Oct-21-2016

What’s On My Mind on 10-21-16

Wow, it’s been a while since I did one of these, huh? Well, I wouldn’t bring this out of retirement if it wasn’t for something big. You may have noticed that my updates as of late have been sporadic, if not outright missing their deadlines and there’s a good reason for that. Long story short, I’ve gotten some writing gigs!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing comic reviews for Fanbase Press who give me deadlines for the things I select. Even though it doesn’t pay, it’s serious business because they’re given advance copies of the products they’re reviewing. On top of that, I’ve also been writing a series of articles for the Art of Autism showcasing famous people, past and present, who identify or are thought to be on the autism spectrum. So yeah, there’s been a lot of work that people are depending on and it’s a big step to getting me publically recognized and picked up professionally. On top of that, I’ve been reposting some of my Snippets on Cultjer and Culture Sonar, so exposure ahoy! Feel free to check those sites out to give them some love.

I have no plans on stopping my Reel Snippets anytime soon, especially not before the Best and Worst of the Year lists because I have a bone to pick with 2016. But these works are going to take priority and as such, there will probably be more schedule slips. So let’s meet halfway and I’ll start posting links to my reviews on this website, starting with everything I’ve done so far. Enjoy.

Fanbase
Axcend Volume 1
Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #1
Haunted Horror Volume 4
My Little Pony: Friends Forever – Volume 7
Warhammer 40,000 #1

Art of Autism
6 Creatives on the Autism Spectrum – Actors and Filmmakers
Historical Figures Who May Have Been on the Autism Spectrum

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Posted under On My Mind
Sep-7-2016

What’s On My Mind on 9-7-16

Equation date!

The lack of a Reel Snippet today was due to travel and Labor Day, plus a rather dry week at the cinema. But I plan on making it up to you all with something I haven’t done in a dog’s age: a good old Classic Snippet.

Stay tuned.

Posted under On My Mind
Aug-18-2016

What’s On My Mind on 8-18-16

So in the past few weeks, I talked about the technicals of this year’s Comic Con and tips from workshops and experienced writers. Well, this is where my excitement really lies: talking about all the new books, shows, movies, games… in short, all the hype. Yeah, I know I shouldn’t get overly excited about this because these future products could be utter garbage, but seriously, new ideas excite me and I love discovering more of the world through popular culture. So without further ado, here’s some of the stuff I saw or new things I got. This is my quickfire Comic Con review catalogue that I give to you.

Warhammer 40,000 comic (preview)

Yes, despite loving shows about pastel-colored horses, superheroes that bring hope, and rock people exploring what it means to love, I’m also really into the grimdark of the 41st millenium. So imagine my excitement when I discovered that Games Workshop was taking its flagship brand into the comic medium. The story follows an up and coming Space Marine recruit in the chapter known as the Dark Angels, which has a terrible secret in danger of being unearthed. That’s really all I can explain because the backstory of this universe is so complex and intricate that it would take me a whole article to bring you up to speed. Regardless, I got some great insight into the company and their mindset. Issue 0 comes out in the October edition of White Dwarf (Games Workshop’s magazine) and the first issue hits shelves in November, so if you’re a fan or an interested party, be on the lookout.

The Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt Series (bought)

This series has apparently been going on six years and is already thirteen books deep, but I hadn’t heard of it until now. That changed when I bumped into the writer, Gini Koch, who totally sold me. The saga follows an average everyday woman named Katherine who gets caught up in an alien organization to hunt vicious aliens secretly invading Earth. The story then spirals through loads of action, danger, and romance. I have the first two books and I’m… kind of enjoying the first. Some of the dialogue is offputting, but there’s thirteen books, so she has to be doing something right. At the moment, I put it down to read Star Wars: Bloodlines, but I’ll return to it eventually.

Alexander Outland: Space Pirate (bought)

Another book written by Mrs. Koch, which she described as Han Solo meets Pirates of the Caribbean. I haven’t gotten to read it yet, but with a description like that, I’m sold. This lady seems to crank out a lot of books. Why has nobody mentioned her to me before?

The Gravity Falls books (bought)

When I heard that there were three books based on one of the best animated series in recent years, my mind went into spasms. I’ve finally gotten all of them and they do not disappoint. They are Journal #3 (a book that the show centered around), Dipper and Mabel’s Guide of Fun (a fun activity book with codes and games, probably aiming a little younger than I am), and Dipper and Mabel and the Curse of the Time Pirates’ Treasure! A “Select Your Own Choose-venture!” (a great send-up to the old Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was young) The journal and the choose-venture are must haves for any fan, while the other is harmless fun.

Emerald City (preview)

This was getting hyped all over the place at Comic Con, spinning itself as a gritty reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz. I saw the trailer and I waaaaaaaaaaaaaas not impressed. It feels like they’re trying to capture some of the Game of Thrones lightning by focusing on political intrigue, but took out a lot of the teeth that made Thrones engaging to make it more palatable for primetime. On another note, can we stop with giving timeless classics the “dark and gritty deconstruction” treatment? It’s getting really old. So yeah, I’m giving this one a skip.

Midnight, TX (preview)

This show, on the other hand, gave me a good jolt of excitement. Based on books written by Charlaine Harris, who wrote The Southern Vampire Mysteries that were adapted into True Blood, the preview tells of a guy who can see and battle ghosts and spirits…

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…there, I got that out of the way. Anyway, his dead grandmother tells him to take a break from the world and go to a town in Texas called Midnight… where every citizen is a supernatural being. I saw a vampire, some kind of ancient spirit, and what was either an angel or a birdman in the trailer and I’m sure there’s a lot more I missed. I’ll definitely be checking this one out.

Injustice 2 (preview)

This is cheating a bit, since the sequel to the DC Comics fighting game was announced way before Comic Con. But there was a Comic Con announcement of two new fighters: Wonder Woman, who is kind of a given… and one of my favorite superheroes, Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle! Seeing his preview flipped the party switch because I believe more people need to know about this guy. From the looks of things, he will be done justice in Injustice. Also, if you haven’t already, read his solo series from before the New 52. It’s pure gold.

The Good Place (preview)

Kristen Bell stars in a quirky comedy series where she dies and goes to… well, “the good place” where she is to live out the rest of eternity. The only problem is that she wasn’t supposed to be there; she got into paradise through a clerical error because someone sharing her name was a practical saint, while Bell’s character was a scumbag in life. From the one preview I saw, it looks pretty fun and plays around with the idea that not all who do good things are good at heart. I’m certainly willing to give it a shot. Lord knows Kristen Bell needs a break, so fingers crossed.

Casefile: Arkham (bought)

Add this to the list of things I bought but haven’t read yet. But I did give the first few pages a look and I’d just like to say I’m interested. This black and white comic based in the world created by H.P. Lovecraft has a real sense of atmosphere to it and has a style that fits right in with the feel of Cthulhu. So yeah, on the backburner for now, but I’m itching to read.

The Life After (bought)

This comic, however, I finished in two nights. Well, the first volume, anyway. The story about an amnesiac traipsing around the afterlife with the spirit of Ernest Hemingway is brought to us by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, who has quite a few titles under his belt. I’d be interested in checking out the rest of the series, even though it’s not the most lighthearted book. There’s also a few jabs at organized religion, which may turn some people off. Still, I think it’s well-written and worth a read. And while we’re on the subject of Mr. Fialkov…

Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth (bought)

From what I’ve skimmed, this one is a lot more lighthearted and comedic, carrying a Scott Pilgrim vibe. In this story, aliens come to Earth and choose a champion through an arbitrary process, the spinner landing on the loser that is the titular Jeff. This isn’t a collection of issues, but rather one larger comic issue separated into chapters. This is another one I can’t wait to read and it looks like it’ll be a breeze.

The Wonderbolts Academy Handbook (bought)

From the same author as The Elements of Harmony and The Journal of the Two Sisters, we have this look into the ranks of the elite flying force from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I don’t know that this one delves into too much lore, or at least not much that fans already know. It does, however, act as a guidebook for discipline and morality, teaching etiquette and social graces like a tutor would, even coming with one of those graphs that shows what facial expression connects to what mood. I can see this being really useful for a lot of kids, especially those on the autism spectrum, so I say it was worth the purchase.

Also, I got the new pony book Lyra and Bon Bon and the Mares from S.M.I.L.E., but as I haven’t read it or most of the other pony books yet, it wouldn’t be fair to judge.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice (preview)

Oh man, do I love the Ace Attorney games and this one is shaping up to be a good one. The demo I played was only part of the first trial, but it showcased the new features this game brings to the table and some great animation. The new mode this time around is seeing the last moments of the murder victim through their eyes, reading what their other four senses picked up, and trying to see where the contradiction is. These games really do just keep getting better and finding new ways to challenge the players. This game comes out in less than a month for digital download on the 3DS and I could not be more impatient.

Here’s hoping that all of these things live up to the hype and for another great Comic Con next year!

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Posted under On My Mind
Aug-12-2016

What’s On My Mind on 8-12-16

I still can’t believe that Comic Con’s come and gone, even though my body sure can. Wow, that was a lot of walking… I got to see a lot of great panels and people there, but one of the standouts was the final workshop I went to: Writing Full-Time on a Part-Time Schedule. The notes I took at the workshop were essential to anyone trying to balance their creative and work life, but there are 28 different tips and I don’t want this to be the length of a dissertation. So without further ado, here are some tips on balancing creativity with life itself.

There is sacrifice involved

It’s a sad truth that creativity takes time, which means less free time for all the fun stuff in your life. If you’re balancing your artistic pursuits with a full time job, you’re going to have to decide between your craft and friends/hobbies/video games/etc. It’s good to carve out some time for these things, but you’ll also need to sacrifice some of the fun times to continue your great work.

And that’s okay. Another bullet on the list is, “It’s good to say no,” which is true. Apart from asserting control over your own life, it also builds discipline, which is a great skill for a creator to have. Build more discipline and you can get more stuff out the door before you go senile. But before you think that you’ll have to give up on fun completely…

Avoid burnout by doing things that have nothing to do with your passion

Let’s get one fact straight: your mind is a muscle and working it for so long causes strain. So sometimes, whether in the middle of the workday or on a day off, it’s a great idea to do an activity that has absolutely nothing to do with your creative passion. This can be exercise (which should be done anyway), building a LEGO set, playing cards or board games with your friends, roughhousing with your dog… anything whatsoever as long as it’s not building on your work. That way, your brain gets a chance to stop flexing and recharge. Never underestimate the benefits of distractions.

Get out of the house to work

Libraries. Parks. Coffee shops. These are all your friends if you’re a creative type. Get out and give your brain to extra stimuli to prevent it from stagnating in one closed room. I don’t know the science behind it, but I know through doing it that it works. But if you’re a painter… some venues might not be the best place.

Money is important/Creativity can suck you dry

These are two different points, but they go hand in hand. Being creative is expensive, whether it’s the artist buying supplies, the videographer getting the latest editing software, or the writer subscribing to a Dropbox plan to coordinate with other writers. So yeah, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. That should never be underestimated when taking a creative pursuit, so learn to budget. On top of that, be sure to take gigs that pay. It’s great to talk about doing it for the art, but at the end of the day, everything your body needs costs money. You’ve got talent, so make sure you’re rewarded for it.

Stop quitting, the self-doubt, and the lack of confidence – believe in your work

When everything is said and done, you are the ultimate driving force behind your projects. The saying goes that you’re your own harshest critic, so you need to free yourself from all of the chains that hold you back. If you have anxiety or depression, find resources that can help you with that and learn some self-soothing techniques to mitigate some of the problems. If something always comes up for you to do instead, plan your day out to the letter to make sure that you don’t have an excuse. If you think that your work isn’t good enough or that you’re a failure… do it anyway. Jake the Dog from Adventure Time put it best: “Sucking is the first step to being sorta good at something.” The best path to success is the one where you learn how to fall and get back up again. And remember: you’re the one pitching your work. If you don’t believe in it, why should anyone else?

Hopefully, you’ve found some of these tips useful and your creative life has gotten easier. Join me next week when I talk about my favorite part of Comic Con: all the things they hyped.

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Posted under On My Mind
Jul-27-2016

What’s On My Mind on 7-27-16

Ahh, Comic Con. The place I truly feel at home. I can’t even remember my first Comic Con, but I know that it’s made every July that I can remember something to look forward too. Of course, being the long-running con that it is, it’s had to change the way it’s worked to keep up with the times and the ever-growing popularity. Some changes are good, others are… yeah. With all that’s said, let’s take a look at the good and the bad from San Diego Comic Con 2016.

The Good

Badge authenticity has always been a concern for the Comic Con staff, but they have finally come up with a solution. Each of the badges now has an RFID code on it that gets scanned on entry. This was something that was implemented at Silicon Valley Comic Con and it makes the transition here without any traffic congestion. The scanners are even themed around The Walking Dead, so that’s pretty neat. On top of that, it’s structured in a way that doesn’t require a photo ID, so those who share their passes can breathe easy. But that’s illegal by Comic Con standards… and I would never tell you to break the law… noooooooooo, not me…

Then there’s the improvements to getting into the infamous Hall H, which is so popular that congoers have had to camp out overnight to get in. Well, now that have a wristband system. From what I’ve been told, if people camp out overnight, they get an electronic wristband that will let them know when their time to get into the hall is, leaving them free to explore the con until then. It certainly beats waiting in that line for 28 hours to get into the Marvel panel. Speaking of, apparently it’s so easy now that my godniece-in-law stood in line for only a half-hour before she got in and saw loads of stuff, including the Game of Thrones panel. And it was her second Comic Con ever. I still haven’t forgiven her for this.

The Bad

I’ve always had questions about how management at Comic Con worked in the past, but this year the right hand really didn’t know what the left was doing. Weapons Check was a total mess this year because of some new edict that came down that nobody, and I mean nobody else knew about. When I met to check my claws for my Wolverine cosplay, they said that I couldn’t take them into the hall, as there was a ban on Wolverine and Freddy Krueger claws and the like. That would have been nice to let people know beforehand in an email or something! Apparently they went as far as to ziptie people’s weapons to their costumes themselves, but this seemed completely arbitrary. In fact, walking the halls, I saw plenty of Wolverines and Freddy Kruegers that had their costumes intact and other weapons like that ones that got ziptied waving free. So either Weapons Check was asleep at their job or none of the other staff was aware of this edict.

Also, let’s talk about the big complaint for this year: the new design for the bags. I was initially on board with them, but as time went on I joined the masses in disliking them. The addition of a flap makes the whole thing cumbersome and if you really pack the bag full, the velcro on the flap comes loose and it just hangs there like a limp tongue. A lot of people I talked to complained that it was harder to just reach back and slip stuff into your bag, though I’ve never been able to do that in my own personal experience. Another complaint a lot of people had was that they got rid of the poster holder, which I didn’t know they had, but enough people mentioned it that I have to lament with them. Suffice to say, the bags were not a hit.

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Well, that’s all about the ups and downs of the experience. Come back next week for some previews of things to come in the world of geekdom.

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Posted under Announcements, On My Mind