Thursday, March 29, 2012


Sunday nights have been the best nights of the week on TV as two of my favorite shows aired back-to-back on AMC, The Walking Dead (also Talking Dead) and Comic Book Men! Last week, we finally got to see the long awaited finale to The Walking Dead Season 2 on AMC! This season has been amazing; full of intense moments, confrontations, a drastic loss of cast members and truths revealed! After the group escaped the city and the CDC destruction (end of season one), they make it to the country and are stranded along a deserted highway full of abandoned cars. As they encountered a literal herd of "walkers",  little Sophia became separated from the group and was lost in the woods. Suddenly Carl, Rick's son, is shot by a hunter (Otis) who takes them to a farm owned by Herschel and his family. Fortunately Herschel is a doctor (veterinarian?) and is able to save his life with the help of Shane and Otis getting supplies from a nearby infested hospital. However Shane, shoots Otis in the leg and leaves him for dead. While the group desperately searches for Sophia they take refuge on his land, although Herschel is somewhat reluctant to let them stay. Meanwhile, Tensions between Rick and Shane increase and Daryl searches tirelessly for Sophia. After searching for her long and hard for days (and at least 4 episodes!), the group discovers that Herschel has been hiding walkers (including some of his ex-family members) in his barn and the group proceeds to exterminate them ultimately revealing to their surprise that Sophia is one of them! (SPOILERS!)
Later Rick, Ben and Herschel encounter a group of hostile survivors and as they escape, they stop to rescue one of the would-be attackers, a young man named Randall. Herschel takes pity on him and takes him back to the farm to heal his wounded leg. While Shane and Rick debate Randall's threat to the group they plan to either set him free or execute him. Shane soon takes matters into his own hands, kills Randall and then plans to betray Rick but he then kills Shane, who then turns into a walker, Carl shoots Shane just as a hoard of zombies begin to overtake the farm. As the group fight for their life, they realize the farm is lost and most of them escape as the farm burns. Andrea is separated from the group and encounters a mysterious, sword-wielding stranger as Rick and the rest of the group are about to discover a prison where they can take refuge!
This season has been accompanied by a live talk show, Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick a great show with the cast and crew of The Walking Dead along with special guests such as Scott Ian, Dave Navarro and Kevin Smith!  If you haven't been keeping up with the comic books too, then you are missing out on the whole Walking Dead experience! While the show does not follow the comic exactly, many of the characters and plot situations are similar. Although season two has just ended I can't wait for Season 3, we get to see Michonne, the prison, and The Governor! This Fall!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This weekend was the 8th Annual Dallas ALL-CON! All-Con is one of the largest growing conventions in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, supporting fans of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Anime, Art, Renaissance Faires, Comic Books, Movies, Gaming and much, much more! The convention featured all kinds of celebrity guests, panels, competitions, cosplay, contests, vendors, and workshops! This years' theme of course was The End of the World! (2012!) "Because if it really is the end of the world...go out the All-Con way!" I have been an All-Con attendee since 2006, an independent vendor in 2010 and this year I became a volunteer. The thing I like best about All-Con is it isn't as big as some of the other conventions during the year like A-Kon or AnimeFest and of course Dallas ComicCon. But being a small con also means less crowds, lines and a more personable and fun experience without getting too exhausted.
The best events in All-Con is always the Saturday Costume Contest (I won for my Ghost Rider costume back in 2007!), the Ms. Star Wars Competition and of course the 501st Droid Hunt run by the 501st Star Garrison. The celebrity guests this year included Troy Denning, New York Times Bestselling Author of Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse, voice actor Neil Kaplan, and character actor Camden Toy.
To go along with the End of the World theme All-Con was literally taken over by ZOMBIES! There were many people in zombie make-up and costumes and even a few "heavily-armed" zombie hunters roaming the halls! I especially loved the costumes during the con (you can see some of my pictures from this year's con on my Facebook page) I am always amazed at the level of ingenuity and creativity that goes into so many of the costumes. My favorite has to be one man in a very elaborate costume of Kurt Russell's character (MacReady) from The Thing (1982). As an amateur (VERY amateur!) cosplayer myself, I was very impressed by many of the costumes this year, especially this years Grand Champion winners' World of Warcraft costumes: (See video:)

The only critique I have of this year's All-Con is that I was surprised of the lack of variety of vendors at the con and that every other vendor featured mostly Steampunk paraphernalia (although I do like Steampunk). It varies year to year and usually whatever is popular that year is more prominent. Next year I hope there are more gaming opportunities as well. Other than that it was a great convention and I am looking forward to next year's All-Con! If you enjoy conventions and are into seeing some great costumes or participating in some very special events and can't stand the larger, more crowded conventions, than All-Con is for you. Hope to see ya'll  next year! (Next year's theme is A Fracture In Time!) 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Very few science-fiction stories have achieved a long-lasting impression in the minds of fans and readers over the last century. As the sci-fi era began in the late 19th century with writers like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, it wasn't until the 20th century that sci-fi became a popular genre. While more modern incarnations of sci-fi dominate popular culture with successful franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek and the like, there are few who know or even remember what classic sci-fi truly is. John Carter IS Classic Science-Fiction! Based on the pulp novels from 100 years ago by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the story of John Carter follows a Civil War-era rebel who is transported to Mars and helps to defeat a tyrannical empire.On Earth, Capt. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a deserter, an outlaw and a rebel. While trying to escape the American Civil War he heads out west in search of gold, but what he finds will change his life forever. After escaping both the U.S. Cavalry and a hostile band of Apaches, he finds a mysterious cave where through alien technology, is transported to the planet Mars (a.k.a. Barsoom)! He soon discovers that while on Mars, he has the capability to leap long distances as well as possesses enhanced strength. He is then captured by the Tharks; a race of giant, green, four-armed Martians, led by Tars Tarkis (Willem Dafoe) and finds himself in the middle of an epic war between two competing empires: Helium, ruled by Tardos Mors (CiarĂ¡n Hinds) and Zodanga, ruled by Sab Than (Dominic West). Supposedly, the only way to achieve piece between the two cities is if the strong and beautiful Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) marries Sab Than, but the manipulative Matai Shang (Mark Strong) of the powerful and ancient race known as the Therns, have other plans! John soon sets out with Princess Dejah, a misfit Thark female named Sola (Samantha Morris) and his faithful (but slobbery) companion Woola, to return the Princess to her kingdom in the hopes of bringing peace to all Barsoom!
Walt Disney Films, better known for their family-oriented animated features, has recently reinvigorated their more action-adventure movies with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the Marvel superheroes movies such as the upcoming Avengers movie. Now, as they broaden their horizons into the sci-fi realm they delve into a riskier venture with more obscure literary properties. While Disney has already had experience with fantasy literature adaptations with the first two Narnia movies (although the third movie was produced by Fox) Disney has never fully embraced hard sci-fi, but it is not the first time they have tackled the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, better known as the author of the Tarzan series, Disney produced the highly-popular animated musical Tarzan in 1999. John Carter of Mars first appeared in 1912, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). The first novel "A Princess of Mars" was originally called "Under the Moons of Mars" and written under his pseudonym: Norman Bean. Since then the adventures of John Carter has been told in many novels, comic books, TV shows and films.
John Carter is an exciting, fast paced, action-packed, sci-fi masterpiece that remains true to the original story and characters. Although somewhat a sleeper hit at the box office, it will no doubt succeed and enable Disney to produce adaptations of the next few books as a trilogy including "The Gods of Mars" and "The Warlords of Mars". Taylor Kitsch as John Carter is a perfect choice and a worthy actor to portray one of the first sci-fi heroes. Also Lynn Collins as Dejah is an impressively smart and strong heroine who can fight with equal skill alongside Carter. Coincidentally, Kitsch appeared briefly as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) starring Hugh Jackman, along with Lynn Collins who played Silverfox. Another interesting appearance in John Carter is the author Edgar Rice Burroughs himself, played by Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) as John Carter's supposed nephew. Oscar winning director Andrew Stanton is known for his involvement in many successful Disney/Pixar films as director for Wall-E (2008), Finding Nemo (2003) and co-director on A Bug's Life (1998). John Carter is an amazing action/sci-fi movie that will hopefully inspire a new generation of John Carter fans and readers. Happy 100th Anniversary John Carter of Mars!

Friday, March 2, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "The Nerdist Way" by Chris Hardwick

I, AM A NERD! I say it proudly and confidently. I have much evidence to support my nerdiness such as: I wear glasses, I collect comic books, I go to comic conventions, I enjoy cartoons and anime, I play video games, even MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, I own Star Wars and Star Trek memorabilia...and there's NOTHING wrong with that! I also consider myself fairly well educated, (Although I am definitely not as smart as the nerds on The Big Bang Theory, but they are just actors!) but I admit that I have not been as successful in life as I'd like to be. I realize as I get older that my nerdy lifestyle may not be conducive to a long and healthy life, and when a very good friend of mine gave me a great book, it changed the way I think about my life!
The book is The Nerdist Way: How To Reach The Next Level (In Real Life) by Chris Hardwick. Now, I would usually be the first to mock some pretentious self-help book (don't get me started on Chicken Soup for the Soul!), but this is NOT one of those. If you are not aware of Chris Hardwick, than you obviously don't have Cable TV or an Internet connection (for that matter how are you even reading this blog?). Mr. Hardwick is: (along with many things) a stand-up comedian, Cable TV personality, podcaster and a writer. He is currently the host of G4's Web Soup, AMC's Talking Dead and The Nerdist on BBC America. The main thing you need to know about Chris is that he is also a NERD! As Mythbusters Adam Savage said: "Chris Hardwick is a Nerd's Nerd's Nerd. The third nerd denotes his understanding of Nerddom on a metalevel."
Being a nerd, Chris realizes there are many things that may not come easy to nerds, life being one of them, and in his new book: The Nerdist Way, he presents his readers with essentially a nerdy guide to life which shows us how to focus our mind, body and time in an attempt to reach our nerdy goals thereby attaining success and happiness, and maybe even get laid (no, not really)! In his book, Chris admits that he "is NOT A LIFE COACH...motivational speaker or a self-help guru." That being said, his experiences and career opportunities reflect many of the choices he has made in his life, some he admits were "several years of laziness" and while he worked for MTV as the host of MTV's "Singled Out" during the 90's and would later become an overweight alcoholic before he decided to devote his life to self-improvement, hence: the creation of this book.
Chris Hardwick: Before & After Nerdist
The book is divided into three parts addressing topics on Mind, Body and Time. In the first part he recommends that nerdy life should be treated like a role-playing game (i.e. Dungeons & Dragons) in "RPG Your Life" he suggests structuring your life like a game, thinking of yourself as a game designer and creating a Character Tome for yourself. In it you can create your own personal character page and figure out your attributes and alignment (D&D Online Alignment Test, Go ahead, give it a try...I did and surprisingly I am Lawful Neutral, who would of thought!) Among the other nerdy accouterments to this book, you earn experience points (XP) in life when you succeed in your goals and even earn more XP for every section you finish reading in his book. (You just earned 50 XP for reading this review!)
Also in the Mind section he addresses matters such as choice, anxiety, addiction and what he likes to call "Sucstress" - when success causes stress. In the Body section of his book he focuses on health and fitness. Chris literally turned his life around, even to the point of finding his own personal trainer, Trainer Tom. This section features some helpful hints from him and demonstrates several workout and exercise techniques with full illustrations. In the third and final section of his book Chris addresses how to manage your time. This includes everything from managing your email account, scheduling, credit, finances and work. It also includes my personal favorite part: "Become An Evil Genius"!
The Nerdist Way appeals to all nerds, not just the stereotypical taped-up glasses kind, it encompasses all aspects of nerdiness in which we ALL have some if not many examples of. The whole book is a fun and entertaining experience with lots of helpful information, relevant examples and some hilariously funny moments. Chris will often segue (or Segway? Nerd!) into rants which often include moments of excitement in which he WRITES IN ALL CAPS TO MAKE A POINT! The main thing Chris wants his readers to get from this amazing book is as a nerd "use your obsessively Nerdy brain to focus on things like looking for opportunities, dissecting your failures for lessons, and committing yourself to emotional rewards and happiness..." So, on behalf of all nerds out there...Thank You Chris "The Nerdist" Hardwick! This book has opened my eyes and I will Enjoy MY Burrito!
Be sure to visit Chris Hardwick's website , and NerdistWay and follow him on Twitter @Nerdist and @NerdMelt also check out The Official Chris Hardwick Facebook Fan Cluster!