The Binding of Isaac video game

So, I bought the Humble Indie Bundle 7, now 3 years old, back in college, but never played all of the games. One of them, “The Binding of Isaac”, a product of Ed McMillen’s twisted and wonderful mind, had been on my to-play list for a while and I finally picked it up last weekend. The Flash graphics taxed my old laptop enough that gameplay was relatively slow which then made beating the monsters on each level pretty easy. I think I completed the dungeon on my fourth or fifth run. Once I turned the graphics to ‘low’, however, the game became significantly more difficult.

I’m still playing the game now and again. Since I move through video games very slowly, I’m not likely to unlock all of the characters or get all of the items.

Collected: Plano

I visited Collected, a games and comic books store in Plano, this weekend. Collected has four other locations (Fort Worth, Keller, Burleson, Hurst). Plano is a smaller shop, in a shopping stip dominated by a Tom Thumb. You might have some difficulty to find it at the moment since the sign is down, but just park towards the corner of the lot away from Parker and Independence and look for a Batman logo in the window. Anyway, I say it’s small, but it’s a full-service affair.

From browsing their back issues, I’d say they are lacking the depth of a catalog of some larger stores, but they have the newer titles you might expect, and they keep up with the major publishers campaigns and what’s popular. I didn’t interrogate their back-room so they may have more comics in storage. Really though, among five locations, it seems likely they could find what you’re looking for. In terms of organization, the general scheme had no surprises: newer titles on the wall, a kids section up front, trades and manga near the center, and back-issues in the back, with some figurines and table-top gaming materials on their own wall by the tables. It would have been better if they had broken up trade paperbacks by major publishers, since it looks better, and it’s easier to scan titles because a given publisher usually standardizes their spines to some extent, but at least they’re alphabetized overall.

Again, Collected isn’t just a comics store: they do games too! At the Plano location, they do Saturday morning Yu-Gi-Oh meet-ups and (IIRC) they also have monthly Yu-Gi-Oh competitions. Then, there’s D&D on Wednesdays and Magic the gathering on Wednesdays and Fridays. There are other regular events as well, and you can even host your own event in their space. (Aren’t they nice?) Worth mentioning, all Collected locations are Pokemon Go ‘Pokestops’, and this month, they are hosting their first Pokemon Go trainers meet-up at their TCU location.

There was only one staff member there when I was there, but she was knowledgeable both about the store’s stock, and about the comics scene and it’s history. Lastly, they also sell sturdy boxes for your comics if you don’t favor slinging them carelessly on your desk (like me). Overall, I’d say the store is worth checking out if you’re in the area. Visit their website for more info: http://staycollected.com

Idea board

A white marker board on a wall with the text, "HELLO WORLD!" written in red dry-erase marker. Tape around the sides and a red dry erase marker to the right.
I had originally planned to get a 6′x3′ board, but they only had pre-cut 4′x2′. I regret not buying the double-sided tape I originally planned to hang the board with, but the picture-frame-hanging kit, which I had already, did the job, despite leaving holes in the front of the board. About $10 + supplies I had lying around.

I have the feeling great things will be written here. Mostly, fart jokes, but other stuff too.

Level Up!

A personal goal of 305lb deadlift for 5 reps has finally been reached! After two false starts and a lot of “psyching myself up”, a goal that has been looming since earlier in the year is now a fading memory. Yay, me.

Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t be shared publicly, but given the difficulty faced in passing this milestone compared to earlier weights (namely, a minor shoulder injury, and unrelated sickness causing missed workouts), it seemed worthwhile to share. The most significant barrier to break in this effort was mental, and now 400lbs seems inevitable rather than a daunting challenge. Of course, adding weight workout by workout was necessary, but actually experiencing the results is a big confidence booster.

Fresh Ink

Remember that segment on Attack of the Show, with Blair Butler? I got to re-watch an episode of Fresh Ink recently thanks to Archive.org’s collection of G4TV AOTS episodes (I’ve lost track of it since then). Picking through a few episodes, I’m reminded of its shortcomings, like blatant sexism and use of off-color jokes. Still, I can’t deny that it was a favorite TV show of mine during my middle teenage years — a regular source of nerd-news and entertainment. Disconnected as I am from that time, I have to wonder if kids like me have their own version of AOTS (the show went off the air years ago).

Anyway, to the reason I’m posting: new comic book purchases! As usual, I got a couple of randos, and one from a series I was already reading. I bought Chew v. 6, which series I started more than a year ago now, but which I’ve only picked up on-and-off. This installment (inevitably) revived Poyo, the homicidal bionic chicken, but showed a gentler side of him than I’ve seen before. Also, not spoiling anything since this volume is years old, but Tony’s twin sister, the NASA agent, Toni, dies at the end of this volume. She was hardly my favorite character, but it was a bummer to see her go so soon after her power is formally revealed, not to mention the fact that her influence on the other characters’ missions, particularly, Agent Valenzano’s, was just starting to be revealed. Peeking ahead though at volume 8’s cover, it looks like Toni will be helping her bro catch “The Vampire” in a much more literal sense than seemed possible at the end of this volume. (Medium, anyone?)

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The first impulse buy is a continuation of a spin-off. I read the entire Lucifer series between my high school and college years, and enjoyed it, so when I saw Lucifer #6  by Holly Black(story) and Stephanie Hans(art), it caught my eye. Although missing the forgoing issues of this story arc, from this issue I see that there’s a new challenger to Mazikeen Morningstar’s place in the old creation. An unacknowledged offspring of Lucifer and Izanami-no-Mikoto, Takehiko, is about to contest the placement of Lucifer’s right-hand and lover as the light-bringer in his stead, and he’s accompanied by a ‘liberated’ young satanist woman, a classic red-devil-with-horns for an uncle, and an unexplained change of clothes I just noticed. The art isn’t in a style that I particularly like, though I can’t place my finger on exactly what I don’t like about it. Also, something about how the characters’ facial features are about as malleable as clay throws me off. That said, I’m excited to see where this goes: Mazikeen showed herself to be a capable, independent leader of the Lillim as a military force, but I still haven’t seen how she rules on a universal scale, in a universe which she didn’t ask for, and faced with an upstart like Takehiko.

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My last purchase is Monstress. So far, I’m not getting into the story so much. It’s some kind of feudal humans and demons story with a talking animal guide. I mostly bought it because it looks pretty, but maybe I’ll like it? Art is by Sana Takeda and writing by Marjorie Liu.

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It’s funny how people can be so sure about their candidate for political office and in the same breath assert that they aren’t qualified to predict how that candidate will perform in that office.

It is worth thinking about what you’re going to say before you say it. I had thought that was obvious.

Zombie is not a fairy tale

I found this silly little poem that I did in high school. It was for a class, and the assignment was to “adapt” Jane Yolen’s poem “Fat is Not a Fairy Tale” to a new subject. Reading my submission again, I kind-of liked it, so here it is (with some edits):

Zombie is Not a Fairy Tale

Mark Watts and Jane Yolen

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Shuffling Beauty,
Slow Wormy,
Corpse Bride,
Where the princess is not
warm, breathing,
or alive.

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Hansel and Gravedigger
Alice in Zombieland,
Beauty and the Brains…Brains…BRAINS!
Where the beauty
Has a worm-eaten leg,
and an eye hanging from its socket.

I am thinking of a fairy tale
that is not yet written,
for a teller not yet born,
for a listener not yet conceived,
for a world not yet won,
where everything dead is good:
the corpses, meat, great poets, and the princess.