Musings from the basement...

Why Are Marvel’s Blu-Ray Releases So Mediocre?

These days, Marvel Studios make THE tentpole action flicks. With a combination of fun characters, good direction, solid stories, huge spectacle, and a formula that just works, they’ve created an ongoing, interwoven geek movie franchise that has every other studio scrambling to catch up. Make no mistake, I’m an unabashed fan. I don’t pretend they are classic cinema — they’re just comic book movies — but they do something important: they consistently make me feel like I’m 12 again, only without all the self-loathing and zits. From the tense drama of The Winter Soldier to the charming adventure of Ant-Man to the hilarious space adventure of Guardians of the Galaxy, I love this stuff. So do a LOT of people. Marvel movies are YUGE. Four of them…
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SUNDAY SIPS: 5 Dark Beers to Close Out The Winter

Another Sunday means another batch of beers you’ve got to check out. With winter coming to a close tomorrow, it’s also time to close the door on some deliciously dark beers that drink well when the nights are frigid. Pizza Boy Sunny Side Up These days, it sometimes seems like a brewer can’t make an imperial stout without forcing it into a barrel or adding a little dash of something extra to make it different. That’s why Pizza Boy’s Sunny Side Up is kind of refreshing. It’s “just” an imperial stout – and a delicious imperial stout it is. Inky black and thick as motor oil, it has a glorious, puffy brown head that offers up aromas of burnt coffee and cocoa. The scent is intoxicating….
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SUNDAY SIPS: 5 Beers With International Influences

Great beers take their influences from all over the world. These five brews are made in American, but they wouldn’t exist without the influence of great brewers in places like Belgium and Germany. Allagash White Twenty years ago no one would have dreamed of saying this, but these days the United States damn near seems to be the center of the beer world when it comes to quality, innovation, and invention. Groundbreaking beer efforts didn’t start here, though, and many of our best were inspired by styles pioneered elsewhere. The witbier, for instance. A beer as ubiquitous as Allagash White actually has its origins in the small but beer rich country of Belgium, where the witbier style was created and brought to modern popularity by…
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How I first got published, part 6 – all that other stuff

The following is an encore from 2009, presented here in the hopes that the info will be helpful for aspiring authors. I’ve authored or coauthored five books since, and self-published another four, and most of this still applies. So enjoy. Hope it helps! There is a lot of stuff they don’t tell you about getting a book published. You hear about the process of writing, and crafting cover letters, and how to approach agents and publishers, and on and on and on, but what about all the stuff the happens after you secure a deal? No one tells you about that. By this point I had done a pretty good job of educating myself on The Process. Thanks to loads of reading — books, articles, and blogs…
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How I first got published, part 5 – Revising and rewriting

The following is an encore from 2009, presented here in the hopes that the info will be helpful for aspiring authors. I’ve authored or coauthored five books since, and self-published another four, and most of this still applies. So enjoy. Hope it helps! (If you’re joining me in progress, this is the 5th part in a series devoted to outlining how my co-author and I managed to get our book, A Year of Hitchcock, published.) So here’s the part where the joy of getting a contract is smothered in the giant pile of WORK no one tells you about when you first start writing. Because make no mistake, writing is not what you think it is when you daydream about a career as an author. It’s WORK….
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