What We Watched In 2015

Back in the day, this blog got traffic boosts from the posts I wrote about Jersey Shore, The Challenge, Real Housewives and The Big Bang Theory. Taking notes while watching and posting that night got pretty exhausting and when the kids starting coming, those fell to the wayside. But, I still love television and wanted to share some of our favorite shows from this past year. Continue reading What We Watched In 2015

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My ridiculously talented friends over at Marvel.com made this awesome video starring Howard The Duck demanding Lucasfilm celebrate the film’s anniversary. As a longtime fan of the movie, I wholeheartedly agree.

Speaking of Marvel and Howard, Marvel.com ran this interview with the movie’s star Lea Thompson and it was pretty interesting. I dig her for sticking up for Howard…and also for Caroline in the City. Another ridiculously talented friend took there rad photos of the Expendables MiniMates out in the wild for the Art Asylum blog. I absolutely must get my hands on these figures.

I really, really, really want The Perks Of Being A Wallflower movie to be good. Please be good. I’m not sure what to think of this trailer I saw on THR though. Gotta read the book again.

I don’t live in the city, but I do hear a lot of the news living fairly close. The most recent infuriating bit of nonsense to come out of there is Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to limit the size of soda people can buy. Seriously? This is the biggest problem in the city at the moment? It’s not the government’s job to keep people skinny, so cut it out commie. This Economist piece paints it in a different view: the mayor doesn’t think poor people can handle making the decision to drink less soda on their own and need the government’s help. Bleh.

The Detroit News talked to Colbie Smulders, Joss Whedon and Sam Jackson about her role in The Avengers. Interesting stuff, especially what she did to train for the film on her own.

Jared Harris talked to THR about last week’s episode of Mad Men. I only read a few sites about the show, but have there been any “Down Memory Lane” posts? There should be.

Jeez, Anthony Bourdain is not slowing down. In addition to getting a book turned into a movie and moving from Travel Channel to CNN, he’ll also be judging a food competition show on ABC. Dude’s gonna be busy. (via Eater)

I love reading about cocktails, so this Esquire piece about the cocktails of summer definitely had me interested. I’m particularly excited to try that Scotch Whiskey Punch. That’s on my summer to-try list. There’s a new James Bond book called James Bond Unmasked with new interviews with all six Bonds. It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.

I am a gigantic fan of Fox’s New Girl, especially the ultra douche, but really a nice guy on the inside character of Schmidt played by Max Greenfield. As such, I enjoyed this LA Times interview with him.

I got a big kick out of watching The Totally Rad Show’s Alex Albrecht interviewing Snoop Dogg about the new Tekken for G4. Finally, this MC Escher Lego Star Wars diorama seen on io9 is just too damn cool.

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Over on CBR, I wrote a piece about AJ Lieberman’s Harvest and also talked to the delightful Charlie Adlard about Walking Dead.

This video from Tested features Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame explaining one of his passion projects: building a ZF-1 gun from The Fifth Element. Pretty interesting stuff.

Last week I heard that Anthony Bourdain’s novel was getting turned into movie, now I hear he’s going to have a show on CNN? Very, very interesting. This THR piece clarifies that he will be leaving Travel Channel to do the new show, but it will be produced by the same company, so it probably won’t be too different.

I keep slowly reading articles about Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. This one with Mike D on Rolling Stone was another emotional one. I really need to organize my thoughts on the band in a post. Maybe this week.

Toy fans, head on over to Marvel.com to vote for some characters to appear in the 50th wave of Marvel MiniMates from Diamond Select Toys. This reminds me of the good ol’ ToyFare days when we used to do the same thing. Speaking of toys, I love that McFarlane did this Hines Wards Dark Knight Rises figure in their football figure line. (via Toynewsi)

I really need to get some bitters so I can try this cocktail called The Darcy Farrow I saw over on Esquire.com. All that ginger sounds tasty.

FirstShowing posted this interesting theory from Reddit (still don’t know what that is) about the connection between Quentin Tarantino movies and how the events of Inglourious Basterds lead to the violence and pop culture obsessed world we’ve seen in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, etc. I think it’s an interesting look at the material but don’t actually think it was something Tarantino planned.

Simon Pegg talked to The Telegraph about, well, everything and as you’d expect from the chap, it’s all quite interesting.

I’m not much of a fighting game fan, but I am always interesting in comic-based games…until I hear they’re terrible. This new one, Injustice, seems a little too plot-y already, but who knows? (via Topless Robot)

This HuffPo thing where they talked to different directors and writers about how Star Wars changed their view of movies was pretty fun, especially Eli Roth’s childhood drawings.

Hey, John Frusciante has a new pair of solo things coming out, an EP and a full album. I’ll give them a shot, he’s always good for some technically interesting weirdness. (via Rolling Stone)

The Alamo Drafthouse will be distributing a film called Miami Connection that involves a good guy rock band fighting motorcycle ninjas. I’ll take seven.

Lastly, I thought this GQ interview with Christina Hendricks about the week before last’s episode of Mad Men was very interesting. She really seems to dig into that character.

Mad Men Season 5 Thoughts So Far

Well, we’re four episodes into Mad Men and it’s been quite a season already. Pete’s clearly unhappy, Don’s surprisingly (suspiciously?) happy, Roger’s showing his uselessness, Joan’s being awesome, Betty’s turning into everything she hated and Peggy’s…well, Peggy. Between reading my pal Sean Collins’ posts, talking to my wife and reading Tom and Lorenzo’s post recaps and fashion explorations of the episodes I not only don’t feel compelled to blog every episode, but also I’m noticing all kinds of other things that I might have missed. The following are a few random ideas that have either popped into my head or been put there by someone else. Hit the jump if you’re curious. Continue reading Mad Men Season 5 Thoughts So Far

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Goodness, it’s funny how these things get away from me. When I started keeping track of this back of links, Mad Men had just come back out.

First, to toot my own horn, I wrote stories about Youngblood, “Triggergirl 6,” Battle Beasts, Think Tank and The Tower Chronicles.

Meanwhile, over on Marvel.com, I talked to Joe Casey, Tom DeFalco and Roger Stern about their issues of Hulk Smash Avengers as well as an Iron Man movie app comic!

Mad Men returned which meant I wanted to read two posts about it, one from my pal Sean T. Collins, the other by Tom & Lorenzo. Neither disappointed.

I know there’s no details about this Dan Aykroyd/Chevy Chase movie, but I’m cautiously optimistic about it. I hope they don’t disappoint. (via THR)

I haven’t listened to Aziz Ansari‘s new hour called Dangerously Delicious, but I did buy it for $5. I really like this new method of getting stand-up out there, but do wish the video came with a separate audio file as well.

The day Ansari’s new set went on sale, The New York Times did a story on this new model of business that Louis CK started. I am a big fan of this model.

I also bought but haven’t listened to Jim Gaffigan‘s latest special. Jeez, I need to set some me time aside, you know?

I remember Derek Trucks when he was just a young kid blowing my mind with both his skill and the fact that he got to play with the Allman Brothers. This Rolling Stone interview with him was equally interesting.

Also from RS, I had no idea Amazon bought used stuff, let alone the news of them accepting CDs for credit. This could be worth while.

Yes, I kind of want to go to the Summerland Tour, which features Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms and Marcy Playground. 90s Nostalgia! Here’s another old one, this 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Mondo poster already went up for sale and is gone, but it lives on as my wallpaper.

Speaking of Mondo, the gang at /Film interview the brains behind the operation. I still think their desire to keep numbers low on their runs is less about keeping quality up and more about trying to stay cool, but they still do amazing work.

In one more bit of Mondo-related news, they’re opening an Alamo Drafthouse in NYC! I will probably never go there, but I am excited (via Bad Ass Digest)

Chef and food guru Michael Ruhlman wrote a post about the perfect martini, which includes gin if you didn’t know. I made half of one of these after reading this post and was doing quite well. Highly recommended.

Mark Waid’s post about the math that goes into making comics these days was pretty eye opening.

This story from my hometown newspaper The Toledo Blade about a group of dudes who regularly gather to play old school Techmo Bowl made me nostalgic for several reasons. Gizmodo says that Jeffrey Brown is doing a Star Wars book about Darth Vader being a dad. Yes, this will be in Lu’s library when it comes out.

MTV Geek broke the news about a He-Man comic from DC written by James Robinson. Five years ago, this would make me giddy. Today I face it with cautious optimism.

Legend has it that my AP European History teacher from high school wrote some of the backs of action figures, I wonder if he did any on this G.I. Joe Topless Robot list.

I love the idea of Green Day producing three albums in four months. Why not? Might as well put out the music as it comes. (via Rolling Stone)

Finally, this is the coolest Rube Goldberg device I’ve ever seen. (via Wired)

Sunday Nights: An Embarrassment Of TV Riches

Man, you guys, when did Sundays become such great TV nights? I remember back in the day the dearth of weekend program would result in me watching syndicated shows like Renegade, MANTIS or that futuristic Knight Rider thing. Now it’s one of the nights most packed with shows my wife and I want to watch, especially right now with Discovery coming out hot and heavy with news shows. I’ll put this out there right now: we don’t have DVR because the wiring in our building is too old, so we have to watch what’s on. I started thinking about all this a few weeks back when AMC’s Comic Book Men premiered. I’m a fan of Kevin Smith and his friends featured on the show, plus I covered some of the PR events for CBR. But, something else was on at 10PM, Sunday nights. I can’t remember what it was when the show first premiered, but a couple weeks back it wound up being A&E’s Breakout Kings, which is also on at 10PM. CBM wrapped up last week, so I’m hoping I can catch a marathon at some point, but we do enjoy Breakout Kings quite a bit, especially thanks to the fact that this season has more of an overarching story with the remaining Kings trying to track down the guy that killed SPOILER Charlie. I also like what they’re doing with Erica and the dude who works downstairs. Can we get an updated title sequence, too, by the way? It just looks silly with one character edited out. But, Mad Men‘s back tonight, which really throws a wrench in our schedule, especially because the premiere is two hours long. It’s really no question between whether we watch Mad Men or Breakout Kings, even though we both like the latter, it’s nowhere near as good as the former. Mad Men feels more like an event anyway, one that I like keeping up on. I think I’ll be able to watch BK at 11PM, but my wife goes to bed by then, so she’ll probably miss out. The 10PM slot also now has the brand new Rube Goldberg-inspired show by the Mythbusters called Unchained Reaction. The concept behind the series it that two teams are tasked with making a Chained Reaction machine with a particular theme. As longtime readers will remember, I love me some Goldbergian machines, so this show could not be more interesting to me. I thought this show was premiering tonight, but I am watching the Heavy vs. Light episode as I type, so it either already debuted or this is kind of a sneaky way to show it off early. I’m already digging this show and would love to watch it on a regular basis. Thankfully, Discovery has a good track record of showing reruns, so I’m sure I’ll catch up.

Discovery also has a show in the 9:00PM spot that we love watching, Mythbusters. Again, I know these shows get rerun on a pretty regular basis, but the premiere–which is tonight for sure–features Jamie and Adam stranded on a desert island with nothing but duct tape to survive on. That’s pretty awesome and I’d like to watch, but the extended Mad Men premiere will be keeping us away, but after that, I think we’ll be all set. We’re also a bit conflicted in the 8:00PM slot. Usually we just watch Amazing Race, which can sometimes be pushed back thanks to sports, which is a bit of a bummer. But, right now Discovery also has Frozen Planet on at the same time which looks gorgeous in HD (yes, our HD channels started working again).

So that’s where we’re at. Like I said in the title, it’s an embarrassment of riches. I’d always rather have too many shows I want to watch than not enough. Well, actually, if there were fewer shows on that I wanted to watch, I’d probably get more reading done…

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Big ups to my boy Agent M for finding and linking to Dan McDaid‘s Dr. Doom vs. Doctor Who artwork. It’s glorious!

Go look at Bob Mitchell in the 21st Century’s I’m the Goddamn Golden Age Batman entry for this week. It’s hilarious.

I have a longstanding love of Nerf and this N-Strike Stampede ECS-50 which I saw over on Entertainment Earth blew me away. It’s so wonderfully complicated!

There’s some interesting moves going on over at DC. Interesting moves indeed.

Pop Candy‘s Whitney Matheson talked to the lovely Christina Hendricks at a party hosted by Johnny Walker. She drinks her whiskey on the rocks. Oh goodness. Can she get any better?

What a strange Amalgam mixing Luke Cage and Metamorpho, but I kind of love it. This Mighty Fine Ghost Rider T-shirt is giving me 80s/90s T-shirt flashbacks in a good way. 26 bucks for a shirt’s kinda crazy though. (via Shirtoid)

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Today I came across a lot of Halloween themed links that tickled my fancy (metaphorically, of course, I keep my computer in front of me at all times). There’s lots of other stuff going on too, that I dug, so let’s jump in.

First off, Topless Robot’s list of good and bad toy-based Halloween costumes is rad. Go check it out. My buddy Chris sent around this link from Coolest Homemade Costumes on how to build your own Lego minifigure costume. They look epic. Also, if you dig Halloween mixes, give Chris’s a listen

In other costume news, Instructables has a how-to on creating this awesome Transformers Soundwave costume. I’ll just look at the pictures in awe if that’s okay (via Toyark)

Apparently I’m not the only one who finds the Halloween Snickers commercial creepy. It’s also apparently for sale, which is terrifying.

I haven’t read the Frazer Irving interview my buddy Kiel did over on CBR yet, but my other buddy Sean posted this image on Robot 666 today. It’s awesome. I hope to catch up on Batman fairly soon. I don’t want to read the full interview with Detention director Joseph Kahn did over on io9 yet because I don’t want anything spoiled. I was sold with the concept of a slasher movie mixed with a time traveler flick. Also, the above image is both scary and awesome. When can I see this movie?! (via /Film)

Okay, one last Halloween-related link. The August Society is doing a series called 8-bit Cavalera. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I love the idea of painting anything on old NES cartridges. This one by Evan Lopez is my favorite so far. Apparently you can actually buy Roger Sterling’s book from Mad Men. Sterling’s Gold is available on Amazon for $11.43. (via /Film)

If you’ve got some extra cash to spare, bid on this 14-inch Hal Jordan DC Universe Classics prototype signed by The Four Horsemen over on Charitybuzz. Proceeds benefit Mattel’s Children’s Hospital UCLA, so it goes to a good cause and it’s an awesome, one-of-a-kind collectible. (via Toynewsi)

If you’re looking for an internship at Marvel, check out this article on Marvel.com.

Wynn Ryder’s sketch of Bruce Lee on Sketchjam is rad. Nuff said.

Mad Men Season 2 “The Good News”

While an show title tends to encompass that episode as far as themes go, I think Joan’s line at the very end of the episode kind of retroactively sums up the whole thing: “Alright, gentlemen, shall we begin 1965?” All the events take place around New Year’s Eve without really showing the big moment, which is exactly how they handled the Christmas holiday. Unlike most TV shows, they’re not pandering to what audiences might expect from a holiday themed episode, they’re giving you something new and complicated that you’ve got to sift through, at least partially.

Joan, Don and Lane take the spotlight this episode, so I’ll address them thusly. We start the episode off with Joan visiting her possibly gay OBGYN (I just got the vibe) which tells us a few things we didn’t know before. First off, Joan’s off the pill in an effort to start having kids before her rapist husband leaves for basic training (he might fool some of you with being a good guy, but I won’t forget). We also discover that Joan had a pair of abortions, one done by a woman claiming to be a midwife, the other by the OBGYN. He doesn’t think it will effect a future pregnancy. The third thing is that she and Greg have been married 2 years. I guess you could have figured that out somehow on your own, but I like nice solid numbers thrown at me from time to time.

Joan’s husband has to do rounds on New Year’s so Joan tries to get a few days after the New Year’s break off. She gets shot down pretty harshly by Lane who finishes things off with a “Now don’t go crying.” Excuse me? Joan? Go crying? You’ve got another think coming, you bloody git. Joan doesn’t get the days off, but does get some roses with a somewhat dismissive note that she tears into Lane about, but as it turns out, his stupid secretary sent the wrong messages to the wrong people. Joan fires her on the spot, showing Lane exactly how tough she is. I think he got the message even if having it yelled in his face didn’t do the trick. Later Joan tries to throw a belated New Year’s party for Dr. Hubby when he gets home, but just ends up cutting herself. I cringed like crazy because I’m a huge wuss. Joan’s not wanting him to stitch up her finger worked on two levels for me. On the first, I could totally relate because my mom’s a nurse and anytime I hurt myself badly, she was the last one I wanted helping me (you don’t want to see someone you love coming at you with a needle). The other level–the one I assumed the writers were going for unless they were specifically trying to needle those of us with medical people in our family–is that she doesn’t believe he’s got the skills to be a doctor (I wasn’t sure either), but as he says, this is basically the equivalent of her filing papers or something. No big deal for him, like firing that idiot secretary was no big deal for her.

As you  might expect, Don takes up most of the screen time. He’s going to Acapulco, though as far as I remember, we’re never told explicitly why (at first I thought it was a business trip, then figured it was for the holidays–they must get a week off or something for the New Year’s holiday). Anyway, he stops off in Cali for a while to see Anna, his other wife. I love this character. She’s impossible not to. And I think it’s awesome that Don loves her too, but not in a sexual way. I think this might be the only person on the show Don loves absolutely with the other candidates possibly being his kids, but the jury’s still out on that one. Don visits Anna for a while and they experience each other the way that only two people with nothing to hide from one another can. She even delivers one of the greatest lines of anything ever: “I know everything about you and I still love you.” That really is love, isn’t it?

Don meets Anna’s niece who I would have bet one of my freelance checks on him hooking up with her when he goes to drop her off after a night of drinking and dancing (which Anna was along for most of). He does try, but instead of getting some ass, he gets the unfortunate news that Anna has bone cancer and doesn’t even know it. The doc told Anna’s sister who told her daughter, but didn’t want to worry Anna with the news. So, as Don leaves later in the episode after having it out with the sister who doesn’t think too highly of him, Don leaves, knowing everything about Anna and–I think–loves her even more.

Don goes to Acapulco (we see him get a Happy New Year hat and a drink on the plane, that’s the extent of the festivities) and turns right around to find Lane as the only one in the office. He said he was heading back to London to see his wife and kids, but after the flower mix up she told him it was over, though, let’s be honest, this was pretty much written on the wall since last season. For a little while, I was thinking that the obviousness of this situation was a little boring on the writers’ part, but this kind of thing happens in real life, you know? We all know couples who you just know are going to break up even if it takes them a while to find out themselves.

Anyway, Don and Lane are hanging out in the office, getting drunk separately and then they decide to go to a giant Japanese monster movie. It looked like Gamera to me. They get dinner, Don calls some hookers and they meet them at a club. The quartet then heads back to Don’s creepy man apartment (one of the girl’s comments on it’s “manliness,” which I assume translates to “grossness”). Lane bangs one of the broads in Don’s room while Don presumable takes his usual girl out on the couch as he doesn’t want anyone having sex in the kids’ room. What a good dad. The next morning is that very distinct kind of awkward when you’re trying to pay your colleague back for a prostitute you had sex within inches of him. Gross.

Again, I’m left marveling at how good of a show this is. The writers do an amazing job of creating these characters who are so dense and interesting and different, though still relateable and then bouncing them off of each other and the supporting cast and the results all feel perfectly organic. I don’t remember seeing Don and Layne interact much aside from the office and that dinner they had with their former wives, but seeing them together was really fun. Same with Layne and Joan, two characters who hadn’t interacted much and clearly didn’t know each others’ boundaries. I’d say they do now. It’s also interesting to see that the men in the firm are becoming more and more modern as most of them have ex wives now (Roger, Don, Lane, better look out Pete). Speaking of which, as I mentioned, the episode doesn’t involve Pete or Roger whatsoever (aside from brief appearances in the last scene) and Peggy only pops in for a minute. That’s how strong the show is, it can survive and even thrive without some of it’s bigger cast members (oh, also no Betty, thank God).

Something Wicked-Awesome This Way Comes

Okay, so it’s probably not wicked-awesome, but I’ve decided to schedule some of my reoccurring posts live Covering Vinyl, Crossovers I Want To See, Toy Commercial Tuesday, Trade Post, Ad It Up, Supergroup Showcase and I’m repurposing Sketchbook Sunday as Sketchbook Saturday. I’m also looking to start reviewing records on a weekly basis, just because I love talking about music. I’m a big fan of making lists and crossing things of said lists, so this is the best way for me to keep up on the posts I intend to do. Of course, you’ll also be seeing the usual Real Housewives, Real World, Jersey Shore, Mad Men and Big Bang Theory posts, plus a few potential other returning favorites and new shows on the corresponding days. Of course, I’ll still be watching movies and random other TV shows and sharing my opinions on those here and there.

I’ve also been toying around with the idea of a weekly post called The Perks Of Being A Freelancer, that won’t just cover the perks, but some of the ins and outs of making it as a freelancer nowadays. I’m going to see how August goes and then move on from there. I might also be getting another writer or two in the near future to make the name of the website really make sense (can one monkee be united?). So, keep your eyes peeled, tell your friends and leave some comments on what you might like to see on the site that I’ve done in the past and am no longer doing, or brand new kinds of posts you think might work. I appreciate the feedback.