Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shallow Thoughts - 3/29/10

• Apologies to the HuffPo, from whom I nicked the above image. I spent the day after the House's HCR vote (Remember that?) tweeting what I imagined the aftermath of Health Care Reform might look like, if the Republican alarmists are telling the truth. Check it out!

• ITEM! You can read an interview with me and read the first 50 pages of my graphic novel Hero House in this Comics Alliance piece from last week. Big thanks to Chris Sims, author of the web's funniest comics blog, for reaching out to me and making the story happen.

• ITEM! In that selfsame Comics Alliance article, you can also read my very first public comments about my long-awaited (by me) first post-Hero House comic book work. In brief, I'll have a short 8-page story in the online anthology title MySpace Dark Horse Presents this June. You'll hear more about this soon (though not to the point of nausea, hopefully), but suffice to say for now that getting my work published by the company that publishes Hellboy comics, BPRD, The Goon and many, many others (and in the same issue as Levar Burton!) is a dream come true. Can't wait for you guys to see it.

• Last comic book item, I promise: I recently had my first encounter with a Hero House in the wild at Midtown Comics in New York City. If you saw a goofy looking guy snapping a photo of himself with the new releases last Friday...that was me.

• Tonight marks the start of Passover, and a happy Passover celebration to all my fellow Jews out there. Passover was always one of my favorite holidays, and Brooke and I (especially Brooke, who does all the cooking, etc.) are working hard to make it special for our daughters. That said, I find myself struggling with what, exactly to tell my daughters about my religion. I don't want to be responsible for the end of a line of Jews or anything, but over the past few years I find that I just can't bring myself to believe in a god who, for instance, would get mad at me if I ate a cheeseburger for dinner tonight. (And I did.) My "crisis of faith," if you want to call it that, has been exacerbated lately by the government of the homeland of my people acting like raging assholes. You're welcome to believe nearly anything you like (actually, that's not true, but that's a different blog post...), but if you are standing in the way of peace because a 4000-year-old book says that you're entitled to a certain slice of land, you are not invited to my Seder, and I'm not sure I want to identify myself as belonging to the same group as you. Combine that with the recent headlines about the Pope and the Catholic Church, and it's enough to think that religious orthodoxy, no matter what the denomination, is a fundamentally destructive force in the world.

• On a lighter and totally unrelated note, hilarious Fred Schneider humor from The State. God bless you, Fred Schneider. (And David Paggi, who found the link.)

• I've started playing Final Fantasy XIII, and so far I'm enjoying it a lot more than certain people I could name. However, I've been playing a lot more Final Fantasy IV on my DS, which has been occupying my time on the way home from work the past couple of weeks. I love being able to carry the greatest video games of my childhood with me on the DS, and I look forward to being able to play today's video games on a handheld in the next 15 years or less.

• And finally, I had mentioned that my wife had been knitting me a scarf. Well, she finished it, and it looks amazing - dig that checkerboard pattern! Can't wait to wear this bad boy in the cold weather. Or, you know, to the beach. It's versatile.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shallow Thoughts - 3/10/10

• At the end of “Lost” last night when they said, “Only nine more episodes left until the finale,” Brooke said, “Only?” sarcastically, and I said, “Only?” earnestly. It seems like there’s still a lot of ground to cover in 11 hours if they want to wrap everything up in a satisfying manner. By which I mean not telling us every little bit of minutiae regarding what happened, but to answer the questions that they at least made us think were important, like why the island can time travel, what the Dharma Initiative were doing there, etc. It seems like they’re moving toward a grand unification theory involving (SPOILER) the Oceanic castaways (and most everyone else on the island) as “Candidates” for taking over Jascob’s job of protecting the island, which doesn’t necessarily address all these other issues…yet. At least last night we got a subtle answer to a riddle from last season – why did Ben stop Locke from killing himself, then kill him? Turns out candidates can’t bring about their own demise…but they can be murdered. The larger issue this season, though, is that they have yet to explain the relation the flash-sideways have to the main plot (or if, indeed, they are now the main plot). Everyone certainly has their theories as to how they relate, and as we see two episodes in a row now where Sayid and Ben live an existence where they get to be close to dead people they love without actually getting to be with them, it’s certainly becoming clearer. But until the show explicitly says “These are real, the stakes in them are as high or higher than the stakes on the island,” they’re inevitably going to feel like extended fantasy sequences, and they’re not going to carry the weight that the action on the island carries. For more spirited discussion of Lost, be sure to check out Sean T. Collins’ weekly wrap-up session, and the comments thread there.

  • New Futurama episodes return in June! It’s almost hard to feel excited because it seems so abstract. The feature-length episodes they did were good, by and large, but not nearly as good as the show at its best, and the protracted battle between Fox and the voice cast last summer (that resulted in a very low-key Comic-Con panel) have made it difficult to get quite as jazzed as I would have been at the news several years ago. But, again, I can count on my apprehension melting away when the episodes actually air – Futurama is a show that rarely disappoints. It’s just part of what I’m hoping will be a very exciting June…

  • Speaking of San Diego, I’m registering as a Professional this year for the first time ever (provided they accept my registration, which they should because it’s legit). This, coupled with the fact that I’ve recently received my first check for writing a comic book (which, by definition, makes me a professional comic book writer) makes me feel a lot less guilty about listing myself as a comic book writer in my Twitter bio. It’s true!

  • So the Oscars happened. Brooke and I had the pleasure of viewing them with Zach Oat, who was live-blogging them for televisionwithoutpity.com and had to leave his home due to Cablevision and/or ABC being jerkfaces (and then changing their mind about being jerkfaces 40 minutes into the show). I haven’t seen Hurt Locker, partially due to my prohibition on things that I think will be really upsetting. We watched District 9 a few days before the ceremony to at least up the number of nominated films we’d seen, and I was initially a little meh on it, but I’m liking it better the further away I get from watching it. It was bogged down in my head too much at first by being Oscar-nominated, but as I get some distance from that I’m just enjoying it on its own terms. Brooke suggested that they license the characters out for cat food commercials, and I think that’s an excellent suggestion. If they use it, I hope they pay her. At any rate, I think Avatar got the Oscars it deserved, but I wish Inglorious Basterds had won a couple more awards. Granted, I didn’t see a lot of the films that won over it, but hot damn that movie’s a hoot. I enjoyed Avatar, but it’s hard to judge it on its merits, partially because of the spectacle and partially because it was the first film I ever ended up seeing in a theater by myself. I had to see it for work (look for an Avatar parody in an upcoming Twisted ToyFare Theatre!) and there was just no time we could get someone to watch the kids so Brooke could see it with me. It’s not an experience I’m keen to reproduce—I find doing things I normally do with Brooke by myself depressing.
  • Final Fantasy XIII is on its way to me, and I'm not sure if I should spend my evenings playing it or getting work done and spending time with my family. The two seem kind of mutually exclusive. I’ve got a long history with the franchise—I played every U.S.-released game up until XI (I’m not a big MMO guy), and the release of a new Final Fantasy game is usually a big deal in my family. To this day, my brother can only remember my birthday because Final Fantasy VII (possibly the masterpiece of the video game medium) released on September 9th, and he remembers that it was the day before my birthday.
  • The ToyFare blog FarePlay should be up and running again, either today or within the next couple of days. Definitely keep an eye on it—I’m going to be adding some entries soon that should prove pretty entertaining.
  • Speaking of blogs to follow, keep checking out We Are the LAW. After moving on from Poltergeist, the guys tackled Sean’s Destructor, then Orko, and the next round of drawings should prove pretty fantastic, indeed.