• Days of Geek,  Podcast

    DoG Ep 06: Interview with Amanda Sun

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    00:00 Episode ID

    Days of Geek, Episode 6: with Amanda Sun, recorded at Ad Astra 2013.


    00:05 Music

    “Split In Synapse”, courtesy of Kevin McCleod at incompetch.com.


    00:13 Intro

    Where I offer some contact info and then quote Bilbo Baggins on how dangerous it is to leave your front door because you don’t know where you’ll wind up. I make the point that the same is true of books.


    01:12 Main

    A very quick intro to the ancient interview with Amanda Sun (it was recorded in April).


    02:01 Main

    The Interview.

    Amanda talks mostly about Ink, touching on characters, kendo, kami, locations in, and background for the story. We find out things about her like her love of gaming and anime, and cosplay, and a preference for tea over coffee.

    Contact info for Amanda:

    Web site: www.amandasunbooks.com

    Twitter: @Amanda_Sun

    Facebook: Amanda Sun Books


    25:54 News

    A very short recap of Quinte Mini Con, which took place November 9th and 10th this year. And the really cool Christmas present I got out of it. I note that we’ll be at Frost Con, which is a 1-day convention in Toronto on the 14th of December.


    30:19 Media Consumption

    The part of the show where I very briefly talk about the geeky media I’ve consumed since recording the last episode. Very briefly as it’s been a busy week and there hasn’t been a lot.


    Futurama: Bender’s Big Score. The best of the four Futurama films, I think, though your mileage may vary.

    Television (sort of)

    Hitalia – an anime told in 5-minute chunks about the history of World War II (sort of). The characters are all personifications of nations. (Netflix)

    Otome Yōkai Zakuro (Maiden Spirit Zakuro). A 13-episde anime series set during the westernization of an alternate Japan with Spirits and Humans having to learn to live together in a more modern world. (Crunchy Roll)

    Star Trek TOS: “The Enemy Within”.


    I’m going through one of those periods where every book I try to read doesn’t excite me enough in the first couple of chapters to continue reading. Years ago, I realized that there are far too many books I’m going to enjoy to spend the time waiting for ones I’m not to get better. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not good, they’re just not good for me. I have hopes for the book I’m picking up tonight.


    32:55 Star Trek TOS Re-Watch

    Episode: “The Enemy Within

    I play the original TV teaser and offer a brief (but maybe not brief enough) synopsis, give some thoughts comments the story, characters, and Jekyll and Hyde theme.

    I pick two overlooked Character/Actors this week: Crewman Fisher played by Ed Madden, and Crewman Wilson played by Garland Thompson.


    No casualties this week, except that poor unicorn dog because of the transporter accident.

    Shirtless Kirk #2!

    First occurrence of “He’s dead, Jim.” (That poor unicorn dog.)

    First nerve pinch.

    And I’m thinking about counting transporter accidents.

    Best Line is from Spock this week:

    “Being split in two halves is no theory with me, Doctor. I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half, submerged, constantly at war with each other. Personal experience, Doctor. I survive it because my intelligence wins over both, makes them live together.”

    And finally, I give my opinion and recommendation for this episode.


    46:08 Outro

    In which I again offer contact info:

    Closing music—George Street Shuffle, courtesy of Kevin McCleod at incompetch.com

    Creative Commons licensing info (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Un-ported License).



    XX:XX Blooper. No blooper this week. Which is not to say I didn’t make any mistakes recording, because there were plenty, but none of them were funny. There were more instances than usual of me telling myself to slow down, but not all that entertaining, really.

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  • Days of Geek,  Podcast

    DoG Ep 02: Interview with Tanya Gough

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    Note that the contact info given in the episode itself is no longer any good. If you want to find me, try Facebook, @writingdad on Twitter, or email: lance@lanceschonberg.com.

    00:00 Episode ID

    Days of Geek, Episode 2: Interview with Tanya Gough and the Star Trek re-watch begins.


    00:07 Music – “Split In Synapse”, courtesy of Kevin McCleod at incompetch.com.


    00:14 Intro

    I quote Frank Zappa on books (“So many books, so little time.”) and observe that while the publishing industry is changing, it’s probably going to get better for readers in the short and long term.


    00:48 Main

    In which I very briefly introduce the main segment of this episode, my interview with author Tanya Gough at Ad Astra 2013, and note a few things about Tanya herself and the podcast that never was.


    02:40 The interview.

    Took place in a hallway at the Ad Astra con hotel that wasn’t as quiet as I might have liked, but I think you can hear everything very well, in spite of the table or air conditioning gremlin. A very stripped down edition of the topics covered (I don’t want to spoil the interview, after all):

    • In addition to being a middle grade Fantasy writer, Tanya admits to being born in Canada, living in the U.S. and Japan and having owned a CD & Video store in Stratford, Ontario.
    • She gives a quick summation of the basis of Rootbound. (Kindle Edition. Amazon.ca link)
    • A bit about her writing process
    • Influences in Rootbound, Greek mythology and beyond.
    • A series of books, each with its own focus element, and step in Emma’s development
    • Chapter Titles are important and relevant
    • Magical Monarch of Mo (Free on the Kindle right now! Amazon.ca only seems to have an illustrated HC.)
    • The Indie Publishing Route
    • The sequel will be called “Water Works”, may come by the end of the year and features a different mythological focus

    Tanya’s contact info:


    21:32 Contest info

    I have two signed copies of Rootbound to give away. Rules: comment here or on Facebook by 1st November 2013 and your name goes into the draw, and it doesn’t matter where you happen to live; I’ll ship these anywhere in the world.


    22:12 Media Consumption

    The part of the show where I very briefly talk about the geeky media I’ve consumed since the last episode.


    Finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. It started out hard not to draw comparisons to Bladerunner, but the further I got into the story, the more I forgot the movie. It’s not the same story. It is similar, and I can see how Bladerunner grew from it, but there’s a great deal more running through the book than you’ll find in the movie. It’s a short read by today’s standards, and a quick one, but don’t let that fool you. The themes run deep and dense.



    MLP: Equestria Girls: Whatever definition you want to use, MLP qualifies as fantasy. It’s cute and fun and more or less predictable all the way through, but you’re watching it for the characters, messages, and themes, not the exciting plot twists.

    The World’s End: My son and I took this in at the theatre on cheapskate day and really enjoyed it. Well, up until the very end. The movie was fun and ridiculous (it’s a Simon Pegg film, after all), right up to the climax. Excitement and explosions and everything important more or less resolved. And that’s where the movie should have ended, IMO. There were a couple of minutes more to the movie that were completely unnecessary and really just the set up for what amounts to a joke one-liner in the final seconds of the film. I recommend it, but I also recommend not watch those last couple of minutes. You’ll be more satisfied with the outcome.

    The Emperor’s New Groove: found a copy on DVD for a mere $10, replacing the old VHS version we once had. Just as fun as I remembered, and one of my favourite Disney films of the modern era.



    I know I said last week that I’d eventually watch television. What I really meant is that I’d eventually watch things playing on my television. These are mostly going to be movies and video from a DVD, Netflix or a memory stick. I don’t really watch a lot of TV beyond some news and weather.


    24:58 Star Trek TOS Re-Watch

    The Cage

    • I offer a 60-Second Synopsis of the episode which takes closer to 100.
    • Brief thoughts on “what if” this first pilot had passed the network honchos
    • Things I like or that stand out about the episode
      • Basic Trek elements are pretty much all here: the sets are almost there, the music, the beginning of a multicultural crew, the big but personal story, and the episode format.
      • A couple of things we lose, sadly: jackets to suit the climate of the planet, and female officers in pants.
      • Which will work against the Early Anti-Sexism attempt of having a woman as a first officer.
      • Spock’s genesis. He’s recognizable, but not the Vulcan we all know and love yet.
      • Computer technology not really much more than 1960s high tech, with a few extra beeps and lights.
      • The Talosians technological ineptness in the face of vast mental powers.
    • Tracking Numbers
      • Casualties: 0
      • Advanced alien species who want nothing to do with us right now: 1
    • Best Line: “As in all ship’s doctors are dirty old men.” – Pike
    • Secondary Character: Yeoman Colt
      • Played by Laurel Goodwin
      • A short, unfortunately, acting career, but unlike most Hollywood folks, she’s had only one marriage and it’s lasted decades rather than months.
    • General Opinions
      • Coming down on the side of liking this episode.
      • Recommended for Trekkies and SF fans who have seen enough of the series to enjoy an intro to the Star Trek that never was.


    31:56 Outro

    In which I again offer contact info:

    Closing music—George Street Shuffle, courtesy of Kevin McCleod at incompetch.com

    Creative Commons licensing info (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Un-ported License).


    XX:XX Blooper

    There’s a lack of bloopers this week. Nothing I screwed up was particularly funny. Maybe next time.

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  • Conventions

    Ad Astra Cosplay Results

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    Since it almost seems like the steampunk weapons were more work (at least they took longer), we’ll start with those.

    We turned these:

    IMGA0630 IMGA0634 Nerf Shotgun 01

    Into these:

    IMGA0635(That’s a post-con picture. You can see a little evidence of use and, in my case, the loss of a small scorpion on top.)

    Mine (the shotgun) was pretty much done with layers of spray paint and made use of painter’s tape. The girls’ were much more intricate, involving a lot of handpainting and far more artistic ability than I’ve got.

    As for costumes, there was much shopping of thrift stores and craft stores. We’ve got a lot of stuff we didn’t use (hey, FanExpo is coming) to play with still. The girls were awesome:

    IMGA0652 IMGA0653

    I actually had two costumes, the traditional mad scientist and 2/3 of a three-piece suit I accessorized. Worked out fairly well, I think.

    IMGA0645 IMGA0655-closer in

    Bit of a difference in demeanor, no?

    We didn’t manage to take a lot of pictures since we were in costume most of the time (all of the time in the case of my oldest daughter}, and I need to raid two iPods to see everything we took, but I’ll get some photos up of other cosplayers shortly.

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  • Conventions,  Life

    Cosplay Prep

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    Totally forgot to post this, so it seems a little off now that the Con is over. I’ve added a couple of notes here and there. Pictures in a post I’ll be uploading in a few minutes.


    Many months back, my oldest daughter and I decided to go to Ad Astra, a (mostly) literary Science Fiction and Fantasy convention held in Toronto, a planned awesome father-daughter weekend. More recently, she decided that maybe, since we’re going to cosplay for Anime North in May, we should consider putting together something for Ad Astra as well. This sparked the interest of my youngest daughter (I only have two), who began to wonder if she’d like to come along. After going through the programming list with her, and after she sucked up to her sister a bit, it’s now a father-daughters weekend. (And was completely awesome. See my last post.)

    And after trips to a variety of thrift stores and other places, we’ve now got a pile of stuff we’re supposed to be turning into steampunk outfits. And the con starts Friday (this was written on the Monday before). And I’m out of days off. I am, however, on nights so I have some afternoon time. We’ll finish up what we need to in the nick of time, I think, as long as the bronze paint dries on my gloves.

    I’m using the word steampunk fairly loosely, too because I’m not all that interested in labels, really. The point of the cosplay is not to strictly adhere to an imagined aesthetic, however cool, it’s about bonding with my daughters and doing something fun. We went shopping. We mixed things together. We’ve sewn, hot glued, spray painted, and made jewelry modifications (fiddly damned stuff and those miniature pliers don’t really make things easier).

    Net result: we each have a nerfpunk gun (pictures forthcoming) and we each have a costume (actually, I sort of have 2, pictures of all of us also forthcoming).

    Are we done? Probably not.

    Are we ready for the con? Who knows?

    But it doesn’t matter if we are or not. We’ve had fun, and we’re going to have a great time next weekend. We are still trying to hammer out a schedule for the convention. There are three of us, after all, and I’m not giving my girls completely free run of the hotel.

    {And now we just need to worry about our Soul Eater cosplay for Anime North.}

    Be well, everyone.


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  • Conventions,  Life,  News

    Top 10 Ad Astra 2013 Moments

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    My daughters and I went to the Ad Astra SF convention in Toronto (technically Markham, but it’s attached) last weekend and we had an awesome time. A busy weekend filled with geeky goodness. We spent most of the weekend in costume (all of it in the case of my oldest daughter while the younger daughter and I took half of Sunday off), so I didn’t get a lot of pictures. Hoping that someone is going to post some, but frequent Google searches haven’t come up with much yet. Hint, hint. (A handful of pics in a slideshow here, including one of us with my head cut off, and a video recap here, which we do appear in briefly.)

    But with any experience, there are bits that stand out and I thought I’d share a few of those in brief.

    1. Stepping onto the stage with my daughters at the Masquerade so they (okay, we, but I stood in the back even though they made me go first) could show off their costumes to the waiting crowd.
    2. Heather Dale holding us in the room after the Masquerade to start the concert with a beautiful, vocal only version of “Mordred’s Lullaby”, standing up out of the audience to root us all to the spot and letting me know I’m maybe not quite as done with the Arthurian mythos as I’d thought I was.
    3. Talking my daughters into a posing session for a group of artists in our Steampunk cosplay, letting ourselves (and not fooling myself at all, mostly them because they’re far cuter than I am) be drawn in a variety of poses.
    4. After the posing session, having the artist GOH, Scott Caber who has far more major credits than they could list in the program, pull us aside to finish his sketches of my girls, sign them, and give them to us.
    5. Discovering two new anime series with my youngest then sharing them with her older sister. For reference, Ore Shura and Kotoura-san, and I recommend them both to any anime fan. The latter, in fact, is going to “appear” in the first episode of the Cyborg Bunnies Review.
    6. Meeting up again with two friends I made at World Fantasy last year, and being so absolutely and completely happy to do so and that I’d met them in the first place.
    7. Being privileged that both of those friends (who are both authors) allowed us to interview them for the podcast that we haven’t quite launched yet (but it’s close!).
    8. The poke in the brain Tanya gave me (not that she knew it at the time) to get back to my Japanese lessons. I’ve misplaced the bulk of what I have learned and need to fix that.
    9. My oldest daughter winning what she had to compete for at the Art Auction.

    10. Realizing that both of my girls actually wanted to hang out with me for the entire weekend.

    Okay yes, that’s really more than ten moments, but feel free to make your own list. There were a lot more besides, in panels, at the Pacific Mall, in the dealer’s room and just hanging out in the halls. Ad Astra 2013 was a great time, and I think we’ve decided we’re going back next year. It was a lot of fun and everyone who can should come join us.

    Be well, everyone.

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