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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Moving on

This blog is dead. Long live the blog.
Go to the INtangible blog for more.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You know you haven't posted in a while when...

...your mom leaves a comment about it. I'm contemplating the switch to Typepad. I like it's set up a lot and I like how it encourages pre-posting; the act of setting out a whole bunch of posts to go up on a schedule. I'm able to keep the L.W.A. blog up-to-date that way. So, that's it I think. I'll post the link info here when I get it done.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Comics: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Typically, I’m not a manga reader. I dislike digest sizes in general and mostly I find the art style off-putting. The penchant for gratuitous nudity is extremely cliché at this point as well. Still, the cover design on Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service was very, very well done and I had heard it mentioned favorably on Comic Geek Speak; so these powers combined made me give it a chance.

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is the story of a group of misanthropes, oddballs and other social under-achievers who find it hard to put to use their university degrees. They all have a certain special power like hacking, speaking to the dead or channeling an alien into a hand puppet. Like I said, “Special”. [I find it to be oh-so-very-manga that amidst the supernatural powers going on, there is a hacker.] Unable to find gainful employment on their own after graduation, they combine their unique skills into the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service; they find dead bodies and then perform that person’s last wish, freeing their soul to reincarnate.

The team has a nice Scooby-Doo dynamic without being too annoying. It’s a fun concept for a book and there is an underlying story being told as well. However, the majority of the book and the series [I’ve read Vol. 2 - 5 at this point] is made up of vignette stories centering around that particular issue’s corpse. I imagine it would be extra enlightening for the newly-morbid person, but I became morbidly fascinated at a young age and, I find a lot of the quirky info about what happens in death or other ooky-spooky cultural tidbits to be a little old hat.

The art is sometimes beautiful and sometimes terrible and sometimes awful in the biblical sense of the word. I was really impressed with the quality of the art in the first page of Vol. 1 and then subsequently let down by the next page. Overall, the art is better than it is bad and there are some panels which can be genuinely horrific. Being a manga, it is read from right to left and I thought that would make me very perturbed, but it turned out to be rather easy. The sound effects, being a part of the art, were un-translated, but I just put in my own. There is a guide in the back, but I couldn’t be bothered to keep cross-referencing.

All-in-all, I like Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service a great deal. It’s a lovely little popcorn read. They keep the short stories engaging and weave in just enough of the longer plot line to keep me going. If you like watching early episodes of the X-Files or Eerie, Indiana, this is definitely for you. I also recommend it for people with over developed senses of vengeance, morbid curiosities or puppet fetishes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Return to 1997

Many of you who read this are my personal friends; so this post should come as no surprise to you. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have perfected time-travel. I can go back 12 years all through a very simple game. That's right. I've started playing Magic: The Gathering again, which I haven't done since around 1997.

It all started when Dillon's friend Eric picked it up again. Strangely, he has 14 co-workers at his new job all who play and they drew him back in. Eric knew I used to play and he brought over cards one Sunday and that was all it took for me to want to play all the time. It was extra easy for me to pick up again as I still had a few old cards and Challengers also sells M:TG.

Nate and Ryan are friends of Dillon's who also used to play, and as luck would have it, they were in town the weekend my mom sent my old cards and I'd picked up the first batch at the store. We played all Memorial Day weekend. Well, we played during the times that Eric and Jenny weren't getting married. I had forgotten how much fun group games can be.

I definitely remember why I quit and the problems I had with the game still remain, but I'm no longer as vested in it and it doesn't bother me quite as much. I'm over my ire at printing rarity on the cards directly. I'm indifferent to the inclusion of new, wacky rules which I think are unnecessary to game play. Perhaps I didn't time-travel; maybe this is what it's like to play Magic as an adult rather than as a child.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Comics: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1910

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is authored by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O’Neill. The series’ concept is telling us what the world would be like if the characters and events in 18th/19th/20th century fiction were all involved in one reality. The books are richly layered with references and hidden gems from popular culture from a time when culture came primarily from print i.e. books [ya heathens!]. If you doubt me, please check out the fantastic annotation website by Jess Nevins. My favorite book in the series so far had the League pitted against the alien tripods from War of the Worlds in Victorian England.

The latest release is Century:1910, the first of a new three-part book. It’s seems a little pricey for a “single” issue, but in actuality, it’s more like a small trade paper back with a substantial cover and binding and 72 wonderful pages. This issue is, obviously, set in 1910 and many strange things are afoot in London. Halley’s Comet is set to pass overhead inciting great speculation among the occultists and magicians of the time. The common folk are more concerned with some violent murders near the docks which seem reminiscent of the Jack the Ripper killings, and the daughter of a previous League member is trying to find her way between society, tradition and her own identity.

A new treatment Mr. Moore uses to tell the story is the use of the songs from The Threepenny Opera. I have never seen an opera performed in a comic book. Only from Alan Moore can we allow such things because only Alan Moore can do it right. He manages to take a tangle of seemingly disparate elements and weave them together to make a brand-new story. A nice bonus is that, while this is the beginning of a series, it’s also a self-contained story which doesn’t require the reader to have read any primers. Still, a League book’s glory is in its references. You will enjoy the book more if you know where it’s coming from. It’s a lot like reading Ulysses; you’ll find it more fulfilling if you are in on all the jokes. Do yourself a favor and pick up the entire series and then begin eagerly awaiting the next installment of Century with the rest of us.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Grandma Club: Infused Liqours

We had a fabulous liquor tasting party a couple weekends ago to try out our Grandma Club creations. You can read all about the recipe goodness here. My contribution was limoncello and grasshopper brownies. When I made the limoncello, I had a lot of lemons left over and I made a 1-2-3-4 cake with lemon curd filling and some lemon sorbet.

Things have been very busy here lately. Captive, sadly, did not overcome his illness and he died. I dressed up like a pirate for the Jeremy Bastian signing of Cursed Pirate Girl #1. I made headfins ala Savage Dragon for the Erik Larsen signing on Free Comic Book Day. I think that catches everyone up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kosher for My Mouth All the Time

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "That's not nearly enough Coke!" And you're right. It isn't. I bought more after the photo was taken. Now, I don't normally like 2-Liters for my Coca-Cola fix. In order of preference it is: glass bottle, can, then plastic. Fountain cokes are always hit-or-miss depending on the syrup to soda water ratio of the individual machine. I will almost always opt for a packaged Coke rather than a fountain Coke. So, if I don't prefer 2-Liter, why are there 6 of them in the photo?

Take a close look. See the yellow tops on those bottles? That means this Coke is Kosher. That means it's made closer to the original recipe with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. You may claim that means nothing, but I, friend, am a Coke connoisseur and you'll have to believe me when I say that this Coke tastes like childhood, like summer at the beach, like wonder. I truly can taste a difference. You can even see a difference because this Coke is much more initially fizzy that regular Coke. It looses that fizz faster and has a much smaller carbonation bubble than HFCS Coke. It dances in my mouth! You heard me. It dances.

I hope Coca-Cola will take a cue from arch-rival Pepsi and make a sugar-sweetened soda for a longer time frame than just for Passover. Pepsi is putting out "Throwback" editions of regular Pepsi and Mountain Dew for a few months and is also trying out an all-natural version of Pepsi in the UK called "Pepsi Raw". I'd certainly be willing to try an all-natural Coke. How about you?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


These are my new little friends. The cream and white one is named Evil Pockets and the all brown guy is Captive. Evil Pockets is properly named "Malbolge", but I've taken to calling him E.P. They are both male adolescent guinea pigs.

I really, really wanted to adopt them, but none of the local shelters had any and the pig-specific rescues in Illinois like The Critter Corral are too suburban for me to get to without transport. I checked on Craigslist for a solid 2 weeks as well, with no luck. I broke down a couple of weeks ago and just went to an Evil Corporate Pet Store. I know it's evil, okay, and I'm sorry.

My favorite thing is watching them eat. It's the absolute cutest. They're favorite foods right now are apple and red bell pepper. My Flickr stream is probably going to be over-run with pig photos. So far, they still run away into their box houses whenever anyone goes to look into the cage, but we are making progress. It is possible to pet them without having to chase them around every time. I take them out for "floor time" for at least an hour each day. We still haven't tried to introduce the cats to them. I'm just not sure how cruel it would be to either party to experience.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Grandma Club: Cocoa and Marshmallows

A couple of weekends ago, Kathy, Noel and I got together for making hot cocoa mixes and flavored marshmallows. You can read all about it on the official Grandma Club blog and see all about it at the Grandma Club flickr page. I had a good time, obviously. I had put the entire spatula full of marshmallow into my mouth in that photo. In it, I'm thinking, "Maybe I shouldn't have eaten all that, but it's soooooooo good." I've tried the mint cocoa and the traditional. Both are tasty and the traditional has a real kick to it with the cayenne. I made the mint with milk, but used water for the traditional and it seemed fine; maybe a touch under-sweetened, but that was nothing a couple of Noel's vanilla marshmallows couldn't fix.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Comics: Mouse Guard

Explaining my love for David Petersen's Mouse Guard requires a bit of background into why I picked it up in the first place. I had seen Mice Templar on the shelves and it had awakened a need in me for Medieval small creatures. I'd read a lot of Redwall books as a child, and it seemed like Mice Templar could be a good time, but when I got to the store, there were only a handful of issues on the shelf. I very much dislike reading comics out-of-order [they are termed "serial" for a reason]; so I decided to put it off until the trade. Disappointed, I wandered in the store and eventually ended up in the Children's section; not a section I frequent.

There on the shelf was this book called Mouse Guard, and I picked it up, intrigued and amused by the fact that there was another Small Creature Medieval Epic comic available. I was astonished to discover in reading that the book was not only beautifully illustrated [so beautifully that I'm seriously considering an art purchase] but also written with a clear and precise voice which was neither childish or cliche. Instead of comparing this book to the Redwall series, it is more closely akin to the literary classic Watership Down.

Mouse Guard is the tale of a network of mouse towns in a forest. The Guard consists of special cadre of mice who escort mice who must travel the wilds between the safety of their fortified towns. The themes are solemn and at heart, it is a story of survival. The Guard must protect against not only natural foes like predators, but also internal strive such as betrayal, mistrust and politics. The tale begins in Fall, before the mean season of Winter, and there are hard times ahead for all the mice involved.

In reading, I think I respond mostly to their strong will to do what they must to survive. I enjoy survival tales, which is probably why I enjoy zombie movies. Of course, Mouse Guard, while not being light-hearted, at least has the promise of Spring ahead; Nature remains neutral in the mouses' struggle. I enjoy the comic so much that I've even been reading it out-of-order. I'm still missing issue #3 [or #4] of Winter. I even will buy the trade even though I've purchased the issues individually.

{And this has nothing to do with anything, but David Petersen and I use the same Blogger template. We have good taste.}

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Indie Fixx Interview

Kathy and I were interviewed over at Indie Fixx. They used this photo of us which a passer-by took when the sun finally came out at last year's Renegade Craft Fair: Chicago. I really, really like this photo of us.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Twisted Goodness

My hair has reached a hither-to unheard of length. I can very nearly sit on it. It's mostly remained uncut due to a) laziness b) frugality and c) my love of complicated braids. Unfortunately, Reason C is normally out of my reach. I cannot French braid my own hair. I shun things like hairspray and blow dryers. My mom burned me in the forehead once with a curling iron and I've never gotten over my hatred of them. Most of the time, I just wrap my hair up in a bun and stick it to the back of my head. But Kathy sent me some links to some seemingly easy instructions for just pig-tailing your hair and then pinning it up which produces the complicated hair-weaving effect that I wanted. All I had to do was part my hair in the middle and braid it outwards, Pippi Longstocking style, so that when I go to pin it up on my head, it doesn't bulge out in a funny way. I run into a bit of a snare when I get to the ends. I finally discovered that I can fold the ends underneath the top of the braid and pin it down. A couple of weekends ago, I discovered that I can make an additional full circle with the end of the second braid. The best part about doing my hair like this is that it lasts for four days. That's four days that I don't have to fuss with my hair. Plus, it looks cool.

Since we're speaking of twisty, braided things, I should also mention that I managed to bake my own soft pretzels the other day. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and was very happy with my result. They tasted like pretzels. Huzzah! Unfortunately, you're supposed to eat them all within 2 days because they get hard rather fast. Now I have four extremely hard pretzels that I'm thinking about things to do with- possible croutons or something.