Tag Archive | 2011

Oscars 2011: Movie Score and Soundtrack Playlist

Every year since the inception of our hosting an Oscar party, I’ve crafted a mix CD for our guests based on the films released in that year. Not all of the scores and soundtracks I poach from are on the Oscar docket. Indeed, with such paltry pickings this year, very few of the tracks align with the Academy Award nominees.

Here is the tracklist for this years winners:

  1. Earth to Asgard – Patrick Doyle (Thor)
  2. The Wolf – Fever Ray (Red Riding Hood)
  3. They’re Calling My Flight – Cliff Martinez (Contagion)
  4. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Emily Browning (Sucker Punch)
  5. container park – The Chemical Brothers (Hanna)
  6. Immigrant Song – Karen O, Trent Reznor (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
  7. How To Kill a Vampire – Ramin Djawadi (Fright Night)
  8. Nightcall – Kavinsky (Drive)
  9. Moses vs The Monsters – Steven Price, Felix Buxton, and Simon Ratcliffe (Attack The Block)
  10. Magneto – Henry Jackman (X-Men: First Class)
  11. The Circus Sets Up – James Newton Howard (Water for Elephants)
  12. The Show – Kerris Dorsey (Moneyball)
  13. Man or Muppet – Jason Segel & Walter (The Muppets)
  14. Star Spangled Man – The Star Spangled Singers (Captain America)
  15. Hold On – Wilson Phillips (Bridesmaids)
  16. Love Will Take You – Angus and Julia Stone (Breaking Dawn)
  17. Can You See Jane? – Patrick Doyle (Thor)
  18. Mah Na Mah Na – Mahna Mahna and the Two Snowths (The Muppets)


99 Problems – Hugo (Fright Night)

Iron – Woodkid (Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Trailer)

YouTube Playlist HERE

Some of the tracks are disabled because YouTube and record labels are stingy, ridiculous jerks who don’t understand new media, but whatevs. You can get a sense of the entire compilation together through the playlist feature, even if you have to listen to some tracks as stand alones. Pretty good stuff. Handing this mix CD out as a party favor on Sunday!

As always, if you ask me nicely I can mail you a burned copy of the CD via the good old US postal service. Possibly with a special, nerdy treat included. Email me at if you’re interested! 


NanNoWriMo: Editing The Book

I’ve spent the last month pouring over a paper copy of the book and am now editing furiously in Google Docs. This isn’t my first time editing more than a hundred pages, but it’s proving to be a time-consuming venture. In the process, I’m learning all sorts of fun and not-so-fun things about my writing skills and editing abilities. 

Nanowrimo symbolLast weekend Dan finished reading/editing his copy and we sat down to bull-doze through a couple writing exercises which have helped me steer the book in newer, better directions.

The first was doing a character study of four main characters using 34 basic pieces of information (relationships, political beliefs, flaws, strengths, etc) and fleshing out details I hadn’t otherwise considered. This was especially helpful with one character whose motivations had remained a mystery even to me and therefore muddled up the plot. Honing in on his background brought the character to life and he is going to fill in story elements which have been missing. Woot to that.

Secondly, we collectively answered the following questions about what these four characters wanted:

  1. What does the character want?
  2. What are their motives for wanting this?
  3. Where in the story is this made clear to the reader?
  4. How do we learn what the character wants? Dialogue? Action? Interior Thinking?
  5. What or who stands in the way of them achieving it?
  6. What does the desire set in motion?

It surfaced that my central character’s wants weren’t clear and she was being pushed around by the plot, reacting instead of acting. Changes needed to be made. I’ve been able to re-frame the entire last half of the book, which will only require manipulating a few scenes and adding another to work. Fingers crossed on that one.

Entering all the paper edits into the digital copy may seem tedious, but it’s liberating and exciting to be at this stage. I’m experiencing a resurgence of energy and motivation towards completing this work, now that I’m not attached at the hip to a binder and pen. Once I have the edits entered and the outlined changes made, my parents will received copies to edit. After they’ve given their feedback, we will release the book in digital format on the Kindle. It might be another month or so before that happens, given my school-load, internship and job hunt will also be priorities.

Other writing issues have popped up in the editing process – the curse of repeated words and phrases. Does this happen to any other writers? I’ve started a list of words and with the help of the find feature, am able to locate them in the text and edit them right then and there. The biggest offenders? “That” and “Hands.” My proclivity towards speaking with my hands is apparently showing up in all my characters. 😛

This blog entry helped me identify Ten Writing Mistakes Authors Don’t See, among them using repeated words and empty adverbs. I’m giving myself some slack on many of these things, given 50,000 words were vomited forth in one month with little to no pre-thought. I had an idea (from a dream), a loosely outlined plot, character names and some semblance of location.

It seems a little backwards to write the story first and then do the research later, but I think that’s just how I work. I like to see the entire forest and then I’ll start picking which trees need to be eliminated. Or bolstered.

I’ve also scouted out some editing software called AutoCrit. Is anyone familiar with this? Yays or nays? I’ve been able to accomplish the same goals with time, attention and the editing tools in my word processing program, but I’m certain I’ve missed something and having a computer program to spot these glaring details might be worthwhile. Especially if I’m going the self-publishing route and won’t have a real flesh and blood person to do this work for me.

One horrible side-effect of editing: I am now mentally editing my text books. InDesign is the worst offender. The word “that” appears at least once every other sentence. Sometimes two or three times. I cringe inwardly when I locate it.

An added bonus: The writing in my blog entries will hopefully improve. 🙂

**For those who are interested, here’s a brief synopsis**

In a Dystopian future ruled by fear of a deadly virus, a young woman is orphaned when her parents die in a terrorist bombing. She is horribly disfigured and taken in as a ward by the global corporation, Prothero. They use her to test new medical technology by implanting her with an artificial heart, ear and eye. As a discarded experiment, she participates in mandatory national service while plotting a way to extract herself from Prothero’s clutches and rescue a friend from her past.

Nanowrimo 2011: Week Two NOW w/ Writer’s Block Tips!

This week featured even more road-blocks than before, with the weekend and yesterday clocking in the most hours putting actual words down on paper. I pretty much poked and prodded at the story Wed-Friday and finally sat down Saturday morning and plugged away a substantial amount of wordage. 

Current Word Total: 28,481

On 12 size font with no line spacing: 55 pages in Google Docs (49 pages in Microsoft Word 2007)

That’s not counting anything I’ve done today because I haven’t done anything.

Even if I’m not clocking in 2,000 words everyday, I’m still making an attempt most days, or playing catch-up during those particular time periods where the muse moves me. Not sure if I’m cut out for writing EVERY DAY. Writer’s block is sometimes best worked around by giving yourself a few days to simmer on a particular scene or narrative decision.

On that note…

6 helpful roadblock tip I’ve worked up:

1. Abandon the scene.Whatever isn’t working, isn’t going to get unstuck by me fiddling with the keys without some good ideas or concepts. So I just leave it with a note (or not) and move on to the next bit. Once I start fleshing out a new scene or two, sometimes the inspiration for that other one will come back. I’ve had a scene on pause for a few days now. Granted, this one is due for a re-write, so I already have the tone decided on. Now it’s just the logistics. But whatevs.

2. Just write. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s actually been immensely helpful. Even if I don’t FEEL like writing. Even if what I’m writing is total garbage “the moon was big and white.” It’s still better than no words at all. It still keeps me in the world and story.

3. Make a playlist. I spent some time at the beginning of last week putting together music I’d like to write this particular story to and found some inspiration in the titles of tracks I picked out. Plus, once you actually get started writing, the tempo and rhythm of the song can help dictate the scene. I guess that can be good AND bad at the same time.

Read More…

Nanowrimo 2011: Week One

Promised I would report out on the Nanowrimo writing experience, so here we go. Things started out pretty effortlessly, as they often do. I had plenty of motivation and inspiration and not one bit of writer’s block, so I managed to tackle 2,000+ words a day through Sunday.

Then Monday and Tuesday kicked me off my game. Monday I became terribly distracted by a great Youtube, an internship intervew, the gym, grocery shopping and Dreamweaver homework. Yesterday was the internet, lunch with family, house cleaning and hosting MIL and BIL for dinner. Then afterwards HAD to liveblog X-Men First Class on Tumblr and Twitter. You know how it goes.

My current word total: 13,972

I find most of the writing happening during the morning hours and putting down the 2,000+ words usually takes 60-90 minutes, depending on how inspiring the passage I’m working on is.

It’s a really, really rough draft at the moment. It sort of feels like I’m writing scenes that will then have to be moved and manipulated to fit into the structure of a story. I managed to burn through about 8 pages of what has now become a prologue before I realized that it wasn’t a substantial part of the story.

It’s also from a first person perspective, and I find myself including lots of lazy/bad writing habits I’ve picked up from blogging. All those fun words and turns of phrases that make a blog sound like someone is actually speaking to you don’t carry forward in novel form so well. I’m trying really hard not to cringe or feel mournful embarrassment when I look over the pages everyday. I’ve just calmly made notes like “THIS SUCKS” and moved on.

Dan the DH has been quite helpful in being a sound board for ideas and helping me brainstorm the dystopian future and it’s technology. A lot of that isn’t fleshed out – but again, I’m trying to write and the more I get stuck on details and spin my wheels on what certain devices are called or what exactly field exercises look like, the more difficult the process becomes and I can see roadblocks slamming down all around me.

Since you’ve all waited patiently through my ramblings, here’s a special treat for you. A small snippet from the rough draft of the Nanowrimo project. 

Read More…

Preparing For National Novel Writing Month 2011

A few days ago after my most recent interview…I made a commitment to myself. If I did not get this job then I would participate in National Novel Writing Month. As it turns out, I didn’t get the job. It was a mixture of extreme disappointment and relief. 

So I’m going to do it – I’m going to write a book in 30 days.

Because I’ve had this story idea kicking around in my head for a while now. To the point where I’ve written out the few scenes that inspired it, as well as built up the world around it. It’s a five-page Google document that has been haunting me for the last six months, with very little progress to show for it.

I am a person in need of firm deadlines – it’s a layover from all that High School Journalism. On my own, I will putter around and invent distractions (like the internet) and never get a damn thing accomplished. Compressing the entire novel-writing experience into 30 days will force me to get at least 2,000 words a day on paper. Whether its complete tripe or a mythically perfect first draft – it will be something more than what I have now.

And it will be something to show at the end of three months of unemployment. 

Besides nearly completing four classes of my certification program. And securing an internship.

Not that I’m not completely in love with blogging as my main source of writing, but I’ve been meaning to put something more creative and non-fictiony together for years.

The NaNoWriMo experience is pretty established both online and IRL. Can’t help but be impressed with the level of community building they are able to create.

There was a kick-off party this weekend at the downtown library, they have weekly or bi-weekly writing gatherings, and their website features forums designed for fellow writers to offer support. I’ve gone so far as to create a profile and introduce myself to the group. Several people in Portland are making outlines for each chapter. I’m afraid my thoughts aren’t that put together. I don’t even really know how it will end. I know the basic structure, but I’ve never been able to put my stories together in that orderly a fashion.

What I have in the Google Doc is probably the  closest thing I’ll get to an outline the night before NaNoWriMo kicks off.

Dan The Spouse has proposed I sort of “live-blog” the novel-writing process and post the 2,000 words each day for public consumption. That’s a bit frightening for me. I’m a huge fan of the editing process and first drafts are generally weak, full of crap dialogue and patched together scenes. And 2,000 words a day without any kind of filter before they reach a wider audience is intimidating. Plus, how do I copyright that if I want to later publish it as a final draft?

Perhaps I will post some excerpts as the month progresses and keep you all updated about the word count and the process. Stay tuned.

Wonder Northwest 2011: Recap

Sad to say – even with no expectations, Wonder Northwest did not live up to them. The DH and I each bought a weekend pass but only ended up attending Day One. It was advertised as a Comics and Pop Culture expo, but was severely lacking in the comics department.

Zombie fun at Wonder Northwest

The show floor was anemic compared to either Stumptown or the Portland Comic Book Show. The only publisher there was Dark Horse Comics. TFAW and Cosmic Monkey were representing with some books and a few artists/creators were sprinkled about…but mostly it was Toys and Collectibles. Those are the elements I usually steer clear of at cons. Did pick up two hardcover collections of The Stand and The Dark Tower series however. Digging on the Stephen King adaptations.

I did appreciate the live DJ (lots of great soul songs) but the volume made it difficult to chat so I’m kinda glad there weren’t artists or writers I wanted to see. We wouldn’t have been able to talk anyway. The booths in the registration area were cool – lots of great Portland organizations like PDXYar, The Alter Egos Society and PDX Browncoats representing.

All of the panel offerings were enticing, if not heavily attended. We were bummed to miss the Boilerplate, Zombie Epidemiology and Geeking Back to the Community panels due a series of unfortunate events (late arrival, leaving to put on zombie makeup, forgetting ID and having to drive home and back). I’m sure the costume contest on Sunday was awesome too, but we opted for dinner with my fam instead.

I guess what really threw me was the average age of the attendee. At least 50% of those in attendance were teens or early 20s. Loads of anime kids in costumes. It just made me feel so incredibly old! Didn’t really start enjoying myself until we hit up the hotel bar for a Zombie (the alcoholic beverage) and watched some nerdy Rock Band. Sadly cut short for zombie evening exploits.

The Zombie Walk itself was lackluster compared to previous outings and getting all dressed up didn’t seem worth it by the time we got to the Bossanova Ballroom for the Zombie Prom. We arrived 30 minutes early to stand outside in the evening drizzle. Eventually many of the other folks split off and filtered on over to the Lovecraft for the official after party.

Read More…

Wonder Northwest 2011: Preview

Blocked out the weekend to attend the Wonder Northwest Portland Comics and Pop Culture Expo. This will be the first time, so I’m not really sure what to expect. Judging from their website however, there is lots to do – panels from 11-6pm, the exhibit hall from 10am-5pm and a Gaming Room from 10am-6pm.  Also features Rock Band, a costume contest and Cosplay karaoke. And the after parties seem pretty kick-ass as well. 

Portland Geek Council of Commerce and Culture — 11am – 11:45
Did you know that there’s an organization here in Portland that plans all the nerdy events you all love to attend so much? Well, there is, and here they are! Think of them as the Justice League, but without awesome super powers! The geek Mafia without all that messy mafia stuff! A real life organization that represents you! Come find out what they are doing and what you can do to help.

Boilerplate: Behind the Scenes — 12noon – 12:45
Meet the real Boilerplate! Creator Paul Guinan and his co-author/wife, Anina Bennett, will reveal the origin of everyone’s favorite steampunk robot, discuss plans for a Boilerplate movie produced by J.J. Abrams, perform excerpts from Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel, and give you a sneak peek at their next book. Featuring an extremely rare appearance by Paul’s handmade Boilerplate model.

Gays In Comics: Portland Edition! –1pm – 1:45
Industry insider Andy Mangels will host a panel of comics professionals and their experiences in the industry.

Star Wars Filming Locations — 2pm – 2:45
Gus Lopez will present an overview of the Star Wars filming locations used for both Original and Prequel Trilogies. From the deserts of Tunisia to the glaciers of Norway, from the redwoods of California to palaces in Italy, Gus has been hunting Star Wars locations for 15 years. In this panel, he will show photos of the actual locations used to shoot these films, how the sites have changed over time, and some of the cool “souvenirs” he found on location. Learn about traveling on your own to a galaxy far, far away…

Read More…

Free Comic Book Day 2011: Portland Preview

Some of youse out there might know already, but Saturday is the national and annual Free Comic Book Day 2011. The DH and I have charge of two nephews (their dad is off in Tennessee processing insurance claims from the Southern Tornado devastation last week). Therefore, our activities might be much more muted than last year, but I’m pretty excited about the prospect of introducing one of my nephews to his first comic book shop (ESPECIALLY on FCBD).

They are extra lucky, because we’re also taking them to Thor on Friday night. I don’t doubt there will be a free comic there (as there was for Iron Man 2 last year).

So what’s going down in Stumptown that is kid friendly at our comic shops? I’ll divulge all right here.



-From 10am to 6pm FREE COMICS while supplies last

– No in-store artists or signings or other special events are advertised. You should stop by anyway if you’re in the neighborhood!



– I’ll assume 10am or 11am-6pm FREE COMICS while supplies last (as most stores are doing) no times are indicated.

– Didn’t have much posted on their webpage and only a small blurb on their Facebook profile mentioning two artists will be available for signings, with no time frames included.



– From 10am to 7pm FREE COMICS while supplies last, $2 Doorbuster graphic novels, 60% off hundred of sale items, TFAW bucks, signings, stormtroopers and pirates.


Read More…

Emerald City Comic Con 2011: The Costumes

Everyone knows the best part of a fan convention is the opportunity to cosplay your favorite franchise in the safe company of fellow nerds who will love you for it. Even a crappy costume gets love at a comic con. And for those not crazy enough to dress up, there is always the opportunity to snap a photo with those who are.

As promised, here are some of the best costumes from March 4th-March 6th. Included a few of the costumes from the Masquerade which have already been seen, but these pics are better. My apologies for so much…me…in this slideshow. 😛

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SADLY, this is the last ECCC related blog entry until 2012. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be anymore content on this here blog!

NEXT WEEK: Battle: Los Angeles Review, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena Recap and The Hunger Games Link-Bombs + My Attempt at Casting.

LATER THIS MONTH: Sucker Punch Review, Book Club Recap, Bridge City Comics Signing Recap

AND MORE: I’ll also be meeting with a friend here in the PDX area who is interested in collaboration. Excited about mixing things up a bit and seeing what kind of response we get. I’ll post more details soon!

Emerald City Comic Con 2011: Day Two


The morning got off to a rocky start with a late breakfast at the hotel restaurant and getting my parents settled in to the room. We’d all (except for Erin) decided to do a little Cosplay for Saturday – my parents dressed in Star Trek uniforms for their picture with William Shatner, my dad once again sporting some stylized facial hair.

My parents are just too damn cute for words.


Dan and I were sporting our Left 4 Dead costumes – Dan dressed as Bill and I went as Zoey. It took us about two months to put the costumes together. Most of the pieces were purchased outright or items we already owned, but some were customized.

Clothing items we already owned: Dan’s pants, white undershirt. My jeans and white undershirt.

Clothing items we purchased: Green beret, pink track jacket, black hi-top cons, black army boots

Bill’s green beret was customized with a yellow patch which Dan ACTUALLY sewed on. Very proud of him for that. Zoey’s jacket we purchased online at Wal-Mart. It was the closest match I could find and also the cheapest. They’re on clearance right now, if you want to pick one up before they’re gone. I had to do a bit of alteration – cutting, gluing and sewing white fabric on – Thank God this jacket comes equipped with black fabric as an outline for all the places you need to add material. Also had to cut the black fabric off the collar, as well as remove the tacky glued on bits underneath. THAT took awhile. Way too damn long but aided with the help of one of those de-fuzz-baller-things.

Dan spray-painted two guns black to cover the orange tips – one a machine and another a shot-gun – both appear in the video game series. We printed up some hilarious “Pain Reliever” labels for generic aspirin bottles here, attached it to the side of our pants with velcro and safety pins.

We also purchased two red expandable duffle bags from Wal-Mart which we customized with white fabric. We attached them to our backs with safety pins so they would seem to inexplicably hang there.

Finally – we made up “Boomer Bile” bottles which took searching at three or four different stores to find the right container. We went with water bottles purchased at our local Target (not finding them online), augmented with flat toothpicks and spray painted to match the white color of the lids. We added a bit of red tape to the lid, and then printed up a label found here on sticker paper. The boomer bile we modified based on a recipe we found on this Cosplay forum. Highly suggest the forum – it has a ton of great ideas for manufacturing props and putting together accurate costumes.

Boomer Bile Recipe Used: Lime Green Gatorade, Green Food Coloring and a dab of Cornstarch. Just gotta shake it up every once in awhile if the starch settles. It gives off a delicious green glowing color…and you can drink it for full effect.

The results of all this time and effort looked something like this:

Not exactly screen accurate - but you get the idea.

Read More…