Showing posts with label fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fun. Show all posts

The Best Dr. Strange Gif

Maybe there are better Dr. Strange gifs out there, but if so I have not seen them. (Also this was ridiculously hard to find for my sister, so I'm intentionally trying to increase its SEO a little).

Random SEO crap: Benedict Cumberbatch animated gif jumping leaping flying funny hopscotch harry potter anchorman avengers dirty dancing pokemon eaten by a shark SEO's a thing right I'm not just making this up? oh god what if i am what if people are reading this who am i and what have i done with my life oh look there's cake in the fridge!

8 Things That Are True

1. There is only one flavor of Pop Tart.

2. Firefly is still on the air. Wash is fine.

3. No one's ever made a live-action version of Avatar. Also I am an Earth Bender.

4. Bacon is good for me.

5. Eventually, my logical, well-supported arguments will convince people I am right.

6. There are only three Star Wars movies, but they might be making a fourth (WE'LL SEE, ABRAMS).

7. Rivendell is real. It looks exactly like this. It's in New Zealand, and I will visit Elrond there someday.

8. All comments that deny these truths will be deleted.

What else is true?

The Reality of Dungeons & Dragons

As a kid, I was taught that D&D is of the devil, but the reality is much, much worse.

Yup. Good times. Good times.

I realize it's Christmas Eve, and you're probably not even reading this right now. If you are, then know the blog is going dark for the holidays. (And if you aren't reading this . . . weird). I'll be back with a First Impact post on January 2nd.

Have a good break!


I'm taking a week-long break from blogging for this reason. Things should return to their regular schedule next Monday.

Here's a picture of Batman riding an elephant.

You Know That Fantasy Novel is Really the Author's D&D Game When...

  1. It starts in a tavern.
  2. There is one protagonist and his 3 or 4 friends, who are different from him in every way.
  3. The protagonist is awesome, because every other character tells us so. He also seems the only one capable of making decisions.
  4. Dark-skinned elves are always evil, and always dual-wielding.
  5. The only limitation on magic is that wizards must sleep before they can cast more spells.
  6. Character names contain apostrophes in unneces'sary and inexplicab'le pl'aces.
  7. The villain is immensely more powerful than the main characters, but despite their obvious bent on stopping him, he doesn't face them until they are strong enough to defeat him.
  8. The main characters are referred to as a "party."
  9. The "party" consists of a fighter, a thief, a cleric, and a wizard (alternatively: warrior/rogue/healer/mage, barbarian/burglar/priest/sorcerer, etc).
  10. They take on a quest to either save the world or aid the village, for no other reason than that it's right.
  11. Despite the fact that there are many characters more powerful than the protagonists, no one else is willing or able to take on the quest.
  12. Anyone, anywhere, uses "adventure" as a verb.
Got more?

5 Things I Love About Chiang Mai

Moving out here wasn't easy. There are a lot of things I miss like the ocean, TV shows I can understand, average temperatures below 80 degrees . . .

But this is about the things I love.

1. The Old City
Chiang Mai has a moat, guys. I mean, yeah, it's got fountains in it, and it's basically one giant traffic circle now, but still. A. MOAT. The remains of the wall are pretty freaking cool too.

2. Rainy Season
You may recall that I love rainy days. Well the rainy season here lasts for like 7-8 months. LOVE!

3. Motorbikes
Best way to travel (except when it's raining of course). And you'd be surprised how much you can fit on one of these.

4. High Volume, Late Night Karaoke Bars

4. Loi Kratong (and other assorted holidays)
You know those lanterns from Tangled? Disney stole them (granted, so did I). The real things (a) don't float a few feet above the water (they keep going up -- basic physics, guys) and (b) are way more awe-inspiring.

We also have Songkran, the Thai New Year, in which 65 million people engage in a three-day long, nationwide water fight.

5. Western Stuff
Chiang Mai is among Thailand's major tourist destinations and is also home to a surprisingly large number of Western missionaries. Consequently, there's a lot of Western stuff here, for which I am grateful. Hamburgers, pasta, pizza, even good Mexican food can be found if you know where to look. (Not that I don't love Thai food, but sometimes I get a little sick of rice, aye?).

And thank God Thailand has a taste for Western sci-fi/action movies! It means that although I haven't heard of a single non-animated Oscar nominee, I still get to see Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and all the Marvel movies. Even better, the lines for tickets are short and, because you choose your seat when you buy your ticket, there are no lines to get in the theater at all.

 These people are not in Thailand (actually I think they're in Rome, but you get the idea).

Seriously, American Movie Theaters. Lines. What's up with that?

Unicorns (and Winners)

I want to thank all of you so much for supporting Ellen Oh and Asian YA book covers during the Asian YA Book Giveaway. So many people tweeted and facebooked(?) and e-mailed about it. Don't let this be the end. Keep talking about this issue and supporting the books and publishers you're proud of!

But for the contest, congratulations to Kash Mitaukano and Carl Scott! I have e-mailed both of you already, but if you didn't receive it, please contact me yourself.

For those of you who didn't win, I submit a picture of unicorns (cross-posted from Anthdrawlogy).

I'm sure this has something to do with Asian YA books. Quick, someone make an analogy!

The Perfect Utensil


For some, the perfect eating utensil is the most elegant, the most practical, or simply whatever they're used to. But me? I want a utensil that allows me to eat the most amount of food with the least amount of trouble. Let's begin.

Like most Westerners, I grew up with the knife and fork. It's the perfect combination for a culture that eats primarily meat (although I'll never understand why manners dictate you switch hands for slicing and eating). Ideally suited for steak, the fork/knife can handle a wide variety of other foods. So it's good, but not the best. Let's look at some other options.

The chopsticks are the choice of the East. They are an elegant utensil, and you're super-cool if you can use them. But cool as they are, they just don't make any sense for countries whose primary dish is rice. I mean, seriously guys, how am I supposed to eat this?

Next up is the spork. The scooping action makes it an ideal choice for rice and small pastas, and the tongs give it the versatility to spear larger chunks of food. The spork is almost perfect, but used alone, it is difficult to get reluctant peas onto the shovel or to slice foods too big for one bite.

Enter Thailand. In Thailand, chopsticks are only used for noodle dishes (sometimes not even then). The preferred combination is a fork and spoon, but you'll have to throw out your Western mindset: the fork goes in your off hand. The spoon is your primary utensil.

The spoon allows you to carry much more food. And the fork allows you to fill the spoon to overflowing with a minimum of effort. You can also use them to cut anything except a tough steak.

But then why are you eating tough steak anyway?

The fork-and-spoon is the best combination I've found yet, to the point where I often ask for a spoon when I visit the States. But there is one eating utensil that tops even these.

The tortilla! This amazing invention serves as a plate, but you can eat it! Pile it with food, roll it up, and shove it all into your mouth. The best part is, when you're done, there's nothing left to wash but your hands.

Geez, I could go for some Mexican food right now.

How about you? What do you like to eat with?

INCARNATE Giveaway Finalists

On Monday, we had a caption contest to win a copy of Jodi Meadows' debut novel INCARNATE. You guys did not make it easy to choose finalists, and I am incredibly glad I decided not to pick the winner myself.

That's your job now.

Without further ado, here's the picture and the finalists:

The poll is open until Friday, when I reveal the finalist's names and announce the winner. If for some reason the poll isn't working, you can vote in the comments.*

ALSO, even though you can no longer enter captions for MY contest, any caption entered on this form is eligible for Jodi's grand prize drawing until Monday, Feb 6th, 11:59 pm EST!

So get voting!

If you refer to the captions in the comments, specify them by name, not number -- the poll randomizes the order each time the page is loaded.

On Overcoming Phobias

(In which my loving wife tries to reassure me as I leave for the hospital)
Cindy: "How about this? Would you rather get your blood drawn or go to the dentist?"
Me: "That's a mean question."
Cindy: "Well?"
Me: "All right. If it was just a tooth cleaning, then I guess . . . No, the dentist lasts longer."
Cindy: "See?"
Me: "Fine. I'd rather get my blood drawn than go to the dentist. There, I said it."
Cindy: "How about 'Yay! I'm getting my blood drawn!'"
Me: "Don't push it."

On the Art of Socializing

(In which my wife Cindy and I discuss taking our five boys to a local playgroup)
Cindy: "I don't know if I want to go to playgroup tomorrow. But the boys would love it. I feel bad."
Me: "They have snacks at playgroup, right?"
Cindy: "Yes..."
Me: "I'll take the boys."
Cindy: *smirks* "You'd have to socialize with people."
Me: "You'd be surprised how rarely you actually 'have to' socialize."
Cindy: *laughs* "Yeah, you'll just sit next to the snack table with your book, not even checking to see if the boys are getting in trouble."
Me: "I'd watch the boys!"
Cindy: "See, this is why you don't get to go."

(A little later)
Cindy: "I guess I'll go, but I'm so tired. I don't know if I want to talk with anybody."
Me: "You want some tips on blowing people off?"
Cindy: "Sure."
Me: *gets excited* "Okay, first you need to look like you're doing something."
Cindy: *chuckles* "Like your book?"
Me: "Yeah, you take a book or a notebook or pretend you need to discipline your kids..."
Cindy: "I could talk to you on the phone."
Me: "That would work. Or headphones! Headphones are great, because you can pretend you don't even hear the person. And if someone doesn't get the hint, you make them stand there until they call you three or four times, then you make a big show of taking your headphones out and blink at them and say, 'Did you say something?'"
Cindy: *stares*
Me: "I've never done that before."

Pop Quiz: Name Pronunciation

[UPDATE (9/12/11): Believe it or not, my name's pronounced Hyna (like Heineken, the beer). Remember that when I'm famous and you do a vlog or podcast about me. (Also if you call me Hiney in public, I may use your own mispronunciation stories against you. I'm looking at you Matt MacNish!).]

A silly poll for the weekend. These are the five most frequent pronunciations of my last name, but only one of them is correct. Note that if you know me in real life, you are TOTALLY ALLOWED to vote. I'll update this post with the correct answer on Monday.

  • Heinz (like the ketchup)
  • Hine (rhymes with brine)
  • Hane (like the underwear)
  • Hyna (like Heineken, the beer)
  • Hiney (like the word for butt)

So, I had this speech class my sophomore year in high school. I hate speeches. Before HS, I sometimes intentionally took a zero just so I wouldn't have to give a speech. The teacher was a good guy. He was funny, but he had no inhibitions when it came to student humiliation (as befits a speech teacher, I guess).

Because the class was a general requirement, the students were a cross-section: nerds, jocks, actors, cheerleaders, popular kids, everything. I only had one friend in the class and was in constant fear of what the others thought of me or when they would laugh.

So the worst moment comes; the teacher calls me up for my turn. "Adam..." He squints at the role sheet. "Hiney?" Then he laughs and says, "A damn hiney?"

I laughed it off, but really I wanted to crawl into a corner and die. What's your worst name pronunciation story?

On the Probability of Success

A conversation I had with my wife Cindy the other day:

Cindy: "It's so hot!"
Adam: "We should invent like a portable room with air conditioning and just drive it around."
Cindy: "You mean like a car?"
Adam: "No, no. We'll put a couch in it and a TV or something. We can rent it out!"
Cindy: "Good luck with that, honey. I think you've got a better chance with getting published."
Adam: "Wow. I didn't think the idea was THAT bad."

Answers! (and a Selfish Request)

Before I get to the questions, I have a task for you. You remember that story I wrote, "Pawn's Gambit"? The one about the escaped convict trying to find his daughter (before the assassin he works for does)? If you haven't read it, go read it now.

Your task (assuming you like the story, of course) is to go to this thread on the BCS forums and vote for "Pawn's Gambit" to appear in their Year Two anthology. And next time you need an internet vote for something, I'll vote for you too.

(There are lots of other stories you can vote for in addition to mine (you're allowed up to 5). Beneath Ceaseless Skies is easily my favorite fantasy mag (all the more for being free), and it's worth clicking through to read the other stories.)


Jodi Meadows says: Your Q&A comes with sound effects: how much input do you have in that aspect of your videos? Can you request certain sound effects?

My sound effects team is not the easiest to work with. She only takes on projects she's interested in and rarely takes creative input. And if her mommy's around, she refuses to do any work at all.

Despite all that, she's one of the best in the business. After all, she was raised by sound effects masters:

Susan Quinn asks: When are you going to start writing for children? You have a massive built in critique group. :)

I don't know if I can trust my critique group. They still pick Garfield the Easter Bunny for bedtime reading (if I forget to hide it). I do, however, have an idea for an ABC book that includes "A is for Airship" and "Z is for Zombie." If I could illustrate it, I think they'd really like it.

Dave asks: If you could fight anyone from history, who would it be?

Man, I don't know. Why would I fight someone? Cuz it's cool? Cuz I hate them and want to beat them up? Cuz I want to learn something?

See, I'm pretty sure if I fought someone, I'd lose (unless I'm fighting a five-year-old, but then why am I beating up a five-year-old?). Does growing up in a dojo and sparring with other ninjas count? Maybe I could do that.

Deniz Bevan asks: Where or when would you vacation if money and time were no object?

My wife and I really, really, really want to go to Italy someday. And maybe Paris. I think we could pull together the money, but the real issue is the ten kids we'd be leaving behind (or worse, dragging along behind, that would be terrifying).

The funny thing is, I think both of us want to visit those places because of the food.

C Ann Golden asks: If you could be any superhero who would you be and why?

That's a really tough question for someone like me. I want to spend weeks researching all the different superheroes and their powers, then write a thesis about it. (That's only partially true. I actually just want to read a lot of comic books).

He's probably on my mind because of the movie, but as a kid I always liked Green Lantern. He seemed so cool because he could do ANYTHING. Though I have to admit having your weakness be "the color yellow" is kinda lame.

David Jace asks: If you could become any animal (and turn back) what animal would it be?

A seagull. No seriously, check this out: I could fly, live near the ocean, have no natural predators, and feed on a diet of sushi and beach BBQs. IT'S THE PERFECT ANIMAL!

That's it! Thank you for your questions (seriously, one time nobody asked any questions and I cried for a week (okay, so I didn't cry)), and don't forget to vote for "Pawn's Gambit"!

Star Wars, Gangsta Style

This has been around since before YouTube, but if you haven't seen it, you need to. Right now.

The Future of Print Books?

We've got a new girl in our home, so posts will be lighter this week. By which I mean they're shorter, not fewer.

So You Want to be a Ninja...


THE BASICS. Spelling, grammar, punctuation--these are your katas, the fundamentals. Any peasant can throw a punch or toss together a grammatically correct sentence. You must know why it is correct. You must be so familiar with the rules that even your Twitter updates are punctuated properly. Only then can you improvise, creating your own forms by intent, not laziness.

WORDS. Words are your weapons, and you must become familiar with as many as possible. More than familiar, you must become adept in their use. A simple farmer can pick up a sword and make a clumsy effort at wielding it. You must be its master. And you must know which weapons are appropriate for each situation. A polearm is all but useless in assassination, as "puissant" and "scion" would find a poor home in the mouth of the common taxi driver.

With knowledge of weapons and katas, you would make a decent fighter, a writer of e-mails, a composer of persuasive essays. Any daimyo would be glad to have you among their common militia, but you would not be a ninja.

STYLE. Fighting is more than killing your opponent, and writing is more than words strung in the proper order. The samurai know this, and you can learn much from them. You must be aware of the clarity of your writing, the variation of sentence structure, the powerful techniques of imagery and metaphor. Writing is an art, not simply a means of communication.

With a knowledge of style, you could choose your own path. You could become a mercenary, writing for whomever would pay you. You could begin the path of the samurai, accepting their bushido and writing only the truth--news, non-fiction, and the like. If you seek a life of security and reputation, then perhaps the way of the samurai is for you.

Or you could begin the life of a ninja. To the samurai, bushido is life. To the ninja, it is a hindrance. The art of the ninja is lies and misdirection, surprise and subterfuge. To become a ninja, you must learn many techniques the samurai are not taught, master them, and make them your own.

You must learn the secrets of tension and plot, what drives a story forward and hooks the reader until the end. You must learn to create characters that are real, believable, and can gain or lose sympathy with the audience, as the situation dictates. You must understand the ways of dialogue to make your characters to speak without tearing down the lie you have constructed.

These are basic knowledge to the ninja, but they are only the beginning. Millions have gone before you. Most do not survive. The shinobi masters whose names you've heard are the exception, not the rule.

It takes more determination than you've ever known to become a ninja, but you can do it. I believe in you.

And if I'm wrong, it won't matter. You'll be dead.