Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Onion AV Club - 2011 Local Gift Guide

It was a hoot to write this local gift guide, especially because I remember last year's as being pretty funny.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Collider - 30 Rock Season 5 Review

One of our favorite shows is up on the review queue.

Now With Real Twitter Flavor

I'm on Twitter now @robowieland. Follow me there...if you dare.

Onion AV Club - Packers Pro Shop

Packers gifts are a no-brainer. This article looks at the more...eclectic gift selections.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Onion AV Club - Leonard Bearstein Orchestra

The Grand Avenue features a collection of animatronic bears that sing Christmas carols. It's pretty hokey, and anyone who's worked downtown and lunched at their food court has made fun of the thing. But it's been around for ten years, which is longer than a lot of things that made a big splash when they debuted in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Collider - The Office DVD Review

It was very interesting to revisit the original after being a fan of the American version for so long. I remember the fears of how the American version would be a terrible rip-off like Coupling. The pilots are very similar, but beyond that, both versions have flourished.

Here is my review of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the U.K. Version of the series.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Onion AV Club - Black Friday

This one goes out to all my fellow retail survivors as well as those poor unfortunate souls who still have to deal with post-Thanksgiving shoppers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Onion AV Club - 12 for '12 Interview

When I grow up I want to be like Matt Forbeck. Not only is he crazy enough to try and write twelve novels next year, I think he can do it well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Onion AV Club - Protest Film Festival

The political climate is about to heat up again in Wisconsin as the recall petitions start going out this week. This article details some of my favorite "fight the man" movies to watch to get people in the mood.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Collider - Robot Chicken S5 Review

I'm back on review patrol for Collider. My beat is DVDs this time. First up is Robot Chicken Season 5. I'm gld that the spirit of Twisted Toyfare Theatre lives on in this show.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Onion AV Club - Hamburger Mary's

I expand my repertoire (and my waistline) with my first restaurant review. Hamburger Mary's just opened up in our neighborhood. It's a neat place that I hope sticks around for a while.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Onion AV Club - Guide to Greasy Spoons

There's something about fall that makes me want to stay up all night at a diner and write things in a notebook. This list of 24-hour restaurants tastes like coffee and greasy cheeseburgers at 3 AM.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Onion AV Club - Interview with the LARPer

Though I've dabbled in LARPs, tabletop gaming is my first love. Vampire: The Masquerade is one of my most influential RPGS. This article talks to the ST of Nocturnal Rapture, who even borrowed plots from Milwaukee By Night just like I did.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Onion AV Club - The Shopping Dead

The first of two Halloween themed articles for AV Club this month. I rate the local malls in order of how they fare as fortifications for the zombie apocalypse.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kickstarter - Shelter In Place and Gimme Shelter

Kickstarter is a wonderful way for small games companies to get their product out in front of interested parties. This is the most recent game I fell in love with. It's a set of zombie live action rules that let you live out the fun of a zombie apocalypse without the actual ending of the world. Plus twist characters can be hiding out amongst the regular old humans to change it up a bit.

But that's not all.

I wrote some flash fiction for the game and it will be appearing in the accompanying anthology, Gimme Shelter.The piece is titled Samuel Colt Made Them Equal. A PDF of the anthology is included to all Kickstarter backers. Back the game for $10 and you get a copy of the rules and the anthology.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out - But Where Are the Elves?

Let’s talk a little bit about the world’s most popular role-playing experience. A group of friends gets together on a regular basis to hang out. They’ve spent all week talking about it. Some of them set up laptops at the table. Some of them come prepared with notebooks and pencil. They spend a few moments trash-talking, ordering food, getting drinks. The host calls everything to order and soon, the table is off to pretending.

No, it’s not Dungeons & Dragons.

No, it’s not World of Warcraft.

I’m talking about fantasy football.

I’m from Milwaukee. I was sad that Gen Con moved away and even more sad that nothing has come around to take its place locally. But one of the best things about Gen Con Indy are the Saturdays. On the Saturday of the con weekend, there is almost always an exhibition game for the Indianapolis Colts. The convention center and the RCA Dome share a common hallway. The best part of the whole day is watching hardcore football fans and hardcore gaming fans mix and mingle. The guy with his face painted in white and blue is looking at the guy dressed as his Vampire character and thinking “What a weirdo.” The guy dressed as Starke Crimsyn is thinking the same thing about Peyton Manning’s #1 fan.

There is more common ground between tabletop roleplaying and fantasy football. The excellent FX show The League is about a group of friends who live for a fantasy football league. But the characters are perfect archetypes for any hobby. The Guy Who Just Shows Up. The Guy Who Plays For Himself. The Guy Who Drags His SO Along. I’ve seen all of these guys at my table at some point.

These similarities inspired me to run a game for some co-workers. Watching people who have never played before is a wonderful experience. Seeing someone’s eyes light up the first time they come up with a great plan, or make the critical strike, or even fail a dramatic roll is the way to get people hooked on the hobby. (One of my co-workers still talks about how she should have tried for the lower difficulty when sneaking past the goblins. Next time, Abby.)

Both gaming and fantasy football are social activities. I’m excited at the opportunity this week has for people sharing positive experiences with their hobbies. It’s not important how you get together with friends to spend time with them, whether you’re the leader of Starfleet’s NCC-1702 or Milwaukee’s Black and Brew football team. It’s that you spend that time together creating memories.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out - Geek Kon

High light: The seminar for the upcoming 20th Avviversary edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. It had a lot of neat info on White Wolf's upcoming plans, plus got to listen to a lot of cool stories about How Vampire Changed My Life.

Low light: All the Badger fans with flat tires on the side of the road on the way to the game.

Best experience: The Video Game Room, filled with tables and tables of consoles from multiple generations. Plus arcade uprights, big screen Rock Band and those megacades with arcade perfect copies of arcade classics. I played Punch-Out, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Battletoads, Toobin, Final Fight and more.

Worst experience: The Resident Evil Card Game makes Space Hulk look like Chutes and Ladders.

Best bargain (had to buy it, no freebies): At $20, the day pass for the con was a steal. I probably would have paid that for the video game room alone.

Best Freebie:The board game library that worked in a similar manner to the Video Game Room.

Most welcome surprise: The Sprecher Pub across the street was delicious and it was an awesome dinner filled with good friends and good food.

Most unwelcome surprise: We got way too much food at the Sprecher Pub. I loaded up on appetizers and barely touched my main meal.

Best costume: They guy in full 40K Space Marine armor.

Best costume try: It was interesting watching the various ways that people tried to costume as characters wearing very little clothing without getting arrested.

Most amusing costume: The R/C turrtle pulling multiple tiny Daleks. And the  lifesize Dalek was a favorite target of the various Doctors in the hal.

Coolest booth and why:There was a booth for TeslaCon in November. It's supposed to have a fully interactive steampunk murder mystery which sounds like fun.

Strangest moment: Looking around at the 15-to-25-year-olds dressed as cartoon characters and realized I was the Greybearded Old Nerd in the room.

Favorite item available in the Exhibit Hall: Sooo many styrofoam swords.

Stuff bought:
Elder Sign

Stuff got for free:
Mage T-shirt

Stuff that was wanted that was unavailable:
Samurai Champloo soundtrack
Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack

Things to buy after Geek Kon:
I've slowly been watching more anime thanks to Netflix Instamt

Best Quote:
"I'll drag my wife to this next year. She's got a costume and everything."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Onion AV Club - Geek Kon Preview

The garden is blooming. Here is my preview of this weekend's convention in Madison.

I'm taking Brad and Sarah with me on Saturday. Looking forward to meeting some people at the show!

Onion AV Club - Nerds In Love

I made it into the Back to School issue twice with an article about date ideas for nerds in Milwaukee. I think I've done all of these except the walking tours.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Onion AV Club - Freshman's Guide to Good Ink

With students making their way from the sheltered cradle of high school to the bright lights and big city of college, I thought I would do my part to suggest some places to get a tattoo to impress and/or scare the crap out of parents when the come home with laundry.

I actually had to call around a bit for this article. Quite a few places were a bit stunned by the idea of talking to me for a few minutes for some free press.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Onion AV Club - Brew City Bombshells Burlesque

My first official review for The Onion AV Club was of this geek-themed burlesque show. The show was funny, sexy and everyone I went with had a good time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Onion AV Club - Things to do in Milwaukee before terrible weather returns

Summer is fleeting, especially in Milwaukee. This article talks about some of the simple pleasures of the city that must be enjoyed before it's too late.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Onion AV Club - Milwaukee's Best Arcades

I spent far too much time (and money) at Aladdin's Castle on 76th and Coldspring. It's gone now, but this article highlights a few of the places in Milwaukee carrying on the noble quarter-sucking tradition of video arcades.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Onion AV Club - Eating My Way Through the State Fair

I didn't make it to Gen Con this year, but I did eat my way through the Wisconsin State Fair. My lovely wife Lindsay took the photo of this year's dare food: fried butter.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Onion AV Club - Things to Do at the State Fair While You Await Your Heart Attack

For many years, I chose the geeky comforts of Gen Con over the State Fair. In preparation for eating my way through the fair on Thursday, here's an article highlighting the other things to do at the fair.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Onion AV Club - Geek's Guide to the Dells

This week's article highlights the oddball attractions that exist in everyone's favorite local tourist trap.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Onion AV Club - Gary Gygax Statue

Here's my article on the Gygax statue proposed for Lake Geneva. If anything, I reminded my editor about Lothar of the Hill People.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Onion AV Club - Ren Fair Vs. Summerfest

Today's article talks about that other great festival that starts in the middle of the summer. Ren Fair is here, and I talk about why it is usually more fun than Summerfest.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Onion AV Club - Things to Do at Summerfest If You Hate Music

The title of the article might be a bit hyperbolic, but not everyone who goes to Summerfest is there for the music. Most of my best memories are doing stuff other than being at a show.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Onion AV Club - Kickstart My Art

My most recent article looks at Milwaukee area Kickstarter projects. I have a soft spot for the World of Mistrunner, but I also think the magnetic stylus is neat.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Onion AV Club - Tours of Duty

This Onion article features a breakdown of excellent local tours. Special thanks to Abby for being waaay more informative than the Lakefront Brewery website.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Onion AV Club - Wisconsin media tie-in authors

Here is my most recent article for The Onion AV Club. Five authors that write media tie-in books. I hope to counted amongst their number someday...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Onion AV Club - CMP Milwaukee

This week's article is a look at a local tactical lazer tag joint down by the airport. This is one of the things I love about Milwaukee - unusual places like this have a better chance to flourish. If Gen Con was still in town this place would make SERIOUS bank in August.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Onion AV Club - Free Comic Book Day

Today, I expand my horizons with my first article for The Onion A.V. Club Milwaukee about Free Comic Book Day. It was a hoot getting to drive around and talk to the owners face to face.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mania - Dylan Dog Review

I saw this flick over the weekend with my Review Safety Buddy Brett. A step down from Insidious, but still a fun movie if you're into the Secret World of Darkness genre.

Review crossposted after the jump.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mania - 10 Films That Had Nothing To Do With Their Source Material

Today's article deals with films that were adapted from book that ended up looking nothing like the book they were based on. Some were good, some were bad, and this is a topic I probably could have squeezed multiple articles out of.

Reposted after the jump.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mania - Why Networks Suck for Genre TV

Today's article tackles one of the age-old dilemmas - the love/hate relationship between TV networks and genre content.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mania - Terrible Vacation Destinations

With Spring Break hitting for many people, mania posted my article about terrible vacation destinations. Naturally, the comments are full of people nitpicking about what is and is not a destination. Including the guy that claims an ocean liner and a cruise ship are different things.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mania - Worst Sidekick Ideas Ever

My latest attempt at being funny. Here are some terrible sidekick ideas that, quite frankly, I'm surprised haven't happened yet.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mania - Insidious Review

My latest review is up. Add it to your queue if you like Creepy Kid or Haunted House flicks.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mania - Mediocre Madness

Today is the first in a week-long series of Mania articles that pits movies against each other. Each region is an influential genre movie. The contestants are the various knock-offs and wannabes that follow in such a film's wake.

Here are links to the each day's articles:

Blair Witch
Lord of the Rings
Star Wars

The Final Battles

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mania - The Evolution of Snark

Any time I get a chance to talk about Mystery Science Theater 3000 I'm excited. Today's article is about the influences on the show as well as how the show has influenced media criticism after it went off the air.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mania - 10 Fake Companies We Want to Work For

The hits keep on coming with my article about fictional companies that seem interesting to work for. It looks like whether or not Hogwarts is a private school is going to be the point of contention in the comments.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mania - Beastly Review

My latest review is up of this flick that is Beauty and the Beast meets Twilight. Special thanks to Shari for being my Screening Safety Buddy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mania - Oscar of the Dead

My first straight-up humor article is up on Mania. It's a discussion about how adding zombies to the Oscar ceremony would make it interesting to watch again. Thanks to Abby for the inspiration!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mania - Best Genre Performances By Academy Award Nominees

The first of two Oscar-related Mania articles is up. Genre entertainment usually gets the short straw come awards time but it seems like more and more people have this stuff on their resume.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mania - 10 Best Genre Romances

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a list of the best romances in the nerd genre. I tried to pick ones that were great romances, not just parts of the story.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mania - Do's and Dont's for the Next Superman Movie

My most recent Mania article is up. I think I'm beginning to have some regular fans and a few detractors.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mania "The Roommate Review"

Here is my most recent review of the listless Single White Female remake.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Family of blogs

This blog is my professional blog where I talk about past, present and future projects. There will also be links here so I have an easy reference for myself and others when those projects are available for consumption.

I am also blogging about a pair of games I currently run. If you are part of one of those games, or curious as to what I do when I Pretend to be an Elf in my Dining Room, I offer links below. Drop me a line if you want to know more or if you are interested in joining after checking them out.

Sabotage is my game using the Leverage RPG rules set in Crime World. The best of the worst are competing with each other for the chance to participate in the Crime of the Century.

City of the Bat: True stories of Gotham City. A dramatic role-playing game using the Smallville RPG rules. City of the Bat is also probably the closest you'll see me come to writing fan-fiction.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mania - 100 best Villains

Mania is rolling out a list of 100 of the best villains over the next week.

I wrote up a few of the entries, though it looks like the ranking have been reshuffled from the bare list we got.

Between this and the Shadowrun gig, it's been a busy month!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mania - 10 Movies That Should Have Sucked

This article was a lot of fun. It is close to my heart - I have subjected a lot of friends to bad movies over the years, but it's always more refreshing when I find a movie that's unexpectedly good among the chaff.

For every Mazes & Monsters, there is a Galaxy Quest.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mania - 5 Best Teaser Posters for 2011

This was a quick turnaround from in on Sunday to up on Monday. the art of the teaser poster is a dying one - it's a lot easier to go online and check out a trailer. But I talk about some of the best ones for movies coming out this year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mania - Things George Hopefully Learned From the Prequels

My second Star Wars article is up. It's not a video review of Revenge of the Sith, but it covers most of the issues I had with the prequels.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mania - 6 Star Wars Ideas We Want Instead of 3D

My newest bit of media critique for Mania is up. I feel the same way about 3D that I did about the Special Editions - I'm more excited to see Star Wars in the theatre than whatever bells and whistles they use to justify it.

The Zahn books are a no brainer - they opened up the EU and are still influential on a lot of writers. And I really hope the guys who did that Han Solo short got a call from LucasFilm with a job offer.