Cartoons and Animation, Fantasy, General Information, Science Fiction

Five Reasons It’s Good to Be a Geek

Do you remember the line, “It’s good to be the king”?  I can’t remember what that’s from and really don’t care, but the fact that I remember it is just…something… Still, I think we can change that line up a bit.  “It’s good to be a geek.”  Let me share five reasons why.

1.  We have our own Geek Award Show.  It’s about time.  Take that Emmy’s.  Check out The Geekie Awards, which aired this past weekend and featured some of the greatest names in all of geekdom, including Stan Lee (’nuff said), Levar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Gale Ann Hurd (The Walking Dead), Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming and more.

Congratulations to all the award winners, including Levar Burton and Gale Ann Hurd!  Congratulations to the nominees, also, including my favorite independent movie and TV news website, Screen Rant!

2.  We have our own reality TV shows.  Speaking of Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming, whose credits include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, their new media company, Court Five, has partnered with some incredible folks to bring us… The Quest.  I have absolutely fallen in love with this show that blends scripted epic fantasy storytelling with unscripted reality contestants competing to become the one hero of Everealm.  The show stands out as one of the most unique and enjoyable reality competitions I’ve ever seen, with a deep undercurrent of honor, integrity, adventure, and wonder through each episode and every contestant–even the most competitive ones.  Not only that, but while the show airs on Thursdays 8/7c on ABC, the contestants (paladins) chat with fans on Twitter.  Those who’ve followed me for the last year know I like to choose a show and tweet with fans and creators during it.  This is the one folks.  Watch ABC’s The Quest Thursdays 8/7c and tweet the whole time at #TheQuest.

ABC's The Quest, the contestants await the directives of a scripted actor in the reality TV/fantasy show prodigy.

ABC’s The Quest, the contestants await the directives of a scripted actor in the reality TV/fantasy show prodigy.

ABC's The Quest

ABC’s The Quest, Thursdays 8/7c.  Join the Twitter discussion while watching the show at #TheQuest.

(And yes, I have selected my top 5, even tweeted the list.  I always select a top 5 for every reality TV show competition, even though I don’t always publicize my list.)

Speaking of geeky reality TV shows, fun ones can be found on the SyFy channel.

3.  Even our Legos cosplay.  Check out the Comic-Con trailer for season 5 of AMC’s  The Walking Dead, then the Lego stop-motion version of it.  For those who are interested in having your Lego collection cosplay, remember that there’s some great The Hobbit (um…did we mention the new wave being released in October featuring SMAUG?), The Lord of the Rings, Marvel, and DC sets available at Lego.  Also, for those die-hards, check out Ebay for sticker decals, weaponry, and unique treasures to help your Legos become more…plastic adorned.

As another side bar, I have promised fellow Geek2Geek-er Kendall Lyons that someday I’ll cosplay as Dr. Hershel Agasa from Case Closed if he does detective-turned-child-genius-by-sinister-potion Conan.

Hiroshi (or Hershel) Agasa from the crime-solving anime Case Closed

Hiroshi (or Hershel) Agasa from the crime-solving anime Case Closed

Wait a second…Hershel…is he trying to tell me something?

Wait a second, Kendall Lyons wants me to cosplay as a Hershel...is this going to be a trend? RIP Hershel Greene and The Governor from AMC's The Walking Dead

Wait a second, Kendall Lyons wants me to cosplay as a Hershel…is this going to be a trend? RIP Hershel Greene and The Governor from AMC’s The Walking Dead

4.  When an organization, movie, TV show, or book is done right, it’s done awesome.  From our amazing conventions like the San Diego Comc-Con and those around the world, to movies, to fan-based organizations like the ones my cousin, Catherine Boyd, leads (including a Community fandom) we pour our heart and soul into the things we enjoy.  That alone is something to be proud of.  Especially if you have amazing dragons and battles involved (see:  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer).  By the way, did anyone hear that Community is alive?  That’s right, season six is headed to Yahoo.  Cheers.

5.  We know how to give.  Locally in the Dallas-Fort Worth area we have some groups to be proud of.  As we’re beginning to fly, there are gaming organizations like DFW Game Night, once-a-month charity event with a new organization being represented monthly.  Folks gather at a local coffee shop and play video games, contributing to the charity organization.  Now, is that not cool or what?  Our friend and fellow geek Drake McWhorter runs DFW Game Night as well as table top competitions, events, and is always reviewing new geeky awesome things.

Also, Team Community is raising money for suicide prevention through the Eric T Memorial Fund.  Go Community fandom!

 

These are just five reasons why being a geek is such an awesome thing.  Sound of in the comments sections about why you enjoy anything in the massive spectrum of the geek universe.

 

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Cartoons and Animation, Christianity, Uncategorized

The Gospel According to Angelo: An Invitation For Adventure

angelo

It is no surprise that I am epic fan of the cartoon series, “Angelo Rules.” And once again, a true-life situation availed itself where I was able to use the series as a way to talk about ones faith walk and relationship with God.

Angelo Rules,” is about a charismatic boy whose a self-proclaimed expert at trying to work his way in and our of messes through plans and ideas. Often joining Angelo in his adventures (and misadventures) are Lola, whose as charismatic as Angelo and Sherwood, the brains of the outfit.

Late Monday evening, I spoke with a friend of mine about some of the issues he was facing. In the midst of our conversation, I shared with him that he reminded me so much of “Sherwood,” one of Angelo’s best friends and sort of a young genius.

Sherwood constantly calculates the likelihood of something good or bad occurring in many of Angelo’s plans. And yet, in spite of Sherwood’s findings, Angelo continues to invite Sherwood into the adventure, no matter how likely or unlikely the results of something good coming out of it are.

But, that’s just the point. Angelo has the character of someone who is constantly planning and working something out.

Angelo is intentional with his planning and is never out to do harm for Sherwood or Lola or anyone.

Sherwood in the end often joins Angelo and follows his lead, but, will often add his analytical, critical and philosophical thoughts about what’s to likely happen next.

In some ways, we do the same thing to God. The Lord is inviting us on an epic adventure and sometimes because of our doubts or issues we tend to do the thing that Sherwood does: pull out a calculator and analyze and calculate and pre-calculate the situation before we step out on faith.

God invites us into a relationship with Him through His son Jesus, and He invites us into a life filled with more than what we could ever ask for both here and eternally.

Much like Angelo calls his best friends into a child-like adventure filled with fun, excitement, danger (and yes I did say danger just after fun), craziness and much more, we too are invited into something quite similar.

The only real difference is this…the adventure is for more than just to skip a pop quiz or avoid bullies.

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Uncategorized

It’s Okay To Say We’re Not Okay

Originally posted on Christian in Chaos:

By now, most of us are all too tragically aware of the loss of one of the most brilliant minds in comedy and drama, acting itself.  I wasn’t planning on writing anything about the loss of one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, but something changed over the last 24 hours.  People began sharing with me how they have lost someone to suicide, and others sharing how they’ve been dealing with depression.

I am uniquely familiar with depression.  Though it’s not been a friend, it’s certainly been a companion for some time.  My heart immediately goes out to anyone struggling with it and/or suicidal ideations.

In college, a friend and I would sit up with another friend, we’ll call him H for Hope.  H struggled so much with depression that there were times we were afraid if we’d leave, he’d hurt himself.  You could feel the tangible darkness, the weight…

View original 953 more words

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Christianity, Comic Books, Fantasy, Graphic Novels

Noah: Movie Review

::There will be spoilers.::

At long last, thanks to Netflix, this crippled writer finally viewed Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.  Unfortunately, I’m still not sure what I think of it.

I came at this film knowing it wasn’t going to be the biblical story I studied at length, though obviously some elements would be included.  Instead, I wanted to see a disaster/apocalyptic thriller with fantasy elements.  However, try as I might, I couldn’t check out intellectually for the whole movie.  Putting down a bias is nearly impossible anyway, but at a certain scene in Noah, all attempts to keep that bias in check went out to sea.

Was it theologically accurate?  Do I have five pages to discuss it?  Did anyone else notice the constant emphasis on the snake skin and the serpent throughout the film and the mixed messages they sent?  For example, the Fallen Angels gave an insult:  “Treacherous snake!” On the other hand–pun intended–humanity treated the skin as a spiritual talisman of the line of Adam.  Creepy.  There’s lots of places we could go with that, creatively, textually, ideologically, etc.  However, brighter minds than mine have tackled the subject, and there’s quite the debate going on out there.  Head to your nearest search engine and type in ‘Noah movie snake skin’ to begin your quest, today.  Let me encourage you to read here, here, and here.

Also, I have to mention the absent/silent God concept was at first off-setting, but once the rules for the movie were established, I was able to run with it, so to speak.  Everything flowed from that element, the idea that God wanted man to discover how and what was righteous and just.

Where did my bias kick back in?  Let’s just say when the filmmakers led the characters on a merry chase and someone’s marital hopes got trampled.  Try as I might, that element, the constant snake skin imagery, plus the sensation that I was watching The Shining during the third act, was enough for my bias to remain cynical.

Logan Lerman (Shem) and Russell Crowe (Noah) in front of the Ark...this isn't your Sunday School story Noah's Ark.

Logan Lerman (Shem) and Russell Crowe (Noah) in front of the Ark…this isn’t your Sunday School story Noah’s Ark.

Otherwise, I thought the filmmakers scored on the ark design, animal transport, and flood visuals.  The movie was well filmed, acted, and had some wonderfully fun fantasy elements and great action sequences.  (Who doesn’t love battles with giants, fights between well layered characters who you’re not quite sure which one you’re cheering for?  Things like that.)  Loved the entire fire-from-the-sword bit and beloved Anthony Hopkins’ Methuselah as a kind of wizard/seer/herbalist/sage a la The Hobbit’s Radagast the Brown.  I had actually hoped for more than what we’d seen in the trailer.  There wasn’t much more to be had outside of a final, epic battle for the ark.

As eluded to earlier, there was some excellent character development. At one point, I found myself cheering for the villain, of all things, only to have that reversed a few minutes later.  That back and forth was handled quite well by leads Russell Crowe (Noah) and Ray Winstone (Tubal-Cain…by the way, history check, was he still around by the time of the flood…oh well).  The others actors and actresses shined as well.  Both Emma Watson as Noah’s adopted daughter Ila and Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife carried heart-wrenching performances.  In many ways, it was fascinating to watch the actors portray the experience of watching/listening to the whole world die outside.  Tragic, horrible, but well filmed.

I also had been hoping for more from the much rumored Watchers, especially after seeing art from the comic.  I was so excited for the six-armed monstrosities that I was actually underwhelmed.  Nor did I pick up on any mention of the infamous Nephilim–would have loved to hear this version of those folks.  Though these latter elements left me disappointed, , I start humming humming the Veggie Tales “Rock Monster” song.  So, all in all, I guess I didn’t lose too much.  Maybe.

In conclusion, I still can’t nail down…were they using nails?…the number of stars I’d give this movie out of five?  Two?  Three?  Eh.  Better search for some berries.

“The world is changed.  I feel it in the water.  I feel it in the earth.  I smell it in the air.  Much that once was is lost…” – Galadriel, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie.

“Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell

Joshua P. Smith can be found on Twitter @AelathiaNovels, Facebook at Joshua P. Smith – Aelathia Novels, and his blogs Aelathia Novels and Christian In Chaos.

::Singing softly to self::  “…oooohoooohoooohoohoh.  Rock Monster, Rock Moooo-ooo–onster.”  

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Fantasy, Roleplaying Games

Fantasy Meets Reality TV Show in ABC’s The Quest

Not two weeks ago I dismally sat back in my chair, stared deep into the Netflix archive, and wistfully dreamed of a fantasy show I could not just stomach but actually enjoy.  Now, it’s a little hard to wish for something on par with, oh, say The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit or Chronicles of Narnia… unless the executive producer of The Lord of the Rings were to team up with creators and producers from The Amazing Race to create a TV show called The Quest… That got my attention.

The Quest is a scripted fantasy series that pits unscripted reality TV competitors in an epic game, immersed in the fantasy world of “Everealm”.  (Cue fantasy video game references now.)  The competitors are those who participate in role playing games and all share a love for the genre.  Two are in the education field–which was another obvious draw for me.

The Quest’s premiere airs tonight at 8/7c (barely a half hour from now) on ABC.  I’ll be on Twitter @AelathiaNovels tweeting under #TheQuest and monitoring #Aelathia if you want to ask questions not pertaining to the show.  Hopefully, you’ll join us as we embark on this unique adventure!

“The world is changed.  I feel it in the water.  I feel it in the earth.  I smell it in the air.  Much that once was is lost…” – Galadriel, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie.

“Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell

Joshua P. Smith can be found on Twitter @AelathiaNovels, Facebook at Joshua P. Smith – Aelathia Novels, and his blogs Aelathia Novels and Christian In Chaos.

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Cartoons and Animation, Comic Books, Fantasy, Science Fiction, The Walking Dead (ZOMBIES)

Geek Heaven: Comic Con in San Diego

UPDATE: 

So it’s been a week since Comic Con ended, and for those who attended, they clearly had loads of fun.  One of my personal favorite sites covered SDCC fairly extensively.  Check out ScreenRant for all sorts of juicy details, from best cosplay outfits to Marvel News, Nolan’s upcoming film Interstellar, the new Gotham TV show, and of course, The Walking Dead.  And if you’re like me and just can’t wait for The Walking Dead spoiler tidbits (that only want to make you pull your hair out in overeager anticipation and perhaps slight–read: major–fear for some favorite characters), then check out Wetpaint for spoilery goodness.

Cheers, and hope you all had a lovely Comic Con.  Sure looked epically amazing!

AMC's The Walking Dead cast at Comic Con 2014

AMC’s The Walking Dead cast at Comic Con 2014

The Walking Dead cosplayers.  Rock on!

The Walking Dead cosplayers. Rock on! (Screenrant.com)

Comic-Con-2014-Cosplay-Sgt.-Calhoun (Screenrant.com)

Comic-Con-2014-Cosplay-Sgt.-Calhoun (Screenrant.com) Wreck-It Ralph is a personal favorite of mine.

***

Okay, so who of us geeks doesn’t want to go to Comic Con?  I know I would love to be there.  In fact, at our recent  meeting, the whole of Geek2Geek staff just groaned when we lamented our lack of Comic Con-ness this year.  However, maybe you are going.  Maybe you’d like to know the schedule, because there’s loads of great stuff headed to fan’s directions this week.  All of our personal favorites will be there:  Jurassic Park 4, a Marvel panel, The Walking Dead, Gravity Falls, and so much more!  So, if you’re going, here’s a link to the Comic Con website to help plan your excursion.

And I’m slightly…majorly…envious.

Have a blast!  Cheers!

 

“The world is changed.  I feel it in the water.  I feel it in the earth.  I smell it in the air.  Much that once was is lost…” – Galadriel, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie.

“Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell

Joshua P. Smith can be found on Twitter @AelathiaNovels, Facebook at Joshua P. Smith – Aelathia Novels, and his blogs Aelathia Novels and Christian In Chaos.

 

 

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Fantasy

Fitz and Fool are back! Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin

The rumors are true!!  FitzChivalry and the Fool are coming back!!  So much for that happy ending…  I first noticed a Twitter interaction between favorite authors Robin Hobb and Brandon Sanderson months ago where he asked the infamous question, “Is it true?”  It is.  Amazon.com tipped me off.  After checking out Robin Hobb’s Twitter account, I have some excellent news to report, my dear friends:  two of of my all-time favorite characters from the fantasy genre are returning!  Enter:  Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb.

The cover of Fool's Assassin by the incredible Robin Hobb...the cover features none other than... oh, go buy and read it and the two previous trilogies!

The cover of Fool’s Assassin by the incredible Robin Hobb…the cover features none other than… oh, go buy and read it and the two previous trilogies!

Robin Hobb is a master author.  She knows when to pluck the heart strings and which ones need it.  Her characters are dynamic as well as incredibly developed, each with significant relationships that go far beyond the scene.  The action sequences are page-turners.  The political intrigue, espionage, deceit, and revelations left me hungry for more.  Let’s not forget that her magic system is unique to itself and with two sides to every coin, so to speak, central to the entire story. Let’s not forget some other vital facts:  there’s a guy with a battle axe, zombies, and dragons.  Yes, please.

The series began stories with the Farseer trilogy, with Fitz’ coming of age tale, and then continued into the Tawny Man trilogy which culminated in one of the most incredible finales that makes my top ten favorite action sequences from any literary novel, and weaves its way through a (mostly) wonderful happy ending that left me content, pleased, as though I felt like all the strife these characters had gone through paid off.  Yet, somehow, I wanted more FitzChivalry and the Fool.  (The books are being re-released with new, very epic covers.)

I finally get my wish.

Welcome back, Fitz and Fool!  May some of my other favorite characters not bite the dust…or each other. Check out the previous trilogies (and those exciting new covers) and wait for the new book, Fool’s Assassin, coming out in August!

 

 

As a side note, because I feel compelled to, I do have warn that like most fantasy novels, there’s some sexual and witchcraft themes (witchcraft apart from the central magic system).

Also, there’s a middle trilogy between Farseer and Tawny Man called The Liveship Traders, but I confess I haven’t read that one.

The other six books are incredible and make my all-time favorite reads…that’s why I can’t wait to pick up Fool’s Assassin.  Hope you do as well!

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