Nerd News…Again

Usually while preparing for The Geek Awakens radio show I manage to find multiple stories that we just don’t have time to cover on air. This week I was only able to scrape together a few which means I don’t have much as far as a Nerd News update goes. Let’s see what else is out there for us to geek out over.

Beautiful Blue Beijing – In honor of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II 5 million cars were required to drive alternately in order to allow the smog over the city to dissapate. The change is absolutely shocking. Two things came to mind when I first saw the pictures after the jump. “Wow!” and a quote from Get Shorty’s Dennis Farina, “They say the (bleep)ing smog is the (bleep)ing reason we have such beautiful (bleep)ing sunsets.” If nothing else it should give us all pause to think about the pollution we feed into the atmosphere everyday.

Cyberpunk Speed Chess – We actually talked about this on air, but it definitely makes more sense if you take time to watch the video included in the link. It’s really a cool idea and as mentally challenging as chess is, I think it would awesome to give this new fast paced game a shot.

NerdCon: Stories – I’ve always been a nerd. Geeking out about stuff is normal for me. As my geekery is refreshed as I spend time reading comic books, enjoying the wealth of superhero movies, and strive for more in my young writing career I have also found a desire to experience a “con”. The link is for a new “con” that will be debuting in the beginning of October. It is meant to focus on storytellers of all kinds. A few featured names appearing are John Scalzi and Patrick Rothfuss. Hopefully it is well received and successful and begs for an expanded encore next year.

I’ve already found a few stories for on air next week, so hopefully I will have a few more fun, interesting, nerdy links for all of you next time.

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More Nerd News You Need to Know

Another week another episode of The Geek Awakens in the books. Two weeks ago when I did the Nerd News update I planned on doing one each and every week after we completed the radio show. Last week, I failed. This week, I’m back with a vengeance. Not really, just a few extra news stories that I didn’t get to post last week.

There is some cool, awesome, fun news that is not really of the geeky variety, but it still something worth geeking out about. Beginning this week and from here on out, The Geek Awakens was live on the internet radio station 217 Radio.com. If you can’t tune in at 6:30pm on Thursdays, the show is still being recorded and uploaded to Ustream. (I’ll make sure to share the link on my author Facebook page each week after the show airs.)

Now…on to the Nerd News.

How Fast Is New Horizons? – I’m not a big space geek, but the pictures captured on Mars and those released late this summer from Pluto are really cool. It never occurred to me how long it takes these probes to get where they’re going in space until I saw the GIF in the linked article. To travel through space, beginning from Earth and reaching Pluto in less than ten years the New Horizons interplanetary space probe has to travel crazy fast. And according to NASA’s website, New Horizon’s isn’t done exploring. It is being sent further into the Kuiper Belt, of which Pluto is a member. They’ve already discovered four new moons for Pluto. What else is out there?

Batman’s Garage – I think it’s a safe bet that all of us who have seen the most recent Batman movies have looked at the Batcave and wondered what it would be like to have something like that tucked away under your house. Well, a house in Australia now knows what it is like. Part of the tennis court raises and lowers to hide away a garage for the owners car collection. Add a very impressive garage without changing the architecture of the house? With enough money. Sure.

Two Villains for Wonder Woman – As the arrival of the Batman v Superman film draws closer, it is time to start looking farther down the pipeline at the other DC movies in development. It seems as if when Wonder Woman’s own flick hits theaters she’ll have two problems outside of the squabble of Batman and Superman. Sean Bean and Eva Green are rumored to play gods with something against Wonder Woman. Personally, I’m just hoping that Sean Bean can find a role where he won’t die.

No One Hangs Out At the Mall Anymore, Right? – Supergeek himself, Kevin Smith has been inching forward with plans to film and hatch upon the world a second Mallrats movie. Following Kevin Smith on social media, he revealed earlier this year that most (if not all of the original) cast is back on board for the sequel, and now it appears as if he has nailed down his filming location. I’m very excited for this sequel to come to fruition. I’m sure I won’t be the only one making plans to see this on opening night.

More Drones! – Drones seem to be a popular topic for us at The Geek Awakens and this article and the video show what happens when you strap a whole bunch of drones together to make a helicopter-type craft. It’s called The Swarm. So, I guess you can have a flock of geese, a herd of cattle, and The Swarm of drones. Either that or it’s a title for a B horror movie.

There’s A Story Idea Buried Here – Among the many hats I wear, I am also a writer and as such am constantly finding inspiration for stories in the strangest places. You know what else is strange? When the people of a small Irish town found a skeleton attached to a felled tree. A storm toppled the tree and wrapped up in the roots, now exposed to the world, was the top half of a skeleton. The bottom half wasn’t far behind. It was still in the ground below the tree. While many aspects of the discovery are still being investigated, researchers were able to determine that the bones could be nearly 1000 years old. I will be following this story as I continue to develop my own interpretation and get it down on paper. (Maybe it too will someday see the light of day.)

I could go on for days with geek news that we didn’t get to talk about on the show, and expand upon some things we DID talk about. But I’ll leave you with these tidbits for the week. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue these on a weekly basis. Check back next week to see what else there is to geek out about.

Comparing Monsters to Rats: A Review of True Detective Season 2

True Detective Season 2 ended in early August. Everyone has had time to sit on it and think it over. Myself included. And when searching online for True Detective Season 2 there is a dearth of negativity and poor reviews. After reading many of those negative things said about Season 2 I stumbled on an article from Nerdist.com by Benjamin Bailey. Finally, there is someone out there that understands more of what Pizzolatto was trying to accomplish with this season.

Bailey is spot on with two very important points. First, Season 1 was very much out of the Lovecraftian mythos. Explicitly, no. Not as if Cthulu makes an appearance, but the vibe, or feel is in line with those stories. Second, Season 2 was not cut from the same cloth. Early on it was clear that stylistically the seasons are different. While both dark and exploring the depths of human emotion and interaction that is where the similarities end. And this is where everything else online tries to measure Season 1 against Season 2. Stop. They aren’t the same and they weren’t meant to be. From the beginning of the show it was meant to be self-contained seasons. Season 1 having different cast and setting than Season 2. So, why are people so intent on comparing apples to oranges? Or is it monsters to rats? (It is a hypothetical. I don’t actually have an answer.)

I will admit that the performances by the main cast in Season 2 were not up to the same standard as Matthew McConaughey’s in Season 1. But in all reality, the bar was set incredibly high. Woody Harrelson, while giving a strong performance, was just along for the ride. To expect all four actors to give performances like McConaughey’s is ridiculous. That said, when the cast listing came out I knew that the one to watch for a breakout-type performance would be Vince Vaughn. While much of what I read online focused on the series in general, I would have to argue that Vaughn did deliver with one of his best, if not the best performance of his career. I rooted for him, even as a crime boss, from beginning to end. I hoped things would end differently for him, but seeing Season 2 through the filter, of what it was, a noir, it was acceptable and understandable.

After Season 1 I went out and purchased a copy of Pizzalatto’s book, Galveston. After reading it I expected a more noir feel from Season 2. And that is exactly what we got. While the detective aspect remained, the feel followed more closely to Pizzalatto’s writing style. I must be the only one not surprised by the turn from the occult to double-crossing-cops-on-the-mob-payroll in this season. I’m also probably the only one that would like the noir feel to continue into Season 3. Early rumors are already swirling that Season 3 will turn back toward more occult-ish fare, but I pray that Pizzalatto is able to weave the two styles together successfully. If he can manage that, I fear that Season 1 may be measured against 3 while 2 will be set aside as an anomaly.

The long and short is that critics and fans alike need to stop comparing the two seasons. They aren’t meant to be binge-watched back to back. In fact they are meant to hit so hard that you don’t want to watch more than a few episodes at a time. In that regard, maybe Season 2 fell somewhat short of Season 1, but aside from that comparison, they should stand separately, on their own merits.

Nerd News You Need to Know

As if I my life wasn’t busy enough, a feeling I think most of us know and understand all too well, I have recently added a new venture to my schedule. With help, assistance, and blessing from my wife I am now a member of the internet radio show/podcast, The Geek Awakens. (You can find us on http://www.pickettandjoe.com) For the show all the members bring geeky news stories that we find throughout the week to discuss on air. Originally scheduled for a half hour program, we’ve gone over time the last two weeks and still aren’t able to cover all the topics brought to the table. As such, I’m going to try to bring additional geekery to my blog on a regular basis. Some of the things we don’t get to discuss I am going to toss up here for you to peruse and read. Hopefully, you find these stories as interesting and can geek out on them like we do on the show.

Photos of Planes Going Supersonic – This article from I F***ing Love Science.com explains how these pictures were taken, but needless to say, as they mention, you’d think these were either photoshopped or part of an art installation rather than actual photos.

CSI Series Finale – There isn’t much after the jump besides a picture and short blurb. My wife and I have watched CSI (and all the spin-offs save the newest) for the majority of its run. Sadly, the last year or two has gotten too repetitive to hold our interest despite the incredible choice to add Ted Danson to the cast as the latest night shift supervisor. CSI has had its success and it is time for it to head off into the sunset. Thankfully, instead of plodding through another whole season they have decided to give it a special series finale episode which will bring back some favorite characters. (Gil, Catherine, and Brass.) I will absolutely DVR this episode and look forward to seeing how they draw the series to a close.

Amazon Trumping Netflix – Recently Netflix said that allowing users to download shows or movies to watch at a later time (while offline) would never happen. Amazon and their Prime Video service have just taken a step to “1-up” Netflix. As noted in the article, while previously only available on the Kindle Fire tablet, users on Android and iOS devices will now be able to save certain shows or movies for later viewing. It’s an interesting debate considering that more and more of the country and the world is so plugged in and becoming a constantly connected society. Regardless, I’ll have to pop over and see what shows and movies they available.

Hopefully, I’ll be back next week with a few more fun, interesting, and geeky stories for you.