Reading: Nerd Links for September 24-30, 2016

Stars Getting Rich Off Of Conventions: Fans of our page know that comic cons are something we love to attend.  We know it’s big business. This article states how big it has become for acting talents. However, the article only hints at how the convention market is becoming over-saturated which could potentially lead to a bubble burst. I would love to see an article about the business side for comic book writers and artists, the people that give the conventions their name.

Lol Tolhurst Opens Up About the Cure: Founding member of The Cure, Lol Tolhurst, was kicked out of the band for basically drinking himself to the point he no longer contributed.  He’s since sobered up and looks back on this time with the Cure with a new memoir.  Here, he gives insight in an interview as to what to expect in the book.

Sorry for a small amount of Nerd Links.  I didn’t do much reading online this week.

Running: Varsity Sports, NOTC, and the Galloway method.

Ms. Nola Nerd Couple loves to run, but sometimes unavoidable obstacles get in her way.  I love to run, but palindromic rheumatism often gets in the way.

However, if at first you don’t succeed, try again.

We recently remade a commitment to running. We got a secondhand treadmill from my sister, which allows us to run when it’s oppressively hot outside.  We both made a visit to Varsity Sports, our favorite running store.  Seriously, I can say enough good things about this store.  They have world class public service.  Like any good running store, they match the shoe to your walking/running style instead of having you pick out the shoe base on appearance which is what you basically do at a big box store. They don’t let you leave with a bad shoe.  The last time I went they almost had me walk out empty handed instead of giving me a shoe that wouldn’t work for me.  Luckily, they had one left that was perfect for me.  When we took my mother in law, they didn’t have her size in women’s so they fit her for a men’s shoe and it worked perfectly (the only difference between shoes for genders is that men’s tend to be larger).  Ms. Nola Nerd Couple loved the first shoe she tried on, but they took her through seven other pairs to make sure. They never pressure you. Also, because we don’t look like runners, they aren’t snobby to us either.  This is a store for anyone who wants to walk or run.  They will help the overweight novice, like me, to the experienced marathon runner with the same quality service.

To help motivate us to continue running, we joined the New Orleans Track Club. According to their website, they want anyone who is interested in running to join.  Members get discounts to races and provide discounts to some local running stores.  We already signed up for two races.  This weekend we are running the two mile  NOLA Blue Doo Run at Tulane University which helps raises awareness for prostate cancer.  Next weekend we will do 2 miles at Oktoberfest in Kenner. However, that second race might be more hurtful to my waistline if I don’t pace myself. And I’m not talking about during the race.

Well, we won’t run…not without walking. During our trip to Disney for the Star Wars run in April we met Jeff and Barbara Galloway. They developed the Galloway method that recommends walk/run intervals at very specific ratios.  The walk/run method is supposed to be great for people who are just getting into running and is designed to help protect knees and other joints.  This is perfect for someone who has rheumatism issues. Cristina struck a very long conversation with Barbara at the Run Disney Expo and came away motivated to do this.  We both downloaded the app.  I haven’t had an issues with flares in my knees doing this method.  Even though I work and work hard (as evident by my heart rate when I do a workout), I never feel drained and exhausted after one.  Cristina feels the same way.  I plan on stopping at 5Ks because I don’t want to push my luck with my joints, but I can see Cristina going further to a 10k and maybe even a half marathon.

But first we have to conquer those two milers. Happy running!

Star Wars-ing: Darth Vader Issues 1-12

Darth Vader in A New Hope was a perfect as a villain that you could have.  With no origin story developed yet, he was an absolute evil being.  He has no issue with blowing up a planet.  He kills a man who we identify, along with Luke, as a father figure. And, most terrifying, he survives.  We have no idea when Empire starts that the movies are not about Luke at all.  They are about Lord Vader and his story. He isn’t an absolute evil character, but a terribly flawed individual who bears the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders.  It was a brilliant storytelling conceit, even though the stories themselves in the prequels were fumbled. Even The Force Awakens has the shadow of his presence. As a character, Vader has few peers.

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It had to be intimidating for comic writer Kieron Gillen to pick a story about Vader.  The Darth Vader comics, which started in February 2015 and end in the next month, takes place between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.  Vader is a weird place.  He is assigned the blame for the Death Star blowing up.  Being a sith, he doesn’t have many peers but now he doesn’t even have a master finding disfavor with his master.  Vader in this storyline is making sure that he alone is the Emperor’s only right hand.  He enlists Aprha an archeologist of weapons and weaponized droid. She reactivates Triple-Zero and BT-1.  These droids are the negative image of C3PO and R2-D2. Triple-Zero is a protocol droid who relishes torturing others and BT-1 is R2 if he was a serial killer.

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Gillen’s Vader is man who has his back up against the wall making him a most dangerous man. Vader is desperate but calculating.  He knows his enemies and trusts no one.  However, there is still some of Anakin there.  Well, dark side Anakin as when he takes out a colony of Tuscan Raiders. He also is harboring a secret.  Darth Vader is meant to be read at the same time as Star Wars (I would go with Comic Book Herald’s reading order for all the Star Wars titles if you have access to them…this story does stand on its own as well). In one episode that takes place in Star Wars, he comes across Luke Skywalker and has a hunch that the two are really close.  He doesn’t tell the Emperor. So not only is he in disfavor he is harboring a secret from the one person who happens to be afraid of.  To make matters worse, this set, which is placed in one collection, ends with Vader landing on a hostile planet…alone.

Gillen’s Vader is a terrifying character but one whose motivations we understand. He is a solitary figure who is being cut off from the one person who has any kind of connection with. He is dangerous.  The supporting cast is fantastic as well.  Triple-Zero is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars. He is C3PO if he was programmed by Patrick Bateman. Aprha is a person searching for a father figure, and even though she knows that Vader can never truly fill that role, she wants to please him. Of course, it’s partially out of fear, but it is also because she wants to make him proud of her. The highlights of issues 1-12 are when we see what Vader is thinking.  Gillen scripts flashbacks at perfect parts of the story.

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This is where artist Salvador Larroca comes in and pushes Darth Vader to one of the best comics I have read so far. There are moments when the panel focuses on Vader’s face.  I swear you can see Vader’s mask emote.  I’m not sure how he does it, but I’m not the only one who has thought so.  Ms. Nola Nerd Couple and I had conversations about it and it ended up in the letters section of the comic as well.  Drawing Darth Vader is no easy task considering that a large section of the cast is droids or Vader.  Yet, Lorroca does it beautifully.

I’ve reviewed two Star Wars titles now.  Both are fantastic.  Can they keep it up?  Next week, I’ll review Star Wars, the main comics title.

Reading: Top Five Nerd Apps

Of course, the Nola Nerd Couple has plenty of phone apps that serve a nerdy purpose. Here are Mr. Nola Nerd Couple’s top five nerdy apps with links to main website.

5. Discogs:  Mr. and Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple collect a lot of vinyl.  This is a great app that allows us to keep track of our collection. Because our collection has gotten somewhat large, it’s really great to have at a record store to make sure we don’t buy something we already own.  It also allows users to buy and sell records which gives a decent idea if we are paying market value for an album or not.

4. iTunes Podcast/PodBean:  Mr. Nola Nerd Couple loves to listen to podcasts.  Through our comic con experiences we have met quite a few podcasters and enjoy shows from across the spectrum. When I’m riding my bike on trails or running on treadmills I often listen to podcasts in that it reminds me to go slower. Plus, there are so many people out there with their own stories that actually can tell stories. That gives me hope for humanity.

3. Pokemon Go (and for android):  While the fever pitch of this app may have died down somewhat, it’s still a fun app.  During the summer it got us out of the house and moving.  I really can’t wait for temperatures to drop (it is still in 90+ range in the Nola area) so we can truly enjoy this app for long periods of time. While this app does have some in app purchase opportunities, we haven’t bought anything.  Oh, and Team Valor!

2.  Marvel Unlimited:  Most of the Marvel catalog is at your fingertips. Want to read Joss Wheadon’s run of X-Men without collecting them. It’s right there for you.  (However, I did actually collect the run).  It allows the reader to do explore characters and books they wouldn’t normally read.  And when the series is good enough, I makes me buy it in either the single issues or in trade paper back.  This is the only app on this list that costs money to truly use.

1. Hoopla:  I wrote a blog on this last week.  I feel the urge to evangelize the greatness of this app.

Note:  The last two are technically the only two apps that you can read anything.  I might have to create a new category. 

Mr. Nola Nerd Couple’s Music Podcast: Wilco and Frank Ocean

This week on Mr. Nola Nerd Couple’s music podcast, I discuss Wilco and Frank Ocean’s new releases. Wilco has been a model of consistent excellence over the years. Schmilco is no exception.  It is one of their quieter and more focused albums but it’s one that still plays to strengths of these very talented musicians.  In addition to Wilco, I discuss Frank Ocean’s new album which comes off to me as one collected song similar to how The Cure made Disintegration.  It’s definitely going to be on my end of the year best of list.

The podcast:

 

Wilco’s Schmilco

 

Frank Ocean’s Blonde (warning for language)

Reading: Nerd Links for September 18-23

The People vs Mike Love: Pitchfork writers often verge into self-parody when they try to get cute with their writing.  Often, it reminds me of the smart kid in class who has to prove to everyone it’s smart.  That’s why I cringed when I first read the headline.  However, it was a well written persuasive essay even though it used a tired trope.  Mike Love was a huge part of the Beach Boys success but to belittle Brian Wilson’s songwriting prowess to make himself look better is a colossal backfire. Now, of course, this is a biased point of view but they do cite enough evidence, including video evidence, to make their case.  They also acknowledge how difficult it had to be for him to work with Wilson in the mid and late sixties (genius or not, sometimes crazy is just crazy and difficult to work with).  However, instead of focusing on that Pitchfork claims that Love is only about stating his own genius.  However, the piece tries to rest its case on the fact that you don’t have to read the book because they did it for you.  However, it kind of has the opposite effect.  I want to read it now just to see how petty Love can get.

Disney Responds to ‘Moana’ Controversy By Pulling the Offending Costumes:  Disney makes a movie trying to celebrate a culture that may not be familiar to most people (the nuances of it anyway) and then does the worst thing possible by selling a costume that is practically  the skin of a member of that culture.  Now, some of you might say stop being politically correct, but that’s too simple of an argument.  Their are stories to tattoos of the Maui culture, just like there are to the headdress of Native American chiefs, to the colors Roman Catholic priests wear at certain times of the year. Appropriating other cultures dress without understanding the reasons for the dress is a sign of ignorance.  While it is ok to be against political correctness, it is not appropriate to be ok with ignorance.

NASA’s 1977 Mixtape for Aliens Getting First Ever Release: Even though the article is oddly titles, it’s also aptly titled. Normally, we don’t collect records that are considered novelty, however, this a fantastic world music collection. I can’t wait to own it.

 

Blogging: Making Time to Be Nerds

If you are a long time reader, or some one who has binge read our blog, you will notice that we update the blog in spurts. That’s mainly because we have to always put our full time paying job ahead  of our full time non-paying job.

We have stacks of comics to get through. We have tons of shows to watch and movies to catch up. And when we do nerdy things, we don’t have the time to write about it.

However, there are usually lulls allowing us to get back to being the Nola Nerd Couple. We are hoping to be able to do more blogs and podcasts. I’ve started doing my music podcast and want to do it weekly with it being released on Saturday.  I plan on having a Star Wars post every Wednesday.  I do want to write about our travels again.

It just takes time to do all this. We do appreciate everyone that takes the time to read the blog and comment on it. If you think we should cover something or would like to see more stories about a certain nerdy topic, let us know.  We really do love sharing our stories, but we also love having our friends share them as well.  We have a couple of great guest bloggers and would love to have more. Remember, we are all nerds about something whether it be comics, woodworking, gardening, or tracking the Gross Domestic Product.  With the exception of the last one (I mean it is the dismal science), we would love to have blogs about any of these topics. So if you wanted to share your thoughts about the subject you nerd about, but don’t want to go through the trouble of creating your own blog, we would love to have your stories here.

Even when we don’t blog, we do try to keep Nola Nerd Couple active in social media. You can like or follow us on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.  You can subscribe to us YouTube, PodBean, or iTunes.