Category: News


Creative Day: What is Constantly Calibrating?

Yesterday morning I sat down and thought to myself, “What should I write about for today’s Creative Day?” Well as you all might imagine, it’s never a good sign when I have to sit and think about what would be best to write about. Most articles I’ve written for the site have been ideas that popped into my head and immediately made their way onto your screens. This was not the case for yesterday’s article as evidenced by the fact that I’m referring to it as yesterday’s article. This has become a common problem for me since Constantly Calibrating began: getting articles out in a timely, regular fashion. The major reason for these complications is that had you asked me three months ago about my daily plans, I would not list running a nerd-culture multimedia website. (Yes, I realize our site barely qualifies as multimedia currently, but in this area patience can be a virtue.)

The honest truth is that if you asked me a little over two months ago about my plans for the site I would probably respond back, “Site? What site? Constantly Calibrating is just simple podcasting Steven and I came up with.” Well this past Sunday was three months since we started the podcast and two months since I started devoting serious time to the site. These days it seems like 80% of my time is spent planning out things for the site, but here lies the major issue. Planning is one thing, implementation is something entirely different.

Let me pause here for a moment, because I feel some history of where Constantly Calibrating began might be necessary. Those of you who listen to our podcast have heard us talk at varying lengths about our origins, but now seemed like a good time to actually explore this. Instead of going into another lengthy explanation, I’m going to copy an email that I recently sent to the organizers of leetUP. leetUP is the nerd carnival organized by Kevin Pereira, former co-host of Attack of the Show on G4, and also the event that spawned the idea for Constantly Calibrating. The email was my attempt at a request for leetUP to make an appearance near Phoenix during its upcoming tour, but it started as a simple email expressing my love and admiration for the event. Read on for my email as well as where we hope ConCal goes next. Continue reading

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

By now I’m sure most everyone knows this, but Ray Bradbury is no longer among us. The exceptionally talented sci-fi writer passed away this morning in Los Angeles. He was 91 years old.

Ray Bradbury is best known as the author of classic novels such as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. The Martian Chronicles was my first adult science fiction that I read, back around the age of 7 to 9, if I remember right. The truth is that I haven’t read it again as an actual adult, but what I do remember is being absolutely fascinated by it. I had become hooked on Star Wars some time prior to this point and was yearning for more science fiction. I think it was my father who gave me The Martian Chronicles and pushed me further along the path to science fiction nerdom, but again the sad truth is that I have an extremely limited memory of my life prior to twelve; just little blurbs and facts here and there.

The point I’m trying to make, but failing miserably at, is that Ray Bradbury touched my life in ways that I probably don’t even realize. If you’re a fan of science fiction in any form he probably touched you as well in some way. You probably don’t even know how.

With that I say farewell to one of nerd culture’s greatest icons. *Insert something poetic here, because I’m too sad and tired.*

Photo credit AP.

WiiUCONCAL

As everyone I’m sure noticed, I didn’t write a new edition of Creative Day yesterday. Honestly the reason is simply that I was damned tired by the time Day 1 of E3 was over. I feel my obsessive tweeting (sorry) and Brad and my conference recaps make up for this, but if it doesn’t then I guess sorry again. Rest assured that Creative Day will be back next week with something theoretically creative and maybe even enjoyable. Fancy that!

Now it’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another edition of Shut Up and Take Our Money! This week I thought I would change things up and not mentioned something from Kickstarter. Instead I’m going to bring you a special E3 edition of SUATOM!, brought to you by the Twitter feed of Scott Johnson of FrogPants Studios fame:

DND Wii U

That sound your hearing is your mind exploding! Seriously, the moment I read that I completely froze and missed everything else being said during the press conference. Now look, I’m not a fan of Dungeons & Dragons; hell you’re more likely to find me mocking people who play it. I have nothing against those who do, hell one of my best friends plays it every weekend. What I am against is the excessive tedium that goes along with playing it. This is actually odd, because anyone who knows my gaming habits knows that I LOVE tedious activities in my games. Sadly that doesn’t seem to transfer over D&D.

Now imagine that some company released a top-notch, AAA game that allowed you to play Dungeons & Dragons with your friends, either online or with couch co-op. The game handles all the stat sheets, character information, and story info in-game, freeing your time up to create and play. Using the Wii U Gamepad to allow dungeon masters the world over to control the action would be phenomenal. All I know is that I have a potential group of five people who would throw down some serious cash for this game.

Someone hammer out a basic concept, put it up on Kickstarter and let me know, because I’m already sold on this!

Ultimate Back Issue #1

Welcome, greetings and possibly even salutations; for you are entering the world of my mind and comics in what I’m in no way affectionately calling Ultimate Back Issue! Why Ultimate Back Issue for the name on my weekly series on my reading of the Ultimate Marvel Universe? Well because it’s the Ultimate Universe, hence the Ultimate word in the title. Plus I’m rereading from the beginning; hence that whole back issue part. Geez, it’s not like it is rocket surgery or something.

A couple of weeks back after our rewatching the movies leading up to The Avengers, as well as our third viewing of The Avengers itself, my wife informed me that she wanted to start reading Marvel comics with me. “Holy shit, Garrus does hear my prayers!” was all I could think in that moment for this is something I had hoped and dreamed about for nearly 8 years. I had already watched every single one of my favorite shows through and through, as well as most movies. At this point reading comics with her had been at the top of my list, but it never seemed like the right time to approach the topic. Finally the opportunity was there and I offered her my entire collection of Ultimate Marvel comics as the playground for us to explore.

Where to begin became the overriding question, when suddenly it occurred to me that at this point, 12 years since the Ultimate Universe began, there must be some accepted reading order for someone wanting to take a continuity-ridden stroll through decade-plus worth of comics. That’s when I found this! What you see there is the best example of a proper reading order for the Ultimate Marvel Universe that I have found at this time. Through research I have made a few small tweaks, which I will post in next weeks issue since I don’t have access to it at this time. For now if you’re interested in catching up and reading along, or simply seeing where we are, you can use the previous guide.

As it has been a little over two weeks since we began this adventure, we are a decent way into the list, but still fairly early on. For instance, I have only just finished the Return to Weapon X storyline from Ultimate X-Men, while Charnell is just beginning Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #14. See, only a few dozen or so issues to read and you can easily catch up to us. Doesn’t that sound fun!

For our initial issue I’m going to cover each title that we’ve started in broader strokes in an effort to get the set-up and basics out of the way. Starting next week I plan to go more in-depth with what we’ve read up to this point. Even though Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra and Ultimate Elektra are featured fairly early on, I’m still going to hold them off for next week or maybe even the following week so I can go into more detail on them. This week we will be covering the first two trades of Ultimate Spider-Man. I’m actually much further along in the list, but in an effort to get this article out only two days late I’m going to focus simply on our favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Next week we’ll tackle the first couple of books of Ultimate X-Men and probably Ultimate Marvel Team-Up also.

This week I won’t be able to give you the planned, lengthy heavily researched look into where the Ultimate Universe came from and exactly why Marvel started it, so stay tuned for that next Wednesday. (Yes, next Wednesday Ultimate Back Issue will be featured on the proper day, ye of little faith.) Until then, let’s jump into some comic-y goodness.

Ultimate Spider-Man

Ultimate Spider-Man #1

Continue reading

Creative Day Supplemental: A $15 Thank You

The original intent of this past Monday’s article on cruises, and more specifically of Norwegian Jewel was to allow me to discuss the ridiculous lack of hygiene and maintenance displayed in our stateroom on day 1 of the cruise. The article ended up evolving into a depiction of the first 2-3 days of the cruise and a vague analysis of it. Ultimately the idea was that it would be a one-shot article and that I would carry any other discussions of the trip over to Twitter, as to not burden our readers at Constantly Calibrating with non-nerd related stuff. Well that all changed last night when the lovely folks at Chin Chin, the “Asian fusion” restaurant located on the Norwegian Jewel, decided that it was my fault that they in effect poisoned me.

Chin Chin of Norwegian Jewel's Sign

“Poisoned? Certainly you just mean a standard food-poisoning from some undercooked meat or something like that, right?” That might be what you’re asking. You also might just be asking where today’s first edition of Ultimate Back Issue is. Well that’s not the discussion right now, so come back later for our regularly scheduled programming content. Continue reading

Shut Up and Take Our Money! Spellbound Magazine

Another Tuesday, another day to yell unto the internets and demand that they take our reasonably hard-earned money. Every Tuesday I scour the internet (or more accurately click the first link I find that looks appealing) to find awesome and possibly amazing things that we should be spending money on. This can be a really cool item from ThinkGeek or a badass t-shirt featured on TeeFury or Threadless. More than likely a lot of stuff featured will be assorted Kickstarters, seeing as my bookmark folder is filled to the brim with campaigns ending every few days over the next two months.

Today will be a SUATOM! of the latter, as we feature and interesting campaign focused around a new children’s fantasy e-zine called Spellbound Magazine. I first became aware of Spellbound Magazine through a tweet from the amazing fantasy author and overall badass, Neil Gaiman. Your should know who Neil Gaiman is if you’re one of our regular readers, or if you have even a partially functioning brain so I’ll leave off the rest of the gushing over the man’s amazingness.

Continuing on, this isn’t about Mr. Gaiman, but about the awesome magazine he alerted me to. Spellbound Magazine was once upon a time a quarterly children’s fantasy magazine that was published from 1999-2003. Due to budgetary concerns they were forced to shut down, but now they’re back and looking to crowd source their way into the competitive world of e-zine publication. The new Spellbound Magazine will continue the original’s quarterly release schedule and they already have up a planned line-up for it’s first year as well as subscription information:

We will be publishing four issues per year in ePub format. Issues will be available from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords for $5.00 each. Subscriptions will be available with issues being e-mailed to subscribers. Subscriptions will be $20.00 a year. We will continue to center each issue around a specific fantasy creature with the first year’s line up being:
• Winter 2012 – Rings and Other Magic Things
• Spring 2013 – Changelings and Doppelgangers
• Summer 2013 – Dragons
• Fall 2013 – Creatures of the Deep Dark Woods
If we get the funding the first issue (Winter 2012) will be published December 2012.

The rewards for funding the project are fairly straightforward: for donating $5 and up to $30 you can get ever-increasing rewards of magazine issues, subscriptions, and a thank you in the inaugural issue. That doesn’t mean you have to stop at the $30 mark of course, but it’s good to know what you’ll get. In the end though, and excuse the schmaltz I’m about to lay down, the best reward is knowing that you helped in resurrecting and spawning a new generation of children’s fantasy magazine.

If this looks like a magazine that you would likely subscribe to, then you should consider donating at least $25 so that they can get on their feet and so you can get a subscription to their magazine. The project only has another 11 days left with just under half their goal of $4000 remaining. Check them out and help bring about another place for fantasy authors and readers to find up and coming work.

If you have or know of a Kickstarter that you would like to see posted in a future issue of SUATOM! you can let us know in the comments, or email us!

Tomorrow we bring you our first issue of Ultimate Back Issue our name still in progress column about comics and my reading of them.