ps, if you haven't read any of Kneel's writing yet, GO CHECK IT OUT. It's got this fantastically surreal vibe I think people will dig. You can also read grumpyhawk's review of Kneel's first book, VirulentBlurb: Fractures, and then go purchase them on Amazon.
That's the actual Santa outside my door. It's from...1966!! It's a judging Santa, don't you think?
Dear Austin Comic Con,
I never know how to start these kinds of things. These things always make me feel awkward and vapid... but maybe that’s ok. That’s probably how you like it anyway.
I didn’t know what to think going into Friday’s (November 22) festivities. This - as I made you well aware - was my first time. My very first convention of any kind. I had no frame of reference; not a single notion or experience from which to draw. For years I let my nerdiness lay dormant, fearing that if I let my intellect or love of “geeky things” show through I’d be an outcast. You'd need a golden calculator to divide. Thankfully our culture not only accepts nerd culture now, but praises it, even if it’s disingenious and fraudulent at times. (You know who you are.) No longer do I need to be ashamed of what I like and enjoy. Why it matters to receive the approval of other people, be they friends or complete strangers, is something I should probably talk to a therapist about...but it’s easier to write about it and actively seek out that approval. Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes... Friday.
For those of you not familiar with tumblr, among it's many facets is the "ask box." If you turn this on, it allows people to ask questions of you, and you to answer them. This can be a great time-waster if you've got writers block or just want to be more social. It's also a really cool chance for fans of certain authors and artists to connect with those folks when they otherwise might not be able to. Neil Gaiman is a great example of this; he routinely answers questions there, and as a huge fan of his, it's been awesome to see. Warren Ellis is another creator that hangs out on tumblr, but hasn't been super active as of late. Earlier this week, however, he activated the ask feature, and comedy gold was had. It was so funny, I just had to put all these questions and answers in one place, so that everyone can enjoy them.
And right about here is where it gets even better.
And that's all there is.....for now. Should more of these materialize, I'll update this post accordingly.
I (Benjamin) arrived home to find that I had recently received a package from Mimoco! In it I find 2 stickers :-D, a $10 emusic offer card, and a limited edition Riddler MIMOBOT® character-based designer USB flash drive. (It's hand written on the top of the box, 127/2000...so close to the top 6%, so close.) So let's get this custom flash drive out of the box and see what awesomeness is in store for us today.
First, lets talk about the look of the flash drive. It's a fun caricature Riddler, complete with giant head and grey bowler hat! The color of the hat fits the design well, but in my research of the Riddler his hat is predominately green; otherwise, there is no mistaking this little flash drive as one of Batman's iconic foes. The big smile and bright colors would make a perfect companion to Jim Carrey in Batman Forever, if he had need for a flash drive in the movie...(you can see the hair on the flash drive, and while it's not the red hair Mr. Carrey rocked, it matches the overall design quite well.)
Initially my biggest concern was how round is the flash drive? All the pictures I've seen online show the drive from the front and back, and never at an angle and I couldn't tell how rotund the flash drive was going to be. I didn't want it to be so large it wouldn't fit into the narrow space allowed by my PlayStation 3, so I was excited to put the smaller and slimmer than anticipated Riddler right in, without issue.
Well...when inserted horizontally, the Riddler is facing downward. I checked on my computer to confirm that it wasn't just my PS3 port being upside down. This little detail ruined some of the appeal of getting a custom drive. How am I supposed to show it off when all you see is his backside when he's in use? The light is also back there, so maybe it was intentional? I don't know for sure, but I know that it looks a bit weird hanging out of my PS3, but the performance isn't changed by appearance so it's not exactly a deal breaker, just a negative.
The arms on the side also don't cause any concern as it fit when I plugged it in next to other cords on my computer. They didn't touch and it didn't cause any awkward bending or reason to shuffle anything around, so the unique shape keeps it looking fresh without causing any major headaches.
When I plug the USB drive into my computer, I'm shown the drive is named RIDDLER and has 7.28 out of 7.3GB free, I wonder what types of goodies come on the drive. A quick looks shows me a readme.txt file and a Riddler_mimory.zip file. Reading the txt file tells me that the zipped up folder contains a collection of wallpapers, some avatars, replacement icons, and instructions for both windows and mac. While unzipping the file, I am initially disappointed at the wall paper sizes, it seems like they have taken great pride in adding multiple sizes for phones, a square file for tablets, and some generic sizes for wall papers, but all the sizes listed are smaller than my monitor. Finally at long last, I see the resolution I really wanted, 1920x1080, and all is well with the world, I can now use one of these images without the need to stretch and distort the file to get it to fit properly. Hurray!
Overall, the wallpapers are a bit underwhelming. While looking at Mimoco's blog page announcing the Riddler MIMOBOT® USB flash drive, I saw the wallpapers in the last screen shot. All of the wallpapers have the flash drive in the picture but when I look at the backgrounds of those pictures, those are the wallpapers I really want. A couple Gotham shots and two wallpapers filled with varying question marks would be something I would have loved to use on my computer.
The 5 avatars are fun, but not necessarily my style: 3 of them are pictures of the flash drive, 1 is the iconic question mark, and the last is a drawing of the Riddler holding a cane. Coming in 2 sizes 60x60 and 80x80, it shows that Mimoco took the time to make sure that you could just use their avatars without needing to do any additional editing of your own. Like with the wall paper sizes, there are enough of them to cover most of common sizes.
Last but not least, the icons. Holy cow. 4 custom folder icons, 4 drive icons, a picture of the Riddler, the cane, the hat, the mask, the question mark, and then pictures of the flash drive itself, this collection is awesome. I don't normally use custom icons, but I'm seriously getting the urge to try these out. The idea of using the self referential flash drive icon, which would make the Riddler pop up when I insert the Riddler flash drive is awesome, and makes me wish I had pictures of all of my flash drives, because then inserting them would become far more rewarding than the generic icons I get now.
The icons are far and away my favorite goodie that came with the flash drive.
Now on to testing the performance of the flash drive. It's exactly what you'd expect from an 8GB flash drive. I used HD Speed to test the read/write speeds on the drive, and they are pretty much the same as my other flash drives. So nothing stands out performance-wise, it's just like your boring, plain looking flash drive. I achieved an average speed of 33.0 MBps when it was reading information off the flash drive, which was on par with other USB flash drives I had lying around. The write speed was noticeably slower, but that is to be expected with flash based memory, only achieving an average of 2.9MBps. Again this fell in line with the other flash drives I tested.
Like all flash drives, it works well enough to move your documents, music, or even some videos while being more convenient than using a portable hard drive. I didn't notice any speed differences when loading the drive full of music to copy to my laptop, but I did notice how much cooler it looked when I was carrying it around my office.
So while all flash drives are pretty much the same when being used, none look this good while in the process.
Those of you not in Austin, TX may not be familiar with Staple!, but you really should be. Staple! is an indie creative media expo, which ends up being primarily comic and art focused. It's a great place for self-published and small press authors and artists to get the word out about what they're working on, and sell their creations as well.
Members of the grumpyhawk collective will be on hand scouting new things to read as well as gathering interviews and news for a special podcast.
Are you going to Staple and looking to publicize your work? feel free to leave a comment of send us an email and we'll be happy to set up an interview!
There are few times in life you get to contribute to the English language, but last week, Dean Trippe and I had the opportunity to do just that. We were texting back and forth, and offhand I mentioned I was tired and "gonna batman it out", which meant I was playing some Lego Batman 2. That's when it struck me, Batman has the potential to be a universal word; used as a noun, verb, adjective etc... I took to twitter to float the idea, and here was the result.
and then days later, this happened:
SO, as a public service, I thought I should explain the rules for using batman in a sentence, so as to avoid problems in the future.
1) Batman (proper noun): the form of batman we all know and love; ex. "Isn't Batman the best, you guys?" note: the capitalized form of the word should only be used when talking about the actual Batman.
2) batman (verb): To batman; ex. "I'm going to batman this workout today" "I batmanned the hell out of that game yesterday!"
3) batman (adjective): Used to describe something that is particularly awesome; ex. "That suit is so batman."
4) batmanly (adverb): Used to describe something done extremely well; ex. "He exited the room batmanly"
That's all we have for now, but I'm sure there's more. Feel free to add your own rules in the comments below!
As you have (or more likely haven't) seen, I've recently started a podcast with Nate Griffin. This is something I've been toying with for a year or two now, but have always been either too scared or too busy to do. It's still relatively new (the second episode should be up tomorrow), and I'm having a blast so far. I have noticed though, that you start becoming aware of yourself in all kinds of new ways. With that I give you: Things You Learn About Yourself When Starting a Podcast
- if your working with another person, there will be scheduling conflicts. Embrace that, and don't get bogged down. You can always record later, and nobody's gonna die.
- You become obsessed with your own voice in a weird hypercritical way. I've spent the last month or so saying "there's no way I sound like that" despite all evidence to the contrary.
- You also become quite aware of the words you overuse. I've lost count of the "um"s, "uh"s, "like"s, "yeah"s and "man"s I use in my everyday language.
- Your mind may focus on a word that it really has no need to. We recorded a couple of dry runs, and I used the word tangentially at least 10 times in the first one.
- Editing will always take longer than you think. If you could only see the IMs, texts and emails that are all variations of me saying "Sorry man, something came up, or it's taking longer than I thought." Budget time accordingly
- It's scary. It's one thing to geek out with your friends and make them laugh and whatnot, it's a whole other thing to make your opinion public. Sure no one will hear the first few episodes, but once something's on the net, it's there forever.
I'm sure there will be many more lessons along the way, but that's all for now.