Random Thoughts

/ Geek Stuff, TV /

I’ve been trying to think up an excuse for not posting for two weeks and, well, I haven’t come up with one yet. I’m pretty sure that I’ve just been lazy. Yeah, that’s not a great excuse, but that’s life for you. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing; I just want to go to bed. Is that too much to ask? I hope not.

Anyways, during the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve thought of a whole bunch of geeky things that I really need to post about, but instead of actually posting about any of those things now, I’m just going to post the list of things that I will post about later. (And you thought I couldn’t get any lazier).

  1. Supernatural – Jinkies, Supernatural is one awesome show. My brother and I have watched the first five seasons on Neftlix and I still can’t get over how much I enjoyed it. We just demolished the series. I really wanted to tear into season 6, but that’s proving difficult. Sad face :(
  2. Warehouse 13 – After we finished Supernatural, we were looking for something else to watch. I had watched the first few episodes of Warehouse 13 season 1 back when it originally aired and found it to be a pretty fun show. Then I attended the panel at Comic-Con and decided that I needed to catch up. Now, I’ve finished season 1 and I’m just waiting for season 2 to come out on DVD.
  3. X-Files – I’ve been watching season 1 of the X-Files on instant watch (through Netflix) in between discs. I’m about 3/4 of the way through and I’ve found it to be pretty interesting despite one horrific theme song/intro.
  4. Castle – Now I’ve moved onto Castle. Not sci-fi so much, but it does have Nathan Fillion and I think that makes up for anything else it lacks. Very enjoyable so far!
  5. The Wise Man’s Fear – I finished The Name of the Wind a few weeks ago and loved it. Even though I have a bunch of unread books sitting on my bookshelf right now, I decided to skip them and go straight for the sequel. Review forthcoming!

Ooooo. The last thing I wanted to mention was that I came across a sweet set of action figures today that I don’t think I can pass on buying. I haven’t bought an action figure since I picked up The Man in Black and Jacob (from LOST) at Comic-Con, but I think it’s time to make another $20-some splurge. That’s right, Scott Pilgrim action figures.

Sure, they only have Scott (poor Ramona), but both figures look really sweet and I think they’ll look even more amazing on my desk!

The best deal I’ve seen is at Entertainment Earth. They have the pair for $24. Not bad.

What I Read in 2010

/ Books /

2010 was a good year for reading. I stumbled upon some great series and continued reading some others that I have enjoyed for years. I even found time to read a classic or two that I’ve had on my list for a quite awhile.

In the end, I read 17 novels and 6 graphic novels in 2010. That’s one novel (and six graphic novels) over 2009. Those 23 novels totaled 9301 words, compared to 2009’s 6939. You can see even more stats at goodreads.com.

So I think I can be happy with the amount I read, but even more so, I’m happy with the quality. I ended up ranking everything I read between 3 and 5 stars, with 5 claiming the greatest number of novels. Here’s the breakdown:

3 Stars

  1. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  2. The Dispossed: An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula K. Le Guin
  3. God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

4 Stars

  1. Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
  2. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
  3. Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
  4. Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher
  5. Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher
  6. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
  7. Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  8. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
  9. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

5 Stars

  1. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  2. Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
  3. Changes by Jim Butcher
  4. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  6. Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  7. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  8. Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  9. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  10. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  11. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Assassin’s Apprentice

Assassin’s Apprentice is the first book in the Farseer Trilogy and I thought it was fantastic. Fitz was such an amazing character–it was impossible not to related to him on some level. I really liked the magic system as well–it was nice to see something a bit more subtle. Really excellent.

The Dresden Files

Turn Coat was great, but I was also very impressed with Changes. Just as the title suggests, Jim Butcher introduced some major plot twists in this novel, the biggest coming on the first and last pages. I won’t say more so as not to spoil, but I will say that I can’t wait to read Ghost Story, which is slated for an April release.

Scott Pilgrim

I’ve talked a lot about Scott Pilgrim on this blog. In short, I saw the movie, I loved it. Then I read the comics, I loved them too. They really spoke to the hipster inside me that I didn’t even realize was there.

Mistborn

I had been dying to read something by Brandon Sanderson for some time and this novel came to me with high acclaim. Despite all the hype, Mistborn lived up. The characters were fantastic and the magic system was so creative. I bought the whole trilogy and I can’t wait to dig into the next one.

The Hunger Games

Of the 5 stars, I really loved them all, but The Hunger Games was probably the biggest surprise. I really had no idea what I was in for–it was just so engaging; I couldn’t put it down until I was finished.

As I mentioned, I really lucked out in 2010 and read a lot of novels that I really enjoyed. I’ve already locked up several novels that I can’t wait to tear into in 2011 and I’m anticipating another great year in reading. I’m planning another blog already where I discuss what’s in store!

2010 in Review

/ Books, Geek Stuff, Movies, TV /

With the coming of the new year, I decided to reflect on the books I read and the movies and television that I watched in 2010.

Books

Best Reads

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  3. Changes by Jim Butcher
  4. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Best Surprise

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Changes by Jim Butcher

Biggest Disappointment

  1. Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  2. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Best Character

  1. Winner: Kelsier (from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn)
  2. Runner up: Fitz (from Robin Hobb’s Farseer series)

Movies

Best Movie

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
  3. Inception
  4. Tron Legacy

Most Anticipated Movie

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Television

Best Television Show

  1. Lost
  2. Chuck

Best New Television Show

  1. The Event

Best “New to Me” Television Show

  1. Supernatural
  2. Arrested Development

Best Good Guy

  1. Chuck (Chuck)
  2. Hurley (Lost)

Best Bad Guy

  1. The Man in Black (Lost)
  2. Volkov (Chuck)

Hottest Lady

  1. Greta (Summer Glau) on Chuck
  2. Sarah on Chuck

So long 2010 and thanks for all the fish.

Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour

/ Graphic Novels /

Over the summer, the Comic-Con hype for Scott Pilgrim vs The World inspired to see the feature film in theater and, man, was I blown away. I loved the characters, the plot, the concepts, the humor, and the graphics. Overall, I just thought it was sweet.

I liked it so much that it left me wondering if Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels that inspired the film could be as good or perhaps even better. I’ve never been a big comic guy and I wasn’t sure if I would really find the experience as enjoyable. But I was wrong.

I decided to snag the first volume, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, off Amazon and I found it to be a lot fun. I was surprised at how closely the movie followed the graphic novel. A lot of the dialog was word for word. Unfortunately, that meant that my experience wasn’t particularly unique, but it was still enjoyable.

In fact, I enjoyed the first volume enough that I bought the next two, Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness. I think the second volume was even better than the first. There was much more variation between the second volume and the movie. In the film, the plot had to keep rolling and actually pick up steam, but in the graphic novels, O’Malley was able to take more time to develop the characters and really tell the story.

The third volume was also really well done and I really started to get excited about the series. My next purchase from Amazon included the final three volumes and I got them for a steal. Seriously, if you are thinking about reading the series, don’t hesitate. Just buy them individually from Amazon. I swear, every time I look, they are even cheaper. I’m guessing that the publisher ordered way too many copies assuming increased sales because of the movie, but, instead, I think there are just a ton of unsold copies in circulation and Amazon is selling them dirt cheap as of this writing.

It’s hard for me to really describe why I liked the series so much. I’m not really a hipster and I don’t really fall into the same social clique as the characters, but I’m pretty close in age and perhaps that is enough for me to relate to the characters and the story. Really, I think if you live in the world today, that’s enough for you to relate to the story.

Joss Whedon described it really well in a quote that was included on the back cover of the final novel, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour:

Scott Pilgrim is the best book ever. It is the chronicle of our time. With Kung Fu, so yeah: perfect.”

Seriously, the writing is amazingly witty, the characters are charming (each in his or her own way) and well-developed, and the story is a roller-coaster of action-packed battles, hilarious dialog, and innocent romance. I just don’t know how you could ask for more.

O’Malley is really creative about his used of space. There is content everywhere–on the back of the front cover and straight through to the back cover. He also has such a creative way of telling the story. For example, he includes the chords to one of Sex Bob Omb’s songs in the first volume and in another (second, I think) he actually includes the full instructions for a vegan dinner.

In the end, I found the entire series to be a blast. I wasn’t super amazed with the conclusion (I almost like the end to the movie a little best), but that barely detracts from the series. I’m pretty sure I’ll find myself reading these again and again, which will be easy, because they don’t take very long to read.

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life: The Review

/ Graphic Novels /

So I saw Scott Pilgrim vs The World in the theater a couple weeks ago and I thought it was pretty awesome. So awesome in fact that I decided to check out the comic series and purchased the first volume on Amazon.com. Though my package wasn’t delivered by a cute girl on rollerblades, I was still happy to receive it and was not disappointed with the contents.

The first volume is 168 pages and I think I read it in about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. It sets up our protagonist Scott Pilgrim, a lazy, unemployed bassist living somewhere in Canada, and concludes with his fight with the first of Ramona Flower’s seven evil exes, Matthew Patel. By falling for the spunky, rollerblading delivery girl, Scott has signed on to do battle with a league of evil ex-boyfriends, which sets the stage for the rest of the series that recently concluded after six volumes.

So what did I think of the comic?

I thought it was fun. There was a decent amount of humor and I really enjoyed the story. One thing in particular that I thought was really cool was that the author, Bryan Lee O’Malley, even included the chords to the song that Scott’s band (Sex Bob Omb) performs. I might just have to dust off my guitar and give it a whirl.

So how does it compare to the movie?

Honestly, I think the entertainment value is pretty similar, though, obviously, the experiences are a lot different. I was a little surprised at just how similar it was to the movie in fact. The dialog is almost word-for-word, adding and subtracting very little. I thought the filmmakers did a really good job capturing all of the details and creativity. I’ve seen some criticism about the choice of Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, but I enjoyed the way he played the part when I saw the film and, after reading the first volume, he seemed to play it true to the comic.

Hopefully, I’ll be getting the second volume pretty soon!

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

/ Graphic Novels /

So I saw Scott Pilgrim vs The World during its opening weekend and I was pretty much blown away. I loved the story and really enjoyed the creative way it was told. The video game and pop culture elements were well done and gave the movie a unique quality.

Leaving the theater, I kept thinking about how much I really enjoyed the experience. I didn’t really know what to expect going in so I was completely unprepared for just how funny and just fun the movie ended up being.

Since then, little scenes or lines from the movie have continued to pop into my head at random times and I find myself smiling or even chuckling. So last night, I finally broke down and dropped $6.59 for the first volume of the comic book that inspired the movie, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life. The book will be in my hands on Thursday and I can’t wait!

I am a little worried though. Like any normal kid growing up, I read comics, but not consistently. I wouldn’t buy them regularly so, when I did, I’m pretty sure I just picked out whatever had the coolest cover art. I have never really been able to quite get into comics; it is one of the lacking aspects of my otherwise impressive geek cred. I mean, I totally respect the work that goes into them and I’ve definitely enjoyed the deluge of recent comic book inspired movies, but I’ve never found a series that has really drawn me in. I’m hoping that I’ve just been reading the wrong stuff, because I really want to like the Scott Pilgrim comic as much as I enjoyed the movie.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

/ Movies /

Last night, my brother and I decided to go see Scott Pilgrim, a movie that I knew almost nothing about, but was drawn to by solid reviews and a huge amount of hype coming out of Comic-Con. If I had to describe the film in one word, it would be AWESOME.

Enormous Scott Pilgrim ad on the side of the Hilton

I really didn’t have any idea what to expect going in, but the experience left me thoroughly entertained. Not only was there great action, special effects, and humor, the film also had an excellent plot with thoughtful dialog. But perhaps the best part was that it was FUN from beginning to end.

The way the story was told was so creative. There was this ever-present video game vibe throughout the movie that I thought worked really well. For example, every time Scott got into a fight, it felt like a scene out of Mortal Kombat and every opponent that he defeated would burst into an explosion of coins. Then, there was this other scene where they played the Seinfeld theme and interjected sitcom-style laughter. It was really random and was pretty brief, but it was really amusing.

Another thing that I liked was how everyone was just able to kick some serious ass and that was all just well and normal. Getting punched through a brick wall wasn’t really that big a deal. Maybe it hurt a little, but was typical in a bare-knuckles brawl. The writers didn’t try to explain it; that’s just how things were.

On top of all the afore mentioned awesomeness, the film was also a great love story. I know that seems sappy, but I really liked how everything Scott faced was to win the heart of a girl.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. So much so, that I could almost go see it again or perhaps check out the comic book series.