Sunday, April 27, 2008


It's the last Sunday in April already. Hell, the year's almost a third over. If only I didn't have to go into work today...

1. A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene/Okkervil River (10)
2. I Came Here to Say I'm Going Away/Okkervil River (6)
3. Don't Think About Me/Earlimart (10)
4. First Night/The Hold Steady (24)
5. Getting Saved/Portastatic (18)
6. Billy Liar/The Decemberists (8)
7. Hard to Breathe/Irving (6)
8. Tell Me in the Morning/Cold War Kids (12)
9. Watch Out For Me Ronnie/Yo La Tengo (10)
10. Swan Swan H/R.E.M. (3)

Saturday, April 26, 2008


It's been a few months since I've done one of these but lately I have a bunch of albums I can't stop listening to. And really, I don't want to stop.

Kathleen Edwards/Asking for Flowers
Nada Surf/Lucky
Sloan/Between the Bridges
The Whigs/Mission Control
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks/Real Emotional Trash
American Music Club/The Golden Age

I actually wore shorts on Thursday, which was nice. Of course, I spend my days in a bathing suit so I guess it's not the biggest deal in the world. Yesterday it was in the low 80s and we sweltered in Chicago while seeing a show at Comedy Sportz (drama club field trip); today it's cooler with tomorrow and the next few days set to be even worse. There's even talk of snow. Not unprecedented around here (it snowed the day of my senior prom, which was early May) but still rare.

To completely change the subject, you can now hear two songs of Aimee Mann's upcoming album, @#%&*! Smilers, here. It comes out June 10 and I can't wait.

The season finale of Torchwood was fantastic and completely heartbreaking on a variety of levels. I'm curious as to where they'll go from here. I bet Martha Jones will be back.

Thanks to this week's return of Lost (hello again, smoke monster), Thursday night now features 2 great hours of TV, preceeded by a solid hour (My Name Is Earl is definitely the weakest link, even though Scrubs isn't as strong as it used to be). Oh, the 2 hours is The Office and 30 Rock and Lost. All had really really good episodes this week. And then to get new eps of Battlestar Galactica the next night? I love you, TV.

I was reading through the Summer Movie Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly and realized I had another project to undertake. We are about 3 1/2 weeks away from the opening of the new Indiana Jones movie and I still need to show the first three to my son. Got to get on that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I have plenty of things to occupy my time but I'm always thinking about what I can do next. Over the past few days, I've decided to embark on a couple new projects.

The final volume of Y: The Last Man will be published on June 18, which is 8 weeks from today. The series has been one of the best comics of this decade and I have been reading it in trade format from the start. I am eagerly awaiting the last book and I thought it would be good to go back and reread the series up to this point. I did it for Harry Potter and this is just as meaningful. The only problem with this project is I have only 8 weeks to read 9 trades. Ah well, I'm going to give it a shot.

There was a post of Chris Roberson's blog (I really need to update my links, by the way) the other day about Kage Baker's series of novels and story collections in her Company series. I've read a number of the stories in the pages of Asimov's over the years and always meant to get around to the books. Well, Roberson's enthusiasm for the series has inspired me to finally get to the series. This project probably won't start right away but I hope to have many of the books read by the end of the year (if not all).

On the lighter (and easier) side, I think it's well past time for me to do a new mix CD to give out to friends. I believe the last one I did was way back in June (!). That's a long, long time for me to go without doing one. The good news is I have a ton of songs I could put on it. I hope to accomplish this by the end of next week, if not sooner.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I've managed to hack the DVR back down to my being only one week behind again. Of course, it helps that In Treatment ending a couple weeks ago. However, I captured the last 3 episodes of the 3rd season of Doctor Who yesterday; I'd like to watch them again before I start on the new season (the first ep of which is already recorded) now that I know more about the show and Torchwood.

Speaking of Torchwood, I'm down to only one episode left on the DVR and it's last night's season finale. Today I watched last week's penultimate episode and it was a really good one. A bomb trapped four members of the team and as they were dug out, we saw how they became involved with the outfit. Very interesting. And the finale promises to be a humdinger too.

I also have the final episode of the first season of Mad Men sitting on the DVR. Not sure why I didn't tune into the series when it originally aired but I'm glad AMC ran it again. Looking forward to seeing how things ended so I can start getting excited about the upcoming 2nd season.

I think there's only one remaining episode of Human Giant yet to air as well; I still have one on the DVR.

The final episode of John Adams aired tonight, which means I still have 2 to watch. That's been a very good series as well and I absolutely love the musical theme.

That about covers what I have left to watch...except for the Knight Rider movie from February. We'll get around to it some day...

Oh, and I now have 3 eps of Battlestar Galactica, which I'm saving until I can get Jill through all the DVDs. I know she'll like the show and you all should be watching it too. I looooved Friday's episode and can't wait until next week...

Let's get right to the music...

1. Last Time in Love/Sloan (15)
2. I Never Want To Go Home/The Whigs (6)
3. Broke Me Up/Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew (6)
4. Beyond Me/Sloan (6)
5. Razzle Dazzle Rose/Camera Obscura (14)
6. Titled Untitled/Kathleen Edwards (3)
7. Vampires in Blue Dresses/Margot & The Nuclear So & So's (6)
8. Blush/The Raveonettes (4)
9. King Kong '76/Patterson Hood (12)
10. Down On the Corner/Creedence Clearwater Revival (5)

Saturday, April 19, 2008


It was actually warm enough for me to wear shorts on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week. I didn't but I could have. After the long winter we've had, that felt very good.

Earlier this week I finished reading Maps and Legends, the new non-fiction collection from Michael Chabon. The essays collected discuss comics, genre fiction, Sherlock Holmes, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, his personal history, his own work, and more. I loved it. He reminds me why I want to be a writer and why I should start being one now. It also has an amazing triple-fold cover by Jordan Crane; McSweeney's knows how to produce beautiful books, don't they?

I've finally managed to finish the March 2008 issues of Asimov's and F&SF. Asimov's was solid with no stories standing out or the opposite (though I didn't quite follow the Steven Utley). I liked F&SF a lot more - a bunch of good stories, my favorite of which is probably Nancy Springer's "Rumple What?," which is a fresh take on that old story.

I'm going to stay on my short story kick for the forseeable future too; my next 2 books are new collections from Kevin Brockmeier and Steven Millhauser. Can't wait.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I'm well past due for telling you what I grabbed from eMusic in my last download period; in fact, I'm already close to 2 weeks into the newest period (haven't grabbed anything yet, though). So, here's what I picked up in March...

She & Him/Volume One - This is the collaboration between Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward and you know what? It works. Deschanel is front and center on the vocals with only a couple songs that Ward sings on as well. But his production and guitar is stellar throughout and Deschanel has written some solid 60s-type pop songs.

Destroyer/Trouble In Dreams - You know, I still don't quite know what to make of Destroyer. I like the band but I'm not sure what it is about them. Sure, the music is solid in a classic-rock vein but the lyrics can be very obtuse. Then again, I don't know that meaning is especially important to Dan Bejar. Maybe he's just going for that feeling and this album has a number of tracks that give you something in the feeling department.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks/Real Emotional Trash - The latest album from the former Pavement frontman and this time around Janet Weiss (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) is pounding the drums. It's a good album and one I want to talk about more in the future.

Nick Lowe/Jesus of Cool (Reissue) - Pretty much what it says, a reissue of the classic Nick Lowe album with a bunch of bonus tracks. Power pop goodies.

Headlights/Some Racing, Some Stopping - This is more modern pop music, quiet and pretty in places. I've only listened twice, so I don't have a ton of insight. I can tell you the last song, "January," is awesome.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Geoff Johns knows how to write for DC fanboys in their mid-30s, probably because he is one himself (I think he's a couple years younger than I am). His latest issue of Booster Gold (#8, with co-writer Jeff Katz and the usual art team of Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund) finds Booster and Blue Beetle in an timeline that's been twisted so that Max Lord is overrunning most heroes with OMACs and the two heroes have joined with a disparate band of heroes that features....Wild Dog! Not only that, but Pantha and Anthro too. And what fun it is amidst all the danger and drama and the sinisters machinations of a villainous cabal. The issue also ends with a promise of trying to get the old Justice League International team back together again to fight back against Lord, who was their benefactor and friend. Fanboy catnip, indeed.

The other comic I picked up last week was also written by Johns, Justice Society of America #14. It continues the "Thy Kingdom Come" storyline with the arrival and confrontation with Gog. Along the way, there are nice character bits (like a nice opening with Sandy and Power Girl) and some humor as all the heroes try to pile around the table (also, there's a printing snafu on one page but it is still readable). Of course, all that gives way to the fight in the second half of the book and nice cliffhanger ending. I'm ready for more.

Zack Snyder has found a new way to build interest in his upcoming Watchmen adaptation - a set of 12 production videos that will debut around the web on the 6th of every month (which means that final one will arrive the same day as the movie opens next year). The first video deals with the set-building and creating of New York circa 1985, Watchmen-style. Watch it here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


We've had some snow flurries this morning, which is rather depressing. Still, the weather is supposed to take a good turn again in a few days. Today is the last Sunday I won't have to go into work until May, so I plan on enjoying it...even though I have to do some progress reports.

1. The Rest of My Life/Sloan (6)
2. The Chinatown Bus/Bishop Allen (8)
3. Rains on Me/Tom Waits (7)
4. Chips Ahoy/The Hold Steady (28)
5. Hot Soft Light/The Hold Steady (24)
6. Trouble/Voxtrot (5)
7. The Gymnast, High Above the Ground/The Decemberists (9)
8. Flashes and Cables/Centro-Matic (13)
9. Wrecking Force/Voxtrot (5)
10. Andiamo/The Twilight Singers (8)

Weird that the same 2 songs by The Hold Steady popped up again this week...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


It was a big day today, as some boxes of goodies that I ordered with birthday cash and gift cards arrived. Plus, it's a Wednesday - new comics! It's a nice relief to a long day at work. Here's what I got...

Battlestar Galactica Season Three
Big Dipper/Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology
The Black Keys/Attack & Release
Booster Gold #8
Michael Chabon/Maps and Legends
Justice Society of America #14

I also would have gotten Criminal Vol. 2 #2 but my shop had a shortage on it, so maybe next week. I love getting new stuff.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I just finished reading The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford, my 14th book of the year. The novel is an expansion of his novella "Botch Town," which was original to his last story collection, The Empire of Ice Cream. It is very very good and I spent 8 days reading it because I didn't want it to be over, even though I'd read a good chunk of it before. Ford is the real deal and a writer who everyone should be reading; he is adept at both the novel and shorter forms. This year is a big Ford year too, as we will get his third story collection and reissues of a three novel series from Golden Gryphon this fall. Five Ford books in one year that I haven't read? Wow.

I mentioned last week that it took the impending 4th season start of Battlestar Galactica to get me to finally watch Battlestar Galactica: Razor. It wasn't set between the 3rd and 4th seasons but backed up a bit to tell more of the story of the Pegasus, while adding in some teasers and depth for the final season. I liked it and had some fun looking at some of the extras (though not all of them yet).

Friday night was the season premiere and I was all set to watch...but ended up going out to see some friends play. I got half of the episode watched before work Saturday morning and then jumped right back into when I got home. Soooo good. So good. I cannot wait for more. I also saved the ep on the DVR because I want to start Jill on the show and she's willing. Not sure when we'll start but she says we don't have to wait for the summer. Yay.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Earlier this week I was feeling a bit burned out on comics. It happens from time to time. I love comics but sometimes the sheer amount of stuff I want to read and/or buy overwhelms me, not only for monetary concerns but for space around the house as well. It's just one of those moods and it may well have colored my thoughts on JSA Presents: Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Vol. 1 a bit. I felt like I could take or leave comics for a while...then I read about the trailer at the end of Action Comics # 863 and I was hooked all over again.

I had planned on picking up Action Comics #863, of course, with it being the final issue of the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" storyline that I've been greatly enjoying. It didn't disappoint either as Superman gets his powers back and Yera reluctantly kisses Sun Boy and the full Legion is present for the victory and the uplifting end. It was great story and not only for bringing back the Legion I fell in love with, though that certainly helped. Of course, it makes me want to read the continuing adventures of my Legion (well, even better if I could write it) - and that's where the trailer comes in.

Geoff Johns first used a trailer at the end of Justice Society of America #1, which helped cement a great first issue by giving glimpses of what was coming up in the book. The trailer at the end of Action Comics #863 gives us a glimpse at an upcoming mini-series by Johns and George Perez (!) - Final Crisis: Legion of the Three Worlds. Ohhhh yeah. Superman. Superboy-Prime. The Legion I grew up with as well as the Legions of the two reboots (it's cool seeing XS in the ad). The Time Trapper. Universo. Mordru. And Lex Luthor? It begins it August and I already can't wait. Thanks for jolting me back into my love of comics, Johns. Well played.

It was over 60 degrees yesterday and is supposed to be even nicer today. Thank goodness spring has finally arrived!

1. Chips Ahoy/The Hold Steady (27)
2. Fear City/Elliott Smith (8)
3. Totally Free/Elk City (8)
4. Slow Show (live)/The National (3)
5. Wild West Love Song/Marah (5)
6. The Way The Lazy Do/Dr. Dog (3)
7. Strong Boy/Brendan Benson (16)
8. The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton/The Mountain Goats (10)
9. Hot Soft Light/The Hold Steady (23)
10. The Garden at Night/The Clientele (7)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I've decided to discontinue my monthly roundups. Fuck the numbers, though I will still keep track of my book totals. Hell, I've been doing that since 2001.

I started on a book this evening, having left the Mar. 2008 Asimov's at work. Twice. Ah well, I'll get back to it at some point. Anyway, I'm now reading The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford. Ford is a writer everyone should be reading.

Picked up the new REM album today. I was a little apprehensive about it, what with all the praise it's been getting. Sometimes it just seems like critics get together and all decide whether to celebrate a "rebirth" or to keep trashing a band regardless of content. I've only listened once but it sounded pretty good - love hearing those Mike Mills harmonies!

JSA Presents: Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Vol.. 1 didn't hold up quite as well as I'd remembered it, alas. It was an impulse purchase - last thing spotted, really. Ah well, can't win them all. On the plus side, I dug the head trip that was Casanova: Luxuria - twins, alternate worlds, futuristic aborigines, robots, multiple acronymned organizations...hard to beat. Well played, Fraction.

How excited am I getting for the return of Battlestar Galactica? Enough to finally watch BSG: Razor! Should happen tomorrow...