#3 – The Defenders

Welcome to Culture Pop Remix #3!

In this episode, the entire episode is a panel discussion of the Netflix series The Defenders! Chris, Caren, and I slip and slide into talking about the individual shows and comics as well, but you expected that, didn’t you?

SPOILER ALERT: we talk about the series as a whole. So if you’ve not finished it yet, be warned!

#2 – Batman and Harley Quinn, The Tick, and Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire

Welcome to Culture Pop Remix #2! Now with original theme music!

In this episode I start with a mention of the movies I recently bought in Digital HD format, and explain why I prefer to buy Digital HD Movies on iTunes. (1:06) 

Then I review the new DC Animated movie Batman and Harley Quinn. (5:05) 

Next, I move to streaming TV and give you my take on Amazon Prime’s new series The Tick. (10:32) 

I end with a book review of John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire. (15:29)

I started a new podcast: Culture Pop Remix!

Farewell A Guide From The Perplexed, Hello Culture Pop Remix! So is this the same podcast with a new name? Yes and no. Let me explain:

When I began A Guide From The Perplexed in 2010, I just saw podcasting as another medium for disseminating the same information that I already was giving out in blog posts and on social media. The podcast was merely a way to get that information to people who’d rather have it streaming into their earholes while they’re doing something else, instead of having to give it three minutes of focus. I never took it very seriously, which is why in seven years or so, I’ve only racked up thirteen podcasts.

I did other podcasting experiments, of course. For a couple of years when I was regularly reading weekly comics I did a podcast with Michelle called Comics Corner. While it was going, I enjoyed it, and we amassed a few hundred regular listeners. But I still wasn’t taking it all that seriously.

Then a funny thing happened. Podcasting became a “thing.” I started listening to interesting podcasts, everything from people speaking to news shows to even serialized entertainment, like old radio programs. And for those who listened to A Guide From The Perplexed, I started experimenting, talking about movies and TV and comics—more than just my projects. And suddenly, I was getting excited about podcasting in a way I hadn’t before.

So in one sense, Culture Pop Remix is a logical extension of what AGFTP was becoming. Each episode is a deep dive into a couple of new things in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, comics, games, movies, shows, etc. But it’s not just “pop culture news”—other podcasts already do that, and there’s no real fun for me just reading a list of everything new. Instead, it’s a “remix” (I got the idea from a great series YouTube videos called everything is a remix) in which I take those few things that really affected me, and put my own spin on it. And not just me; I plan on bringing in guest co-hosts as appropriate, depending on the topics, and really turning this into a podcast of interest and depth for those into pop culture. I’m setting a goal of weekly, but I really am going to shoot for 2-3 every month, usually on Sundays.

The first episode is already live!

You can subscribe to Culture Pop Remix through your favorite podcast player applications. You can also go directly to the podcast website at, where you can stream each episode live from the page, or download them.

You can go to the iTunes listing for Culture Pop Remix and subscribe here.

The direct link to the feed is here.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Don’t Be A Sucker

It’s hard for me to concentrate on anything today besides the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and how happy the neo-Nazis are that President Trump refuses to condemn them. Other essays and articles already address how deeply this affects those of us who aren’t Nazis (I particularly recommend John Scalzi’s essay) and I don’t want to just virtue signal or contribute to the noise with a long post restating what others are saying.

So let me simply leave this video, made by the US War Department in 1947, called “Don’t Be A Sucker.” The basic brief of the short film is that it “Admonishes Americans that they will lose their country if they let fanaticism and hatred turn them into “suckers.” “Let’s forget about ‘we’ and ‘they’ — let’s think about us!

70 years later, that message seems more relevant than ever. Let’s not listen to those who want to divide us into the “master race” and everyone else, lets say no to violence, and let’s be good to each other, okay?


A Guide From The Perplexed #13

The Comic-Con 2017 Edition! Freshly back from two days at the convention, I give my impressions of Comic-Con in general, and some specific details about my experience. I end the podcast by discussing some of my projects, specifically what I plan to do with the podcast at this point. Music is the song Subdivision by Rush, as covered by Ember After.

Southbound to Comic-Con (for a while)

And here I go again (on my own): it’s time for Comic-Con International, aka SDCC. Regular readers know that I have tried to make it every year since about 2010, and usually I do. This year has been particularly touch-and-go. As I mentioned in a recent podcast, Luna, our 14-year old giant schnauzer, is in quite fragile health, and leaving her alone isn’t an option, and handing her off to someone else to take care of isn’t a very palatable option. Michelle offered to watch Luna so that I could spend a couple of days (July 20/21) at Comic-Con, then I’m reciprocating by coming back early so she can go camping with friends on the July 22/23. So I won’t get the full Comic-Con experience, but I know that Luna will be in the capable hands of her co-owner, and I’ll still get a couple days of geek mecca.

I fully intend to podcast on my return about the experience, as well as fire off my next newsletter (you are signed up aren’t you?) subsequent to that. If you follow me on social media, however, look for cool pictures posted to Instagram and Facebook and maybe tweets too. So if you’re going to be at Comic-Con yourself, please feel welcome to let me know on the social medias (and the emails), and if you’re not, hopefully I’ll have some entertaining stuff for you.

A Guide From The Perplexed #12

I wrote a new short story! In this short podcast I talk about my new free science-fiction short story “Yes / No,” and share some of my hopes for Comic-Con International 2017. I finish up talking a little bit about the next novel in The Sedumen Chronicles, Firebird Champion.

New short story: Yes / No

I’ve written a new short story! I’ve already presented it to my mailing list (and you did sign up for my newsletter, didn’t you? If you haven’t, you can here) but I wanted to give it away to everyone else too. As the cover image above should suggest, it’s called “Yes / No,” it’s science fiction, and it takes place in Earth’s orbit in the near future. Here’s the short description of the story:

Captain Lang’s repair mission was routine: fix the malfunctioning robotic arm on the International Space Station. What wasn’t routine was the wormhole that opened between Earth and the moon, and the alien vessel that contacted him. Captain Lang figures out how to understand two responses from the aliens: yes and no. This makes it difficult for the aliens to communicate the imminent danger and urgency of Captain Lang’s situation…

Short stories are my way to experiment with ideas and plots that don’t necessarily require a full novel’s worth of twists and turns. They’re short and fun, and hopefully a dozen pages worth of entertainment. As ever, my short stories are free to either download or read online. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please tell your friends!

Click here to download Yes / No as an ePub, PDF, or mobi (Kindle) file

Click here to read Yes / No online

Batman Has Left The Building – Goodbye Adam West

Adam West, TV’s Batman, has died at 88 after a short fight with leukemia. I was surprised by this (I had no idea he was sick, he’s been doing voice work and guesting on TV shows) and it made me quite nostalgic.

I’ve written before on my blog how influential watching Star Trek reruns as a child in the 70s was to my creativity and imagination. Well, so was watching reruns of Batman. And as a child Adam West was the ultimate superhero. He was earnest and good, smart and capable, and no matter how devious the plot or desperate the peril, he could always wiggle his way out of it. When you’re a kid, you don’t understand camp, and I took it completely seriously, and was riveted.

As an adult the hokeyness of it is readily obvious, but it’s still charming. Even beyond nostalgia, these days with dark and gritty superheroes being so conflicted and driven and psychically tortured there’s something endearing about a hero who does what’s right because it’s right, fights crime simply because he can and he knows the police needs his help. Sure, you can do these things without dressing up in bat-themed spandex, but hey, the bat suit was fun!

The Batman TV show was instrumental in my love of superheroes and superheroics. Maybe you can’t draw a direct line from the Batman TV show to The Sedumen Chronicles but I certainly wouldn’t have the mindset I do if it wasn’t for the daring-do of the Caped Crusader. Adam West’s Batman couldn’t have been further from the Dark Knight that Batman became, but his ultra-earnest-while-campy take was perfect for a growing boy looking for heroes. Thank you, Mr. West, for being the perfect Batman at the time.