Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#350. Comics Reader, Star Trek '12 (Again)


Got some new reading material at both Comics Reader and Sigild.  Worth your time?

Depends.  At Comics Reader, it's another Quarter Bin column, looking at another random assortment of comics that all end up reflecting the theme of things not always living up to expectations, which isn't terribly radical, but maybe in the comics I look at and what I say about them, it might be worth checking out.

With Sigild, I'm continuing the "Star Trek '12" series, visiting another century with another pretty short entry, which may or may not be the last pretty short entry for a while.  We'll see.  This time the perspective is a little different, looking from the future rather than directly at the past.  Versatility!

The point may be with that one, though, that brevity can sometimes be the soul of wit, which is a philosophy I'm not sure is widely held in literature today.  I know that lots of writers are writing what's called flash fiction these days, but the dominant interest in publishing remains the kind of writing that prizes excessively detailed narration on every action and detail of a story, rather than inner monologues and commentaries that to my mind are more interesting.  But who am I against the tide?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#349. Hub City TLC


I've giving Hub City some TLC, catching up with the work I've done across my other blogs, gathering archives for the three main facets of my book blog: "Scouring Books," where I write about the contents of my personal library; "Reading List," which is an extension of what I started doing here a few years back and was the main reason I started this particular spin-off in the first place, detailing the books I'm currently reading; and "Thoughts On," which is itself a spin-off of the Reading List, where I started writing, well, my thoughts on the books I just finished reading.

So not only did I do that, but I just posted new "Thoughts On" and "Reading List" entries (go have a look a look at Hub City!).  I felt like having a blog like that would be a good example, should anyone stumble onto it, for my belief that there's a lot more interesting stuff to read than I typically experience people exhibiting.  Most of the time, readers tend to stick to one particular genre, or steer toward safe picks like bestsellers, and otherwise avoid trying to find what I find to be a vast assortment of fascinating material, because school left them so scarred about reading that for most people, it's enough to repeat the platitude that reading is important (and that attitude that reading is intellectually better than watching), but mostly avoid actually doing it.

Everyday I kind of kid myself into believing that any day now hundreds if not thousands of readers will spontaneously discover my blogs, any one of them, and it won't seem to ridiculously indulgent and nonsensical to be so much of it.  Hub City is the blog I've had the hardest time finding even tens of people to stumble upon, but I'm still proud of the work I've done and will continue to do for it.  Oftentimes people associate "work" with what you're paid or otherwise have to do, when work can and should be what you want to do.  Those same people give lip service to the idea of the American Dream that suggests anyone can achieve that with enough, ahem, hard work, but the fact is, those same people are busy securing their own success at the direct expense of anyone else trying to do the same.  That's not capitalism, that's not reactionalism, that's the American Reality.  I'm currently working a job Stanley Milgrim would have recognized (and that's all I'm going to say about that), and that's the American Reality, that it's incredibly convenient for the expectation for most Americans to be that they either obey or find themselves jobless, and woe be their own shortcomings.

Anyway, enough ranting...

#348. WrestleMania XXVIII


And now to talk about the infinitely popular (and recurring Scouring Monk subject) of professional wrestling!

Specifically, how this year's WrestleMania is shaping up.  Technically, this is a process that's been ongoing since last year.  Everyone who cares knows the main event is John Cena vs. The Rock.

Quite frankly, this one's probably going to be the best ever.  Based on the announced and easily-speculated matches, the problem is going to be how exactly they're going to work in just what we know already without skirting audience fatigue, assuming a reasonable amount of time for each one.

Triple H vs. Undertaker will be a showstopper, and it looks like they're really trying to make this one special, relevant to both icons' careers (if not the final one for one of them) in a huge way, building on the momentum Shawn Michaels kicked off with Ric Flair in 2008 (which led to his matches with Undertaker, which led to last year's gamechanger).

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho is the bid for as pure a wrestling contest as you can expect, from two guys who should really be able to deliver.  This one's especially awesome, since Punk deserves a breakout match at WrestleMania, not the least for having a terrific 2011.

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus is the match that was supposed to happen last year, and so that's just awesome and weird and awesome that they're getting a second chance, this time over the world title.  Clearly Sheamus cannot be the main event guy that Royal Rumble winners usually are, but there are just so many big matches already on the card, does it really matter?  This one's practically one giant main event, which is what WrestleMania ought to be, but rarely actually is.  This one, like I said, looks like it will come the closest.

Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes is probable, and a good thing for Rhodes, who has been the most consistent member of the midcard for the past year, even though he'll probably lose to Show here.

I'll decline to speculate on other possibilities at this point, but five strong matches is already pretty good.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#347. 2012 Oscars, Fringe


I've written another article for Examiner, this time on tomorrow's Oscars, which was something that didn't occur to me to do until a few days ago.  I started writing for the site at the start of the summer movie season last year, and had a good time of it, but a combination of policies and the fact that I ran into unemployment curtailed my activities for months, and so I stopped posting there for what seemed almost like a permanent basis.  Then, of course, I finally started up again, and so it occurred to me that giving my thoughts on the Academy Awards really made sense.


Anyway, I'm wondering if Rick Berman and Brannon Braga were watching Fringe last night and wondered what the Temporal Cold War and Daniels were suddenly doing on the show.  I know, I know, the enigmatic Observer and his pals have been appearing on Fringe since the start of the series, but last night we finally found out exactly who they actually are, and it's a little difficult now to avoid comparisons with what Star Trek: Enterprise was doing for four years with one of its own subplots, periodically revisiting the time-traveling Daniels, who couldn't seem to avoid telling Captain Archer that it was a huge honor to meet, essentially, the founder of the Federation.  Like our friend last night, Daniels died prematurely in the final season, which is another reason I'm hoping Berman and Braga don't get upset, because at the very least it's a huge honor for a critically acclaimed show to be doing anything like what the least popular Star Trek had previously done, and Fringe is a truly exceptional show struggling, just like Enterprise, to reach a fifth season.

I just thought it was worth noting the coincidence.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#346. A-to-Z Challenge Signup


Okay, so I'm not exactly sure what I've just gotten myself into, but in some of my continuing efforts to get this blog to its best possible shape I've been subscribing to a lot more blogs (which are listed somewhere along the right side of the page), and have signed up for something called a blog hop, which will be relevant come April 1 when I guess I'll be participating in the A-Z Challenge, which I'm still not sure I entirely understand, but hopefully I will by then.

It's kind of funny, because Scouring Monk itself doesn't have a lot of fascinating activity these days, because of all these spin-off blogs I've been developing (listed as Scouring Blogs on the right, for your convenience), so I'm wondering how much people would be interested in a hub that simply redirects attention elsewhere.  Oh yeah.  This is the Internet.  That's what it's all about.

Anyway, I'm hoping the blog hop will be fun...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#345. Comics, Star Trek '12, This Means War


Got a new Quarter Bin column up at Comics Reader, as well as reviews for Justice League, Action Comics, and Green Lantern.

Plus, the Star Trek '12 project continues at Sigild V.  I think I'm really going to have fun writing this one, and there's a lot more coming.

(And hey, I might even return to the DC Decades project at some point, too!)

You'll also be pleased, no doubt, to know that I did, in fact, see This Means War, and as the link suggests, write a review for it at Examiner.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#344. Archiving


I've done some work improving the archiving at Comics Reader, Sigild V, and Fan Companion, which I will very soon be rededicating exclusively to Star Trek.  Hopefully it'll help make everything that much easier to navigate and read...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

#343. Percy Jackson


I've got a new "Thoughts on..." post at Hub City about the Percy Jackson books, which my sister motivated me to read.  I explain my conclusions about the series, which ends up sounding a little tortured, but on the whole, they're not that bad.  Now, hopefully I'll be able to jump back into that Reading List of mine, which got a really strong push last fall, but has slowed quite a bit in the early months of this year.


Friday, February 17, 2012

#342. Movies Featuring Tom Hardy, Chris Pine


Finally starting to write some new content for my Examiner page, starting with some profiles for Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, who costar with Reese Witherspoon in McG's latest movie, This Means War, which if all goes to plan I'll be seeing and actually reviewing next week.

Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#341. Comics, Star Trek '12 Project


Some quick blog family updates:

I've got a new Quarter Bin column up at Comics Reader, covering climactic issues for Nightwing, Impulse, and Martian Manhunter, some of my favorite superheroes.

At Sigild, I've begun Star Trek '12, my latest fiction project from the franchise.  I always seem to draw a little more readership when I'm writing Star Trek, whether at Sigild or Fan Companion.  Maybe there are some curious people out there looking to see what modern fans are thinking?  Because I know that in my old Lower Decks community (which you can probably blame for all my blogs), interest died out years ago, people grew tired of what everyone else thought, or what they might write.  The "Star Trek '12" project will mark the fourteenth year in which I've written Star Trek fiction, and so that's pretty interesting.  I'm constantly working on how to approach these stories, and it's fair to say that I've learned the most about what kind of writer I am during this period of my life, and so I'm constantly pushing myself in new directions with them, and this one will be no different.

Speaking of Fan Companion, I also have a new "Comparative (f)Analysis" column, revisiting, appropriately enough, Star Trek.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#340. Workplace Depression


I've finally gone ahead and given Scouring Monk its latest revamp (and it looks peachy!), making everything hopefully that much more navigable (and when I say everything, I mean just about everything).

Last night my sister was flipping to The Voice, and I happened to catch Adam Levine tell a contestant none of the coaches chose for their teams (thus eliminating them from the competition immediately) that they shouldn't consider this rejection to be a repudiation of their dream, or in so many words, that it was merely a setback.  Okay, so I love Adam Levine and all (Maroon 5 is more or less yet another unacknowledged modern pop giant, if you follow the critics, anyway), but the comment helped ruin my night, which might not have been so hard, given that I had a miserable end to another workday spent in purgatory.

Let me explain that a little.  After Borders went out of business last September, I spent four months looking for work, and I was finally hired the week of Christmas, and started the second week of the new year.  It's not that I'm not grateful to have a job now, but that I have once again been plunged into the reality of the workplace, and "reality" means, for most people, that it is in some form abject misery.  It doesn't help matters that I've been trying to be paid for writing since graduating from college at the end of 2003, and have had one opportunity remove itself from me after another, which has led me into the sludge of the everyday workplace, and because I have a degree in English and no other reasonable skills but a willingness to work, I've been stuck working with the public.  I don't know if you know this, but the public sucks.

Anyway, so when Levine told this girl that the show's rejection was not, in essence, personal, it just felt like a slap in the face to anyone who has to undergo this kind of treatment countless times in the continuing hope that one day it'll actually work out.  Someone like Levine, who has had various forms of success fall in his lap (to generalize), may simply not be able to appreciate the emotional toll failure can actually take (even if failure in this instance involved TV time, but then, just about anyone can be on TV these days).  The American Dream is supposed to represent the idea that hard work and dedication can prevail over any obstacle, but statistically it's impossible for everyone to achieve their dreams, especially when there are those who have who don't stop to appreciate the helping hands they got along the way.  Maybe Levine thought the girl got her helping hand just by being seen on the show, I don't know, but the point is, he was pretty heartless in that comment, whether he realized it or not.  (The girl at least paid lip service to her own belief that he was right, but then, what else was she going to say?)

All of this is to say, what Levine really achieved was making me reflect back on all my failures, and the concern that failure is all I will ever actually experience.

That being said, failure is not always the end of the story.  Failure isn't even necessarily the outcome of the story.  I happen to believe that there's something to gained from every situation, no matter how it makes you feel.  Anyone incapable of that doesn't deserve my pity.  I have not succeeded in becoming a published writer, but the journey I've taken since 2003 has produced a multitude of blessings.  Sometimes, you learn something new and fruitful entirely by accident.  Just to give you an example, last week I wrote my latest Quarter Bin column for Comics Reader, and made a reference to writer Elizabeth Hand, who at the time I knew virtually nothing about.  I've been writing on the Internet for years, and have occasionally received responses from public figures who happened to stumble on what I wrote.  Hand was probably one of the quickest responses.  If she hadn't, I probably would never even have considered reading her more than I had already (a handful of comics, which isn't very representative of her career), yet now I'm working a few of her books into my reading future, and am seriously considering her to be one of my most important literary discoveries.

And just for the record, I started writing about comics because I tried breaking into comics (a process that continues to this day), so that's just another small example of what I'm talking about.

Yesterday, I ended the day on a miserable note.  Today I woke up with the ability to pick myself back up again.  I won't try and make any promises about tomorrow.

Friday, February 10, 2012

#339. Sigild V


Having promised it in the masthead since the blog's debut a year ago, I thought it was about time I started posting in earnest flash fiction at Sigild.

I should note that my family of blogs (listed on the right, along with Sigild, as Comics Reader, Hub City, and Fan Companion) are now being updated in the middle of the week once again, for those keeping score.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...