Saturday, May 5, 2012

Repairman Jack: Conspiracies, or the End of the World is Tesla's Fault

Some days I like My Little Pony and kittens. Other days, I like Red Lanterns, Repairman Jack, and grenades. Earlier in the week I finished Conspiracies, the third Repairman Jack book (out of 15), and according to my brother, shit is now getting real.

Conspiracies is exactly what it sounds like - Jack is hired by Lew Ehler, whose wife has gone missing right before she was supposed to deliver a keynote address at the first annual convention of the Society for the Exposure of Secret Organizations and Unacknowledged Phenomena (SESOUP). SESOUP is full of the sort of people who make Agent Fox Mulder seem normal and everyone has a theory on Melanie Ehler's disappearance. Jack infiltrates this group as an "experiencer" - someone who has had a supernatural experience, resulting in missing hours of his life. Wilson does a great job of introducing Jack to the half dozen or so major types of crazy - from gov't conspiracy to antichrist nuts and everything in between - without writing any of it like a big old info dump. 

One of the best episodes in the whole series.

Jack walks into the SESOUP conference a skeptic, despite his battle with the rakoshi in The Tomb. In fact, he's trying to forget the rakoshi thing ever happened, so when he starts having lucid rakoshi nightmares, he gets freaked out. Jack fumbles around for a while, not making a lot of headway on finding Melanie Ehler, but in this downtime, Wilson puts us inside the mind of Sal Roma, the leader of SESOUP, and his pet Capuchin monkey, Mauricio. They talk to each other. It's freaky. 

I will fuck your shit up so hard!

Without spoiling too much, Wilson introduces readers to the Otherness - more a concept than a thing, that encompasses the idea of chaos with a little madness and hopelessness thrown in. The rakoshi were children of the Otherness and Jack has been marked by them. The Otherness wants him for destroying its children, and this is a fight Jack will continue with through the rest of the series. 

"Hey Quinn, check out my bitchin' Tesla Coil!"

I liked this book a lot. I'm all for overarching end of the world scenarios, but what really made it was Wilson's inclusion of Nikola Tesla. That's right, bitches - the root of the series and all of Jack's problems boil down to that badass Tesla and his Wardenclyff Towers (including an explanation to the decimation of the Tunguska Forest - but any Tesla fan knows it was him all along). Mr. TwoMonkeys and I are Tesla nuts. We traveled out to Goat Head Island on the Canadian border on our honeymoon to visit the larger than life-size monument to the man and the massive power plant dedicated to him. But back to Jack - this isn't his first brush with the genius of Tesla. Legacies was all about the rights to broadcast power - Tesla's greatest dream (that never happened).

Someday, this will end the world.

These books were awesome before Tesla got involved. But now I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Tesla, bitches!

Pegasister Carey Sparkles of St. Equestria

Last night, Mr. TwoMonkeys and I finished watching season one of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He'd seen it all before because he's a card carrying brony (but not in the creepy way - he just likes the show without shame). I've loved My Little Pony since I was way small. My earliest Pony memory comes from when I was about 4 - when My Little Pony was brand new. I was obsessed. I walked in on my mom wrapping Christmas presents and she was wrapping up Cotton Candy. I got super excited, the way a four year old would over an awesome toy, but my mom told me it was for my cousin Marilyn. I was heartbroken. I distinctly remember feeling like I had nothing left to live for. But on Christmas morning, I opened presents and there was Cotton Candy. I was all, "Mom, Santa got one for me, too!!" And of course my mom was all, "Uh, yeah. That's right." I was a dumb ass little kid.

This. This is what made my four year old self suicidal.

So, my love affair with My Little Pony is almost three decades old. I actually didn't think much about the ponies for most of my teens and 20s. But then I started dating Mr. TwoMonkeys, who is an avid collector of nostalgic action figures from the 80s and 90s (think He-Man and G.I. Joe). His philosophy is that it's never too late to have a happy childhood. That's pretty wise. So, I started collecting ponies again - what hardcore collectors refer to as the Generation 3 and Generation 3.5 models. My Generation 1 Ponies were long gone, but I happily bought about a dozen new Ponies over the course of a couple of years before Generation 4 came out.

Dafuq is dis shit?

I didn't like these new Ponies at first. They looked like fucked up, pony-bear-duck things. They had ginormous heads and stubby noses and psycho eyes. These were not the Ponies I grew up with. I didn't buy any Pony figures for a really long time. But Mr. TwoMonkeys started watching the cartoon. We're all about cartoons in this household. And he liked it. I didn't want to watch it because we didn't have the Hub and I hate watching television on my computer (I make the rare exception for Drag Race). But the new Pony images were growing on me, especially Rainbow Dash, who's the sporty, tom boy, potential lesbian pony. Also, I had a couple of Gen. 3 Rainbow Dash toys - one with an adorable scarf.


 So, I warmed up to the new Ponies. But I didn't actually watch any episodes until a few weeks ago when season 1 came on Netflix. The Ponies were cute, but I thought I'd be bored. Holy crap, no - this show was adorable and hilarious. I was hooked. The creators of these new Ponies have a great sense of humor and know that the show has to appeal to both kids and adults alike (because really, many adults in my generation are really kidults). As I said, we finished up the season last night and the whole thing just got sillier as it went on. My favorite episode is when Fluttershy tries to heal Princess Celestia's pet bird - but little does Fluttershy know that the bird is a Phoenix and is supposed to get sick and die. So she and Twilight Sparkle chase this derpy ass retarded looking chicken phoenix with an underbite all over Ponyville to Benny Hill music.

Derpy ass chicken thing.

I about shit myself with glee. Oh, and Pinky Pie has what appears to be a sociopathic baby pet alligator named Gummy. I don't know if Gummy is a sociopath, but he looks dead inside. It's awesome. And Fluttershy's pet bunny, Angel, is a complete douchebag.

Those eyes are windows to Hell.

Anyway, I really like this show, and I think not having kids allows me to like it more, because I'm allowed to make all the inappropriate commentary I want to. I'm way excited for season 2 to come on Netflix.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Will Not Rupologize!

I want to be a drag queen!

 I used to consider RuPaul's Drag Race my guilty pleasure, but have come to the conclusion that there is nothing to be guilty about. RPDR is good, positive, self affirming television. Yeah, it's reality television, and the queens get catty (I mean, that's part of the drag package) but RuPaul really delivers a powerful message with every episode: we are all champions, cover girls, and glamazons.

Can I get an amen?

 And so, when Sharon Needles declared a few episodes ago that the next drag superstar needed to be a sweetheart, I completely agreed. I knew that Phi Phi could never win the top spot. Now, in season two, Tyra Sanchez won the crown and she was kind of a bitch. But she was really no more or less bitchy than anyone else. I think it was hard to take Tyra's bitchiness and reconcile that with how fierce and fishy she was. And I'm a huge fan of Carmen Carerra from season three - queen of the Heathers. But Phi Phi... oh my. On the Drag Race reunion episode, Willam insinuated that PhPhi was downright sociopathic. I don't know if I'd go that far. Then again, I wasn't there.

Yeah. She did.

Speaking of Willam, her dress was adorable and sexy. Since Willam is about as big around as one of my thighs, she werked it. Everyone finally found out what exactly Willam did to get kicked off the show (nightly banging with the husband). Willam grew on me over the course of the season. The more I realized she was more than just a perfectly androgynous face and body, the more I liked her. Willam's deadpan humor won me over completely, and "Your tone seems very pointed right now" has made its way into my Drag Race circle of friends' lexicon.

Good god, get a grip, girl!

My favorite queen, Latrice, didn't make it to the final three, but she did win Miss Congeniality, and no one deserved it more. Latrice really embodied RuPaul's positive messages of self worth. Latrice is huge and gorgeous - she's a beacon of beauty for big girls and ladyboys everywhere. I kind of want to hang out with Latrice and have her teach me how to put on makeup. And if Being In Total Control of Herself makes a person a bitch, then that's what I aspire to.

Go to right now, hunty. He's got all kinds of Drag Race goodies!

But on to the winner: All hail Queen Sharon! Yes, I was Team Chad Michaels, but I liked Sharon an awful lot and either one of them deserved to win. Chad had the classic beauty and Sharon had the quirkiness - I loved both. But Sharon's humility and graciousness throughout, and especially as she was crowned the winner, melted my heart. Her speech at the end was awesome - "If you ever get booed off stage, remember that it's just applause from ghosts!"

Long live Queen Sharon (but I still adore you, Chad Michaels!)!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Repairman Jack is Controlling My Life

I am thoroughly hooked on the Repairman Jack books. I really, really like the character a lot - way more than I ever thought I would. He's a more sensible version of The Punisher, and mostly does his revenge work for money.

Authors I am not reading.

I finished the second book, Legacies, a couple of days ago and immediately started on the third book. I think I'm going to tear through these pretty quickly, even though there are 15 of them and another 6 in the Adversary Cycle. But anyway, Legacies opens with Jack being hired to recover a bunch of donated presents that were stolen from a childrens' AIDS hospital. This shit is right up his alley. Jack loves to go after scum like this - because seriously, no one but scum would steal from a bunch of AIDS babies (and the Repairman Jack universe doesn't have Northstar).

Bitch, don't make him take his earrings out.

 Jack finds this guy, but before he goes after him, dresses like Santa but with weighted gloves, a Kevlar vest, and steel toed books. Originally, Jack was only going to kick this guy's ass, but then the thief takes a shot at Santa. No one tries to kill Santa and gets away with it.. So, Jack ties this asshole to the front of his van, puts reindeer antlers on his head, and drives him up to the hospital with all the presents and lets someone else call the police. This is my kind of justice already, but it's all even funnier since in my head, Jack looks like Gerard Butler. Or Clive Owen. Or maybe both of them together - Butler Owen.

Today is a Gerard Butler day.

Jack ends up working a personal case for the woman who hired him to find the stolen presents. The whole thing plays out like an extended episode of Law and Order SVU, but with Jack's special brand of retribution. He's like Detective Stabler on crack - punching first and not really bothering to ask questions. My favorite moment comes toward the end when this mercenary character is yelling for Jack to come out of hiding and put down his weapons. So Jack just kind of emerges from the woods, out of bullet range, and gives the guy the finger. The best part of that instance is we see it from the point of view of the woman the mercenary has hostage. So, there's this woman just marveling at the sheer size of Jack's balls as he does this. It's pretty awesome.

This has nothing to do with Repairman Jack, but its awesome.

Now, according to my brother, Legacies doesn't really have a lot to do with the rest of the series. It's his least favorite Repairman Jack book. I liked this book well enough, but was a little disappointed that Jack seemed to be just another character in an ensemble cast. Wilson writes these books from multiple POVs, like A Song of Ice and Fire, but before ASoIaF.  100 pages into the third book, Jack has more of a presence and this makes me happy. I like being inside Jack's head. Jack is the sort of person I would like to be if I could operate outside of conventional society. I honestly think a lot of us would be like Jack if we could.

This series is total wish fulfillment, but Jack is a well developed, neatly sketched character with more personality in his little toe than Batman has in his entire body Plus, Jack does the vigilante thing on a budget. Take that, Bruce Wayne!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DayThree: I seriously can't handle anymore Doctor Who cosplay, okay?

Que hora es?!!!
Sunday was Kids' Day at C2E2 so there were tons of adorable children and babies all dressed up. I don't have any pictures of them because I didn't want to be that creepy weirdo that was all, "Can I take a picture of your kids?" I saw a lot of Adventure Time cosplay and yelled, "What time is it?!" every chance I could. Some of them weren't very enthusiastic about answering me, but if you're going to cosplay Jake or Finn, you have to be prepared to get yelled at a lot. I yelled "What time is it?" at a Princess Bubblegum while in the bathroom and she loudly and happily answered me from three stalls over.
I'm Twilight Sparkle on the inside.
My friend Angie went all out as Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and her costume was beloved by kids and adults. She wants to do Rarity next year and I'm considering Twilight Sparkle. I've never dressed up for one of these things before, so we'll see. 
After Kristy basked in his essence, I totally wanted to make out with her.
Kristy, my constant, spent her morning waiting in line for a John Barrowman autograph. She was way more hardcore than me. I didn't have the energy to wait so long, especially considering I only like Torchwood, but not Doctor Who. So, Mr. Twomonkeys, Bossman and I slept in a little bit and didn't get over to the con until amost noon. I was dog ass tired at this point. My energy was gone even though I had been drinking way too much Five Hour Energy. I could see through time, but not stand upright. I plodded through the convention floor and ignored all panels. I had thought about going to the Anne Rice spotlight but I didn't think I'd make it to 4pm, or whenever it was. So, we hit Artsist's Alley because other than a short visit with Katie Cook, I hadn't been over there yet.
Motherfucking centaurs!
Despite my exhaustion, I experienced my other con highlight on Sunday - meeting Cliff Chiang, I am in love with the Wonder Woman relaunch and especially in love with Chiang's work. Mr. TwoMonkeys had gone to a panel the previous day and Chiang was on it, but I didn't know he was going to be in Artist's Alley. We didn't even know he would be at the con until after we got there. Suprisingly, there was no one at his booth. I can only assume he had just sat down and people hadn't had a chance to swarm him yet. We talked a little and I told him how much I like his work on Wonder Woman. I said that my WW favorite panel was the one in ussue #1 where Wonder Woman straight up headbutts a centaur in the face. Apparently, that was Brian Azarello's idea, as he's a huge fan of wrestling. Chiang's commission list was full, and he didn't have any prints of the centaur headbutt, but I did buy a print of Wonder Woman swinging a bloody battle axe in a field of fallen arrows. I can't wait to get that framed and use it as inspiration in my own violent writing. I also bought a Dex Starr print from artist, Sara Richard. Not only was it beautiful and inexepensive, but $5 from every sale of that particular print was going to the Humane Society. Rock on, Sara Richard. Check out her stuff here.
At this point, I'd had enough. Not even the John Barrowman aura surrounding Kristy could keep me on my feet any longer. It was time to go home. We made the slow, torturous trek back to the parking garage and I threatened to leave both Mr. TwoMonkeys and Bossman multiple times if they didn't stop gawking at things. We dropped Kristy off in her suburb and then made the drive home. I felt filthy from con crud and physically tired and tired of the press of people, but it was totally worth it. The end.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday at C2E2: A Big Gay Sandwich

I don't care that this was in 2010. I'll take any excuse I can to post it over and over.

My C2E2 coverage continues. If you can call this reporting.


This year was C2E2's third ever. It's a baby convention and still needs to find its feet. The thing about C2E2 that has both delighted and annoyed me is its inclusion of literary authors as bona fide nerds. Two years ago, I got to meet George R.R. Martin. Game of Thrones wasn't on HBO yet, so I walked right up to him, asked him to sign my first edition copy of The Game of Thrones, told him my favorite character was Littlefinger and then he called me creepy. Good times. This year, a few big names were in attendance - most notably Anne Rice (if you don't know who she is, just GTFO) and Charlene Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse books that True Blood is based on). One would think C2E2 would have a hopping publisher's row. Selling books by either of these authors would have been like printing money. But no. There were no sci-fi/fantasy publishers at the con. No Tor, DAW, or DelRey Spectra. They'd had a presence in the past and the last two years, I've come away from C2E2 with a backpack full of ARCs to review for Geektress.

I tried to get Moo to help me review books last year but she's illiterate and kind of an asshole.

Anne Rice and Charlene Harris both only signed for one hour total over the course of three days and their lines were capped off hours before they were scheduled to appear. I didn't really care though because my main mission was to meet F. Paul Wilson, author of the Repairman Jack series. First, he's my brother's favorite author (other than Stephen King) and I would have been an awful sister if I didn't get a book signed for him. I brought my copy of The Tomb and now have at least 10 gold star sister points for getting it signed for Brother TwoMonkeys. Second, I also read the book so I wouldn't look like a complete asshole when I asked Wilson to sign one for my brother. Wilson brought a bunch of copies of The Tomb with him and also signed one for me and didn't charge me for the book. He also let me take a picture with him, which I texted to my brother just for proof of how awesome I am. That experience was one of the highlights of the convention.

I will probably also post this many times over the life of this blog.

The F. Paul Wilson stuff didn't happen until later in the day. I spent my morning drooling over John Barrowman with my awesome friend Kristy. Our husbands and Bossman went off to do their own things that morning. Kristy and I had a blast listening to Barrowman talk about how gay he was, Torchwood, the YA book he wrote with his sister, and his dogs. But sometimes I had a hard time hearing him over how beautiful he was. I mean, there were angels singing in his presence he was so gorgeous.

He is beautiful, and a nerd.

Kristy and I had planned on waiting in line to meet him after his talk, but again, the line had been capped off hours before the talk even started. On Saturday, it was a no-go, even though he sat and signed for 7 freaking hours.

Saturday's line to meet John Barrowman.

Kristy and I wandered around and found a vendor selling necklaces of images of the moon on the day you were born. We found out that Kristy was born on a full moon and I was born on a new moon. We were opposites but we completed each other. Henceforth, I shall refer to Kristy as my Constant. Was this a total scam? Probably. But the necklaces were pretty, so we bought them anyway.

StevieD and CBQScavenger being all smart. I love these guys.

Mr. TwoMonkeys and I went to the Comic Book Queers panel on LGBTQ characters in comics that afternoon and had a great time. We got to see StevieD and CBQSacvenger be all smart and stuff. I realized that I have to get on the ball with Danielle Corsetto's Girls With Slingshots. I was sad that I had to scoot out before I could ask them if they thought the Midnighter/Apollo romance was relevant in the new incarnation of Stormwatch, but I had a date with F. Paul Wilson. And getting that book signed was the one thing I couldn't skip out on all weekend.

I don't think Oscar would have cared for this portrait either, but whatever. Kristy and I do what we want. In a very serious fashion.

The rest of Saturday was kind of a blur. I was getting tired and my feet were hurty. After the floor closed, me and my posse had dinner at the Wilde Bar in Boys Town. The food was excellent - I ate my first bison burger - but the music was atrocious. I kind of felt under-dressed going in there but the music selection was so trashy that I stopped caring. My man Oscar would not have approved of the music. But like I said, the food was good and the atmosphere was decadent. And the prices were totally reasonable, which Oscar would also not have approved of,  but I was grateful for.

Part One: I Saw John Barroman Last Weekend and You Probably Didn't

I'm kind of in love with Frank Castle. But I can think of at least 10 things I've done today alone to make him shoot me in the face.

That's right - I went to C2E2 in Chicago last weekend and spent all three days at the nerd carnival. I did have a lot of fun, but that fun was tinged with sadness since I was the lone Geektress at the event. Laura and Brenda couldn't make it (and PattyBoom from Comic Book Queers was also missed), so I attempted to do some serious reporting on my own, but really just ended up spending too much money and staring slack-jawed at the perfection that is John Barrowman.


I was off to a bad start when I missed the first panel I wanted to go to. Mr. TwoMonkeys and I didn't get on the road until almost 9am, so we missed the 10:30am American Library Association panel. Now that I work in a library, I felt that I should probably go to some of these ALA things in order to brown nose at work. Also, Mr. TwoMonkeys and I kidnapped my boss and brought him to C2E2 with us. He got a super discounted ALA pass so we kind of had to do some library stuff. We did end up making it to the 12:45pm panel on ow to grow your library's graphic novel collection. Part of the issue at my library is we can't have pictures of naked dudes. Violence is all right, but peens are not. So, no Box Office Poison (one of the best and still most relevant comics for 20somethings today). But The Walking Dead is all right. I got some good ideas for indie comics for all age groups at this panel. In addition, the panel members talked about where one would put graphic novels in the library. Do they go in the 700s as art? Do they go all over the library according to their subject matter? Or do they get their own special place? I'm inclined to give them their own special place outside of the Dewey Decimal system. Graphic novels are special - a neat hybrid of literature and art without wholly being one or the other. I've been thinking about this all week - part of what I love best about the library is cataloging. I think I might be a library nerd.

Urrmahgahd! It's Effie Trinket! I just got reaped!

Speaking of, the boss and I went over to the ALA booth at C2E2, which was being run by a remarkable Effie Trinket cosplayer. She had a different outfit for every day of e con and sometimes changed mid-day. We got our Library Superhero badges and then went out on the floor.

For those of you unfamiliar with C2E2, it stands for Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo. It's huge. It took up an entire wing of McCormick Place. At this point, I'd like to say I did some things worth reporting on, but I just wandered around yelling at vendors, "Shut up and take my money!" I missed the rest of the panels I wanted to go to because there was just too much happening on the convention floor. To be honest though, the panels on Friday weren't that exciting. In fact, the entire weekend was crammed with Marvel and DC bigwigs running their mouths about DC 52 and Avengers vs. X-Men. Not a lot of news comes out at C2E2 because Marvel and DC like to save their major announcements for San Diego. The panels were all very generic as well (with the exception of The CBQ panel on Sunday). No major comic book writers were in attendance - no Bendis, no Millar, no Liu, no Azzarello, etc.

I'm just going to pretend I went to a panel and listened to Brian Michael Bendis talk shit about Mark Millar.

There also seemed to be more commercial celebrities wandering around this year. All of the celebrities had their spotlights in the IGN theatre, so people camped it all weekend and no one could get into the more informative panels. I completely missed out on Shia LeBeouf and his unique brand of crazy. I guess he was in Artist's Alley on Friday pimping out his so awful it's genius self-published comic books.

I don't know what the hell is going on here, but if I don't get to sleep tonight, neither do yo.

Sean Astin (Samwise from LotR) was autographing almost all day, but at $40 a signature, his line was never very long. Same for Nicholas Brendon (Xander on Buffy). Only die hard fans were willing to spend that kind of cash on these guys. The highlight of nerd celebrities on Friday was Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. I missed out on both of those nerd boats when they were at their peak, but my friend Kristy waited in line for almost an hour to meet him.

Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, and some comic book I think?) and Chris Hardwick (Nerdist) were also signing on Friday, but I ignored them as well. I found a lady who was making really detailed and intricate steampunk influenced jewelry so I chatted with her for a while and then bought a pretty necklace. I visited with Katie Cook (creator of Gronk: a Monster's Story in addition to all kinds of pop culture cuteness - seriously, go to her site, sigh over the cuteness, and then buy all the things) for a little while and am thinking of commissioning her to do an arm tattoo for me - a pinup of Bleez and Dex Starr from Red Lantern. Katie Cook knows how to do gorgeous and adorable pinups, even if the subject is puking blood.

Best costume in the whole convention.

At this point, the convention floor was getting ready to shut down for the day. Mr. TwoMonkeys, Bossman, and I reluctantly left and sat in parking garage traffic for almost an hour before heading off to Mr. TwoMonkeys' sister's house. We unloaded all of our stuff and then went to eat at a Red Robin. I had never been to one, but was some good shit and I would totally go back. I know this part isn't really part of the con, but I really liked Red Robin and now I'm kind of annoyed that Peoria gets Red Robin commercials even though we don't have one.


Anyway, stay tuned for Saturday and Sunday's adventures. Talk of Red Robin has made me hungry.