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Day Fifty-Two

21 Feb

Super Mega Awesome Link Dump: Part Two!

(Can we agree that I need a better title than “link dump” for this kind of thing? Link barrage? Link bombardment? Link-osaurus rex? Suggestions would be welcome.)

First up, a swarm of nano quadrotors. A bunch of tiny helicopter-like flying machines moving in precision formation. Built and flown by college kids. Probably one of the neatest things I have ever seen (this month).

More proof that I’m a huge nerd: I have favorite publishers. There are companies that I will buy pretty much everything they publish. One of these is Scottish publisher Blasted Heath. This is a publishing company that gets it, that sees the new frontier of e-book publishing as an opportunity, not a passing fade that must be beaten into submission.

We don’t buy into the doom and gloom engulfing the publishing industry. We see digital publishing as an exciting opportunity for readers to find the books they want to read, and for authors to bring those books to market.

Their authors are pretty awesome. Not only are they talented writers, but they are genuinely nice guys who take the time to connect with their readers in a way that is increasingly uncommon. If you ask Anthony Neil Smith or Douglas Lindsey a question on Twitter, it is highly likely they will answer you. Unless you’re a jerk. Then they will write you into their book just so they can kill you off in a disgustingly creative way. Douglas Lindsey does a weekly podcast/blog called This Blasted Life. The latest post, “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It,” is frakking brilliant. Listen to the podcast version (at the bottom of the page) for the best effect.

In addition to great writers and great books, these guys are committed to making it as easy as possible to read what they publish. When you buy from Blasted Heath you get a choice of file formats – they don’t make you choose based on what e-reader you own, or even if you own an e-reader at all. Plus, none of the files are DRM-locked, which means you can download one copy and read it on several different platforms. I can buy the latest from Ray Banks – Wolf Tickets – or Gerard Brennan – Wee Rockets – and read it on my Nook, my iPhone, or on my PC without switching between formats.

My favorite flash fiction in the past week: “Moonshine” by Seth Sherwood, published by Spinetingler Magazine. A fantastic story, made especially wonderful by the use of present tense and first person narrative. I can tell you from experience that is hard to do, and Sherwood pulls it off perfectly.

Next up, a funny, gory, brilliant sci-fi short film written and directed by BenDavid Grabinski and staring Bret Harrison (Reaper, Breaking In) and Brandon Routh (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Chuck): “Cost of Living“. The tagline is the most understated thing I’ve seen in a long time: “Two young security guards at an unusual corporation have a bad night.” I found this through Tor.com, but I recommend you go to the official site to watch it. Probably NSFW unless you work somewhere really rad.

I’ve written about my love of cartoons before. I got hooked on Teen Titans while trying to find something age-appropriate for my daughter that I could watch and enjoy with her. There is only so much Nick Jr. I can take. Only 62 episodes aired before the show was cancelled in January 2006.

I really like this show. It’s entertaining, sure, with bright flashing colors and silly kid-humor jokes. But it also teaches important lessons in bite-sized chunks instead of forcing globs of morality down your throat. Things like trust and friendship are emphasized and explained, not glossed over or taken for granted. More importantly (to me, at least), they weren’t afraid to have sad episodes or show the characters making mistakes.

When I heard the show was coming back on the air, it was hard to contain my excitement. I might have squealed a bit. Could be that a happy dance was involved. The full story is on IGN. And in case you were wondering, yes, I’ve set my DVR.

(I originally saw this news linked by Bleeding Cool, but I’m not linking to their article. The writer is clueless, the article is bad, and everything you need to know was taken from the IGN article. Thanks for perpetuating our bad reputation, Bleeding Cool. Link to your sources, people!)

If I were famous for anything, it would be my incredible ability to be late to the party. I discovered Teen Titans almost six years after it was cancelled. I didn’t get into comic books until about one year ago. I found Firefly after Serenity was out on DVD. In internet years, that’s almost the equivalent of “Who knew bread came pre-sliced now-a-days?”

In fact, there are so many awesome things that I’m late to, I spend most of my down time trying to catch up. That’s okay if I’m a year or two behind, but there are a few things that I’m five or more years behind. There are a few blogs I’m desperately trying to catch up on (that I will not name out of shame) that I missed by over a decade.

I didn’t know about John and Hank Green until last week. Their YouTube channel VlogBrothers has over 900 uploads, 636,000 subscribers, and well over 200 MILLION VIEWS! They have a massive online community and their own lexicon. Seriously, it’s hard for me to say I’m a nerd when I didn’t know these guys existed until a few days ago.

Their Brotherhood 2.0 started out as a communication project: could they spend the entire year without text-based communication, relying only on video blogging and phone calls. It started on January 1, 2007 and has been building ever since. I highly recommend watching their videos. You don’t have to start at the beginning like I did, but you might miss some of the jokes like why the forum on their website is called “My Pants” or what a nerdfighter is.

And yes, you read that correctly. I started from the beginning. That’s an estimated 62 hours of video. I’m less than a third of the way done, and that isn’t counting their four other channels. Which I plan to watch as well. I’ll be done sometime around Christmas. Of 2053. (Just for kicks I added it up. If you watch every video they have posted, you’re looking at about 143 hours of video. Wow. Maybe I won’t watch them all. Hmm.)

That’s what I have for you this week. I don’t know if I’ll have a link dump (link surge? link plethora? link-pocalypse?) next week because I’ll be working (!!!). If you see something around the internet that you think should be included here, send me a link and short description on Twitter (@merrymahaffey) or leave me a comment here and I’ll be sure to take a look. Until next time, DFTBA.

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2 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Daily

 

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2 responses to “Day Fifty-Two

  1. Seth

    February 22, 2012 at 10:40

    Thank you for the kind words!

     
    • merrymahaffey

      February 22, 2012 at 21:28

      You are welcome! Thank you for the great story!

       

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