I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my writing and I are heavily influenced by my younger years. There are a number of shows, some a bit more obscure, that I know have had an impact on both my life and my writing. I’m going to tell you about a few of them.Continue reading
Disclaimer: Some spoilers may lie herein.
My wife and I and a friend of ours went out last week to see the Lego Movie, as did much of the nerdier citizens across the nation. Like most of these people I was completely blown away by the sheer magnitude of the film. That sentence didn’t mean ANYTHING. What I mean to say is that it was really, really good and there was seldom a point in the movie where I was not either laughing hysterically, or crying uncontrollably.
The Lego Movie touched on so many points for me (and, apparently, so many others who saw it) that were powerfully emotional. From the deep loneliness of Emmet in his desire to find a friend, to the Father’s struggle with coming to terms with the fact that he was, in fact, the bad guy (realizing why Lord Business was always on stilts near this scene was also tear-inducing). The jump that the writers make from a completely fantastical and child like world of make believe, to a very real (literally) and relatable story about father and son is , in a word, awesomely cool (that was two words). All of these moments come together in one of the most heartwarming and touching stories I’ve seen from this kind of movie.
Which brings me to the production. The sheer depth of this movie is shattering. I mean the real world Lego City in the basement at the end was jarringly cool. The fact that there was not a single piece of the animated parts of this movie that was NOT a Lego piece, was just bitchin’. My friend Nathan commented on the sea of Lego studs, which made me cringe at the thought of having to wrangle all of those pieces. All of the different and unique Lego creations were really cool too. SPACESHIP!!!!!!
To be fair, this is coming from a guy who kind of sucked at making cool Lego things and was always impressed/jealous of other people’s creations, which seemed so much cooler than my own. The dinorobot that couldn’t walk, but had a swinging tail comes to mind. It looked neither like a robot or a dinosaur but, as I said, the tail swung about vertically. To be fair, I never had the GIANT TUB O’ LEGOS that just about everyone else I know seems to have had. I had just one of those bucket-of-chicken sized lego sets and it was only ever half-full. So there’s that.
Finally I have to talk about Liam Neeson. Now, those of you who know me well enough know that I love Liam Neeson: I kind of want him to be my dad. That being said, he was easily the best and funniest part of this entire movie for me. Bad Cop’s sinister Taken tones played in stark contrast to Good Cop’s lighthearted sweetness, which I have nothing to compare to, which was half of the cool. I was so excited I could just throw a chair!
In short, the Lego movie was utterly magnificent and demands to be watched. Liz and I agreed that we could have easily watched it again immediately after it was over (and that is a SUPER rare thing for me). So don’t sit there reading my blog. GO SEE THE LEGO MOVIE NOW!
What did you think of the Lego Movie?
What was your favorite part of the movie? Did you see anything else this week that you think was as good or better? Leave your answers in the comments below. Thanks much for reading and please remember to have a wonderful day!
P.S. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!!!!
Halloween is almost here and I thought I’d give you guys my top five list for scariest movies. These are movies that scare the shit out of me and leave me feeling apprehensive and nervous for days after I watch them. Some are classics, some are not as well known, but all are perfect for your scare fest for the season. I’ll first say that almost all of them are supernatural horrors. I don’t get scared at slasher movies because I FEAR NO MAN and torture porn just makes me sick to my stomach and makes me worry for the world as they seem to be so very popular. No, all of the movies on my list are about shit being completely out of the average Joe’s understanding, let alone control.
5. The Exorcist
I know what you’re thinking. “The Exorcist? Wtf?!? This should be like number one on the list!” Yeah, I agree that as far as supernatural horrors go, this is kind of the creme of the crop. The problem is that I saw this one when I was 5 and then many,-MANY times thereafter, so some of the shock and creep is taken out of it for me at this point in my life. As with most of the horror movies from this era, the scariest thing about them (for me at least) is the sound. Not the sound track, but the actual SOUNDS. The voice of the demon is terrifying to me. The crab walk, not so much.
4. Session 9
Session 9 is a movie I found all on my own one day when I was around 17 years old. This was again one of those films where the voices or sounds of the movie scared me more then what was actually happening. The voice on the tape terrifies me and we still aren’t sure what it is. The relatively mundane tone of the film at its beginning coupled with the idea that this could have easily been me (I used to do a lot of contract/painting and the like in my youth), made for an atmosphere that was all too frighteningly familiar. Session 9 also leaves the watcher feeling not just scared, but really sort of depressed and worried about their state of mind. Plus, it was before David Caruso wore cool sunglasses, so there wasn’t even any comic relief.
Ah, this one is easily my favorite. I saw Phantasm before I could form words, I think. This movie has solidly the most memorable main title theme in a horror movie ever. Just hearing the theme can make my hairs stand on end. I’m listening to it now and…eep, there they go. The Tall Man, the Dwarves, the portal to fucking Mars it seems, the silver death balls, THE FUCKING BEE MONSTER AT THE END!! All of these things come together to craft a solid B horror title that never ceases to terrify me. Fun fact: I met Angus Scrimm when I was 8 at a convention with my dad and sister. He was VERY nice and took a pic with us all. He even called me BOY! Another fun fact: My Dad kind of looks/looked like Angus Scrimm and was also fond of calling me BOY! I had an exciting childhood.
2. The Shining
I don’t think any list of good horror films could be complete without at least mentioning The Shining. Jack Nicholson has arguably never been scarier in anything else. Jack’s slow decent into total madness and Danny’s creepiness (yes, Danny was a creepy little kid, I said it) made the atmosphere oppressive to say the least. The thing that always got to me, though, you know, aside from the evil twins, bear costume weirdness and psycho with an axe, was how sweet Shelly Duvall was in this movie. More than many a damsel in distress, I really felt for her in this movie. She was just always so sweet, which made the idea of harm coming to her more terrifying. These days, you can’t wait for someone to die in a horror movie, because everyone is always so mean or asinine. More than anything though, room 237 lives in my memory and my nightmares.
1. The Haunting
The Haunting is hands down the most terrifying movie I’ve ever watched. Once again one I saw, or rather, was forced to watch it when I was very young. With relatively few true special effects, The Haunting scares the viewer with strange cinematography, a dark and oppressive setting and one damned creepy actress. This movie scared me more with a close-up of a small section of wallpaper and some weird sounds in the background than most movies can with all the bloody make-up they can muster. Anytime I’m thinking of scary movies, I think of the Haunting. There are so many solid scenes that could be considered the scariest in the movie, I can’t really choose one. If you are a horror movie fan and haven’t seen this one, you OWE it to yourself to watch it alone in the dark.
What horror movies should I watch Right Now?
What horror movies do you watch? What do you love about them? Is there one I should drop everything to watch right now? Let me know in the comments and have a nice, spooky day.
I need to listen to some kind of music when I am writing, though sometimes when I’m really engrossed, the music shuts off I don’t even realize it. To get started though, I need some kind of immediate inspiration. I tend to listen only to instrumentals while I am writing directly, as lyrics can distract me from the story at hand with whatever concepts are being expressed in a song. I really like any form of electronica, but while writing there is nothing better than a good ambient track to put me in the mood and keep me in the mood. Through the Ergosphere by Simon Wilkenson was of particular help to me while writing White Wolf for it’s eerie atmospheric tone and dark resonance.
Sometimes, for specific characters, I do have songs that I think express a character’s personality or actions. I’ll usually listen to these songs just before I start writing a chapter about the character, to get myself revved up. Fury Oh Fury by Nico Vega immediately struck a cord with me in reference to Asala the first time I heard it. Its her ass whoopin’ song for sure. For the character of King I often think of softer Johnny Cash songs like Help Me, which could not express that character’s struggles more.
Whenever I write typical or high fantasy, which I often do, I tend to like inspiring epic tracks like Over the Misty Mountains Cold from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (I’m a much bigger Hobbit fan the LotR, from an early age), or perhaps the Pirates of The Caribbean theme from Curse of the Black Pearl. Adventure movies almost always have soundtracks that inspire. Classics like Star Wars and Indiana Jones are always good for getting the wheels turning in an exciting way.
And, of course, I am often inspired by the music from video games I play. Dragonborn from Skyrim is fucking AWESOME and always makes me want to fight something big, and I mean that. The entire sound track from the Mass Effect Trilogy is just so gods-blessed good I can’t stand it. Vigil always gives me chills. It makes me think of how important Earth is and why we need to protect it, but the best part is that I have no idea why.
I’m also heavily influenced and inspired by super hero themes. The intro to Batman: The Animated Series, in particular, made a 5-year-old me button the top button of his dad’s long coat around his neck and leap off the porch in search of criminals…..that same boy very promptly landed RIGHT on his face and busted his lip open, but it is the intent that counts! Remember that, folks.
What’s your soundtrack?
What’s your favorite adventure music? Shit, what’s your favorite music? Let me know in the comments. Once again, thanks for reading and please, have a wonderful day.
I love swords. Really, I love most forms of weapons that might appear in a fantasy setting, but swords hold a particularly special place for me. I’ve collected them since I was a teen, with my first Duncan MacLeod Katana, which was kindof a cheap piece of crap. One day while I was practicing with it on the roof of my parent’s garage in my home city of Baltimore (Yes, that likely looked as cool as you are thinking), the blade of that sword flew completely out of its plastic handle, severing several bush limbs and landing in our back neighbor’s courtyard. The profanity on that day was quite loud, indeed. Retrieving the blade from my neighbor was an ordeal and required much explanation. “Why do you have a sword?” was asked more than once. My answer was always the same: “Why DON’T you?”
I now own a variety of swords and many have come into my possession only to pass on to others, as it is my considered opinion that everyone should own at least one sword. Some of my favorites are my MUCH better version of the Duncan MacLeod sword that was gifted to me by a very good friend, and one of my other katanas known only as Defender (and of which there are apparently only 75 like in the world).
And… of course, my wedding gift from my wife, my Irish Ring Sword which sits right next to her wedding sword on our wall, where our cat likes to cuddle up beneath certain doom. Don’t ask me why, because Cat.
Some other swords I love, but don’t own (though I wants them, precious!) are the Oslo Two-Handed Viking Sword from the Darksword Armory (as I’ve always wanted a Viking or Norse sword that I could use with two hands) and the Celtic Wolf Leaf Blade by Odin Blades (This is what inspired Asala’s Sword from White Wolf, incidentally) and, of course, just about anything from Fable Blades. There are a ton more I’d like to have and I could write a whole series of blogs about all the different awesome weapons that should be mine – like I don’t own a saber and I really should get one and there are a lot of varieties just within that….man, I really ought to get one of those… ..
Swords are AWESOME, right?
Swords are awesome and people who make swords are even more awesome! What’s your favorite sword or weapon? Doesn’t even have to be a fantasy one, if you prefer plasma cannons or shot guns I want to know about it, so leave your answers in the comments! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!
P.S. Oh and I almost forgot, I WANTS Twinkle and Icingdeath, the Scimitars of Drizzt Do’Urden. Had to mention that.
Every once in a while, I will be doing a game review of a game I enjoy. I will likely only be reviewing indie or older games, as big money-making games have plenty of people to review them. I like the idea of reviewing older games, because it will make some of you nostalgic and others curious, and because there are some good older games out there damn it! This week I am reviewing an ace indie game I downloaded from the Xbox Live Arcade for only ten bucks. It’s called Fusion:Genesis by Starfire Studios and it’s one of the coolest space shooters I’ve ever played.
Let’s start with gameplay. This game could not be easier to wrap your head around as far as intuitively knowing what to do. The tutorial in the beginning is engaging and not annoying as tutorials tend to be. Your ship’s movement is controlled with the left thumbstick and your pulse energy weapon with the right. This allows you to fire in any direction without having to turn the whole damned ship around, which I love. The leveling system is pretty typical, involving defeating other ships in combat and completing missions to gain xp. One of the cooler aspects is the Sentients who are the linchpin of the main story, these small mechanical life forms that hover near your ship offering offensive and defensive assistance as well as other buffs. The game is delightfully simple and also pretty addictive.
As far as story goes, Fusion has a tale to tell, but what I think is most impressive is the world that has been made within this game. There is all this history that’s just in the background for flavor. There are five factions to choose from and each one has its one story missions, which in some cases link up with the main storyline in unexpected ways. I chose the Praetorian Fleet, peacekeepers of the galaxy and enforcers of the code of law known as the Articles of Convocation. One of their cooler abilities is scanning ships for contraband and blowing them out of the sky if they have any. This gets you faction points, which allow you to purchase higher tiers of ships.
Oh shit, the ships! There are a total of 25 of them and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Weather you want to fly a fast and maneuverable interceptor, or be the commander of a massive cruiser, there is a ship in this game for you. I personally like the Judicator: it only has two weapon slots, but it’s the most maneuverable ship in the game. There are a ton of unlockable abilities that I haven’t even touched on yet and likely won’t be able to get to until my second playthrough.
Last, but most certainly not least, is the graphics. Holy crap, I love this game’s backgrounds! There is so much going on in them, sometimes I just have to stop and watch the space dust fly by. The design is just beautiful and the settings are massive and awe-inspiring. From leading Syndicate hitmen on a merry chase through an asteroid field, to dog-fighting against a squadron of enemy fighters inside the skeleton of some massive long dead space creature, Fusion: Genesis takes the player on a journey through a galaxy of wonder and excitement. I cannot recommend this game more, it is easily worth the money I paid.
What cool games have you played lately?
Got any recommendations for me? Leave a comment so I can get my gamin’ on! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!
I’ve been asked recently what my favorite “Rainy Day” movie is. The funny thing is that I don’t really have “Rainy Day” movies, or any other specific activities associated with it being cold and wet outdoors. I’m a rare, strange breed that not only isn’t affected by what a lot of people refer to as Bad Weather, I am bolstered and strengthened by it. For me, there is nothing better than walking in the rain in October, wearing shorts. I admit I’m abnormal, but so are most good things in life.
For me, Bad Weather is when it’s any temperature over 75 degrees and there is not a cloud in the sky. I hate the sun and the heat of summer and always have since I was little. So I don’t have a “Rainy Day” movie. I have an “It’s too fucking hot outside and I am not going out in it, except to get a Diet Dr. Pepper, damn it – Day” movie. Or, as I like to call it, June through mid-September movie. So it is during these summer months that I watch movies that make me feel cold, or at least cool.
My favorite “ It’s too fucking hot outside and I am not going out in it, except to get a Diet Dr. Pepper, damn it – Day” movie is Blade Runner. The dark, moody atmosphere of the Ridley Scott classic never fails to chill and temper my burning heart. I love the wide shots that just show the rainy city and the people getting along in it. I lived in Baltimore for most of my life and I used to love strolling through the city when it rained at night, my trench coat resting lightly on my shoulders. It was at these times that I felt most alive and in touch with the city.
There is something very calming about light in the rain. Some of the shots where the sun is just barely peaking through the clouds just makes me feel….calm, at peace, for lack of a better expression. There are so many beautiful shots in that movie. The entire scene where Deckard is interviewing Rachael has some of the coolest atmospheric lighting ever.
I also have a sordid love affair with the gun from Blade Runner. One of the most exciting moments for me in the game Fallout: New Vegas is when you find “That Gun” randomly in a store. I used almost no other weapons for the rest of the game.
Sometimes, when it rains, I’ll go outside and stand in it and let myself get drenched. It’s an immediate antidepressant for me and I almost always come away from the experience feeling better. In fact, the only problem I tend to have in the rain is coming in out of it. Sometimes I think about Roy Batty as the water courses over me, lowering my body temperature and clearing my thoughts and I wonder if my own moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.
How about your movie loves?
What’s your favorite “It’s too fucking hot outside”/”Rainy Day” movie? Leave comment about it below and share your awesomeness with all of us! Thanks for the memories and have a wonderful day!
My name is Kevin Gubernatis and welcome to the Soul Star Galaxy! I’m thrilled to introduce you to my upcoming novel, The White Wolf and the Darkness, which will be released December 1, 2013. I want to first thank you for your interest — I hope you are as excited to read The White Wolf and the Darkness as I am to bring it to you. Let me tell you a little about the story itself and the universe in which it takes place, to give you some background.
The White Wolf and The Darkness takes place roughly a thousand years in the future. In this future, humanity has spread out into the stars and magic was the fuel for that expansion. Magic runs everything from the large starships that ferry people through the void of space, to the smallest of hand-held lights.
The Covenant Of Earth Nations, Earth’s governing body, has lost contact with a deep space research station known as the Dark Star and sent a team of specialist commandos to the station to discover the reason for this communications black out. As its name suggests, Dark Star Station orbits a black hole.
Along with these specialists they sent a magician — Asala — a practitioner of ritualism fresh out of her studies at the School of Magic and Spiritual Comprehension. She and her commandos are prepared for any situation involving entities both supernatural and mundane. At least they think they are. Little do the COEN Corps commandos and their magician know that what awaits them aboard the Dark Star is far beyond anything humanity has ever experienced.
A presence waits in the shadows, hungry and curious. Can Asala confront this terror and keep her team alive, or will she and all those in her charge fall victim to….The Darkness?