Christmas is pretty much over. Here's how I spent mine:
I got two DNA tests so I can finally figure out what the hell mix of breeds my dogs are. We hosted dinner and got everything from Whole Foods, premade, and it was delicious and there's a ton of it left. My lady got me the best present of the year, All My Friends Are Dead, which is a super-silly and simple picture book about friendship and loneliness and mortality. I may do a longer blog post about it sometime, because it's pretty much comics. I mean...what's the difference between a comicbook and a picture book? Panels, I guess, right? Picture books have one image per page max and comicbooks can have as many as they damn well please. That's probably like a well-recognized and totally obvious distinction, but I am making it now for the first time. Merry Christmas.
I saw American Hustle. It was alright. Good performances all around, but not all that thrilling a plot, really. The story didn't grab me as much as the characters, and though it was superbly funny many times, a lot of the comedy felt unneeded. It could've used a bit more heft, especially Bradley Cooper's character, who was part of some of the funniest material but also ended up the weakest of the three leads. He was sort of too easy to figure out, too extreme in his characterization to hold my interest. I never got surprised by him, he wasn't as smart as he thought he was, and after more than two hours that grew old. If some of his lighter scenes had been used to flesh him out, I think that would've helped. Not a bad flick, some truly stellar acting, but probably not something I'll ever feel the need to watch again.
I read the eighth TPB of Ex Machina, "Dirty Tricks." I have read it a few times before. I've been meaning to do a Superb Heroes column on Ex Machina for a couple of months, but it's a decent number of issues to reread and other stuff keeps being more interesting or urgent. I'm almost done now though so probably soon I'll write about it. "Dirty Tricks" most likely won't be a big part of my discussion of the series, though, because I don't care for it very much and the themes that interest most in the book aren't really present in that particular arc. The antagonist of the storyline, Trouble, is the worst kind of crazy female character. She's hopelessly in love with a guy who literally doesn't know she exists, she's dressed in almost nothing, and almost all of her dialogue is romantic, sexual, or both. She's just a heart and a vagina walking around in a supervillain costume, and that's dull and uncomfortable and, at times, offensive.
The other thing about "Dirty Tricks" is that it marks the dividing line between trade paperbacks and single issues in my Ex Machina collection. And I hate that. It reminds me of my past weakness. I started reading Ex Machina in trades sometime around the end of the "Dirty Tricks" arc being published in monthly format. Eventually, I got caught up, just in time for the trade of that story to come out. So in one trip to the shop, I got that collected volume plus all the currently available (at that time) single issues that followed it, because I was totally unwilling and unable to wait for the rest of the title to be collected before I read it. Now I have this weird multi-format full run of the series. Same goes for the most recent volume of X-Factor and Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force. I'm impatient, what can I say? Just because I start a book in trades doesn't mean I'll have the willpower to continue reading it that way. Even if I know that, in the long run, I'll kind of wish I had.
There are so many cookies in my kitchen right now. I sort of have a headache. In one hour, it will no longer be Christmas Day where I am. And to all a goodnight.