Random Thoughts! (April 12, 2011)

Random Thought! We'll see how much I have to say about comics this week... It's random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought!GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. The Splash Page Podcast for some awesome comics discussion.

Random Thought! Let's all congratulate Kelly Thompson on her now permanent spot on the CBR review team.

Random Thought! Received Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami last week in the mail. It's his second novel and is only available in English in Japan, published as part of a line of books meant to help people learn Japanese. His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing is available under the same circumstances, because Murakami doesn't think either book is good enough to warrant English-language releases in the Western world. I rather enjoy Hear the Wind Sing. It's a meandering work, very moody, very easy to be swept away by. I love how he uses very short chapters in that work. Pinball, 1973 tries to follow a similar route, but never quite comes together. It has a more formal structure placed upon it than Hear the Wind Sing, but still tries for a meandering feel. It's very much a transitory work from his first novel to his third, A Wild Sheep Chase. I'd probably rank it last among his novels, honestly. It's of worth for Murakami fans, but was a little disappointing.

Random Thought! Last night's Jays game was incredibly frustrating to watch at the bullpen basically killed the team's chance of winning. Three runs walked in in the bottom of the eighth... holy fuck. Hopefully, they can recover tonight.

Random Thought! Angry bastard Odin in Fear Itself #1 is clearly (to me) angry bastard Odin from "Worldengine" by Warren Ellis. That's my favourite Odin, too.

Random Thought! I've decided that Ultimate Captain America is a mocking satire of the United States. That's the only way it makes any sense to me.

Random Thought! Hellblazer: Pandemonium left me fairly cold. John Constantine bumbles through events dictated to him and the climax is presented in the least exciting way possible.

Random Thought! Forgot about this until I reread Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Matthew Strecher, but the third volume of that book wasn't originally intended. The book ended with part two (the English translation omits the real end of book two to make for an easier, less confusing read) and Murakami only wrote the rest in response to the reaction of readers that the ending wasn't satisfying (and because he wanted to, obviously). That definitely explains the shift in tone, style, and construction.

Random Thought! Rewatched Major League yesterday, because... well, it's a great movie and baseball season is upon us. Realised that my favourite scene is the one where Jake is alone in the stadium and acts out winning the World Series with a bottom of the ninth home run. Just a wonderful little moment. He's the character that should be the most bitter, the most cynical, and, yet, even he still can't help but get caught up in that stupid dream every kid who loves baseball acts out a hundred times.

Random Thought! On Friday, placed an order with TNA because they offered free shipping to Canada for orders over $60. Considering they normally have a minimum $30 shipping price tag, I jumped at the chance. I ordered three of their brown bag specials: for $18 (normally $20, but they were on sale), you get four random DVDs and a t-shirt. They guarantee no repeats when you order up to three. Since that left me a little under the $60 minimum for free shipping, I also order the Samoa Joe DVD. My order hasn't arrived yet, but I am curious about what DVDs and t-shirts I'll be getting.

Random Thought! Last week was, apparently, the week of reading short book, because I also reread Screwjack by Hunter Thompson. I took it out from the library years ago and read it then, but didn't get a copy of my own until last week. It's a short read with three short stories that... are they fiction really? Then again, is what Thompson wrote normally fact either? Not sure what to make of this little collection yet.

Random Thought! That's two days in a row that 7-Eleven hasn't had any Slurpy straws! Big Gulp straws don't cut it, people! I tempted to just shell out the two bucks for one of those Thor tie-in straws just for the scoop at the end. But, no Thor straw, no dice. Nothing against Sif, Loki, or the Destroyer, but, come on... who wants any of them except collectors who want them all?

Random Thought! Goddamn, the Dears are amazing. Finally giving Missiles a listen on my discman (I've listened to it on the stereo) and loving it. "Disclaimer" is rocking my world. The Dears definitely benefit from the intimacy of headphones in early listens. No Cities left is this expansive, high budget movie... Gang of Losers is a small indie film... not sure what Missiles is yet. And haven't really gotten into Degeneration Street. End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story always felt like a first novel.

Random Thought! Sure, finding the Walt Simonson Thor Visionaries volumes one through four is easy... volume five is the one that will kill your bank account. Good job there, Marvel.

Random Thought! Another Warren Ellis novel? Sounds good to me. I really enjoyed Crooked Little Vein and Ellis's comments so far on Gun Machine have me very intrigued. I was particularly struck by: "...I’ve been working to weekly if not daily deadlines in comics for nearly twenty years. And I am totally done with that. I’m knackered, and I want to spend more time crafting my pages rather than trying (and failing) to beat the clock." It's not surprising that you see a lot of comics writers slow down as the years go by when you think about it in those terms.

Random Thought! So... the Asgardians go from fighting the World Eaters in Thor to taking on the World Eater (Galactus) in The Mighty Thor?

Random Thought! Big week this week. Lots to look forward to on Thursday. But, if I had to pick the three comics I'm looking forward to the most this week: Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #2, Punishermax #12, and Secret Warriors #26.

Random Thought! Read Ronin yesterday and enjoyed the hell out of that. Frank Millar just going crazy with styles and references and influences. Everything he's ever done is in that book.

Random Thought! Superheroes don't have three-foot erect penises. In fact, you can't be a superhero if your penis is three feet long erect. Sorry.

Random Thought! Fuck yeah Thor beats Batman.

Random Thought! Last night, because of injuries, Edge retired. It stems back to a broken neck he suffered eight years ago and recent pain he's been feeling lately along with numbness and uncontrolled shaking in his arms. No one expected this. At first, it was hard to believe, because it's professional wrestling. Everything is just another angle, retirements especially. But, this is real and, man, does it suck. Edge was one of my favourites before I stopped watching wrestling and he's been a favourite since I got back into it. One of the first PPVs I watched in late 2007 after getting back into wrestling had Edge returning from injury to cost Batista the World Heavyweight Championship in a Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker. He's been a great in-ring performer and an amazing mic worker. In the three live events I've seen of the WWE, I've had the chance to see him at all three. The first, at a Smackdown taping, was your classic Edge moment. There was a little tournament to see who would challenge the Undertaker, I believe, for the World Heavyweight Championship. The winners of the four matches held would compete in a battle royal with the winner of that getting the title shot. Edge was out injured at the time and returned at the very end to knock Batista off the apron and claim the title shot with little effort. Just a great moment that sums up the Ultimate Opportunist. At the Royal Rumble in 2009, he won back the WWE Championship from Jeff Hardy when Matt Hardy turned on his brother. At Raw in January, he took on the Miz in a battle of the champions. I don't know what to say, honestly, I'm just sort of rambling. I don't know. He will be missed and it's awful that he had to leave this way. A couple of months ago, I got his DVD set and I think I'll begin watching it now.


Random Comments! Cronin makes me do this section. Okay, not really. But, I don't know... maybe if I stopped, he'd make me.

jjc said: Being at WM live is a spectacle. 70K people in one place to watch wrestling is unreal. The interesting thing is that as I was watching the replay at home last night the crowd didn’t come off as anywhere near as enthusiastic as it really was. Bad sound set up I guess. Live, I was very much into everything, watching it on TV it came across as somewhat disappointing. What’d you think about the show? Taker/HHH was definitely the best thing on the card, followed by CM Punk pulling the best performance Orton has ever had at a WM. I’d say if you have even a passing interest in wrestling or just pop culture at its most excessive and can get to a WM it is worth the experience.

You can find my thoughts on the event in this week's High Road/Low Road. Of course, had I known that was Edge's last match, I might have been a bit more kind.

Ryan K. Lindsay said: The Man With The Getaway Face was just the first part of The Outfit, right? I keep reading challenging reports…

Not the literal beginning of the book, but it's a section of the first part, yes. Only bigger and in a different colour.

Seth T. Hahne said: Whoops. I thought I had remembered that it was After Dark that you had liked so much, so I started it yesterday. I’m 52% through now and actually loving it. Funny that now that I go back, I realize it was South of the Border (which I remembered) and Dance Dance Dance (which I didn’t) that you loved and After Dark was rather lower on your Murakami totem pole. Oh well. More to look forward to I guess.

I haven’t read everything the man offers (Kafka was my introduction), but I’ll list my personal order of preference (including non-novels).• Wind-Up• Kafka on the Shore• Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman• Sputnik Sweetheart• After the Quake• The Elephant Vanishes• Underground• Norwegian Wood

And even though it’s last, I still very much enjoyed Norwegian Wood. Just not as much as the others.

Yeah, same. The one I enjoy the least is still very enjoyable. With Murakami, his worst is still pretty damn good.

Travis Pelkie said: I dug Butcher Baker, but I’m not sure where it’s going. Is it because of reading that that you’re going to reread Marshal Law? But I did squeal upon seeing that Sonia Harris was the logo/graphic designer. Hoo hah!

I reread Marshal Law, because I bought it. Hadn't read it in years and, then, it was my dad's copies.

Oh, and I took out Era Vulgaris from a local library based on all the QotSA stuff you were talking about last week. Pretty good stuff.

Awesome. I always get excited when I hear someone has checked out something because I talked it up.

Apodaca said: If you were a big fan of Thom Yorke’s solo album, you might actually enjoy KoL a lot. It’s very similar, in my opinion. I like Hail to the Thief quite a bit. It’s no OK Computer, but Myxomatosis is a favorite of mine and I think the album is interesting, if not revolutionary. This new stuff, though… It’s club music. The drum parts are just there to keep time and the songs make slight shifts between long plateaus. I’m generally biased against most electronica, so I’ll admit that this might just be the album they make that isn’t for me. But even Pablo Honey, with all its cheesiness, is memorable. King of Limbs is very easily ignored.

I really liked Radiohead's output up until In Rainbows. I just couldn't get into that one. But, I did dig OK Computer enough to base the second part of my novel on it in a loose fashion.

Ed (A Different One) said: In response to the BNL comments above – my wife and I courted each other during the time period when Stunt and Rock Spectacle were hitting it big, so those songs and those recordings were always kind of the soundtrack that accompanied our gloriously fun and exciting early years together. After discovering these, we ate up their earlier recordings and followed them through Maroon, but kind of started loosing interest in them with Everything to Everyone. Anyway – my point is that we started playing some of those older BNL songs this weekend on our laptops – it reminded us of what I great band they were and, for a short moment there, we could once again feel what the late 90?s felt like.

I began to lose interest around Barenaked Ladies are Me/Barenaked Ladies are Men. Their first Page-less album is alright. Some good songs, some not so good ones. Of course, my favourite one of theirs is Maybe You Should Drive, which is dominated by Page.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

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