2011 A Year in my life in Review

Books, Comics, Movies, Music.  It is a top 10 list sort of time.

For me 2011 will be the year that Dad died.  There has been other things this year – good and not bad.  But this is likely the worst thing to happen to me in my life.  Which shows that I have been pretty blessed actually.

Moving on. (I come back – the previous paragraph is tiny while less important stuff below is much longer.  That isn’t the way it really is.)

I started a new job on 2011.  Like usual it occupies most of my time.  Within the first week, the second day even, I was doing useful work.  When the project is successful, our project will be providing a very useful and critical service to the police in Alberta.  Often in IT, it is hard to see how you will benefit people directly, but this project gives a direct tie.  To officer safety, to public safety, to better intelligence analysis.  And the technology is cool and challenging.  Unfortunately it is pretty much all protected information.  Or I’d be boring the world about it every week on this thing.

Personally I did little to improve myself this year.  The one thing I did was begin to attend mass regularly again.  It has been years since I did that.  It seems a small thing, but it is the deed I am most proud of this year.  Otherwise, there isn’t much.  My diet, if anything, is worse.  I took no courses.  I was getting more exercise working for Telus.  And my list of undone tasks is pretty much the same as it was at this time last year.  (I list these mostly to annoy my mother.)

There is lots of room up there for resolutions, but I don’t do resolutions.

Books

It is a year where most of my favorite authors released new books.  So it was a good year for reading.  But it was also a little disappointing.  There was no one new author that I found this year.

  1. Leviathan Wakes – the only something truly new on the list
  2. A Canticle for Leibowitz – the only something old on the list
  3. A Dance With Dragons – book 5
  4. Embassytown – Mieville’s latest
  5. A Wise Man’s Fear – Not as good as book 1, but still pretty good
  6. Reamde – Disappointing, but still a good read

Comics

The comic market saw a big downturn this year.  It made Marvel stop making ancilliary titles and series.  Almost everything ties back to either the major Avengers or X-Men franchises now.  It made DC redo their whole line.  Their strategy is the opposite of Marvel’s.  Only a couple of titles look to tie into one another.  Even within a family like Batman or Superman the titles are mostly stand alone.

This year my find was Scott Snyder.  American Vampire, Detective Comics, Batman and Severed.  Nike Spencer continued to impress.  I just did a post on art a few weeks ago.  That still stands.  And Jason Aaron on Schism and now Wolverine and he X-men.

  1. Detective/Batman
  2. Morning Glories
  3. Wolverine and the X-men
  4. Batwoman
  5. Swamp Thing
  6. Daredevil
  7. Wonder Woman
  8. Red Wing
  9. Hellboy
  10. Echo and Rachel Rising

With nods to: Shade, The Unwritten, Fables, American Vampire, Severed, Ultimate Spidey and Non-Player.

Music

Almost none.  Foster the People is the only new band I’ve dug this year.

Weird.  Is there no new music out this year?

Movies

This was big for me.  I started to go back out to the theatres again for the first time in years.  Very exciting.  I saw mostly blockbusters on the big screen and smaller pictures at home.  The worst movie of the year was probably Dylan Dog.  Avoid at all costs.

  1. Drive
  2. Moneyball
  3. Super 8
  4. 50/50 – Joseph Gordon Levitt is my favorite actor.  He rocks.
  5. Source Code
  6. Captain America: The First Avenger
  7. X-Men First Class
  8. Tower Heist
  9. Dale and Tucker vs. evil

Games

No new video games this year.  i bought nothing for my Wii.  I played lots of iphone games, but nothing worth talking about.  Roleplaying has been all Dresden for the year.  Board games are pretty exciting as usual.  Mansions of Madness is probably the big hit there.  But the Republic of Rome game on Monday was pretty epic.

I think that is everything.  Obvious badness aside, this was a pretty decent year.  As usual I look forward to the next.  In 2012 my project goes live.  That will be very exciting.  But I won’t be able to talk about that here.

 Happy New Year!

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4 lbs of backbacon

I am not missing or dead or a new lottery winner.  I’m just taking a bit of a blog break over the holidays.

If you need anything please call.

The lowlight of my day today was beating Connor at Pokemon.  It was my first time playing so I should have lost, but I pulled out a last second victory.  I feel incredibly guilty.   I also feel I should go buy some cards so I have a deck of my own just in case he challenges me again.

It isn’t the same sans music

RIPPED from the Bible!

Set to music by some dude named Handel.

The lyrics to the first part of Messiah.

Merry Christmas!

*PART I*

OVERTURE

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied – Tenor) Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness:-Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight in the desert a
highway for our God.

AIR (Tenor)
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight and the rough places plain.

CHORUS And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together;for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied – Bass)
Thus saith the Lord of Hosts:-Yet once a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land; and
I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

AIR (Bass) But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He
appeareth? For He is like a refinerÕs fire.

CHORUS
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

RECITATIVE. (Alto)
Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.

AIR (Alto)
and CHORUS O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain: O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold you God! Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied – Bass)
For Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and His glory
shall be seen upon thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to
the brightness of thy rising.

AIR (Bass) The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they
that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

CHORUS
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

PASTORAL SYMPHONY

RECITATIVE. (Soprano) There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied – Soprano) And lo! the angel of the Lord cam upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.

RECITATIVE. (Soprano)
And the angel said unto the, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is
born this day in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied – Soprano) And suddenly there was with the angel a
multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:-

CHORUS
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

AIR. (Soprano)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, thy King cometh unto thee! He is the righteous Saviour, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.

RECITATIVE. (Alto)
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

AIR (Alto)
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

AIR (Alto)
Come unto Him, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

CHORUS
His yoke is easy and His burthen is light.

It is pretty nifty even without music.

It’s a wild fantasy time!

Let’s see:

Brandon Sanderson handed in the 1st draft of the final Wheel of Time novel today.

The Hobbit trailer was released yesterday.

I just finished a fantasy book on my bus ride home.

It is a good day to be a fantasy fan, but all of this stuff means that we have to wait for the real thing.  I hate waiting.  Not as much as having my hair pulled or being called a ninny, but I hate it all the same.

 

Weekly Night Cap

Christmas came early this year.  At least the gift giving part did.

The Treekster came by and brought a nice gift card.  I gave him a gift card to the same store.  Yay us!  His was worth more than mine.

My family is not giving gifts this year.  We are all donating some money to a needy family instead.  That is cool.  That happened as well.

Finally, I bought myself some nice gifts.  New Games!  Actually, I sent Dave on two seperate shopping trips to get them for me.  Dave rocks!  We’ve already played two of them.  Needless to say, I lost.

Now that all the parties are past and the gift giving is done, I can focus on the true meaning of the holidays.  Rest!

Actually, I’ve been enjoying the Advent services at mass.  There was no music liturgy at church this Sunday.  At the end of mass one person started singing O Come Divine Messiah.  That was way cool.  We all joined in, but it seems we were all alike in only knowing a single verse.  🙂

Today is a bit of a low point.  I got up as normal, but felt icky.  Did my morning absolutions.  Treek was in the guest bedroom and kept asking, “Is it time to go yet?”  In 45 minutes, I said.  In 30 minutes, I said.  At the 15 minute mark, I decided it wasn’t worth it and said, “Sleep in, dude.”  I called work and DATS and went back to bed.

I slept most of the day.  I feel better now, but I’m heading straight to bed.  Treek made me try coffee from his new fancy-dancy coffee maker.  I’m hoping I can get to sleep.  I never drink coffee.

Wish me luck!

The Shade – A review

I don’t commonly review comics anymore.  I rarely review a mini-series after two issues.  But here is the thing.  I am hearing rumours that The Shade is in danger of being cancelled.

The Shade is good.  Scheduled as a 12 issues series, I affirm that it will be good for all 12 issues.

Issue #3 comes out tomorrow.  Y’all should go out, but the issue.  But #1 and #2 if you can.  Cause a sell-through and force re-orders.  This will not be a charitable event.  You should also be donating to charities.  This will be something else.  A little present to yourself.  Obviously there aren’t enough people enjoying it now.

The Shade is the second series starring the debonair villain of the same name.  It is written by James Robinson and has art by Cully Hamner.  For those of you new to comics, The Shade was a supporting character in the Robinson helmed series Starman in the 90s.  The climax of that series, a tale called The Grand Guignol, was essentially a big Shade story.

Since then The Shade has played bit parts in a couple titles.  Mostly he has sat in his apartment in Opal City drinking tea, wearing dark glasses and reminiscing about his 150 years of adventures.  Shade’s life of villainy is long past.  Even his little outings to taunt his old foes – The Flash especially – are a thing of the past.  Heck, he is dating a police officer.

Start the series – and start it with a bang – a gunfight on the streets of Germany.  And the Shade gets drawn in.

You could read the series only for the writing.  James Robinson is showing the chops that made people like The Golden Age and Starman.  It is an intriguing mix of high octane action, mystery and the Shade’s unique approach to problem solving.  Robinson has been back writing in the DCU for a few years now and this is the strongest his writing has been in that time.  The series doesn’t feel like Starman.  It doesn’t feel like the first Shade mini-series.  But it has that magic.

You could read the series only for the art.  Cully Hamner – I don’t understand why this fellow isn’t a star.  There are only a few mainstream comic artists working in a cartoony style.  Marcos Martin, Amanda Conner, and Cully Hamner are all at the top of that list for me.  It is clear.  It is energetic.  It is pretty.  It is awesome.  In five years, things Hamner touches turn into hits.  Red was turned into a major motion-picture.  The Blue Beetle became a hit on the animated series using his designs.

But you should be reading for the combination.  Comics are collaborative and this one works.  It works well.  Not like clockwork – it works like a relationship.

And the story isn’t half-bad either.