Tuesday, July 19, 2005


is the name of the game lately. Going from owning and living in a townhouse to owning a home on a decent sized piece of property with a pool is a pretty big change. In a townhouse, no outside work really needs to be done, you can just go to the pool and not worry about cleaning it, the management company for the townhouse complex handles all of it. When you own a house, if you want the grass to look nice, go out and buy a lawnmower and cut it yourself. If you want to swim in your pool, vacuum it at the very least every other day. The house isn't/wasn't in bad condition, it just wasn't really maintained, so Mrs. Blog o' Stuff and I have been basically cleaning it and getting into a condition we consider a bit more liveable. It is all worth it though, when I look out my front window and see a nice patch of grass between my house and the street, settle down into my new living room with a cold Yeungling after a long day and say, holy shit, this is all ours.

In the midst of all the moving back and forth (after five years together, my wife and I have a lot more crap than I initially assumed), I missed two shows I really enjoy two weeks ago: Justice League Unlimited and Family Guy. However, I did catch new episodes of both shows this past weekend. As always, FG was laugh-out-loud funny. The references this show makes are so hilarous due to their obscurity and how they come from seemingly no-where. At the start of the episode, Chris gets pulled into the a-ha video "Take on Me," but the one that got me the most was Peter reading The Neverending Story and riding the big white luck dragon, and the dragon summarily crashing. Odd timing with that one, since the film was on HBO in the morning. The Neverending Story is one of the movies I had to watch every now and again growing up and one I still enjoy. I keep intending to get the Michael Ende novel, which differs from the film.

JLU, though it was a two-parter and I missed the first part, was wonderful. Like others have said, Dwayne McDuffie, the writer of the series, should really be writing more of the comics. In addition to being a well told story, that brought elements from the previous episodes (as well as the earlier Batman and Superman Animated series) together, the resolution of the story was brought about by my favorite comic book character, The Flash. In essence, this episode could have been a Flash highlight show. At one point, Lex/Braniac send out Doppelgängers of the big 7, and the Flash's opposite number was in yellow, just like the Reverse Flash. The first JL member to dispose of their Doppelgänger was the Flash. After Lex/Braniac takes out the other 6, he taunts the Flash and in his hubris, Lex thinks Flash has run away. Well, he did, he just happened to run aroun the globe at top speed to only come back and bash Lex. Flash continues this and eventually defeats the supervillian, by disassembling the Braniac armor at high speed. Most of the episodes play Wally/Flash as a clown, but every couple of episodes, McDuffie and company remind viewers why the Flash is one of the big 7 and just how powerful he can be.

On the reading front, it took me a while, but I got through the second Del Rey Conan offering by the great Robert E. Howard, The Bloody Crown of Conan. Excellent stuff here. The stories are great fun and Conan is more than the perceived dumb barbrian who only uses his brawn to achieve his goals. Don't get me wrong, Conan often does employ his physical strength and power, but he also uses his brain, too. The highight of the book was The Hour of the Dragon, Howard's only novel-length Conan story. Conan leaps off the page, but conversely, Howard does a great job giving off a dark, and eldritch mood in the stories and really setting the reader in Conan's world. Even if I'm preaching to the choir here, it is worth mentioning these books both because of the wonderful reading experience they impart and importance to the Fantasy and Science Fiction genre. Anybody reading today's fantasy should run out or click to amazon and order either this or the first Conan volume, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian.

However, I'm very hesitant about the new Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. On one hand, they could be seen simply as pastiches, but on the other, it looks as if the writers and Conan properties are both trying to create new characters. I know very little of the writers, save that Richard Knaak wrote some of the early DragonLance novels and that Jeff Mariotte has had his hands in a lot of FSF media properties. Its tough to say what these books will do, but on the surface they seem like yet another media/franchised property a la Forgotton Realms or Star Wars. I have seen little response to these books anywhere, aside from the amazon reviews and this less than favorable review at Swordandsorcery.org.

So, in summation, even though I just moved into a bigger house and have more adult responsibilities, I'm still just a 13-year old who likes to watch cartoons.

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