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Diversions September 26, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings.

Spent a week making sense of my econometrics textbook – which literally contains so much Greek, it’s not funny anymore – anticipating a minor quiz. Did okay for myself, with the exception of one question. Of course, it was the question with the single most number of points to it.

Not exactly the auspicious start to the semester I was hoping for. Sometimes there is no justice. More so given that the results will be recorded, in spite of the professor’s proclamation on the syllabus to the contrary.

And here I am sounding like I’m in high school again. Yeesh. Once a nerd…

It’s strange. Each time the postman comes by with my most recent order from Amazon.com, my day just feels that much better.

Such is their power over me.

Amazon has become my preferred comic book/graphic novel delivery system. Don’t get me wrong: my neighborhood comic book store, Midtown Comics, is by far the best retailer I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit it’s almost a religious experience just being there. They also take care of their clientele very well: set up an account with them, and for every $100 you spend on graphic novels they reward you with $20 of store credit. The difference is that Amazon usually discounts the graphic novels over 20%, purchases on Amazon are tax-free, and I can get shipping free if I’m willing to wait over a week for the merchandise (hell yes!).

So I’ve settled into a new modus operandi: I drop by Midtown Comics to check out titles I’m interested in, and thereafter place my orders on Amazon.

To assuage my guilt over spending on such things, I’ve also made it a point to order books whenever I buy anything on Amazon. And I do mean books without pictures.

No, really!

Owing in part to suggestions that came up when I ranted about needing something to read a while back, as well as to a book I randomly browsed while at a nearby Barnes and Noble, I’ve found myself in the middle of several mystery novels I can’t seem to put down.

Naturally, I’ll write about some of these when I get around to it. So stay tuned. Or not.

And thanks again, JAZ.

Two compilations I read recently reminded me of all that I hate about comics and why I love them, respectively.

I mentioned previously that I’d taken to following Geoff Johns reboot of Teen Titans. While the first two volumes were fairly entertaining, the most recent one, Life and Death is a mess. The art is a mixed bag (though I am pleased with the pages that Tony Daniel did pencil), but the storytelling is absolutely terrible. As a standalone, what the compilation needs is a foreword, or at the very least, intelligent editing. Comics like this are why I constantly give up on them when the spirit moves me.

On the other hand, in spite of myself I was absolutely riveted by the much publicized Identity Crisis. I’ll have more to say at length about this subsequently; but warts and all, it was a very good story and use of the medium. I don’t much care for such dark stories and themes, but taking it for what it is, I wish more comics were written with such ability as Brad Meltzer conceived of this tale.

Recently rediscovered the first two games I bought for my Nintendo DS. I say “rediscovered” because these games were promptly set aside when I got hooked on playing Tetris DS online.

In the process, I’ve learned for that Magnetica is probably the ultimate distraction while waiting for the wash. But that’s just me.

Also, I finally got to beat New Super Mario Bros. I could’ve done so much earlier had I not been sidetracked wtih Tetris. I didn’t go through all the levels (thanks to the warp cannons: skipped levels 6 and 7 entirely, as well as parts of levels 3, 4, and 5), but I was able to collect all the stars for all the levels I did complete except for the last castle, where I fell short by one. That was just nuts.



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