I know a lot of people that like to listen to audio books while they work at whatever they do. I enjoy that as well, but I always thought of audio books as somewhat limiting. No, I don’t know why, but I did. Enter this new thing called Podcasting a few years ago. I took a spin at figuring it out and was part of an abortive attempt at getting one started. There’s a recording floating out there someplace with my voice on it. I have no idea where it ever went. Making a podcast is not easy.

Correction – making a podcast is easy. Making a GOOD podcast that doesn’t pod-fade after three weeks is really tough. I have a great appreciation for the art form.

I’m really on the outside looking in here, but I’m just close enough to know a number of serious players in the realm of podcasting. I think the folks who create and get their work out there deserve support. I have given money when I was able, I have posted about some of my favorite podcasts before, but now there’s something else I can do – and you can too!

The parsec awards are now accepting nominations. I’ve gone out and put in my nomination for what I believe is a truly excellent long form podcast. If you know about podcasts, you should head out to their site (Here) and see if your favorite is on the list. If it’s not, what are you waiting for? Nominate it! If you don’t know about podcasts, go there and check out the list. I bet you’ll find something you like.

Movies and movies and movies…

There have been a lot of times that I’ve complained about what Hollywood is doing with movies. Sometimes they do seem to get it right. It will show my age but I don’t care. Back in 1984 a number of movies hit theaters that set a standard for what an amazing list of movie going experiences should look like. That year Terminator, Karate Kid, Dune, Ghostbusters, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai, Red Dawn, Repo Man, Gremlins, Conan the Destroyer, Indiana Jones and the Temple of… monkey brains (yeah, I know), Revenge of the Nerds and (just for fun) Romancing the Stone all crashed into my head and stuck there. That’s an iconic list.

Yesterday I watched a movie trailer for “The Little Prince” animated feature. It looked fantastic and I wanted to know when it was coming out. When I looked (July) I realized what an incredible year we might have on our hands this year. IF I were the age I was in 1984 again now I’m certain these movies, this year, would set the standard for the rest of my life.

Here are the movies I’m thinking of:

Avengers 2
Mad Max – Fury Road
Inside Out (Pixar!)
Ant Man
The Little Prince
Jurassic World
Fantastic Four
Terminator Genisys (yeah, I know)

Later this year we get the next 007 (Spectre) and then in December Star Wars.

Are they all “original”? No – hell, Terminator is still making the list with the same star. There are still issues with the way movie stories are selected and moved forward. I don’t want to see the new super action stunt oriented “Point Break” with new, younger stars and huge high flying stunts. There had to be something better to do with that budget. None the less, this year looks like it could really be something special. I only hope these films actually live up to the hype building around them. It seems a steep task, but what if that happened? I know my movie going budget for this year is already busted – I’ll be at the theater quite a lot.

What movies are you really excited about this year?


This was previously published in Watch The Skies:

Regeneration Who – or – Where you should have been

This convention review is different than any of the others I’ve presented here before. It is different both because I got a different perspective and because from many reactions this convention was different than others before.

I don’t work on staff for many conventions. The creators of Regeneration Who are the same folks that put on Intervention Con where I normally lend a hand with the Children’s programming track. Regen didn’t have a dedicated children’s track this year so I became something of a free agent. I phrased it just that way when I was chatting with some of the other staff. I joked that I could now negotiate for double the going rate for staff pay. He came right back with, “I’ll offer you triple to get on my team…”

I should have negotiated better.

I ended up bouncing from place to place, from team to team through this entire convention. I essentially worked from the time I got up and dressed to the time I fell over at the end of the night. I must have walked ten miles each day. I was utterly exhausted by the end of the whole thing. Spent.

What all my travels afforded me was a chance to see much, much more of the convention than I might have otherwise. There were huge things going on here – Tom Baker Skyped in and answered questions from the attendees. The line for that was immense. There were funny things going on. The sort of things that stop conversations cold – like Sylvester McCoy and Sophie (Aldred) Henderson (the 7th Doctor and companion) riding a bell-hop cart down the hall. There were crazy moments like guiding the life size special weapons Dalek into the middle of the vendor room and opening it up so that actors could sign the inside of it. There were little moments that didn’t matter to anyone other than the very few people involved, like being able to pull a pink back pack full of “My Little Ponies” out of the lost and found bin to help fix up a weekend for a sobbing little girl.

The hope for the weekend was to be able to draw a few hundred folks and cover the expenses so the show would go on again next year. By all accounts the attendance was more than triple the expectation. There were flaws. There were issues. They were handled. I can’t say that’s been the case with every con I’ve gone to. Yes, being on the staff and spending more than a little of my time running for operations to try to help solve some of these issues I got to see and hear more than the attendees. Yes, I’m biased because I was helping. You know who wasn’t? The standing ovation from the attendees that came to the last panel of the convention called, “how’d we do?”.

Even seeing the issues behind the scenes, or perhaps because of seeing the issues behind the scenes, I’m going to recommend that if you’re a fan of Doctor Who you make it a point to get to this convention next year. I’m already on board.

Still Getting Stuff Out There!

So I totally vague-booked a while back about a story I had high hopes for when I submitted it. I try to stay away from some of the more annoying habits of social media, but I didn’t want to jinx anything. I send the story and had that sliver of hope, that teeny part that thought, “I’m so right on target for this…”

As it turned out the editors that put out the call departed the scene and the theme that I thought my story was perfect for wasn’t actually going to happen.

The folks that picked up the editor process there have sounded like they’re really decent. They went through all the stuff that was submitted for the theme even if they weren’t going to run it. They took the time, even when the clearly didn’t have to.

And that’s when I got my latest rejection letter. Crap.

Spaceship… but just to get there.

I saw a question from a friend on line yesterday. What are your 5 favorite spaceships? I immediately pictured a Colonial Viper and one of the Black Tiger fighters from Star Blazers. They were immediate and real to me, but then I let my mind wander a little thinking about the others. There are the popular ones that hit most folks lists, but not really mine. Sure Buck Rogers on the 80s TV show had a neat ship, but I liked the Hawk’s ship better. The bad guys (totally don’t remember their name just now) even had cool ships. Then I thought of this other artwork I knew…

So I jumped on line and went looking for it. Yes, it was because I didn’t want to walk to the other room and unlock the cabinet I keep my art monographs in – don’t judge.

The really funny part is, the art I was thinking of doesn’t have space ships in it. Not one that I could find. You’d just need a spaceship to get there.

IF you’ve never seen the artwork of Roger Dean, do yourself a favor and go check it out. Amazing stuff.