Archive for March, 2008

Baseball Is Finally Here

March 31, 2008

The 2008 Major League Baseball season goes full-swing today with the majority of the franchises playing their first game with the “third” Opening Day of the season — there was the tw0-game Boston/Oakland series in Japan last week and the Washington/Atlanta “Opening Night” game last night in the newly christened $611 million National Park.

And, while I won’t be seeing a game in person until this Friday with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s home opener against the Texas Rangers, I am jazzed about the Halos’ game today with Minnesota. Other than a shaky pitching rotation — due to injuries to Kelvim Escobar and John Lacky — my Angels are looking strong with the addition of Torii Hunter in center field.

I am in two fantasy baseball leagues this season — both for bragging rights over cash, though knowing me and the fact that their head-to-head leagues, I’m sure there’ll be a side bet or two during the course of the season. Naturally, I ended up with a lot of Angels players on both of my rosters, with some players being on both squads. I have Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Jered Weaver, Francisco Rodríguez, and John Lackey on both teams — and Garret Anderson and Howie Kendrick on one of the two teams. I’ll admit it here that I’m way overloaded with personal favorites, but that’s how I’ll start the season.

Alright, about a half hour away from turning on the Toronto/New York Yankee’s game — the final season opener in the current and historic Yankee Stadium. Maybe with any luck I’ll get out to New York this season and catch my first and last game at the original Yankee Stadium.

April Flix

March 28, 2008

March is coming to a close as we get ready for the release of all the great films that are scheduled to be released in April. Whassat? There aren’t a lot of great movies being released in April of 2008? Alright then, what are some of my choices rolling out on the big screen in April?

leatherheads_ra.jpgLeatherheads (Apr4) — In 1925, Dodge Connolly is a charming, brash football hero who is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. The captain hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country’s attention. Welcome to the team Carter Rutherford, America’s favorite son. A golden-boy war hero who single-handedly forced multiple German soldiers to surrender in WWI, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field.

I’ve seen enough of this movie already just by viewing the TV spots. The advertising budget for this film must’ve been more than the production budget. I’ve seen so many different commercials for Leatherheads with a wide range of programming that the promoters of this movie are definitely going for the shotgun approach. I’m already tired of the period-piece “North Dallas Forty” that looks too cute to be a football movie. I might catch bits of it here and there when it undoubtedly ends up in heavy rotation on Showtime and HBO.

streetkings_ra.jpgStreet Kings (Apr 11) — Tom Ludlow, a veteran LAPD Vice Detective, sets out on a quest to discover the killers of his former partner, Detective Terrance Washington. Captain Wander’s, Ludlow’s supervisor, duties include keeping him within the confines of the law–and out of the clutches of Internal Affairs Captain Biggs. Ludlow teams up with a young Robbery Homicide Detective to track Washington’s killers through the diverse communities of Los Angeles. Their determination pays off when the two detectives track down Washington’s murderers and confront them in an attempt to bring them to justice.

Two things look like they may be distracting in this movie — Keanu Reeves and Hugh Laurie. I’m not a Keanu-hater but he tends to look uncomfortable in more roles than he looks comfortable in. And even though I don’t watch House, I will think House whenever Laurie is on the screen. Though, Cedric The Entertainer aside, it looks to have an interesting cast with Forest Whitaker, Jay Mohr, and Common. I’ll probably catch this on Showtime/HBO.

forgettingsarahmarshall_ra.jpgForgetting Sarah Marshall (Apr 18) — After a devastating break-up with his girlfriend, TV sitcom star Sarah Marshall, a heartbroken and depressed Peter heads to Hawaii for a little vacation to try his best to forget every detail of his relationship. But love laughs at Peter, because Sarah is vacationing in the same exclusive resort as Peter, along with her new boyfriend.

This movie has Marshal from How I Met Your Mother in it. Regardless that actor Jason Segel plays an entirely different character named Peter, he’ll still come across come as Marshal from How I Met Your Mother. Though, Mila Kunis is in it. If I hear good word-of-mouth it might be worth a DVD purchase — the same route I went with Knocked Up.

haroldandkumar2_ra.jpgHarold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (Apr 25) — The same morning that Harold and Kumar eat at White Castle, Harold learns that Maria, the girl he lusts after, has set off for Amsterdam. The pair decide to pursue her so Harold can proclaim his love. However, an overzealous airline passenger mistakes Kumar for a terrorist, and the plane is diverted as the duo get stuck in a case of mistaken identity.

Why the hell not? But like the first movie, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, this looks to be a kick back and watch at home movie — over and over again on Showtime/HBO, rather you like it our not.

Next month there are a couple of “little” films that are blipping on my movie radar for May — Iron Man, Speed Racer, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — and yes, even Sex and the City Movie.

Eight To Anticipate In June

March 27, 2008

Last month I flipped through the pages of March’s Previews catalog of comics, graphic novels, games, toys, and more being solicited for May release to comic book shops. The April Previews catalog dropped yesterday for items shipping in June — and in flipping through the pages, here are the eight choices I’m most anticipating…

trin_cv1_june.jpgTrinity #1-4 (DC Comics) — DC’s new weekly series TRINITY explodes in an extra-sized debut issue featuring art by fan-favorite Mark Bagley (Ultimate Spider-Man) & Art Thibert with lead stories and dialogue by Kurt Busiek (SUPERMAN, ASTRO CITY)! The lead feature explores the unusual bond — and importance — of DC’s top three characters, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as a mysterious dream links them together and may prophesy important changes in their trinity! Plus, a co-feature in issue #1 explores the mysterious connection between several villains who are watching the Trinity — as well as the near future for these characters and their surrounding world! Co-features in issues #2-4 fill in back-story on some of the other important players in this major storyline.

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman — I’m on board. Sure, I might not stay on top of everything each of the three super heroes are currently doing, but if you’re going to give me all three scoops in one sundae I’ll dig in. The fact that it’s a four-issue weekly series makes it even that much sweeter.

ny4_june.jpgThe New York Four (DC Comic/Minx) — A new Minx graphic novel from acclaimed writer Brian Wood (DEMO, DMZ)! Just starting her freshman year at NYU, Riley is about to find out what an adventure — and a mystery — living in New York City can be. The ultimate insider’s guide to NYC is seen through the eyes of Brooklyn-born Riley. Raised by stuffy, literati parents, Riley’s a shy, straight-A student who convinces three other NYU brainiacs to join a research group for fast cash. What Riley doesn’t bank on is accidentally falling in love.

Supermarket, which was also penned by Wood, was one of my favorite titles that I worked on when I served as editor at IDW, so that’s one plus. Another is, having never been to New York myself, this looks like a great insider’s look at the city with Wood’s attention to details and from what I’ve seen of Ryan Kelly’s artwork, he doesn’t skimp on the details either.

talesof_starlight_june.jpgTales of the Starlight Drive-In (Image Comics) — Writer MIKE SAN GIACOMO presents 32 stories taking place over 50 years at a Drive-In Theater, featuring 21 artists from around the world. Stories stand-alone, mirroring life and the cinema with tales of crime, romance, science fiction, musicals, even a western. The stories combine to create a single novel with a powerful, shocking finale you won’t forget. Fascinating characters, imaginative stories and clever twists will make STARLIGHT the surprise hit of the year.

This is one of those titles and concepts that has me thinking to myself, “Damn, I wish I would’ve thought of that first.” Writing a number of short comic stories to be done by different artists, and then collected within a single theme has always been a project that I’ve wanted to do. And, this is also giving me a sort of Cinema Paradiso vibe — a film that I love.

shebucaneer_june.jpgThe Voyages of She Buccaneer (Great Big Comics) — Her beauty is matched only by the savagery of her cutlass. The She-Buccaneer, along with the crew of the pirate ship Queen’s Vengeance, searches the sea for the seven gems that will open the ancient gates of Eden and free her beloved Calico jack Rocham from the devil’s grasp. On her voyages she will battle dragons, cannibalistic giants, evil genies, lusty sultans and all the mythic beasts of the deep dark sea.

Being that I’m a guy writing a comic book series called Pirat Tales: The Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails I’m automatically interested in comic that deals with pirates. From what I’ve seen of the artwork I dig the style. This sounds and looks like it’ll be swashbuckling — albeit risqué — fun.

atomicrobo_june.jpgAtomic Robo Volume 1 (Red 5 Comics) — ATOMIC ROBO takes on Nazis, giant ants, clockwork mummies, walking pyramids, Mars, cyborgs and his nemesis, Baron von Helsingard, in his first trade paperback graphic novel. This edition collects the hard-to-find, sold-out, debut issues of ATOMIC ROBO #1 through #6, complete with cover gallery, pin-ups, concept sketches and bonus stories.

I missed out on the first hard-to-find issue of this series, so I’ve been patiently waiting for the release of the trade paperback. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series, and it sounds right up my alley — giant ants and clockwork mummies. I’m sold!

dnd4e_june.jpgDungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast) — The Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game has defined the medieval fantasy genre and the tabletop RPG industry for more than 30 years. In the D&D game, players create characters that band together to explore dungeons, slay monsters, and find treasure. The 4th Edition D&D rules offer the best possible play experience by presenting exciting character options, an elegant and robust rules system, and handy storytelling tools for the Dungeon Master. The Player’s Handbook presents the official Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game rules as well as everything a player needs to create D&D characters worthy of song and legend: new character races, base classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, more magic items, weapons, armor, and much more. The Dungeon Master’s Guide gives the Dungeon Master helpful tools to build exciting encounters, adventures, and campaigns for the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game, as well as advice for running great game sessions, ready-to-use traps and non-player characters, and more. In addition, it presents a fully detailed town that can serve as a starting point for any D&D game. The Monster Manual presents more than 300 official Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game monsters for all levels of play, from aboleth to zombie. Each monster is illustrated and comes with complete game statistics and tips for the Dungeon Master on how best to use the monster in D&D encounters.

Yeah, these three books count as selections 6, 7, and 8. What can I say? I first played Dungeons & Dragons back when I was nine years old and I’m eagerly anticipating what the fourth edition of the premiere title of all role-playing games has to offer. Sure, I haven’t played D&D for years, but the geeky nerd in me can’t make my saving throw to not be compelled to search out and retrieve these tomes. See? I’m already starting to talk like I’m in a game.

Okay, that’s two months in a row that I’ve pulled off my “Eight To Anticipate In…” preview from the current Diamond Comic Book Distributors’ monthly catalog, Previews. The third time will the the charm.

Three Point One

March 27, 2008

Just as last night’s South Park episode was coming to a conclusion the house shook and and the windows rattled. Right away I knew it was an earthquake — not the “Big One” but a quake nonetheless. No damage that I’m aware of, but the dog and the cat were a little freaked out.

A minor earthquake occurred at 9:28:49 PM (PDT) on Wednesday, March 26, 2008. The magnitude 3.1 event occurred 3 km (2 miles) NE of Newport Beach, CA. The hypocentral depth is 8 km ( 5 miles).

Magnitude: 3.1 – local magnitude (ML)
Time: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 9:28:49 PM (PDT)
Distance from: Newport Beach, CA – 3 km (2 miles) NE (55 degrees), San Joaquin Hills, CA – 4 km (3 miles) WNW (299 degrees), Costa Mesa, CA – 5 km (3 miles) SE (138 degrees), Newport Coast, CA – 6 km (3 miles) NW (308 degrees), Los Angeles Civic Center, CA – 58 km (36 miles) SE (144 degrees)
Coordinates: 33 deg. 37.8 min. N (33.630N), 117 deg. 52.5 min. W (117.875W)
Depth: 7.5 km (4.7 miles)
Location Quality: Good
Location Quality Parameters: Nst=107, Nph=107, Dmin=4 km, Rmss=0.44 sec, Erho=0.4 km, Erzz=0.9 km, Gp=54 degrees
Event ID#: ci14358316

It turned out, the epicenter was about two miles east from my house, as displayed in this nifty Google map.

Last Chance League – Fantasy Baseball

March 26, 2008

I decided that being in only one Fantasy Baseball League wasn’t enough to drive me batty this season, so…

I’m putting together another last minute fantasy baseball league for anybody that’s interested using Yahoo’s Fantasy Sports. Scoring will start the second week of the season, April 7th. (Did anybody watch the two games that “counted” between the Red Sox and the A’s that were played in Japan the last two days?) It’ll be head-to-head play with an autodraft that I’d like to schedule for Sunday morning before the Opening Day that we’re having here in the states with the Braves and the Nationals.

If you’re game, send me an email, message, text, signal from the third base coach, whatever, and I’ll fill you in on the details to join.

Angry Fanboy – 8

March 26, 2008
af2008-9.jpg

In Case You Were Sleeping – “Play Ball!”

March 25, 2008

I drive a Toyota Tacoma — a Japanese import that I’ve enjoyed owning for over ten years now. But, did we have to export Major League Baseball’s Opening Day in return? In case you weren’t up early this morning — 6:00 A.M. Eastern, 3:00 A.M. Pacific (such as myself) — and tuned into ESPN 2, then you probably missed the first pitch, as well as the first game, of the 2008 MLB season.

For those of you that were catching your Zs as opposed to catching the game, you missed Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka’s season debut i Tokyo, where he lasted only five innings. The Red Sox, however, managed to still beat the A’s 6-5 in ten innings.

While other teams are still swinging and pitching away in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training games, the Red Sox and A’s have officially started their 2008 seasons  on the other side of the world with games that count. And, they each have exhibition games when they get back to the States.

For the rest of Major League Baseball the season starts this Sunday — a day of the week that should be Opening Day — with the Atlanta Braves playing the Washington Nationals. My Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (who have the best record in the Spring Training Cactus League) kick off the season Monday, March 31st, in Minnesota.

Sacred Heart Hospital Re-Opens For Business

March 24, 2008

Today, Monday, March 24, the cast and crew of Scrubs are returning to production after the delay resulting from the 100-day writers’ strike — according to Reuters/Hollywood Reporter.

“Scrubs” back to work, but for whom?

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – The cast of “Scrubs” is back at work Monday, but the big question is, for which network?

For the past month, ABC has been in negotiations with its Disney corporate sibling ABC Studios, which produces the show for NBC, about picking up the comedy with an 18-episode order. NBC had raised objections to the plan.

Sources said the cast is coming back to finish shooting an episode for NBC that was disrupted by the recent 100-day Hollywood writers strike. The actors also are expected to film a few more episodes despite the fact that NBC opted not to pick up more segments from what was supposed to be the show’s seventh and final season.

Sources indicated that ABC Studios had planned to produce a couple of extra episodes of “Scrubs,” even without an order from NBC, to possibly be included on the series’ DVD set.

Now, the new episodes are intended for ABC, as a pickup by the network is said to be likely. While the sticking points with NBC for the most part had been resolved, the dealmaking keeps stretching out, focusing primarily on securing the cast, most of whom didn’t have pacts beyond this season. Sources said actor contracts are now complete for nearly every cast member, including star Zach Braff.

Six episodes of “Scrubs” have aired so far this season, and five original episodes remain to air on NBC. After the strike, NBC told ABC Studios that the network was declining to pay for the season’s remaining episodes. NBC’s move freed up the studio to shop the comedy elsewhere.

ABC has been interested in getting the comedy for years and started negotiations for the series. The “Scrubs” writing team has been hard at work since the end of the strike, penning scripts for the show’s potential eighth season on ABC.

The networks declined comment.

Well, it looks like I’ll get at least five more episodes for a total of 11 episodes of the planned 18 episodes the “seventh” season. And then next season — the “eighth” season — I’ll get 18 more. Now, I just have to kill time until April 10th, when the last five NBC episodes are scheduled to begin to air.

You Can Own Super Hero Happy Hour For Only $93.03

March 21, 2008

My friend Lance pointed out to me that a rather entrepreneurial individual that goes by the alias of IRENE_HANA is currently offering a rare and in good condition, neatly stored with no dust marks, used copy of Super Hero Happy Hour 01 for the low, low price of $93.03.

shhh9303-450.jpg

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If only this was the going market price. If it were, Chris Fason and I would be rich self-publishing comic book creators. Now, I’m not certain if it is for the first single issue of Super Hero Happy Hour or the trade paperback which collects the first four issues. Either way I’ve got a box or two of both the single first issue and the trade sitting in my closet that I’m willing to sell at the reduced special bargain price of $46.51 cents — that’s more than half off of what IRENE_HANA is selling it for. I’m not sure, but she may be able to capitalize on the fact that the product features the original “Super” Hero Happy Hour title as opposed to the current Hero Happy Hour title.

But, remember… If $93.03 is a bit out of your price-range for hilarious super hero hijinks you can always download a free copy of the first issue of Hero Happy Hour at WOWIO.

Possible Pulp

March 20, 2008

I’m toying with the idea of a science-fiction pulp noir story. Originally, I had planned to write it as a comic book series, but the artist that I was kicking it around with ended up committed to other projects. That’s when the notion hit me that maybe I’d try my hand at a novella of sorts. A novel is out of the question with my attention span. It was start something like this…

I woke up with a number of the usual questions. When did I black out? Where was I? Why did my head hurt so much? But this time around there was a new question dogging me…

The big question…

Who the hell was I?

It was dark — dark because I wanted it to be — except for the occasional pseudo-flash of pain keeping time with the throbbing within my skull. My eyes were shut and I wasn’t sure if I should be in any sort of a hurry to open them. I mean, I had woken up before asking myself, “Who the hell was she?” But, not knowing who I was myself, I wasn’t sure if that was the greatest way to start the day. What I did know, besides my head hurting, was that I was lying on my back on something hard and cold. I wouldn’t have been surprised to open my eyes and find myself lying on the floor of the men’s room of some dive bar or monorail station. Or, at this point, even a coroner’s slab.