the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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332/365: It's a Bookcase, Charlie Brown

332/365: It's a Bookcase, Charlie Brown

At long last, serious bookshelves have arrived in our living room! It's amazing how much the room feels like it's "leveled up". I celebrated by loading them up with my nicer hardbacks--my one-volume Lord of the Rings and Bone, Absolute Sandman, my Hellboy library editions, the complete Bloom County, my autographed Neal Stephensons, and and of course the books that pushed us across the "we need to buy a bookcase" tipping point, the Complete Peanuts series.

33 days to go!

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256/365: New This Week

256/365: New This Week

I've been meaning to get some shots of the new rack at my regular comic shop, Comics Are Go!, and as I seem to be challenging myself to stick with the 50mm prime all week, it seemed like time to get out there and push the narrow depth of field.

Remember, kids, the most important thing in life is to be yourself. Unless you can be Batman--always be Batman.

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193/365: Zombie Free

193/365: Zombie Free

When I arrived at the comic shop this evening, I was relieved to discover that there were no zombies within--or at least, that's what the sign claimed. Apparently they'd put up the sign a few days ago during a power failure to reassure shoppers that they were still open, and they'd gotten enough of a positive response to it that the sign has been up ever since.

Fortunately, the comic shop doesn't want to eat my brains--just my paycheck.

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126/365: Free Comic Book Day

126/365: Free Comic Book Day

I absolutely love how excited my daughter gets about Free Comic Book Day. There was quite a haul this year in high-quality, kid-friendly titles, as well as stuff like the Star Wars/Serenity double-feature for me. And heck, she was the one who squealed when she saw the Star Wars book and ran to get one for me, so it might as well be for her too.

I had my hands full inside the store so nothing really came of those photos, but once we were outside I got her to pose with her loot, which she did with pride and the pure joy that only a young child can express so perfectly.

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96/365: Light Reading

96/365: Light Reading

I had quite the built-up haul of comics waiting for me at the comic shop thanks to all the travel and illness of the past couple of weeks. Fortunately, that means that it's overflowing with things I'm really enjoying.

True story: once upon a time I thought I would have time and motivation to blog about my favorite picks each week. Ha! Ha! Hah! Oh, silly me.

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Blam! Pow! Comic Books!

I've really gotten into comics again since my daughter was born; I can easily fit a few issues or maybe a trade paperback into one of her naps. And there's not the same level of commitment necessary with comics that there is for Serious Literature--you can generally get a sense of whether or not something's going to suck within an issue or two, rather than having to slog miserably through someone's thick prose while you wait for it to get good. I find that I've lost such track of what's on bookstore shelves that I don't want to take the same kinds of risks with books (expensive! time consuming! with misleading marketing!) that I can take with comics.

To give myself an excuse to blog more often, I'm going to start sharing some quick notes, on a weekly basis, about anything noteworthy or interesting that I've picked up. Here are my highlights from last week...

  • image: The Weird World of Jack Staff issue #2

    The Weird World of Jack Staff: #2

    Issue two takes us deeper into the mystery of Jack Staff (Britain's greatest hero), his history, and apparent amnesia. The art's breezy and fun, and with a revolving cast of novel and cleverly-named superheroes, I'm getting a bit of a Venture Brothers vibe, though with less acidity than VB. I'm really looking forward to more.

  • image: King City issue #7

    King City: #7

    One of the weirdest but best things I've read, King City seems like what would happen if Möbius and Phil Foglio made Transmetropolitan. Joe uses his skills as a cat master (with the right injections, a cat can put Batman's utility belt to shame) to pull off bizarre heists in a run-down cyberpunk metropolis. It's cheeky, though with heart, and full of fabulous little details that have me scouring every panel for hidden jokes.

  • image: Electric Ant issue #1

    Electric Ant: #1

    In this adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story, Garson Poole has a great life until he discovers that he's artificial. Thus begins the inevitable slide into trademark paranoia and unease as Garson seeks his true function and the identity of his owner/creator. If you like Blade Runner or any of Dick's other stories about identity, this is worth picking up.

  • image: Turf issue #1

    Turf: #1

    In my opinion, the first issue of Turf is the big winner this week. I saved it for last (a cherished spot in the weekly comics reading order) and was well-rewarded by the choice. It's 1929. Powerful mobs rule New York, while corrupt police help keep the system in place. A noir tough guy and a scrappy young reporter are about to be caught up in a major power struggle as a family of eastern European immigrants makes a play against a mafia don. It could be a typical crime novel... except that the immigrant gang are vampires. And a spaceship crashes.

    Okay, so the concept may be a little goofy, but the art and writing take it so seriously that what might have been a campy misfire is instead a mature, gritty thriller. I can't wait for more!

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Comic Life

So I discovered the other day that my new Mac came bundled with Plasq's nifty Comic Life, a program that lets you easily drop your photos and other images into comic book layouts, add effects and word balloons, and generally cause you to lose track of time.

I started putting together a simple page last night to see what it could do, and show Liz how cool it was, and it kind of got out of hand after that--becoming a three-page mini story of going to our friends' wedding in October:

It has a few little quirks that annoy (trying to get the right thing selected can be tricky once it's been dropped into place, and the fancy lettering really doesn't like to export to PDF without a fight), but it's probably one of the most fun and imaginative apps I've played with in a long, long time.

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Lazy Anniversary Weekend

Dear reality,

Sod off. We've quite enjoyed ignoring you this weekend.

Friday: Infinity, bubbles, cheese, and "Galactica".

Saturday: Sleep, wine tasting, the tasting menu at Nemo.

Sunday: Stayed in bed all day, sleeping, watching movies, sleeping, catching up on Cerebus and Flight, leftover Indian food in our PJ's, snuggling by the fire and listening to this week's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me".

Hardly glamorous, but perfect in its own way, and exactly what we needed.

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14 Days, 1 Hour, 55 Minutes, and Change

Popped out at lunch today to pick up the new NIN album, and the Return of the Sith soundtrack. NIN is pretty good. Haven't listened to Sith yet--considering trying to keep at least a tiny bit of "prequel purity" before The Big Day comes, even though I already read the silly kids' storybook version at K-Mart the other week. (Lucas should just cut out all the dialogue and make it a silent film, because what's in the storybook looks pretty freaking sweet.)

Also, finally got off my butt and ordered tickets for VNV Nation (June 7 at the Cleveland House of Blues, in case anyone feels like being social in a bouncy EBM-synth-industrial sort of way).

Also also, this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

Excitement abounds! Excelsior!

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The Highly Belated Christmas Loot Post

Once upon a time (not quite a month ago), I was going to mention a few notable items from our Christmas loot, but then there was that whole tsunami thing, and I felt weird about bragging or something, and then I realized that it was silly to restrict myself like that, and then I got swamped at work, and, well, now it's almost February. So, I figure it's now or never. I'll be good and keep the loot list to a minimum...

My dearest Liz got me the signed, hardback, single-volume edition of Bone. Just as soon as I clear some bookshelf space (so that I can have the headboard room), I'll be tearing into it with glee.

I got Liz some fancy wine glasses--four-packs of the Riedel Bordeaux and Burgundy stemware. It's not just hype; they do make a rather astounding taste and smell difference.

Santa was also especially kind, topping off our stockings with a gift box of Tres Sabores Zinfandels--three distinctly different bottles, made by three distinctly different winemakers, from the same vineyard. This looks especially nummy.

Additionally, Santa dropped off a Harmony 688 remote control. I love, love, love this remote; it is, finally, everything I was looking for in a universal remote. Mostly, that means that it has fully programmable hard buttons for pretty much everything you would ever want, in a decent enough layout to be usable and comfortable, is shaped vaguely like the nigh-miraculous Tivo remote (which has the best remote ergonomics EVER), and can cope with an arbitrary collection of hardware without being pesky or capricious. Oh, and it's cross-platform too--it fully supports being programmed on MacOS X as well as Windows, and Linux software is on the way. In the few weeks since Christmas, it has allowed us to retire the seven remotes that were necessary to drive our family room, and it's delightfully easy to customize to our needs. Major kudos to Santa, this one gets five out of five!

Okay. Enough of that. I've got to get back to complaining about the snow, or something.

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