New Releases – Yay!

I buy very few things sight-unseen.  Two notable exceptions are Harry Dresden novels by Jim Butcher and fantasy novels by Raymond E. Feist.  Both guilty pleasures, I anxiously await the latest installment in these sagas (well, saga may be too strong for these books, but the novels do create one long continuity in each case).   Harry Dresden is the only professional wizard practicing openly (complete with an ad in the Yellow Pages) in the Chicago area.  Unfortunately for him, he’s one of those people that fate continues to kick in the privates.  If anything weird or evil is going to happen, it’ll happen to or near Harry Dresden. Raymond Feist’s novels of Midkemia span several hundred years, and I’ve followed them all from year one.  Feist has a rare ability to create a sweeping fantasy saga that can immediately draw you in and make you feel invested in the lives of the characters, and later their children and their children’s children.  Short on undecipherable dialects and pretentious characters, I find them easy to enter and quick to ensnare my imagine. In the past two weeks, the latest works from both gentlemen arrived in my mail box.  These two novels will be how I spend my leisure reading over the next week or two: Like I said – guilty pleasures both. -kingfish  

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It’s Time for a Digital Comics Business Model

I think the e-reader evolution has just reached a tipping point.  In fact it’s may just be my personal tipping point, since the release of the new Kindle 2 has generated a significant amount of gadget lust in me.  Every night at bedtime, I am faced with the 3 or 4 reading choices living on my night stand.  The idea of having an entire collection of books, magazines, blogs, and personal documents at my disposal holds a great deal of appeal.  By all accounts, the screen size of the Kindle and it’s main competitor, the Sony 505, are plenty big for your average novel or plain text document.  At $300 – $400, that still makes them a pretty steep gadget investment.  The really drool-inducing gadget in this up-and-coming technology is the unfortunately named FLEPia from Fujitsu, which not only supports full color, but a screen size comparable to a full sheet of paper and freedom from any proprietary file formats or subscription services.  It, however, will likely weigh in at a whopping $900 when it is finally released.  All in all, it still looks like the best way to enjoy comics books in the digital age.  I want one.  Badly. As noted in my participation in the “little known fact about me” meme, I haven’t purchased a single issue comic book in about 20 years.  I love comics, but if a particular storyline is not available as a collected volume or graphic novel, then I don’t buy it.  I’m not a collector, and I still contend that the whole comic-book-as-investment concept is just an illusion, perpetuated by the marketing machines of the publishing industry.  I especially get annoyed at having to follow a particular storyline through many different individual titles.  Serialized storytelling should not feel like a expensive scavenger hunt, but that’s a rant for another day. Much like browsing a large retail bookstore, I will peruse the comics titles that interest me in a digital format.  If I like them, I will almost certainly buy them in collected print form.  Many of the gems on my bookshelf originated this way, such as Superman: Birthright, Superman: Secret Identity, and Lex Luthor: Man of Steel(hmmm, I believe a theme is emerging here).  Having read these titles digitally first actually made me more likely to purchase them in print.  The difficulty here is trying to curl up with a laptop at bedtime or use it to read in the car.  It’s just no fun (it’s heavy, it’s hot, it’s slow, and I usually have to plug it in).  Only slightly less cumbersome is the tablet PC that I use for work.  At least with the tablet, I can read a comic in portrait mode and not scroll up and down in landscape mode. And thus we return to e-readers.  As much as I would like a Kindle or a Sony, they can’t read comics.  Technically, I guess you could say that they can, but who wants to read comics in black and white on a six inch screen?  Now the full-sized color Fujitsu…

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16 Random Things

Part of creating a blog was the desire to be like the cool kids.  They all seem to have them.  It also seems as though all the cool kids participate in these “random things about me” chain letters on facebook and the blogosphere. I was really starting to feel left out, but Billy Flynn came through with an invitation.  I doubt if this makes me one of the cool kids, but I remain hopeful. I typically avoid this kind of forwarded e-mail / Facebook spam. I am an ordained Baptist Minister who now works in IT I have officiated at least 10 weddings. I forget exactly how many. The funeral count stands at 2. I weighed 4 ibs 8oz when I was born and was in an incubator for several weeks. When I asked my Mom how premature I was, she replied “I don’t know. I didn’t know I was pregnant until two months before you were born.” She thought I was a stomach tumor. I have a small plastic container which holds the metal plates and screws that were in my arm from 1984-1985. In college, I majored at different times in electronics, sculpture, business, theatre, and psychology, in which I earned my degree. At last count, I’ve travelled to 26 countries.  Most of Europe was covered while we lived in the Czech Republic for 2 years (maybe that should count as two entries). I do any sewing that needs to be done in our house, which means mainly buttons and holes. I taught my wife to cook. She’s now a much better cook than I. I have started three different businesses, with varying degrees of success. I cannot stand to have anyone or anything touch my collarbone. Intentionally doing so is an invitation for violence. I used to carry a yoyo with me at all times, but I can only make it “sleep” and “walk the dog.” I worked in a funeral home as a teenager. I saw some “interesting” things. I had a private personal tour of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in London. I’m a bit of a completist when it comes to books. If I like an author or a particular book, chances are good that I will read all of its sequels. If I really like them, I’ll buy the whole series in hardback. There are some notable exceptions, however. In college, I sold my collection of over 700 comic books (bagged and boarded) for about $75. I have not bought an individual comic since.

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