Wha-?! You're kidding!

I assumed my Snow Monkeys were dead in the water following their fourth straight loss but, as it turns out, they have one more shot at making the playoffs in the last week of our R.I.P. Stargate fantasy football league regular season.  Three teams are deadlocked at 6-6, fighting for those last two playoff spots and two of those other teams play each other.  All the Snow Monkeys have to do is win and they move on to post-season play.  A loss and they’re eliminated on the tie-breaker.  On the surface, it looks like an easy enough task since we’ll be up against the 1-11 Reagan’s Raiders but, unfortunately for us, his wide receivers and running backs are looking at some terrific match-ups against the NFL’s bottom-ranked pass and run defenses.  If we win, it’s going to be a hard fought victory.

Show your support for the team by purchasing official R.I.P. Stargate League Snow Monkeywear and proudly displaying the Snow Monkey logo!

GO SNOW MONKEYS!!!

I officially started my Christmas shopping today and, when all was said and done, wound up purchasing more stuff for myself than anyone else.  I picked up some books, dvd’s, desserts, and one of those little gadgets that froths up milk.  I was tempted to get a waffle-maker as well until Akemi pointed out I’d have to source pearl sugar to make a proper liege waffle (according to waffle expert Rob Cooper, it doesn’t melt like regular sugar, caramelizing the outside of the waffle but also remaining a half-melted whole inside), but apparently the stuff is harder to track down than D.B. Cooper.  I head back downtown tomorrow for round #2 as I have yet to cross mom and sis off the list. As for Akemi – well, it looks like she may need to go visit her family soon so I think I’ll use my points to get us a couple of flights to Tokyo. Better late than never.

On the comic book front, I checked out another three titles last night…

BATWOMAN #1-3

I had heard a lot of very good things about this series going in and it lived up to the hype.  Really interesting, varied artwork – shifting in style and palette – compliments an unsettling little mystery involving the disappearance of some local children.  I know nothing about this new Batwoman (outside of the fact that she is very, very pale), but she’s an interesting character and the civilian elements in this book are as fascinating as the superhero throughline.  I’m not a huge fan of stories with a supernatural angle, particularly in the Bat universe, and even though it looks like this one is headed that way, I’m reserving judgment until all is revealed.

Verdict: Great.  Definitely on my pick-up list.

ASTONISHING X-MEN #41-44

Wow.  What a difference 30 years make.  When I first started collecting comics, I couldn’t get enough of the X-Men.  Today, I’m having trouble finding an X-title that really appeals to me.  Chalk it up to personal taste and my unfamiliarity with the copious backstory.  Granted, part of the problem is that, unlike DC’s New 52 that make it easier for new readers to get in on the ground floor, much of the Marvel titles I’ve been checking out are ongoing.  The first issue of Astonishing X-Men I read for instance, issue #41, is the conclusion to a pre-existing story.  I was able to follow well enough but the thing that struck me as strange was how different the characters of Wolverine and Emma Frost were in comparison to their depiction in other, equally recent X-titles.  Very quippy and surprisingly light.  The next issue I read, #42, was for some strange reason the conclusion to another storyline.  The ensuing issue offers a standalone story involving a character I do remember from Whedon’s run, after which we commence a brand new story in issue #44 – and I was back to being confused.

Verdict: My quest for an X-title continues.

RED LANTERNS #1-3

Given the book’s premise and coming off Green Lantern New Guardians, I really wasn’t expecting to be all that impressed with Red Lanterns, yet impress me it did.  Writer Peter Milligan crafts a smart and involving narrative that packs a surprising emotional punch in its depiction of the human costs of war and the consequences of allowing our passions to get the better of us.

Verdict: Thumbs up.  I’m very much looking forward to the next issue.

For those keeping track, that’s 20 titles read (at least 3 issues of each) – 11 of which I’ll be continuing to read for the time being and 9 of which I’ve dropped.

33 thoughts on “November 29, 2011: Not dead yet! Let the Christmas rush begin! More comic perusals!

  1. GO SNOW MONKEYS!!,, !! you can do this !!
    Sign me up for a t-shirt, uh, but is there a pix of the logo, just curious. hmm, and do they shrink, what colors and sizes, do you have sweatshirts,, oh heck, just send me one of each!!(my christmas shopping is done now)

  2. have to say, I am pleased that we both bought those milk frother machine things at the same time. I also picked one up this weekend since it seemed like a nice addition to plain coffee now and then. So far it works great! (My fave is just whipping up some unsweetened vanilla soy for a super smooth vanilla soy latte).

    Question: What do you do with the comics that you end not liking? Do you end up just keeping 3 issues of meh titles, or do you bring them back to a comic shop and try and get a few bucks for them? I know that with books I have a hard time getting rid of any, even if I didn’t particularly end up liking them. Something about being proud that I have it in my library to show that yes, that counts as one of the many hundreds of books I’ve read.

  3. Congratulation on the survival of your Snow Monkeys! Woohoo!

    Amazon.com (U.S.) lists pearl sugar in their grocery section. You might try ordering from them. I’m sure they’ll ship to Canada.

  4. Hope everyone in Akemi’s family is well and she is not going back for sad or illness reasons. I’m sure you will be checking in with some of your favorite dinner spots.

  5. Good Luck to your Snow Monkeys. I fear A. Peterson may be out for the season. Why waste a star player for a dismal season. My your merchandise move like that of the Vikings (silly Norwegians).

    My I suggest a trip through SEA? Not sure if Akemi needs a visa for that.

    I remember at a younger age reading Sgt. Rock. I am sure he has beaten back those crafty Nazi hords by now, but not sure if there is any current equivalent. How do you compare the movie mania action takeoffs to the paper back form?

  6. Hi Joe,

    I did a cursory check and found pearl sugar for you locally at:

    Gourmet Warehouse
    Tel: (604) 253-3022
    Fax: (604) 255-4345
    E:service@gourmetwarehouse.ca
    Address:
    1340 East Hastings Street Vancouver, BC, Canada V5L 1S3

    I hope this helps… Not that I’ve ever had a liege waffle, but if you want to be able to make some, then far be it for the lack of a single ingredient to prevent you from making some.

    Any updates on Maximus? I hope that the partial removal of his terrible tumor has given him some relief. How about Jelly? How are her hips doing?

    – Gina

  7. Just need to echo Ponytail’s wish that she needs to go home for some happy reason, not problems.

    GO SNOW MONKEYS cause it’ll make Joe happy.

  8. And here I thought I was going to be clever and post a link to King Arthur’s Flour…. I strongly recomend KAF for all your hard to find ingredients.

  9. Wishing the Snow Monkeys the best of luck! Looks like you’ve got lots of ways to get pearl sugar, so you should probably go ahead and get that waffle maker for yourself. Also, I’ve also bought more for myself than presents for others so far in my Christmas shopping. Glad to know I’m in such good company!

  10. Rooting for the Snow Monkeys! You can do it guys.

    If you and Akemi need to go to Japan, I hope it is for a wonderful reason.

    Sounds as if you’ve gotten all the sugar advice you need…

  11. @dasndanger

    Um, my comment yesterday was written before your’s appeared…I still stand by what I said, with the amendment that, in my head, ‘comics’ are the serialised, superhero-y ones, and ‘graphic novels’ are the arty, literary, single-issue ones; and I was talking about ‘comics.’ 🙂 I know that the terms are used interchangeably, but that’s what was going on in my brain. I really didn’t mean to poo-poo all comics. 😀

    Reading your list of recommendations (thanks for that!), I am sure there is something out there for me in the genre – but with the lack of accessability for me personally, I don’t see my fancy being tickled any time soon. 😉

    I’m thinking SF & fantasy would do well in graphic novel form – there’s no budget to limit the story! – and historical epics (e.g. ‘The Odyssey’) for the same reasons, and a good Noir story – in black-and-white, of course!

    I’d love to see a well-done version of Anne McCaffrey’s ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ stories, or Lois McMaster Bujold’s ‘Vorkosigan’ series, or… 🙂

    I’m still wary about graphic novel accounts of events such as The Holocaust, September 11th, or war in general; they could be very effective – a picture tells a thousand words, etc, etc – but also, because of the lack of words, they could over-simplify matters.

    And one thing that really does irritate me about the genre is the use of emphasis (through bold type) on several words within a sentence; to me, it makes the story-telling seem overwrought. But, no more shall I poo-poo. 😉

    Sorry to hear you have depression & anxiety. 🙁 They are just so darn tiring to live with; like a Wraith, they suck the life out of you, leaving you a husk of a person. Yay for you for dealing *whistles ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ sends supportive wishes* I can see how comics would have been a lifeline in your situation; not just as a road back to reading well (i.e. with enjoyment & comprehension), but as a distraction from your troubles, from your anxious state.

    ‘…it was like my brain shut down and no longer wanted to accept new information. It literally felt like a steel curtain came down between my eyes, and my brain, and anything I tried to take in just bounced off. I could write, and I could understand what I wrote, but if I tried to read a magazine, a book, the caption under a picture – anything – my brain just could not absorb what I was reading, no matter how many times I read it.’

    This really resonates with me, it describes my experience so well, also.

    I was frightened I had brain damage when I began finding it hard to read. Reading had always been my passion and my escape, so it was a huge blow to find that I could not concentrate well enough to read even a sentence; and even if I did I could not comprehend the meaning, even after reading the sentence over and over, and I could not retain any information anyway. I had always counted on my brain and now it was failing me; behaving like a sponge – and not in the good ‘soaks up information’ way, but in the bad ‘full of holes’ way. 😉 I have resigned myself to life as a spongiform-brain-person.

    I turned to magazines; sometimes, on a good day, I could just about read and understand a short article, but if comics had been accessible to me, I probably would have turned to them, too – the use of words as well as pictures to tell a story would probably have been easier for me to follow than a magazine article.

    I’m so glad you were able to find your way not just back to reading as you were before, but to a new passion for it – so yay for comic books! And I’m sure they are a great tool to help young readers who are reluctant or having trouble – so yay again! 😀 Thanks for sharing your experience, I truly appreciate it. I thought I was the only one! *gives socially awkward hug*

    Moving on to films…

    Cary Grant is terrific. I love old movies, too, espesh b/w (it’s so pretty :-P) but my spongiform brain has deleted the titles of any faves I might have. 🙂

    I love British murder mysteries too! I actually found myself enjoying ‘Lewis’ more than ‘Morse’ – I find the dynamic between Lewis & Hathaway more engaging than that between Lewis & Morse. ‘Midsomer Murders’ I’m a bit tired of – it just goes on & on – and I don’t know if I’m mis-remembering how explicit the earlier series were, but the latest one was very explicit. How many shots does one need of a chopped up woman in a wicker basket? I got what had happened when I saw the basket with blood leaking out; enough with the gory already!

    I like ‘Poirot’ & ‘Miss Marple’ – not so gory – but shockingly I have never read an Agatha Christie. I did used to enjoy Ngaio Marsh’s mysteries when I was a teenager (many aeons ago), and I’ve read some of Ellis Peters’ ‘Cadfael’ books and enjoyed them. (Actually, just a couple of days ago I was trying to decide if I could afford buying a ‘Cadfael’ dvd; it’s been a long time since I saw them, maybe my taste has changed…but then, Derek Jacobi is awfully good…) I also like Lindsey Davis’ ‘Falco’ mysteries set in Ancient Rome, and Reginald Hill’s ‘Dalziel & Pascoe’ books (the TV series was ok, but I prefer the books).

    On the telly, I also like the later series of British forensic crime drama ‘Silent Witness’ – though like ‘Midsomer Murders’ latterly it has become more explicit; they used to show post-mortems from the elbows up of the doctors only, now they have lots of lingering shots of the bodies, and I have to turn away. That’s not why I watch them, so for me these scenes add nothing to the story and could easily be left out. The same with cold case drama ‘Waking the Dead’ – good stories but often too gory.

    Other good British series are ‘The Mrs Bradley Mysteries’, ‘The Gil Mayo Mysteries’ (both the lighter type of British mystery), ‘Prime Suspect’ (The first three, and the later one, ‘The Last Witness’ – Russian actor Oleg Menshikov is mesmerising in it), ‘Whitechapel’, ‘Taggart’ (though it too goes on and on…), and, of course, Sherlock Holmes, any version, really. (Are you liking the set-in-modern-day BBC version?)

    Oh, and ‘Columbo’…classic 🙂 I also used to watch ‘Quincy, M.E.’…and older British shows like ‘The Gentle Touch’ and ‘The Sweeney’…I’ve been in this genre a long time! 😆

    As for cleaning…

    ‘She also washes ketchup, mustard, etc. lids and bottles after each use before putting them back in the fridge.’

    Eeek! That’s cleaning gone mad! 😛

    Nice chatting… 😀

  12. @PBMom
    ‘Good news!’

    Yay for good news!!!
    Glad things worked out. 😀 Wishing you (and all) lots more good news!

    @Gilder
    ‘Y’all may recall that I volunteer at Animal Defense League of Texas.’

    Yay for you!!! And all who look out for animals! 😀

    @Mr. M.
    So sorry to have posted such a long blog before…but you will have such lovely, interesting readers who post on your blog, so it’s your fault really. 😉

    Good luck to your Snow Monkeys! (Maybe you would have more luck if you played actual snow monkeys, or an orang utan or two? I would suggest The Librarian from Terry Pratchett’s ‘Discworld’ series. ;-))

    DvDs? Desserts? Please name, try, review! 🙂

    Ponytail & Debra have me worried now – hope everything is okay with Akemi’s family.

    Best wishes, all!

  13. Joe, regarding the X-books, I forget: have you considered X-Factor, written by Peter David? It’s a good book, and every so often I believe a new story begins as a good jumping-on point. (I can check if you want…)

  14. Go little snow monkies, go!

    @Gina cool, now there is no excuse not to make beautiful waffles.

    So tired and cranky, I keep taking after work naps and then not being able to fall asleep at night. Going to force myself to stay awake until bedtime and get my REM sched back on track. So very tired and cranky now.

  15. Hello!! Go Snow Monkeys

    Had a slight snafu in my trip…fractured my wrist walking around Victoria, Vancouver Island yesterday…ouch!!

    Everyone there was lovely though

    Cheers, Chev

  16. I hope Akemi’s family are well? Pearl sugar. What else is better with P. Sugar?
    Happy Cyberhunting!

  17. @Shiny

    Yes that Captain Starship with Paul McGillion..looks great…hope it gets picked up

    Cheers, Chev

  18. Go Snow Monkeys. This reminds me of Stargate: It’s cancelled, it’s renewed, it’s cancelled, it’s renewed. : )

    I’ve bought exactly 11 presents so far. in the summer, I bought 7 of them for members of my book club. Monday I went out and bought 4 more for friends. Nothing yet for Jeff and me. For the first time in 21 years I am stumped as to what to buy my husband for Christmas. I know an ITunes gift card or an XBox Live gift card is always welcome, but it’s so unpersonal.

  19. @ Zed of Earth – *socially awkward hug backatcha!*

    1. Glad you’re not poo-pooing all com…erm…graphic novels. 😉

    2. I was told by a non-professional that my reading black-out was probably the result of a functioning breakdown (not as severe as a mental breakdown). When it first hit I hardly slept for 4 months (only about 4 hours a day – after a while that takes a toll), and I developed hypergraphia – the compulsion to write. I wrote all kinds of stories all day long. That lasted for those first 4 months, also, then I went into total writer’s block. My problems with reading lasted much longer. Looking back I was definitely in a manic stage those first 4 months, though I am not bi-polar (or anything close to it based on the people I know who are). Looking back it all seems surreal now, and for nearly two years I’ve not had any major problems with depression or anxiety (except for my normal social anxiety). In other words, I’m just peachy! 😀

    3. I, too, prefer the less graphic when it comes to murder mysteries. Midsomer Murders always had a graphic edge to them in many ways, like the one ep where you catch a glimpse of brother and sister engaging in…ya know…a bit of incest. And they’ve always had a high body count, but I see it as a bit of tongue in cheek fun poked at the whole British mystery genre (reminds me of Hot Fuzz in that regard). I liked them because they had a nice balance between light and dark – always a bit macabre, but with a splash of British charm to counter it. I mostly watched the early ones with DS Troy, then a few with the guy who came after him, then they stopped showing them over here. I really liked Troy and his boyish charm – reminds me of Mr. Das.

    4. LOVE the new Sherlock, but alas, only have seen the first series here in the US. 🙁

    5. Cary Grant is my favorite actor of all time (yes, even more than Johnny Depp). I love most of his movies (there are a couple dramas – like Penny Serenade – that are just too depressing for me). I especially enjoy Grant in a light or comedic role, like in Father Goose, Operation Petticoat, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Arsenic and Old Lace, and the like. But one of my favorites is People Will Talk, a light drama about a doctor who marries a pregnant patient to protect her reputation, but that’s only putting it in its simplest form – it’s much more complicated than that. There’s a lot of good in that movie.

    6. I’ve read most of Ngaio Marsh’s books – enjoyable, though a bit redundant. Agatha spoiled me. 🙂 I have the Cadfael complete DVD set and love it! Never read the books, though. Same with Dalziel & Pascoe – watched the show, never read the books (show was okay, better than some, not as good as others). Loved Prime Suspect, though that got a bit gory at times. Same with another favorite, Touching Evil with that fella with the purty eyes (Robson Green, I believe). Also really liked Second Sight with Clive Owen – that was my first exposure to the man and I found him quite yummy. 🙂 So many good ones, I can’t even begin to remember them all!

    7. I adored Morse. I actually grieved when that series ended. But then came his old buddy, Lewis, and it made everything ALL better! I am absolutely in love with Hathaway. In. Love. What an excellent character! Laurence has brought so much to that role, has fleshed out what could otherwise have been a very flat character, and made people love him. And I can’t say enough about the relationship between Hathaway and Lewis – I love it, and find their chemistry spot on. So many favorite scenes, but the one that sold me was this, from one of the earlier movies: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v54/dasNdanger/lewishathaway.jpg

    That just cracks me up every time! (For the uninitiated, in that scene Lewis and Hathaway have been mistaken for a gay couple, and Hathaway plays it up, much to Lewis’ irritation. 🙂 )

    Okie dokie, gotta run! New episode of Psych coming on, AND my 5 Charlie Chan boxsets arrived today! WOO! Watched Castle in the Desert, one of my favorites!

    Jimmy Chan: “Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop, pop, pop, pop!”

    Charlie: “Pop, pop, pop! Why does offspring imitate outboard motor?”

    😆

    das

  20. PS @ Zed – I said I like less graphic, and mostly listed the graphic ones! LOL. 😛 I, too, love Poirot and Marple, and Sherlock with Jeremy Brett. The traditional is definitely my favorite, because – like you – it’s not about the body for me, but the solving of the crime. I think the gore is added to appeal to the younger generations, and that’s rather worrisome when you think about it. If the upcoming generations can only be entertained by graphic violence, what does that say for our society in the future? Chilling when you think about it.

    Also, I recently found out that another favorite of mine, Hamish Macbeth, is also a book series. Never knew that, and since Macbeth is a family name, I just might have to check them out! 🙂

    das

  21. @dasndanger

    ‘*socially awkward hug backatcha!*’

    Thanks! 😀

    2: The brain is a funny old thing. Glad things are much brighter for you now! Yay for being peachy!!

    3: Yes, ‘Midsomer Murders’ is definitely tongue in cheek, a bit of a parody of old-fashioned, village-y murder mysteries. I like the ones that are a bit eerie, a little spooky, a mite suggestive that something paranormal is going on. 🙂
    Mr. das is like Troy? You lucky thing! 😀

    4: New ‘Sherlock’ is awesome. Also haven’t seen series 2; can’t wait. Benedict Cumberbatch is not only fantastically named but is a fantastic actor. 😀

    5: I, too, love Cary Grant in comedic roles. ‘Arsenic & Old Lace’ = 😀 I haven’t seen ‘People Will Talk’, will have to seek it out.

    6: The ‘Dalziel & Pascoe’ books are much better than the TV series. ‘Touching Evil’ I skipped, from the trailers it is too gory for me, but Robson Green…yes. 😉
    ‘Second Sight’ was brilliant, and also my first encounter with the rather pleasing on the eye Clive Owen.
    Yes, there are loads of good shows, too many to remember: ‘Inspector Wexford’, P.D. James’ ‘Dalgliesh Mysteries’, ‘Inspector George Gently’ (set in the 60s), ‘Judge John Deed’…’Foyle’s War’, set in Hastings during WW2 is another good one – and not too gory.

    7: I liked ‘Morse’ but I found him a bit pompous – I know he was meant to be – and the stories a bit slow, though nonetheless compelling. But I really enjoy ‘Lewis’, I think Kevin Whately shines in it, & the Lewis-Hathaway dynamic is interesting and lots of fun. A new series is starting here on Friday after a long, long wait – hurray!!!

    Cheerio!

  22. @das
    I know what you mean; I always say I can’t watch gory but end up watching it (and turning away for the gory bits – even the sound is too much for me sometimes). But what can you do when gory is in everything? I like the genre for the psychological drama, for the mystery, the piecing together of clues, the use of science to solve the mystery; I don’t need to see the violence or the aftermath in explicit detail.

    And I really dislike those shows which are very callous and flippant towards the dead person – I find the ‘CSI’ franchise is like this – or wallow in the violence, or glorify the killer. For me, the genre is about the victim and the quest for justice. But, as you say:

    ‘I think the gore is added to appeal to the younger generations, and that’s rather worrisome when you think about it. If the upcoming generations can only be entertained by graphic violence, what does that say for our society in the future? Chilling when you think about it.’

    I couldn’t agree more. Studies have shown that the more one sees of violence, the more desensitised one becomes to it. I think also it dehumanises people in others’ eyes, so that real violence in the real world becomes less shocking, more acceptable. I find it all very depressing. 🙁

    ‘Hamish Macbeth’ I was never able to warm to; just one of those things. 🙂

    Macbeth as a family name, eh? Cool!

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