Sunday, 3 September 2017

So I'm Starting a Podcast.

I enjoy writing this blog, it gives me the chance to occasionally get things off of my chest and more. I have written reviews of either comics, movies, and audiobooks, and they get a pretty good viewing count. I have streamed here and there in the past, talking about writing with fellow indie authors, and talk about games, comics, TV, and movies with some great friends. I had this desire to do something else though, something maybe a little different. I love a good podcast, there are ones on iTunes etc that have been well made and are a damn good listen. Some of these, such as the Write Now Podcast, GeekGab (which I have been a guest on), Final Level (Ice T's podcast), have served as an inspiration to me to do my own thing. I had thought about doing it on YouTube as some have done, but I decided against it in the end. But why?

I have seen numerous people who use YouTube and have their videos monetized or even had people unsubscribed from their channel. People such as Jill Colton, Diamond and Silk, and even Dave Rubin, have noticed YouTube messing them around in one form or another. I have a small channel and don't get me wrong, I do not consider myself anything big on that platform. As much as I have enjoyed doing my live streams, I decided that if I were to do something a bit bigger, YouTube really wasn't the place for it.

So after a bit of thought and discussion with a friend of mine, Wombat and the Wordsmith was born. My friend Andy (Wombat) will be joining me as a co host. My cover artist and his wife, Peta, has provided the artwork, which you can see above. Our aim is to do two a month, discussing movies, comics, games, and even writing and books. We also intend on having a special guest on the show once in a while to talk about them and what they are doing. We are going to do our first episode at the beginning of December as a tester, and so I can figure out the recording software a bit better, I'm still a newbie with that kind of thing.

I'm looking forward to it, me and Wombat always have a laugh when we talk so he was always the best choice for a co host. I do hope you'll tune in when we launch it. The only general rule that I will enforce on the podcast is: no politics. It is something both of us are sick of hearing about and this podcast will be to entertain, not to bore. I hope people will listen in.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Male Feminist Domino Rally.

Usually, I don't like to gloat at the sufferings or failings of others, I really don't. However, there are times when I allow myself to do that if I think the individual involved really deserves it. Today, it is one of those times.

Joss Whedon was portraying himself as the king of the male feminists. He spoke up for equality and his support of women numerous times, despite various suspicions about him, especially with the reception of Age of Ultron and the angry tweets fired his way. This week though, a knock out blow was sent his way by his ex-wife, Kai Cole (pictured with him, above), after she wrote a guest blog for The Wrap. To say that the blog piece was explosive would be, to put it mildly. Kai could almost be accused of playing "the bitter ex" but, again, the blog's contents certainly justify her writing it.

Cole claims that he used his relationship with her as a shield, so that nobody would scrutinize his relationships with other women, and also not scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist. She also claims that over the fifteen years they were together, he had numerous affair with actresses, co workers, fans, and even friends. Rumours are circulating as to who he screwed but I'll cover my ass here and not name names, just in case. Cole points out in the blog, that she is a very private person and writing the blog was very antithetical of who she was, but it was obviously something she had to get off of her chest. I can't say as I blame her, to have been betrayed in that way must be so hurtful. Whedon gave a weak response, which you can see at the bottom of the blog, in which he claimed errors and inaccuracies, but claimed not to comment any further due to his kids and respect for his ex-wife.
The response to this piece was, for lack of a better phrase, downright funny.

Of course, Full McIntosh himself couldn't help but make it about masculinity, as you can see. At this point, the guy is nothing short of the gift that keeps on giving. However, it was noticable that Sarkessian has so far stayed quiet about it, I can only wonder why. The fansite for Whedon's work, Whedonesque, announced it was shutting down on the 21st of the month. According to the linked article, the owners did not give an exact reason for the closure, they did not deny the revelation played a part in the decision either. Examples like Whedon show that the best way to deal with someone like him is to simply give them enough rope and wait. They will eventually take themselves down, it is just a question of time.

So why do I write this? Because it has become more than noticable now that it is always the male feminists who are caught out in this sort of situation. Jamie Kilstein (above), was forced to leave his job after disturbing allegations were made against him by a group of women who had worked with him. Christopher Goldberg was arrested after being found in possession of fucking child porn, another male feminist who claimed he "hated sexists", Trump supporters, and supported the women's march. They join the ranks of Devin Faraci, Matt Hickey, and Sunil Patel, other male feminists who have been outed as sex pests in one form or another. Professor Jordan Peterson appeared on Joe Rogan's podcast and talked about male feminists, and he called them sneaky and creepy. After events like above, it is an acurate description.

The worst part about this is that I know these discoveries will not end here. I have no doubt there will be others and I have even placed a bet with myself as to who some of them could be. Obviously I am not going to say for fear of getting my ass sued, I shall wait and see. As for Whedon, the fans of the Wonder Woman movie sure did dodge a bullet when his script was rejected. The only remaining problem is that he is directing the Batgirl movie, god only knows how that will turn out.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

So I Watched... Castlevania

So my daughter got me into anime a little while back, I have been watching shows like Attack On Titan whilst introducing her to the classic that was Akira. I became aware of the Castlevania series a couple of weeks ago but had too much on my plate in order to get around to it. Well, I finally got around to it and I am glad that I did.

Dracula falls in love with a woman and they marry. He teaches her how to become a doctor but whilst he is away, the church burn her at the stake because they believe she is a witch. Dracula returns, is royally pissed, and gives the land a year before he rains hell on them. A year later, he delivers and it is not pretty.

The series is a good one. It is dark, gory, tragic, but really compelling viewing and I watched the episodes all in one go. The animation is heavily influenced by the classic animes out there, the characters never bored me and Trevor Belmont is a great combination of sarcastic, reluctant and heroic. The main thing about this show that annoyed me though, was its length.

The series is only four episodes long, each episode only twenty-five minutes long. To be fair to the series though, the story (based on Castlevania 3) never felt to me like it had been rushed or compacted. A second series is due out in 2018 and I cannot wait for it because even though the series ended, it did not finish on a cliffhanger ending but an engaging one instead.

I highly recommend that you check this out. The series can be watched in one go if you want, binge watching seems to be a trend these days and Castlevania is certainly suited to that.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

So I Read.... Dark Knight 3: The Master Race

BE WARNED: Spoilers ahead but with good reason.

Frank Miller's original Dark Knight Returns story is, and always will be, a classic in my mind and many others out there. It has many standout moments, such as the final fight with the Joker and even with Superman himself. The Dark Knight 2 was a good follow up, but not as good as the original, such is the case with most sequels. Its best moment was introducing Lara, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, and laying the foundations for an interesting character.

Now we have Dark Knight 3. Earth is invaded by a large group of Kryptonians intent on world domination. Batman and Robin emerge to help defend the planet with the eventual aid of Superman and Wonder Woman, but Lara is turned against the heroes, leaving the odds stacks against them.

I really wanted to give this series a glowing review, I really did, but I found myself more annoyed with it than anything else. First off, the lateness of this series was stupid, it started way back in November of 2015, and the final issue (9) has not long been released. Granted that the issues are bigger than normal comics, and have a minicomic in the middle, but I found myself having to reread previous issues to remind myself what happened. Wonder Woman felt like nothing more than a reserve character until she and the Amazonians joined the fight near the end, Lara felt like nothing more than a spoilt brat with her conclusion in the story feeling pointless, and there was even a damn Trump reference.

Then there was a number of variants.
Jesus Christ, I still have a job to believe the amount of them that were actually released. At the time of this blog piece, there is 164 of them, not counting the regular versions. The values of some of them are beyond stupid and, to save time I will not go through all of them, but a variant of issue 9 is currently valued at $650.

I might bring myself to reread the whole thing from start to finish and maybe I'll have a better opinion of it, but right now I'm disappointed. When a series such as this suffers from being as late as it was, with a stupid amount of variants as it has, it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. Am I being too harsh? Maybe. But with a number of people that were working on it, they could have at least got it out on time.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

So I Listened to.... Denied a Chance.

I don't think I would have ever come across this lady and her story had it not been for a random retweet that appeared in my timeline one day. I follow a few people who believe in the right to carry arms in the USA, one has even shown me her guns via Skype, and one retweeted a tweet from Nicole Goeser which caught my attention. She had tweeted about the loss of her husband, shot dead in front of her by a stalker, in a gun free zone. I saw that she had her book coming out at the time and tweeted that I was sorry for her loss and that I hoped the book did well. Later, I saw that she had liked the tweet and said to myself that I should buy the book.

I remembered about it a while later and decided to check on Audible to see if the book was on there. Sure enough, it was,  I purchased it and sat down to listen. The book covers her last day with her husband, his brutal murder, and what she went through afterward before the eventual trial of his murderer. I found myself really feeling for her throughout the listen and even after the audiobook had finished, she went through something nobody should but took a strong stance against it.

Gun control is obviously a part of this story as well is the ridiculousness of "gun free zones". I believe in the right to carry firearms and would if I could, but here in the UK, it is a totally different ball game. Goeser herself has given talks about this a few times now and I hope she continues because a bad person will always find a way to get a gun; a gun free zone really won't stop them. One thing that certainly should be taken away from this is that Goeser complied with the law by locking her gun away on that fateful night, because of that the law failed both her and husband.

The audiobook is narrated by Ann M. Thompson and she does a good job of it. At first, I was going to criticize the fact that her tone rarely shifted but then I realized that perhaps it was intentional. This really is not a story that could or should be dramatized and her approach to it is a respectable one. The run time for the audiobook is just over three hours, short but this really isn't a tale that can be dragged out at all. Goeser makes her points with no beating around the bush and does not waste time on filler of any kind. It is one of the best arguments for carrying a gun that I have heard yet.

Check this one out. It is not only a strong lesson in firearms and the weakness of the US law, but it also makes another point that recent events in the UK can back up.
Guns do not kill people. People kill people.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Ol' Painless is Waitin'.

Saturday was a good day for me.
My editor, Brian Niemeier, returned my corrections for my book and I began to have at it with them. I thought it was going to be a painful process, where there were errors or corrections needed, Brian had highlighted them and placed an icon for me to click on. Once I did, the icon would explain what the problem was and offer a correcting suggestion. I began to get worried when more icons appeared in the following pages and I thought to myself "This many mistakes? Oh man, I stink at this," quite often. To my delight though, a lot of these were compliments on what I had written and believe me, they were not only a confidence boost but they added a drive to keep going. Even better, other icons were for comical jokes or reactions to something I had written that struck a chord with Brian, such as:

When a character cannot find the energy to read a complicated document, Brian wrote: "Like a Scalzi novel".

When I wrote about food or drink he liked, "Oh man, you are really making me hungry/thirsty".

When my main character insulted someone, "sick burn!"

When one of my characters said "oh boy", Brian made a Quantum Leap joke.

These little moments gave me a kick to keep going and I cannot tell you how much it helped through this process. However, like a laser blast through my midsection that knocked me down, the real problem presented itself later.

Brian pointed out that some of the scenes or chapters in the book were ones I needed to either edit down or take out completely. It was a hard thing for me to hear but his reasons were solid, they slowed the book down too much. In my efforts to learn from the mistakes I had made with Nomads, I had overcompensated with Penance and it was showing. I decided that as I was half done with the corrections, I would finish them and then put myself through the task of cutting out what was not needed as it seemed the right thing to do.

That night, I did not sleep very well as it played on my mind a lot. I had become really attached to the story and really couldn't see where I could make these cuts. The next day (the day of writing this) I found myself coming at it more critically and the scenes that I could cut became a little clearer to me. I know it will still be hard, but I promised myself that I would get this as right as I could. Thankfully, Brian's style of editing has been a real helping hand here and I will always remember that.

Thanks, Brian.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Wonder Woman, I'll Pass.

There is a minor storm surrounding this film at the moment, mostly down to the fact that a certain movie theatre only offering women only screenings. Radical feminists are celebrating this and the "male tears" at the apparent reaction to it (not as much as made out either, I have seen more mockery than anything) and the fact that the film is being lead by a "strong female character". I've watched this film develop slowly for a while and at first I'll be honest, it looked good, but then I started to change my mind.

First off, I should point out that Wonder Woman was the best of Batman Vs Superman in my opinion. Her entrance into the film is its highlight and I was sold in terms of her being an awesome character on screen. I was one of the many who doubted Gal Gadot's casting as the character but was happy to have been proven wrong when I saw her in action. When I heard of her approaching film, I thought it would be interesting. However, when the story of the film became clear, I suddenly found myself being turned off to the point where I am no longer interested.

First off, it is set in the first world war and that is an overused setting for any story by now. Then there is the fact that the main villains are Nazis.
Give me a break.
Be it video games or films, Nazis have quite frankly been done to death now and for them to fall back on them once again was quite frankly lazy to me. I know that some people will point out this was her origin story in the comics and fair enough, it was the same with Captain America. The problem is that DC has revamped her origin story time and time again and it seems that using the world war origin was again, lazy. Such a big deal has been made over the movie of this character, it is not unreasonable to suggest a better origin story or villain could have been used here.

It bugs me that it is an origin story as I can't stand those things. I do not see the point in seeing a movie where we pretty much know how the story ends, who will live and who will die, and most importantly, that the main character comes out alright in the end. That makes this movie nothing more than a simple popcorn flick to me, and that made me lose interest.

Hollywood has long been on the path of making movies that they know will make money, whilst giving little effort to the content. For those who are going to see this movie and will enjoy it, I hope you really do. Sadly for me, this one goes into the same section as Rogue One; all style and no apparent substance.
I'll pass.