In this episode, Rob and Don are joined by their friend Chad Hicks to discuss their love of Tabletop Role-Playing Games. The trio explore the history of TRPGS, and talks about their own experiences and growing up playing these games. Along the way, they discuss the appeal of Gamma World, point based vs. random character creation, and their love of Superhero Gaming. All this, and the future of TRPGs are waiting for you in the 20th episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.
In this episode, Rob and Don do an overview of the Japanese media titan Ultraman, delving into the concepts behind the series, doing an overview of Ultraman’s long history, and talking about their personal connections to the character. All this, and a trip into the world of 80’s independent television, are waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs
In this episode, Rob and Don sit down with former Comics F/X magazine founder and editor Jeff Wood to talk about the West Coast independent comics scene of the 1980’s. The three discuss the origins of Comics F/X magazine, MU Press, the small press black and white comics explosion, and how “three adjectives and a noun” comics and anthropomorphic smut crashed the industry. All this and the story behind Jeff’s own legendary comic Snowbuni are waiting for you in this, the 14th episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.
In this episode, Rob and Don are joined by James Wegg of No Dice Games to talk about collectible card games (CCGs). The three of them discuss Collectible vs. Living Card Games, the current state and future of CCGs, and the pros and cons of running a gaming store. All this, and (Butt) Crack Gate, are waiting for you in this 13th episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.
In this episode, Rob interviews Don about his Mego toymaking hobby. They discuss the history of the Mego company, the current state of Mego fandom, and the future of toys in a 3-D Printing world. All this, and the Mego Mangler are waiting for you in this 10th episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms has captivated me ever since I tore through my copies of the Moss Roberts translation (so long, they split it into two volumes). Part history, part mythology and part fiction, Luo Guanzhong’s epic has been a staple of Chinese culture since the 14th century, and is one of the four must-read books of Chinese literature. This epic story covers the breakup and subsequent reunion of China during the Three Kingdoms period from 169 AD to 280 AD, and is a story of heroism, tragedy and political maneuvering that would make George R. R. Martin weep.
However, even though Moss Roberts translation is excellent, the story can be a little dense for non-Chinese and intimidating to get into, even though comics and video games based on it have been quite popular in English. This has been a problem for some English speakers who want to read the book, but aren’t sure they want to invest the time or will be able to keep up with the Chinese cultural aspects. This is a true shame, since it really is one of the great literary works of the last 2000 years.
Now, Podcaster John Zhu has set out to change that. His Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast is designed to make the story fun and accessible, and is a bit like being told an epic story by your favorite High School history teacher. He not only reads the story, but annotates it and does his best to provide context for the reader as he works his way through all 120 chapters of the book. Part audiobook, part history lesson, the ROT3K Podcast is your chance to sit back and experience this amazing story for yourself- so what are you waiting for!
P.S. There is also a Youtube Channel version here, for those who like their audio from YouTube for whatever reason.
Rob and Don explore the effects that Star Wars has had on their lives, and the culture around them, as they’ve grown up. Comics, cards, toys and the origins of Don’s Beilert Valance action figure are all explored in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.
It’s been a while since I posted to my blog, some of which is because of the usual Fall craziness of being a teacher, but now I have another excuse! I’ve been working on a brand new podcast called The Department of Nerdly Affairs with one of my oldest and best friends, Don Chisholm. The podcast is a bi-weekly talk podcast (new episodes every second Friday) where Don and I discuss different aspects of “nerd” arts and culture from a Gen-X’er point of view.
What does that mean? Well, we’re not a “this week in geek” podcast where we discuss the latest news or anything like that, preferring instead to take an in-depth focus on a mix of arts, culture and history with a nerdly bent. Expect a lot of talk about writing, comics, role playing games, books, film, anime, TV, video games, tokusatsu, miniatures, audio drama, action figures, and pretty much anything else that can fit under the category of “nerdly”. While the first few episodes are just Don and I, we hope to bring in some knowledgeable guests to help us chat about some of the topics as well.
If this sounds like the type of show you’d be interested in, come check us out at obeythedna.com! The first three episodes, on Writing Sci-Fi, Audience Expectations, and Nerdly Speculators are up as a starter pack for people to check out! We’ve got an episode about Satanism and D&D coming up, as well as a Star Wars themed episode in honor of the new movie. (We’re not a current events show, but this is Star Wars, after all!) You can also find our show on iTunes and many of the other podcasting directories.
Don’t worry, I’ll still be posting here from time to time, this is my home base. But if you’re looking for an extra helping of Rob’s take on things, then head on over to the podcast page and join in on the fun!
I recently paid a visit to the Sonic Society’s Sonic Speaks podcast to talk with the incomparable Jack Ward about the history of my podcast- Kung Fu Action Theatre. In the interview, we talk about how I got into podcasting, my experience running KFAT, and my eventual decision to stop doing audio drama. Along the way, we discuss writing and the transition of going between being an audio dramatist and a prose fiction writer, and the challenges that come with learning to tell stories in audio before you’ve mastered prose.
It was a fun chat, and I hope we can do it again sometime. It made me think a lot about the differences between writing for audio and prose that I hadn’t considered, and I think I too learn from the exploration. If you’re planning to do Audio Drama, or make the jump from Audio Drama to fiction writing, it would definitely be a good one to listen to.
Since it’s the second day of the new year, I thought I’d start with something about self improvement for 2015. A few months ago, while I was looking around for some podcasts about social networking, I came across what is probably one of the most amazing podcasts I have ever listened to- The Art of Charm.
Originally starting out as the Pickup Podcast in 2006, which as you might suspect was about giving guys tips about how to talk to women, the show eventually morphed into something very different. Host Jordan Harbinger started to bring on experts in various social fields from networking, to body language, to even esoteric things like sleep modification. The show turned from being about just meeting people, to being about becoming the best person you could be as a way to find the right partner, job or friends for you.
As a result, the show’s episode count is now in the 300’s, and it’s one of the top lifestyle podcasts on iTunes, with every episode having more and more amazing guests to talk about different ways we can improve our lives. I, myself, have probably listened to nearly 40 episodes of the show in the last two months, because it’s also incredibly addictive. You literally never know what gems you’re going to find in each episode that you can apply to your life, and if one episode doesn’t work for you, the next one might be mind blowing. This is the kind of stuff shows like Dr. Oz and TED Talks purport to tell you about, but never have enough time or focus to really do because that doesn’t make sexy TV. This is practical, tested and proven advice based on experience and research in many different areas.
Since there’s a lot of episodes, I’m going to recommend a few to give a look to. Now, they have already put together a toolbox of episodes that they recommend people start out with, and those episodes are good, but you should know the early episodes don’t really reflect the show as it is today. The majority of the early toolbox episodes were done back in 2006 when it was the rough form of the Pickup Podcast, and are just a few guys hanging out chatting about techniques for meeting women in social environments. They’re worth listening to (especially if you’re a single guy), and the ones on Banter are especially useful, but they’re very different from what the show will become.
One other minor note- they sell this show as a men’s lifestyle show, and it is, but especially once they get into the interviews the show is really about being the best human you can be without a specific gender focus. Most of this advice can apply to anyone of any gender, since we all need to become better in some ways.
Anyways, so here’s a few episodes I’ve enjoyed recently (their own best of list can be found here):
Susan Roane- How to Work a Room
Shawn Stevenson- Hack your Sleep
Hal Elrod- Miracle Morning
Steve Sisler- How to Read People
Yu-Kai Chou- Gamify your Life
And I’m finding new great ones all the time! It really is a treasure-box of human knowledge, and I’ve already started to apply things I’ve learned from it to my life with some success. Give it a try, you never know what you learn and how it might change your life in 2015.