Is it still hip to be square? I’m thirty-six years old as of two days ago, and I won’t be this square again until 2022 (when, one could argue, I will be even squarer). Regardless of my shape, I am blessed with incredibly generous family and friends, and I now present the annual rundown of my birthday loot:
- Iron Man (Ultimate 2-disc Edition). Iron Man currently ranks Number 1 on my list of OMG Teh Best Superhero Movies EVAR so I figured it was time I picked up a copy of the movie. The combined power of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jeff Bridges’ beards compelled me. Plus, I still haven’t spotted Captain America’s shield on Tony Stark’s workbench and I need to be able to say I’ve seen it. Yes, need.
- The Incredible Hulk (3-disc Special Edition). The third disc in this set is a “digital copy” of the film; a special copy that can be imported into iTunes or Windows Media Player. I really, really wish there had been a 2-disc version, as the digital copy is pretty much wasted on me. Nonetheless, I imported it into iTunes and watched it Friday night. Why? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why.
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula (2-disc Collector’s Edition). I saw this movie three times during its theatrical run and have purchased the soundtrack twice (on cassette and CD). This despite the fact that the film features Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, a casting decision that Francis Ford Coppola has alledgedly admitted was made almost entirely based on Reeves’ popularity with the ladies at the time.
- WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer. I think I read about this one on Tor’s website not too long ago. I’m lead to believe that the novel involves the Internet achieving consciousness, which is probably not a good idea. This is an unabridged, multi-voice audiobook that I purchased with an iTunes gift card. It should have been a simple matter to transfer the book to my iPod, but thanks to some quirk of my particular installation of iTunes it took me the better part of 90 minutes (some of which was spent completely reformatting my iPod’s hard drive) to arrive at a point where synchronization occurred without iTunes claiming that my computer was not authorized to play the files (and thus not authorized to copy them to the iPod). If iTunes had a face, I would have struck it repeatedly with my fist last night.
- Personal Effects: Dark Art by J.C. Hutchins and Jordan Weisman. This one is a pre-order, as the book won’t be released until June. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know that I absolutely loved J.C. Hutchins’ 7th Son trilogy (which has been optioned by Warner Brothers). Hutchins has been pimping the hell out of Personal Effects: Dark Arts (and its podcast prequel, Personal Effects: Sword of Blood) for months on Twitter and he pretty much badgered me into buying the book.
- Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi. Interesting fact: Hugo-award-winning science-fiction author John Scalzi and I not only live in the same state, we also share a birthday; I have now spent thirty-six years on the planet and he has been here for forty, which may mean that he is currently winning. I’ve read five of Mr. Scalzi’s novels in the past six months or so, and they’re all very satisfying.
- Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow. Here’s an interesting premise: instead of developing the atomic bomb as a means to end World War II in the Pacific Rim, the United States develops giant, fire-breathing lizards, then sends a Godzilla-esque film (featuring an actor in a rubber monster suit, of course) to Japan as a warning. This book was recommended to me by one “willywoollove”, though I strongly suspect that that is not his real name.
- The Big Book of Hoaxes by Carl Sifakis. I enjoy the Factoid “Big Book of…” series; I have Urban Legends, Weirdos and Conspiracies in my library.
- Idoru by William Gibson. I read Gibson’s Spook Country a few months ago, and I recall someone saying that Idoru features some of the same characters, so I thought I’d give it a look. Spook Country, as an aside, felt kind of like Elmore Leonard doing a cyber-thriller to me. In a good way.
- A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2) by George R.R. Martin. News that Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent, Threshold) has been cast as Tyrion in the pilot for HBO’s A Game of Thrones series reignited my interest in the books (A Game of Thrones is Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire). I have an ARC of A Clash of Kings, but it’s too bulky, so I figured it was high time I picked up the paperback.
- Storm Front (Book 1 of The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher. I read my brother’s copy of Storm Front a couple of years ago while vacationing in the Upper Peninsula. Shortly thereafter The SciFi Channel aired their short-lived The Dresden Files series, which Laura and I both enjoyed. I picked up the book because I know Laura wanted to read it and I wouldn’t mind giving it a re-read before digging into Fool Moon, the second book in the series.
- Grave Peril (Book 3 of The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher. Because I have a feeling we’ll tear through the first two pretty quickly.
- Pants! Also: two belts and six pairs of socks. I thought about saying something like “because my lower half needed some birthday lovin’, too”, but I wouldn’t want that misconstrued.
- Sony MDR-V150 Monitor Series Headphones (with Reversible Earcups). Because I needed some new headphones for when my cohort and I record The Secret Lair. It’s a podcast, you know. Do I need reversible earcups? Only if I want to look like that guy. But I do need a 6-foot cord, because anything shorter would mean sitting on Miller’s lap while we record, and that would just lead to more rumors.
I also received a most excellent birthday song from my Toledo-based nephews via voicemail. How excellent? Well, it features “The Imperial March” from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. You know: Darth Vader’s theme. It was only the intense feeling of nerd-pride that prevented me from calling them back, Force-choking my eldest nephew over the phone and promoting one of his younger brothers. “You’re in charge now, Admiral Gabriel.”