Halloween 2011 in Philadelphia [Photos]

As any of my friends can tell you, I take Halloween pretty seriously. Just look at that serious expression, as Alex and I dish out the trophy for best mustache.

Ever since I moved to Philadelphia and found myself living on my own, I've thrown some sort of Halloween bash, whether it was for my birthday or the actual holiday. This past weekend's Halloween celebrations were quite possibly the best yet, and I managed to keep my "stay out late and stop being an old man" promise that I made to myself.

Look at all these people. Over 100 folks came to the Tattooed Mom bash!

For the parties, I brought my Lieutenant Arcot "Thorny" Ramathorn costume out of retirement (I wore it for my 25th birthday), and had myself a lovely time with great friends. Scope out some snaps below, or just browse through on my Flickr page. I've also uploaded a video of DJ MUSTARD playing some remixed Zelda. Dude, I love you.

Big thank you to Alex Hillman, the Indy Hall crew, Whipped Bakeshop, NextFab Studios and Rob from Tattooed Mom for making our annual Geekadelphia / Indy Hall Halloween celebration such a success. (more…)

A Bucket List For The Last Year Of My 20's

Well, I turned 29 this week. I celebrated appropriately. I spent a weekend in Atlantic City with my best friend, had a bros' night at Gunners Run in Northern Liberties on my actual birthday (Tim and I are still haunted by the fllet mignon sandwich we had there), and I plan to spend this weekend partying Halloween style, thanks to the traditional Geekadelphia & Indy Hall bash at Tattooed Mom (over 120+ people are coming!) and my pal Jay with his annual costumed celebration at his apartment.

At work (where we had a fancy hat party), two of my coworkers asked me how I was planning to enjoy the last year of my 20's. I hadn't quite thought of it that way. I'd mostly been stressing about hitting 30, but not how I'd actually spend my final year.

So, here's a little list I've made for myself. Hopefully I stick to it.

1. Make One More Epic Costume: I'm concerned that my obsession with awesome costumes (shared with Geekadelphia co-founder / eternal BFF Tim Quirino) may seem a little more ridiculous once I'm in my 30's. When people find out that my biggest adult purchase was a full suit of Master Chief armor, I get laughs and nods of understanding, mostly due to the backstory of my heinous ex.

But what about when I'm 30? Admitting that my next biggest adult purchase is going to be a replica Rocketeer outfit, might not be met with the same sort of good humored approval.

Oh, and yeah. The next costume is going to be the Rocketeer. As a kid, I was obsessed with that movie. It'll be expensive, but I'll find a way to make it work.

2. Mosh and/or Skank One Last Time: My buddy Chris Schmidt invites me to concerts just about every other day, pressuring me via gchat to check out this band or that. He knows me quite well. These are all bands I know and love, but I'm a big fan of getting into bed at 10:30pm.

This is a point of mockery in my circle of friends (Allie & Jay, I saw that), so I think I'll try and work on that.

I'm going to try to make it a point to actually go to one of these shows with him, and tear it up in the pit, whether its a rock concert or a ska show. Most people would be worried, but luckily, Schmidt has arms the size of legs. I'll be fine.

Note: Google searching for the term "skank" has unpleasant results.


New York Comic Con 2011: Photos & Video

Quirk publicist Mari Kraske & Super Intern Chris Urie @ the Booth

So along with grabbing some awesome new books, Comic Con was a blast socially as well. Meeting book lovers and bloggers, media and press... man, what a good time. And the costumes! Oh, the costumes. So awesome.

Highlights included hanging out with Adri from Adams Media and Esther Zinn from Go Magazine, as well as swapping serious high fives with Paige from Fandomania, Cassie from Yrchmonger, Ryan (Agent M) from Marvel and other awesome bloggers that I've been wanting to score some face time with. It was also great seeing Broetry author Brian McGackin. Love that guy.

Quirk Goes to New York Comic Con 2011 from Quirk Books on Vimeo.

Anyhow, I've got some of my favorite photos below, and you can check out a full gallery on my Flickr page. I also shot a fun video, which is currently posted over on the Quirk Books website and above.

Can't wait for Comic Con next year! Enjoy


New York Comic Con 2011 Recap: Five New (And Newish) Books I'm Psyched About

Meeting book lovers and fans... easily the best part about going to conventions, whether its BEA or Comic Con. Pulling in at a close second, however... is collecting swag. And I'm not just talking about t-shirts and kitschy pins & magnets that publishers and game companies dish out en masse. I'm talking about books. Oh, sweet sweet ARCs, how I love thee.

I spent this past Thursday through Sunday at New York Comic Con, doing my marketing thing for Quirk. Meeting Quirk lovers, dishing out books to media, selling titles to potential new fans... all in all, a great time. And in between chats with fans and press, I managed to sneak out of my booth to pick up some new(ish) titles from other publishers that I'm super psyched about. And really, you should be too.

1. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest: Okay, this isn't a new book. But Tor did something brilliant on Thursday at Comic Con, during press day. They dished out free copies of the first title in Cherie Priest's epic steampunk saga, which is set in an alternate 1880s America, full of zombies, steampunk and airships. There are two other books in the series already out, Dreadnought and the recently released Ganymede. I took my copy with me when I headed out to lunch.

After reading twenty pages, I immediately ordered the second and third book in the series. I tore through half of the book over the course of the weekend. So far, there is nothing not to like about it. Priest is an awesome writer, and I'm loving this world she's created. Bravo Tor. Dishing out the first book in a series to get press (and potential fans like myself) checking out the books... good move. One I'm going to have to remember.

2. Crossed by Ally Condie: Alright. I'm not going to lie to you. A piece of me went to New York Comic Con on a mission to score this book from Penguin during their ARC giveaway. I stopped by their table on Thursday and scooped up their Daily Galley bulletin, which explained what books they'd be giving away at what time. One book every hour. And one of these titles was Crossed, Ally Condie's sequel to her New York Times bestselling YA dystopian romance, Matched. (more…)

From Novels to Video Games: My Experience Keeping Up With Gears of War

I always wrote off video game novels as cheap tie ins to cash in on an eager, hungry fan-base. And really, they are.

Not that I'm judging or anything. I am part of that hungry fan-base, and I do often fall for these tie ins. I've read almost all of the Halo novels, as have many fans of the series, considering a handful of them have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Some of the books were even met with critical acclaim, thanks no doubt to the skillful pen of Eric Nylund.

These books expand on the gaming universe, with story arcs that tend to effect a plot that's already happened using stories set in the past that fill in plot gaps. And while these stories add something new to the mix, expanding on the past... but they don't really effect you when you settle down to play a game.

And then Karen Traviss went and changed all that. (more…)