Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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As most comic fans know, recently DC comics has rebooted their comic universe. They started over with a new numbering system as well, beginning their titles with a new #1 on all their 52 titles hence their New 52 theme. They did this some time back over at Marvel as well, and then switched it back to the old numbering system perhaps due to Marvel fans' negative feedback or a drop in sales, but for whatever reason, DC has decided to give it a try as well. I haven't picked up all of the titles, and a few of the titles to be honest, I have no interest in. I'm not too big a superhero fan anymore. Somewhere along the way, I started branching out on the comics I picked up and ran across the alternative comic scene, stuff like Eightball by Daniel Clowes, Black Hole by Charles Burns, American Splendor by Harvey Pekar, and many other titles that I found more interesting than superhero comics. At any rate, I thought I was curious enough in what DC was doing, so picked up a few. By the way the above comic isn't a part of the New 52, however, I like the cover a lot and it has a pulpy look to it. I would have loved to have seen what someone could have done with a title and feel for something like that, but it's just a sketch an artist did, not a new title.

But before I get into the New 52. I picked up a few titles at the Comic Con that I went to several months back in Dallas. I picked up a Frankenstein comic, called Doc Frankenstein, thinking it was a Franken-Castle comic from Marvel, which I'd heard was interesting. Franken-Castle is sort of a smash up of the Frankenstein myth and the Punisher. What I picked up though (out of a dollar box) was Doc Franenstein written by the Wachowski brothers who wrote the Matrix movies, and art by Steve Skroce on the Burlyman imprint.

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It is actually a pretty interesting take on the Frankenstein mythos brought into the modern world. It has an interesting storyline and very nice art by Skroce. The comic opens with a small introduction by the Wachowski brothers talking about how they still enjoy comics and grew up reading Jack Kirby who drew and wrote about the impossible while also name-dropping the Hard Boiled comic by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow from a few years back. Stating that they enjoy comics that take us places we've never been to before, and show us action we've never seen. I can appreciate that, and that's a good beginning for their Doc Frankenstein title, which opens up with Frankenstein defeating a large alien-looking monster similar to something found out of a Godzilla movie not far from the White House lawn with the President and staff looking on the scene by way of a security camera. The scene shift rapidly and we get a brief background on what Frankenstein's life has been like over the years after his Arctic years of exile. He turns up next in the Wild West as a lawman ridding the world of bad men, only to run into more trouble with life along the way. He is still an alien to life stating, his father didn't give him tear ducts (to cry) at some of the failings of humanity and trying to fit into our world. How does a eight foot tall, blue-skinned being resurrected by a lightning bolt do that? He realizes that he never will fit in, but rather he'll have to caver out a place, and figures he'll have to defend himself from humanity for the rest of life.

Part of his oppressors is the church. I guess that's a natural enemy for the undead. As time has gone on from the Wild West to the present, Frankenstein has built up a fortress of solitude so to speak, and found a girl friend that accepts him. Peace is fleeting though, as the church launches a full scale attack on his compound and the outsiders that live there.

Book 2 opens with the assault and Frankenstein thinking how the "Men of God" have continually sought his destruction. We get to see a few of these episodes in flashback sequences: his building of a steam powered locomotive to offer his service to President Lincoln, only to be attacked, finding out in the aftermath from one of the survivors, that to be against slavery is to be against God. Three days later Lincoln gets shot. Many years later he's again attacked during prohibition, and again in 1972 when he's was to be interview by Hustler magazine for inventing a male contraceptive pill. After a bit of those flashbacks we are brought up to the present full scale attack on his compound again. The last panel ends with one of the church zealots confronting Frankenstein with a bomb telling him to either surrender or die in cinder and ash. And with that cliff hanger it ends.

Hey I'm in the dark here too, as I just picked up the first two books. But I was intrigued enough to try and find the other books to see where this crazy title is going. From what I can tell there are seven books out currently, although I don't keep up with this stuff like I used to when I was younger.

I guess I'll continue this with the New 52 next time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

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It's Sunday and a really beautiful day today, and really it's been that way all week now that the days have gotten a bit cooler. The Cowboy vs. New England game has just started, which I'll probably watch, interspersed by the Houston Texan game. Oddly they've been showing at the same time slots right next to each other on my cable, so it's easy to keep up with both games.

This past week I went to the library and returned the Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara book which I'd checked out. It was pretty good, but I think I favor the first two books in the series a bit more. That said though the art is still top notch. While I was there, I found a book that looked interesting as lately I've been interested in bettering my health. Like everyone else, back when I was working, I didn't have time to do anything about it. I worked eight to ten hours per day, didn't have time for anywhere near a decent diet, or exercise. On the weekends, that first day off was basically a down day to just decompress from the previous week, and if I found the energy, I'd do a few chores. It was a rat race. I've had high blood pressure, and rather than just going along with the medical community and big pharma, I've gone my own route of self-education and trying to find ways and means to lower my blood pressure, finding proper things to eat, and just read more about overall health.

Like probably a lot of people, I never knew what was proper nutrition, and really didn't have time to mess with it. I ate too much Taco Bell and fast foods in general, ignorantly thinking, well, it's meat, beans, some lettuce, it can't be that bad, right? Wrong. I started learning more about the sodium content of foods. One of my favorite foods, which I thought was healthy was Campbell's soup. Wrong again, it's very high in sodium as well. No wonder people are overweight and in poor health these days. Most manufactures create foods for taste, which means a lot of sodium and preservatives, the same for fast foods. I started wondering: Well, heck, what can you eat? You can't just live off of lentils, although that might be a healthy route, though you might get burned out pretty quickly.

So anyway I ran across the book, Eight Weeks To Optimum Health by Andrew Weil, M.D. So far it's an interesting book, which adds to some of my information I've already learned about one's health--eat more fresh or frozen veggies and fruit. Stay away from processed foods. Exercise a little bit each day, even if it's just a short thirty minute walk. Weil's philosophy is holistic in nature: health is wholeness and balance in life. Perfect health is not possible, though overall good health can be achieved--it's a dynamic and temporary state of equilibrium. So far in the book he contrast Eastern science with Western. He states that the Eastern outlook is more defensive. I heard one doctor on the Dr. Oz show state rather than getting to the point where your health has broken down completely and you have to see a doctor, start today by doing just a little bit each day to benefit yourself. He described food as being daily medicine. Eat the right things each day. One of the reasons I picked up the book was that there are recipes in it. I find that helpful.

So I'm reading that book, and I hope I can find Spontaneous Healing by him as well or books by others on similar subjects. Other than that, I'm doing some chores around the house to stay caught up. Season 2 of The Walking Dead starts tonight on AMC. I read the latest issue of TWD #89 of that the other day, and I have to say it's still high on my must read list. I'm not a huge zombie or horror fan, although I certainly enjoy the genre. The Walking Dead is certainly about zombies, but Robert Kirkman, the author also has a lot of drama with the characters in his stories as well. Not only do you have to keep vigilant about zombies, but you have to watch you back with all the humans that are left as well. At any rate, it's a compelling read, I'm sure the second season will be interesting too.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

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Well, this is a rather short post, as I've got a few other things to attend to before the night's completely over. Tonight is Sunday and the last show of the season for Breaking Bad, which I've followed off and on from Season One. It's a wild ride. I got up today and read a bit and piddled on the computer a bit. I've been meaning to post a few reviews for a few of the new DC #1 books that I've read, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Perhaps I'll do that with the next post. I watched the Houston Texans play Oakland Raiders, and it was a good close game, but the Texans just couldn't pull it out to win, but boy it was close.

At any rate, I ran across this web comic site, which showcases horror stories from various artist and writers, so I thought I'd post it. What better time of year with Halloween right on our heels? I've read a few of them and they vary in quality etc., but I guess that's to be expected. However they are free to read, so it's hard to quibble with that aspect. There are something like 500 pages, so there's plenty to read, it's on the Splitlipcomics website: here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

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October is here, and for a lot of people they enjoy the change in the fall weather, and the oncoming of Halloween. I'm one of those people. The summers in Texas are pretty brutal overall, so when we can get weather that's pleasant enough to go outside and enjoy it, I'm all for that. One of the things I've noticed about being in East Texas is that there are more critters roaming around, particularly living out in the country. It's a more wooded area here, and located in the pine forest of Texas. I went to Walmart the other day, and noticed that someone had hit a deer which was laying on the side of the road. Even though it was dead (sad for the deer) it was still fairly majestic to look at. I went for a walk many months back and thought I saw a dog on the wayside of the road, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be a feral hog. Today in my own back yard, I have my shades up to enjoy this nice fall weather and saw a bobcat in my back yard. I kid you not.

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At first I thought it might be just an ordinary house cat from someone's house nearby, but I noticed the spotted markings on its coat, and then that it was a bit larger than the ordinary house cat in size, but not much larger, so I assumed it might not be an adult yet. However, it was just laying out in the sun preening itself, and I kept starring at it, wondering if indeed it was a bobcat or not. Finally it got up and moved around and I could see by its facial features--the rather pointed moustached-looking face, and also the bobbed tail as well, which is where it gets its name (I presume). Anyway, it was sort of a neat encounter with nature, just glad it happened the way it did, and not while I'm out taking out garbage at night or whatever...

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Saturday was a SciFi Saturday for me. I had noticed some time back that Suddenlink Cable had added a new channel to their cable network called MeTV. I've generally not been very happy with Suddenlink as their programming is rather shoddy. But with this new MeTV addition, they've become a lot better. MeTV shows neat old TV shows from my youth like Gunsmoke, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rawhide, 12 O'Clock High, Columbo, and so forth. Then I see an ad that on Saturday nights at 6pm they've started showing the old 60's Batman show with Adam West and Burt Ward. After that they show Lost in Space, followed by the original Star Trek, and then an old SciFi movie, which this week was The Incredible Shrinking Man. Finally wrapping things up, they show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which I never was a huge fan of that show back in the day, but some of these old series flew under my radar at the time, and I'm always interested to revisit them to see if they offer anything of interest.

So anyway I run down to the library that morning after I got up and about. While I've been walking I have been listening to some of those Sidebar podcast (see earlier posting), and listened to the one with James Gurney, who is the author and artist of the Dinotopia series of books. I own the first two books, and had not read the newest edition, Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, so I decided to go to the library to see if it was available. Sure enough they had a copy so I checked that out. I looked around a bit more, and saw where they were selling a hardbacked copy of Alfred Bester's SF book, The Stars My Destination--one of my fave SF books, so bought that. I also ran across J.R.R.Tolkien's, The Children of Hurin, in hardback, bought that, along with a second hardback volume of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, The Complete Sherlock Holmes II. Wow, I made out like a bandit.

For those that have not read the Dinotopia books, go to your library and check them out and listen to the James Gurney podcast, particularly if you are a dinosaur fan, or just a fan of fantasy. His paintings are bright and colorful, his books read like a neat Jules Verne novel, and I think you'll really enjoy them. I certainly do.

I got back home, and did a few chores and began my Saturday SciFi marathon, while I ate. The Batman show was an episode that contained the Riddler and his hijinks, and also had a cameo with Batgirl played by Yvonne Craig. I still find her really attractive. Even though the shows are a bit corny and over the top, I found the show fun and entertaining. I'll look forward to seeing more of these on Saturday nights.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

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This sounds like an easy, tasty recipe, something that might be good for wintry months.

Chicken and White Bean Chili

total time 40 minutes


Ingredients


* 4 teaspoon(s) olive oil
* 2 pound(s) ground chicken
* Salt
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 clove(s) garlic, crushed with a press
* 1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground red pepper (cayenne)
* 1 jar(s) (16 ounces) mild salsa verde
* 2 can(s) (15 to 19 ounces each) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
* 1 can(s) (14 to 14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 2 tablespoon(s) fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

1. In 6-quart Dutch oven, heat 1 teaspoon oil on medium-high until very hot. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to Dutch oven in 2 batches, and cook 6 minutes per batch or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally and adding 1 teaspoon more oil for second batch. With slotted spoon, transfer chicken to medium bowl once it is done.
2. After all chicken is cooked, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil with onion and garlic to Dutch oven, and cook on medium 5 to 6 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and ground red pepper; cook 1 minute. Add salsa verde, beans, broth, and browned chicken; heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook chili 15 minutes to blend flavors. To serve, garnish with cilantro. Makes about 8 1/2 cups.


Like all recipes you may have to tweak it here and there for your own taste. I found some other similar recipes: here.