How the Oxford Comma is Rotting Your Brain

It doesn’t happen often, but every now and again the Oxford Comma discussion pops up in my Twitter feed.

And every now and again, I admit to having no love for the optional serial comma that precedes the word “and” in a list of three or more objects. This promptly outs me to the rest of the writing world as some sort of heathen alien impostor bent on tearing apart the very fabric of reality with confusing serial lists that defy logic, like some sort of evil nega-android who can melt human brains through confusion.

body snatchers

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Thinking About Alien: Isolation, Post-Nightmare

Alien: Isolation - trailer video

As I attempt to stay active in the realm of creating stuff and talking about things, I’ve been doing some video game streaming on Twitch and posting the videos on YouTube. With the recent attention on Alien again thanks to Neill Blomkamp, I replayed Alien: Isolation for the third time.

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Maybe Blomkamp’s ‘Alien’ Should be a Reboot

queen concept

So ALIEN 5 (I like to call it Alien S-2 since it seems to be an Aliens sequel) is apparently on its way from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, and all indications suggest it’s going to put some strange pressures to the already twisted canon storyline of the Alien franchise.

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Press Reset: On the End of GameFront

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Age 14 was about the height of my love for video games, and at the time nothing seemed more amazing for a fan of games than the yearly Electronic Entertainment Expo.

E3 was always one of the craziest things about which to read — or more accurately, of which to see photos in glossy gaming magazines. Gaming’s biggest event seemed enormous, flashy and insane: Vegas for nerds like me, who found in video games both an escapism and some kind of cultural and social fulfillment that was hard to come by in the meat grinder of adolescence. E3 was always a thing I wanted to experience myself, where I could get an early taste of all the games I could play, and maybe a chance to speak with those people who managed, somewhat magically, to create them.

Just more than a decade later, I finally made it to E3 as a reporter for GameFront.com.

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Remembering Spock, and the Man Who Made Him

spock wrath of khan

When Leonard Nimoy died late last week at the age of 83, it left me thinking, like many people, about “Star Trek” in particular.

Nimoy himself has been an ever-present cultural icon throughout my life — from episodes of “In Search Of…” to episodes of “The Simpsons” — but of course he’s best remembered for his role as Spock. That’s because Spock and “Star Trek” still resonate to people like me, even decades later. On the phone with my dad over the weekend, when our conversation inevitably turned to Nimoy, he mentioned that Spock had been one of his heroes growing up.

He was one of mine, too.

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Things I Liked in 2014: Edge of Tomorrow (or Live. Die. Repeat.)

live die repeat

Eventually I’m going to get around to talking about GameFront, the site at which I’ve worked for almost my entire time in Los Angeles, which was sadly shut down last month. But that post is taking a long time to develop, and stuff like a book release party keeps getting in the way, so I’m back-burnering it for a bit.

Instead, in honor of Groundhog Day, let’s talk about my favorite action movie of 2014 and one of the cooler time travel-ish movies of recent memory: Edge of Tomorrow (or as it seems to have been rebranded, Live. Die. Repeat.)

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The Need for Challenge: On ‘Doctor Sleep’ and ‘The Shining’

The-Shining-Danny-Rocket-sweater

The Shining had a big effect on me when I read it as a teenager, so I was excited for its sequel, despite that, as King himself points out in the afterword, it’s hard for a sequel to stand up to something that you remember scaring you at some point in the past.

And yeah, Doctor Sleep is more one of those King books that’s not scary so much as interesting, the way I felt his Cell became at about halfway through, where things stop being so heavy on danger to the characters or the unknown evil workings of the antagonists. Still, it was engaging, although if there was something that felt like an underused opportunity in Doctor Sleep, it was Dan Torrance’s alcoholism.

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Things I Liked in 2014: Alien: Isolation

alien isolation hunting you

Welp, 2014 is at an end, and it’s been an intense year in which my blogging experiment was put on indefinite hold. A lot of stuff happened, most of it kinda … bad.

Eventually, I mean to maybe unpack all that here, including the things that I learned and the things that I struggle(d) to deal with. In the meantime, since I’ve been out of it for a while, I figure I’ll highlight a few of the movies, books, stories and games I encountered in the last year that I rather enjoyed.

Up first is what is quite possibly my favorite game of 2014: Alien: Isolation.

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The Definitive Holiday Movie Playlist

venture christmas krampus

Over the last five or so years, I’ve slowly been figuring out more and more what I want each Christmas to be like. Caitlin and I haven’t been able to travel home for the last couple of years — what with getting married and all this year (eventually I mean to talk about that here) — so after all the phone and Skype calls are made, there’s not a whole lot else to do.

So it becomes movie time.

Generally, I can’t stand Christmas movies. Even the best of them descend into sappiness in the end, and the real trouble is that it’s all the exact same sappiness. You can basically flip on any Christmas movie for five minutes, assess where you are in the story, and fill in the blanks from there. The key differences are generally whether you’re watching Bill Murray, Jimmy Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or something made of clay. (Side note: Wait, are there really no Christmas movies with women leads, or am I just blanking on them?)

I try to skip Rudolph, Charlie Brown and anything that involves Santa. That might sound like the makings of Regular Movie Christmas, but there are a few titles that deserve recognition for their ultimate undefinable Christmasiness, while also side-stepping the awful. Here now is the watch list I’ve been cultivating for several years. It’s ever-evolving, but so far, this is the definitive iteration.

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Your Language is Bullets: Blaming the Player for the Game

burial at sea 2

I stumbled back through Rapture last week in BioShock Infinite’s “Burial at Sea” DLC, and the game did that annoying thing where it talked down to me for playing it.

It’s one of those things that video games have been trying to do lately, and it’s kind of sort of infuriating.

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