Pork Shoppe

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 by greenwolfman

Chicago has a new BBQ joint and it is just down the street from your favorite metal burger bar and gourmet hot dog joints. With neighbors like that you better bring your A game and these guys have.

Unlike it’s two famous neighbors Pork Shoppe has a straight forward menu. This does not mean it cannot hold its own taste wise as I found their menu to be on par with my other beloved BBQ restaurants.

I had the pulled pork as a “Sammy” (an extra $2) with their sweet and spicy corn bread on the side. The pork was very tender and had good flavor. I went with a smothering of their tangy sauce, and added the wicked as I ate through it. The Tangy is just that tangy, and tasty. The wicked has a good little kick to it with a nice after burn, but is not over powering. I did not try their third, and last option of sweet.

The corn bread is traditional with a spicy kick that when smothered in butter is a damn fine amalgamation of corn bread and jalapeno bread. My friend got the baked beans and found them lacking, but a third friend loved his mac and cheese.

The place itself is small and welcoming; with a nice staff, great music (if you like classics such as the Ramones and Otis Redding), and two dollar PBR.

I will be going there and I recommend you try it.

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RIP Google Wave

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 by greenwolfman

Google seems to be on a trend of launching great products, but doing so poorly. Nexxus One was a great phone but a bitch to order, and most people at least want to hold their 200 toy before spending. Now Google is pulling the plug on Wave.

I liked Wave when it first came out, but I come from a world of IRC, and it was a similar setup. It was also a CPU hog and if you did not have at least a dual core it was a bitch to load, and stole a lot of your CPU. Most people were running newer hardware so that was not such a huge issue.

The real problem was that many of the plugins that exist now did not at launch. Did you know you can create a survey on the fly for your wave? You can easily start a wave with friends and have them vote on where to eat. There is even a sodoku wave. All features I would have used.

None of this existed when there was a buzz (pun intended) about the new service though and most people got bored, and moved on.

A lot of the tech in wave though will now be added to other services (like drag and drop into gmail letters) so it is not a total waste.

RIP Wave. Your Mom and Dad shoved you out of the nest to early, and that isn’t your fault.

And Then Our Hero Died

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2010 by greenwolfman

A good writer should feel like an old friend. Today one of my personal favorite writers died, and I feel a bit of a loss.

Harvey Pekar was introduced to me, like many people, by the movie “American Splendor”. I loved the movie, and upon watching it found out my parents were fans of his. This lead me to getting his published works. As I read through his books; I felt as if I was meeting an old friend of my parents.

In the pages of American Splendor, and his one shot graphic novel “Quitter” I read stories that touched me, and learned lessons from an odd little man with a big heart.

Harvey Pekar’s work lit a fire in me to write again. A fire I have let go dim lately, but today upon the announcement of his death, I feel as if the words will not stop coming. Maybe now I will finally make that post on craigslist looking for an artist to collaborate with.

Rest In Peace Harvey Pekar. Your legacy will live on for far longer than your pessimistic mind would ever have thought.

Best Albums of 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2009 by greenwolfman

2009 was without a doubt a great year to be a fan of metal, garage rock, or rock in general. We saw the formation of a super group that exceeded expectations (Them Crooked Vultures), the release of of Rick Froberg’s new baby (Obits), and some damn fine garage albums (Heartless Bastards, and Three albums from King Khan). The number of good metal albums is just freaking ridiculous. I say ridiculous because one of the best albums was put out by a cartoon band. It has been hard trying to pick out a top ten, but after much deliberation I am ready to begin that list.

1. Mastodon – Crack The Skye

This was a tough call because number two really blew me away, but the new Mastodon album is damn near perfect. Doing a concept album can be risky, and there are plenty of pitfalls you can succumb to, but these boys from Georgia avoided them all. Great lyrics, melting riffs, and what is some of the best drumming of the year made Crack the Skye the winner.

2. Them Crooked Vultures – S/T

John Paul Jones is still a God on Bass, and Dave Grohl is probably the best drummer of his or my generation. When you combine this with skills of Josh Homme you get the record that should have followed Songs For the Deaf.

Yes this is a stoner rock album, but it is also has catchy hooks, bass lines that you can dance too, and poignant lyrics. My only complaint with the album is at times Homme cannot pull off the vocals he is trying for.

3. Obits – I Blame You

Rick Froberg has the midus touch. When you look back at his career you see a catalog of successful albums. The Obits album not only lived up to this standard, but I think it raised the bar.

This is not a post hardcore album, but a true rock and roll album that draws more from garage than punk. The album has surf riffs, garage hooks, and bass lines that make you want to shake it. If you do not own this you have been missing out.

4. Heartless Bastards – The Mountain

Detroit Cobras move over because you just got your ass handed to you by this trio. Erika Wennerstrom sounds like Gracie Slick back in the day, and the rest of her band plays slow, heartfelt garage rock that reminds me of a feminine Black Keys.

5. Baroness – Blue Record

This album could arguably have a higher ranking, but I think 5 is solid when you consider what I put before it. Baroness has managed to produce a progressive folk metal album that has in fact become a gateway album for many of my friends.

6. The King Khan and BBQ Show – Invisible Girl

Canada has produced a lot of good indy bands, and some of the best garage rock. King Khan and BBQ had big shoes to fills after their last album, but they have kicked their own asses. Some songs are heartfelt, some are just silly, and others are just an ass shacking good time.

This album also wins for best album artwork.

7. Russian Circles – Geneva

Russian Circles are one of those bands that were good, and technically amazing, but while I enjoyed them I never had one of their albums just punch me in the gut. This one did. The title track alone made this album a winner. Rhythmically tight, with heavy guitars that weave through riffs that feel like a roller coaster ride. Pitchfork described the album as October sounding, but I think it is epic sounding. These Chicagoans proved that prog rock can be both complex, and entertaining.

8. Isis – Wavering Radiant

This was a coin toss, and I will be honest and admit that Russian Circles may have gotten a higher ranking because they are Chicagoans. Wavering Radiant is a progression for Isis that started with “In the Absence of Truth” and has been refined in their 2009 release. Isis is still a heavy band, but their melodic touches are a nice addition that I think are turning this band into more math metal, and a little less prog.

9. The Almighty Defenders – S/T

I am just going to steal another description here:
“On the Black Lips’ 2009 tour of India, following an incident at a rowdy show in which Cole Alexander kissed fellow bandmember Ian St. Pe and exposed his private parts on-stage, the Lips fled the country while rumors of their arrests circulated the internet. The tour was canceled and the group members fled to the residence of King Khan (musician), who was living in Berlin at the time. Over the course of eight days, in a typically booze-sloppy Black Lips fashion, they laid down 11 tracks with Khan and his King Khan & BBQ Show bandmate Mark Sultan. On June 17, the full group made its live debut, performing a set in choir robes at the North by Northeast festival, and Vice Records made plans to release the Almighty Defenders’ self-titled debut on September 22, 2009.[1]”

What more do you need to know?

10. The Bronx El Mariachi

A hardcore band from LA puts out an album of mariachi/salsa songs that have poignant lyrics. I love this album, and I have been waiting for something like this for about 10 years.

Comic event recovery

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2009 by greenwolfman

Every year or so the two big comic companies have there big, universe spanning event that will change everything. More often then not the event is as disappointing as panda express. The question is why do we keep buying into it and allowing these publishers to continue their reign of terror?

I have read comics for a long time, and over the years expanded into more indy realms, but still stayed embedded in the world of “cape” comics as I call them. Lately I find my interest waning and for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the art. Maybe its age or maybe it is my taste growing but the stereotypical super hero drawing its appeal. A woman is not going into combat wearing a thong, and Superman is not 7 feet tall. Also lets try and tell a decent story. I shocked by some of the crap that comes out. Some writers are paid money to put out a story line I would have written at 10.

Some of you might be thinking that all the cape books are like this, and you would be wrong. There are still some great comics being put out. Superman is actually a good read these days, and I have been told Spider-Man is not sucking. This is why I am so confused about some of the shit that is on the stands.

I am getting ready to whittle down my pull box, and start reading more of the smaller press trades. I quit buying crap music a long time ago, and I should have the same standard for my comics.

My Nephew

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 by greenwolfman
From Random

Guillermo Alberto Juan Romo born at 5:59 PM on 12/08/2008 at 8 lbs 1 oz 20 inches

Best reads of 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2008 by greenwolfman

I made my list of top 5 albums for the year so here is my follow up of best reads. This list contains graphic novels since no novel I read was published this year.

Best ongoing Series and Arc
Action Comics.

This has been favorite read of 08 but in particular the Legion of Super Heroes arc. Geoff Johns has had a great run on Action, and each arc was a joy to read, but this one was brilliant. I know I am partial since I grew up reading the old silver age comics, but that aside this story was so engaging. I could not wait for each new issue. Whether it was to see how my heroes got out of a jam or just to see how Gary Frank would draw a grown up version of these characters.

While Frank’s art was a show stealer and contains pages I would kill to own I have to applaud Johns’ writing. What better way to flesh out your main character then to reunite him with childhood friends. I do not want to give away spoilers, but Johns ran the man of steel through quite the gambit in this arc.

Local
by Brian Wood (Author), Ryan Kelly (Illustrator)

Check out the description here: http://www.onipress.com/display.php?type=bk&id=349
This mini series came out a while ago but the trade was released this year and the best damn 30 bucks anyone could spend. I have been a long time fan of Brian Wood, and I loved his other mini, Demo, but I bought this book because all of favorite writers called it a master piece, and you know what they were not lying. Besides the great 12 novellas that this series is made up of you also get the covers, pin-ups and after thoughts of the writer and artist from each issue. The latter may not seem like an added value, and normally you would be right. The after thought section in this case is an edition that makes the stories richer. By sharing their thoughts and creative process I felt a greater appreciation for this book.

Favorite Writer
Ed Brubaker

I went back and read his runs on Captain America and Daredevil and I loved them. A lot of comics fail at making the hero human, but not this man. He develops his main characters and supporting cast by giving them proper conflicts to work through that push them as people. He lets his characters feed off of each other in such a way that you would think he had actors playing out his scenes for him. If you are not into “cape” books then pick up his series Criminal.

Favorite Artist:
Gary Frank

I mentioned his run on Action comics, but this man brought me pages this year that grabbed me harder than anything else. His rendition of the Superman, and his supporting cast was do detailed, and meticulously rendered, but what made me give it to him was his Braniac arc. While his characters were very life like, he had real life people to base them off of. His illustrations for Braniac were unique, highly detailed, and eerily life like. He also got this award from me because his book was on time.

Best Single Issue:

Ex Machina #40
This issue just came out, and merited my addition of this category for my 2008 best of. Writer Brian K. Vaughan and Artist Tony Harris end 08 with a stand alone issue staring themselves. The creators break the 4th wall in a reinvented way; their main character Mitchel Hundred (story synopsis here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_Machina_(comics) ) is seeking a creative team to make his autobiography into a graphic novel, and our creators are trying out for the job. This is not the first time a creative team have added themselves to a book as the official comic biographers of their creation, but as I said this was done in a new, and very enjoyable way. The series scribe Brian K. Vaughan makes fun of himself, and he also offers a bit of personal insight into his life that made story identifiable.

Tony Harris accurately draws himself and Brian into the issue, and delivered a solid 20 pages of art that were and friendly to this reader. The last two pages being a spoiler I will not deliver. Tony always delvers quality (even if it means sacrificing a deadline) but I think in this issue the attention to detail he gave made this one of his most professional issues. Kudos to you Mr. Harris. You may run behind, but your quality of work makes it okay.

Honorable Mentions

Scud the Disposable Assassin: The whole Schebang.

Do you like weird things? Are you cynical? Do you appreciate the absurd? Do you dig cartoony art? Then pick this up. I would describe the series but you all know how to google. Read the description and then decide if this is your cup of tea.
Mini Why I loved it:
Finally collected, and bound into one solid trade paper back Rob Schrab’s 90s cult classic was finally completed this year, and then released into trade. I bought this for my roommate, and best friend Dave for his birthday and I greatly enjoyed reading it after he finished it. Absurd, strange, and maybe best enjoyed when on drugs this series reminds me why Generation X was something worth admiring.

Warren Ellis’ Freak Angels web cereal.

Each week he has put out six pages of this story about 12 young adults who live in White Chapel after a catastrophic event that has drastically changed the world. These 12 young men and women happen to be very similar to the “Children of the Damned” and may or may not have had something do with the catastrophic event. Check it out at freakangels.com.

If you are interested in any of these comics I recommend you head out to Challengers Comics (http://challengerscomics.com) and get yourself a copy.