Monthly Archives: August 2013

Two years at Toshiba

Thursday marked two years working at Toshiba. If I’m going to post at all, I really should have posted on Thursday, but oh well. Toshiba’s a fantastic employer. I love my job, and I enjoy my coworkers as well. Besides scripting videos, voicing videos, responding on social media, testing hardware, and other special projects, I’ve posted over 11,500 messages on the forum. They really add up!

Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 5 is his best yet

Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 5

While I still love Frank Miller’s runs of Daredevil best, this latest hardcover of Mark Waid’s is the best he’s done. Volume 5 collects Daredevil Volume 3 issues 22 through 27. I didn’t really like the start of Mark Waid’s Daredevil with the Omega Drive. It felt a little too mainstream Marvel, like I was reading the Avengers without most of the Avengers. It got better, but this volume just blew the previous out of the water.

Some things were interesting but minor. It was cool to see Stilt-Man again in a funny way, and there was a little fight with Spider-Man. But there were a few things happening that were absolutely great. First, Ikari is a great villain. I know we don’t know much about his personal motivation. No, he’s not a well-rounded character yet. However, I hope we see more of him in the future. We also got to see Stick in some flashbacks. I kind of thought Waid was going to downplay Stick, but apparently I was wrong.

Daredevil begins to piece together who’s after him and who has been sending people to harm him. It was exactly who I expected, but it doesn’t mean it was any less cool, especially how Foggy figured out who it is before Matt. Speaking of Foggy, it’s great to find their relationship getting repaired. The roles flip back and forth, and we see that maybe they perform the same function for each other. They need each other. While Daredevil might be called the Man Without Fear, we see him incredibly scared in this volume, and Foggy is the one who has to keep him grounded, despite imposing health problems.

While I prefer hardcovers over single issues, it’s going to be extremely hard to stay away from Daredevil until the next volume is released!

Of teeth and the trouble they cause

On Wednesday, I felt some slight pain while eating some nuts. I figured one of my teeth was sensitive and decided to pay closer attention.

On Thursday, I felt something stuck between two teeth in that area of my mouth. I flossed, and it bled a bit despite flossing daily. Eventually I realized that what was stuck between my teeth was a piece of my tooth and that it must have broken on Wednesday.

On Friday, I called my dentist to make an appointment. They managed to find me a time slot on Monday.

On Sunday, there was an unexpected twist. While eating a piece of beef, soft, chewy, not-bad-for-your-teeth beef, there was a crunch and pieces of tooth in my mouth. It was not the same tooth.

Today, I’m down $1600. However, I can’t complain too much. I’m glad I can afford to pay it, and I’m glad that I got that price, because it was actually a deal. I have two temporary crowns in now. I know I should take it easy and eat something soft tonight… like maybe pizza. Sure, that’s the excuse I found to order pizza.

The Sentry: Reborn

The Sentry: Reborn

After enjoying the idea of the Sentry, I went back and read his original series and The Sentry: Reborn miniseries. The original The Sentry miniseries has an interesting background story. In the Marvel Universe, the Sentry is supposedly one of the first superheroes, but for some reason, no one remembers him. Over the course of the miniseries, it’s revealed why no one remembers. It also explores his nemesis, the Void, a being of pure evil. What’s especially interesting is that Marvel plays up the idea by acting like they found old sketches and notes about him from 60’s.

The Sentry: Reborn adds a lot more twists to his story. It examines the relationship between Robert Reynolds, his alias as The Sentry, and The Void. Reynolds’ therapist is also a major character as they deal with Reynolds’ schizophrenia. It’s very fascinating. The Sentry is very similar to Superman in that they’re both incredibly powerful “classic” heroes. They’re both forces of pure good. However, out of his costume, Reynolds is highly unstable, suffering from schizophrenia, depression, delusions, agoraphobia, and substance abuse. It’s definitely a different direction than Superman!

I do have to say that the art style in The Sentry: Reborn was rather disappointing. The proportions consistently looked off to me, and faces looked especially bad. John Romita Jr. is a pretty famous comic artist, so I don’t know if he used a different style for this or if I just don’t like his style. Regardless of art problems, I still thought it was a great book!

Will Eisner’s Minor Miracles and A Life Force

At the Syfy Presents the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards I was given copies of Will Eisner’s Minor Miracles and A Life Force. I read Minor Miracles right away but didn’t complete A Life Force until this morning. Both were excellent, but I especially enjoyed A Life Force.

Minor Miracles consists of four stories taking place on Dropsie Avenue in the Bronx. Each is told as a sort of exaggerated legend featuring something miraculous. As I mentioned in a previous entry, they kind of reminded me of Kafka in the sense that they were very entertaining but sort of uncomfortable, causing mild distress. They weren’t full of happy endings, but they didn’t have sad endings either. They just sort of ended with that feeling of having the emotional wind knocked out of you – a numbness, maybe.

A Life Force was absolutely excellent. It focused on many different characters centered around Jacob Shtarkah on Dropsie Avenue. It takes place in the depression and touches on poverty, the economy, racial tensions, organized crime, political systems, anti-semitism, and the life force that drives us. It was a fantastic window to the depression era and shows man’s struggle for survival.

Having read these two graphic novels, I understand why Eisner’s so acclaimed. I highly recommend both these books.

Breaking Bad returns!

Breaking Bad returns tonight, and I’m very excited. I can’t wait to see how everything concludes. The series has been excellent; hopefully the ending can live up to it. While I’ve seen no signs that the conclusion will be anything less than amazing, on-going stories and endings are very different. Many great stories have ended terribly, and it would be a shame if that happened with Breaking Bad.

There are a few possible endings I’d like to see. In every situation, I’d like Jesse to get away. One ending that seems plausible is that Hank gathers enough evidence and information to move against Walt. Perhaps Jesse could even act as informant. Walt could be imprisoned, but I’d like it more if he was killed and Skyler imprisoned, with the kids ending with Hank and Marie. This seems most likely to me.

The opposite would be interesting as well. Hank moves against Walt, and Walt manages to kill him. Skyler would know it was his doing. Breaking Bad is already about slippery slopes when it comes to “breaking bad;” after he kills family member, it wouldn’t be so far-fetched to see him kill Skyler as well. Perhaps he’d even kill Jesse, realizing that he’s a loose-end that’s gone free far too long. The series would end with Walt as the kingpin of crime.

Of course, the series has shown us time and again that Walt gets ahead by killing who has to move up and guarantee his own survival. An interesting conclusion that doesn’t get much discussion would appear to be the same as I just described: Walt kills his family and Jesse to be the meth kingpin. And then Todd, who has been cooking with Walt, shoots him, having learned from the best.

Pacific Rim was awesome

After wanting to see this movie for a long time, I finally watched Pacific Rim this weekend. Others had told me mixed things about the movie. It didn’t live up to a lot of expectations. I’m not sure what anyone else was expecting, because I watched an amazing two hours of giants robot suits fighting giant monsters.

There were subplots and character development that might not have been deep enough for some people, but honestly, they were just there to justify fight scenes, and they did a good job. I jokingly told my friend after the movie that my favorite scene was the one where the jaeger (German for hunter) punches the kaiju (Japanese for monster) a bunch. I couldn’t really pick a distinct favorite scene. I can say that there was a lot more humor than I expected. Multiple characters served as comic relief. And if you haven’t seen the movie, stay for a scene midway through the credits.

As an immense Portal fan, how could I not like Pacific Rim? It even features Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS, as the jaeger AI. Guillermo Del Toro got permission from Valve to use her voice as an homage, using Valve’s filter at first. After finding it too distracting, he created his own for the final version of the film that’s a little different.

I’m ready for a sequel now or perhaps a simple game. I’d like a “bad” game, but I’d like an old-fashioned bad game. A simple fighting game with jaegers and kaiju would be cool, but the trend currently would likely be for the game to try to be amazing, making it bad in a bad way. Something like the old Godzilla video games would be fun!

OC Fair!

Last weekend I went to the OC Fair for Alex and Devin’s birthdays, and it was fun as usual. I was meeting some friends there, and I just happened to see them standing around while I was in line for food. I went over and stood next to them nonchalantly, hoping they’d notice. Not only did they notice, but they were actually posing for a photo. I hadn’t realized, but that worked out well.

We wandered around a lot, but I always enjoy the farm animals and the photography best. Well, that and the food. And I ate so much food. I started with mushrooms stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon before moving on to taquitos.

Apple fries

Next there were apple fries – an apple cut up like fries, flash fried, and served with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

At that point we took a break from eating for a concert. We saw Common Sense, The Expendables, and The Dirty Heads. I’d never heard of any of them, but they were all entertaining. I didn’t really care for all the pot references or pot smoking in the crowds, but I was the outsider in their culture I suppose. I wrote down a few lyrics to look up songs later as well.

Mexican funnel cake (made of churros)

After the concert, I ate some delicious Mexican funnel cake, which is a funnel cake made out of churros. It’s so good and so bad at the same time. I also had a nice conversation with my friend Patti.

It was a terrific day.

Carnitas zucchini boats

Carnitas and bell pepper stuffed zucchini

This could have been better looking I suppose, but it was tasty. My parents keep growing huge zucchinis, and I’m more than happy to take some off their hands. Tonight I cut a wedge out of the zucchini, baked them for a while, stuffed them with carnitas, roasted bell peppers, and cheddar cheese, and then baked them a little longer. I had beans and cheese on the side, and I topped one of the zucchini boats with chipotle salsa in that photo. The carnitas was pre-cooked, and the salsa and roasted bell peppers both came from jars, but it was still very tasty.