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Weekly Roundup 3.9.24

weekly roundup

And, we’re back. Or, more to the point, I am. As I often say, I’m trying to write here more frequently and would prefer it on a regular weekly (or more) basis. Sadly, what I want isn’t always how it turns out. You just have to learn to live with stuff like that I guess.

You know what helps live with things not going your way? Activities. Hobbies. Entertainment. All that kind of non-work and non-BS stuff. You know, distractions. A way to engage your brain in other actives so it doesn’t think about the state of the world and how fucked we may be. Damn, there I go again. Moving on.

This week (as we often do) let’s talk about some of the things I’m currently reading, watching and/or doing.

I’m still in the middle of the audio books for Lord of the Rings as read and performed by Andy Serkis. I’ve made it through Fellowship and I’m almost done with The Two Towers. We’re getting to the big battle towards the end. You know the one.

I’m also still reading Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber. There’s several books and I’m currently deep into Sign of the Unicorn (aka Book Three). Still really enjoying the books. I wonder if we’ll ever get an Amber movie or series? I can see it being a series more than something than a theatrical release. I don’t think it has the deep fanbase The Lord of the Rings has.

It’s more of a story you’d watch on Amazon or Netflix or Hulu. Actually, it would have been a good fit for HBO back when HBO was HBO and needed a followup to Game of Thrones. Although, I guess it’s easier and better for them to just keep making spin-offs or prequels to GOT rather than bring in a whole new series. Business over creative and all that.

Speaking of series based on books, I’ve started watching Shōgun on Hulu. Which, as you may know, is based on the epic novel by James Clavell released in 1975. It’s epic for a lot of reasons but it’s also just a big, long book with lots of words. Not that that’s a bad thing. Just know before you dive into it. It’s a big one.

In short, the show is terrific. I love everything about it. But then, I’ve always been a fan of that time in history, the culture and those types of stories.

I’m currently through episode three and looking forward to the next. But I must confess, I’m really excited for the eventual episode where the Ninjas show up. I’ve always been fascinated by them. Maybe it was watching Chuck Norris in The Octagon when I was way too young that did it. Or reading The Ninja by Eric Van Lusbader. I was probably way too young to be reading that too. Oh well.

Anyway, if you love exciting, interesting stories well-told, check out Shōgun. It’s that good.

I’m also drawing, sketching, painting, etc. again. I missed it. I was drawing or sketching infrequently before, as I’ve done my entire life. I’m just trying to make it a daily habit now.

I think it’s good to focus on something for a time and try not to think about other things. It works. When I’m drawing or painting (or making photos or whatever) I’m only thinking about making the art and not anything else. It’s great, you should try it.

As for why make art at all? Lots of people have said a lot of things about that. I think this quote from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. sums it up nicely:

“Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

He’s a smart guy. Works for me.

If you’d like to start drawing or sketching or paining, I’ve got a bit of advice on how to begin. You don’t need much in the way of tools. You just need to do it.

And don’t worry, you’re not going to be great at the beginning . . . but you can be. Or, at the very least, good. Stick with it. Have fun and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. This art is for you. If you love making it, that’s what matters.

Here’s the minimum I think you’d want to get started:

A sketchbook – I like the Canson XL mixed media with the blue cover. It’s good for pencil, pen and ink or even some watercolor. My favorite size is currently the 7 x 10, but get whatever size you want and just start using it.

Pencils – It can be as easy as whatever HB pencil you have around the house. And no, that’s not exactly a Number 2 pencil, but it’s close. Try to get one that’s graded as an HB, or try out a few if you can. Maybe you’re more of a 2B or an F? Experiment and see what works for you. But to start, even a Number 2 will do. Or, you can grab a Mars Technico 780 lead holder from Staedtler and some HB leads. That’s what I do most of the time.

It saves on having a pencil sharpener around (although I have a lot of those too) and the 2mm leads are a joy to work with. You’ll probably want an eraser too, at some point. Grab a Tombow Mono Dust Catch and you’re good.

Pens – If you’re feeling confidant, you can skip the pencil and go right to the pen. I have a lot of pens, but for a couple dollars you can’t really beat the Sakura Pigma Micron. I also use a Uni Pin or even a Uniball Vision, if that’s what I have on hand. They’re all fine and can work well.

When you’ve been doing it longer you may find you want to use something like a fountain pen to draw with. People do it all the time. My fountain pen of choice for that is usually either the TWISBI Eco or the Lamy Safari. Each is a great pen and not terribly expensive. You can also write with them too. They’re quite versatile.

And that’s pretty much it. Have fun. Make art.

Until next time, be kind to each other.

Weekly Roundup 11.10.23

Another week, another weekly roundup. I like how that sounds. This week I’ve got another bunch of things I’m interested in, watching, reading or whatever. In other words, If I like it, it’s probably something I’m going to talk about this week or in the near future.

What can I say? I like to share.

But before I get to the (more) interesting stuff I just wanted to mention I’m currently writing this post at a library. I’ve sat down at a table and I’m typing away on my Apple MacBook Pro. While doing this I’ve discovered a few things.

One, this MacBook Pro keyboard isn’t all that “magic.” Sorry, Apple, but it isn’t. It’s just okay. Personally, I prefer a bit more mechanical feel and a bit more key travel. The keyboard on my Linux/Windows laptop (from Lenovo) is way better than the one on this MacBook Pro.

I would sacrifice a bit of girth in order to get a better keyboard on an Apple laptop. Apparently, Apple doesn’t agree or care. Alas.

They used to care. In fact, the best laptop keyboard Apple ever made was the Powerbook 1400c and that’s from 1998. Maybe one of these days I’ll get my wish for a better keyboard. Probably not.

I’ve also realized the table I’m sitting at is slightly too high for me to type comfortably. I tend to be a lazy typer and rest my wrists on the laptop while typing. The height of the table makes it feel like I’m typing up hill a bit. It’s not a big deal, I’m just used to my desk at home and this just feels different.

Finally, this library is really quiet. I’m impressed so many people can shut up for so long. The section I’m in does seem like the more serious “study” area, so that might have something to do with it. But still, it’s really quiet. Almost too quiet.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Regardless of what I said above, I’m still very interested in the new M3 MacBook Pros Apple announced recently. No, I don’t absolutely need a new laptop, but they do look cool and are, apparently, blazing fast. So, maybe.

The reality is I’ll probably end up getting a new iMac instead. They’ve also been bumped to the M3 chipset and I’ve been thinking about my current setup lately and how, or if, it needs improvement. At the moment, I’m laptop only and have been for a few years.

I intended to get an external monitor for the MacBook Pro but never got around to it, mostly because it worked well enough and I was able to get stuff done without it. But now? I’m thinking.

Picking up an iMac would solve a few problems. I’d get a larger screen. It would be more powerful than my current Mac. I could still use the MacBook Pro when I’m not in the office. I kinda miss having a desktop computer. All true. The question is are they all true enough to make me spend the money when things work pretty well now? I guess that’s why I’m still thinking about it. More on this later.

As you may know (or not) the WGA strike was concluded with an agreement ratified by membership and the writers went back to work. This week, SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP reached a tentative agreement and SAG officials called an end to their strike, which has lasted over 100 days. I’m glad it’s over. I know people were suffering, but they held the line. Great job to all and congratulations.

I just wish my union, the DGA, had held firm in support of our fellow union members. Alas, they did not and signed a deal earlier this year. Although, they did issue a really nice press release once the SAG-AFTRA tentative agreement was announced. I guess that’s something.

I’m currently on an Aaron Sorkin bender and have watched The Social Network, Molly’s Game and the first two season of his HBO show The Newsroom. Why? Mostly it’s because I like the way he writes dialog. It’s pretty great. I don’t think I’m alone in that assessment. Plus, those movies and the series are excellent.

I’ve also watched the films in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. I love them all, with particular love for Hot Fuzz, which is a favorite among favorites. Great stuff.

As you probably know, I love notebooks. And pencils, pens and all that other “analog” stuff. My friend Dave Caolo gave me the heads up on notebooks from Dapper Notes and I’m hooked. They are awesome and whenever they’ve got new ones, I grab ’em ’cause they go fast. The latest one  just arrived at my door and, as usual, I love it.

I’m just about done reading Chuck Wendig’s Black River Orchard and holy crap, it’s a good one. I will never look at Apples the same way again.

Next on the reading list is Nine Princes In Amber, the first book in the Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny. I love these books but haven’t read them in years. It’s time to read them again.

Finally, I should mention that I continue to produce a podcast with my co-host Joe Dilworth. It’s called The Flickcast and it’s quite fun. We get into all sorts of nerd stuff that nerds love. We used to have a new episode every week but have transitioned to every other week for the time being. We’ll get back to every week soon enough.

That’s it for now. Until next time, be kind to each other.



Image: Focus Features

Further Updates for 2021

So far, I’m enjoying 2021 much more than 2020. Sure, this new year isn’t without its share of issues. But things are still looking up and still moving in the right direction . . . in my humble opinion at least.

Which brings me to the update promised in the title of this post. Here goes: we’ve started posting new content at The Flickcast. Not just podcasts, mind you, other content too. Fun!

Starting to post content again serves several purposes, not the least of which is getting me into the habit of writing every day. That’s a good thing.

Plus, who knows, maybe some people will go to the site and it will generate a few bucks of income? It could happen. It’s happened before. We have pretty small overhead so almost anything would be good.

That said, if you feel so inclined, head over and read some articles and maybe click on one of the ads? I’d appreciate it.

Speaking of websites, there’s another one you should check out for sure: Hapa Grey. I’m probably biased (I am) but it’s one of my favorites. If you love bargains and deals and knowing about the latest trends, Hapa Grey is the site for you. Check it out.

Other than that, I’m playing a fuckton of D&D (in private and on Twitch), we’re not frozen anymore, don’t have to boil our water, my son hates doing school online, it’s basically been a year since we started quarantine and I almost got my first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Maybe I’ll get it tomorrow? Maybe. Hope you get yours soon too.

Until then, stay safe, wear your mask, social distance and try not to be a dick.


Image: Adobe Stock

Some Favorite SDCC18 Trailers

As has been the case for the last few years, I wasn’t at Comic-Con in San Diego this week. The reasons I don’t go are varied, but the main one is after going pretty much every year for the last 30 years or so, I’m kinda burned out.

Also, I’m waiting for my son to get a wee bit older before I scar him for life by taking him to the con. I’m not sure he’d be able to handle it right now. There’s just too much of it and it’s all happening at the same time. If you’ve ever been you know what I’m talking about.

Heck, I’m an adult with decades of con experience and I’m not sure I could handle it right now either. Well, I probably could. Probably.

Even though I didn’t go this year I did keep tabs on most of the things happening during the week, especially the trailers for new movies and TV shows. Here’s some of my favorites.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

As a huge fan of OG Godzilla movies, and especially Destroy All Monsters, this made me very happy. I’ll be seeing this as soon as I can.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2

Say what you will about this latest Star Trek series (and about CBS All Access which, let’s face it, kinda sucks) this trailer looks great and I’m very interested in the new season.

And the one I’m most excited about: Glass. Been waiting a long time for an Unbreakable sequel, and now it’s here. Looks great. And yes, I realize Split was a sorta sequel, but this is more what I had in mind all along.

There were, of course, a lot more trailers, news, announcements and whatnot from the show. It is Comic-Con after all. But these were the highlights for me.

Some ‘Star Trek: TNG’ Season 7 Bloopers


Continuing the Star Trek theme of the last post, but on a much more upbeat note, here’s a blooper/gag reel from Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 7.

I find this stuff pretty amusing. You might too.

Here’s the LEGO ‘Walking Dead’ Season Five Trailer


Due to “circumstances” I need to keep this brief. So, here’s the trailer for Season Five of The Walking Dead made with LEGO, thanks to the efforts of Kristo499.

I like it. Perhaps the actual show should be LEGO all the time? Might be an improvement.


Oh, here’s the “real” trailer for Season Five featuring humans. Which is better? You decide.


Comic-Con 2014

san-diego-comic-con-logo-1As many of you know, it’s San Diego Comic-Con time this week and thousands of geeks/nerds will be making their way to the promised land to experience all the Con has to offer. I will not be one of those geeks/nerds.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I will be going to San Diego, but just for one day. That’s it.

So, for those of you who care, I will be at the Con on Saturday and will be wandering the halls getting into adventures. If you happen to run into me, feel free to say “Hello.” But no, I won’t be giving out any free hugs. Sorry.

Why am I only going on Saturday? Well, let’s just say I’m trying to avoid any Imperial entanglements. That sounds a lot cooler than the real reason.

Happy Nerd Prom to one and all!

A New Episode of The Flickcast


As I’ve been busy doing things (taking care of a baby, for example), I’ve been neglecting other responsibilities, like this site. Well, only for a week or so. Still, I want you to know I care.

I do. Just not right this minute. Or, more to the point, just not all that much right this minute. You know, busy. Like I said.

However, I do care about at least one thing right at this moment: a new episode of The Flickcast. That’s right, another week has gone bye and there’s a brand new episode. See if you can guess from the pic above what Joe and I might be talking about. Not for the entire episode, mind you, but a chunk of it to be sure.

Give it a listen, why don’t you? And if you’re feeling saucy, feel free to tell a friend or two how much you liked it. That would be nice of you.

And don’t worry, I’ll be back here with even more caring, insightful (and all that other stuff) writing very soon. I just can’t get enough.

A New Episode of The Flickcast


Hey, I do a podcast. You probably already know that. But if you don’t, forgot for some reason or are trapped under something heavy with nothing to do but listen to podcasts, I thought it would be a good idea to mention it again.

In fact, a new episode just dropped yesterday. It’s a pretty good one. Actually, I would go so far as to say it’s very good.

So yeah, I do a very good podcast. It’s called The Flickcast and on it my co-host Joe Dilworth and I discuss lots of geeky stuff like movies, TV, comics, tech, gadgets, beer and a whole lot more. Yes, more. Lots of more.

Heaps of it, in fact. I’m not sure you can handle all the more, but you should try. Trust me, it’s worth it. It’s very worth it.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher and at The Flickcast website. Check it out, won’t you? And if you like it, feel free to tell someone and, perhaps, rate or review it.

Thanks. You’re a real sport.

Happy (Soon to Be) 50th ‘Star Trek’


As my friend and The Flickcast podcast co-host Joe Dilworth pointed out recently, it was supposedly about 50 years ago (on or about March 11) that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry first put pen to paper (or fingers to typewriter) and wrote a proposal for a new sci-fi TV series.

His first words? “Star Trek is . . .”

Since that day his creation has spawned several TV series, a bunch of movies, action figures, models, conventions and whole generations of adults of all ages all over the world who dreamed of boldly going where no one has gone before. Those words, and the resulting TV series, had power . . . Power to entertain, to inform, to spark debate and highlight the important social and political issues of the time. Plus, the show was just plain fun.

I’m sure we’ll start to see all sorts of tributes and honors for this amazing and groundbreaking TV series, and the phenomenon it became, as the actual 50th anniversary of the original series, which first aired in 1966, hits in 2016. Until then, let me put in my two cents now and say “Thank You” to Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek for the countless hours of fun and entertainment.