The Nerdist

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Here’s some stuff I’ve harvested from around the web of late:

The Nerdist Podcast put out a couple of interesting/fun interviews that caught my ear: Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, talking about the comics and the movies; David J. Peterson, language guy, talking about inventing languages (including for Game of Thrones) and various real-language stuff.

Rio 2 has been all over cinema screens around the world lately. Here’s the real parrot it’s based on, Spix’s macaw:

Very pretty, no? Really quite beautiful in fact, if you ask me. But not as widespread as Rio 2, that parrot. In fact, it’s extinct in the wild as far as anyone can tell. Has been for some time. Good job, humanity. (And yes, I know the whole extinct in the wild thing is kind of a central plot point in the movies, but I still find the whole ‘let’s make fun movies and a bajillion dollars based on this’ thing a bit weird, even if it’s sort of well-intentioned.)

Amazon took over Comixology, the biggest purveyor of digital comics, to absolutely nobody’s surprise. I can’t begin to tell you how despondent the big river’s acquisition avalanche makes me. They’re a fine and clever company, I know; I use their excellent services now and again. But it’s in precisely no-one‘s long-term interest (except their own, of course) the way they’re hoovering up competitors and add-ons that incrementally turn them into a leviathan of truly leviathanic proportions. If you want to buy books online, take a look at Wordery. Good prices, good service, free delivery worldwide.

Talking of comics, I thought I’d take a moment to point out my favourite comic produced by IDW Publishing, the good folks who put out the Rogue Trooper comic what I have been writting. Locke & Key is an inspired, beautifully crafted and beautifully illustrated dark fantasy/horror comic from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Complex and intriguing, it’s loaded with terrific character writing, clever world-building and eye-popping set-piece action. Give it a try (at Wordery, of course).

And here’s one of my favourite blogs, which I don’t believe I’ve mentioned here before: Abandoned Scotland. An exploration of ruined, forgotten, derelict Scotland that’s kind of hynoptically fascinating if you ask me. Stuff that’s hidden in plain sight, overlooked and disregarded, comes alive when you pay close attention to it. Investigate it. The most grungy and crumbly places and buildings become kind of beautiful. The Abandoned Scotland YouTube channel is a goldmine of strange discoveries. Don’t suppose this is exactly how the Scottish Tourist Board wants the world to see Scotland, but as a resident it’s all simultaneously familiar and surprising. Great stuff.

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It’s been a long time since I paraded my podcast addiction publicly here, so just a quick note to flag up the fact that one of the best interview/conversation podcasts out there, The Nerdist, has been on a crazy roll the last few weeks.  Geek icon after geek icon has shown up, with extended discussion about all manner of interesting stuff.  If you’re into movies, TV, superheroes, that kind of stuff, this makes for very fun listening.  Just to mention the most obviously high profile ones:

Kevin Feige, boss man of Marvel Studios.

Tom Hiddleston, he of Loki fame.

Clark Gregg, he of Agent Coulson, Agents of Shield fame.

Harrison Ford, he of just plain old fame.

Daniel Radcliffe, he of Potter fame.

Tom Hanks, he of the biggest fame of the lot of them.

Stan Lee, he of … well, he’s Stan the Man, isn’t he?

And that’s a small fraction of the recentish interviews.  I’ve left out a whole heap of musicians, comedians, TV folks etc.  Almost without exception these end up being relaxed, informal, extended conversations that go places no by-the-numbers publicity interview would ever reach.  You’re very unlikely to go wrong, just picking some that sound interesting and giving them a listen.

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