Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Comics, Then and Now

I've been getting back into comic books lately.

I mean I used to read them back when I was a kid, but I lost interest for a long time. Then a few years ago I went through a Sandman phase, but never really got into anything else. That was, of course, helped along by the fact that Sandman is finished, so once you're caught up you're pretty much done until they release something new, which is on the order of every few years instead of every month. Since then I've picked up the occasional trade paperback reprint of something that looked good (Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Sin City, etc), but nothing on a regular basis.

Then, I made a mistake, I started reading the trade paperbacks of Fables, by Bill Willingham. In addition to being a fantastic story with great art Fables has the additional feature that it's actually still coming out monthly, and is showing no signs of stopping. And since I burned through the trade paperbacks in like a week I was pretty much stuck. Either wait for the next one to come out in a few months, or start picking up the monthly issues. I hate waiting, so option B was really the only choice.

So, I filled in the gap between the last trade paperback and the current issue, and that's the point where a rational person would have stopped... But hey, if I've started collecting the new issues and they're only up to issue fifty-something I might as well try to fill in the back issues...

After a few weeks of stopping by random comic book stores I happen to be near and trolling ebay for the stuff I can't find I'm now approaching completeness. Assuming everything I ordered on ebay comes through I'll now have completed the series, so I can stop looking for back issues and just content myself with picking up my subscription from the local comic shop every few weeks.

Some things struck me though about the difference between reading comics as a kid and reading them now. First off, actually having disposable income makes a big difference. I never had the ability to buy back issues like this when I was doing this back in the day. Second, ebay makes a huge difference. Having access to basically whatever you want is really seductive, it makes it way easier to fill in the gaps in a collection, since you're not depending on what your local comic shop happens to have in stock. Third, the authors of these things actually interact with the fans these days, thanks to the internet it's actually possible to ask questions and get answers, at least for some books. Finally, the quality of the books coming out today is far greater than it used to be. I mean the super hero stuff is still generally crap, but the more mature stuff actually has great writing, it's the kind of thing you can follow for the story and actually enjoy as literature if you're looking for that sort of thing.

So if you need me I'll be hanging out from time to time over in the fabletown forums, and I'll be stopping by The Outer Limits every few weeks to pick up my (inevitably growing) subscriptions.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

New Roomates

So one thing that comes along with living with new roomates (even ones that you've lived with before) is that you learn new things about each other. For example, I've now learned that Rob and Jess are religious followers of "Politically Incorrect" on HBO. No argument there, it's turns out to be a pretty decent show, but I didn't know that before.

On the other side of things, Jessica is now in the process of organizing my DVD collection (apparently it's some deep rooted biological need, she just can't live with them shelved in the order I pulled them out of the box) and is becoming more and more shocked at my horrible taste. Yes, my "Bad Baseball Movies" section includes both "Summer Catch" and "Fever Pitch", and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

It also came out that apparently I'm not the only person who thought "Kicking and Screaming" (not the truly tragic soccer movie of the same title damn it!) was among the greatest movies ever. It seems that Bill Simmons, the ESPN sports writer that Rob and Jess are apparently obsessed with is also a big fan. You learn something new every day.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Good Ending

So, it seems that in The Baroque Cycle Stephenson has finally managed to write a good ending.

Of course, in order to do it he had to write a book that, in aggregate, is about 3000 pages long, and has such an incredible density that it took me multiple years after the last third of it was published to actually get around to finishing it.

All that considered though, I did enjoy the endiing very much, and I would highly recommend that anyone who gave up after the first volume should fight their way through, as the second really does pick up the pace quite a bit, and the third does manage to tie the whole thing together quite well.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Chicago 8, Coco Crisp 1

Man, did that game SUCK! Aside from Coco Crisp's hitting the Red Sox just didn't even bother to show up tonight. What a disappointment, especially after the last two games against Chicago went so well.

Anyway, it was still a good time, Rob and I took advantage of everyone leaving early and watched the last inning and a half from some great seats right on the first base line, and we all got to enjoy the new shorter T ride in to the game now that we're living in Newton Centre.

Some people are less than thrilled with the traffic consequences of the move, but I still think it's a net win, especially since I'm not one of the people trying to get here during rush hour in order to make it to the game on time ;-)

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Moving Sucks

So, the process of moving into the new place continues.

The end of last week was basically totally consumed by helping Rob and Jess get all their crap out of their old apartment and into the new one. This was complicated somewhat by the fact that we couldn't actually move things into the third floor of the new place, because it was still in the process of being repainted. We finally finished getting the last of their stuff moved at like 11:00 on friday night, and there was much rejoicing...

Except that at that point we had simply managed to completely fill the first floor of the new place with stuff, to the point where you couldn't even sit down because all couches and chairs were completely surrounded by boxes.

On the bright side, the appointment with the cable guy went perfectly, he showed up on time, ran a cable into the room that needed one, and by 10:00 Friday morning we had cable, internet, and a phone line. I remain shocked.

Anyway, on Saturday morning we finally said the hell with it, and headed down to the Jersey shore to spend the weekend at Tracey's parents' place. Much fun was had by all, and I managed to kick the ass of the claw machines at the boardwalk arcade, coming home with a stuffed Sonic the Hedgehog, Stewie from The Family Guy, and three out of the five colors of stuffed M&Ms. I'm still bitter that I didn't get the last two of them...

Unfortunately, while I did take home a pile of stuffed animals, at some point during the weekend I appear to have lost my car keys. Hopefully they'll surface someplace Tracey can find them. At least I had a spare lying around.

Now we're back up in MA again, and the apartment is finally starting to take shape. It's still unclear if the third floor is open for business, but we've managed to start making a dent in the first floor pile of crap, to the point where you can now reach the TV and at least some of the chairs. Rob even managed to get his desk assembled, so I now have a place to work from during the day, at least until I manage to make a trip to IKEA and pick up my own...