Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ancient Toys of Yesteryear – Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Zam Wesell’s Speeder from Hasbro

I’ve complained plenty about what Hasbro is doing with 3.75” scale Star Wars figures. I’m sure you guys are tired of it and there’s not really any more ground to cover there.

But I’ve barely even gotten started on all of the problems I have with their current vehicle offerings!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Gaming and The Written World: The World of The Written RPG

Photo Credit from submission to Foter.com

Gaming comes in various forms:  Platforms and computers.  Tabletop board games and RPG campaigns.  Card games and party games.  I’m really not even scratching the surface.  Writing is not that different:  Fiction and Non-Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Military, Romance, Paranormal, Self-Help, Biography, etc.  And let us not discount, blogs, magazine, fanzines, newsletters, and the world of ebooks for all of the above formats.  The biggest similarity that ties these two worlds, however, lies in the RPG gaming aspect.  In both writing and RPG campaigns you are creating characters that you infuse with personality and inserting them into a vast world in which they have to adapt, survive, and grow as people.  You wanna know another interesting thing about their similarities?  In the world of gaming it isn’t uncommon to have people crossover games and try to mash them together; heck, there’s even a game called Smash-Up.  In the writing world crossovers happen regularly.  Writers will cross their own series or if building a world will contract with other authors to bring their characters into their world to visit.  Why then, can’t the world of writing and the world of RPG Gaming cross?  Guess what?  They do.

Writing RPGs have been around for years.  Since the Internet crawled from the primordial digital ooze, places such as Proboards and Livejournal existed, making perfect breeding grounds for the creation of the written world with gaming mechanics.  If you’ve never tried a writing RPG then let me talk to you about what you’re missing.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 105 – Star Wars in 2016

Phantom Troublemaker and Chad J. Shonk get deep into a galaxy far, far away in the newest episode of the Needless Things Podcast!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wars of the Worlds

This is not a thing I ever imagined I’d be writing about today, but as often happens the introduction to a toy review led to a whole other train of thought. I don’t always hop on board and let those take me where they want. This time it seemed like a decent place to visit.
I have been fascinated with the concept of Orson Welles’ radio drama of War of the Worlds ever since I can remember. The modern legend surrounding the broadcast is that many listeners missed the indicators that it was a drama and took it for an actual news report of an alien invasion. Over the years the reports of the supposed mass hysteria that resulted have been disputed and mostly debunked. But when I first heard about this as a kid, I took the story at face value. In my mind, this Orson Welles fellow (that would later go on to voice one of the greatest villains in cinematic history, Unicron) had played a grand prank on the US populace. The 80s being what they were, I got the barest bones of the story and sort of filled in the rest in the grandest way my mind came up with.

Actually, I guess that’s pretty much how news works now, too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Was the Game of Thrones Premiere Enough?

The short answer is no. But that would make for a pretty crappy post, and you guys deserve better than that. Well maybe not all of you do, but why punish everyone else? I'll keep it spoiler free (except for the stuff that we've seen in previews), and keep my book references vague for those who can't be bothered to read (lookin' at you Phantom) the damn things. To keep clear of spoilers for this episode I will have to reference things that happened in the last season finale. Pretty much everything is continued from there so I can't get around it. If for some reason you haven't watched last season you'll want to catch up quickly. It also wasn't a terrible episode so rather than pick it apart (which would be impossible to do without spoilers) I'll also talk a bit about what I think will and should happen this season and beyond.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4/26 - Alien Day

Poster art by Vance Kelly available here

I am not immune to the appeal of internet synergy. Also, I love the Aliens franchise, so today I’m writing about James Cameron’s action/sci-fi masterpiece, Aliens!

First, a bit of explanation for the uninitiated. Alien was released on May 26th, 1979. Aliens was released on July 18th, 1986. Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection were released on May 22nd, 1992 and November 26th, 1997 respectively.

So you might be wondering - what the heck is this 4/26 business?

Monday, April 25, 2016

His Name Was Prince: Christina's Memories of The Purple One

My mother was a bit of a punker.  I always have idolized her for that.  My favorite story of my childhood was that I was literally rocked to sleep by her at night to Alice Cooper’s “Welcome To My Nightmare.”  As you can see I grew up in a liberal family so my musical tastes are eclectic.  So Prince was introduced to me when I was only three. 

My first song that I ever sang in public was the Prince song “Head.”  Bear in mind this is a song about a woman who is getting married, meets a man and is so attracted that she gives him a blow job, and ends up marrying this dude instead.  I sang this in a TG&Y when I was four.  My mother was mortified... until she realized it was her fault because hey, she let me listen to it.  I was told not to sing it in public anymore and that was that.  This was only one of many moments from my childhood, from the relationship of my mother and I, in which Prince played one of the largest parts.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Needless Things Podcast Episode 104 - Prince

The greatest musical performer of all time has passed away. Phantom Troublemaker talks about Prince.

Seemingly Forgotten Films – If You Could See What I Hear (1982)

In the springtime of 1982 Marc Singer was still about six months away from becoming a genre icon with The Beastmaster in theaters and about a year away from cementing that status by fighting evil, lizard-faced alien invaders in television’s V. Despite my lifelong status as typically being one of the bigger geeks in whatever company I was keeping, it was just about this time when I discovered Marc Singer as an actor in a non-genre film in what is still to this day my favorite of his many roles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Comic Book Wednesday – DC Comics Previews April 2016: “Rebirth of Cool?”

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

But I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition.

This month DC decided it would be fun to do their own little book like Marvel does. This is primarily because of the “Rebirth” event and is not currently scheduled to be a regular thing. As far as we know. Naturally, DC’s little book shipped late and didn’t arrive in our Local Comic Book Shops until last Wednesday. That means today you get the second – thought smaller and more focused – Previews rundown of the month.

This is as much a magazine putting over how exciting “Rebirth” is as it is a catalog. Having read it, I now totally understand why DC published it as a separate entity from Previews. It does a great job of drawing attention to the changes and making the event feel like a big deal and a possibility for solid new beginnings.

We’ll see.

I’ll be posting a new episode of the Needless Things Podcast this Friday where we get a little more in-depth about DC’s recent publishing history and what we expect (and would like for) “Rebirth” to accomplish. For this post, I’m sticking to my usual brief commentary about each entry.

Oh yeah - DC printed these in extremely limited quantities because they thought it best if news of their massive, line-wide promotion reached as few people as possible. As such, I was only able to obtain one copy from my Local Comic Book Shop. This means that some of the pictures you see are going to have my podcast prompts on them. Sorry about that. Consider it a tease for what we'll be talking about on Friday.

Fortunately for DC, I'm here to spread their word.