Year: 2004

An Astonishing Read

I’ll whip up a little post-Christmas something soon, but here’s something I did last week which hasn’t been posted anywhere.

I wrote this review for the Comics and More website, but I don’t know if Rob’s going to use it or not. So as not to let it go to waste, here it is…a review for Astonishing X-Men #7 by Joss Whedon and John Cassiday.

In this issue…The X-Men go in to fight a giant monster (something John Cassiday is amazing at rendering), and end up meeting with the one group who’s forte is giant monsters. Meanwhile, back at the mansion, events are unfolding which pave the way for the rest of the six issue story arc which is called “Dangerous”.

What I thought: My favourite issues of team books are always the ones where the dynamic of the team, and the way they interact when the proverbial **** isn’t hitting the fan. That’s why even though there’s a huge action piece in this issue, it’s the stuff of them getting to, and leaving the battle which is the strongest. The internal monologues during the battles say more about the characters than any of the long winded nonsense which either Claremont or Austen have written into the X-Men mythos in the last several years. Kitty for example does a great deal of soul searching, while constantly interrupting it with “I should really be paying attention”. Wolverine meanwhile says a mere four things on his page, but they’re perfect for his character.

Joss Whedon has managed to capture the subtle traits of each character in the way they speak. It’s rare in comics today to read characters with actual “voices” that you can imagine sounding different from each other, and Whedon manages this.

Artist John Cassiday is spectacular, little nuances like the look of the Beast, or the quiet rage of Colossus are handled spectacularly by him, and his consistency of being the only artist on this book so far is definitely one of the major drawing cards.

Writer Joss Whedon, of Buffy fame, has never made it a secret that he loved the X-Men. In interviews he’s said that he based the Buffy gang on X-Men archetypes. Buffy was the strong, competent, sort of stiff leader ala Cyclops. Xander was the goofball who could always be counted on to come through in a clutch, much like Iceman. Willow was envisioned as a Kitty Pryde archetype, but she would eventually transform into a Jean Grey/Phoenix archetype in the later years. Of course most obvious would be Angel as the Wolverine archetype.

So when people are surprised at how good Whedon’s X-Men are, I wonder why. He’s been writing the characters for the last 8 years on TV, it’s really no surprise that he gets their voices.

About the comic: Astonishing X-Men #7 is indeed astonishing comics. Whedon’s run is already approaching the levels of Morrison’s three year arc, but the consistency of Cassiday’s art is what makes this different than New X-Men. This issue serves as a stand-alone jump on point, and is totally accessible to both new and old fans. The first six issues are collected together in the “Gifted” trade, which will be available in February, and will really catch you up with what’s going on.

Opening a comic store

Newsarama has a great article on The ups, downs, ins & outs of opening a comic shop. I’ve made no secret of the fact that one day I would love to own my own business, and in particular I would love to have a great comic store on the par of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, or Isotope which are just completely different stores.

Of course the reasons I haven’t done it are financial ones. It costs a lot to open a store, I just bought a house, not happening. It also takes a ton of time, and you have to be willing to live with practically no money for the first year…new house. Not happening.

Maybe if I can ever get HeadsDown humming along making money on its own, maybe I’ll just go ahead and bite the bullet, but for now I’ll live on vicariously through the stores I love like Comics and More.

A little fun that I’ve done before

1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

“Too late Knight.” – From Starman Night and Day, which is currently atop a pile of books about to be put onto a shelf in my new home.

All that’s good this week

Album Du Jour: Eminem: Encore

DVD of the week: The Rise and Fall of ECW

Movie of the week: Blade Trinity – The third installment isn’t quite as good as the second, but it’s still pretty good fun, and Ryan Reynolds was hilariously brilliant.

Game of the week: I bought Halo 2 before we moved. It’s frigging amazing. I absolutely love it, and I can’t wait to get my wireless connection running again so that I can play online.

Website of the week: Fanboy Rampage

Things I’ve learned by moving into a new house

I’ve learned a lot this last week while moving into the new place. Here are a few of them.

  • Buy a tool belt. It’s the best $17.99 I spent last week
  • Home Depot is your friend. Know someone moving into a new house? Get them a Home Depot gift card. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Budget at least an hour a day for Home Depot trips
  • Add an extra hour to that allottment if you need them to do anything complex…like talk to you.
  • If it’s winter, make sure you have some salt on hand. Salt is your friend because it is the enemy of ice. Ice is your enemy, and the enemy of your enemy is your friend.
  • Moisture is the enemy of new homes. Fear the humidity. Respect the Hygrometer.
  • When you’re an apartment dweller all your life, there are certain home necessities you won’t own. Shovels, brooms, and garbage cans are all necessary.
  • Hiring someone to finish your phone/cable/internet jacks is smart
  • When measuring for blinds, allow an extra 1/4-1/2 inch for the brackets
  • When it comes to drills, 6.5 volts isn’t enough to get the job done. You need 12-14 volts minimum. 18 volts is too much drill for screwing.
  • New homes have no personality, they’re just beige boxes. Don’t get depressed, think of that beige box as a blank canvas.
  • When you’re an apartment dweller all your life, your first home will be empty. Very empty.
  • Don’t try to do too much at once.

All of our stuff is in the house, we’ve started unpacking, and we’re done a good amount of stuff. I’ve got all my blinds cut to size, and now I’m just finishing installing them. I think I broke my baby toe the other night, and I’ve got enough bruises on me that it looks like I went three rounds with a pre-jail Mike Tyson. We’ve had cable since last Thursday, but still don’t have phone.

We now conclude our broadcast day

We move into our house tomorrow, it’s new so there are no connections, so that means no internet. No internet means no blogs. No blogs mean this communication ends.

Be back on Thursday.

New Favicon!

If you’re using Firefox (and honestly, why aren’t you if you’re not???), then you should see the new little favicon in your tab window. If you’re using Internet Explorer (go get Firefox already) just drag this site into your favourites (grab the little “e” in the address bar into your “Favourites” area on the toolbar, and it will create a favourite with the icon).

It’s just a little thing, but I think it’s kinda funny having the cartoon me on my header.

It’s funny, but going through my favourites, I’m amazed by how many I recognize not by the name of the favourite, but by the icon associated with it. My favourite ones are;

Wired News – the “W” logo from their name

Pocket PC Thoughts – a great looking little Pocket PC

DC Comics – an awesome DC Bullet

TiVo Canada – the TiVo dude

Dooce – a stylized “D”

Dave Shea’s Mezzoblue – the little dot logo

SimpleBits – an awesome soft looking square

StopDesign – the cool Stop Design logo

Zeldman.com – Jeffery’s mugshot from “Designing with Web Standards”

Okay, enough “work” for now, back to Halo 2 (that’s right, I broke down and bought it for myself).

Whole lotta shakin’ going on

It was the laziest of times, it was the busiest of times, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde.

After getting back from our kick assed vacation, I’ve found it tough to get back into the swing of things. I haven’t written a “Tales from the Darkside” for almost two months (mostly because I rarely watch wrestling right now), haven’t really touched my blog, haven’t seen a lot of movies, and haven’t played a ton of video games lately.

What I have done though is design, develop, build, and being a good consumer, keeping the economy alive.

After buying all of our new appliances for the house from Sears Home a couple of weeks ago, I’ve also been buying a few books to get ready for the house. I did an Amazon.ca order last week and got The Black and Decker guide to Home Repairs, and The Black and Decker guide to Home Improvements, and they’re both amazing books with incredible pictures and details on how to make stuff better. This weekend I plan on picking up the outlets for our cable/internet/phone.

Ryan and I meanwhile have been doing some awesome stuff for HeadsDown, we’ve got some new sites going (like albertainline.com on the HockeyUpdater platform, and lhg-inc.com on the HeadsDown tool). It’s looking like next year’s going to be a good one for HeadsDown.

Dolphins, not just for dinner anymore!

I just saw this on Wired.com’s “Furthermore” section;

Safety in Numbers

A pod of dolphins circled protectively around four people swimming 300 feet off a New Zealand beach to fend off an attack by a great white shark, according to a report Tuesday by the New Zealand Press Association. The four were swimming when several dolphins began herding them by doing tight circles around them. When one swimmer, Rob Howes, tried to drift away, one of the larger dolphins herded him back. It was then that Howes spotted a 9-foot great white shark swimming toward the pod. “I just recoiled. It was only about 2 meters away from me, the water was crystal clear and it was as clear as the nose on my face,” Howes said. “They had corraled us to protect us.” If the report is accurate — and a spokeswoman for the environmental group Orca Research says the behavior fits these marine mammals — then dolphins are treating us with a lot more respect than we’re treating them these days.

— Tony Long

Oh dolphins, you mysterious creatures of the deep.

And we’re back!

Okay, we’ve been back since late Sunday night, but I’ve yet to write anything about it.

Why would that be? Why have I forsaken Chronicology? What is up with me?

Well, I’m still on vacation time to be honest. It’s been really hard to get fully back into the swing of things.

I’ve been having a good time at work, Liam’s started, I changed my desk layout around, and I’m feeling good. However, when I get home every night, I just feel overwhelmed. We’ve got 3 weeks until we move into the new house. There’s loads to do, we have no clothes, and we haven’t had to make a meal for over a week! It’s tough to get back into it.

Add to that the fact that Blogger is freaking SLOW these days, and you’ve got all the stars lined up for a lack of blogging. Luckily I’m going to fix that by moving over to Writer’s Quill soon.

The cruise was amazing. I can’t remember the last time that I’ve been somewhere that I didn’t think about anything other than relaxing. We had a great time, and saw loads of cool things. I’m in the process of putting together a ton of photos that I’ll post up as soon as they’re done.