On The Radar: Comic Book Coming Attractions 11/26/14

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Since we’re in a bit of a lull with the comics at the moment, I’ll just share this for those of you who are looking for your new book day fix. I’ve been following The Speech Bubble for awhile, and they come up with some awesome stuff.

Originally posted on The Speech Bubble:

Radar It is time once again to highlight the upcoming comics that I’m looking forward to the most, the ones that are On My Radar:

Flash Gordon Annual 2014
Flash Gordon Annual 2014
Creative Team
Jeff Parker and Others
“48 STORY PAGES! FIVE STORIES, all tying in to the hit Flash Gordon ongoing series! Kid Flash–Teenage Flash’s daring & dumb misadventures! Dale Arden–Hero of the science desk! Professor Zarkov–Drunken rocket scientist of the future! Shark Princess–Royal tribulations on one of Ming’s many conquered underwater worlds! Baby Flash–What kind of trouble did Flash get into before he was even out of diapers!? A cavalcade of fantastic fun featuring Jeff Parker (Batman ’66), Ben Acker & Ben Blacker (Thunderbolts, Thrilling Adventure Hour) & Chris Eliopoulos (Hawkeye)!”
Why I’m Looking Forward To It
48 pages of total nonstop excellence! I take a look at those five stories and can genuinely say that I’m excited for each one. That…

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Catch-up Week Has Arrived!

It’s been a rough six weeks, but I’m almost back on track. It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. on Thursday, and I have a couple of hard days to get through at the day job before I take the holiday on Wednesday. You won’t see a lot of blogging from me here this week, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working on blogstuff. Our weekend features will run as normal. Here’s where we are, and what I am up to this week for those of you who are interested.

1. My email inbox is full of  unanswered messages from bloggers. I’m planning to get those caught up on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. If you are waiting on a response from  me about anything at all, please be patient with me. I haven’t forgotten about you, and I suck at email.

I've mastered the "social" part. Still learning the "media" part. Hear me out and give it a chance!

Just a photo of me to break up all this text.

2. Aside from a couple of quick posts and a few retweets, you won’t see me on the social media on Wednesday or Thursday. I’ve set aside Wednesday to deal with my out-of-control photo stock. I have enough original photos to post an image per day on two blogs for a year at this point. But most of them aren’t sized for sharing and they aren’t organized. I need to go ahead and get this done so I can start blogging photos again without it taking an inordinate amount of my blogging time every week. And Thursday is a family day, all day.

3. I’ve settled on a redesign plan for Sourcerer. More on that over the weekend. I’ll mock up the design on a blog I’m using for development and will invite comments before I make it live.

4. Next week I plan to begin the process of figuring out whether or not we should try and do the April A to Z Challenge with Sourcerer. If you are a contributor here, or if I have invited you to guest post here in April, you’ll be hearing from me next week or the week after. December is almost here, and registration opens in January, so we need to make this decision before Christmas. The schedule as it stands right now is here. If I’ve told you you have a day reserved, it is reserved. If your name isn’t listed, it’s because we’ve not talked about this since I invited you, and I don’t want to put people on the spot.

5. Unless I hear differently, I am guest-hosting the #SundayBlogShare link party on Twitter this coming Sunday so Suzie can take the day off. If you enjoy #SundayBlogShare and would like to help me out with that by popping in and retweeting from that hashtag, you’re welcome. This isn’t the announcement, just a heads up for those of you who routinely help me out.

Orange Rose with Bumblebee by Gene'O

photo by Gene’O, 2014.

6. As I mentioned several weeks ago, I’ve realigned my Facebook presence and set it up to interact specifically with bloggers. That’s paying dividends already. If you’ve joined me as a Facebook friend recently, welcome, and I am happy to chat with you over there any time. I’ve got to spend a little more time on Facebook than usual over the next couple of weeks getting some things set up. This is all under-the-radar stuff that takes time away from the blogging, but it is absolutely necessary because it will allow me to get to know a LOT more bloggers and figure out ways of supporting them.

7. We have the support we need to proceed with planning for another round of Feminist Friday discussions in 2015. If you missed it over the weekend, you can find the planning post here. Thanks to everyone who’s helping to keep this project going. If you’ve expressed interest and haven’t received a response, you will hear from me on Wednesday.

Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the U.S. If not, happy blogging!

Editorial | Does Geek Culture Hold the Answers to National Security?


I shared this early in the week and promoted it a bit. Saved the reblog for those of you who come around on the weekend. Read this. Please. Reasons:

1. If you identify yourself as a geek or nerd, claims are being made about your culture which you might want to sound off on.

2. If you like science fiction, you will love this!

3. Are you a technophile? This post discusses the 3-D printing of food, Iron Man armor, and shield technology.

4. Are you an international relations geek? If so take a look at the thread. You’ll find three IR geeks talking about world order issues and we would love to meet three more.

5. Inclined to do me a personal favor? This post is a collaborative effort produced by two of my favorite bloggers in the whole world. I will totally take you leaving a comment on the thread as a personal favor.

Originally posted on Therefore I Geek:

For this post, I collaborated with Hannah Givens, from Things Matter (which you should totally check out).  Our mutual love of international relations shines through everything we do, apparently.

Technological innovation raises some obvious questions. What kind of technology will humans use in the future? How will it work and what will it do for us? How will it change the way we do things? Those questions are, perhaps, at their most controversial in the realm of national security, where technology can kill (or protect) ever-greater numbers of people. Fortunately, geek culture is an oracle of war. Science fiction has been imagining the future for a long time now, and was already providing possible answers before national security experts even understood the questions.

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The Belated One-Year Anniversary Post

This blog was a year old on Nov. 7, but at that point I was too sick to think about an anniversary post. I do need to mark the milestone, though. I pulled a few stats from here, Part Time Monster, and my personal blogs yesterday, and I’ll share them today. As always with these types of posts, I’m neither bragging nor whining. Just sharing the info because I find it helpful when other bloggers share theirs. If you don’t care about stats, it’s all good. We do an awful lot of pop culture blogging here, and I do hope we can still be friends :-) Here’s the kickoff post from last November, if you’re interested in reading it.


First I will do a breakdown of various stats, then I will total them up and discuss them.


Blog Followers: 954

Page Views: 27,535

Contributors Published: 9

Number of posts: 625, including this one.

Comments Generated: 4,126

Best Day: 391 page views

Best Month: June (3,434 page views)

Top Post: Is Batman a Marvel Character Trapped in the DC Universe? by Jeremy. 1,293 views. No other single post here has broken 300 views.

Top Referrers: We’re at 6,400 search engine views. The WordPress reader, Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon are the only other referrers that have gotten us more than 1,000 views.

Part Time Monster

Blog Followers: 1,955

Page Views:  28,432

Contributors Published: 7

Number of posts: 460

Comments Generated: 4,945

Best Day: 266 views

Best Month: May (3,307 views)

Top Post: Finnick Odair: Hooker/Gladiator with a Heart of Gold and Feminine Masculinity (666 views; the Monster has three other posts that have more than 500 views, as does Diana’s about page).

Top Referrers: Search engines have been good for 6,188 views. The WordPress reader, Facebook, and Twitter are all worth about 1,200 views; next is Sourcerer (400 views). No other referrers have gained the Monster more than 200 views.

My Former Blog/Just Gene’O (adding the stats for these two blogs together, because they are really one blog; the follower and page view numbers in parentheses are the breakdown)pirateflag

Blog Followers: 640 (435/205)

Page Views: 7,750 (4,955/2,795)

Number of posts: 281

Comments Generated: 1,571

Best Day: 322 views

Best Month: April (1,171 views at My Former Blog, because I did the A to Z Challenge as the Writing Catalog there). Just Gene’O generated 990 views in August.

Top Post: My Saturday Coffee linkup post (301 views; this one post accounts for a third of my traffic from August).

Top Referrers: My Former blog has 380 search engine views and 275 from Twitter. Just Gene’O isn’t up to 200 views from any source yet.

Totals for all the Blogs:

Blog Followers: 3,190

Page Views: 63,717

Number of posts: 1,366

Contributors Published: 13 (this number doesn’t total because Jeremy, Diana, and I are only counted once, even though we contribute both here and at the Monster).

Comments Generated: 10,624


One thing you can’t see from these stats is that Sourcerer and Part Time Monster are neck-in-neck for 2014. As of yesterday, we’re generating the same number of average daily views (82) and the Monster is only ahead by 100 views for the year. The difference of 900 views happened in November and December of 2013, when the Monster was running as an everyday blog with my help. At that point, I was mostly posting music videos here and only doing two or three quality pieces a week at my personal blog. And keep in mind that 400 of the Monster’s views are direct referrals from Sourcerer.

There’s a lot of follower overlap here. I have no idea how much, but we don’t actually have 3K+ unique blog followers. Our total social media following is around 10K, and almost three quarters of that is on Twitter. I put our engaged, regular following at somewhere between three dozen and sixty. But that is totally a guess. It’s hard to gauge because everyone doesn’t come around every day, and some people only visit weekly or twice a month, but I still count them as regulars because they’re consistent and sometimes they comment.

These numbers tell me that without question, Part Time Monster is our most successful blog. It’s generated the same number of views as Sourcerer, and done it with almost 200 fewer posts. And the traffic over there is more consistent. Sourcerer has higher peaks, but it also has lower valleys. This is not surprising. When we started these blogs, I set them up to work this way. The real surprise to me is that Sourcerer is keeping up and doing it with fewer than 1K followers. A year ago I did not expect Sourcerer to be this successful, nor did I expect to see the amount of engagement we’ve gotten on all three blogs, which is, I think, exceptional given the size of our overall network.

Reasons why Part Time Monster is more successful:

1. Content. Diana’s just plain better at writing to entertain than I am. You can see this clearly when we post at one another’s blogs. The Monster loves my photos, but only tolerates my written stuff. Sourcerer, on the other hand, loves Diana. In fact, if you look at the numbers, I am the least entertaining blogger we have. Our relative strengths and weaknesses are something I understood very well going in, so I am neither surprised nor dismayed by it. This is why I say that if I didn’t have a group to blog with, I’d just do it as a hobby and post a couple of times a week. I’m a fine writer with a good eye for art, but there’s a lot more to blogging than the writing. I’ll never be the guy who produces the sort of content that turns casual browsers into fans. I’m the grease in the wheels, and that is ok by me. I am good at it, and it is a role I enjoy.

2. Diana is better at maintaining relationships, she started with a better network than I had, and she’s used Twitter-icon-the-birdWordPress a lot more than I have in the last year. I spent most of last winter and the entire spring exploring nine different networks and learning to do Twitter growth. So my network on WordPress is smaller. And since we privilege network depth over breadth, which means we care more about engagement than the size of our following, dividing my time among all those networks means I’ve suffered on WordPress. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up in the next year because I’m focusing now on only the networks that work for me: WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook. If I add any other network to my game this year, it will be Tumblr, because Tumblr seems to like my photos, and I know quite a few people with accounts over there.

3. Part Time Monster developed its content focus and a clean look fairly quickly. Sourcerer has taken longer, and it’s still very much a work in progress. Now that we’ve settled on pop culture all the time here and I’ve committed to a redesign, we should be able to stabilize Sourcerer in the next year as long as we can keep the contributions coming.

4. If you discover either of my blogs, it is impossible to not also discover Part Time Monster if you take even a second to explore. But if you go and look at Part Time Monster, you will see that my blogs are just two more links on the blogroll. And the Monster shares a lot of my social media, but I don’t share Diana’s. At some point we may reorganize a bit and see what the Monster can do for Sourcerer, but as long as we’re neck-in-neck, it’s not worth the effort. One of us has to break out before we can do more than we are already doing to help each other.

The question I am asking myself now is this. If we’d just started one blog and posted there three times per day for a year, would we be further along in terms of traffic and network right now? I go back and forth on it, and it would take a whole other post to unpack the reasons we might or might not be.

Everyone who has contributed, read, and commented here has had a part in making this a rewarding and memorable year in the blogosphere for me. I hope this post is helpful, or at least interesting. I’m not the most successful blogger you’ll ever meet, but I am happy with the progress I’ve made since last November. This has been by far my most successful attempt at blogging, and I’ve failed many times. Thanks for making it worthwhile for me!

REVIEW: The Walking Dead, S5E06, “Consumed”

THe-Walking-Dead-season-5-poster-MAINMan, oh man.  This season has been really wildly uneven so far to me.  There have been some really good episodes (“No Sanctuary,” “Self-Help“) and some bad ones (“Four Walls and a Roof”) but this was the first one that was just forgettable.  I normally write these the Friday night before publication, and a lot of the time I watch the show again on my laptop while I’m writing, right?

This week?  I forgot.  Literally.  I forgot we even hadWalking Dead last week, because this was such a filler episode.  It’s got good bits to it, but even a lot of the good bits are unfortunate because they make me wonder about things that the episode isn’t really interested in spotlighting.  This’ll probably be one of my shorter pieces again, just because I don’t feel like this episode has much worth saying about it.  But without further ado:

PREVIOUSLY ON “THE WALKING DEAD”: Two episodes without a single second of the show’s main character, which is about to become three here; Eugene’s horrible and completely obvious secret is exposed to everyone, and, well, the good news is that Abraham isn’t as dumb as we thought but the bad news is he’s apparently an abusive husband.  Eugene gets beat up so bad he turns into an inanimate object.  Rosita’s too cute for the apocalypse.

Here’s the tl;dr version of the recap:  Daryl and Carol wander around Atlanta looking for Beth until Carol gets hit by a car.  Daryl takes Noah back to the church so that he can come back with everybody.

That’s really all the information you need.  There’s some good character bits sprinkled in here and there, and I’ll talk about some of those, but if you were just interested in what you need to watch tonight?  Carol wasn’t faking being unconscious.  She gets hit by a car driven by the hospital folks:

walking-dead-consumed-carol-crashLeft unsaid is whether they hit her on purpose or not; based on the shot I’m willing to believe it was an accident, as I suspect a year and a half or so into the zombie apocalypse you probably stop looking for pedestrians and start getting a lot more willing to just run down folks who are in your way.

The person with Daryl when he came out of the trees at the end of “Four Walls and a Roof” was Noah, or at least ought to be Noah unless Daryl manages to lose him and find somebody else in the trip back.  Noah has apparently been wandering Atlanta and staying alive and somehow manages to get the drop on D&C when they stupidly go through a locked and chained door backwards.  It’s a really dumb moment.  Then he doesn’t make sure to take all their weapons, and Daryl prevents Carol from shooting him in the back as he well deserves.  This guy should not be able to take anything from Daryl and Carol:

imagesNot too long after their guns get stolen, they’re walking across a bridge to investigate a white van that has the same crosses on the back as the car they chased back to Atlanta and the car that took Beth.  They get trapped in the van by a herd of zombies; the van (naturally) is hanging precariously off the edge of the bridge.  And the scene is almost tense and interesting but ends up stupid.  The zombies manage to push the van off the edge.  It looks like this:


Now, you can’t see the ground in this shot, but you know how bridges work and you know how physics works, right?  So it might be surprising for you to learn that the van lands on all four wheels in the next shot.  Look, show, we know you’re not gonna kill two of your program’s most beloved characters in a bloody car crash.  We know they’re gonna come through either unscathed or lightly injured; Carol manages to injure her shoulder.  Just have the thing land on its top.  You still get ridiculous injury physics but you don’t have the car teleport for the second episode in a row.

The scene is slightly redeemed by the rain of zombies moments later, as the things follow the van off the edge of the bridge, hit the van, and explode.  Sadly, I can’t find an image of the shot.

There are a few good moments:

  • D&C spend a night in a women’s shelter, which turns out to be a place that Carol and Sophia stayed when she was briefly on the run from her husband at one point.  They find a woman and her children who have turned, framed interestingly behind smoked glass.  Carol’s face goes blank and she goes to kill them, at which point Daryl stops her and says he’ll do it himself.  The next morning we see him burning the bodies.  After Noah somehow gets away from them by teleporting down a hallway and through a door (seriously, watch the scene; the two of them should have been on top of him in seconds– he’s got a bum leg, for crying out loud!) we find out that Daryl has taken a book on treating survivors of childhood abuse from the shelter.  Eeeenteresting.
  • Speaking of Noah getting the drop on them: there are a few tantalizing hints about what happened in Atlanta post-apocalypse.  He finds them in a hallway full of zombies who are stuck in sleeping bags and tents.  I had initially been really curious about what had caused the whole mess of them to die that way until someone else posted a screenshot and I got a better look at it:


Notice the two bullet holes in the bag on the right?  These people were all executed in their sleep.  There are a few other places in the episode where the camera lingers on bullet holes in places you wouldn’t expect bullet holes to be.  There are buildings that are burned out that you wouldn’t expect to be, and we’ve all heard the references to Atlanta being bombed in previous episodes.  It gets me wondering if we’re ever going to see what happened there, and it gets me thinking about Frank Darabont’s original plan for the Season Two opener, which would have left the group behind for a bit in favor of following the soldier whose body Rick finds when he’s hiding in the tank in Season One.

(Who else clicked that link and went “Whoa, AICN’s still around?”)

So, yeah.  Eventually, and improbably, they find Noah again, and this time it’s Carol who insists on saving him when Daryl basically leaves him for dead under a bookshelf.  He says he’ll show them where the hospital is, and Carol gets hit by the car, and Noah convinces Daryl that coming back with more firepower is smarter than going in guns blazing.  So they steal another car and off they go.  Two episodes left this half-season, and from what I hear, the midseason finale’s going to be a rough one.  (Mild spoilers behind that link.)

Is it next Sunday yet?



Weekend Music: Primitive Radio Gods

From 1996. This is one of those songs that just stuck with me. It’s the combination of percussion, background vocal, and surreal lyrics that does it. I couldn’t find a suitable live performance or the original video, but I like this one.

If you want input into next year’s Feminist Friday discussions, this weekend is your first chance, and I have a post at the Monster for you.

I’m not looking for commitments to specific things like posting dates or topics at this point. Just trying to gauge the level of support so Diana and I know how many posts we need to come up with before we can kick these off again. I’ll have a follow-up in a couple of weeks, once I see where we are with it.

Happy Weekend!