Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of the year (2010)

Alrighty then, so here we are again, the end of another year, the closing of another chapter, stick a fork in 2010, folks, it is done. We are mere hours from a new year and only 724 days until the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar and with it, the world as we know it.


It's been an up and down year, some good, some bad, but more good than bad, I think, so I guess that's a win for me.

On the blog front, this post will put me at 80 posts this year. That's about 6 or 7 posts a month, on the average, and about 30 posts less than last year. I've had a lot less of Le Sexy Ladies posts, though, so that's probably where that drop-off comes from.

Looking ahead, my dear and gentle Readers, in the coming weeks you should be on the lookout for my end-of-the-year lists to start making their annual appearances. I'm planning on a Best/Worst movie list (...surprise, surprise), once I catch up on a couple films I've missed, and I might just put up a best comic book list too, for the whole two of you out there that not only read this blog, but might actually be interested as well, depending on the wild hairs in my butt.

(Is it hairs or hares? Are you saying: "There's an ingrown hair in my butt making me do things" or are you saying: "There's feral bunnies in my butt making me do things"? Which one would Richard Gere choose, do you think?)

ANYWAY, I'm also thinking I'll put something up at the Scribblerati blog, probably in the next couple of days or so, just to put a nice little bow on things, you know? In a nutshell, keep an eye out for that shit...

On the writing front, this year has been a quiet year, a year of rejections, a year of edits. I have finished Gunslingers of the Apocalypse pretty much for good (give or take). I've also recently updated the spread sheet. I've got six queries out currently. Two are probably dead. Two are at the point of re-querying or soon will be. Two of them are still current. So, by the middle of the month, I plan on sending out a couple of new queries, while dealing with the aforementioned re-queries, as well as dig up a few more names for future use.

People should be back in the office by then.

And yeah, my stuff will end up lumped in with the post-holiday deluge of everyone else, but... que sera, sera. Meanwhile, The Little Things waits patiently for a final tweak while I finish up Monster, which should be this week. Then Monster will get trunked for a bit to percolate while The Little Things starts going back out again. Then it's back to short stories. My plan is to have six to eight of them done or very nearly almost done by spring. The ideas are lining up and I'm feeling positive about them, so we'll see. After that... I'll either get back on Bastard out of Minnesota or I'll be starting something else I've been back-burner-ing for awhile now. Either way: Stop! Novel time!

Basically, to sum up: this is a year where there will be less editing, more writing and more querying... at least, that's my plan. Also, I bought P90x... so in 90 days... look the fuck out.

All in all, I am ready for 2011, how about you?

Jon

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another sweet poster


Battle: Los Angeles. Supposedly it's like ID4 meets Blackhawk Down, with the story following one squad of soldiers in one battle during an alien invasion of our world. That battle, obviously, is for Los Angeles. The trailer looks great and now the poster looks great too. This one is on my list, despite the fact that Michelle Rodriquez is in it, most likely with her mouth hanging partially open the entire time...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet Posters

Here's the poster for the film Black Swan. I'm really looking forward to the film and this is a fantastic image for the poster, I love the use of negative space. The more I think about it, I think I'm also really drawn to it, because it looks like the sigil of the Rebel Alliance.  Hmmm... Anyway, it looks great and just makes me want to see it all the more. I hope the film holds up.


Next we have a trilogy of images for a famous trilogy of movies. These posters were created by the artist Olly Moss. Apparently they're gonna be on sale at some point on the 20th, limited edition, highly collectable, super in-the-know secret sale, know what I mean? Yeah, you do. I ran across the information here, but you can buy them here when they finally go on ultra double top secret sale.

EDIT: Sold out, baby. Sold out like a motherfucker.

These are amazing. Amazing. I totally want them, but they're expensive. God damn, I wish I was a sexy camgirl. Well, sexier, that is...

Anyway, gaze upon the awesome...






Love 'em. Incredible. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Walking Dead: A recap of Season One, Episodes 4 – 6


Here we are again, standing at the precipice of the second half of my review of the first season of the Walking Dead TV show. Last time we were here, we heard way too much about Meryl and Daryl and not enough about anything else. Blame Darabont. Now, I’ll admit, I was a bit harsh last time out, true, true, all very true. What can I say? I roll with the snark. You can read it here.

Ok, let’s get two things straight here, right off the bat:
1. I like the show. I do. In broad general terms, I like it. I just have a few issues with it close up.
2. Yes, you are right, the comic isn’t literature, not by any stretch, but it’s good enough that I figured some pros could polish it up enough to shine on the TV, you know? There’s some good action and drama there. The story itself is strong; it really is, but the first half of the season? What’s my overview? It was just alright. I expected better.

So, how does the second half go, you ask? Do they get better?

Read on, gentle readers. (No, no they don’t.)


Episode 4: “Vatos

Written by Robert Kirkman, directed by Johan Renck

In this episode, we follow the four idiots as they search for Meryl One-handed, the strongest, most ornery sumbitch alive, not only has Meryl cut off his own hand, but he’s also killed three zombies and then cauterized the wound with sterno cans! He’s like the Davy Crockett of the zombie apocalypse. The four idiots lose Meryl at a broken window and decide to completely forget about him forever or at least until season 2, we’ll see… Back at Camp Stupid, previously unremarkable survivor Jim is digging holes. Shane tells him to quit, but Jim says no way and then they wrestle and then Shane ties Jim to a tree. Back in Atlanta, the four idiots turn their focus on the big bag of guns that Rick left in the street at the end of Episode 1, the same guns that then got rained on in Episode 2…. Moving on! They enact a plan to get the guns, only to be jumped by the feared Latino gang: the Sharks from West Side Story! The Sharks kidnap Glenn and they want to exchange him for the guns, they then back away to the sound of slow choreographed snapping… Soon everyone is pointing guns at each other, it’s a stand-off (a Mexican stand-off, if you will… ah-ha, ah-hahaha… oh, how droll) and oh how the tension is a’rising. But wait! PLOT TWIST! The Sharks are actually protecting an old folk’s home filled with old folks! Head idiot Rick takes pity on them and hands over some guns and everyone parts ways, having learned a little bit about each other… and themselves. But wait! PLOT TWIST NUMERO DOUS! Their van is gone! Oh, that Meryl! He is one ornery sumbitch! The idiots think Meryl might return to camp and One-hand the fuck outta everybody, so they start running back to camp, but it turns out he didn’t. Meanwhile, back at Camp Stupid… They’re throwing a party! Fish fry, baby! Here’s to good friends… tonight is kinda speci—AH ZOMBIES! CHOMP! CHOMP! EAT! AHHHH! LOUD NOISES! BLOOD-BLOOD-BLOOD!

I just… I mean… sigh… come on, man! I can’t even talk about the stupid gang-banger plot, it’s as stupid and as complete a waste of time as you would assume… And again, Meryl… he will not go quietly into that good night. They pretend like he’s a plot point, but he’s really not. It doesn’t really matter though, because this is the last time you really ever hear him mentioned… Three of the six episodes are practically focused like a laser on the guy and for what? Nothing.

What are they doing? Did they not realize they only had a little less than six hours with which to tell a whole story with a beginning, middle, and end? What if they hadn’t gotten a season 2? Yes, this episode was written by series creator Robert Kirkman, I know and I hear, for all intents and purposes, he’s a real nice guy, but this episode? Weak sauce, sister. This is the low point of the season…

Also, Shane is once again the only person in the entire group without his head firmly up his ass. Every time someone wants to do something stupid, who is it that tells them that it is stupid and then turns out to be right? Shane. Who took care of his buddy’s family after he was unable to save that buddy from the zombie apocalypse (or so he thought)? Shane. And the worst part is… I’m pretty sure they mean for the audience to be feeling this way about Rick, head idiot and a big time Mr. Weepy-pants. Also, did they insinuate that Jim was psychic? Ugh… Let’s move on…

This was a poorly done, poorly written episode.


Episode 5: “Wildfire”

Written by Glen Mazzara, directed by Ernest Dickerson

In this episode, we see that it can sometimes take hours for a dead person to change into a zombie… HOURS… Clean-up from the previous night’s party is the focus of most of the first third of the episode. While sweeping, it is discovered that Jim was bitten during the night’s festivities. Rick takes action. “To the CDC,” he says “they may have a cure for Jim.” Shane says, “That’s a dumb idea” and the two almost slap fight. Then he and Rick go hunting and Shane does his imitation of Dick Cheney, but he’s just pretending. Rick never gets to see the impersonation though, but Dale, the wise old man of the group (you can tell by the beard), sees this and gives Shane a disapproving look. As a result, Shane feels guilty and agrees to Rick’s plan. No one else gets a say. So the survivors take as many vehicles as possible, instead of conserving fuel and having everyone pile into one or two, and head off down the road… minus a few more Red shirts. You see, unbeknownst to the viewing audience, there was a really nice family of Mexican Redshirts among the survivors at the camp. Thinking back, I do remember seeing them in the background once or twice. What a bunch of nice Redshirts. So anyway, instead of going to the CDC, they decide to go their own way (go their own waaaaaay) and the viewing audience barely notices or cares. Back to the road, the survivors are trucking along, but Jim is turning too quick and he wants to be left behind. So they leave him, and despite the fact that without Jim they don’t really have a reason to go to the one place in America guaranteed to have the zombie virus present, they keep going. Meanwhile, in the CDC, Dr. Scientist is doing his best impression of Charlton Heston as the Omega man. He is interrupted by Rick and the others banging on his door. At the last moment, he lets them in.

This episode wasn’t bad, although admittedly I don’t remember much of my reaction toward it, so maybe that’s the most telling part right there. Ambivalence, they name is Episode 5: “Wildfire”.

The journey to the CDC is the biggest divergence from the book so far, maybe not thematically, but at least setting wise. I think if there was anything I’d point out as not liking, it would be a few missed opportunities, both new ones and the results of previous ones. Take Dale and Andrea, for instance… please. (ba-dum-bum tssch! I’ll be here all week!) Dale, you may recall is the old guy with the beard, so he’s wise. He’s got a special bond with the sisters: college age and now dead and zombified Amy and her older sister, sad and not zombified Andrea. Of course, you wouldn’t really know about their bond unless you read the comics, as they’ve spent more time with Meryl, Daryl, and T Dog (the name of my next band BTW) then they have on this trio, but they act like this isn’t the case in the script. What you get is a “touching” scene between two characters that haven’t really interacted before this, but are both acting like they have. A little bit of character building might have lent some more emotional weight to the moment… Missed opportunity. I also had a little trouble with the beginnings of the “Shane is not just a mega-jerk, but he might be ca-ca-ca-crazy” storyline. Of course, I had the same problems with the abruptness of that storyline in the comic too, so maybe that’s a different issue and not really the show’s fault.

Also, Amy’s turning took forever.


Episode 6: “TS-19”

Written by Adam Fierro and Frank Darabont, directed by Guy Ferland

In this episode we see a flashback to Shane’s attempted rescue of Rick from the hospital as it is being overrun. The military is shooting everything that moves, the Dead are everywhere and they are biting people like crazy. Gunshots. Explosions. Smoke. The chaos is too much and Shane is forced to leave Rick, blocking off his room before fleeing the hospital. He tries. He really tries. Back to the present with our survivors in the CDC and it looks like it’s about that time… That’s right. P-A-R-T… Y? Because they gotta! They’re drinking and eating and laughing and showering! It’s like college. But every party has a Debbie downer and this party’s Debbie downer is named Shane. Still visibly upset over his new lack of access to Lori’s Va-jayjay, he gets drunk in the shower, then he pees on everyone’s parade at dinner and then he tries to force himself on Lori. She bitchslaps him. The next day everyone is hung over, so Dr. Scientist explains how the infection works and then lets it slip that the CDC will be blowing up in less than an hour…ah… WHA!?!? That’s right, blowing up in less than an hour. The survivors get upset at this. Really upset. Dr. Scientist thinks it will be better if they all just blow up. Rick eventually convinces him that that is not in their best interest, so Dr. Scientist releases them and then whispers a secret in Rick’s ear. As the CDC explodes, the survivors realize that one of their last Redshirts has stayed behind: Skinny black lady is dead. The survivors pause briefly and then drive off into the unknown…

Thematically, this episode was important. You’ll hear some people out there gripe about the show not doing the “Wiltshire Estates” storyline, but that’s just fan-wank. “Wiltshire Estates” is a story arc where the survivors attempt to occupy an abandoned gated community only to find out the place is already occupied… BY THE DEAD… and this CDC storyline covers the same ground. Basically, they both teach our heroes that the old world is gone and that nowhere is safe. And that’s important for them to realize, because it changes them from being refuges hoping for rescue, to survivors looking to build a new life. It’s also the final culling, where the folks who were hoping for rescue give up. The people who make it through that realization have their own reasons to live and keep on surviving.

This episode also explained the zombie infection, not where it comes from, but how it works, which is alright, I guess. Personally, I feel like the information is mostly unimportant and a narrative waste, because it doesn’t change anything about the survivors’ daily reality. Knowing how the virus works doesn’t mean you don’t have to run as fast anymore. I mean, I guess I don’t mind the virus explanation, if they must, because how it works is obvious, I’m just glad they avoided explaining the origin. I like it better as a massive cosmic side-swiping rather than… you know, a space virus or a lab accident or toxic waste or whatever. It’s better when there is no meaning and no one to blame. It’s better when it just is and the survivors have to deal or die. Once you define it, it’s lessened, you know?

Otherwise… a lot of fake tension. I mean, what the fuck? A ticking clock? Oh no, will they all blow up? What will they do? I’m so unsure… PPPPHhhhhhhbbbbbbtttttttttt! Fuck that shit; it’s like bad star trek writing. How stupid. Also, here we get more Dale and Andrea acting as if this bond they have isn’t brand new to viewing audience as Andrea gives up and decides to stay at the CDC until convinced by Dale that she should keep fighting to live, so she agrees and they run off, jumping toward the camera as the CDC CGI explodes. The funniest part was Skinny black lady was all like: “I’m staying.” And everyone is like, “Cool, later.” Then Andrea goes: “I’m staying too.” And everyone is like: “NOOOOOOOO!” Yeah, in your face, Skinny black lady, we hate you, go blow up.

I’m torn on the Shane rape scene; I think it came off awkward. Kind of like that sentence...He definitely assaulted her (which is definitely bad), but I don’t think he intended to "rape" her, I think the character was supposed to be drunkenly convinced that if he could just get her to kiss him, she’d admit her love for him. It’s the same thing, but I think the intent comes from a different place, which makes Shane a deeply flawed character instead of sudden Snidely Whiplash out of nowhere bad guy… Maybe this scene is a good example of how the show just fell short of pulling off the little details and nuances that really kept it from being a great show.

Like, Rick is the new guy, right? In the show, he’s been awake for about a week, give or take. Everyone else has been living in the zombie apocalypse for 5 weeks, give or take. So how come everybody seems just as clueless as Rick? How come they all act like they’re just experiencing all of this for the first time? They were there for the end of the world; they saw it and they survived. Why aren’t they a little more hardened? The way this season went, I fell like the writers never even considered this. I mean, wouldn’t the survivors all know about the CDC? If a zombie virus was tearing up the world, wouldn’t you think the CDC would be the center of the Universe, the last hope, and on TV constantly before the power goes out? Wouldn’t you think everyone would know about the place? Wouldn’t the pictures of the zombies hanging out there at the end have been flashed around the world? Wouldn’t everyone know to stay away? You'd would think so, wouldn't you? A nit, sure, but still... going to the CDC after a plague based apocalyopse would be like robbing a bank and then deciding to hide out at the police station.

But then, that’s the show in a nutshell, there were so many broad strokes requiring a caring audience to fill in the gaps, so much time wasted on characters that didn’t matter. It wasn’t that they were new and not in the comic, it was that they did nothing except take up valuable space and now… pretty much all of them are dead. What a waste of narrative time. The good news is: there is one redshirt character left (Daryl), and at least he was a 3-D character for awhile, until he faded away in the background for the past two episodes. Of course, this probably means they’ll meet a busload of redshirts in the first five minutes of next season’s premiere. “Hi, I’m Ted, I’m a dentist. I’ll just stand over here…” “Hi, I’m Julie, I was a housewife who lost her family, I plan on flipping out and letting zombies into our camp.” “Hi, mi nombre es Tito, man, I ain’t a Meican’t, I’m a Mexican AND comic relief, vato! Wacky!” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

So, what was the secret Dr. Scientist whispered in Rick’s ear? Do you want to know?

Do you really want to know…?

Ok, so it was either 1 of 3 things or a combination.

1. Lori’s pregnant (who’s baby is it?)

2. Everyone is already infected, so everyone will eventually become a zombie when they die, no matter what. Which would make the survivors… wait for it… the Walking Dead (oh, so clever).

3. He tells Rick where he has been sending his video transmissions to (most likely a government bunker or something like that.)

I lean toward 1 or 2.

Overall, yeah, I liked the show, but it comes with too many caveats and addendums for me to really feel good about recommending it to anyone who isn’t into the same shit as me.

There’s too many issues. What was this season about? Where was the realization? Yes, I said the CDC arc is all about showing the survivors that the old world is gone, that no help is coming and that they must start building and defining their new world on their own, but when did we get to SEE that realization happen? I’ll tell you when… we didn’t.

So what was the point?

The problems with this show start at the writing and end at the writing, let’s hope the rumors are true, because as a standalone mini-series, from a story point of view, I gotta say this show was a failure. Whose story was told? How did they change? These are basic questions. Does “story” really matter there, AMC? Prove it. You can’t write toward a series you don’t have yet, you have to tell a complete story in the time frame you are given, the pilot, the first six episodes… This is where the story was supposed to be. All those strings leading off into possible future story lines are extra, they’re secondary and to my mind, much like a Receiver running before the ball is in his hands, this is where the show fumbles, this is why this show was ultimately subpar… But then, what do I know, the thing just got a WGA nomination, so… ppphhbbttt.

In the end, yeah, I’ll tune in next season. Definitely. Like I said, the show wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good. Besides, I love me a good apocalypse. So, I’ll tune and hope for focus. Focus on character. Focus on story. We’ll see.

There are others discussing this show. Be sure to swing by Io9 and Badass Digest, if you’re interested.


Fuck that guy…

Jon

The Thunderer

Here's the first teaser poster for Thor. It's alright, could've been worse, could've been better. The armor looks more like armor at least, instead of molded plastic. I love Mjolnir. At this point, who knows how this film is going to turn out, I go back and forth on it. Some of the things I've seen I love, some things... worry me... Either way, I am past ready for the trailer to hit.


Edit:
Hmmm... ask and you shall receive, I guess. The trailer is up, but youtube won't let me embed it, the bastards. I'll put it up when I can, until then it's here. My intitial thoughts? I think it's gonna turn out to be fun, but it's definitely won't hit like Iron Man, even if you don't count Rober Downey Jr. I'm going to have to watch it a few more times before I can really decide, although honestly, that probably says quite a bit on how it ranks on the "blow my skirt up" meter. I totally nailed the plot though, check it out here.

Later,
Jon

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Walking Dead: A recap of Season One, Episodes 1 - 3


So, I know I’ve talked about how I generally prefer to distance myself from this property and why, but in case you missed it, it is mostly due to the fact that I don’t want people to get the wrong impressions of my motives. If you want to read me ramble on about it a little bit more, you can find the whole thing here. So, yeah, anyway, this is normally my policy, but since the first season just wrapped up, I figured, everyone else is talking about it, why shouldn’t I?

So let’s do it.

Ok so, for the new kids and first timers, The Walking Dead is a comic by Robert Kirkman about a group of survivors in a world overrun by zombies. The book is pretty good, if somewhat overly expository on occasion, and it tends to explore more of a “realistic”, less flashy type of setting. It's generally a pretty good read. Kirkman has said that his intention was to make a never ending zombie movie. Your approval may vary, but I’m all on board for that. Anyway, along came Frank Darabont and AMC and together they have made a show.

This is what I’ll be blathering on about…

Now, keep in mind, I like the show. I do. Especially in the broad sense, but I’ve definitely got some issues with it and some nits too, all of which I will expound upon at length momentarily, but before we get started, I just wanted to be clear: over all… I like it. Also, this blog turned into a long one, so I’m breaking it up into two parts. First up, as evidenced by this blog’s title, Episodes 1 - 3.

So…



Episode 1: “Days Gone By”

Written and directed by Frank Darabont

In this episode we meet our hero, Rick. Rick’s a cop. Rick got shot. Rick woke up from a coma to find… ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE… always a hazard. Anyway, as Rick stumbles about, slack jawed, trying to piece together just what in the bloody blue fuck is going on, he meets Morgan and Dwayne, fellow survivors who explain the status quo a bit, before Rick sets off alone to find his family, hoping against hope that they’re still alive (they are). In the end, we leave Rick the dumbass trapped inside a tank, out of ammo, and surrounded by zombies.

This is the episode that most closely adhered to the source material and is probably the best example of how adding things to the already established story really brought the show up a notch in terms of quality. It was a real “showcaser” of an episode. Good effects, nice pacing, excellent tension and art direction, it set a good tone and a high bar for the rest of the season to follow (and usually just miss…), especially in terms of “fixing” some the comic’s issues, i.e. the padding to Morgan and Dwayne’s story… the inclusion of Morgan’s zombie wife trying the door knob on the house… it was all great stuff. An all together great start. Well done.

If there was one thing I didn’t like, it would be this one zombie extra. He’s wearing a suit, has stringy hair, he stumbles off the bus in downtown Atlanta… He sucks. You can tell that he’s playing his zombie as really “evil” and he just ends up looking like an over-the-hill metalhead doing scary-Satan guy while working behind the counter at Brueggers, it’s lame… I hate that guy and I hope he knows it.

Is that a nit?


fuck this guy...

Episode 2: “Guts”

Written and directed by Frank Darabont

In this episode, due to some fancy footwork and his poor, poor, really dead horsey, Rick is able to duck out of the tank and slip past the ravenous Dead. He meets new survivor Glenn, who is scavenging a department store in Atlanta, with some other folks, for a larger group that is camped and waiting outside the city. One of their group is a dangerous hothead and he’s on the roof just a’shootin and a’shootin. His name’s Meryl and yes, he hates the colored folks. YEE-HA!!! Rick handcuffs him to the roof of the department store after they wrestle for a bit. But they’ve made a lot of noise and soon the zombies outside are going crazy with the idea of getting in and eating the hell out of everybody. Meanwhile, the group outside the city (including Rick’s wife Lori, son Carl, and his former police partner Shane, who is now boning Lori) all decide that the group in the city is “f” to the “u” to “c.k.e.d.”, so they do other stuff to pass the time. This means Rick and the others are on their own and must attempt a desperate and super gross plan in order to escape… which they then do.

I was a little disappointed in this episode. This is mostly due to the fact that it features my least favorite moment from the comic. I’m referring of course, to the titular “guts”, where Rick and Glenn must douse themselves in zombie in order to walk among the Dead and steal a few cars so they can pick up the others and hi-tail it out of Atlanta. You see this occasionally in the genre and I think it is one of the stupidest ideas out there. Here’s why: First of all, you’re insinuating zombies recognize each other by smell… dumb, but let’s address it anyway. What about fresh zombies? They’re not all gross and rotty, does that confuse older zombies? Also, there is too much thought process involved when you have a zombie sniff Rick and then decide that, since he stinks, he must be a zombie, you know? Deductive reasoning? Come on, it’s stupid… unless the film is Shaun of the Dead, then it’s hilarious. Also, would a zombie who lost his sense of smell in life be effectively blind in undeath? Stupid and problematic. Then, for a big stupid cherry on top of a big stupid sundae… it rains and washes Rick and Glenn completely clean, clean as a whistle in fact, and all the zombies are like: “WTF?!?! What’s that delicious smell?!?!? Humans!?!? Amongst us!?!?!” I mean… come on…

Another thing I noticed in this episode is that this is where you can really see the beginnings of a greater problem. Namely: there are a lot of Red shirts hanging out. This is a problem for two reasons.

1. Red shirts and what inevitably happens to them is never surprising or touching, it’s always expected and therefore lame.

2. These Red shirts seem to be taking center stage to the detriment of several main characters from the book. I’m not saying you’re missing out on anything “amazing” or whatever, but spending time on the Red shirts INSTEAD of the real characters, means we’re missing out on the nascent bonding that will provide the foundation for believable later interactions between the main characters. This is one of those situations where you have to ask: Why? Why toss out a good (or eventually good character) for a 2-D one that doesn’t survive the next couple of episodes? Waste of time. You only get six episodes. Case in point: Meryl. He’s a little bit more than a Red shirt, but he’s not quite a character. He’s also kind of pointless. I mean, he might come back later on in the story at a point that is obvious to fans, but he wasn’t needed in the book for that story to happen, so he isn’t needed now. He is superfluous. And of course, he is also the most 2-D of the 2-D. He’s the racist redneck. Now, I don’t deny their existence, if we learned one thing since Obama was elected, it’s that this country has no end to 2-D racists, but still… it’s poorly done and worst of all… overly familiar.

Basically, after the strong showing of the first episode, this episode was a more than a bit of a letdown and sadly, much more representative of the average episode’s quality level than I’d like.


Episode 3: “Tell it to the Frogs”

Written by Charles Eglee and Jack LoGiudice, directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

In this episode we finally see the tearful reunion of Rick and Lori and Carl, a family re-united after so many arduous and terrible days apart, days filled with blood and guts and terror and death and nightmares given flesh, days now finally over, because our hero has found that which he sought so hard to find… his family… and then he ditches them to go back into Atlanta and save the crazy red-neck Meryl they had accidentally left handcuffed to the department store roof. We also meet Meryl’s other brother: Daryl, proving that not only is Meryl an unoriginal cliché, but so were his parents. Daryl is a wee bit upset at them forgetting Meryl, so Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog (… sigh… really? T-Dog?) go traipsing back off to Atlanta. Meanwhile, Lori tells Shane that she is no longer interested in doggy-styling in the woods due to the fact that her husband is alive. Shane is visibly upset. Later, the women-folk are busy doing the laundry when fellow survivor and tank top wearing douchebag Ed decides to smack his wife around. Still visibly upset Shane happens upon this and then pounds the unholy shit out of Ed; however, this is presented to the audience as if it were bad thing. Meanwhile in Atlanta, The four idiots discover that Meryl has sawed his own hand off and disappeared from the entire storyline.

Problems abound and compound here, folks. First off, there’s more Red shirt nonsense than you can shake a stick at and it’s been awhile since the add-ins and divergences from the source material, that I had previously praised, had actually added anything good. Okay, to be fair, I make fun of Daryl, but he actually very briefly turns into one of the more rounded characters, AND I have to admit, he actually is a welcome addition to the group, a distinct voice that I hadn’t realized was missing, but he doesn’t do anything and then kind of fades away into the scenery. Here’s the big problem with him. It’s obvious that they wrote the first two episodes as the series pilot, right, and that they added Meryl to the mix for two reasons.

1. The group needed a little more overt tension (read: more filmable and also more easily understandable by the wider TV viewing audience) within the group.

2. The writers are all from California and only know about the south from TV and those Brad Pitt hurricane house infomercials, so they read the comic and was like: “Where’s the redneck racists?”

Anyway, so at the end of Ep. 2, they had left Meryl on the roof, he’s done. But that’s alright, this is only the pilot, they’ll worry about later episodes later, right? Problem. Then they got picked up for a season. And they realized they need Meryl; they must rescue him so they can continue to use him for group tension! But what do they do until then…? Eureka! Use a brother who is essentially the same character! Brilliant! Uh-oh, but wait, by the time the episode is going, they like Daryl better than Meryl, so they decide they don’t actually need Meryl anymore, so they write him out of the show (maybe we can use him later? Brilliant! It’ll look like we planned it all along.). But wait a minute more… if they’re writing off Meryl, because they now have Daryl, why even bother with this rescue storyline at all…?

Problem.

There are others, true, like how we’re seeing an accidental (I believe) rise of Shane’s character into a sympathetic, understandable, root-able character, which means they have to scramble to make him more hate-able later on, but really Meryl and Daryl is the big issue, both in and of themselves and in what they represent toward the greater storyline as a whole.

So basically, much like Episode 2, I liked this episode, but I’m beginning to realize that I like it more because of the “what if” factor zombie apocalypse stuff brings to the table for me, more than anything that is actually happening on-screen. It’s not bad; it’s just not that good or more appropriately, all that well-executed.

I expected a better, tighter focus... especially judging by AMC's other TV offerings.


Ok, so that’s episodes 1 through 3.

It was real strong out of the gate, then it faltered a bit. I think the good is still outweighing the bad at this point, but that the show is definitely angling off in the wrong direction, and I’m really disappointed in the lack of a cohesive story arc being built to span these initial six episodes. Yes, they’re dealing with the immediate fall out of a zombie apocalypse, but what are they doing? Who are they? Where are they going? What’s the point of these six episodes? What’s the realization? It’s hard to identify at this point just where exactly the creators of this show are aiming and it’s becoming more and more apparent that they just might be doing nothing more than shooting blindly in the dark.

Tomorrow: Episodes 4-6

Jon

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Scribblerati


Hey there, folks. I don't know if any of you out there are aware or not, but my fellow Scribblerati Agent Shawn has been keeping busy by blogging up a storm as part of the #Reverb10 project. It's a blog-a-day end-of-the-year thing.

You should swing by and read up: The Scribblerati Blog. Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What the fuck is with The Littles?

Ok, so you long time readers out there, you'll probably recall how I decided to try to increase my hit-count about a year or so ago, so I posted a now somewhat infamous post entitled: "Beautiful boobs braless and bouncing and bigger than your head". It was an experiment and let me tell you... it fucking worked. It is the call of the titty, my friends, I sounded its barbaric yawp across the rooftops of the world and pervos from all over the globe came a'runnin'.

And then they quickly left somewhat disappointed.

But whatever, like I said, it was funny to watch the keyword search tracker switch over from things like: "Billy Joel Vienna", "Natalie Portman's butt" or "Nathan Fillion" to such mind-boggling on and on ad infinitum gems like: "bouncing braless", "boobs bigger than your head", "braless nipples bouncing", "braless bouncing", "bra-less bouncey", "braless bouncy boobies", all the way up to the recent big winner piece of awesome: "fuc wife". Yeah, it was funny then, an experiment run wild and grown beyond my control, but now it's just a fact of life and what did we learn from the facts of life, kids? You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life. Basically what I'm saying is that at this point, I don't even notice anymore.

Oh, some dude from Fort Meyer, Kentucky was looking for beautiful braless boobs? Sorry, soldier... And there's a guy from Tempe, Arizona looking for some beautiful boobies... that makes sense, Arizona sucks... it's hot there... Wow, here's someone from Islamabad, Pakistan who wants nothing more than some beautiful boobs braless and bouncing... sorry, Charlie. Hey, and here's some guy from Cork, Ireland who wanted to see Scarlet Johansson in fishnet knee socks? I get that, my man, I get that, truly, she is an international language of brotherhood all her own...


Tá fáilte romhat, brotha.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that it's par for the course now, just part of the white noise in the background of my site. In a word or two: It's common. I'm used to it. In fact, as I'm writing this very blog, right now, some guy from Mukwonago, Wisconsin just buzzed my site, "Boobies? Hello? Hello? There some boobies here? I was told... No? Alright then, bye." It's regular, cats and kittens, it's like clockwork.

But then... then in the last few days, there's been an upset from out of nowhere, a disturbance in the force as if thousands (or dozens) of voices called out a new name and then fell silent... It's pure craziness, folks, but in the past week, I've had over a dozen separate searches, from Louisiana to the Netherlands, from deep in the heart of Texas, on out to the golden sands of sunny California, and all the way across the face of the spinning planet to Kuala Lumpur...

The Littles.

I'll say that again: The Littles. And all because I posted a link to a tiny ass picture buried in an unrelated post here. I mean, there's always been a few every now and then, head scratchers, you know, but a dozen? In the last week? From all over the World? For this?


Hey you! Yeah, you, the dude from the Netherlands... What the fuck, man? Seriously. Help a brother out, because boobies? I get it, man, I get it, but the Littles? And why so many of you so suddenly? What the fuck, man?

What the fuck?
Jon

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky is a director who either amazes me (The Wrestler) or bores me (The Fountain). This one looks like it will be amazing. I love the very subtle creep of weird into her normal world, slow and unnoticed until it is too late and then it has her by the throat... Fantastic and creepy.



Love it. I can't wait.

So anyway, while I freely acknowledge that it's more than a little bit premature to start talking about end of the year lists when there is still a whole month left, not to mention all the "slipped in right at the end of the year for Oscar consideration" films, but it's about that time again, and with two movies coming soon that I'm excited to see, I've started thinking about what I liked this year, so here you go.

I expect this film and True Grit to both end up highly placed on my favorites of the year list, along with Winter's Bone, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, Inception, Scott Pilgrim, and Iron Man 2 (shocker). Sure, that's not quite a top ten, but then the year isn't over yet and I still have things I need to watch, plus things I have to remember that I watched and liked (I watch a lot of movies, they blend sometimes...).

For the curious, here's some of the potential honorable mentions that may round out the list eventually, depending on how slow this somewhat crappy year actually turns out to be: Kick-Ass, How to Train Your Dragon, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire.

I'll put out the final list next year, sometime mid-Janurary most likely.

Stay tuned...
Jon

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter is coming

Oh me, oh my... I can not wait, kids. I can not wait. It looks so good. Here, quickly now, watch this:



What is it, you ask? For shame, dilettante, read up, catch up, then come back and join the rest of us in the long wait...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Codehunters

Here's a cool little short film by someone named Ben Hibon. Apparently he does an animated sequence in new Harry Potter flick (which I may go see tonight). If this is any indication of his work, I would be very interested in seeing more... especially if he eschews too much of an anime influence... and doesn't pull too heavily from the steampunk kind of stuff... or include characters in trenchcoats and cowboy hats... but that's just me...

Anyway, for your viewin pleasure: Codehunters



Here's the backstory, it's a little sloppy that so much information has to be imparted in text, but whatever, it was fun:

CODEHUNTERS... The story so far...

The port city of Lhek is on the brink of collapse. A Pacific Rim state in a not too distant Asian future with no borders, no meaningful government and little law and order.

Corruption and crime are out of control in the dark alleys of Eda, Lhek's slum district. Most sectors of the city are controlled by the army of dictator Khaan. The most underprivileged parts of the city are infested with dark Demons, ferocious creatures that spread fear and death amongst the city's inhabitants. To venture to those dark places is a dangerous game.

Eight decades ago, Khaan's right hand man, Niran, was said to have found a way of capturing children's darkest dreams and materializing them into reality. It was believed that Demons were created from those dark visions and used to spread fear and terror over Lhek.

Since Khaan came into power his supremacy had been challenged by a single dissenter, a man named Krai. This man was a renowned "Coder"; one of the last survivors of a supreme race possessing the ability to manipulate DNA, the code of life. Krai was the only person with the power to challenge Khaan's rule of terror. As his wrath turned against Khaan, Krai became the people's hero, a symbol of rebellion and freedom.

For seven decades, the ruler hunted him down ferociously. Krai was finally captured and executed, his body cut into seven parts. Even since, stories have spread that his remains resisted cremation and that Khaan was forced to keep them hidden. The seven remains were to be scattered across Asia never to be re-assembled.

Shen, Lawan, Zom and Nhi are the Codehunters. They are said to be the only ones who have the ability to see the suspended "DNA-strings" (the Dark Code) which control the Demons once they materialize. Only the Hunters with their special abilities have the power to challenge Khaan and Niran in their reign of terror. But without the help of Krai, the source of the Dark Code cannot be destroyed...

In recent years many mercenaries and followers of the Code have tried to find and re-assemble the fallen god. But no one has come close to succeeding... until now...

Created & Directed by Ben Hibon


Stumbled across at Badass Digest

Post Thanksgiving Coma

Hey, all, so just so you know heading into this post, the "G" key on my keyboard has chosen to become a right stubborn bastard, so if I start leaving them out, that's not me bein' street, you know, kickin' it... it's just my crappy computer. At least, most of the time. Admittedly, some of it will be due to me just bein' cool, but... that's just how I roll...

Anyway, Thanksgiving was good. Although to be  fair, I'm still only halfway through it. Little Ms. Super-cute Wife and I are at Dad's, which isn't as strange as I thought it'd be, maybe I'm getting used to that shit, I don't know. Whatever, it's good. The food was great and it's nice to see Stepmom C and the Wild Child. No, no, really the only real downside to all of this holiday-ing is that we're currently in Missouri, which, as we all know, sucks balls. Missouri has never done anything good for the world except to give us the James/Younger Gang, an opinion I will take to my grave, most likely while locked in a death struggle with the state. Come saturday, though, Little Ms. Super-cute Wife and I will load up the car and motor on up to Boone, where we will fill up on food (once more with feeling), and then head home again, home again, jiggedy-jig.

But that's just Thanksgiving, Jon, is what I bet you're thinking, what's on deck for you after that?

Well, if you've been followin my Twitter feed, as I'm sure you have, you'll know that I finished up Monster and sent it out to the Scribblerati for critique on Monday. It's a very sloppy 2nd draft. The Dragon chase was a bitch to wrangle and it took longer than I anticipated, so I didn't get to do the clean-up read I had wanted to do. Which means, of course, that as soon as I sat down and read it: Forgotten words, things out of place, things that didn't get deleted... Ugh... extremely frustrating.

Oh, well... 3rd draft, I guess.

Then I'll polish up The Little Things and send that out again. This is intended to coincide with the Query updates for Gunslingers of the Apocalypse, so that I can send out both the new version of the story and a couple of new queries at the same time, slippin them both into the hushed lull between Hanukkah and Christmas break. They'll probably still be unread and tossed in a pile until January, but what can you do? I can't make 'em speed, Captain...

After that, I have five (5) short story ideas that I'm going to work out a bit (The Listener, The Plague of Man, Walking Home, Garage boxes, and Scrappers). I plan on getting all of these done and sent out or whatever (hopefully) by spring. Then with the coming of spring, and barring any ridiculously awesome and life-changing news in my life, which would mean that I would need to dive into Bastard out of Minnesota instead of other projects (finers crossed), I intend to begin work on my new book idea. It should be fully cooked by then (hopefully). More on that later.

We'll see, I guess, "the best laid plans..." and all that, right?

Later,
Jon

Wait... what's this?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cowboys & Aliens

Hmmm... Jon Favreau, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford... Interesting...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Six Flags New Orleans

As long time readers, you will all no doubt remember my love of all things abandoned and forgotten. No? Well then, you must be new to this blog, as I talked about it here. Anyway, here is an amazing video tour of a decrepit amusement park that was shut down before Hurricane Katrina landed, never reopened and then promptly forgotten, and all set to a really creepy score. The dread, the tension, the absolutely effortless disrepair. I love how it's just around the corner, just a step away from the rest of society and yet, it feels like a completely different world. I love it.

Enjoy.



Thanks for digging this up, Roby.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Battle of Los Angeles



I like.

You know, I've been waiting for some time to see something from this film, ever since I first read about the whole "Alien invasion flick meets Blackhawk Down" idea and all I can say now is: Fantastic. Well done. The SDCC buzz was pretty good, and we'll have to see if it measures up to these initial promises at all, but until then... looking good. Looking good.

Jon

Scribblerati: Find time or don't for your writing


Howdy, howdy! Y'all know what time it is... That's right, it's Scribblerait Blog day! I've posted a little bit o' me over at the group blog and all for you, my dear and gentle readers. So swing by and have a read, it's fun! Besides, there's plenty of new stuff by fellow Scribblerati Agents posted for your reading enjoyment as well. Trust me, you won't be sorry.

Jon

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

True Grit, the Walking Dead, and then some Updates

So, I don’t know if you’ve read True Grit by Charles Portis, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend it.

The book tells the story of Mattie Ross, a young girl in the old west on the trail of the man who killed her Father, a drifter named Tom Chaney. In order to bring this man to justice, by lead or by rope, she recruits the help of a vicious fat old drunk of a one-eyed U.S. Marshall named Reuben J “Rooster” Cogburn. Along with a glory hound Texas Ranger named La Boeuf, the three set out on an often contentious and always dangerous road after the man Chaney. Bang bang bang.

The thing that really stands out in this book is Portis' lightning quick prose and Mattie’s amazingly clear voice. It reads so self aware, so modern. I couldn’t put it down and just blew through it. It consistently and easily occupies a spot on my top ten favorite reads list. If you’re avoiding it because you don’t like Westerns… stop doing that and go get the book. If you’re avoiding it because John Wayne was in the movie (which I’ve never seen)… pull your head out of your ass. It’s a good book, go get it, read it, love it. Besides, the Coen Brothers are making a new version for release this Christmas and you want to be ready. They say they’re going to stick closer to the book than the original film and after the way they handled No Country for Old Men, well… watch this:



See?

I can’t wait.

Ok, moving on, let’s talk about the Walking Dead TV show.

You’ve been watching it, haven’t you?

HAVEN’T YOU?

Well, if you haven’t then you’re one of the few. The first episode was seen by over 5.3 million people, the second by over 4.7. There has never been a cable TV show that has pulled that high of numbers… ever. Ever. That’s insane. And it’s good news for yours truly, my dear gentle readers, for as some of you may or may not recall, I am currently busy querying a variety of Literary Agents with my very own zombie apocalypse novel that is both (in my opinion) completely different from Kirkman’s Walking Dead (as I explained here) AND would also make a great TV show. You know that HBO is still smarting from the way AMC yoinked Walking Dead out from under them… especially after these numbers have come out. Hey baby, I got what ya’ looking for… shimmy, shimmy, shake-shake, wink.

As for the show itself? So far, so good. I’m not a fan of the whole “dousing yourself in guts and acting like a zombie in order to sneak by them” school of thought, I think it’s stupid, and I would bet that Robert Kirkman feels the same way too, at this point, as evidenced by the fact that he has never revisited that particular little trick… Otherwise, the show has been good. I like the deliberate pace, I’m impressed with the level of gore (the CGI splatter doesn’t bother me), I love the art direction and both the adherence to and divergence from the source material. It has had some really good tension. All in all, well done. I have no real complaints. Little Ms. Super-cute Wife wasn’t all that impressed, but I happen to know for a fact that she’s rented In the Cut on more than one occasion and ON PURPOSE too, so feel free to take her opinion with a grain a salt.

Also, a prediction.

Maybe a spoiler…

Remember Merle Dixon? The mandatory southern redneck racist they left handcuffed on the roof? Well, he was a TV show add-on that was never in the comic. Also, you will note that despite the fact that, at the end of the episode, he was left more than a little F. U. C. Ked… it should also be noted that we didn’t see him die…

Gee, I wonder if he’ll show up again at some point later on in the story, possibly at precisely the wrong moment and then start to fuck stuff up? I wonder… I wonder if he’ll call Rick: “Officer Friendly” in a somewhat gloating and condescending manner while he momentarily has the drop on the heroes, possibly right before receiving his just desserts? Hmm... I wonder… Time will tell.

Anyway, long story short, kids… keep your fingers crossed that all this big-time, newsworthy, zombie-centric attention turns into some interest in my own project.

Which brings us all the way around to… that’s right…

UPDATES!!!

Gunslingers of the Apocalypse

The book in question. Right now, I have six queries out and I am occupying the traditional wait-and-see holding pattern. I believe everything out is still within the active and current range, but I haven’t checked in on it in a week or two. Lately I’ve been reading fellow Scribblerati Agent Lisa Bergin’s fantastic and nearly done WIP for review tonight, so I’ve been focusing on that. After tonight, however, I’ll be able to return some of my focus to my own projects. At that point, I’ll take a look at the spread sheet and see if anything needs to be re-queried or if I should dig up some new names or not. We shall see.

Monster

It’s been on a short hiatus for the same reason as stated above. I’ll get back into it tomorrow with the goal of finishing up the second draft for review whenever the next Scribblerati meet is. I have to add and tighten and then hack away the edges, but it’ll be ready. This one is good and fun and I think it will turn out publishable… or at least close enough.

The Little Things

The short story class critique went really well. Overall, it was positive and I even got some really good insightful responses and not all from the instructor either. There were some, of course, who barely said a thing and there were the one or two who, while they did give me a positive review, had to start out with: “now I’m not really familiar with the genre, so keep that in mind…” This always strikes me as so crazy. It’s just a story, read it, it will either work or it won’t. And folks only say that about genre work too. I’ve never been handed some Oprah Winfrey book club tea-sipping story and felt that I’ve needed to explain at length how I’m: “not very familiar with literary Valium, so keep that in mind…” Anyway, I’m planning on addressing the responses and adjusting the piece after I finish up with Monster. After that? Well… once more unto the breach, dear friends.

Miscellany

Gunslinger’s sequel, Bastard out of Minnesota, still waits quietly, rolling along at a slow boil on the back-burner of my mind. I have… three? Maybe four… Definitely at least three short stories I’m going to try out next. Different genres and what not, should be fun. And finally, I’ve got something else I’m cooking. Right now, I’m just dicing up some carrots and onions and whatnot, gathering together all the various accoutrements and all… but I’m getting really close to throwing it all in a pot and seeing what cooks up… In other words, folks, I’ve got an idea, I’ve been piecing it together and seeing what it turns into… but I’m beginning to suspect that it might be another book.

Fingers crossed.

So, well… yep… that is about everything, I guess… until next time.


Love,
Jon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sucker Punch -- Movie Trailer

Here's the latest trailer from Zach Snyder's upcoming flick: Sucker Punch.

Honestly, I can't decide if this movie is going to be the stupidest thing ever made... or the coolest... On one hand, the guy did do the 2004 Dawn of the Dead, which is great, and while Watchman may have failed, I still loved it. But on the other hand, 300 was... God damn, that movie was dumb... but was that more the fault of the source material? Probably...

Anyway, whichever side this "film" falls on, I think we can definitely be assured of one thing: Sucker Punch is going to be crazy. Completely crazy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Scribblerati


Hey there, folks!

Since you're here and you're all obviously in a blog-reading kind of mood, why not jet on over to the blog of my favorite (and yours) Twin Cities' area Speculative Fiction writers group, the Scribblerati? Why yes, I am indeed a charter member, do you need another reason to go? You do? Well, alrighty then, how about the fact that my fellow Scribblerati Agent Mark Teats has just put up a new blog? Huh? Huh? Sound good? I thought so. Stop on over and have a read.

Jon

More Cap

Hi-ho, it's me again!

So, yesterday, I posted a copy of the The EW cover that is coming out tomorrow. Since then, they've released the interior article pictures. I browsed them and picked out a few to post here, so there's others if you want to go hunt for them.

Just FYI...

Ok,  so first we have Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine, the man who created the super soldier serum that transformed Steve Rogers into... well... a super soldier. I like the look of the lab. The sarcophagus is new though.

Below that, we have Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull in the days before he actually becomes the Red Skull. I can tell this, despite the photo's lack of cinematic context, simply because his head is neither red, nor a skull. Also, some of the more sharper eyed viewers out there may have noticed the death's head octopus logo emblazoned across his arm patch. This is the sigil of Hydra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world and a group (in the comic book universe) originally started by some Nazis and some Japanese soldiers, all of whom were pissed about the war being declared over without first being consulted. However, and this is the possibly hinky part here, folks, in the movie universe, Hydra may be being used as a stand-in/replacement for the Nazis in WWII. Now, I don't know this for sure, of course, but as many of you out there will no doubt attest to, I am generally sharp-eyed myself and have noticed lots of Hydra popping up in the Marvel movie universe media and its peripheral stuff lately and very few swastikas.

Why?

Simply put: Spielberg.

He was all upset a few years back and stated a few times that he regretted using the Nazis as a foil for Indiana Jones, which I'm sure had nothing to do with his Oscar marketing campaign for Schindler's list that was going on at the time... Anyway, since then, it seems like Hollywood has been following suit. Like they're all afraid of mentioning Nazis in front of children or something, like kids shouldn't be told how fun it is to beat on Nazis. It's fucking criminal, is what that is... Lame! But whatever... Forget it, Jon... it's Hollywood.

The third picture, the one below the picture of Mr. Weaving, features a dark trio of dudes scootin' around on the motorcycles. They are of course, some examples of the rank and file Hydra goon. I don't know about you kids, but I'm digging the whole facemask/helmet/goggle thing they got going on there.

Anyway, have a gander, I'll wait...



And finally, here's something of interest. An alternate Captain America costume, maybe an early or ad-hoc version (note the torn sleeve at the shoulder) and the classic original shield. I like that. Seeing shit like that makes me smile. Love the blue helmet, too.


So, there's that. More insights, more glimpses. And what do we make of all of it? Myself, at this point, I'm leaning positive as far as the looks department goes. Let's hope it's a little more dirty and grainy on film though, not so bright and day-glo, but mostly, yeah... it looks okay. And sure, the no Nazis thing bugs me, but there's not much I can do about it. It definitely won't change, I'll tell you that much, so no use whining about it... I'm just hoping they'll treat Hydra as a splinter group of the Axis and not the Axis in and of itself... but I'm not holding my breath.

So, yeah... positive... for now, at least, but the real tests still lie ahead: The trailers and the script.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Captain America blog

This film is a bit wobbly for me. I'm more than a little unsure. Like Thor, Captain America is a hard sell to the unintiated and honestly, at this point, both films could go either way.

Over the months, I've heard some rumors about the Captain America script that gives me pause. Also, there are a few people attached to the project whose track records don't inspire a lot of confidence in me. I'm also beginning to suspect that all the Nazis in this film will be replaced by Hydra agents, which is just stupid... Damn you, Spielberg.  Okay, sure, sure, Joss has a credit, but I'll bet anything that's just clean-up and more than likely focused more on aligning the film toward the eventual Avengers film, then the film itself. And let's be honest here, I love Joss, but can he do the big action? He did some okay stuff in Serenity, but can he Michael Bay the shit out of some superhero fights?

I don't know.

That's a big, looming question mark.

Then there's the fact that sometimes those Whedon-isms can go really bad. I'll tell you what we don't want, we don't want the Avengers all sitting around, chatting and only cracking the kind of jokes where the names of things have been changed so that they all end with a "y". Please, oh, please, oh, please, Joss, don't do that.

Also, lest we forget... somehow, there's only one female superhero included in the Avengers cast. Okay, sure, it's Scarlet Johansson, but still: Only one? What about the Wasp? Not even Ms. Marvel? Come on... Long story short (too late), folks, I'm getting nervous. I need to see a Thor trailer. I need to see Captain America in action. There's information out there and I need it...

Like I said: I am more than a little unsure.

And then we saw the concept art for the costume. This didn't help. This didn't allay my fears much, okay, maybe a little, but still... I mean, why would they choose to reflect his modern day costume more than Bryan Hitch's incredible WWII designed version? Look at it! Look! It's amazing. It looks like a uniform from the era.


That's amazing, why wouldn't you use it? And I got to tell you, folks, every genre movie ever made that has inexplicablly ignored an awesome little detail in favor of some ridiculous Hollywood-by-committee type of marketing based decided gee-gaw has sucked... big time (I'm looking at you Aliens vs. Predator franchise... Are you kidding me? No Space Marines? You idiots.). So, I was even more worried, thinking great... they're gonna screw up Captain America... again.

But then this came out... And it looks... a little better. I like the stitching and the straps, that's kinda alright. In fact, over the course of the day, it's definitely grown on me a little. I'm digging the World War Two hair style they got Chris Evans sporting there. Most of all, I love the bullet-scuffed paint on the shield. Love it, that's so cool. So, yeah, hmmm... not bad, I guess. I'm still a little hesitant, but then... who knows? I've got some hope. Maybe it could turn out to be good. Maybe.


Anyway, Hasta manana, kids... or maybe early next week... probably... we'll see,
Jon

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Tron Legacy

Howdy, howdy, kids,

Yes, yes, I know... it's been awhile, I know, but what can I say? I am very, very busy. Ces choses qui nous arrivent, no? I promise to write a current project status blog this week. Really I will, really, pinkie swear. Until that day, though...

Watch this and enjoy:



I'll say one thing for the new Tron. It sure is pretty...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cool thing

I don't normally put up stuff like this because, cosplay... well, it isn't for me. It's a level of obsession I can't really get behind, (even when they're cute) but whatever, it's cool if folks want to do it. Steampunk though... as a general rule, I definitely do not support Steampunk. However, all that being said, this is a pretty damn cool cosplay costume of a Steampunk Iron Man.


 Phot credit to Judy

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rejected

The Little Things received its first rejection yesterday.

This is... well, it's poo-filled, yes, but... such is the life of the struggling and the unpublished, I guess. Today, I'll be spending some time digging up some more places to submit to and then I'll start anew. Tomorrow is another day, as the ol' song goes...

On the bright side... there's this:


Ha! ...funny. I found it here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

8BITS

Hey all, so I don't know if I've shared this little factoid with you all before this, but Tequila is bad--very, very bad. And let's just leave it at that.

So, anyway, if you've swung by today because you're taking a little break from your Sunday football action, here's a cool little short film for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. It's crazy. I love the "downgrade" idea.

Be sure to check back later this week for some posts a little more current and Jon-centric, as my Loft class continues tomorrow night and work on my own short story currently in progress "Monster" progresses in leaps and bounds, alright?

Alright.


8BITS_hd720 from 8BCREW on Vimeo.

Found at Io9

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Q Day: One year later


It’s been a year, folks, a whole entire year since the moment I officially first set foot out into the big, bad world of the struggling, unpublished writer.

One year since the queries first went out.

One year since Q Day.

One year.

So now, looking back, what do I have to show for it? Where am I now?

Well, honestly, for the most part, I’m in the same place. I currently have 5 queries out and I’m waiting for a response on them. Yeah, I’m still plugging away, nose to the grindstone and all that; I've been busy hunting down Agents, querying, querying, querying, and staying on top of it all, but in the end, it's still the same shit, different day. Nothing new to report, at least nothing concrete, not really, and yet… at the same time, yeah, there have been some real changes.

Sure, I’ve received my fair share of form rejections, six or seven or so, I’d say, which is more than some, but less than most... so far. But I’ve also received four or five personal notes and had two requests for "more pages", even one request for the full manuscript! ...so close... Out of fourteen submissions? That’s not bad, ladies and gentlemen, that is not bad at all… It’s not great, granted, but hey… silver lining. And the continued work itself has value too, like any good workout, after all this time, I think my writing has grown stronger, more confident, and I know I'm able to dip into that well easier and more often. Anyway, the point is, I'm doing good, at least, as good as “still unpublished” can be, maybe, but good nonetheless.

It’s an on-going process, basically.

Meanwhile, the learning process continues, as does its creative counterpart. I cut out 20,000 words from Gunslingers, which resulted in a leaner, stronger book. I’ve started work on the second one, too, but I’m waiting a bit before really committing to that one... just in case. In the interim, I’ve been gathering notes and random thoughts on a different series. We’ll see how that one pans out, it's looking good, I’m hopeful, but we’ll see. I’ve also put together a short story that I recently began the submissions process with, and there’s a second one I’m working on right now that is well on its way toward completion too. Things are moving, folks, so at the very least, I’ll be keeping myself busy for the foreseeable future.

Sure, on one hand, it’s gone nowhere.

But on the other hand, it’s still going.

Still going. That's me.

What’s that quote:

“You never knocked me down, Ray! Ya’ hear? You never knocked me down!"
 –Jake La Motta, Raging Bull, 1980

Yeah,
Jon

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fringe


Hey all,

So, awhile back, as some of you may recall, I declared my intention to settle in and start watching Fringe in earnest because some late season plot points and what not had caught my attention. So that's what I did and I'm just gonna lay it all out there for you, right from the start of this blog so there's no confusion: I am now a fan.

For the unfamiliar:

Fringe is the story of Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), an FBI agent tasked with investigating the weird and the unexplained, or "Fringe" events, most of which are of the secret "black" science of the Cold War variety. Things like: an entire city bus and it's passengers suddenly encased in amber or a series of bank heists perpetrated by thieves who can apparently walk through walls or the hunt for a girl who can burst into flames... Olivia, along with formerly institutionalized "mad" scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his genius, jack-of-all-trades son Peter (Joshua Jackson), begin to discover that these strange events are not just random, isolated bits of escaped crazy, but part of a bigger picture, a "Pattern" if you will, all leading to the reveal of a coming war with an alternate dimension... a war that Walter may be responsible for starting...

Duh! Duh! Duuuuuuh!

At first I was definitely interested, but kind of bored with it's x-files-ness. I was also bothered by the fact the creators (J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman) all completely denied the idea that they were ever inspired by, or even considered the fact that their show might be considered similar to, the X-files... which is like, whatever, dude... asshead...

Anyway, so I wandered away from the show after an episode or two due to time commitments and a little apathy, but I started to read about this whole alternate dimension war stuff and secret super soldier programs and my geek-sense started to buzz in the back of my head... "Gasp! There's something geeky going on that I'm not paying attention to... Quick, to the geek-cave!"

So, I started watching again, and it's good. Maybe not "GREAT" with big letters, per se, but it might be "great" with little ones and with a definite potential to change that status, too. True, you can really see the x-files-ness in the first season, lots of one shot, random weirdness police procedurals... which are okay, competent and sometimes really cool, but who cares, right? But somewhere part way through the First season, they decided to quit with all the spinning wheels and slow go-nowhere X-files style of story telling and they honed in, focusing on the Pattern related events almost exclusively and the coming conflict with the Alternate Earth and now, here we are on the cusp of season three and shit has got crazy! The first skirmishes have begun, the war will soon follow, and it looks like season three is going to barrel headlong in that direction.

And all that is great, I enjoy the hell out of it, but what really sells me and keeps me coming back is the cast interactions. Olivia, Peter, Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and Walter are all fantastic together, Olivia and Walter particularly. John Noble just kills the role of a man who used to be a monster... then had parts of his brain removed... and is now kind of crazy and racked with guilt and trying to make up for his past mistakes. Add in Broyles (Lance Reddick), Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) and William Bell (Good ol' Leonard Nimoy) and you've got a stellar cast able to pull off the crazy ideas and the weird set ups and the occasional shoot 'em up action, and yet still surprise you with the subtle character moments.

This is a show that originally I would have told people I enjoyed, but wouldn't have really recommended, unless you were a certain type of person. Now though, after season two? Yeah, get on board, man, because it is a good time. The Peter Weller time travel episode? Fantastic. The episode that takes place in the 80's, including this alternate 80's style opening sequence (here's the regular opening sequence for comparison)? Amazing.

Seriously, it's fun. Go watch. Season 3 starts next week...