Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Even Jedi Masters go Easter Egg hunting, so enjoy whatever festivities you have planned today. If you're like me, that involves waiting for all the holiday stuff to be and Walking Dead and Game of Thrones to be on...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Your Online Dating Profile and What You're Doing Wrong: A Guide for Women

Spoiler: This has nothing to do with any of the following, but I had to; new Doctor Who is just five days away!

I've been doing the whole online dating thing off and on for almost seven years now, pretty exclusively on OKCupid because it's free, with varying degrees of success (read: none). Over the course of those years, I've understandably come across some things in women's profiles that seem to me to be counterproductive at best and downright alienating and annoying at worst, and I've decided to share some of them with you here either so we can commiserate if you're a guy like me, or perhaps educate, if you're one of the annoying females in question. And yes, before someone says it, I realize guys might make the exact same mistakes... but as I'm a heterosexual male with no reason to ever look at another guy's profile, well, I have no idea.

The other complaint I foresee here is that some of this might sound a little, well, shallow. And it will. Anyone who has ever really talked to me will tell you that I am in no way all about appearances; the women I've been interested in have crossed all shapes and sizes, and I've had to defend a few of them against some pretty nasty remarks from other people. I was attracted to them for who they were, and in that regard the outside didn't matter all that much at all. That being said, everyone is at least a little shallow, and if my first thought whenever I look at you is, "What sin did you commit in a past life to be stuck with those genes?" it probably isn't going to work. Appearance isn't everything, but... I need to know what you look like.

That brings us to the first set of faux pas I see women commit, and these ones involve pictures. If all your pictures... or your only picture, for that matter... is either close-ups of your hand or whatever doing something artistic, or a faraway shot of you doing something adventurous, you're making a mistake. Yes, both artistic and adventurous are good qualities. Hell, artistic, for me, is a major turn-on. But in neither of those pictures can I see what you look like. I need to know what you look like.

This = fail. I like that you read. But who are you. Are you even a woman?

Also, ladies, I understand that you have friends and you love them and you take pictures of them. But if everyone one of your pictures is of four or five different women, and nowhere in any of them do you say which one is you? Well, let's look at the wrong way...

Me and my girls!

Uh-huh, you and your girls. And you're who, again?

And now the right way...

Me and my girls. I'm in the middle!

I see, you're the one in the middle! Much better!

And in this case, you're also Kaley Cuoco and you really should return my message.

That's all for pictures, but while we're on the subject of looks, let's tackle the profiles question where it asks what people first notice about you. I'm sure you have a wonderful personality and you're very witty and very giving, but unless you live in a colony of blind people, that is not what people first notice about you. It might be what people love most about you, but what people first notice is going to be a physical quality. No way around that, if we have eyes, we see, and in most cases we see before we hear or feel. So... try being honest and talking about your eyes. Or your hair. Or your unique fashion sense.

Or if you really want to be honest, your boobs and your butt.

Moving on, there's a section on the site where it asks about your favorite books, movies, television shows, and food, and I routinely see answers along the lines of, "I don't want to answer this because I want us to have something to talk about when we meet." Now, I understand wanting to make sure there are things to talk about when you first meet someone from the internet, because that can be awkward. However, how am I supposed to know if I want to meet you if I don't know about what you like and what we might have in common? Seriously, think about it. You're supposed to be using your profile to sell yourself, right? A mystery doesn't sell. You don't have to list every single thing you like, but I'm much more likely to want to talk to someone if I see we at least have SOME common interests.

And don't just fake it and say you like Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad. Put a little effort into it... if you can't put a little effort into something like that, how much effort should I expect out of you in other areas?

Lastly, and honestly this might be my biggest pet peeve when it comes to OKC profiles, when it asks you about the most private thing you're willing to admit? "That I'm on this site" is not an acceptable response. Not only is it a weak cop out, but I'm reading your profile! I already know you're on the damn site! I'm not saying you need to bare your friggin' soul and air out your childhood traumas, but put yourself out there a little!

There's a common theme here, you might have noticed. Hiding in pictures, vague, non-informative answers to the questions... see the problem? I said three paragraphs ago that you're supposed to be using your profile to sell yourself, to make me want to message you instead of the hundreds of other women out there. But if you're not selling, if you're not putting yourself out there, well, I have to figure there's a reason why, and if that's the case, then I'm not buying.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - Star Wars: Scoundrels

Star Wars: ScoundrelsStar Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is basically Star Wars meets Ocean's 11, with the roles of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon played by Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the smoothest man in a galaxy long ago and far away, Lando Calrissian. If you think that description sounds endlessly entertaining, you're pretty much right. The book, which takes place in that nebulous time period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back is a lot of fun, with a great, twisting and turning caper plot mixed with vibrant battle scenes. Timothy Zahn can be considered the founding father of the Expanded Universe, and he has a flair for the voices of the characters we all know and love, and it's no different here. On the other hand, though, the characters he created specifically for this story aren't as great. The villains are pretty good, but a few of the people in Han's gang aren't very well fleshed out, emotionally speaking... but in a book that easily has at least twenty characters, well, someone has to get the short straw, right? If that's the only complaint I have about the book, and it is, then it's a minor one... and the last twist revelation at the end? Out of nowhere, and friggin' perfect. If you enjoy Star Wars novels, this one is a must-read.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Star Wars Family Tree

Because every so often I have to post something Star Wars related to be worthy of my blog's title (and because it's only fitting that Star Wars be the topic of my 200th post!), here's a "family tree" I came across on the internet. It lists not only familial relations but things like who fought who, who were friends, and even includes a rather nebulous "other" line that might just test how much you know about Star Wars... as will the half-faces used to depict each character.

But if you're like me, that won't pose a problem for you, because this will just reinforce for you the fact that you possess a disturbing (and, perhaps, depressing) amount of Star Wars knowledge...

By the way, the initial work, as well as family trees for other franchises and other cool things, can be found here:

Click to enlarge... you know the drill.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Eat, drink, and be Irish. Treat your liver like it's the Death Star and blow that shit up... with whiskey. That is all.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - Bury Elminster Deep

Bury Elminster Deep (Forgotten Realms: Elminster, #7)Bury Elminster Deep by Ed Greenwood

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I've always been a fan of Ed Greenwood, and of Elminster and the Chosen of Mystra especially. So really, I should love this book... but instead it gets two stars, like its predecessor, Elminster Must Die. In response to a comment my friend left when I rated that book, this is how I replied, summarizing the problems I had with that book: "I liked most of the Elminster books, but he's always had a bad habit of coming up with the most ridiculous names for supporting characters, having too many supporting characters, and focusing on them way more than he focuses on the characters people by the books for, and those bad habits are way out of control in this one." I include that here because this book is just more of the same. The main characters are included less than the supporting characters, pretty much all of who are remarkably unlikeable, while the main characters... the ones we care about... chase their tail in an ouroboros of a plot that doesn't really go anywhere except for the last fifty or so pages. If I wasn't so invested in the characters and the Forgotten Realms setting after twenty years of reading, this book might have been my dropping-off point, but since I am, well, I'll have to read the next one and just hope it improves.

View all my reviews

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Recommended Reading Challenge Results!

In the middle of one sleepless night last April, my exhaustion-befogged brain came upon an idea: "I read a lot of the same shit most of the time, maybe for an entire year I'll read nothing but what other people recommend in an attempt to broaden my horizons." So I put up a note on Facebook that invited people to make with the recommendations, providing the followed a few rules!

The Rules:
1.) No Twilight.
2.) No sagas/series. One-and-dones only.
3.) No Twilight.
4.) Only recommend books you actually like, don't try to make me miserable with bad books.
5.) Non-fiction usually bores me, so try to keep it fictional, please.
6.) One book per person at a time.

For the record, the only rules people actually followed were #1 and #3, but I digress...

I realize it hasn't been a full year yet, but I'm ending the challenge early because, even though I read thirty-three books over this span of time, the recommendations have dried up lately. Plus, in this time I've amassed ten books of my own that I'd like to read. And honestly, part of why i did it was so that people would lend me the books and I could stop spending money on books because, at the time, I was a nearly destitute bastard. But now that I can afford to buy the books I want, I'm kind of over it.

So now that I've given you the happy recap, it's time to go over the results and give out a prize or two as well.

As I said, I read thirty-three books. Of those thirty-three, I gave twenty-three three or more stars out of five, meaning I enjoyed the bulk of the books I read. Of the books I didn't like, the very first book I was given, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City was the absolute worst... and my friend Ami, whose literary opinions are usually pretty spot-on, wins a prize for Worst Book.

And here to present her with her award, because I find ways to work her into everything, is Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence!

Ami's prize is my undying enmity.

I kid, I kid.


Now, out of all the rest of the books I enjoyed, three of them got the rare five-star rating: Boy's Life, Invisible Monsters (I know it says four stars there but I gave it five, I just don't know how to change it...), and Ready Player One. Which one won the challenge? I'll give you a minute to slap your hands against your leg a few times a drum roll.

And back to present the Best Book award, Miss Jennifer Lawrence!

The winner is... Boy's Life, recommended by one of my best friends, Meegan, who wins a prize of her choosing... pending approval, of course. I ain't handing out any blank checks here!

So, winner and loser aside, was the challenge a success? Did it have any lasting effects on me as a reader? I'd definitely have to say yes. Aside from giving me twenty-three books that I really enjoyed, it definitely got me reading different things and broadened my horizons. Robert R. McCammon, Chuck Palahniuk, Lev Grossman, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Markus Zusak, Brom, David Wong, and Ernest Cline are all authors who have been added to the list of people whose books I eagerly await, and my interest in Michael Crichton, who I read a lot twenty or so years ago, has been rekindled.

Maybe I'll do this again someday, but for now I'm going back to the worlds of Terry Brooks, R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, and my unhealthy enjoyment of Star Wars novels. At least until the new movies come out and they decide the novels don't count anymore...