5…

So I guess I’m turning 30 in 5 days. Which is a thing. And so like clockwork, here comes the pledge to start blogging more.

I know. This will all end in tears. Or more accurately, inactivity. But look: there are a few things that I still want to do. In my first 30 years, I got myself born, graduated high school, quit college when I realized it would lead to a pile of debt and unhappiness, built my life to the point where I own a comic shop and write for a reputable comic book news and commentary site, and managed to trick the most beautiful woman in the world into marrying me. So uh… that was pretty great. Now all I need to do is to accomplish something with my writing, and that’s gotta start somewhere. So why not from the wad of fear that’s welling up in my chest as I near a weird milestone on the road to my inevitable demise?

Fuck you, death. Shit is about the get real.

Let’s fucking do this.

Hashtag yolo

Oh Archie

Mostly just so I can get this out of my head.

So Archie Comics is relaunching their main Archie title in July with comic superstar’s Mark Waid and Fiona Staples establishing a new aesthetic. As I understand it, this pair is guaranteed to stick around for three issues. Staples is busy with Saga and is making the time, and Waid… well, who knows. The dude is really busy, so who knows. There’s three issues for sure. That runs July, August, September. Do you think they’re holding the previously announced Lena Dunham arc for the title in October, making a big splash at New York Comic Con? Or, do they save that for the inevitable relaunch of Betty and Veronica? I think it all depends on budgets, and what the company has lined up.

Anyway. For whatever reason, I had to spill that out there. Continue with your day. Thank you.

Doctor Whooch // Episode 051 // Bacon Hipster

In which we bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon.

This week, we watch The Three Doctors, and finally check in with The Curse of the Fatal Death – and we have various opinions that we can’t quite remember. Because: alcohol! But more importantly, we go off the rails all the time, talking about various meat liquors and Clone High, and all sorts of various shenanigans. It’s a good time. Also: we’ve done more than 50 episodes. That is crazy.

Outro music is a cover of “Anaconda” by Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY

If I Booked Wrestlemania

Because I need a break from doing things, and I’ve honestly spent too much time thinking about it.

Fatal Fourway Tag-Match: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (C) vs. Los Matadores vs. The New Day vs. The USOs

Cesaro and Kidd win it, and they win it while running at full NXT level, with giant swings, and the whole deal. They get a chance to be indomitable, and they get to build them. Now unfortunately, who wins this match isn’t really a concern, because unless WWE takes time to refocus their tag division immediately after Wrestlemania, who has the belts doesn’t really matter. It should, and I think letting Cesaro and Kidd cut loose on the big stage, and demolish the other teams, laying ash to the past “season” of tag to let something new emerge from the ashes would be tops.

2nd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Lots of people in this one. Given my druthers, since they’ve split up the Goldust/Stardust story with this and the Intercontinental ladder match, this should come down to The Miz and Damien Mizdow. They should work together until the very last, and Mizdow (surprise!) turns on The Miz, and gets in a few hits, before The Miz flagrantly cheats (preferably with the help of a “new assistant”). This would set up a specific grudge match for the next PPV.

Basically, anyone else winning this match makes no story sense, I think. But that doesn’t mean WWE won’t just give this one to Sheamus or Kane of The Big Show, just because.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton

Orton wins this one. Always have your returning hero strong. Besides, I think Seth Rollins will get to have his moment later in the show, and having him win this, clean or otherwise, would make a bonus encounter at the end of the show meaningless.

Some have said Rollins or Orton will throw this match specifically so that Rollins can cash in his Money in the Bank contract fresh on the winner of the main – and I think that works, but only if they don’t tip their hand until Monday Night RAW. If it becomes obvious that Rollins is getting a pass in this match, then clearly he’s going to cash in later – and the cash in should be a surprise, if it indeed happens.

A.J. Lee & Paige vs. The Bella Twins

AJ and Paige should win this, but they’ve sown the seeds of discontent between the two on a recent Raw. I’m hoping for a clean win for AJ and Paige, and a fight afterwards between all four due to legitimate misunderstandings, and not “jealousy”, setting up the division with four viable contenders for a belt with no real contenders. Also, this match should be a huge throw down. Anything less than an NXT style women’s match would be completely tone deaf.

The United States Championship – John “Jern” Cena vs. Rusev (C)

Cena wins this regardless, because AMERICA. Plus, they’ve been chipping at Rusev’s supports lately. Were I to have a dream situation, Rusev would wreck Cena, and change the title to be the Russian Championship. That said, given that I’m 100% sure this won’t happen, giving Cena the US Championship at least “legitimizes” the title. Or at least if his ego allows him to “elevate” the belt instead of making him believe he’s punching down. If Cena really is WWE, he’ll take the chance to embolden then company, rather than his own perception. (But if that were the case, wouldn’t he put over Rusev, seeing how the dude probably has a longer career ahead of him than Cena does at this point?)

The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt

Wyatt should win this. What started with Lesnar should be a “good-bye trilogy”. Leans breaks the streak, and gives his unstoppable monster gimmick some more credibility. Wyatt beats ‘Taker, and hands the mantle of “resident creepy demon” over to a guy who will definitely be sticking around longer. (Bonus points if there’s a big “transfer of power” spectacle.) And finally, Take wins against… well, someone (I’d hope Cena or Triple H – two dudes who are big and COULD put ‘Taker over without much branding damage) at Wrestlemania 32 as his grande finalé, because a) the dude should go out on top, and b) that’s gonna’ be a “hometown” Wrestlemania for ‘Taker.

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match – Bad News Barrett (C) vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust

Daniel Bryan has to lose, but just barely. He has to almost have it, and then Ziggler or Ambrose does a real hard heel turn (and I mean really, viciously hard) and snatches it from him, giving one of WWE’s highest profile guys a reason to chase this belt so hard, and give it some power. Given my druthers, I’d have Ambrose really turn the screws, for reasons I’ll go into in a bit.

Sting vs. Triple H

Sting has to win this. At the very least, he can’t win clean, but Sting absolutely has to win this, because literally nothing else has a point.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns

I want Brock to win, and have Seth Rollins cash in. And not just cash in, but whoops, Paul Heyman alliance switch and whoops, Roman Reigns in helping out Seth Rollins because Rollins is the “master architect” and he lost on purpose, and concocted this situation where also Dean Ambrose comes in and helps out because THE SHIELD ARE BACK AS MEGA HEELS and this sets up the first Brock Lesnar face match as he takes on The Shield at Summerslam or something.

Can’t Wait

So I was so happy when we signed the lease for Variant Edition, because I thought our days of waiting were over. Ha ha. Hhahhahhaaahhaaaaaa. A-heh. No. They are not.

As it stands, we’re waiting anywhere from two days to two weeks to hear back about… everything else that needs to slide into place. I’m starting to get restless. Relying on outside forces has never been my strong suit, and I tend to go a bit stir crazy when I have to, so this has not been fun. I keep thinking about what will come out at the end of all of this, and it calms me. But we’re not there yet.

So what now? Well, I’m spending the weekend getting the full Variant Edition site up and selling, because why not. We have the license, we can officially operate. Why not operate! Soon after that, we’ll announce the official launch of the store and our grand opening day. And shortly after that… well, the first little bit will be a different kind of stress, but at least it will be the kind of stress I can deal with. I know the process of selling comics. I just want to do that.

Come onnnnnn.

The Trials Continue

Turns out, setting up your own business is hard. Luckily, once we have it set up, we already have a working knowledge of the hows and whys of it all. Variant Edition will be coming soon, announcements will be made, and all will rejoice. Or I guess some. I dunno. Do you like comics? I sure do.

Current status: trying to spin all the plates, focusing on the ones that would be ruinous if they fell. Things keep falling over all around, but at least they’re things like “writing stuff”, which can always be done later, in lieu of “maybe we should talk to the bank about hmm and blah“. Those are technical bank terms. Look it up.

Coming up: I already have my next Retailer’s View done and ready to go. It vents out a few frustrations with the process of setting up, but I think it winds up being hopeful.

Otherwise: things are continuing for the store, and we’re on track for a couple of really big announcements soon. Man, I can’t wait until I can just order comics like I used to.

Taking It To Taasky

This week, I’m back on the Taasky train.

Taasky is one of the many task organizers that you can get on the iPhones and whatnot, and if I’m being honest, I can’t quite tell you why I like it more than some of the others. It probably comes down to the fact that it does enough of the things that I like to make it worthwhile to use. I’m often spending half of my free-time organizing what I might do with my free time. Plugging that into Taasky means later, when I’ve forgotten about all the things I planned and decide to make another list, they’re all there. More than that, you can categorize them and work on specific tasks. When I was still working at Wizard’s Comics, I would click on the button that would just give me tasks for the store, and anytime I forgot what I was going to do, I’d take a quick look, and get right back to working on the projects I had made for myself.

After I stopped working at the store, I stopped using Taasky because… well, time went all wobbly on me. Suddenly there was a lot of it, and somehow, also, not nearly enough. I started gathering wool to get my own shop started, and built out a weird structure for getting those things done, but… unfortunately, there was a lot of “hurry up and waiting” involved. I let my task accomplishing skills languish as I met with the unfamiliar. Now? Well, clearly I’m back on the wagon, and two features are helping me stick with it. The first, is the fact that you can mess with the settings so that your Taasky button will tell you how many tasks you have to do for the day in one of those red notification circles – so if you’ve forgotten about something, and grab your phone to screw around for a bit, you get a bright reminder of things that need to be accomplished.

Beyond that, there’s a premium setting (that costs a whole 99 cents, I think) that gives you stats on how much you’re accomplishing – how many things you get done in a day, a week or a month, and from what categories. I like it because it taps into that part of our brain that likes accomplishments – like hitting a new level on a game, and pushing to do a bit better. See my productivity (or lack thereof) measured out allows me to set certain goals in my head, which usually involve doing something each day, instead of seeing the line graph drop to zero for whatever reason. Anyway, great app with a great look. Give it a glance if you’re looking to try something like this out.

Doctor Whooch // The Complete 50th Episode

Yeah, we’ve done 50 of these. Well… 51, sort of.

What you’re going to see below is the complete 50th episode of Doctor Whooch, in which we get all of our favourite guests back from the previous 49 episodes, and also James is there. It was fun, and super hard to edit. So there’s that.

Episode 50a: Shut Up, James

In which we celebrate 50 episodes of Doctor Whooch by drinking with a bunch of our friends!

It’s a two-part celebration of almost two years worth of drinking. Clearly we’ve been doing something right. Anyway, in the first part of our 50th episode, we have Katie, Jess and Lou from Boozy Boob Tube, along with Cody F. Schmidt and James Leask on the show to talk about the 50th Anniversary Special, “The Day of the Doctor”. Along the way, we talk about expensive man hair cuts, the shaming of the elderly, and a whole bunch of other things jumbled amidst drunken laughter. It was a fun time.

Outro music is “Ordinary Day” by Great Big Sea

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY

Episode 50b: Love Act-Who-ly

In which things probably get more out of hand.

Our 50th episode continues with the addition of the wonderful Devin R. Bruce as everyone talks about their favourite episodes of Doctor Who. As always, the conversation rarely stays on track because… drunk. Smile as we all yell at James some more. Laugh as we make terrible jokes. Forgive the few odd cuts because having seven drunk people on a podcast at one time is REALLY HARD. And stay tuned as we start on our next 50. Thank you, everyone.

Outro music is “Scarecrow” by Beck

Podcast picture is by GIRL NAMED SHIRL PHOTOGRAPHY

Light, Tunnels, and Endings

Today was a really great day, and a really hard day. There seems to be a lot of hard days lately. I’ve discovered that I’m not built for tedium, that I can’t function well without a structure.

When you work in a comic shop, the days meter out. Tuesday, you process shipment, Wednesday you sell like crazy. Thursday, you clean up and process, and do re-orders. Friday, you wrap up projects and – if you’re a store that runs them – you have a Magic: the Gathering tournament. The weekends, are yours. Or they were. Starting the comic shop means weekends are back on the schedule, but the weekend can still be yours, you just have to know how to work things right. A comic store can be a fun place if you allow it, and if you do the bulk of your work during the week, Saturday and Sunday can be days of relative rest. You get right back to things on Monday by doing your final order cut offs, and preparing for the days to come once more. On and on it goes.

Some people would find the routine strangling. I thrive on it. I know what my time looks like, know where I can slip things in and write or play or vegetate. Today was not that. Today was another day of chaos, punctuated by victories and a weird phone call. The good news? Things move ever closer to getting back into a store, and getting comics into the hands of people. I miss that more than any other part of the process. The connectivity. The shared experience.

Soon. Very, very soon.