Monday, November 4, 2013

24 Hours of WoW

On Saturday, November 23rd at 08:00 I will be doing a twenty-four live stream marathon of playing World of Warcraft to raise money for my dad's GiveForward drive.

My live stream can be found at twitch and donations can be made at GiveForward. I will have the donation link up on my channel.

I am reaching out to the gaming community and the geek community at large for help to get this effort out there and circulated. My dad is one of us; he's a true gamer and geek and I'm asking that you please help spread the word.

Thank you.

Greg

Monday, October 28, 2013

At the start of October my dad (Leroy) was hospitalized with an illness that doctors have not been able to diagnose. They treat him for one thing, then another, then another and another only to see his condition worsen.

 All my life my dad has been a pillar of strength and love. He doesn’t know how to take a day off from work and his work ethic is something I thank him for everyday. Despite his sometimes grumpy disposition, he is a bottomless pit of fun, caring and love.

I am asking all my friends and family for their continued thoughts and prayers for his improved health as we try to get him moved to the Mayo Clinic. Most of you are already aware of the fund raising effort started to help with his medical costs. Thank you to each and every one of you for your support.

Now, I am reaching out my community, my people. The comic fans, the gamers, the Whovians, the Trekkies, the kaiju lovers, I am calling out to a community that is legion. It is the greatest community that no other can rival. Leroy is one of us and I am calling on each and every one of you. All of us have stepped up for one another in some way time and time again. I’m asking that you step up once again.

Your well wishes, positive thoughts and prayers are needed. If you come across me or a family member on the many social media platforms, please drop some positive energy us. If you find my dad on Facebook share some love with him. We have also started a fund raiser at GiveForward and it can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/lcakw8t

I know times are tough on all of us right now, but if all of you can help me spread the word and we can get people to donate a dollar or two, we can reach our goal. I am asking all of you to please, share this, re-blog it, re-tweet it, and give what you what you can, even if it is just your thoughts and prayers.

To further things along I will also be going through my collection of books, comics, miniatures and auctioning what I can, I'm going to try some live stream gaming marathons stuff and working on some other ideas to help out. I don’t have a timeline but I will start working on it today and will post updates here.

My dad is responsible for who I am today. He is the one that introduced me to video games, Star Trek and Godzilla that put me on the path of geekdom. He also took me to see Ozzy Osbourne, how cool of a dad is that?

To all of you, friends, family, fellow geeks and total strangers…thank you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

That Cooking Thing I Do

Since the start of this blog I've wanted to do something with cooking. I have fifteen years of restaurant cooking under my belt, everything from a truck stop dive to fine dining. Even though it seems like a chore at times, it has been the one hobby that I have never taken a break from and very seldom feel burnt out on. It is also something that has tainted my trust of others in the kitchen. When going to a restaurant there's always an amount of blind faith that you have to put into it. As for friends or family members, it can be on both ends of the spectrum for me, either I refuse to touch it or I can't get enough of it.   

I have a few drawbacks on the cooking front at home that get both my wife and I riled up sometimes and that is having an unlevel electric stove that doesn't not hold the set temperature very well. I would love to get a gas stove but the house doesn't have a gas line for the kitchen. We also have fluorescent lighting in the kitchen, so when I take pictures of what I've cooked it always looks to be more yellow or orange than it really is.

For some things I still use measurements but I'm close to being able to eyeball ingredients, which is how I have been doing a lot of my cooking lately and when I put up my recipes the ingredients will be listed with no measurements unless it's otherwise necessary.  

One of the challenges thrown out to me by my kids is making my own barbecue sauce, something that I've never done and it's something that I'm intimidated by. I've had some great scratch made barbecue sauces and I would become obsessed with everything being absolutely perfect. The base for a good sauce is pretty much a staple, it's finding that perfect balance of flavor, heat, sweetness and viscosity.  

Outside of that I am continuing to learn how to use my smoker. I've given it a few goes and getting the temp right seems to be my biggest hurdle. Everything so far has turned out great, but I won't be happy until I've mastered controlling the temp. I also don't get the chance to try cooking any fish, I'm the only person at home that likes fish, so it never makes the grocery list.

That's it, that's a blog post. I hope to get some something cooking related up soon and hearing from fellow foodies out there.

   

Friday, October 18, 2013

Things have finally settled down at work which means I can finally write again. i have things I need to take care of on the home front but once that is done, I should be able to get back to writing on a somewhat regular schedule.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Until I get more time to actually sit down and write, you can find me at tumblr, Thinking of moving this blog over there. http://howigeek.tumblr.com/

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

All Work and No Play.....

Hopefully I'll be getting back to writing. Work has been pretty hectic the last few months and that is where most of my attention has been. Once things get settled down I'll get to posting again. I have posts that have already been started, I just need the time to finish them. Just keep an eye out. Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Convergence


I haven't played any miniature wargames since 2008. I haven't painted anything since 2009. I even sold off all of my armies, I kept a few models but not enough to field anything in a game.

With the upcoming release of the Convergance of Cyriss faction for Warmachine I decided to pre-order the battlegroup box. This will give me an opportunity to paint again and will give me what I need play.

My biggest obstacle when taking on miniature painting is always the color scheme. The Convergence is comprised of clockwork type robots that house the souls of Cyriss' congregation, so metallics are the obvious choice. I hate metallics though. It's an incredibly easy color scheme but it's also boring.

Outside of that I can't wait to paint again and get these models on the battlefield.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Batman Inc #12 (What The Hell is DC Thinking)

Warning! There are spoilers and graphic images ahead.

Following up on my The Big 2, Sex, Violence, Death and Readership post from a few weeks back, I want talk about today's release of Batman Inc #12.

First, let me make it clear that I know and understand that entertainment content has changed over the years since I was a twelve year old. Everything from games, movies, television, music, books and even comics continue to have their content pushed and pushed. It becomes increasingly important for parents to step up and to know what their kids are playing, reading, watching or listening to. This is post isn't about just that, its also about the responsibility of content providers properly labeling their products and what that content contains.

When I was twelve years old comic book publishers were self governed by the Comics Code Authority which limited violence, sex and other touchy issues such as alcohol and drug use in comic books. Today, that self governing body is no longer around and so in comics and even in Marvel and DC comic books we see people getting ripped in half, decapitated, disemboweled or victim to other forms of graphic violence. We have also seen an increase in depictions of sex and female characters wearing either highly sexual suggestive clothing or just less and less clothing. Violence and sexy heroines have always been in comics, but we have reached whole new levels of that.

This a problem especially when it comes to the characters owned by DC and Marvel because they have traditionally been associated as kids characters and marketed towards kids. Whether that is right or wrong is a topic for another day but it remains the truth and today, a 12 year old boy or girl cannot read an issue of Batman or Wonder Woman like the kids from 28 years ago.

Now getting on the topic of Batman #12 and DC Comics. DC like other comic publishers adopted its own rating system for its comics books which is:

E – EVERYONE Appropriate for readers of all ages. May contain cartoon violence and/or some comic mischief.

T – TEEN Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.

T+ - TEEN PLUS Appropriate for readers age 16 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes.

M – MATURE Appropriate for readers age 18 and older. May contain intense violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual themes and other content suitable only for older readers.

Now, I do not know if DC rates each title as whole or issue by issue, but Batman Inc #12 is rated "Teen" which according to DC is appropriate for readers ages 12 years old and up. Below are some of the scenes from that issue and I am waring you again that they are graphic and downright disturbing.






Please explain to me how this comic book is appropriate for a twelve year old. Was the rating that this book was given by the people at DC a mistake or do they really believe that is really okay for readers that young?

People can bring to the table that kids are not buying or reading comics, but they would be wrong because I see it happening every week at my local comic shop. People can also bring the argument that parents should know what comics they are buying for their kids or what their kids are buying and I agree with that. But what about when the rating on the cover says "appropriate for readers ages 12 and up" when it clearly is not. We again circle around to character that is heavily marketed towards kids and find a comic with content not ideal for that age group.

When it comes to the rating that the Batman Inc title was given somebody at DC screwed up big time especially considering who this title originated from. Marvel and DC both must take certain things into account with how they continue to market these iconic characters and superhero teams and what is depicted in their comics. There is a responsibility there, either stop the marketing to children or make the content suitable to all ages. The twelve year olds of 2013 should be able to read DC and Marvel comics like I was able to at their age. There is something very wrong when that is not the case and it unfortunately is.

Rant over,  for now.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic: Playing Catch Up

With the news and spoilers coming out of the 5.4 PTR, I decided to get off my arse and get Morvahnna exalted with the Pandaren factions before the patch hits. Seeing how I have also gotten into the brawler's guild that I should probably work on upgrading gear.

The Klaxxi, Order of the Cloud Serprent, Shado-Pan and Golden Lotus rep grind is done. When finishing the storyline with Klaxxi, I wanted to waste each and every bug at Klaxxi'Vess. With some of the spoilers I've been told from people playing on the public test realm, I know what is in store for the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and the Golden Lotus and I don't want to see it happen.

I'm not into archeology so I'm not sure if I want to bother with the Lorewalkers, and I'm halfway to revered with August Celestials and on the road to exalted with the Anglers. I've been busy getting the grind on and for the first time in a long time, it doesn't feel like work. I've even started working on my off spec gear set.

In her travels through Pandaria Marvohnna came across a blood-soaked invitaion and so with fear and excitement the brawler's guild got another member. Morvahnna is up to Rank 5 and is working on Probuskus.

With all of the work on my main I haven't done anything on with my Merisiel nor with Kusia and Elwhyn on the Horde side. It's odd that I've gotten into this groove with the rep and gear grind, I usually get burnt out on that pretty quick. I'll be going into bench warmer mode with my guild's raid team. If they need a spot filled, I'll be there, until then 'll be helping gathering the mats the team may need for flasks, banquets and whatever else they may need.

I'm closing with a few more tid bits. First, a request to person that has a level one toon named Angela on the Vek'nilash realm....any chance of getting you to free that name up for me? Please? Second, I'm looking for pieces of the Glorious Plate set for a transmog idea, if anybody has pieces I'd like to take them off your hands but not at the exorbitant auction house prices. And last, I'm  hoping to start a campaign to convince Blizzard to give enhancement shaman a tanking spec. Chance of that happening may be slim to none, but I really want to that happen.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic: The Big Move

I have been toying with the idea of taking my beloved Elwhyn, a level 90 Night Elf fury warrior, and putting her through a faction change, so that I have a maxed toon in AIE and don't have to make the grind to 90 on the Horde side. The problem has been that I could never pull the trigger.

Elwhyn was named after my first Dungeons & Dragons character from twentyfive plus years ago. Elwhyn was an elf fighter so it just seemed right to make my first WoW toon a Night Elf warrior and modeled it after Elwhyn as much as possible. Going into WoW, I already had an attacthment to the character.

I started playing WoW during Hallow's End before Wrath of the Lich King launched. I poured hours into exploring the world with Elwhyn even if it meant getting killed, I would still roam the zones as a wisp instead of respawning. I remember being level six and Dolanaar being attacked the Horde. I couldn't tell you how many times I got one shot trying to defend Teldrassil against superior opponents. I remember my first Warsong Gulch match and having no idea what I supposed to be doing and ended up dancing with a Troll in Silverwing Hold. A few months away from five years of fighting for the Alliance and here I sit here dwelling on the decision to jump sides.

Blizzard announced that for one week character/account services will be half priced. One of the reasons why I never went through with the faction change and server transfer was the cost.

I was horrified at the the very idea of a faction change, but knowing that I would part of one the greatest communities in the game, I made the jump. Who was once a defender of the Night Elf way of life, is now a mana hungry, uber pretty Blood Elf.

before and after pictures will be posted later today.




Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Marvel Heroes


Gazillion's Diablo style, free to play Marvel Heroes mmorpg launched on June 4th. I had signed up for early access by purchasing the Ms. Marvel starter pack.

I haven't put in a whole lot of time into the game yet. I have Ms. Marvel up to level nine and it's been a fun ride so far.

Characters - I paid no real attention to which characters you can choose from to start. I know Hawkeye and Storm are two of them, but I went in to this game wanting to play Ms. Marvel so that's exactly what I did. Additional characters and costumes can be purchased or unlocked through mob/boss drops if you are lucky enough to get one. I've had The Thing drop from a mob early on.

Gear and Vendors - Gear drops like any rpg. Most of the gear dropped will be for the character you playing as, but you will get drops for others as well. So far I have gotten two purple (epic level) items for Thor, a blue (rare level) item for Iron man and Storm. Vendors can be upgraded by trading in the gear that has dropped instead of selling it, this improves the quality of the gear that they sell to you.

Crafting - I haven't messed around with this. I don't care for crafting of any kind in rpg's like this and Diablo.

Open Areas - There are open areas to explore and where mini-events take place like having to protect a police barricade, stopping an arsonist, or taking down a world boss supervillain. This has been a lot of fun, the only problem has been the number of people in these areas that is causing a whole lot of lag issues. You will also see that you automatically get added to a group of other players who are working on the same objectives in a particular area or fighting a boss level villain.

Cut Scenes - The cut scenes between missions are cool, I really like how they're done. The Taskmaster scene is especially fun. A lot of the voice actors are veterans from various animated Marvel shows and movies. Steve Blum reprises his role as Wolverine and Keith David voices Nick Fury, that is way cool in my book.

Hoping to get some more time in to play. Where at now in the story, i either need some better gear or I need to level up because I'm taking a beating. If you are playing look me up as HowIGeek.




Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Big 2, Sex, Violence, Death and Readership

A small fire broke out when Justice League of America #4 hit the racks last week and it rekindled a lesson in Comic Book Debating 101. Spoilers ahead if you haven't read JLA #4 yet.

You have been warned.

In the pages of said JLA #4, Catwoman takes a brutal gunshot to the head, all shown on panel. The debate has begun if it was Catwoman in the first place. Also being talked about is that if it was in fact Catwoman, then she has either just spent one of her nine lives or with all of happenings about to take place in the DCU, she will quickly be resurrected. Plus, there has been no mention of Catwoman's solo title being cancelled. That's not the point though. A greater debate followed which brought about a ton of things that may be all interconnected in the comic book industry and how they affect each other.

For reference when “core characters” are mentioned, the characters being referenced are: Batman, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor. The JLA, Fantastic Four and Avengers in general may be under that umbrella as well. Characters and teams such as Wolverine, Catwoman, Teen Titans, the X-Men and even some villains may be up for debate based on how they have been marketed towards younger audiences.

I don't think any of these ever really leave when talking comics, but here is the list that JLA #4 has brought up:

1. Marketing of core characters of the Big 2 to children through toys, games, television, clothing and other items.

2. Lack or low number of kids or all ages comics of core characters from the Big 2

3. Do DC and Marvel have a responsibility in the storytelling of their core characters in comics because of the marketing towards younger audiences? If not, how does this affect the next wave/generation of new readers?

4. Is the "kids aren't buying/reading comics" argument still valid as libraries and schools continue to add comics to their reading material for kids? Are their more kids at comic shops (with or without their parents) these days buying/reading comics?

5. Do the Big 2’s comics of core character need to be for kids or just accessible to kids as part of the reading audience?

6. Should the Big 2’s comics of core characters contain any material that makes the comics unfriendly to younger audiences? The female audience?

7. Is the use of sex, death and hyper/over the top violence used too much as crutch in modern comic storytelling?

8. The comparison of today’s writers versus the writers working under the Comics Code Authority.

9. Comparing the Big 2’s comics of core characters and the reading audiences of today against those from ten, twenty, thirty and forty years ago.

10. Does the direct market share any responsibility in how comic storytelling has changed over the years?

11. Why are the stories in the Big 2 comics of core characters not more accessible to younger audiences?

12. Can today’s comics of core characters be written in an all ages style and still be successful? Are today’s writers talented/creative enough to do that?

13. Is it in the best interest of the Big 2 to have the comics of their core characters more accessible to younger readers?

14. Violence/death or the illusion thereof against women, and how it is used either just for shock value or to push the male hero into vengeance mode and what affect this has on female readership.

That's one whopper of a comic book conversation there and I know that I've forgotten something from some of the other conversations I've seen or been a part of.

So have it comic fandom, debate to your heart's desire.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic: All Work And No Play

Since my last Warcraft related post I haven't had a whole lot of time to be in game. We've been understaffed at work and with the end of the school year getting close the kids have kept me busy.

I did manage to get in three Warsong Gulch matches after patch 5.3 dropped, two losses, one win and Mesiriel reached level 21  In both losses we found ourselves against what looked like premade teams, at least half of each team was from a single guild. I had teammates dropping in one shot, which I haven't seen in a long time. This was even happening to people in full heirlooms and with as much resilience as could be had in the level 20 brackets. The second match had the enemy team comprised of two paladin tanks, two druid healers and the dps was four rouges and two warlocks, I spent more time being crowd controlled than anything else. The cool thing to see was the team trying their best, there was no name calling, no trolling, it was nice see everybody trying to salvage something good against clearly better teams.

Outside of that, I've unlocked the weekly quest for the Darkspear Rebellion, but haven't worked much on it. I did join up with a group taking on one of the Kor'Kron commanders and escorted a single caravan and it's a nice change of pace from grinding daily quests each day.

Until things get shored up at work and the rugrats are out of school, these posts may be far and inbetween until my time gets freed up for more game time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nova, Guardians and More Inifinity



I picked up the first three issues of Marvel's Nova series. Out is Rich Rider and in is the young teenage Sam Alexander and if you watch the Ultimate Spider-Men animated series, you've heard the name.

Sam's dad tells stories of his adventures with the Nova Corps and Sam takes them as exactly that, stories. That all changes when Sam's father goes missing. Enter Rocket Raccoon and Gamora who have taken it upon themselves to train Sam now that he has inherited his father's Nova Corps helmet.

Three issues in and I will be picking up the fourth today. Sam comes face to face with a Chitauri armada on a direct course for Earth. It's been an enjoyable read so far, hoping Loeb and McGuinness stay on for awhile.



Angela's new look

Guardians of the Galaxy is only up to the second (technically third) issue so far. With the recent release from Marvel of Angela's new look I am looking forward to seeing Age of Ultron #10 and Guardians #5. I've been slowly reorganizing and cataloging my books and gave my Angela stuff from Image a re-read. Yeah, the character and the stories may not have been groundbreaking, but there isn't anything wrong with Angela as a character. She'll bring a new layer to Marvel Cosmic and I'm eager to see how they spin the "angel' aspect of the character. It's going to be fun to have Neil Gaiman co-writing Guardians for awhile.

There is no shortage of teasers for Jonathan Hickman's Infinity event starting in August. Comic Book Resources is my go to website for comic news and they have a lot of material you can read up on. On top of that, everything going on in the pages of Avengers and New Avengers is a lead up to Infinity. I can't remember the last time  I've been this hyped for a comic series.  

We have two covers so far for the first issue of Infinity, one by Adam Kubert and a variant by Marko Djurdjevic both of which are adding more fuel to the fire. August can't get here fast enough.

Marko Djurdjevic
Adam Kubert

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Road To Infinity

In August, Jonathan Hickman gets his shot in the big spotlight at Marvel with a six issue limited series titled Infinity. Joining him for this cosmic tale is artist Jim Cheung. Any person even remotely familiar with Marvel understands what the title implies....


Thanos, The Mad-Titan, The Avatar of Death
I've never been into cosmic based comics a great deal. The Fantastic Four is the closest thing I can think of to a cosmic book that I read regularly. Sure other comics might have a cosmic adventure here and there, but I wasn't into any pure monthly cosmic stories. I've checked out the Silver Surfer, Green Lantern, Guardians of the Galaxy and Legion of Super-Heroes, but couldn't get into any of them for any great length of time. Even when the Infinity Gauntlet came about in 1991, I didn't care one bit.

Twenty-two years later and spending ten years out the hobby brings about changes. One change being that I'm much more open to reading comics that I never would have in the past, and the emergence of one of the most talented writers in this solar system, Jonathan Hickman.

I was completely unfamiliar with many of the writers and artists that came into the comic industry while I was away. I had never heard of Jonathan Hickman before, all I knew was that he was writing the Fantastic Four and I heard nothing but positive reviews of his work on the title. His run on the Fantastic Four and FF would come to rival that of John Byrne and Kirby/Lee.

When news came of Marvel Now! and that Hickman was taking over writing duties on the Avengers, I was happy, actually I was quite excited. Jonathan writes for the big story, and you may not even notice all of the pieces coming together until it happens. So of course when I had heard that Hickman was doing an event called Infinity, I was down right giddy.

This past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. One of the books available was a prelude to Infinity and now August cannot get here fast enough. At first, with the announcement of Infinity I was just patiently looking forward to it. Then the excitement began to grip me after I read the prelude. Then after reading this interview with Marvel Executive Editor, Tom Brevoort at Comic Book Resources, all of my patience has been exhausted. Jim Cheung is a beast, that's all I'm going to say, go look up some of his other works.

Right now I am really enjoying what Marvel has been cranking out. Not only am I digging the Avengers family of books and the Fantastic Four but I am also getting into Marvel cosmic with Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. I know the Avengers will be front and center when Thanos comes knocking, I 'm very hopeful to see the Guardians and Nova right along side the Earth's mightiest heroes.

So come August, hit up your local comic shop and dive into some sweet cosmic goodness and get a taste of what that purple guy at the end of the Avengers movie is all about.






Sunday, May 5, 2013

Unboxed: Thor #337

The Mighty Thor volume 1, #337, cover date November 1983, release date August 2nd, 1983

Written and drawn by Walt Simonson, coloring by George Roussos and lettering by John Workman Jr..

My first impression when I first saw this book was of confused wonder. Who was this person in Thor's armor and how is he able to wield Mjölnir? Why is he smashing up the logo?

The story opens somewhere in the vastness of space. The core of an ancient galaxy explodes and a piece of it is left in the form of an ingot of molten starstuff. Gathered by an unknown cosmic entity, we see the ingot slammed onto an anvil for molding.

Shifting to Earth we find Dr. Donald Blake on a walk through Grant Park. After being accidentally hit by a Frisbee, Blake is pushed into a waiting car by some unknown thugs. The car speeds off and Blake discovers the driver to be Colonel Nick Fury  of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Fury and Thor sit in an a briefing about an advanced space probe that had picked up a spacecraft and recorded the ship as it sucked in an entire star as a form of energy, the probe was then destroyed and the spacecraft is now headed towards Earth.

Thor makes his way into space and the story cuts to Asgard where Lady Sif is not in the best of moods after being forsaken by Thor for Earth. Volstagg is is chowing down, Sif turns to Balder who has also fallen into some form of self loathing. Sif then turns to Heimdall in hopes of finding a battle in which she can join, but Heimdall cannot help her.

Thor intercepts the ship shown in the briefing. Inside we see the ship identifying Thor as similar to the "demon breed" and targets and opens fire on him. Hurling  Mjölnir, Thor breaches the ship's hull and enters the ship. Thor notices that the ship begins to self repair and believes it to be a living machine. Thor spots a large crystal beset in some machinery not far from where he entered the ship. Believing that the crystal is the ship's heart, Thor approaches the crystal, the ship sounds an alarm as a giant hand punches through grabbing Thor by his head.

We again cut to Asgard where Loki is seething in horrific boredom. Loki begins one of his trademark monologues when he discovers a group of warriors hunting down a troll. The hunt comes to a sudden end when the troll is tricked into being captured by Lorelei. Loki is intrigued by Lorelei and offers her to join him at his dwelling. The warriors urge Lorelei not to trust Loki but she agrees and Loki bids the warriors away.



Beta Ray Bill
Back on the space vessel, Thor is slammed into a wall and his opponent is revealed as Beta Ray Bill.

Bill and Thor engage in a fight worthy of song in the halls of Valhalla. Throughout the fight Bill refers to Thor as a demon and no progress is made by either combatant in figuring out who the other is and their intentions. Thor is committed to preventing the ship from reaching Earth and Bill believes Thor to be an evil demon related to others he has fought before.

During the fight, Thor loses his grip on Mjölnir and reverts back into the form of Donald Blake. Blake gets himself knocked out by Bill as the ship crash lands on Earth. Bill emerges from the wreckage and is looking for Thor's hammer but finds only a stick. As Bill slams the stick against the ship's hull, he becomes adorned in Thor's armor and the stick is now in the form of Mjölnir.

Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are approaching the crash site when one of the flying cars is smashed by Bill hurling Mjölnir. Fury recognizes the hammer but recognizes that the wielder is not Thor.

Odin call Thor, er Bill to Asgard

An image of of Odin appears in the sky above and calls his son home on urgent business. Not knowing what had happened between Bill and Thor, Odin transports Bill to Asgard.


Fury and his agents begin to search the wreckage and Thor in the form of Donald Blake is seen climbing the wreckage, in wind and rain, crying out to his father Odin not to forsake him.



I've already stated how I feel about Walt Simson and Thor. I don't think there is much more that I could say. The run that starts with this issue is what turned me from being a Thor fan into a fanatic. I'm not sure how soon I will have the next issue up, I want to take my time with these, I'm not satisfied with doing just a recap review. As I go through each issue I'm hoping to find something more relevant, something that breaks my inability to express what I have going on in my mind. Thor #338 is the works, until then, fair thee well mortals.

Friday, April 26, 2013

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1

Spoilers

Following a six issue mini-series, DC has has launched a new ongoing Masters of the Universe series.

First things first, this series directly follows the aftermath of the six issue mini-series that preceded it and both are written with the idea that the reader already knows who these characters are and are familiar with previous continuities, but I'm not convinced that you absolutely needed to have been a collector of the toys or have watched any of the cartoons to enjoy it. I think a reader should at least read the six issue mini so that you get the full picture of whats going on, it just adds to the story and a new reader would not be caught completely unaware.

Here is what has happened prior to this issue:

Orko has betrayed He-Man and his allies, he's not in the book. (thank goodness). Skeletor somehow made He-Man and the Masters forget who they were, scattered them across Eternia, separated Prince Adam from the Power Sword and placed his minions where they could keep a watch on them. Skeletor also claimed Castle Greyskull, took Teela Na (the Sorceress) prisoner and began torturing her in hopes of unlocking the castle's power. As usual Skeletor's plan backfires as Adam starts to remember his former life. In the end, He-Man saves Eternia, the Sorceress dies and Skeletor escapes justice.

In this first issue of the new ongoing a memorial is being held in honor of the Sorceress. During the ceremony Teela discovers that the Sorceress is her mother and this continuity, Man-At-Arms is Teela's biological father, not adoptive father.

Elsewhere an invasion force belonging to Hordak makes its may from Etheria to Eternia. Led by a female commander, Despara. The invaders make their way to attack the capitol, Adam changes to He-Man, both Teela and Despara show up at his location and fighting ensues. The issue ends with Despara's helm being knocked off and she is revealed to be Adora, Adam's twin sister also known as She-Ra.

Not a bad first issue. This book is not necessarily written for people new to the Masters of the Universe. If you have no knowledge of the cartoons and older comics series, some of what you see here is going to be lost on you. I don't think that they would leave new readers in the dark to who is who though and we may get soome flashback history lessons.

I have not read a lot of Keith Giffen's work, but what I have read has been good and he has done a good job taking over the mini-series from James Robinson and going into this issue. Pop Mahn's art works well for this property although there were some panels that didn't quite make sense to me as to what was supposed to be happening. The coloring is fine, I enjoyed the part where Teela first appears, her hair having been blond in the mini-series is now red, as it establishes the relationship between her and Adam and also opens the book up for some good comedy.

Having been a fan of the toys and the cartoon and also being a big fan of fantasy in general, I'm slightly biased. There have been some really good fantasy comics of late, both licensed and non, I am hoping that this book becomes part of that batch and stays around for a long time.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zubscribed: 2 Copper Pieces - Gotcha!


Used out a love and admiration for doppelganger shenanigans

Gotcha! is the second 2 Copper Pieces story from the pages Popgun published by Image, written by Jim Zub with art by Chris Stevens and can be found in the first volume of the Skullkickers trade paperback.

Like the first story, Gotcha! is a nice short and sweet story that takes place at a tavern with our heroes, Baldy and Shorty taking down tankards of ale while brainstorming how to deal with a doppelganger. This story is a perfect example of quick little side acts/scenes in gaming sessions.

Doppelgangers can be incredibly fun to throw at players. You don't even have to actually put a doppelganger in the game, just generate the possibility of doppelganger activity and good fun will follow. The players will either formulate a plan to weed out a doppelganger from the group before it's too late, if it happens at all. If not, watch the players turn on each other either on their own or by seeds of doubt and deception planted by the gamemaster. What's really fun is planting the doppelganger plot and allowing the players to forget about it over the next few sessions before doing anything with it.

With the group I played with, the session would probably turn into an every man for himself event or for no reason at all we would turn on one or two other players and keep them bound and gagged until any possible doppelganger jack assery was thoroughly put an end to.

Where we go from here is the big premier of Skullkickers #1, part one of 1000 Opas and a Dead Body.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

For Boston

Created and owned by Yale Stewart
My thoughts and prayers go out to the all of the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions.

Well wishes to all of you and your families.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Vinyl Love: Heart - Dreamboat Annie


Dreamboat Annie, February 1976
With the success of Magic Man as a single release 1975 on the Montreal radio airwaves, Heart moved from playing at clubs and bars to performing at shows with Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Journey and Van Halen.

Side 1
1. Magic Man
2. Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)
3. Crazy on You
4. Soul of the Sea
5. Dreamboat Annie

Side 2
6. White Lightning And Wine
7. (Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song
8. Sing Child
9. How Deep It Goes
10: Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)

Dreamboat Annie was initially released for Canada only, selling 30,000 copies in just a few months as airplay increased on Canadian airwaves. The album was then released in America with a focus on Seattle and it quickly sold another 25,000 copies. Not having national distribution, a plan was in set motion to promote the album city by city.

Despite the success to both the band and their record label Mushroom, the relationship fell apart and lead to Heart signing with Capitol. With Heart rising on the rock scene, Mushroom executives refused to rework the band's contract and the royalty rates. The dispute reached toxic levels, when without consulting the band, Mushroom bought a full page tabloid mock ad in Rolling Stone magazine which gave the insinuations that the band was at best a one hit wonder and that sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson were lesbian lovers. This would be the motivation for the hit song Barracuda.

Dreamboat Annie reach platinum before the end 1976 hit and broke out on sales charts in five countries. Crazy on You, Magic Man and Dreamboat Annie were the only singles from the album and had varying degrees of success.

When it comes to rock, it's hard not to include Heart in the conversation. Not only was Heart an icon amongst rock music of the late 70's and early 80's but was also a spark in a revolution of women in rock. Ann and Nancy also went on to play a part in the music scene of Seattle  by working with bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and R.E.M. through their Bad Animals recording studios.

Compared to their counterparts and contemporaries of the late 70's up through today, I would put Heart up against anybody. Individually speaking, Ann can belt out lyrics which easily rival that of Elizabeth Hale and Nancy's guitar work should never be dismissed. Nancy Wilson is ranked as one of the greatest female guitar players of all time and I argue that she can hold her own against any other guitarist you throw at her. The proof is the music.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic - A Week's Worth of Updates

As of today, I am 12-16 in battlegrounds, close to that 50% win ratio that I need to stay at to keep me happy. The last half dozen games or so have been a mix a good teamwork driven wins and horrible, no fun at all losses. The wins and losses come and go, the degree of good wins and bad losses varies, just have to stick with it and hope that everything equals out.

Since my last post Merisiel has reached level 20, got her 500 honorable kills and stepped into Arathi Basin. I'm not a big fan of that map. It was on of those games were only two of the fifteen players on the team attempted any defense after capturing nodes and the Horde was zerging everything, they did fail their attempt on camping our graveyard. We started to make a comeback but the there was not enough time left to sneak in a win.

I started working on archeology with Morvahnna. I'm not going to spend the time grinding dig sites for the blue and purple items, there isn't any real need or motivation to do it. So, I've put most of the work up in one day, I'm only 20something skill points away from 600. Which reminded me that I also need to work on getting her fishing skill capped.

She is also just about capped on Justice and Valor points, but Morvahnna is lacking the rep needed to use them. That will quickly be taken care of as she is going to hit revered with a few different factions today or tomorrow and then I have to get working on the Kirin Tor Offensive. Beyond that, I've always liked the Earthfury gear some I'm working on that for a transmog set and working on putting together Sulfuras.

No work was done with Kusia this week. After I get this last bit of work done with Morvahnna I want to get some levels under Kusia's belt. I'm still having a hard time getting into the questing on the Horde side but I'm going to keep at it because I do want to see that side of the story.

More updates coming.



Friday, April 5, 2013

Art

Just wanted to share some artwork I've come across over the last few weeks or so.

Bruce Timm

Daniel Krall

Dean Trippe

Hanie Mohd

Hanie Mohd

Kyle Latino

Mike Maihack

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos Rising

I've never been a big fan of cosmic/outer space comics, for some reason I have always had a hard time staying with any given series for long. That does not mean that I dislike cosmic characters by any means. The first "cosmic" characters that I knew of came from watching reruns of Space Ghost and Fantastic Four from the '60's and Green Lantern would soon follow.

March saw the launch of a new Guardians of the Galaxy series from Marvel, a team that originated in 1969 as a team of galactic heroes from the 31st century of an alternate timeline. Since then the team has had some changes in roster and a team forming in the mainstream Marvel timeline/continuity also known as the 616.

I was looking forward to getting into the cosmic side of Marvel when the news of this series was released, but when word came that Iron Man was going to be on this team I lost nearly all interest. With hopes that Tony Stark would only be around for the first arc and with the news of Angela appearing in #5 I decided to stick with it.

I missed out on issue #0.1 which was an origin story of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and how he became the leader of this team of cosmic defenders. Issue #1 has Star-Lord being told by his father, the King of Spartex, that Earth has been declared off limits by the galactic super-powers, which leads an argument. We then find Iron Man checking out a ship in orbit and turns out to be a Badoon invasion. Enter Star-Lord and his team of Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket Raccoon.  It's a decent first issue with a good set up. Still hoping that Iron Man is gone after the first arc.

The Thanos Rising mini-series is a story set in Thanos' childhood, a glimpse into what makes the Mad-Titan into the death loving tyrant and cosmic conqueror that he is today. I understand that because of the scene at the end of the Avengers movie and due to the upcoming Infinity event and future movies, there needs to be some Thanos love on the racks. After having read it, I don't want or need to know any details of Thanos' early life. Just let this living embodiment of Death be who he is, villains don't always need an explanation especially when they are of a threat level of this magnitude. The writing and art are fine, there is nothing wrong with this book at all. If you need to have more insight into Thanos, then by all means get on this series.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tales of a Warcraft Medic - Loss and Frustration

Merisiel
I've been working on my main toon Morvahnna over the last week, worked a bit my hunter Kusia on the Horde side but did manage to get nine to twelve PvP matches in with Merisiel. Out of all of the those, if I remember right, only three or four of those were wins. None of the losses were fun in any competitive sense so I decided to take a break from the frustration.

Morvahnna

I finally went into LFR for the first time ever with my guild master who gave me some coaching on the fights. It was pretty fun, easy mechanics but as always I was nervous as hell. I stopped raiding during Icecrown Citadel because of my hands, with all of the physical damage they've taken over the years I just don't have the reflexes and strength for keying and mouse clicking making some mechanics much harder for me to react to to and do properly without hurting the rest of the team. That first run through Mogu'shan Vaults was not easy for me, as we got to the trolls my hand right hand was already cramped up, hurting bad and couldn't find the strength to click on the mouse. I got through it and got and Morvahnna left out of there with a some gear and I'm looking forward to Terrace of Endless Spring.

I didn't do a whole lot with Kusia, ran a few battlegrounds and random dungeons. I've tried for long time to level a character on the Horde side of the game, I've never been able to do it. I've tried nearly every combination of class/race combinations and just couldn't get a toon past level forty. I think a lot of it had to with the guilds or servers I chose. I finally decided to join the fine people of the AIE community which I should have done in the first place. With the little amount of time I have available to play, its going to take a while to get her leveled up.

I'll be getting back to the PvP later this week, for the next few days though I want continue working on Kusia and Morvahnna.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vinyl Love: Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac July 1975
The story of Fleetwood starts with the explosion of the British blues boom of the late 1960's, the legend however, starts in Van Nuys, California in 1974. Drummer and band co-founder Mick Fleetwood was scouting studios and while checking out Sound City, Mick took a listen to an album that was recently recorded there by a duo by the name of Buckingham Nicks. Not long afterwards, Fleetwood Mac's guitarist Bob Welch left the band leaving a hole that needed to be filled. Mick returned to Sound City and asked about the guitarist he heard on the album that he listened to. Mick was told that the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was a package deal, meaning if you take him, you take his girl as well. Mick agreed and so Lindsey and his girlfriend, Stevie Nicks joined this little known British blues band called Fleetwood Mac and brought on rock history.

Side One
1. Monday Morning
2. Warm Ways
3. Blue Letter
4. Rhiannon
5. Over My Head
6. Crystal

Side Two
7. Say You Love Me
8. Landslide
9. World Turning
10. Sugar Daddy
11. I'm So Afraid

Fleetwood Mac's self titled album is actually the band's tenth album and is often referred to as the "white album" to avoid any confusion with the band's first album of the same name. Prior to the new line up of 1975, none of Fleetwood Mac's prior albums broke 400,000 copies sold in the united states. Not only did this album break five million copies sold by 1976 but it also launched the band into rock stardom, putting the band in charts for both rock and adult contemporary charts. However, what was a huge success here in America was mostly ignored in the UK until the release of 1977's Rumors.

Rhiannon, Over My Head and Say You Love Me were the only singles originally lifted from the album, all three scored high on the singles charts, but songs such as Landslide and Monday Morning would have success years later as singles and tracks from the entire album continue to get regular air play thirty-eight years later.

Tales of Warcraft Medic - Days 5, 6 and 7

Over the last few days I got in only four more matches, I've working on my main toon. I got two good wins and two really bad sucktastic losses and reached level 15 in the process.

The two losses were just horrible, definitely two of the worst losses I've ever seen. It was total domination by the Horde. Both of my my teams were inexperienced and under geared. In one match our graveyard was getting camped within the first five minutes and the Horde players stopped going after the Alliance flag and kept the graveyard surrounded. I feel bad for players that are new to the game's PvP when this kind of stuff happens. it's not very encouraging. I was able to convince some players to move away from the spirit healer so that we couldn't be resurrected and thus stop feeding honor to the enemy players or drop from the battleground. I don't like having to do that, but there is no point, especialy when some of the Alliance players were getting two shot upon resurrecting.

Getting a win after matches like that are a godsend. The two wins were the type of matches I really enjoy. There was some good competition from the Horde players, but we had some great teamwork flowing here. It was also nice having teammates that would get enemy attackers of the healers so that we could do our jobs, I still got ganged up on, but not nearly as bad as I have been.

After leveling I turned off my experience gains and hit the starting dungeons to farm for gear. Haven't gotten anything that I can use yet and this was my first time doing any PvE healing. Even though it was low level, I was a bit nervous due to my hands being in such bad physical condition from years of injuries but it went easy, fun and me eager to try healing on the higher level instances.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hometown Love and Other Happenings

Working on a few more things for the site.

I've reached out to my hometown of New Buffalo, Michigan for a project meant to help preserve the several decades of the town's history. Specifically historical buildings, memorable businesses both gone and still going strong and the people in the community.

New Buffalo has never shown that it has a sense of history, and very little pride in what they do have. It seems that all that people in charge are concerned with is the next big development to bring in more boaters. That's fine, but the town has sacrificed what has made it special and doesn't appear to be doing much to make downtown more inviting and memorable.

I'm really hoping that this works out. I have nothing but fond memories of New Buffalo in the 70's and '80's and I want to see photos and hear stories of New Buffalo in the 60's, 50's 40's and so on down the line as far as I can go. However, even though it has only been three days since I put out the call, I fear the number of people that care or remember about such things has dwindled greatly.

Yesterday I was loaned a macro lens camera to play around with for a few weeks. A macro lens is used for taking photos of smaller scale items like insects, flowers and taking photos up close where other lenses would not be able to focus on the object or texture. I'll post up some of the photos, especially some of the miniatures I've painted.

Finally, I'm looking at video capturing software so that I can include in-game video for Tales of a Warcraft Medic.

That's about it, carry on with your interwebz activities.