Midterms et al

April 29, 2009

I should have drifted off to bed by now, but I find that as I do on most nights the soothing hum of my laptop’s hard drive is the last thing I hear before drifting off into subconsciousness. Ever since the quarter started five weeks ago, life has been a dizzying whirl of activities and emotion. I can’t wait until my midterms are done later this week and for summer quarter when I can get off this crazy ride, although I confess I fear it a bit because I fear change.
Strangely, I never seem to write much on this blog about my journalistic activities, though they are always there like a reliable friend I can turn to, and also like an enemy with its deadlines looming ever large. An interesting situation presented itself while covering a protest in Rowland Heights on Saturday by residents upset over the proposed development of 775 low density apartments in their rural community.

A church member and resident asked if she could review my draft of my article prior to publication because she wanted to make sure her quotes against the elders who are selling the school property in the lot where the apartment complex is being proposed would not weaken a lawsuit they are preparing against the church leadership. I had to inform her that it is not standard practice for journalists to let people see their articles prior to publication and that the best I could do was to send her a copy of the article once it saw the light of day. It never seems to amaze me how little some people know about journalistic practices.

She then asked me if I could put in a line about where people could make donations to the organization fighting against the church leaders. Not likely.

On the same day I attended an IT competition which would form the basis for my third ever piece for the Post.

I have a Tuesday night class so I never get to go to Covina council meetings anymore but I have to confess I miss attending them because they were a regular beat of sorts. In a totally off topic, Kick Ass #6 came out this week, I must get to the comic book shop soon and get my hands on it ASAP. I miss reading comics 😦

Retro-review: Buffy season 8 #24

April 26, 2009

Not sure if I need to tag events in this comic as “spoilers” as this is a retro-review since it went on sale early this month and die hards will already have read it. Actually, this is the latest I have ever bought a Buffy comic, so my apologies for my lateness, but a lot has been going on. So that out of the way, I do have a few thoughts and questions.
Paramount is the fact that two years have gone by, more or less, since Buffy season 8 got underway, so this is sort of an anniversary issue of sorts, though it isn’t billed as such by Dark Horse. Will there ever be an annual? Also, the regular TV season was 22 episodes in length, which is standard for a drama series. Given that this is issue 24, does it still make sense to call this comic season 8? If each monthly installment counts as an episode of the TV show then it should be in season 9. However, if you count each page as one second of screen time as is customary with screenplays and teleplays, then the comic falls short of the episodes in length (being 22 pages long) and in that case we would still be in season 8, but just barely.
Of course, this discussion is all academic as the two mediums are vastly different and don’t exactly translate.

As for the plot itself, it was a satisfying one shot but it is frustrating to have to wait for further developments on Twilight and some of the sub plots that have been put on hold. Jim Krueger turns in an entertaining enough story starring Giles and Faith and they brought back Cliff Richards, long running Buffy artist on the original Buffy comics (circa 1998) to render the protagonists. He’s still one of the best in my opinion as he does a terrific job of drawing Giles, Faith and the rest of the characters. The demon featured in the story is your prototypical Buffyesque creature, except he bears a striking resemblance to a creature created by Alan Moore in a Superman comic book I read a long time ago. This issue also sheds light on the fact that Giles along with one of his peers are the only two remaining members of the now defunct Watcher’s Council.

All and all, this was a satisfying one shot, but not the strongest offering in the series and not as funny as previous issues lacking the interaction of the Scoobies or the titular character who doesn’t even make an appearance.

technology overload

April 21, 2009

Recently on my facebook wall I posted the question: what is wrong with calling someone up and hearing their voice? Nowadays, with the advent of technology and the popularity of social networking sites such as fb, Myspace and Twitter, people are foregoing email, worse yet, spending countless hours taking quizzes, filling out inane surveys and generally avoiding true human contact. This is in addition to the time we spend on our phones or blackberries, surfing the mobile web, texting, or whatever else we do.

While this is not a new problem, or not even a problem to some, I do think that even though it is a nice option for me to sit at my local coffee place and take advantage of the free wi-fi and a cup of java, that it’s also sad that we no longer communicate as much. Some households have turned into the domestic equivalent of cyber cafes. While sometimes it was TV that brought us together afterwork during dinner, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t come home to find my sister on her laptop with her headphones on, or Nick on the computer in the back room typing away, oblivious to most. While the latter case is not a big surprise because he tends to be more self involved, this is a good illustration of how the internet has brought us closer to friends all over the world and even our own cities, but do we really need to know what everybody is doing with countless tweets and status updates? Does it really make a big difference in my life that you are currently having dinner with friends and looking forward to whatever it is you’re looking forward to? I do it myself, so I am not being hypocritical, I guess I am just examining this phenomenon and missing some personal interaction of the “meatspace” kind.

Retro review: War of Kings #2

April 16, 2009

secret_invasion_war_of_kings_pOK again, so sorry for the lag of time in between posts. School started on March 30 for me and it has been a crazy whirlwind since. It probably didn’t help that I went camping shortly after in Santa Barbara and that I have used my time away from studying and school and work to pursue story ideas for the newspaper. Is it any wonder that I haven’t had much time to post?

Actually I am still terribly behind on my comic book reading and I just barely read the first two installments of War of Kings, which by the way is terrific. This barely makes it as a retro-review because the book has only been out a week or so, and already it’s sold out necessitating reprints and variant covers. One would expect Marvel to try and cash-in quickly with reprints when they have a good concept on their hands.
I have always been a sucker for the Inhumans so this storyline featuring the cosmic drama involving the Kree and the Inhumans has me clamoring for more. The story revolves around the war between the Shiar led by Vulcan and the Kree. Throw in the Starjammers and former X-Men Havok and Lorna Dane (Polaris) and a whole slew of other cosmic characters and you have a great new series. Personally, I think this is some really good storytelling by writers Abnett and Lanning as they manage to juggle multiple plot threads started in Secret Invasion, Silent War and other recent Marvel crossover events with ease. The artwork by various artists is also pretty good. Can’t wait to read the next installment

Retro-Review: Xmen Origins Sabretooth

April 7, 2009

wolviesabertooth1OK so I am doing catch up on some of the comics I got recently so I guess since this came out more than a month ago, I have to file this under retro-review. Seriously, I don’t know how it is so late, for some reason it was on my batch of March comics, but the release date says February. Was it released late? I can’t recall. At any rate, school starting up again has delayed my comic book reading so I am going to briefly start catching up.

This origin story by writer Kieron Gillen features Logan’s most vicious enemy Sabretooth. Those who read Wolverine regularly will recall that Sabretooth was decapitated in the regular comic, but although we don’t know how final that death really was (All deaths look final in comics but we all know better) this story is more of a flashback.

I should probably mention that one of my favorite comics of all time features Sabretooth, bent on getting revenge on his enemies and going after Spiderman. Unfortunately, he runs into the Black Cat instead and gets a face full of spider-webbing and a visit to the emergency room for his troubles.

Even though it highlights Sabretooth’s annual ritual of tormenting Wolverine on his birthday, and it does feature some time the two spent in the Team-X program, this comic rarely sheds any light on Sabretooth’s past, with the exception of his early life. In that regard it was disappointing. However, the art is good and Dan Panosian renders the viciousness of Creed and the antagonism Wolverine feels towards him with the requisite amount of violence and character expressions. This is a good comic book, if anyone out there missed it, Newsarama had a pretty good Q and A with the writer earlier in the year.