Another Tricky Day – Chapter One by Ben Fuller

(This is the first chapter to a book that I started to write in 1988. I wrote two chapters, did a full outline, and a complete chapter by chapter breakout. It is basically a YA action/adventure fantasy starring me and my best friends from High School. I was going to start sending it out to agents back then, but got caught up in writing a screenplay that I cannot find now. I don’t think anything was lost in not sending it out – after re-reading it and re-typing it to post here, I don’t think it was written for any audience other than me and my three friends that  it features. I will add Chapter Two, outline and chapter by chapter breakouts in the next month or so.)

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Divergent – Movie Review (as a series of bullet points)

I saw Divergent the other day. I have a lot-ish to say about it, but don’t actually want to write a real review. That just seems like more work than the movie deserves. So, I figured I would just post my notes that I made of my thoughts as a series of bullet points rather than writing them out as full sentences and supporting thoughts.

So. Here you go.

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The Current Top Five Nerdiest Things In My Life

(Originally posted on on 1-24-12)

I no longer consider myself a full-fledged nerd /or a full on geek. At a certain point life just kind of takes over and those things that dominated our perception of ourselves lose some of their traction, as our very own Craig so aptly explained previously.  Right now, I tend to refer to myself as a Reformed Geek. Life has staged an intervention for me and forced me into its own 12 step program that has curtailed my dogged determination to be fully immersed in nerdology.

All of that does not mean that I no longer have any Geek tendencies, though. My former massive nerdishness still resonates strongly with my more nostalgic side and I keep my gauntleted hand in the water just to stay connected to that past part of me. That is why I thought it might be interesting to put together the following list of the current Top Five Nerdiest things in my life.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Movie Review (***1/2)

(Originally posted on on 11-21-05)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been, hands down, my favorite book of the series to this point. The story follows Harry through his fourth year at Hogwart’s. It also follows Harry through his fourteenth year of life. In this fourth and fourteenth year, respectively, Harry’s world opens up a little wider. Hogwart’s has been chosen as the location for the Tri-Wizard tournament. An inter-school competition in which three schools each enter a champion from their student body and compete in three challenges (all of them dangerous) to see who takes the title. All the while the evidence builds that “He who must not be named” has returned. All very engaging and extremely well thought out and executed, so, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I went to see the film adaptation at the theater upon its release.

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LOTR: Of Hobbits, Rings, and Book to Film Adaptations

(Originally posted on on 2-13-02) 

I freely admit I got caught up in the hype. Before I saw it for the fourth time I reread the books – something I haven’t done since Junior High School. I will see Fellowship of the Ring many more times in the theater I am sure (I mean, I saw The Phantom Menace in the theater five times when it was released and I didn’t even like it), but the film is not the book.

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The Bourne Ultimatum – Movie Review

(Originally posted on on 8-5-07)

You know, I probably think way too much about why some Book to Film Adaptations work and why some don’t. My general preference is for the book over the film. For instance, the Peter Jackson adaptation of the Lord of the Rings worked extremely well, probably as well as any adaptation ever, however, I still find the books far superior even though they were ultimately much lighter in feel and leisurely in tone and pace. Ultimately, they just delivered a deeper moral and the resolution was purer and more heartbreaking at the same time. One of the few exceptions to this rule has been the Bourne films. I have found them to be stronger, more intuitive, and with a more accessible moral than is found in the books that were their original inspiration.

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War of the Worlds – Movie Review (**)

(Originally posted on on 7-08-05)

War of the Worlds is a movie with a little black button smack dab in the middle of it. Oh, it’s not a literal or real button or anything like that. It is a figurative button. And even figuratively it isn’t a terribly unique button. Actually, it is a rather drab figurative button and has that dull and slightly scratched look that comes from regular figurative use. It is not a button that you would think an acclaimed director such as Steven Spielberg would ever use, however, there it is. The effects of this button can vary from film to film, but the end result is generally the same. In this case, half way through the film, when Spielberg (and screenwriter David Koepp) figuratively press it, War of the Worlds goes from a challenging, intense, scary meditation on lost opportunity and fear to a monumentally silly monster movie rife with cliché and an embarrassingly schmaltzy ending.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Book Review (***)

(Originally posted on on 7-19-05)

JK Rowling is an extremely blessed writer. She wrote a book (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) that became the cornerstone to what has, in effect, become a publishing phenomenon. The series of books are pretty much the ink and paper equivalent of the Star Wars series of movies, and the fan base is just as devoted. With the release of each new book, publishing records fall and new ones are set and Ms Rowling becomes increasingly more financially stable. Added to this, however, are the increased expectations for her to deliver more – bigger and better adventures, twists, characterizations – upon which, to this point and for the most part, she has pretty much been able to deliver. But this is all academic. You already know this.

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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks – Book Review (***1/2)

(Originally posted on on 10-09-06)

Me and Zombies, we go way back. I remember, as a kid, my Dad saying out of nowhere in a really loud and scary voice, “Night of the Liiiiiving Deeeeaaadd!!!” just to scare the holy heck out of my little sister. I remember my mom packing us kids into the station wagon and taking us to the Drive-in to watch all night Horror Fests. I distinctly recall cowering, one time, in the very back of the car under a blanket and pillows during Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things while Mom sat up front eating popcorn and Chinese food and complaining the movie wasn’t scary enough.

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