Monday, January 30, 2006

My DCBS Order for January 2006

(Almost forgot to post this...)

An very heavy month for me, in a literal sense. Here's what I ordered:

  • Alias Omnibus HC ($34.95 on DCBS)

  • Another set of trades that I had been considering getting was the Alias trades that Marvel produced. They are the predule (of sorts) to The Pulse (which I ordered the first 2 trades of last month), and also tangentially relate to the New Avengers. This follows Jessica Jones, a former super-hero, and her fall into a not so very nice life. It is very highly rated, and this month brings a hardcover Omnibus, which reprints every page of every issue of the Alias run. All 28 issues, including letters page. It is 700+ pages in total, and will give the DHL driver a hernia when he carries it to my front door.. Especially when it's in the same box as everything else I ordered.

  • Invincible Ultimate Collection: Volume 2 HC ($20.99 on DCBS)

  • I've already got and read Volume 1, and my hope is that when Volume 2 arrives, I'm only a couple of issues behind the monthly, because I really want to buy this monthly. Kirkman has created a great character and world around him. He gets into some parody of the typical superhero comic, while still keeping the book a superhero comic. (Kinda like the Scream franchise did with horror.) It is a very fun read and I would highly recommend it to anybody who enjoys the superhero comic books.

  • Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition Volume 1 ($10.19 on DCBS)

  • After the disappointment that was the "All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe" (in short - if you want stuff about important characters in the Marvel universe, but the team oriented books that came out in 2004/2005), I need a good fix of obscure history that I don't have to stay online to read and this should give it. It's a reprint of the Handbooks that came out in 1988/89.

  • Drax the Destroyer: Earthfall TPB ($6.59 on DCBS)

  • Initially, I included this because it was the most expensive trade that I was interested in that would also keep me under the magic $50 USD mark in spending for the month. That got blown away by the inclusion of Invincible and the Essential OHOTMU, but I did want to read this. It's apparently a really good book.

  • Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk Prelude TPD ($8.39 on DCBS)

  • I might grow to hate this purchase, but I want to see if I have any interest in reading the Planet Hulk storyline or not.

    Looking at Previews for next month, things will probably be Marvel centric again. DC does a horrible job of trading their ongoing series and to be honest, it bothers me a lot. At the very least, they could follow Marvel's new cash grab plan - release a hardcover very soon after an arc is finished in a series, and then release an identical TPB a couple of months later. (For example, Spider-Man: The Other is solicited next month, and will hit hardcover in April.) If people want to stay current, they will have to make a series a monthly purchase, but if they don't you can get them with a slightly more expensive trade in HC, or they have to wait longer to get it in the cheaper TPB.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Sizing Up the Survivors - First Impressions Part 2

    (Part 1 can be found here for those who missed it.)

    Moving on to the young men tribe, one can only hope that they bring the crazy.


    It's never a good sign when your biography is very short. He is probably a very good athlete, being a former professional basketball player. But he's got an MBA and is a Yoga Instructor? Flighty comes to mind. Very likely an early boot.


    A slightly longer bio than Aras, but still pretty short. He played Div I soccer in University, which brings me to a theme thus far - almost all of the contestants have been competitive athletes at one point in their lives. What's up with that?

    He's a published author and is also a model. And his sister is currently Miss Teen USA (a very weak link to Misty...). I'd imagine he's going to be one of "those guys". You know, they get the boot kinda early on, and when you see them on the reunion special, you go "Oh yeah, he was on the show!"


    Another shortish bio. At least he isn't a collegiate athlete.

    He's probably going to be the amusing crazy guy in the start of the season. Here's his reason for wanting to participate in Survivor:

    He wants to be on SURVIVOR so he can travel, learn about himself in a difficult situation and meet smart, beautiful women.

    If you don't want to compete, you're going to get voted out soon. And while his meeting "smart, beautiful women" should be good for a laugh, eventually it's going to grow old. So he's going to be able to travel and learn about himself on the Loser's trips that occur for everybody who gets the boot pre-Jury.


    Decent sized bio, which is good. He's a lawyer, so he should be able to use his ability to make arguments to solidify any alliances or votes. And he's got the touching back story about living in South Central and making the most of his life. He's going to be one of the stars of the show, regardless of where he ends up.

    I'd put him in the final four. He might not have the athletic background, but with his personality and other skills, he's going to be a contender.

    Next up: the older women.

    Sizing up the Survivors - First Impressions Part 1

    Something that I thought would be fun is if I blogged what my first impressions were of every player in the upcoming season of Survivor. (I use the term fun loosely because I'm sure whatever I say here will be held against me after my impressions are proven to be wrong.)

    So I'll break these first impressions into each of the 4 tribes, starting with the old men tribe. Up first, Bruce.


    Mr. Miyiagi! He seems like he is going to be a fun person to hang around with. And he has the built in advantage that he is the oldest Survivor, so he will be looked upon as the grandfather type figure. But if he shows any sort of physical weakenss, he's going to be getting the boot.

    (As an aside, if I had been bitten by a rattle snake three years ago, I don't think I would be going on Survivor, well, ever.)


    This is the guy who's gotten the most pre-show press. Dan is a retired astronaut. He seems like he's kept himself in good shape, and the draw of being an astronaut might be enough to keep him around for a good length of time. From there, he's got a boat load of degrees in various engineering fields, which might show us a bit of a logical side. If he can take that logical side and apply it to Survivor, he could be a top contender to win.


    His picture screams "first out" to me. Throw in that he is 10 years younger than anybody else in the tribe and he's in a lot of trouble. Another hint on his status is that his bio is very short. He has the dreaded reference to his application. And he named his son Boston.

    The only thing going for him is his background in promoting events. If he can somehow translate that into a group environment, he would be a multi-bazillionaire. But I don't see that happening.


    Another athletic middle-aged dad. A military background. He and Dan have a few things in common. So maybe they make an alliance? Or do they butt heads? I think they get along, but Terry will rub others the wrong way by trying to take a leadership role.

    Next up: Young Men

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Sizing up the Survivors - Game Twists Impressions

    Survivor: Panama is only 10 days away! Yippee! And we know the two main early twists thanks to the CBS website. They are:

    - The Survivors start in 4 tribes of 4 people: Old Men, Old Women, Young Men, Young Women. I'm serious. In fairness nobody looks too old, but since the first challenges tend to be a running relay of some sort, the Old Men and Old Women could be in trouble. Even still, it's a fun twist on the opening which will hopefully not last over the full season.

    - There is another island where each week somebody will be banished to. What causes this banishing, and what it proves, I have no idea. Rumors abound that there might be an immunity idol hidden on the island that the banishees could find. But that's not confirmed. I can't exactly pass judgement on this twist until we are actually told what the twist entails exactly.

    The 4 tribe twist is pretty interesting, especially if they eventually merge into two tribes. You have essentially 4 built in alliances, and it's a matter of whether they can hold up or not. It's as though they took the one interesting idea from All-Stars and tried to see if they could make it better.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    By tomorrow-ish, I meant next week-ish

    The Survivor stuff will be coming out in the next couple of days, I swear.

    In the mean time, let's talk about King of Vegas, which premiered on Tuesday.  The premise of the show is that a group of 12 gamblers are competing in different gambling events to determine who is the King of Vegas.  Every week somebody is eliminated based on being the worst performer.

    In the premiere episode, they divided the gamblers into 2 groups of 6.  The first group of 6 played hands of Blackjack, with the gamblers with the top 3 chip stacks were "Sitting Pretty" (aka exempt from getting eliminated), while the others were left to compete in the next event.  Then the next group of 6 played Caribbean Stud, again with the top 3 chip stacks being "Sitting Pretty".  Then, the remaining 6 players played Roulette, with the top 2 chip stacks "Sitting Pretty".  The final 4 then played No-Limit Texas Hold'Em against one another, with the first two to double their $10,000 chip stacks "Sitting Pretty", leaving the final 2 to play heads up NLHE and the loser to get eliminated.  I assume that next week the games played will be switched up (in the player profiles, they listed each player's strongest game and weakest game.  Among the games mentioned that weren't played were Baccarat and Horse Racing.)

    Some points:

    • I was actually impressed that I knew 3 of the 12 players.  Of course that's because they are all name poker players.  (Mike Matusow, Evelyn Ng and Dave Williams for those who care.)
    • Along those lines, if they do not switch up the elimination rounds to not always be NLHE then the poker players are virtually guaranteed to be the final 3.  Because the other players seem to be very, very weak poker players.  In fact, Matusow seemed to basically say this week "I'll take super risks to get out of this earlier, because I'm pretty confident I will be able to win at NLHE".  And then he did.
    • They should have made it a competition where they play a particular game each week, and then you earn points based on where you finished.  The person with the most points would end up the winner.  But since Reality TV is all about eliminations...
    • The Blackjack game was fun to watch, because Matusow and another black jack player teamed up to try to knock out another player.  This had Matusow taking the hit for the team and losing (getting closer to his strong game of NLHE), while the other player won in their strong game (Blackjack).  It was fascinating to see this worked out by the second or third hand.
    • Caribbean Stud was interesting to watch only because I got to learn how it was played.  Beyond that it's a pretty non-interactive game which is a nice switch.
    • Roulette was pretty boring.  Other than the random hits and the "I'm going to choose the other colour so that somebody gets knocked out" stuff, it isn't that fun to watch at all.
    • Since I didn't mention it before, the production values were okay, except for one obvious screw up that somebody should be fired over if this show ever returns for a second season.  There was a hand in the first part of the NLHE, where Hollywood - the blackjack player who got double-teamed by Matusow and the other blackjack player - held 53o and Joanna W was shown to hold ATc.  The flop came K-5-3.  Joanna W bet, Hollywood went all in, and Joanna called.  Hollywood showed his two pair, and Joanna flipped over A6o!  The worst part is that the graphics telling us what the hands are still listed Joanna W with having ATc.  That is the worst editing I have ever seen.
    • Another thing that bothered me about the hold 'em stuff was the pacing.  The goal is to double up your chip stack to $20,000.  So in the first shown hand, Hollywood takes about $3,000 from Mike Matusow, leaving Matusow with $7,000.  The next shown hand, Matusow is able to go all in and get his $20,000 through Hollywood.  Where did he get the $3,000 from?  The next hand is the one that I discussed, with Joanna W and Hollywood, with Hollywood having enough to cover Joanna W and knock her out.  Where did he get his cash from?  I realize they only have a limited amount of time, but this is the sort of thing that needs to be explained.
    • And finally, Max Kellerman and his co-host were pretty excitable, but they knew nothing about Hold 'Em.  If they are going to continue to use Hold 'Em to eliminate people, they should really get some sort of commentator who knows something about Hold 'Em.

    All in all, I don't mind the show and will continue to watch it.  At the very least, I'll be exposed to more games that I haven't really played before and that will be enjoyable.  But I don't see a second season coming out of this.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    It's back...

    Thursday, February 2nd, 2006 at 8:00pm.

    Be ready.
    Stay healthy.

    (More to come tomorrow-ish)

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    And the other shoe drops

    Cory Koskie is no longer a Blue Jay.

    What's most shocking is how much his stock has dropped, not only in the eyes of the Jays, but all of MLB. I don't get it. Koskie is a good defender, a good hitter and isn't making an huge sum of money ($5 million), and yet he gets traded for a bag of baseballs and the Jays are paying $7 million of his remaining contract. Was his injury last year that much of a concern?

    From the Jays' perspective, it was a trade they had to make. They were going to be spending $15 for a player to DH and 2 players to ride the bench. With their reluctance to trade Shea Hillenbrand (even though he's the most valuable trade piece) and the seemingly negative trade value of Eric Hinske, Koskie was most likely to go. It was also nice of them to trade Koskie so he could play third daily. And the Brewers did a good job on improving themselves relatively cheaply.

    Me? I'm happy because I have a bet on the Brewers to win the World Series in 2006 (60-1 odds; if I knew the Jays were going to go this nuts in the offseason, I would have put a 50-1 wager on them).

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    Best news of the day

    Not Team Canada's 4-0 lead in the gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships, but that the only reason to watch Dancing with the Stars, super hot Ashly DelGrosso is back.

    (Unfortunately, she's paired with Master P after Romeo's knee injury, and Master P made Kenny Mayne look good in comparison.)

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    The most disappointing show of 2005-2006... Rollergirls.

    The concept was actually fun.  It's another reality show, but it was following a female Roller Derby league.  A female Roller Derby league based in smalltown Texas.  A female Roller Derby league based in smalltown Texas with trashy lingerie as uniforms.  So why did it suck?

    • The characters.  I watched, and ultimately, I didn't care about any of the people shown.  Not even the Hunter S. Thompson wannabe who was Venis Envy's boyfriend.  Part of it was because of the way that the game was presented (more on that in a bit), but a lot of it was the way we were introduced to everybody.  Venis Envy was the featured player, and we got to hear her life story.  Honestly, it wasn't that interesting.  Beyond that, we had other players shown at random times in various situations, and we had no concept as to who they or their personality were.  It was as though there was an introductary episode that wasn't aired which explained who most of these people were.
    • The "plot".  It just seemed like they filmed a ton of footage, and then showed what they felt was the most entertaining scenes, with an interspersing of the main "plotline".  I'm putting "plot" and "plotline" in quotations because it was pretty basic.  Venis Envy is a rookie, and is going to play in a game for the first time.  She doesn't know what she's getting herself into.  And that's it.  This went on for 40 minutes!  But hey, one of the teams went out on the town in a limo as a part of a failed win-a-date thingy (don't ask), and the other one takes the opportunity to TP a bunch of the first team's homes.  Exciting!
    • The game itself.  I have some news for people who think that Roller Derby is legitimate competition based on this show:  It isn't.  Roller Derby is as "legitimate" as professional wrestling, and quite honestly it affected my watching of the show.  Building up some sort of rivalry between Lux (the veteran and "star" skater) and Venis Envy (the rookie) and then trying to show it during the game (and only having one sequence where they were directly competing with each other) was weak at best, especially when ultimately, it's all fixed.  (The "scrimmage" between the two teams?  Likely a runthrough.)  It might make for a more interesting show if they actually let on that it was predetermined.  (Edit: It has come to my attention that this could very well be wrong. If it is, then I apologize to all those involved for insuating otherwise.)
    • We get great post-production used to cover up how bush league the actual "game" is.  The announcers are horrible.  The crowd is small, but the crowd noise makes it seems like there are 10,000 people.  And the jams score a lot less points then they appear to, thanks to the editing to show the game as being more exciting.

    I would list the positives, but beyond the top-notch production level of the show therea aren't any.  Highest recommendation to avoid.

    (Hopefully, King of Vegas will not be as disappointing.)

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Glausing over the facts

    (I really need some help with writing headlines)

    So Troy Glaus is a Blue Jay. He's definitely an improvement for the offense, but did he cost too much?

    On the surface, Glaus and prospect Sergio Santos seems like more than a fair return for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista. Hudson was nothing special with the bat, and Batista was one of the more frustrating closers in baseball. And to be honest, I'm not upset to see Batista go. He seems unable or unwilling to drop some of his 10 different pitches to become a better pitcher. But the O-Dawg? He's going to be missed.

    What doesn't get really captured by the statistics is how good Orlando Hudson is with the glove. You could argue that he is the best defensive second baseman in all of baseball, and not be completely off the wall. And with the Jays' pitching staff set up to be a groundball staff, they can use all of the help they can get. But they have downgraded their defense at second and third to improve their offense.

    What's that you say? Third as well? I didn't mention it before, but Glaus has been all but promised the third base job, even though Corey Koskie is the better defender. (And I haven't even gotten into the comedy that is Eric Hinske in the outfield.) I don't know if I like this strategy - I know that I would have much rather the Jays pick up a bat that plays the outfield, where the corners are easily upgraded.

    I will give the Jays this: Glaus is a lot younger than anybody thinks (he's only 29), and if he remains healthy, he's likely to be a very effective bat over the remaining years of the contract. And if they can turn Hinske or Koskie (or Hillenbrand if they should ever decide to trade him) into something positive, then all will not have been lost. Oh, and the re-acquisition of John McDonald (the Minister of Defense) is great.

    Now, where do I get my 2006 tickets?

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    You take the good, you take the bad

    In doing research for my top 100 songs of 2005, I came across this list of the "Top 98" songs of all time. Now I'm not one to disparage anybody else's choices for "best songs", but it is really difficult to accept Josh Groban having performed the 5th best song of all time, even from a Easy Listening station.

    But then again, I look at this list and say "At last, somebody agrees with me that Synchronicity II was the best song from Synchronicity," so what do I know?

    Time Waster of the day

    Paper Plane Throwing Simulator

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    And he didn't try to slip him tongue!

    Added to the list of things to never do: Try to kiss Heath Herring.

    Happy New Year!

    Apparently I haven't posted enough content recently, so I apologize. Stuff that I will be posting sometime this month:

    - Thoughts about the Troy Glaus trade
    - Further talk about Deal or No Deal (hopefully getting to the best strategy for getting the most money).
    - My Top 100 songs of 2005
    - Something about the Canadian Federal Election

    And a whole bunch more!