Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rain rain and more rain

It started raining again tonight and the ground is still swollen from
Friday. Not more then 20 minutes of rain and already the streets
around my neighborhood are flooding. I stepped through the grass to
get around my truck and it was like wading through a shallow kiddy
pool. Absolutely nothing is getting absorbed. (My lawn, however,
has never looked greener. This morning it was practically
luminescent!) Getting to work was a tad difficult to say the least.
Brakes are too wet again and I almost stalled out trying to get
through one flooded intersection. I called back home after getting to
work and getting my shift ready and it apparently slowed enough that
my street is clearing up. Regardless, I'm not taking chances. One of
the advantages of working in a hotel is I can abuse my position if I
really need to. I already told my ma that if shit starts coming down
heavy like that again to grab the animals and head over to the
Hampton. I've done enough favors for people over there, covered up
there shenanigans, that they'll sneak her in. Hopefully we won't need
to do that though.

The northern central parts of the state might be getting it far worse
(six dead 'round Killeen, right where my sister is moving) but lemme
tell you we're definitaly getting a taste of it down here.

Man, my lawn is gonna be ten feet high.

What the...?

From that office drummer person thing fellow guy...dude.

Pardon the foot fetish

Dude from Embalmed

Drum solo form that office drummer guy dude...thing

Why we have the internet part III

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rained like a bastard

Man, we got twelve inches Friday.

Went to bed this morning and heard it start raining. After a while it
stopped (or slowed down) and heard some thunder and drifted off. Woke
up at 3:30 cause I had to go to a meeting at 4:00 and it was pissing
down like it hasn't pissed in years. Meeting was canceled but fuck it
I was already awake. Proceeded to watch a couple of ducks bath in the
rain and try to pick seed out of the grass. Well, the seed was
probably washed away and so they sauntered over to the street which
was totally flooded. Half my front lawn was under water, swear to
God. They walked over and started swimming in the friggin street!
Bathing and swimming and having a good ole time. Lucky ducks.

Anyway, rain finally let up enough that the street drained and I could
get my check and pick up my brother-in-laws weed-eater ($72 bucks that
one). Everything drained pretty fast around my neighborhood. After
we got heavy floods in '91 the city really went forward with plans for
improving drainage and the street I live on, which got nailed bad back
then, took it all pretty well. Over on the street Top Cut was at, not
so much. Flooded pretty good. Mind you it doesn't look like any
business got damaged (though the news showed a nice neighborhood in La
Feria which was knee deep in water and pretty well screwed). So get
the edger, pay, and realize I forgot to ask about new parts for the
whacking end. We kinda lost most of that shit some time ago. DOH!
Well my idiot brother can take care of that considering he lost that
shit. Hell, he should have paid for fixing the edger to begin with
considering he was the one that knew how to work it properly (tricky
little bastard it was). Lazy prick.

So anyway, now in about two days my lawn is gonna be greener then it's
been in years and about ten feet tall and I'll end up cutting it three
times a day for a month but man, what a lovely day. Lotsa lightning,
lots of rain, power went out at the hotel, meeting was canceled (which
I just found out was actually gonna be at 3:00 and not 4:00). Got
gas, got a couple of packs of smokes, got my first issue of Revolver
in tha mail (which I'll apparently get after it hits
newstands...anyone want the Hottest Chicks in MEtal issue?) oh and got
my new free faux-Zippo lighter from Camel as well as an order from
Rightstuf (AFRO SAMURAI!). Awesome.

And tell me what you think about this e-haul.

Megadeth - United Abominations

Porcupine Tree - Fear Of A Blank Planet

The Pat Matheny Group - The Way Up

Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos (w/DVD)

American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Got the book for my mother. Got her Anansi Boys a few weeks back and
she enjoyed it. Figure she might like this one. I was debating on
the Metheny CD. Some dude on Amazon comapred it to 70s prog and
called it his Topographic Oceans. Never heard Topographic Oceans but
it wasn't meant as a favorable comparison. Megadeth, Porcupine Tree
and Dream Theater? Love 'em all.

Comics from 5/23

X-Men #199 - I love Bachalo's art normally but it was hard to make out what was happening exactly. It's like Mike Carey and Bachalo aren't on the same page. I dunno. Also, even though the issue is presented as the end of a three part story the arc itself is part of a larger story and I've really not understood what's been going on. I'll keep reading it for a few more issues to see where it's going and if it makes any sense. I hope something good comes out of wherever the hell things are going and whatever the hell has been happening.

Captain America #26 - Finally the follow-up to the death of Captain America. It was okay. The art is good, but it's clear Steve Epting is tracing from other sources. Some facial expressions don't match well to what they should be expressing. Sharon Carter at one point almost reveals to Tony Stark that she killed Cap but when she realizes her mistake her expression is less, "Oh shit," and more like, "Oops, I just crapped my pants!"

Countdown #49 - More stuff! I liked it, but I can't for the life of me remember what happened. Not a good sign. Eh, it's 52 issues long and weekly, I'll figure it out. Oh, yeah, Black Adam is back. SWEET! And some shit with the Monitors and Jimmy Olsen is the next stretchy DC hero it seems.

And that was my haul for the week. Ten bucks, sheesh!

This is why we have the internet part II

This is why we have the internet

Friday, May 18, 2007

Comics, continued

Batman. This is the Batman I've always wanted to read. Thank you Morrison and Kubert! I mean I loved the miniseries like The Long Halloween. I've enjoyed Batman in books like Justice League. Batman in his own book? Not so much. This Batman? I enjoy it thoroughly.

The Mighty Avengers. Meh. Some stuff happened. Sentry fought the new female Ultron. The Black Widow took control of the SHIELD helicarrier. The Avengers are still kinda sorta retreating. Tigra and Hank Pym get caught about to hop in the sack for no discernable reason. I hope this is all going somewhere. The brief Ultron/Sentry fight was okay, but Frank Cho has some serious problems with scale. He's not flashy enough to get some of his ideas through properly on the page. Bendis is having trouble following through with a story. Is this something that works best in TPB form? Cause it's not really showing a lot of potential in periodical form that's for sure. I'll give it until issue six. If the title isn't firing on all cylinders I'm dropping it.

X-Factor. Felt like kind of a filler issue. There was some stuff between Guido and Rahne. Madrox risks poisoning himself when he absorbs a poisoned duplicate. Some action bits with Monet and Syren versus Marrow, the Blob and the Reaper. There was a cute scene between Layla Miller and some French kid. Rictor is kidnapped by Quicksilver who wants to strike a deal with him. It wasn't a bad issue, but it felt like Peter David was just moving things forward without showing off the characters. It ended interesting enough so I hope the next issue provides some decent follow through. Good art. Nothing spectacular, but it was easy to look at.

Cable & Deadpool. Well I only picked it up cause it has something to do with the present arc in X-Men involving Cable's island nation, telepathic mindworms from space Rogue in the ER. Honestly, after setting the issue down I pretty much forgot everything that happened. I think it was supposed to be a character issue focusing on Cable? He's getting his powers back due to that mindworm thing? I dunno. It really didn't have much to do with the main arc in X-Men. The Deadpool stuff was pretty cool though, but I don't know why Marvel decided to put them in a single title. I'd much prefer to see Deadpool. I might, maybe, occasionally pick this one up. However the art kinda sucks.

Countdown. We're still off to a slow start with this one. I did like the ending. Looks like Jimmy Olsen is a few inches away from getting eaten by Killer Croc right now. If 52 proved anything it's that the fans love watching people get eaten by crocodiles. Still wondering why Mary Marvel is older then she should be. I'm just waiting for her to turn into the whore everyone says she'll become.

Justice League of America continues the current cross over with the Justice Society, The Lightning Saga some such. Ed Benes has great art. Loads better then the Image Comics/Liefeld knock-off stuff he was doing some years ago. While it still shows where he came from, he's definitaly a pretty good artist to have on the current Justice League series. The current arc has something to do with the Legion of Super-Heroes. Honestly, I've never really liked the Legion. Actually I still don't. I think what they're doing is setting up things for a new Legion series and it's pretty obvious. Meltzer and Johns just seem to be jumping through editorial hoops for this one. Don't get me wrong, they're still pulling together an okay yarn, but why? Personally I never understood the point of the Legion, it was always something that was just kinda...there. Oh yeah, heard about the great stories and all but the series never clicked with me. Something about every character having Lad or Lass or Kid or some shit in their name just annoyed the hell out of me. But here we are, pushing a new Legion series and also apparently re-establishing some old silver age continuity. Fuck it, I'll just take it for what it's worth.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Comics Wednesday

The haul!

Uncanny X-Men
Justice League of America
Action Comics
The Mighty Avengers

Well, so far I've only read Action and Uncanny and those two I was pretty disappointed by. Action wraps up a two part story by Fabian Nicieza about a religious hero who ends up massacring the fascist soldiers of an African dictatorship who themeselves massacred a group of missionaries from his church. The story basically amounts to a left-wing anti-religious, multiculti left-wing diatribe about how we shouldn't be meddling with other cultures and we deserve what we get when we do. Oh, and that all religions are basically the same and we shouldn't put any amount of thought into them for whatever reason that Nicieza fails to state. It was utter garbage. The Man of Steel is now the Man of Moral Equivalence, Cognitive Dissonance and Pure Hypocritical Bullshit. I'm not even remotely religious but even I was completely insulted. The scene where Clark and Martha Kent are talking was as fake as can be. Clark asks why she didn't have a problem when he stopped going to Church when he was a kid and what proceeds is the most bullshit idealized answer in the world. "Oh you needed to find your own way and I just want you to be happy. Here, let me lick your asshole and stroke you off!" Garbage. What saddens me is that Nicieza is one of the last great writers of old time comic books and then he lays down this garbage for readers to consume? Can we fucking please get back to the Richard Donner story? His Man of Steel at least has balls, but his next issue won't be out until July. FUCK! Kurt Busiek is going to be taking over the reigns of Action Comics soon (he already writes Superman). I'm probably not gonna be touching the book by that point. Just...ugh. I'll never understand why DC's big three can't be written remotely decently within their own books. Oh, they're fantastic in books like Justice League, but the regular titles aren't even worth picking up half the time.

Now for Uncanny X-Men. This issue wrapped up the twelve part epic, The Rise and Fall of the Shiar Empire. For the first eleven it was a ride. It was well done and tense and then by the end it was going all out with some great action. Then the last issue comes around and they completely drop the ball. What a huge letdown. Well, part eleven ended with Professor X getting thrown in to the M'Krann Crystal after CLEARLY getting his feet and legs torn to shreds. Next we see? Not a scratch! WHA?!?!?! Well, he gets his telepathy back but it would have been cool to see Charles Xavier, world class telepath and double amputee. Christ, this issue reeks of editorial meddling. Either that or Brubaker isn't half the writer people say he is. Also, we see the death of Corsair. I think. Billy Tan's art has been nothing short of fantastic in this series, but this issue was muddled. Corsair dies, but he doesn't really look like he's dead (we only know cause they said he was dead). I've seen lots of kill shots in comics and that wasn't a kill shot. Minor confusion as to who is talking to who, but otherwise I'm pleased that Tan is no longer just a Marc Silvestri clone. Again, the conclusion just feels like a letdown. It was anti-climactic. Half the X-Men are sent back to Earth with a couple of Starjammers and the others stay in space with the remaining Starjammers intent on finishing their mission. It's an interesting change with potential, but I don't wanna see more potential in what should have been a climax. We should have seen a conclusion, instead it was nothing but a giant twelve issue setup lacking any sort of resolution. I'm gonna stick around for the next story, but I don't have strong hopes for it.

Here's hoping the remainder of the books I bought fair better.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh, and new Maddox

Cause everyone fucking loves Maddox.

Comics, in brief

Cause I keep forgetting to mention them.

Last week I picked up...

Countdown #51

Amazing Spider-Man #540

The Mighty Avengers #2

Countdown was okay. It's the start of a new weekly series from DC and it's only getting the ball rolling. Starts off with Darkseid plotting, Mary Marvel (who I thought was supposed to be a ten year old who transformed into an adult hero, but I never erally followed) recovering from a coma and...something else. Issue #50 comes in this Wednesday.

Amazing...well, man, they're gonna drag this along. It's pretty late really, should have been in sooner. Seriously, how long can we al possibly wait for Aunt May to friggin die? But still some cool shit. Peter Parker the vengeful badass...I hope JMS doesn't puss out at the last second.

The Mighty Avengers...okay, the first issue should have been doble sized, cause this is getting to too slow a pace. Two issues of a new Avengers team forming? Too long. And the action goes nowhere. The critics are right, Bendis has too much talking and not enough ass kicking in his books. THROW MORE PUNCHES! Ares is still pretty cool. Ms. Marvel is still drawn like a whore. Issue #3 comes in this Wednesday. Hopefully things will move faster.

Got more then a few books coming in this week. Seven in total. Heh, seems like half of the books I am down for regularly all come in at once. DOH! However they are all books I'm looking forward to so it's good. New Morrison Batman, last part of Brubaker's first arc on Uncanny...X-Factor. Can't go wrong there!

Now just gotta make sure they're all saved for me.

God I do love my new lawnmower

So I got that lawnmower I was talking about a couple of weeks ago...well, a couple of weeks ago.

So far? Fucking great! I love it. It just cuts so damn well. Powerful as all hell, too. Actually, this can be kind of a pain cause when t rolls over dust it kicks it all up much more than the previous mower, collects in my glasses and then I can't see for shit. That aside, it's wonderful. I did my front yard this morning (making it the third use so far) and it's just great. It's unfortunate cause after getting this new one I finally realized how badly I treated the old one. I could have gotten a few more years out of the old one if I had maintained it better. I didn't, and it got ruined. Well, I won't be so stupid as to do the same thing with this one.

Now all I gotta do is take my brother-in-law's weed whacker to get serviced and back in working order. They're coming down next week and it needs to be done by about then.

Starship Groove

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spider-Man 3

What can I say? It was a fun movie if somewhat flawed. It brought closure and still managed to keep the door open for more. Overall, I'd give it a B- and I imagine that most people would agree it falls within the C, C+, B- range.

So the story is that Peter Parker and Mary Jane are dating happily but hit a major rough spot in their relationship. Mary Jane is fired from the broadway play she was performing in due to bad reviews. Peter is too self absorbed and basking in adulation from his adoring public to see how bad a shape Mary Jane is in. She turns to an old friend instead.

Cain Marko, an escaped convict, gets trapped in a particle physics experiment and becomes merged with sand. He goes on a crime spree to get the money to give his daughter the medical treatment she needs.

Harry Osbourne, the New Goblin, sets on finally destroying Peter Parker/Spider-Man but in the ensuing battle has his short term memory erased.

Eddie Brock, a new photographer for the Daily Bugle, is in competition with Peter to get the newly opened staff photographer position. He gets busted faking a photo of Spider-Man stealing and his career is ruined in the process.

Well, first the good. This movie had some awesome action scenes. Sam Raimi really enjoys watching his characters go flying around and banging into walls and other shit that looks like it would really hurt if coming into contact with at high velocities. Too bad the movie is PG-13 or the amount of blood on screen would probably rival 300.

The friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. I loved the scene where he gets the key to New York City. Spider-Man has always been best when you realize he's as much a super-goof as he is a super-hero.

Cain Marko's transformation into the Sandman is great. I like the way the camera just kinda starts off looking at these giant rocks only to keep pulling back until you see that they were just tiny grains of sand. Really, the whole bit watching him pull himself together is fantastic. It wasn't just watching a guy adapting to a new situation. It basically came across like watching a new like being born. Little things like that showed why Sam Raimi is such a great director and why he'll be someone to watch as he grows.

Really, the middle part of the movie is the best. The scene with Peter Parker kinda sorta walking down the street like he's Tony Manero is a riot. Toby Maguire plays a really great cocky jerk. But as I said about the middle part, this is where the whole movie finds its stride. This is where it stops playing catch up or doing the set up that it can finally breathe free on its own. Three movies is a long run for a single creative team these days, so it's not like it breathes as well as it otherwise would, but it does nicely.

And now, what I didn't like. Basically, they forced too much in to too little space. This could have been a three hour movie if they wanted it to be. Having venom in the film was pretty needless. You could have excised all that shit with Eddie Brock and used the time to focus on the relationship story, or Cain Marko, or Harry Osbourne. When Cain Marko comes on screen, we're introduced to his family. You really are left wanting more of that. It's like he's a villainous villain. Rather, he's a sympathetic villain. He's the guy that fucks up no matter how hard he tries, but he means well in the end. They could have tied him into the morality play that these movies often are but didn't so much. They couldn't! Venom took too much time.

And consider this. The Venom story is a movie on its own. That's a story that, while they showed could have been done right, they failed. Venom is Spider-Man's most fearsome villain. His powers are identical plus he's psychotic. We shoulda gotten more then a cynical cash grab. The stories they could have done, watching Venom fuck with Peter's entire family and friends, torturing and haunting them in their nightmares. That could have been brilliant and a great way to intrduce a new creative team. Alas, the curse of bending over for the fans is that it leads to an inferior product. It was fine to introduce the black costume I suppose, but Venom is another matter entirely. (Considering that in the comics they were never introduced together it makes sense to do it across two movies instead of one.)

Speaking of cynicism, one thing that really annoyed me was the use of the flag. When Spider-Man runs towards the final battle (comparatively anti-climactic to the rest of the action scenes) he runs in front of this huge flag. Now, when the first movie came out it was right after 9/11 so naturally they would want to do something patriotic. Now they did it just cause it was gonna be expected. It wasn't done with pride, with patriotism. Tt was just...done. "Hey, we need a shot in front of the flag. Where can it logically work and create an emotional response? No where? Oh, fuck it, then let's put!" Lame.

And then one other thing bothered me. In the first movie, when Spidey is getting the shit beat out of him, his mask is torn and shattered a specific way. In this movie, he gets pummeled by the Sandman at the end. His mask is torn in the same way. It's the same fucking mask! They recycled a fucking prop! STOOOOOPID!!!!!!!! Plus it was at this point of the movie that I think they were running out of money. Peter was getting his shit handed to him but whereas in the first one he looked like hell warmed over in this one he looked...mildly bruised. Well, it bothered me anyway.

But like I said, overall this movie was very entertaining. Spider-Man has always been more of a, action movie (if such a thing exists). There's your morality play, there's your big super-hero action, there's you character's a very nice combination. It's not art, but what is? Insofar as super-hero action movies go, the Spider-Man franchise still ranks at the top. Of all the "threequels" out there this one is the best. Batman Forever? Superman 3? X-Men: The Last Stand? They ain't got shit on this one. Even if the creative team burned out, they still gave us all one last final and fun ride for us to enjoy. There will be more. Oh yes, there will be more. And I'll be looking forward to how they approach this series. But I have no doubt that this trilogy, as it stands now, has been a ride well worth taking.