Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Return Of The Living Dead Vs. Mighty Joe Young

* = If this was my Bill Lumberg then I think I'd be ok with it.

It was an even week slash weekend. In the middle of last week I had the mother of never ending migraines that just when I thought was over resulted in a big ‘ole seizure. The best part about it was I ended up flat on my back in my bathroom, with my leg bent underneath me. For those of you that know me outside of the Interweb(s) you know I’m not a small man. In fact I’m pretty gigantic. So when I fall it’s an event. It’s a natural disaster. It’s something to be reckoned with. I felt like I broke my friggin’ hip. I didn’t though. I survived, however I was bit of wreck for a few days. Friday I was back at the place that pays my bills and it was excruciating. Again I got through it, but I had absolutely NO motivation all weekend.

When I say ‘no’ motivation I discount a couple things; watching television, reading, playing games, & making D&D Adventure System cards. These, these I did with gusto and in abundance. I watched an interesting little ESPN documentary Unguarded: The Chris Herren Story (*** ½ out of 5). Wow, it’s always amazing to see that dark side of athletics, you know the one where the guy not only doesn’t end up hitting the winning shot, but instead becomes a decade long drug addict and loses almost everything. Every athlete has pressure, but the higher you make it the more severe that pressure becomes; Pressure to perform, pressure to provide, and in the end pressure to represent. To represent your family, yourself, your sport, your friends, your school, etc. It’s all there. When you match that up with some poor decision-making, a desire to ‘escape’, and that feeling of invincibility you get a potential issue. Chris Herren was a big time basketball star, a high school All-American, a heralded freshman at Boston College, and even after all his problems in college, an NBA player. The thing was he just kept pissing it down his leg with his addiction. It’s an incredible story to watch this guy now trying to get it ‘right’ be speaking publically about his addiction and his journey. It’s powerful to listen to him hit rock bottom and almost trade his wife and kids for a short life on drugs. I can’t even wrap my head around that; you love drugs more than your wife and kids. That is beyond my ability to comprehend, but that is the power of addiction. It’s not the happiest of endings as you are seeing someone who lost their golden ticket, but what the silver lining happens to be is the guy seems happy and at peace. Happy and at peace, sober by the by, and teaching the game that both gave and took so much from him.

Besides that I did watch some sports, and here’s what I came away with;
- I will never again root for the Pittsburg Steelers. That is the biggest group of whiney ass cheap shot artists. I can’t believe that Mike Tomlin, Dick LaBeua, & the Rooney family are all right with that crap.
- Speaking of teams I’ll never root for again, welcome to the club New Orleans Saints. I have never watched a game with SO much Offensive holding and seen so little flags fall. Look I get NFL you love(s) you some Saints, they are a great story, & the Lions are great ‘villains’, but it shouldn’t taint the game. Suh was routinely held almost every play, and not even the acceptable between the numbers holding, I’m talking the reach around to the back of the jersey hook. I hope the 49ers destroy them.
- Giants vs. Packers this coming weekend is going to be a dandy.
- The Falcons need a pass rusher, and I don’t mean Ray Edwards. They have NO push off the edge at all. They also need a big nasty tackle or guard that they can run behind. They got owned up front.
- Tim Tebow is the greatest ‘badquarterback in history. He’s not a real NFL quarterback, he’s just not, no matter what his apologists and Jesus tell you. What he is though is a winner and ‘baller’. The guy just gets it done, and if you took out his obnoxious religious pandering he’d be the face of the league. He might be the quarterback who does the most with the least personal talent I’ve ever seen.
- I also took in the Wisconsin vs. Michigan basketball game. I’ve been reticent to watch much college basketball so far; it was an activity that I generally enjoyed with my Dad. It’s sort of weird to watch a game and not go talk to him about it. It was a good game, Michigan looks solid, but I’ve never seen a Wisconsin team come so unglued. They looked slow and lacked the crispness that a Coach Ryan team usually has. They’ll still make the NCAA tournament, and they’ll still be dangerous, but they have no room for error.

I also finished three books this weekend;
- Kirby, King Of Comics (***** out of 5) – With this book I have now read three accounts of what a douche bag Stan Lee was/is. Couple this with Stan’s interview in the ‘In Search Of Steve Ditko’ documentary and I have grown to loathe the main I often thought inspired my childhood to greatness. Before I launch into a heated Anti-Stan rant let me instead concentrate on the good. Jack Kirby was a giant among men. To this day his art is just beyond words, it transcends into pure imaginative bliss. There is a sense of wonder and hard-edged boxy beauty in ever line. Kirby is the King. Everything that came after him is of him. Any artist, or writer for that matter, working in comics, who says Jack Kirby didn’t inspire them at all is a liar. I get it, Stan was ‘The Man’, well that’s all fine and good. I guess being ‘The Man’ is just about writing groovy dialogue, hob-nobbing with big wigs and celebrities, and taking credit. While ‘The Man’ did that, The King got to work and laid the foundation for not just the Marvel Universe, but the 4th World for DC, the so-called ‘Kirby-verse’ that is now in style again for another publisher. It’s a sad story when you read how the industry chewed up and spit out some of it’s most prolific and original creators. I think what bothers me so much about Kirby, and Ditko to a lesser extent, is that they had a ‘partner’ in Stan Lee who ‘Bob Kane’d’ them. If you didn’t know Bob Kane is the guy who always gets credit for creating Batman, but the reality is Bill Finger did most of the work. Bob Kane just happened to have a powerful lawyer for a father who cut Finger out, leaving him to die basically penniless. Watching Stan talk in the Ditko documentary I get the feeling that while Stan has some remorse for screwing guys like Kirby or Ditko, but he is in no hurry to give them even the slightest bit of credit. A carnival barker to the end, Stan is more worried about Stan, and given the opportunity he’ll tell you all about it. Kirby on the other hand was worried about comics. He wanted to tell you a story you’d never heard, and show you something you never even dreamed of. A hard man with a keen mind, and in my opinion one of the most important Creators in any medium ever. Thank you Jack Kirby, for the work you did, the dreams you inspire(d), and the joy you gave not just me, but every single person who has or will behold your work.

- Hellboy, Oddest Jobs (**** out of 5) – This was a little anthology, the last of a trilogy, done by authors who have a great deal of affinity for Mike Mignola’s ‘Kirby-esque’ protagonist. Let me give it to you straight, there are two stories in here that just aren’t to my taste. Not to say they aren’t good, because to someone who is a fan of those two authors they might be fantastic, I just found them ‘bleh’. On the other hand there are three stories that were fantastic. ‘Jiving with Shadows and Dragons and Long, Black Trains’ by Joe R. Lansdale is just about a perfect Hellboy tale. In fact I enjoyed it so much I’m now going to start seeking out Mr. Lansdale’s work. I shouldn’t be surprised he did write ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’, and I LOVED that flick. Gary Braunbeck's ‘In Cupboards and Bookshelves’ really hit a nerve with me as it was about kids and fathers a subject that means a lot to me. I’m not ashamed to admit I teared up reading about Hellboy feeling the loss of ‘Prof. Broom’ as his father figure, just as I enjoyed reading the ending with he and Director Manning. It was just a beautifully sad story. Believe it or not my favorite tale was Barbara Hambly's ‘Repossession’. It had a lot of ‘pulpy’ goodness to it, throw in a hardly seen but nasty villain, globe trotting adventure, and Lovecraftiness, what you get is a winner. I’m intrigued to get my hands on the other Mignola & Golden Hellboy novels and anthologies after getting through this one.

* = Random Meme Break...

- Midsummer Knight (*** out of 5) – Hello, I’m Ben & I’m a Jim Butcher’s ‘Dresden Files’ addict. Even this, Book 4 of gawd’s know how many, which didn’t blow me away grabbed me by the shirt collar and didn’t let go. I literally picked it up around 9pm on Saturday and put it down around 3am. I finished it, and didn’t regret a single moment of it. If you don’t know the Dresden Files it’s really simple. Harry Dresden lives in Chicago and he’s a professional wizard, he solves problems. It’s basically magical crime noir with a whole heapin’ dose of fun. This book had to do with the fallout of Dresden accidently starting a war in the last book with The Red Court, nasty vampires. Dresden, now that he’s off probation for breaking the First Rule Of Magic in his youth, is a representative of the White Council. This is the group made up of magic users. This is, however, simply the backdrop as the main issue stems from a war brewing in the ‘side dimension’ of the Nevernever, yep that’s right Fairies. Harry has a Fairy Godmother, and she usually tried to kill him or turn him into one of her ‘hounds’, now she’s sold his ‘debt’ to Mab, Winter Queen of the Sidhe Court. Now you have to understand, Fairies are NOT nice folks. They love bargains, they love tricking mortals, and they are completely alien in their thoughts, hopes, desires, and dreams. Mab wants Dresden to find out who murdered a man, who turns out to be a mortal representative of the Summer Court, Mab’s rivals in the Nevernever. Suffice to say mayhem ensues. To me this is Butcher’s most uneven Dresden File, however I couldn’t put it down. He has this tricky way of writing in ten to fifteen page chapters that hit you with the tried and true cliffhanger at the end of every one of them. Dresden, as a character, is just so damn likable, so much so that even the more uneven secondary characters don’t really bother me. So if you’re into Butcher’s stuff and love a good, quick read don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in the Dresden Files.

How ‘bout some…


- Pathfinder Battles Miniatures comes out this week. I have looked around the Internet(s) at the prices of singles and thus far I think my purchasing may be fewer than I anticipated. $2.99 for a Goblin is just to damn much. I think I’d really be looking at the PC miniatures, the Ettin, and maybe the Ogre. Maybe the prices will drop a bit, but thus far the random nature of the boosters has me not buying any off the shelf, and now the secondary market prices have me doubting that I’ll pick any up at all. Who knows though, maybe when I have some disposable cash in a couple of months I’ll track a few of these and the new Lord Of The Rings minis down.
- I hunger for Banana Bread.
- If you had told me it would be 47 degrees out in the middle of January I’d have told you to shut your lying mouth. By the by the update today is that’s its 54 degrees out. Oh and Global Warming isn’t real.
- Now that I’m sleeping good I am actually sad at the amount of ‘good’ sleep I’ve missed lately.
- I really need to just play some D&D Adventure System, even if it’s just solo.

So this week I’m going to play some random dungeon crawl, hopefully my Artscow decks that I ordered a while back will arrive first. I might even write up my game here in the blog.
- My deck came last night and it’s glorious!
- BCS National Championship game who you got? I’m going with ‘The Mad Hatter’ Les Miles & LSU! Understand I’m not posting this till tomorrow so if I was wrong that just means I changed my answer to looks smart. In a second day update, wow I was insane for picking Miles’ squad.
- I think I will drag my wife to a place, any place, for Pad Thai this weekend.
- Dave, who is a SAINT, hooked me up with two PC games late last week out of the kindness of his steel heart. First was the PC game of Blood Bowl. I’d love to tell you it’s good, but I haven’t played it yet. That’s because War For Middle Earth II is F’Ning amazing! It took me awhile to get it installed since I needed a patch for Windows 7, but once I did WOW! First off it’s a time consumer, even in skirmish mode. You really have to understand that your troops will die; they’ll die like dogs in the ditch. That was for you Steve M., but it’s true they will. It’ll take some time to get the learning curve and then a bit more time to understand the exact resource management of the game. Suffice to say this is the Dawn Of War like game for the fantasy crowd. It doesn’t play as fast or brutal, but it plays bigger, it plays a bit more in depth, with less of a frenetic pace, but never loses any of its urgency. It’s just fantastic and I seriously love it. It’s right up there with Dawn Of War, Dragonshard, Starcraft, & Warcraft.
- Still haven’t watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special yet, and that’s sad.
- We have officially ‘De-Christmasfied’. The tree is gone, the decorations packed away and the living room is almost back to normal. It was sad, as it signifies the end of the season, and yet reassuring to have our ‘normal’ lives back.
- A hug would be good right now.
- Last night I caught up on Metal Evolution, watching the newest episode on Grunge and it’s place in Metal. It was interesting to hear just how many folks within that ‘movement’ either denied or down played their associations with Metal. Some of it may have come from the idea that ‘popularMetal at the time Grunge broke was 80’s Hair bands. It was also fascinating to hear the Musical Theorist that Sam Dunn has on the show explain that Grunge is NOT Metal as it lacks the skill of play, there isn’t the sense of theatre and grandiosity, and it owes more to 70’s Hard Rock with a Punk attitude than to Metal as it’s progenitor. I’m not sure I completely agree in the case of bands like Soundgarden & Alice In Chains. Kim Thayil explained that he didn’t feel the comparisons to Zepplin or Sabbath were that warranted with Soundgarden, which left me bemused. C’mon Kim I love you as a guitar player, but have you listened to any of your albums? The best part was listening to some of the more pretentious Grunge folks have to answer for Post Grunge trends, like Creed or Nickleback. I did find it sad that Jerry Cantrell love(s) him some Nickleback, say it ain’t so Jerry. For the record Nickleback is corporate crafted cock rock made to get people into arenas at $90 a pop while soaking them for $8 a beer. No matter who tells me it’s good or catchy it won’t matter to me its shit. The best line was Kim Thayil talking about Hair bands and saying it was ‘…songs for the future housewives of America, we didn’t look like that, we didn’t sound like that, and we wanted NOTHING to do with it…’. F’ing BRILLIANT! This coming week is ‘Nu-Metal’; I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. As long as Anthrax gets some love, I’m golden. The reality is if you love music, and Metal especially then you’re a fool if you aren’t watching this brilliant series.

Man, this is what happens when it takes me two days to finish one blog.

“Tears of the feeble, hands of the slaves
Skin of the mothers, mouths of the babes
Building the towers, belongs to the sky
When the whole thing comes crashing down
Don't ask me why

Under the shelf, the shelf of the sky
Two eyes, two suns, too heavenly blinds
Swallowing rivers, belongs to the sea
When the whole thing washes away
Don't run to me

I'll be going down for the rest of the slide
While the rest of you harvest the gold

And the wreck of you
Is the death of you all
And the wreck of you
Is the break and the fall
I'm the wreck of you
I'm the death of you all
I'm the wreck of you
I'm the break and the fall

Under the red break of the lights
Heroes in stretches inch to the site
Blowing the pieces, belong to the wind
When the whole thing blows away
I won't pretend

I'll be going down for the rest of the slide
While the rest of you harvest the souls

And the wreck of you
Is the death of you all
And the wreck of you
Is the break and the fall
I'm the wreck of you
I'm the death of you all
I'm the wreck of you
I'm the break and the fall

Behind the blood red break of the lights
Lies the wreck of you for the rest of your life

And the wreck of you
Is the death of you all
And the wreck of you
Is the break and the fall
I'm the wreck of you
I'm the death of you all
I'm the wreck of you
I'm the break and the fall”

* = Let's run down the opposition;
- Ron Paul - Crazy Isolationist who loves him some closet racism.
- Rick Santorum - Crazy who wants to outlaw birth control and hates 'The Gays'.
- Newt Gingrich - Career politician living in his own personal fantasy land where is the hero.
- Rick "Kill 'Em Dead" Perry - Literally a dumber more 'neck version of G.W. Bush.
- Mitt 'Mittens' Romney - Serial liar, thinks corporations are people, loves to fire people, & has possibly never experienced a human emotion.
- Jon Huntsman - Moderate, respectful, normal guy with hot daughters who has NO shot to win.
Thanks Republicans for being Insane, this is why Barry is laughing...


  1. You won't have to drag me anywhere. You say Pad Thai and I will skip. I want some!!

  2. I say we find a neighborhood joint this weekend and try it out!