Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday News & Notes: A Bit of Football

Against all odds, there's some football in my Twitter feed.  Amazing, no?

Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: The NEW Point Break... and MORE!

Happy Friday!  It might have been a short week, but it still seems to have had its full share of business and insanity.  Let’s get to it, shall we?
In 1991, what appeared to be a serious movie was released by 20th Century Fox, a serious movie studio. The movie, “Point Break,” featured two serious movie stars, Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. It was helmed by serious talent Kathryn Bigelow, who would become the first female director to win an Academy Award (for “The Hurt Locker,” in 2008). It cost serious money — $24 million — and made very serious money, grossing more than $80 million dollars. And now, it’s getting a 100 percent serious $100 million remake, the trailer for which was released Tuesday (see above).

Yet, “Point Break” was transparently ridiculous.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sketch In My Notebook: Winston's Story

This post is a continuation of a project that started with 24 Causes of the End of the World and continued with a character sketch of Nathan Bedford Stuart, USMC.  This bit is also a character sketch, this time for an alternate hero for the story, Winston March.

For what it's worth, I found this hard to write.  I've had the basic approach in mind for a week or more, but confronting the emotions in this story was not something I was eager to do.  I am still not sure how well it worked.  However, that probably means that you guys will love this thing.  That wouldn't be a disaster, of course, but it would prove once and for all that I am the worst judge ever of my own work.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Reflections on Memorial Day

I should have stayed off of Facebook on Friday.  But I finished putting 5 Things on a Friday together when I was still about twenty minutes out from New York, and with that bit of time to kill, I toggled over, and there it was.  All of my friends were putting up pictures for Memorial Day, our fallen from my class or others from other classes.  I immediately flashed over and started thinking about my dad.  It's become a little easier in the last few years, but on Friday it hit me hard and left me in a sour mood for most of the rest of the day.

Me and my father, 1995 or '96.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pictures from the Discover Museum's Adventure Park in Bridgeport, CT

Sally and the kids took me to the Adventure Park in Bridgeport, CT, yesterday for a day of climbing, zip lining, and adventure.  It was a lot of fun.  We took some pictures.

Sally on an early obstacle.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

10 Things for Marvel’s Daredevil, Season 2

We’ve all seen Daredevil by now, right?  And we all enjoyed it?  Well, Season 2 is coming next year, and that being the case, I have some requests.
Here’s what I’d like to see in Season 2:
1. Bullseye.  This one’s pretty easy.  Daredevil starts with a blind guy slowly working his way up the ladder of organized crime.  He goes from fighting Russians engaged in human trafficking to dirty cops who act as street enforcers to Japanese yakuza trying to develop land illegally to Chinese triads moving drugs as a means of generating capital for future criminal enterprise to, finally, Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime.  Along the way, he develops as a crime fighter.  By the end of the first season, Matt Murdock has taken down hundreds of low-level thugs, dozens of dirty cops, a ninja, and the Kingpin himself.  Of those, only the ninja is a legitimate match for Murdock one-on-one, and it’s at least partially because he too is wearing a costume.  For this reason, the Kingpin needs a costumed enforcer of his own, someone who can meet Daredevil on his own super-powered turf and have a legitimate chance of winning a fight.  That someone in Bullseye.

Friday, May 22, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Thanos meets Miley's Blowfish

It’s been kind of a depressing news week.  I hope you don’t mind, but I’m not gonna talk about any of that. Presidential politics is as serious as it gets this week, and I don't know how serious that really is. This election kind of reminds me of the election of 2000, when both candidates were running on the same basic platform.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sketch in My Notebook: Wolfgang & Salamatu

The only reason I'm labeling this a "Sketch in My Notebook" piece is so that my regular readers will realize that it isn't finished piece.  It's part of this series, but it's a re-write.  I hope you guys don't mind.  I started with the piece a few months ago.  In theory, it's the first chapter for the next Sneax book, but it's kind of romance, and until I started this, I'd never written a romance.  Or even just part of one.  Hence the extended experimentation.

I don't usually post a whole chapter at once.  I'm doing it this time because I wanted to get some feedback on the full flow of the idea; I wanted folks to see how it all comes together in a single sitting.  For what it's worth, my goal for this story is a little different than it has been on some of the other Wanderhaven tales.  If the "Sneax & Elaina Emboo" stories are campfire stories told about the fantasy versions of my daughters, this story is more a fantasy retelling of my marriage.  It's my story, and it's Sally's story.

We met and got married.  This is our story, but it didn't happen exactly like this, obviously.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Comic Review: Marvel's Secret Wars (#1 & #2)

This year is really flying by.  It's already the middle of May, Free Comic Book Day has come and gone, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a living, breathing thing, and now -- finally -- we're into Marvel's annual summer comic Event, Secret Wars, 2015's version of the story-that-changes-everything.  This year Marvel is not only destroying the Marvel Universe as we know it, they're also desrtroying the Ultimate Universe as well -- by smashing the two universes together.  And that's not all!  DC comics is also destroying its multiverse... in a spectacularly similar way.  This has let both companies run a series of greatest hits one-shots and mini-series, either as a way to give creators a chance to tie up loose ends in an emotionally satisfying manner, or because they just can't come up with enough new ideas, so they're recycling some of the old ones.  Until I read issue #2 of this new version of Secret Wars, I was kind of inclined towards the latter view.  Now, though, I'm not so sure.

Friday, May 15, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Oh Balls!

Billions of dollars rest on the
perception of a fair game.
Sorry for the focus on #deflategate this week.  As I wrote on Facebook yesterday, the Wells Report and yesterday's rebuttal from the Patriots "has all my favorite things: conspiracy, incompetence, leadership failure, conclusions drawn before facts are gathered, football (!), endless/meaningless detail, and a healthy dose of mathematics."  I'm absolutely fascinated.  The whole thing is ludicrous at a level that is unusual even for the NFL.  On top of that, though, there's an infinite variety of detail and counter-detail in the various arguments, none of which actually proves anything.  So we're left with people reading into this whatever they want.

It's a mirror.  Lawyers, reports -- people who use words -- universally seem to think that the Wells Report contains damning evidence.  Meanwhile, scientists and engineers -- people who use numbers -- look at the science and scoff incredulously.  Not surprisingly, Twitter is trending anti-science.  What is surprising -- at least to me -- is the number of media outlets that keep reporting on the meta-news of public opinion.  

Who cares about public opinion?   This is a matter of actual fact.

But, of course, Roger Goodell cares about public opinion, perhaps more than actual fact.  He's got a brand to protect.  And so here we are.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sketch in My Notebook: Nathan Bedford Stuart, USMC

My buddy and I started working on a new story last week.  We started from a mutual friend's Facebook post about how there aren't a lot of dystopian fantasies involving a world in true chaos.  Instead, said our friend, it's much more common to see dystopian worlds where Big Government rules, quashing all independent thought and liberty.  We see a lot more stories in the vein of Fahrenheit 451 or 1984 than we do Mad Max.

This led to last week's post, 24 Causes of the End of the World, which was the result of a day's brainstorming on potential high concepts for this new would-be story about a world in chaos.

Friday, May 8, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Ultron & Other Death Machines

I’m still digesting Avengers: Age of Ultron.  I suppose it says something about the movie that it’s nearly a week later, and I’m still thinking about it, still trying to decide what it was trying to say.  It didn’t feel like it was all that deep at the time, but there was a lot there, and it’s one of those things where I find that I’m still processing it all.

Truth is, I can’t wait to see this movie again.

Warning: This post may contain spoilers.  If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to come back later.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sketch in My Notebook: The Order of the Blackened Glaive (Part 12)

Our story so far...

Drakar has been forced from the Sentralian Military Academy because of his half-demon heritage.  However, angels of the goddess Nyx visited him in a dream, commanding him to seek out Fortress Abbadabas and the fabled Order of the Blackened Glaive.  Drakar traveled south to the city of Jakara, where he met a girl--a young wizard named Elaina Emboo.  

Having saved Elain from certain death, she and her ship, the Trident sailed with Drakar towards Fortress Abbadabas and his destiny.  Together, the two of them entered the ruins of what was once Fortress Abadabass.  What they found, though...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

24 Causes of the End of the World

I finished drafting “Drakar & the Order of the Blackened Glaive” yesterday, went over the last bit again this morning on the way in to work, and have it scheduled for release as tomorrow’s post.  In the meantime, a buddy and I have been working a little on a new story idea, one that started from a kind of challenge posted by one of our classmates on Facebook:

“Why are dystopian futures always focused on an omnipotent and omnipresent central government rather than an absence of a central government?”

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Movie Review -- Quick Thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron

Sally and the girls and I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron last night.  I liked it.  I don't know if it was quite as good as the first Avengers, but if it wasn't, that was largely because expectations for this new movie were so incredibly high.  The first Avengers was transcendentally awesome because it was largely unexpected.  A lot of people, including me, thought it had a good chance of being a total train wreck.  But it was terrific, in spite of having a very large cast and a lot going on.  The new movie has that as well, but even moreso.

The fact that this movie was not a total trainwreck is a testament to writer/director Joss Whedon's skill as a storyteller.

**Spoilers Below**

Friday, May 1, 2015

5 Things of a Friday: All-Avengers Draft Day Special

Age of Ultron is here, and so is the NFL Draft. No matter what kind of geek you are, this is your weekend.

This week's stories are mostly about sports, but there's a little bit of Avengers in there.  Don't want you to think we're playing favorites.