Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nerds In Their Underwear and Other Public Speaking Tips: Being A DragonCon Panelist

I have been going to DragonCon since 2004. I had spent several years volunteering as staff or simply attending on my own dime, going to panels and taking in all of the stimulation overload that the Con has to offer. The panels I attended were packed with very smart people; all knowledgeable in their field or experts in their fandom of choice. They put many people to shame. I was in awe at the panels I attended and always left well informed. After so many years I began to realize, "Hey...I'm smart. Hey, I'm knowledgeable in my fandoms. I mean crap...I've won the Supernatural Guru award on three years running!" It made me wonder why I couldn't have something to say on these types of panels, and which ones I could have something to say at to begin with. The desire to start talking in front of groups of my nerdy peers became a truly burning desire in my gut; I just needed to figure out where to start. With the use of Facebook and Twitter I was able to join the various groups that existed for all of the tracks that I loved at the Con, and with that came announcements of panelist applications as Con time approached. With wide and happy eyes I clicked on applications and didn't look back. But after you apply, what happens when you are accepted? I'll tell you. You have to talk in front of dozens to possibly hundreds of people!

Picture people in their underwear? Stare at the back of the wall instead of faces? Let's dive into the various tips and tactics for being a DragonCon panelist.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Dragon Awards

It may be the 30th year of Dragon Con, but it's the first year of the Dragon Awards. Awards in the areas of sci-fi and fantasy by the fans, for the fans (just like everything else about Dragon Con which is why it's so good). You don't have to be a member or even attending. You just have to register your email address to be able to vote (to ensure that you aren't spam voting for Game of Thrones. Cheater). Registration for ballots ends on August 28th, but voting is open until September 1st. The link to register for a ballot can be found here, and for more information you can visit the official Dragon Awards website. The awards will be presented at 1pm on Sunday September 4th for those of you who will be there in person. Not to try and influence you or anything but George R.R. Martin even mentioned the awards in his blog:

I might also mention that there is a new award for SF and fantasy this year: the Dragon Awards, sponsored by Dragoncon, the big Atlanta media convention. Lots and lots of categories…So I applaud Dragoncon’s effort, and will be interested in how this all turns out.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dragon Con 2016: The Toy Track (Is Not A Thing)

I’ve been asked many times about a Dragon Con Toy Track. Whether or not it was a good idea, what it would be, and if I would want to run it.

I’ve never been asked by any Dragon Con bigwigs, mind you; just by people that have seen my panels and have enthusiasm for plastic collectibles.

I think it’s a fantastic idea and I would never run it (probably). As to what it would be, I think that makes for an interesting post. So that’s what I’m going to be doing today.

This is pure fantasy booking and not anything that is happening or ever will. To reiterate – this is not an actual programming Track or a listing of actual panels. I just thought it would be fun to do because I’m weird. When the Horror Track contacted me about doing a couple of things with them I actually sat down and programmed a whole weekend’s worth of panels before culling it and sending him the picks I thought were most likely to hapen, even though I knew the possibility existed that not a one of them would be used.

I like making schedules. Back when I still had time to play wrestling video games I would schedule out the entire year of programming – every RAW, SmackDown, and pay-per-view. 
Clearly I have a problem.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 121 – Dragon Con 2016: Return of the Classics Track!

2016 Dragon Con coverage continues! Gary and Joe from the American Sci-Fi Classics Track return to the show! Plus a special segment with a whole other Gary; Gary Schaeffer updates us on the Outer Space Men toy line - a perfect fit for Sci-Fi Classics!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dragon Con 2016 – Some Highlights to Look Forward To and Some DC2016 News

Wow. I was largely going to be plugging the Horror Track and some friends who will be attending the convention for the first time and doing so as panelists. I’m still going to do that, but some news came up in the last seven days that really needs to get screamed from the rooftops to ensure that the word is circulated amongst this year’s attendees.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Toy Review – 6” Marvel Legends Cable from Hasbro

I unloaded on Mattel in my Harley Quinn review and today I’m taking aim at Hasbro.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Toy Review – Exclusive Suicide Squad Harley Quinn from Mattel

I have talked a lot of smack about Mattel in my time. But as a customer that has spent an awful lot of money on their products over the years I feel that it is my right. At the same time, I have given them credit when credit was due. Those times have been less frequent, for sure, but occasionally they do get it right.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Movie Review – Phantom on Ghostbusters (2016)

Previously posted on

When the first details about the new Ghostbusters movie started coming out I was not excited.

Aside from Freaks and Geeks I was not a fan of any of Paul Feig’s work. Without getting too deep into it because that’s not what I’m here for, I found him to be hacky.

The casting of the four main characters seemed like a stunt to me – banking on the current socio-political environment to get attention and bolster ticket sales with guaranteed support from certain easily led portions of the population. I liked Kristen Wiig, hadn’t enjoyed anything I’d seen from Melissa McCarthy, and was not familiar with Kate McKinnon or Leslie Jones. I didn’t have anything against the casting other than feeling like it was a stunt. But just because something is a stunt doesn’t mean it can’t still be good.

For the record, I think both sides of the Ghostbusters 2016 debate are stocked with assholes. People that are overly excited about an all-female cast and feel that somehow that is an automatic virtue are annoying. People that are mad about the cast and for that reason alone are condemning the movie are stupid. I was in the middle.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 120 – Dragon Con 2016: Joshua Holden

2016 Dragon Con coverage begins here! Phantom Troublemaker talks to the Ambassador of Joy, puppeteer Joshua Holden!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Everything Old is New Again – The Seventh Doctor as Template for the Moffat Era?

I had the privilege of sitting in with the Earth Station Who crew a few weeks ago. The topic of discussion was a Seventh Doctor story, The Curse of Fenric. Here, go have alisten.  Rewatching the story for the first time in a number of years with the intent of analyzing various aspects of it I started to notice something somewhat interesting, and this led me to start looking at some of the other stories from the same period of Who history. Strangely, the last two years of classic Doctor Who appear to be one of the largest influences in the shaping of Moffat’s template for much of his era on the show.