Friday, August 31, 2012

Flash Friday: More Cups and Glasses

Happy Flash Friday everyone! Today for Flash Friday I’m going to be talking about three products that were almost instant buys for me. But then as I looked closer at the product I realized just how unhappy I’d be with it. I guess you could cause them near misses.

I’m covering two of the items at once here since they are more or less the same thing. Here you have a really nice looking pint and shot glass with the Flash symbol. At first glance it looked pretty perfect. Sure there was some color effects going on around the symbol itself, but it was still pretty simple. Then I enlarged the picture and saw the lighting was filled with a glittery substance. I was thinking of ordering both the pint and the shot glass. I’m just not sure how I feel about the glitter though.

This next item I found on Super Hero Stuff. It’s a Flash coffee mug. I was getting ready to throw my wallet at the screen when I saw this one. A simple Flash symbol on a red back ground, this is exactly what I’ve been wanting. Sure it would have been better if the entire cup was red, but after pricing custom cups myself I know it is much cheaper this way. So what stopped me from ordering this amazing cup?

Aggh! What in the? What is up with face? Having a giant face staring at me first thing in the morning would already be unsettling enough, but the way the background color and mask color merge together is really creepy. It’s like someone pulled off the Flash’s face and stretched it around the mug. It reminds me of the face on Evil Dead’s Necronomicon. I was so close on that one.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hangover Thursday: Last Night

It’s Hangover Thursday, how’s your head? I stayed away from the bar last night. It was a combination of too little sleep, too much work, and so much rain I could barely see out the car window. That’s okay though, there will be plenty of drinking this weekend to make up for it.

We’re keeping up with the musical theme for one more day. Britain’s X-Factor has got itself Lucy Spraggan. She came on and sang a song called “Last Night (Beer Fear)”. Obviously a song all about the things you do while drinking belongs on a Hangover Thursday. This is the official video, not the one with her singing on the television show.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Llama School

I’m extremely busy, so today I take you all to Llama School.  Besides it just seems like a musical week.

I miss Sifl and Olly.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Write Like the Wind

I was lucky enough to see Paul and Storm a few years ago when they opened for Jonathan Coulton. It seems every time I turn around they are doing something else awesome in the Geek community. Things like their concerts at Pax, the Rockband songs, becoming the Bards in Pax’s live DND game, and my personal favorite, the FudgieThon (Storm raised money by eating an entire Fudgie the Whale in one sitting).

Today’s video is one of those things I just found this weekend. I was sending it to all of the people I know who would enjoy it when I said to myself that I really just needed to put it up on That F’ing Monkey so everyone can see it. If this is the first you’re hearing of Paul and Storm, please spend some time on their website because they are awesome.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

RIP Jerry Nelson

I’ve got very sad news to report today. Long time Muppeteer Jerry Nelson died on August 23. He was 78. Like most of the Muppeteers you’ll probably recognize his characters much easier than you’ll recognize his name. Nelson was a long time member of the Henson group, going as far back as the Jimmy Dean show.

Jerry started working on Sesame Street during its second season. He stayed on the show for over 40 years. Back in 2004 he stopped performing his other Muppet characters but he continued to work on Sesame Street. During his time there he created Count von Count. He also preformed characters like Sherlock Hemlock, Herry Monster, the Amazing Mumford, Little Jerry, and Frazzle (one of my favorites).

He was a major player in the Muppets too. He was Floyd Pepper. He was also Robin, Cmilla, Pops, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, and Uncle Deadly. In one of my favorite holiday movies Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas he played Emmet. In Fraggle Rock he was Gobo.

His performances played a major part in my childhood. The Muppets I’ve listed here are just a small portion of the characters he preformed. He was an amazing talent and his passing makes the world a little less magical.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flash Friday: Superhero Sexy Time

Happy Flash Friday everyone! I have to explain a little before we can jump into today’s topic of superhero sexy time. When I wake up in the morning the wife and baby are usually still asleep. I get myself cleaned up and make something to eat. Then I usually have about an hour of a quiet house to myself before I have to head off for work. I usually spend that time that time on the Xbox.

The other day I turned the Xbox off and went to brush my teeth. A few minutes later I’m walking past the living room I hear the local news channel talking about Superman and Wonder Woman becoming an item. It was not what I was expecting to hear on television. Of course they had no idea about the New 52 reboot and spent the whole time questioning how Superman could leave Lois Lane.

The super shack up got me thinking about the other long term relationship the New 52 broke up, Barry and Iris. Could it be time for the Flash to get into someone else’s tights? I am not saying I want to see these match ups, but I’ve come to terms with the New 52 Flash being a different character than the one I grew up with. So that being said, what super hero could the Flash start chasing?

Mark Waid did have Black Canary and the Flash share a kiss in his story Year One. In that story Barry went back with Iris. But everything is new and edgy now, so maybe it’s time to hook up with Canary. Barry and Oliver arguing is always fun to read, imagine the arguments this relationship could create.

It seems like Barry likes fishnets. There was also this very, very brief flirtation with Zatanna. This one was over so quickly that if you blinked you missed it. Still Barry must have really liked her to flirt with her during the time she was wearing her “sorceress” costume. And she called his mask ridiculous looking.

So Black Canary and Zatanna aren’t doing anything for you. How about Batgirl?

Too soon?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hangover Thursday: Distribution Blues

It’s Hangover Thursday, how’s your head? Sadly there was no beer in Kensville last night. I was doing the responsible husband and dad thing. I got a text around 12:30 am a few days ago. Phone calls and texts in the middle of the night used to be pretty standard for me, but obviously they’ve slowed as I’ve gotten older. It might also be my strict policy that all texts after midnight show come with dirty pictures.

The text in question didn’t contain any nudity but instead told me, “Check out Ska Brewing out of Durango, CO.” Well I liked the name already; I had to check it out. The story is that back in 1995 Dave and Bill decided that since they were underage it would be easier to brew their own beer then try to buy it. It’s genius and only made me like them more. So how does their beer taste? I don’t know, it isn’t distributed in Florida.

Great beer should be available everywhere. Sadly small breweries can’t produce that much. Here in the United States you’ll find some beers that are available on the east coast and nowhere else. Likewise some beers never make it out of the mid-west. My brother-in-law loves Yeungling, but can’t get it where he lives. I got used to drinking Fat Tire when I was out west for work. But it isn’t something I can get in Florida. Now because it isn’t something I can normally get, I’ve convinced myself it is far better than it actually is.

So is anyone missing their favorite beer? Have you moved away from the brewery you love?  Feel like sending me a bottle of Nefarious Ten Pin?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Clawfoot Tub

I listen to music the entire time I’m at work. I have an old 40 Gig classic iPod that is a little more than half full of music. I get teased about how hold it is, but it doesn’t matter, it does what I need it to. Usually I set it to random and then go about my day. Sometimes I’ll single out an artist or album. One of my favorites when work has me stressed out is the Barnkickers.

You can find their album “Up Before Noon” on their website. I can’t recommend it enough.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fallout Lego

In the past few weeks I’ve talked a lot about Fallout. I’m always willing to talk about Lego. If you spend a lot of time looking at Lego sites, you’ve probably seen Saber-Scorpion’s Lair. Justin has done a bunch of different properties and turned them into Lego minfigs and sets. I think I first found his site when I was looking for Mass Effect sites. Today is all about Fallout.

One of the great things about the Saber-Scorpion pictures is all the custom pieces. The stickers used to make things like the Medkits and Tunnel Snake jacket are actually available on Saber-Scorpion’s website. I won’t like, I’m pretty tempted by the Tunnel Snake jacket. The guns come from Brickarms, Brickforge, and Brickwarriors. I’ve had Brickarms and Brickforge bookmarked on my home computer for a long time, they make fantastic accessories for Lego minifigs.

Obviously you can’t buy this awesome street scene, but it is fun to look at. I think the Raiders are particularly well done. The strange weapons, the piecemeal armor, and the crazy hair just scream Raiders. Considering right now I’m spending the majority of my time in Fallout searching for the Vault-Boy Bobble heads I really appreciate the one sitting on the computer desk.

You can’t have Fallout without the Brotherhood of Steel can you? Check out Saber-Scorpion’s page for even more pictures of his awesome Fallout scene. Poke around the rest of the site too, you’re bound to find more of your favorites turned into Lego.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lego: The Lego Story

Do you know the history of Lego? I didn’t. No seriously, I was pretty sure they were magic or something. This video tells the origins of the company and of the bricks that hold such a horrible power of me. It’s a fantastic video that honestly taught me a lot about one of my favorite companies. I won’t lie though, this is a long one, its almost 20 minutes.

Doesn’t that just make you want to start playing with little plastic blocks again?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flash Friday: Shark Week!

Happy Flash Friday everyone! In case it hasn’t been obvious it is it is also Shark Week over at the Discovery Channel. Discovery forgot it was still in the middle of Shark Week and decided to run episodes of Gold Rush all day. If you’re like me and need a steady stream of shark related media that just won’t do. But today is Flash Friday, how can I make it also about Shark Week? Warning, this may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever posted. It may also be the greatest.

Shark Flash! An innocent mako is swimming though a chemical spill when it is struck by lightning; instead of being instantly killed it is granted super-speed! The shortfin mako is already thought to be the fastest shark. It has been recorded swimming at speeds of 20 miles per hour. The fastest human swimmers haven’t even been able to reach 6 miles per hour. If any shark was going to be the Flash it would have to be the mako.

Also, if you prefer your Shark Flash in the new 52 style….

Because I’m sick in the head I started thinking about other members of the Justice League and what shark they’d be. Superman would be the great white. That’s a pretty simple one. I think Batman would be a bull shark. They are ruthless and they’re able to swim into fresh water. Green Lantern would be a smooth lantern shark. I mean lantern is already in the name, it’s an easy one. I’m still thinking about the others.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hangover Thursday: The Long Ramble

It’s Hangover Thursday, how’s your head? I’m feeling pretty good this morning. Last night I had a couple Smuttynose Porters, a Murphy’s Stout, and a Yeti Imperial Stout. Today’s topic is really a bunch minor things that ran through my head last night that a unified topic. I had front row seats to a pretty spectacular lightning storm last night; it was far more interesting than the baseball that was playing on the televisions.

Beer lists are a pretty genius idea. It gives the patrons something to work towards and keeps them trying different things. It put me in a strange position though. I’m not always charged for all my drinks. It may be because it’s a busy place, but I like to think it is because I’m a regular who tips well. When you’re closing in on hitting your 100 mark, you want every new beer you drink to show up on your tab though. It’s a silly problem to have, so please feel free to laugh at me.

World of Beer has their own App now. Besides showing you where the WoB locations are; it will also show you the events going on at that location. If you’re a Loyalty member it will keep track of your list. The coolest thing the App is its beer finder. First you pick a location, after that there are other filters like bottle or draft or ABV. Once you pick the beer it shows the name, color, origin, style, ABV, size, and a short description.

There is a theme that keeps popping up in conversations lately. It has to do with not seeing movies everyone else thinks you should have seen already. I know someone who I won’t name that hasn’t actually watched Blade Runner. Sure they know the plot and may have seen some scenes, but they’ve never actually seen the movie. Another friend who is heavily versed in 80s pop culture recently revealed that they never saw Red Dawn. I’m shamed by how many of Hitchcock’s classics I’ve missed. Things like Rear Window and North by Northwest. So what about you? What shocking movie haven’t you seen?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Journey of Thall Faceshooter, Part 3

This will probably be the last update of Thall Faceshooter’s adventures. In the time since the last update he has managed to bring clean water to the Capital Wasteland. There are still things for me to do in game, including three of the DLCs, but I think today’s update will wrap up Thall’s story pretty well.

I picked up Lincoln’s old rifle. Not only does it still work, it’s fantastically accurate. Despite the temptation to wear it around the wasteland, I sold his top hat to a historian.

Using my VATS targeting system I can shoot grenades out of the air. I’m a god now.

I broke into a vault full of virtual reality machines. When I sat down into the chair there I leveled up. I leveled up by sitting in a chair.

Tunnel Snakes, Reily’s Rangers, Regulators, and the Brotherhood of Steel. Apparently I’m a joiner.

Killing slavers is hard work, so I stopped in their armory. In the basement is a bed, so I took an hour nap. Feeling refreshed I came back out to kill some more. I took a bit more damage than I had wanted, so I went back in the armor and took another nap. The slavers were very patient and waited for me each time.

In another virtual reality machine I’m commanding US troops in Alaska. I pick snipers to help me out on a mission. They charge the enemy. My sniper team charged the enemy!

After the Alaska simulation I get a stealth suit that turns me into a Predator. Like the alien that Arnold fought, not the guy who hangs out in vans with no windows. The armor is awesome. Despite covering me head to toe, the first thing I do is put on my cowboy hat. Daft Punk Cowboy, yee haw.

There is a house next to a grave yard; kind of creepy. The house has a basement; extremely creepy.

While exploring the creepy house a man surprises me by quickly coming around a corner. It surprises me and I react by shooting him in the face with a Chinese assault rifle. He had an eye patch, so we’re just going to assume he was evil.

I’m trying to be a good guy and the game has to go and send me to a city full of annoying kids. You can’t shoot them. I debated leaving the place full of land mines anyway.

I just shot the head off a Raider who had the exact same face/hair style as me. It was a Skywalker moment.

Headed to Pittsburgh to kill some slavers, I’m disappointed by the lack of Primanti Bros.

So stripping the “Slave Rags” off of a slave actually leaves them wearing more clothes than they started with.

There are lots of catwalks in the Pitt. Watching a bullet fly in slow motion across the open steelyard, pass between other girders, and finally split a Trog’s head in two is pretty awesome.

Found a dead guy laying on two unopened medkits. He almost made it.

Oh yeah along the way I restored clean drinking water to the area and took out the main group of bad guys.  I guess that is important too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shark Week: The Jaws Edition

Shark Week is in full swing over at the Discovery channel. Tonight they are premiering the special, “How Jaws Changed the World.” I’ve already got my DVR set, but I’m sure I’ll be watching this one as it airs. Jaws is without a doubt one of my favorite movies and it’s probably the reason I love the lesser shark movies too. I’ve never thought about real life sharks as monsters though, way before I saw Jaws I had already fallen in love with the hammer head.

In an amazing coincidence Jaws was just released on BluRay. Shark Week is thick with commercials for it. As soon as I saw the first commercial the voice in my head screamed at me, “We need that!” That impulse is why at one point I somehow found myself owning 3 different versions of Jaws on DVD. I’m down to two now, and I need to compare the two editions I currently have and find a home for the other.

To further cement the Jaws/Shark Week connection there are currently two mobile phone games based on Jaws that are free to download during Shark Week! I’m on an iPhone so I can only vouch for their App Store, if you use something else you’ll have to check for yourself. The games are Jaws and Jaws Revenge. The Jaws game has you playing sheriff. The first stage has a beach full of swimmers and you have to flick them towards the shore. Jaws will swim across the beach and try to eat your vacationers, so you’ll have to maneuver the swimmers out of the shark’s path.

Other stages have you out in the open water. There isn’t a beach to flick your swimmers to; instead you also have to control rescue boats. The boats hold different amounts of people, so you’ll have to juggle all of these things to keep everyone from becoming shark food. It’s a fun diversion, but honestly if it wasn’t a free app I wouldn’t have downloaded it.

Jaws Revenge on the other hand is something I can see myself wasting a huge amount of time on. If you’ve ever played the Flash game Miami Shark you’ll be very familiar with this. You’re Jaws in this version, a very hungry version of Jaws. Pressing on the screen allows the shark to dive down, releasing sends it launching through the air. The game is full of things to eat; fish, birds, divers, skiers, etc. It is non-stop carnage.

The game does give you objectives. Things like eat 7 skiers before you reach the third buoy. When you meet these objectives you’re rewarded with shark tooth coins. Those coins allow you to upgrade your shark. Bigger health bars, more damaging bites, and others will help you hit your objectives faster and allow you to cause even more destruction. I downloaded both of these games while watching Sharkzilla last night and I think my shark in Jaws Revenge is already level 4.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Boldly Continuing

Once again I am going to have to let you know that my posts will be erratic for the next month or so. Hopefully next week I can make the reason why public. Until then check out this fantastically made Star Trek web series. This is just a couple random scenes that were shot as a proof of concept. Of course something that looks this damn good will most likely be shut down by Paramount mad quick.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Modern Comedian: Mitch Was a Writer

Scott Moran has a new series on Youtube called Modern Comedian. The films are small documentaries that each focus on one comedian and talk about their creative process. They only run about 10 minutes long, but I find them fascinating. Ben Kronberg is the subject of the second video but he also provides the music for the series. You should watch all four of the movies, but it’s the fourth video that I really wanted to talk about.

Mitch Hedberg was an amazing comedian. Lynn Shawcroft was married to him for the last 6 years of his life. This video is her talking about Mitch and his creative process. I’m biased because I did really like Mitch’s comedy, but I couldn’t look away from this video. If you are a fan of Mitch, make sure you check it out.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Flash Friday: Cosmic Treadmill

Happy Flash Friday everyone! I don’t know if it is due to my general dislike of where DC is headed or if it is all in my head, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of Flash to talk about lately. I was wandering the isles at my local Toys R Us yesterday and I was shocked to see how little DC merchandise there was on the shelves. As a Flash fan I’m used to having to hunt, but that was kind of depressing.

DC’s online store did find a way to make me happy though. They’ve recently released a line of really nice prints. The Flash print is designed to look like a poster from the Flash Museum. The red and yellow nicely mimic the Flash’s costume. This is the kind of merchandise I love. It celebrates the hero without looking like something you grabbed off the poster rack at Spencer’s ten years ago. I've been very critical of the things I don't like lately, I feel I need to say that this is my favorite Flash item I've seen in a long time.  It honestly makes me happy.

The print is available in two sizes 12 x 18 inches and 24 x 36 inches. It is printed on acid-free archival paper-stock. The smaller size is 20 dollars while the larger one is 35. Of course getting it matted and framed will probably cost you twice what you paid for the print. If you need one of these fantastic prints for your walls you can find it HERE. I need to figure out where I could hang it before I order one for myself.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hangover Thursday: Beer Soap

It’s Hangover Thursday, how’s your head? I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I wrote today’s entry on Wednesday afternoon. I knew I was heading to the bar as soon as I left on Wednesday night and had actually taken Thursday off. I highly expect that my head will be wrecked Thursday morning. When I finally drag myself into the shower Thursday morning I’ll be wishing I had some beer soap.

You read that right. The Beer Soap Company is actually using beer to make soap. The company started out just making all natural soaps. As their soap line expanded they experimented with using beer in their soap. The beer soap was such a great seller it took off and they became the Beer Soap Company. These aren’t generic beers either. You don’t just order a bar or Stout or Pilsner, there list of available soaps lists exactly which beer was used to make the soap.

I’m of course drawn to Guinness and the other stouts. The Guinness selection contains both draught and extra stout. I’m also really tempted to order a bar of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Each bar of soap will run you between six and eight dollars. If you like the soap, you might was well grab a six-pack. Most of the soap is vegan friendly, unless the beer itself isn’t (I’m looking at you Guinness). Check out their website, the beer selection might surprise you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Shallow Lagoon

We call our house the Black Lagoon. You see two years ago we purchased our first home. My wife was thrilled by the very large pool in the back yard, I wasn’t. Anyway in all of our painting, unpacking, and all of the other chaos that happens when you move into your first home I kind of forgot about the pool. On top of that the pool filter broke. Needless to say that our pool quickly turned green; thus we started calling our house the Black Lagoon. Even now long after the pool has been cleaned we still call our house the Black Lagoon.

When Caanan Grall was raising money to get his first Max Overacts book published I was lucky enough to have some money saved up and was able to get one of the higher rewards. Then I was torn for like two weeks. I was getting a nice sized commission from one of my favorite artists, what should I ask for? The idea of mashing up the Max cast with the Creature from the Black Lagoon came to me while I was driving home from work. As soon as the idea was in my head I knew that it would turn out incredible.

I haven’t gotten a chance to frame it yet, but I will. I already have a spot picked out where it is going too. See when you first enter my house, the first thing you see is a Creature from the Black Lagoon poster. The Creature of the Shallow Lagoon is going to go on that same wall, either above or below the Black Lagoon poster (I haven’t determined which way looks better yet). I love this piece so much I’m not really sure why I haven’t shared it on the website yet. I’m already saving my money for his next book drive.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Today I want to make a confession that will probably earn me some nasty emails; I hate Star Trek the Next Generation. When it premiered, I really wanted to like it. I gave it a lot of chances to turn my opinion around. This isn’t an attack on any of the actors, I just despised the show. To me Star Trek was about beaming down to planets, kicking some ass, and sleeping with their women. Next Gen was full of sitting around and talking, Klingons who only won fights on the holodeck, Pinocchio robots, and Wesley Crusher.

Wil Wheaton is who we are actually talking about today. Because despite what I think about the show that made him famous, I think Wil Wheaton is an extremely funny guy. His role in the Penny Arcade podcasts led me to reading his own site where he was writing about introducing his son to Dungeons and Dragons. Now I have to say I’m a huge fan. I spent a good portion of a rainy afternoon watching his new webshow TableTop.

TableTop is a simple concept executed brilliantly. Wil invites three other people over to play a board game and they film the experience. Sometimes the players are new to the game, sometimes they are very familiar with it, and in one case one of the players was the writer of the game. Surprisingly the games are a lot of fun to watch. The shows are all on Youtube, but you can’t check out the shows homepage HERE.

Another great thing about the show is that it serves as a great preview to how the game plays. Board games are not cheap to begin with and once you start looking at the specialty games they get really expensive. So the fact you can see how games like Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan play before you buy them is extremely helpful.

So check out TableTop. I’ll also confess that my secret dream is now to be on this show and playing Cards Against Humanity. If you'll excuse me, I just saw that they put their coffee cups up for sale and I must have one.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Freaks and Creeps

I love animal shows. Animal Planet and Nat Geo Wild are constantly on my television. While I am completely addicted to Call of the Wildman, I’m mostly fascinated with the animals people don’t like. I want to see monitor lizards, snakes, eels, sharks, and Tasmanian devils. Thankfully Nat Geo Wild has a show full of the things I like seeing, it’s called Freaks and Creeps.

Lucy Cooke has made a number of different shows for channels like NatGeo, Discovery, and the BBC, but in this new show we really get to see her passion. There are millions of animals out there, let’s talk about the ones you don’t always see on television. The first episode I saw had her going to Borneo and ignoring orangutans; instead she focused on the proboscis monkey. Another episode heavily features the Tasmanian devil, an animal infinitely cooler than the Warner Brothers cartoon character of the same name.

It’s also nice to see a hosted animal show again. There have been so many reality shows on the animal channels I had forgotten how nice it was to have a hosted show. What is Jeff Corwin doing nowadays anyway? Lucy is genuinely funny. Her excitement about the animals she’s showing off is infectious. She also makes sure to make the researchers helping her look good. These people are doing things to help protect the animals the program is showcasing, their fifteen minutes of fame is well deserved.

If you see Freaks and Creeps is on, give it a try. You may get lucky and see the episode with the animal kingdom’s strangest penis.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Flash Friday: Aw Yeah Comics

Happy Flash Friday everyone! If you remember there wasn’t a Flash Friday last week due to me being in Chicago. While I was there I was lucky enough to take an afternoon and head to Skokie, Illinois. I know that doesn’t sound very interesting, but Skokie is where Aw Yeah Comics is located. Now I understand the confusion. You’re saying, “Ken, what does Aw Yeah Comics have to do with the Flash?”

Aw Yeah Comic is owned by Franco Aureliani, Art Baltazar, and Marc Hammond. You may remember Art and Franco from Tiny Titans. Art also does the art on DC Super-Pets line, including the book Salamander Smackdown. In my mind that qualifies them as Flash artists. Marc Hammond is not a Flash artist. He did help run my local comic shop for years though. So when he moved up to Skokie to run his own shop I was very happy for him. Happy for him, but I totally miss talking with him over coffee and donuts and the shop. Consider yourself lucky Skokie.

The actual shop is wonderful. Even from the outside you can see how bright and friendly it is. When you go inside there are large open spaces. There are four chairs that you can sit down and read your books and hang out for a bit. This isn’t one of those stores that have piles and piles of things stacked to the ceiling. You don’t have to worry about being crushed under a copies of old books and never having your remains found. It also isn’t one of those stores that you have to be worried about bringing your kids into. Just like Art and Franco’s comics, the store is very kid friendly.

I suppose the big news about the shop is that Art and Franco will be publishing an independent comic about the stores mascots. It won’t just be Art and Franco either. They have a number of other creators already lined up to help tell the stories of Action Cat and Adventure Bug. The comics aren’t ready yet but Aw Yeah already has T-Shirts, buttons, and patches. The comic is going to be huge, I can’t wait.

If you’re up in Chicago do yourself a favor and make a side trip to Skokie. Also...Skokie is kinda fun to say.  Skokie Skokie Skokie.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hangover Thursday: Haymarket

It’s Hangover Thursday, how’s your head? Considering last night was my first night back from vacation I didn’t feel the need to head out to the bar last night. I did plenty of drinking this weekend though. I grabbed a bunch of Fat Tire, something I can’t normally buy in Florida. I also managed to down a bunch of Guinness at an Irish Pub. On Sunday I went to the Haymarket Pub and Brewery.

I usually like any place that brews their own beer. Haymarket had eight of their own beers on tap plus a handful of beers from other people. They also had a good selection of bottles, but it seemed a bit pointless to me to buy beer from someone else. I went with the Blacksox Porter and was very happy with that decision. Haymarket offers their beer in a number of different sizes; so you can easily put together a flight of beers or just get a really big glass of your favorite.

There is more than just good beer at Haymarket the food is pretty fantastic too. We were there for brunch and I ordered something called the Morning Riot. The Morning Riot is house-made Italian sausage, mozzarella, smoked pulled pork, pan-fried sunny-side up egg, Yukon potato hash, and toast. It tasted as ridiculous as it sounds; I highly recommend it.

Haymarket offers really in-depth brewery tours. I was interested, but the party I was with wasn’t jumping at the idea of an hour and a half brewery tour. It’s at the top of my list of things to do when I head back to Chicago though. This isn’t the last time I’m going to be talking about Haymarket, they’re involved in something called Drinking and Writing, but that’s for another day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Games Day 2012 Report

Saturday was Games Workshop’s big convention, Games Day. I’ve been to numerous comic book and sci-fi conventions. I’ve been to conventions focusing on Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Transformers. I’ve never been to a convention that focused on table top gaming. In fact I usually avoid the open gaming areas that other conventions set up.

We arrived about 10 minutes before the doors opened and saw a giant mass of gamers waiting for the doors to open. As I scanned the crowd I was horrified to realize that there wasn’t a line, all of these people were just standing facing the doors. I just kept imaging people stampeding the doors as soon as they opened. Instead, when the convention opened three sets of double doors opened up and everyone just walked inside. I was speechless.

Most of the people went directly to the Forgeworld line. Forgeworld is branch of Games Workshop that creates its own specialty pieces. Their models are shipped from England, so ordering from them can be pretty pricey. The line for Forgeworld was huge. The most amazing part was that it didn’t need to be. You could email Forgeworld your name and what pieces you wanted and they would have them pulled aside for you. Brandon waited maybe 15 minutes to get his order.

The Armies on Parade and Golden Demon entries were amazing. Both of painting and modeling competitions had some stunning entries. Some of the tables set up to play Warhammer and Warhammer 40K were pretty impressive too. While I didn’t play an actual game of Warhammer, Brandon and I did sit down and demo a game of Blood Bowl Team Manager. This card game by Fantasy Flight games is a blast to play, but I have to admit that my love for Blood Bowl makes me biased.

Brandon and I also spent a lot of time in the Irish pub on the other side of the parking garage. Finding food was like a death march, and we went the wrong way more than once. When we finally figured out how to get to the restaurants we realized how easy it was, but without any real directions it was more difficult than it needed to be. I suppose it just made us appreciate the cold beer. The food was great too. We actually ended up back at the bar when we had our fill of the convention.

Overall I had a lot of fun.  If the next Games Day is someplace easy for me to visit, I’ll go again.


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