Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Carrying a Beat

I love music. No. That isn't accurate. I LOVE MUSIC! Some of my very first blog posts were just lists of what I was really into at the time. This goes back to the hype of the original iPod, but I was collecting cassettes as a kid.
I clearly remember my first CDs. The main two I loved were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Original Soundtrack and Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby. I remember "converting" all my CDs into mp3s. I converted quite a few of my friend's CDs into my collection as well. I remember the debate on going completely "digital." I was convinced I would really miss having physical media.
 I also remember putting that huge CD binder in my car and knowing I would never really need to bring the discs inside since I could just shuffle my iTunes on my laptop. I remember spending tons of money on a car dock for my iPod and dragging that heavy CD binder back in the house and tossing it in the top of the closet. I remember hating myself for that when I got a vehicle with an aux cord input.
Let's take a moment out here and remember Napster. I remember downloading digital copies of stuff I owned. I also remember replacing a TON of songs that I had lost over the years. I remember pirating a bunch of stuff. I also remember Napster disappearing. I remember Limewire. I remember Bearshare. I remember there being a lot more porn than music available from p2p servers. I remember thinking that I would rather pay for a legit CD than to pay for a digital download. I remember the first time I changed my mind on that. Thanks, Amazon.
I remember ditching the iPod for my first Android phone. Sure I missed the Apple organization and interface, but I mostly just shuffle songs anyway. I remember trying to copy my music library onto my next Android phone and having to buy a bigger micro SD card. I remember finding out that having ALL of my songs with me all of the time was stupid. I started creating the mobile playlist of my favorite songs. I remember when I ran out of authorizations on my apple purchased songs and deciding to ditch Apple Music in favor of Amazon.
 The music library grew. Then it exploded. I started a new music monthly budget. I often exceeded it.
My Current iTunes Counter
During my vacation, I shortened my to-do list significantly so that I could tackle some time consuming little projects. I decided to box up all the comics I own that are not on a current publishing run. Separating the current run comics from the out of print stuff cut the comic boxes sitting around my bedroom in half. I will lose another short box worth when I put away X-men Blue, Red, and Gold soon. I also made some checklists, organized my movie collection, and cleaned out my closet (emotionally and literally). Finally, last night I worked on a project I had been avoiding. I cleaned up my digital photo collection and moved everything to my cloud service. A side effect of this horrible chore was finding my back up file for my music collection.
I was unbelievably stoked. Back in February, I lost all my music. My laptop had dumped its hard drive. I was completely bummed out. I pulled out the CD binder and ripped songs for days. I downloaded from Apple and Amazon. Still, I knew I was missing about 2000 songs. That is a TON of music to lose.
Imagine my happiness when I find my music folder stashed in a subfolder of my pictures back up. It probably wasn't the most up to date back up, but it was the same files I have been building since the digital music age began. I wasted no time merging my new collection and the old. The 7,281 song count pictured above is the result. I am missing a few things, but I cannot quantify what they are. No big deal.
The next item on my checklist is more complicated. I need to clean out and change the music on my phone. That playlist started from my favorites list on iTunes. Anything I rated 5 stars was probably worth carrying around. The problem is that my tastes change and I didn't always go adjust my star rating. I ended up with a TON of songs I was tired of hearing repeated. Also, because of copying music around in several places I ended up with 3 and 4 copies of a few songs which skewed how random my playlists really were.
Here is the MONSTER of a list that was on my phone:
Title  Artist
Don't Trust Me  3OH!3
Amnesia  5 Seconds of Summer
Say Something  A Great Big World Featuring Christina Agulera
Hells Bells  AC/DC
Shoot to Thrill  AC/DC
Hello  Adele
Send My Love (To Your New Lover) Adele
Water Under the Bridge  Adele
Dream On  Aerosmith
Take on Me (MTV Unplugged)  A-ha
All Out of Love  Air Supply
Here  Alesia Cara 
Out with the Old  Alley Life featuring Black Planet
Honey, I'm Good  Andy Grammar
Touch It  Ariana Grande
No Tears Left to Cry  Ariana Grande
What the Hell  Avril Lavigne 
Sail  AWOLNation
The Shining  Badly Drawn Boy
I'm a Mess  Bebe Rexha
Hey Leonardo  Blessid Union of Souls
Hooked on a Feeling  Blue Swede
Two is Better than One  Boys Like Girls and Taylor Swift
The Lazy Song  Bruno Mars
Crazy Bitch  Buck Cherry
Whatever (I had a Dream) Butthole Surfers
Jerk It Out  Caesers
Ain't No Rest for the Wicked Cage the Elephant
Never There  Cake
Feels Calvin Harris feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean
Never be the Same  Camila Cabello
Something's Gotta Give  Camila Cabello
Into It  Camila Cabello
Havana Camila Cabello
F__k You  Cee Lo Green
Ashes  Celine Dion
Bruises  Chairlift
Do You Feel It  Chaos Chaos
Boom Clap  Charli XCX
Surrender  Cheap Trick
If I Could Turn Back TIme  Cher
Want U Back  Cher Lloyd
Realize  Colbie Caillat
Fallin For You  Colbie Caillat
The Midnight Special  Creedance Clearwater Revival
Beat Me  Custom
Hey Mister  Custom
Disneyland  Dada
Crash  Dave Matthews Band
Golden Year  David Bowie
Police Truck  Dead Kennedys
Change  Deftones
Really Don't Care  Demi Lovato
Sorry Not Sorry  Demi Lovato
Welcome to the Party  Diplo, French Montana & Little Pump
Let Me Clear My Throat  DJ Kool
Nobody Speak  DJ Shadow
X Gon' Give It to YA  DMX
9 to 5  Dolly Parton
The Motto  Drake 
HYFR Drake 
Mr. Blue Sky  Electric Light Orchestra
Ex's and Oh's  Elle King
Lights  Ellie Goulding 
Love Me Like You Do  Ellie Goulding 
My Immortal  Evanescence
Everybody's Fool  Evanescence
Haunted  Evanescence
Sweet Sacrifice Evanescence
Good Enough  Evanescence
It Matters to Me  Faith Hill
Centuries  Fall Out Boy
Work From Home  Fifth Harmony
Worth It  Fifth Harmony
GDFR Flo Rida
Cruise  Florida Georgia Line
The Pretender  Foo Fighters
Monkey Wrench  Foo Fighters
Everlong  Foo Fighters
Where'd You Go  Fort Minor
Pumped Up Kicks  Foster the People
I've Got You Under My Skin  Frank Sinatra
Fly Me To The Moon  Frank Sinatra
Bad Day Fuel
When I Grow Up  Garbage
Push It  Garbage
Love Remains the Same  Gavin Rossdale
My Sweet Lord  George Harrison
Freedom 90  George Michael
Spokesman  Goldfinger
Nice Guys FInish Last  Green Day
Brain Stew  Green Day
Jaded  Green Day
What You Waiting For  Gwen Stefani
I Get Off  Halestorm
We Run the Night  Havana Brown
Lips of an Angel  Hinder
Undead  Hollywood Undead
The Reason  Hoobastank
Only Wanna Be WIth You  Hootie & The Blowfish
Take Me to Church  Hozier
New Bitch  Iggy Azalea
Radioactive  Imagine Dragons
Drive Incubus
Stellar  Incubus
Pardon Me Incubus
I Wish You Were Here  Incubus
Here Comes the Hotstepper  Ini Kamoze
Jealous One  J.C. Loader
Dancing Machine  Jackson 5
Blame It  Jamie Foxx Feat. T-Pain
Cold Hard Bitch Jet
Long Live the Chief  Jidenna
Say John Mayer
Hurt  Johnny Cash
Don't Stop Believin'  Journey
Issues  Julia Michaels
Love Yourself  Justin Bieber
Last Friday Night  Katy Perry
This is How We DO  Katy Perry
Yeah Boy  Kelsea Ballerini
We R Who We R  Kesha
Blow Kesha
C'Mon  Kesha
Your Love is my Drug  Kesha
Praying  Kesha
Blah Blah Blah  Kesha Feat. 3OH!3
Drank in my Cup  Kirko Bangz
Need You Now  Lady Antebellum 
Telephone  Lady Gaga Feat. Beyonce
Kashmir  Led Zepplin
Immigrant Song  Led Zepplin
You're All I Want  Lifehouse
Rollin'  Limp Bizkit
My December  Linkin Park
Burn It Down  Linkin Park
One Step Closer  Linkin Park
Shadow of the Day Linkin Park
Brandy  Looking Glass
Do I  Luke Bryan
Downtown  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The Devil's Song  Marcy Playground
In Time  Mark Collie
Moves Like Jagger Maroon 5
In the Name of Love  Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha
Down & Out At the Twist and Shout  Mary Chapin Carpenter
Unwell  Matchbox 20
Leave Matchbox 20
Push It  Matchbox 20
Come On Get Higher  Matt Nathanson
Wedding Dress Matt Nathanson
Look On Down From the Bridge  Mazzy Star
I'd Do Anything for Love Meatloaf
Me Too  Meghan Trainor
Bitch  Meredith Brooks
Whiskey In the Jar  Metallica
Fuel  Metallica
Can't Be Tamed  Miley Cyrus
Welcome to the Black Parade  My Chemical Romance
Porn Star Dancing  My Darkest Days
After the Flesh  My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult
Shake Ya Ass  Mystikal
Danger  Mystikal
Guerilla Radio  Naughty By Nature
Pin The Tail on the Donkey Naughty By Nature
Hair of the Dog  Nazzareth
Just A Dream  Nelly
Over and Over  Nelly
Animal  Neon Trees
Jealous  Nick Jonas
Burn It to the Ground  Nickelback
This Afternoon  Nickelback
Never Gonna Be Alone  Nickelback
Super Bass  Nicki Minaj
Smells Like Teen Spirit  Nirvana
Come As You Are  Nirvana
Spirit In The Sky  Norman Greenbaum
Champagne Supernova Oasis
All the Right Moves  One Republic
Good Life  One Republic
Stop and Stare  One Republic
Apologize  One Republic
Secrets  One Republic
Somewhere Out There  Our Lady Peace
I'd Die Without You  P.M. Dawn
Still into You  Paramore
Flash Light  Parliment
The Bomb  Pigeon John
F__kin' Perfect  Pink
Raise Your Glass  Pink 
Wish You Were Here  Pink Floyd
Comfortably Numb  Pink Floyd
Timber  Pitbull Feat. Kesha
Feel It Still  Portugal the Man
When Worlds Collide  Powerman 5000
Cream  Prince
500 Miles  Proclaimers
I'm On my Way  Proclaimers
Smack My Bitch Up  Prodigy
She Hates Me  Puddle oF Mudd
Du Hast  Rammstein
Buck Dich Rammstein
Bang Bang  Rammstein
Scar Tissue  Red Hot Chili Peppers
Otherside Red Hot Chili Peppers
Californication  Red Hot Chili Peppers
Soul to Squeeze  Red Hot Chili Peppers
Keep On Loving You  REO Speedwagon
S&M  Rihanna
Only Girl  Rihanna
We Found Love Rihanna
Cheers Rihanna
Savior  Rise Against
Help Is On The Way Rise Against
Blurred Lines  Robin Thicke
Somebody's Watching Me  Rockwell
Hallelujah  Rufus Wainwright 
It's Tricky  Run DMC
Almost Love  Sabrina Carpenter
Thumbs  Sabrina Carpenter
Ladies and Gentlemen  Saliva
Who do you Voodoo, Bitch Sam B
Stay With Me  Sam Smith
The Animal Song  Savage Garden
Girl Next Door  Saving Jane
Good For You  Selena Gomez
Hands to Myself Selena Gomez
Same Old Love  Selena Gomez
Angels to Dust  September Morning
20 Below  September Morning
Superhuman  September Morning
Sound of Madness  Shinedown
Kiss Me  Sixpence None the Richer
Reptiles' Theme  Skrillex
Bangarang  Skrillex
Kyoto Skrillex
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites  Skrillex
Tonight, Tonight  Smashing Pumpkins
Zero  Smashing Pumpkins
Bullet with Butterfly Wings  Smashing Pumpkins
Thirty-Three  Smashing Pumpkins
1979 Smashing Pumpkins
Today  Smashing Pumpkins
Disarm Smashing Pumpkins
Misery (Columbia)  Soul Asylum
Faded  Soul Decision
Kiss Me Thru the Phone  Soulja Boy
Copperhead Road Steve Earle
Kick Some Ass  Stroke 9
Answer the Phone  Sugar Ray
Style  Taylor Swift
Wildest Dreams  Taylor Swift
Back to December Taylor Swift
Eyes Open  Taylor Swift
Love Story Taylor Swift
Fifteen  Taylor Swift
You Belong With Me  Taylor Swift
Look What you Made me DO  Taylor Swift
...Ready For It  Taylor Swift
Shake It Off  Taylor Swift
Blank Space  Taylor Swift
We Are Never Getting Back Together Taylor Swift
Bad Blood Taylor Swift
Deadpool Rap  Teamheadkick
Hood Go Crazy  Tech N9ne
The Golden Age  The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
The Time  The Black Eyed Peas
Howlin' For You  The Black Keys
#Selfie  The Chainsmokers
Closer  The Chainsmokers
Shadow on the Sun  The Civilian Project
Zombie  The Cranberries
Seneca Falls  The Distillers
Short Change Hero  The Heavy
I Want You Bad  The Offspring
The Kids Aren't Alright  The Offspring
Staring at the Sun  The Offspring
You're Gonna GO Far, Kid  The Offspring
Paint It Black  The Rolling Stones
Sympathy For the Devil  The Rolling Stones
I Wish It Would Rain  The Temptations
Untouched  The Veronicas
You and Me Song  The Wannadies
Starboy The Weekend
Baba O'Riley  The Who
Low Life  Theory of a Deadman
I Hate Everything About You  Three Days Grace
Live Like You Were Dying  Tim McGraw
Free Falling  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Mary Jane's Last Dance Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
You Wreck Me Baby  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Runnin' Down A Dream  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Feels Good  Tony! Toni! Tone!
Habits  Tove Lo 
Bottoms Up Trey Songz
Heart Attack  Trey Songz
Heathens  Twenty One Pilots
We're Not Gonna Take It  Twisted Sister
Save ME  Unwritten Law
Fall to Pieces  Velvet Revolver
We Like the Party  Vengaboys
Shut Up and Dance  Walk the Moon
In the Garage  Weezer
More Human Than Human White Zombie 
Electric Head Pt. 1  White Zombie 
Electric Head Pt 2  White Zombie 
Clarity Zedd
My playlists really have different needs. When driving the car I need two different types of music. I need reflective tunes like Celine Dion's Ashes or Son of A Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield. I also need moving songs like Rob Zombie's Dragula or Move Bitch by Ludacris. Those are far apart headspaces.
The motorcycle and the gym are similar but not exactly the same.  I have a Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra mood on the bike. It is a very happy to be alive and free mood. I am cruising listening to Frank. The same mood fits Dolly Parton's Here You Come Again but doesn't work at all with 9 to 5. The latter gets me hype and I stop cruising and start enjoying moving faster. I lean more into curves and negotiate traffic more aggressively. Praying or Bastards by Kesha will reel me right back in.
Likewise, I can get down to 9 to 5 in the gym, but Jolene breaks my rhythm. Shut up and Dance is pretty right on. There is also TOO hard for the gym. Smack My Bitch Up is almost distracting. Dragula and More Human than Human is moving just a touch too aggressively for putting in steady rhythmic lifting. I am trying to lift slowly and keep good form not frenzy. Of course, Say Something by Great Big World can blow the entire vibe. Love the song, but all this has a place and time.

Does anyone else feel this? Is this another way I am really weird? I don't get along well with people who don't love music. I think I may be deeper into it than most, though. I am really curious how the people in my life relate to music and feelings. I think you can look through my list, besides learning I am a 14-year-old girl with a crush on Kesha and Taylor Swift, and find out a lot about what I like. Honestly, posting that list feels like baring my neck. I am normally good with vulnerability. I want people to know me if they like me or not. That is why I do this whole blog thing. It sure would be nice to get more response from it. Oh well, I am going to go build a playlist or three.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Project DC

In August of 2017, I came up with an idea to explore the history of the DC Universe. I have always been a bigger fan of Marvel Comics. I have times that I have considered stopping reading DC entirely. Were it not for Scott Snyder, Tom King, and Batman I would.
Snyder's work has redeemed the DCU for me quite a bit. The current Justice League run has been fantastic. I stick around for the things you write. Why is anyone celebrating Bendis at DC when you already have Snyder on board?
 I have a love/hate relationship with Tom King. I will say his work overall is exceptional. There are some issues that I *ahem* take issue with. The first arc of the current run is still painful, as an example. Issue #54 right now feels like very weak sauce. The cool thing about Tom King's writing style is that the issue that I take exception to now is the very issue that turns out to be key to a plot later. This is a huge change in my opinion from my ranting and raving about the man on The Printed Panel Podcast. My apologies, Tom King, I hope you never heard the criticism. I was wrong.
I guess all of that rambling boils down to the fact that I want to love the DCU. I will keep pulling the Batman lines. They never disappoint. That makes me a fan of Batman though, not the universe. I want to love deeper. I am open to a relationship.
To that end I committed to reading DCU events. Event books are fun enough. Most of them don't have that long lasting an impact. Still, they are fun. That keeps me generally in the DC loop, but I don't feel like a fan.
I want to dive deep. I thought a long time about how. A year ago plus now I figured it out. I needed a character (other than Batman) that I could really sink my teeth into. I couldn't get into the Lanterns. Which one would I follow? How many thousand issues would I need to read to feel well versed? Do I pick a character or a color? The Speedsters all seem a little one dimensional. Wally, Barry, Bart or one of the others solve pretty much every problem by running faster than they ever have before.
And then there is Superman. I bloody hate Superman. He is corny. He is cornier than Captain America by a long shot. He is overpowered. The original story for Superman is all the same. Nothing can beat Superman! Oh look that villain is totally about to beat Superman. Through human traits like grit and determination, Superman came to believe more strongly in himself. Now, through this self-affirmation, Superman can overcome the bad guy!
In the 90s they began to change this formula. Nothing can beat Superman. Wait! That villain is bad enough to beat him. *poof* Superman has a brand new power, picked up a power ring, his weakness changed, or used the technology of one of his Rogue's gallery to not lose the fight. It is BORING. It is hackneyed. I could care less if he is young, old, red, blue, undies on the inside, undies on the outside, with a cape, without a cape, or alternate universe. Superman, by definition, sucks.
Then there is Superboy Prime. He is a "real" person from the "real" Earth where Superman is just a character from comic books. (how brilliantly Meta.) One day the fictional Superman is teleported to the real universe where he meets the young Clark Kent who is, in fact, a "real" Kryptonian. He has all the powers and a similar origin to the fictional Superman. Now he can learn all about what being a hero really means!
...let's pause here just a moment to appreciate the above narrative... It is so awful it just shines. They "created" a character by giving an origin that is only slightly tweaked from Superman's origin. Earth Prime is "our" reality- sort of. It comes just to the point of breaking the 4th wall without actually sticking an arm through the way Howard the Duck or Deadpool wants to do.
Superboy Prime doesn't really see use or development for about 15 years. The events of Crisis on Infinite Earths really screw him over in a brilliant way. Prime becomes this misguided, angst-ridden teenager as a result. Years later, plot holes and changes in the DC universe are explained as," Superboy Prime causing ripples in reality by pounding on the walls of his extraplanar prison."
Yes, dear readers, Prime is responsible for giving us back Jason Todd from a storied perspective.
When Prime escapes his prison, does he want to go back to being the ultimate superhero? Nope, he wants to be the only hero on Earth Prime- a planet destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Why not throw tantrums that cause wars, kill heroes and villains alike, and ultimately twist you into an adult looking, but child behaving powerhouse of a villain? Hilarity Ensues.
I LOVE this broken misguided version of Superman. The guy reads comics about himself eventually. If you are reading a comic about a character that is reading a comic about himself that is META. He also tends to pop up in fun ways in just about every major DC event - even the ones that don't include the word Crisis. (You cannot fault DC when Marvel really overuses Secret, Civil, Infinity, and War)
 Here is what his appearance list looks like from my research:
DC Comics Presents #87 (1st appearance)

Superman #414 
The Official Crisis Index #1 
Last Day of the Justice Society Special #1 
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Update '87 #5 
Crisis on Infinite Earths (#10 & #12)
DC One Million (#4) 
DC One Million 80 Page Giant Issue #1,000,000
Super Girl Volume 4 #79 
JLA #119 
Infinite Crisis (#1-#7) 
Adventures of Superman #649 
Infinite Crisis Secret Files #1 
Rann-Thanagar War #1 
Batman Annual #25 
Teen Titans: Life and Death #1 
Action Comics #839 
Green Lantern #13 (8/1/2006) 
Detective Comics #820 
The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2 
Teen Titans (2005-2006) #29 
Teen Titans #31 
Teen Titans #32 
Sinestro Corp Special #1 
Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superman-Prime #1 
52 (#11 & #52) 
Countdown to Final Crisis (#13, #14, #15, #16, #23, #24, #26, #42, #44) 
Sinestro Corps War : Green Lantern (2007) (#21-#25) 
Sinestro Corps War : Green Lantern Corps (2007) #25 
Green Lantern/ Sinestro Corps: Secret Files #1 
DC Universe #0 (2008) 
Justice Society of America Annual #1 2008 
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds (#1-5) 
Justice Society of America #20 
Ambush Bug: Year None  
The Flash: Rebirth #4 
Adventure Comics (2009-2010) #3 
Adventure Comics (2009-2010) #4 
Adventure Comics (2009-2010) #5 
Adventure Comics (2009-2010) #7 
Adventure Comics (2009-2010) #518 
Blackest Night 
Superman #712 
Batman Under the Red Hood #1 (2011) 
DC RetroactiveL Superman The 80s #1 
Legion of Super-Heroes "The Curse  
Teen Titans (2011) #98 
Teen Titans #99 
Teen Titans #100 
The Multiversity Guidebook  
Justice League #40 (Darkseid War) 
Convergence (#8) 
Convergence Superman #1 
Robin War 100 Page Spectacular (2016) 
Nightwing #9 
Superman #38 (2018) 
Super Sons #12 (2018) 
When I compiled this list I immediately was happy. It is not an insane amount of comics. It also touches pretty strongly on the major events of the DCU. This is a list I am still fleshing out somewhat, but I like that by following Prime through his publication history I can read the broad strokes. When you add the build-up books for the events Prime is involved in you really get the last 30 years of DC comics history in one run. Here is the list I have generated from Prime's appearances:
Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) 
Watchmen (1986) 
The Dark Knight Returns (1986) 
Batman: Year One (1987) 
Batman: A Death in the Family(1988) 
Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) 
The Death of Superman (1992) 
Batman: Sword Of Azreal 
Batman: Knightfall (1993) 
Batman: The Long Halloween (1996) 
Kingdom Come (1996)
DC One Million (1998) 
Day of Judgement(1999) 
Batman: Dark Victory (1999) 
JLA: Tower of Babel (2000) 
The Dark Knight Strikes Again (2001) 
Batman: Hush (2002) 
Gotham Central (2002) 
Identity Crisis (2004) 
Batman: Under the Red Hood (2004) 
Infinite Crisis (2005) 
Batman: The Man Who Laughs (2005) 
All-Star Batman and Robin (2005) 
Final Crisis (2008) 
Joker (2008) 
Batman: Cacophony (2008) 
Blackest Night (2009) 
Batman: Widening Gyre (2009) 
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne(2010) 
Flashpoint (2011) 
Batman: New 52 (2011)
Joker: Death of the Family (2011) 
The New 52: Futures End (2014) 
Convergence (2015) 
Darkseid War (2015) 
The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (2015) 
Batman: Rebirth (2016)
Batman: White Knight (2017)  
Dark Night: Metal (2017) 
Doomsday Clock (2017) 
Confession time! I totally added in a ton of "necessary" Batman reading in the above list. Since this is probably a bit distracting let me point out that the Superboy Prime related books are BOLDED so that the list still has some integrity. I will attempt to expand on the thought process behind this list and why you should read them.
Crisis on Infinite Earths- Although the DC Universe did not start here, in many ways, this is the birthplace of the modern DCU. There have been several reboots since then. Most of them are in this list, but it all started with the original Crisis. Since Superboy Prime's origin was related to this event, I think Crisis on Infinite Earths is an awesome place to start reading. Fair warning, you may not recognize MANY characters, worlds, or even plots on your first read, but this is the chaos of the DCU at it's finest. Read this before grabbing Prime's origin books: DC Comics Presents #87 and Superman #414.
DC One Million- Before I knew about Superboy Prime I picked up this gem. Grant Morrison is the writer behind one of the coolest stories in DCU history (to be fair, Morrison has his hand in many excellent DC stories) The fun of this book is its entire conception is meta. Some of the folks at DC got together and figured out when DC would publish their 1 millionth issues of their current titles with their current publishing schedule. The answer is in the 853rd century. As a result, we get a 4 part mini-series and 1 shot #1,000,000 of all running titles at the time. Not knowing any of that I picked this book up and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Most of the rest of these titles I have not read. I have always been happy to summarize plots using friends and Wikipedia. I am going to continue to explain, but I admit I am theory crafting a bit. I pick up as an active reader again around 2011, but I don't get into DC until 2014 or so.
Infinite Crisis- The sequel that Crisis on Infinite Earths did not know it needed is here. DC sets out to clean up more of their continuity. Superboy Prime is a heavy player in this one.  From my research if you love Prime this is a must read. I love that 20 years (or so) after Crisis on Infinite Earths DC felt that they needed to fix everything again. You know that person that rechecks their luggage three times before they leave for vacation rather than accepting that forgetting something is in the very nature of vacation? Yep, This is the comic book equivalent of not being able to leave well enough alone.
Final Crisis- Oh Grant Morrison, you lovely bastard, this one genuinely excites me. I wonder if putting Crisis in the title is necessary. Darkseid and a "dead" Batman make this one look fun.
Blackest Night- I don't much care for the generic power ring idea. I read this one because it is the one all Green Lantern fans point to as the "best of" story arc. I admit it is good. I don't dread this reread.
Convergence- I loved every issue of this series without knowing what the hell I was reading. Spoiler alert. This is basically an Earth 2 reboot and has very damned little to do with anything else. I will say that it is some of the most beautiful art that DC has ever produced. All the spin-off books got a bit annoying. If you are looking for Prime he is in the Superman #1 Convergence issue.
JLA: Darseid War- Prime has a brief and rather unimportant appearance in this event. To me though this was the best of the modern DCU. I was hungry for every issue. The best part here is you can pick these up in two JLA trade paperbacks.
With those huge pieces of continuity read, I will either love the DCU a little more or I can finally say, "This isn't for me" and I have given it a truly fair shake. The research that has gone into generating the lists has been fun. Writing this post has been a bit laborious, but that in and of itself is fun. I like detail-oriented projects.
As I have been putting this together I have been shopping, buying, and reading to make some progress. I have everything ordered up to Supergirl #79. That puts all the stuff from the '80s in my hands. I also have spent a fair amount of time digging through back issue bins. That makes the project even more fun. I love graphic novels and trade paperbacks, but there is something very cool about original issues.
The other problem this thing presents me with is storage. Do I file all these comics together? Do I dedicate a box to Superboy Prime? Do I split it all up and file it alphabetically by the title like all the rest of my comics? That is truly a thing I will be thinking on.
So, readers, if I missed anything on either list please shoot me a message. There is no better recommendation than from someone passionate about something they love. Be prepared to explain anything you suggest though. I love asking questions and I love conversation. Bring it on!

Barbara Gordon: My Kawasaki Versys 300X

I am still very much motorcycle obsessed. I have my eye on fall riding. I am even thinking hard about how deep into winter I can stay on two wheels. I just don't enjoy driving a car as much as I used to.
Several months ago I set my sights on a Kawasaki KLR 650. I wanted a dual sport/ adventure bike. I like the height of the style. I also enjoy being able to go off-road with more certainty than you get on a street bike and still be street legal.
Dad started shopping for adventure bikes based on my interest. I had moved away from the KLR and started considering a VStrom or a Versys in the 650 weight class. In his shopping, Dad decided that these bikes were too big. They aren't comfortable to mount flat-footed (more on this later.), and they really have much bigger engines that are needed for around town adventure or commuting.
Dad discovered the Kawasaki Versys 300X. Picture the frame and size of the Versys 650 with the engine from a Ninja 300. All the adventure posture with Ninja speed sounded pretty good to me. He bought a matching pair complete with saddle bags on August 5. I have only ridden Sharon Carter one time since then.  Let me see if I can relate why!
Kawasaki Versys 300X
Honda CBR250R
296 cc 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4 Valve Cylinder Head, Parallel Twin
249.5cc 4-stroke, single cylinder DOCH 4 valve per cylinder
TCBI with Digital Advance
Electronic fuel injection PGM-F
62.0 x 49.0 mm
76.0 mm x55.0 mm
TCBI with Digital Advance
6-Speed with Positive Neutral Finder
wet multiplate clutch, constant mesh 6-speed, chain drive
Front: 100/90-19M/C 57S Rear: 130/80-17M/C 65S
Front: 110/70-17M/C Rear 140/70-17M/C
Rake, Trail
24°/4.3 in
25 degrees
Wheel Base
57.1 inch
54 in
Seat Height
32.1 in
31 in
Wet Weight
385.9 lbs
355 lbs
39.3 hp @ 11,500 rpm
23.7 hp @ 9900 RPM 21.9 hp @ 8500 hp
Fuel Capacity
4.5 U.S. Gallons
3.4 U.S. Gallons

Barbara is taller. She is heavier. She also puts out more. Who doesn't love that? The fact sheet above is great, but a picture is worth 1000 words. Let's look at Sharon and Barbara side by side. 

The Nelson Rigg tail bag on Barbara Gordon fits either bike, but on the Versys, there is a nice luggage rack that it straps on to. This leaves a seat available for a passenger while still carrying an impressive amount of gear.
The Versys comes set up and ready to bolt on Kawasaki's saddlebags. I don't love the look of the hard plastic boxes, but I adore their function. I regularly carry a plastic rain suit, a net, a few bungees, a waterproof cover for my backpack, and a spare pair of gloves whenever I ride. This all easily fits in one saddle bag.
 Given that my other passion is comic books it is no surprise that I will point out how well my weekly pull list will fit in the other bag. I carry a 13-inch laptop sleeve in there to pad them and keep them cherry. It is also great for a spare pair of shoes, my water bottle, or my shoulder bag.
Without all that, on Sharon Carter, I am always carrying a large backpack. That tends to get in the way of a passenger just as neatly as strapping a tail bag to the passenger seat. Ultimately, Sharon Carter is an either or bike. You can either carry a passenger or you can carry gear. I like doing both.
As for comfort, I will say right out front the leather seat on the Honda is easier on my butt. Kawasaki doesn't like my rear end. I haven't really figured out the difference. I know the Honda feels more padded. I can ride a lot longer before I feel it in the glutes.
Position wise the Versys totally wins. With me height the pegs on the Honda put me at an extended squat. The Kawasaki is an upright seated position. It is also extremely comfortable to stand on the pegs. I have done this at 5 mph and 80 mph. It is stable and comfortable anywhere between those speeds. Kawasaki obviously designed it that way for off road riding when you should be up on the pegs.
Speed wise the Versys is faster by about 15 mph. I can push it to 100+, but in there is almost never a reason to do this. The Honda has a pushed top end (with my weight) of about 90. I feel the torque in the Honda a little more up to 70. The Versys has the nice top end the Ninja is famous for. She will accelerate happily to red line in every gear with no complaints.
I don't ride her that way often because if you ride with good sense you can actually get remarkable fuel economy out of the Versys 300X. I have averaged as high as 70 mpg. Granted I kept the bike under 6000 rpm which is a bit of a dull ride. I am happy to sacrifice a little bit of mileage for a fun ride and still get between the high 50s to low 60s.
 The slim front end and tall ride does lead to a bit of wobble. It is pronounced enough that I tend to get out from behind big trucks quickly. It isn't going to take me to the ground, but I notice it a lot more than I do riding the Honda.  I will say that the longer windscreen does protect me quite a bit more than I expected it to.
I do plan to add engine guards to the fairings and front of the bike. Rather than protecting the plastic, this is intended for me to mount some nice running lights and a camera. I really want to start recording my adventures. Anyone who wants to donate a few Go Pros holler at me!
I also want to add an aftermarket skid plate to the bottom of the engine. I will also be looking into some sort of protection for those front facing pipes. I like gravel roads. I have no real interest in dinging my pipes all to hell. The exhaust on this bike is in a great, quiet place and I would like to keep it that way.

This was a great day. Motorcycle Dad!
I am very, very happy with the Versys 300 X. It seems to be the perfect mix of performance and function for my needs. Until I can find a more padded seat or grow a thicker ass I don't want to ride it more than about an hour and a half at a stretch. It is the perfect ride to get me back and forth to work and to my hikes. I highly recommend it.
Dad and I on Cades Cove Loop Road. Twinsies!

Riding up Rich Mountain. 

We doubled back from a trip to the car. Notice my alarmed face at the picture getting captured. Damn it!
Breaking in Whitneigh to the Dragon. 

After seeing the tan lines from this there was anything but peace.

December 2nd Comic Books on a Budget