To The Comic Book Store!!!

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Lake Charles, LA

Last weekend I did something that I had not done in almost twenty years.  I went to a comic book store and actually bought a comic book.  Now, I’ve been to comic book stores off and on in that twenty or so year period, but it was usually to try to find an action figure I wanted, supplies for my sports card collection, or, and thank God I don’t do this anymore, to sell my soul hoping that the comic book store would sponsor or be a vendor at a convention I used to be associated with a few years ago.

This past weekend, though, I was a man on a mission.  I visited Paper Heroes on Ryan Street in Lake Charles to chat up my friend who runs the joint, Kevin.  I asked him if he had Star Wars:  Son of Dathomir in stock.  He pointed behind me to the new comic stand (obviously) and there she was, the newest Dark Horse comic that was the beginning of a short series that promises to give me and every other Star Wars fanboy some closure on one of my favorite Sith Lord, Darth Maul.

Oh, and I also picked up a case for some of my sports cards, too.

When I left the shop, I had a few errands to run in town before heading home.  Once I got home, though, I gorged myself on the comic.  It had been so long since I had simply plopped down and read a comic book.  It felt pretty darn good.  No, it felt great, and I can’t wait for the next issue to hit the shelf.

I’ll probably be visiting Paper Heroes again in the very near future to look at the other titles that Kevin had to offer.  I need to brush up on my Batman and Captain America.  I also want to explore more of the Dark Horse titles.

If you’re ever in the Lake Charles area, I highly recommend visiting Paper Heroes.  Check them out on the web at http://www.paper-heroes.net as well.  You’ll get top notch service from Kevin and there’s always something new coming to the shop.

As always, thanks for reading.  Let me know some of your favorite comic shops in the comments section.  I’d love to hear about them?

Clone-fusion! A Quick Question About the Clones From Star Wars

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Lake Charles, LA

So, I have a really quick question to ask everyone out there.  Who is your favorite clone trooper from the Star Wars universe?  I don’t care if they are from the films, the Clone Wars television series, the EU books, comics, or games, etc.  I’m just curious to see who your favorite clone is.  Mine?  Well, Captain Rex is the man in my book, but I’ve also grown fond of other clones like Appo, Cody, Fives, Fox, Neyo, and Gree.

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If you don’t have a favorite clone (or just don’t care for the clones in general), leave a comment explaining why you dislike them or can’t choose a favorite.

Also, have a great Memorial Day weekend!

A Little Bit Bummed, But There’s Good News As Well!

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Lake Charles, LA

I have been wanting to meet Peter Davison, the fifth incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who ever since I was a kid watching him on television over thirty years ago.  Davison, while not my first Doctor, is MY Doctor.  He’s the one that I identified with the most and who is my favorite Doctor of all time (and space).

He was announced as a guest for the 2013 Comicpalooza event in Houston, TX last year, but had to cancel.  I was bummed out, but sort of glad that he couldn’t make it because I couldn’t make it either.  Then I found out that he would be there for 2014, and I got extremely excited because, as the gods allowed, I would also be able to make it Houston for Comicpalooza.

Then I found out that events were coming up the very same weekend I hoped to attend Comicpalooza this year and now I’ll miss #5 yet again.  There’s still an extremely slim chance that I might get to go, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  Sooner or later I hope to meet Mr. Davison.  He’s the reason I’m such a huge Who fan to this day.  If any of you have ever met him, please leave a comment and let me know what he’s like. 

Now, I did say that there’s some good news too, so here it is:  I have lost forty-seven pounds of fat since starting my Insanity/Wellness Coaching/Dieting program way back in January.  I started out at a whopping 244 lbs and have whittled my frame down to a more manageable 197 lbs.  As I continue to lose weight I have decided to do something a little bit crazy.  I’m hoping to find a few cosplayers and friends from conventions that I’ve taken photos with in the past and retake new pictures with as many of them as I can.  I want to create a folder on my Facebook page that has all of these photos in it and I’ll probably call it something like Before And After My Fat Fandomness.  A few of the cosplayers and most of the friends will be easy to get photos with, but it will be a challenge to get some of them again, as I haven’t seen a few in quite a long time.

Other good news includes the fact that I’m going to take my daughter to go see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this weekend.  I’ve already seen the film with my son, but my daughter wants to see it now as well.  That will most likely take place on Sunday afternoon.

Another bit of news is that a convention that I was formerly involved with, Bayoucon, is coming up next month.  It’s a small convention in Lake Charles, LA that will feature an actor from Stargate SG-1 named Cliff Simon (I don’t know much about SG-1, so forgive my ignorance of the gentleman and/or his character) as well as a couple of other actors and behind-the-scenes people.  I’m going as a member of two fan groups, the USS Lafitte and The Doctor Whooligans, and have submitted a panel for the convention as well.  I haven’t heard back from the convention yet, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to present my panel or not.  I am really only going to see a few of my friends who are still involved with the convention and to see the wonderful ladies of Orion’s Envy, a bellydancing troupe from the Lafayette, LA area.  Not only are they talented dancers, they are really friendly people that I always look forward to seeing at conventions.

I’ll give a full report of the convention next month, and I’ll be sure to include photos of the event as well.  Thanks for reading!

Not So Long Ago, In A Library In Baton Rouge

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Baton Rouge, LA

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with fellow lovers of Star Wars this weekend in Baton Rouge, LA.  The Red Stick Rebellion, a Star Wars collectors group, invited me to talk about and display some of the ARC (advance reader copy) editions of recent Star Wars books.  I brought six books along with me (my entire collection as of this post) and explained to the group how I got my hands on these editions (they are sent to me for review by Amazon Vine) and let everyone take a look at them and see the differences between them and books bought off of the shelf.

After my brief talk, we had a very casual chat about everything from the upcoming films to the fate of the Expanded Universe pre-Disney buy out.  It was a really fun time for myself and, I believe, for those who attended as well.  I hope to make more meetings in the near future, as these people are my people.  Living in Lake Charles, it’s hard to find enthusiasts that share my love for George Lucas’ work.  While there are plenty of Star Wars fans in the Lake area, not very many of them are vocal about their love of the franchise.

I’ve fallen in with a Star Trek fan group, as well as a Doctor Who group, but finding fellow Star Wars fans is a bit difficult.

I also managed to get my hands on a Black Series 6″ Han Solo figure.  I really love it.  Hopefully I’ll be getting Chewbacca soon as well.

That’s all I really have for now.  I am hoping to attend Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas in a couple of weeks, but that particular event is still up in the air for me.  Peter Davison, my favorite Doctor from Doctor Who, will be there, as well as Sylvester McCoy (already met him), Colin Baker, and Paul McGann, not to mention John Barrowman and the lovely lady that plays Madame Vastra.  There are going to be a ton of other guests as well, including the bulk of the main cast from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and actors like Billy Dee Williams and others.

As always, thanks for reading, and in case anyone is wondering, no, my books are not for sale!

Tunes! A Top Ten List Of My Favorite Rock Songs

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Lake Charles, LA

 

I’ve been listening to music ever since I could hear.  Some of my first tunes were children’s classics like Jesus Loves Me and The B-I-B-L-E.  As I got older, my ears were treated to music from artists like Merle Haggard and the Statler Brothers thanks to my father’s all-encompassing power and control over the radio in our car and the stereo at home.  Once in awhile I would listen to bands like Fleetwood Mac or Journey whenever I was playing in my brother or sister’s room.

Once I decided to make my own musical listening decisions, I started listening to a lot of Top 40 radio.  The first album that I ever bought with my own money was Huey Lewis and the News:  Fore!  I thought that I was the coolest kid on the block.  I also fed my musical mind with albums from artists like Debbie Gibson and Prince, but somewhere during my search for the perfect tune, I ran into bands like Skid Row, Def Leppard, KISS, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi.  A couple of years later I discovered groups like Metallica and Aerosmith.  I started listening to less and less pop music and focused on hard rock, heavy metal, and left-of-center country music.

Today, most people consider me a classic rocker, metalhead, or old rocker, but I still listen to a lot of new music.  Heck, I even dabble in pop music from time to time and have no problem saying that I like artists like Kesha and Bruno Mars.  I’ve also taken a shine to Renaissance Faire music, and listen to a lot of world music as well.

For this list (which might change within minutes of posting it), I’ve decided to list my ten favorite rock tunes.  Some of them are more metal than others, but they all rock.  I hope you enjoy!

  1. Hard Luck WomanKISS-Peter Criss’ scraggly-tinged vocals make this track my favorite tune not only by KISS, but by any band ever.  I sing along with it, skip ahead to it, and sing its praises everywhere I go.  Without this song, I probably wouldn’t have become the massive KISS fan that I am today!
  2. HysteriaDef Leppard-Whenever I am feeling overly stressed (which happens a lot), I pop this track on and almost immediately my worries swim away.  I love a lot of tunes by Def Leppard, but this particular track is my favorite by them.
  3. N.I.B.Black Sabbath-Although Electric Funeral is a close second, N.I.B. was the tune that made me a Black Sabbath fan.  From Geezer’s massive bass solo to Ozzy’s dark vocals, this track is my go-to Sabbath tune.
  4. Master of PuppetsMetallica-Any pre-St. Anger Metallica is good in my book, but Master of Puppets (the entire album, but specifically this tune) is their best stuff.  Lars pounds the skins, Hetfield and Hammett shred, and Burton keeps things in check.  Orion, also on the album, gets an honorable mention as well.
  5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt CheapAC/DC-I could select a lot of AC/DC tunes for this list, but Bon Scott’s gritty lyrics peppered by the Young Bros. and company make this track my favorite by the band.  I’m especially fond of Scott’s screech at the end of the tune.
  6. Live WireMotley Crue-Of all the bands on this list, I’ve been a fan of the Crue for the longest time.  I wanted to be Mick Mars growing up, but unfortunately I was too fat and too uncoordinated to master his guitar licks.  Live Wire is off of the band’s first album, Too Fast For Love, and it captures the band at their rawest and punkish best.
  7. Drink, F*ck, FightThe Treatment-I saw this young UK-based band whenever they opened up The Tour featuring KISS and Motley Crue a couple of years ago.  I knew absolutely nothing about them, but before their set was over I was a massive fan.  I actually got to meet a couple of the guys in this group and they were awesome.  Drink, F*ck, Fight was one of the tunes they played live, and once the crowd realized what they were chanting, everyone started chanting with them.  Here’s to a long and prosperous career for those guys!
  8. Crazy TrainOzzy Osbourne-I’m a big fan of Ozzy both as a member of Sabbath and as a solo artist.  Crazy Train is one of those tracks that I sing along with every time it hits the airwaves.  It’s also one of my favorite air guitar tunes.  Oh, and it was one of the first songs I ever taught my son how to sing.
  9. Hell To The HeavensLeaves’ Eyes-The newest song on this list, Hell To The Heavens, comes from an album by the same name from Leaves’ Eyes, a Beauty and the Beast metal band that I’ve only discovered within the last four or five years.  They are the perfect blend of melody and mayhem.
  10. Welcome to the JungleGuns N Roses-Back when GnR were really GnR (with the lineup of Rose, Slash, Izzy, Adler, and Duff), they produced one of the greatest albums in history, Appetite for Destruction.  In my opinion, it did more for heavy metal and hard rock than anything the grunge era ever produced.  With all of the polished acts out there, GnR were the gritty, dirty, punkish antidote.  I wish they would have made more music together before the train derailed.

Well, there you have it.  My top ten rock tunes.  Sooner or later I’ll be posting top ten country, pop, blues, and other song lists.

Leave a comment with your own favorites, or tell my why my list is terrible.  I’d love to hear from you all.

A Web Of Confusion

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Lake Charles, LA

I saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this weekend and I have to admit that I really enjoyed it for the  most part.  The story builds upon the events that occurred in The Amazing Spider-Man, picking up with our favorite wallcrawler having firmly established himself as the hero of NYC and about to graduate high school.  Everything seems to be going fine for Spidey.  He has a lovely girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, and has started making a little money by selling photos to the Daily Bugle (J. Jonah Jameson gets a few nods, albeit briefly and is never seen on the screen).  Aunt May is making ends meet as well.

A couple of things from Spidey’s past are haunting him, though, and they rear their ugly heads at seemingly random times during Peter Parker’s day-to-day activities.  He keeps thinking about the mysterious disapperance of his parents and starts to investigate what really happened to them.  On top of that, he keeps remembering the promise he made to Gwen Stacy’s father that he would keep her safe from harm by distancing himself from her.  He attempts to break up with her, but Gwen’s determination and charm and the overall love the pair shares for each other is stronger, and while Spidey does have a few misery-filled moments away from her, they eventually get back together.

While all of this is going on in Peter’s world, another individual is struggling with a little misery of his own.  Max Dillon, an electrical engineer for OsCorp, lives an empty life.  He’s extremely intelligent and has done brilliant things on the technology front, but he still goes about being a relative unknown and disliked and/or ignored by his co-workers.  He ends up getting saved by Spider-Man, and Spidey tells him that he is important and that he helps Spider-Man fight crime by being his eyes on the street.

Then an accident occurs, and Dillon becomes Electro, a powerful being that can channel electricity and travel through it as well.  All of sudden Max Dillon is getting the attention from everyone that he’s been begging for for many years and eventually something happens that turns him against Spider-Man and his love for the webslinger turns into vengeful hate.

Harry Osborn also pops onto the scene after being away for over about a decade.  I’ll leave out the reasons for his return, but know that he is intent on getting a transfusion of blood from Spider-Man in order to cure an illness that he suffers from.  He teams up with Electro whenever Spidey turns down Harry’s request, and the pair decide to wipe out the wallcrawler together.

What happens from there is an action-filled battle between Spider-Man, Electro, and Harry Osborn (they never officially call him Goblin, Green or Hob, but it looks like the studio wants him to be known as the Green Goblin, who is actually his father in the comics).  Without giving too much away, I’ll state that there is one major, major occurrence in this film that comic readers are well aware of, and it hit the audience that I was in quite hard.  I must assume that the majority of the people in the theater were unaware of certain events that took place in the comics, because there were gasps, crying, and questions about this one event.  Just know that when it does take place, the actors involved nail the emotional strain with perfection.

Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Sally Field head up a fine cast of actors that make this film extremely enjoyable.  I still enjoy the first two Sam Raimi flicks, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is definitely a step up from the first film in this reboot.

Now, to the “confusion” I alluded to in the title of this post.  What’s confusing to me is how so many people were upset with the changes made in the first film in this series and now that the series is leaning a little bit more towards the books, they are getting even more upset.  Yes, Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon was idiotic, but once he became Electro, I enjoyed the character a whole lot more.  Yes, the Goblin was a bit underplayed in my opinion, but the event that he is part of was played out brilliantly, even by fooling folks a bit by having certain characters meet up on a bridge before the event happens (if you’ve read the comics, you know what happens on a bridge in the books).  Rhino was totally wasted (and glaringly revealed the limitations of CGI) in his few brief moments on the screen, and the film served up a heaping helping of hints as to what villain(s) will be taking on Spidey in the next film, but ultimately it is a good film.

I appreciate Sony attempting to clean up a bit of the mess from the first filim and love the fact that they stayed pretty true to the books when it came to a certain character.  In fact, the story managed to fit in three villains and used them in a way better than any other previous villain combo flick (I’m looking straight at you Batman Returns, Batman & Robin, Batman Forever, & Spider-Man 3).  I would much rather see  a hero take on one villain instead of two or three, but this film made it work fairly well.

I recommend everyone check out The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  It’s a really fun film full of drama and action.  Highly recommended.