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Star Wars finally debuted in glorious 3D a couple of years ago, and it was pretty spectacular. Each scene in The Phantom Menace is so rich. The 3D really helped to bring out the details in the background and the extras who were doing more than merely standing around.

One of the biggest complaints I hear about 3D is, "That's all there was to it? How disappointing?" The experience is lacking, especially after you've been to a Disney World style 3D experience. 3D isn't the next big thing in movies, because it doesn't go far enough. While I really enjoyed Star Wars in 3D, do you know what would have been even better? Star Wars as an immersive experience.

"What is an immersive experience?" you may be asking yourself. It's where all senses are used and not just sight and sound. If you've ever been to Disneyland, Universal Studios, or a similar fun land, you've probably experienced immersive movies, although they just call them 3D. These are the rides where you put on 3D glasses; you hear sound coming from all 720 degrees; you feel your seat rumble beneath you; you feel jets of air shoot across your legs, feet and face; you feel mists of water squirt in your face; and you may smell some sweet or not-so-sweet smell. Each of these movies is usually in a dedicated theater and the best ones have a mix of film, live actors, and animatronics to enhance the experience.

For a standard, commercial theater, you wouldn’t need to add all that much, just rumble seats, air jets, water jets, and maybe a few scents. These few things in addition to 3D glasses and surround sound would help the moviegoer feel like he was in the movie. And this would be a boon to movie theaters, because you’d be hard pressed to duplicate all of this in a home theater.

Now if only Hollywood can figure that out.

  • Listening to: Glowing
  • Reading: The Phantom Daily Comic Strips
  • Watching: The Olympics
  • Playing: Piano
  • Eating: Couscous
  • Drinking: Whole Milk

Boy, I am SO glad retailers have their Valentine's Stuff out. I was really worried I'd have to ring in the New Year without all my Valentine's Day shopping done.

  • Listening to: Let It Go
  • Reading: 400 Questions & Answers about the Old Testament
  • Watching: Betas
  • Playing: Usagi Yojimbo on the Kindle Fire HDX
  • Eating: McDonald's Holiday Pie
  • Drinking: Welches' Sparkling White Grape Juice
One year, my brother commented how half of all Christmas specials involved Santa being kidnapped threatening to cancel Christmas. He pointed out the North Pole’s need for better security. Later, while watching Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas, I realized so many shows’ titles included the phrase ‘saves Christmas’. That got me thinking about what saving Christmas really means. Is it about rescuing Santa from the villain of the week? Do we need Santa for Christmas?

No, the real threat to Christmas is removing Christ from it. Christ is the source of the love and the compassion so prevalent at this time of year. Without him, we’d have neither.

Enemies of goodness and virtue know a direct assault would never work, so they attack from the side misusing a noble virtue as their weapon—respect. They claim we should respect those that don't believe in Christ by not mentioning him during the celebration of His birth. Respect is a good thing, but like all good things, it can be twisted into something bad, and this is an excellent example.

We should respect others’ beliefs. They should respect ours in return. Respect is a two-way street. Respecting their beliefs does NOT mean we hide our beliefs. That isn’t respect—that’s cowardice and ignorance.

This is Christmas, not ‘the holidays’. The only reason the season exists is because of Christ and the Light He brings. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging it. Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ does not force your beliefs on another nor attack their beliefs. Those are lies spread by those who don't like what Christ taught, because it makes them feel guilty for their bad behaviors they don’t want to change. They want you to change instead which does no one any good—it actually causes all parties harm.

So don't be afraid or ashamed to say ‘Merry Christmas’ this year; you will offend almost no one. And if someone says ‘Happy Holidays’ to you, don’t get upset—that isn’t what Jesus would do and doesn’t ‘save Christmas’.

Saving Christmas isn’t about rescuing Santa, but putting Christ back into it by sharing His message and doing what He would do.

  • Listening to: A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Reading: Edmond Hamilton
  • Watching: Christmas Specials
  • Playing: Piano
  • Eating: Crepe Cake at IHOP
  • Drinking: Egg Nog
Ender's Game is one of my favorite books of all time. I have been wanting to see a movie adaption of it for years, but I've been scared of seeing a movie adaption because books don't always translate well to film.

This time they did a pretty good job. They were true to the book, showed all the essential elements, and cast the characters well for the most part. (Anderson -- bad choice.) I did miss all the parts they cut out, but I understand you can only fit so much into a two hour movie. But the movie didn't run quite two hours, so they could have included a little more of battle school to help develop the characters more and the show how brilliant Ender really was.

Now I'm wondering where they'll go with the sequel.
  • Listening to: Doc Savage vs. Kong
  • Reading: Wonder Woman
  • Watching: Silent Films
  • Playing: Piano
  • Eating: Ding Dongs (they're back!)
  • Drinking: OJ
The first issue of the new bi-monthly series continuing the saga of the Silent Wanderer is finally available!

The guests of Hotel Lerosi expect peace, quiet, and a healthy dose of pampering. But, the Lerosi isn't your typical 5-star hotel. A tormented doctor's dreams of patients he's killed, and the student who checked in with her professor still hasn't been seen, even though he hasn't missed a lecture. Wandering Koala Digest 1 contains a 32-page graphic novel, a new scifi novella, essay, and 2 comics.


Available in print and all eBook formats.

To read a sample or see where to buy, visit www.WanderingKoala.com/digest0…
  • Listening to: The School Revolution by Ron Paul
  • Reading: Wonder Woman
  • Watching: Silent Films
  • Playing: Piano
  • Eating: Ding Dongs (they're back!)
  • Drinking: OJ
The next chapter in the Wandering Koala Saga begins October 16 with the bi-monthly Wandering Koala Digest. It includes an original graphic novel, humorous comics, an essay, and a scifi novella. I'm pretty excited this project is finally happening! i hope you like it too.
  • Listening to: The School Revolution by Ron Paul
  • Reading: Justice League Unlimited
  • Watching: Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Playing: Piano
  • Eating: Black Forest Ham Ranch Burger
  • Drinking: Ice Water
And it is done! The first draft of the latest Wandering Koala tale (currently titled Modest Proposal) is finished!

It's an apocalypse virus story that I've been kicking around for a while (I even started writing a version a few years thinking it would be my third novel, but the story didn't go anywhere). I was inspired to write this when I started reading Contagion (a story arc in Batman comics) when I was a teenager. There was a TV movie with a similar theme soon after that solidified it.

The title Modest Proposal is an interesting one, because while I've read the famous Jonathan Swift essay, it didn't even cross my mind until I was almost finished with the first draft and looking for a title. The working title was Disease, but that just didn't sound compelling enough. I also thought about calling it The Third Horseman (or Fourth or Fifth) but that sounded too unoriginal. Then I thought of Final Solution since that sort of fits the plot, but World War II and Nazis have been so overdone that I try to avoid them. That's when A Modest Proposal popped into my head. The prologue definitely has some similarities and parallels, so I decided to go with it for now. (And anyone searching for the essay may 'accidentally' stumble onto my book, a bonus.)

Of course, now I have to revise, revise, revise, so the title could change. I doubt the story will, because it's already been thru so many drafts and versions that I'm pretty sure this is the one. It reads and feels like a Wandering Koala story. The last one, The Green Bull, didn't. That's why it didn't make it into paperback and why the site wasn't redesigned using artwork from that story.

Let the revising begin!
  • Listening to: Stephen King
  • Reading: Kindle 2
  • Watching: 77 Sunset Strip
  • Playing: Piano
  • Eating: Jell-O Parfait
  • Drinking: Freshly-squeezed Orange Juice
People never cease to amaze me.

There is a certain group on DeviantArt (starts with Bad and rhymes with grass characters) that has requested, on four separate occasions, to add my works to their group's galleries. After the third time I figured I might as well join the group and save them the time of asking.

And they rejected me. They said they viewed my work and didn't feel I qualified. And yet they have sought me out to ask me to add my work to their group's galleries. In fact, tonight they just requested permission to add another work of mine. That's four requests that THEY initiated.

So here's my confusion. My work is good enough for them to seek it out and ask my permission to add it, but it's not good enough to join their group? Huh?

Peoples is peoples, and peoples is very confusing.
  • Listening to: Stephen King
  • Reading: Nook with GlowLight
  • Watching: Terry and the Pirates
  • Playing: Ninja Gaiden 3
  • Eating: Tapioca Pudding
  • Drinking: Freshly-squeezed Orange Juice
Just before Christmas I published a new illustrated novella titled "The Green Bull (a Wandering Koala tale)" and made it exclusive to the Amazon Kindle to take advantage of their lending and free days. I thought it would be a good way to promote my work and get my book in the hands of more readers.

It wasn't.

The 90 days are up and I am now publishing it to all formats. I think this will get the story into more hands.

What's it about? Here's a brief description:
------------------
Kinghorn never expected to see a murdered co-worker's body tied to the blade of a windmill he helped have built. He is even more shocked to learn his best friend is the prime suspect!

The case appears open and shut on the surface—but dark secrets never stay buried. Can Kinghorn deal with the truth behind the man he worships and the cause he's given everything to support? What price will he pay for his loyalty? And what will it cost the city around him? Can even the intervention of the Wandering Koala solve the riddle of the Green Bull?

The Green Bull is a 17,000-word novella with 20 original illustrations and a new essay.
-------------------

The title refers to both the idol the cult worships and the fact that the whole green movement is a pile of -- I think you get the idea.

Preserving the environment? Good idea, I'm all for it.

Going Green ie. turning into an irrational madman who sacrifices everything else for measures that don't actually help preserve the environment (CFL bulbs, windmills, cap and trade, electric cars, Al Gore)? Not a good idea. In fact, a very bad idea.

Read the book. It's an exciting murder mystery with many good messages. www.smashwords.com/books/view/…
  • Listening to: Philip Marlowe
  • Reading: Cold as Ice
  • Watching: Terry and the Pirates
  • Playing: Dragon Warrior III
  • Eating: Green Eggs
  • Drinking: Freshly-squeezed Orange Juice
I've been building websites for over a decade now. The web has changed a lot, and yet somethings stay the same.

jQuery is one of those.

I just finished a fairly thorough tutorial along with several practical examples. A lot of the things you can do with jQuery are the same kind of things people have been doing on the web for years. jQuery makes some of them quicker, and it makes some of them less compatible than the old way.

While looking at examples of Web 2.0 (or html5 or dynamic html or whatever name people will be using tomorrow), I'm reminded of a comment I read on the web six or seven years ago: Web 2.0 is the Flash of the future. Flash came our around the turn of the millennium. It's big draw was offering great motion, animation, and sound that could be sent over the Internet and viewed consistently on several browsers. Sites built with it looked pretty cool.

But there were issues.

For one, search engines couldn't properly index the sites which led to some awkward workarounds.

Another problem was time it took to load. One had to wait for the entire site to load to view it. Some people started building sites modularly which helped.

Another problem was all that sound, animation, and motion became gratuitous--they didn't really add to the site or make it more useful. A lot of people abandoned their Flash sites like they were landing pages and went back to the "old" way. This was helpful when Apple decided to not support Flash and move to a new set of technologies that others have followed.

Today html5 offers the same types of gratuitous decorations. And people are jumping on the band wagon left and right. But do these really add value?

Some of them do. Netflix is much nicer to drag and sort titles instead of typing numbers. DeviantArt's ability to drag an image in is slicker than using the browse button. I'm all for new technologies that are well supported and improve the user experience.

I just wish people would stop there.
  • Listening to: The Colorado Kid
  • Reading: The Atom
  • Watching: Terry and the Pirates
  • Playing: The Piano
  • Eating: Jell-O parfait
  • Drinking: Whole Milk
Have you heard? This is Read an eBook Week! True you can read an eBook anytime, but this week there are a whole bunch that are on sale, so you can stock up on the rest of the year's reading at a fraction of the usual price over at Smashwords. Isn't that great?!

For those of you who like to read, you can pick up both of my novels for a dollar each (a real steal considering the print price is over $10 a book), and you can sample a few of my short stories for FREE! Almost all are illustrated, so you can see even more artwork. Here are a few links:

The Scientific Method (a Wandering Koala tale): www.smashwords.com/books/view/…

Power Trip (a Wandering Koala tale): www.smashwords.com/books/view/…

The Hook (a Wandering Koala tale): www.smashwords.com/books/view/…

Sign of the Fifth Dimension (a Wandering Koala tale): www.smashwords.com/books/view/…

The Ohso Project: The Recruit: www.smashwords.com/books/view/…

Remember, it's this week only.

Enjoy!
  • Listening to: Dangerous Assignment
  • Reading: Cold as Ice
  • Watching: Terry and the Pirates
  • Eating: Scrambled Eggs
  • Drinking: Orange Juice