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I am a geek. Seriously. I’ve been reading comic books off and on for ages, and have loved sci-fi/fantasy since I was tiny.

Comic Book Resources (CBR) posted an interview with Milo Ventimiglia where they asked him about Heroes (he was at last weekend’s New York Comic-Con). He says he was a realist, that eventually shows end. They asked him about the writer’s strike, and while I agree that the strike most affected the crews and to some extent, vendors… it bothered me that he said that writers “make a very nice living.” Actors, directors, and producers do- certainly. Head writers and people who’ve been in the business for ages? Yes. But let’s face it. There’s a lot of young blood out there that isn’t making what other writer’s make. I won’t use the term starving artists- but it might not be easy to make a great living from it.

I’ve had arguments with TheBoy about the Writer’s Strike. From his end, he was concerned that the strike was going to get him laid off if it wasn’t resolved. I see that. But as a writer, and someone who might want to get into writing films or shows, I could see where the WGA took offense. Their contracts did not compensate them for internet work. Internet is the future for viewing shows, and the networks have used their sites to air web-exclusive content or even put together clips to help draw in new viewers. Work which was being aired, the networks were making money off of… and writers weren’t being paid for. So yes, that was important- so that as the internet becomes more popular for viewing television, writers don’t get screwed out of compensation.

So for Milo, I’ll just say that it’s cute that he cares for the little guys, but not so cute that he didn’t seem to understand what the heck the strike was actually about.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve bought some graphic novels that I figured I’d share. I bought Agnes Quill, written by Dave Roman and illustrated by a slew of artists including Raina Telgemeier and Jen Wang (update: and Jeff Zornow and Jason Ho). It’s a good YA book, about the adventures of a teen girl in a mysterious city filled with ghosts, monsters and whatnot, who can talk to ghosts. It’s been on my list of things to check out for ages, since I’m a fan of Jen Wang’s work (and found Telgemeier and Roman through her promoting this work). I bought it when it was on sale- and now I wish I’d paid full price for it ages ago as soon as it came out so that I could have been plugging it all this time. I wish there were more volumes, though. (If you’re looking for more YA graphic novels, Raina Telgemeier’s Smile has been getting wonderful reviews, and her Baby Sitter Club comics are great as well)

My mom also bought TheBoy the full set of Scott Pilgrim graphic novels for his birthday, and I just finished reading them. Normally I would have read them all as soon as he got them, but that wouldn’t be fair. So instead I stealthily read them one at a time when he was at work and they weren’t. Now I see why fans said that the movie was entirely different, but still good. Totally enjoyable, and definitely what I loved about the movie- a story that’s about someone growing up and finding love. All sandwiched in a story filled with fight sequences. You don’t have to be a fan of the indie music scene, comic books, or video games for this one at all. It’s about growing up- something that everyone can relate to. Except perhaps Peter Pan.

Something I haven’t bought yet, but will be buying as soon as I’m finished buying birthday presents, mattresses and safety rails… is Jen Wang’s Koko Be Good. That’s another story about growing up, and it’s getting some lovely reviews. Though truthfully, I’d be buying it just for the art even if someone said the story was crap. Which, given her past work (including the unfinished and now unavailable webcomic Strings of Fate) is highly unlikely. She’s a skilled storyteller and an amazing artist.

Have something interesting to say? Leave a comment and start up a discussion. FIrst time commenters will have to be approved to make sure bots don’t take over, but comments after that won’t need to be moderated.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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I’m pleased to say that Jerad got to see Scott Pilgrim and gave it his seal of approval. If you haven’t seen it, please go. As a movie, it’s just well crafted from the bottom up (from sound design to fight choreography to casting to the script). With a reported budget of $60m, it’s probably about halfway to breaking even. If we, the awesome people of the internet, could get it a little closer towards even- it would help send the message to Universal that they were right. That it’s a great movie, and that they shouldn’t be afraid to take risks with unique films.

A neat gadget! Gizmodo might think it’s lame, but as a busy mom, I think that the Boil Buoy is a neat gadget. You set it in your pot of water you’ve set to boil, and when it comes to a boil, it shakes in the water making it chime.

Yes, you probably should be keeping an eye on water, but honestly- things happen. While I’m cooking, if I leave the kitchen, it isn’t to surf the internet (I do take the computer in with me). It’s because a kid in the next room has a diaper that needs changing, spilled something that needs to be cleaned up, or I have two children that are beating each other with train cars. I’m not about to turn off the pot of nearly boiling water to take care of that. An audible reminder that my water is boiling is quite welcome. This is actually available for pre-sale right now, so if you think it’s neat, buy one! It’s $9.99. (And no, I don’t get anything for it. I just think it’s neat)

I started a bunch of blog posts that never really went anywhere this week. Here’s what was on my mind that didn’t make the final cut:

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Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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Sorry, this post is not about zombies.

Gearing up for the three day weekend, are we all? I admit, my life mostly exists without days- at least it did. Starting Wednesday, we’ll have weekends here in the house. Since that’s when my oldest starts preschool. We drove down to Orange County yesterday and the traffic wasn’t like it was on Tuesday. Of course, we left an hour later. That tends to make a world of difference.

I had noticed that traffic was horrible on the other side of the 5 Freeway, but it usually is, and we just enjoyed our drive down to the doctor’s office- and rocked out to Queen. We got the paperwork we needed, they verified that my son’s TB test was negative and it was back home.

Foolishly, I hadn’t checked traffic on my phone before we left, and while I took a little bit of a roundabout way to get back to LA, we found ourself back in traffic that was at a dead stop. So I got off the freeway and took streets home. When we made a pitstop to get some lemonade, I checked my phone- discovering that a piece of the freeway (the length of a car, according to Sigalert) had come up and lanes of the freeway were closed. Causing a 10 mile backup. Glad we got out of that one!

Other than boots, my latest obsession is Scott Pilgrim. And of course, I’m not the only one on the internet who is. Jenna Salume (@oxboxer on Twitter and oxboxer on LJ) just did a series she called Scott Pilgrim vs The Gender Bender- where she changed the gender of all the evil exes- and came up with some awesome designs and artwork. She’s a regular participant at Project: Rooftop (which frequently challenges artists to redesign classic superheroes) and always turns out some lovely stuff.

Speaking of Scott Pilgrim, TheBoy’s asked me to do a Scott Pilgrim themed cake for his birthday. Trying to figure that one out… should be fun! TheBoy vs The Birthday. Game On.

It’s Friday, which means on Twitter it’s Follow Friday- I figured I’d share some blogs that I love right here.

Neil Gaiman’s Journal. An obvious choice, but I do read his blog regularly- and honestly, you don’t have to be a fan of his writing to find him interesting. He talks a lot about his bees, his dogs and answers a lot of questions about writing processes and how to be a better writer. And for someone who’s as well known as he is in sci-fi/fantasy circles (and outside them), he’s unbelievably obliging. I should not that he hasn’t blogging as much as he used to- when he’s actively working on projects, he doesn’t blog. He still tweets, though. (Hilariously, he tweeted last night that he’ll be away from the internet for 18 days)

Joy the Baker. A young baker from LA (she’s a year and a half younger than me)- her blog is just fun to read. The pictures are gorgeous and I want to make everything she posts. Only I’m a little lazy, so I don’t. But I plan on buying some tomatoes and making the creamy tomato soup on her site. Definitely buying them tomorrow.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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I just bought the oldest a backpack. He now thinks that school starts tomorrow. Guess I’ll be making a calendar shortly, so that we can count down to the first day (13 days)!

I also bought a catbed and some litter so that soon we can reintroduce our cat Zorro. When the youngest was diagnosed with allergies, he went to live with Jerad (my best friend). Now that the youngest is fine around cats, I can’t wait to bring him home- even though it means I’ll be head butted at night.

I am still obsessed with all things Scott Pilgrim. I know, I’ve mentioned this a couple times since it was released, but please go see it! If you’ve ever complained that studios don’t greenlight anything risky these days and that it’s impossible to adapt a unique piece to the screen- go see it! If you wind up not liking it, feel good knowing that you helped send the message that the masses want to see a bit more quirk at the megaplex.

Interesting links – From Orange County, a mother was asked to leave a the Orange Cost Plus for nursing her son, and a friend has organized a “nurse in”. Under CA law, a mother is entitled to breastfeed in public. As a mother who breastfed, I say, good for her! Why should we have to go to bathrooms (would you want to eat in a bathroom?) or cover up when it’s over 90 degrees? I know that older generations don’t get it- they were taught that breasts are bad and formula was the way. But there’s nothing bad about breasts (except for breast cancer).

In Columbus, OH, a man is mad at a local Toys R’ Us for carrying an action figure of Showtime’s Dexter. He says that it’s inappropriate for a store that sells Elmo and Barbie to carry a serial killer. Newsflash- little kids won’t know who Dexter is. Also, Toys R’ Us carried all the Spawn dolls, and fictional killer action figures- like the Pirates of the Caribbean figures, Batman and his assorted villains, and all the violent WWF/WWE wrestler dolls. Not to mention the Grand Theft Auto games. The store said that they stocked a limited number of dolls for collectors, and basically left it at that. The company who made it pointed out that Dexter’s a fictional serial killer, and there are plenty of those marketed to kids- theirs isn’t.

Which reminds me of this guy, All Star Ken. My aunt used to work for Mattel. As a kid, I got a lot of Barbies and Ken dolls from her- one of them was this guy. He came with weights, and spiffy articulation- he had elastic bands inside him so that you could pose him and the elastic would snap the joints back, so that it looked like he was exercising.

I’m not sure who thought that little girls would find that interesting (maybe he was an attempt to get boys involved?), but my sister and I thought he was pretty creepy. Worst of all, his body didn’t have molded on underwear. While that was perfectly acceptable for my Malibu Ken, it seemed creepy (and unsanitary) for All-Star Ken to run around without his underwear. This might be why in our soap opera-like gameplay, he was the abusive boyfriend, rapist or serial killer. No, we weren’t normal children- but we’re remarkably well adjusted.

I’m not sure whether or not I still have him in my collection of Barbie’s at my mom’s house. We might have actually kept him around for the sole purpose of being the villain.

And just to end this post with a laugh- I suppose it could have been worse, I could have had Sea Lovin’ Ken. I’m trying to figure out how this guy was ever released to the world at large (though not in the US).

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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It isn’t often that my husband gets weekends off. TheBoy works long hours in a demanding industry, so we cherish just about every second we have together.

Luckily, he had this weekend off. Saturday he slept, and Sunday we had planned on going to the Dodgers game. Only, it was hot and the thought of sitting in the sun for the duration of the game was sounding less and less appealing as time went on. So instead of the game, we decided to go a little more local and have some fun.

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Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

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Scott Pilgrim vs The World is based on the epic graphic novels by Bryan O’Malley (@radiomaru). The graphic novels were set in 6 volumes, which yes, in my opinion qualifies it as an epic. Writing, drawing, inking and coloring them mostly by himself- that’s no small feat. (Plus, the movie is an epic of epic epicness)

Starring Michael Cera and directed by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim has had a lot of hype in the comic community- and indeed, had a huge presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The series was a fun hybrid of the hipster music scene, video game culture… it promised to be huge.

The only problem is that it hasn’t reached a major audience. So if you don’t count yourself as a gamer or comic lover… this review is for you.

Scott Pilgrim is a love story. It’s an action movie. It’s a video game come to live. It’s about music. It’s a comic book, visualized- with phones that say RING, head thumps that say THWACK, and split screens that flow like comic book panels.

A lot of people have said that it’s a movie only for geeks and those under 30. They’re wrong- elitists who see phrases like comic book and video game in press kits and immediately prepare themselves to find faults.

But at the core, it’s a movie about relationships. Friends that stick by you through everything, siblings that annoy, the ex who broke your heart, the person you date just to get through it all, and the love you find that changes everything. It’s about growing up. It’s about taking risks.

It’s a movie about Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a 22 year old slacker and bass player for Sex Bob-Omb who lives with his gay best friend Wallace (Keiran Culkin). He meets the mysterious Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and instantly falls in love. Unfortunately, to win Ramona’s heart he has to fight her Seven Evil Exes and survive.

Sounds a little crazy, but it works. Why? The characters, despite their penchants for video game style fighting and fantastic dream sequences… well, they have soul. They seem real. Scott, despite being the hero and a pretty nice guy, is also a little bit of a jerk. Ramona, who is believable as the girl you’d fight seven exes to be with, isn’t so great herself. But it’s the flaws that sell it. So often, you read books or see movies with fantastic premises and characters that are lifted straight out of archetypes- wise old man, sweet ingenue, noble hero… Scott Pilgrim is filled with real people who happen to be able to do extraordinary things.

Admittedly, Scott Pilgrim didn’t do well at the box office. It might be because of all the advance showings they had for the movie, coupled with the fact that the trailers were designed to appeal to teens and gamers. It isn’t because it’s a bad movie- I would say that it’s definitely worth seeing, regardless of your age and history with game controllers. Show Hollywood that unique movies have their place at megaplexes. That movies like Scott Pilgrim are worth taking a chance on. Or that movies can build presence week after week, rather than simply vanishing.

Scott Pilgrim is out across the US at a theater near you. The soundtrack and score are available at stores and downloadable on iTunes and Amazon. The graphic novels (all six volumes) are available through Oni Press at bookstores.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.


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July 2011

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