Grad school underway

Both of my classes at Winona State kicked off last night — instructors in both sent out syllabi, and opening assignments should be available this week. Neither of them are particularly different in structure from the two I took in the fall; one even repeats the “you must post on the discussion boards three times a week, once as a question response and twice in response to fellow students” format from the fall, although for a significantly larger percentage of the overall garde. That class has a final exam, as well – a 60-minute timed test at the end of the term. The other has a 15-page paper (although with 12-point, double-spaced type, that 15 pages will fly by in a hurry).

Books for both courses are on order as well; I threw about $90 at tonight and was able to get both books I needed. Looks like I’ll be able to sell them back to Amazon for a reasonable amount of money, too. Amazon store credit will be a dangerous tool to wield. 🙂

Tonight on Netflix, I watched “Tucker and Dale vs Evil.” Starring Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, it’s a pretty solid spoof on the “rednecks in a scary cabin in the woods” genre of slasher movies. The spoof is, the rednecks don’t kill anyone and it’s actually the stupid college kids on their camping trip who turn out to be the evil ones. Tudyk and Labine are really good as the film’s titular clueless rednecks, and there are some fun gore effects. If you are into horror movies, “Tucker and Dale” is definitely worth a look.

I have had some time over the last few days to do some catching up on the enormous stack of comics I’ve fallen behind on since Thanksgiving. Rather than reading everything chronologically, I’ve taken to grabbing four-issue runs of a particular series and going through them all at once. Last night I caught up on DC’s “Supergirl” and “Birds of Prey,” four issues each. Earlier in the week, four issues of DC’s “Demon Knights.” Good stories, all, but I’m trying to find titles to stop buying in order to get a more reasonable pile of things each week — both in terms of the money I spend, and in terms of the things I’m actually reading and am really into. For these particular three series, I’m really tempted to stick with “Birds of Prey” beyond the first story arc. I like the new team that has been assembled for this series, and the art isn’t bad. “Supergirl” is solidly second; Mahmud Asrar’s art is beautiful, but the story is mostly character intros so far. I’m still on the fence with it. “Demon Knights” is in about the same boat; I’ll probably drop it after the first story arc wraps up. Great art, but I don’t really find myself all that into the story — particularly since its lead character, Etrigan the demon, isn’t really the main character in the book. He’s more like a member of an ensemble.

Books I’ve quit buying – Marvel’s “FF,” for no real reason. Marvel’s “Daredevil,” because I somehow missed the sixth issue. Marvel’s “Ultimate X-Men,” which I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue of, but just couldn’t justify adding another book to my pile every month. Likewise with the new “Ultimate Spider-Man” series. I need to make some decisions about most of the DC stuff I’m getting, and cut that down to maybe six to seven titles, tops, and get a monthly reading list in order.

If I had to guess, the books that will make the cut among the DC “New 52” would be “Batman” (fantastic, all around – the story so far is great, and Greg Capullo’s art is amazingly good); “Animal Man” (see: Batman); “Batgirl” (good art, want to see where Gail Simone is taking the story); “Birds of Prey” (see above); “Action Comics” (which I loved early, but need to catch up on); and “Justice League,” simply because Jim Lee is doing the art. For a lot of these, I should just quit buying single issues and get trades from places like Thwipster. Long wait, but much cheaper and much less paper to find a place to store.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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