Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Truthiness, HA! HA!

I've been watching The Daily Show for a while now and two of my favorite people from that show are no longer on the show, and haven't been for a while. Steve Carrell was always funny on the show, and he is now all over the place in films and being the most hilarious asshole of a boss on The Office.

His sparring partner from Even Stevphen now has a great show following The Daily Show - The Colbert Report. Thanks to BoingBoing, I came across Colbert's recent interview in The Onion. Of course the interview tuoches upon Truthiness and surprisingly, Stephen R. Donaldson and Poul Anderson, albeit briefly. Colbert was always funny and I always enjoyed the segments when he and Jon Stewart were unable to hold their laughter. I also thought the Even Stevphen bit with a drunk Steve Carrell was hilarious, too. Anway, I think it is cool to see both of them doing well now.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Interview and Beer

I posted my interview with Charlie Huston, which I thought turned out pretty well. I hope people who read it feel the same way. In addition to the excellent vampire novel he wrote, he is writing a Moon Knight series for Marvel comics. MK is a character I never gave a wit about, but because of how much I enjoyed Already Dead and what Charlie said in his interview, I'll be picking up, at the very least, the first issue.

On a completely unrelated note, I love beer. I enjoy going to brewpubs whenever I can, and sampling the various brewpubs across the country is about the only thing I miss from one of my former jobs. Mrs. Blog o' Stuff and I went to two brewpubs in Hawaii on our honeymoon, and when I traveled more extensively for business, I ate and drank at brewpubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Columbus, OH; Atlanta, GA; Savannah, GA: Reno, NV; New Castle, DE; and few when I was in Indianapolis, IN. In my travels, I have found brewpubs, more often than not, offer a great sampling of local cuisine, in addition to good to great beer.

All that said, there are a quite few good brewpubs here in New Jersey, too. My wife and I had our rehearsal dinner at Harvest Moon in New Brunswick. I like that one quite a bit, even though they change up their menu too often. Some other great ones in New Jersey are the Long Valley Pub and Brewery, JJ Bitting Brewing Company, Triumph Brewing Company, and the Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill and Brewery. Great ones just outside of NJ are the Porterhouse Brewery I mentioned a couple of weeks ago and the Independence Brew Pub in Philly and couple up in New England like the Union Station Brewery in RI and Redbones BBQ Beer bar in Somerville, MA. know I'm only touching the tip of the iceberg here, but suffice it to say, I have a pretty easy time of finding great beer near where I live.

I could go on much longer about all the great microbrews, but that would easily surpass the length of today's post. Some other day when the beer whimsy strikes again, I'll do a little write up about those beers.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

DC Fanboy

While I am less than wowed by who will be starting up the new Flash series relaunch from DC, I am in utter fanboy joy about who will be writing/pencilling Detective Comics and Superman.

I also think the last arc on The Flash was a pretty lame way to end the series. I like that Vandal Savage, the villain from the first arc on this volume of the Flash closed it out, but the story was just sort tacked on and very pedestrian. I thought the art was a huge stepdown from the two previous pencillers - Howard Porter and Scott Kolins.

That is all for now.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Meme and Moya

Happy Belated 100th Birthday to Robert E. Howard!

I've been tagged by Mahesh Raj Mohan for the "Five Weird Habits" meme.

The Rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits" and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don't forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says "You have been tagged" (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

1) I will eat, or try, almost any food. Just ask my family and friends, I’m a voracious eater. However, two foods make me want to vomit – grapefruits and Swiss cheese.

2) I’ve been going to the gym, working out a few times a week for about 8 or 9 years now. In that time, I’ve gone to 3 of the gyms on the Rutgers campuses, and I’ve had three gym memberships. One thing has annoyed me to no end at all of these gyms – when people pick up the dumbbells and do their sets right in front of the whole rack of weights, blocking that section of weights from anybody else who wants to use them. It is rude and inconsiderate, and I always secretly wish those people would drop the dumbbells on their toes.

3) Whenever I’m drinking a bottle of beer, I almost always peel off the label. I give myself extra points for peeling it off in one piece.

4) I never use the urinal in the men’s bathroom, unless it is an absolutely painful bladder emergency. I’ll go in the toilet stall and close the door. Color me crazy for not wanting to stand less than a foot away from a wall of pee.

5) I often use the cap of a pen to clean the wax out of my ears. Q-tips just don’t cut it.

I’m tagging Nate, Nimea, Joe, Pat, and Tom.

And remember, GO JOIN/VOTE at SFFWORLD for your favorite FSF book of 2005!

You scored as Moya (from Farscape). You are surrounded by muppets. But that is okay because they are your friends and have shown many times that they can be trusted. Now if only you could stop being bothered about wormholes.

Coming on December 1, 2005:

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? The Sequel

Moya (from Farscape)


SG-1 (from Stargate)


Serenity (from Firefly)


Nebuchadnezzar (from The Matrix)


Millennium Falcon (from Star Wars)


Galactica (from Battlestar: Galactica)


Enterprise D (from Star Trek)


Bebop (from Cowboy Bebop)


Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? v1.0
created with QuizFarm.com

That works, I guess. I loved FarScape and I'm having a lot of fun re-watching the show on DVD with Mrs. Blog o' Stuff, you can't go wrong with the Henson Creature Shop. Stargate SG-1? Eh, I watch it now and again, it's OK, though I'd rather be on Serenity, especially with Inarra.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Booky post

Finished up Mike Resnick's Starship: Mutiny a couple of days ago and posted the review today. I liked this one a lot, I'm glad there will be more books following the crew of the Teddy R. This was a big improvement over the Star Wars book I read just before it, almost a night and day comparsion.

Keeping with the media-related franchise fantasy theme, I finished Homeland by R.A. Salvatore - the first book of the Legend of Drizzt and the first book of his Dark Elf Trilogy. I never read these books before, so I was hoping I wouldn't be let down by what a lot of people consider lesser fantasy. I enjoyed the book, thought there were some good, gripping action scenes. I cut my teeth on the DragonLance books when I was in middle school, and for whatever reason, I just never picked up the Forgotten Realms novels.

I'm about 50 pages into Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton for review and so I have a clue what is going on in Judas Unchained, which I will also be reviewing. Pandora's Star is also the February book in the Science Fiction Book Club at sffworld.com.

That's one of the many things I love about Fantasy and Science Fiction, the variety of different imaginative melieus.

Wednesday's episode of Lost was pretty surprising. I didn't expect the encounter that occurred in the jungle, it really caught me off guard. Good stuff all around on the episode.

Lastly, go DEVILS, 8 in a row!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lions, Vaders, and Vampyres - Oh My!

I saw Narnia earlier today. It took a bit to get going, but once it did, I really enjoyed it. The last 30 minutes or so were excellent and the visuals were really good. Mrs. Blog o' Stuff thought the Christian symbolism was a bit heavy handed and kept noting the similarities between it and LOTR.

I posted some new reviews and an interview at SFFWorld.com on Friday:

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Vampires in NYC, Wizards in Chicago, & Lost

Gabe, SF’s agent provocateur and Internet-transient moves yet again.

I finished up Charlie Huston’s Already Dead yesterday. The short of it – it was a fun book that once the plot really picked up, was tough to put down. The long of it comes when I finish up the review in the next couple of days, but I would recommend it.

Earlier in the week I finished up Jim Butcher’s first Dresden Files novel – Storm Front. I was finally pushed over the edge to get my hands on a copy of the book and read it after Hobbit published a positive review of the UK edition for SFFWorld a couple of months ago. On the whole, I liked it and I think Jim’s got his hooks in me for at least the next couple of books. The books are in the Laurell K. Hamilton vein of fantastic creatures and magic in our world. I stopped reading the Anita Blake novels after the fourth or fifth installment, something about the incessant details of Anita’s wardrobe and the sliding of the novels into softcore porn didn’t agree with me. Granted, I like softcore porn as much as the next guy, maybe more, and probably too much. But when I want that, I’ll watch Skinimax at midnight.

Anyway, Butcher seems to have a better sense of humor about his writing and the first person narrative he uses with Harry feels very natural. I like the supporting cast, and the details of the supernatural society of which Harry Dresden is a part. If the next few Dresden Files agree with me, and I’ve heard from book 3 on the series just gets better, I might make my way over to Butcher’s BFF saga Codex Alera. If any of my faithful readers can opine on those books, drop a few words down in the comments.

Oh, and the first book of The Dresden Files is being turned into a SciFi Channel pilot/movie/miniseries. Jim Butcher seems pretty happy with what they are doing.

And what would a Thursday post be without some comments on the previous night’s episode of Lost? Well, I liked it and was glad to see some focus on the mysterious Mr. Eko. However it was pretty easy to be a couple of steps ahead of where they were going with his back-story. Still, I thought it was an effective and enjoyable episode that leaves me wanting for more.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Comics and Beer

I haven’t been hitting the comic shop nearly as regularly lately, at least for the past couple of months. Holiday shopping and all sorts of things for the house have precluded any extra comics spending. However, I did acquire a few trades/graphic novels for Christmas. I’m slowly making my way through the ones on my sidebar. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago on my last visit to the store, I picked up Testament #1 by Douglas Rushkoff and Liam Sharp. I’d seen the preview for this in a recent issue of Fables and liked the art. Liam has taken to hanging out in the sffworld forums, too. Well, what did I think? As first issues go, I think they did a good job of setting up the story and the characters. The opening pages of a flashback, of sorts, segueing into the present storyline was effective. The world they lay out is familiar and eerie – religious overtones mixed with PKD-paranoia – is reminiscent of a Big Brother controlled world. Sharp’s art is quite effective and his art really shines on the closing pages of this issue. I liked his art on the Possessed mini-series from a couple of years ago and his high quality pencils, seemingly inspired by HP Lovecraft imagery is equally suited here. I’ll definitely be picking up the second issue, and chances are, I’ll be adding it to my pull-list.

Under the tree were some choice goodies. In addition to the books on the sidebar (Hellboy, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams), I also received the first volume of George Perez’s run on Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals. I have always liked his art, especially his rendition of Wonder Woman. I didn’t pick up these issues when they first came out nearly 20 years ago, but since getting into Rucka’s Wonder Woman (ease up perverts), I wanted to see where it all started. Of course, the art is great – George draws Olympus and its gods with the greatness they deserve. Some of the plot elements in the first issue reminded me of Gladiator, which is odd considering the book predated the film. Anyway, if Joss Whedon is still looking for a great hook on his movie, he need look no further than this volume. The story nicely captures the mythic feel inherent in Wonder Woman’s character, and firmly establishes a status quo for the character as superhero in the modern world of the late 80s. With this in mind, I’m hoping the new Wonder Woman series that starts up after Infinite Crisis isn’t a clusterfuck. On a side note, here is a nice overview of Rucka’s Wonder Woman.

Over the weekend, I finished my chapter/issue a day re-read of Watchmen. I don’t think I can add to what many, many, many, many, others have already said, save for a couple of thought-bits. Even after reading it a number of times, Moore and Gibbons still surprised me with certain things. I was also able to appreciate the synchronicity of recurring images in each of the chapters and characters, particularly the look of awed involvement on Doc Manhattan’s face early when Laurie is talking to him, Dan’s similar look again in the company of Laurie as he is trying to deduce the mystery behind the masked killer, and the same look on Veidt’s face as he views the monitors showing the world and the world reacting to his master joke. One of my favorite lines from the book:

Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.

Lastly, Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff and I went out to dinner with my parents just over the border in Pennsylvania at the Porterhouse Restaurant and Brew Pub. The have River Horse on tap, a microbrewery out of Lambertville, NJ. One of the beers I had, their award-winning Triple Horse had to be one of the best beers I’ve ever had on tap, it was smooth and delicious. However, it is 10% alcohol, which is more than double the normal beer. With two of those in my belly, a third beer and a huge burger, my stomach was ready to explode, but it was worth it.

Friday, January 06, 2006


I mentioned this book late last year*, but I really think it is worth mentioning again. Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology is being published later this year by Tor Books. Granted, I know one of the editors (Steven Savile) through our activities at sffworld, but this is an impressive and important book nonetheless. With all new stories, the list of contributors is quite impressive, from honored writers such as Brian Aldiss, Larry Niven to more recent standouts such as Jacqueline Carey and Martha Wells all topped off with an introduction by none other than Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

Proceeds will go to the efforts in rebuilding after last year’s devastating Tsunami in Southeast Asia. I’ll be mentioning this one again, but keep it in mind – good fantasy and science fiction stories for a good cause.

*It still feels odd using that phrase, it often takes me until at least February, usually March to stop using the previous year when writing down the date.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year & New Review

With 2006 underway, why not start it off with my first book review of the year? In this case Tobias Buckell's fun, inventive debut novel, Crystal Rain. The short of it is that I liked it a lot, for the long of it here's the review.

Mark/Hobbit and I had a nice e-mail conversation over the better part of December, summing up our thoughts on what the year of 2005 brought us in Fantasy and Science Fiction. It turned out pretty well, I think, take a look.

Spent a nice, relaxing New Year's Eve with Mrs. Blog o' Stuff last night. New Year's Eve doesn't hold the same party-magic it once did. I went to NYC one year for New Year's, it was rainy, cold and a long night. Once was more than enough for me. I've spent many of New Year's Eves less than sober, so relaxing last night was good. I think last year will be tough to top, what with Mrs. Blog o' Stuff and I moving into the new house and all, but either way, 2006 will hopefully bring many good things to us, as well as all of you.

Mrs. Blog o' Stuff's Christmas theme this year for my gifts was Beer and Hockey, I got a bunch of cool Guinness swag, as well as other assorted beer and hockey apparrel. Who am I to complain? The parental units, through various Christmas gifts, are continuing to help build up the Man-room in the basement to something very cool, keeping with the beer and NY Yankee theme and a brand new TV/DVD/VCR combo. And of course, what would Christmas have been without some FarScape DVDs and Absolute Watchmen? Nice, obviously, but all of these cool gifts just iced the cake.

And remember, GO JOIN/VOTE at SFFWORLD for your favorite FSF book of 2005