Status (and some other thoughts)

So, Fat Nerd to Chic Geek Round 2: The Skinnying! It’s Happening!!! is delayed slightly. For those not in the know, I apparently did something stupid to my foot during Fat Nerd to Chic Geek Round 1 and the old injury snuck up on me recently and immobilized my right foot in a walking boot for the better part of the last 4 months. It proved pretty not useful for running, walking, taking stairs, driving, or doing anything, really, so I’m delaying my return to vigorous exercise until I have a better handled my recovery.

You may have noticed the corresponding hiatus from the blogging. I have been, in no minced words, pretty depressed for the last few months. I’m taking care of it and myself to the best of my abilities and to the extent of consulting professional help for it. My wife, coworkers, and friends have been super supportive of the effort to address these psychic woes, so it’s been easier than expected. Not without its bumps, mind, like any time someone is navigating a depressed state, but easier than I expected.

So, I want to get back to blogging, but I also want to make it clear that I may have relatively very little to say on matters filmic anymore because Movies with Mikey is an amazing web series that absolutely murders any capacity I have to think independently about film. I find Mikey’s thought process, if not his eventual conclusions, so enthralling, and because I sort of acknowledge the inherent futility in discussing a complex, multi-dimensional medium in a relatively single-dimension space such as text, I’m loathe to try to present some independent pontifications on the matter. I will occasionally post links to his content with my textual (and sensual — wait, what? whoa.) responses.

The series presents some just amazing visual cues to help you understand just how much thought and effort goes into the creation of a film. It’s so worth your time to realize just how fucking much the best directors, cinematographers, designers, artists, and writers put into the construction of these movies, many of which, when taken as a whole, are not the most amazing movies ever. The beauty and joy of the show is that Mikey points out deftly how they can, even shy of film perfection, contribute something meaningful to the medium and to the world. Even if he thinks Last Action Hero is the best movie of all time.

 

(I recently rewatched it, and, actually, ok. Shane Black. Shane Black. Shane. Black.

Shane.

Black.

 

…really is as amazing as I always thought, because somehow this ancient time warp of a piece is actually just as good as Mikey says it is.)

 

The Force Awakens

Obviously we have to talk about this. The Force Awakens happened, and, even though it lacks a great acronym (TFA just looks weird. It shares more with TPM than ANH, ESB, RotJ, AotC, or RotS), I think it was pretty fun. This is going to be what passes for a review, with two important caveats:

I love this movie. I love this movie.

And second: Spoilers below. I mean, spoilers. 

Continue reading

Pop-Dev – Pairs

For example, this ordinary reference Pear. Pair. Pears. DJAGETIT?!

When I started work at the Pew Charitable Trusts back in September, I was instantly concerned that I was entering a world of Serious People™ that do Serious Work™. It’s true that everyone there does Serious Work™ and they’re quite serious about it, but I think I was afraid of entering this glass chapel of high thought and being relegated to becoming a severe person. By the end of the first day, any such misapprehension had dissipated entirely, and by the third day I had made good acquaintance of a guy there called Zhalgas. He prefers Zee for a lot of reasons, so we’ll call him that for our purposes. Zee is another programmer and all around cool guy. His interests are wide-ranging and eclectic, but we share many, including, in all its forms sundry and less so, games.

Continue reading

The Blog Awakens: FNtCG Round 2; Pop-Dev; Guest Thoughts

Chewie… We’re home.

That’s right, friends, compatriots, and scoundrels, I am back in the business of making a blog. It’s real, it will be short-lived as ever, and it is happening literally right now. We’re going back on Fat Nerd to Chic Geek because I truly fucking found all that weight I lost and a few more scraps that someone else lost at some point. I’m doing a thing I’m calling Pop-Dev, which is a not-entirely cute programming joke where I’m going to talk about cultural things and entertainment, specifically my express wish to create something therabouts. And I hope to have guest thoughts from smart people in my life, because I have an astonishingly absurd profundity of smart people in my life these days.

Continue reading

In Exemplar: Strong Female Characters

Something I think we don’t do enough of when thinking about entertainment is point out examples of the world getting it right. There are endless examples of getting it wrong – a handful of recent examples include the absolutely vile harassment experienced by Anita Sarkeesian for suggesting – just suggesting! – that maybe video games have been getting it wrong when it comes to women. And it’s ludicrous that she’s even suggesting that it might not be true, because it’s been true for twenty years or more. There are four or five places in geek culture where women can’t seem to catch a break – even when they’re brainy, cultured masterminds, they’re still sex kittens. They’re still showing off their asses and being hypersexualized. The one place that consistently seems to nail it?

Western animation. Continue reading

Fat Nerd to Chic Geek: Week 8

I missed all kinds of deadlines this week – we didn’t hike last week and I won’t be going tomorrow, but I have a fun-ish story to tell about my trip to Pittsburgh, so I’ll supplant that entry tomorrow with that. I was pretty busy running around like a crazy person trying to get crap together for my graduation in Florida next week (getting my MFA and speaking at commencement because I won an award). Add work and trying to have a social life in pursuit of a meaningful connection with a woman on top of that and things get a little crazy. So that’s deadline explanation.

This was a weird week. I lost a pound but ate somewhat poorly, so I’m not too pleased with it. My workout schedule was also constantly abused by the reality of the rest of the world. And it’s completely impossible to guess at the nutritional values of well-prepared foods and nice restaraunts. I had something like a tune steak and two slices of white pizza as well as a glass of red wine, and I can only guess at how terrible the whole thing was. It was also fairly decadent, which is not something I typically go for, but I was pretty impressed and, you know, when you’re shooting for trying to be good company, it doesn’t hurt to step outside your comfort zones.

What was really cool about this week was the ability to review some footage of myself from a few months back. Specifically, eight. Becky and Zach had never actually showed me photos of their wedding (almost a year ago, which is like, what?), but now having seen them, I was accosted immediately with two distinct thoughts:

1. Holy crap I was fat.
2. You are still fat, dude.

That second one sounds like I’m disparaging myself, but it’s a reality that, while I like the way I feel and the new ethic or continuing to be aware of what I’m consuming and how much physical activity I require of myself, I still need to inflate the musical volume levels vertically, inflate ’em vertically, as it were. I worked out the math and I’m a good pant size smaller than I was then. I’ve also been learning how to make an intelligent adult person decision when it comes to the acquisition of suits and their constituent pieces, so I no longer appear to be swimming in them as I was in those photos. I have very little shame of those photos. There was an obligatory “jump” shot where the whole bridal/groom party thing had to jump so the photographer could snag an image of it. While almost all of them feature me in some shameful bout of exuberance facially, on at least one, I achieved an unrivaled vertical clearance, and the positioning of my arms makes it looks like it is my intent to deliver a flying Muay Thai -style knee-smash to the head of the bridesmaid adjacent to me. Which is terrible, because she was, by any recollection of the moment, a lovely person, lovely enough that I have no memory of wanting to stove in her skull with a flying knee to the cranium.

So in a lot of ways, I’m a little regretful that I’m not one who is more for photos. Seeing a former ultra-tubbo version of oneself proves to be vastly inspiring toward becoming even less so. Life has a fascinating and cruel way of making that, it must be said, quite difficult.

Fat Nerd to Chic Geek: Week 7

Hiatus concluded. 

This week has featured the following truths: of a 20-minute cardio workout, I now run for 12 of those minutes. Each and every time, I wish to die. I am told this is entirely normal. I’m also told that I’m running wrong? I don’t know about that part. I have a bad habit of not stretching properly after I work out, which is murderous the following morning, but since I alternate my cardio days and my weight-lifting days now, it’s somewhat more survivable. I worked out six times over the past week and am set to do the same this week. The diet thing had gotten a lot easier because of the patently excellent application LiveScape that I snagged for my new Windows 7 Phone. Well, new to me. Yes, I’m that guy with a Windows 7 phone, and you know what? I like it, so back up off. No, I can’t do all the cool shit your jailbroken Android phone can do. No, I don’t have the rich, integrated user experience that your iPhone has. What I have is a good smartphone that’s not filled with endlessly distracted bullshit and a pretty smart sync system to my new car.

It’s also a great companion for working out, because the Netflix and Spotify apps for it are actually basically fantastic. But I was talking about Livescape, and plugging the shit out of it.

Continue reading

A Good Day For A Long Walk – Hungover

It turns out that this is a terrible idea. 

Which I’m sure 99% of human persons can tell you without having to do it. A friend of mine had a party a few weeks back, and, like you do at parties, I consumed what I’m going to call an ordinate amount of refreshing adult beverages. Drinking games were played, fun was had, and I think I wound up calling it a night around 3? Maybe 2? I don’t remember. It’s not important. Well, it’s relevant, but the cogent data is that it was really god damn late or really god damn early, depending on how you choose to measure time along your axis of reality.

We go hiking at 7am.

Seven. Aye. Em.

Continue reading

So Busy – Or FNtCG Hiatus

So I was doing a series of Articles at the turn of the year titled “From Fat Nerd to Chic Geek” that was a chronicle of my efforts at being a happier, healthier human being. And, honestly, they were working. I weigh almost 50 pounds less than I did at the start of the year.

 

 

If you’re wondering, “why all the white space?” That was an applause break. You should fucking clap.

Continue reading

Video Game Retrospective

So, I’m gearing up to apply to a couple writer gigs in the game industry, because it’s one of those things you just have to try, and I find myself curious about the requirements of some of these positions. One that I looked at recently required a list of games played in the last 6 months (I limited it to video and computer games, because, yeesh, it’s already way too long) as well as a top-10 list of all time. I was not content to just do a top 10, because I wanted to really think about it.

So I did. And now, dear reader, you get to see my thoughts on it. I’m curious if anyone else who still plays games has sat down and thought about this, but now that I have, I found it really interesting and valuable. So take a minute and give it a shot. You might be terribly amused by what you find.

Continue reading