Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Devlin's Domain - Gerontophilia




Thanks to Netflix people now have access to some of the weirdest movies you've never heard of. My queue is overflowing with things I intend to watch, but likely never will. Watching most of these is like opening a mystery box. . I'm going in blind, having never seen a trailer or read reviews. Sometimes it pays off, but a lot of the time it doesn't. This time I'm just confused altogether. Wtf did I just watch?


Needless Things Podcast 123 – Dragon Con 2016: The Horror Track



EARLY EDITION!

In order to bring you the final episode of Needless Things’ 2016 Dragon Con lead-ins before Con actually starts, we’re posting two days early!

On today’s episode Phantom Troublemaker talks to Derek Tatum, Director of the Dragon Con Horror Track!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dragon Con 2016: Phantom's Big Post


Dragon*Con starts Thursday!

This is the post where I take a look at the Pocket Program and run down what I’m doing at Con, as well as what panels I’m interested in seeing and which events I’d like to witness. For my purposes today, the PDF on the website is easier to follow, but I highly recommend you download the Dragon Con 2016 app.

This year I’m going to start by focusing on what Needless Things is actually involved in, then cover all of the stuff I’d just like to see.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 122 – Dragon Con 2016: The Great Puppet(ry Track) Caper!

2016 Dragon Con coverage continues! Phantom Troublemaker talks to Mr. Beau Brown, Director of the Dragon Con Puppetry Track!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

For Your Dragon Con Trip Listening Pleasure




So Dragon Con is in one week’s time. Some of you are flying into town. Some of you are driving. Some of you- like me –will be driving a looooong way. Maybe you’re with a group, maybe you’re by yourself. Either way, the trip can have its long moments. Lots of people like to fill those bits of a trip with something of the audio variety as a form of distraction. Sometimes it’s some tunes, sometimes it’s an audio book. Let me suggest some podcasts.

Specifically, let me suggest some Dragon Con related podcasts. There are a number of them out there that are entertaining as well as informative, and they’re a great way to help get into the Dragon Con spirit (like any of us need any real help at this point) as we travel to Dragon Con. The podcasts I’m going to offer up for your listening pleasure can be downloaded from the website links I’ll be providing and/or are available on iTunes. 

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 Supernatural.tv 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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Toy Review – Amazon.com 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 SupportPhantom.com.

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.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Dragon Con 2016 – Phantom's Preview

The Con of the Dragon is drawing nigh, and I have yet to post my thoughts on the Report of Progress!
That’s because the Report of Progress has not yet made it to my box of mail or, apparently, the North of Atlanta. Try as I might I can’t seem to find a comic book shop that has the damn things. So it looks like I’m going to have to do this the new-fashioned way and use the internet. By which I mean DragonCon.org.
I usually cover announcements and things that are new and specific to the Progress Reports, but they don’t really have that sort of information on the website. If I can get a copy before this posts, I’ll add it in. If not, this will mainly be summaries of the Tracks, Performers, Guests, and maybe a few events that are confirmed.
This post is a way for me as both a performer and as an attendee to start getting my ducks in a row and planning for Con. I mean, I’ve been planning for months now, but this stage of planning is like in Altered Beast when the dude turns into the thunder weredragon. It’s serious.
I’ll be looking mostly at the things that interest me personally, but there will be plenty of general information, as well. Dragon Con is simply too massive for me to cover every Guest or detail.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sharknado: I'm Done

The Asylum is not a production company known for making good movies. Hell, I don't even know if I'd call half of what they've made over the years movies at all. I can't put all the blame on them though. SyFy has gone a long way to encourage (and pay for) this crap. By watching a lot of terrible movies on SyFy I've done my part to keep them churning out the schlock. But still, they were harmless back when they were making stuff like Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. Who didn't want to see Debbie Gibson and Tiffany throw down? I sure did. I have (frequently under the influence of alcohol) watched several of their goofy jokes posing as movies over the years. I was even excited for Sharknado to come out, and enjoyed the shit out of it the first time I saw it. The second one was okay. Not as good, but still fun to watch. The third one was pretty bad, but not the worst thing I'd ever seen by a long shot. I mean, I have seen Zoombies.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Christina Celebrates Unsung Gems from Prince's Discography


Rock N' Roll Was Alive And it Lived In Minneapolis.


I have come to the conclusion that I am in the Denial stage of grief. As a person still in mourning I suppose I am still looking for ways to process my sadness. Nothing that anyone wouldn't be doing when dealt a crushing blow, and many out there still haven't accepted the loss of this man either. After all, Prince Rogers Nelson was supposed to outlive us all. With his death came a new fan in the form of my six year old. Granted, I have only allowed her to listen to the songs that are appropriate for her age, but as a result it has brought out some songs in our stereo that I hadn't heard in years. In an effort to pull together CDs worth of material that she was clear to listen to I dug through the entire Prince catalogue at my disposal. In the process it allowed me the chance to listen to some of the songs that I always loved, but that many people never appreciated as they should have.

Today, I plan to pay tribute to the hidden gems and underappreciated tunes from the vault and mind of Prince.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Needless Things Podcast 118 – San Diego Comic Con 2016 Part 2 – Movies, TV, & More



It’s time once again for the Needless Things Irregulars to discuss all of the biggest movie and television dorkery to come out of San Diego Comic Con!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Adventures of Flash Gordon




“Blasting off on a desperate mission to save Earth from the evil plottings of the tyrannical space lord Ming the Merciless, Dr. Hans Zarkov and Dale Arden have joined me, Flash Gordon, on a fantastic journey into worlds where peril and adventure await us.”

A lot of blogs and podcasts- including the Earth Station One podcast and the Needless Things podcast, so check out their episodes on the topic –have been recently doing nostalgic looks back at American animation through the ages or just at the cartoons and kids shows of the 1970s and 1980s. Annoyingly, while hitting a lot of the better known highlights, everyone seems to give either little or no mention to what was for me one of the great science fiction Saturday morning cartoons. The Adventures of Flash Gordon, at least the first season, should be more widely recognized as a classic, yet largely outside of a few childhood friends and my childhood-in-spirit friend Sean Scullion I meet very few people who seem remember it. That really needs to change.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews August 2016: “Go Figure”


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 three months away.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dragon Con 2016 – My Passion


Be sure to join this year's Facebook Event Page for all the latest news on The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show at Dragon Con 2016!

We are roughly one month out from my favorite event of the entire year – Dragon Con. Normally I would have posted my summary of the Progress Report by now, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on one. Instead, I’m going to share something with you. I’m going to tell you about my game show and how it came to be and how it’s one of the most important things in my life.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Bow Vs Gun: Tomb Raider Vs Uncharted


Photo manip courtesy of my husband Dark Wanderer.  Check out his sketch/photo manip/3d rendering gallery at Heromorph
I'm a creature of habit.  My husband is (thankfully) good at getting me to expand my territory and try new things.  If not for him I would have long ago stayed in a pattern of holding.  So, when I get hooked on a certain game series I tend to stay with it and not stray too far from my comfort zone.  Being a gamer, however, means that you discover new games every month, every week, every day.  You'll get more goodies to tinker with and despite your efforts to stay in one area and never get interested in anything else you will find something that interests you.  You just can't help yourself.    I had heard so much about the Uncharted series that by the time its fourth installment came out I was ready to burst from my hardened cocoon and give it a try.  It was a decision that I am glad that I made.  There were, however, things that kept ringing in the back of my head.  Bells that kept going off.  Treasure hunter, foreign land, historical artifacts and lore long forgotten, big scary creatures, guys with guns, dangling from cliffs...where have I seen this before...

You've already figured it out in your own head if you're any kind of gamer.  You're not stupid.  So let's not screw around and just get to the point.  Laura and Nate.  Which one did it better?