25th Jul2011

So, That Was The Wonder Woman Pilot…

by Will

All of the “real” sites used their connections to see the rejected Wonder Woman pilot right after the network upfronts in May, but I don’t have that kind of Rolodex (does anyone use an actual Rolodex anymore?). Anyway, thanks to a pal on Twitter, I was finally able to see what all the fuss was about. Let me just get my snobbery out of the way: as a student of comics and television, it’s glaringly obvious as to why NBC passed on this show. Even in its position at the bottom of the ratings, Wonder Woman was NOT going to be NBC’s salvation. If The Cape didn’t save them, this sure wasn’t going to do it, either. Honestly, Wonder Woman is more on the level of the short-lived Birds of Prey series.

Few people remember it, as Smallville went on to last ten seasons compared to BoP‘s one, but I maintain that Birds of Prey and Smallville were of the same level of quality. The only difference was that Superman was a more recognizable character than Commissioner Gordon’s crippled daughter/niece and Batman’s daughter (?!). Both shows were on The WB, where it didn’t matter what the shows were about, as long as the people were pretty. With Adrianne Palicki and Elizabeth Hurley, Wonder Woman‘s got that in spades. Also, Birds of Prey struggled with the fact that it was trying to tell a story without being allowed a full understanding of the characters. As BoP was laid out, Barbara Gordon was the former Batgirl who, after being crippled by The Joker, now operates as infojock Oracle. If you’ve read the comics, that’s familiar enough. Next, you’ve got Helena Wayne, who in this situation, is actually the adult daughter of Batman and Catwoman. Oh, and she’s also a mutant. She’s got heightened senses and jumps high and shit, which enables her to patrol the streets as Huntress. Now, here’s the kicker: since Warner Bros wanted to focus on revamping the Batman movie franchise (this was pre- Batman Begins), they didn’t allow Batman in the show (except for a brief sequence in the pilot). So, you’ve got your core cast, whose origins revolve around a concept that can only be danced around. And to explain it in the show, apparently The Joker killed Catwoman. TV Batman was such a punk bitch that he became distraught, and left Gotham City forever. So, what followed were 13 episodes of Barbara and Helena, both inspired by He Who Shall Not Be Named, defending Gotham City in the hopes that He Who Shall Not Be Named decides to stop being a bitch and comes home. Sadly, the show didn’t last that long, but the finale did involve a cool fight scene set to the t.A.T.u. classic “All The Things She Said”.

How does this all relate to Wonder Woman? Well, just like BoP, it doesn’t seem like David E. Kelley was allowed full access to the character. Sure, it’s a Wonder Woman costume, and DC was behind the project, but it lacks an understanding of Wonder Woman. This has been one of the biggest problems for Wonder Woman, as the comics lost sight of what makes her tick quite some time ago. The Greg Rucka era was the last time that anyone proudly read the WW comic series, and even “female character wunderkind” Gail Simone couldn’t get a grasp on the character. I ranted about this at length on twitter, but I felt like they should’ve focused figuring out the answer to “Who Is Wonder Woman?” before committing her to other media, like a weekly TV series. If they had called this show “Donna Troy”, it would’ve worked better. She wears a similar costume, looks the same, and nobody knows what the Hell her deal is. That’s her gimmick! Over the past 30 years, her mere existence is perpetuated on the fact that she’s just a walking identity crisis. Wonder Woman, however, should have a defined mission statement, which is neither present in the recent comics nor this pilot. There’s nothing to “wonder” about the woman in this pilot unless you’re wondering how she got cast. Anyway, here are the thoughts that occurred to me as I watched the show:

-There’s a LOT of exposition, but you’re really only informed of Wonder Woman’s backstory through newscasts and political pundits.  I liked the pundit sequence. Not sure if they actually got Dershowitz, Dr. Phil, and Nancy Grace on board, or if it was just clever editing, but this is what would happen if superheroes existed in the “real world”. If that’s what they’re going for, however, this could be a problem down the line.

-OK, here’s where things get more confusing than they need to be. In the show, Wonder Woman has THREE identities! She’s Wonder Woman, she’s international businesswoman Diana Themyscira (who’s also publicly known to be Wonder Woman), but she’s ALSO Diana Prince, which is the mousy-’cause-she-wear-glasses-and-a-ponytail-even-though-you-know-she’s-really-hot-like-in-She’s All That identity. By day, she’s one of the first two, but by night, she goes home to be Diana Prince, where she watches The Notebook with her cat. Yes, that happens. Since she’s not a lawyer, nor is she in Boston, I’m left to believe that this is the “David E. Kelley Touch” on this project. First off, I don’t think Wonder Woman would watch The Notebook, nor would she ask her cat if she should set up a facebook profile. This is all part of the “Well, she is a single woman, so she’s got needs and is probably lonely.” Family Guy conveyed that best here:


I get it. Set up a love story to grab some female viewers, but all that’s missing is the pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Also, I don’t see why she needs a 3rd identity in order to be lonely and “normal”. So, she puts on glasses and hides in her modest apartment so she can pretend she’s making decent lonely single lady money, when she knows that she’s actually a multimillionaire with a penthouse and a multinational corporation? I can understand having a weekend getaway, but this is a bit much.

-I’m the one guy who’s never watched Friday Night Lights, so I have no previous experience with Adrianne Palicki, but I don’t feel this was good casting. She never conveys the strength of Diana.  Instead, she’s soft, and comes across as Kelly Kapowski in a Halloween costume. Her acting is also phoned in. Surrounding Palicki, everyone else feels like they’re over acting. Everyone has a sense of urgency, while she just seems…bored. In my mind, Lake Bell or Missy Peregrym would’ve been stronger, better choices, as they have the look, and they’re still somewhat “unknown talents”, since nobody watched Surface or Stick It.


-I liked the color/weight blind casting on Etta Candy, but I know the fanboys would’ve loathed that! They hate Wonder Woman, but still would’ve jumped on that. Plus, I some fangirls would be upset that Etta Candy wasn’t “properly” portrayed as a larger gal…

-This is always going to be a problem when you make an adaptation of a comic character, but the suit doesn’t translate to reality. Batman works ’cause he hides in shadows. Superman works in a way. Wonder Woman just looks like she’s on her way to her shift at The Crazy Russian. Call me sexist, but the suit doesn’t work. You don’t know if she’s gonna arrest you or try to take you to the champagne room.

-I hate Diana’s male assistant, Henry. Had the show been picked up, I feel like he exists solely to be the person close to Diana who gets killed by some villain trying to make a point.

-They say “prick”, “balls”, and “tits” as an attempt to be edgy.

-Can we talk about the political/legal ramifications of the structure of this show? Everyone knows that businesswoman Diana Themyscira is Wonder Woman, yet no one goes after her company in a lawsuit? They kinda address it, when a senator threatens to sic the Justice Department on her. Diana answers that threat by saying that the country’s in two wars, so it doesn’t have time to investigate her. Not only is that lazy storytelling, but it’s another problem with combining real world aspects with comic aspects.

-She fucking kills a guy! I mean, she throws a pipe through his fucking throat! A security guard who’s just following orders! Not a Star Wars guy, but it’s really the whole “independent contractors on the Death Star” debate all over again.

-The villain, Veronica Cale, was experimenting on folks from a slavery ring, yet they were all white males. Not who you usually think of being involved in slavery, even the white kind. So, I guess this is when the show decided to stop trying to ape the real world, huh?

So, in the end, it’s not a horrible show, but it’s certainly not great. Based on production value, this show would’ve lasted 6 seasons in weekend syndication back in the 90s, but sadly that market is dead. It could’ve been in a block with Mutant X, Night Man, and Viper. It might even work as a cable show, but it certainly wasn’t a good fit for NBC. At the end of the day, it’s a serviceable action hour of television, but it’s not Wonder Woman. They tried a different take on the character that just didn’t work. The funny thing is that there’s source material for what they were trying to do: it’s called Ultra. As the first big comic project from The Luna Brothers, Ultra was a miniseries from Image Comics which was basically “Sex and the City with Powers”. Sure, it had dating drama and whatnot, but there was also a lot of action. Based on what I’ve seen here, David E. Kelley would be the PERFECT guy to adapt that series. Wonder Woman, however, just wasn’t the project for him.


27th Jun2011

National Lampoon’s Green Wilder: My Review of Green Lantern

by Will

So, I finally saw Green Lantern last night. Yeah, I know most of y’all saw it last week, and have already weighed in on it. Some of your reviews I read, others I didn’t. Mainly, I didn’t want my experience to be tainted by outside thoughts. That said, I didn’t go in with an entirely open mind, as I didn’t have big hopes for the film. The casting seemed off, the budget had ballooned, and the footage looked like a bunch of CG-why? Still, it’s a comic movie, so I wanted it to do well so lazy journalists would can it with the “Is The Comic Movie Craze Over?” headlines. So, what did I think of the film? Well, in my best Jay Sherman voice, “It stinks!” I know a few of you are going to disagree with that sentiment, so I thought I’d let you in on my thoughts, bullet point style:

-No one is likable in the movie, least of all Hal. Ryan Reynolds, once again, shows up to work to play himself. Seriously, outside of Definitely, Maybe, Reynolds hasn’t shown much range since Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place. Hal Jordan is already a boring character (unless he’s losing his mind, or trying to avoid DC’s Chris Hansen), so casting Reynolds didn’t really do much to give the character a personality. It came off like “National Lampoon’s Green Wilder”. They even gave him another brown friend, just like in Van Wilder.

-I found myself pleasantly surprised by Blake Lively. While I didn’t buy her scenes as “tough as nails Sapphire”, she and Reynolds had good chemistry everywhere outside of the dogfight scene.

-I liked how Reynolds went all Greatest American Hero when transported to Oa, but hated how he automatically knew how to fly. Where’s my flight montage, dammit?!

-Others have said this, but Sinestro is the most heroic character in the movie. Also, I should point out that I don’t really have a problem with comic Sinestro. He’s not exactly “evil”. He just ruled his sector with an iron fist. He was a good cop, who later became corrupt as power went to his head. But you know what? It worked. He maintained order like a boss. Sinestro’s tale is played out in many small towns throughout the heartland. Over time, however, I feel DC writers have gone out of their way to really make him seem like a bastard, as they realize his raison d’etre really wasn’t that bad.

-I’m pretty sure Hal killed at least one of those guys who jumped him. Sure, it was self defense, but still…

-As most of us fanboys know, Warner Bros pumped an extra $9M in for additional effects, but most of that seemed to consist of enhancing the suit glow. While it would’ve been unique during a transformation sequence, it really got old seeing the energy pulsing through the piping at all times. The “perma-pulse” really took away anything that might have been special about the suits.

-Speaking of that effects budget, where the fuck did it go? Really, how did they spend that money? A lot of the stuff that was supposed to “wow” me was about 15 years old, from a technological perspective. I’m not saying I was expecting bullet time, but the Lantern flight sequences looked lower tech than the teleportation trails used in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. Oa looked like animation from a mid ’90s video game – I’m not even talking console games; it looked like Shareware. Did you see Kilowog’s clunky movements when he was simply walking? It was like my system didn’t have enough resources to render all the pixels.

-Speaking of Kilowog, I was distracted by the fact that his movie design appeared to be based on the pre-gastric bypass appearance of LA DJ Big Boy (fans of Fastlane will recognize him).

-When did the Guardians get so fucking huge? I thought they were little guys. Here, they’re towering. Plus, the chick sounded like Janeway, which only made me hate her more.

-So…I’m guessing Tim Robbins needed to raise that child support money, huh? You were in Shawshank, man!

-in my mind, Amanda Waller should only be portrayed by Marsha Warfield. Or Shirley from Community (or a zombie Shirley from What’s Happening!!). Or the wife from House of Payne. Basically, a thick black woman with no ankles. That said, I actually liked Angela Bassett in the role, though I don’t remember when she started looking like Cicily Tyson. Apparently, they want her to be the Nick Fury of the DC movie universe. Good luck with that, seeing as how I’m sure she’ll be nowhere near The Dark Knight Rises or The Man of Steel.

-OK, in the top secret lab scene where Hammond goes from Folksy Xavier to Trailer Park Beetlejuice (right before Shawshank gets flamebroiled), how did Hal know where they were? He just comes busting through the wall. Don’t give me that “the ring pulsed and told him” garbage. If that’s true, the director failed to really show that in action, and that throwaway line about the ring warning of surrounding danger becomes a cheat.

-When the Guardians reject Hal’s request to help defend Earth, why does he ask their permission for him to go back? They hadn’t taken his powers, and it’s not like he had any deference to authority figures. I feel if he were truly fearless, he would’ve been like, “Fuck this, I’m going to save my planet!”

-He threw it into the Sun? Are you fucking kidding me? I get that this is a movie, and not everyone has read the comics. That said, Parallax is a big fucking deal. There’s no way Hal’s gonna beat him alone – especially not in his rookie state. This should’ve been an all-out space battle. THIS is where the money should’ve gone instead of making all the Lanterns look like they’ve got those old timey Christmas bubble lights in their suits. As a fanboy, it’s kind of insulting that they would deflate the enormity of Parallax simply because they needed a movie villain. I felt the same way when Smallville introduced Doomsday. He killed Superman! It had never been done before. And they want to just casually introduce him as the big bad of the season, played by an Abercrombie model? It’s as cheap as making Galactus a damn cloud!

So, there you have it. I feel I should point out that I didn’t *hate* the movie. Hate is a strong emotion, and I struggled to feel, well, anything from the movie. It just didn’t draw me in. I found myself bored and wanting it to end. I’m not the biggest GL fan, so it’s not like it insulted any fanboy knowledge I may have possessed. On the flipside, however, it didn’t make me want to learn more about the Green Lantern franchise. Over the past few years, the comics have really picked up steam, from emotional spectrum wars to zombie space fights. If I hadn’t known any of that, I’d look at that movie and wonder what all the hype was about. You see Iron Man, you know Tony Stark’s a cool cat, who has a badass suit. Spider-Man‘s a geek with a lot of power (and responsibility). X-Men are a bunch of minorities fighting for acceptance. According to this movie, Hal Jordan’s an asshole who gets a ring he didn’t deserve. I didn’t know this was a sports movie! At no point does he ever really prove himself worthy. Sure, he beats Parallax, but it seemed like luck. Even with that victory, he didn’t come off as “heroic”, and I feel that’s a problem. I didn’t want him to lose (’cause I’m smart enough to know he won’t), but I didn’t really want him to win either. The whole thing just left me kinda “meh”. If you enjoyed it, more power to ya. I’m not gonna say you’re wrong or dumb. I really wish I could’ve liked it, but it just wasn’t for me.

24th Jun2011

My Life with the Power Rangers – Reader Response

by Will

So, we don’t get a lot of audience participation here at Casa West. Before I moved over to WordPress, I had written about 1,025 posts over the last 8 years, and I only had comments on about 100 of them. Of those comments, many of them were just spammers whom I approved because I was impressed by their syntax and/or flattery. What I’m saying is that it brings a little e-tear to my eye when I write something that encourages participation, and it just sits there like that half-empty Starbucks cup on the shelf at Ross. Anyway, a few months ago, I wrote this post detailing my experiences as an adult fan of the Power Rangers. In that post, I mentioned Jason Bray, who had been featured on an episode of MTV’s True Life called “I’m A Fanboy”. I discussed how the way he was portrayed contributed to the reasons as to why I keep my Ranger love in the closet. Well, if there’s anything I should’ve learned about the Internet by now, it’s that anyone can read this stuff. It turns out he read my post. Not only that, he responded! Now, if you keep up with the Comments sidebar, you’ve already read this, but I felt his response deserved its own post. So, without further ado, I give you the only interaction I’ve had with anyone who’s been on MTV (other than my tweet from Serena Altschul):

I was actually quite impressed with this article as it describes how about a third of Power Ranger fans really are. When Power Rangers first started to dwindle in popularity, I managed to avoid ridicule by keeping my appreciation for it a secret.

The Power Rangers fandom, like many fandoms out there have three sections to them. The “socially awkward” section, the “This is one of the things I like” section, and the “I know everything, and if you misquote one line I will KILL you” section. The socially awkward people tend to not interact enough with regular people and spend most of their time writing BAD fan-fictions, and confessing their love for one of their favorite characters.

In case anyone reading this was wondering, I am the person from “True Life: I’m a Fanboy” that was mentioned in this blog post. Almost two years later from when the episode aired and I STILL see my name come up at some point when Power Rangers is mentioned. I guess that’s both the beauty and the curse of existing in the re-run world.

I have to admit though every time it airs my friends and I get a huge laugh out of the episode. This is mainly because we know of everything that went on during filming. I love how many people don’t even recognize me after talking to me for a few minutes because I am nowhere near as awkward as I was made out to be in the episode. I even got a comment at a convention I attended from a person who said “you know, you look a lot like that guy from the true life episode” and when I told her I WAS the guy from the True Life episode she didn’t believe me.

That’s one of the dangers of editing. I will admit there were parts captured on film where I was acting awkward, mainly when I was dancing, because I can’t dance worth S**t. Also, the Dragon Dagger moment where I say “Oh my GOD, How much is that?” Also genuine me. But everyone who is in some type of fandom has that moment where they see something they have always wanted and want to know if they are able to buy it. The other Danger of editing is taking out ANYTHING that made me seem even remotely like a regular person. To give you an idea, I was only on the episode for about 15-20 minutes total, yet MTV Shot over 35 HOURS of footage.

When someone films for for so many hours, most people would not want that time to be wasted. I could quickly tell the direction they were going with the episode though when EVERY question they asked was about Gemma. First they would ask the question “how do you feel about Gemma? and I would say “She’s a really good friend and I’m glad I met someone else from the fandom” They would then say something like “Yeah, we know that part, but how to you really? feel about her? could you simplfy it?” So, eventually you figure out the response they are looking for is “I really like Gemma.” I wasn’t really surprised by that. The basic structure of TV is they are looking to tell a story, and they already had the “Fanfilm” side from Travis. In other words, even though this might disappoint some people, the “Asking Gemma out” scene was staged by Gemma and myself. if you watch carefully, it is quite obvious we are both acting.

On Another note though I am still somewhat a Power Rangers Fan, and I still have MOST of the stuff that was shown during that episode (which was actually hard to gather together to make it seem like I had a huge collection. My collection isn’t nearly as large as others from Power Rangers fandom.) But if anyone watches the episode carefully there were hints of my other fandoms that couldn’t be edited out. The WWE foam titles in the background showing I am a WWE fan, The Suit I was wearing during some of the DC scenes was part of a 10th Doctor, Doctor who costume (Because that is also another one of my fandoms) I was originally told the episode was going to be about how I balace my fandoms with my normal life, yet there was virtually NOTHING from my normal life shown on screen.

The last thing I say before I rush out into oblivion until the next time my episode reruns and I do a search again, is I noticed how the blog mentioned some fans looking up the Japanese episodes and watching them with subtitles. I would actually consider that a totally different fandom. With Samurai, I ALMOST hate Power Rangers now, but Sentai has almost always kept me entertained, especially the new Series, Gokaiger, which if you haven’t seen any of yet is worth checking out. Just thing GIANT POWER RANGER WAR.

So, there you have it. Not only was he a good sport about the whole thing, but he even gave us a little behind-the-scenes info regarding the episode. I hope I wasn’t too hard on him, as I think we all know the liberties they take with reality show editing. After reading that, however, he doesn’t seem like a weird dude at all. Jason, if you’re reading this, thanks for your input, and I’m sorry I bunched you in with the other weirdo Ranger fans. I stand by my opinion of Rangerboard, though. Those fuckers scare the shit out of me.


16th Jun2011

Mr Terrific?

by Will

So, according to a comment on my last post, I’m apparently deplorable for implying that the “DCnU” diversity books are simply that – affirmative action books to fulfill some diversity quota. If this revamp actually holds weight, more power to it. The thing is, I’m not new to this game. For all the changes of staff and direction, at the end of the day, the same people running the industry were running it 20 years ago. It’s a 4-color country club. That’s not to say that they don’t occasionally have good intentions, but they’ll always be thwarted by the baby boomer fans who don’t like change (remember the “Donald Glover for Spider-Man” debacle?). Sure, those fans will die out, but is there enough of a new generation to take their place? That, in essence, is the point of the DC revamp. I get that. I just don’t know if there’s as much an audience for that as one might think.

With all of this going, I decided to look at the matter from the perspective of the “black comic reader”. That’s not a normal thing for me, as I tend to just think of myself as “comic reader”. It rarely hits home that the heroes “don’t look like me” ’cause it’s fiction. A lot of people in real life “don’t look like me” either, as I’ve had a few unique experiences. Then again, I got into comics at an age when I was no longer looking for heroes, so maybe that has colored my view. In any case, I can turn a blind eye to a few things as simply “comic reader”. I find, however, that’s it’s when things are targeted directly to “black comic reader” that I have the most problems. One particular example of this is Mr. Terrific.

As the second person to go by the name “Mister Terrific”, Michael Holt has genius-level intelligence, and he’s an Olympic-class athlete. He became a self-made millionaire through his company, Cyberwear. After his wife and unborn baby were killed in a car accident, he contemplated suicide, but was stopped by The Spectre.  The Spectre told Holt of Terry Sloane, the original Mr. Terrific, which inspired Holt to want to follow in his footsteps. Not only does Mr. Terrific eventually become chairman of legacy group, The Justice Society, but he also becomes a ranking member in the Checkmate intelligence agency. Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast.

First, I’ve always had a problem with the fact that his intelligence is ranked. According to the comics, Mr. Terrific is the 3rd smartest man in DCU. Why does his intellect need to be qualified? Some might see this as a great advancement for a black character, but I always saw it as “Well, there are 2 people smarter than him, and I’ll bet they’re white.” If this were a race, he’d be the 2nd loser. Marvel did this with Amadeus Cho, who was the 7th smartest person in Marvel Universe. In both situations, all this does is point out that “he’s good, but he’s not the BEST”. Can’t he be brilliant without a rank? It’s bad for public schools, and it’s bad for super heroes.

Second, Mr. Terrific suffers from what I’m going to ignorantly refer to as “Doing-Too-Much-Itis”. This is one of the reasons that he always came off as a pandering, “diversity” hero, as there are 2 ways to play this: 1) make him a street-smart stereotype OR 2) go WAY overboard in the opposite direction. With Mr. Terrific, #2 is flying the plane. You see, it’s not enough that Holt is a genius and a successful businessman. No, he created T-Spheres which hover around him, and do whatever the story needs them to, and he’s also invisible to electronic detection. Plus, he’s an Olympic decathlete AND he holds 14 PhDs. FOURTEEN PhDs!!! In my best Seth Meyers voice, “Really?!” They couldn’t take one thing and stick with it? Now, my commentor would probably say something like, “Well, Batman’s smart – are you trying to say that a black man can’t be just as smart?” Here’s the difference, while Batman probably could’ve earned 14 PhDs, he DIDN’T. Ya know why? He didn’t need some institution of higher learning to qualify what he’d learned. He was too busy being trained by ninjas and shit.

It’s like comic book writers haven’t figured out how to handle the black middle class. It’s not all Sweet Christmas and Uncle Toms. There is a middle ground. Two great examples of this are Steel and Static. Both started a bit rough, as they were mired in the early 90s culture in which they debuted. Over time, however, they carved out identities that weren’t so stereotypical, and were something we hadn’t really seen before in comics. Steel became a trusted ally to, and engineer for, Superman and the Justice League. Static, if handled probably, could be the Peter Parker for a new generation. The key to both is that, to me, they’re relatable. I can’t relate to a dude with 14 PhDs. Mr. Terrific should be out teaching college courses or curing diseases instead of fighting Black Adam.

Finally, another thing bandied about regarding Mr. Terrific is his atheism. He has fought alongside the Wrath of God, but still isn’t a believer. Um, OK.

Let’s forget the fact that throwing real world religion into comics was a notion bound to fail. Some could say that the existence of a deity is more plausible in a comic universe than in the real world. So, by the very structure of his fictional world, Mr. Terrific is already unnecessarily outcast. Now, let’s add to it that the church is one of the cornerstones of what one might consider “the black experience”. His stance, therefore, distances him from many of  those for whom he was most likely created. While we live in the age of the rise of the “Blatheist”, this was just another Terrific aspect to which I couldn’t relate.

Now, let’s take another stance. Let’s assume Mr. Terrific wasn’t created for the black comic reading audience. Instead of appealing to the “black comic fan”, what if he’s meant to appeal to simply the “comic fan”? Let’s take the aging fanboy of the old school persuasion; I dealt with a lot of these back when I was with Diamond. In this situation, Mr. Terrific would still be fail as a concept. You know why? He’s an uppity, rich, intelligent black man, who doesn’t believe in God. Oh, and he dates white women. But he runs real fast (don’t forget to include a stereotype that they do believe in, ya know – so they can relate).

So, for whom was Mr. Terrific created? To whom does he appeal? Are any of you Mr. Terrific fans? With the DC relaunch, he’s slated to have a higher profile. As one of those old school fans pointed out on The Beat, the series will be “written by a black”, so who knows if I’ll find myself liking him more. If there are more fans like that Beat commentor, then the future doesn’t look too terrific to me after all.

02nd Jun2011

The DC Reboot Conversation You Haven’t Heard!!!

by Will

Did ya hear the echo in the title? There’s supposed to be an echo. Anyway, if you’re a comic fan, you’ve probably heard the big news: In September, DC Comics will be launching 52 different series, all with new #1 issues, led by an updated Justice League. It’s a line-wide, simultaneous revamp of their entire universe, and it’s got the internet all a-twitter. I told myself that I wouldn’t really comment unless I had something new to add to the conversation. After all, EVERYONE’s contributing their two cents, and if it’s one thing comic fans love, it’s talking about shit nobody wants to hear. That said, the more I followed the discussion, the more I noticed that a certain question wasn’t being asked. Everyone is screaming “How could this do this?!” or “Don’t they know that this is gonna fail?!” Well, let’s look at it another way: What if DC didn’t really have a choice in the matter?

A few months ago, I wrote this post, where I critiqued DC’s failings, especially in regards to marketing and social media. In that post, I noted that Diane Nelson had been brought in to find new ways to monetize the DC properties so that the comic wing would stop being the Warner Bros redheaded stepchild. As it stands, though, comics aren’t a huge chunk of Warner Bros’ revenue. In fact, they could make more money by using the characters in other media, and just publish reprints from here on out. So, what if this new reboot was a forced mandate? Sure, it could be spun as “Wow, DC has balls” or whatever, but it was more likely a change or die situation. Something of this magnitude doesn’t happen for no reason, and it’s a huge undertaking. Sure, there’s a big risk of failure, but for a company to decide to take this course of action, circumstances must have been more dire than we realize. This isn’t a case of them trying to be the #1 US comic publisher, or even short-term sales. This sounds more like a battle for mere survival. Sure, that sounds kind of dire, but we are talking about comics here, and hyperbole’s the name of the game. I’ve said before that I’ve considered myself to be a “DC Guy”, so if this is what it takes for those properties to survive in comic form, then I’m all for it. I guess we’ll just have to see how this plays out.

29th Apr2011

Farewell To A Friendster

by Will

Considering the Twitter Whore that I’ve become, it’s hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t into social networking. This week, however, forced me to take a look back, as I learned that Friendster would be switching over from social networking to a gaming format. Many of you probably started your social networking with MySpace (or maybe Black Planet), but I started with Friendster back in ’04. That was such an odd time, as I remember I actually had to beg people to check it out and sign up. Nowadays, you get comfortable with a person, and the next thing is “I’ll friend you on Facebook.” Back then, I engaged in a lot of conversations that began with “Well, what is it?” or “Doesn’t that Classmates.com site do that?” Friendster had a small following amongst my meager social circle, but I saw big things in its future – or so I thought.

Eventually, I amassed about 50 or so friends – laughable by today’s social media standard, but quite an accomplishment for the time. Unlike the MySpace model, where you might end up friends with a bunch of strangers, these were 50 people that I actually knew from some walk of life. An interesting thing was that Friendster introduced the Wall concept on your profile. People have no problem throwing up a random “What’s up?!” or “Call me back, bitch!” on someone’s Facebook wall, but Friendster people seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the concept back then. It was called “Comments and Testimonials”, and people seemed to take that last word to heart. Most of the stuff on my wall (all 7 messages) read like something someone would write in my high school yearbook. Friendster eventually added more features which were already commonplace on MySpace and Facebook, like photo tagging, but most people had moved on from the site by then. I, too, had moved on to Myspace and, later, Facebook, but I’d still get messages from Friendster, saying “We Miss You” or telling me some random spam skank had sent me a message. It got to the point where I eventually forgot my password, and never really looked back.

This week, I got an email telling me that I’d need to export any personal profile data I might want to keep, as Friendster was switching over to a gaming format and would be deleting profile info. It was like hearing that an old friend with whom you’d lost touch was now dying. In any case, I decided I should take one last look around to see if anything was worth saving.

The layout’s already been changed, so Lord only knows what’s already been deleted. Plus, I’m apparently single. Last I knew, I was still “in a relationship” back when I last cared about that profile. Then again, that was back in ’05, and it wasn’t a very memorable relationship anyway, so…

Looking at the pictures, I apparently only had three uploaded to the system. I didn’t have many digital pictures back then, and I learned how to remove ex-girlfriends from pictures I had (Those were my best pictures, and it made no sense for me to have to get rid of them ’cause some broad made a stupid decision!). Nothing worth saving out of those three, so farewell visual representation of 2003/2004 Will!

Next, I move on to the messages. Apparently, there are 63 messages, but 95% of them are spam chicks. “Melissa”, “Sara”, “Jennifer”, etc – all sending me messages like “sjhsd ghfhd fs” while using the same avatar. No real loss there. Then, I go back to the first page. My first message was from my friend Tarek. I guess he invited me, as it’s one of those form letters that begins with “Welcome” and explains how the site works. Huh. I guess I forgot about that. In fact, it looks like most of my messages from those days are from Tarek. Kinda sad, seeing as how we don’t talk as much anymore. Then, I see a message from someone named “Alicia”. from Fredricksburg, VA. It seems she wrote “i love ur smile, it’s sexi.” That was nice of her. I hope she didn’t die in a meth lab explosion or anything.  Still, nothing worth saving there, either.

In all, there’s nothing very memorable about the whole Friendster experience. I remember trying to get people to join, and looking forward to messages, but that experience didn’t stand the test of time. All of that was replaced by glitter backgrounds and pokes. And one day, those won’t mean anything, either – especially considering MySpace is up for sale, and Facebook is more concerned with becoming Skynet. I remember enjoying Friendster, but looking back, there doesn’t seem like there was much to enjoy. It all just seems so…empty. Is that how I’m going to feel about Farmville one day? God, PLEASE tell me that’s not how I’m gonna feel about Farmville! In any case, I’m getting bummed out, so I’d better stop here. So long, Friendster. I’ll catch ya on the flipside, see ya at the crossroads, after ‘while crocodile, and all that other good shit. You were a fun whore at the time, but your pimp is blowing up your pager, and I’ve left your money on the nightstand. Thanks for the memories.


07th Mar2011

5 Corners of Pop Culture That I Don’t Understand

by Will

Yeah, so I go around boasting that I know so much about pop culture, but even I have my blind spots. For example, I’m not much of a movie guy. I’ve never been one for going to movies, and I used to just tell myself “I’ll catch it when it comes on TV”. As a result, there are tons of movies that have become modern day classics (Titanic, Shrek, Avatar) that I’ve never seen. So, don’t recruit me for your trivia team if you need a Movie Guy. Outside of movies, though, there are 5 particular areas of pop culture that I just don’t “get”.

Now, I’m not exactly trying to be controversial, but I just know I’m opening the gates for a flame war. That said, I’m not necessarily saying there’s anything wrong with these five things, but they just don’t really hold much meaning for me. If you can think of a way to change my mind, or can point out great aspects that I’ve missed, then I certainly invite you to do so. This isn’t a bash session, but rather a cry for help: help me understand the big deal about these things.

1) The Big Lebowski – I’ve had people tell me “You don’t get The Big Lebowski ’cause you’re black.” Um, OK…That’s never really affected my interpretation of movies before (although Bamboozled did make me hate white people for a day or so). Since college, I’ve had people tell me that Lebowski is the most quotable movie ever, while extolling the virtues of The Dude. It was an entertaining movie, quirky in the vein of Fargo. It’s a fine movie, but I don’t get the *phenomenon*.  I don’t get why there are action figures of crew-cut John Goodman and Jeff Bridges looking like stoner Jesus in a bathrobe. I don’t get the uptick in White Russian consumption.

In terms of pop culture clout, The Big Lebowski has basically become the White Scarface. Scarface has become somewhat inspirational in urban circles, especially to a generation of rappers. Sure, Tony Montana ends up dead, but before that, he came from nothing and ended up having everything. With that, you can kind of understand why he has become the poster child for those who also come from very little. On the flip side, I don’t see anything aspirational about the story of The Dude. They occupy the same levels of pop culture, for different demographics, for different reasons. Maybe those folks were right: I understand Scarface, but I don’t understand The Dude. Maybe it is because I’m black…

2) The Muppets – Don’t get me wrong: I love Muppet Babies, and the Muppets version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is one of my favorite Christmas songs. That said, I just never really got into the movies. In college, I spent time around a sketch comedy group, and that was the first time I learned how much comedy circles revered the Muppets. Maybe I haven’t seen the right movies, and I’m missing out. I just don’t get the appeal. In some ways, I think I may have the same issues with the Muppets that I have with Alvin & The Chipmunks – I can suspend my disbelief, but I have a problem with these “creatures” coexisting with humans. The same way that I’m slightly disgusted by the idea that humans girls have the same kind of crushes on 4 foot singing chipmunks as they would on Justin Bieber, I also can’t really deal with the Muppets gallivanting around the “real world”. Sure, it works for Sesame Street, but I don’t see why adults are entertained by this, unless they’re high. And yes, do understand the irony of this statement coming from the guy who still watches Power Rangers.

3) Jersey Shore – Sorry, folks. Watching the premiere of Jersey Shore felt like a chore. Everyone who knows my love of bad television thought that I’d simply fall in love with the show, but they were wrong. I think I may have a different threshold than others. It seems that Jersey Shore is a guilty pleasure for quite a number of young professionals who love the show, but would never admit to it. It also seems that quite a few educated people love tuning in. That’s great. It’s just not my cup of tea. I LOVED the True Life episodes that spawned the show, but I really found nothing likable or engrossing about the cast of Jersey Shore. I did, however, enjoy watching that guy punch the shit out of Snookie ’cause, really, how often do you see something like that?  Jersey Shore is like going to the zoo – people feel superior as they ogle the “dumb” animals, but that shit eventually gets old and you find yourself looking for the hot dog cart.

4) Harry Potter – They’re cute books. I get that. They’re not, however, a worthy basis of what has become a literary juggernaut. Let’s rewind a bit, though. I missed the genesis of the Harry Potter phenomenon because I was somewhat off the grid. I went to Summer College at Cornell the summer that the first book started picking up steam. Now, if you’re not familiar with Cornell or Ithaca, its almost like its own little world. Generally, you have to really seek out information from the “outside world”, or else you won’t know of anything outside the Ithaca city limits. These were the early days of the internet, and there was no social networking just pushing information at you. When I got back to civilization, I started hearing rumblings of this “Harry Potter” thing, but really didn’t know what folks were talking about.

A big reason that I was resistant to Harry Potter was that I didn’t like the caliber of the early adopters. Sure, everyone reads Harry Potter now, but in the beginning, it was a certain group of people: the kids who weren’t allowed to watch TV, who only played with no-name educational toys from mom & pop stores, whose parents drove hybrids. Mainly, Harry Potter was the entertainment of yuppie children, and I hated all that they stood for. I can’t ignore what the franchise has done for literacy, which has actually been a great by-product of the phenomenon. It truly got people into reading, and that’s the one thing I like about it. That said, I’ve never found it all that original.

I grew up in a Roald Dahl household, so it was quite obvious when I started seeing his ideas popping up in the Harry Potter books. The extent of most people’s knowledge of Dahl is typically Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and maybe Matilda or James & The Giant Peach. If you’ve more than just those, however, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It angered me that people felt that Rowling’s ideas were so groundbreaking, when I’d seen many of them before. For the people who saw where I was coming from, they still brushed me off with a “Well, nothing’s original anymore” or “Well, Rowling did a great job putting all of those Dahl concepts into one series”. Whatever. Like I said, they’re cute books, but I don’t see why they took the world by storm.

5) Star Wars – Basically, this comes down to the fact that I grew up with the philosophy that “Trekkies Can’t Be Warsies”. I latched onto the late 80s Star Trek revival, and that was where I put my focus. Unlike the other things I’ve mentioned, I “get” Star Wars, but I just don’t have the patience for it, nor do I have the desire to learn.

Star Wars just feels downright inaccessible to me. A few years ago, the only stuff that was “canon” consisted of 3 movies (and a holiday special that no one likes to acknowledge). Later on, there were 3 more movies, which was still manageable, especially since the “real fans” hated the new films and flipflopped on whether they acknowledged the events portrayed in them. Then, however, there was the Clone Wars cartoon, which bothers me because you can’t get attached to any characters, knowing they’re ALL gonna die. Then, there’s all the Expanded Universe stuff (which may not be considered canon, but is still held in high regard amongst the hardcore fans) and don’t get me started on all the comic series. So, at the end of the day, it’s still just 6 movies and some shows, but it feels so much more daunting. In terms of fandom, I like to go ALL IN. You can’t just tell me, “Oh, there are these books, but they don’t count.” If they exist, I’m going to feel like I need to read them and decide for myself if they count. And it’s just too much. The same argument could be made for Star Trek, but I got in early on that stuff, while Star Wars got rolling before I was a gleaming “surprise” in my father’s eye. I know it’s all psychological, but it just feels like being a Star Wars fan requires too much damn legwork. If you’ve got an “Star Wars in 3 Minutes” primer you want to send me, I’m all ears. Otherwise, I don’t think I’m ever gonna have that soft spot for The Force that so many of you seem to have.

So, there you have it. I hope we can all still be friends. I didn’t set out to bash the stuff that people hold dear, but I simply wanted to give my impression of these things. I welcome you to try to convince me otherwise, as I will admit that I do feel a bit left out at times. However, I fear that I’ll just get a bunch of comments like “Ur a fuckin’ moron!” Oh well, at least you’re leaving comments!

10th Feb2011

What The Hell is THIS?!!!

by Will

So, I was checking my email yesterday, and something caught my eye. You see, I set up a Google Alert for “Will West” so that I can track comment replies that I receive on blogs that don’t send email notification of updates. Sure, this might sound vain, but I learned the trick from someone online, so I’m not the narcissist who thought it up. Anyway, this system rarely works, as the alerts I receive usually have headlines like “Will West Virginia Win The Title?” Thwarted! So, imagine my surprise when I saw “Random House acquires ‘Will West: The Epic’ by Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost“! A blurb found here contained the following info:

The trilogy is a mystery with paranormal elements (in other words, classic Frost) and follows a sheltered boy who’s been told by his parents to avoid the limelight. After Will West lands an unusually high score on a national exam, he is recruited by a little-known prep school and also realizes he is being followed.

Huh?! What?!

After some Google detective work, I found this:

Frost’s Will West combines a sophisticated mystery with furiously-paced action and a twist of the paranormal. In the novel, the title character has spent his entire life trying to avoid any attention at the request of his parents. Then by sheer accident, Will scores off the charts on a nationwide exam and is recruited by an exclusive and somewhat mysterious prep school, the best school no one’s ever heard of, with technology the likes of which no one’s ever seen. At the same time, coincidentally—or not so—Will realizes he’s being followed by men in dark hats, driving black sedans who pose a terrifying threat to his family. What follows is a series of events and revelations that places Will smack in the middle of a millennia old struggle between titanic forces.

How did they find out about my life story?! Who told them?! Better yet, why am I not getting royalties?!

There was no cover available, but I can only assume that it won’t look as cool as this:

04th Jan2011

My 20 Favorite Songs of 2010

by Will

Yes, I understand that it’s 2011, and that most people did these lists weeks ago. That’s the point. I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle, so I figured I’d wait for everyone else to get their own lists out of their systems. Plus, I really didn’t want to be caught up in the whole “Best Of” phenomenon. I think it was during my time at Diamond when I realized that I’m not really qualified to judge the “best” of anything (which is probably why I never got tapped to judge the Eisners). Quality is completely relative, and all I know is what I like. So, instead of focusing on the best of 2010, I’m going to focus on the songs that I most enjoyed.

Now, as you know, I sometimes do a content sharing thing with TGRI Online . The thing is, I’m not their primary demographic. Usually, when I write something with a musical slant, I immediately think of posting it over on that site. With this kind of project, however, I’m fairly certain that that audience ain’t gonna be onboard with my choices. Likewise, I’m not always keyed into the musical tastes represented over there. I wouldn’t know moombahton if it threw a brick through my window. So, with that in mind, I figured I’d just do this for me. Of course, you’re welcome to follow along. I do, after all, like attention.

20. Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts

I think I first heard this song at a gas station, but it was beautiful. Apparently, it gained fame from being played on So You Think You Can Dance, but I never watched that show so I can’t vouch for that. It reminded me of a more mellow Evanescence, and I really loved that group. Back in the spring, I made a joke on twitter that I felt emo high school girls were probably scribbling these lyrics in their notebooks, and I still believe that.

19. Flo Rida – Club Can’t Handle Me

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: this song is WAY more fun than it has any right to be. I usually don’t like David Guetta’s stuff, and it’s a throwaway movie song. That said, I loved the Hell out of this song during the latter half of this year.

18. Bed Intruder Song – Antoine Dodson and The Gregory Brothers

Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid. Sure, I got tired of him just like everyone else, but this was truly the Year of the Autotuned Amateur. We got a ton of imitators, but none made as much of a mark as Mr. Dodson. “Hide your kids, hide your wife” became a part of our vernacular, and shows like Cougar Town were even giving shouts to the song.

17. Eminem – Not Afraid

We’ll leave the video out of this one, as I didn’t really dig the Em-As-Neo imagery, but I still loved this song. The lyrics are strong, but it’s the background that really makes the song. No, not the beat – the background. It’s really epic, like it could be a score for a superhero movie. I loved it so much that I rock the instrumental just as much as the album version.

16. Elton John & Leon Russell – When Love Is Dying

The critics weren’t too kind to Elton & Leon’s collaborative album The Union, but I love anything Sir Elton releases. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album has a definite rural flair to it – one that we haven’t heard from Elton since around 2004’s Peachtree Road. This is one of the strongest tracks on the album, and after repeat listens, I simply fell in love with it.

15. Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are

I’ll be honest: I didn’t like this song at first. No, let me correct myself. I loved the song, but I didn’t like Bruno on it. I didn’t think his voice was strong enough. I felt that it needed stronger vocals and more strings, which would’ve boosted it to the next level. Over time, though (especially due to BarkBite’s constant pimpage of the Bruno Mars brand), I came around to really liking the song. What I initially saw as weak vocals turned into a sort of earnestness. I think the public connected with that as well, which is why the song has become such a huge hit.

14. V.V. Brown – Shark In The Water

You can’t deny the hotness of that chorus. An import from the UK, V.V. hasn’t really taken off yet, but this song is popping up in commercials, so don’t count her out just yet.

13. Eminem feat. Lil Wayne – No Love

Ok, full disclosure: I am a fool for Haddaway’s “What Is Love?” Loved it when it came out, loved the A Night At The Roxbury revival, and I loved this. I kind had to give Em credit for even rapping over what some might consider to be a cheesy song. Not only that, but his flow is INSANE. To complete the circle, I also downloaded the instrumental. I’m not sure why more artists aren’t using that track on mixtapes, as there’s a lot of potential there.

12. Natasha Bedingfield – Touch

I’ve always loved the Bedingfield family. I think there’s audio evidence somewhere of me butchering “If You’re Not the One” on an Ithaca radio station. I even loved his little sister, even though her debut album was riddled with songs about how hard it was to write an album. So, I really liked this song, even though the video is really just a Plenty of Fish commercial. In any case, I felt Natasha was venturing into Kylie territory with this song, which isn’t a bad thing.

11. Chris Brown – Yeah 3x

This is dumb, but one of the things I love about this song is the name: it’s not “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”, but is instead “Yeah Three Times”. It’s a stylistic thing, but it resonated with me. Whether you forgive him or not, CB’s back. I actually enjoyed Graffiti, but he still had the Rihanna incident looming over him. The video’s kind of a pandering affair, as he dances surrounded by a bunch of little kids, but I still found it to be a fun song.

10. Chris Young – Getting You Home

No, we’re not leaving country off this list! Lindsay & I listen to the country countdown every Sunday morning on the way to church, and this song was ALWAYS on. Avoiding the stereotypical country tropes, this is actually a really sexy song. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I really came to love this song over the course of the year.

9. Cee-Lo Green – Fuck You

This song needs no introduction or explanation. Next!

8. Miranda Cosgrove – Kissin’ U

If you follow me on twitter, you already know I have an unhealthy obsession with iCarly. It’s nothing dirty or unseemly – I just like bad television. A guilty pleasure, if you will. This song didn’t blow up too much, but I liked it because it sounded like something M2M might’ve released back during the Pop Renaissance of 2000.

7. DJ Khaled featuring a whole bunch of motherfuckers – All I Do Is Win

I’ve got so many versions of this song that I’ve lost count. I first heard it at my friend Jason’s wedding, and then I couldn’t stop hearing it. It gets in your head like that. The best way to listen to the song, however, is driving through the back roads of rural Virginia, at about 10 PM. Also, you’re required to take your hands off the wheel and make ’em stay there.

6. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind Part 2

I’ve never been the biggest Jay-Z fan, but I will say that I love his samples. I have discovered more music than I can remember from samples that Jay-Z has used on his tracks (I’m still cranking “Ain’t No Love In the Heart of the City”). That said, as huge as his NYC anthem became, I preferred Alicia’s solo take on it more because it had more heart. While Jay is just name-dropping things you might see mentioned in an I Love NY brochure, Alicia really makes you feel what it’s like to be swept up in the city.

5. Neon Trees – Animal

This song is just infectious. It’s perfect for car jingles, fast food ads, and it’s got “one-hit wonder” written all over it. Despite all that, the sound is reminiscent of the days when The Killers sounded like they were actually having fun in the studio. I can only hope there are more like this from this group, but “Animal” was the only track I liked off their album Habits.

4. Shontelle – Impossible

This was a powerful ballad that just kind of snuck up on me. When I first heard it, I thought it might have been a new Brandy track, as it did have that “Brandy-When-She-Doesn’t-Suck” vibe to it. I remember not thinking much of Shontelle’s debut song, “T-Shirt”, but this track definitely changed my opinion of her. It was a slow burn up the charts, but I think she’s finally making a name for herself.

3. The Band Perry – If I Die Young

Back to the country stuff, this band seemingly came out of nowhere during the second half of the year. A family act, The Band Perry have only released 3 singles so far, but this one has gone to #1 on the country charts. As for subject matter, this is the kind of stuff Taylor Swift would be performing if she could grow out of her fairy tale obsession.

2. Darius Rucker – Comeback Song

I have loved Darius since the days when all of y’all were calling him “Hootie” (btw, he was not Hootie). While that group had an impressive debut and a pretty lengthy career, Darius has almost taken the Justin Timberlake path, as he has achieved way more as a solo country act than he ever did as a member of that group. The funny thing is that it’s not like he even really changed his sound; if you loved Hootie songs, you’ll love Darius’s solo songs. He’s the first black man to make an impact on country music in 2o years (sit down, Cowboy Troy!), and he’s been grabbing awards left and right. He’s not showing any signs of slowing down, and this was his biggest song of the year.

1. Sara Bareilles – King of Anything

Kaleidoscope Heart didn’t get a ton of love from critics, nor did I see it on anyone’s Best of 2010 list, but it was by far my favorite album of the year. I think a lot of people wanted to write Sara off after the success off “Love Song”, but this song proved that she wasn’t a one-hit wonder. It has the same lyrical playfulness of “Love Song”, but the beat and the handclaps really just help to bring it all together. Nobody does Cute Tell-Off songs quite like Sara. I highly recommend every track on the album, but this is my favorite, as well as my favorite song of the year.

Thanks for playing along! Leave your comments/concerns below. Next time, I’ll probably have a comic rant. That is, if I remember to pay my ISP…

30th Nov2010

World Wide West

by Will

So, I haven’t been so great with posting lately, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been online. In fact, I just posted my 10,000th tweet today, so I clearly still have a lot of time on my hands. Even though I haven’t had much here recently, I have been showcased in a few other places on the web. Let’s take a closer look at some of that:

1)  For anyone into the Vice Magazine scene, Street Carnage is the site to visit. A few weeks ago , things got out of hand as @StreetCarnage Twitter followers got into a huge “No Homo” parody game. I assure you that it’s not as offensive as it might sound, but I can’t even begin to explain it; you’d best click that link to get a better understanding as to where things eventually ended up. In any case, something that started as a way to pass time on a Saturday afternoon ended up with me getting my name on a site that I actually didn’t own. Check it out:

As you can see, the whole “experiment” produced a bunch of groaners, but it’s still kinda cool that I got acknowledged.

2) A few weeks after that, I found that I got a retweet/reply from @FakeeEtiquette. Again, nothing major, but it’s still nice to be retweeted by an entity with more than 9,000 followers. If you have any “aspiring actor” friends, you’ll probably relate to this:

3) A few weeks before all of that, I helped kick off my friend Marcus’s new internet radio show. I’ve crossposted some of the stuff I’ve written for his site (TGRIOnline.com), and this is just another one of his hairbrained schemes to take over the world. In any case, I love anything that gets me more attention, and it was a fun experience. You can listen to that show here.

Also, I don’t think he has announced it, but I’m scheduled to be on again tomorrow night, so be sure to tune in!

4) Finally, in my aimless attempt at “brand extension”, I’ve found myself with a Tumblr . Now, some of you might be asking “Why do you need another website?” Others might be asking “What’s Tumblr?” Let’s answer that last one first: from what I’ve gathered, it’s all the best parts of “New Twitter” without the seizure-inducing interface. You’re not hampered by character limits, and you can post pictures, text, videos, audio, etc. It follows that Twitter model, in that you follow folks and they follow you. So, it’s just another social networking popularity contest.

So, why did I create one? Well, that’s easy:  believe it or not, I actually created it for archiving purposes. I’m sure if any of you are aware, but Twitter imposes a limit on the number of older tweets that you can access. As it stands, you can only search your archives up to 3200 tweets. Sure, that may seem like a lot, but seeing as how I just passed 10,000 today, that means that I can no longer access the majority of my tweets. For most people, that’s not an issue. They use Twitter as a forum for their stream-of-conscious thoughts. I, however, tend to really use it as a “micro blog”. Sure, some of those tweets might be in-the-moment, but I’d really like to remember and review some of them at later dates.

In the past, I had used a website that turned my tweets into a PDF “tweetbook”. Unfortunately, that service seems to be down indefinitely. So, in a somewhat desperate move, I created a Tumblr and linked it to my Twitter account. If nothing else, I figured this would serve as a crude, but effective, archive. I actually created this system around Tweet #7,000, at which point I teased that I would be unveiling a new site. Well, after about 2,000 tweets, I decided to check in on my little experiment. And it was a clusterfuck.

Tumblr isn’t a live system when it comes to imported content, so all of that is queued. My Tumblr was set to update about once per hour, but all that did was distort the natural chronology of things. Posts were out of sequence, often making no sense. So, I spent a weekend going through and trimming the fat. I disconnected Twitter, as I really didn’t need to see all of my @replies scattered any which way. With all of that behind me, I’ve decided to try to use Tumblr for its true purpose. What that means is that I need followers. If you’ve got a Tumblr, let me know and I’ll follow you. While the #followback mentality on Twitter can lead to ignorant/worthless conversations, Tumblr seems to be 75% porn, so I really don’t see how I could go wrong. You’ll probably see content on  there that I’ve already tweeted, but that’s to be expected. After all, my tagline is “The Place To Be To See All The Great Stuff You’ve Already Seen Before!” Yeah, it’s basically gonna be a “Best of Will’s Tweets” site, but it’s also going to be where I post photos from now, if only to not have to deal with Plixi servers anymore. I’m sure, over time, I’ll figure out what to do with that site. But for now, as Kanye would say, “It’s a process.”