Finale

VERY EXPLICIT!!! This is our last show. From Andy, Matthew, and Justin thank you for listening and this show was pretty infantile and dirty. You have been warned!

Music Used : “8-Bit Junky” by George Wood

Turn Out The Lights

Justin on Mic

Justin on Mic

I want to say something inspirational and profound about closing the chapter on parts of life, or about passing a milestone. The truth is that nothing I say about change or coming to an end really matters, it’s the announcement of the page turning is the important part.

Now that you have read that cryptic opening, let me lay the news down on you…After two years, WombatCast is coming to an end. I will not go into the discussion about if it should have happened earlier or at all, but rather just give you that news. If you are reading this, then I can only assume that you have been a fan this whole time and everyone associated with WombatCast appreciates your support!

But this is the best thing for me, Matthew, and Andy. One of us just got a head start on the show coming to an end.

Now does this mean you won’t ever hear from us again? No way. As you may or may not know Andy is involved in Andy’s Movie Minute, so you can catch his rants from the asylum of the mind on that show. I am featured on RoleplayDNA and Smiling Jack’s Bar and Grill. I am also working on my own solo show which I hope to announce and launch soon. Matthew will continue to work with P5 Productions and help out where he wants to. And I promise you this…I will make excuses for the three of us to be on mic together again, those two guys are too fun to record with.

Next Tuesday I will release the last episode of WombatCast. Matt and Andy will join me for this last show, and I have no idea what will come out of our mouths. Hopefully we can say goodbye in a spectacular WombatCast way!

I encourage you to drop us a line and let us know about your favorite memories about WombatCast so we can talk about them on the last show. And, in the future, I hope you will continue to support us in the other projects we work on!

An Open Letter to Movie Theaters

Justin on Mic

Justin on Mic

This is an open letter to movie theater owners regarding the recent news that some theaters are going to try out 4D cinema.

Dear Movie Theater Owner(s),

This week I read news of the concept of moving movies into the fourth dimension, ignoring the fact that you don’t understand dimensions, let us discuss just how dumb of an idea this is.

Your plan is to add smells, movement, and other enhancements to help the audience feel like they are in the film. Do you honestly believe this will drive people back to the movie theater? Are you envisioning people ponying up $3 more just to experience the smell of whatever is on the screen? Why don’t you concentrate your efforts to creating a friendly, comfortable, and enjoyable movie watching experience. Let me offer you some tips:

  • Look how stage theater establishments ask their patrons to ask. This is about respect to the fellow audience members and to the actors. I know, you learned in college how the people in the moving pictures can’t hear or see the audience so the later point about respect to the actors doesn’t apply here. But if you made sure the audience did not distract from the movie and enforce those rules by asking disruptive patrons to leave, I think it would be a good first step to making a theater a good place to spend time and money. BTW, talk to the owners of the Alamo Drafthouse Theaters about this.
  • Assigned seating. I know, some of my fellow geeks like to wait in line still, I do not and I know others who feel the same. When I go to a theater I like having certain seats, it’s my thing. But I also hate wasting my time having to wait in line for those seats. So here is a way you and I can agree to paying an extra fee…I will pay more to get an assigned seat that will be mine no matter when I show up!
  • Get rid of 3D. It is a gimmick and no one cares anymore. It has been tried before, and you did it again. Guess what? It still doesn’t work right and it leads to more headaches than enjoyment. Not worth the extra coin to watch.
  • Food and drink. This is a tough one, I know. You make a lot of your money from concessions and I can’t blame you for this. I know what we can agree on. If you promise to make the changes I have laid out in this letter than I won’t complain about paying $5 for popcorn.

I have laid out fairly simple concepts to apply to your theaters which will not require any upgrade in technology and I even pointed out an area where you can earn more money. I know theater attendance is slowly dwindling, but that is because people are more comfortable watching a movie on their home theater set up. I still go to some movies because you have to experience a handful of films with a group of like minded folk. It’s fun to laugh and cheer with a collection of people who are experiencing something grand. But that group of people will get smaller and movie studios are starting to work around you by offering some films up as on-demand before they hit theaters, this trend will continue to grow if you aren’t careful.

I think you can succeed if you start treating audiences the way you would want to be if you were to attend a movie as the average person. I want you to succeed, but you give me very few reasons to cheer for you. 4D is not the answer, giving your customers value for their dollar is.

Average Movie Going Fan,

Justin

WC2.0 Episode 6 : Top Gun Zombies

Welcome Ed, Matthew’s Vegas Wedding, Justin’s first couple of days without Dish Network, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, Measuring movies against the greats, Kids being brought to the movie Ted, Toby McGuire is a psycho, Tom Cruise, we make up the Top Gun 2 plot, Wizard of Oz books.

Music Used : “8-Bit Junky” by George Wood

Wannabe Geek

Justin on Mic

Justin on Mic

Not long ago, I saw a Facebook discussion about some actress who was claiming to be a geek. The discussion revolved around wannabe geeks. First off, what a time we are living in. I can remember a point in my life that no one would want to be anything related to a geek, besides us geeks. So the fact that actors and other pop culture icons wish to associate themselves to geek culture is pretty cool. This discussion about wannabes got me thinking, what is a wannabe geek and does it matter?

Let us assume that being a geek is more than a state of mind, and you can actually have some checklist to apply to any individual to test their geekitude. May I present my attempt at this:

  • Can you identify a sci-fi/fantasy movie by just its soundtrack?
  • Have you played a game (RPG, video, board) on a weekend evening by choice or not, and never complained about it? (You get an extra point if you ironically commented on doing these things.)
  • Are you now or have you ever adorned yourself or any of your property with anything that made reference to Starfleet Academy
  • Do you know what DPS is?
  • Have you ever engaged in a heated argument about which fictional characters would win a theoretical fight?

Really that list could be a lot longer.

So now we have a way to identify a true geek, but do we really? Can’t I still fake my way into passing the Geek Bar Exam? Maybe this isn’t as simple as we thought.

Perhaps if you grew up being picked on and you had to use things like games, books, movies as an escape to feel better about yourself or find like minded people, maybe that is what makes you a geek. But this theory could exclude the younger members of our secret club, while bullying and social cliques judgement still exists, being a geek is not as frowned upon.

I find it odd we spend so much effort trying to find ways to exclude people from the things that interest us. As a young geek, I found it comforting to find others who were entertained by the same things I was. To this day I am glad to meet others who share my passion for the pastimes I so enjoy. We all desire to grow our social circles and find like-minded people. So why are people so willing to shut the door on someone we view as an outsider?

I think the only people who don’t truly belong with the geek culture are those who try to push other’s out. So here is my checklist of behaviors that make you a wannabe geek:

  • You have ever said that someone is lesser than you simply because they haven’t been interested in something as long as you have. (i.e. Jill is so not a gamer, because I introduced her to gaming and she has only been doing it for two years).
  • You write articles that ironically do the very thing you are raging against.
  • You like Nickelback.
  • You find ways to not welcome someone, whom you have no personal issue with, to experience something you are knowledgeable in.
If that attractive male/female says they are a geek and want to join in on a game of Settlers of Catan, then offer them a seat at the table. It won’t take that person long to figure out if that is something they are in to or not. And if said supermodel is into gaming, comics, or other geek activity well then you have expanded the horizons of your social network. Be welcoming, not elitest.

 

Re-Imagination

Justin on Mic

Justin on Mic

I haven’t seen The Amazing Spider-Man movie yet. This is mostly due to the fact that my wife, Margo, really isn’t jazzed about seeing it. It’s not that she isn’t a fan of comic book movies or that she hates Spider-Man, she just thinks it is too soon to reboot a franchise like this one. It’s hard to argue against that thinking. I did not like the previous three movies of Spider-Man, so in my mind this is a brand new movie! Toby McWho? Dancing Emo scene? None of this existed.

But is Hollywood rebooting these series too quickly? Or are they following the long tradition of re-imagining/telling of comic book story lines? How man times have we read or watched Superman’s beginnings? Do we really need the retelling every time a Superman movie get’s redone? On a side, I will give Bryan Singer credit for not fulling doing this with the last Superman movie, he made that movie as the spiritual sequel to the Christopher Reeve movies and didn’t re-tell Kal-El’s tale of coming to earth. In fact he used Marlon Brando’s Jor-El footage from the old Superman’s movies.

We veteren geeks don’t need to be re-told where Spider-Man came from, we all know it. But not everyone does. There are these things called children who haven’t heard of radioactive spiders or the doomed planet of Krypton. Perhaps the re-telling involves bringing the newbies up to speed, much to the annoyance of those who have already been initiated into the club. Geeks, you must realize that you weren’t born with this knowledge of the fictional worlds, you gained it through a telling of the stories.

I look to Mr. James Bond as the only example I can think of where we know so very little about a protagonists origin story and it is not retold every few years. Each James Bond movie is just the sequel from the last, that is until the series went through its own reboot with Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. But if you look at the series up to Casino Royale, the movies never revisited 007′s background. And help me out James Bond fans…did any movie, besides Casion Royale, talk about our favorite agent’s origins?

But James Bond has a tone and rules of the world that have been firmly established and held as sacred, so even when the faces changed James Bond stayed the same. This couldn’t apply to a movie series such as Batman. Just look at the differences between the Burton/Schumacher Batman versus the Nolan films…night and day (or should I say Knight and day). With a Christopher Nolan helmed Batman Begins, the tone and rules of the world were radically different, and he had to revisit how Bruce Wayne became Batman. Of course almost a decade had passed since Batman and Robin (yet another movie I refuse to acknowledge ever happened), so a recap of Mr. Wayne’s life was in order….or was it? It has been five years since Spider-Man 3, and from what I hear of The Amazing Spider-Man the tone is quite different…does it meet the requirements for a full re-telling?

This conversation can quickly devolve into a, Hollywood has run out of ideas, topic. But truth be told, start listing all the movies out there that weren’t based on an already thought up idea. I think the argument should be how long do you let the old movie idea sit on the shelf before you brush it off and do it again?

P.S. I cannot wait for the Dark Knight Rises.

 

WC2.0 Episode 5 : Denver ComicCon 2012

Giving up Cable TV, Free RPG Day, Denver Comic Con, Interviews with Tony FleecsMustache MonoclesJimmy GownleyPeter GrossBen Templesmith.

Music Used: “8-Bit Junky” by George Wood

Time Investment

Justin on Mic

Justin on Mic

I asked for a topic suggestion for today’s article and I got one from Andy…You might know Andy from Andy’s Movie Minute and before that he did a little known show, WombatCast. In fact Andy and I created WombatCast as it existed before the reboot. Anyways, Andy’s suggestion was to write about time. More specifically, how to carve out time for the personal projects out of the demands of life and your job. Let me take a moment of my time, and give you my observations and tips from my own experiences.

I’ve talked in the past what side projects I am working on. But if you have missed that, let me give you an updated list:

  • Co-host on these podcasts: WombatCast, RoleplayDNA, Smiling Jack’s Bar and Grill
  • Building the Protocol 5 Productions LLC.
  • Doing an internship of sorts with Reality Blurs as their resident Tech Ninja (My responsibilities are whatever Sean and RB will allow me to do but mostly tech stuff)
  • Writing my own gaming adventure

Keep in mind I also have a full time job, an understanding Wife, two dogs, and all the other parts of life that keep me busy.

So, how do I fit this all in? It comes down to prioritizing your time and making an agreement with those around you where you want to concentrate your efforts. Let’s take podcasting as the item on my list that I have been doing the longest as my working example. At some point I had to decide that podcasting is something I wanted to do with my free time. I knew that the only return on it would be experience in doing it, and the enjoyment I get from making a show. I started slow (with Andy) and set realistic expectations. I would record a show at least twice a month. I talked to my Wife about using a few hours a month working on this. As I did it more, and got put on other shows, I dedicated more time to podcasting. And went through the same process of figuring out my free time and how much of it I was willing to put towards it.

The key is that I can make the time and I don’t upset the balance of the other parts of my life. I can’t, nor want, to neglect my Wife, dogs, family, and friends. Nor can I simply take time off from work to do these personal projects. So you have to find the time you do have, that is yours to use how you wish, and decide where to use it. If you don’t have any free time and you find there are things you want to do that are achievable with a few hours a week, then I would recommend evaluating where your time is going and if there are ways you can squeeze that “you” time out of your busy life. Without it then nothing I, or anyone else, says can help you. Everyone has different commitments in life, I get that. But I would dare say look to someone like J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Ms. Rowling started working on the Harry Potter books when she was a single mother, but found the time to work on a passion. Yes I know, she was on welfare at the time, but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment. The point is, she found the time to work on a personal project despite the way her life shaped up.

Then you have to want to do it. Getting to work for Reality Blurs is a step in the direction of achieving a life goal, to work professionally in the RPG industry. At a point in my life I decided this is something I wanted to do and started working towards it. Opportunity came knocking in the form of getting to meet and talk to Mr. Sean Preston (via Ron Blessing…Thanks, buddy!) and seeking advice from him. The hows and whys I ended up doing anything with Sean and Reality Blurs is a subject best left for another article, but this was more time I had to take out of my free-time bank and spend on the work Sean was giving me. Again I talked to my Wife, I looked at the time I had to spend, and decided this was a priority. In this case the time I spend is an investment towards a life goal, so there is some justification to cutting into over taxing my free time.

You have to decide how serious you want to take your side projects. Are you writing short stories just for your own amusement, or are you hoping to get published one day? If it is the latter then you have to invest that personal time into this and be serious about it. You should be scheduling time to work on these things, and should be well communicated to those in your life who need to know. I use a shared calendar with my wife so we both know when I have time set aside to work on something. That scheduled time to work on your personal project has to be respected, by you and those in your life.

Most of this is time management and commitment. I would enjoy hearing how you manage your time to fit in hobbies, personal projects, or just to have fun. I am no expert, I just have given tips I use in my life. There are lessons to be learned from those who tread the path ahead of you, so we should all listen and learn.

 

My Impressions at Denver Comic Con 2012

First if all I would like to thank Denver Comic Con for the press passes. We really appreciate the access y’all gave me. I hope you will have WombatCast back next year to cover the Con again.

Now on to the report.

Justin and I managed to go two days out of the four. Saturday was Free RPG day and since we are supporters of the hobby we spent most of our Saturday at Total Escape Games in Broomfield, CO. So we got on the road Friday about 5p to check out the Con, and after walking through a busy Convention Center lobby, I was amazed at how many Cosplayers were already there. It’s a wonderful thing to see people dress up in costumes that in some cases took many hours of dedication to create.

Favorite Cosplay outfits: all the iterations of Black Cat and Cat Woman, The Iron Men and Woman, the Tank Girls, and the guy dressed up as Colossus who looked like a linebacker from the Broncos.

We did a walk through of the Exhibitor’s Hall and I was impressed with all the artists, writers, and creators of a variety neat geeky stuff including the wooden mustaches, magnets, posters, and a slew of indie comics. It took a few times of walking through it all to see everything.

Favorite Exhibitors: Mustache Monocles Kickstarter, Tony Fleec’s Superhero Mash Up Posters, and of course NeedleForge and their Knitted Avenger Superheroes

Highlights:

There were several people in booths that I knew and I want to give them a shout out. Gerry Mulowayi is a local artist and an all around great guy that I met through Mile High Comics. Robert Graham is also a local artist and one of the first friends I made in Denver. You can check out his stuff here. He’s got skills. Jay Peteranetz is a guy I know from Shane Co. He in fact helped find me the wedding rings for my soon to be nuptials. He has been working with Bob Hagedorn, a former Colorado State Senator, on a graphic novel called “An American Apocalypse: The Reckoning” about Zombies coming back from the dead of the Katrina disaster looking for revenge. They also have a kickstarter (click here) going so they can get it published. Check it out.

The biggest moment of the convention was my interview with Ben Templesmith. Who is he you might ask? He did something called 30 Days of Night that caught Hollywood’s attention and was made into a movie. His creative vision is twisted and infinitely more interesting than most of the schlock that gets produced these days. Yes I am gushing a bit, but that is just because I appreciate what he does.

I also was able to interview Peter Gross. He currently does the art in “The Unwritten” with Mike Carey. I was excited to see him on the guest list. My introduction to him was in the Lucifer Comic Book series years back. It was a spin off of the Neil Gaiman created Lucifer in “The Sandman” and is a series that I love almost as much. He also worked on Books of Magic which is fantastic comic. There is something about his style that pairs well with the intellectual writers of these books.

The last highlight for me was seeing Bruce Boxleitner. He is one of the few actors I have a bit of a fanboy crush on. Not only am I a big fan of Westerns (The Gambler) and Babylon 5 (He turned that show from mediocre to great), but Tron is one of the first Sci-Fi movies I ever loved. The other movies being Star Wars and The Ice Pirates. It’s too bad I can never watch Ice Pirates again, because to do so will destroy the childhood memory of which I am so attached. While I was tempted to go meet him, my run in with Frank Fritz in Las Vegas and some grade “A” douchbaggery destroyed my desire to watch American Pickers. I just wanted to tell him thanks for bringing such an interesting show to life, but hey screw the fans right? (sorry for the rant, but I am still a little upset). I decided to keep my mental image of him unsullied by RL. I would die a little inside if I could never watch Tron again.

I had a great time at the Con and can’t wait for it next year!

 

Leaving Traditional TV Behind

Justin on Mic

Justin on Mic

I just got off the phone with a Dish Network account rep. I canceled my Dish service. He tried to talk me out of it, of course, but there was no altering my course for this crazy world without a cable TV provider.

Do I have a plan? You bet I do! I have an XBOX 360 that I can stream Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime videos from. I will get an HD antenna to hook up to my flatpanel so I can still watch local news and Broncos football. Somehow I will find a way to watch the TV shows that I want to see, that or wait for them to be released to bluray or streaming.

But a part of me hesitates. I’ve had some form of cable or dish service most of my life. It has become an odd part of my life. My brain keeps coming up with scenarios in which I will miss having 250+ channels at my fingertips. But then logic takes over and reminds me that I only watch around 10 of those 250 channels on a regular basis. Two of the channels I can get over the air, for free. And the others? Are they so important that I will pay as much as I do for them?

I know a lot of you have already taken this dive. I would love to hear from you and how you deal with finding the shows you really want to watch like, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, etc. I have a few more weeks before the service shuts off, so I am going to slowly start transitioning myself into this strange new land.