Monday, November 30, 2015

Mini Movie Review: The Butler

The Butler (2013)

This film was sort of the opposite of Forest Gump in that it replaced feel-good nostalgia with some heavily emphasized moral and political messages. In turns I enjoyed it, was disturbed by it, and was moved by it.

✓✓✓ (⊗)
3 out of 5 (glad I saw it but don't need to see it again)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mini Movie Review: The Loft

The Loft (2014)

A well made mystery hampered by characters that are all jerks. Every time you think you know who the murderer is a new twist is revealed, but sadly it's hard to care about anyone who is falsely accused.

✓✓✓ (∅)
3 out of 5 (not sorry I saw it, but I won't remember seeing it either)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mini Movie Review: Stardust

Stardust (2007)

A quirky, romantic fantasy film full of fun characters. It's only real shortcoming is that it sometimes edges into just plain silly (but still enjoyable).

✭✭ (☺)
4 out of 5 (I liked it and will very likely watch it again)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mini Movie Review: Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz (2007)

An off-beat action comedy with elements of satire, this film had a lot of quirky humor along with a bit of intentionally over-the-top gross-out gore. 

✓✓ (⊗)
3 out of 5 (glad I saw it but don't need to see it again)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Mini Movie Review: Spectre

Spectre (2015)

A well-made, beautifully directed movie  that was a throwback to the old Bond films, but without all the cheese.

✭✭ (☺)
4 out of 5 (I liked it and will probably watch it again)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mini Movie Review: The Butcher's Wife

The Butcher's Wife (1991)

A romantic comedy with a predictable plot, it starts off pretty schmaltzy (to the point where the syrupy music was almost comical) but manages to save itself with some fun side characters and a bit of smart dialog.

✓✓ (∅)
3 out of 5 (I enjoyed watching it but will probably forget all about it next month)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mini Movie Review: Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep (2014)

A psychological thriller full of mental twists and turns, it's a bit disturbing and violent at times, but still enjoyable and well made.

✓✓ (⊗)
3 out of 5 (glad I saw it but don't need to see it again)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mini Movie Review: Gosford Park

Gosford Park (2001)

Part murder mystery, part social commentary, part period piece, there is so much going on in this film that I am still finding new things despite having seen it hundreds of times ... and the soundtrack is beautiful.

✭✭✭✭✭ ()
5 out of 5 (I can watch this over and over again)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mini Movie Review: The Lazarus Effect

The Lazarus Effect (2015)

A decent premise and promising start ruined by writers who seemed to think that the best way to make a used story idea fresh is to throw in as many horror tropes as possible.

☠☠ (☹)
2 out of 5 (I'll remember seeing it, but not for any good reasons)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gen Con 2015 Update

Gen Con Indy 2015,  July 30 - August 2

Tomorrow I leave for Gen Con, and I thought I should check in to see how many folks were signed up for my seminars. I figure it's always a good thing to have a vague idea of how many or few people are going to show up.

The two evening seminars that I'm doing on behalf of Blackspoon Press and Medieval Cookery look like attendance will be pretty good, especially since they're outside of the convention center.

Note that by "sold" below I mean "given away" - these seminars are free.

SEM1569116 – Creating Medieval and Fantasy Cuisines:  07/30/2015 (Thursday), 8:00 PM, Crowne Plaza, Pennsylvania Stn B  -  48 tickets sold (out of 60)
SEM1575249 – Not Your Grandfather's Religion:  07/31/2015 (Friday), 8:00 PM, Crowne Plaza, Pennsylvania Stn A  -  46 tickets sold (out of 80)

The weird thing about the evening seminars is that there seems to be no clear relationship between the number of tickets sold and how many people actually show up. Most years I end up with half to three-quarters the number of tickets actually seated in the audience, but there have been a few times when I've gone way over the maximum amount. Once they even moved me to a larger room. I think it all depends on what other events happen to be scheduled at that time.

Then there are the two seminars I'm doing as part of the Writer’s Symposium.

SEM1580059 – Author Ed: Medieval Food and Cooking:  07/30/2015 (Thursday), 4:00 PM, ICC : 241  -  129 tickets sold (out of 150)
SEM1577142 – Worldbuilding: Crafting Languages:  08/01/2015 (Saturday), 4:00 PM, ICC : 244  -  60 tickets sold (out of 150)

Ok, the 60 people signed up for the panel on Crafting Languages, that I'm used to. The 129 for the medieval Cooking seminar? It doesn't matter how many times I look at that, my reaction is best summed up by Captain Malcolm Reynolds:

(best dialogue ever)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Origins 2015 Schedule

June 3-7, 2015
Greater Columbus Convention Center
Columbus, Ohio, 43215, USA

Origins is only a couple of weeks away, and as with the past three years I'm on some panels and selling books as part of The Library. Here’s my schedule for seminars this year:


The Short Story and You  (C223, 3:00 p.m.) - Short stories aren't "just like novels, but shorter." This panel will teach you the rules of the road for crafting a short story. [with John Helfers, Donald J. Bingle, Steven Saus, and Ronald Garner
Creating Fictional Languages  (C222, 5:00 p.m.) - Creating a fiction language can take your story to the next level, but do you need to be a linguist of Tolkien's caliber to do it? 


Religion and Science  (C222, 3:00 p.m.) - Great speculative fiction makes us think abour our own world, and how better to do that than with religion and science? Our panelists tell you how to make create believable religions and fields of scientific study. 90 minutes.  [with Jaym Gates and Tracy Chowdhury
Food in Speculative Fiction  (C222, 5:00 p.m.) - In Fantasy and Science Fiction, any food is usually in the background.  Most often it's presented as setting or set decoration and ignored by the viewer.  Sometimes though, it seems to take on a life of its own and can even become the center of the plot.  This slideshow explores the fictional foods in television and film, highlighting both the good and the bad. 


Flora and Fauna  (C223, 12:00 p.m.) - When you build a world, you need to populate it, not just with people, but with plants and animals too. This panel teaches you how to use biology and science to make them believable.  [with Tracy Chowdhury, John Helfers, and Lucy A. Snyder

I love Origins - it somehow manages to be huge and still small and friendly. The seminar topics are a nice, diverse bunch so it should be lots of fun.

Gen Con 2015 Schedule

Gen Con Indy 2015,  July 30 - August 2

The Gen Con website is now allowing people to sign up for events, so I thought it would be a good idea to post the events I'm running.

This year I'm doing two seminars as part of the Writer’s Symposium as well as my regular events for Blackspoon Press and Medieval Cookery.

SEM1580059 – Author Ed: Medieval Food and Cooking  Learn all about the reality of medieval food and cooking from medieval cooking expert Daniel Myers. Debunk myths about what people ate and discover culinary tidbits you can use in your stories! 07/30/2015 (Thursday), 4:00 PM, ICC : 241
SEM1569116 – Creating Medieval and Fantasy Cuisines  A subterranean culture probably wouldn't eat roast beef and an arboreal one wouldn't eat sushi. A fantasy world should have a cuisine that takes into account the resources and technology of the people that inhabit it. This seminar detail how to make up a consistent, believable cuisine using the workings of medieval European cooking as a template. 07/30/2015 (Thursday), 8:00 PM, Crowne Plaza : Pennsylvania Stn B 
SEM1575249 – Not Your Grandfather's Religion  A fictional religion can add depth to a story or game setting. This seminar presents a framework for creating a consistent and believable religious system. 07/31/2015 (Friday), 8:00 PM, Crowne Plaza : Pennsylvania Stn A
SEM1577142 – Worldbuilding: Crafting Languages  A good fictional language adds depth to your story; a bad one can ruin it. Learn from authors with experience at imaginary languages how to avoid pitfalls & use language to enhance your story. 08/01/2015 (Saturday), 4:00 PM, ICC : 244

The seminar on creating religions is a new one for me, but I think it'll be fun. Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Waiting for Godot (21st century version)


A disheveled, sparsely furnished living room.

Estragon, sitting on a worn out sofa, is holding a game controller and staring at a large-screen TV.
Vladimir enters with a pizza, sits down on a worn out chair.

ESTRAGON: (still staring at screen) Tell Godot that the pizza's here.

VLADIMIR: (takes out phone and starts texting, the phone chirps) He's going to be late.

ESTRAGON: (still staring at screen) Good. I'll eat his then.