Showing posts with label Sporadic Geek Update. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sporadic Geek Update. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sporadic Geek Update 11-17: Jess Hartley, Matt Forbeck, and Assault Girls

Here are a couple of items that caught my eye as I wandered the internet today:

  • Jess Hartley has a good "One Geek to Another" column up today discussing "Networking and Cross-Promotion." Her site, and columns, are on my regular must read list. She is an inciteful veteran of the gaming industry who regularly shares tips for the aspiring game designer and reviewer.

  • Tulkinghorn over at "The Hungry Ghost" pointed me toward what looks to be a combination of geek awesomeness -- ASSAULT GIRLS. A live action film with Big Guns, Kick Ass Women -- some with angel wings, Giant Sand Worms, all blended together through the Anime Transmogrifier.

  • Reactor 88 has released a conceptual trailer for a film based on Matt Forbeck's excellent BRAVE NEW WORLD roleplaying game.

  • Thanks to SF Signal, I discovered who have public domain books which they have kindly translated into a number of formats...including Kindle.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sporadic Geek Update (9/3/09)

Once in a while I like to imitate the excellent Morning Medieval Miscellany done by Professor Scott Nokes at Unlocked Wordhoard. Doing a daily update of all things pop culture related would be an absurd task for an amateur blogger. I much prefer doing individual posts highlighting things that interest me, at least as my "regular" post technique. But there are times when it's nice to kick out a Sporadic Geek Update featuring things that might otherwise be overlooked.

  • Following the merger between Marvel and Disney, Sony has backed off on the Spectacular Spider-Man Cartoon. Does this mean that Spidey is headed over to Toon Disney? What about the new Avengers and Iron Man cartoons?

  • SF Signal has a good discussion about what San Diego Comic Con can learn from Worldcon and vice-versa. With the exception of the highly predictable "pretentiously disdainful view from the old guard" by Lev Grossman, the comments are excellent. Notice the difference between his snarky anti-"common fan" rant and the insightful comments by Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books. Lassen presents the difference between the SF "tourist" and the SF "devotee" as a good thing and looks at each con in its proper light. Grossman, a critic for Time Magazine and best selling SF/Fantasy, slanders the unwanted popular rabble in a fashion typical for one who favors "literary" works.

    Lassen's Night Shade Books is a publisher of books important to the SF/F historiography. Night Shade keeps alive brilliant writers like Manly Wade Wellman and Clark Ashton Smith by releasing beautiful editions of their works. They also promote exciting, and often overlooked, new talents like Liz Williams and her Detective Inspector Chen series.

    Lassen's trying to bring in new fans and introduce them to classics. Grossman is content to denigrate those who are introduced to SF/F via Hollywood. This is ironic, because Grossman's blog at Time isn't usually so filled with venom, and his writing is engaging. One expects a little, "I wish the casual fan understood how rich the SF genre is," but one would rather not read "the rapid expansion and mainstreaming of -- for want of a better term -- nerd culture is a dangerous thing." This isn't to say there isn't room for criticism of SDCC, and how commercial it has become, just that I would have rather read it without the snark. Snark is so 90s.

  • Matt Tarbit has done a wonderful job in creating a visual representation, with links, to all the games featured in Green Ronin's wonderful Hobby Games: The 100 Best. If you are looking for the perfect resource as an introduction to "Hobby Gaming," you cannot do any better than this book and Tarbit's webpage gives you the pictures the book lacks.

  • Wolfgang Baur, and his exciting Open Design Project, have announced three new projects that are awaiting patron support. I am particularly excited about Red Eye of Azathoth, though I wish they were offering it in Gumshoe format in addition to Pathfinder and Basic Roleplaying.

  • Kobold Quarterly has an excellent interview with Joseph Goodman regarding the state of the role playing game industry.

  • Catalyst Labs, the Battletech people, have a good blog post about role playing gaming and "those kids today."

  • Topless Robot -- Village Voice Media -- provides us with a trailer for the next installment in the Star Blazers saga. Like the writer on that site, Star Blazers was my first anime. I eagerly awaited each new episode as a kid. I have embedded the preview below, but head on over to the website and give them some traffic.

  • Progressive Boink has a demonstration of the typical immature fanboy hatred of Rob Liefeld. Liefeld is certainly not among the best artists in the field, but in a field filled with talented artists who are constantly behind deadline Liefeld is a worker. I remember reading in the introduction to a Hawk and Dove trade paperback that Liefeld was one of the most tenacious "submitters" in DC Comics history. He was constantly submitting work and had a huge productivity level. He is also one of those who expanded artist's rights within the industry, took on powerhouse Marvel, and was one of the founders of Image Comics. Image is to this day one of the shining lights of the industry and promotes a number of excellent titles -- books like Invincible, or a number of other titles. Sometimes an artist's legacy isn't in the work itself, but in what that artist has done for the field as a whole. He still cannot draw feet, but he certainly didn't deserve the treatment he received from "Yellow Hat Guy."
  • Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Interesting Media Bits -- A Sporadic Geek Update

    • Brian Lowry shares some interesting observations regarding television today and television in 1993. It's amazing how much, and how little, has changed in the offerings available.

    • LA Observed shares what the Los Angeles Times consider to be the best "LA Movies" that were made between two extraordinarily arbitrary dates. LA STORY is at #20, which is too low. THE BIG LEBOWSKI is at #10, which seems about right. DAY OF THE LOCUST (1975) is nowhere to be seen, which is two words -- first begins with a c, second ends with a k -- "crazy talk," but is excluded due to the strange "Best 25 in the past 25 years" rule, which enables them to leave out an abundance of other great movies.

    • Stephen Sommers is slated to helm a new Tarzan movie. Had you asked me after the first MUMMY movie he made, I would have been unreservedly overjoyed. He maintained the proper balance of humor and pulp excitement necessary to pull off that film. After MUMMY II, I would have been more hesitant. In the years after VAN HELSING, that is to say NOW, I am actually a little worried. His live action JUNGLE BOOK was pretty good and his upcoming GI JOE movie might redeem all past misdeeds, or magnify them. It's a Tarzan movie, and I'm a big fan of Burroughs, so it is a must see. Though in my heart of hearts, I think it is unlikely to pass GREYSTOKE and the Disney animated TARZAN as a translation of the character and stories, but we'll see.

      Speaking of being a Burroughs fan. There is a meme going around the internets that Tarzan was named after Tarzana (which isn't true) as opposed to Tarzana Ranch -- which became Tarzana -- being named after Tarzan (which is true). Most of the misunderstanding is rooted in a spoof Snopes article from their "Lost Legends" section of the website, the urban legend site "All-Lies" falls for the gag. Most people read the article and say, "Aha, I knew that no one would name a town after Tarzan!" But they fail to follow links to this page "The Repository of Lost Legends" (TRoLL for short), where they let you know they were kidding. Or they could look at this well researched ERBzine page, where Burroughs obsessives live, and find the story of Tarzana. One could even go to the Tarzana Chamber of Commerce page where they discuss the topic. Sadly, too many people want to be "smarter than the obvious" and think that Tarzana being named after Tarzan is a myth.

      It isn't, the town was named after a fictional character. The internet can be wrong folks. Go read the Irwin Porges biography of Burroughs, then come back to me.

    • Jerry Bruckheimer, Randall Wallace, and Steven Pressfield to make "Killing Rommel," based on Pressfield's novel of the same name. I have been a fan of Pressfield's since I first read his novel "Gates of Fire" years ago. I look forward to seeing a Bruckheimerstravaganza WWII movie based on one of Pressfield's books.

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Sporadic Geek Update (7/7/08)

    Inspired by Professor Nokes' "Morning Medieval Miscellany," I bring you the Sporadic Geek Update. Since the arrival of my lovely twin daughters, it has been next to impossible to post on this blog regularly. For that, I apologize. Between the all-consuming endeavor that is newborn fatherhood, researching a series of posts about film criticism (which I intend to begin this week), and hosting a weekly podcast, I have struggled to find time to write. I fully intend to find a way to better balance my time and provide you with my thoughts on popular culture on a regular basis.

    Excuses having been given, let's check out today's Sporadic Geek Update:

    • Gizmondo gives us a look at what the future of television might look like, if it is left up to AT&T.

    • I am always interested in what people think that the future of television will be. Will it be fully interactive? Will it be the internet? Will it be on-demand only? Or will there be a channel devoted entirely to pilots with the rest of television being demand only? Will it be subscription or ad based? Streaming? What role will the Xbox, and similar devices, play? What about cell phones? All of these are interesting questions and the Gizmondo article looks at a couple of the questions. Interestingly, AT&T seems to be downplaying the role the Xbox will play, in favor of their partnership with Apple and the iPhone. It makes sense that AT&T would downplay the white ueberbox, but I think that the future of television might look a little more like Xbox's plex than AT&T's U-verse.

    • Speaking of the Plex, Xbox's new name for their Xbox Media Center, Gizmondo has a great piece highlighting some of the updates to the service.

    • I am a big fan of Xbox's Marketplace, and the ability of the Xbox to communicate with my Media Center powered PC, and updates like this demonstrate why. When Apple started promoting their Apple TV, I kept wondering what people were so excited about. It wasn't as if I couldn't do all that and more with my 360 and Media Center PC. If I own an iTunes show, I can watch it wirelessly on my TV, but I can also record TV programs, play video games, and play movies from other sources. Not everybody has a PC and an Xbox, and the combination is more expensive than Apple TV, but one doesn't need an Xbox to take advantage of Media Center. Having an Xbox just makes Media Center better. I actually can't wait for further integration of the two technologies. Currently, Microsoft has deals with a number of film studios and TV studios for content, but I'd like more of it to be available. For example, it was cool that I was able to watch the pilot of Middleman a week before the show came out, but I'd like more material like this on the box.

    • Remember the Commodore 64? Me too. Ever think you could have a C64 LAN party? Me either. I was wrong. It appears that someone is geeky, and tech savvy, enough to do just that. Now if only I can find my C64 in storage and 12 of my close friends.

    • The Chicago Tribune's RedEye has an online polling contest for "The Greatest Superhero of All-Time." Cast your vote if you'd like to see your favorite last beyond the first round of voting. I'd hate to see Wonder Woman lose to Spawn or The Shadow lose to The Thing, so go now and vote the same way I did. My votes below in bold.
      No. 1 Superman vs. No. 8 Mr. Fantastic
      No. 4 Capt. America vs. No. 5 Capt. Marvel
      No. 3 The Thing vs. No. 6 The Shadow
      No. 2 Wonder Woman vs. No. 7 Spawn

      No. 1 Batman vs. No. 8 The Spirit
      No. 4 Thor vs. No. 5 Buffy The Vamp. Slayer
      No. 3 Silver Surfer vs. No. 6 Popeye
      No. 2 The Flash vs. No. 7 Flash Gordon

      No. 1 Spider-Man vs. No. 8 Phoenix
      No. 4 Black Panther vs. No. 5 Punisher
      No. 3 Green Lantern vs. No. 6 Green Arrow
      No. 2 Iron Man vs. No. 7 Elektra

      No. 1 Wolverine vs. No. 8 Sub-Mariner
      No. 4 Hellboy vs. No. 5 Daredevil
      No. 3 Hulk vs. No. 6 Aquaman
      No. 2 Catwoman vs. No. 7 Kitty Pryde

      I found it hard to decide in a couple of the pairings. Both The Flash (Jay Garrick) and Flash Gordon are two of my favorite heroes. I voted Flash Gordon in the end since the poll seemed to be implying the Barry Allen or Wally West Flash. I like them both, but I love Flash Gordon. The Green Lantern/Green Arrow battle was also a tough one for me. They are two of my all-time favorite characters. But when forced to choose between the two, I go with Hal Jordan by a nose. Two of the categories featured heartbreaking results to date (at least heartbreaking for me). Spawn is beating Wonder Woman...WTH?! (That's a polite version of WT_) And Black Panther is getting shellacked by the Punisher. For me, there is no contest. Black Panther is much cooler than that psychopathic anti-hero. Notice I wrote anti-hero? The Punisher is a freakin' Spider-Man villain!

    • When are Americans going to wake up and realize, like the Japanese already know, how awesome the PSP is?

    • My favorite PSP discussion moment comes from when my wife and I were watching INSIDE MAN in the theater. There's a scene where Clive Owen approaches a kid playing a Grand Theft Auto rip off on his PSP. Spike Lee uses it as an opportunity to comment on how video games are negatively affecting culture.

      When the scene first started, I thought Spike was going to have the kid using his PSP's wireless capability to communicate what was happening inside the bank with Denzel Washington's character. You see...the PSP could have done exactly that. It's an amazingly powerful wireless device. While I still held this illusion, I was impressed with Spike (more than normal) and was about to praise the tech-geekdom of the movie. Sadly, my bubble was burst when the scene was used for social commentary instead of narrative tension--imagine the kid shifting quickly to the violent video game to hide the fact that he's telling the cops what's going on--in all too typical Hollywood fashion.