Posts categorized “Of the Month”

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

“Of the Month” March 2017

Comic Book of the Month:

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat

A superhero starts a temp agency that matches super-powered people to jobs other than fighting crime. Hi-jinks ensue! Along with Ms. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat forms a triumvirate of fun, funny, optimistic, and kick-ass female-led comics from Marvel. Hellcat is seriously a joy to read each month, with Patsy’s searing optimism and amusingly convoluted back-story (she was once the star of teen romance comics about 50 years ago, and at one point she died and went to Hell under the influence of a depressing villain (but she got better), and she has an ex-husband who’s a sorcerer) serving as fodder for great comedy. Writer Kate Leth gives each character an excellently funny voice, and the art is vibrant and cartoony without being un-relatable. These feel like real people. Extreme people in an absurdly extreme world, sure, but real enough that you really do care for them. Seriously, pick up Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, and Hellcat (and toss Howard the Duck in there while you’re at it) and you’ll have a great time every month.

Restaurant of the Month:

Mizuki Buffet

An inexpensive, all-you can eat buffet with an entire wall of fresh sushi, within walking distance of my work? Uh-oh, that’s trouble! Seriously, the lunch buffet is only $15 bucks, and you can easily eat $40-$50 worth of sushi for that much money. And if (for some unfathomable reason) you get sick of sushi, they have two entire other walls full of other Asian (and some non-Asian) foodstuffs. Bonus: if my team at work meets or exceeds our monthly goals, our manager treats us to lunch here. That’s fantastic motivation.

Tabletop Game of the Month:

Get Bit!

A very fun, small game where you play as a bunch of robots swimming away from a shark, who will devour a limb off of whichever robot is in the back of the line at the end of the turn. The last robot with at least one remaining limb wins! Each player plays a numbered card to determine their place in the line, but if two or more players play the same number they get stuck and have to watch as all the other players swim ahead of them. A great deal of the fun is that the robots and shark are all actual pieces, with movable parts (and removable limbs for the robots). It’s such a simple idea that my three-year-old daughter figured out how to play almost right away. And she giggles quite a bit when she makes the shark eat a robot’s leg. They played this game on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop a couple of years ago, so you can actually see how it goes here (Get Bit starts at 19:30):

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

“Of the Month” February 2017

Album of the Month:

Heart Tones by Julia Massey and The Five Finger Discount

The latest release from JM+FFD is another joyous album. I’ll have a full-length Album Review up soon. Honest!

Company of the Month:

Sago Mini

An absolutely delightful Canadian company that makes gentle, funny, and engaging video games aimed at toddlers and younglings. All the games star a group of friendly characters. They’ve recently expanded to make toys and books and we’re in trouble because our daughter absolutely loves them. I love the way they make my daughter giggle. And I really love the art style and art direction of Sago Mini. This team knows how to make stuff that appeals to kids while not being off-putting to adults. I mean, just look at how frikkin’ adorable “Hugbot” is here!

hugbot

I’m jealous of this design.

Website of the Month:

Can’t Do Nothing

Now is not the time to do nothing. If you can’t do nothing, DO SOMETHING.

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

“Of the Month” January 2017

TV Show of the Month:
The Expanse
The Expanse

A very intelligent Sci-Fi show on the SyFy channel. At its heart it’s a mystery—Why did these events happen? Who orchestrated them? Why? How? It slowly unfolds into an epic scope but stays focused on a core cast of about six people, sifting its story through the lenses of three intertwining storylines: an old-fashioned, hard-boiled detective; a crew of working-class space miners; and a very powerful government worker of nebulous rank and legality. Periodic vignettes and flashbacks show what life is like in the Solar system about 200 years from now. Turns out it’s a gritty, downtrodden, paranoid place. A powderkeg waiting to blow. But should the fire be put out or should the flames be fanned? Gripping and exciting. Excellent.

Comic Book of the Month:

Steven Universe: Too Cool for School

Basically like an episode (or likely a two-parter) of the cartoon, “Too Cool for School” wonders what would happen if Connie took Steven to school for show and tell… and he ended up staying. There are monster fights, gem superhero action, and some junior-high drama all mixed in together. It’s great fun.

Tabletop Game of the Month:

Takenoko

Takenoko (Japanese for “Bamboo Shoot”) is a game about creating a bamboo garden in which a hungry panda lives. Points are scored by laying down certain configurations of garden tiles, by growing certain configurations of bamboo, or by having the panda eat certain configurations of bamboo. It’s a very easy game to learn with some surprisingly complex strategies, and the art style is delightful. The little panda playing piece is pretty durned cute!

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 5 December 2016

“Of the Month” December 2016

Album Of the Month:
sharonjones
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings: It’s a Holiday Soul Party

Perhaps the most accurately-named album of all time. It is a soul party. It’s got groove. From top to bottom, it is yes. Just listen to this version of “Silent Night:”

Not enough people make music like this anymore, and it’s a damned shame.

Movie of the Month:
krampus
Krampus

You think you get a heart-warming holiday movie in 2016? Nopes! You get a horror movie about the consequences of giving up on generosity and the spirit of giving. *Cough.* It’s also a pretty funny movie at times, much in the spirit of a Joe Dante film. The low budget starts to be evident once the titular villain steps out of the shadows (where he is very effective) and you get a good look at him, but this is a great & fun horror comedy.

Website of the Month:
thelifeyoucansave
The Life You Can Save

You think you can’t afford to give? Are you reading this in your own home on a computer? In front of a fully-decorated Christmas tree? Perhaps with a flat-screen, high-definition TV in the same room? Then you can afford it. Don’t be a selfish asshole this holiday season; give to strangers who need it much more than you do. And as bad as things are likely to get in this country in the next four years, keep in mind that compared to much of the world we all might as well be eating caviar off of solid gold spoons. The great thing about The Life You Can Save is that it vets charities for you to find the most effective ones where your dollar goes the farthest and does the most possible help. Just frikkin’ do it.

Categories: Of the Month.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

“Of the Month” November 2016

Movie of the Month:
the-little-prince-movie-poster
The Little Prince

A very beautiful film, and an excellent blend of different animation techniques. It tells not only (most of) the story of the original Le Petit Prince novella, but it also creates a framing story and in a weird way a sequel. A surprisingly delightful and very moving and mature story about the joys of childhood, dealing with loss, and the importance of memory.

Show of the Month:
other-space
Other Space

Imagine if some of the creators of Mystery Science Theater 3000 decided to make a wacky sci-fi sitcom, and the picture in your brain would probably look a lot like Other Space. And that’s no coincidence, since both Joel Hodgson (Joel of MST3K) and Trace Beaulieu (Crow & Dr. Forrester of MST3K) are involved in Other Space. It also has excellent comedic performances from Milana Vayntrub (best known as Lily in those AT&T commercials) and Karan Soni, best known as cabbie Dopinder from Deadpool. Other Space is about a bunch of incompetent weirdos trapped in a parallel universe. Unfortunately it is only 8 episodes long and more episodes look unlikely.

Instagrammer of the Month:
taste-of-streep
Taste of Streep

Take photos of Meryls Streep. Use uncanny skill to combine them seamlessly with photos of food. Voila: Taste of Streep. It makes me laugh a lot.

Categories: Of the Month.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

“Of the Month” October 2016

TV Show of the Month:
gfallz
Gravity Falls

What a perfect show for Halloween, filled with scary supernatural elements like zombies, dark magics, monsters, and gnomes! It’s also a really frikkin excellent show, one that very carefully and slowly builds its mythology and world, all without sacrificing the immediate humor of the moment. Top-notch actors like Linda Cardellini, Kristen Schaal, Jennifer Coolidge, Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Louis C.K., Mark Hamill, John Oliver, Patton Oswalt, and even Neil deGrasse Tyson have lent their voices to the characters. It also built towards a planned ending and then actually ended! It’s only two seasons. You can watch it on Hulu. Do so. For Halloween.

Album of the Month:
cbf8bit
The Crazy Boy Floyds: 8-Bit Halloween

A great little collection of catchy songs about a Werewolf/Skeleton combination, the Grim Reaper, a generic Monster, and an Urban Legend. Go listen to them. Do so. For Halloween.

Video Game of the Month:
foreawa
Transformers: Earth Wars

What does this game have to do with Halloween? Umm… giant robots? Whatever, I’ve been playing this game very consistently for over a month, so it’s p-much a lock to be included in my “of the month” choices this time. It’s a resource/building/battling game, where you collect resources to build a base from which you launch sorties against opposing players’ bases. If you like that kind of thing, this is a very casual version (I usually just pick it up for a couple of minutes at a time a few times a day). Plus it’s nice to send some old faves like Ironhide and Bumblebee into combat on your behalf. If you do start playing, join my Alliance: “Seattleites”

Categories: Of the Month.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

“Of the Month” September 2016

TV Show of the Month:
stranger-things-200
Stranger Things

Yes, there is a lot of hype about this show, and a metric tonne has been written about how much of an homage it is to different 1980s pop culture like Steven Spielberg and Steven King and some other Stevens, probably. The thing is, it’s good. It’s not just a nostalgia trip (though it certainly is that). It’s really good. They’re making a season 2 soon. I’m glad about that. It already has a title.

Stranger Me?

Stranger Me?

Seriously, though, if for some reason you’re a dumbass and have avoided watching this show because it’s so hyped and popular, shut your hipster hole and go binge it. It’s really good.

Comic Book of the Month:
squirrel
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now

After the soft reboot of Marvel’s massive “Secret Wars” event, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic started with a new #1 issue (“Our second #1 in 12 months” the cover proudly exclaimed). This collects the first 6 issues after “Secret Wars” and sees Squirrel Girls as part of an Avengers squad. But the bulk of the story revolves around her being accidentally sent back in time to the 1960s and fighting an earlier version of Doctor Doom who has also gone back in time to the 1960s. It’s absolutely delightful and hilarious. And just so very nerdy. In a climactic scene Squirrel Girl gives secret instructions to a friend by saying a string of C++ code out loud, knowing that the friend is a computer science major and can translate it. This run by Ryan North and Erica Henderson is one of the greatest comic book runs of the past couple of years, up there with Ms. Marvel.

Tweeter of the Month:
figgled
Dee @figgled

Dee is from Melbourne. She is funny. Don’t just take my word for it: John Stamos said so too, once.

Categories: Of the Month.