Category Archives: Nerdery

Nerd News and Nonsense!

Phoo Action Pilot

When I’m in hotel rooms I tend to spend a lot of time on Youtube or Netflix.  One of the first things I wrote about on this site was stumbling upon the pilot for the Jamie Hewlett created show “Phoo Action”.  The BBC aired the pilot, but didn’t pick up the show.  That’s unfortunate because what follows is a crazy mix of Tank Girl, Aquabats, Bruce Lee, Dance, and of course a sprinkling of the great Carl Weathers.  Check it out!

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Rock Star of Illustration: Matt Busch!

Matt Busch is cool.  Yeah, lots of people are cool, what makes Matt so special?  I believe that Matt, along with comedians like Patton Oswalt and filmmakers like Kevin Smith brought a certain amount of awesomeness to nerd culture.  They brought nerdiness out of the basement and into the sunlight.

If you’ve been to any comic book convention, you’ve probably seen Matt Busch.  There’s usually a horde of fans around him because he’s personable, charismatic and has time for everyone.

At his heart, this is the coolest thing about Matt Busch, he owns his inner nerd.  On the outside, he’s a cowboy hat wearing tattooed rock star, but on the inside, he’s still that five year old kid seeing Star Wars for the first time in 1977 anxiously waiting for the action figures to come out.

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Shut Up, Internet! #2

This is the second in  a series of posts on internet trends I think are just plain stupid. Please be advised that my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Mike Bobbitt, Off the Mike, any other contributors, my mother, or my wife (maybe).

Grrrr...

Zombie Apocalypse

I know everyone loves zombies lately. They’re everywhere – movies, comics, books, video games. I get it. People like to be scared, and they make an easy villain – they can be faceless hordes, or they can be your mom, as the story calls for. The problem I have is the numbskulls out there who are seriously preparing for the possibility of zombie apocalypse.

I’ve heard it on podcasts, and all over the web, some idiots feel that a zombie apocalypse is not only possible, but inevitable. Do they go so far as to actually stockpile supplies and weapons? I don’t know, but they read things like the Zombie Survival Guide as if it were a self-help book.

They build things like this:

Click this pic for more on the zombie-proof house.

The fervor has even lead the CDC to actually release a document on their zombie apocalypse strategy, which I’m convinced they only cooked up to shut these ass-hats up. Find it here. (They do make light of it a bit).

To all you zombie fans: enjoy what you love. Watch the Walking Dead. I have my nerdy passions, too,  but I don’t look to they sky expecting that one day the Avengers are going to fly in to town. Please don’t be one of these idiots. Go play Plants Versus Zombies, it’s pretty fun.

If you are one of those that think this is really going to happen, I’ll give you some advice I learned from the gang at Mystery Science Theater 3000, “Repeat to yourself it’s just a show, I should really just relax.” While you’re stockpiling rations, I’ll be on the internet looking for cosplay pics from the next comic con.

Shut Up, Internet! #1

This is the first in what I’m hoping (planning) will be a series of posts on internet trends I think are just plain stupid. Please be advised that my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Mike Bobbitt, Off the Mike, any other contributors, my mother, or my wife (maybe).

Planking

Um... OK?

This is what we are doing on the internet for fun lately? Laying down on things? I’ve seen a few dumb memes and trends on the internet in my time, but this is up there with the lamest. Planking is people laying face down on things, trying to look like a plank, just like the name implies. I guess the object is to look like something that shouldn’t be able to hold you up is holding you up. I don’t know, I don’t get it. Maybe I’m just another out-of- touch old white guy.

Why?

Dude, you're not even trying.

The internet is a magical place, full of wonderful things, like limitless porn and cute kitten videos. That is where I will be spending my time, not looking at pictures of people laying down on crap.

Hey Kids…Podcasts! Part 4


So Mike, Dennis, and Kobe already listed some of their favorite podcasts and now it’s my turn!

There’s a lot that the other dudes already covered that are my favorites (such as Nerdist, or WTF, and Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave) so I won’t talk about those (even though they are ones I listen to religiously)

The Film Vault: This show branched off of the Adam Carolla show (kinda, it’s not really a spinoff, but if podcasts did have spinoffs its kinda like that).  It’s a podcast about movies (duh) where they spend the first part talking about the movies they saw throughout the week (which they call Flick-fessions) then they spend the second half counting down the top 5 something in movies (such as top 5 80s action movies, top 5 sex scenes, etc).   What makes this show especially great is that the two host are so very different.  The one is your more average obsessed movie nerd, while the other is your more artsy hipsterish (and sometimes demented) movie nerd.  There answers are wildly different, and it’s a great show.

I Should Be Writing: I actually haven’t listened to this show for a long time, but it’s worth including because it’s what my podcast, Nerd Comic Rising, is loosely based on.  In it Mur Lafferty started as a completely unpublished science fiction and fantasy author.  She talked about the difficulties and challenges of writing, interviewed pros, and chronicled her experience.  If you are an aspiring author, I encourage you to go back in the archives and start listening at episode one.  You get to follow an author from an unknown to being a well liked published author and its pretty darn cool.

Radio Free Skaro: It’s no mystery to a lot of you that I’m a huge Who nerd (being that I write  Doctor Who Reviews for this site) and this is my favorite Whocast.  Three dudes from Canada break down each new episode, talk Who news, and in the off season do commentaries on old episodes.  Again what makes this great is the differences in the hosts, since one likes almost everything, one likes almost nothing, and one is in the middle.  If you’re a Who fan, you will really dig it.

Doug Loves Movies:  This is so awesome!  I can’t believe I’m the one who gets to talk about it.  I love this show.  It’s not quite a movie podcast, more like an entertaining comedy game show led by Doug Benson.  All the game show “contestants” are Actors and Comedians.  It’s a great show, and if you aren’t listening to it, you should!  It’s very entertaining and if you love comedy you’ll love this.

Hollywood Babylon: I used to be a big fan of Kevin Smith’s first podcast Smodcast, but over time it got less funny or interesting to me.  One of his 8000000 new podcasts (the dude is the Jude Law of Podcasts) is this one and I love it.  He is with the impressionist Ralph Garman, and they talk about Hollywood News and stuff.  Their banter can get really really funny and again its the differences between them that make the show great.  Kevin Smith is now a big stoner teddy bear who loves everyone and everything.  Ralph Garman is an impression doing Hate Machine who throw most his hate at Chelsea Handler (the funniest moment of the show was when Kevin had just come back from being on her show).  It’s a great podcast, but one you might want to start at episode one with to make sure you get all the inside jokes.

Hey Kids… Podcasts! Part 3

POP!Mediocre

Mike and Kobe have recommended their favorite podcasts in previous posts, but I’d like to bring your attention to a few shows myself. These are fairly popular shows that feature more non-professional performers. Please note, all these podcasts are explicit and probably not for listening to while the kids are around.

The Geekshow Podcast: Recorded in Salt Lake City, the Geekshow features a large and sometimes changing cast of panelists who discuss the latest in comics, movies, TV and other pop culture topics. The panel will be the first to remind you not to take your fandom too seriously, they certainly don’t. The show features local Salt Lake City morning radio personality Kerry Jackson, and a couple professional movie (Jimmy and Jeff) and television (Scott) critics. The real reasons to listen, though, are the two regular guys on the show, Lee and Shannon. Check out an episode or two and you’ll see what I mean. This show is definitely NSFW and hilarious.

Tell ‘Em, Steve-Dave!: Yes, these guys have been in a few movies, but they are far from professional actors. The cast of this podcast include Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson, who have been featured in most Kevin Smith movies, and their co-host, Brian Quinn. These guys are funny. Having been friends for many years, these guys know how to push each others’ buttons, and do, to great comic effect. It’s a fun show, definitely worth listening to for the banter, bickering and wide range of topics they discuss.

The Panels on Pages POP! Cast: The POP! Cast was born from the Panels on Pages website, a geek review site, and the online community it has spawned. Join Lee, Jason and Jason, and sometimes Jose or any of their other cohorts as they discuss comics, movies, toys and general geek nonsense. These guys are another group that doesn’t take themselves or their fandom too seriously. Listen in as they discuss any number of topics, including semi-regular games of “FMK” (Fuck, Marry, Kill). Additionally, they have a whole weekly schedule of related podcasts they drop into their iTunes feed, on more specific topics like movies or pro wrestling.

The Mediocre Show: Broadcasting from Philadelphia,PA, the Mediocre show has been around since before podcasting was cool. Hosted by Eric Tomorrow, the show has had a few different co-hosts, but has hit its stride with its current cast, including Eric’s wife, Hope, and Tha Mike, formerly of the Awful Show. There is a reason these guys have gathered such a rabidly loyal fan base. They include their listeners in the show, and interact with them regularly, never acting like they think they are better than them. The show is also a fun listen, often discussing current events, pop culture, making fun of Myspace “musicians” and expounding on their deep love of barbecue. Usually clocking in at 2+ hours an episode, prepare to kill some time laughing with the Mediocre Show.

Nice Tweets: End of The World Edition

Last weekend some crazy religious wacko said the world was supposed to end.  I can sadly identify with the nutty conviction that caused some to give up their life savings up only to find themselves land-locked and broke come 6:01 on Saturday.

So Sure!  Their lives were ruined, but we got some great tweets out of the deal.  So here’s my favorites!

My Contribution (@jconolly) “What!? It isn’t the end of the world!? * sheepishly stops murder spree *”

And now, the best:

#5. @nickkroll “Rapture is no big deal. My world ends every year when McDonalds stops serving the Mcrib.”

#4. @sethmcfarlane “So… Jesus has to work just one day in 2,000 years and he doesn’t show up. This is why the Chinese are beating us.”

#3. @allisonhaislip “T-Minus 4 hours till the rapture, and I’m watching a care bear shoot a tshirt out of a cannon. #priorities”

#2. @TheDanCurrie “Well. I survived Y2k, Snowpocalypse, and the Rapture. Guess I’m a badass.”

#1.  @danielmaier “People are making Rapture jokes like there’s no tomorrow.”

Captain America Movie Toy Line Review

Fuck Yeah!

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m a Captain America nut. He’s been my favorite super hero since before I could read the comics I picked up every week from my Grandpa’s book store. Imagine my elation when I heard they were finally going to make a proper big budget movie starring my hero, directed geek demigod by Joss Whedon. Of course, big super hero summer movie means dedicated toy line.

The Captain America toy line from Hasbro follows the model Hasbro set up when they made Iron Man 2 toys last year, two separate lines of 3-3/4” action figures, one based on the movie, and one based on the comic book version of Cap.  The movie line has yet to hit stores, but last week the comic series started popping up on shelves at retailers everywhere. So far only the first four basic and three deluxe figures are out, along with a few vehicles and role play items.

These figures are nice. Like the Hasbro Marvel Universe and Iron Man lines, they boast excellent articulation and beautiful likenesses of the characters. The toys combine collect-ability and playability very well, with multiple cool accessories.

So far I have picked up the Winter Soldier and Battlefield Captain America figures, and am very please with both. The Winter Soldier comes with three guns, and has holsters for both of his hand guns. He also comes with a winged rocket pack, adding a cool play option for kids. Battlefield Captain America comes with two guns, his old-style triangular shield, and a removable helmet. The shield can easily fit on his arm, or on his back for carrying. Both are lovely figures, with very nice sculpting and detail, making them very true to their comic book likenesses. Some of the other figures have gimmicky shields, which collectors and purists won’t be happy with, but add a playability factor for kids.

Battlefield Captain America

Winter Soldier

The deluxe figures come with accessories for added play value, but aren’t patently goofy like so many other lines can be. There is a Parachute Cap, one with a winged jet pack, and a Fortress Assault Cap. The Fortress Assault version is the goofy one of the bunch, with Cap in red armor and carrying a missile launcher.

Deluxe Wave 1

Future waves include characters that have been overlooked by Hasbro in the Marvel Universe collection, including Crossbones, U.S. Agent, the Red Skull and Hydra soldiers. One can only assume they were holding them back, knowing they would be making this line for the Captain America movie.

Crossbones

U.S. Agent

A few minor complaints, though – the paint apps can be a bit spotty, so you need to look the figures over before buying to make sure you get a good one. Also, The gimmicky shields are a bit silly on some of the figures, I would prefer U.S. Agent and Heroic Age Cap with their standard shields to display in my collection.

Heroic Age Cap

Ultimate Cap

The role play items or kids are pretty cool, too. They include a shield that shoots little disks, a standard Frisbee-like shield, a mask, and a full costume.

Overall, I love this toy line. Yes, it has its goofy kid stuff in it, but mostly it is very collector friendly. I will be buying many of the figures, and am especially looking forward to Crossbones, who I was never able to get the Marvel Legends version of. My kids will also probably talk me into picking up many of the role play items for them. This is definitely the best movie tie-in line this summer, easily besting the Thor and Green Lantern lines. Hopefully, the line sells well, and we will see more comic characters pop up, like Batroc the Leaper (I can dream, can’t I?).

YouTube Channels You Should Be Watching

These are nothing new, or hard to find, but they’re some of my favorite things on  the internet, and on YouTube for sure. Maybe you’ve seen them or heard of them, but maybe not.

Muppets Studio

The Muppets, some of my childhood heroes, are on the internets.

Check out Bohemian Rhapsody:

BriTANick

Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher are funny dudes. Check out their videos and sketches on their YouTube Channel.

One of my favorites, Academy Award Winning Movie:

Anybody else have any favorites?

Green Lantern Movie Toy Review

"I hope this movie doesn't suck!"

Summer movie season is fast approaching, and with it comes the inevitable movie tie-in toy lines. With typically lackluster offerings over the years (refer to the Playmates  3-¾” Star Trek line from a couple of years ago), the major toy companies have successfully lowered my expectations of what we will see for movie tie-in merchandise, particularly in the action figure department. This year’s Green Lantern movie toys from Mattel stick to the long-standing “Throw anything on the shelves, kids will buy it!” tradition.

We had all had seen pictures of the line from Toy Fair earlier this year, and I was under whelmed to say the least. The toys looked kind of cheap, and the likenesses didn’t look right. Today, however, I got to see the 3-¾” toys in person at a Toys ‘R’ Us store.

Pew! Pew!

Holy crap, what steaming piles of dog turds these are. As fake-y as the CGI characters look in the trailers and TV ads we’ve seen so far, they look even goofier in plastic form. Kilowog looks like a cartoon dog. Hal Jordan looks like a stiff-armed Jerry Seinfeld.  Also, the line boasts a whopping 6 points of articulation – shoulders, hips, head and waist, at least on the figures I saw (Sinestro, Hal and Kilowog). It does appear that some of the figures have ball joints at the shoulders, which provide some range of motion, but most of the Hal Jordan figures are simple up-down swivels. So, the only action poses you can do with them are waving, pointing, and goose-stepping. At $8.99 MSRP per figure, are we really supposed to get excited about toys like that?

Wee! We're green!

As toy collectors, we have come to expect better, even in a 3-¾” line. In a hobby where Hasbro is putting out super-articulated G.I. Joes, Jedis and Marvel Superheroes, we demand better. Mattel has really dropped the ball on this line, in my opinion. They can say it’s aimed at kids and not collectors all they want, but it’s no excuse for poor quality. Hasbro has been making beautiful figures at that scale for years, Mattel just can’t seem to get it right. They should have learned from their ill-fated DC Infinite Heroes line a couple of years ago. You need to please the kids and the collectors with a line like this to be successful, and you do that by offering a combination of cool sculpts, reasonably good articulation, and a high level of playability. You don’t achieve that by giving us cheap-looking, stiff-armed junk.

Hasbro - Doing Movie Toys Right.

To be fair, the 6” line doesn’t look terrible, but those figures are fifteen dollars each. I’m already stretched thin trying to collect toys I really want, like the great 6” DC Universe  and comic-book themed Green Lantern lines Mattel is putting out, which does prove Mattel can make great toys when they try. Too bad they didn’t put in any of that effort here.

6 inch GL - not bad.

In short, I will not be buying these, not for me or my kids, not even when they inevitably end up in the clearance aisle at Wal-mart. Am I completely off-base? Does anybody want any of these? What movie toy are you looking forward to Thor? Captain America? Let me know.

Dennis Burdziak is a toy enthusiast, comic book reader, and friend to people more talented than himself. Follow him on twitter @dburdziak.

This Week in Late Night: May 13th Edition

Hey Off-The-Mikers, Jeff Conolly Here presenting my new segment:

THIS WEEK IN LATE NIGHT

So you wanted to watch Conan, Fallon, or whoever this week but those eye-lids were just oh-so-heavy.  So what did you miss in the wonderful world of Late Night Comedy?

CONAN KNOCKS THE TSA

This was Conan’s first full beardless week as a late night host (post the events of 2010’s late night debacle) and in case you were worried that the success of the new show was akin to that of Samson’s (that’s a bible joke) look no further than his awesome ribbing of the TSA this week.

The TSA has long been in the running for the biggest douche-bags award, but they might of take the crown this week when they patted down a baby.  Conan’s bit on the subject is gathering almost as much media attention as the Baby Bomb Bananza did itself.

On the Late Late Show Tuesday Night, Craig Ferguson had on Thor Director Kenneth Branagh. What I love about Ferguson is how unscripted it is (especially compared to other Late Night shows). I’ve seen so many of these chats from the Thor cast and crew in the past two weeks, but this is by far my favorite. (Especially since they nerd out together about Doctor Who and James Bond, two of my favorite things ever).

But wait, the coveted prize….what get’s this weeks

CLIP OF THE WEEK

Jimmy Fallon has about the best Act 2 and 3 of Late Night Comedy, and I continue to be impressed.  This week he played beer pong with tennis legend John McEnroe, and although there have been funnier clips of Fallon doing this with other guests (Betty WHite for example) there is something very awesome about the competitive edge that shines through both these two as they play a silly game on national television.

COMIC OF THE WEEK

Jen Kirkman had a fabulous set on Conan this week where she did her bits on marriage, murder, and getting older.

Hey Kids…Twitter! All-Nerd Edition

So, a while back Kobe posted his favorite funny Tweeters, today I’m going to share my favorite nerdy ones.

@DeathStarPR is on a mission to give all the negative publicity the Galactic Empire has received to a more favorable and humorous spin.

 Sample tweet: “If a tree falls on an Ewok in a forest and nobody was around to see TK-827 chop it  down, did it ever really happen?”

@grantimahara I’m sure you all know Grant Imahara from Mythbusters.

 I follow his tweets because he’s clever, funny, and often posts cool behind-the -scenes pics from the set.

 Sample tweet: “This is Murray. He’s a hawk.  #fromset #Mythbustershttp://twitpic.com/4twyzm

 @TheNerdyBird Jill Pantozzi is a comics journalist who writes for MTV Splashpage and Newsarama.

Her profile says, “Has Boobs, Reads Comics. Need I say more?”

Her feed is a great place to view the comics industry from the perspective of a self-proclaimed geek girl.

Sample Tweet: “I also asked my BF if he would dress up as Thor for me and he said no. : ( He has the beard AND blonde hair. #meanboyfriend

 @GailSimone is the current writer of Birds of Prey and Secret Six at DC Comics.

Her twitter isn’t really about her comics, though. She’s funny and  a bit odd, often times starting  strange and funny trending topics like #kingshark or teasing fellow comics creators, especially ones from Marvel.

Sample Tweet: “If I wrote an Avengers movie, I would put the JLA in it instead.”

@CobraCommander is, as if you didn’t know, the leader of a terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

Sample tweet: “When you realize you have a guy named Road Pig on your payroll it seriously makes you rethink your career choices.”

Who are your favorite nerdy twitter users? Let us know in the comments!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 trailer

OK, I know I’m a few weeks late on this one, but give me a break. I’m new to this site and blogging in general.

The trailer for the final installment in the Harry Potter Octology (is that a word?) was released, and has Potter-heads everywhere all atwitter, myself included. I’m a late comer to the Harry Potter world, having waited until my wife made me watch the first 6 movies before I ever cracked one of the books, but I am a full-on Potter nerd now. The trailer is beautiful, and gives us glimpses of some of the coolest parts of the book brought to life. I’ll try to stay spoiler-free, but I make no promises, especially if you haven’t seen the previous movies.

In this final chapter, it’s a race for Harry and friends to complete their mission begun in part one, the destruction of Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes, the items that he has imbued with a piece of his soul in an effort to live forever, and to then vanquish him once and for all.  Right away, the familiar theme music brings us back into the magical world. The Voldemort voice-over sets the tone, reminding us this is no longer a kids’ movie series, these characters are grown up now and are dealing with some dark, life-or-death situations. The trailer then gives us glimpses of the roller-coaster ride into the Gringott’s vault, a dragon, Death-eaters galore, wizards flinging spells all over, and a whole bunch of stuff on fire. Only one thing bugs me, I don’t remember the scene with Harry and Voldemort  falling off a bridge in the book, so that may be a movie add-on, please correct me if I’m wrong. Everything leads up to the battle of Hogwarts, which we see bits of, not enough to spoil anything, but enough to give those of us who already know what happens glimpses of all  the things we are hoping to see.

This movie should shut up anyone who called the last one slow or boring. Everything that I can remember that is left of the story is non-stop excitement and action, which is what the trailer seems to show. There will be battles, there will be death, and there will be fire and explosions. Characters will meet their fates and fulfill their destinies.  In the end only one  can survive – the Chosen One or the Dark Lord.

Yes, many of us have read the books, but seeing it alive on screen is something completely different. Between this and Captain America, July can’t come soon enough for this nerd. I’m excited, are you?

Dennis Burdziak is a married father of two, a total nerd,  and wannabe member of Dumbledore’s Army. Follow him on twitter @dburdziak

Mikey Mason “She Don’t Like Firefly”

Here’s the final version of the video for Mikey Mason’s “She Don’t Like Firefly”.

Mikey and I worked together last year in Fort Wayne and I knew pretty instantly that he and I were going to be friends for a long, long time!  He’s pretty cool….in a totally dorky way!

If he’s ever in your area, do yourself a favor and go see him live.  The show he puts on is one part comedy show, one part rock concert.  It’s a very fun night out!  You can find out when and where he’s playing at www.mikeymason.com!

What else is cool is that Morena Baccarin has already plugged Mikey’s video on her twitter and sent it to Nathan Fillion and Jewel Staite.  I really hope this is the thing that breaks Mikey into the big time!  At the very least, Joss Whedon should like Mikey do the theme song to his next project!  Ooh, I wonder if he’d cover the Firefly theme for me next time we play together!

Oh yeah, and don’t think for a second I haven’t noticed that Mikey bears a striking resemblance to my friend Casey Orr, bassist for Rigor Mortis, Burden Brothers, Blohole and of course Gwar!

Mikey on the left, Casey on the right

She Don’t Like Firefly

My buddy Mikey Mason recorded what may be the ultimate geek love song.  Warning, the song does contain a SPOILER!  But really, if you don’t know that Wash dies, then you probably don’t like Firefly.

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