February 25, 2012

Stuff I've Written Lately (Rambling Round-Up)

Whew, what a month February has been. I've spent the month thoroughly cleaning out my place and putting together a Star Wars office, and then I was in Orlando for a week for theme parking and a comic book convention (yeah, pretty much the best combination). I've been writing up a storm for other sites this month, so here's a huge list!

Once Upon a Time reviews on IGN: There are parts I really like about this show, and I keep finding it to be entertaining. It's just not meaty if that makes sense.
"Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" Review
"Skin Deep" Review
"What Happened to Frederick" Review

Closet Cosplay Woes - Over at my Geek Fab column at Pink Raygun, I talk about why I like closet cosplay and why it's not a dirty phrase.

MegaCon 2012 Recap - All about my time at MegaCon last weekend, contains lots of costumes, toys, and Robot Chicken news!

Han Never Shot First? - Yeah, just read on.

Over at Blastoff Comics, it's all about EC Comics this month. I've been reading Tales from the Crypt and other suspenseful and wacky titles:
Horror Comes with a Lot of Exclamation Points - The style of EC Comics especially makes me happy, including all the punctuation.
The Glamorous and The Grisly - Ladies in evening gowns, gruesome murders - EC Comics have both.

Quick Blurbs
Bottle of Wits: The Princess Bride Wine
Tetris On Your Legs
Blade Runner Meets Lego
Bite Sized Millennium Falcons
Nail Polish Inspired by the Amazing Spider-Man
The Best of Firefly/Serenity Quotes On a T-Shirt
Build Your Own LEGO Cover Journal
Sam Witwer Brings Darth Maul Back in The Clone Wars

Stay tuned for a post all about Wizarding World on Nerd Approved next week! I'm also planning a little pdf photo diary of my theme park adventures!

Also, new costume:

Two Years Ago
Meeting Felicia Day & Dr. Horrible Screening

One Year Ago
Interview with Brandon & Emma Peat: Creators of A is for Ackbar

February 8, 2012

Star Wars Ships In Firefly

It turns out Han Solo in carbonite isn't the only appearance of Star Wars in Firefly. Though this isn't fresh news, it is news to me. My friend Eliot recently pointed out to me that a ship from the Star Wars Expanded Universe shows up in the Firefly episode Shindig. I love when my favorite sci-fi 'verses bleed into each other.

The Starlight Intruder (a Mobquet Medium Transport) is from the Dark Empire comics series. It was built by smugglers but eventually ended up in an Imperial impound. I prefer to think its final resting place was on Persephone owned by someone like Mal Reynolds.

Images from Wookieepedia
This scene takes place just after the crew has landed on Persephone (duh), and you can see the ship prominently in the background as the camera pans down to the crew. It also apparently made an appearance in War Stories, but I haven't tracked down a screen shot just yet.
And that's not all.

In the pilot episode, look to the skies as Inara docks her shuttle. There appears to be an Imperial shuttle overhead. It is a really tiny image, but the shape looks unmistakable to me.
Image from page 29 of the Official Companion
In the same vein, did you know that Serenity makes an appearance in the Battlestar Galactica miniseries?

Reader Adam Mitulinski pointed out to me that Serenity also makes an appearance in the Star Wars universe. Artist Tom Hodges included the Firefly class ship in the Evasive Action webcomic.

Two Years Ago
Book Reviews - After Halloween & Caught Creatures by Daniel M. Davis
One Year Ago
5 Geeky Valentines

February 1, 2012

Best quotes from the Game of Thrones season two trailer

After a teaser that was almost laughable because of its brevity*, HBO has finally released a proper trailer for season two of Game of Thrones. It's short, but I forgive them because it's stunning. The second season will take us into book two of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings. Just like in the first season, we can expect changes. Given the artful job they did of adding scenes, like the verbal sparring between Varys and Littlefinger and the heart to heart between Robert and Cersei, I trust them entirely (except for the change of Asha's name to Yara. That annoys the hell out of me). The writers and crew seem to get the essence of Westeros. I like that they've taken the building blocks George R.R. Martin established and transformed them into new or bigger pieces.

I've watched the trailer more than several times now, and the premiere April 1st can't get here quickly enough. We get glimpses of most of the major players in the second book. Stannis, Melisandre, Robb, Joffrey, Theon. And I can't wait to watch Varys and Tyrion face off. Just the peek we get of that in the trailer gave me goosebumps.

The trailer is set up with nice quotes that make huge character statements. I've pulled out the best... well, my favorites.

Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on a wall, and a very small man can cast a very large shadow.
- Varys
The spider supposedly serves the good of the realm, but he's impossible to read. He may seem unassuming, but he's formidable. He's holding the strings of most of the happenings in King's Landing, and you'll never see him coming. I wouldn't make him angry.

I understand the way this game is played.
- Tyrion Lannister
The Imp is heading to King's Landing. I don't envy him; he has to try to wrangle his power-crazy sister and his bratty nephew. I'd like to say I'm most interested in the way Tyrion will try to bring sensibility to the throne and make the realm nicer, but mostly? I hope he slaps Joffrey around some more.

I am Daenerys Stormborn, and I will take what is mine with fire and blood.
- Daenerys Targaryen
The Khaleesi has sidekicks now. Respect and even fear will spread over the Dothraki sea and beyond like wild fire. Dany is fiercer than ever, and I can't wait to see her kick ass and take names. (And I want to see more of the new costume we got to see for just a second).

Anyone can be killed.
- Arya Stark
Such a simple sentence but so telling. No one is safe in Westeros or across the narrow sea. Martin isn't afraid to off anyone for the sake of the story. Arya is disguised as a boy and making her way towards the Wall with criminals. Stark is a dangerous last name to bear.

*I still watched it over and over.
Screencaps from here.

On making time for the things you want to do

I don't get personal on this blog often. Well, not much beyond geeky stuff anyways. Don't worry, I'm not going to get crazy. I just want to answer a question that I get asked a lot. As some of you may know, I have a dayjob. I'm lucky enough to have a great dayjob, one that I really enjoy. But in my free time, I'm pursuing writing. I'm inching closer and closer to being able to write full time, but it's still a few years off (at least). I'm not even sure I'm brave enough to go fully freelance. So given that I work 45+ hours in a week and write a few things, people often ask me how I do it or whether I ever sleep. The easy answer: I make time.

I know, easier said than done. It doesn't help that I spend two hours of each weekday commuting (yes, I am great friends with the 405). But when you want to do something, when you're chasing the thing you love doing, you just have to suck it up. Figure out how much time you need every day to write or create and squeeze it out of your schedule. It could mean giving things up. Honestly though, if you're not willing to sacrifice time spent watching TV or sleeping or playing video games here and there, it's probably not something you are crazy about doing. I mean, I have time to exercise. I could easily fit that into my schedule. I could get up thirty minutes earlier or take a run when I get home from work, but I don't want to make time for it.

I realize I have it easier than someone with a family. I just have cats and myself to look after, not kids. But I take my inspiration from a guy (Travis Hanson, creator of the Eisner-nominated webcomic The Bean) who has a full time job and a large family and he manages to chase his dream. He has a saying, "Don't tell me how bad you want your dreams to happen, show me." Such a simple statement but so easy to follow. I repeat it like a mantra. Don't just talk about doing the things you want to do, actually do them. For me, it means making myself write even when I don't feel like it and even when I am exceptionally tired. Especially at those times. It means writing when you have no "inspiration." You'll definitely go through periods when you feel like what you're typing or trying to create is worthless. You'll feel like you can't write and should never sit down in front of a keyboard or pick up a pen again. You can't let it stop you from trying though (I often pick up Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones when I'm having bad writing days just to get my brain moving again).

Actually, that's not entirely true. Sometimes if you are obviously hitting a wall, it's good to walk away. I trust you're able to recognize when you're at one of those places.

I don't really have a set schedule either. I could be better about that, but I don't have a set amount of time I spend writing each day. I do have a writing calendar. I know what articles are due when and where and when I want to post on my blog. I keep track of random ideas for articles on that calendar. I make a list of things I need to write every night, and I have a side list of pitches I want to work on and I'm just starting preliminary research on a book. I often bribe myself with rewards for finishing articles. And they are silly awards - like watching an episode of a TV show or having a glass of wine or cookies. That makes me sound like I'm 12, but it works for me. I've also learned that I work better late at night rather than early in the morning. So I stay up. I try to always get at least five hours of sleep, and usually it's more in the neighborhood of  six-seven. I also make it a point to make some time to read. That's important to writing (I still don't read as much as I'd like to).

This sort of makes me sound like I'm a crazy self-disciplined person who never has any fun. Neither of those things are true. I am the queen of procrastinating. It's actually kind of embarrassing. That habit has caused me more than a couple of almost sleepless nights meeting deadlines. Since I recognize that about myself and know that it's hard for me to switch out of that lifelong habit, I kind of plan for it. I trick myself sometimes. I also make sure my schedule has time for hanging out with friends and going neat places. Sometimes the fun doubles as work. I had the best possible day visiting Rancho Obi-Wan with friends, but I also did a couple of interviews while I was there. It's okay to do both at the same time.

My schedule's not perfect. I know I'd get more done if I did things like ignore Twitter and Facebook and just generally managed my time better. I have an okay balance right now though, and I feel like I'm still making forward progress. I might be inching rather than running, but still. Forward.

What do you guys do to make time for the things you love?
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