Stuff I’ve Been Enjoying, October ’08 Edition

Man, it’s been (and continues to be) a crazy month: I’m still playing catchup for the school-starting rush at work, getting used to feeding Isabella baby food (rather than just bottles), alternately dealing with and avoiding politics, trying to avoid sickness, getting ready for the holidays, paying debts, pretending not to worry about our financial future, etc. At least there’s some good stuff, too:

  • Buying comics via  It’s a pretty nifty (beta) service that allows you to subscribe to comics which they then mail to you. Since it is in beta currently, all the prices are 20% off, and shipping through the USPS is free! One nifty thing heavyink has (over going to a comic shop) is that it asks you to rate all the comics you’ve gotten, and then it recommends you new comics based on the ones you’ve rated. The system isn’t perfect yet, but it works better than most disinterested comics shop employees I have met. Lately, I’ve read: Atomic Robo, All-Star Superman, Blue Beetle, Batman RIP, Hellboy/BPRD, I Kill Giants, Greatest Hits, Tiny Titans, and the most recent Superman/Batman arc.

  • Pondering what is happening in Batman RIP and Heroes. I’m an episode behind on Heroes but completely caught up with Batman. And they’re still mostly incomprehensible. There’s so much happening in Batman that could mean different things–I feel like I am reading that comic backwards or something because I am so confused. Plus I’m missing the last 70 years of Bat-lore to fill in the blanks (Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, anyone?). Heroes seems focused on making every character completely different than who you think they are. They’re treating Hiro like the comic relief buffoon again, for instance. Boo for that. I also get a very strong feeling that an event is going to occur later this season that will negate half of what has happened. PLUS they keep getting the effects of time travel in a closed timeline wrong, which irks me to no end. I really am enjoying Batman and Heroes though. It’s joy wrapped in frustration. Like a candy which has become hopelessly connected to its wrapping.

  • The art is mostly terrible, yes. Sometimes it is bizarre, hard to understand or just plain inappropriate. But mostly the writing is another kind of brilliant. Reading this comic will seep into your speech and change the whole way you talk about stuff. Start off at wikipedia, following links from there. Alternately, check out the Great Outdoor Fight book, it might give you a goosebump.

  •  The hope inherent in Wilco & Fleet Foxes’ cover of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”. This is a two-fold hope. Fold one is the hope buried in the song itself, something akin to other soul anthems like “A Change is Gonna Come”. Fold two is rooted in the potential this song exhibits. Two well-regarded indie/alt country groups covering a standard hearkens back to the days of The Band, the Travelling Wilburys and other countrified “supergroups”. Collaborations are already abounding in this new group of musicians (see M. Ward/She & Him, Jim James/MMJ, Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley, etc.) This brings me hope because I need more rollicking honesty in my lyrics and more loping ballads with ponderous solos that remind me of truth, humanity and all that stuff. Plus, dang, it’s a good song. Download free with pledge to vote here.

  • The new MSTRKRFT single Bounce and the remix by A-Trak.  Okay, so this song is kinda raunchy. Not overtly, just, you know, kinda. I have no great love for NORE or his verses, and the chorus is repetitive. BUT the backing track is just stellar. This is excellent moving music, great for exercise, fast driving or various types of work. Then comes the A-Trak remix. Generally, I have no great love for A-Trak either. But his remix transcends any limitations this song holds. Starting with a great old-school drum break and proceeding through a number of early hip hop tropes fresh enough to avoid cliche, A-Trak constructs a great Bush I era-dance track. It’s chock full of funky drummers and James Brown yelps, but then that acid loop comes in and basically destroys the track (uh, in a good way). A great late summer listen-loud track. Your car demands it!

  • My daughter, who is awesome. Evidence here. 



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