Thursday, July 31

San Diego Comic Con - the reality

here we are, a week removed from the start of the 2008 San Diego Comic Con and it's time to put down in words what i experienced. to sum it up in two words, the San Diego Comic Con was crazy fun. crazy because of all the people and the countless things to do in a span of just 3 days. fun because it's nerd heaven and i got to hang out with some of my bestest of friends.

let's break down what has easily become one of my favorite extended weekends of my entire life.

Wednesday, 9:45pm

i depart for San Diego via Salt Lake City. why in the world Delta has me flying all the way to Salt Lake City first and THEN returning to San Diego i'll never know. all i know is that it was the cheapest flight i could get.

Thursday, 10:45am

i arrive in San Diego and meet up with Bill (my good friend from Phoenix) and Dave (one of my good friends i met in Vancouver). i quickly learn that Todd (another good friend from Vancouver) has not arrived yet (he should have arrived first). we end up waiting for him for over an hour. at the point when his plane finally lands we are hungry and hearing the call of nerd prom (the con).


we arrive at the hotel, drop our shit off, and head out to find some sustenance. as luck would have it, there is an excellent, EXCELLENT Mexican restaurant across the street. we eat up and head off for the trolly. see, since we booked our hotel sort of late in the game, we couldn't stay near the convention center, so we had to settle for a hotel a few miles away but right near the trolly that would take us to the con.


we finally arrive at the con. it is wonderous. there are people everywhere and it is only Thursday. the most packed days are to come. we hit the main exhibition hall floor and just walk around in a stupor. Bill and i manage to buy some toy exclusives (available only at this year's con), but otherwise we just sort of wander around.


Diego (the third and final friend from Vancouver) calls us and lets us know that he's arrived. we meet up with him and Outsourced Games (+ Bill) is reunited for the first time in a year and a half. it's great seeing everyone. if i were a girl i would have cried.


we all wander around the main floor - sometimes together, sometimes by ourselves - and just get lost in the nerdiness. no panels were attended. oh, and Dave showed off Saints Row 2 (there were surprisingly a lot of video game publishers showing off their wares at the con - probably because E3 was the week previous and was just up in LA).

the main floor is divided into several areas. first are the big companies giving away free stuff and showing off their wares. next are the artists and creators that aren't necessarily affiliated with any big company showing off their wares. and finally there's the retailers selling a bunch of shit. at the Chicago Comic Con (the only other one i've been to) the space was pretty evenly divided. this time around it seemed like more room was given to the big companies, followed by the small companies, and then the retailers. i was actually expecting a few more retailers. oh well.


we all 5 leave the con and grab a bite to eat in San Diego's Gaslamp District (right across the street from the convention center). the place reminded me of Vancouver sort of, but with even more bars and a little more upscale. we find a hole in the wall bar and get some bar food.


at this point Dave, Bill and i are pretty much done. our legs are tired from all the walking and we just want to head back to the room. Todd and Diego however want to head back to the con for some nighttime entertainment - there were a few panels they wanted to see. so we go our separate ways. Dave, Bill and i catch a cab back (too tired to walk the 10+ blocks back to the trolly station), grab a case of beer from a nearby liquor store, and drink, talk, and watch TV.


Todd and Diego return. we call it a night. Day 1 is a wrap.

Friday, 8:30am

we all get up and get ready for the day.


we head across the street for some Mexican breakfast. and a beef taco. oh man is it good.


we arrive at the con. we walk around for a while, trying to decide what to do. we finally split up, with Dave and i checking out the line for the Spaced panel. surprise surprise, the line is long.

now it's time to take a time out and explain something about the panels at SDCC that i didn't know going in. ok, so at SDCC you can attend one panel early in the day and then squat in the room until the panel you want to see comes up. you never have to leave the room! it's unbelievable. on top of that, they scheduled some of the MAJOR panels in the smallest of rooms! i wasn't able to see Spaced, MST3K, or JMS because of this screw up! so next year i'll know NOT to plan to see any big panels in small rooms and learn to squat in a room earlier in the day if there's an awesome panel i want to see later.


ok, so we got screwed out of seeing Spaced. that's fine, because there's ALWAYS another panel to see. so Dave, Bill (he met up with us) and i went to see the Spectacular Spider-Man panel (even though they'd never really seen the show). it was great. a lot of the voice actors were there and the creators were there too. it was a great panel with a good balance of questions from the moderator and from the audience. got to see a bit from season 2 and learned it won't be on until next year! oh well. i still love you Spectacular Spider-Man.


Dave, Bill and i hit the main floor and again got pretty lost in it all. to be honest, i can't exactly remember what happened. we probably hung out for a while, then split up, then got back together again. i know we took a look at some of the retailer booths. got another exclusive toy. Bill went off to meet up with some other friends for the rest of the day.


i split off on my own to check out the 24 panel. it started at 5:30, so i knew to arrive early and stand in line. i got up there (2nd floor, almost all the panels were on the 2nd floor) and there was already a pretty long line. no big deal i thought, the room was plenty big.

well, i barely got in. i'd say that at least HALF the people in this huge room (the third largest at the con) didn't leave from the panel before. damn squatters. anyway, maybe 50 people after me were let in and that was it. there was AT LEAST 300 more people after that that didn't make it in. that's nuts.

anyway, i got in and it was a great panel. Kiefer was there - along with the guy that plays Tony Almada and a bunch of the writers and producers - and they showed off clips from the season 7 prequel movie (airing in November) and talked about the upcoming season. basically they got me all excited for 24 again. i really think the year off did them some good. at least it sounds like it. oh and man was Kiefer awesome. he said it was his first time at the con. glad i got to see it.


met up with Dave, Diego, and Todd. we decide to take off and get some supper. after a lot of walking around and not finding what we wanted, we decide to grab a pair of bike taxis to take us to a fish market that's a little ways away. now, these are guys that have a cart for 2-3 people that they pull behind them on a bike. it's sort of like a modern-day rickshaw. so we get a price estimate on it and we all hear the guy say "two ninety-five." everyone but me thinks we're only paying $2.95 a person, but i'm worried that's WAY not enough and that he's going to charge us $295 for the 4 of us. so the entire ride there i'm completely nervous. we get there and he wants $25 per cab (so $50 total). we argue but i guess when we all heard "two ninety-five" what it really was was "twenty five." haha. whatever. at least it wasn't $295.


we eat at this really great fish market place right on the water. i've never been a seafood guy, but ever since Vancouver i've been a lot more willing to try foods, and being back with my Vancouver crew i felt it only appropriate to try something new - so i ordered the swordfish. freshly caught by the restaurant that morning. $30. oh my GOD was it good. also tried for the first time clam chowder (holy shit was it creamy) and boiled peel-and-eat shrimp. not a big fan of the shrimp. but the rest was excellent. even the creme brulee.


Todd was going to leave us to hang out with some Vegas friends in town for the con, so Diego, Dave and i had to decide what we wanted to do with the rest of the night. well, none of us had seen The Dark Knight yet, so we decided that's what we'd do.

oh what an adventure it was.

we all 4 grab a cab back to the Gas Light District. we tell the cabby to take us to the movie theater in the Gas Light District. he drops us off pointing a block away saying that the theater is there. ok, so Dave, Diego and i split off from Todd and go check it out. nope, no theater there. we walk around a bit more and finally ask someone. they tell us the theater is 5 blocks up, not even close to where the cabby told us it would be. ok, so we begrudgingly walk the 5 blocks and come to a theater. in the ticket window is a sign that says:

sorry, we're not showing The Dark Knight. try the so-and-so theater a few blocks up.

we ask the guy at the ticket counter where the theater is and he says it's only 2 blocks up, 1 block over. so off we go. in retrospect, we should have asked WHY they weren't showing the #1 movie in the country, but oh well. we get to the theater, get our tickets for the 10:20 showing (next showing was an hour later - at least we lucked out at something that night) and got ready for The Dark Knight. FINALLY!


Dave, Diego and i watch what is:

- the best movie of this year
- my favorite comic book movie of all time
- one of my favorite movies all around

The Dark Knight does not disappoint. but that's for another post altogether.

we grab a cab back to the hotel (the trolly shut down at midnight, and besides, it was at least 20 blocks away from where we were at that point) and are greeted by Todd and Bill when we get back. we all talk a bit and then turn in for the night. end Day 2.

Saturday, 9-11am

we get ready for the day and head down for a free breakfast at the hotel. then we hit the trolly and head to the con.


we arrive at the con and all head into the Dean Koontz panel. Dean Koontz used to be my favorite writer in high school, so to hear him speak in person was really awesome. half the panel was a prepared speech which consisted of personal stories that were rather humorous and the other half was questions from the audience that were pretty good. overall it was a blast. i really should start reading his stuff again.

then Todd, Dave and i became the very thing we hated: squatters. see, the Battlestar Galactica panel was in the very same room only an hour away, and if we were to leave, we'd have to get in a no-doubt HUGE line to get back in, so we stayed. we saw the Dollhouse panel with Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, and Hilo from Battlestar. the Dollhouse is a show coming out on FOX this January and, well, the panel made me a believer. i'll check it out.

FINALLY the Battlestar panel started and wow, a ton of the stars/creators were there:

- Ronald D. Moore, the creator/writer
- the main producer
- Tricia Helfer/Six
- Gaius Baltar
- Starbuck
- Starbuck's husband
- Lee Adama (wasn't scheduled to be there)
- Hilo (wasn't scheduled to be there)

oh, and it was moderated by Kevin Smith.

anyway, it was really great seeing all of them and hearing them talk about Battlestar - especially since it just wrapped up shooting a few weeks ago. unfortunately there were too many stars on the panel and not enough time. i think the moderator should have kicked it to the audience sooner because there was hardly any Q&A with the audience. panel should have been 2 hours instead of 1. oh well. got to see a longer teaser for season 4.5 (not coming out until 2009) and a trailer for Caprica, the prequel series. looking good! and Eric Stoltz to boot!


well, it was time to hit the main floor finally for the first time that day and pick up some more toy exclusives. Dave and Todd were with me, and we eventually met up with Bill. now, Bill was leaving us at 6pm to head back to Phoenix so i decided to grab a bite to eat with him, Todd and Dave before he left. i missed the JMS panel for this, but it's no big deal. JMS was in one of the small rooms. i'm sure i wouldn't have gotten in.


Todd, Dave, Bill and i grab a bite to eat at a Mexi-American bar a few blocks from the convention center. food was ok, beer was good. we had a good last meal with Bill. we said our goodbyes and Todd, Dave and i were off to the con for my last hour there.


i hit the floor one last time by myself and look around for any last minute purchases. i find one last exclusive toy that had alluded me up until then. finally, it's time to say goodbye to the con.


Todd, Dave and i head off in search of a bar to hang out for the rest of the night in. we happen upon Jolt N Joes (or something like that) and it's just perfect. we spend a good chunk of the night at the bar, then Diego joins us, and so do a few of Todd's Vegas friends, and we head upstairs to hang out. we have some more drinks and i do some drunk texting to Bill. ah, good times. it's a great blowout to end San Diego 2008.


we're back at our hotel. i promptly pass out.

Sunday, 8:30-9:30am

i somehow get up and ready for my flight at 11:30. i say my goodbyes to Dave, Diego, and Todd, have the hotel call me a cab and i'm off.

goodbye San Diego.


we've been talking since we've been back and everyone wants to make this a yearly thing. so watch out San Diego! come next year, we'll be back with a vengeance! and maybe we'll know what we're doing this time. like maybe we'll grab a hotel that's right there next to the convention center. oh! and we'll know all about squatting.



ps - those that know me, watch out for pics. and i might do a post on the toys i got... though i don't want to seem too nerdy.


Tuesday, July 22

San Diego Comic Con - the panels wish list

the San Diego Comic Con is but a few days away. it's my first year attending. i don't think i've been this excited for an event in a long time. here are the panels that, if i had all the time in the world, i would like to see while there:

- spotlight on Steve Purcell, creator of Sam & Max, now part of the creative braintrust at Pixar.

- a few panels on science fiction writing (if you've been reading the blog, i've been on a sci fi kick the past several months).

- Halo Wars and the Halo Universe. what can i say, i'm a Halo fanboy. also, with the ball being dropped by Microsoft last week at E3, maybe something will slip out this week about the new Halo game Bungie's working on.

- Entertainment Weekly is sponsoring a few panels that feature "creative visionaries" in fields such as comics and movies. the comics one is going to have Mignola, Kirkman, and Morrison. the movies one is going to have Kevin Smith, Apatow, Frank Miller, and Zack Snyder.

- bunch of Star Trek panels.

- Episodic Games: Rewriting the Adventure Game. a panel about a rather new trend in video games. i'm interested because of the talent at the panel.

- a bunch of Marvel Comics panels, though not as many as i would have been interested in attending in the past. i'm just not reading that many mainstream comics nowadays.

- a bunch of television show panels that will feature some/all of the cast and creators/producers. shows include: The Big Bang Theory, 24 (with Kiefer!), Heroes, Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Office, Battlestar Galactica, and Chuck.

- spotlight on Max Brooks, author of World War Z (perhaps my favorite work of zombie fiction).

- one on one with Terry Moore, author of Strangers in Paradise, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Echo, and Runaways. SiP has been over for a year now, but maybe he'll talk about it a little... however, i'm really going just to get some news on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.

- Watchmen (the movie) with the director and a bunch of the movie's stars. i'm psyched for this movie, since the director did 300 before this.

- a Spaced reunion, with the creators/cast. Spaced is one of my favorite shows of all time. from the guys that made Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. as good as those movies are, Spaced is 10 times better.

- a Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon panel with a lot of the voice actors and a few producers of the show. this is at the same time as the Spaced panel, so we'll have to see which one has the shorter line to get in. i want season 2 details!!!

- Ghostbusters: The Video Game panel, with Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. if by some stroke of god Ramis and Murray show up, i will die a happy man (IF i'm there to see it).

- The Spirit panel, with director Frank Miller and cast members SAMUEL L. JACKSON and Eva Mendes. movie looks like the spiritual successor to Sin City. looks good.

- a Family Guy panel. even though i don't really like Family Guy anymore (the formula wore thin on me after the third season), i have to admit, it'd be pretty cool to hear Seth MacFarlane and Seth Green talk about the show.

- an Image and Vertigo panel. more comic panels. mainly interested in them because each panel has a few of my favorite writers/creators on them (Kirkman, Larsen, Buckingham, Morrison, Wood).

- a Venture Bros. panel with the creator and some of the cast. great, underrated cartoon airing on adult swim.

- a Robot Chicken panel with the creators and a few of the cast members. another adult swim program. would mainly go to see Seth Green talk.

- a Futurama panel with a bunch of the cast and crew. always been a casual fan of the show, would be neat to see the cast.

- Sam & Max, Strong Bad, and the Secrets Behind Turning Comics into Games. interesting because, well, i'm in the games business.

- spotlight on Dean Koontz! those that know me well know that i grew up on Koontz novels, reading them all through high school. his latest novels haven't interested me much - maybe my tastes just evolved - but he is still the writer of one of my favorite books of all time, Lightning. even though he'll be talking about his new books and new comic deal with Marvel (i.e. stuff i won't care about) it'll still be cool to see one of my former idols.

- Xbox Creators' Showcase: Gears of War 2 and Fable 2. 2 great games coming out this fall, both being shown off by their semi-famous creators. would be neat to see. hey, maybe i'll have my own panel at SDCC 10 years from now! ah, but as a game designer, or as a writer? hmm...

- spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski. one of my current writing idols. still can't believe that he was at a Chicago comic con back 10 years ago when B5 was in its hayday and i didn't see him (hell, i didn't even know who he was, or what B5 was). this time, i won't miss him. this is the panel i'm probably most excited to see.

- a panel on the creation of the upcoming survival horror game, Dead Space.


- a panel on the creation of the upcoming Bionic Commando and Bionic Commando Rearmed.

nighttime programming:

- Comedy Central's TV Funhouse with Robert Smigel. some of you may have heard of Smigel - he does Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Conan and Saturday TV Funhouse on SNL - but i know him best for this short-lived, wonder of a show called TV Funhouse. it's a reunion of sorts. should be a blast (whether or not i choose to go).

- Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Reunion. with the creator, producer, and i believe the entire f'in cast/crew! and Patton Oswalt is the host!! ENOUGH SAID!!!

- Spaced screening. the cast is back to screen their favorite episodes. if i don't make it to the earlier panel, i'm definitely hitting this one up.

...and that's it! whew! now, that's all the panels that i WANT to see. i would be surprised if i actually make it to 1/4 of those.

i mean, first off, this is my first year at SDCC, so i'm sure a lot of time will be just figuring the whole thing out. i also need at least a day to just walk the floor and buy stuff/get a bunch of free shit. next, the lines for some of these panels i'm sure will be INSANE. some i'll be willing to wait for, most i won't. oh, and a lot of the above panels are happening at the same time - like i think the worst is there are 4 panels i want to see that overlap in a 2-hour period. so i can only go to 1 of those 4 panels, if that. and finally, i'm going to be meeting up with a bunch of friends i haven't seen in a while, so i'm sure i won't want to spend the majority of my time in panels (or in line for panels).

however, there are those that i'll do everything in my power to make. i need to see JMS, Dean Koontz, MST3K, Spaced, Terry Moore, Max Brooks, and maybe Spectacular Spider-Man. oh, and it'd be great to attend a few of those TV show panels - specifically 24, Battlestar, and Heros - but i imagine the line for those will be crazy long. crazy crazy long.

i'll let you know how it all went on the flip side. wish me luck!


Thursday, July 17

E3 2008

E3 has become a shadow of its former self the past couple of years, but with all the great games coming out, it was pretty hard to tell this year. here's some of my thoughts on E3 2008.

- Microsoft shocked everyone when they announced Final Fantasy XIII was headed to their platform as well as PS3. this is the second major game Sony lost exclusivity on from last gen to this gen (the other being Grand Theft Auto) and i've gotta admit, i feel bad for Sony. i'm not mad at Square for pimping out their product (this generation, it's hard to stay exclusive to a console with the high costs of production), i'm just sort of upset at Sony for letting Final Fantasy slip through their fingers. oh well. good game Microsoft.

- Bungie (makers of Halo, one of my favorite franchises) had been set to announce something at E3 for MONTHS. then, at the last minute, Microsoft decided to pull the plug saying that they had already shown off enough and they wanted to save the Bungie announcement. supposedly it's another game taking place in the Halo universe, but whatever it is, Microsoft totally dropped the ball. Bungie had been planning this, the fans (who are pretty rabid when it comes to Bungie) had been gearing up for it, and then POOF - nothing. stupid Microsoft. we're still with you Bungie!

- the Xbox 360 updated dashboard is looking pretty sweet. sort of a mix of CD cover shuffle on the ipod, Microsoft Vista windows, and the old dashboard.

- NOT liking how Microsoft is copying Nintendo with their avatars (blatant ripoffs of Miis) and worried that they're trying to reach out to everyone at once and will end up not reaching anyone.

- Microsoft and Netflix partner up to offer movies on your 360 for free (if you have a Netflix account). might be time to get a Netflix account. something about having a queue of movies that i don't have to wait for to come in the mail intrigues me.

- Nintendo starts to disappoint even their most hardcore fans! FINALLY! first they announce the Wii MotionPlus add-on for the Wii Remote (at a $30 value) that basically makes the Wiimote do WHAT IT WAS ORIGINALLY ADVERTISED TO DO! wow. then, at their press conference, they completely snubbed their core fans in favor of their new casual fans. WiiMusic? are you serious? that's not a game, that's play - further proving my point that the Nintendo Wii is nothing more than a toy. hey, if a toy is what you want, that's fine. to each his own. me, i'm just glad i jumped off Nintendo's bandwagon a few years back, otherwise this E3 would have KILLED me.

- Sony had a pretty good showing this year (i'm very excited to see where their first-party titles and PlayStation Network titles are going), but most the third party titles showing up on 360 and PS3 decided to show their wares at Microsoft's press conference instead of Sony's. that, and the fact that Sony lost exclusivity on FFXIII, made their showing a little sad. they keep asking us to wait just a little longer for the games to come out. well, i'm waiting.

- never played the originals, but Fallout 3 looks AMAZING.

- Mirror's Edge looks like it might give me motion sickness, but i think it'll be worth it for the amazing, original experience it seems like it's going to offer.

- might get Ghostbusters: The Video Game simply for the fact that Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the script (from what was to be the third, never-made movie) and that all 4 Ghostbuters are back lending their voices to the game.

- both a James Bond movie AND video game look great? what is this, 1996? i'm pretty psyched to see the new Bond movie Quantum of Solace (after the last one kicked so much ass), but even moreso looking forward to the game that will have the first and second movie all wrapped up into one - using the Call of Duty 4 game engine. seriously, a Bond game hasn't looked this good since Goldeneye.

- other amazing single-player games: inFamous, flower, PixelJunk Eden, Dragon Age: Origins, Naruto 2, Killzone 2.

- games that just look like pure fun: This is Vegas, Wheelman, Mega Man 9, Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: On Tour, Lips.

- role-playing games i must have: The Last Remnant, Infinite Undiscovery, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Final Fantasy XIII.

- psyched that co-op is making such a comeback! Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Resident Evil 5, Left 4 Dead, and Borderlands are all must-haves for me. now, if i can only get another friend or two to pick them up...

- excited to see more of: I Am Alive, Darksiders: Wrath of War, Velvet Assassin, Bionic Commando, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Fusion, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Hydrophobia, The Agency, Damnation.

- looking forward to these games on the go for the PSP: Loco Roco 2, Patapon 2, Super Stardust Portable, Star Ocean: First Departure, Star Ocean: Second Evolution.

- Yakuza 2! early September! finally!!!

- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic MMO is finally confirmed. while i would have rather liked an announcement for III, i have to admit that an MMO set in the KOTOR universe may be enough to get me to play an MMO.

- the new Prince of Persia is beautiful - not only in its art direction, but also in its gameplay. this is my most anticipated game of Fall/Winter 2008.

- and finally, this is BY FAR the best trailer to come out of E3 2008. may i present to you, the trailer for Duke Nukem Trilogy. at 4 minutes in length, it's like someone just discovered After Effects on their computer and just couldn't stop himself. 4 MINUTES!!!

so there you have it. most shocking was that FFXIII is headed to 360. most laughable was Nintendo's press conference and continued snubbing of their core fans. most stupid was Microsoft denying Bungie their announcement. and most impressive was:

Prince of Persia

runners up: Fallout 3, Mirror's Edge, Gears of War 2, Resident Evil 5, Left 4 Dead, Quantum of Solace, and Borderlands.

seriously, this Fall/Winter (when most of these games are slated to be released) looks to be as good - if not better than - last year. and last year was UNBELIEVABLE.

video games. gotta love 'em.


ps - i could go on in great length about almost all the video games mentioned above, but i just don't have the time to go into them all right now. if you want to know how i feel about a specific video game above, you'll have to hit me up in the comments.

Thursday, July 10

a tv-less summer

those of you that know me know that i fill my nights with two things: television and video games. what happens when one of the worst seasons of television (summer or otherwise) comes upon us, bringing with it retreads of reality shows copied from other stations or stolen from other countries? no, i don't play more video games (though i really should, my pile of games is becoming increasingly unmanageable) - i download and watch my own television series.

so here's what i've been watching this summer. the stuff on tv, and the stuff off my computer.

- Battlestar Galactica finished out its first half of its final (fourth) season, and it ended with a bang. seriously, the final episode was SO good (minus the out-of-place fast pacing - seriously, they took material that would normally have been maybe 3 episodes and packed it into 1) i can almost forgive the show for the rest of the season. almost. however, season 4 so far for me has had many more lows than highs. here's hoping the last half of the season (not on until next year sometime) is better. much better.

- Spectacular Spider-Man finished its first 13-episode season and it was, well, spectacular. it was a great blend of stuff for the kids and stuff for the adults. the stories were mostly based on classic Spidey, but with their own modern-day twist. there was one twist on a super villain that i liked, and i love classic Mary Jane (the one that's a free spirit, doesn't want to be tied down to anybody). and the action scenes - oh man. best action scenes in a cartoon, hands down. this is by far the best Spider-Man cartoon that has ever been - possibly even the best superhero cartoon that has ever been. well, besides The Tick. its reported that it will have a second season, but when is anybody's guess.

- stopped watching The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles - or maybe i'm just taking a break from it, i don't know. all i know is that i couldn't take "cute" Indiana anymore. if i were to start watching the series again, maybe i'd just skip ahead to when he's a bit older. as it is, i made it through only 4 of the 22 "chapters" (each 1 1/2 hours, with 2 stories a piece).

- started watching the X-Men cartoon series from the 90s. i'm about halfway through season 2 of 5. each season has around 15 episodes, with a grand total of something like 75 episodes. what's amazing is how much i remember of the show (i watched it when i was little). i'm not sure how much of it is nostalgia and how much of it is it being a good show, but i like it quite a bit. sure it's got its problems, but what 90s cartoon doesn't? the stories are condensed versions of comic stories, so that's cool. oh, and surprisingly it has an overarching story that takes you through an entire season - something i wouldn't have thought a 90s kids cartoon would have had (well planned-out plot points). probably the funniest thing is that Wolverine, arguably the strongest mutant on the team, continuously gets his ass kicked the second he joins a fight. he's damn near useless. oh, and Jean Grey is pretty useless too - though maybe this is before she's really learned what her powers can do. anyway, it's good fun.

- Hell's Kitchen Season 4 is over and all i have to say is this: Petrozza should have won. i don't know if FOX told Ramsay that this year a cute girl had to win, or if he had a sweet spot (i.e. the hots) for her, but Petrozza. should. have. won.

- been watching this new show on NBC called Fear Itself. each week is a new mini horror movie. the first episode was a sort of "cabin in the woods" tale, while the next week was about a haunting. as long as you go into it knowing what to expect - a pretty cheesy B-horror movie that is guaranteed to have a twist - it's sort of fun. actually, the last 2 weeks were pretty good because i didn't see the endings coming. next week is zombies. yay zombies!

- ok, so this past weekend i downloaded and watched the RoboCop movie trilogy. first movie, a masterpiece. second movie, a mess. third movie, a piece of... well, the furthest thing from a masterpiece (i actually almost stopped watching it after the first half hour). however, i love the world and character(s) SO much that i decided to download and watch the television series. yes, for those of you that don't remember, RoboCop had a tv series in the early 90s. it lasted only one season, so i don't blame you if you don't remember. so i've watched the first 4 episodes and you know what? it's still far from the masterpiece the first movie is, but it's WAY better than the movie sequels - if only because the writing is at least cohesive. it may not always be good, but it's cohesive. and it introduces ideas such as religion and cyborgs, cyborgs and humanity, etc. it may not always follow THROUGH on those ideas, but it at least brings them up and explores them a little. oh, and just like Wolverine in the X-Men cartoon, RoboCop gets his ass handed to him the minute he enters a fight (well that sort of happened in the movies too). and it's always in the stupidest ways too. learn how to fight Robo! then maybe you can be of some use for the majority of the episode instead of just sitting there being fixed/waiting to be fixed. still, i'm a fan.

- and finally, what prompted me to write this blog - Burn Notice Season 2 is upon us. how was the first episode? spot-on. it was everything i expected it to be. i was a little sad that things are basically back to the way they were at the start of last season (after some characters had grown over the course of last season) but it was expected. you can't really have your characters grow in a comedy/drama. so Michael is back in Miami, doing the same types of jobs he did last year (except with a steady stream of them this time supplied by a new boss), still trying to learn who burned him and - more importantly this season - why. and i'm fine with it. it's a great ride.

what's next? after RoboCop and X-Men i think i'll tackle either Time Trax (another 90s sci fi show most people don't remember) or maybe Deadwood. however, lately i've been on a huge sci fi kick, so it'll probably be Time Trax. and the fall season isn't that far away. FOX starts airing new episodes around Labor Day, with NBC following later in September. can't wait for Sarah Connor, House, and yes, even Heroes - though if they start doing stupid stuff, i'm done. DONE. oh, and later in the year - 24: the tv movie. hell. yes.

- k