Tag Archives: Comics

Recent readings

13 Things That Don't Make Sense 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense by Michael Brooks

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Great read, worth reading for anyone who likes to get their science geek. Gets as deep as it needs to into what it covers, but not deeper. Light fun science reading

Princeps' Fury: Book Five of the Codex Alera Princeps’ Fury: Book Five of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
My favorite of the books so far. Sarah argues that it doesn’t advance the story far enough for her, but the characters are well fleshed out including Tavi growing into his own. The bad part is now I have to wait a month for the next book.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A great breakdown and examination of how comics work and their place among other works of art. It gave me a much deeper appreciation for the language of comics that I had subconsciously learned.

View all my reviews.

MORTAL KOMBAT!!! and, uh, some other games

batmanFor Christmas I got am embarrassment of video game riches for presents.  I had purchased a PS3 a few months ago, but until Christmas I only had one game.  Okay, technically we had two, but one of them was “Sarah’s.”  In any case, pre-Christmas, all games were Lego games (Batman and Star Wars) so I’m happy to have some non-lego games to report on.  However, the theme of the subjects seems to hold too…

First, the games I’ve spent the most time playing:

Buzz Quiz TV – The name pretty much sums up what it is, a multi-player trivia quiz show for your PS3 and a very welcome addition to our house.  There are numerous versions of this game for the PS2 and PSP with different question slants and this is the series first entrance onto the PS3.  It comes with 4 wireless “buzz” controllers for the players.  Its a nice little interface that works well with the game.  A common complaint online, and one that I have as well, is that for a game called “Buzz” you hardly ever use the big red buzzer at the top, most of the time you’re using the multi-color answer buttons.  We’re enjoying it a lot, especially when you have more than 2 people playing.  At least two of the multi-player rounds work better when you have more than one competitor to pick on.  If you don’t have any friends with you, you can also play ‘sofa vs sofa’ online.  The game is also easily expanded through additional categories purchased via the Playstation Store or via user-content quizzes created at MyBuzzQuiz.com.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe – One day the people at Midway’s video game division said “Keith Garner does not own enough of our stuff, how can we make a game JUST FOR HIM.  Let’s see, he’s a big DC comics dork and he’s always been fond of Mortal Kombat, while not always being that good at it.  Hey!  Let’s make him a video game peanut butter cup.”  Honestly, I like this game too much so I don’t know if I can honestly say if its a good game or not.  The gameplay has gone back to more classic Mortal Kombat mostly 2D fighting compared to the last two PS2 games, which is good for me as a player.  (You can still move in a 3rd dimension usefully, but its not a huge requirement.)  The characters from both universes look really good (thanks, Unreal engine!) and the DC characters special moves are pretty good and in-line with what they should be.  For example, Captain Marvel does have the awesome Shazam lightening attack that’s been popular post-Kingdom Come.  It just makes me giddy as a school girl to hear things like “Kitana vs. Green Lantern…FIGHT!”  This game sets the fan-boy in me to 11.  Even if you don’t like DC comics, its a pretty good fighter.  You can also go online to get embarrassed with how bad you are.

The games I’ve played a bit, but not enough:

Fallout 3 – I’ve always been a big fan of the Fallout series, despite not completing the first two.  Come to think of it, I was a fan of Wastland way back in the day, which was done by a lot of the same people.  I think I’ll be firing up Parallels just to play those first two again and actually try to finish them.  I’ve played about an hour of Fallout 3, which means I’ve just barely scratched the surface.  To be fair, I played the first hour twice as I was working to understand the UI and combat the first time.  Its not that its bad, I’m just rusty with these games.  In fact, I find the interface really nice now that I’ve gotten the hang of it.  I do find myself being a little too goody-too-shoes, but that’s my nature, I guess.  In any case, the feel, the voice acting, and the concepts so far are stellar.  I just need to find time to lock the kids away and play it.  Looks like lots of late nights coming up.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – I downloaded the demo on the PS3 and liked it enough to request it as a potential Christmas gift.  So far, I’ve only played the first mission.  You get to play a Jedi in full control of his powers in a 3D environment, how can you go wrong?  So far, I’m liking it.  Again, I’m still getting the hang of the interface and powers, but I’ve done the first mission (or 2 if you consider the prologue) and am looking forward to playing more.  My only complaint with this game is load time.  Despite loading 2.5 gig of stuff onto the hard drive, it seems to take forever to leave the game environment and go to the options screens and then to move around in the options screens.  I’m not sure if that’s a bug in the current version of the game, or if its just being hampered by the PS3’s “measly” 256MB of RAM.  In either case, that’s been an annoyance.  As long as you stay in the game, its a non-issue though.  I just had too much Evan messing with the remote, jumping on my lap, etc when last I played so I really noticed it then.

I should also mention I got the Sony PS3 Wireless Keypad.  For the PS3’s browser, Sony Home, or any game that has some text input/chat, this keypad isn’t too bad.  It can snap onto a sixaxis controller or you can use it separately, as it has its own battery.  It reminded me of typing on a Hiptop/Sidekick so I was right into it.  Not sure if its a good value at $50, but its been a good accessory to have.

Truth in comics

I love xkcd and its geeky geeky ways.  It often captures things I’ve lived and/or seen.  Today’s is one I have lived and seen lived.

This reminds me of a post on usenet my friend Anne made in 1998.  To quote:

So I am left not bitter just tired of this whole meeting people, emotional ties, finding a compatible person and then having them yank away.

It is just an emptiness right now.

From what I have observed from my male friends, though, this is exactly the climate required to learn Linux. Without a full and happy lovelife or distraction of soft lips and a reason to kiss them, there is enough room to grasp the intricacies and nuances of such a fine operating system.

It has already begun to happen. As I walk down the street I am not thinking of emptiness, kising, nathan or any other previous SO’s, I am thinking of penguins, rm -rf / and lilo.

I am already convinved that linux will dull the pain better than heroin.

I still loves me some linux hardcore, though.


Its been in the news that Nicolas Cage has named his new baby boy Kal-El. Us comic geeks know that Kal-El happens to be Superman’s birth name. Not sure if this is better or worse than Harley Quinn Smith, Kevin Smith’s little girl. I’m thinking Kevin wins here.

In any case, this makes me feel less bad about how Sarah and I named our daughter.


Dinah’s name

Many people ask about how we came up with Dinah Aeryn for the name of our daughter. We get a lot of “Is Dinah a family name?” Strangely, no one really asks us about Aeryn. Must be because its a middle name. Anyway, I warn you, its a tale of monster geekery. However, this geekery was perpetrated by my wife as well as me.

We had the name of Aeryn even before we were expecting. (The name is pronounced like the more common “Erin.”) Aeryn caught our attention thanks to the science fiction television show Farscape, specifically the character of ex-Peacekeeper Officer Aeryn Sun. Mostly what attracted us to the name was the spelling. We thought it was pretty. It doesn’t hurt that the character that brought us to that name is a tough positive ass-kicking female role model. Although, maybe she’s too quick to jump to violence.

My beautiful and charming wife, however, would not stand for having Aeryn as a first name, which I was lobbying for. Her reasoning: I have a first cousin named Erin, and the phonetic similarity would cause much confusion among people, specifically my grandparents. I think its silly, but as part of a marriage, and certainly as one half of a parenting team, one must compromise. Sarah said Aeryn would be a good second name, and I protested some, but eventually gave in.

So, how did we get to a first name? She was one of three Sarahs in her grade school class, and she didn’t like it. Also, we know about 10,000 people named Jason that we talk to quite often. Sarah was looking for something that was an older name and was less common now. She had proposed names such as Eleanor (“Gee, I think you’re swell” or “Rigby picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been.”) and Audrey. (Audrey was the name of my Grandma, my Dad’s mom. For some reason, it just didn’t work. A long story, maybe, for another time.) Those are two I remember, but there were more. I vetoed a lot of them. Nothing really worked.

I’m a comics geek, I’m 29 and I’m still collecting. And when I say collecting I mean “I’m reading for the story and just not throwing them away.” One afternoon, I was sitting in the family room reading comics while Sarah was watching tv. I started to read the latest Birds of Prey from DC comics. (As an aside, I’d like to link to a DC page about BoP directly, however, DC’s web page sucks ass. That’s okay, Marvel‘s sucks ass too.)

One of the main characters of Birds of Prey is the Black Canary. The current Black Canary is actually the second one, but I guess that doesn’t really matter to this story. In any case, her civilian name is Dinah Laurel Lance. On the second or third page of that particular issue, Oracle (Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl) had called her Dinah. I stopped and thought of the last time I heard that name. The only other Dinahs I could think of was was the late Dinah Shore (some thanks go to Adam Sandler) and, of course, the old campfire song of “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah.”

I turned to Sarah and said “Hey, what about Dinah as a first name.” Sarah said she needed a few minutes to think about it. As time went on, she become more and more attached to the name. I think after just 10 minutes, it was set.

We both felt good about it, but waited to tell people until it was closer, or at least the baby was here. As I said a few times, “Nothing is set in stone until we see her and make sure she looks like a Dinah Aeryn.”

I’m not one to believe in signs or anything, but there was a weird occurrence that I want to commit to the web for all eternity: About the same time we found out that we were to have a baby girl and we were deciding on the name, the rock band Live was getting a lot of air play with their single Heaven.

The lyrics to Heaven contain the following: I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven / I look at my daughter, and I believe. For some reason, these lyrics really resonated with me. (With how I feel now, I think I was already falling in love with my daughter, even though I hadn’t seen her. I definitely know that I’ve only been this enamored with one other person.) I decided that I needed to have this song, so I set about going to buy the CD.

I got to the story to buy the record and went to the Ls to look for the Live CDs. I knew the name of the song, but never took the time to look at/for the name of the album. Once I saw the name of the album, I figured it was a sign that Sarah and I were on the right track.

The name of the album is Birds of Pray. I loved the homonym of “pray” instead of “prey,” especially considering the lyrics in Heaven. And I figured, while not exactly the same as the comic where we got Dinah’s name, it was close enough. Close enough to give me chills.

In any case, this is the tale of geekiness that got my daughter her name.