Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

To Do: 2009

I added a short, quick list to the conversation on Geek Resolutions over at the Propeller Geeks Group, so here are some relevant things I want to get done in 2009:

1) Install/learn a Linux operating system on one of our home computers and bid adieu to Windows.
Beat Zelda: Twilight Princess. I’m sooooooo close, but I’ve been stuck
for a bit and adamantly refuse to look up advice or hints.
3) Find someone to write a foreword for “Collect All 21!
3a) What the heck – find a publisher for both “Collect All 21!” and “Crossing Decembers.
4) Tackle another book-length fiction project.
5) At the other end of the spectrum, land a few more Thaumatrope submissions and some stuff for the upcoming Everyday Weirdness.
6) Be here (in the Propeller group) more. This will be easier when #1 is don because Propeller really slugs up the computer.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Current Affairs, Fiction, geek, Ohio, Science, video games, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Leave a comment

Add one.

One more for the 2008 book list: I read an extremely odd but touching graphic novel today called "The Ticking," by Renee French.

December 30, 2008 Posted by | Books | Leave a comment

Things I (Mostly) Enjoyed Reading in 2008

Adam beats me to the annual "book list" post, but that's OK, because in large part, he's responsible for the glut of comic trade paperbacks and graphic novels that I read in 2008. It was his early-year recommendations that got me into more actively seeking out works in the medium and picking up stuff I knew of by reputation alone.

All tolled, I read 56 books, 33 of which were comic collections or graphic novels, all of which were first-time reads except for "Out from Boneville," which hardly counts because I first picked it up before my daughter was born, and she'll be 12 in March.

There were 18 new reads: 15 novels plus "The Indiana Jones Handbook”, Sarah Vowell's "Assassination Vacation," and Jon Paul Fiorentino's "Asthmatica." (That last one is the reason for the "mostly" up there in the title. Didn't live up to my expectations, but I finished it anyway.)

Five re-reads were in the mix, as were three audiobooks.

Among my newly-discovered favorites: John Scalzi – digression: It was A Very Scalzi Christmas at our house – Jenn got me the entire Old Man's War trilogy, and I ordered a signed, personalized "Zoe's Tale" for my daughter – Tobias Buckell, Brian K. Vaughan's "Y: The Last Man" and Robert Kirkman's "Invincible." And despite my never having had the desire to read a Western, Oakley Hall's "Warlock" was a-freaking-mazing.

Oh, and I guess I could count "Collect All 21!" because I did write, read and re-read it, and similarly, I did just finish reading a first draft of Adam's "Deus Ex Comica" collection, so I guess that makes 57 total.

So, here's the rundown in chronological order:

“House of M” – Marvel Comics trade paperback by Brian Michael Bendis

“Harsh Cry of the Heron” by Lian Hearn

“The Road to Civil War” – Marvel trade by Brian Michael Bendis

“Owly” – graphic novel by Andy Runton

“Out from Boneville” (Bone saga Vol. 1) by Jeff Smith

“Civil War” – Marvel trade by Mark Millar

“The Great Cow Race” (Bone Vol. 2) by Jeff Smith

“Eyes of the Storm” (Bone Vol. 3) by Jeff Smith

“Red Lightning” by John Varley

“Programmed for Damage” a Scud: The Disposable Assassin
collection by Rob Schrab

“The Dragonslayer” (Bone Vol. 4) by Jeff Smith

“Rock Jaw” (Bone Vol. 5) by Jeff Smith

“Old Man’s Cave” (Bone Vol. 6) by Jeff Smith

“Asthmatica” by Jon Paul Fiorentino

“Ghost Circles” (Bone Vol. 7) by Jeff Smith

“Treasure Hunters” (Bone Vol. 8) by Jeff Smith

“Crown of Horns” (Bone Vol. 9) by Jeff Smith

“Invincible: Ultimate Collection Vol. 1” by Robert Kirkman

“Just A Little Blue” (Owly Vol. 2) by Andy Runton

“Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi

“Invincible: Ultimate Collection Vol. 2” by Robert Kirkman

“Rocket Science” by Jay Lake

“Assassination Vacation” (audiobook) by Sarah Vowell

”Truth, Justin, and The American Way” by Scott Kurtz, Aaron
Williams and Giuseppe Ferrarro

“Invincible: Ultimate Collection Vol. 3” by Robert Kirkman

“The Sparrow” by Maria Doria Russell

“Powers” comic trade by Brian Michael Bendis

“Farewell Summer” (audiobook) by Ray Bradbury

“Marvels” comic trade by Kurt Busiek

“On Writing” by Stephen King

“Time and Again” by Jack Finney

“In Summer” by Jeremy Jackson

“Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand” comic trade by Timothy
Zahn and Michael Stackpole

“Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury

“The Ghost Brigades” by John Scalzi

“Y: The Last Man” Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

“Crystal Rain” by Tobias Buckell

“The Last Colony” by John Scalzi

“Y: The Last Man” Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

“Leap Years” graphic novel by Ian Bennett

“Preludes & Nocturnes: Sandman Vol. 1” by Neil Gaiman

“Ragamuffin” by Tobias Buckell

“Y: The Last Man” Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan

“Zoe’s Tale” by John Scalzi

“The Doll’s House: Sandman Vol. 2” by Neil Gaiman

“Sly Mongoose” by Tobias Buckell

”'Salem’s Lot" by Stephen King

“Patrick the Wolf Boy” Vol. 1 & 2 by Art Baltazar and

“Y: The Last Man” Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan

“Y: The Last Man” Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan

“Patrick the Wolf Boy” Vol. 3 & 4 by Art Baltazar and

“Dream Country: Sandman Vol. 3” by Neil Gaiman

“The Toy Collector” by James Gunn

"The Indiana Jones Handbook” by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese

“Warlock” by Oakley Hall

“The Happiest Days of Our Lives: Teh Audiobook” by Wil

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Books, Current Affairs, Fiction, geek, Ohio, Weblogs | Leave a comment

Games, Games, Games

Games on the brain, man. Games. On. The. Brain.

Jenn and I spent Saturday afternoon and overnight house-and-dog-sitting with our friends Keith & Marcia at my mom's place. We took a Gator ride around the woods and tree farm before it got dark, then settled in for the night while it got colder and windier outside.

Started with Apples to Apples, at which I came in last despite a strong start. (I blame my wife for totally failing to see that The Metric System is without a doubt more WILD than Helen Keller. I mean honestly, people: Everything in tens? EVERYTHING? Could you get more wild? Come ON.)

Then we gave VH-1's "I Love the 80s" Board Game a shot, and though we laughed a lot, it was more AT the game than with it, and here's why: Jenn & Keith partnered up and got first turn via rock-paper-scissors. They proceeded to capture all 10 "year tokens" (the game's equivalent of the Trivial Pursuit pie piece) and win the game on a single turn, thanks to never missing a question and getting two tokens for no effort at all other than landing on the "Do the Robot" spaces. (This game's version, say, of "Chance" in Monopoly.

To be fair, Marcia & I were given a shot at duplicating the feat, and we earned five or six straight tokens – and we even had to get a couple by charades and drawing, not just straight-up trivia answering – before we landed on our own "Do the Robot" space.

Yeah – ours said, "Lose a Year Token and Lose A Turn." Game over, we lose, and nobody ever even missed a single question. Totally Gnarly Fail, VH-1 Marketing Department.

Then we play a game Jenn & I have never seen: "Cue Me." Too many rules to explain here, but it was a ton of fun and my wife totally wins bonus points for guessing the answer "Boston Tea Party" on the single-word clue "harbor." Also, seeing her throw sets of 12-sided dice hit some middle-school-D&D-playing nerve in me and made her even more attractive than usual. Nerdgrrrrreow.

Keith & I stayed up late in the basement playing Baby Pac Man and struggling with the Black Knight pinball machine. Some of the contacts need cleaned, because the thing wouldn't automatically kick the balls into play (quit snickering), but still, just hearing the sound and speech effects threw me back to my arcade days of yore:

We also played ping-pong until damn near four in the morning.

The gaming goodness wrapped up Sunday morning when I got home to find an email that I'd won a couple Nintendo games in Geekdad's "12 Days of Geekmas" giveaway.

And with all this play talk, it seems only fitting to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first holiday season I found Star Wars toys under our tree.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | 1980s, Current Affairs, eighties, Film, Games, geek, Ohio, video games | 2 Comments

Ostrich of tin = short but cool stuff re: writing.

Ostrich of tin, reworked, is short fiction. (Anagram generation sites rule. Also, running a very close second was "orthicon fist," which I might still save and use later, so No Stealing, Please.)

This babblage is courtesy of John Scalzi's latest Open Pimp Thread. After posting my own contribution, once more I thought, "You know, if all you do is put your own stuff in here and you don't actually go check out some more of the other Whatever readers' links, then you're totally crushing the Spirit of the Thread, and that's just mean."

Here's where the clickage led me this time: First over to Flash Fiction Online and a story by Bruce Holland Rogers – "Reconstruction Work," which in turn had me going back to the main site and reading Fredric Brown's "Earthmen Bearing Gifts."

Then it was over to Futurismic for Jason Stoddard's "Willpower."

My new quick-hit addiction, though, is the ongoing collection of 140-character stories, reviews and interviews that make up Thaumatrope ("The Twittering E-zine"). So much fun that I had to give it a whirl – and they bought my submission! It'll be awhile before it publishes, but rest assured I will be appropriately hyper when it shows up.

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Fiction, geek, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Leave a comment

It was 40 years ago today…

Dec. 15, 1968: Philadelphia Eagles fans boo Santa Claus.

Dec. 15, 2008: The Philadelphia Eagles host the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football.

History will be the judge of which proves the bigger laugh.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life’s odd connections

Two odd, if tenuous, connections on my mind this weekend: I wrote a post for Field's Edge about ESPN's football documentary "The Greatest Game Ever Played" because one of my mom's cousins, Bob Schnelker, actually played in it. (He's also the reason our family has had a team-signed Kansas City Chiefs ball – Len Dawson's on there – floating around for decades, the coolness of which eluded me for most of my childhood.)

On a completely different and tragic and stunning and perspective-delivering note, Jenn told me Friday that I needed to check out the Canton Repository's website for this story, because we both used to work at the YMCA with Andrea. Our kids would play on the gymnastics equipment together while we were working the rock wall. I'm pretty sure my daughter still has a seashell that Andrea brought her from a trip somewhere.It's been at least 5 years, I think, since I saw or spoke to her, but Jenn's crossed paths with her at least a couple times since then.

It's a strange, grey feeling, reading about what's going on and it makes me sad.

December 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Truth? There is No Lego Spoon

Even if you're not following the many long-running and tangled plotlines over at Irregular Webcomic, today's installment on the Infinite Featureless Plane of Death is pretty funny.

December 12, 2008 Posted by | Current Affairs, Fiction, Games, geek, Weblogs | Leave a comment

Scalzi on Emo

John Scalzi's got a great post today: "Emo: Older Than You Think."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some Pet Shop Boys and New Order calling.

December 10, 2008 Posted by | 1980s, geek, Music | Leave a comment

Luke Binkleywalker and the Giant Burger King Darth Vader Death Glass

 Adam's recent blog post about the Disney Burger King glasses put a couple notions in my head: First it got me thinking about my old Star Wars glasses, with a Bloom County sidetrack, so I re-read the summaries on the backs of my Jedi glasses. They're not nearly as well-written as their Disney flick counterparts, probably because they function more like photo captions than film summaries. (I mean, seriously – Vader and Luke are throwing down, and we're bothering to mention the funky-hatted Imperial Dignitary, whose screen time you'll miss if you sneeze?)

Second, I thought how much fun it would be to play Mad Libs using those BK Disney glasses as templates:

It's the magic (NOUN) ride of a lifetime as Aladdin, with his pet (ANIMAL), Abu, takes to the streets of Agrabah for survival, fun and (PLURAL NOUN).
Aladdin falls in love with the (ADJECTIVE) Princess Jasmine.
But he believes she would never (VERB) a street rat like him.
Aladdin's luck changes with one
rub of a magic  (NOUN), releasing the shape-(VERB)ing, fun-loving,
(NOUN)-giving, all-powerful Genie, who turns him into a (NOUN).
In the final battle, Aladdin must overcome the (ADJECTIVE) sorcerer, Jafar, in order to win Jasmine's (BODY PART).

December 8, 2008 Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Film, Games, geek, Ohio, Weblogs | 2 Comments

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