Monday, April 29, 2013

Defiance: A Retrospective After Three Episodes

I probably won't be reviewing Defiance episodes for the foreseeable future (unless something drastic happens on the show). They seem to have fallen into a good groove and continue to do what they do well and continue to annoy me in the same ways.

It's a very high-quality sci-fi show that is especially of interest to anyone that enjoys post-apocalypse and frontier sci-fi. It has a great soundtrack, good CG, good actors, and OK writing. Check it out. You can watch episodes for $1.99 below (they should have the third episode, "The Devil in the Dark" sometime later today):

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 11: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS — Review and Reflection

(Note: "Spoiler-free" refers to not giving away any major reveals of the episode, and usually not more than what is found in the teaser for next week. May contain spoilers of past weeks. Please avoid reading the comments for spoilers and more discussion on the episode).

We pick up Doctor Who again this week after last week's amazing "Hide" (review here). Whereas it would be hard to beat last week's episode (which I proclaimed one of the best, and probably easily the best one-off, episodes in the last three series), I remained hopeful about a journey to the center (sorry, I'm American, not British. We say "center", not "centre") of the TARDIS.

You can watch Series 7 by clicking on the picture below ($1.99 per episode). Depending on when you access it, they should have Episode 11 posted (they've been pretty good about getting them up the next day):

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How My Dad Saves Energy

An energy saving blog post today, since it's the time of year where I find myself fighting to spread awareness of a super-easy way to save on energy bills and simultaneously make your house/apartment more bearable temperature-wise.

This doesn't always work (for instance, when it stays unbearably hot throughout the night), but just by following these easy steps you'll regularly find that you do not have to turn on air conditioning until late in the day. Obviously, better insulation is a factor and can influence your particular case.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Defiance Season 1 Episode 2: Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go

Defiance seems to have achieved what they're shooting for. A nice "classic" western sci-fi that plays out like a good tabletop RPG. Here's the Amazon link to Season 1 if you'd like to stream it:

This week there was a good caving adventure (I refuse to say, "spelunking", as this is what novice cavers call it), and we're treated to some nice destroyed Earth scenery and even some well-written character development (as well as some hit-you-over-the-head character development). There's also a nice doing-what's-right-vs-tradition storyline with a somewhat predictable ending, although still done well.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Current Projects and Upcoming Publications

It's been two months since any releases and some of you may be wondering what's been in the works. I have been working hard on several new stories and yes, more math sections as well. Here's the plan for the next month or so, along with any comments about each project.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Making Undead #4: Aviadins via Physical Corruption

Today I'll be focusing on the craven aviadins as subjects for Making Undead.

Note: Making Undead is a series of posts. If you missed the last post, here it is, and if you'd like to catch up from the beginning, here is Making Undead #1

Aviadins are a unique race to WotA, but similar to other fantasy birdmen races in form such as the aarakocra of D&D and Arakkoa of WoW. Where they differ is how they fit into the world of WotA (and also the fact that they can't do much more than a controlled slowfall, whereas most birdmen are able to fly to some extent).

After the Seal of the Archmagi was broken, the ancient saurian citadels returned to the Realm of Ao. The long dormant magicks seized upon the closest relatives to the saurians still alive, a variety of species of birds, and attempted to imbue them with the forgotten power of their proud race.The aviadins were the result.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 9: Hide — Spoiler-Free Review and Spoiler-Full Reflection

Doctor Who is back in style this week with "Hide". 

Initial Impression: Scariest Doctor Who episode ever

I was going to say since "Blink", but it quickly overcame "Blink" levels of scariness for me. Of course, that may be due in part to living in a large old house that is ostensibly haunted (actually, I'm developing a visual novel based on my own haunted house experiences...moving on though!).

Why are you writing?

It's an important question for any writer. What drives you? What makes you tick? What are your goals and aspirations? What do you hope to accomplish? What are you willing to sacrifice or compromise?

What got you started as a writer?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Defiance Series Premiere (Season 1 Episode 1) Review

I had mixed feelings going into Defiance, but for fans of sci-fi (the genre, not the channel), I can assure you that it's trying hard and not just preying on us for not having any good speculative fiction to watch on television.

Making Undead #3: Physical Corruption of Minotaurs

Hi guys,

Have been having some success with the Making Undead blogs, so I'm making them a little more official and going to turn them into a regular thing. Today we're moving on to making undead out of corrupting minotaurs physically.

Monday, April 15, 2013

When do you throw in the towel?

No matter what you are striving for in your life (and I'm assuming you're striving for something since you're, you know, not dead, and living things are not supposed to stagnate...wait, are you undead? Are you VOLDEMORT? ...anyway), there are going to be times where the deck seems stacked against you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Making Undead #2: Physical Corruption of Centaurs

Hello all,

Continuing where we left off last time (Physical Corruption of Dwarves), I'll examine how I can make a variety of undead creatures from physically corrupting centaurs.

Aside: Some talk of "undead resources", one book I enjoyed drawing from was Drawing and Painting the Undead by Keith Thompson. Still, this was back when I collected any book with drawings I enjoyed. Nowadays, I mostly Google for them (unless I see a deal or a new Spectrum!)

To the monster creation process!

Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 8: Cold War — Review and Reflection

Hello Everyone,

With the advent of On Demand, DVRs and instant streaming video, I figure it's somewhat relevant to post reviews of ongoing series. In fact, once they update the site, you can download-buy it here (update: it's now available):

Friday, April 12, 2013

Making Undead #1: Physical Corruption of Dwarves

Hi everyone,

Since my monster creation blog was pretty successful, I figured I'd continue the theme to showcase how I make undead in a similar manner.

Undead creation for me is almost entirely block-building. If I'm making undead for a specific race (which is what I'll focus on at first), then I look at what makes that race tick and turn it on its head.

Looking through my bestiary, I notice that I don't have many undead for dwarves, minotaurs, aviadins, lizardfolk, centaurs, or elysia. Everything that follows is new. I'm excited to see what happens with these races! Update: This started to get pretty long right off the bat, so I'm splitting them into a few different posts.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jurassic Park in 3D

Got the opportunity to watch the doctored up Jurassic Park in 3D.

We all know the story (and if you don't, it's 20 years old, spoilers ahead), so the real question is the 3D. Did Universal "find a way" or was the 3D "one big pile of shit"?

Also worth asking is does Jurassic Park stand the test of time? Keep reading for my take on it.

The Next Frontier: Auto-Install Cell Phone Viruses

Hi everyone,

I recently posted a version of my "safe e-mail practices" I hand out to all of my students (you can read it here), but this has not seemed to help many people (hint: you have to follow the safe e-mail practices in order to benefit from them).

Still, in the interest of trying to help, I'd like to talk about the next big thing that hackers are going to be working on breaking into and is currently a HUGE WIDE OPEN DOOR into your cell phone.