Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's wrong with you TV????

I was looking over this year's television schedule and I realized, I don't think I'm going to be adding any more new shows to my DVR. This has everything to do with two factors: 1) I find that if I don't get "into" a show, I never really care and therefore never miss it once it goes away. 2) I love to be entertained, and everything I'm seeing looks cookie cutter and not that great.

Then I find out that a comic book that I absolutely LOVE had a pilot made based on it. You can watch that pilot here:

This book is written by the fantastic, up and coming writer Joe Hill (aka Stephen King's son, but we don't even NEED to mention that -- but it helps). There are currently approximately 30 issues of this comic book, but each issue I have read has multiple layers and needs more than one read through to fully understand and grasp everything. He is building a mythology where a small book in the back of a panel comes back 20 issues later to play a very important piece in the lives of the Locke family.

The story is simple: A teacher is attacked and murdered by a crazy student and the rest of the family but the patriarch moves back to their father's old house in a small town in Maine. While there, the kids discover that the house has numerous keys that allow the user of the keys to open doors into other worlds, and other fantastic possibilities. Each book seems to introduce us to a new key and a new piece into the mystery as to why their father was murdered. Could it be because of the strange woman that lives at the bottom of the well?

Needless to say, I love this series and this TV show looked very similar to the movie and definitely seemed to capture its heart. But Fox passed on it. I'm not sure why, but it seems that I will never see Locke and Key on the small screen or large. But since Hill and his artist Gabriel Rodriguez have promised a concluding end to this series, I will at least always have the show in my head. But the attached trailer really makes me upset about the possibilities.

Below are some examples of the great art of the series too:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Best of the Week -MIddle of August

Best Book I Read:
- I took a slight break from my Song of Ice and Fire books. Last weekend I was in the laundry room and I saw that someone left Steve Martin's Shopgirl. Since I really enjoyed An Object of Beauty, I picked it up and decided to read it. Shopgirl tells the story of a 28 year old woman who is trying to find her place in LA. She meets and dates an man twice her age and learns a lot about herself. But the story is not the highlight of this short novella, it is Martin's writing. His descriptive writing sets a mood to the story that is part dark humor but exceptionally descriptive. Everyone should give this book a chance and I have officially decided to read anything Steve Martin releases.
And for the record: I saw the movie probably about 5 years ago and fell asleep. Do not judge this book by that movie. The movie did not have the narration.

I also read: A Graphic Novel published by DC's Vertigo imprint called Daytripper by twin brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. This was my choice for my book club and thought it would be interesting to have people that do not normally read comic books read one. I have been in this book club for almost two years and it is made up of people whose opinion about books I have learned to respect and wanted to know what they thought about this. The club is made up of comic book readers and non-readers alike and thought those that don't read comics would have some great input. The meeting is tomorrow, and look forward to the results but I have to admit I was not super-excited about my pick after reading it.
I have read some great comics in the last few years but decided to not pick something I had read in the past. The story follows a man who is a writer of obituaries and the gimmick of the novel is it tells 10 different stories in his life when he might have died and ends with his obit. I am not 100% sure of the point of the book and what it was trying to say about life. I need to think about that before tomorrow's meeting, but the gimmick became too gimmicky for me near the end which upset me.
As for the GRAPHIC part of the novel, the art was quite beautiful It also used some fun techniques of showing more then telling which I'm sure we will discuss tomorrow. Until then I will leave this before my re-read of the book before tomorrow's meeting.

I may not blog about books for a while since I have found my way back to Westernos reading part three of Song of Ice and Fire

Best Movie I Saw:
Heading out to see Captain America now, but saw the decent Source Code this week. The ending didn't make much sense, but it was a fun little movie that was reminiscent of a really good Quantum Leap episode for the tech age. I thought it actually would make more sense as a TV show than a movie with that strange, tacked on ending.
Visually, the movie was quite amazing since Duncan Jones I think has some talent, but ultimately it was flawed. Also, I like Dunkin Donuts and their coffee, but the product placement was absolutely distracting and just annoying.

I also watched:
Netflix had Moonstruck available on streaming. I had never seen it, and was pleasantly disappointed in it. For over 20 years I avoided this movie because it never called to me for whatever reason. Turns out, it's just not for me. I watched it and was mostly bored by it. It also felt dated and I just didn't see the point.
- I also was in a bad mood on Monday and in order to pick up my spirits I watched for the 8th time or so Louis CK's stand up special that is available for streaming on Netflix: Chewed Up. This may be the funniest hours of comedy I've ever seen. In the past it has caused such uncontrollable laughter on my part that I spilled more than once on my couch and floor when I realized I was going to spill a second time and sat on the floor to not ruin my couch any more than it already was.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels

NPR has release the "Best" Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels ever. Of the list (which you can access here), I have read 26 of them and am in the middle of reading the 27th with The Song of Ice and Fire. I find it strange and confusing that sometimes they choose entire series as one book like Lord of the Rings while others they just include one book like Dune even though there is an entire series of Dune books.
I can't quite figure out their criteria, but for those that want to take a look please take a look at the list, or just look below for a list with no descriptions:

For those curious, books in BOLD I have seen. Books with an (m) after them I have seen the movie, so have a pretty basic idea of the premise

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin - (reading...)

6. 1984, by George Orwell

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov - (m)

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (m)

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke - (m)

25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein - (m)

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams - (m)

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells - (m)

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne - (m)

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan -(m)

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman 0 (m)

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle -(m)

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson - (m)

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne -(m)

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson

96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Two Down.... Three to go?

This morning on my way to work I finished reading A Clash of Kings.

These books have kind of consumed my every waking moment. I find myself thinking about the characters and imagining every twist and turn that may come in their life.

My favorite part of this series is that I have yet to predict one thing correctly. Every time I think Martin is foreshadowing something or leading the story down a certain path, I always find almost the exact opposite to happen. A character gets introduced that I expect to be a hero/main character and they die within 100 pages, or I think a certain character will meet up with another character, but it ends up that they go in completely different directions.

But no matter what happens, these characters are some of the best and most fleshed out I've ever read. Everyone from the main characters that provide the ongoing narration: Trion, Jon, Bran, Sansa, Theon, Daenerys, Arya and Catelyn. But I find it fascinating of a literary device to have amazingly written characters that are not providing the narration who are just as important as those that do - Sometimes even moreso. These characters include Cersei, Jaime, Robb, Stannis, Renley, Shae, Littlefinger, Varys, The Hound and hundreds more that I cannot list.

I love the fact that I have only finished book 2 of the 5 that are already written and the proposed 7 book series. These books are well written, interesting, addicting and just simply good.

I do worry that because of them I most likely will not complete my 52 books in 52 weeks that I hoped to accomplish. But that is a small price to pay.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I cannot think of a person that would not enjoy these books. The action, drama and writing will make even the most non-fantasy/sci-fi reader a fan.

Once again, the above artwork has been is provided by the talented Corey Breen. Look up all his other artwork (not just Song of Ice and Fire related) at his blog ( or his website

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Best of the Week - First Week of May

Once again it's been a while, but there is mostly a reason. My prediction from two posts ago came to pass: I have become an addict. I started Game of Thrones and it immediately took over my life. I burned through the first book and am now about 2/3 of the way through book two: A Clash of Kings. There is no reason to even review or discuss these books in this blog because a) I'm sure everyone that wants to read anything about them can find places on the internet for discussion and b) I am sure to have a monster blog post on it at some point in the future. So unless I actually have something else to post, assume the Best thing I read is A Song of Ice and Fire - whatever book I happen to be on. But I may have to take a break at some point in time as a way to recharge myself to get ready for the next point. But I think I am in love with Tyrion and as a result, I will post my friend Corey's awesome drawing of the Lannister Imp:

But I have gotten back on the movie watching train and have started using my Netflix again. And I have seen some pretty great movies in the last few weeks. I will give my quick reviews on the movies I've watched below:
- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: As a movie fan, it is absolutely shocking that I have never seen this classic Western from 1965 before one week ago. All in all, this movie was quite great as expected. It is on every "Best of" list for a reason. A few quick observations about it. 1) I was shocked at how funny it was. Especially Eli Wallach's "ugly" Tuco providing amazing comedic touches to this western. 2) Much like the first time I saw Casablanca for the first time a few years ago, I was shocked how much of the movie I already knew simply because I have lived in this pop-culture obsessed world. Many classic scenes have been referenced in numerous other places that I recognized and now can see the reference used in the past. And I'm not even including the classic score of the film. 3) Additionally, I now understand many of Tarantino's influences even more.

- I didn't plan this, but the same week I watched a classic Western, I watched probably the best Western from last year. True Grit by The Coen Brothers was a solid movie from beginning to end. The acting and especially the cinematography was perfect. Again, I'm no expert when it comes to the Western genre, but this movie kept my attention from beginning to end and the little girl really stole the show from such great, veteran actors like Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. I did have a little problem with the ending of this movie feeling it was a little tagged on. But apparently this was more of an adaptation of the novel and I can understand how that ending would have worked in a book where I felt it didn't work so well in the movie version.

- Then last night Aubrey and I decided to watch The Kids are All Right. It's been on my list for a while and it was one of those movies that was 100% enjoyable. Well acted (I have a thing for Julianne Moore and think she can almost do no wrong), and a good little story whose moral (to me) was more for parents to relax and trust that they did a good job raising their kids. In this movie all the adults were fucked up or crazy or controlling while the kids were able to accept all the craziness around them, process it and offer good advice to those that were too stressed to deal with life and make the right decisions for themselves as well. I feel this was more important than anything about the gay family unit which was also presented well. And by "well" I mean presented as any other family with one controlling parent and one, more relaxed parent.

Best Thing on TV: I'm still only watching about four shows/week this summer (True Blood, Curb, Louis & Wilfred) but the best thing was the show I watch every day and never mention since I consider it news and not a TV show: The Daily Show. Jon Stewart has been on fire lately. He's always great, but he always seems to peak around election time. This summer, he is the only person in all media calling into question the stupidity of our elected officials and I don't want to make dorkTASTIC political in any way, but we're pretty screwed (economically) and Jon Stewart is keeping me laughing during some pretty interesting (read: crazy) times in our country's history.