Monday, March 31, 2014

The Nerduary is Back Online

You may have noticed that the site was down over the weekend. And most of today. But it’s back up now and we should focus on that.

And a helluva guy named Joe Goble, friend of friends and Official Hero of the Nerduary. We should focus on him as he's the person responsible for getting the site back up and running after it broke Friday evening. Joe spent a good but of his weekend and Monday on getting The Nerduary back in fighting condition. He's awesome like that and we should celebrate him and buy him several beers.

Oh, and epic poems. He deserves to have epic poems written about him as well.

So with everything back in working order, tomorrow we’ll see a return to our regular programming.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer Is... A Trailer

I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. I'm trying to not be that geek that posts something only to bitch and moan about it. The Internet is chock full of that guy and damn I want to be more than that.

So in that spirit, I'm going to watch the trailer for the Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and try not to be an overt hater. Okay, then...


Oh, boy. This going to be harder than I thought... Alright, let's be constructive.

Who is This Movie For?
Kids? Adults? People who like to watch Megan Fox look at things in confusion? This looks to suffer from one of the same problems Bay's Transformers suffers from and that's not having a clear idea who the target audience is. TMNT works for both kids and adults, but I don't know that you can mix both like the trailer appears to indicate the movie has done.


What is it About?

Besides being about four (I'm assuming four as the trailer didn't even make that clear) anthropomorphic turtles/ martial arts enthusiasts? Why is the city falling apart? Is that just what crime looks like in the city? Who is Ms. O'Neil and why should I care about her? Is the creepy naked guy from the movie "Go" the bad guy? Why should I care about any of this?


WHAT ARE THOSE ABOMINATIONS AT THE END?! 

That's not me being a purist as the turtles' look has evolved over the years. That's me being JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS THAT?! That close up of Michelangelo at the end bothered me in that special way that the idea of my parents having sex bothers me; wrong, unnatural, and gross.

Anywho, what did you think?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tales of Dickery: Accidental Theater Dickery

I’m bad at confronting people in public. Like, really, really bad. Bad in that way that I will stew in my rage for hours, fantasizing about confronting some rude asshole or another without ever actually executing said confrontation.

So of course on the rare occasion that I do actually commit to telling an inconsiderate stranger off in public, it spectacularly blows up in my face as happened late one night last December whilst The Lovely Tiffany and I were out taking in the London theater scene.

We had decided to see The Phantom of the Opera. Trust me, there was much agonizing (mostly over prices) but we settled on The Phantom of the Opera because A) the tickets that were available weren’t prohibitively expensive, and, B) Fuck you, The Phantom of the Opera is a pinnacle of human achievement. So there.

Yep. We were *those* Americans.
Understand it’d been a minute since either of us had actually attended live theater. We used to be all about it. Yet over the last decade, theater kind of stopped being a thing for us. Because, ya know… life.

Because it had been so long since I’d been to the theater, I was completely unaware that at some point in the last decade audiences collectively decided that cell phone use was an acceptable thing during live performances. Who knew? But when the lights went down, and the curtain went up, a sea of cell phones came out. For a few minutes it seemed like the theater was nothing but brightly shining LCD screens. What members of the theater staff actually interested in patrons having a good experience did their best to curb that, but a few people persisted.

Like, for example, the old man seated beside me.

Almost immediately into the show, he produced and begins to click what looked like an old Nokia style phone and he was doing his best to hide what he was doing. He’d shift awkwardly in his seat, look left, look right, then cup the thing up by his face.  He’d aim it down towards the stage and loudly click it into action while flooding my peripheral vision with hard, blue light. He did this with every song that came on and when the song was over, he’d check the screen. And when each song ended, he’d check the display, then put the thing back into his breast pocket.

“This mother fucker beside me is bootlegging the show,” I whispered to Tiffany.

“Seriously?” She asked. “Is that what he’s doing?”

“What the hell else can he be doing? A song starts up, he whips out that phone and goes to town.”

“Why would he do that?”

“I have no idea! Maybe he’s recording the music for posterity? But why? I mean, can that shitty little thing be catching audio that’s worth listening to later? Jesus Christ, just go buy the soundtrack in the lobby…”

The show kept going, and one song after another was being ruining by Old Man Bootlegg. I was getting pissed. Real pissed. The rage was building and I knew… I knew that this required action on my part, not just quiet, impotent rage.

“That’s it,” I whispered to Tiffany. “I’ve had enough.”

And then I turned… the nightmare scenario.

“Look, dude…”

Yes. I called an old British man at the theater “dude.”

“… I know what you’re fucking doing. I know you’re using that phone or that recorder to record the show and it’s annoying the fuck out of me. You need to put it the fuck away before….”

He then cut me off. Not angrily, not defiantly, but…

deafly.

“I’M ‘ARD OF ‘EARING AND THIS IS ME LISTENING DEVICE,” he said/shouted with both sadness and in a comically Cockney accent that would make Dick Van Dyke jealous.

Jesus Christ, I thought. Of course he’s deaf. Why wouldn’t he be?

“Okay," I said, nodding hard and fast while giving him the International A-Okay sign. “Okay, you’re good.”

“I CAN’T ‘EAR A FING WIFFOUT IT,” he continued/shouted. “I TRY NOT TA BE A BOTHER BUT IT KEEPS NEEDING ADJSTUN’.”

“Yes,” I said, scooting away from him and trying to maybe get into Tiffany’s seat with her. “Obviously. Yes, you have to adjust it. Of course you do. Clearly.”

Meanwhile, Tiffany was doing a fantastic job of pretending to have suddenly no idea who the fuck I was. Oh, she knew shit was going down. She was fully aware that I was in the process of feasting on both feet. But she was also making it very clear that I was on my own. Her eyes were fixed forward and hard.

“I CAN’T ‘ELP THAT I’M ‘ARD OF ‘EARING,” he said. “BUT I’LL DO ME BEST NOT BE A BOTHER.”

“Sir, sir, sir. You are no bother,” I said. “No, no, no. Not a bother at all.”

I looked back at Tiffany. She was still not directly acknowledging what had just happened, but she was shaking uncontrollably. Trying to stifle that volume of laughter will do that to anyone. So I just did my best to forget that I had just dressed down a deaf guy for using his hearing device.

Let's get back to the reason we're all here tonight; beautiful music and beautiful set pieces.

During intermission, me and the old man made an unspoken agreement to pretend like an invisible barrier had been erected between us that prevented us from acknowledging the existence of the other. And, after the show, he was quick to get up and leave.

I, on the other hand, was left with my one and only outing to a London theater being memorable not because I’d seen a quality show, or anything like that, but because I’d talked shit to an old deaf guy for having the gall to use his hearing device.

But my one hundred percent honest thought on the matter after reflecting on it? Fuck that guy. A simple, pre-show “’ELLO, GUV’NA. I FEEL OBLIGATED T’TELL YOU THAT I’M ‘ARD OF EARING AND USE A LISTENING DEVICE THAT MAY WELL DRIVE YOU ‘ROUND THE BEND” would have saved us both a lot of trouble.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Five Idle Thoughts That Kept Me Up Last Night

And no, I'm not kidding. The last time I checked the clock while trying to go to sleep it was sometime after 3 a.m. Here's what was keeping me up...

1) “What makes a warlock these days?”

No one is currently able to actually define what constitutes a warlock anymore as far as I’m concerned. I used to operate under the assumption that a warlock was the male equivalent of a witch, but then Harry Potter went and established that while girls are witches, boys are wizards. So what is a warlock? Is being a warlock good or is being a warlock bad? Is it something I want to be or is it something I want to avoid being?

2) “Should I have done hard drugs?”

Seriously, I want to know. Did I do myself a disservice by not dabbling in ecstacy, cocaine, LSD, heroine, or opium for at least a little while? Anyone? Don’t everyone chime in all at once…

3) “Why can’t my Pikachu be as amazing as the one on TV?”

No matter the game, try as I might, I can never seem to catch, train or trade a Pikachu that is actually worth a shit. That Pikachu on TV? That asshole is one episode from curing genital herpes. Meanwhile, all of mine, at best, are just... OK. And don’t give me that horse shit about the one on the cartoon being special. I’ve taken down Team Rocket, Team Plasma and Team Flare. Alone! If anyone deserves a special Pikachu it’s me, Goddamnit. It’s me…

4) “Does Lena Dunham just power watch entire seasons of Sex and the City before sitting down to write new episodes of Girls or is she just doing it all from memory?”

To be honest, if it’s the latter, I’m actually impressed. Because whenever I sit down to write my TV show concept, Family of Sad Orphans, I have to actually have Party of Five on constantly in the background or else I’m fucking lost.

5) “Is that my cat staring at me… or a rapist?”

This applies to not one but both of my cats. They both have this odd, assholeish habit of creeping up beside my head in the middle of the night and staring at me. Whenever I feel like I’m about to get touched in my "Uh-Oh Place" by one of the Shadow People, rest assured either Spike or Dirt McGrit (but usually Spike) has invaded my personal bubble and is just staring. Always with the staring. Sometimes they’re letting me know I forgot to feed them, but usually they’ve got zero agenda beyond watching me sleep. Jesus, cats are creepy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Texts Between Two Dudes Watching WWE's Monday Night Raw

ME: I love that in wrestling your boss can actually beat the shit out of you with no fear of recourse.

JOE: Sounds like an OSHA violation.

ME: I would love to see an angle where OSHA does show up.

JOE: They could be a tag team. Wear hard hats and high viz vests. Scream about safety like maniacs. They could rail against dangerous moves.

ME: And their finishing move could be called The Citation.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Today We Try Not To Profess Our Love To The Living Legend

Remember that time you met James Marsters, he who played Spike on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and you had this really insightful, well thought out question that you knew would blow him away and prove that you weren’t just another mouth-breather like the rest of the chumps in line but instead what came out of your adult, married-to-a-beautiful-woman male mouth was “I love you”? Remember when you did that? Ha! I bet you felt stu…

Shit, that wasn’t you, was it?

A strapping heterosexual male I may be, but those cheekbones...

Today at 11 a.m. I’ll be on HuffPost Live with Hulk Hogan as I’ve been tasked with asking him a question or two as a fan. Being a student of history (particularly my own) the last thing I need is a repeat of The Marsters Incident on a highly trafficked web show that I’ve made sure all my friends, former co-workers and people I generally respect know I’ll be appearing on. Obviously I spent more than a few hours over the weekend carefully crafting the most insightful questions (and one jackass one) possible. Proper preparation and all that. 

I’ve run the questions past friends who are smarter than me and gotten their validation.

I’ve practiced asking my carefully crafted questions to perfection.

I got a good(ish) night’s sleep to make sure I'm as charming as ever today.

I think I’m all set...

But the fact remains I’m still meeting one of my Top 5 Heroes From Childhood later this morning.

So I guess what I’m saying is I hope he says he loves me back.



Here's the link to the show. And no worries if you're reading this days, weeks, hell, even years after it was written. HuffPost Live keeps an archive so it's all good.

Friday, March 21, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: MAGAZINE THAT PAID ME ACTUAL MONEY TO WRITE HAS SHIPPED

Did you know people actually, on occasion, pay me to write about the kinda stuff I give away for free here? Granted, I use the word "fuck" a lot less when money is involved, but still.

Insanity!

But, if you're feeling froggy, you can check out the latest issue of Back Issue Magazine to read an in-depth look at the 70s try-out book, Marvel Premiere (and when I say "in-depth" I really mean it- the editors asked for no less than 8,000 words).

Hey, look at that! Cover story!

Now, some caveats...

DO PURCHASE THIS MAGAZINE IF:

- You want to know DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING there is to know about the entire 61 issue of Marvel Premiere.

- You like seeing comic creators of yore (Chris Claremont, Steve Englehart, David Michelinie, Doug Moench, etc.) talk about work they did almost 40 years ago.

- You're a true Chris Brennaman fan and cannot live without his complete works.

DO NOT PURCHASE THIS MAGAZINE IF:

- You are interested in absolutely none of the above.

There ya go. If you do feel the need to pick this sucker up, then head over to TwoMorrows Publishing. If not, just... just lie to me if we ever see each other in person and tell me how interesting and well written my piece was. 

4 Ways Batman Could Better Serve Gotham That Don’t Involve Being Batman

As I stood in the shower this morning, the hot water cascading over my body and enveloping me not unlike the warm embrace of a ravenous lover, my mind inevitably became passionately consumed by one overpowering thought:  What I would do if I were Batman? Obviously, I would roll around in the Batmobile, taking down The Joker, getting into fistfights with Two-Face’s thugs, matching wits with Ra’s al Ghul and staying one step ahead of the law as I waged my one man war on Gotham’s evil doers. In short, I would be awesome.


Except, I wouldn’t be awesome. Not really. No one would be. If anyone were in fact Batman, that would mean we would have access to all the resources that make Batman, well, Batman. And having access to all that and opting to put on a cape and a cowl and patrol the cities at night in the most badass vehicles ever is probably the most irresponsible thing a person could do, especially if what that person wants to do is make real change.

What could a reasonable person with Batman-esque resources do to make life in Gotham City a little less Hellish? Here’re four better, infinitely more productive (although more boring and less comic book worthy) that immediately spring to mind…

1. Become Aggressively Politically Active

Since day one, Batman’s biggest pain in the ass has always been corruption. Sure, sure, sure, folks like Joker, Riddler and Bane get the lion’s share of the credit for being Batman’s biggest… bane… but the real evil in Gotham City doesn’t dress in outlandish costumes and make death traps. No, the real evil in that city is most often hiding out in City Hall.

Corrupt cops, corrupt city councilmen, and corrupt mayors have always done their damndest to keep the people of Gotham down, and sure, from time to time, Batman has exposed a few of them while Bruce Wayne once held a fund raiser for a DA one time. But somehow, these corrupt elements always find a way to worm their way back into public office, all while Batman is out dodging ballistic umbrellas compliments of The Penguin.

What if instead of spending millions upon millions building Batmobiles, Batboats, Batwings, Batcaves and Bat Shark Repellant, Batman instead used that vast fortune to find, vette and fund honest men and women of integrity to serve the people of Gotham City?  We know that Bruce Wayne is Bill Gates rich. He comes from old Gotham money. He has the kind of financial wherewithal and social influence to be a better super lobbyist than super hero. In the time it took him to train to be the world’s greatest detective and the single most fantastic physical human specimen, he could have been building a political machine in Gotham the likes of which the city, maybe even the world, had never seen. Instead of pouring money into franchising the Batman brand, pour money into leaders.

But, compared to beating up performance criminals, politics is absolutely boring as hell. And maybe he likes being hands on. That’s totally fair. So, why not…

2. Give Arkham Asylum a Complete Overhaul

There’s a reason The Joker is always sent to a mental hospital rather than prison. Despite having a higher body count than Hitler at this point, the courts declare him to be in dire need of dedicated psychological treatment.

However, rather than actually send him to a quality mental care facility, he’s sent to Arkham Asylum, a shit hole that makes Bedlam look like Passages and has worse security to boot.

With one check, Batman could fix Arkham, or rather, Bruce Wayne could. He could choose at any moment to give Arkham a much-needed influx of cash and make it an actual place of rehabilitation instead being eerily similar to the kind of place those rich Europeans murdered hot American kids in those Hostel movies. Batman could use his money to court the best doctors, the best security, the best EVERYTHING by merely opening his checkbook.

Actually, why stop at funding Arkham? Why not…

3. Use Wayne Enterprises to Actually Invest in the Gotham City Community

This is the one item on the list that is actually in Batman’s best interests on multiple fronts. Not only does it go to the root of the problem in Gotham City, but it also goes a long way towards making sure Batman has a steady enough income to maintain his Batman lifestyle.

Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed in a random act of violence. They were victims of a mugging. A lot of people in Gotham are victims of muggings. See, there’s not a lot of opportunities in Gotham for honest work. Hell, Joker may have even gotten his start as a down-on-his-luck family man who turned to crime for baby formula money. Gotham needs hope, and Bruce Wayne has the means to give them that hope.

No, not by becoming The Bat (remember the point of this list)! By actually doing his job as chairman and CEO of Wayne Enterprises! Batman is one of the ONLY super heroes that can actually help others have a meaningful, productive livelihood. Superman can punch asteroids, but Clark Kent ain’t exactly about to start paying hundreds, maybe thousands of people a living wage. Same for Green Lantern, The Flash, Martian Manhunter or any other member of the Justice League NOT THE HEAD OF A MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION. Batman can do more in the boardroom in one day than he can in the back alleys of Gotham over the course of a year, and yet he evidently just can’t be bothered.

Now to be fair, businessing is boring. There’s a reason I only took one Intro to Business Calss in college and dropped it midway through the semester. Maybe he likes being on the front lines. Maybe he likes getting his hands dirty. Maybe he just likes to kick a little ass from time to time. As you guessed, there’s still a better way to go ab
out even that…

4. Work With the Gotham PD to Make EVERY Cop As Well-Equipped and Trained as Batman

Put simply, there is nothing Batman can do on his own that the police force couldn’t do better. Nothing. And that’s without all those wonderful toys. Could you imagine what the police could do if they did have them?

What if, instead of working in the shadows and above the law, Batman instead worked hand-in-hand with it? What if every member of the GCPD has a badass Batsuit complete with utility belts stocked with the latest CSI equipment? What if every GCPD precinct has a Batcomputer that could do all the crazy shit the one in the Batcave could do? What if instead of one Batman, you had an army of them and they were all legal members of the law enforcement community? Batman's one man war on crime is all well and good, but it's inefficient as hell. A war on crime with the backing of an actual army, on the other hand....

(side note: if you do a Google image search for "war on crime" 10 of the first 12 results are Batman, so what do I know?)

That Batman has never once approached Commissioner Gordon with this idea is just criminal. That Commissioner Gordan has never asked Batman to consider this means he may be the real reason he gets removed from being head of Gotham's Police Department every year or so.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

IMAX Captain America: The Winter Soldier Poster Brings The Steranko

I love Jim Steranko. Love, love, love. Steranko, as far as I'm concerned is eclipsed only by one Jack Kirby. So, yeah, I may have almost sprayed coffee all over my laptop when I saw the poster for the IMAX release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier...


For comparison:



Now if The Winter Soldier does more than wink at Steranko's Nick Fury and Captain America runs, we may have a contender for best comic movie in the history of ever.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Guitar Hero Is Officially Dead


At least, come March 31st it will be. That's when Activision will stop offering any DLC for the series.

I could never get into the Guitar Hero franchise, or the many other knock-offs that popped up over the few years that kind of game was king. I think it primarily had to do with me having the hand-eye coordination of a blind, epileptic chimpanzee so even with the game on the easiest setting, I was always doomed to complete and total failure. But still, there was a minute there where that game was all over the place. Hell, even my mom was known to have given a try once or twice and that's a woman who never once touched an NES controller save to threaten to throw it in the trash if I kept "leaving the Goddamn thing in the middle of the floor!"

And then it was gone. Over night. Poof!

So I was actually surprised at the announcement that Activision would soon be discontinuing all DLC for it's Guitar Hero games. Because I thought, ya know, that had would have been done years ago. At least since 2011 when the series went dormant.

But, if you still get the ol' axe out from time to time, now's the time to pick up the DLC stuff as Activision will be offering deep discounts on all of it until it goes away forever come March 31.

via gameinformer.com

Ivan Reitman Steps Away From Ghostbusters 3


No nerd rage here, just the sentiment that I wish that all parties would just walk away from Ghostbusters 3 at this point. Ghostbusters was a success because it was that special movie that happened at the right time with the right people at the right places in their careers. And without Ramis, Murray and now Ivan Reitman, is this really a movie anyone should be excited to get made let alone see?

Anywho, you can see the latest in the Ghostbusters 3 saga over at Deadline where Ivan Reitman talks about bowing out and how Ramis' passing was key to the decision.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Evidently Has No Budget For Deathlok Costume

At least, that has to be the reason a high profile television series airing on a major network with direct ties to a billion dollar film franchise has a costume that looks this... tragic.


Look, I'm not a fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm open about that. I find the show fails at every turn to live up any of it's potential while simultaneously failing to be interesting for any lengthy period of time.

This costume doesn't do much to shift that opinion.

From comicbookmovie.com

Peanuts Getting a CG Movie

I'm not going to lie, the last string of "classic" cartoons to get the CG treatment have been't really been hallmarks of quality.  But maybe this one will be different? Maybe?


Anywho, maybe there's a chance Stephen Lynch's ode to Charles Chulz's creation running over the end credits. Maybe?


Monday, March 17, 2014

4 Reasons South Park: The Stick of Truth Became My Weeklong Obsession


I like the idea of RPGs much more than I like the reality of RPGs. Over the years I’ve tried my hand at many an RPG, and many have I finished. Many more, however, have I given up midway through for various reasons, never to return. Sometimes it was a frustrating design that finally got to me, other times the story lost me, while sometimes I just outright lost interest in the thing as a whole.

However, this past week has found me once again dipping my toe into the RPG pool, thanks to South Park: The Stick of Truth. And what’s more is that from the first moment I fired up the ol’ Xbox 360 until I had completed the game, it was all I could think about.

What was it about South Park: The Stick of Truth that so thoroughly hooked me? I’ve boiled it down to four reasons.

1. An Outstanding Story That’s As Good As Any South Park Episode

The story is actually The Stick of Truth’s greatest asset. This is a game that actually let’s you take part in a good episode of the TV series. Plus, with the hundreds of Easter Eggs scattered throughout the game with references going all the way back to the very first episode in 1997, it makes for a fantastically immersive experience.

Which is what a good RPG should do.

Whether you’re playing a pencil and paper game or JRPG, you should feel like you’ve just visited another place while inhabiting someone else’s skin and Stick of Truth does that to such an amazing extent. Within minutes you really do feel like “The New Kid” and that feeling doesn’t stop until the end credits roll. The developers of this game succeeded not in merely making a licensed game, but in making me a visitor to a living, breathing fictional world that I was actively engaged in from the start.

2. User Friendly Mechanics That Don’t Make You Feel Slow… Or Stupid

One of my big turn-offs when it comes to many RPGs is the mechanics. The mechanics of most RPGs all but exclude anyone who isn’t a diehard, lifelong fan of the genre. In fact, the word “difficult” may even be too kind. I would say “prohibitive” actually works better.

The creators of Stick of Truth seem to have realized that, yes, they were making an RPG, but because it being such a high profile property, the likelihood of drawing in a crowd that wasn’t traditionally experienced with RPGs was fairly high. And so it seems a quite a bit of work went into designing a system that incorporates the tropes of the genre all while making it completely unintimidating. All the best parts of RPG mechanics were present; mixing and matching abilities, working to figure out the best class combos, all that nerdy stuff. But it never felt like a chore. Not once.

3. Side Quests You Actually Want to Complete

Confession time, one of my least favorite parts of RPGs has always been side quests. Whether it’s raising chocobos or herding live stock, side quests have almost always struck me as filler. And when a main story can take up to 30 hours to complete, I sometimes find myself falling into a murderous rage. In most RPGs, given a choice, I will almost always skip a side quest if there’s even a hint that it’s just killing time.

Fortunately, I can’t think of a single side quest In Stick of Truth that I didn’t have a fun time tackling. Even the most mundane quest wherein Jimbo has you travel around town killing random animals (because… hunting) was pretty fun. The side quests in Stick of Truth are always about getting to know the people of South Park and the town itself rather than just performing mundane tasks for the sake of performing mundane tasks. And yes, I know that’s the intent of side quests in other games, it’s just that Stick of Truth pulls it off spectacularly.

4. Canada

To say that getting to explore South Park’s fictional Canada is a joy doesn’t do the actual experience justice. If Obsidian were to announce tomorrow that a follow-up game were in development, one that took place exclusively in Canada, I think I might cry tears of unadulterated joy.

Un.

Adulterated.


Joy.