Archive for mental_floss

Marching Into Spring

I wish I could say that this update has been so long in coming because I’ve been super busy with writing projects, producing podcast episodes, and otherwise making up for what little I did in 2014. And while I have done some of that, I can’t say it’s been all work, no play.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been going on:

The Strange States series marches on at Mental Floss, with New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico (which was kind of a hit for some odd reason), New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Oklahoma being published since October when I last updated.

I also released a new episode of When You Hear This Sound, covering the 1988 record of the film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Right now I’m working on a really big Mental Floss article in the same vein as my Complete History of TMNT and Way More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Animaniacs, so look for that to hit the web in April sometime.

In a perfect example of synergy (and laziness) I’ll also be releasing a new episode of When You Hear This Sound that ties into this new Mental Floss article (though not officially or anything). I figure I might as well kill two birds with one stone with the massive amount of research I’m doing for the article. It should be fun, though.

I have also just turned in the first of what is going to be a series of posts at Nerd 4 A Living called “Blogger Boot Camp”, meant to help underemployed English majors like myself score a (not always very) lucrative job as a freelance writer. N4AL is a website run by my friends Wendy and Adron Buske, whose goal is to help people of nerdy persuasions follow their passions and make a living. It’s a cool site, they have a lot of great podcast guests, and I highly recommend you check it out.

A minor update on my next read-along record book: It will not be James Cameron’s Aliens. It was going to be, until I started working on the script. I was on page 12 of 24 pages when I realized there was simply too much story to tell in such a small space. Cameron wrote a script that is very tight, very lean, with few scenes that can be cut and have the story still make sense. So I had to abandon it halfway through and simply haven’t found a good replacement yet. I’m going to keep my notes from watching the movie four or five times, though, and maybe I’ll do a longer form audio production later. If I can stretch it to 45 minutes like the Roger Rabbit album above, it could definitely work. It would just mean a lot more time and effort on my end, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that just yet. Someday, though…maybe.

I think that about covers it for now. I hope you’ve had a good winter, though I think I speak for us all when I say spring can spring anytime now. Here’s hoping that the sunshine and warm air will give us all a chance to live a little.

Long Overdue Update

It’s been a pretty crazy couple of months for me.

The Thing Read-Along Record Book actually kind of went a little viral! It was featured on a handful of websites, including some big ones like io9, The Dissolve, and The Onion A.V. Club (which was a Bucket List moment for me).

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The YouTube video also received almost unanimously positive comments from fans, and there were tons of tweets sent from all over the world. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I’m incredibly lucky and thankful that it received such a warm embrace by the internet.

Other than that, I’ve been working on a few other projects, including more episodes of The Space Monkey X Audio Workshop. Episode 2 was some dramatic readings of old Chuck Palahniuk-inspired short stories I wrote a while back. Episode 3 is the debut of a defunct-podcast I was a part of called The Drunken Podcast, created by my friend Steve some time ago. The show was never released, despite us having a few good episodes recorded, but I thought it would be a shame for it to just sit on his hard drive going unheard. I’m working on Episode 4 right now, which will be my first interview. I’m excited and a little nervous about it…

I also released another episode of When You Hear This Sound, this time a “Christmas in July” episode featuring a Star Wars Christmas record. A Halloween episode is coming up soon, but it’s just going to be The Thing Read-Along Record Book since it never actually played for that audience yet.

Finally, the Strange States series continues on Mental Floss, with Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, and Nevada.

See? Pretty crazy!

June Update

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Hey!  Only one month between posts!  That’s gotta be a new record…

It was a fairly eventful month too, so strap yourself in.

Mental Floss posted a mix of new and old items of mine.  The Strange States series continues with Michigan and Minnesota.  There were two excerpts from my very first story back in 2008 – one as The Actual Size of Greenland, and the perennial favorite The Map With Only 38 States.  And another hit from the past, Eaten by a Grue: A Brief History of Zork, was republished as well.

Over at Top Hat Sasquatch, I posted a review of a bridge novel that spans between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes called Firestorm.  I also wrote a review for the novelization of Alien.  Most importantly, though, I was finally able to update When You Hear This Sound with episode 12, The Last Starfighter.

In other news, I have completed the first cut of my super-secret audio program.  I’m going to be working on phase 2 and 3 of the project this week, then returning to the audio to fine tune and clean things up a little.  Then I’ll have a final sit down with one of my good friends and we’re going to go through everything with a fine-toothed comb to get it just right.  So hopefully in August I’ll be able to announce it to the world.

 

April/May Update

Jeesh.  I have to do a better job of keeping this place updated.  Anyway, here we go…

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My Strange State series continues with Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

The editor also asked me to update a classic story of mine, The Complete History of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was republished and proved popular once again.

Other Writing Stuff

I’ve also been doing some writing for an advertising agency from my Champaign-Urbana days.  I can’t reveal the client or anything, but I’ve gone through three rounds of brainstorming on taglines for a government agency, and I’m still not sure if they liked any of my suggestions.

I’ve also written a piece that will be featured in an upcoming issue of a publication put out by the University of Illinois.  It’s my first of what will hopefully be many more to come.

I’m catching up on my stack of books to review for Top Hat Sasquatch, so I’ll have some more links coming soon.

I’m also hoping to have a new When You Hear This Sound podcast episode coming out soon.  Everything is written; it’s just a matter of finding time to record and edit.

Personal Stuff

Other than that, I’ve been spending a lot of free time working on my super secret, still unfinished audio project.  I’m making major strides with it, though, so here’s hoping I can have it finished soon and reveal it to the world.  I’d like to make that announcement by the end of June, but time will tell.

 

February / March Update

Wow!  I think this might be the largest gap in recent history.  It doesn’t help that February and March were extremely busy for me and my family.  We’ve mainly been gearing up for Wizard World St. Louis, which took place last weekend.  My wife sold some geeky, handmade items there, but the build-up to the event has been hectic.  But now that that’s over, I’m hoping to have more time to get some more things written and posted for the world to see.

As I mentioned last time, I’ve been working on a super secret project behind the scenes.  I was hoping that project would be done by now, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I was not able to get it completed just yet.  I’m hoping to finish things up soon, though, and reveal it to the world in May sometime.  I’ll let you know as soon as I have something.

Anyway, as for my writing, here’s what got published in the last few months:

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My Strange States series continues with Kansas (Please note that I’m well aware the silo is a grain silo, rather than a missile silo. I have nothing to do with the images they choose for these Strange State entries.), Kentucky, and Louisiana.

20 Rare (And Really Expensive) LEGO Minifigs was a fun article to research and write.

I was able to check off one of my long-gestating article ideas with A Brief History of Mold-A-Rama, those waxy, plastic figurines you used to find at zoos, museums, and amusement parks.  They’re still around, but becoming increasingly rare.

And, finally, a classic story of mine from 2009, and one of my most successful stories ever, was reprinted.  Get Rich Quick: 6 People Who Accidentally Found a Fortune seems like a perennial favorite.

Top Hat Sasquatch
Thanks to our relationship with Titan Books, I posted a few more book reviews over at THS these last couple of months.

I reviewed the first two volumes of the French graphic novel series, Snowpiercer.  Personally, I liked Volume 1 more than Volume 2.  We’ll see how I feel about the final volume someday.

I also reviewed some fun British World War II comics collected in Battle Classics.

And just before the release of the new film, I gave a look-see at 300: Rise of an Empire – The Art of the Film.

 

I have a new episode of When You Hear This Sound in the works, and I’ve been sitting on a review of a new book for THS for about three weeks now.  I need to get it finalized and posted; it’s just been a matter of finding the time.

Keep checking back for those and other projects!