Is the 1st Quarter of 2019 almost done???!! Quick a few last lessons and observations from 2018!!!!

Wow this year has been flying and busy…so I did not have a lot of time to reflect on 2018. So I wanted to say a few words before we get out of the 1st quarter of 2019.

 

2018.

What a year.

Politics, war, human and civil rights conflicts. Losses both subtle and staggering. And also great achievements to balance out the bloody churning of the 24 hour news cycle.

Other places have spoken on those serious points of 2018.

I wanted to speak on mostly light, trivial, personal minutiae that for what ever reason reverberated with me. And may just reverberate with those of you who visit me.

2018 was, despite the unsteady global outlook, personally for me… a good year.

Those I hold dear were well.

And that for me is the main measure of a good year.

So onto the minutiae:

Umm

  • I spent time in Connecticut in 2018, and absolutely loved it. New London, Mohegan Sun, Terrificon 2018. Just a fantastic trip with my better half. So enjoyed the trip so much, that we will be doing it again in 2019. If you are into Comic Book movies, and more importantly classic comic books, from the great Silver and Bronze Age, and their creators, this is the con for you. If you are with family that has only minimal interests in Comics, this Con is definitely for you, because it is held in a stunning Casino, so it is great shopping,, with great food. And the surrounding area is filled with great things to do with your family, from great small town window shopping, to cruises, and tours, and yes… excellent food.
  • 2018 saw me transition from Fire TV back to Roku Premiere+. Which served me great all year with one little caveat.

  • The Roku Premiere + while it offers improved processing speed over earlier models and a handy HDMI port, it also overs a microphone in theย  remote for voice control.ย  As someone who works in tech two of the stupidest things I think you can have in your home, is a camera you can’t turn off ( or be truly certain when it is on) and a microphone that is always recording.
  • Too many people place devices in their home, that a smarter, more prudent, generation would have called illegal surveillance systems (cough – XBOX – cough), but because these systems come marketed as ‘must have entertainment devices’, or ‘AI convenience devices’, too many people are swayed by the sheen rather than the substance, and blithely allow invasive tech into their home without researching that tech, or means to limit violations of same. Just like before you use a car most people pay a reliable mechanic to check out the car, and seasonally tune it up, the same minimum steps should be in place for these smart/iot devices. Have a tech set it up and secure it for you, and ensure it is safe to use. That is just smart consumerism in this day and age of identity theft, and billion dollar companies unable to keep from losing your data.
  • And these are the companies you pay to put an alexa in your home. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am not so lazy that I need an Alexa in my house, always listening to answer an inane question, or turn on a light. Such smart technology can be of use, but not when paired with an uninformed and lazy consumer.That is a recipe for your technology owning you, rather than the other way around.
  • Most notably marketing. There are billions made by game/entertainment machines that has NOTHING to do with gaming. But has everything to do with selling your data to the highest bidder. A not locked down gaming machine, is indistinguishable from a state of the art bio-metric spying machine. Indistinguishable.
  • I’m not saying do not have have a video game console in your house. I am saying be informed about the equipment you are putting in your house and how to limit egress by marketers, and privacy violations.
  • Such as the news item a couple years back of people who bought the smart TVs, unaware that it was recording them.:)
  • Smart Devices, are for smart consumers. And most consumers are not smart. I’m not being insulting, but it is a truth the marketing relies on, that people buy off of a glitzy ad, rather than research. On emotion, rather than reason. How else to explain pharmaceutical ads that sell potentially deadly products, to address the most inane issues. They rely on consumers not being smart, and wanting what is new and hip and popular. We must look at the world, with better eyes than that. All of us. Myself included feel the pull to jump aboard the band-wagon, but those are the times we have to pause, and take a step back. And really look and see where the road of good intentions… is leading you. ๐Ÿ™‚ . It takes putting in the effort, which is contrary to the marketed status quo of, just ask your phone, or smart device to think for you.
  • For the sake of entertainment this social media generation is relinquishing rights, that took much loss of blood to get. Technology can be great, if you take the time to hold manufacturers accountable, and make the technology truly a tool that you use, rather than visa-versa.
  • All this to say, I swapped out my mic enabled remote for my Roku for a model without a mic. I do not want to talk to machines. I don’t really want machines talking to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ And no, I don’t have a smart phone. I work with smart phones, tablets, and laptops, and desktops for a living. I do not need my phone to be a computer, I just need it to make and receive calls. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Having set those ground rules for the Roku, and some other privacy changes enacted, the Roku Premiere + has served me well for all of 2018. And continues to do so in 2019.

Most notably Youtube, a thing I avoided like the plague in its web version (because of lack of moderation of the sewage like comments section), is one thing I am enjoying on my big screen (non-smart) tv, thanks to Roku. The ‘comments free’ Youtube Channel App, on Roku, is easily one of my most watched channels of 2018.

And here (in a brief paragraph) are my favorite Youtube shows for 2018:

  1. AFTA COMICS
  2. SILVER-AGED DAVE
  3. REGIE SIMMONS IFBB PRO
  4. RANDY AND TAYLA
  5. RICH REBUILDS
  6. ALL THAT JAZZ
  7. BRAVE WILDERNESS
  8. FIRST WE FEAST
  9. THE GO2 GEEKS
  10. WALLACE RYAN
  11. WORKOUT
  12. HAANTI
  13. EARL GREY
  14. JOHN CAMPEA
  15. DS COMICS
  16. METAROG
  17. MINDSMASH
  18. MINORITY MINDSET
  19. OMELETO
  20. POP CULTURE PHILOSOPHERS
  21. PROFESSOR THORGI
  22. RAPID TRAILER
  23. CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT
  24. CHYCHO
  25. COMICHYJINX
  26. COMICS WITH BUELLER
  27. DR JOSH AXE
  28. FURY ROAD
  29. LEEKIRBYDITKOCOMICS
  30. THE DELUXE EDITION
  31. UFC AND MMA

 

 

And we will wrap this streaming heavy look at 2018 up with my 5 favorite Streaming Channels of 2018 from most to least watched.

  1. YOUTUBE

  2. AMAZON PRIME

  3. HULU

  4. NETFLIX

  5. PLUTO TV

Those five channels were pretty much all I watched in 2018.

Youtube I already mentioned what I watched.

As far as Amazon Prime, they have a huge selection of Big Foot, Werewolf, and other obscure horror films, which is my cup of tea. The slasher stuff I have no use for, but a good Big Foot movie, I’m there! So between many hours of movies and trailers, and their great classic and original programming (JACK RYAN season 1 was excellent) they were a solid contender for most popular streaming channel.

HULU allowed us to keep up with broadcast TV, (ex. AMERICAN NINJA) as well as original programing and classic series. Netflix ran a distant fourth for me, but did have some fun shows and movies as well.

Finally PLUTO TV scratched the itch for us when we wanted the Cable experience.

There you go guys, a streaming intensive look at 2018. Come back for upcoming installment on some of the music, book, and shopping notables of 2018. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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TERRIFICON 2018 Review! In a word…. TERRIFIC!

TERRIFICON 2018!


Books I picked up at this year’s terrific Terrificon at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conneticut!

 

Man, we had such a great time at this year’s Terrificon two weekends ago. We just made a weekend of it in Connecticut, and only spent one day at the con, but what a fun day. My better half, who is not the comic head I am at all, was surprised by how much she enjoyed it.

Part of it is the convention is very well laid out in the simply massive Mohegan Sun Casino Complex. The Con which was huge in terms of space, only took up a fraction of this massive Casino Complex. And there was huge room between booths and areas, so while well attended, you didn’t feel crushed in a crowd, like Awesome Con or New York Comic Con. Also the emphasis here was very much on Comics, so you just had a very laid back, yet fun crowd. The writers and artists were very much the superstars here.

Another part of the success is the panels. While the shopping was great, and I found great deals; walking around and shopping to me, is not enough reason for me to go to a con. And I am not really interested in getting anyone’s signature, and shopping alone I can do online and save the hotel fees and travel expenses.

I am someone who likes great panels, informative conversations with those creators who created what is best in this hobby, and their interesting behind the scenes stories . So I did my homework and new the panels to attend, and the time to get there for them.

The Black Panther panel was a definite hit, being able to see three generations of Black Panther writers on the stage. Don McGregor and Christopoher Priest were the name draws, and were excellent but I think everyone was wowed by newest Black panther artist and writer Afua Richardson. She was just a joy, and her talk of how she laces symbolic and linguistic meaning into the covers she did for Black Panther has I think everyone who left that talk.. on the hunt for her work.

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The girl power vibe in the room was strong. ๐Ÿ™‚ But so was the Christopher Priest vibe, this guy is one of my favorite writers, the only monthly DC book I buy anymore is his Deathstroke, and he has written some of my favorite runs. Quite frankly he was a huge reason I attended this con. Him and Roy Thomas. Getting to hear both of these legendary crreators speak, a win, win.

In addition there was the mellifluous John Suintres (from the WORD BALLOON podcast) as MC, Jim Starlin the always stoic Larry Hama, the slightly bemused Michael Golden, and Paul Kupperberg.

So a fantastic set of panels oh and some great food and shopping. The Mohegan Sun Casino offering world class food and shopping options. We stopped at Bobby Flay’s Burger and it was awesome.

And without futher ado, onto the comic book shopping. Here are some of the books I got at Terrificon 2018. All of my shopping for the con was between 50 cents and $2.50 per book. The following books averaged $2 a book, and as you can see are in great mid-grade condition. Fine ย to VF condition. Why on earth would anyone pay over $3 for new books, when you can get great bronze and silver age comics , with great stories and art for that same price or less???!!!!. Shame on you Marvel and DC . Instead for new comics replace Marvel and DC with Canadian company Chapterhouse and American company Alterna. And preorder from Image, Dark Horse, ย IDW to also get their new books for less than $3.

All in all just a great experience. Along with Heroescon and Baltimore it is considered one of the best, most enjoyable true Comiccons.

I definitely look forward to going next year.

Go ahead and like and subscribe to this post. I have pics of the panels, with Christopher Priest, Roy Thomas, Jim Starlin, etc…so if this post gets enough likes, and new subscribers I’ll add additional pics and content.

And definitely support this post by buying items from the blog sponsor below:

 

http://www.amazon.com/shops/aseller99

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Thanks and be well out there!

The Lost Men Series : Four GREAT films currently available on Streaming!

The Lost Men Series : Four GREAT films currently available on Streaming!

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These four films, which did not get theatrical releases, are far better than the vast majority of films that do reach the theaters. Disappointing films such as DEAD MAN DOWN and SPRING BREAKERS get screen time, when visually and thematically superior films such as Tim McCann’s brilliant ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM and Dan Eberle’s enthralling, nearly wordless PRAYER TO A VENGEFUL GOD go unheralded.

And Michael Morrissey’s impressive BOY WONDER is the myth of masked vengeance done better than most big budget super-hero movies. Rounding out the quartet, director Brian A. Miller’s HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN is one of the best neo-noirs seen since the Coen Brother’s BLOOD SIMPLE or Craig Ross Jr’s frenetic and fantastic CAPPUCCINO. Dave Bautista delivering a surprisingly elegant and understated performance.

One of the common threads these four movies share is understated but brilliant performances, as well as a thematic conceit of men either at odds or abandoned by the judicial system, who must themselves find justice for those around them.

From Mike Simmons memorable turn as the protagonist in ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM (A great film unfairly lambasted by the short-sighted crowd, there’s rumors of director Tim McCann and star Mike Simmons in talk to helm the new Luke Cage/Power-Man series from Marvel/Netflix — to which I say… heck yes!) to Director/Writer Dan Eberle, also doing triple duty as star in his PRAYER TO A VENGEFUL GOD. Together these four films create a new and refreshing phase of American cinema, a new wave if you will.

Sample them for yourself while they last on streaming services, and when you find yourself smitten with them… purchase your copies here:

Another Zero in the System

Prayer to a Vengeful God

Boy Wonder

House of the Rising Sun

Graphic Novel Review : Hickman and Pitarra’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2!

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“The World has rules, created by those who consider themselves above them. So we became radicals, who accepted neither.” — Jonathan Hickman’s THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2



THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2- I find writer Jonathan Hickman’s work very hit and miss. Quite frankly more miss than hit, while always filled with elaborate and imaginative ideas, his work generally lacks an emotional quotient, an emotional core, to make it worth reading.

His writing then becomes simple extrapolations of the head, that lack heart. Cold and off-putting works. I find this of almost all of his mainstream work that I have tried, SECRET AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR, his current AVENGERS work I find unreadable dreck, with nothing to keep anyone emotionally interested or invested.

His Indie work can be likewise a gamble. Volume 1 of his Image series THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS was okay, if unremarkable. However I’m glad to say Volume 2 is much better, as Hickman is finally starting to pull taut the threads of his story.

The art by Nick Pitarra does a lot of the heavy lifting, with fun sight gags and panels that makes this far more entertaining than arguably the words or script alone would convey. I point you to the panel of the oval office orgy (say that three times fast ๐Ÿ™‚ )for proof of that.

So lifted up on Pitarra’s visuals Hickman’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2 is finally starting to hit its stride. And while Volume 1 is okay to read, it is not necessary, you could just pick up Volume 2, as it brings you up to speed pretty quickly. Grade: B. Worth a Purchase.

The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 2 – Price your copy here