The Adventure of English

Posted on January 26, 2015
Filed Under books, podcasting | 2 Comments


I am a listener of the In Our Time podcast from BBC Radio 4. It makes me feel marginally smarter and more informed on historical events that Americans seldom know. I really enjoy the host Melvyn Bragg. Through January 26th, his book The Adventure of English is on sale on the Kindle store for $1.99. I enjoy a good etymological yarn as well as the next guy if the next guy is a really boring egghead like me.

If you are a fan of Melvyn Bragg and his work, why not get this while it is cheap? I did.

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Bag of Holding

Posted on January 22, 2015
Filed Under conventions | 11 Comments


I in no way need another bag. I have multiple backpacks provided by employers on top of the various ones purchased myself. In addition I have multiple bags that come from conferences. I have so many that I have taken to setting different ones up for different contexts. I have the backpack I take for work and work travel; I have the backpack for personal travel; I have the backpack for taking the child out to events; I have the messenger bag I like to take when I am riding my bike.

That said, despite my complete lack of need for such a thing, I find this Think Geek bag purpose built for taking to SF and comic conventions to be crazy sweet. The whole reason why I mix and match my bags is that none of them are perfect. Some have the water bottle mesh side pockets, some have the laptop compartments and the inner pocket with lots of pen and pencil slots. I love the idea of taking the needs of a specific event and crafting a bag to address it. I have probably taken all of my backpacks to some convention or another and none are perfect. And it is only $30 so not even expensive.

But I don’t need it. Really I don’t. Really. I don’t. Need it.


Ed Martin, RIP

Posted on January 19, 2015
Filed Under life | 6 Comments

Photo by Mary Champeny

Photo by Mary Champeny

At the end of last week I was dealing with a sick child and a busy work week, so I barely looked at Facebook. Thus, I missed the news that Ed Martin passed away last Thursday.

Although I had met Ed prior, I really spent most of my time with him in my 2000 to 2003 stint back in Atlanta. There was a period of really intense work there when a small set of people, mostly but not exclusively alumni, helped transition WREK from an unreliable, frequently off-the-air lovable train wreck to a station you could actually set your clock radio to. Part of this project coincided with being laid off from my job, and as I wanted to put Oracle on my resume I used this project to do that. I spent a lot of time in the station and Ed was frequently there.

As I recall, Ed took some courses at Georgia Tech which game him student status to work at WREK. Once you do that it’s not that hard to hang on forever (or it wasn’t back then.) WREK of that era was a difficult place to get people to show up. Ed was a person who always showed up. I saw him on weekday mornings, Saturday nights, dropping by for a moment or an hour if his itinerary took him anywhere near the station.

Ed always talked to you as if you understood everything he was saying. Maybe I’m the dumbest person he knew but I didn’t. I struggled to catch the references he threw out as he seemingly knew more about rock, jazz, hip-hop and world music than I do. That’s not to mention politics, city planning, the law, literature, cinema and geography. I think possibly I might have known more than him about early Vertigo comics but I wouldn’t have bet cash on that prospect.

I have seen some remembrances, like Chris Campbell’s eulogy for Ed. Many many more are on his Facebook page. People stress what a kind person and how generous with his time he was. I too literally never heard him say a bad word about anyone. Just his attendance at events was enough to tire me thinking about them and I am a guy 18 years younger than him. He was helpful to a fault, kind, funny, smart, generous. When I think of my failings as a person, Ed was the kind of person I was failing to be.


Storm of Swords and Beyond

Posted on January 19, 2015
Filed Under books | 5 Comments


I finished reading A Storm of Swords last night. I was a little surprised that I read this nearly 1200 page book in six weeks (the long holiday break helped a lot.) It took me longer than that to read Tasteful Nudes, which was a fraction of the length. It went to the top of my pile mainly to mitigate spoilers from the TV show that are seeping into ubiquity in pop culture. The fact that I was surprised at major plot twists is evidence of success in that plan.

My original plan was to read something a little lighter (and shorter) before getting to A Feast For Crows. However, fumbling with my Kindle I accidentally ordered it 20 seconds after finishing A Storm of Swords and the momentum of the last few chapters has me dying to find out what happens next. So I think I’ll jump back into another few months with George R.R. Martin.

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Podcast Title Suggestion

Posted on January 16, 2015
Filed Under podcasting | 1 Comment

Back to Work

I started listening to this episode of Back To Work. They have really been losing me lately with lots of talk about how hygienic hotel rooms are and other topics of percieved grossness in their environment. This might be overcounting because the subject bugs me enough that it seems like all the shows are about it, but I’d wager 75% of shows in the last few months have some of this talk. In this episode, sure enough by minute 3 they are discussing how people touch the lids of the disposable coffee cups. Come on, gentlemen, it’s time to reach deep inside to find a little bit of inner cowboy.

Because the show is teetering towards being more about that than helpful work topics, I think they should rename it. I’d suggest MAS*H, and they can even keep in the asterisks if they like. It stands for “Middle Aged Squeamishness Hour”. Seems right to me.

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Old School

Posted on January 14, 2015
Filed Under music | 13 Comments


Here is one of the things about being a packrat who never throws things away. When you lose a lot of weight, you can fit in your old clothes because unlike normal people you never got rid of the things that didn’t fit. That means in some cases you may have some really old concert shirts that are still hanging around.

What I am wearing here is not some ironic hipster artifact. I bought this at a concert at the Omni in Atlanta in what must have been spring of 1988. “Wild Wild West” was still a big hit at the time of the show, so it couldn’t have been much after that. This was right around the height of my attending rap shows. I saw Public Enemy multiple times, Run DMC, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Eric B and Rakim, Stetsasonic, Doug E. Fresh, Whodini, BDP. My one big regret is never seeing the Fat Boys. To this day, every time I am in Myrtle Beach and see a restaurant sign that says “All You Can Eat”, I hear the song in my head and picture the video.

My rap going fell off a lot into the 90s. Basically, I was anti-correlated with white people interest in hip-hop. As that grew, I faded. I am proud of going to all of these shows (all of them at the Omni) with 10,000 or more people and being one of 100 white guys in the crowd. One of the upsides of attending T.W. Josey High School in Augusta GA for one year is that it let me be comfortable with being the only white person in a crowded room. It can be pretty fun. A large part of why I knew anything about the rap of that time is that the black kids at school treated me and my brother as projects and brought us up to speed. That was an era when disagreements were solved by the guys going into a break dance off. It was hilarious and much more entertaining than fist fights.

Although in the late 80s I was also attending punk and metal shows at the Metroplex a few blocks away, you can make a case that I have as much street cred for early hip-hop. If anyone questions that, I will note that I saw Krush Groove in the theater with my brother. It was packed and we were the only two white kids in the place. That predated by years the first time I attended a punk show. When I did start going, I might have worn this shirt to see The Jody Foster Army or The Circle Jerks and I probably wore an Anthrax shirt to this show. That’s how I rolled.


Quote From Life

Posted on January 13, 2015
Filed Under podcasting | 6 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 20.59.55

The minute or two before we went live with our video chat, Evo was moving his laptop to optimize the image. Paraphrased from my terrible and deteriorating memory, we had an exchange like this:

Evo: “How does this look?”
Me: “Dude, y’all are in an empty apartment. It’s going to look like a hostage video no matter what you do.”
Evo: “Fair enough.”

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Two Projects to Support

Posted on January 13, 2015
Filed Under comics, music | 2 Comments

Here are a few interesting projects in the fundosphere (emphasis on “fun”.) I talked about the first on the podcast I released today and played a song by the band, but Cats Laughing – a Minneapolis based SF/fantasy supergroup – has a Kickstarter to fund their reunion show at Minicon 50. I have long loved this band and am excited to see this happen. The project is already funded and is now reaching for the stretch goals. Adam Stemple, Emma Bull, Steven Brust and Lojo Russo. There is a lot of good music and fiction produced by this crowd, and you can be part of this. This Kickstarter closes January 18th.

The currently running Humble Bundle for books is a set of digital graphic novels from Image Comics. This is truly a treasure trove. The highest level is $18, and if you pay that it will unlock the East of West special, the first 18 issues of Saga and the first 48 of The Walking Dead. That is a complete steal. Even just Saga by itself is a good deal. Considering you get hundreds of other issues in addition is phenomenal.

This includes the first collection of one of my current favorite series, Velvet. Also, Sex Criminals, Satellite Sam, The Manhattan Projects, The Fuse. These are all things I buy in paper at full price, I don’t think you can go wrong here.

In fact, here are series in the bundles that I have reviewed for Pull Box Picks:

Of every Humble Bundle I’ve ever seen, this might be the best value. I can attest to about half of the issues contained in here that they are well worth reading. If you support it, there is no reason to not go straight to $18. Unless, like me, you already own everything in that tier. The Humble Bundle closes January 20th.

I highly recommend both of these projects. Go, money! Fly and be free!

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Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for January 12 2015 – Patreon and Videos

Posted on January 13, 2015
Filed Under audio | 7 Comments

In this episode, I return to the old format! I play a song by the Gentle Readers; I discuss the differences between Flattr and Patreon and why I am thinking hard about going with the latter; I talk about my experience as a fan of Cats Laughing and their current Kickstarter; what the heck, let’s play some Cats Laughing too; I talk about my experiences with doing video interviews; I discuss the late 70s/early 80s Athens GA bands better than REM; I close out with a song from Glass Eye.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, January 12 2015

Links mentioned in this episode:

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

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Now in the Hackerspace

Posted on January 12, 2015
Filed Under technology | 14 Comments

2015-01-12 10.51.08

I work most mornings in a hackerspace in Myrtle Beach. One of my early concerns was whether I would be able to sit still and concentrate on my day job in a building full of 3D printers and lots of neat gadgets. So far that hasn’t been a problem. However it has been a challenge today. There is a box with a Raspberry Pi running an Asteroids emulator staring me right in the face. I must be strong.

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EGC Interview Saturday Jan 10th at 10:30 PM EST with Evo and Sheila

Posted on January 9, 2015
Filed Under podcasting | 9 Comments


I did an interview with Garrick van Buren via Google Hangout last week and had an absolute blast doing it. That interview will be published to the podcast as soon as I can get it together. I wanted to do it again,and give people a little more warning this time.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 10th of January I am going to do another Hangout with Evo Terra and Sheila Dee. They are leaving their home in Arizona, not for California like Loretta but for … nowhere and everywhere. They are going nomadic, starting in Europe and making it up as they go. We’ll talk about why, how, wtf? All the burning questions.

The hangout page can be found here. It will be broadcast live on YouTube. I will try to get the user interaction stuff working. I’m a relative novice to this but my guests know more than I do so maybe they can talk me through it. This will be at 10:30 PM EST, 0330 GMT and whatever that is in your local timezone. The recording will be available afterwards for those busy or asleep.

I’ll even put this little embed here. My understanding is this will show the conversation live when it is happening. We shall see.

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New Traditionalists

Posted on January 8, 2015
Filed Under podcasting | 8 Comments

Today I was walking the dog today listening to an episode of Matt and Mattingly’s Ice Cream Social podcast. Despite it being sac-shrinklingly cold, I had to stop and belly laugh out loud. This is their “Humpsgiving Part 1″ episode, and in it they were describing the awkwardness of being an atheist yet being asked to deliver grace at functions. While riffing, they hit on the perfect solution. It will not only prevent you from being asked again but becomes a game.

If this is asked of you, bow your head and hold hands and then begin reciting the lyrics to the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo.” Continue until someone makes you stop or you laugh too hard to keep going. I personally now cannot wait to be put in this situation. Matt Donnely, Paul Mattingly, you are geniuses.

And if you need a refresher, here you go. Can I get a “You’re Welcome?”

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego,
baby why don’t we go,

Off the Florida Keys
there’s a place called Kokomo
That’s where you wanna go
to get away from it all
Bodies in the sand,
tropical drink melting in your hand
We’ll be falling in love
to the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo Montego,
baby why don’t we go
Ooh I wanna take you down to Kokomo,
we’ll get there fast
and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go,
way down in Kokomo.

Martinique, that Monserrat mystique…

We’ll put out to sea
and we’ll perfect our chemistry
By and by we’ll defy
a little bit of gravity
Afternoon delight,
cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye,
give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo


Port au Prince, I wanna catch a glimpse…

Everybody knows a little place like Kokomo
Now if you wanna go to get away from it all
Go down to Kokomo


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New Podcast: Alphabeatical

Posted on January 8, 2015
Filed Under music, podcasting | 1 Comment


I am a fan of the Ink Panthers podcast. I love the cartoonist hosts Mike Dawson, Alex Robinson and frequent guest-host Tony Consiglio. The show is on my list of ones that always made me happy to hear an epsiode. In February 2014 they sort-of closed up shop on the podcast, ceasing weekly production. However, I stayed subscribed and was pleased to find they still publish an episode every now and then.

I just got to the “Winter Special” from November, and in it they mention Alex’s other podcasts. He has long been a co-host of The Star Wars Minute, a killer concept where in each episode they discuss in depth 60 seconds of a Star Wars movie. The newer one is what I subscribed to, called Alphabeatical.

Alphabeatical is another OCD type completist podcast. In it, they discuss every Beatles song in alphabetical order, “from 12 to Y” as they say in the show. The shows are generally around 10 minutes an episode and come out two or three times a week. With the episodes relatively short, I just downloaded them all and am listening to a few every day before I get into my regular episodes. Eventually it will just shuffle into my standard chronological queue.

I am usually hard on multi-person podcasts, and even though they have four hosts I don’t mind the interactions. It is not a constant race to the next in-joke, and I like the differences in insight amongst the guys. Even more interesting is that there can be wildly varying opinions about the songs. Some of the guys didn’t like “A Day in the Life” so it is not as if they are hewing to common wisdom. It is waning for me as I age, but at one point I was enough of a nut to own the book of the Abbey Road studio logs which they refer to repeatedly in the podcast.

If you like Alex Robinson’s graphic novels and/or are a serious Beatles fan, try this show. You might like it.

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Eddie Pepitone FTW

Posted on January 6, 2015
Filed Under tv | 2 Comments

Get More: Comedy Central,Funny Videos,Funny TV Shows

I watch @Midnight sometimes. I tend to only watch the episodes that include a comedian or personality that I care about. If none of the three panelists appeal to me, I just delete it from the DVR unwatched. Thus, my knowledge is not encyclopedic. I can however say without a doubt that Eddie Pepitone’s reply to the Tinder message: “F one, marry one, kill one. Me, Hitler, and me again. Go.” is the single funniest moment I have ever witnessed on the show. (It starts at 2:22 for the impatient.) I can make myself start laughing at will just by thinking about it, months after I first watched it.

Eddie Pepitone really is a funny funny guy. I had never heard of him until he started appearing on Marc Maron’s live WTF episodes. Now I subscribe to his Pep Talks with the Bitter Buddha podcast and enjoy it greatly. He is a ball of anger and funny, and I love to hear it explode.

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Back in the R.S.S.

Posted on January 6, 2015
Filed Under weblogs | 13 Comments


tl;dr – Subscribe to my shared feed of blog posts I find interesting here. Expect a mix of comic book news, digital culture and technology. You know, the same stuff as this blog and podcast.

When Google Reader shut down and many people were scrambling to migrate to another system, I didn’t. My reaction was similar to that home organization technique. I squirreled away my subscription list off somewhere, and waited until I missed it. I didn’t, not for a long time.

Eventually I came across a reference via Thomas Gideon that he is using Tiny Tiny RSS. It is a self-hosted version of a Google Reader-like RSS reader system. I was into this as 13 years ago, I used a similar style system when I first got my own hosted box.

The first complication was that I could no longer find my squirreled away subscription list. I decided that wasn’t even a big problem and I took it as an opportunity to start from complete scratch. I subscribed to a couple of things, including Thomas’ public feed from his own instance, and away I went. One thing TTRSS is very good at is feed discovery. If you find a blog post anywhere, like from someone else’s feed, and just put that post’s URL in the subscribe field it will find the right feed. It has never failed for me on any site so far. Standardized headers for that are pretty much ubiquitous now so that job is much easier than it once was.

One of the things I liked best about Google Reader is that you could star and/or share individual posts and I did both. I also subscribed to other people’s shared feeds and discovered posts and blogs to follow that way. It was a nice, virtuous cycle. TTRSS has all of that functionality, and I am publishing articles to my shared feed as well.

Another nice thing about TTRSS is that it has a pretty good Android client for reading on your phone. In fact, I prefer the phone interface to the web although I use them both depending on what I’m sitting at.

I don’t spend nearly the time reading the blogosphere as I once did, but it feels good to get back into this world. RSS and the interconnected blog world it enables is too good an ecosystem to let wither and die. Let’s prove the “RSS is dead” prognosticators wrong by

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The Things I Know

Posted on January 5, 2015
Filed Under tv | 7 Comments


There is so much pop culture knowledge from the last 5-15 years that just eludes me now. I have officially hit that age where I respond to most issues of recent pop culture with the middle-aged guy “Whaaa?”

One exception is that I am – if not against my will without really trying – learning a lot about which resident of Pixie Hollow is which, what color uniform each member of the Paw Patrol wears, which Octonaut is which, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First and Chuggington. The list goes on. And on.

A second exception occurred today in the gym. Although I have never in my life watched an episode of General Hospital, I glanced up at one of the televisions and thought “Is that Wally Kurth in bed with Nancy Lee Grahn? When did that sort of thing start happening?”

I know the dumbest shit.

PS – I got a weird and inexplicable thrill from adding the WordPress tag for “wally kurth” to this post. Is there a lot of kurth in the metadata of the blogosphere?

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Storm of … Oh My

Posted on January 3, 2015
Filed Under misc | 4 Comments


I just got to the 60% point in Storm of Swords. Oh. Oh. Yes, I see what the Game of Thrones TV show watchers were on about. I think I have officially outrun the spoilers now on this 15 year old novel. I can read a little easier now.

But seriously, I am glad I made it this far knowing as little as I did. It was impossible to avoid mentions of The Red Wedding in pop culture but I did not see it coming as it did, even as I was getting upon it and completely primed for it. Well done, George R. R. Martin!

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New Years Eve

Posted on January 1, 2015
Filed Under life | Leave a Comment

I spent New Years Eve with a glass of cheap champagne reading Flash comic books and watching Georgia Tech win the Orange Bowl. It was one of the most pleasant ones I can remember.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for November 25 2014 – Detached from my Car

Posted on January 1, 2015
Filed Under audio | 8 Comments

In this episode, I talk about my lack of interest in American car culture or the Beach Boys; I discuss the nostalgia episode of the Digital Human podcast and why I hate nostalgic thinking; I talk about how I misplayed my hand in podcasting and how Serial points to my growing detachment from the mainstream of the medium; I talked about how I hope Reel Reviews publishes a new episode (and he did shortly after this!); I discuss how high production pushes me away from most mainstream podcasts; I float an idea for a side-project collecting references to “when podcasting sucked” and call for action; I talk about what a screw-up I am (and the posting of this episode is further proof).

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, November 25, 2014.

Links mentioned in this episode:

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

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Holiday Willpower

Posted on December 30, 2014
Filed Under life | 25 Comments

I went the entirety of the holiday season, from the middle of December to present, without eating a single sugary snack. No cookies, no brownies, no fudge. No white chocolate covered Oreos, no candy canes, no truffles, no gingerbread, no candy. This doesn’t necessarily make for the most festive season, but this year I felt it necessary.

The list above wasn’t plucked from nowhere. I had plenty of access to each of those things, and it wasn’t my lack of desire for them that kept me away. I didn’t feel like losing a grip on what little progress I have made with my weight so I stuck to the plan. I stayed away from the sugar and largely minimized the damage. I’m right around where I was before we left town to visit family. I didn’t make any progress, but neither did I lose ground. For this time of year, I’ll take that as a big win.

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