What I did on my summer blog-cation (but first, some shilling)

Hey kids, comics! And Atari 2600 games! Check out my eBay auctions and buy some stuff already. I'm just sayin'.

What I Did on My Summer Blog-cation by Bill Doughty, age 29 & 1/3

Here's what occupied my time when I took my little blog break (when I wasn't busy playing with the child, hanging out with the wife or grilling something, anyway):

Probably some spoilers ahead for the media-related stuff, so, you know, look out.

My Brother's Wedding - My brother George and his fiancee Sharon were married on the rocks at Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor, Maine. It was small, private, and quite lovely (in terms of both the event and the setting). And, of course, no Doughty family gathering is complete without a whole lot of food, so good times and full stomachs were enjoyed by all. I'm ecstatically happy for both of them

The World According to Garp
by John Irving - I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I know a lot of people who absolutely love this book, so I figured I'd finally give it a try. I like it well enough so far (I'm about 200 pages in) , and it's slow going in that good way - I find Irving's writing needs to be thoroughly digested before you can really move on; he takes a good many words to say what he wants to say, but it's so well constucted I don't mind - but not a lot happens, does it? I do hope it's all going somewhere; if not, I'll be rather cross, no matter how well written the book is.

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life - I figured I'd get this from the library and see what all the fuss was about. I figured it was just another slacker romantic comedy at first; cute, but nothing breathtakingly original. Then comes the concert scene, and the story turns a corner I never saw coming, and I was hooked. I must now acquire this and all subsequent volumes. Comics - of the Western or Eastern worlds - are rarely this fun anymore. I can't recommend this enough.

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa - I can't recommend this enough, either. Not only is this one of my all time favorite serialized comic book stories ever, but it's also one of the most thorough and entertaining examples of fictional biography ever assembled. Philip Jose Farmer would be proud (look it up). I have all of the original issues (it took me years to track down part 1), but I've been dreaming of a decent collected edition of this (in English, thanks) for years. Don Rosa is an comics master, an American treasure, and truly "The Other Good Duck Man" (and he's a heck of a nice guy, to boot). Everyone who claims to love comics needs to read this story.

March of the Penguins - I don't know that this is the major cultural event some have made it out to be, but it was probably the most pleasant 90 minutes of movie time I've experienced in a good long time. I would've enjoyed a few more fiendish attempts to kill Batman, but beyond that, no complaints.

The End of Erin's Love Affair with Tivo - Tivo disappointed Erin for the last time by not allowing us to call in for our weekly update. It also completely dropped the ball on a crucial taping, making us miss our friend Jill's debut appearance on the Sci-Fi channel show Ghost Hunters (she's the TAPS Archivist). It was a very messy break-up, and you're still not allowed to mention Tivo's name in her presence. It's a pretty ugly situation, but she seems to be finding solace in the arms of the DVR service provided by our cable company, Cox, which actually allows you to watch one channel while you're taping shows on two other channels. She may yet find televisual love again. Keep your fingers crossed for these two crazy kids!

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 - You know, this is the best comic book Marvel has put out this year, if not the past five years. The story here, Ultimate Spidey and Kitty Pryde start dating, could be total fan wanking, but it's handled very well, and actually quite sweetly. Bendis's penchant for talkiness works here - it's more of a realistically conversational talky, rather than a "stretch a 2 issue story out to 6 issues" talky. What's more, the reasons for them getting together are quite well thought out (Kitty likes that Peter can relate to being a teenager with super powers, Peter likes that Kitty could actually take care of herself if one of his enemies came after her; plus, they're both big ol' geeks and proud of it). Writing an epic super-hero battle isn't hard. Writing a story about the quiet moments that make characters like this seem relatable and human, well, that is. A few more like this, Bendis, and I may be willing to forgive Avengers Disassembled.

Doctor Who - Still plugging away at the most recent series when I find the time. I thoroughly enjoyed the two part story "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances." I found the ending quite affecting, especially as the Doctor starts crying out "Give me this day! Just this once, everybody lives!" Very moving stuff there from writer Stephen Moffat (creator of the original, actually watchable Coupling, yes?). And speaking of Doctor Who...

Doctor Who: Human Nature by Paul Cornell - I didn't read any of the Virgin Publishing "New Adventures" series when they were first published and was curious about them. My friend Andy suggested this as a good place to start, saying it was "like The Last Temptation of Christ if it A.) starred the 7th Doctor instead of Jesus, and B.) was really good." I'm just 4 chapters in (thanks to the eBook section of the BBC's Doctor Who site, which also has a number of other long out of print and hard to find Who novels from the Virgin days), and so far it is pretty brilliant. The Doctor opts to live for three months as a human in pre-WW1 England to understand the human condition. The lover of his then-current companion, Dr. Berniece "Benny" Summerfield, was presumably killed in the previous novel (one of those "last, heroic charges against a horde of enemies" type of things), and he couldn't relate to her grief, so he thought this would be the best way. Benny has little choice but to go along with the plan. Interesting plot and great characterization of both the leads (the Doctor is even more baffled as a human than he ever was as a Time Lord, and less than one novel in, Benny is already becoming one of my favorite companions) and the supporting cast (the Doctor's love interest, Joan, is a lovely character; this can't end well).

Long story short (too late), I'm wishing I had read more New Adventures when they were current and easier to find. Any suggestions?

Yeah, it isn't September yet. Sue me.

Jeez, tons of exciting news out of Doctor Who Land, huh?

First, all kinds of pics of the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, so we can play the age-old game of "Guess what the new Doctor will be like based on his outfit and brief post-regeneration cameo." (I have to say, I dig the whole "suit and ratty Chucks" thing. It looks kind of modern but still traditionally Doctor Who somehow).

Then, we find out we're getting new toys (which look to beat the old Dapol figs all to Hell).

And then there's all the story & casting rumors. First, the Cybermen are supposed to appear, making me very happy indeed. Daleks are great fun, but for my money, the Cybermen were always my favorite "monsters." Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, may show up for at least an episode, meaning that there will be at least one episode I may be able to con Erin into watching, so that's good, too (though I read this on some MySpace group, so it may be total bullshit). And now there's a rumor that Anthony Stewart Head may be playing a very familiar character from Doctor Who lore (spoilers found here)... I'm not typically the type to fangasm online or anything, but this all gets my panties in a bunch. In a good way, I mean.

Now if only some American network would pick up the broadcast rights so I won't have to keep begging my mom to tape it off of CBC for me, the world would be a nearly perfect place (you know, besides all the misery and suffering).

UPDATED - Holy crap, K9 and Sarah Jane, too! Woot!

Gone Fishin'

Lots of stuff going on - fatherly duties, temporary change in job schedule, some increased duties at said job, stuff that needs doing around the house, the mandatory reading of Harry Potter 6, etc. - that has derailed me from blogging lately. And now I get news that my brother is getting married... in two weeks... and I just heard about it last night!

Obviously, August is turning out to be a lot busier than I thought, so Trusty Plinko Stick is going on a little blog-cation for the month. I may pop back in sooner if I find the time, or have anything important enough to share, but otherwise, see you in September, folks!