Saturday, November 03, 2007


Here's some fun stuff to keep you occupied while I work on the last post of the first half of my life (yikes). First of all, if you look at my Flickr mosaic, you'll notice that the pics have changed from NYC to Halloween. If you want to check that set out, you can click here. They're from the Halloween party at Electric Avenue this past Saturday. We had a great time, as always, so thanks to Justin for putting on a hell of a bash!

And now, some video goodness. Found on Fark, here's some cute overload: Two pandas snogging:

That's all for now, sorry it's so quick. I'll be back tomorrow night with more, I promise...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Cost of Ignorance

When I list my reasons for disliking religion like I do, one of the foremost is the ignorance and intolerance it can breed. When the already-corrupt structure is further twisted to serve an agenda, the weak-minded can be swayed to say and do some pretty rank shit.

Finally, history has an answer: If you're going to be a narrow-minded fucktard and exploit the grief of a family for your own personal and political gain, you're going to pay out the ass for it. Discuss...

Yeah, fuckers. Pony up. Don't fuck with a PA family.

Seriously. How do you use a young man's funeral as a platform for this kind of drivel? How in the hell can you say that this young man died as punishment for tolerance of a certain sexual preference? No, he died in service to his country, no matter if that service's cause is in question or not. He died a soldier, and his country thanks him.

But he was a fucking kid, for Pete's sake. No parent should ever have to face the horror of burying their own child. That's not how it's supposed to work.

And you want to turn something that's already devastating and turn it into a media circus?

Even to an Atheist, it's obvious: That is most certainly NOT what God is about. Fail.

There's an easy solution to the Westboro problem, you know. Just sick the ATF on them. After all, it worked in Waco, didn't it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Books: Dancing Barefoot by Wil Wheaton

Like alot of his readers, I remembered Wil from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was the geeky deus ex machina of the Starship Enterprise, the creative brain behind so many Montgomery Scott-like fixes to problems - and the game (literally) to work it with Ensign Lefler. I was reading up on Star Trek not long before 9/11 and came across his website, Wil Wheaton dot Net.

After clicking through his archive a bit, I came to learn alot more about the actor behind the role. Married, with step-kids, and struggling to make it in a Hollywood that was clearly trying to forget him. But most of all, I came to know him as a fellow geek, a purveyor of all things D&D and Comics and SciFi and Fantasy. It was those connections that kept me, like so many others, reading day after day, checking our RSS feeds for anything new from the former Enterprise helmsman.

The thing that kept us all coming back was Wil's almost-inborn ability to weave a very good story with nothing more than his keyboard and his memories. His posts would range from his motherfucking of the Hollywood Machine that was constantly telling him he wasn't quite "it" to stories about his mission to connect with his stepsons and carve out a family life for them all, and he drew you into each one with his own special blend of humor and vivid description. A good writer, it's said, paints a very detailed picture for the reader, bringing them along on a guided tour of what's going on through the author's mind.

It was clear to the WWdN community that Wil was, in fact, a very gifted writer, and the comments on his posts began to suggest the possibility of a book. That book became reality in 2003 in two forms: the manuscript for what would become Just a Geek, and a small collection of stories cut from that manuscript, but still begged for a home. The collection would become Dancing Barefoot, the subject of this, my first book review.

Wil's opening story, Houses in Motion, is a brilliant first card to play as far as books go. It's a real tear-jerker of a story, as Wil makes his last rounds around the house of his beloved great Aunt, who had recently passed on. The walk through the property becomes a walk through his childhood, remembering happier times when going to his aunt's house always meant fun. The depth of emotion the story evokes from the reader sets the tone for the rest of the stories in DB; Whatever the feeling Wil wants to convey, he gets you there in style, and the feeling is always genuine.

The shortest tale in DB is We Close Our Eyes, but it's meaning is no less than any other story herein. In this brief moment Wil shares with his wife Anne, you get a real taste of what it's like to be a geek hopelessly in love. We're always thought of as stereotypically "not too good" with the ladies, so it comes as a bit of a surprise to folks when they find out just how romantic we really can be once you get past the dice and pocket protectors.

Of course, no reviewer could go without the obligatory mention of what could be considered the "central" story of the book, The Saga of Spongebob Vegas Pants, where Wil recounts his first meeting with Captain Jerk... I mean Kirk, WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER, as well as coming to grips with the fact that Star Trek will forever be a part of his life, for better or for worse. After WFS makes Wil feel about |-| that big, he returns to the TNG set, only to be met with the love and support of his fellow castmates, including an offer from an in-full-Worf-makeup Michael Dorn to kick Shatner's ass and a crack at Shatner's receding hairline from resident cast funny man Brent Spiner.

Dancing Barefoot is one of those books you just can't put down, and as such, you tend to finish it rather quickly, given it's short length. At the time, it left me wanting more, which was satisfied once I got my mitts on Just a Geek. But DB is a book you can pick up and read again and again, and you'll still get the same gamut of emotions that you get the first time. It established Wil as a brilliant up and coming writer, and spawned his change from actor/writer to writer/actor. It's the begining of his journey to becoming a Writer with a capital W, a journey that I'm sure he'll accomplish with gusto.

Dancing Barefoot was originally published independantly by Wil himself through his own Monolith Press, the home of his current book, The Happiest Days of our Lives. It was re-released by O'Reilly, who also published DB's companion, Just a Geek.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dancing Just Happiest

I know I sound like a total fanboy every time I blog about Wil, but when you get right down to it, his blog has become quite the community hub in the last few years. Prattle on all you want about Wesley, or how much you love Stand by Me, but there's so much more to my fandom than that. Wil's most recent post brings us links to pieces like this:

You have to admit, he does have a knack for finding the truely interesting and creative, and it really shouldn't come as a surprise. Many's the time Wil's made an obscure geeky reccomendation, and many of his readers - oblivious to said cool thing before reading - discover a new favorite whatever-it-is. Wil turned me on to the work of Neil Gaiman, for example.

Another reason is his writing. Turns out that Ensign Crusher tells a pretty damn fine story, wouldn't you know. No, you probably wouldn't, because you have that whole alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die mentality and pass on WWdN:IX based solely on that stupid prejudice. Perhaps Star Trek in general turns you off, because it's "stupid" or "too nerdy." Or maybe you thought Joey Trotta was a douche, I don't know. The point is, you're missing out.

Well, what started as a technically-celebrity blog grew into a collection of books: Dancing Barefoot, Just A Geek, and his most recent release, The Happiest Days of our Lives (formerly known as You Want Kids with That?)

My girlfriend is awesome. I'm 99.9% sure she got me said new book for my birthday, coming next Monday (yay). So, in anticipation of this most awesome of gifts (thank you so much, Angel!), I'll be reviewing both Dancing Barefoot and Just A Geek this week. If you don't own these books, you really should change that. They're most excellent indeed. I'll see if I can't dig up and cross-link the original blog entries from WWdN to go along with the reviews, but since it's under renovation and on indefinate hiatus, searching might be quite the task...

Speaking of reviews, I'm also thinking about hitting up some more old-school NES reviews like I used to do, and maybe expanding into SNES as well. Old school games are a hobby, and let's face it: They may be outdated, but they're still awesome...

In the meantime, though, I'm looking forward to three well-earned days off to prepare for the coming milestone. At least the Steelers are playing on Monday Night next week...