MRiedlinger's blog http://www.dorkgasm.com/blog/5 en Summer Reading and My Next Novel http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1221 <p>So... Summer classes are over, and I'm sitting here with the ability to read anything I like. That said, I have only until 8/28/11 to read everything I want, and it's quite a list. Here's the run down:<br><br><br><br /> <!--break--><br /> 1. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher<br /> 2. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin<br /> 3. The Unwritten (Vols. 2 &amp; 3) by Mike Carey<br /> 4. The Boys (50-56) by Garth Ennis<br /> 5. Northlanders (Vols. 3 &amp; 4) by Brian Wood<br /> 6. DMZ (Vols. 8-10) by Brian Wood<br /> 7. The Hedge Knight II: Sworn Sword by George R.R. Martin<br /> 8. Batman: Conspiracy by Paul Dini<br /> 9. Batman: The Widening Gyre by Kevin Smith<br /> 10. Courtney Crumrin Tales: The League of Ordinary Gentlemen by Ted Naifeh<br /> 11. Fables (Vols. 14 &amp; 15) by Bill Willingham<br /> 12. Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love by Chris Roberson<br /> 13. House of Mystery (Vols. 4-6) by Bill Willingham (et al.)<br /> 14. Invisibles (all Vols.) by Grant Morrison</p> <p>Looking at that, I'm a little intimidated. It's a lot, especially A Dance with Dragons, but I'm hoping I can get some of it read at least. The 28th, classes begin again, and Ive only got three semesters left on my MA. Yikes! This semester is Web Design (VERY helpful, considering the plans I've laid for Dark Days, Summer Nights, my first YA novel), and Novel. Last semester I took YA Novel, but this is going to be a little different. The plan, right now, is to work on an idea called "Horror Show". It's a tentative title, of course, but its something. It's about a couple of cable access shows whose crews, in the face of consolidation, start picking each other off in the style of bad horror film tropes. It's a horror comedy, and I'm having fun plotting it out and developing characters. </p> <p>Well, if I'm going to get anything read, I need to run. Keep your eyes open for site updates, because as soon as I learn how to transfer the articles from here to Drupal 7, I'll be making some changes. </p> <p>Cheers!</p> <p>Michael C. Riedlinger</p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1221#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2011 02:17:59 +0000 MRiedlinger 1221 at http://www.dorkgasm.com The Problem With Titles | Blog http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1220 <p>At first it was a psuedo-memoir called <I>My Father the Monster Hunter: A Son's Tale</i>, but that proved to be far more autobiographical than fantastical, so I set it aside. Then, I reimagined it as a novel for Young Adults, but that required a new title. That's when I shortened it to <i>Monster Hunter</i>, but that still felt weird. Today I've settle on <i>Night Beasts</i>, and while that might change, I've plunged into this project headlong and love writing it so far. The story is about a 15 year old named Matt Willoghuby who is forced to go live with his dad after mom winds up in rehab. Dad isn't around much though because of his job, and the two need to learn how to cope as father and son.<br /> <br><center><img src="http://dorkgasm.com/files/images/malleus-deiREDweb.jpg"></center><br><!--break--><br /> And oh yeah, Matt's dad hunts monsters for a mysterious organization call Malleus Dei. To be honest, we won't get too deep into Malleus Dei in this book, but that's more reason for me to write a second. I'm trying to explore both sides of the father/son relationship more than anything though, with the action and horror bits sprinkled in for flavor. Or maybe its the other way around, and the father/son stuff is growing out of the horror/action elements. That'll really be for readers to decide.<br /> <br><center></p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,28,0" width="300" height="250"><param name="movie" value="http://8tracks.com/mixes/230024/player_v3"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><embed src="http://8tracks.com/mixes/230024/player_v3" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" height="250" allowscriptaccess="always" ></embed></object><p></center><br><br /> I'm also writing to music, as usual. For this I decided that Matt should listen to a weird assortment of classic rock based stuff. I know my own son has fallen in love with bands like The Who and The Eagles, so this isn't too far off from normal I think. With films, TV shows, and commercials using these songs all the time, there's no reason a kid couldn't be into this playlist. Throw in games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero and I'm shocked more teens aren't bigger Metallica fans than their parents. Give it a listen, and if you have thoughts, I'd love to hear them.</p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1220#comments Dorkgasm Fri, 04 Feb 2011 23:10:23 +0000 MRiedlinger 1220 at http://www.dorkgasm.com Writing writing writing | Blog http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1218 <p>So, as the site slowly turns into a blog for my work instead of a general news and reviews site, I continue to write. Today I signed up for a site called <a href="http://8tracks.com">8TRACKS.COM</a>. It's a strange little site where you can share mixes of your own music. It's music you own, mixed however you choose, and then shared. Sharing playlists is the new mixtape I guess. So, I joined and slapped a mix up today. The music was from a playlist I've been editing "Black Art" to, and it's pretty upbeat, with a bit of techno-infused R&amp;B. Some of it is from Europe, some from the states, but it's fun either way.<br /> <br><br /> <center></p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,28,0" width="300" height="250"><param name="movie" value="http://8tracks.com/mixes/221629/player_v3"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><embed src="http://8tracks.com/mixes/221629/player_v3" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" height="250" allowscriptaccess="always" ></embed></object><p></center><br><!--break--><br /> So, I mentioned I'm polishing "Black Art". It's a short story that a few friends have read, but otherwise it's not been seen by anyone but my professor. That professor is <a href="http://www.annangelwriter.com/">Ann Angel,</a> who is herself an award winning author and full of great insight. So much so, in fact, I'm taking another class with her this semester. She's been a great encouragement to me, so check out her work. </p> <p>I also submitted another short story, this one called "Gotham", to a contest. Playboy Magazine has an annual fiction contest for college writers, and me being in college AND a writer, well... The prize is $3000, and honestly, as much as I want that, the publication of "Black Art" is more important to me. You see, if I sell that story, I can join the <a href="http://horror.org">Horror Writers Association.</a> From there, I can seek out advice from even more people who have "made it" in this industry. I know I'm chasing a dream, but damnit, I refuse to give up. I keep setting goals, and this is the next one. Hell, the class I'm taking with Ann this semester is on Young Adult Novels, and I already have a lot of plotting done, character descriptions written, logline, and even a symbol from the book that won't come into play until near the end. I'm also planning on doing this as a multimedia thing, where the internet is used as a way to convey more information to young readers. The weirdest part for me is that the book doesn't have a firm title yet, but I'm strangely okay with that.<br /> <br><center><img src="http://dorkgasm.com/files/images/malleus-dei.jpg"></center><br><br /> So, here's the early logline: </p> <p><i>"During the summer between freshman and sophomore year, Matt Willoughby’s mom goes into rehab and Matt is forced to live with a man he barely knows: his father. "</i></p> <p>What I'm not talking about in that line is what Matt's dad does for a living, mostly because Matt doesn't know at the beginning either. That said, I've also written a firm set of "rules" for this universe, which includes how to kill werewolves, and what warlocks are actually up to in the world. That's my big project for the next few months. I'd say "starting Wednesday", but it's pretty obvious that I've already started working on it. I'm also still working on stories for Haunted America from Publications International, LTD. It's another Armchair Reader book, but some of these articles are kicking my ass. Turns out, the less REAL info there is on something, the harder it is for me to research it. I got stuck for a few weeks (yes, weeks) trying to track down info on FAMOUS ghosts from the Hotel Chelsea. I have five, but I need three or four more still. There's a lot of ghosts from there, sure, but it would be weird to jump from Sid Vicious to "The Ghost from room 134", so I've been looking at gathering stories about the famous ones, and it's not been easy. </p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1218#comments Dorkgasm Tue, 25 Jan 2011 04:48:46 +0000 MRiedlinger 1218 at http://www.dorkgasm.com Why We All Need Kevin Smith's "Red State" To Do Well | My Two Cents http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1216 <p>Let's face it folks, times are tough for everyone. I know this all too well, and if you've been following Dorkgasm over the years, you know we've had our ups and downs. This last year has been a down. I finished college and found a job market that was in the shitter. In times like this, a lot of folks get scared. Hell, I'm scared. My phone just got shut off, and rent is due in a few weeks. This site has fallen into disrepair because I just haven't had time for it. I started going to school for my Masters because, as much as I love it, being a freelance writer isn't paying the bills. Student loans help fill the gap for me and my family of five. Other people, also scared in these hard times, turn to things that scare me more. They hate. They blame. They start seeing enemies that aren't really there.<br /> <br><center><img src="http://dorkgasm.com/files/images/red_state.jpg"></center><br><!--break--><br /> And then Kevin Smith comes along with Red State. At first I thought he was making another comedy. Shit, all of his movies have been comedies, so that assumption made sense. Then I saw the first trailer, and I was blown away. Now, don't get me wrong. Red State doesn't look like the next Citizen Kane or anything, but it is good to see a departure from Kevin Smith because it means that in tough times he did what most don't: he changed. He could have easily made a cheap dick-and-fart joke comedy about rednecks and called it Red State, but instead he made a horror movie. When people are freaking out about jobs, immigrants, terrorists and all sorts of shit, Kevin Smith made a bonafied horror film about the things that SHOULD scare us the most, but we choose to ignore. </p> <p>Back in my undergrad studies, we talked about this thing called "Unheimlich". Without going all academic on you, the gist is that we instinctively fear that which seems different from us. Unfortunately that also means we don't fear the really dangerous shit that seems familiar. That's what Smith's film is about though. Scary motherfuckers that look just like you, me and grandpa who take all their misguided, poisonous beliefs and throw them at unsuspecting victims. Look at the trailer for Red State: <br></p> <p><center></p> <object width="450" height="314"><param name="movie" value="http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/32291"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.traileraddict.com/emd/32291" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="450" height="314"></embed></object><p></center><br></p> <p>See, just like us, but not. We NEED this film right now I think. We need a movie that puts us all in our place and reminds us of what MIGHT happen. The best horror and sci-fi movies have always done this anyway, and Smith, well, he's a dork just like us, so he knows that. Think about Planet of the Apes. That movie ends on the shittiest of down notes. Heston rides off into the sunset, but the camera stays with the hero, and we discover that this nightmare we just watched him live through is all our fault. Pretty deep stuff for a film about talking monkeys. The thing is, the "message" of Red State isn't the only reason we need this film right now. We need it because Kevin Smith is one of our fallen heroes, and our generation needs a fucking phoenix. </p> <p>Yeah, I said fallen. Sure, Cop Out and Zack and Miri made their money back, but they were barely there. These films didn't make an impact like they should have. Before that, Smith, bless his heart, pandered to us shitheel fanboys with Clerks 2 and Jay &amp; Silent Bob Strike Back, even though he proverbially closed the book on the View-Askewaverse. This was the guy who came from humble fucking beginnings and gave us Clerks and Chasing Amy for fuck sake, and we looked up to him because he made it. <b>I</b> looked up to him because he was a fellow fat comic nerd who loved movies and he fucking made it. But then he fell. Not that he's been hurting, mind you. I'm sure he hasn't worried about his phone getting shut off like mine just did, but he hasn't been invited to all the big shows, has he? This guy didn't get into filmmaking just to be the dick-and-fart joke king, he wanted to make important films as well. The evidence of that is all over his work if you know what you're looking for. And now, here he is, reinventing himself, and I say HELL YES!</p> <p>See, if Kevin Smith can do it AGAIN, then it isn't over for our generation of ne'er-do-wells. It isn't over for me. If Red State can make an impact on us, then he still has it. Go back and watch that trailer again. That's a film put together with some god damned conviction if I ever saw one. It isn't just some slick blood-and-gore fest being foisted on us by a marketing machine, it's a work of passion, and I think that will show. I WANT it to show. I want to believe again that the end is NOT fucking nigh, and that the real boogeymen can be just the evil weirdos on a silver screen. Get up, go out, and see this when it comes out. Do it for Kevin Smith, he needs a real win. Do it for yourselves, because we all need a win to, don't we?</p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1216#comments My Two Cents Wed, 19 Jan 2011 04:03:28 +0000 MRiedlinger 1216 at http://www.dorkgasm.com mc chris | Han Solo http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1199 <p><a href="http://www.mcchris.com/hansolo.mp3">Han Solo by mc chris</a> it's awesomesauce at its finest...</p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/1199#comments Fri, 17 Sep 2010 06:57:45 +0000 MRiedlinger 1199 at http://www.dorkgasm.com Chicago Comic-Con | Events http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/944 <p><center><b>State of the Dork Address</center></b></p> <p>I wanted to take this opportunity to make an announcement or three. </p> <p>First off, Dorkgasm will be covering Chicago Comic-Con for the second year running! We'll have people on the floor, gathing information and seeking out new contacts and new stories the entire run. Last year we met with the guys from Fangoria Graphix and Dabel Brother's Publishing, and this year we look forward to seeing old faces, as well as new. If you're reading this and have a booth you think we should stop at, drop us a line in the comments or shoot us an email!</p> <p>One of those covering the event, and this is our second announcement, is our new intern, Jenny! We're excited to see new writers come into the fold, and are proud to support educational pursuits. Jen's never been to Comic Con before, so we look forward to her reactions! Will she be disgusted by the unwashed masses? Or will she get so caught up in how many celebs they have lined up for this year's show? I don't know, but my money is on her finding something that catches her eye so much she forgets what time it is. </p> <p>This brings us to our final announcement. As you know, it costs money to keep a company going, even one focused on publishing directly to the web. I am proud to say, we'll be online for at least another 3 years! Having said that, it can only mean that we had to re-up our contract with our server because we've been live and online for over two-years now! Not a lot of webistes do that, and though we've only got a small following, we're proud that you're along for the ride! Hell, Entertainment Weekly hasn't stopped butchering genre news, so why should we stop posting it in an informed manner?</p> <p>Speaking of EW, anyone see the latest vampire issue they did? Not only is Klaus Kinski mentioned instead of Max Schreck (no offense to Herzog, but a remake is a remake), but they also run out of ideas and foolishly put Blade on their list of "best vampires". The whole article reads like it was written by a 14 year-old kinder-bat emo girl who humps her pillow at night after sneaking back from a friends to watch <i>Twilight</i> for the 80th time and who can't help but complain that Eric on <i>True Blood</i> is pretty, but "just too mean". Yeah, they still don't get it...</p> <p>For a real taste of kick-ass, original vampire action, I suggest you pick up Dabel Brother's <i>Mercy Thompson</i> comics, or watch the <i>Daybreakers</i> trailer again. And to think, I used to be one of those guys who complained about <i>Buffy</i>? I'd welcome it back if I never had to hear about anything shimmering ever again!</p> <p>Gonzo is God<br /> Michael C. Riedlinger<br /> Dork-In-Chief</p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/944#comments Events Sun, 02 Aug 2009 13:38:34 +0000 MRiedlinger 944 at http://www.dorkgasm.com IRAN: Why I keep posting updates from Iran on Twitter and Facebook http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/931 <p>I am a journalist. I am a proud member of the Milwaukee Press Club, and I've been writing and self publishing articles for the last two years. I haven't made a single dime doing it, but I AM doing it. There are a lot of people out there in my position who are just as broke and have no job, but they've chosen to take retail positions, technical writing jobs, and other various career paths because they do not want to starve. I can't fault them for that. I've been trying to do the same. Until I do, however, I feel I have a responsibility to spread information. News is like that, and usually, to be honest, I don't have much to do because the main stream media outlets pretty much have it covered. This is especially true in my chosen field of journalism: entertainment. Hell, even CNN has it's own version of Access Hollywood. But then the elections in Iran went wrong, and I found myself in a pretty weird place.<!--break--></p> <p>I've always been politically active, fighting Nazi propaganda on Myspace, protesting injustice vocally when I see it, and I'm always down for a debate on the meaning and purpose of equality. When reports starting coming out of Iran about what was going on, I heard about it on Twitter first. This was the first day or so, before the government crackdowns started to really get intense. The Iranians faced government opposition to their freedoms from the beginning. They had to deal with phones, text messaging, and the internet being shut down or blocked before they really had a chance to organize. Most of the Iranians protesting were students, people like me. I remember a panel discussion I went to about the movie "Persepolis", and there was a recurring theme: That Iran was getting to be more and more free these days, but under constant threat that the regime in charge could pull those freedoms at any minute. Now, it was happening.</p> <p>My first instinct upon hearing about it was to turn on the news. CNN, FOX, and even my beloved MSNBC had all tuned out. Nancy Grace kept yapping about the latest "crime of the century" and her crackpot ideas, and in Iran, people started to die for their freedoms. There were mentions of "something" going on in Iran - protests and the such - and they talked about how Twitter was one of the only avenues Iranians had to get the word out. Mind you, the media here didn't really start watching Twitter so much as they tried to keep using it as a tool for their own marketing, encouraging users to follow them for "breaking news". As millions of people took to the streets of Tehran, that breaking news was "The Lakers Won!". I was disheartened.</p> <p>The students I was following on Twitter were very careful not to use real names, and they always tried to confirm the information they posted. The news here could have been following them too, reporting on the violence at protests by the Iranian Republican Guard, or how proxy servers were being set up around the world to help Iranians access the internet, but they didn't. At one point, CNN sat down with pundits who wanted to compare the Iranian Election to the US Presidential race between Bush and Gore. Never mind that the events weren't really similar at all, but they needed to do what they knew, and that's present entertainment. You see, in this economy, in order to stay in business, the mainstream news has to keep providing the latest updates on John and Kate, Brad and Angelina, etc. There isn't really room for an event that could change the face of the world, like an uprising in a country that WANTS to be free, but is being held down by the boot of tyranny.</p> <p>So I started posting re-tweets. That's what "RT" stands for, "Re-Tweet". It's like hitting forward on an email. At first, I retweeted the reports I recieved verbatim and cited the sources "RT @Change_for_Iran" was one of them, and it means that my source was someone with the username "Change_for_Iran". I soon learned, however, that the Iranian government was tracking these people down, beating, and sometimes killing these sources. I stopped. Now, most of the RTs I post are "from Iran", nice and anonymous. Change_from_Iran has since stated that he wants his name used in Re Tweets because the government is trying to post disinformation and attribute it to him, and this will make it easier to track what is and isn't his. That is bravery like no other, and I hope that it doesn't get him killed.</p> <p>I've seen a lot of misinformation come out. There is antisemitic stuff coming out, false reports of Pro-Government rallies, the like. Of course, CNN and the rest, in the interest of "balanced coverage" are reporting this garbage just as much as the real stuff. It's like watching two mentally handicapped kids try to figure out a Rubik's Cube with half the stickers missing by candlelight. The mainstream media hasn't a clue. Meanwhile, the internet has proven to be the voice of freedom that newspapers where to Ben Franklin.</p> <p>Perennial internet bad guys like The Pirate Bay and Anonymous have stepped up to the plate to help. Yes, the people that invented "Rick-Rolling" and who outed the secrets of Scientology for fun have been doing more than any government to help Iranian protesters. There's no profit to be made, but just like me, they seem to feel a sense of duty when it comes to the free exchange of information and ideas. Not that any government really COULD do much right now. The Iranian government has tried to pin the protests on the US, the UK, and Israel, but so far, President Obama has stayed, rather intelligently, out of this fight because he knows that getting involved would only make it harder for the Iranians to be heard. That takes a brain and a pair made of brass. We elected the right man.</p> <p>I wake up every morning and log onto Tweedeck to see what my sources have posted. I don't know how I'll feel if they suddenly go silent, but my heart breaks just thinking about the possibility. Unlike other resistance efforts in the past, this one is happening in the public eye, if only the public knew where to look. Because our journalists aren't spreading the news, I am. When I post a message, over 500 people on Facebook see it, and thousands on Twitter following the #iranelection hash-tag. Those stories, made up of 140 characters or less, are then Re-Tweeted and re-posted by more and more people. I know some of those people are you. Thank you. This is the first time that the average citizen has been able to help others fight for their freedom, simply by aiding in their efforts to be heard. Below are some links. If you want to help, then follow the links and follow their advice. In the meantime, me, my laptop, and my iPhone will keep an eye on the news coming out of Iran, and will try to keep you up to date. Thank you all for the support, and for giving a damn when many might not.</p> <p>Gonzo is God,<br /> Michael C. Riedlinger<br /> 6/19/2009</p> <p><a href="http://iran.whyweprotest.net/" title="http://iran.whyweprotest.net/">http://iran.whyweprotest.net/</a><br /> <a href="http://www.boingboing.net/2009/06/16/cyberwar-guide-for-i.html" title="http://www.boingboing.net/2009/06/16/cyberwar-guide-for-i.html">http://www.boingboing.net/2009/06/16/cyberwar-guide-for-i.html</a></p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/931#comments News Fri, 19 Jun 2009 20:49:46 +0000 MRiedlinger 931 at http://www.dorkgasm.com Facebook whispers, "No"... WATCHMEN humor http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/736 <center><img src="http://dorkgasm.com/files/images/No.jpg"></center> Now go watch the WATCHMEN trailer again! http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/736#comments Humor Wed, 20 Aug 2008 06:55:31 +0000 MRiedlinger 736 at http://www.dorkgasm.com Wizard World Chicago http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/677 <p>So, Press pass for WWC has been approved, and we should get some good coverage out of the event, though I won't be able to get there til afternoon on Friday... So far, Death Walks the Streets/Scream Factory is on my to do list, as well as the premiere of Batman: Gotham Knight. Any other suggestions, feel free to toss them my way!</p> <p>Gonzo is God,<br /> Michael</p> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/677#comments Events Fri, 20 Jun 2008 04:47:37 +0000 MRiedlinger 677 at http://www.dorkgasm.com Where will I be tonight? http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/652 Covering the premiere of <i>Clubless</i> at Gurnee Cinema in Gurnee, Illinois! Show starts at 11pm, and it may be the only theatrical film I enjoy this weekend... See you at the movies! <embed src="http://lads.myspace.com/videos/vplayer.swf" flashvars="m=15669503&v=2&type=video" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="430" height="346"></embed> http://www.dorkgasm.com/node/652#comments Film Sat, 31 May 2008 22:17:32 +0000 MRiedlinger 652 at http://www.dorkgasm.com