Thursday, March 17, 2016

Life update: Podcasts, Simpsons, Comics

I'm working on a new podcast idea. Podcasting is something that I really have a passion for and want to continue working in that medium. The last one didn't really have a set theme and would be about something serious one week, something fun the next, and it may have been hard to get an audience that way. When that's closer to becoming a thing, I'll have more to say.

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I read the graphic novel "The Dark Knight Strikes Again," the 2001 sequel to the 1986 groundbreaking "The Dark Knight Returns." I wrote a review of the first one and talked about what I liked. I enjoyed how gritty it was, how it told the story of these real people, a 50-year-old Batman struggling with his mortality and a 70-year-old Commissioner Gordon being forced out of the office.

I think the reason I didn't like the sequel is because all of the things I liked about the first one are gone. It's not set in a realistic, dystopian Gotham City. A good portion of it takes place in space. Batman is barely seen. Jim Gordon is only featured in a few random sound bites.

One thing I liked about the first comic was that it showed a grim look at the 24-hour news cycle. In 1986, Frank Miller did a good job of imagining what today's cable news would look like. The issue with the sequel is that if things are going to get worse, then of course the news coverage has to as well. The problem here is that it's all taken too far and is unrealistic. In "Rises," we have rude talking heads who don't care about anything except getting their voice heard. In "Strikes Again" we have naked newscasters hyping sex and explosions.

And, of course, there's the ridiculous mid-air sex scene between Superman and Wonder Woman that results in earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes exploding, and ends with Wonder Woman immediately knowing that she's pregnant.

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If you ask my neighbors to describe who I am, they'll probably say "That guy who doesn't talk to us? The one who sits in his apartment all night and watches The Simpsons?" The walls are thin. I can hear them casually talking - and sometimes yelling and having the police stop by - so I know they can hear my television. Instead of "my television" a more accurate term would be "Ashley Green's television that she didn't want to take to California with her."

It's actually for research reasons. I have the first 10 seasons of "The Simpsons" on DVD and I'm working on an ebook project about the first decade of the show. So, my constant watching of the show is actually something I need to do.

It began as a late summer blog project to rank all of the episodes of those first 10 seasons. That's around 230 episodes. I figured compiling that list would give me something to do and fill some time. Then I started thinking about other stuff I could write about.

It's loosely going to be a collection of essays looking at the cultural impact of "The Simpsons" on different areas. Religion, politics, alcoholism, homosexuality, etc... And, also that ranking list.

I was getting started on it and had to take a break on that when I got hired at the newspaper. Moving 3 1/2 hours and starting a new career really takes away a lot of your free time to rank your favorite episodes of a cartoon.

But, now I'm a little more settled into things here and have a better idea of how to manage side projects. So, that's back to being a thing I'm working on. I'll probably give a more thorough update on this project over the summer. Right now, I just have a mostly-completed ranking list and several ideas swirling in my head. 

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That's all for now. Hey, while you're at it, why don't you take a look at my first ebook, "B-Sides: rarities and unreleased works, vol. 01" and maybe buy it if that's something you would be interested in.

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