Sunday, July 4, 2010

Football and Entertainment

With the World Cup marching on to it's conclusion, football has been on my mind quite a lot lately. It's the single biggest sporting event in the world, so no big surprises there that I would be one of the legion of fans. At surface level is a fun sport, and a simple one, but lately I've been thinking about it's inner appeal.

When you watch football, and particularly at this stage of the World Cup, you are faced with athletes of impeccable physical condition, an uncanny drive and purpose, doing feats that most of us can only dream of ever doing. How much of the entertainment that comes from watching sport is part of wish fulfillment? Certainly as we are younger, but what part of that carries on as we grow older? At this point in my life, I know pretty well that I am never going to be a professional athlete, I find myself watching more football than I ever did before, more than I did when I actually played football.

(Don't get me wrong, there are many fans that just want to watch a sport because of ties to national or local teams, I would even wager a great portion)

While it's true that I hold some teams close to my heart, I am more interested in entertainment than in the winning of championships or accolades. I would watch good football regardless of who was playing.  I think part of me likes watching football because of how inspirational it can be. There's nothing quite like the happiness of a team winning a hard fought match, a primal joy that exudes from players. Just as how there's nothing quite like a team heading home in defeat, only knowing that in due time they might have to do it again.

In part, I think football players are modern day gladiators, fighting for honor and the entertainment of spectators and they act as ambassadors of their lands to the rest of the world. Sure, the battles are not quite as deadly as they used to be in Roman times, but their professional careers are probably just as long.

I think there's quite a lot of material to extract from here, story wise, about the struggle of football (or any other sport) players, though there doesn't seem to be a big interest in sport stories in fiction, is there? People would rather read/watch a true inspirational story (and understandably so, really) than something completely made up.

The All-New, All-Different Ampersand Comics

Lately I've been struggling with a bout of writer's block, particularly when it comes to my comic blogging over at The Weekly Crisis. I haven't been providing much content lately, certainly not as much as I used to, and my entries pale in comparison to Ryan L's. That man is a writing machine. 

Interestingly enough, it's not because of lack of ideas, but the complete opposite. Too many ideas rattling around in my head, ideas that need to be written down only to make space for new ones, or to let other ones more space to grow, so I'm going to try something new here. I guess it's kind of like a journal, but more along the lines of a virtual notebook to write down ideas, general thoughts, an anything else that's on my mind. 

In the mean time, you can always read my entries at ThoughtBalloons, a fun experiment in writing one-page stories with established characters. It's helped me in forcing myself into a schedule, and like I said, it's fun.

You can also ask me anything you want on Formspring.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Savage Sword of Gotham

I had forgotten I had taken this photo, but I found it today looking through the phone...

A little bit of context: this art piece is hanging in my local comic book shop, Gotham Comics. The owner, Tony, is a big fan of the 70's Conan series. One of the customers gave this to him for his birthday. I don't remember exactly off the top of my head what it says, but I think it is "Tony The Librarian versus an army of the undead" or something along those lines.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool, so I took a photo of it. Do note that this is old, Wednesday comics was still coming out in singles. Also pictured, Anita Blake.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This is what they want!

As you probably already saw, yesterday I did a post over at The Weekly Crisis about awesome Nerd Cakes. Honestly, they are great, and I thought people would be all over that article, that people would comment a lot about it, that it would be linked around Twitter and stuff. Sure, some friends RT the link, and there are a modest amount of comments (7 at the time of this writing), but honestly, I thought this could do be better. I was already resigning myself that maybe people weren't all that interested in it, when...

You guys use Google Reader? I do, it's incredibly useful to keep track of feeds. It also has some nice buttons like "Share" to share a particular entry with your followers, and a "Like" button for when you really like an article. I always "Like" and "Share" all the articles in The Weekly Crisis, because I honestly like all the material we present. Anyway, the most popular posts get usually around 5 ~ 10 "Likes", and usually by the same group of people, most just get one or two. I went to check the "Nerd Cakes" post, and I was greeted with this...

HOLY SHIT. At the time of this writing, 226 people have "Liked" that article. It has gotten so popular that if you go to the "Recommended" tab that Google Reader offers, it shows up as one of the first choices.

According to the info provided by Google Reader, 769 people subscribe to The Weekly Crisis feed using Google Reader. Like I said above, if the most popular posts usually get 7~10 "Likes", that means that usually what we write really appeals to 1% of the readership. To get these kind of numbers, and working under the assumption that only 1% of the people reading will bother to hit "Like", that means this article has been read roughly 22000 times!

Update: I asked Kirk to check the Analytics for that particular post, and it's not getting any more site views than the rest of them. I guess that the people that saw it REALLY liked it though.

Of course, the other alternative is that this article was so awesome that it completely shattered that 1% statistic, but even then, this is probably the most widespread and well-liked article I have ever written. I do not if this got linked around in Tumbler or Digg, or what, but SOMETHING must have caused this many people to see this particular article.

(and in the time it took me to write this, it's already up to 229, who knows where it will be by tomorrow?)

In other words: Damn it feels good to have an audience. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Matt Ideas: Frank Miller's Footloose

This is the kind of stuff I come up when I have free days from work. I clearly should be writing other stuff due at The Weekly Crisis and other places, but this idea got into my head last night, and I could not let it go. Whoever was on Twitter at the time probably saw this already. Just imagine that this is Frank Miller's Batman or Daredevil saying these words, come on, try it!

There's something strange about this town. The streets are empty. There is no joy in the dance floor.

It is holding me down. Not anymore. Not this night. Tonight i gotta cut loose. Footloose.

Time to lose my blues. I am yearning, burning for more. Time to kick off my Sunday shoes.

Everyone's playing it cool. Obeying the rules. They don't realize they could fly, if only they'd cut loose. 

I have to turn it around, plant my feet in the ground. Take hold of my soul and let it loose.

And like I said, I couldn't let the idea go, so you also get a movie poster...

That's gold, Jerry! Gold!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Martian Manhunter vs. The State of Arizona

(Page originally from Brightest Day #0. Click to enlarge)

I don't think Arizona thought it all the way through when they passed this law. The next time that Doomsday or whatever shows up in their state, they are not going to be able to get help from Martian Manhunter, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, etc. Well, it's only Arizona. Fuck'em!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stuff I Have Won, Pt. 2

So I haven't posted here in a while, have I? But check out what I won while I was busy posting elsewhere!

(No, I do not have jaundice, I always look like that in photos)

No, I did not join a Summer Law Intern Program, that's a novelty t-shirt that I won from current Daredevil scribe Andy Diggle on a twitter contest. Nelson, Blake & Murdock are fictional characters, but you probably know that already if you read Daredevil. I don't know if you can get more of these t-shirts of if this is a one-of-a-kind, but I was certainly lucky to have won it. It was more of a being at the right time, at the right place kind of thing, because I certainly know other people that probably deserve it more, like Christine or Alice. To them, I say: na na na na! I have this t-shirt and you don't! And to Mr. Diggle, a very big "thank you" for doing this contest, and for mailing this all the way to Spain.