Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Entry Level" No Longer Means "Entry" Level, and We Are All of Us Unqualified

I've worked at the largest chain book store in the country for the past four years. As a writer and a person, it's been good for me. I learned better how to interact with people–specifically strangers who want things I may or may not be able to give them, and how to handle myself when I can't. Additionally, it introduced me more thoroughly to the landscape of e-books, e-readers, and digital publishing. Last year I self-published my own book because I could. I got tired of shopping it around to agents with just a proposal for a work that was essentially done. I knew design, I knew editing, I learned the software, and I poured over copyright law and production costs. I created a finished product orders of magnitude beyond some of what I shelve on a daily basis. This job has been very, very good for me.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fan Theory Turns THE FLASH Season 2 into 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Fan theories speculating about the identity of Season 2 Big Bad "Zoom" have been brewing for a while now, and the approaching mid-season finale might bring some of the speculation into canon.

Possible spoilers ahead, if I'm as smart as I think I am….

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Ships

I became infuriated recently after seeing a clip of professional Mythbuster and nerd king Adam Savage responding–amidst many others–to the question “Who would win in a fight: the Millennium Falcon or the starship Enterprise?” I wasn’t particularly upset by his answer; at face value the Enterprise is certainly a more strategically capable vessel. What bothered me was Savage’s scoffing at the question. Yes, the question seems meaningless even among nerds who accept that the ships work on entirely different technologies, scales, and aren’t even in the same class of vehicle. But Adam was so dismissive about the question from the “numbers involved” that it seemed ridiculous to bother investigating. Sir, that is precisely the bread and butter you spread up it.

So I began researching. I started jotting down particular specs and methods by which to equate them. I’m surprised but not even embarrassed by how much data I was able to pull just from my personal bookshelf. The greatest difficulty in this matter is in fact the truth that the Millennium Falcon is a (highly modified) light freighter, and the Enterprise is a military flagship. It would make more sense to compare the Enterprise to, say, a Star Destroyer than a small shipping vessel.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

How 'Big' is the 'Game of Thrones' World?

Let me be clear: I am in no way questioning the size of its fanbase or the sprawling narrative that is A Song of Ice and Fire." I am not the type of nerd to belittle any particular fandom or its accomplishments, even those to which I don't personally belong. No, I'm the type of nerd who needs to functionally quantify how those worlds work until I am either sufficiently assuaged or beaten by those next to me into a light coma.

When I ask, "How big is the Game of Thrones world?" I'm asking if the continents we've seen make up the bulk or simply a small fraction of their world's landmasses. I'm asking if, like James Cameron's Pandora, the planet is physically smaller than Earth and–having a potentially lower mass–the gravity is weak enough to allow large reptiles to grow in an oxygen-rich atmosphere and ascend to the skies on leathery wings. Does rain fall less forcefully? Are the blows from the executioner's blade less powerful? How high would Ned Stark's skull bounce? More pressing, narratively, is there an entire world of events happening outside the scope of this franchise waiting to be mined for ideas? Other civilizations at different technological levels inhabiting the same celestial sphere?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Writers Confirm Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy Romantically Polyamorous, Free World Doesn't Collapse

During a recent live chat over the official DC Comics Twitter account, Harley Quinn writers Amanda Conner and Jim Palmiotti confirmed the canonicity of Harley and Poison Ivy's long-suspected romantic relationship in the pre-New 52 continuity.

Friday, June 12, 2015

"Doctor Who's on First"

Barnes & Noble is about to start it's second annual "Get Pop Cultured" event this July. Among other events, the kick-off is going to be a "Throwback Thursdays" series beginning on July 2nd (1950s first) and Time Travel Weekend Friday through Monday. Friday the third specifically is "Doctor Who Day," featuring trivia events and giveaways, TARDIS standees and photo ops, and costumes.

And if I have my way, the following two-player sketch.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Superman is Actually the Bad Guy

Injustice: Gods Among Us; Year Two, Part Two

You know you've made it when your nickname alone becomes synonymous with you and no one other. While Kleenex, Q-Tip, or Band-Aid might be used to describe themselves or their generic forms, “The Dark Knight” and “The Man of Steel” refer back to Batman and Superman exclusively. John Henry be damned, Kal-El of Krypton is the Man of Steel. Forget the Black Knight, Batman owns the dark title.[1]

There are other titles, of course. Ra’s al-Ghoul was fond of calling Batman “Detective,” valuing his formidable mind over the brawling and fear-based tactics that sent petty criminals reeling. Detective Harvey Bullock and several villains favored the diminutive “Bats,” and certainly no one for several decades has been born “Bruce Wayne” by accident. Ra’s’ daughter Talia never called him anything other than “Beloved.” Likewise, “Supes” has been tossed around by his friends and, though it has fallen out of use, Superman has had one other nickname: “Big Blue.”

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Assholes

We all find something at least a little envious in the lives of wealthy tech moguls, powerful executives, or famous celebrities. The freedom to do as we please with confidence is an appealing prospect. As exemplified by a great number of these people, there is a basic tenant we can follow to ensure some modicum of this lifestyle in our own day-to-day affairs:

Be an asshole.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Assholes

Thursday, April 16, 2015

5½ Requirements to Not F@#% Up Star Wars: The Force Awakens

With the premiere of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awaken's second teaser trailer, I have once again failed to temper the rambunctious joy and hope that riles beneath my cultivated cold and collected nerd exterior.

I squealed. I squealed like a child. I tried not to, but then I thought back to seeing Episode I for the first time, the only time I've been able to see a Star Wars premier and really not know what I was getting into. Secrecy has not been a part of Star Wars debuts to this extent since George Lucas dressed his crew in "Blue Harvest" caps and gear while filming in Tunisia. I imagined watching a ship I have never seen of read about fly across the screen for the first time, and I squealed, alone, in my car, and feared that somehow other drivers still heard me.

J.J. Abrams, please don't hurt me.

It's very simple. There are only a few things you need to do for me to accept this as a valid Star Wars movie. I'll give it it's own separate canon, call it "Disney Wars" or whatever, I really don't mind. I've gone through most of the stages of nerd grief. Fulfill the following obligations and your odds of successfully becoming a part of a "nonology" will be approximately 3,720:1.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

FOX Should Give Up Their Futile Attempts at Making the Fantastic Four Work

 Marvel comics recently announced the cessation of the Fantastic Four comic series. The characters still exist within the grander Marvel Universe (616 and others), however they will no longer headline their own series. This is part of Marvel’s plan to cut off or at least shave down their noses a bit to spite the last remaining film properties not in-house.

With the absorption of Sony’s future Spider-Man films under the Marvel cinematic licensing world, only FOX’s X-Men (and therefor the coming Deadpool movie/franchise) and Fantastic Four franchises remain out of their control. As part of the announcement, Marvel has also ceased new character creation for the X-Men titles (let FOX do their own work) and announced they’d be “killing off” the seemingly immortal Deadpool.[1]

This doesn’t actually impact FOX’s Fantastic Four reboot all that much. Partly, this new film appears to diverge heavily from accepted canon, favoring a liberal adaptation of Marvel’s “Ultimate” universe origin story for the FF, where they’re trying to go dimension-hopping rather than experience an accident in space.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

So You've Joined a Dating Site!

So you've realized that your cat has seen you shoveling junk food into your face in a dirty sweatshirt. You have no excuses left for your mother. You have completely given up on ever bumping into the love of your life in a crazy, wacky happenstance.

You have joined a dating site.

It's really not as shameful as all that.[1] In fact, “meeting” online is about as common amongst active couples now as meeting in a bar or a party. The only thing embarrassing about meeting on a dating app now is potentially meeting on the wrong dating app….

Which Dating Site is Right for me?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Do the Avengers Have Civil Right? and For Whom Would They Vote?

The question of under whose authority the Avengers fall isn’t exactly hotly debated. I mean, in-universe it is, chiefly by middling, conniving, “Hail Hydra”-whispering politicians, but not really amongst their fans, be they real or imaginary. By nature these powered people are extra-governmental, at best work in tandem with the U.S. government, at worst openly opposing it. Many of the Avengers could and have been designated as enemy combatants, while a few might not even be classified as “alive.” Which actually raises a more interesting question:

Do The Avengers Have Rights?

"Event Television" is the Death Knell of Network TV

Certain shows have been good for television as a medium in the last few years. Complex storytelling, compelling antiheroes, and gray morality have turned water cooler talk from Desperate Housewives to "I can't believe Walt fucking [SPOILERED] [CHARACTER]." It’s essentially the same conversation when you remove the verbs, but suffice it to say that a high-maintenance cosmetic surgery addict is fairly distinct from a meth-cooking recovering cancer patient with a Napoleon complex. Certainly, the meth cook is more readily likable.

"Event Television" is being touted a lot right now. It's not a new idea, but it's the first time an old format has spurred so many producers to attempt to make money by creating grand, intricate shows that–frankly–cost a hell of a lot of money to produce. Let us be clear: it is wonderful that networks are shilling out crazy gobs of cash to put together smart scripts, talented actors, and vision-filled producers and directors, and effectively giving them creative license to do what they think works best for the show. All of those things foster creativity and a generally better story. This is good.