Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Savage Place

In 1981, Robert B. Parker published A Savage Place, the eighth novel in his Spenser series. After the last one's slower pace, this one was much more action and drama - enough so that this was even adapted as a movie as part of the Spenser For Hire television series.

In this one, Spenser is called by Rachel Wallace to ask Spenser if he'll serve as a bodyguard again, this time for someone she knows. He agrees and soon he is on his way out to Los Angeles to help protect Candy Sloan, a news reporter trying to uncover corruption in the movie industry. Before it is over, many are dead and Spenser goes to an extreme to resove the case!

I liked the continuity connections to the sixth novel - this continues to show the interconnected aspects of the Spenser universe. I also found it interesting to see Spenser out of his usual stomping grounds of Boston and its neighboring communities.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Comics of the Week (3/26/08)

countdown to Adventure #8 - finally this mini series is over, and it goes out on a whimper and not a bang. The lead tale (with Adam Strange, Starfire and Animal Man) drug out waaaay to long and the backup feature (with Forerunner) seemed to go all over the place. I'm sorry I wasted the money all these months.

Countdown to Final Crisis #5 - the second week of narrative by Buddy Blank as we see the Great Disaster destroy his earth. In the end, we get what we expect - the world where Kamandi exists in tact. Kind of boring and predictable. Four issues left to try and pull this weekly series together. Let's see what they do.

Teen Titans Go! #53 - two more short stories this time out. The lead one is a Doom Patrol flashback where Beast Boy and Mento do the old brain-switch. Yawn. On the flip side, loved the Kid Flash and Jinx tale - where they meet some sibling villains who are a little familiar. Kind of fun. And Todd Nauck's artwork is always a joy.

Green Lantern #29 - the beginning of a "Secret Origin" arc. This is all about Hal prior to his becoming a GL, with vignettes from through out his early life. It builds upon the stuff Geoff Johns has been establishing in the series so far. I did not like that he met Carol Ferris as a kid, nor that he met John Stewart early on too. It makes all the rest of the history we know seem like...I don't know...just too convenient.

Book of the week - Teen Titans #57 - yes, this surprised me too. An issue with Ravager defending the Titans Tower, her way, actually was pretty cool. We got to see more of the villains involved, and they interested me. We got to see some more of Wendy and Marvin, who I love how they get used in this book. Tht title is actually picking up for me again and that's cool. More issues like this, please.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

American Idol 2008 - Top 10 Results

Another wild and wooly results show, and a lot of filler too.

The good: seeing Kimberley Locke, season 2 third place finisher, back to perform a song from her second album. I always enjoyed her and bought both of her CDs to support her music. After her spin on Celebrity Fit Club season 6, she's looking pretty good.

The bad: I was totally off on my picks for the bottom three. America put Jason, Syesha and Chikezie in the bottom three, and they sent Chikezie home this week. Bummer. While he hadn't a chance to win this thing, I enjoyed his performances.

The weird: that group number where David Cook and Michael Johns did some chest bump thing in the middle of it. You know that wasn't choreographed! LOL.

Next week, guest mentor Dolly Parton gives the group some advice - I'm guessing a country theme. Should be interesting.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

American Idol 2008 - Top 10 Performances

This week was "sing a song from your birth year" for the top 10 contestants. What it did was make me realize that I graduated from college before many of these contestants were even born! Yipes. As for the performances themselves, they weren't horrid and a few stood out as above the rest. The odd thing for me this season is folks are all over the map from one week to the next (for me). One week someone is in the top, next near the bottom. Crazy!

Two who remain consistent at the top for me: David Cook and Brooke White. Clearly my favorite two of the night. Michael Johns comes next - while not as good a voice as Freddie Mercury (who has? Freddie was one-of-a-kind!) it was good.

Everyone else falls into the middle of the pack. Some were better: Syesha and Chikezie. Some were just so-so: Jason and David Archuleta. And some not so much: Carly, Ramiele and Kristy Lee. Those last three are my bottom three this week.

Who is going home? Hard to say. America can be interesting voters.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Early Autumn

Early Autumn is the seventh book in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series, published in 1981. This time, the Boston private investigator is hired by a woman to get her fifteen year old son back from her ex-husband. But Spenser finds this isn't a simple custody situation - there is a major tug-of-war going on between the ex-spouses and the kid is caught in the middle. In trying to protect the kid, Spenser puts his own life in jeopardy.

I liked how we got to learn more about Spenser's past as he attempts to help Paul grow up a bit and be more independent and self-assertive. I also liked how once more Susan and Hawk play nice supporting roles in the book. While the middle section of the book drags a bit, the pace picks up again nicely in the last third as Spenser does a little less mentoring and a bit more detecting.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Comics of the Week part 2 (3/19/08)

the Brave and the Bold #11 - the Megistus storyline reaches it's second to last installment, forcing Superman and his evil opposite Ultraman to team-up. However, with George Perez' art on this issue (Jerry Ordway fills in), the issue isn't as powerful as previous ones had been. George should be back for the finale though.

Tangent: Superman's Reign #1 (of 12) - this new mini series revisits the Tangent universe, a place where characters have the same names as those in the main DCU but different looks, histories, etc. An interesting concept that was done about a decade ago. Things look kind of grim there and some of their heroes are trying to get home. The Justice League is going to have to help. This first chapter is intriguing.

Death of the New Gods #7 - this second to last issue of the mini series reveals that killer of the Gods, and two more fall! Can Superman stop the killer from going after the final God? Will he, given who it is? And what does the future hold? Next issue should answer these guestions. A solid mini.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Comics of the Week part 1 (3/19/08)

Countdown to Final Crisis #6 - an interesting narrative style this week. The entire issue is told through the eyes of this world's Buddy Blank, a tech at Project Cadmus who reports on the release of the virus that killed Karate Kid. In a way, it was good as it spared us a lot of lame dialogue balloons - and allowed the artist to really tell a lot of the story too through the images. As for the story, it looks like the Great Disaster is upon us - and it seems unstoppable.

Justice League of America #19 - this story continues to tie in to Salvation Run but this issue gives us some key details of what might be going on, from the government's angle.

Batman and the Outsiders #5 - I am loving what Chuck Dixon is doing for this team title. First Green Arrow on board last month and then we get confirmation of who the other surprise guests are. Give you a hint - the title of the issue is "Ghosts". I loved this turn of events and can see it make an interesting side mini-series for two favorite characters of mine that I thought might be gone for good a year or so ago (there's the other hint for you).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Looking for Rachel Wallace

I finished the sixth book in the Spenser series Looking for Rachel Wallace last night. This one was written by Robert B. Parker in 1980. The case this time involves a publishing company hiring Spenser to bodyguard a controversial female author named Rachel Wallace. Needless to say, given the title, Spenser eventually has to find out who took her.

I liked the beginning of the book well enough. Rachel Wallace's views are in direct conflict with Spenser's personality and approach, and that oil-water mix makes for some interesting reading. But the book loses some spark when Spenser loses her. The rest of the book, which has quite a bit of physical action from this point, just seems okay for me. Nothing spectacular. Ah well, they can't all be nail-biters.

I do like that the character of Susan is back as she offers a good counterpoint in Spenser's personal life, to balance his professional private investigator side.

If one were just picking around the Spenser series, this is a book that can be kind of put off until later. From a continuity end, I don't see it being critical to the overall flow of a book-to-book, publishing order read.

American Idol 2008 - Top 11 Results

The medley this week was kind of trippy with the camera angles and spinning. I guess it went well with the Beatles songs chosen for it.

Loved the Ford video and the behind-the-scenes glimpse. It's nice to see the contestants just having fun.

I was two for three in getting the bottom three. I had Kristy Lee and Amanda. I was surprised to see Carly there. She actually seemed to think she might be going home. I think the producers dumped her there as a wake-up call to bring her A-game every week to survive.

Amanda seemed thoroughly relieved to be going home this week. I think she was feeling that she wasn't up to all the chaos that is the Idol-machine. She'll more likely be happier performing for some larger crowds in the bars back home after having a little exposure on Idol. I wish her the best.

As for the mentors this season, it's a mixed bag. I'm okay with Dolly Parton (country night) and Neil Diamond (who doesn't love some Neil Diamond?). Mariah Carey I could care less about - way to cash in favors, Randy. And Andrew Lloyd Weber certainly signals Broadway night. That should be an interesting thing to watch.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

American Idol 2008 - Top 11 Performances

Beatles this week - and I agree with Simon, after last week this was a bit too much. They really should have switched it up a bit. Ah well.

Top Tier performances for me:

Brooke White, David Cook and David Archuleta

Middle of the pack performances for me:

Syesha Mercado, Chikezie, Ramiele Malubay, Jason Castro and Carly Smithson

Bottom three for the week:

Amanda Overmeyer, Michael Johns and Kristy Lee Cook

I'm thinking this is Kristy Lee's night to go.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Promised Land

Well, this is something I haven't done in a long long time - started and finished a novel in a single day. The object of the feat - Robert B. Parker's fourth novel in the Spenser series called Promised Land.

This novel starts out with a land-developer hiring Spenser to find his wife who has run away from home. Spenser finds her rather quickly, but while doing so learns that both the man and the woman have gotten themselves into some serious trouble individually. Can he get them out of it? Come on, this is Spenser we're talking about.

Written in 1976, the book is steeped with a lot of discussion of the roles of men and women, and their relationships. This is very reflective of the times the book was written and it still has relevance today. The book reflects this not only in the relationship of the husband and wife but also in that of Spenser and Susan Silverman.

Susan Silverman was introduced in the second book of the series, and, while mentioned in the third, she really gets a more active role again in this one. It is nice to have some reoccurring characters for Spenser to play off of. It deepens the world of the books. Also introduced in this book is the character of Hawk, a man from Spenser's past who doesn't always play on the side of the angels. Hawk, if you remember, was a character who showed up a lot on the Spenser For Hire television show. I hope he turns up in future novels.

One last thing of note: Robert B. Parker is a gormet cook who wrote the "Dining Out" column for Boston magazine every other month. So, it is rather fitting that Spenser, like his creator, likes to cook. That is reflected a lot in the books so far - with very descriptive details about meals and drink. I like when authors put a bit of themselves in their characters.

Sadly, my local library does not have the fifth book - Judas Goat, so I'll be skipping over to the sixth one this week. Time to return a couple books too and get the next couple after that. I figure if I'm on a roll I might as well be prepared.

Mortal Stakes

Mortal Stakes is the third book in Robert B. Parker's Spenser mystery novel series, written in 1975. As the cover implies, this book involves an investigation around baseball and gambling.

Spenser is hired by the Boston Red Sox to investigate the possibility of their pitcher Marty Rabb throwing games. What Spenser finds is a much more complicated situation. Not only does he have to help others face some very tough decisions, but he too has to face some of his own. In the end, the tough calls have effects on various parties involved.

I'm continuing to enjoy this series. It is an easy-read, engaging and fast-paced. The story, once again, takes turns I wouldn't have expected and that keeps me interested. Highly recommended.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Comics of the Week (3/12/08)

Countdown to Final Crisis #7 - last week was all debate. This week, a bunch of breaking and entering, and some thrown downs. Looks like the crew of heroes who escaped from Apokolips didn't end up where they wanted too. Not good. The art this time by Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher was really good. They make a nice penciler/inker team.

Countdown to Mystery #6 - once again, the highlight of this book for me is the Eclipso feature. Huntress shows up and we get a good spotlight on her. Also, Bruce Gordon makes a discovery that could turn this whole thing around. The Dr. Fate feature was okay - not sure where Steve Gerber was going with this before he died. We'll see if whoever finishes the last two issues can pull it all together.

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #12 spotlights Timber Wolf. Like the cartoon of which I caught one episode last weekend, they seem to like to jump into the LSH future when they are grown adults. Not sure why. It was an okay issue - but pretty much like every "lone wolf" tale with Timber Wolf I've read before in the past.

Salvation Run #5 - Joker's squad invades Luthor's camp, Catwoman is accused of being a traitor, and she in turn sells out someone else. A really solid issue showing just what the villains are capable of. Of course, the final few pages throw a nice spin on everything as we see the true purpose of this "prison world" revealed. It is all going to hit the fan in the last two issues! Can't wait to count the casualties as you know there will be some.

Book of the week - Booster Gold #7! Once again, Johns and Jurgens deliver a winner with this book again this month. Booster and Beetle are together again and show why they were such a great team together. Looks like Booster's actions in the last couple issues have caused some major flux in the time-stream. Can Blue & Gold and some allies straighten it out? Will either of them survive? I sure hope both do. And what are the villains in the end truly up to? I can't wait for next month!

Friday, March 14, 2008

God Save the Child

The other day I finished the second novel in Robert B. Parker's Spenser private eye series - God Save the Child. It starts out interesting enough - a married couple who seem to be an odd fit hire Spenser to find their sixteen year old son who appears to have been kidnapped. But as the books unfolds, so does the mystery and it is hardly a straight forward case.

That's what I like so far in reading Parker's books - that they aren't such straight forward mysteries. While I have an inkling of which direction the story might go and see it starting down those pathes, the author quickly takes me on a side jaunt that turns out to be totally unexpected. In the end though, the pieces all fall into place like a nice jigsaw puzzle. I like that.

His writing style is easy going too. He seems a little heavy on the descriptives in some spots, for things not critical to the tale. But, I have it on authority that he tends to shy away from some of that as he grows as an author. The dialogue is sparkling, the subject matter deals with adult things and situations without getting salacious. I like that too. And, again with this book written in 1974, it is not so heavily tied to the time of its writing that you get yanked out of the narrative by the references (given it is now 2008).

A good read.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

American Idol 2008 - Top 12 Results

Well, I was three for three in picking the bottom three as announced last night (Syesha, Kristy Lee and David Hernandez). I had thought the country girl was going home but instead David Hernandez left the show.

I'm not surprised. The scandal of his male-lap-dancing past that came into the news last week surely effected his voting fanbase. I also think his performance this week lacked a lot of conviction. It almost seemed like he wanted to get out of the spotlight after all the negative press he was getting. I don't blame him. He has a good voice and some talent. I am sure he'll find some career success after having this platform to introduce him to the world.

In other news, FOX was heavily pushing Horton Hears A Who on Idol last night - giving Jim Carey lots of face time. Other noted folks in the audience last night - Sanjaya! Oh, and Kathrine McPhee was back to sing. Ah, FOX, the house of cross promotion. Gotta love you. So, when is Bones coming back?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

American Idol 2008 - Top 12 Performances

For the top 12 kick-off we get a new stage and the Lennon-McCartney songbook for the performers to chose from.

Now, the Beatles music is classic. One of my first musical memories as a child under four was sitting in the playroom when we lived in Buffalo listening to the Meet the Beatles album over and over again. Love this stuff. But it is challenging too as these songs are so enduring. This last part made for an interesting night.

Some folks rose to the challenge. Chikezie had a kick-butt rendition of "She's a Woman". Brooke White did a wonderful, heartfelt "Let It Be". Carly Smithson and David Cook also fell into my favorite performances of the night.

Middle of the pack went to Ramiele (good vocal, so-so performance), Jason Castro (ditto), Michael Johns, Amanda Overmeyer and David Archuleta (he showed his age of 17 by missing the words three times in the song "We Can Work It Out").

Bottom of the pack: Syesha (it was an okay Earth, Wind and Fire version of "Got To Get You Into My Life" but brought nothing new), David Hernandez and a terrible countryfied "Eight Days A Week" by Kristy Lee Cook.

I'm okay with Kristy Lee or David Hernandez going this week. I think David's "scandal" has effected his performance - he might want out of this competition.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

the Godwulf Manuscript

Kevin Coupe, the author of the Morning News Beat - a retail industry news page I read each day, often recommends books by the author Robert B. Parker. Parker has written a number of novels in various series featuring detective characters he has created. One of those detectives is Spenser.

The Spenser books, it turns out, were the inspiration for the 80's television series Spenser For Hire which starred Robert Urich. While I am familiar with the show, I never really watched it that much. Still, I wanted to check out the books so when I was at the local library last Wednesday night I went down the fiction aisle under the P's. Needless to say, I was caught off-guard by all the books they had by the author - and it was a little hard to try and find the first book in the series. Luckily I landed upon a volume that had all three of the first Spenser novels in it, thus I checked it out.

the Godwulf Manuscript is the first of the Spenser series, written in 1973. The mystery takes place in Boston where Spenser has been hired by a local university to find a stolen manuscript. That investigation leads to a couple murders and a lot of tangled webs. The main character is a hard-hitting, sharp-tongued private eye who quickly intrigues the reader. While there are references in the book to the time it was written, it isn't so bogged down with them that it throws you off at all. Change some clothing styles and some technology references and it could be very contemporary very easily.

I'm looking forward to reading more in the series, to see how the character and the author's style develops over time.

Justice League: the New Frontier DVD

I happened to be at Best Buy yesterday afternoon, after a nice lunch of wings with my son at Buffalo Wild Wings. My son was looking for a video game to buy so I checked out the new DVD releases. There, on the shelf, was the two disc special edition of Justice League: the New Frontier - complete with special edition collectible Green Lantern figure. The price was right so I picked it up to add to my animated DVD collection.

Now, I did read the comic book this film was adapted from but I heard a lot of nice things about it. It is a take on the origin of the Justice League set in the 1950's and tying in with real world events like the Korean War, the scare of Communism, etc. My son and I sat down and watched the film when we got home and I enjoyed it pretty well.

I liked the focus on Hal Jordan (voiced by David Boreanaz) as he begins to work for Carol Ferris (voiced by Brokke Shields) and learns the true purpose of Ferris Aircraft. I liked Barry Allen/Flash (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris) when he was working solo - like against Captain Cold - but not so much when he had the inferiority complex around the others. I never felt Barry Allen felt himself inferior to anyone.

Some of the special features on the two-disk set were pretty cool too. Disk one had along with the movie a comprehensive history of the Justice League, with a lot of cool industry pros giving commentary. It was nice to see these folks - to put faces with writers' names. Heck, they even mentioned the Detroit years (yes, I liked the Detroit years - for what it was worth). Disk two had a documentary on various DC villains that was also enjoyable. It also included three bonus Justice League animated episodes - which I have on the other DVD sets.

All in all, a nice package for the price.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Comics of the Week part 2 (3/5/08)

Round two for this week's books:

the All-New Atom #21 - well, the new creative team came on board - Rick Remender on writing and Pat Olliffe on art. And I know the Atom is very much a hero of science and all, but this issue bordered on boring me to tears. More than half the book, 14 pages, are spent with internal monologue as Ryan prepares for and then traverses into one of his own blood cells. That was waaaaaay too much time spent on that. I can tell Remender was trying to show he researched the science angle and all but come on. If I wanted to learn this stuff I would read a medical text. I hope they get better or I'll be dropping this book within six months.

Justice League Unlimited #43 - we get a Blue Beetle/Booster Gold tale written by Keith Giffen. What's not to love? And the Demolition Team as villains? Even cooler (I always liked those guys - wrote them in a fanfiction tale I did many years back). Not as bwahahaha funny as Keith used to be during his JLA run back in the late 80's but still a fun issue.

Book of the week - Green Lantern #28. Once more, Geoff Johns keeps the epic going with the trial Laira. While one chapter of her life ends, by the end of the book another begins. And it looks like this will be one big comeback! I enjoyed the moments with Hal Jordan and Sinestro. Has that whole Silence of the Lambs vibe going on. This book is clearly setting a bar for other titles to follow in month after month quality.

Comics of the Week part 1 (3/5/08)

Two posts this week (because I had two books I felt were worth spotlighting):

Countdown to Final Crisis #8 - After last week's issue ended with a bang, literally, this week was more like a whimper. March definitely came in like a lamb thanks to this issue. We basically get 20+ pages of the heroes debating what to do next. Seriously. Atom think maybe Karate Kid needs to die for the greater good. Jason is ready to off-him right there. Jimmy wants to confront Darkseid. The last Monitor thinks they should kill Jimmy. Jason is ready to off Jimmy too. Una's crying of her comrade who is bleeding to death, but no one listens. Too much talking! And if my head wasn't throbbing enough, we get reverse origin pages for Bizarro in the back. Me am so happy.

Countown to Adventure #7 - thank the stars this mini ends in one more issue as it is draaaaaaaaagggggggggginnnnng on. I'm bored, people.

Book of (last) week: Action Comics #862. Last week I was mad when my shop appeared to be sold out of this issue and I didn't have one pulled for me. Turns out, this was a title they got shorted in the order and they had plenty this week. Wooohooo! Part 5 of the Legion tale, and it's time for the Subs. I've always enjoyed the Legion of Substitute Heroes - the rejects who kept on keeping on despite the odds. And seeing them take on the rejects-turned-evil in this issue was a great spotlight. I'd so love it if Geoff Johns could write a Legion title full-time - I would be on it so fast. One more issue left to go, and it looks like Superman will finally be able to kick Earth-Man's tail!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

American Idol 2008 - week 3 Results

Well, this was interesting. Once again I was batting at about 50% on getting the folks going home. I had Luke Menard in my bottom spot for the guys and I had Kady Malloy in my bottom spot for the gals. Interestingly enough, both of my sixth place folks - Danny Noriega and Asia'h Epperson - were the other two that left tonight as well. Go figure.

I figure the public notice of Danny's holiday-rant video on TMZ might have done him in. I saw it online - and it was pretty harsh. Not a good image to portray. Morale of the story for today's generation - watch what you put on the Internet as it could come back to bite you in the butt later on. Not even being the male poster child on VoteForTheWorst could save Danny this time.

As for Asia'h, well, two girls sang Whitney last night and one sang it better. You have to be really outstanding every time if you want to stand out in the crowd.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

American Idol 2008 - week 3 Gals' Performances

Ladies sing the 80's tonight - and they were pretty decent all in all. Here's my rundown of best to worst (in my eyes and ears):

1) Ramiele Malubay - still solid at the top with a nice Phil Collin's performance.
2) Brooke White - number two two weeks in a row with an acoustic Pat Benetar tune I love.
3) Carly Smithson - again at number three with a decent rocker of a Cyndi Lauper tune, though I prefer Cyndi's version overall.
4) Syesha Mercado - the better of the two Whitney Houston songs tonight.
5) Amanda Overmeyer - I know I'll hear it for this one, but I think her voice works well on this Joan Jett rocker.
6) Asia'h Epperson - the second Whitney tune, and not nearly as solid.
7) Kristy Lee Cook - an okay but forgetable performance (what did she sing again?).
8) Kady Malloy - lacking the emotion (as Simon put it). She's just bland.

We'll see tomorrow night who goes home and who makes it to the final 12.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

American Idol 2008 - week 3 Guys' Performances

Eight guys left, songs from the 80's, two gotta go. Here's my take from best to worst:

1) David Hernandez - even if the news breaking about him being a male stripper in a gay club (where he supposedly did lap dances for customers) is true, man did he sing well tonight. I love Meat Loaf, and he performed one of his 80's songs well. Props.

2) David Archuleta - not bad, but I agree with Simon - he needs to do something more upbeat next week. Still a solid male contender.

3) David Cook - nice way to change up Lionel Richie. Definitely made it his own and enjoyable to listen to.

4) Jason Castro - beautiful song, beautiful voice. Tween girls will like him a lot.

5) Chikezie - a solid R&B vocal. He seems to get better and better each week.

6) Danny Noriega - yes, I know, he's all over the map. But I loved his take on Soft Cell. I did see his Christmas Rant that TMZ is posting. He's got a dark side to him. Just want him around another week or two to see what he'll come up with next.

7) Michael Johns - a good performance but nothing stand-out for me. He seems to be sliding down further week after week, and this could be his going-home song.

8) Luke Menard - Wham!? Seriously? Oh, Luke...not a good choice at all. You're definitely going to be going Thursday night.

Let's see what the girls pull out from the 80's tomorrow.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Revisiting the Outsiders

I was on one of the messages boards I frequent last week and someone posted a single phrase - "stay golden, Ponyboy". That's all it took to remember the novel the Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

Written in 1967, I recall reading this book for the first time back in either 8th or 9th grade. That would have been around 1978 or 1979, when I was just younger the protagonist of the tale. Since it had been that long, I decided to check out the book at the local library to give it a read again.

Unrestful Night

I didn't sleep that well last night - kept waking up a lot. At first I thought - did I drink too much regular Coca-Cola during the day (my wife and I had lunch out since my son was away with scouts, then we had dinner out after church).

About 6:30am I realized wha the problem new cell phone!

See, I had an old Sony Ericsson for a few years now. It was fine - it allowed me to get calls, etc. But texting could be hard (having to hit keys many times to get the right letters, etc.). And the battery was lucky to hold a charge for two days max. So after lunch, my wife took me to the AT&T store to replace the phone.

What I got was a Blackjack II (ironic, I just realized, because I had a Champions role-playing game hero character named Blackjack many years back - go figure). Now, this phone has an easier QWERTY keyboard for texting (nice) while still being relatively compact. It also has Internet capabilities and such, so I got a media package to go with the phone too. Another thing it can do is be set up to retrieve email from accounts - another nice feature.

Here's where I screwed up and led to my loss of sleep.

I didn't spend enough time on the settings, so everytime I got an email at my AOL account the phone would ding. I got at least six emails between 10pm and 6:30am.

And I'm a light sleeper. That single ding is enough to wake me from a sound sleep.

So, now the phone is set to be silent when email arrives. And I'll be able to get a good night's sleep. That'll teach me for being a guy and not reading the manual.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Comics of the Week (2/27/08)

JSA Classified #35 - this spotlight book begins its final arc before cancellation with this issue - a three part story starring Wildcat. Now, I've always been a fan of this rough and tumble boxer turned hero, but this issue just didn't get me excited. I'm thinking of dropping the title now and saving myself a few bucks.

Teen Titans Go! #52 - another fun issue, even if I figured out what was going on before half the issue was over. Todd Nauck did not do the art this time around but it was still pretty good. This title too is slated for cancellation in a few months, but I will stick with it until the end.

Teen Titans #56 - more a focus issue on Kid Devil as he finds himself in deep trouble with the team. I am interested in the villains introduced at the end of the tale. I want to learn more.

Justice Society of America #13 - another stunning Alex Ross cover that pays homage a bit to a classic JLA cover from the 80's. The art inside was a little uneven in spots, but the story seems to be building. Someone is hunting down metahumans pretending to be gods - no, this is not connected to Death of the New Gods, at least I don't believe so.

Book of the week - Countdown to Final Crisis #9. This issue had tons of action, a little bit more of the puzzle pieces coming together and an ending that has to be seen to believe. The artwork in the issue worked very well for me. With two months left to go on this weekly mini-series, I hope they don't let up on the pace. We need a big finish to this story.