she just doesn’t choose to fly her “nerd flag” high because she doesn’t feel she went through as many trials and tribulations growing up for being a nerd. But considering she played a drinking game in college – repeatedly – based around Presidential trivia I have few doubts about her nerd credentials. We’re just nerdy about different things at all. She’s a sexy librarian by day and a deadly ninja by night. I’m a mild-mannered hotel manager by day and intergalactic super-hero by night.  That’s like peanut butter and jelly baby!

I've always wanted flight to be my super power...

That pretty much wraps it up. In case the next couple of weeks run away from me, Happy Holidays everybody!

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A little on the nerdy side…

It’s time for a few nerdy updates from me.

What I’m Reading

When Skrulls invade, who can you trust?

Secret Invasion: I’m more than half way through Marvel’s Secret Invasion event and still enjoying it despite the length of the event. Most of the art throughout the event has been superb, and the storytelling suitably epic. The paranoia among our heroes caused by a race of super powerful shape shifting aliens infiltrating their ranks has kept the entire event tense, more so than Civil War did. There’s not really an ideological struggle going on, like in Civil War, a struggle which got old real fast no matter which side of the argument you come down on. Secret Invasion is just a good old super power slug fest against an enemy that obviously deserves it.

What I’m Watching

Immortals: I just got back from seeing Immortals today with a friend. I wasn’t super eager to see it, but it was a good way to spend sometime this afternoon. The movie was far better than I was expecting. The battles were gigantic, and the individual action scenes were masterfully choreographed, better than 300. I especially enjoyed the distinct difference we saw between the Gods & Titans fighting and the battles between mortals. Mortal combat was ultimately a brutal and no frills slug fest. However, watching the Immortals in combat was like watching some kind of dance, they were still gruesomely violent, but always graceful and smooth. The story was compelling enough, if incredibly predictable.

The X-Files: I didn’t watch The X-Files when it was first on TV, but the fiancée and I have been watching it on Netflix starting at episode 1 and moving forward. We’re only about 7 episodes into the first season, but it hasn’t failed to live up to expectations. It’s filled with rich gooey Sci-Fi goodness, and while at times it shows its age in technology and fashion, the storytelling still holds up.

Grimm: Grimm is holding in there as one of my must watch weekly shows. The overall mythology of the show continues to grow with each episode. I’m enjoying the tension between our hero being a monster hunting Grimm and a police officer sworn to uphold the law and the way that those two aspects of the character come into conflict. I haven’t gone out onto the internet to check the ratings, but I’m hopeful that it’s doing well enough, it has a horrible time slot for a new show, but a pretty good lead in with Chuck.

Preparing for a very fond goodbye

Chuck: Speaking of Chuck. It was announced last year when the show was renewed that this would be the final season of Chuck. I’m not horribly torn up by that fact, the show has always been on the bubble one pen stroke away from cancellation. I’ve been prepared for this show to end for a while, but I am enjoying the last season. It’s suitable that this season Chuck gets to prove his mettle by functioning as a world-class spy without the intersect in his head. Ultimately, I’m very glad that the network has given this show a chance to wrap up clean.

What I’m Drooling Over

Motorola Droid Razr: I’m not due for an upgrade until January, and even with 2 year pricing this phone will likely be out of my price range unless there is a significant price cut after the holidays. All that said, I WANT THIS PHONE. Which is a weird thing for me to say with such conviction. I remember the last Razr phone. I never owned one, but given what I heard from everyone I knew that owned one, that was a good thing. It was a super popular design that flopped on technological delivery in almost every way. I’m more hopeful about this version of the Razr though, and I’m looking forward to reading some actual reviews after it has launched and had sometime to get banged around by other people.

Hotness Links

Ouch! That Burns!

COED Magazine has a slide show of The 45 Sexiest Pics of Scarlett Johansson for Her 27th Birthday on their site.This is one of my favorites from the set though. When I was at Immortals earlier today I saw the latest Avengers trailer. I’d be lying if I said Black Widow has become one of my favorite heroes just because Scarlett Johnasson plays her on the silver screen.

Ugo.com posted this awhile ago See Wonder Woman Get A Lap Dance From The Chick From Entourage, but it’s just two awesome to not mention if I’m listing off hotness that makes me need a drool bib. I’ll be seeing this movie eventually.

Also an older post from Ugo.com is their list of Hottest Sci-Fi Girls. I was thinking of putting together a similar list myself, if for no other reason than the research would be incredibly fun.

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I am the Key Master

It’s been quite awhile since I last blogged. Sorry about that. Just always seems like there’s something more pressing on my plate recently.

Things have been a little ho-hum at work. Well I guess that isn’t quite accurate. It’s been busy what with staffing issues making my department short-staffed, solid rushes of business and what not, and the expansion plans constantly being re-planned every 30 minutes. Most of it just hasn’t been all that worth mentioning, because for all the busyness, it has been fairly routine busyness. I will have to talk about Very Unsympathetic Cancer Lady at some point, but not now.

Plans for the wedding in January are taking shape. We’re so far behind on some things though! That’s going to start getting more and more stressful. I just want to be on the honeymoon already. Because the fiancée and I have such wildly different work schedules, I’ve used up most of my vacation time on little one and two-day things just so we can have a day off together. While those individual days have always been worth it, it bleeds away the vacation time without realizing that you’ve even used it. Now I have to save every vacation hour I accrue to be able to have the time to go on the honeymoon. That’ll be something like 11 days off work, which will just be a little mind-boggling. It’s hard to picture being away from that place for that much time.

Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"!

One thing that I am excited about is that the original Ghostbusters movie is being screened in limited locations right now. One of the theaters near me is screening it tomorrow night and I was able to switch my shifts around to be able to go. This has always been one of my favorite movies since I was a little kid. By the way, my Dad and I watched that movie with my youngest sister a few years back (she was 5 at the time) and that movie is WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE for a 5-year-old! But that was how old I was when I started watching those movies! How weird is that to realize? Anyways, I’ll be going to see it tomorrow night. Likely by myself as the fiancée is totally uninterested and all my other friends are busy. Very lame. But considering the movie came out the year I was born, I never got to see it in theaters, so this is something I’m trying to make a priority.

Maybe it’ll recharge my batteries a little? Just feeling a little drained I guess.

Oh…is everyone watching The Walking Dead? If you’re not, you really should be! Because damn that show is amazing! Every minute of that show is just so damn intense. Waiting from week to week is almost as bad as waiting for Game of Thrones when it was on. And it just has this level of depth and realism that bleeds into the rest of my reality. I found myself driving down the road today, it was a beautiful clear blue sky California day, and I couldn’t help but picture rotting corpses shambling down the road. How weird is that? Should I be seeking help or something? Or should I just be taking gun and crossbow lessons? That seems like a far more valuable skill if I’m seeing undead walking down the street.

Meanwhile other shows about the sexier undead (stupid vampires) have been disappointing. I’m going to admit that I’ve been giving the Vampire Diaries a try, mostly because of Nina Dobrev.

I mean, I know the show is meant for chicks, but doesn’t Nina deserve at least a little consideration? The show has actually been a little interesting, but I usually find myself reading comics on my Xoom through about half of each episode. I guess it’s decent for something to have playing in the background because oddly I find the overall story line interesting enough, but on a scene by scene basis, it doesn’t always hold my attention.

It’s still been holding my attention better than True Blood though. I just have not been able to sink my teeth into the latest season. Pun intended. I don’t think it’s just because of the wild divergence from the source material I really don’t care much about that. But let’s face it, half of initial the selling point of that show was Anna Paquin getting naked.

Anna Paquin teasing us all

And since that’s stopped happening and her lovely nakedness hasn’t been significantly or satisfactorily replaced on a regular basis you start to realize that the show is just a little boring. The lesson of this story is that boobs make everything better.

Boobs make everything better. The more you know....

How weird is it that the rotting and disgusting and terrible undead are kicking the asses of the hot and sexy undead? I never would have seen it coming. You suck Vampires! I guess I don’t entirely pick my shows by the hot and sexy women that star in them. Even if it is a large contributing factor. It all still beats reality TV in my opinion. I’ll watch 20 Vampire diaries before I watch a single Real Housewives of Wherever.

As I’ve discussed before, I’m way behind on my comic book reading. I got through The House of M a while back. Started reading the New Avengers which took my straight into The Civil War which I’m in the midst of now. Hot damn that’s a comic event! Mostly worth it. There’s way to much talking and not enough super heroes fighting each other, at least when you’re reading the entire event in chronological order. I’ve had to start skipping some of the issues I really don’t care about. The Official Marvel Comics app finally came to the Android and specifically the Xoom, I’ve used it a little. I still think the entire structure of the digital comics market is fucked up. I can’t really get behind buying digital issues, even older ones at the $1.99 price point. And $3.99 for new releases what they hell are they smoking and where can I get some? I’ll admit that I’ve resorted to illegal downloads to feed my addiction for the most part. I know it’s not right, however, if I was going to be getting back into the hobby it would be by buying back issues from my local shop, not through digital copies. The publisher makes zero dollars on me buying back issues through a shop. I’ve thought of a much better model for them to work from because even a $0.99 price point would be too high for digital comics in my opinion. The collector in me just screams “You’re not getting anything when you buy digital! There’s no hard copy to stick in a box a bury in the closet!” The model that they should use for comics should be much more like Netflix. I should be able to pay a monthly subscription fee to have access to a library of older back issues, let’s say most of what they already have at the $1.99 price point. That way this online service won’t really cut into their monthly new releases terribly much. I would pay as much as $15/month (maybe even $25 depending on the exact specifics of the service), to have that sort of subscription access on my Xoom. I think a lot of collectors would, and I think that’s where the industry really should be heading. They’d get way more money from people like me then they are right now. The thing is I recognize that illegal downloads are wrong and that they hurt the industry that I draw entertainment from. I want creators and artists and the owners of IP to get paid. I really do. I just want the industry to adapt to the real world. My downloading of illegally torrented movies and TV shows has gone down to almost 0 as a direct result of Netflix’s streaming service. A similar comic book service would do the exact same thing for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. And there might be entirely legitimate reasons why the industry hasn’t already gone this way, but mostly I bet it’s for the same reason that the movie industry is fighting Netflix. They don’t want to let go of this “golden system” that they don’t consider broken. Well from the consumer side it is. And the comic industry has it even better than the movie industry really. Their back catalog of issues don’t make them a lot of money right now, even with the current digital structure and the trade paperback market, at least I can’t imagine they do, not with comic shops, online retailers, and Ebay out there (and illegal sources). This seems like a much more secure way for them to turn their huge back catalog of comics into a profit generating resource. Because once one of them does it, the other publishers will too, and then it’ll be a race for each one to show who has the biggest offering of comics on their service.

Wow…I hadn’t meant to talk about this idea when I sat down. That happens a lot when I blog. Can you tell that I don’t really plan this shit out? Yeah, probably.

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Being Nerdy

I’ve been thinking about this post off and on for a week now. Mostly prompted by my own Birthday and the introspection that inspires in me, but also driven by having finished the second season of the Penny Arcade Web series. The season finale talked a lot about Jerry and Mike (the creators of Penny Arcade) and their experiences in school being “nerds” and what their adult life is like. It’s something Wil Wheaton has talked extensively about on his blog. I figured it’s time that I give it a whirl.

 

Nerd Pride


I didn’t have a good time in traditional schools growing up. I’m a tall guy, and I was always on the taller side for my age, but I still got picked on a lot. I didn’t feel like I was bigger then anyone that’s for sure. Even as a kid (I mean like 8 years old here) I liked nerdier things, I thought Star Trek the Next Generation was the most awesome show that could ever be on TV. I got hooked on the X-Men animated series on Saturday mornings on Fox and that inevitably lead to collecting comics. I was one of the smarter kids in my classes, but I always had a hard time socializing and making friends. I was shy and awkward socially even before girls really entered the equation.

In Middle School I discovered Tolkien and from that D&D. At lunch, my friends and I hung out in our home room and played Chess or Magic the Gathering. I sucked at Gym Class especially at running (asthma) or anything requiring hand-eye coordination. In 8th grade I proudly came to school in a Starfleet Uniform with full Klingon make up and thought it was just the coolest costume ever. Not everyone agreed. I wasn’t getting beat up on a daily basis like some people who talk about getting bullied. Generally it was just mean jokes, pranks, and isolation. The things I thought were “cool” just weren’t that cool to my class mates.

My first two years of High School sucked pretty consistently. I had a pretty tight small group of friends. But it was a big school and people thought I was an easy target. Probably mostly due to my lack of confidence. I got in some fights, that mostly resulted in teachers breaking it up before a clear victor could be established either way, but they were also pretty unskillful on my part. I changed schools for my Junior & Senior years to a much smaller and smarter school. It wasn’t a true charter school, it was basically a great big experiment inspired by the Dot Com boom, and was very technology focused. We had a computer at every desk. By and large this place was heaven for me, and it was the first place that I had a large group of friends. A lot of the students there had escaped other school where they had been having similar experiences as myself. This was the Nerd school, where the people who would have qualified as the “cool kids” at my old school were in the vast minority. It was the first place where I really started to learn that being a nerd was not only alright, it was a good thing. I flourished there, and when I identify myself by which High School I went to, I identify as a student from there and mostly forget about the other place.

I wouldn’t say college was the same experience, but my nerdiness was a lot more acceptable there. People generally took me for who I was. Sometimes that turned into friendships, not always but it never really turned negative either. Being the smart kid is encouraged in college. The teachers aren’t “the enemy” at least not usually. No one is really resistant to that awesome process of learning shit. That isn’t to say we always enjoy the subject, but we’re also not teenagers in High School anymore at the peak of our instantaneous rebellion phase.

Well that covers school, but what about the real world? I won’t go so far as to say that nerds rule the world, I don’t think we do. But we do really well for ourselves out here. I’ve found ways to turn my nerdy nature to my advantage in business. For instance, I use to play around with Excel for fun, usually for D&D related purposes. I taught myself more things about Excel then most people learn in a semester long class about Microsoft Office or people who use it every day, but under utilize it because they don’t even think to push the boundaries of what the software can do. One of my nerdier aspects is that I’m very aware if not hyper aware of myself and where my position is in the terrain around me, especially socially. It’s made me very introspective. I use that trait regularly in customer service to examine people and situations I encounter. I can jump in and tackle a problem in the moment, but I’m also very good at stopping afterwards and looking back to see how the problem could have been avoided, or how I could have handled it better.

There’s a web & media campaign out there regarding bullying which has drawn increasing media attention lately. The It Gets Better Project it’s mostly about giving the victims of bullying hope for the future, that it gets better out in the real world. It’s a great message, and I approve, but having been one of those kids, I had parents and counselors and teachers say “it gets better” to me, and that didn’t do me a whole hell of a lot of good at the time. I gave me hope to keep struggling on, but it didn’t stop the bullying then, and it doesn’t now. I appreciate the movement and the effort, I just wonder if it isn’t attacking the problem from the wrong side. But then that’s probably another blog post.

So anyways, as an adult I’ve learned to fly my Nerd Flag high and proud. I’ve started going to conventions and I’m not embarrassed of my nerdy tattoos or nerdy hobbies. I’ve also come to realize that almost everyone has a little nerd in them about something, at least most passionate and successful people do. It’s not always about the things that most people would consider Nerdy, but the guy that can tell you all the stats of every member of his fantasy football league is nerding out about football. The GM of my property can talk for hours about architecture and construction methods, he’s a construction nerd. My beloved fiancée, doesn’t choose to embrace the nerd label, but she loves American history, she’s even played a drinking game based around naming the US Presidents. In the end, I love being a Nerd, even though it hasn’t always been an easy path to walk, I wouldn’t have it be any other way.

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A few of my favorite things…

This is something I’ve been considering doing for awhile. Lists like these change over time, but I wanted to share a couple of lists of my favorite things.

Favorite Super Heroes

I’ve always been a Marvel fan for a lot of reasons. The biggest debate is often Marvel vs. DC and in the end DC characters never held that much appeal for me. DC characters tend to be very 1-dimensional. Their exact ranking shifts over time, but generally these have been the top.

1. Spider Man – Pretty much always #1. Spider Man and almost more importantly, Peter Parker has always been a very relatable character for me. He has classic elements of tragedy in his past, but he doesn’t let it consume him (like someone over at DC with a tragic past). Spidey is sarcastic and always has a quip. His powers are strong, but they don’t make him invincible or unbeatable, his mind usually accomplishes that. In the end I like heroes that are still mortal and flawed. Let’s also not forget that he pretty much always gets the hotness, Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, & Black Cat to name the few.

2. Captain America – He’s the paragon of super hero virtue in the Marvel Universe. Whichever side of a fight Cap is on, you can bet it’s probably the side of truth, justice and the mother fraking American way damn it! He’s an icon of what the country and this world should be in many ways. He’s also barely super powered, strength, speed and reflexes are basically those of a world class or Olympic athlete, an athlete in pretty much every sport, but all the same, he’s pretty much got more human then super in his super human equation. Yet he still manages to be one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe.

3. Wolverine – I first started reading comics because of the old X-Men cartoon series and the action figures that came out around them. My first major story arch was the Bloodlines story, which spanned across multiple series, and each issue of the main arch has a hologram card on the front. I already knew the basics of Wolverine from my friends and the cartoon series, but one of the first issues I read had Wolverine getting the adamantine ripped from his body by Magneto in an epic battle in space. And the guy lived! Wolverine is one of the few heroes who is nearly immortal that I still love. He’s dark and full of rage, yet he still has a heart and passion. And I always rooted for him and Jean Grey. She just didn’t belong with Cyclops.

4. Iron Man – I’m a tech Nerd, that’s pretty much the end of story here. He’s rich. And under the armor he’s just a guy with a busted heart. If there’s a problem or a bad guy that can’t be beat, give Tony Stark enough time and he can build a suit to beat it and dice your vegetables. He has the brains that he could build hundreds of suits and other heroes to help him out, but he’s seen what happens when his technology gets abused and has gone to war to protect his intellectual property.

5. Human Torch – He flies and is covered in fire. I’ve always wanted to fly as a super power. Harnessing fire all over my body and being able to duke it out with some of the nastiest bad guys out there is just cool. And he doesn’t have to keep a secret identity, he gets to live in the public and be a celebrity. And he’s friends with Spidey!

6. Jean Grey/Phoenix/Dark Phoenix – She’s sexy, bad ass telepath and telekenetic, and one of the most powerful mutants in the galaxy (she blew up an entire solar system!). Not only can she fly, but she can do it in space! She’s an original X-Man to boot.

7. Hawkeye – Hawkeye was always a favorite for me because he wasn’t super human at all, he’s just a master at what he does, and what he does is shoot tricked out arrows with a bow and he never misses! He used to be a criminal, but that doesn’t stop him from being an Avenger, and despite being a normal human facing down some of the worst enemies in the galaxy.

8. Emma Frost/White Queen – Another former villain turned good, so good that Professor X intrusted her with the X-Men and his precious school! Another very hot telepath, but she can also turn her body to diamonds and kick some ass when she needs to. And I always liked her being with Cyclops, she took a little of the shine off of the good soldier boy. That and who wouldn’t enjoy seeing some convention girls cosplay as her?

Anyways, I could have gone on for quite awhile on this topic. In middle school when we were studying statistics and I had to do conduct surveys and compile the results into statistical sets, I did my surveys and report on the best Marvel Heroes! And had a lot of fun doing it too. Granted that list has changed over the years. And I probably have a separate list for hottest female super heroes, though you can bet Jean and Emma are on it. I think I’ll do follow up posts to this, but a lot of other things are harder to rank and really depend on my mood at the time. Maybe favorite books or literary heroes at some point. Favorite starships and or Star Trek crew members, my starship dream team as it were. And probably, yeah at some point I’ll have to post a list of my favorite/hottest female celebs…if for no other reason so that I can do a Google image search for each one and really debate over who will make the cut. It’s a good thing this post is so nerd filled that the fiance probably won’t do more then skim it!

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