Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Pull List: Best of 2014

Now, I told myself that I wasn't going to do one of these because I was moving and wouldn't have the time, but dammit, I wanted to give one last shout-out to a wonderfully dynamic year in comics. I feel like I grew tremendously as a creator because of my exposure to a smorgasbord of talented writers and artists, and I witnessed firsthand a medium that is just a microcosm of the changing tide in our culture: the inclusion of a diverse set of voices, the power of creatives to discuss social issues and bring about an alteration to the ways we see things, etc. It wasn't without its various missteps and downright flops, but, as a whole, I feel like the world of comic book nerddom is coming into its adulthood.

Here we go: in no particular order, these are my Best of 2014:

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Pull List: Butterfly Review

I am pretty sure that I have stated this before, but I have found over the last six months that I prefer limited-run series to many ongoing ones, partially because I know that I'm going to get a complete story and that it probably won't be canceled. Every now and then, a limited series becomes an ongoing, like in the case of Boom! Studios' Lumberjanes, but for the most part, like Babylon Five's five-season run, the creators know that they have a specific theme or themes they want to explore and then be done with it. Archaia's Butterfly is a perfect example of how effective a short story can be in comparison to a novel, especially when it's done as well as this was.

Just as an aside, this was going to be a review of the final issue, but I decided to look at the series as a whole instead. Actually, I think that was my original plan when I first picked up Butterfly, so I'm happy that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

No spoilers below the cut!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Pull List: They're Not Like Us #1 Review

I think I was overly ambitious this week when I was like, "Oh, sure, I can totally write two reviews the week of Christmas while working full time!" So apologies for being a day late on this. But driving three hours to see my family and then driving three hours back was kind of exhausting. You understand. :)

And nope, no spoilers below!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Pull List for December 24, 2014

Dear God, after the last two weeks, I am thankful for this little reprieve for the next two. Most of what's on my pull list for this week is stuff that I'm probably not going to purchase, but they're interesting enough to read or at least mention here. However, it looks like January is going to a bitch, based on the sheer number of books about which I am excited. I guess there could be worse things.

Also, I'm going to be taking the next week off since A) nothing is really coming out (at least that I'm wanting to read) and B) I am going to be in the process of moving to South Carolina. Siiiigh, so much to do.

Anyway, here's this week!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Pull List: Captain Marvel #10 Review

Well, it had to happen at one point. Carol Danvers' 100th solo issue was not the amazingness that it could have been, but really, it is fairly difficult to follow the high action and hilarity of the first arc of this Captain Marvel series.

And as (almost) always, no spoilers below the cut!

Friday, December 19, 2014

On turning 31 ...

Being officially in my thirties is an interesting thing. Even in my twenties, I wasn't dreading reaching the Big Three-Zero, and really, it was other people's response to it that got me thinking about it.
"Only three more years until you can't call yourself a twenty-something!"
"Oh, my God, isn't it weird that you're going to be 30?"
"Do you feel nearly 30?"
And now that I've crested fully into a new decade of age, I've realized that, yep, I kinda like it here. Now, my twenties weren't necessarily this horrible ten-year span of awful - although plenty of pretty awful things happened to me, many of which were of my own making - but there is a certain freedom that comes with leaving them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Pull List for December 17, 2014

Oh, last week, I thought you were bad. I'm a little worried how things are going to go when I don't work at a comic store next month.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Pull List: Copperhead #4 Review

Clara Bronson is a badass. This just goes without saying. She's almost the opposite of Low's Stel, the eternal, incurable optimist. Clara looks at the world realistically, not quite willing to go completely dark. But what both women have in common - in addition to their willingness to break established rules when they don't fit the situation - is that they hold family close to their hearts, ready to go to depths usually avoided in order to protect those they love. However, as complex and intriguing a character Clara is, she definitely shares the spotlight with Boo (aka Budroxifinicus) in this issue. Writer Jay Faerber splits the narrative between the two and manages to keep me interested in both, a feat that's not always accomplished easily (ahem, the Frodo-Sam half of the The Return of the King).
Via Image Comics
(No spoilers below the cut!)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Pull List: Bitch Planet #1 Review

At the comic shop where I work, I am known as the Kelly Sue DeConnick Cheerleader. It's not an exaggeration, either. Ghost was phenomenal, although I will admit that I stopped reading when KSD left; Pretty Deadly was gloriously weird and poignant; and Captain Marvel portrays feminine power in a way that few comics do these days. DeConnick is a huge inspiration to me not only as a writer, but as a feminist, as well. I mean, who else could say, "I make people uncomfortable so my daughter won't have to," and mean it so wholeheartedly? So when I discovered a few months ago that she was working on a series for Image Comics called Bitch Planet, I knew that I had to pick up the first issue. 

And what an amazing first issue it was. No spoilers below (I promise!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

100 Happy Days Is COMPLETE!

Via Wiffle Gif
After 100 "grueling" days, the #100HappyDays challenge that I was conducting on Facebook is finally complete. I was late on a couple of days, which technically disqualified me from ... whatever prize I was supposed to win, but I wanted to go all the way through to the end, you know?

I'm not sure if the challenge altered my perceptions of what happiness is to me, but it did confirm just how easily I am to please. I am the type of person that squeals in delight over seeing that my husband has come home with a package of pot stickers, that claps her hands when she sees a cute video of squeaky otters. And if such small things make me happy, why worry about the big things?

That's what I'm going to take from the whole experience: happiness is not something that is given to you and it can't be stolen from you. You look at what makes you happy, and guess what. That feeling is yours. I encourage everybody who feels so inclined to take part in the challenge. Even if you miss a day for whatever reason, that's no reason to quit. You can even alter it to fit your lifestyle. Don't want to hashtag everything? Make a Happiness Jar! Three and I have decided that, starting January 1, we are going to do just that. It will be just for us, and at the end of the year, we'll be able to look back and count our blessings.

Okay, enough sappiness. But if you do decide to do 100 Happy Days, feel free to let me know! I'll send happy vibes your way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Pull List for December 10, 2014

This week has so many titles that I'm excited about reading: Thor, Rachel Rising, Bitch Planet, Copperhead, Supreme: Blue Rose, Batgirl ... It's looking like it's going to be an expensive week for me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Pull List: Men of Wrath #3 Review

I think I'm one of the last people on Earth - at least, among American comic book readers - that didn't know how awesome a creator Jason Aaron is. When I found out that he would be spear-heading the new Thor, I decided to do my research. And by research, I mean read more comics. It's a hard life, I know. His run prior to the Thor change-up was pretty solid, and I even found myself really loving Southern Bastards, which I'll definitely get back to in a minute. A few days ago, a Scalped trade came into the store, and I leafed through it with the full intention of reading it completely on one of my lunch breaks. What seems fairly certain to me is that, no matter how far Jason Aaron may go from his Southern roots, they'll always come back into his work. You write what you know, right?

(And as pretty much always, no spoilers below the cut!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Pull List for December 3, 2014

After a lovely Thanksgiving and Black Friday avoidance, I return with the first week of December's Pull List. This month is already looking pretty fucking awesome. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Pull List: ODY-C #1 Review

Over the past several months, I have been lucky enough to work in a comic book store, an experience which is, sadly, going to be ending in the next two weeks due to the HusFriend and me moving to another state, and during that time, I've been surrounded by amazing artists and writers that manage to get me excited about a new comic. For instance, Captain Marvel's Kelly Sue Deconnick's Bitch Planet, which is set to come out on December 10th, is one that I literally bounce at the mere mention of it, and any time I find another comic illustrated by Low's Greg Tocchini, I immediately pick it up (my most recent was issue #20 of Ms. Marvel, Volume 2). Ever since I read Sex Criminals - I went straight for the trade based on all the reviews - I've been a big fan of Matt Fraction, enjoying the hell out of Hawkeye (still so sad it's ending), so you can just imagine how excited I was when I heard he was taking on one of the only books I willingly read in high school: Homer's The Odyssey. The art was going to be trippy and vivid! And it was going to be with a feminist bent! Wheeee!
Via Image Comics

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dear Sister Person Book Club: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Dear Sister Person,

You are welcome. Very, very welcome. I figured that I could only add to the torture for so long before we abandoned our venture to read books together, and Gini Koch nearly made me want to kill you, to be honest. (No matter what you say, the Glorious Darcy books were in no way in the same awfulness caliber that Touched by an Alien was.) So reading Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane was definitely a welcome reprieve for me, as well.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 30: Overall Opinion on the Mass Effect Trilogy

Via Joystiq
Woooooohooooooooo, second challenge completed ON TIME. It wasn't easy, but dammit, I did it. And I learned a few things throughout the experience. I almost don't want to stop the challenge, but well, next month is December, in which I'll be moving and celebrating my 31st birthday and Christmas. Can 2014 be over yet?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 29: What Would I Like to See Next?

If anybody makes a movie version of the Mass Effect trilogy, I am going to scream bloody murder. Part of the beauty of video games is the interactivity, and a movie just takes that right away. Hell, even when the main character is a blank slate who only grunts his/her way around (Hi, Master Chief!), there's a sense that you are that character, especially when it's a first-person sort of thing.

Alright, with that out of the way ...

Friday, November 28, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 28: Destroy, Control, or Synthesis?

Alright, let's just get this out of the way. I didn't like this ending because it was just dumb. I'm not going to explain my reasons because, quite frankly, there are many other posts out there that do a much better, more concise job than I could ever do. It was just a giant letdown, one that not even an extended ending (which just kind of made it more dumb) or an alternate theory (indoctrination) could fix.
Via Tumblr

Thursday, November 27, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 27: Favorite OST Tracks (Part II)

Click here to go back to Part I!

Mass Effect 2 DLC Continued

Mass Effect 2: Stolen Memory
"Death from Above"

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 27: Favorite OST Tracks (Part I)

This is nearly always one of my favorite entries in any of the challenges I do, and it rarely distills into a single track. By rarely, I mean never, and this trend continues with Mass Effect. So without further ado, I give you my favorite pieces from the entire series:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 26: Place I Would Most Like to Visit

There are no moral conundrums in this question! Hooray!!

Despite my deep and abiding love for the krogan, I would be lying if I said that I would ever want to visit Tuchanka. It just seems ... unpleasant, although having my very own pet varren follow me around and beg for pyjak meat sounds pretty awesome (I absolutely adored Urz).
Via Mass Effect Wiki
But since I am a fleshy creature, not cut out for the harshness of radioactive rubble, I would definitely want to visit Ilium. I can only imagine that the rest of the planet is not inhabited like the city of Nos Astra, so there would be plenty of camping to be had after a few days of being in a capitalist's wet dream of a capital city.

< Day 25: Quarian/Geth Conflict?   Day 27: Favorite OST Tracks (Part I/Part II) >

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Pull List for November 26, 2014

Again, for this week (and for the rest of this year, probably), I'll continue to produce my pull list like this here. I'll be changing up formats at the first of the year, though, and by then, I'll have my digital comics pull list set up and I'll have found a comic shop where I can get physical copies. Anyway, cool story, bro, here's what's up for this week.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 25: Opinion on the Geth/Quarian Conflict?

Damn, I really did pick some of the hardest questions for last. Oh, well.
Quarian/Geth Alliance
Via Bioware Forum
Unlike my opinion on the genophage, the conflict between the geth and quarian people can be difficult to really take one side or the other. On one hand, the quarians did try to kill a newly sentient geth populace out of fear, but then on the other, the geth did drive the quarians from their homeworld. Both responses were out of fear of survival, and God knows humans have no room to point fingers there. We've done a lot of unconscionable things in the name of survival.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Pull List: Spider-Woman #1 Review

I'm going to go ahead and reveal to you that this post right here? It is going to be a fucking rant, filled with as many expletives as I can muster, as much fury as I can call down from the heavens. It may not even be coherent, and I could not care a single bit less.

Because really.

Spider-Woman #1 Regular Cover
Via Marvel Comics
Also, yes, there are going to be spoilers.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 24: Opinion on the Genophage?

It's safe to say that I've given the genophage a lot of thought, given my not-so-understated love of the krogan, and my answer will probably not surprise you. I am surprisingly consistent when it comes to my giant warrior turtles.
Via Gelvuun on DeviantArt

Sunday, November 23, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 23: Saddest Moment in the Games

Mordin Sacrifices Himself
Mass Effect 3, Priority Tuchanka

Not going to lie, I was deeply affected when Mordin started singing his "Scientist Salarian" song. It's even worse if you play renegade and can't convince him to let the STG sabotage run its course (if you killed Wrex and/or Bakara dies). Nope, I'm not going to link to that video because it hurts my heart just a little bit more than I'd like to admit.

Later on, in the Citadel DLC, Shepard discovers a tablet with several audio recordings, which seem to actually make his death that much more poignant. He was such an incredibly complex character - arguably one of the best written from the whole series - that, the more you found out about him, the more you wished he would have survived. But like he said, it had to be him.

"Someone else might have gotten it wrong."

Mordin's Final Goodbye

Saturday, November 22, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 22: Hardest Part of the Games

I've been pretty honest when it comes to how I play games: if things get too difficult, I will put down the controller and walk away. It's not that I don't appreciate a challenge - and I am quite competitive - but you cannot convince me to spend hours trying to beat the game on legendary or insanity or whatever title the developers on various games went with. With Mass Effect, I did try playing on insanity, but when the damn varren had shields? Nope. Done. And plus, I was playing the game for the story, character development, and friendships/romances, not for its FPS aspects.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Pull List: Wonder Woman #36 Review


I didn't have high hopes for this one, guys. I saw the cheesecake cover in Previews and discovered that the writer, Meredith Finch, has only written for Zenoscope Entertainment. You know, the publisher of the masterpieces that are the various GFT (Grimm's Fairy Tales) series.

(Oh, and there are no spoilers here, since I didn't get pissed off enough to include any. So feel free to read away!)

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 21: Worst Part of the Games

As much as I love sandbox style games, there is one part of them that I detest: traveling. Even if they give you a vehicle, like the horses or carriages in Assassin's Creed, the simple idea of roaming through the countryside, after a while, gets ... how to put this lightly. Fucking annoying. And then you have otherwise awesome games - Halo: Reach, for example - that insert driving levels into otherwise total FPS gameplay. I get it, the developers wanted to give some variety, but fuck, if those weren't my least favorite parts to play.

Which, of course, brings us to today's challenge: the worst part of the games. And, if you've played Mass Effect, you probably already know where I'm going with this.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 20: Best Part of the Games

The best part of the Mass Effect series is also the one of the worst parts, so today's challenge question is going to seem ... kind of contradictory? I don't know. You be the judge.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 19: Best Antagonist

I kind of wish that Harbinger was my answer here. He had such potential as a major antagonist, possessing the Collectors and forcing them to do his (and the other Reapers' bidding), and I was more than primed for a showdown in Mass Effect 3. And then Bioware gave me ... well, he was there, shooting his Laser o' Death, and then just flew off. Because ... reasons. It's not like I wanted another Sovereign-style ending, but come on, Shepard said Harbinger's name with such menace that it seemed really anticlimactic and well, more of a foot note sort of thing. Like, meh, whatever, go deal with that Star Child person on the Citadel; he's the one who matters.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, Sister Person!!

Today is my lovely sister's 28th birthday!

Happy birthday, Stefers! Go on over to her blog and show her some birthday love!

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 18: Best Protagonist (NPC)

"You can stay here and let old wounds fester as krogan have always done. Or you can fight the enemy you were born to destroy, and win a new future for our children. I choose to fight. Who will join me?"
Urdnot Bakara/"Eve" from Mass Effect 3
Via Mass Effect Wiki

The Pull List for November 19, 2014

So, as you may know, the next few weeks are going to be absolutely ape-shit crazy, so I'm not going to be able to put as much effort into The Pull List as I'd like. I have so much packing and tossing and selling and donating to do that I might just cry, so I'm going to revert to my old way of doing this for the next little bit: blurb for a few and then list the rest. Hopefully, once we get moved, everything will settle down? Please?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Pull List: Drifter #1 Review

I don't know if it's this way in every comic book shop around the U.S., but in the last few I've frequented - including the current one at which I work - whenever a new Image comic comes out, people take notice. I guess with the success of The Walking Dead and Saga, both of which have issues that are worth well into the multiple hundreds of dollars, customers just want to be ahead of the game, especially if they are big time collectors. We even have one customer who wants every single Image first issue of anything, even if he never picks up the rest of the series. For me, however, I have the privilege of testing the waters prior to purchase, so I don't always have to worry that all of the issues will be gone by the time I am able to make it to the store. When I picked up the first issue of Drifter, though, I had the feeling that I was reading the beginning of something that was going to be very successful.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 17: Worst Mission/Loyalty Quest/Side Mission/DLC

At first, I was going to do one of each, but then I got to thinking. Which one do I absolutely loathe playing? I mean, yes, I am annoyed that I have to waste my time aboard the corpse of the Estevanico; I don't enjoy updating Thane every time Talid moves; driving the Mako over all that stupid terrain to get salarian IDs, various resources, the asari matriarch's writings, etc. is mind-numbing. But I shrug and just do them. Because they, for the most part, give me war assets in the end (not the Estevanico one, but whatever - it's a quick mission and those museum people send me a nice email afterward).

I Have the Worst Luck with Cars, Part XVIII: The Fourth Is Rubber

This weekend brought with it the celebration of the fourth year of my marriage to Three, a wonderful human being that I am privileged to know and love. And, of course, since it's us, our anniversary also involves a car's minor destruction.

I suppose this requires a bit of back story. Without delving too deeply into specifics, Three has been looking for another job for a few months now ... well, when he can, which is pretty much never, since he was given no vacation or sick time when he took this new job back in April, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that anything came up. Then, an old friend gave texted him, letting him know about a job opportunity in South Carolina. Three, desperate to change his situation, sent his resume over and nailed an interview on November 15. Coincidentally, that date is also our anniversary, so we decided to make a trip of it. After all, the company interviewing him was paying us for our gas and for our hotel room.

So, there we were. His interview had gone well*, we'd just eaten some exceptionally good Indian food, and were headed back to the hotel to watch some sort of movie when BAM. Out of nowhere, a big curb jutted out into what appeared to be a driving lane. The car was knocked around, and when I pulled to a stop - because of COURSE I was driving - Three jumped out to examine the damage.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 16: Favorite DLC

Today's challenge is going to be quite short because, let's face it, I think it's fairly obvious that the Citadel DLC is by far my favorite. I mean, I've mentioned it about a bazillion times so far, and it's only Day 16.
Citadel DLC
Via 2D-X
Is it full of fan service? Yes. Is it silly? Most definitely. Is it a proper send-off to the Mass Effect series? Oh, God, of course, it is. So much of the third game was mired in the reality of a war, a war that was gradually being lost to an overwhelming force. To have a short respite from all the desperation was welcome, as I imagined the characters would have felt. You know, if they were real and everything. I loved having the ability to bring the entire squad along with me (even if I wasn't actually playing with them). Every scene - except Ashley's, oddly (or not so much, I guess) - that I got to spend with my teammates separately was cherished. I really did feel like I'd gotten to know these fictional characters through the countless hours I spent flitting about the galaxy. And the party? It's like Bioware sat down in my brain and answered all of my questions.
  • What's a krogan like when he's drunk? 
  • What's a prothean like when he's drunk?
  • Do Wrex and Grunt get along?
  • Is Samara always uptight?
  • Who would hang out together when they aren't on a mission? What would they talk about*?
  • Will Jack** and Miranda ever get over their issues with each other?
  • Is Shepard really that bad of a dancer?
While it was not the best DLC - that honor goes to Lair of the Shadow Broker from the second game - it is most assuredly my favorite. You know what? I think it may be time to load a saved game.

< Day 15: Favorite Side Mission              Day 17: Worst Mission >

* Zaeed and Garrus planning out how to rig Shepard's apartment in case someone else wants to attack her is hilarious and so fitting for both characters. 
** My favorite quote from the whole party is Jack saying, "I still really hate you, but you have fantastic tits." 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 15: Favorite Side Mission

A big part of what makes Mass Effect so awesome is its side missions, which may sound strange to those of you who don't play (or just don't like) sandbox games. Whenever I play Fallout 3, I spend most of my time frolicking about the Capital Wasteland, trying to solve as many people's problems as I possibly can before I continue the main story. The difference with Mass Effect, though, is that I'm not trying to level up so I can go defeat a giant creepy-crawly. I just want to immerse myself into this expansive world that Bioware has created.

Instead of choosing just one side mission, I'm going to list my favorite one from each game, which is a more doable task than narrowing it down to just one throughout the whole series.

Friday, November 14, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 14: Favorite Loyalty Mission

There's really only one loyalty mission that I don't like at all, but that's only because I really dislike the character (ahem, it's Jacob, in case you were wondering). I am actually happy that loyalty missions were only a Mass Effect 2 thing*, because good God, Mass Effect 3 already had so much to do, and I'm hoping that people would already be loyal to you, especially after you, you know, defeated the Collectors and Sovereign. But who am I kidding? This is Mass Effect, where nobody truly believes you until the Reapers land directly on Vancouver.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 13: Favorite Storyline Mission

You know, with all of the missions that Shepard and Company go on throughout the Mass Effect series, you'd think that picking just one as your favorite would be a daunting, near impossible task. For me, however, this was not the case. Of course, I did decide that I was going to choose one mission from each game, but that's because I'm ornery. I'll try to keep them short, but for ME3, you're going to have to give me a little leeway because I love it so much. Anyway, here you go:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 12: Favorite NPC

This may seem like it's just a restatement of Day 18: Best Protagonist (NPC), but since it's my blog, I'm saying it's not. Plus, there is always a difference between Favorite and Best, since they don't always have to coincide with each other. Plus, Mass Effect had some awesome NPCs throughout its run, from the rogue AI in the first game to Major Kirrahe in the third, each with his or her own background and needs that weren't always necessarily necessary to the plot as a whole. Being that the NPC cast is so vast (ha, I rhymed), it was a little difficult to narrow it down to one, but I managed to do it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Pull List for November 12, 2014

Well, if I thought last week was bad, this week isn't looking too much better, at least in terms of volume. Now, like I said in yesterday's review of The Humans #1, things were a tad bit disappointing in terms of quality, and I'm hopeful that this week will return to the usual greatness.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 11: Favorite Alien Species

OMG, is this not beautiful??
Via Andrew Ryan
No need to be coy about this one. Seriously, the krogan are quite possibly the best ever. As it's mentioned in the game (by Thane, I think?), there's almost an innocence about them that's admirable. The krogan are the id to the asari superego and the turian ego, where they embrace their violent nature whole-heartedly, and they can't seem to fully understand those who do not, especially the salarians, their uplifters. Some of my favorite scenes in the entire series come from when Wrex (not Wreav, since he's a bit more ... severe about things than Wrex is) shows up on Surkesh to retrieve the females from salarian custody. His remarks about the salarians are hilarious:

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Pull List: The Humans #1

It is not very often that I don't at least finish a comic. As a matter of fact, I don't think that there has been a single time - that I can recall, which is, of course, a huge "if" statement - where I have read up to a certain point and thought, "You know what? My life would be better if I just stopped reading this." And then I picked up The Humans.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 10: Least Favorite Romance

You know how when you have a friend and they're all excited to introduce you to their new main squeeze and you're all, "Hey, this friend of mine is pretty awesome, so this romantic interest has to be, at the bare minimum, cooler than beans?" And then you meet this person and you find yourself side-eyeing your friend so hard that you nearly pass out? Yeah, that's what Mass Effect did to me when it offered certain sex buddies for Shepard.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 9: Favorite Romance (Male)

Like I said, cute and awkward romances are the theme today. There's just something about people fumbling around, unsure of themselves, as they try to convince you that they like you more than Just Friends but are not quite sure if you feel the same way. And really, this particular romance was the main reason that I went back and played as BroShep.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 9: Favorite Romance (Female)

Probably one of my favorite mechanics of the Mass Effect series was the ability to develop relationships with other crew members, romantic or otherwise. From the warrior bond between the commander and Wrex to the straight man/jester interactions with Shep and Joker, it was a delight just watching them interact. There are plenty of times that I wish I could just watch the cut scenes instead of shooting up things. I personally think that many of the romance options that Shep has were exceptionally well thought out, and no matter which person you choose, it fits. However, I definitely have a favorite for each of the Shepard genders.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 8: Least Favorite Team Member

I kind of feel bad for this one because of the voice actor. Kimberly Brooks has voiced some of my favorite video game characters (Barbara Gordon/Oracle in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, for example), and despite my general dislike for Ashley Williams, Brooks does such an incredible job bringing the character to life that it seems unfair that I place Ashley under the title of Most Awful Person.

But I digress.

Pastime Paradise

Siiiiiiiiiigh, I wish I could be at the concert tomorrow. This will have to do. 

Harley is DONE.

Can I say how happy I am with how this turned out? Onto Poison Ivy as Demeter!

Friday, November 7, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 7: Favorite Female Team Member, Supplemental

I realized after I got to that little footnote at the bottom of today's challenge that I had way too many thoughts about the particular topic of robot sexuality (I mean, what?? Did I actually just type out those words???), so here you go.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 7: Favorite Female Team Member

This may not be the most popular opinion, but hey, I'm okay with that: EDI is, by far, my favorite female squad member, and it has nothing to do with her "sexy robot body," which ... ick. Seriously, Bioware? Anyway, she's a strong ally in pretty much all situations, and her character arc is one of the more compelling ones of the season, even if it is an overused trope, especially in sci-fi: she wants to discover her humanity and forge an identity for herself.
Via Los Chaos

Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)

Well, we were supposed to leave today. I actually just stuck out my lower lip and sniffled a bit.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 6: Favorite Male Team Member

"Why shoot something once, when you can shoot it forty-six more times?"
From the get-go, Wrex was one of my favorite characters, so you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that I wouldn't get to have him on my squad after the first game concluded. It wasn't just that the guy was so complex a character - a krogan battlemaster who, despite his nonchalant approach to killing, was a revolutionary thinker who realized that murder and mayhem would only destroy his people in the long run; he was a damned strong squad member, too, with his biotic and soldier abilities.
Via Gelvuun

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 5: Favorite Character

Via Rabbitzoro
It always amazes people whenever they ask me who my favorite character in the entire Mass Effect saga and I'm able to say, nearly instantaneously, that it is Urdnot Grunt. Every Christmas since ME2, I have asked for a Grunt plushie (no one has gotten me one) and I try to recreate his little evil cackle at odd times during the day. His sheer joy at discovering that he hates turians made me laugh out loud when I first saw that cut scene, and his dismissal after my Shep was like, "Weren't we supposed to calm you by going down and doing that Rite of Passage thing?" was just perfect. "WHAT I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE HAPPY THAT I HAVE GOALS." He really is pure krogan.

Summer Soft

I don't know why, but it seems fitting that my 300th post would be as Non-Thing-ish as just posting a single Youtube video. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Pull List for November 5, 2014

I am so intimidated by this week's pull list. I ... I just may cry. But it all looks so good! I'm going to try and keep summaries and reactions a little bit shorter than usual, but I make no promises on some of the ones that I'm really looking forward to reading.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 4: Paragon or Renegade?

Via Jewlecho
P.S. I want both of these on T-shirts. STAT.
Referring to the statistics for Mass Effect 3, apparently only 35.5% of players took the renegade route, while a whopping 64.5% chose paragon. I was actually a little surprised at this result, considering how many videos there are out there showing renegade actions, but I suppose it makes a certain kind of sense, given that the supposed "best" results for the finale included paragon choices.

But I digress. My preference?

Monday, November 3, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 3: Favorite Class

Via Mass Effect Wiki
I am apparently in the extreme minority here, as shown by the statistics (who had the task of getting these? JESUS): only five percent of players were engineers, but that was the particular class that I found the most enjoyable. My playing style has never been the Rush to the Conflict and Go Nuts type - that tends to be Three's strategy - so the engineer matched with me pretty well.

Boogie On, Reggae Woman

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sir Duke

I Have the Worst Luck with Cars, Part XVII: Siiiiiighhhhh.

Via Monumental Network
So this weekend, I was going to go to Washington, DC, to see none other than Stevie Motherfucking Wonder (that's his real middle name, by the way), and I cannot express to you how excited I was about it. Number one, I'm a huge fan of the man, and I'm pretty sure that I've listened to Songs in the Key of Life about a million times ("Sir Duke" is my favorite song off the album, although "Summer Soft" is a close second), so attending a concert that is all about it? Hell, and may I say, yes. Number two, it has been over two years since Three and I have gone on any kind of vacation, and based on the last year - God, this past year has been awful - we deserve some R&R. It wasn't even going to be extravagant: we were going to be staying in a house (for free) that is owned by a friend's family, and we were splitting the total cost with another couple. The most expensive part of the trip, of course, was the ticket price, but hey, we expected that. It's Stevie Motherfucking Wonder, in case you forgot.

And then, because how else would this end, two of our tires decided that they no longer wanted to be a part of this world. The front left tire went flat, and Three used our spare until that went flat due to an unintended detour into a construction site. After he bought an air compressor and used it to fill the flat tire (that spare was of no use now), he put that back on, but the other tire somehow developed what I kept calling a rubber hemorrhoid (I have no idea what the actual term is). Three said that it was pretty much a sign that the tire could burst at any moment, so yay.

For two weeks, we tried to get replacement tires but every place that Three called didn't have our tire size or they were just ludicrously priced. Things just got down to the wire and we simply had to buy new tires, which ended with us spending nearly $300. On the plus side, our tires are really nice - and green! - but they were the only ones the tire place had in stock, since they'd just that day had a huge sale on all of their stock, leaving only the most expensive tires for us.

Long story short, we no longer have the money to go see Stevie Wonder, so in effort to keep my spirits high, in addition to daily Mass Effect* challenge entries, I'll be posting videos of Stevie Wonder's songs through the end of this week. My friends are still able to go, so we'll be there in spirit, but ... suuuuuuuuuccckkkk.

* If I'm late on these, I'll just do a double or triple post, I think, but I'll try to keep on track. I don't want to have another Buffy issue where it takes me almost two months to do a 30-day challenge. That was ... embarrassing.

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 2: Male or Female Shepard?

By Mwar*

Saturday, November 1, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 1: Favorite Game in the Series

I can appreciate all three of the games in the Mass Effect series in their own rights, and God knows that I've played all three plenty to back that statement up. When my Xbox freaked out, I lost about fifteen saved games, and I sadly admit that I cried a little bit. Okay, a lot. It's always difficult to narrow things down, especially since all three games have positives and negatives that can cancel each other out, leaving you with no decision made as to which is your favorite one.

Friday, October 31, 2014

To NaNo or Not to Nano ...

I do this literally every year around two or three days before the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, an internal dialgoue that goes something like the following:
Me #1: Self, you really should try doing NaNoWriMo again.
Me #2: Seriously? This shit again? We fail. EVERY. YEAR.
Me #1: But that's because we don't have a game plan! If we came up with an itinerary ...
Me #2: Why do you sound like my mom?
Me #1: Hey, she has good qualities. Time management!
Me #2: We have a thing we call Mom Time. As in, "So is it 15 real minutes, or on Mom Time?"
Me #1: I still think we should do NaNo.
Me #2: Okay, I'm going to reenact our NaNo involvement since 2009 in a three act play. Act One: WHEEE TOTALLY DOING THIS!! Act Two: Ugh, starting to run out of steam. I'll catch up this weekend! Act Three: Fuck, I only have 20,000 words and tomorrow is December 1st. Oh, well, there's always next year!
Me #1: ... That ... is not ... entirely ... inaccurate. [pause] But we should totally do it.
Me #2: Fuck you. But ... maybe. I'll think about it. 
This year, though, I'm firmly in Me #2's Camp o' NaNo Apathy. I'll cheer on as many people as I can, but I'm going to sit 2014 out. Instead, I'll be doing the Mass Effect challenge, finishing up my Halloween paintings (by the way, my costume and the winner will be announced later on today on my Instagram!), completing my sister's birthday present (it's a tattoo design), celebrating Thanksgiving and my anniversary (why, oh, why, are Novembers so jam-packed??), and starting a new project that I'll be updating you guys on soon.

Oh! And before I forget, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Alright, off to work! I hope to amuse as many people as possible on my journey.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Life with Pets: Dinnertime

As the day approaches evening, THREE and JUJU return to their apartment after work with a few bags from the grocery store. ZOLA eagerly bounces in front of them, excited that a) her humans are home and b) she will be going outside to pee and poop. BITSY sits on the arm of the chair situated right next to the front door; BINA remains in the window (where she has appropriately destroyed yet another part of the blinds); and KITKAT emerges from her slumber on the couch with a wide-mouthed yawn.

THREE: We're home!
JUJU: Hang on a second, Zola. Let me help Three with the bags, and then I'll take you out.
BITSY: I was lonely!!
BINA: (does not move but looks in the direction of the half-full - or are they half-empty - food bowls) Hungry?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Trilogy Challenge + Updates

Via The Vanishing Blog

I really am a total nerd, something that I've touched on a few times. I've now done two challenges on really geeky things (Buffy and Battlestar Galactica), and I am one hundred percent okay with this. And to continue on my path to Complete Nerd-dom, I bring you the Mass Effect challenge for this November. For those of you not in The Know, November 7th is N7 Day, referencing Commander Shepard's vocational code (N7 - special forces with the highest level of proficiency) within the Alliance military. What? I told you I was a fucking nerd.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Pull List for October 22, 2014

I have absolutely no Marvel titles this week. I'm not sure what this says about me. Like, I used to be so damn sure that I was a bigger fan of Marvel than of DC, but that is quickly proving to not be the case. For instance, Green Lantern: New Guardians is quickly becoming one of my favorite series; Batman and Justice League have intrigued me with their current story lines; Earth 2: World's End doesn't confuse the hell out of me like I thought it would, considering how many different characters there are; and Batgirl is probably one of the most fun things I've read in a while. Plus, they're putting out a lot of new titles - Gotham Academy, the below-mentioned Arkham Manor, and the whole Multiversity series - that are, so far, pretty great. Granted, Marvel, I think, tends to have series that suit me better - Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Thor, the soon-to-be-released Spider-Woman - and indie publishers like Boom! Studios and Image keep exciting me far more than the Marvel and DC combined, but this may change as I become more interested in the DC universe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pull List: Deadpool's The Art of War #1 Review

You know, I think Deadpool walks around with Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" playing in the background at all times. That's what I kept hearing as I was reading the first issue of the new Deadpool miniseries, at least. He keeps getting these grand ideas - agreeing to help Dracula with a "package," killing the Marvel universe and then the famous literary heroes that inspired the writers of the Marvel universe, joining up with Brute Force (and a mecha-orca), etc. - and, so far, things haven't always worked out like he thought. But hey, that's what keeps bringing readers back, am I right?
Via Comic Vine
Spoilers ahead, kids, so if you'd rather start reading blind, you can turn back now. Or ... just don't click on the "read more" thingy.
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