Friday, May 30, 2008

Just how cheap *will* I work...?

How easy is it to get the once and future Trivia Geek on your radio show? This easy. That's right, I've appeared six out of the last seven weeks (and again tomorrow) on TechTalk radio in Chicago and my total compensation--besides ego-stroking and publicity--is a nice CafePress t-shirt. Truth be told, I'd work for less.

For those of you curious what it is I'm likely to say on the radio, check out the May 24 show--which is where I was brought on as a time-filler--to discover my incoherent ramblings about Indiana Jones, superhero movies, digital restoration, classic video games, my current day job, and various & sundry other unrelated topics. My appearance runs from about 18:30 to about 48:15. Also, I now have theme music. Seriously.

Oh, and if this performance (to invoke a generous descriptor) impresses you, and you are a booking agent for a radio show or science fiction convention, remember that I can be had for a t-shirt or less. Quality optional.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Two bizarre blog ideas

Okay, so here's a couple of blog ideas I've tossed around but will probably never have time to pursue. Blogs that are commercially successful need concise, compelling concepts. I'm putting these here as one of those prior art pikestaffs so I can sue whoever reads this post and finds the time to actually write these things (not that I'd win, but I'm petty):

The Chrono-Anarchist's Hitlist: A blog that profiles interesting and significant people in history by supposing how the world would be different if a time-traveling terrorist went back and notched them before they did all their unappreciated work. I glanced off this idea in my last Geek Trivia post, where I suggested that offing George Lucas's dog might have renamed Indiana Jones and wiped out Chewbacca (which in turn prevents Ewoks, so it might be worth it).

The Armchair Script Doctor: Instead of bitching about how all the hyped geek genre movies fail to live up to expectations, I outline how I'd have changed the scripts to serve us better. I did this once with Spider-Man 3 and got some positive feedback, and I have enough movies with clear ideas on how to fix (Matrix Revolutions, Alien 3, Transformers, the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Wonder Woman, the last of which hasn't even been made) to sustain for a while. If only I had the time.

Those would totally work. I'd be adored by dozens. Sadly, fate does not abide.

Enough bitching, back to work.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The one in which I use my powers for good

0652 IndyImage by nickhall via Flickr
Way back in March (and republished in April), I laid out my predictions for the summer geek movie season. I said Iron Man would rock, Speed Racer would flop, and Prince Caspian would be middling but appeal to the kiddies.

Let's just look at the Rotten Tomatoes fresh ratings and gross reports, shall we?
That's right, I'm a genius. If could pick stocks this well I'd be building that lifesize mockup of the Fortress of Solitude with my billions right about now. But, to paraphrase General Zod, "Why do you say these things when you know I will kill you for it?"

"Kill me, Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind...."

Sorry, tangent.

Anyway, why am I mouthing off about my mutant movie critiquing powers when karma will almost certainly snap back and ensure that my successive prediction(s) fall resoundingly flat?

Because the next movie I previewed was Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...and I said it was gonna lay a great big steaming pile of Episode I on our summer. And I don't want to be right about that. I very much think I will be, but if the only cost for ensuring that Indy 4 kicks mega retro Raiders of the Lost Ark ass is to be exposed as a lucky guesser in front of all five of my blog readers, sign my arrogant butt up for the smackdown. Because the likelihood of Shia Lebouf as this year's Jar Jar is growing awfully fast.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today's painfully obscure moral dilemma

So here are the bizarre and embarrassing idle thoughts that hover on the edge of my consciousness, dispelling my nascent aura of productivity.

I've been tacitly invited to take over programming for the local science fiction convention, ConGlomeration. It's a task I completely don't have time for, between my day job with a time-sucking Internet startup, my side-gig writing trivia questions and geeky blog posts for my former employer, my vain attempts to become a fiction author (i.e. my membership in the local sci-fi writing group and, for educational purposes, the local sci-fi readers group to create stories I never feel are good enough to publish), and my regular appearances on TechTalk. (All of which fails to mention my duties as husband, father, and friend, to say nothing of a social life beyond professional geekery.) Heck, I'm close to earning Epic Fail as mere Webmaster for the ConGlom Web site.

That said, if I were to suicidally become Programming Director, I would almost certainly abuse the privilege to import persons that I want to meet as convention Guests of Honor. Wil Wheaton, for example would be the ideal guest as he is A) a media figure, B) a writer, C) a gamer, D) a techie and E) reputedly composed entirely of awesome and cupcakes. He's also connected out the wazoo to influential geeks of every persuasion, so if we were to somehow land the former Ensign Crusher as our headline guest and treat him with the worshipful courtesy for which ConGlomeration is known, it could raise our Con's profile and get our foot in the door with additional awesome-and-cupcakes personages. But my real reasons for crushing on the Wheaton? Dude is a Mike Doughty fan. I seriously thought I was the only one. In my dream scenario, Wil and his wife fly in (yes, we often fly in spouses of Guests of Honor, and we brought in most of Harry Turtledove's immediate family), we hang, hit it off, and agree to become mutual Twitter friends. Sad, I know, but there you have it.

Wheaton, at least, is a defensible dream guest. Where my self-centered guest list goes off the rails is with the likes of John Scalzi--of who I have cyberstalked at length, met previously, and gotten books signed acknowledging said cyberstalking. Scalzi has been nominated for the Hugo, won the Campbell, and is blogger of the first order, but I doubt many of our guests have heard of him. He's too new-school. Basically, I'd be bringing in a guy who'd be an awesome guest but who would do little to spike our attendance, simply so I could fawn in person. An abuse of power if ever there was one. On the plus side, Scalzi lives near Dayton, so we wouldn't have to fly him in.

Similar issues apply to one Cherie Priest, save that she has actual Kentucky ties, having attended High School here and with relatives in Lietchfield. Still, she is an exceedingly new-school (and fiendishly talented) horror writer--not exactly our core audience. But she's a blogstress par excellence and wicked funny to boot. Certainly worth flying in from Seattle. Again, a selfish guest choice I'd court in a heartbeat.

This, of course, is merely the beginning of the ways I'd subtly destroy my beloved Con by sheer virtue of temptation. I've long toyed with the idea of tacking a Ning social network onto the Con Web site and creating another don't-have-time-for-it task of making our attendee base more loyal and persistent via an active online meeting space. Worse yet, I've often wondered if the entire programming schedule couldn't be made open source, via a Google Doc or Wikia page, such that members and volunteers of all stripes could design the panels and programs they'd like to see us host--perhaps offering their services in the process.

Alas, I barely have time to write a blog post bitching about these possibilities, let alone act upon them. It's more an idle a lament than an actual moral dilemma, but hey, self-centered kvetching is what blogging's all about, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Video: PS3 vs. the Wii

Sexist? Juvenile? Blatantly insensitive? (Mildly NSFW?) Check, check, check (and check). But it's also totally frakkin' accurate, and encapsulates my expectations for the respective platforms in terms of sales and popularity.

My shortest radio stint ever

My latest appearance on TechTalk is my shortest one yet. To be fair, I was crowded out by talk of the Wii Fit, which is appropriate. It should be obvious that I was totally unprepared for even this brief guest spot, as I had just come in from mowing the yard only to realize that I didn't have the computer booted, thus had no access to my show prep notes.

For the record, the answer to the holdover question was Salyut 3, not Salyut 7--I flubbed the first response. I also had to pull out a fresh question from sheer memory, going to one of my favorite subjects--ways in which George Lucas screwed up. Enjoy my audio incompetence online here, or download the podcast to iTunes and jump right to the 19:20 mark for my six minutes of "fame."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The difference between sports geeks and sci-fi geeks

The only problem is that I'm a sci-fi geek and a sports fan. There's quite a few of us, actually, which is why they make these. Personally, I prefer the baseball version, but it lacks the Mandalorian skull insignia. Out-dork that distinction, bitches.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another radio stint, as my infamy grows yet more

After a brief hiatus, I returned to the Chicagoland airwaves last weekend with another appearance on TechTalk. For those listening over the Web, you can grab the latest show here. If you want to grab the podcast on iTunes and can't wait around for my appearance, fast forward to the 11:30 mark and hear me blab about Iron Man, Battlestar Galactica, tax returns, General Electric, karma, child disease, and Russian space weapons until 24:40.

In other surreal news, my boss Rob wants me to apply to be a panel speaker for BlogWorld. The notion of me as an expert is still pretty foreign considering that I couldn't get anyone besides my own teammates at CNET to listen to my ideas. Somehow being ignored for several years by your corporate overlords makes you worthy to expound upon online community development amongst season blog professionals. (Setting aside the oxymoron that is seasoned blog professionals.) This will be an exercise in spin.

Oh, and I was lambasted by my writer's group last night for not having a short story to share for the second consecutive meeting. The burden of expectation is flattering and intimidating, especially since my pal Lizard could write circles around me these days. His in-progress novel is teh awesome. Combine that with the ever-growing clamor by some folks on the local sci-fi con's organizing committee to have me take over some or all of programming (the hardest job there is), and I'm far more in demand than I could ever possibly deserve. Eventually, these folks are going to catch on.