Ask Dayton #113 on the G and T Show: “Picture This.”

Well. Holy shit.

How long as it been since we’ve done of these? “Damned long time,” some of you are saying. Meanwhile, others among you are saying, “Not damned long enough.”

I apologize to those folks. Buckle up.

So, yes, the, “Ask Dayton” feature returned to the G and T Show yesterday, inflicted upon helpless hosts Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros during a vulnerable moment while taking a breather as they brought their audience the latest happenings in and around the various neighborhoods of the “Star Trek Universe.”

What we have this time?

Dear Dayton,

We have heard stories about your meme war with a certain member of G & T. Would you care to elaborate on it? What’s the best meme you’ve exchanged? What’s the worst? And have either of you used the Nuclear Option yet?

I’ve come to the conclusion that doing the “Ask Dayton” thing is a lot like working for the CIA. You never really stop doing either, and just when you think you’re out and safe and finally free to live a normal life away from danger and intrigue, they pull you right back in.

Anyway, yes, it’s true: I’ve been known to engage in friendly and occasionally competitive picture and internet meme exchanges with a member of the G&T Show. I’m worried about outing this person and subjecting them to undue scrutiny and perhaps even persecution and online lynch mobs, so for security reasons I’m going to refer to him by the alias “Nick Minecci.”

Wait. Shit. I misread my notes just then. Ah, well. Fuck it.

So, what’s the deal with this? It’s a bit of rude, sometimes crude, but ultimately harmless fun. The same way you don’t watch an R-rated flick or porn while your kids are playing on the living room floor, so too do Nick and I periodically exchange jokes and pics of the sort we both feel aren’t appropriate for all audiences.

Most of the stuff we pass back and forth is military themed, as we poke fun at the establishment we both love while sometimes wanting to punch it in the balls. There are also the diversions into various news items or current events, and the frequent pokes at pop culture, fandom, and the idiots in our midst.

(Psst…there really are a tremendous number of just dumbass people walking around, you know? I mean, a lot. Just sayin’.)

Then there are all the Bill Cosby jokes we’ve been making, which really deserve their own category.

As you might imagine, the stakes can get pretty high in a game like this, where you’re trying to out-meme the other person. You cast caution to the winds. You’re wandering the halls without a pass. You stick your judgment, good taste, common decency, and basic humanity in a lockbox. You’re working without a helmet or a net. Nick even leaves his PT belt at home. That’s when you know this shit is getting real. You go Full Trump, by golly.

Every once in a while, we take a break from that sort of silly shit, like when we find ourselves discussing the comedic stylings of Andrew Dice Clay, engaging in quote wars from favorite films (Midnight Run like a mother fucker, y’all!), and yammering back and forth while watching the same football game. Hey, you deal with your insomnia your way, and leave us to what works for us, all right?

As for the so-called “Nuclear Option,” I actually had to seek clarification on this, and I received this reply:

“I suppose it could mean, exchanged a meme that had brought the “meme battle” to an abrupt end. Perhaps it was so bad it left the other speechless or pissed the other off to the point where there is no way to respond to it. To me, it just seemed like a fun way to describe the meme to end all memes. Something along those lines.”

Yeah, that happens every so often. I’m not going to cite specific examples, because, you know….ew. However, there have been times when the spirited back-n-forth will reach such a fevered pitch that one of us will cull some picture from an obscure corner of the Dark Web or perhaps Satan’s blog, and share it to the utter shock and even revulsion of the recipient. I don’t know that either of us has actually pissed off the other person, but there have been times when the response to a particular picture is something along the lines of “Dude………really? REALLY?” before we both skulk back to our respective corners.

(FYI: When I say “One of us,” I really mean, “Nick.”)

So, there’s your peek into the Secret Meme Wars. I’ve sat here for a couple of minutes trying to find a zinger line to close out this answer, and after careful consideration I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really only one way to go, here:

look-at-it


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #215 on November 22nd, 2015. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

As always, thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for including me in on their shenanigans.

Advertisements

Talking Writing and Trek With the G & T Show!

So, I was babbling again, and somebody recorded it.

The “somebody” this time was Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros, my friends over at The G&T Show, who preserved our disordered ramblings as an episode of their ancillary podcast, Supplemental Logs.

We’ve danced this dance before, they and I, and this time around we talk about my recently published Star Trek novel, Armageddon’s Arrow, as well as Trek in general, writing as a full-time vocation, conventions, and Melissa McCarthy, for some reason. The discussion drifts all over the map, really…sort of like a pub crawl of nerdity…complete with me answering a handful of listener questions, including a couple about writing, and stuff. The result?

G&T Show Supplemental Logs – Dayton Ward, Professional Writer

Many thanks to Terry, Nick, and Mike for having me yet again on their show. It’s always fun talking to you all, even if we never seem to actually get around to whatever it was that made you want me to sully your podcast in the first place. Let’s do that again, some time!

dayton-speaknoevil

 

Ask Dayton #112 on the G and T Show: “Do I Still Remember How to Do This?”

Wait. What?

Holy Schnikes, kids! Look what’s back up and running? I mean, I guess I think it’s back up and running. Let’s see what things are like next week, before we get all excited and shit.

But for now? It’s Sunday, and with it came another episode of the G and T Show, with hosts Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros bringing you all the latest happenings in and around the “Star Trek Universe.”

And when they got to a point of the show that otherwise would’ve been filled with dead air? They brought out an old chestnut, blew off the dust, and let it fly. To wit:

Dear Dayton,

It’s been a while. How’s the Witness Protection Program? So much is going on. With Daredevil and Age of Ultron, can Marvel do any wrong on the screen at this point? Also, what have you been reading you can recommend to us?

Witness Protection? I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve been here all along. To borrow and tweak an oft-used phrase that you’ll hear a lot with respect to religion or politics, I didn’t leave my podcast; my podcast left me.

I mean, fuck: How long’s it been since the last time we had an “Ask Dayton?” Three months, by my calculations. That’s almost a football season. That’s one third of a gestating baby. That’s how long Barbra Streisand says goodbye during her latest farewell tour.

(Truth be told, I’ve had this question in my hopper for a couple of weeks, now, but I’d been holding out for more money from the show, and contract negotiations had stalled. My agent was finally able to get me a nice raise and from now, on I’ll be making three times as much per answer as I was making before. Pretty sweet, right?)

What have I been doing since then? I’ve been working my ass off. That’s what. Since the last time we spoke, I’ve written one book, finished co-writing another, banged out a couple of short stories and the odd web-based thing, and plunged ass-deep into writing two different novels at the same time. Why? Because I’m a fucking idiot, that’s why.

Who writes two novels at the same time? :: points thumbs at self :: This moron, right here. Thankfully, neither book is remotely like the other in terms of story, themes, characters, or even genres. That’s the only thing saving me from running out into the street and trying an open-field tackle on a bus, although it does make for some interesting dreams…you know, when I get around to actually sleeping, and shit.

But, you probably don’t give a damn about any of that, do you? No, no. I’m fine. Thanks for asking.

As for what Marvel can and can’t do wrong so far as their much-vaunted “Cinematic Universe” goes, I’m going to have to be that guy who says he didn’t really get all that excited about Age of Ultron. I wasn’t in that much of a hurry to see it, and once I finally made it to a screening, it’s not like I was champing at the bit to see it again. Contrast that with Mad Max: Fury Road, which I wanted to watch again as soon as the credits finished rolling the first time. Hot damn what a fun movie that was.

As for Ultron? No, it certainly wasn’t a bad movie, but it was like Chinese food; a half hour after I was done watching it, I wanted something to fill the void because in the end, the flick just didn’t do that much for me. So far as I’m concerned, the best Marvel movie to date is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As entertaining as both Avengers movies are, neither one of them comes close to knocking that one off the top of the heap, for me. The only one that might have a chance is Cap’s next outing, Civil War.

Taking a look ahead at what else is coming from Marvel, I have to admit to a healthy skepticism about Ant Man. I mean…really? Then again, I was one of those folks who thought Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be a big misfire, and I was quite happy to be proven wrong about that. I don’t really have feelings one way or another about yet another Spider-Man reboot, and I was never a big Doctor Strange or Thor fan, but Captain Marvel intrigues me. Speaking of characters who need their own movie, we seriously need a Black Widow flick. Natasha Romanoff is arguably the biggest badass of the whole group we’ve seen so far. No super powers, no high-tech toys, just skills and sass. What are we waiting for?

Switching gears to the other part of your question, my leisure reading has taken a hit in recent months, to be honest. Anything I read these days is almost always research or “homework” for whatever writing project is front and center. That doesn’t stop me from buying new books, you understand. The way I see it, I’m lining up my activities calendar for when I finally retire.

That said, I did have recent opportunities to read a couple of books. The first was called Home Before Morning, a memoir written by a former Army nurse that chronicles her experiences at an evac hospital during the Vietnam War. If that premise sounds familiar to you, it’s because this book was the basis for the 1980s television series China Beach. The other book I read was The Martian by Andy Weir, which is one of the more entertaining science fiction novels I’ve read in a long time. I wanted to read it before the movie adaptation hits theaters later this year, and the movie’s going to have a tough act to follow. I used to be able to say, “Hey, it’s Ridley Scott! That’s like money in the bank!” But, I still haven’t completely forgiven him for recent efforts like Prometheus, and the very idea of a sequel to Blade Runner is blasphemous. So, here’s hoping The Martian marks the start of a big-time bounce-back for Sir Ridley.

I think that’s enough babbling for one answer, don’t you? I look forward to addressing the next “Ask Dayton” some time in 2017 or so.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #196 on June 14th, 2015. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to make me a part of the show.

Ask Dayton #111 on the G and T Show: “Accent(uat)ing the Narrative”

Hey, it’s Sunday! Didn’t we just do this like a week ago, or something?

Yep, it’s the first Sunday after the conclusion of football season, which means I’m in the sports drought that will be my reality…at least until beach volleyball rolls back around. Meanwhile? There’s the G and T Show, with hosts Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros serving up all sorts of news, rumors, gossip, and whatever else crosses their radar screen as they sit and talk about the “Star Trek Universe.”

And when they decided they needed a break from all of that? They call in the halftime entertainment, of course:

Dear Dayton,

You’re a writer, and you’re a reader. Recently, I read a piece online (from no one you know, I’m sure), where a character had an accent. The accent was, to my mind, rendered crudely and incorrectly and, frankly, it was kind of insulting (N. B. I have family members by marriage who have this accent. They don’t talk the way this writer wrote).

In Trek, we have all manner of accents and dialects, from the Britishisms of Malcolm Reed and Julian Bashir, to Irish Miles O’Brien, to Trip Tucker’s Florida Panhandle accent to Pavel Chekov’s Russian inwentions to Scottish Montgomery Scott. Plus aliens speaking English (excuse me, Federation Standard) might or might not have accents if they are truly attempting to speak it without using a Universal Translator.

So my question is, how do you render accents? Does a Southerner always have dropped G’s? Do Bostonians such as myself always lose their R’s? Does Bashir say ‘blimey’ a lot? Or do you duck and avoid them?

Bonus question: are there any accents you’d like to see (well, hear) in Star Trek that we haven’t heard yet? Do you think Trek will be able to handle Romanians or even the Klingons of Long Island?

I think we may finally have reached “Peak Ask Dayton.”

Yes, we have a decent number of Star Trek characters who insist on talking funny. Or, maybe it’s that they’re the normal ones and everybody else is just boring. Whatever. From Montgomery Scott whining about his “wee bairns” to Chekov spreading the Russian on way too thick as he waxes historical about his country of origin’s contributions to anything and everything, and even to Trip Tucker twanging along as he tells people, “Keep yer sherrrt on, Lewwwwwtenant,” Trek’s definitely got its share of colorful accents and dialects. That’s all fine and dandy for the screen, but so far as writing goes? Yikes.

Of course, since you posed the question to me about my writing, I have to assume that you haven’t read anything I’ve written, or else you’d already have the answer to your query. So, while I work at coming to terms with this obvious snubbing of my alleged contributions to the published word, let’s ponder this.

There was a time when rendering accents and dialects in prose was “the thing” to do. It was a way to give different characters their own identity, but it’s a practice that nowadays has largely fallen out of favor. You might see it every so often, but it’s by no means “the norm,” and you’re likely to get back notes from your editor “politely” asking you to knock off that shit.

I mean, you’d think it sounds good in theory and perhaps even fun, right? Maybe, but on the other hand it’s just as likely to be a distraction to the reader, and can be a definite mood killer depending on the scene. I mean, just imagine one of those steamy sequences from Fifty Shades of Grey, but the whole thing was written from the perspective of a redneck.

What? You can’t quite picture that? Well, here: Let me help. I’m including an excerpt from Chapter 8, aka “The first time Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele get it on.” Why? Pretty much just so I can hear Nick read really shitty erotica while trying to emulate Larry the Cable Guy:

“Do yo’ haf enny idea how much ah’s hankerin’ yo’, Ana Steele?” he whispers. Mah breath hitches. ah cannot take mah eyes off his. He retches up an’ juntly runs his fingers down mah cheek t’mah chin, as enny fool kin plainly see.

“Do yo’ haf enny idea whut I’m a-gonna does to yo’?” he adds, caressin’ mah chin, as enny fool kin plainly see.

Th’ mooscles inside th’ deepest, darkess part of me clench in the dawgoned-est delicious fashion, as enny fool kin plainly see. Th’ pain is so sweet an’ sharp ah’s hankerin’ t’close mah eyes, but I’m hypnotized by his gray eyes starin’ fervently into mine. Leanin’ down, he kisses me. His lips is deman’in’, firm an’ slow, moldin’ mine. He starts unbuttonin’ mah shirt while he places feather-like kisses acrost mah jaw, mah chin, an’ th’ co’ners of mah mouth. Slowly he peels it off me an’ lets it fall t’th’ flore. He stan’s back an’ gazes at me. I’m in th’ pale blue lacy puffick-fit bra. Thank hevvins.

“Oh, Ana,” he breathes. “Yo’ haf the dawgoned-est right purdy hide, pale an’ flawless. ah’s hankerin’ t’kiss ev’ry sin’le inch of it.”

ah flush. Oh mah… Whuffo’ did he say he c’dn’t make love? ah will does ennythin’ he be hankerin’. He grasps mah hair tie, pulls it free, an’ gasps as mah hair cascades down aroun’ mah sh’ders.

Yeah. That leaves a pretty bitter aftertaste, right?

So, to avoid problems like this, and instead of writing dialogue in a way that overtly or directly evokes an accent, I tend to include references to the way a character talks. For example, Spock’s dialogue is always very formal, with few if any contractions. If there’s a word with two syllables and it has a synonym with four or more syllables, I’m almost always going for the bigger stick. And don’t forget that he tends to drag out explanations to even the simplest questions before somebody like McCoy tells him to get on with it.

If a character has an acknowledged accent or speaks with a distinctive dialect, I’ll refer to that in description rather than dialogue; something like, “Kirk listened over the open channel as Scott muttered to himself, his thick brogue becoming all but indecipherable as he grew more frustrated.” I also try to focus more on speech patterns or phrases, idioms, and/or slang they might employ. So, that means Scotty gets a lot “Aye” and “lad” and “lassie” peppered into his dialogue, and if I were to have Doctor Phlox ask Trip Tucker how he’s feeling, I might have the engineer reply, “I’m feeling as fine as frog’s hair split three ways, Doc.”

As far as accents I’d like to see (or is that “hear?”) in Star Trek, we’re sadly overdue for somebody from Boston’s south side, or maybe Jersey. Why? Because maybe then they can get Mike Sorrentino (aka “The Situation”) in a movie or TV episode as a redshirt.

What? You asked.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #178 on February 8th, 2015. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to included me in their little games.

Ask Dayton #110 on the G and T Show: “It’s All in the Execution(er)”

It’s Sunday!

In addition to that football-type game thing happening later on this afternoon, today also marked yet another episode of the G and T Show. Hosts Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros were on hand once again, dropping knowledge bombs about the latest happenings in and around the “Star Trek Universe.”

Today was a bit different, in that I hauled my ass out of bed to join them for part of the festivities. In and around the various wickets of discussion topics, we also got around to something that the show’s been sorely lacking for lo these many weeks: a new “Ask Dayton” query. Since I was there, Nick read the question, and I gave voice to the answer, in my best “radio drive time traffic lady with a smoker’s cough” voice:

Dear Dayton,

There is a series of books, almost like pulp, called Mack Bolan: The Executioner. If you were casting it who would you cast and would you do like The Walking Dead and create a new universe based on it or would you follow the book series?

Well, hey, there, G & T Show. Long time, no talk. How the fuck’ve you been? 2015’s off to a bit of a sprint, isn’t it? I mean, here it is, February goddamned 1st already, so somebody grab that calendar by its taint and tell it to slow the hell down, all right?

(Note: “Taint” included for Terry’s sake. I know she’s all about that word.)

For those wondering from where in the name of Poseidon’s ball sack this first “Ask Dayton” question of 2015 came, you can blame Nick. He and I were bullshitting on Facebook the other day, and we were talking about books and somehow the topic veered over to Mack Bolan and other books of its kind. WHAM! Instant “Ask Dayton.” I have no idea if some other, worthier query was bumped from the queue in order to accommodate Nick’s impulse question, and if that’s the case then hopefully we’ll get to that one soon.

So, Mack Bolan.

For those not in the know, Bolan is the creation of writer Don Pendleton for a long-running series of books called The Executioner. In short: Bolan is an ex-military badass who spends the pages of these various novels shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, and blowing the shit out of assorted bad guys. Terrorists, communists, drug dealers, gun runners, whatever. If you need somebody or something blow’d up real good? Mack Bolan is your man.

The first Executioner novel, War Against the Mafia, was published in 1969 and since then Bolan has appeared in more than 600 such books. Pendleton wrote the first 37 of these, after which a revolving door of ghostwriters have come along to continue the adventures. To this day, there’s a new Executioner book published every month, and there also have been a handful of successful spin-off series featuring characters and groups that Bolan works with to extend his campaign of shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, and blowing the shit out of assorted bad guys.

I came to know The Executioner in the early to mid 1980s, at which time Bolan and two spin-off series, Able Team and Phoenix Force, were going full-tilt boogie. This was my introduction to the genre of pulp fiction known as “Men’s Adventure,” and it’s probably not unreasonable to say that I think I was born a few years too late. If I’d been writing back then, I’d for sure have gravitated toward writing such books, because DAMN they were fun.

In those days, there were whole sections of book stores devoted to this stuff, with Bolan titles offered alongside the likes of Remo Williams (aka The Destroyer), Nick Carter (aka The Killmaster), Casca: The Eternal Mercenary, and The Survivalist, to name just a few of the prominent players. These books were like the best of the 80s action movies, but without all the character growth and introspection that so defined this era of quality cinematic entertainment. Oh, wait….

Hell, I picked up a few older Bolan books the other day at a used bookstore, just because, and yes…I’ve given more than one thought to trying my hand at such a book, because again…FUN.

(We pause here, for station identification in order to bring you another uttering of the word “Taint.”)

There have been rumors for years about adapting the property for film. The latest word is that flavor of the month Bradley Cooper has been tapped for the role of Mack Bolan in a film set to start production “soon.” I could see that working. Though until recently he was largely known from the Hangover movies, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle showed me he had better acting chops than most folks were lead to believe. The A-Team movie remake showed he could do an action-adventure story, and if American Sniper doesn’t convince you the dude can act, I can’t help you. So, yeah, I think he could make a decent Mack Bolan.

As for adhering to the books? That’s a good question. The Executioner novels have a sort of comic book-like quality to them, in that Bolan never really ages even though the world around him changes as new novels continue to be published. The character’s never really been full-scale rebooted; instead, there’s a bit of ongoing James Bond-esque retconning that happens in order to keep Bolan contemporary. For example, his origins as a Vietnam vet have been subtly downplayed as the years keep adding up. It stands to reason that his “origin story” would be updated for a contemporary film, likely making him a veteran of the wars in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and we go from there. Much of the meat comprising Bolan’s backstory is definitely usable, though in need of updating to varying degrees as appropriate, and the books are chock full of springboards for enough movies to keep us busy until the asteroid hits.

Bring all that shit. Bring that shit hard. Just make me a movie that’s entertaining. Is that so much to ask?

Oh, and keep those books coming.

Oh, and “Taint.”


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #177 on February 1st, 2015. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to make me question my life choices.

Ask Dayton #109 on the G and T Show: “The Geek Movie Query Derailment”

What’s that? Two weeks in a row? I sense a pattern forming!

That’s right! If it’s Sunday, that means another episode of the G and T Show. Even with Terry Lynn Shull gallivanting around the Big Apple this week, Nick Minecci and Mike Medeiros held down the fort and kept the conversation going about various happenings in and around the “Star Trek Universe.” When the time comes for one of them to run to the bathroom or go and get a fresh cup of coffee, they halt the show’s more relevant in order to deal with one of their chief distractions, the latest “Ask Dayton” query.

So, what was in the hopper this week?

Dear Dayton,

The new Star Wars trailer dropped and people lost their collective minds. Marvel and DC film schedules were announced that seem to stretch until your girls are grandparents. Your thoughts on all this? Is this truly the Golden Age of Geekdom, or just the start?

Thank you

My first thought is that I’m probably more excited about new Star Wars and super hero movies than might be considered appropriate or even healthy for a man my age.

Note that I said I was “excited,” rather than “worried,” “concerned,” “betrayed” or “meh.” Given that the legions of mouth-frothing middle-aged fanboys bitching on the internet have seen fit to ensure all those other bases are covered, I thought I’d be different, and actually be happy about something for once. Call me crazy.

Of the films we’re talking about here, I’m probably most interested in the new Star Wars flick. My daughters are big into Star Wars thanks to stuff like the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons, and we’ve watched the other movies together. I was 9 at the time the first Star Wars film hit theaters, and my oldest daughter will be the same age when we go next year to see Episode VII. I love the symmetry of what we’ll be sharing next Christmas, and I’m not about to let “The Fandom Menace” fuck that up for me, so piss off, haters.

Elsewhere, I was jazzed to hear about the new James Bond movie that was formally announced a couple of days before Nick reads this. I’m even interested in Terminator: Genisys, if for no other reason than I think I need to smoke a giant bowl before I have any hope of understanding what the hell that movie is trying to do.

“But, Dayton,” I can hear someone saying, as they’ve been doing every minute of the nearly two weeks since the Star Wars trailer dropped, “all Hollywood’s doing is rehashing the same old crap. They’ve run out of ideas, blah blah blah.”

Shut up.

There are plenty of movies out there that aren’t sequels, prequels or reboots, but apparently nobody goes to see those. They’re too busy running to the multiplex to catch the latest sequel, prequel, or reboot so they can dash home and slag it on Facebook or Twitter. Between mainstream and art cinema, film festivals, direct to video and direct to streaming services, there are hundreds of films released every year, most of which will come and go all but unnoticed. Meanwhile, our attentions are focused on whether Rise of the Paranormal Expendable Transforming Vampires on the Planet of the Lost Armies 3 will make 150 million dollars in its first five minutes of release because if it doesn’t then it’s a FUCKING FLOP, amirite?

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love loud, fun, action movies of the sort to which Hollywood studios tend to hitch their wagons. I dug the shit out of Guardians of the Galaxy, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but I also enjoyed smaller, quieter, even artsy pictures that never receive the sort of attention lavished on big-budget merchandising gravy trains. Anybody go see The Monuments Men earlier this year? Or Birdman, or Nightcrawler? Gone Girl? John Wick? Anybody going to see Selma or Unbroken when they hit screens? What about Edge of Tomorrow this past summer, which had all the earmarks of a blockbuster but came and went with little fanfare? Hell, it was recently released to home video under a different fucking name, in the hopes people will discover it there.

A lot of people didn’t or won’t, because they were or will be too busy rubbing one out to the latest Transformers while bitching that Hollywood has run out of ideas. Meanwhile, the Transformers flicks are like porn, in that nobody will admit to going to see them even though the last one made over a billion dollars at the box office, and an ass-load more money on home video. This, despite being such a pile of shit that piles of shit are organizing a White House petition in the hopes of getting a new name. One review called it “the best action movie ever,” a statement that defies all empirical evidence, good taste, and common fucking sense, and perhaps even a commandment or two. (“Thou Shall Not Diss Die Hard, Mother Fuckers.”)

The one non-sequel/prequel/reboot movie that everyone seemed to flock to was Interstellar, but opinions are all over the map on that one. Some think it’s the greatest movie ever made while others are still hoping there’ll be a fucking app or Cliff’s Notes or some other damned thing to help figure out what the hell they just saw. Of course, you just know it’s what Christopher Nolan intended. Way to go all Kubrick for the ADD Age, you clever son of a bitch.

And speaking of ADD, I seem to have wandered a bit, and by “a bit” I mean I think I’m off the reservation by a zip code or three. Sorry about that. To address the second part of this week’s question: Is this the Golden Age of Geekdom? Maybe. It’s true that comics and science fiction have entered the mainstream so far as film and games are concerned, but doesn’t this mean that they—or at least those versions of these stories—are no longer “geeky” by definition?

Personally, I’m happy to see these things enjoyed by more people. There’s plenty for everybody, and if it means that quiet, introverted kids with Batman T-shirts don’t get harassed at school, and girls who like to play HALO or read The Walking Dead can do so without having to justify their existence to gatekeeper assholes, then I say bring all that shit on. The sooner, the better.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #169 on December 7th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to punish me this way.

Ask Dayton #108 on the G and T Show: “Giving Thanks for Sweat Pants”

Hey. Been a while since we did one of these, huh?

Even on Sundays that fall on holiday weekends, the G and T Show soldiers on. That’s right, Nick Minecci, Terry Lynn Shull, and Mike Medeiros discussing all the latest happenings in and around the “Star Trek Universe.” After they cover the important things like updates on the latest film, news on new products and the latest developments in games like Star Trek Online, they waste a few precious moments with that little slice of banality that is the semi-regular “Ask Dayton” query.

So, what was in the queue this time around?

Dear Dayton,

So what is Thanksgiving like at La Casa de Ward? Are you even allowed within twenty feet of the kitchen? Do you watch the parade? What’s the most awkward Thanksgiving memory you have?

Thanks man.

As Nick reads this, it’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving, by which time most people who partook of the holiday festivities have begun their fourth day wearing the same sweat pants they donned prior to Thursday’s feast. This is because those grungy things and the equally stained and threadbare shirt worn with them are either the only damned things that still fit, or else the wearer has eschewed such things as basic hygiene for the duration of the extended holiday weekend.

We pause here for anyone who still has at least one post-gluttony belch they’ve been banking for a special occasion.

Everybody good? All righty, then. Moving on.

The biggest difference between this Thanksgiving and the past several years was that it was the first to be observed at Ward Manor 2.0. We naturally took advantage of our larger kitchen and dining areas, and invited my wife’s mother along with a couple of our dear friends to participate in our annual stuffing of the faces. Though my wife and kids had one of the parades on the TV while they were going about the meal preparations, I managed to push some words toward the current writing project before our guests arrived, taking advantage of the lull to put on a favored pair of those aforementioned sweat pants. Once suitably attired and upon the arrival of our guests, the final preparations for the annual devouring of the sacrificial poultry commenced.

While I’m by no means a slouch when it comes to cooking, my wife took point so far as preparing this particular meal. Once our guests arrived and everything was ready to go, she was the first to sample the turkey and declare it tasty and fit for human consumption. This is to say that she grabbed one of the guest of honor’s plump, succulent legs and proceeded to de-meat it like a lion gorging on a fresh kill.

In addition to the meal, there also was traditional entertainment, which means being remote spectators to a scheduled tournament of gladiatorial combat. A pride of vicious lions from Detroit was pitted against a sleuth of bears imported from the faraway, exotic land of Chicago. It was a spirited fight and did well to placate the bloodlust of the masses, at least until dinner had settled and it was time to dive into the dessert course.

That’s right, we capped off our meal with pie. Pumpkin, for those keeping score at home, along with a chocolate cream job and some other thing I didn’t even bother sampling because I stopped caring about the available options once I heard, “Chocolate,” okay? We opted to forgo the second round of games and instead selected a movie from my vast library, all while struggling to avoid succumbing to our individual food comas. Once the gathering was concluded, everyone had gone home, and the evidence of our carnage was swept away, my sweat pants and I opted to end the day by celebrating another milestone by spinning up “The Cage,” as the date also marked the fiftieth anniversary of the original Star Trek pilot’s first day of filming in 1964.

Because I’m Trek geek, that’s why. Hello? Have we met?

And yeah…I had a turkey sandwich while watching Captain Pike go all rogue on the Talosians. I probably had another piece of pie, too. Don’t judge me. Shut up. You’re not my mom.

As for awkward moments at Thanksgiving, I can’t really think of anything like that ever occurring. I mean, I certainly have never done anything as moronic as the guy who sent a picture of his dick to his girlfriend’s sister. Yeah, that happened. What sucks is that nobody can ever do that sort of thing again without being accused of copying this asshole. He fucked it up for everybody.

That’s okay, though. I’ve got something better planned for Christmas, and no…sweat pants will not be involved.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #168 on November 30th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for including me in their games.

G and T Book Club: From History’s Shadow!

20130421-081940.jpgBecause it’s been, like, not even a week or so since I told you about my last incident of disjointed rambling I committed, and which was recorded by some innocent bystanders, right?

This time, I join Steve, Terry, and Mike from one of my favorite online hangouts, the G and T Show, for an installment of their supplemental podcast feature, “The Book of the Celestial Temple Book Club.” For this latest outing, the gang chose my Star Trek novel from 2013, From History’s Shadow.

We talk about how the book’s origins, secret and otherwise (for example: my original pitch was for a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel, rather than the original series), the amount of research involved, keeping everything straight as I carried out the actual writing, how crazy said research and writing made me and how much my alcohol intake increased during said research and writing, and so on.

In truth, I had a lot of fun writing this particular book; far more than should be considered legal or even healthy, in fact. It was something I’d been wanting to do for a long, long time, and I’m grateful to my editors at Pocket Books for indulging me. While the level of research and marrying up of Star Trek “history” and real history isn’t something I’d be keen to do for every book, it was essential for making this novel work the way I wanted.

The fruits of that discussion are now available for your listening pleasure. Check it, yo:

Book of the Celestial Temple Book Club: From History’s Shadow

As for the book, will there be any sequels or other “Tales From History’s Shadow?” At the time this was recorded, I was still fuzzy on the details of that, but since then I’ve been able to announce that there will be sequel, likely published in 2016. The current plan is for me to deliver an outline to my editor shortly after the New Year.

Thanks to Steve, Terry, and Mike for having me on their show!

Ask Dayton #107 on the G and T Show: “Pumpkin Spice Is the New Black”

Another Sunday? That must mean another episode of the G and T Show, right?

Yep. Looks that way.

So, what’ve we got? Nick Minecci, Terry Lynn Shull, and Mike Medeiros discussing all the this and that going on in and around the “Star Trek Universe.” Naturally, they need a respite from that every so often, and one of the things they do while everybody else takes a bio break is stick Nick with the unenviable task of reading aloud my answer to the latest “Ask Dayton” query.

That seems fitting, as this whole crazy train was his idea, anyway.

So, what was thrown my way this week?

Dear Dayton,

So pumpkin spice, it’s everyfuckingwhere. Every. Where. What the hell is this shit? What will it be after Halloween this year? WHY DO THEY DO THIS TO US? What is the over saturation mentality all about?

Please Dayton, help me to understand!!!!

So, it’s not just me?

I swear, I’m fairly certain I’d never even heard the term “pumpkin spice” used in any context prior to a few years ago, leading me to conclude that it probably was yet another fucking hipster thing designed to bring about the eventual fall of decent civilization.

I’m not against pumpkins, per se. I like a decent pumpkin pie as much as the next person, though I’ll happily admit it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the starting lineup for any holiday desert offerings. Beyond that? I don’t really give too much of a damn about pumpkins, except maybe for those pumpkin shaped candies they sell every Halloween, which are really nothing more than 8-balls of flavored sugar. I was content to live my life this way, but then the world shifted around me.

brace-yourselves

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Seriously. What in the name of Jupiter’s Uncut Cock are we supposed to do with this shit? Sprinkle it on our cereal? Smoke it? Put a pinch between our cheek and gums? Apply it to our junk before sex? Even the Pezheads on Arrakis weren’t as wrapped around the fucking axle about spice as we seem to be down here on little old Earth. I mean, get a damned grip, people.

Okay, so a little Googling tells me that the pumpkin spice craze as we currently know it can apparently be traced back to the “Pumpkin Spice Latte” introduced in 2003 by Starbucks. That should tell you everything you need to know about how we’re all fucking doomed, right there. It also explains why I have no real experience with this phenomenon, because you’ve got a better chance of finding me front row center at a Justin Bieber concert than inside a Starbucks.

Now, however, pumpkin spice is everywhere. Nevermind that pumpkin by itself as a flavor doesn’t really do all that much for me. It’s only when you start to mix in stuff like cinnamon, nutmeg, and so on that it begins to taste like what we’re now seeing infused into fucking everything. I mean we’ve got bagels. We’ve got Pringles potato chips. Oreos. Body lotions, deodorants, shampoos, and shower gels. Fucking dog treats. There’s even a pumpkin pie flavored vodka, which is just heinous beyond even my ability to articulate via the written or spoken word.

Mommy, make it stop.

As for what happens to this shit after Halloween? If you’re thinking it just disappears on November 1st, then that is some seriously fucked-up wishful thinking you’ve got going on there, my dear question-poser. Pumpkin spice isn’t going anywhere until at least January, because as we first-world trendoids tend to do, we will squeeze every last drop out of this particular marketing ploy long after fall has given way to winter. We’ll start to see it roll out next year right around the same time we’re subjected to the annual unpacking of the Christmas and other holiday decorations, which by my calendar should start happening on or about July 17th.

Brace yourselves.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #162 on October 12th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to punish me this way.

Ask Dayton #106 on the G and T show: “Tricks and Treats, yo.”

Two weeks in a row? We might just be back up to normal speed, here.

Another Sunday means another episode of the G and T Show, with hosts Nick Minecci, Terry Lynn Shull, and Mike Medeiros doing what they do so well, discussing all the various happenings and other stuffs taking place across the “Star Trek Universe.”

As has become somewhat usual, the gang took a break from more meaningful bits of conversation to throw a bit of time to their “Ask Dayton,” in which they send questions to me each week and I concoct an answer. Like the questions, my responses can run the gamut from serious faire to various attempts at challenging my ability to be creative and (hopefully) entertaining on a deadline. This week’s query fell somewhere in the middle:

Dear Dayton,

October is here, the air is crisp and Christmas decorations are filling the stores. So what are some of the favorite costumes and Halloween tales from your childhood? Did you make any memorable costumes? Did you engage in hijinks? And what is the day like for you now as a proud papa?

Thanks, big guy.

Hey, here’s a question: Why, exactly, was there Christmas shit in stores, even before the onset of October? What the fuck, retailers? Is it really necessary to double and even triple down on our holidays? Never mind the fact that there are however many other, non-WASPy holidays deserving observation between now and the end of the year. Can’t we at least get through Halloween before you feel the need to inundate us with all the yuletide crap? It’s bad enough it’s not a “real” holiday of the sort that gives you time off from work or school. You know it doesn’t really count because the banks and post offices are still open, which is amazing when you think about it, considering the lengths those places will go to in order to slack off. Instead, Halloween’s tacked on to the end of a regular old day, like a parent-teacher conference, a yoga class, or getting your pubes waxed.

As for Thanksgiving, that usually ends up being a race to see who can drain the liquor cabinet the fastest in a futile attempt to avoid killing an in-law once the turkey and trimmings are ravaged. Maybe some fuck head one of you invited because he or she had no other family or plans decides it’s the perfect time to talk about religion, politics, or whichever sports team you loathe with every molecule of your being, and the vodka is the only think keeping you from burying them in a field behind your house.

Hey, it could happen…so I’m told.

Oh, and let’s just get this out of the way right now, before the annual cycle of idiocy begins: HAPPY FUCKING HOLIDAYS. If your holiday du jour happens to be Christmas, then I sincerely hope you have the merriest of all Christmases that you’re able to muster. If some other holiday or day(s) of observance is your particular kink, then I hope it’s a bang-up season for you, too. See how easy that is? No muss, no fuss. Crisis averted. Moving the hell on.

(I wish.)

Now, since Christmas is ALMOST THREE DAMNED MONTHS AWAY, let’s get back to Halloween, which actually happens to be one of my very favorite days of the year. I’m not really all that much into costumes or whatever, but I get a kick out of seeing what the kids are wearing when they come to the door in search of tricks or treats. I love going to the various haunted houses around town, and Kansas City boasts some really good ones, including a few within easy walking distance of each other. The area around the different locations becomes part of a big street party every year, with costumed performers wandering around and helping to enhance the whole experience.

Halloween when I was a kid was always fun. Though I can’t say I ever engaged in any shenanigans on All Hallows’ Eve (the statute of limitations isn’t up on some of that shit, you understand), there still was much tricking and treating to be done. In my day, a lot of costumes were those boxed jobs with the shitty little plastic outfit and mask, all of which conspired to make you a walking fire hazard if you happened to wander too close to Grandpa and his lit cigar. I mean, damn…would you look at these fucking getups:

Ben Cooper Spock 01Spock 1977

(Ass-beatings and other peer-sponsored humiliation sold separately.)

Over the course of my single-digit years, I wore several different costumes of this sort. Then there were other occasions where my mother or grandmother or aunt handmade a costume, such as a Superman ensemble. Quality and slavish accuracy wasn’t the big deal it is today, because we as younglings were too busy keeping our eyes on The Prize: All that sweet, sweet candy just waiting at our neighbors’ houses.

Priorities, people.

Now that I have kids of my own, the fun extends to helping them choose their costumes and taking them around the neighborhood or to parties and whatever else we can find. The costumes and accessories are way cooler than what was available back in my day, and of course there’s now a booming market for adult versions of these outfits, too. I mean, I guess that’s the target demo, as I just can’t see my eight-year old going with that that crazy “Miss Diagnosed” nurse’s number, or somebody’s son wandering the neighborhood wearing an inflatable penis.

And speaking of neighborhoods, we’ve moved into a new area of town since last Halloween, one that lends itself much more to the whole trick or treating experience. There are more young kids, and plenty of sidewalks connecting the different areas of the neighborhood, so I’m anticipating heavy foot traffic this year. Therefore, I’m laying in plenty of supplies…for me, of course, but also the kids.

Hey, you in the cheap seats: I’ve got my eyes on you. Hands off my Butterfingers, you sneaky little shits.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #161 on October 5th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to include me in their reindeer games.