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Celebrate Poetry, All Month Long

Christina E. Janke:

I’m super bad with poetry, but I’ll give it a shot…

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

NaPoWriMo , or National Poetry Writing Month, is back!

NaPoWriMo is an annual project in which participants write a poem each day in April. It unfolds in the tradition of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, held in November) and motivates, inspires, and engages poets of all levels, genres, and backgrounds.

While a poem a day is your ultimate goal, there’s really no “right” way to participate. Start today and keep at it, and experiment as you see fit. Focus entirely on sonnets, or experiment with free verse. Participate on your own, or collaborate with others. Publish on your blog, or experiment offline.

Ideas to get started

  • Publish poems each day, focusing on a different genre each week.
  • Handwrite poems in a journal, for your eyes only.
  • Start a collective with others, plan themes for April, and publish poems on your own blogs focused on these themes.
  • Create a new blog or group site specifically for this monthly challenge.

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D&D Personality Quiz, a.k.a No Wonder I Sucked as an Assassin…

Barbarians are savage warriors who deal out powerful blows from their mighty weapons. They charge from foe to foe and seldom feel the pain of an enemy’s strike. For barbarians’ foes, the moments of greatest terror come when barbarians call upon primal forces to lend power to their raging spirits. These rages, although temporary, give a barbarian incredible powers, a combination of skill, willpower, and a legacy of ancient tribal rituals.

As a barbarian, you have a link to powerful nature spirits and other primal forces bound to the warriors of your tribe by the songs and totems of your legacy. These spirits lend energy to your rages, transforming you into a devastating force on the battlefield. As you become more experienced, these rages transcend mortal limitations, manifesting directly as waves of elemental power or gifting you with supernatural recuperative powers.

When the heat of battle is upon you, will you respond with a sudden charge that fells with one mighty swing of your weapon, or with a prolonged rage that leaves destroyed foes in your wake?

D&D Home PageWhat Class Are You?Build A CharacterD&D Compendium

A Few of My Favorite Features I’ve Written Elsewhere…

In the time that I’ve been mostly away from Intro to Geek, I’ve been writing for Agents of Geek. I have a total of seven pages worth of posts. Most of which I’m proud. Below are some of my favorites.

10) 5 Awesome Things We Saw at E3 2013

9) FuzziLovies are Good for a Baby’s Eyesight


7) “Cell Block Tango” With a Disney Spin

6)  The End of the World is Nigh! – The Best End of The World Stories

5) Underrated Video Games We’ll Probably Never See Again

4) 75 Years of Superman in an Animated Short

3) Video Games that Left Us an Emotional Wreck

2) THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON TWO “All That Remains” Review

1) Author Spreads Love with THE FIFTH BEATLE

There you have it! Now I’m going to get my ass handed to me on XCOM: Enemy Within. Somehow I keep getting worse every time I repeat a mission — stupid train! I can’t seem to keep all of my guys alive. I won twice, but at the cost of one man. I’m starting to think at least one death is inevitable for this mission…

Jim Carrey kill something GIF

Big Trouble in Little Comic Book Land

Wow. I would first like to apologize for my inactivity on this blog. Whodathunk having a 9-5 day job and a residential care facility for the mentally handicapped AND  an Editor-in-Chief position at Agents of Geek would sap up a lot of my creative writing juices. I promise I’m not doing this on purpose. Luckily! This blog isn’t the only place you can find me on the internet. Not only do I make regular posts on Agents of Geek — excluding this holiday season — but I’m also on Twitter and Shauncastic’s Intro to Geek!

Between my last post and now, I also made a guest appearance on RevCast with Gary Mitchell and Tegan Hendrickson, and Bastardcast with Jason Tabrys and Jeremy (sorry, I forgot his last name). I’m in such high demand right now! [flips hair]

Speaking of podcasts, I recorded two during my absence. One for Intro to Geek and one on the show-proper.

Big Trouble in Little China

Intro to Geek: Listen to my review of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA

A lot of people have been saying that this latest episode of Intro is the most controversial by far. I guess? Shaun and I definitely have polar opposite opinions on BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. Come take a listen and see which one of us thought it was good, and which one thought it was totally awful.

And now for the latest episode of Shauncastic…

alan moore

Shauncastic: Listen to Shaun, me, and company talk about Alan Moore’s most recent cluster-cuss of a stunt. He’s our Miley Cyrus, but her music still sounds all right.

Other things I’m up to right now… Hm hm hm… Oh yeah! I’m picking up aerials now. I’m signed up for the next three months doing every fundamentals they’re offering. I’m gonna have killer arms at the end of this!!! Rawr ^_^

That’s all I have to report today. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Familiar Face on SLEEPY HOLLOW

I knew it was coming; I knew two weeks ahead of time. Sleepy Hollow, a new, bat-shit crazy, awesome TV show on FOX, was going to feature someone I know.

I was attending a comedy show at AtomaCon. A friend of mine, Andy Rider was one of the comedians performing the first night of the event. Before the show started, Andy and I were catching up and then he says, “Hey you know Craig Trow, right?” I used to work with Craig at the movie theater. He was one of the more interesting co-workers I ever got along with and didn’t secretly hate. Anyway, Andy told me, “Yeah, he went up to North Carolina for a while for a role on Sleepy Hollow.” Whoa whoa whoa! Hold the phone! What? I knew Craig had landed an audition for something, but I never knew it was on a show I actually watch and like! I was giddy with excitement for him. I’m very much a person who gets super happy when I hear that a friend has landed a job he or she has always wanted. In Craig’s case, I got really excited for the direction his life is heading as an actor. Part of the reason he moved the States (he’s originally from Bristol, England), other than marrying his beautiful wife, was to further his career as an actor. That sort of thing is hard to do in Charleston, but it’s growing.


Craig Trow as Lachlan Fredericks

Last night’s episode of Sleepy Hollow was about Ichabod Crane and Abbey Mills searching for a missing socialite. Her last known whereabouts was in an abandoned mansion once owned by a Lachlan Fredericks, with whom Ichabod and his wife Katrina were good friends. They discover the house is haunted and plagued by an evil entity. Throughout the episode, Abbey finds out some secrets that shake Ichabod’s world as he knew it via visions from a benevolent ghost that has been helping Abbey. We get to see flashbacks during Revolutionary times. That’s where Craig comes in. He plays Lachlan Fredericks, an abolitionist who grants anyone sanctuary as well as works towards freeing any slave who comes to him.

When we first meet Lachlan, I kinda squee’d at the TV. Even I hurt my own ears. It’s a good episode, and he played the role well. I hope I get to see Craig in more shows or movies in the near future!

The Growing Trend of Geek-Inspired Makeup

I did say that I was a super big Mass Effect fan, right? Well now you know.

For a while now, I’ve noticed this creeping trend of movie and geek inspired makeup. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are OPI’s Skyfall line of polish and CoverGirl’s Capitol Collection inspired by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. While perusing the internet at the doctor’s office earlier today, a friend linked me to an online store that just came out with a new eyeshadow color. It is called “What’s Under the Helmet?” and it’s one of now eight in a Mass Effect-inspired collection of eyeshadow by Geek Chic Cosmetics.

We may never truly know what’s under Tali’s helmet (that altered stock photo cop-out in ME3 doesn’t count), but we do have a pretty good feeling that any Mass Effect fan with an eclectic taste in makeup may go batty for this.

One of the biggest suppliers of geeky makeup is Geek Chic Cosmetics who creates “vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free loose mineral eyeshadows, foundations, blushes and scents as well as nail polish, lip glosses and lipsticks based on [their] geeky inspirations.” Seriously, the range goes from Portal to Supernatural to The Walking Dead.

There are some who know the perils of buying just any makeup (buying the right makeup is stupid hard and confusing). Some brands fill their products with various weird fillers (to keeps costs cheap and competitive) that may cause break outs, full-on allergic reactions, or just uncomfortable itching. The people at Geek Chic reassure that they “follow strict preparation and sanitation rules and conform with all FDA regulations” and are “careful to label any potential allergens very clearly, while leaving out the skin irritants….”

Being a first-time buyer of their products, I have yet to experience whether or not they are a worthwhile endeavor for me; however, I know plenty of my mutually geeky female friends already partook in some of Geek Chic’s custom formulas and have never turned back.

I just ordered the entire N7 and Portal Collection from Geek Chic’s Britain-based partner, Janine Basil (she had a couple more colors in the N7 Collection that Geek Chic no longer offered). Janine also carries these gorgeous fascinators and other hair accessories that I just adore. Darn my having only limited amounts of money! Where’s my water tower full of gold?

UPDATE: How could I forget Espionage Cosmetics?! They too have geeky cosmetic lines and look books that are pretty fun to pine over. They recently killed it on Kickstarter with their fabulously geeky nail art.

Espionage Cosmetics

NaNoWriMo and Atomacon!

Today marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). Since I can’t participate in the No Shave November I thought this might be the next best thing.

I have tons of ideas swirling around my head, but the one getting the most “hits” is a story based on another story. I can’t say what it is because a) I don’t want to psych myself out by saying it aloud/typing it to other people, and b) I figured “fan-fiction” was an acceptable thing now that some authors are somehow making obscene amounts of money doing it. How fair is that, right? My participating in NaNoWriMo was also a last minute decision, and the story I’m writing is the one my brain is stuck on.

Also, I lost my journal of outlines and ideas. It’s somewhere, just not in any place I have looked. [shakes fist menacingly]

This particular story is the most recent I idea that popped into my mind, and something I genuinely feel needs to be worked on. The original source material was such a mess execution-wise, but I absolutely loved the concept. You know when you see something and say, “I can do better than what these hacks did with it!” Well I am saying that, and I’m willing to risk putting my foot in my mouth to do it.

Also coming up on my agenda for this month is Atomacon, Charleston’s first big science fiction/geeky convention run by fans. It’s quite literally looking to become the next DragonCon. As a last minute idea (I get those a lot) I asked the creator/organizer, Janet, if there were any press passes left. She said that the free ones were all gone, but I could purchase one for $20. I was just about to suck it up and do it UNTIL I read the next sentence. “However,” she started, “We do need more panelists in the Fandom track. Would you like to be a panelist? The fee for that is only $10.”

HA! Of course I will!

Having got the bug on my last visit to DragonCon, I immediately took that to be the better option. So here I am, speaking on a total of five panels. Below is my schedule:


7pm — “The Future of Video Games”
9pm — “Walking Dead”


1pm — “Star Wars and Disney, a match for the dark side or the light side?”
10pm — “Avatar (cartoon): Past and Present”

10am — “Whedonverse”



Shauncastic 139: Talking Dead Redux

Last night, I recorded my first podcast since the break! Shaun, Laura, and I had a last minute meeting to record this special homecoming episode, but mostly it was to get something off our chests.

Marilyn Manson, Jack Osbourne, and Gale Anne Hurd

We love The Walking Dead, and we love Chris Hardwick. Naturally, we enjoy watching Talking Dead right after a new episode to see what sort of conversations Hardwick has with his guests. Sunday night’s episode, however, was left wanting. It all has to do with Marilyn Manson, a generally intelligent person, speaking incoherently and just nearly derailing the show all together. Bless Hardwick for being a good moderator; he tried his best to stay on point.

In this episode, we talk for a few minutes about that hard-to-watch episode of Talking Dead, and then move on to the conversation we wished was discussed the other night.

Oh, and here is just a sampling of the bizarre things Manson was babbling [via ComicBook]:

Manson on zombie defecation and censorship.
Marilyn Manson: According to your theory, which I’ve heard previously, that they don’t defecate. If they poop it would smell a lot like my bathroom.”
Chris Hardwick: I get that question all the time with Twitter people. Do zombies poop? Number one I don’t write the show. Number two is his microphone down?
Marilyn Manson: You put my mic out. You’re trying to censor me.

Manson on zombies eating probiotics.
Gale Anne Hurd: You want the walkers to eat probiotics?
Marilyn Manson: No, I’m just saying she looks like Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s like the salt and pepper hair. It made me think of Activia.

Manson on Daryl and Carol.
Marilyn Manson: Didn’t you guys always think that she was going to sleep with Daryl?
Chris Hardwick: Well, that’s still on the table, as far as I’m concerned.

Manson on Shane’s criminal ears.
Marilyn Manson: It’s strange, because I love that it’s a zombie show. It’s essentially about morality, and you’ve got Grimes who for the most part tried to do what he thought was right. But in a zombie-type situation, where there’s no rules, morality, it goes right back to basics. It’s almost biblical, where you have to react. And Rick’s made the mistake of trying to save other people’s children, and it affected him losing his wife. Then, you have Shane, who I like to call criminally eary, because his ear looks criminal. There’s an old study about the shape of people’s ears makes them criminal or not.
Chris Hardwick: We are deep diving today.

Manson on the difference between Rick and The Governor.
Marilyn Manson: The difference between Rick and The Governor is The Governor did have his small community locked down in more of like a Hitler-type situation, where they all were afraid of him, and he ruled by fear.
Chris Hardwick: You had me until Hitler.
Marilyn Manson: What I’m saying is that he had everyone run by fear. Rick tried to run it more as a democracy.
Chris Hardwick: I’m understanding what you’re saying. I’m so excited.
Marilyn Mason: So I think that The Governor is going to lead the zombies because he’s so bad. And he’s going to lead them on a personal vendetta.
Chris Hardwick: I tell you what. If you’re right, I’m going to be so mad, because I’m not understanding anything else that you’ve said tonight, and this is actually a very good, lucid point.

Fight Fire with Fire…No, Really


We’ve all heard the phrase “Fight fire with fire” as a way to pay an offender back with equal force, or worse. Or if you’re a Shakespeare nerd, you would remember reading “Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;/ Threaten the threatener and outface the brow/ of bragging horror….” (King John) I think this is a more elegant way of saying how to settle things.

But one doesn’t usually think to actually fight fire with more fire. Understandably, any layman would refer to common sense, which would say, “No, dummy, that will just make things worse.” Knowing my luck, and my lack of timing, this would actually happen. But that’s what Batman did a few episodes back in DC Nation’s Beware the Batman, or rather, his partner Katana did. I saw this concept play out again this morning on another Batman cartoon, Batman the Animated Series, on the Hub. I know, I know, these are cartoons, and TV often lie to us about the workings of physics. But one often forgets that there are some genuinely thoughtful writers out there applying fascinating truths to their shows. SCIENCE!

First of all, please keep in mind that the whole concept of actually fighting fire with fire is not something lost on me. I just never sat around thinking about the logic behind it until now, and I don’t often use the phrase anyway because I’m not a naturally vindictive person. Except for when it comes to flies. I will hunt down a single fly roaming around in my house just so I won’t have to hear that buzzing noise.


You see, fire needs oxygen to keep burning. No oxygen means no more fire. That’s science 101. In Beware the Batman, Bats is facing off against a villain named Phosphorus Rex. His partner, Katana, charges into the building with a fuel tanker and unleashes the fuel onto Rex, setting it aflame. This caused Rex to shine bright for a split second and then peter out. “Fight fire with fire,” says Batman, “Smart.” In a kids’ show one usually expects someone to, in at least one line, explain why that was smart. We didn’t get it. I’m not exactly sure at what demographic these cartoons are aimed these days, but I would like to assume the writers thought that their viewers were smart enough to know why rather than hold their hands every step of the way.

This morning, while slowly waking up to the nostalgic sounds of a Batman the Animated Series episode, the “fight fire with fire” comes up again when Batman and Batgirl are trapped in a fiery inferno set up by Firefly. “There’s no way out!” yells Batgirl, to which Batman stoically responds, “Then we’ll have to make one.” He takes an unexploded gas drum, tacks on one of his small explosives, and hurls it at a burning wall. The explosion was big enough to snuff out the fire blocking their way; it sucked up all the local oxygen, giving them enough for them to jump to safety. My sleep addled brain was awake enough to notice this and think, “Hey yeah, that could happen, can’t it?” I’m not about to test that theory, though.

I’m more awake now and decided to look into whether or not how writers would get the idea to “fight fire with fire” rather than have Bats pull out a flame retardant from his handy, dandy utility belt, or burst a conveniently placed water pipe. Turns out, fighting fires with more fire is how firefighters put out wildfire. Fire.

When faced with a massive, woodland-consuming storm of flames and ash, your first instinct might not be to apply more fire to the dire situation. But think about it for a second: A fire needs oxygen and fuel, such as leaves and vegetation, to continue raging. Rob the fire of either source of nourishment and you squelch the chemical reaction that produces it.

When faced with an oil-well fire, firefighters have been known to remove the oxygen from the equation by detonating a little dynamite. The blast eats up all the local oxygen, leaving nothing to keep the fire going. When an entire forest is ablaze, however, a different tactic is in order. Firefighters remove the fuel — and what better way to quickly remove combustible underbrush than to carefully set it on fire? [Read more at How Stuff Works]

Way to science, firefighters!

This has been your Intro to Geek’s Random Thought moment.