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February 24th, 2013

02:46 pm - Traveling through time and space...
Well... it's a been a while hasn't it?

Rather than editing a video, I thought I'd distract myself by discussing my recent vacation to sunny Los Angeles for the Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention. This was my third trip out there, but easily the best. Since that first year, I've now built up a fair number of friends who either attend the convention or live in L.A.
Read more...Collapse )

Exhausting, but amazing trip. And with all my cool people out there, it made me wish I could live closer to there. And then I'd see the traffic and be reminded of how much I don't want to have to deal with that. I know I'm going to Chicago next year for C2E2 and I was debating skipping next year's Gally... but I don't think I can at this point. There are just too many awesome people who live out there or visit the con that I can't see myself waiting two years to see again. Considering I want to do more out there next year, which would mean I'd probably want to stay longer which means even more money, I think I'll need to start a career in robbing banks, but I think I'll have to figure out a way to make it work.

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December 27th, 2010

09:11 pm - Swag
I had a nice Christmas, for the most part. I got a print of Van Gogh's "Wheatfield With Crows", the fourth volume of the Absolute Sandman collection, Christopher Titus "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding" comedy album and a shotgun mic that will hopefully make future episodes of Comics Are Awesome sound a bit better. As well as some assorted stocking stuffers (cookies, flashlights, uhm, a colander?).

The reason I said "mostly" was because I woke up on Christmas morning and found out I had purchased a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops on Steam as a gift for someone. This was news to me. Seems either someone hacked my account or I had a virus (doing a scan I did come up with a couple of viruses, so probably that). I contacted Steam and they were going to refund my money, though they have shut down my Steam Account (which you need to have a working account to play any games purchased from them). It's at most an inconvience but still spoiled my initial Christmas spirit.

But spending time with family really made up for it. I hope all my friends here had happy holidays. I've been pretty quiet, primarily due to pouring more of my energies when I get home on other projects like CAA or just wanting to crash but you are all wonderful and I do take the time to read your posts even I don't always reply. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year.

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August 17th, 2010

06:19 pm - JD Presents "Comics Are Awesome!"
So a couple months ago I posted a bit about the increased presense of web video series and how it's been eating more and more of my time. I also hinted at my own idea for a web review series. I can now officially announce the "launch" of Comics Are Awesome. It will serve as a home for me to post my views and reviews on anything comic book related. My first video is a bit rough, so take it with a grain of salt. Literally two months ago I knew nothing about video editing or shooting and while I wouldn't say I've learned a lot, I learned enough to put something together and I hope the quality will continue to improve overtime. Not all the vlogs will be scripted, I'm going to see Scott Pilgrim tomorrow and I will probably film me giving my thoughts on that in a more rambling free-form style, but I hope for this to become a bit more a regular thing for me.

So feel free to go over and let me know what you think. If you like it, I'd love it if you shared it with people you think might also appreciate it. And if you don't care for it... well to quote Joss Whedon "this is the time for quiet, for months of silent contemplation." (Though in all honesty I do want feedback as long as it's contstructive criticism).

So thanks for anyone and everyone who bothers to watch this. And ignore the actor I got, he's not very good, but he worked for free. ;-)

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June 9th, 2010

09:32 pm - In which JD tries to buy back in
I think that the website I was ordered my video camera from (photovideosuperstore.com) might be a scam site. My credit card hasn't been charged, but orders were supposed to be processed in 24 to 48 hours and that was Saturday, even allowing for the weekend that means by today it should have been processed and it hasn't. I then (admittedly later then I should have) did research and it seems like it's a bait and switch website. According to what I read they offer cheap deals and then call the customer days later after they ordered and say that they don't have the item in stock but you can get the same or better item in a more expensive bundled deal. Hence bait and switch.

I feel pretty stupid right now for not looking into a strange website a little more carefully. I pride myself on being pretty net cautious. I've never been hacked, only had a maybe two viruses on my home PC and generally excercise a reasonable amount of caution when giving out too much personal info. While I did do a quick scan of reviews of the site, it seems like the company has likely faked positive reviews on some websites making everything seem less dubious on a cursory glance then it really is.

I sent them an e-mail asking them to cancel my order since it's not been processed. I e-mailed because, well, there is no cancel instructions anywhere on the website. I'll give them until Friday and if my order status still reads as "awaiting confirmation" I'll try calling them. That is presuming they don't contact me trying to get me to buy a bigger and better camera.

I instead have ordered a Canon Vixia HF R10 from NewEgg.com. While it ran me about $50 more than the Sony camera would have, it's about comparable quality. And, in fact, I realized after ordering the Sony that it doesn't have a microphone input line, meaning you can only get audio in from the onboard camera, which generally are not the best. The Canon luckily does support that should I choose to upgrade later. Also for literally a few dollars more on NewEgg I could get a bundle (one that I chose and not being forced on me) that included two memory sticks and a carrying case for the camera. It cost me the free shipping but probably ultimately likely saved me money on stuff I'd want or need later on anyways.

Now I just hope I don't have to fight the photovideosuperstore guys to get them to cancel my order. Because I will take it to my credit card company if I have to fight the charges.

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June 5th, 2010

01:44 pm - In which JD sells out
So normally around this time of year I post a wrap up of the tv season. And while I might still do that at some point in the future, I don't have as much to say because, frankly, I haven't watched as much tv this year. There's still a few shows I would go out of my way to catch, Lost, Glee, etc, but Netflix makes most tv easy to catch up on if you're patient and Hulu makes it easy if you're not.

But lately, I find I'm watching a lot of internet based programming. I'm assuming a lot of people are familar with The Guild, starring Doctor Horrible star Felcia Day, about the everyday lives of a group of online gamers and the bond (and issues) that they have. It's sweet, it's funny and it's third season has Will Wheaton!

But that's not all. For a while I have been following Yahtzee's online reviews, Zero Punctuation. While he does get a bit predictable in what he's going to say (hilarious reviews but after a while you know what type of games or features in games that he likes and what he doesn't and so a lot of repeatition in a some of them) but he's funny and occasionally does have some good insight.

Also on the same site are Unskipplable, a MST3K styled series usually riffing on the opening movie of video games, and ENN, the Daily Show of video game news.

But what has really gotten me hooked is a website called That Guy With the Glasses,a site with a wide variety of contributors. While some have more experiance then others, none are professionals, per se, and instead just film reviews, news, skits, etc in front of their own camera and share it with the world. The main man behind this is Doug Walker, aka the Nostalgia Critic. I won't say he's a genius but damn he's good. Despite having relatively no budget he manages to make his reviews of (usually) "nostalgic" material smart and funny. Here's a few reviews that are memorable: Suburban Commando (starring Hulk Hogan!), Ferngully (with special guest The Nostalgia Chick!) and one my favorites, the Uwe Boll classic, Alone in the Dark (with special Guest The Spoony One and Linkara)

But Doug isn't the only guy on the site, Nostalgia Chick, Linkara, and Spoony also do their own updates (NChick is based around a more female oriented media nostalgia then the Critic's, Linkara does bad comic reviews and Spoony does assorted things from movies reviews, to game playthroughs to random vlogs with just him talking for an hour if that's your thing). There's also Cinema Snob who focues on exploitation films of yesteryear. LordKat who does Until We Win and plays old hard games like Battletoads or Earthworm Jim and offers his advice on the game. MikeJTV does Shameful Sequels...and, well, that's pretty self explantory isn't it? Etc Etc. I'm not a fan of everyone on the site, but generally speaking I do enjoy much of their work and it's awesome to see amateur video makers have a place where they can show off their skills (whether it's video editing, writing, natural charisma, etc) and makes some genuinely funny or entertaining videos.

And so, that's why I ordered today my own HD Camcorder. I found a good deal online on a Sony HDR-CX150 for about $400 (I think it retails for around $550). It's not top of the line or anything, and at the end of the day it's still just a home camcorder, I'm not going to make any Hollywood blockbuststers with it, but it seemed about about as good as I could find after about a half day of research without me nearly doubling what I paid for the one I did end up getting (the price gap seems to be that $300 to $550 is midline and then jumps to about $700 to $1,000 for the top of the line before you start going into professional video cameras). Oh and the one I ordered comes in red! ^_^ (That wasn't a huge deal to me but it was about $30 less than the black model).

I have an idea for a web review series of my own, one that I haven't personally seen done before. Nothing mind-blowing but just offering a slightly different viewpoint on a subject matter. Of course a concept doesn't mean diddly without some good writing behind and I'll have to have some good writing behind it because I'm not a naturally charismatic guy. I've grown socially in the last few years, forcing myself to meet people, but I'm still a somewhat awkward goofball. That will only get me so far. And there are a million other factors as well (getting my hands on video editing software that won't cost me more than the camera, figuring out how to shoot myself, editing it all together, etc etc)... but I still want to try it. I might fall flat on my face and bury the evidence right next to Jimmy Hoffa (or, alternatively, wipe the memory card) but I kind of need to try this. I've always wanted to do something creative with my life. Hell if everyone hates it but me it might have been all worth while. There's a good chance this might be the only time I ever make mention of it, but if not, I'll share the results here.

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May 10th, 2010

07:11 pm - I Am Iron Man, Too
Let’s face it, sequels are hard. When you make a really good film, usually everything is neatly tied up at the end and when you revisit it in a sequel, it often comes across as forced or contrived. There are some really good sequels and some, like Batman’s Dark Knight, that even surpass the original, but it’s not as easy as it might seem to be.

Iron Man 2 fails to surpass the original, but it’s almost as good. And when I say “almost as good” I mean it loses by a photo finish. It’s still smart and funny, it continues the story of the first without rehashing it, and teases the some of the future movies coming from Marvel’s stable without letting that story overwhelm the story it’s trying to tell.
Canned spoilers below the cutCollapse )

So in spite of my little nitpicks it’s definitely a good movie and worth catching in the theaters if you enjoyed the first.

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April 10th, 2010

10:50 am - I'm going to Gallifrey
Yesterday I paid the registration fee to go to the Gallifrey One convention next year. This is the biggest Doctor Who convention in the country. I'm really excited. I've done some comic conventions here locally, but I've never gone to what is considered a major convention. Of course there is a bit of a difference in numbers from a comic convention and a Doctor Who convention. Where the San Diego Comicon has about 30,000 attendees, I think with staff, guests and attendees Gally had just under 1,600 people. But still, it's pretty much the holy land of North America Doctor Who goodness.

The major guest this year is the fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. Also many of his on-screen companions, John Leeson (the voice of K9!), Kai Owen who played Rhys on Torchwood and quite likely even more to be announced (last year had Amber Benson of Buffy fame! I've crushed on her for years!).

Oh yeah, I'm geeking out a bit. But seriously it should be a lot of fun.

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April 8th, 2010

06:35 am - Three Ohhh
Happy Birthday to me, Happy Bithday to me, Happy Birthday dear Jas...

Jesus I feel old.

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April 5th, 2010

04:41 pm - Doctor Who and the Eleventh Hour
Hello once again faithful reader.

Once again I fail to return to my Kevin Smith series of reviews, but being the utter Doctor Who fanboy I am (I am quite likely going to the Gallifrey One convention next year in LA!), I have different Smith discuss. Matt Smith is the eleventh Doctor now and his first episode premiered last Saturday in Britain.

And, well, it was rather good.

I looked back at my past reviews and realized I really need to keep them under a cutCollapse )

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March 30th, 2010

04:32 pm - Comics, Kevin and (faux) comas
I fully intended to get at least one more film in my series of Kevin Smith flashbacks over the weekend, but well, I’m very, very lazy.

Ok actually I have something resembling an excuse for that. This weekend was Planet Comicon, the only comic convention worth noting in Kansas City.

The convention was ok. To be honest I think last year had more guests that I was interested in meeting, but still there were some nice highlights. I got to see my friend Blythe who is a performer in a comedy troupe called Willie’s Wenches. They take Shakespeare’s plays and horribly mutilate… err I mean pay “homage” to them to comic effect. It’s very silly and over the top but all the girls are cute and genuinely funny at times (though at times seriously strained what might be considered acceptable for an “all-ages” crowd).

There were some awesome costumes this year. I think I saw more costumes there this year than ever before. I tried to get some photos but my iPhone’s rather shaky camera to begin combined with crowds meant that almost all of them came out blurred. I somewhat regret that I didn’t pull out my Mal Reynolds costume since I put so much effort into it last Halloween and there were lots of people in not-strictly comics costumes. There was one guy who looked almost exactly like Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of the Comedian in the film adaptation of Watchmen.

Guest wise, it wasn’t a coup for me. There are a few guys who I do admire that were there, but most of them are regular attendees to convention each year. Phil Hester and Ande Parks are great artists and Jason Aaron is a good writer (though I confess I’ve read very little from him but he generally gets rave reviews), but all of them were there last year. I did introduce myself to writer B. Clay Moore whom was very cool in panels at the con in the past and showed me some art of an upcoming project he and one of my favorite comic artists, Tony Harris. Really looking forward to that one.

I didn’t get a whole lot in con swag, though I’m trying to save money right now and spent more than I hoped I might. I picked up a trade from B. Clay Moore (that he rather gratefully signed) called Hawaiian Dick, which I have no clue what it’s about but the man was so friendly I really wanted to get something from him. I also picked up the first three volumes of Scott Pilgrim mainly because I watched the trailer to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World being done by Edgar Wright and it looked fantastic. I’m about halfway through the second volume of the comic now and it is a fun read, though I think I might end up preferring Wright’s film version in the end, as the comic while funny, can be somewhat slow and talky at times. This is not a bad thing but the frantic pace of the trailer is a bit more of my cup of tea.

Saturday night me and my friend Sarah went and saw Kevin Smith’s Q&A at the Midland Theater. It was fun, but perhaps a bit long. He came out, in a robe and just talked for nearly three and a half hours. Admittedly I was laughing for nearly all of it. I also got great seats, third row just a bit off center.

He told a great story about Bruce Willis and how Bruce had intimidated him on the set of Cop Out after Smith requested he channel a bit of his character David Addison from the TV series Moonlighting. He did clear up something I had speculated on earlier in my Dogma review as to the problems with Linda Fiorentino on the set of the film, apparently she refused to talk to him for half a day after she confronted him because several actors would leave where they were filming in Pittsburgh on the days they weren’t filming but because Fiorentino was the main character who is in most of the scenes she was not allowed that luxury and apparently took it out on Kevin by refusing to talk to him. He talked comics, he talked tattoos (he got one of the Mad Hatter after drinking during the filming of Clerks because he was constantly late and then realized the next day that he had confused the Hatter with the White Rabbit), just about anything and everything. Far too much for me to even touch on briefly.

It was certainly entertaining and I recommend that fans of his works see him live once, but he mentioned that he was really impressed that he sold out the Midland (which seats about 1,700 people) and said he would come back each year, but I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to see it next time.

On Saturday after the first day of the con and the evening with Kevin Smith I was exhausted. I went to bed around 12:30 or 1:00 AM but I woke up at about 11:30 in the morning. I never sleep in that late. I’ve gone to bed much later than that and still managed to get up before 9:00. I think as a whole it screwed up my sleep schedule, and I haven’t felt like I have gotten a good night’s sleep since. Perhaps my mood on the whole weekend is slightly soured because I wasted half a day in bed for no discernable reason, even though on paper I have no major complaints about the weekend.

Until Next Time!

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