Posts Tagged ‘Cakewrecks.com

17
Dec
11

What I’m Reading: Blogs to Books

With the Internet now being responsible for roughly 97 percent of all entertainment content generated in the universe, it’s inevitable that many of the more popular websites would find their way into print. Present company excluded. :sigh: Anyway, today I’m going to take a look a a pair of Christmas collections of content that either appeared online or got its launch there.

Let’s start with Wreck the Halls. For a few years now, author Jen Yates has been keeping us entertained with her website Cake Wrecks, where she presents hilariously mangled pastries that barely deserve to be called cakes. As funny as the terrible cakes are, though, it’s Yates’s writing that really makes the site work. She’s a wonderfully funny commentator with a sharp sense of humor and great skill at assembling the pictures in a way that sets up the jokes even better.

Wreck the Halls is her second book, following last year’s Cake Wrecks. This time out, she’s focusing on holiday-related wrecks, and again, it’s a real joy to read the book. She splits the book up into several sections, including chapters related to Thanksgiving wrecks, Christmas wrecks, and even Hanukkah wrecks, with several other cakes along the way that wouldn’t technically fit into their assigned category (or even this book) were it not for the way she manages to pull out a joke that fully justifies their inclusion. Plus, if you’re a fan of the website, the majority of the cakes in this book never appeared online, making it even more vital that you read this book, and right now.

On the other side of the Internet spectrum, let’s take a look at The Onion. (And yes, I know the newspaper version of The Onion actually precedes the website by several years, but most people are familiar with it primarily as an Internet source and, more importantly, without that segue I’d have no way to put these two books into the same blog post together.) If you’re one of the few people who’ve never visited the website, The Onion is a satirical website that mocks the news — newspapers, news websites, and even news television now. I’ve never been a faithful reader of The Onion, to be honest, but reading this book reminds me of why it’s popular. It’s really very funny.

Until you get past the headline.

That’s the problem with The Onion, and that’s why I never seem to keep reading it on those occasions when I stumble onto the website for one reason or another. The faux news articles, which this book mostly collects, usually have a very clever and inventive headline that pokes fun at something in popular culture, or takes something serious and juxtaposes it with something terribly mundane. (One of the best, for example: JESUS ‘REALLY DREADING’ THIS NEXT BIRTHDAY.) The thing is, once you read into the article, it’s clear that the writer didn’t really have much to go on past the headline. The jokes aren’t good enough for extended commentary, and the articles are almost universally weak. The short blurbs are the best things in the book, probably precisely because they’re short. Once you get past a first paragraph, the articles ramble on with variations on the same joke over and over again.

If you’re looking for a Yuletide chuckle, jump at Wreck the Halls. Pass on Christmas Exposed.

04
Feb
11

What I’m Reading in 2011

And now, like I did with the movies yesterday, it’s time to begin my running tally of the books I’ve read/am reading in 2011. I’m always a little ashamed that this list is invariably shorter than the movie list, even though it takes considerably longer to read most books (exception: Billy’s Looking at Me: A Family Circus Collection) than watch most movies (exception: Avatar). But I try to take comfort in the fact that I read more books in January than most of my students will read all year. As always, if it’s a book I’ve reviewed, I’ll make it a link.

  1. Assholes Finish First (2010) by Tucker Max, B
  2. Stupid American History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions (2009) by Leland Gregory, B-
  3. Feed (2010) by Mira Grant, A
  4. Twisted Toyfare Theater Vol.11 (2011), B*
  5. Tangled: The Graphic Novel (2010), C-*
  6. The Inner Circle (2011) by Brad Meltzer, A
  7. The Customer is Always Wrong (2008) edited by Jeff Martin, B-
  8. The Complete Peanuts: 1975-1976 (2010) by Charles M. Schulz, A*
  9. The Onion Presents The Finest Reporting on Literature, Media, and Other Dying Art Forms (2010), B
  10. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale Vol. 1: My Father Bleeds History (1986) by Art Spiegelman, A*
  11. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale Vol. 2: And Here My Troubles Began (1991) by Art Spiegelman, A*
  12. The Crucible (1953) by Arthur Miller,A+•
  13. Cake Wrecks (2009) by Jen Yates, B+
  14. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America (2008) by David Hajdu, A
  15. The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (and How to Do Them) (2007) by Peter Sagal, B+
  16. Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2 (2010), A*
  17. The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy (2010) by Bill Parker, A-
  18. The Night of January 16th (1933) by Ayn Rand, B•
  19. American On Purpose (2009) by Craig Ferguson, B+
  20. Superman: Our Worlds At War-The Complete Collection (2006), B+*
  21. Comic Books and Other Necessities of Life (2002) by Mark Evanier, B
  22. Your Flying Car Awaits (2009) by Paul Milo, B-
  23. John Dies at the End (2009) by David Wong, B
  24. “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” (2007) by Cory Doctorow, B-
  25. “The Black Cat” (1843) by Edgar Allan Poe, A
  26. Room (2010) by Emma Donoghue, A
  27. Limitless (2001) by Alan Glynn, B
  28. Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason (2011) by Mike Sacks, C+
  29.  “How Interesting: A Tiny Man” (2010) by Harlan Ellison, B-
  30. Crescent (2009) by Phil Rossi, B
  31. The Secret World Chronicle Book 1: Invasion (2006) by Mercedes Lackey & Steve Libby, B^
  32. Son of Superman (2000) by Howard Chaykin & David Tischman, B*
  33. Blood is Red (2011) by Scott Sigler, B+
  34. The Throne of Fire (2011) by Rick Riordan, B
  35. Fiends Vol. One (2011) by Paul Eldard Cooley, B+
  36. Subculture Vol. 1: The Wrath of Geek (2011) by Kevin Freeman & Stan Yan, B*
  37. The Hunger Games (2008) by Suzanne Collins, A
  38. Peanuts: Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (2011) by Craig Schulz & Stephan Patsis, B*
  39. Catching Fire (2009) by Suzanne Collins, B
  40. Mockingjay (2010) by Suzanne Collins, B+
  41. Secret Warriors Vol. 1: Nick Fury-Agent of Nothing (2009) by Jonathan Hickman, A*
  42. Deadline (2011) by Mira Grant, B+
  43. Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead (2011) by Jovanka Vuckovic, B-
  44. Cujo (1981) by Stephen King, B
  45. Locke and Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (2008) by Joe Hill, A-*
  46. Penny Arcade Vol. 7: Be Good, Little Puppy (2011) by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik, B*
  47. New Teen Titans: Games (2011) by Marv Wolfman & George Perez, A*
  48. Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God From Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human (2011) by Grant Morrison, A-
  49. Clients From Hell (2011) by Anonymous, B
  50. Lisey’s Story (2006) by Stephen King, C
  51. Locke and Key Vol. 2: Head Games (2010) by Joe Hill, A*
  52. Locke and Key Vol. 3: Crown of Shadows (2010) by Joe Hill, A*
  53. On Writing (2000) by Stephen King, A
  54. Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psyco (1990), Stephen Rebello, B+
  55. “Mile 81” (2011), Stephen King, B
  56. The Stand (1990 unabridged edition), Stephen King, A+
  57. The All-Pro (2011), Scott Sigler, A
  58. Heaven (2011), Mur Lafferty, B+
  59. Hell (2011), Mur Lafferty, B
  60. Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (1993), by Alan Ball, B•
  61. The Scribbler’s Guide to the Land of Myth (2008), Sarah Beach, A
  62. The Gunslinger (2003 revised edition), Stephen King, B+
  63. The Starter (2010) by Scott Sigler, A^
  64. Who Goes There? (1938) by John W. Campbell, B+
  65. The Drawing of the Three (1986), by Stephen King, B
  66. “The Monster in My Closet” (2011), by Wil Wheaton, B+
  67. Bill Shakespeare’s Next Big Mistake (2011) by Renee Harrell, B-•
  68.  “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839), by Edgar Allan Pe, B
  69. The Waste Lands (1991), by Stephen King, A
  70. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981), by Alvin Schwartz, B-
  71. More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984), by Alvin Schwartz, B-
  72. Wreck the Halls (2011) by Jen Yates, B+
  73. 11/22/63 (2011), by Stephen King, A
  74. The Son of Neptune (2011), by Rick Riordan, B
  75. Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross (2003), by Chip Kidd, A
  76. Batman: Noel (2011) by Lee Bermejo, B+*
  77. Storm Front (2000) by Jim Butcher, B
  78. The Adventures of Chrissie Claus Vol. 1 (2009), B*
  79. A Christmas Story (2003) by Jean Shepherd, A
  80. The Book of  (Holiday) Awesome (2011) , by Neil Pasricha, C+
  81. The Great Gatsby (1924), F. Scott Fitzgerald, A
  82. A Married Man’s Guide to Christmas (2011), by Robert Henry, B+
  83. Batman: The Black Mirror (2011) by Scott Snyder, A*
  84. Zombies Christmas Carol (2011) by Jim McCann, B+*
  85. Walt Disney’s Christmas Classics (2009), B
  86. Archie’s Classic Christmas Stories Vol. 1 (2002), B
  87. “Nicholas Was…” (1989), by Neil Gaiman, A
  88. Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (2011) by Laura Geringer & William Joyce, B-

*-Denotes graphic novel or comic strip collection
•-Denotes stage play or screenplay
^-Denotes audiobook

Last updated on December 30, 2011.

13
May
10

Two weeks and counting

The last day of school for my students is exactly two weeks from today, although many of them seem to think it was two weeks ago. While I have no intention of slacking before the semester ends, that doesn’t mean I don’t already have plans for the summer. In no particular order…

  • Visit Erin in June
  • Host a visit from Erin in July
  • Find a cure for the common hangnail
  • Complete rewrites on Cross-Purposes
  • Go back and re-watch the entire series of Lost in the hopes that, having seen the ending, I’ll know what’s going on
  • Record, edit, and release the project I’ve been teasing on the last three episodes of the Evercast, which I hope to God SOMEBODY has figured out by now
  • Scour every bakery in the Greater New Orleans Area looking for something worthy to submit to Cake Wrecks
  • Finally get around to beating the first Kingdom Hearts game on a PS2 borrowed from a coworker
  • Taste a KFC Double-Down
  • Get stomach pumped
  • Get into a more-or-less regular exercise schedule including walking and swimming
  • Leave writing samples on the desks of Dan Didio, Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Chris Ryall, and whoever could potentially get me a gig writing a Bionic Six comic book
  • Remind everyone reading this what the Bionic Six was
  • Develop an energy source to replace petroleum, then develop another source to replace that one
  • Two words: Monkey Butlers

How about you, peeps? Any summer plans?

08
Sep
09

More of Where I Go Online: Thom Zahler, Cakewrecks, Toycutter and The Anonymous Teacher

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts, but I thought it would be nice to update you guys on some of the websites that have crept onto my radar in recent months and become regular visits for me. This is the stuff that is occupying my time when I should be writing, grading tests, or otherwise having normal social contact with other human beings. I know. I’m appalled too.

Love and Capes Volume 1: Do You Want to Know a Secret?Thom Zahler, creator of the greatest comic book you haven’t read yet, Love and Capes, also maintains the creatively-titled Thom Zahler Weblog. Much of the site is Love and Capes-related content, including sneak previews, sketches, and general commentary about the creation of the comic. As a true lover of the comic, that would be more than enough. But Zahler also shares other pieces of art — commissions from readers, commercial art he’s created for other people, and so forth. Along with the occasional more personal post, it’s a wonderful sight with a great insight into one of my favorite comic creators in the biz.

Erin and my sister both recommended this site to me: Cakewrecks.com. On this site, people submit photographs of truly disastrous attempts at cake decoration. There’s a caveat, though — these are ostensibly all professional jobs, cakes made for sale, and not the result of an amateur decorator screwing up in the kitchen. Some of the cakes are funny because of how hideous they are, some have amusing misspellings or misquotations, and some are simply horrific because you can’t believe any human being would actually request such a thing. Jen, the site’s esteemed hostess, provides commentary that’s even funnier than the cakes themselves. It’s a great site.

I’ve also become quite a fan of Toycutter.com. On this blog, readers submit photographs of custom-made toys and action figures. Some of the work is incredibly impressive, and when the creator shares the how-to process behind the toys, it’s even more amazing. It’s similar to the Vinylnation.net website I’ve mentioned here before, which is a site dedicated to the Disney Vinylmation toy line, and includes a section of custom figures, including (currently) four by my own sister, Heather.

And finally, here’s a site for all of my compatriots in the world of Academia. The Anonymous Teacher is a pretty new site crafted by a friend of mine to allow teachers to get together and share horror stories, funny stories, inspiring stories — basically the stories about what it’s really like to be a teacher that most of you never really hear as a parent or student. The site has only been online for a few weeks, so it’s still building a backlog of stories, but if you’ve ever been a teacher or ever had a teacher, check it out and see some of the adventures and misadventures our country’s fine educators have had to experience.

02
Apr
09

What I’m Reading: 2009 Edition

In the past, I’ve always compiled a year-end list of the books I’ve read during the past year. However, I’ve noticed that my good pal Walt Kneeland, on his awesome Comic Reviews By Walt blog, keeps a running list on his website throughout the year. It’s something that never occurred to me before, but I like it. So therefore, I’m going to keep this post updated frequently, whenever I’ve got something to add to the list. I’ve also added the links to the right-hand column of the page, right beneath my Twitter Feed, so you’ll be able to access it easily if that sort of thing floats your boat. I’ll do the same with my movie lists. And y’know what? If it’s a book I’ve reviewed, I’ll even link to the review. I’m all about service, friends.

So without further ado, here’s what I’ve read so far in 2009:

  1. Speaker For the Dead; Orson Scott Card, 1987-A
  2. Look at My Striped Shirt; Phat Phree, 2006-B-
  3. You’ll All Be Sorry; Gail Simone, 2008-B+
  4. Tales of Beedle the Bard; J.K. Rowling, 2008-B
  5. Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street; Michael Davis, 2008-A
  6. Tales From Outer Suburbia; Shaun Tan, 2008-B+*
  7. Kingdom Come; Mark Waid &; Alex Ross, 1996-A+*
  8. Infected; Scott Sigler, 2008-B+
  9. Archer & Armstrong: First Impressions; Jim Shooter, Barry Windsor-Smith, 2008-A-*
  10. Sheldon: Nerds on Parade; Dave Kellett, 2008-A-*
  11. Mini-Marvels: Secret Invasion; Chris Giarrusso, 2009-A*
  12. Tiny Titans: Welcome to the Treehouse; Art Baltazar, Franco, 2008-A-*
  13. Fool; Christopher Moore, 2009-B-
  14. A Slobbering Love Affair; Bernard Goldberg, 2009-B-
  15. It’s Not Easy Being Green; Jim Henson, 2005-B
  16. Love and Capes Vol. 1: Do You Want to Know a Secret?; Thom Zahler, 2008-A+*
  17. Starman Omnibus Vol. 2; James Robinson & Tony Harris, 2009-A*
  18. Before You Leap; Jim Lewis, (as Kermit the Frog), 2004-B
  19. The Graveyard Book; Neil Gaiman, 2008-A
  20. Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street; Warren Ellis &; Darick Robertson, 1998-B*
  21. Tales of the Green Lantern Corps; Len Wein and others, 2009-A*
  22. JLA/Avengers; Kurt Busiek & George Perez, 2003-B+*
  23. Enemies and Allies; Kevin J. Anderson, 2009-B+
  24. Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament; S.G. Browne, 2009-B
  25. Shade’s Children; Garth Nix, 1997-B+
  26. Superman: Panic in the Sky; Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson & Roger Stern, 1993-A*
  27. JLA: Salvation Run; Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham, 2008-B*
  28. Contagious; Scott Sigler, 2008-A-
  29. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Douglas Adams, 1979-A
  30. The Complete Peanuts: 1969 to 1970; Charles M. Schulz, 2008-A*
  31. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet; William Shakespeare (probably), 1597(ish)-B+
  32. 3 Geeks: Going to the Con; Rich Koslowski, 1997-B+*
  33. 3 Geeks: An Eclectic Potpourri of Reading Pleasure; Rich Koslowski, 1999-B*
  34. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Douglas Adams, 1980-B+
  35. Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs; Molly Harper, 2009-B+
  36. The Complete Peanuts: 1971 to 1972; Charles M. Schulz, 2009-A*
  37. Star Trek: Countdown; Mike Johnson & Tim Jones, 2009-B+*
  38. Life, the Universe, and Everything; Douglas Adams, 1982-B
  39. So Long and Thanks For All the Fish; Douglas Adams, 1984-B
  40. “Young Zaphod Plays it Safe”; Douglas Adams, 1986-C
  41. Sheldon: Pure Ducky Goodness; Dave Kellett, 2006, B+*
  42. Dust and Shadow; Lyndsay Faye, 2009-B+
  43. The Lightning Thief; Rick Riordan, 2005-A-
  44. Nina Kimberly the Merciless; Christiana Ellis, 2009-B+
  45. The Sea of Monsters; Rick Riordan, 2006, B+
  46. The Big Book of Barry Ween, Boy Genius; Judd Winnick, 2009, B+*
  47. The Titan’s Curse; Rick Riordan, 2007, A-
  48. The Battle of the Labyrinth; Rick Riordan, 2008, A-
  49. Sheldon: The Good, the Bad, and the Pugly; Dave Kellett, 2007, B+*
  50. The Last Olympian; Rick Riordan, 2009, A+
  51. Personal Effects: Dark Art; J.C. Hutchins & Jordan Weisman, 2009, A-
  52. Was Superman a Spy?; Brian Cronin, 2009, A-
  53. “All You Zombies”; Robert A. Heinlein, 1958, A
  54. The Strain; Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan, 2009, B+
  55. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Demigod Files; Rick Riordan, 2009, B
  56. G.I. Joe; Chuck Dixon, 2009, A-*
  57. The Dark Half; Stephen King, 1989, B
  58. The Long Walk; Stephen King (as Richard Bachman), 1979, B-
  59. Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (Deluxe Edition); Alan Moore, 2009, A*
  60. Franklin Richards: Not-So-Secret Invasion; Marc Sumerak & Chris Eliopoulos, 2009, B+*
  61. Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (Deluxe Edition); Neil Gaiman, 2009, A*
  62. Starman Omnibus Volume 3; James Robinson, 2009, A*
  63. ABC Warriors: The Meknificent Seven; Pat Mills, 1978, B*
  64. Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death; John Wagner & Alan Grant, 2005, B*
  65. Preacher: Gone to Texas; Garth Ennis, 1996, B*
  66. Preacher: Until the End of the World; Garth Ennis, 1997, A*
  67. Preacher: Proud Americans; Garth Ennis, 1998, B+*
  68. Earthcore; Scott Sigler, 2005, B+@
  69. Personal Effects: Sword of Blood; J.C. Hutchins, 2009, B@
  70. Dark Entries; Ian Rankin, 2009, B*
  71. G-Man: Learning to Fly; Chris Giarrusso, 2009, A*
  72. Drood; Dan Simmons, 2009, A-
  73. FlashForward; Rober J. Sawyer, 1999, B+
  74. Danse Macabre; Stephen King, 1980, B+
  75. Peter and Max: A Fables Novel; Bill Willingham, 2009, A
  76. Kabumpo in Oz; Ruth Plumly Thompson, 1922, B-
  77. UR; Stephen King, 2009, B+
  78. It’s Hard Out Here For a Shrimp; Pepe the King Prawn, 2008, B
  79. Kronos; Jeremy Robinson, 2008, B+@
  80. “The Red-Headed League;” Arthur Conan Doyle, 1891, A
  81. 7th Son: Descent; J.C. Hutchins, 2009, B+
  82. Cakewrecks; Jen Yates, 2009, B+
  83. The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks; Max Brooks, 2009, B*
  84. Batman: The Long Halloween; Jeph Loeb, 1997, A*
  85. The Monstrumologist; Rick Yancy, 2009, B
  86. Half-Minute Horrors; Susan Rich (ed.), 2009, B
  87. Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men; Molly Harper, 2009, B
  88. Animal Farm; George Orwell, 1945, A
  89. The Colour of Magic; Terry Pratchett, 1983, B
  90. Living Dangerously With Saturated Fats; Dave Kellett, 2009, A
  91. Just After Sunset; Stephen King, 2008, B+
  92. Abducted to Oz; 2003, Bob Evans & Chris Dulabone, F
  93. The Dude Abides; 2009, Cathleen Falsami, B+
  94. Nocturnal; 2007, Scott Sigler, A-@
  95. Title Fight; 2009, Scott Sigler & Matt Wallace, B+@
  96. Lost; 2001, Gregory Maguire, D
  97. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus; 1902, L. Frank Baum, A
  98. “A Kidnapped Santa Claus;” 1904, L. Frank Baum, A
  99. A Kidnapped Santa Claus; 2009, Alex Robinson (based on the story by L. Frank Baum), A*
  100. The Gift of the Magi; 2009, Joel Priddy (based on the story by O. Henry), B+*
  101. The Fir-Tree; 2009, Lilli Carré (based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen), B-*
  102. Haunted Christmas; 2009, Mary Beth Crain, B
  103. “Scrooge & Cratchit;” 2002, Matt McHugh, B+
  104. More Holmes For the Holidays; 1999, Martin H. Greenberg (ed.), B
  105. North Pole Lost and Other Holiday Stories; 2007, William H. Cooke, D
  106. The True Gift; 2009, Patricia MacLachlan, B
  107. The Night Before the Christmas Before I Was Married; 2009, Adam Maxwell, B-
  108. Purgatory; 2009, Tim Dodge, B@
  109. Archie New Look Series Vol. 3: Moose and Midge in Break-Up Blues; 2009, Melanie J. Morgan, B*
  110. Mini-Marvels Ultimate Collection; 2009, Chris Giarrusso and others, A*

*-Graphic novel or comic strip collection
“”-Short Story
@-Audiobook

Last updated on December 31, 2009




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