Comics, etc…

(The post title is a loose reference to a comedy club my brother used to perform at…figured I’d explain it since probably no one would get the reference, except for me–it might even have slid by Dave at first glance.  And incidentally, you should all read his thoughts on the BP oil spill on his blog toward the end of the post I’m linking to.  He makes a lot of sense…which probably means his opinion will be unpopular.  That often happens when you’re right and/or reasonable.)

Fortunately, I don’t have much to report other than what comic books I bought this week (and a couple of other things).  Sometimes wishes come true!  Monday through Wednesday were kind of tense at work, due to a shake-up at the offices of one of our clients, but things look to have settled without any major problems for us, so that’s kind of nice.  Things are still tense for our client, I think, but our office is more relaxed.  My best wishes to the client’s office as they re-group.  (It’s a long story that I don’t really want to tell publically for a variety of reasons…)

Before I get to the comic books…  Some more musical developments have occurred.  In addition to the gig on July 10 at Beatniks, I’m also going to be playing bass with the Michael Feldman Group on July 23 at Eddie’s Pub in St. Charles.  And a friend extended an offer to me to lead worship with her church on a rotating basis.  I have not yet committed to that, but I’m considering it, and for those in the religious crowd, I’d appreciate your prayers that I’ll make the right decision there, whatever it may be.  Part of me feels a little out of touch with being a worship leader, but another part of me really wants to do it…

In other news, I’m going to get to see my friend Amanda over the weekend for coffee.  Haven’t seen her since just prior to releasing the “Grounds” record, when-ever that was.  So that’ll be cool.

…and one more thing before I nerd-out…  And actually, even THIS is pretty nerdy…  I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I’m going to start up a podcast.  I’ve settled on some of the details.  So here they are:

  1. Theme – Reviews of things I’ve bought.  Might be music, might be movies, might be comic books, might be book-books, might even be food.
  2. Narrowing the theme – Likely to be a LOT of comic books discussed, as I do consistently buy them from week to week.  I get excited on new comic book day.  The guys at Fantasy Shop know my NAME now, and we spent probably a half-hour talking about the “Lost” finale on Wednesday while I was there.  I think that’s pretty cool…others…well…don’t.  And that’s fine.  It’s my life and I enjoy it.  So, yeah…expect a majority of funny-book topics…
  3. Name of the Podcast – Since it’s going to discuss a LOT of stuff that I’m buying and not just ONE subject, I needed a name that communicated what the cast is about, but also left it a little vague.  I landed on “Empty Checking.”  Still finalizing the logo.
  4. Launch date – Probably next weekend.  Maybe this weekend, if my plans for Saturday night fall through.

So there you go…

Now…the comic books.  In the future, I’ll probably limit this just to the podcast, or I might briefly keep mentioning the purchases in the footer of my posts, but not actually say anything about them except in the cast.  But for now, here’s what I bought:

  • Captain America #606 (Technically part of Marvel’s “Heroic Age” thing they’re doing right now.) – Dealing with the transition from Captain Bucky back into Steve Rogers’ Cap.  It’s slow, but sure—they’re going to do SOMETHING soon to move Bucky out of the way.  I’m just afraid they’ll kill him, right when people have JUST gotten to where they’re accepting him as Cap.  Good read and made me really want to see the next issue.
  • Joker’s Asylum II: Harley Quinn – Pretty fun and the artist made Harley look kinda hot…and yes, I do feel bad for noticing that.
  • Joker’s Asylum II: The Mad Hatter – This one was actually kind of disturbing.  GOOD, but disturbing.
  • The Heroic Age New Avengers #1 – Haven’t read it yet.  Every time I start, I get interrupted for some reason.  Looks kinda cool, though.  The Thing is apparently one of the New Avengers.  That might be interesting.
  • …and this last one’s a little embarrassing, but I stand by it.  All of the guys from the comic store had it on their “recommended” shelves.  One of the guys there I particularly like recommended it to me personally saying, “It’s kind of just for nostalgia, but it’s really GOOD.”  And he was right.  I picked up a copy of (Disney’s) Darkwing Duck #1.  It’s based on the old cartoon show.  It’s a little darker than you’d expect, and it’s actually a legitimately GOOD read, and I’m probably going to keep reading it.  Plus, it’s kind of funny.  At one point, DD refers to himself as, “I am the terror that flaps in the night!  I am the awkward goodbye that lasts for far too long!  I am Darkwing Duck!”  Made me laugh out loud…almost as much as one of the bad guys in the Captain America issue calling Cap an “Asshat.”

And that’s been my past couple of days.  Right now I’m watching the end of a truly TERRIBLE episode of Star Trek, then I’m likely to turn in a little early.  I’ve had a little bit of an allergy-related headache today, and I’m hoping to sleep it off.

Until we meet again, I’d just like to leave you with saying “asshat” again. 

Asshat.

Pick Up My Guitar and Play…

Been a long couple of days with stuff at work (and tomorrow could be VERY long, depending on a few factors).  Nothing BAD exactly…just a lot of stuff and some tension.  (And “tension” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad,” either…just means stress.)  I’ve been exhausted.  On the plus side, stress makes me pick up guitars (and I’ve got a *few* around).  Been playing a bunch of stuff.  Started officially rehearsing for a solo gig…

Which reminds me…  I’m playing at Beatnik’s in New Town St. Charles on July 10th (it’s not on the website, and it kinda looks like they haven’t updated most of it since March, actually…but I know first hand how easy it is to not update a website, ha ha).  I don’t have full details (start time, etc), but I know I’m doing about 45 minutes, all acoustic.  And I’ll be playing at least a few of the Blue Tattoo songs I’ve been missing playing.

Which reminds me…we (meaning me and Dave, mostly) need to address the Blue Tattoo situation very soon.  Personally, I’m about at the point that I need to just make the decision to reform the band or make the decision to do something else…the waiting is boring.  I’ve been meaning to ask Dave—and I guess this’ll do since he’ll probably read it—if it’d be cool to put some tracks from the abandoned record on the old website for free, but I keep forgetting about it.  I think the record’s pretty good (though some fixes would be needed for a full-scale release) and I hate to see the songs just SITTING.  It’s unlikely that we’ll fully release it with Chris and Johnny not in the band (though I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to it)…but I’d like to see it somewhere.  And we do have a website…for some reason…

So…that’s what’s going on…hopefully, the biggest news I’ll have tomorrow is what new comic books I bought.

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Current Listening:

  • Assorted Punk…Ramones, Sex Pistols, Headstones, Misfits, Damned, Black Flag…etc…  Craig Ferguson once described punk as (paraphrase) “sounding like a fight…and that made me happy.”  That’s about right.

I Own the Complete…

I’m low on ideas…so here’s a list of TV shows for which I own the complete series (or at least everything currently available).  Probably forgetting some stuff…but let’s go…

  • Red Dwarf
  • Monty Python
  • Futurama
  • Home Movies
  • Lost
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Doctor Who (new series)
  • Torchwood
  • Black Books
  • News Radio
  • My Name is Earl
  • Fawlty Towers
  • Venture Bros.
  • Duckman
  • Three Stooges
  • Andy Richter Controls the Universe
  • Father Ted
  • Jeeves and Wooster
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie
  • The Young Ones
  • Bottom
  • Blackadder

 

Shockingly absent from my collection:

  • M*A*S*H – It’s on all the time, so I haven’t been able to justify it.
  • Star Trek – Also on all the time.
  • Andy Griffith – Same…
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • House – I’ve bought at least 4 of the seasons for my dad…but I don’t own them personally!
  • The Simpsons – I’m only caught up to about season 9.
  • Big Bang Theory – But to be fair, I just got into it.
  • Kids in the Hall – It is almost blasphemy that I don’t own this…
  • Freakazoid
  • Friends
  • Seinfeld

…so that’s pretty much my Christmas List, I guess…

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Oh, and I may have come up with a name for the forthcoming podcast, but I need to commit to it.  I’ll keep you posted.

Casting Call…

I’m thinking of starting a podcast.  (For those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically a guy sitting in front of a microphone and talking to the Internet.)  I’ll post the files here, and it’ll be done entirely through the blog (unsure where I’ll host the files at this point…but I’ll figure it out).  I just think I’d like to do it…  There are a couple of reasons why…

  1. Perhaps most of all, I have a bunch of recording equipment sitting around mocking me in its disuse at the moment.  I’m not actively doing anything worth recording right now, and when that happens, the gear seems like it was a waste of money…so I’m thinking this will be a cool way to use it, if only on my own thoughts.
  2. I’d like to do something on a regular basis that takes a little bit of preparation.  Whatever I do, I’ll make an outline of what I want to say and I’ll put some thought and/or effort into it.  I’m pretty skilled in that area, but I never make use of it anymore.  My blog posts are almost always entirely off the cuff, and since I’m not preaching these days, I find myself with absolutely no need to use my skills at organizing thoughts into a single message.  I’ve missed doing that kind of thing, and this might be a fun exercise to flex those muscles (though I likely won’t be doing any religious podcasts, because the only thing people find more boring than church is Internet church).
  3. My blog traffic has been up lately and adding a podcast would be another thing to offer to visitors.  My traffic was really low for a long time…but ever since I posted those Nickelback jokes a couple of months ago, the numbers have gone up and stayed up.  And since I started regularly talking about comic books, they’ve gone up again.  Wish more people would start COMMENTING…but at least they’re reading.  🙂
  4. I like the sound of my own voice.
  5. I’m bored.

Now…what will it be ABOUT, exactly.  Hmm…good question.  I’ve got a few ideas…but I’m leaning toward it being mostly about comic books and/or music, since those seem to be the main things attracting new people.  I’m honestly leaning more toward comic books…  I love comic books, but I get bored of writing about them.  I can TALK about them for hours, though…so maybe that’s the way to go…  Or maybe just a pop-culture podcast?  Or maybe a podcast revolving around things I’ve recently purchased (music/comics/books/movies/etc)?  I’m not quite sure yet.  I don’t want to fall into the “everything/nothing” category…I’d like to have a focused theme…I’m just not sure what the theme IS yet…which is why I haven’t recorded anything yet.  (I’d appreciate any suggestions, if anyone wants to offer one.)

I also don’t know what to NAME it.  I don’t just want to do “Things I Meant to Podcast.”  That’s a little too easy/obvious…but I don’t know what else to call it…  I’d appreciate thoughts on that, too.

So…that’s on my mind…  I’d imagine I’ll get that up and running within about a month…but I need to make the above decisions before I can get started.

…anyway…  Keep an eye out…

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Current Watching:

  • Just re-watched the last episode of “Lost” and still liked it.
  • Watching LAST week’s “Doctor Who” and awaiting THIS week’s episode.

Oh right…I have a blog…

Wow…haven’t blogged since Monday.  Sorry.

Got a few things on my mind, so let’s do that “random” thing I do so well…or at least so often…

  1. Had a discussion on Facebook that began with a friend of mine suggesting that Kings of Leon and Muse are the biggest rock bands in the world right now.  I disagreed, saying that as long as U2 is a band, THEY are the biggest rock band in the world.  (Of course, we’re limiting this to bands that are still working, or it would begin and end with the Beatles.)  Other names were suggested.  Some made sense, like Metallica.  Some came from the dimension of face-palm, like Green Day (who, yes, are remarkably successful for what they are…but I’ll be in my cold, cold grave before I recognize them as the biggest band in rock…or before I recognize them as the same guys who released “Dookie,” but that’s another rant for another time).  Personally, I stand by U2, based just on recognition—even though I haven’t really been fully gripped by one of their records since, “All that You Can’t Leave Behind.”  (Though “Atomic Bomb” was pretty good.)  I can’t name you even ONE individual person from Muse or KoL.  I can’t remember the drummer from Green Day’s name.  I’m struggling to remember how many people have been through Metallica’s revolving-door over the years.  But U2 has been Bono, Edge, Adam, and Larry for decades.  Always constant.  Always a household name.  And that works for me.  …but mostly, I’m just writing this because I promised Mic a full diatribe about it…and this is as much as I’ve got the energy for right now.  🙂
  2. Bummed that the comic book store didn’t have the comic book version of Neil Young’s “Greendale.”  According to the guy at the desk (whose name I should really learn at some point, since he knows mine), the entire franchise (Fantasy Shop) was shorted their copies of it.  Guess I’ve got some digging to do this weekend…what are the odds that it’ll turn up at Borders?
  3. Work’s going well.  I’ve been basically caught-up since starting my new duties…which is kind of a new thing for me, ha ha.  I’m enjoying the new stuff, and I think I’m pretty good at it.  It’s pretty fulfilling to go into work in the morning and leave at night knowing that you won’t start the next day massively behind.
  4. My back’s been killing me lately.  Dunno if it’s related to the fall down the stairs on Memorial Day or if I’m sleeping in funny positions or what…but it’s been irritating.
  5. I think I need more Vess Soda in my life…mostly cream, orange, strawberry, and black cherry…
  6. I mentioned this on Facebook, but thought I should mention it here, too…  I briefly considered getting a Twitter account this week, in order to briefly register complaints against society.  Just thought it’d be interesting to put in the margin of the blog…  But then I realized that I’m not sure anyone needs a page of 2000 20-word posts from me, all beginning with the phrase, “I hate…” and ending with, “…so f*** them!”  So I’m not going to do that…however, I did come up with a pretty cool name for that page, should I ever change my mind: “Tweets of Hate.”  I like that…  But it’d just be one more useless piece of fad internettery to log into and forget about.  (I’m actually still surprized I keep up with the blog and Facebook as much as I do, to be honest with you.)
  7. Re: The BP Oil Spill.  I get why everyone’s so mad about it, and I agree that it’s sad and upsetting.  But seriously…what are they supposed to do?  I’m not hearing any solutions…I’m only hearing “Boycott BP!” and “They Need to DO SOMETHING!”  Okay…what?  What do they need to do?  I haven’t got any answers.  Do you?  Does anyone?  It’s not like no one’s working on it.  Maybe this could’ve all been avoided had we begun the move away from Big Oil as a society a decade or two ago (maybe after the Exxon or Iraq War spills?)…but I guess shared culpability just isn’t something we’re interested in, huh?  But seriously…what’s the solution?  And how, exactly, is boycotting BP and taking money out of their pockets supposed to help them have the money and resources to deal with the problem?  Side issue, I know…but you can’t have it both ways.  You can either ask them to fix it or ask them to close their doors…not both.
  8. Thanks a lot, society, for making me sound like a Republican on that one…
  9. Allergies have been making my head hurt and making me generally grumpy, especially in the mornings.  So take THAT, other drivers on the road.
  10. I don’t miss “Lost” all that much…but that’s mostly because Jorge Garcia’s still blogging.
  11. There’s this place near where I work (I won’t name them, in case you love them) whose food is NOT good…but from whom I keep ordering.  I don’t know why I don’t learn…  (Chicken wings weren’t bad, though, I guess…)

…and that’s enough for now.  Hopefully I’ll have something more to say over the weekend.  Got a couple of things that could turn into full posts, rather than the “random” thing…so we’ll see if we can’t work those up in the next day or two. 

Happy Friday, everyone.

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This Week’s Comic Book Purchases:

  • Batman #700 — Which was written by Grant Morrison and is therefore much more disjointed and disappointing than it should have been.  Seriously…why do people think this guy’s the savior of DC???  All he’s done is kill (then resurrect) Bruce Wayne, make Superman save the world by singing (in one of the biggest WTF moments in “Final Crisis”), and name drop a bunch of best-forgotten villains in pretty much anything he’s touched (Egg Fu, anyone?!?).  Batman franchise, I’m going to say this only once…PLEASE bring back Jeph Loeb.  I know he’s exclusive to Marvel…but do what it takes.  HE is why Marvel’s winning and you’re…well…Morrisoning it up.  (That’s right.  I made his name a verb.  A negative verb.)  This should have been a landmark, awesome issue…but it’s just not.  It’s not “issue 700” quality…sorry.  (But at least it’s not as absurd as most of the Bob Kane era…)
  • The Unwritten #14 — Although I’m STILL looking for a copy of issue #6 before I can catch up that far!
  • Sam & Twitch: The Writer #3 (of 4).
  • Justice League: Generation Lost #3.
  • Uncanny X-Men #525

My Favorite Burgers in St. Louis

Okay.  I like to eat.  I like to eat burgers.  I eat a LOT of burgers.  Occasionally, I’ll talk about burgers (usually with other guys—ladies don’t seem as interested, for some reason) and someone will ask me what my favorite burger in St. Louis is.  So…I’m putting it on my blog.  I was going to do a top-five…but there are seven I want to talk about…so let’s go.  Screw McDonald’s and Burger King and all those conveyor belt places (though I certainly eat those, too)…these are some of the best burgers you’ll get within a reasonable amount of time from where I live.  (I know I’m probably not listing someone’s favorite…sorry.  Either I haven’t had it yet, or maybe it’s in my top 10, but not my top 5…err…7.)  🙂

7. White Barn

White Barn has long been a St. Louis “hangover” staple.  It’s kind of car-hop-ish in that you can’t go into the place and sit down to eat—you either grab a picnic table or take it home.  A lot of people declare White Barn to be the best burger they’ve ever had…and although I like it, I think people are mostly just overjoyed at the price.  Earlier today, I got a burger, fries, and a can of cream soda for like $4.50.  That’s pretty cool.

The burgers are thick–like something you’d pull off of your own grill.  That’s pretty cool, too.  They talk about the meat being “spiced” their way…but I’ve never tasted any spices…  It may be that I’ve killed all of the heat sensors in my mouth over the years with hot wings and chilli…but all I’m tasting is meat.  Forunately, the meat is good.

Recently, White Barn opened up a new location close to my house.  Honestly, it tastes about the same, but somehow it just doesn’t match up to the original location.  Probably because they take a LOOOOOONG time to get you your food and they just don’t have the same aesthetic charm as the old place (which is actually shaped like a barn…whereas this one clearly used to be a Rally’s).

In all…worth the money.  Worth the trip to the original location.  Not worth the wait at the new one…and for about a buck and a half more, you can get a burger with a little more flavor at…

6. J&A’s

Best burger (and fries) you’re going to get for $6.  They differ from White Barn in that they’re an actual bar and grill.  Tables and everything.  They also differ in that there is NOTHING home-made-feeling about this burger—which is probably about 80% of White Barn’s charm.  J&A’s provides a sloppy, greasy, filthy, heart-clogging, made-from-a-patty-we-just-thawed burger.  It should suck…but it doesn’t.

For some reason this one is quickly rising up my scale.  It’s definitely got more flavor than a White Barn burger (and even some that are higher up on the list), even though it’s got a lot less meat.  I actually taste spice in this one…and with a little Tabasco, you’ve got a seriously good burger…this time for $6.

5. Culpepper’s Bison Burger

Yeah…it’s a chain.  I’m surprized too.  But the bison burger is REALLY good…when you get a good one.  Sometimes, you’ll get one that is overdone or…well…just plain weird…  But when they do a GOOD one, it’s one of the best chain-burgers out there.  There’s something extra flavorful about bison that you just don’t get outta Angus.  Done right, it’s still a little juicy, but not so much that it’ll get on your shirt.  They serve it with a rice pilaf…but I recommend substituting steak fries…and while you’re at it, get some wings.  Probably my favorite wings in St. Louis…but that’s a whole other post.

4. Culver’s Butter Burger

What?!?  Another chain?!?  This time one that’s all over the country (or at least midwest)?!?  Yeah.  Sorry…but that’s a great burger.  It feels a little more toward the mass-produced end, yet doesn’t quite drift into “fast food” crappiness.  Plus, it’s got a really unique taste.  You don’t get a butter-burger everywhere you go.  In fact, I’ve only ever had one at Culver’s.  (I can only speak for the “original” butter burger by the way…never had any of the others.)  The thing is, I’ve been to Culver’s during different times of day, and at different locations and they always deliver the same quality—which speaks VERY well of the chain.  They manage to feel like your hometown burger joint, but they’re nationwide.  That’s pretty impressive.

3. Five Guys

Okay…this one’s a little controversial.  There are burgers below this one on the list that are actually a little bit better.  If you go to Five Guys, you’ll get a burger made from a patty with ingredients out of a jar.  Nothing too special.  But where they SHINE is in their customization.  You can tailor-make a burger to your mood in ways that other places just don’t offer.  (White Barn doesn’t even offer LETTUCE, for God’s sake!) 

Here’s your list of toppings: Mayo, Relish, Onions, Lettuce, Pickles, Tomatoes, Grilled Onions, Grilled Mushrooms, Ketchup, Mustard, Jalapeno Peppers, Green Peppers, A-1 Sauce, Bar-B-Q Sauce, Hot Sauce.  You can build QUITE a taste out of that (I really dig the mushrooms and green peppers together).  Not many other places in the area do that.  Plus, their fries are really good, and you get a buttload of them…like WAY more than you’ll ever need. 

So it’s not just the meat that earns you a place in my heart (…ladies…). 

Ahem.  Sorry.

2. Fast Eddie’s Fat Eddie Burger

I know what you’re thinking…  Yes, it’s an area cliché.  Yes, it’s a grease-trap of a burger.  Yes, you have to listen to really TERRIBLE cover bands while you eat…and the only toppings you can get are cheese, ketchup, mustard, and whatever else you can find and hand-apply around the place.  But, it’s a thick, juicy, shockingly good burger.  And it’s $1.  Let me put periods after every word and italicize them, in order to emphasize those words.  It’s. One. Dollar.  (There…that should do it.)  You CAN NOT beat that price, and it’s a pretty freaking good burger, too.  I know.  I’ve eaten a LOT of these.  (Though, if I’m honest, I much prefer their kabobs to the burgers…but nonetheless…)

1. Blueberry Hill’s 7oz Burger

Hands down, my FAVORITE burger in St. Louis.  For some reason, though, it’s better at night when table service has closed and they’re just whipping them out of the window at you as fast as they can.  I recommend the full complement of lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and cheese.  Then eat that thing.  You’ll thank me.  (Seriously…people have thanked me.  Which is kind of weird, because it’s not like I made it or anything…)  It has the “home-made” feel…no pre-made patties here.  I don’t know what they do to spice it or cook it…or if they just get really awesome cows…but it’s got a flavor like no other burger I’ve had in town.  I recommend that you order it medium.

…so there you go.  Order one of those up soon and think of me while you’re eating it.  And I’ll think of you, too.  It’ll be weird…but we’ll get through it.

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Current Listening:

  • The Hold Steady – “Heaven is Whenever” — Since the last time we spoke about it, I’ve fallen in love with this record.  I said before that it’ll definitely make my top 10 of the year…but barring any unforeseen releases…it’ll definitely be in the top FIVE.

For those who can’t get past the fact that he was Wesley Crusher…

I don’t really have much to say on the blog at the moment.  No real reason.  I’m not holding back any news or anything…  Just nothing’s happened since I last wrote.

Except that I was reading through Wil Wheaton’s blog…and I watched the following video three times, then posted it on my Facebook page.

If you’ve ever wondered, “How awesome would Wil Wheaton be if he fronted a Bon Jovi cover band?” allow me (and to a lesser extent, Wil) to provide the answer.

(YouTube link working as of time of posting.  My apologies if you’re reading this in the future and it’s dead…or porn…or whatever.  But hey…at least you’re in the future, right?)

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EDIT: I do genuinely find this to be awesome.  Sure, it’s a LITTLE funny…but I’ve long felt that Wil Wheaton is highly under-appreciated just because the writers of Star Trek: TNG had no idea how to write for a teenager.  Just wanted to clear that up, based on the number of Facebook friends I have who’re re-posting it with “lol”s and “I always wondered what happened to Wesley!” comments.  (As per his blog, he’d much rather be called “Wil” than “Wesley,” btw.)  If the guy ever did form a cover band, I’d strongly consider maybe going to see it if I didn’t have anything better to do that night.