Monday, January 14, 2013

Find Me Guilty Vs. Red Cliff

Friday night was the Cusack-A-Thon and although I had trepidations going into it, I really had a smashing time when things were all said and done. It was a weird night that way, the more things irritated me or frustrated me the more I really worked to just ignore them. By the time we closed shop on the night I was exhausted and satisfied that this was our last hosted Movie-A-Thon until at least March. We let people know we were ‘taking a break’ from most of the hosting that goes on and I was slightly surprised at the sort of ‘meh’ reaction we received.

Not that I think we or the things we host are that important to people, but it was just sort of an afterthought. Perhaps that means someone in our group is just chomping at the bit to take over the reins and start organizing and hosting things. I really hope so, I hate the idea that I’m letting people down by not having all these things at our home, but I really do just need a break. And you know if I do, then Cassandra definitely does.

Oh and I want to address something that sort of bothered me a bit. I know I get into a ‘Funk’ about once a year and I know that it can almost be like a Season Affect Disorder, but this decision isn’t either of these things. Sometimes you just look at the things and people around you and decide you have to look at doing things a different way. The fact is I am unhappy with the way I currently interact with most folks. I am worn out with how it makes me feel. I want to be a healthier person, form smarter relationships, and not just fall into the same old patterns that haven’t worked. So this is an attempt at correcting that, correcting myself, and hopefully I’ll come out the other end rested, smarter, stronger, and a better person for it.

So begins the self-imposed ‘exile’. I’m looking at this like an opportunity to get refreshed, figure out how I can build healthier relationships with others, and really just spend more quality time with my lovely wife. Who knows this may last two months or it may be permanent it depends on how it works out, either way I feel like a heavy weight has lifted from my shoulders, and I really needed that.

Since I knew that Movie-A-Thon would not start on time and the THQ’s ‘game’ won’t work I took some time prior to ‘Cusacking’ to watch the 2012 flick Dredd (*** ½ out of 5).
I didn’t expect much here, in fact I thought it would be pretty bad, I was wrong. You know it is not perfect, it didn’t have the budget to blow you away visually, but it had a nice visceral feel to it, sort of like Robocop. I really dug Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, it was perfect that he never removed the helmet. Once the movie gets inside the ‘Block’ it really picks up, it feels like a really crappy, dirty, post apocalypse world. In the confines of that building there is a lawlessness that sets the tone for the body count. I think I would describe this flick as a post-apocalyptic buddy cop movie directed by John Carpenter circa 1983. It has a feel to it that is gritty and raw. I have NO idea who played ‘JudgeAnderson in this flick, but she was ‘hubba hubba’ to look at, and did a good job of portraying a woman but in the WORST situation possible while backing up the most unforgiving son of a ‘B’ in the world. That was the thing I think I enjoyed most about this flick is while Dredd just gunned down thugs nonstop there was an almost ‘Die Hard-like’ quality about the flick in the fact that you KNEW he was going to run out of ammo and a place to hide eventually. It was constantly speeding towards a bloody finish.  Throw in a vicious if not suicidal enemy, some great situational violence, and Karl Urban just being a perfect Judge Dredd and you have very entertaining and only slightly flawed flick.

I devoured the second of Bruce Cordell’s Abolethic Sovereignty books, City Of Torment (**** out of 5) at the end of last week.
If you take off the last chapter of this book it is a self-contained sequel to Plague Of Spells. It has an ending and a satisfying one at that, you get resolution with the vast majority of characters, and it is tied together in a neat nice little bow. THEN you get that last chapter and the rug gets YANKED out from underneath you. I was so happy with this book, and up until that last moment in the last chapter, ‘ok’ with being done with this as two books, and then Mr. Cordell had to rope me back in with the END OF THE FRIGGIN’ WORLD! Kudos to you sir because you have drawn me back in. I'll keep the details to a minimum, but we finally do get some resolution between Anusha and Japheth as the star crossed lovers.  I dug the fact that even though Raiden, Captain Thoster, and Serene were all working for the same end as Japheth overall, they were adversaries for a vast amount of the book.  The book did a wonderful job of illustrating just how nasty a Warlock Pact is.  Essentially you are guarnteeing your damnation.  The Aboleths come off as alien enough, and the feeling of dread as Thoster's crew leaves the ship to go into the city itself is fantastic.  My only complaint is a lame one, I thought Aboleths where WAY tougher than they are portrayed.  Either that or this adventuring party is HIGH level, because they go through Aboleths like a hot knife through butter.  The 'kill count' towards the end of the book is rundunckulous!  All that being said I dug it, I dug it a lot.  This series has just been big, fun adventure with a dark twist. Now I have to find the third book ASAP.

Zack was kind enough to lend me a few Warren Ellis’ Graphic Novels that he felt I had to read. Now let me start off by saying that I am not a big Warren Ellis guy. I think he is a tad overrated, he tends to lean on deconstructionism a bit too heavily, he likes his ULTRA violence a bit much for my taste, and enjoys attempting to show how clever he can be to the detriment to his stories. He unfortunately falls into that dreaded Garth Ennis group of Brit/Irish/Scot writers who seem to loathe what they are writing but churn it out nonetheless. So I went in prepare to dislike this stuff here is what I thoughts;
- Fell (** ½ out of 5)
This is the first in a series regarding a detective going ‘Over the bridge’ to the slum of Snowtown to work cases. The premise is simple; an outcast driven man in a city that is the cesspool of the world, a literal hell on Earth. Detective Fell is smart, almost too smart for his own good, driven, and ready to make a difference in a city that is a living nightmare. Each chapter, issue, is a walk down horrible case lane with murder, mutilation, rape, pedophilia, etc. This is the thing Fell is a likable character to a point as is the bartender that is his love interest, but the loathsome city itself overwhelms the book and mires it in a quagmire of wanting to be something ‘Se7en’ and falling WELL short. A decent read with unusual art, but nothing I would go out of my way for.

- Crecy (*** out of 5)
This one is a ‘historical’ take on the Battle Of Crecy. We follow a longbow man’s journey with the British forces as they scamper their way back through the French countryside in an attempt to avoid an open battle with the superior French numbers. It is an exercise in terse and almost xenophobic explanations about the hatred between the English and French at the time. Let me say the art is wonderful, simply beautiful to behold. However, like all of Ellis stuff it is hard to get me to sympathize with folks who have spent the last three months raping and pillaging no matter how justified it may seem. This is the thing I find with the likes of Ellis, Millar, and Ennis they want to take any semblance of the ‘Heroic Ideal’ and shit on it. They want to make sure that you know that the guy you look up to is really a piece of unrepentant shit. I get tired of this. The reality is all characters are flawed because human beings are flawed, HOWEVER most of their ‘protagonists’ seem to languish and enjoy their horrific flaws. There is no moral conundrum there; it is a black and white simplistic reality. In the end it makes the shocking things less shocking because you know they are coming, and it makes the writing regardless of genre formulaic. I love 65% of this book, the other 35% I hated, and that is my feeling of Warren Ellis as a whole.

How ‘bout we rock out some…


- Diamond’ Dave Wheeler is moving to L.A. for like 4 months. I’d love to say that I wasn’t sad about it, but surprisingly was. That guy and I have a lot in common and he’s really fun to hang out with so he’ll be missed. The reality is I’m super excited for him to get an opportunity like this. It is pretty amazing.
- I am once again starving for chili.
- Speaking of David(s), we met Dark Dave’s new friend Jessi at Cusack-A-Thon. It is always daunting for new people to try and integrate into the group of folks who orbit David. It is a diverse mish mash of folks with strong personalities and opinions. That being said she was pretty awesome. She jumped in right away, brought plenty of real good grub to share, and can talk trash with the best of them. She’s a cool gal and I’m glad those two kooky ‘kids’ are friends.
- There is the hope that we’ll knock out a Podcast this week, perhaps even with a guest!
- I had the Texans Vs. 49ers in the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season. I was half right; it’ll be 49ers Vs. Patriots in what should be fantastic to watch. I really hope Brady gets one more Super Bowl and rides off into the sunset to impregnate supermodels and sire a race of unstoppable SUPERMEN!
- Zombie Dice is the shiznittlepittlick!
- After finishing that 2nd Abolethic Sovereignty book, I just love saying/typing that by the by, I finally started devouring Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I have high hopes for this one. On top of that I’m going to start re-delving back into the monstrous tomb that is House Of Leaves. I love reading.
- We might have to take a shot at making some beer cheese soup soon.
- So there was a Shattered Star preview last week, but it really was just about the miniature ‘Stretch’ goals for Paizo’s Kickstarter and frankly I’m not overly interested in that. Hopefully next week they’ll get back to blowin’ my mind.
- I painted on Sunday, basically all day. I think I finished about twelve minis. So in the last week I’ve knocked out around twenty. I had sort of theme going Sunday with a black and yellow main color scheme with a bit of royal blue as the tertiary color. It is for a Knight and his retinue. He has two short bow troops, a long bow guy, a crossbow man, a dude with a halberd, two guys with swords, and a Hobgoblin Man-At-Arms. I’m happy with the color scheme and the minis in general. I’ve now got to find a way to fit this dude and his group into a campaign. I’m thinking a disgraced Knight acting as a bandit preying upon unsuspecting caravans, or maybe just a guy in a more political setting who attacks the PC’s over a real or imagined slight. Now I’ve got to get back to working on my Orc Pirates.
- THQ better release this patch for WWE ’13 soon. I’m going to have to re-start My Universe just to be able to play now. I’m beyond frustrated with this currently. THQ get your SHIT TOGETHER!

Well that is all I’ve got in me today…

“I must be careful now in my steps
Years of calculations and the stress
My science is waiting, nearly complete
One glass will last for nearly a week

Let me not get down from walking with no-one
and if I stumble from exhaustion
These buckets are heavy, I fill them with water
I could ask these people, but I shouldn't bother
Oh no, I've stumbled, was I going too fast?
Some get angry, some of them laugh
They told me I wouldn't, but I found an answer
I'm Van Occupanther, I'm Van Occupanther!

Let me not be too consumed with this world
Sometimes I want to go home
and stay out of sight for a long time

Let me not be too consumed with this world
Sometimes I want to go home
and stay out of sight for a long time”

* = Sometimes you just want to watch a massive Swiss man, Claudio Castagnoli or Antonio Cesaro I'm ok with both of his names now, European Uppercut a guy's head off OVER and OVER and OVER again.  It is a thing of sublime beauty.

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