Monday, April 9, 2012


Hey I know nobody wants three posts in one day, but c'mon:

How awesome is that?

How About The Beatles? Or Fucking... Fucking Beethoven? Side One, Track One Of The Fifth Symphony?

I think I've decided that I'm going to make every title for these a High Fidelity quote. GREAT IDEA RIGHT?

Top 5 Things That People Do That I Don't Understand:
5. Say they hate coffee
4. Enjoy Intervention
3. Eat Subway with regularity
2. Prefer Tim Hortin's coffee over any other variety.
1. Not fart in public

Top 5 Fav Animals:
5. Bats
4. Ring-Tailed Lemurs
3. Raccoons
1. Doggies
1. Sharks

Top 5 Most Confusing Things On Earth:
5. Existence
4. Girls
3. Girls
2. Girls
1. Girls

Top 5 Ska Bands From Long Island:
5. The Vagabonds
4. Highschool Football Heroes
3. Edna's Goldfish
2. The Fad
1. The Arrogant Sons of Bitches

(No BtMI! does not count for this category.)

(It was always pretty cool when LI bands would come through Toronto on tour. We were close enough that  we got to see a lot of really cool bands before they broke up. They were always way better than ours.)

How Can I Be So Self-Important In The World Today?

Graduating from university is a very scary thing.

I know most who read this are friends of mine, if you don't know me personally I'm currently ending my last semester of university. I also took an extra year to finish my degree, so while about half the people I know had to face up to what I'm now thinking about a year ago, I'm only dealing with it now. The 5th year I took for my Bachelor of Arts gave me a way to put of thinking about graduation and life after Guelph , but this semester has forced me to finally face up to it.

This is the first time I've had to seriously think about where my life is going. Some people find that graduating high-school can be a pretty big crossroads for them, but that wasn't really the case for me. Sure, I was confused for a little bit about where I was going to school and had really no idea about what my major was going to be, but I knew I would going to a university in the fall and that school was going to be occupying at the next four years of my life. It's not like I had a total life-plan, but I knew where I was going next.

Ever since enrolling at the University of Guelph, every summer has been more or less the same: Move back to Scarborough once the winter semester is done and then start working during mid-May to make money for the upcoming school year. At the end of the past four years I knew I already had a job lined up and knew that I was going back to finish my degree after that.

Since then Guelph and working at Ontario Place has been a safety net for me. Neither had any long-term benefits for me really as people don't really jump over each other to hire people have four years experience of learning about the Italian Renaissance and lifeguarding was a student job and nothing more. I enjoyed it and it gave adequate pay for my lifestyle at school. They were perfect for the time but didn't really do anything for the future.

So now I'm faced with something completely new to me: Figuring out just what to fucking do with myself. I just finished my first exam and am now 1/4 of the way through my final final exam period, which in turn means that I'm very close to completely finishing school. Also, though chances were slim I was heading back to the water-park for a fifth year, Ontario Place announced this winter that it would be closing pretty much the entire park until 2017 (The second sentence of that article hit the nail on the head. Ontario Place is a shithole, crooked and a black-hole for tax money (Which paid negligent assholes like me!). Get me drunk and I'll tell you all about it.), which meant that even though I wasn't planning on going back again, the safety net of having a job already lined up for me was gone.

Pretty much all I know about the next 4 1/2 months is that I'm going to be living in Guelph. I've gotten a few leads on jobs, but have nothing concrete lined up yet. But this end of semester isn't the worst deadline, because who knows what the fuck I'm doing come September.

Basically what I'm saying is that it's pretty scary, man.

But every shitcloud has a silver shitlining. I'm really excited to live in Guelph this summer, as I've never spent the season here. I'll have my own house for the whole summer, which is pretty awesome. I've also got a cottage trip with my best friends from home, visits from some American friends, Pouzza Fest and a trip to New York to see the Arrogant Sons of Bitches to look forward to.

Not to mention 159 more games of Blue Jays baseball!

So I guess even though this is a pretty terrifying time for me, I shouldn't complain because some people have it a hell of a lot worse, eh?

Monday, April 2, 2012

I've Got Kitty Pryde And Nightcrawler Too

I really like reading X-Men a lot. When I was younger my brother donated his trade copy of The Dark Phoenix Saga to me and I read the entire thing in about 3 hours. Along with this came a somewhat sizeable collection of Uncanny X-Men back issues and since then, I've been hooked. I was initially drawn in by the incredibly hoser badassness of Wolverine, but have grown to love almost all of the characters (Even fucking Cyclops to some extent. That's how much I enjoy X-Men.).

While the title absolutely dominated during the 80's and early 90's, since it's suffered a little bit and has drawn an extreme amount of criticism. The strength of the title's on-going narrative has always been carried by the tension in the plot that can never be resolved as well as elements of the story/characters that can "never" (In quotations for reasons which will be explained later.) be revealed. For example: Wolverine and Cyclops despise each other but are forced to work together and get along. Wolverine is madly in love with Jean Grey, but their relationship can never take form because of Cyclops. The similarly forbidden love between Kitty Pryde and Colossus. Wolverine's extremely intriguing and equally mysterious past. Magneto's extremely strong and equal parts right and wrong opinions on Mutantkind's place in the world. These are the things that keep you coming back each month (or sometimes twice a month) to buy your issue; you want to see how these things play out.

Like I said, the title has increasingly gotten more shit for what they put out. I will be the first to admit that the content isn't what it once was. Professor X taking Darwin, Rachel Grey and Warpath into space isn't even close to the quality of Days of Future's Past or the Gold Team's disbandment in Australia, but it's still the same great characters working in crazy fantastical situations.

Comics are also not the medium they once were. Now with people downloading them as well as just a decline in interest, the industry has been faltering. X-men has had to counter this by revealing some the aforementioned "unrevealables". The first instance of such was the extremely criticized Origin. A large part of the appeal of Wolverine's character had been that his past was shrouded in mystery. He clearly had a lot of demons surrounding the origins of his adamantium skeleton and the troubles he had faced throughout his lengthy (It's kind of hard to die when your power is a healing factor.) past, but the mystery was arguably the best part of it. However, at the time Marvel Comics was facing a serious lack of interest in their product. They countered this lack of interest by doing the unthinkable: Revealing Wolverine's origin in its entirety . And I guess it sort of did what it was supposed to. People who had either stopped reading about the X-Men and people who don't usually buy comics, but carry an interest in them bought the issues because let's face it, who doesn't want to know where Wolverine came from.

But the story really sucked. The main problem was that the people who initially created the character and all of his signature features and characteristics did not create this mini-series. It was pretty cringe-worthy, which is surprising, considering how fucking serious the subject matter was. I realize this may not carry the same weight to people who don't read X-Men, but Wolverine is by far the most popular character of the series (I've counted at least 20 solo titles, there's definitely more. That is WAY more than any other character in the series.) and revealing his past was actually the biggest fucking deal in the world.

So it seems that the creative team behind The Uncanny X-Men keeps the story going as best they can but when sales are faltering they do one of the crazy things they were never supposed to do in order to attract sales. One such of these things occurred earlier this year with the Schism story-line. It was announced that the team of X-Men would be split into two different teams, one on the east coast taking up residence at the X-Men's classic home, the Xavier mansion, while the other would stay on the west coast on "Utopia". These two teams would be covered in different titles (Actually 8 different titles. Ugh.) and not interact with each other very much.

This was not the first time the team had been split up. In 1991 Marvel split the team up between two titles; one continued in The Uncanny X-Men, while the other would be covered in the newly launched X-Men. This worked extremely well. The split lead to the extremely excellent "Gold Team" arch in Uncanny and issue 1 of X-Men went on to become the highest-selling comic ever.

So it was a bit of deja-vu last year when the split of the team was announced. But there was one key aspect of the split which had X-Heads like me salivating: The schism of the two teams would be centered around Wolverine and Cyclops finally having it out with each other. Now if Wolverine's past was the biggest fucking deal, then this was the second-biggest fucking deal. The two fucking hate it each other. Always have, always will. Their feelings toward each other never rose above "mutual respect". They just sort dealt with each because they were forced to be around each other so much, they never actually liked each other. This was an event 36 years in the making, ever since Wolverine first joined up the team in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 in 1975. This is another one of those things that is supposed to never happen. The tension between the two was such an integral element to the book.

But I've been reading The Uncanny X-Men since the 6th grade! What do expect me to do, ignore it? Not buy it to see this fucking fight go down?

Fuck man!

But, I have to say, seeing Cyke and Wolvie tear each other apart for roughly 1 1/2 issues was pretty fucking awesome. Both did a pretty huge number on each other and Cyclops dropped a pretty sweet Jean Grey related line right before the fight started (I squeal with joy every time I think about it.). Cyclops stayed with his now somewhat Avengeresque super hero team in California and Wolverine founded a Mutant-only school very similar to the "Xavier Institute For Gifted Youngsters" over in Massachusetts (I can't believe I just spelled that correctly on the first try.). It's just gotten to the point now that there are way too many characters and way too much going on for it to be contained in just one title. The two new titles, The Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine and The X-Men, kind of represent the two driving forces in the comic book. Cyclops' team are a team of superhumans (Or "homo-superior" for those in the know.) fighting super-powered bad guys and aliens and always saving the world. Wolverine's team represents the coming-of-age nature of the team. Young, inexperienced mutants are in a situation that they don't know how to deal with and are guided through this trying time in their life (And thus keeping the initially ground-breaking and totally essential references towards racism, homophobia and adolescent coming-of-age that has always been very important to the X-Men.).

Sidenote: Another thing which made this schism so fucking important was that it represented the end of  The Uncanny X-Men title at issue number 544. The new title for Cyclops' team is also The Uncanny X-Men, but restarted over at issue 1. Until this happened Uncanny had been the longest-running title without any interruption or re-setting of the story-line. It was a pretty huge bummer when it was announced that a title which had been such a big part of my life (I know that sounds over-stated, but seriously, I've been reading them longer than I've known some of my best friends.) was actually coming to end. And right after they killed Nightcrawler. HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK I CAN TAKE MARVEL?

So, I had to explain the importance of certain elements of X-Men in order to highlight the importance of what has just happened in the "X-Titles" (This is what comic readers (Fine, Comic Nerds.) call all of the X-Men-related titles.) (Also, I think it's pretty easy to deduce, but a "title" is what a comic series is called. Just in case anyone was confused.) as well as to give a frame for what is about to happen.

Now as a result of all of this there is a new story-line developing: Avengers vs X-Men, where Cyclops' team will have it out with Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the phoenix force will come to fuck with Hope in some way. And things are looking to get pretty fucking gnarly.

So I guess this whole post was a really long-winded way of saying "Man, I'm really stoked for what's about to happen in X-Men!"