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Archive | November, 2009

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Champions Online: The Superhero MMO

Posted on 25 November 2009 by Tim

Champions Online, made by the same folks who created City of Heroes, is essentially an MMO version of the same thing. Heroes with powers run around and kill people. Typical MMO fare. However, the content is relatively shallow, the powers aren’t that interesting and you have to stick to established builds to do well in combat. There’s an archenemy system that is supposed to challenge you but other than that there aren’t many truly unique aspects of this game.

One thing you’ll notice right off the bat, after installation, is the drawn out super-in-depth character creation. You can customize your character with a wide array of features. The sad thing is that the rest of the game doesn’t seem to have the same level of detail put into it.

Leveling is a linear progression of quests. Basically, questing is the only way to level a character. Not that it’s a bad way to level. But Champions doesn’t offer much…the quests aren’t interesting and didn’t pull me into the lore of the game. Although Cryptic Studio is working to improve group quests, there isn’t much group content at this point.

Champions Online will not pose a major threat to other MMOs. It’s simply not that good.

I gave it a go. But the game didn’t turn out to be worth the monthly subscription. I won’t be playing CO anymore and will approach Cryptic Studios games with a bit more caution.

I’m holding out hope that Star Trek and Star Wars: The Old Republic will turn out to be much better.

Champions Online Logo

Other Reviews of Champions Online:

  • MMOCrunch says, “It’s extremely casual and alt friendly, but is hamstrung by a lack of group content early on.”
  • For The Lore thinks that “This is the next step in the evolution of hero MMO’s. It is a good game but it is very clearly built upon the shoulders of City of Heroes.”
  • EuroGamer covers it pretty well here: “Cryptic’s superhero MMO serves a huge heap of wish-fulfilment to you before you’ve even started playing, ladles yet more onto your plate after barely an hour, and then lets it all go cold and you hungry for half the game’s length. It has hundreds of missions, but somehow they’re barely enough to sustain a single play-through, and they’re stretched out over a handful of over-extended locations. It doles out character progression in terms that are hard to understand or notice; it constantly showers you in meaningless items, but rations exciting new skills with mind-numbing parsimony.”

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Rules of the League: A Fantasy Sports Web Comedy

Posted on 22 November 2009 by Tim

Punt. Pass. Play! Rules of the League is the fantasy sports comedy web series.

Rules of the League

We meet Joel Ballard, a clean-cut athletic looking guy, shortly after he becomes unemployed. The now former-journalist has lots of free time and Joel wants to relaunch his sports blog. Problem #1: his press pass was revoked. The blog also reignites an interest in the fantasy sports league he started in college.

Joel has help though…well, sort of. Wallace is the goofy best friend that lends a hand to Joel in getting his blog, and the fantasy league, on track. They’re an odd team but it works. Except when Wallace gets caught watching porn while babysitting Joel’s baby. That’s just not right.

The characters are approached with a mix of high school and adult humor that entertained me through the first 5 episodes (all there is to-date). Each episode is offered in HD and has an intriguing cast of characters like Teri Bradshaw, the blog’s gossip queen.

This show is worth keeping an eye on. Rules of the League has a lot of potential.

The Rules of The League – Trailer from One Step Productions on Vimeo.

See the Tubefilter’s review of Rules of the League here.

Rules of the League logo

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The Family by Jeff Sharlet

Posted on 17 November 2009 by Tim

Jeff Sharlet, bestselling author of The Family, was recently on the Thom Hartmann Show which is where I heard about him. The topic of his book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, is a group of Christian fundamentalists who are influencing American policies and gaining a powerful hold in politics.

I knew after hearing Jeff on the air with Thom that I had to at least try to get an interview. Amazingly, Jeff wrote back the next day! Here’s what we talked about.

Interview with Jeff Sharlet, Author of The Family

What is The Family and what distinguishes their elite fundamentalism, as you call it, from other fundamental Christian groups?

The Family — or the Fellowship, as they’re known to some — is the oldest and most influential religious right group in Washington. It dates back to 1935, when founder Abraham Vereide received what he believed was a new revelation from God, a message that he should give up ministering to the down and out and focus instead on the “up and out,” society’s elites, chosen for power by God. Unlike populist fundamentalist groups, the Family isn’t interested in the souls of the masses. Their membership is small by design. And their interests tend more toward economics and foreign affairs, toward what some in the group call “biblical capitalism” and “worldwide spiritual offensive.”

How were you able to get involved in and live with The Family?

I was invited. In the beginning of the book I tell the story of how a friend asked me to meet with her brother, whom she worried had joined a cult. I write a lot about religion, so she thought I’d be able to help. The brother, whom I’d known for many years, invited me to come see for myself. At the time, I didn’t know there was a political — or a powerful — side to the group. I didn’t even really know it was a group — it was presented to me as just a group of friends. The tax records and the group’s archives tell a different tale.

Jeff Sharlet author of The Family The members of The Family seem fixated on power and attaining positions of power. Where can members be found and what agenda are they pushing?

Some prominent members include senators James Inhofe, Tom Coburn, John Ensign, Sam Brownback, Chuck Grassley, and Bill Nelson, and representatives Frank Wolf, Zach Wamp, Bart Stupak, Mike McIntyre, Joe Pitts, and Heath Shuler. Congress buffs will note that that list includes both Republicans and Democrats. The Family has always been bipartisan; it’s also always been conservative. It doesn’t push an agenda, per se. Rather, it offers what it calls a “worldview,” a frame for understanding politics through a religious lens that emphasizes rule by elites, free market fundamentalism, and Christian-oriented approaches to foreign affairs, such as Senator Coburn’s attempts to create secretive Christian prayer cells in the Lebanese government, or Senator Brownback’s attempts to get Jordan’s King Abdullah to study the New Testament, or Senator Grassley’s involvement, in the 80s, with the Somali dictator Siad Barre, a self-described “Koranic Marxist” who agreed to pray with Grassley to Jesus in exchange for access to American military aid, which he got — and which he used to lay waste to his country. The Family, while not necessarily approving of Barre’s murderous methods, never objected, seeing it as part of God’s plan for the nation.

You’ve written that Mao, Hitler and Stalin provide inspiration or a model of leadership. How are these figures portrayed as leaders to emulate?

That’s Family boilerplate, the idea that one can gain insight into Jesus by studying strongman killers. The Family will say, “These are evil men, but look how effective they were! They understood power, just as Jesus did. They used it for evil; Jesus, and you, can use it for good.” Which is absurd, of course. When I was living with the Family, I said I didn’t think we had many positive things to learn from Hitler. “Oh no,” one of the “brothers” assured me, “it’s not his ends we’re interested in, it’s his method.” That method was called fascism.

This doesn’t sound like a cult per se but more of a social ideology or movement. What have they been able to change to align American policies with their agenda?

I agree; that’s one of the main arguments of my book. It’s been frustrating to see friends on the left mislabel the movement as a cult and critics on the right dismiss my work by insisting that I’m labeling the Family a cult. It’s not a cult, it’s a movement, and its power lies not in any kind of conspiracy but in cultural transformation. The bulk of the book is a chronicle of the ways in which they’ve influenced American policy, “influence” being the key word. Any great change is the result of many factors.

So, for instance, they teamed up with the National Association of Manufacturers in the 1940s to roll back organized labor’s New Deal gains. In the postwar era, they were instrumental in whitewashing the records of former Nazi sympathizers such as Hermann Abs, the “wizard” of West Germany’s financial resurrection until the Simon Wiesenthal Center exposed him as Hitler’s banker. That kind of work helped stoke the Cold War in its early days; the Family viewed it as World War III. In 1959, two powerful senators, Frank Carlson and Homer Capehart, became champions for the Haitan dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, initiating the long and awful American relationship with the lunatic leader, who actually thought he was God. In the late 60s, they declared the coup that brought Indonesian strongman Suharto to power — considered by the CIA “one of the worst mass killings in the 20th century” — a “spiritual revolution,” and began sending delegations of congressmen and oil executives to meet with Suharto, who they considered God’s anointed man for Indonesia. They lobbied hard — and successfully — for massive American aid to the junta of generals that sidelined Brazilian democracy for more than a decade, and they stood by the Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos to the end. More recently, they’ve become champions of the Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, whom they’ve designated a “key man” for Africa. Museveni has no bigger champion in Congress than Family men James Inhofe and Sam Brownback, two senators who’ve taken a very involved role in Ugandan politics.

Is there a connection between this group and the rise of fundamentalism in the military?

I’m looking at that now for my next book. Last spring I published a piece on fundamentalism in the military called “Jesus Killed Muhammad’ in Harper’s magazine (it’s online and free, now). At the time, I thought they were parallel but not directly related movements. Now, I’m not so sure. Working with an advocacy outfit called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, I’ve been able to document some surprising connections. More on that front to come.

About Writing The Family

I’ve read that it took you 5 years of work to produce your book The Family. What aspect of the research was the most challenging? Did you find it difficult to get the information you needed?

The most significant source for the book was Collection 459 of the Billy Graham Center Archives, the papers of the Fellowship Foundation — one of the Family’s several nonprofit entities, and the one that dumped the papers of many of the different nonprofit groups in the archive. Nearly 600 boxes and hundreds of hours of tape. Literally millions of pages — budgets, memos, plans, correspondence, membership lists, prayer, diaries. Some of it crucial, some of it banal, some of it fascinating, a lot of it, frankly, boring. I worked with quite a few research assistants and spent literally years on these papers — and I still only saw a fraction of them. On top of that, I conducted research in a number of other archives around the country. I’ve a giant stack of documents I copied from the Reagan Library, for instance, that I didn’t end up using. The most challenging aspect was wading through all this paper. At the same time, I struggled for a long time to understand what I was seeing. The Family really represents a different strain of religious conservatism than has previously been identified. That made it difficult. Then, too, there’s the secrecy of the group, which officially “submerged” — their word — in the late 1960s. Since the success of the book, quite a few former Family members have come to me with just amazing documents — if only I’d had these when I was writing the book! There’s still a lot more to learn.

It has been about a year since The Family first came out, where do you plan to go from here with your writing on religion and politics?

At the beginning of this summer I was working on a book I’ve owed to Basic Books for awhile, using the story of “If I Had a Hammer” to trace the transformation — and, in many ways, collapse — of an organized left from its first public performance in 1947 to now. The Family scandals of the summer — the affairs of Senator Ensign, Governor Mark Sanford, and former congressman Chip Pickering, all linked to the Family’s C Street House — have put me back on the religion beat. This time I’ll be looking more broadly at the role of scandal in how we think about religion and politics. That book should be out next fall, and then it’ll be followed by a collection of essays called “What They Wanted,” which approaches religion and politics through a consideration of the tension between despair and desire. And then, at last, I’ll finish up The Hammer Song, a book I originally conceived as a sort of antidote for myself after too many years in the shadow of the Family.

Thanks again for talking with me Jeff!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Jeff Sharlet or his work head on over to JeffSharlet.com.

In addition to writing books, Jeff Sharlet is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. Sharlet has also been featured on numerous TV shows. Not surprisingly, one of the best ones I found was his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. See the video below.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jeff Sharlet
Daily Show
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The Cross Image by Glen

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Tribes by Seth Godin

Posted on 14 November 2009 by Tim

After publishing 10 wildly popular books on marketing including Purple Cow and Permission Marketing, Seth Godin has unleashed his latest creation – Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Tribes by Seth Godin

What you’ll find inked on the 147 pages of Tribes, is a general outline about how to build your own loyal following and the motivation to follow through. Tribes is a short, punchy tome that is easy to blaze through but will likely draw you back for re-reads.

One of my favorite quotes from Seth is, “The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.

The quote ties into one of the key points – you need to overcome fear and gain a following through action.

Some of Godin’s main points:

  • We’re not just marketers – we’re all leaders!
  • We get stuck when we embrace a factory mindset. Think tribe!
  • Enable and enhance communication among tribe members.
  • Develop a common goal to inspire a passionate response.
  • Create change through action.

I found the section on micromovements on page 102 extremely helpful. Godin lays out the key elements of igniting a micromovement with five things to do and six principles. I plan on using these elements to grow this blog! After reading this section, I was able to see how these five actions and six principles have been applied successfully by celebrities and business people.

Tribes is easily digested thanks to Godin’s direct writing style. It’s also far more entertaining to read than most business books. There are case studies to illustrate points and insightful quotes to mix things up. You may be surprised to find a lack of to-do lists and hold-your-hand exercises. That’s because you have to do the work of becoming a leader yourself.

Every tribe is different. Every leader is different. The very nature of leadership is that you’re not doing what’s been done before. If you were, you’d be following, not leading.

Tribes Book Image by raaphorst

Interviews & Reviews:

Who Is Seth Godin?

Seth is the Founder and CEO of Squidoo.com, a social networking site. He is also the author of nearly a dozen books including Purple Cow, The Dip and Permission Marketing.

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Julie O’Halloran Plays Druinia in Spellfury

Posted on 12 November 2009 by Tim

Recently, I wrote about Spellfury the fantasy web series written and directed by Travis Gordon, who I interviewed.

What is Spellfury? In brief…

Fantasy. Action. Adventure. Watching SPELLFURY is like watching a live recreation of a Dungeons and Dragons game. Evil creatures, bladed weapons and magic abound in the world of Spellfury. The web series follows an elf named Druinia and her gang of adventurers.

In this interview, I talk with Julie O’Halloran who plays Druinia, the main character of the show.

Talk with Tim Interviews Julie O’Halloran

How long have you been acting?

Wow, lets see. Officially I started acting in 1998, (about 11 years) I attended Theatre Arts at Algonquin College in Ottawa Canada and I graduated in 2000. Since then I haven’t stopped. I’ve done commercial work, four independent films and now I’m focusing on SPELLFURY. I am very excited to be apart of SPELLFURY. It’s the most challenging acting I have done so far and I’m having a great time!!

julie-ohalloran It sounds like you and Travis Gordon have known each other for a while. How did you two meet and begin working together?

I met Travis in 1998. He was in his second year of the same theatre arts program. I auditioned for a play that he wrote and was directing and I managed to get the lead part! After working with him on that play, every time he had a project that he was working on I wanted to be involved.

Can you share some background on your character Druinia from Spellfury?

Druinia at a very young age was separated from her parents. She lived in a boarding school for most of her youth. She’s knows nothing of her mother and only a little bit about her father. As the show evolves we will see her learning more and more about who her father really was and the part she is destined to play in the realm of SPELLFURY.

What challenges come with your role as Druinia?

The biggest challenge I face as Dru is the physical stuff. I have never done anything quite like it before, battling mist demons with a magical sword for example, that’s a new one for me. Or fighting off giant bats, you’ve really got to be in good shape for that!
Another challenge I face in the role as Druinia is acting against something that isn’t actually there with you on set that day. Reacting to something in the scene (like the giant bats) that will be added later in post-production is a challenge. It’s a good thing that I have a pretty active imagination!

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B-Type from Letters vs. Numbers and Superpowerless

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Tim

With thick mutton chops and a fairly high-pitched, heavily-accented British voice, B-Type is certainly not your typical rapper. But lo, he is a nerd! So, his look fits right in.

I first became acquainted with B-Type on Rhyme Torrents, the largest nerdcore hip hop community forum. Although he’s become more refined in his style, he started off a bit rough but came across as a cool dude which instantly makes him likable. I’ve heard him progress through the first Rhyme Torrents rap battle tournament, various Rhyme Torrents compilation albums and the occasional episode of Letters vs. Numbers. Over the last couple years, I’ve come to appreciate his style and the effort he puts into his work.

Previously known as Mister B, he is now part of the chiptune group Superpowerless which is definitely worth checking out! Also in the works is a solo album titled Hugs.

Check Out The Picture Gallery Below!

Interview with B-Type

So B-Type, how’d you get involved in music and what projects are you working on right now?

I started out as a bassist in a terrible skapunk/poprock band called Should Have Seen It Coming, which then changed its name to Third Floor, and then to No More nightfall, and finally Raziel. It lasted something like 16 months, we had about 15 practices and 15 less gigs. When I moved to Bradford for University, I was lucky enough to be in Halls of Residence with a punk named Duncan, and we formed the band Dead Mercredi, with the logic that there was a band for every day of the week except Wednesday. (Wednesday13 totally dosnt count.)

This band was similarly unproductive, and I spent my time trolling Emo chatrooms and going to whatever local live gigs I could. Someone in the emo chat thought I would get a kick out of the MC Lars song Signing Emo, which of course I did. This, combined with a blossoming love of live Hip-Hop shows, cemented my decision to become a Nerdcore Rapper.

That, and I wanted to be the Bloodhound Gang but was sick of putting together bands that went no-where!

As for right now, Im working on my 3rd Album, technically my debut album as B-Type, entitled “Hugs”. For the first time since I started making music, I am working with a producer, Jaylyn Coffin of Emergency Pizza Party, which has made the world of difference. While ive always enjoyed making music, this is the first time ive truly been excited about it.

Are any MCs making a feature on your upcoming album Hugs?

Hugs is kinda a long way away, Im thinking like early 2010, so while solo-songs are very close to completion, the collaborations are some ways away. That said, I already have Verses coming my way from Fanatical/Jaylyn Coffin, and Quartz Relic of Magitek fame. My usual co-conspirators, Category, Illithid, and Superpowerless will probably feature at some point. Ive been trying to come up with a concept for a song to do with My Parents Favourite Music, and I have a list of dream collaborations I might start trying to tick off.

So, in answer to your question, yes!

What inspired the album’s title?

Well, the first album was called Snogs, which is, um, English I guess for kissing with tongues. While I was in Florida for Nerdapalooza 08, everyone seemed to find this word hilarious. Genoboost made a hilarious comic about it and i decided to use it as album art. Ever since, ive gone for like….monosyllabic gestures of affection, so Hugs was a natural one to think. Plus, at one stage, many of the (now scrapped) songs were about frustrations with relationships and hugs were the only affection i was getting so it fitted that tone well, and alot of the songs im writing now are much happier and sweet on account of finding love and such, so it still fits. Im running out of words though. Snogs, Winks, Hugs……I figure “Daps” might be next. Maybe it will be a Zealous1 Collaboc1de style album, although im jumping the gun a bit there.

How did you and Jaylyn Coffin meet up? Is Coffin the only producer on Hugs?

Akin to many people involved in nerdcore, we were both part of the Rhyme Torrents community, and both attended Nerdapalooza. I should probably point out that I am lucky enough to be able to say we are romantically involved! After this years Nerdapalooza, she was on the Superpowerless / Jaylyn Coffin / B-Type mini-tour and became a member of Superpowerless, as part of the live band as well as shooting 3 videos for us.

Superpowerless-Rock-Thumb Production wise, she is in charge of recording and mixing my vocals. Oliver Hindle (Superpowerless) has volunteered his skills to do the same job, so I dare say he will be involved there as well. On the beats side of things, I still make the odd beat myself and tend to go to Illithid first for beats that, you know, dont suck. Although this time round, Im on beats by way more people than last time, including Wholemilk, b0wlman, Category and Quartz Relic thus far.

Superpowerless has had a lot of success in the 8bit genre, who comprises the group and how did you guys form up?

Superpowerless is Oliver Hindle, but has had a hilariously rotating cast for a long time. I have the questionable honor of being the longest serving member besides Oliver, and currently the group comprises of the two of us. Jaylyn Coffin played with us on our first tour, and Mike Slevin played guitar when we were gigging round Leeds. We yoyo between being a two and three piece, but not counting stage invasions we have been 5 members thick before.

As for how we formed, Superpowerless was Olivers project for a while. I booked him to play Nerdapalooza UK and we became friends. One time I let him know I was coming to a gig, and he texted me asking if I would join him on stage, as his bandmates at the time were unable to show. I had dabbled in chiptune before so I was down with it, and the gig went pretty well! I just kept showing up to gigs ever since….I never did see his other band mates. He is pretty much a monster so he may well have made them up.

How many live gigs have you done with Superpowerless?

Gosh, Im not sure. At one point we were gigging at least once a week, sometimes 4 times, for a couple of months. I would speculate we have done approximately 15000 gigs, including open mics, family fun days, radio shows and completely unattended pubs.

You gotta be a drinker to be the sidekick in Superpowerless.

Letters-vs-Numbers-Logo-Thumb What is the Letters vs. Numbers podcast? Does the name have any special meaning?

LvN is a show I do with Genoboost and Chibi-Ma from gamemusic4all.com. it can be found at www.lettersvsnumbers.net and has a music/chat format. It mainly consists of Ma and I teasing eachother, and Geno cracking us up with one-liners, although we do of course discuss geeky music, videogames and other nerd things.

The name was originally for an online label Genoboost and Hex Warrior of Nerdapalooza were putting together. Neither had the time to do it really, but Geno loved the name, and when we whimsically decided to do a podcast, he mentioned the name to me and I thought it was awesome. Its come to represent our relationship with our listeners, with the hosts being the Letters and the listeners being the Numbers. We tease our listeners somewhat, but they love it. Actually, we mostly tease other podcasts and their inability to be as good as us!

Yes Vagina Deep in Podcast, you sicken us.

How long has LvN been around?

Since April 12th 2008, which is the day we decided to do a podcast, did a podcast, and put it out.

For a new listener, what 1 or 2 LvN podcasts would you recommend?

Generally speaking, I would say whichever one went out the most recently! But my personal favourites are the 2 from Nerdapalooza 08, which represented the first time Genoboost and I had ever met in real life. The insanely long episodes 14a and 14b are also ones I listen to from time to time. Featuring Shinobi Onibocho from Krondor Krew as well as what I am fairly sure was Chibi-Ma’s second Letters vs Numbers show, the vast majority of in-jokes we have come from that show, as well as the first one Ma was on, “The Lifestream made me do it”.

I know you have in the past but did you attend Nerdapalooza this year?

I did! My Letters vs Numbers co-host Genoboost of gamemusic4all.com and I had the honor of hosting the event this year, which was an absolute blast. I got to do a song with a long time hero of mine My Parents Favorite Music, as well as introduce some mind-blowing acts like MC Lars, Zealous1, Scrub Club, I Fight Dragons…argh Im making a mess, dropping names everywhere.

I also got incredibly drunk.

What prompted the name change to B-Type from Mister B?

It was something that was on my mind for a while. There were many problems with the name MisterB. For a start, there were a bunch of different musicians already performing under that name. If you put misterb into google, I was usually the top result music wise, unless one of the others had put out an album recently, so this wasnt a huge problem. The main problem was the top result: A Hardcore Sex Webshop catering to the gay BDSM market.



I still answer to the name MisterB, still refer to myself as MisterB, but the music I do from now on is B-Type. It was pretty cathartic, actually, as no-one has heard any B-Type music (apart from, you know. Tetris) so I felt like I could work and release things without having to worry that people would assume it was rubbish because I did it!

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ZOMBIES! Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks

Posted on 05 November 2009 by Tim

Funny-man Max Brooks has unleashed another zombie tome on his eager mass of readers – Recorded Attacks.

Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks

The new book is a graphic novel recounting zombie attacks from around the world. Although it’s light on reading content, both text and sheer volume, the book is teeming with awesome zombie fight scenes and eerily enticing scenes of death and mayhem.

Max teamed up with artist Ibraim Roberson for the illustrations, which are pretty sweet! The locations are quite varied and well portrayed – Africa, Japan, Siberia…

Since there is little informational content here, and only a sprinkle of text (even for a graphic novel), you’ll want to read The Zombie Survival Guide. What the book does well is serve as a powerful visual reminder of what is in store for those who are unprepared.

It is said that we often repeat history. Luckily, Max provides us a resource we can learn from so we don’t. Teeth will be gnashed, flesh will be shredded and blood will flow. They’re here…are you prepared?

When talking about zombies it should go without saying…but for the dense people here’s a warning – this graphic novel is indeed graphic. Blood, gore, and even a few minor scenes of nudity are inside. Parents have been warned.

Who Is Max Brooks?

Max is the author of The Zombie Survival Guide and the New York Times bestseller – World War Z. Among his other accomplishments, Max worked as a writer on Saturday Night Live, Roseanne and 7th Heaven.

Check out Comic Impact’s review of Recorded Attacks. Multiversity Comics has a great review too!

Zombie Girl Image by kevindooley


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6 Questions with David from MoneyNing.com

Posted on 05 November 2009 by Tim

MoneyNing is all about becoming debt free, building wealth and demonstrating the effects of personal finance decisions. One reason I like David’s writing so much is that he approaches it from a great philosophy – “Life throws you unexpected challenges, but I promise the path to be fun, entertaining and informative.” David has also written a book called The Little Budget Travel Book.

In addition to MoneyNing, David also runs PFBuzz.com a personal finance social networking site and Investing-School.com which offers real lessons about investing.

MoneyNing.com also made my list of Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs.

Interview with MoneyNing.com

Briefly describe MoneyNing.com and what makes your site different than other personal finance blogs.

MoneyNing allows all of us to share our journey to be financially free. Unlike many other sites that try to tell you exactly what to do, I see mine as a buddy system where we can encourage each other by talking about our daily lives as it relates to our finances.

What do you enjoy most about owning/running a blog?

What I enjoy most about the blog is the reader interactions and the idea that I’m earning a living helping other people. Readers email me with questions all the time, and I’m very lucky in that I can relay that information on my site and have not only myself, but other readers provide feedback and suggestions.

When you launched MoneyNing, what were your expectations for the site and how have those been met or have they evolved?

To be honest, I had absolutely no expectations when I launched MoneyNing. I saw it as a good way to establish some accountability for my own finances, so the earlier articles were much more personal in nature. Eventually, I realized that what I write about is read by hundreds of thousands of people, and it was at that juncture that I started making sure I put enough emphasis on how responsible spending helped me, and can help others as well.

How has running a successful blog affected your life?

Having my online presence literally changed my life. I was in sales before so I was traveling all the time, not having enough sleep, not seeing my family while eating fast food everyday. Now, I work at home, my hours are flexible and I have a regular plan for my meals. One thing that hasn’t changed is the hours I put into work. People think it’s so relaxing to work at home and you can do anything you want, but it’s exactly the same as your career in that the more you put in, the more you get out. If anything, I work longer and harder now than ever before.

Within personal finances, what is your favorite topic to write about?

I like variety, so the “change” is actually what I love the most. I do however talk about my spending and frugal habits often, because frugality is what enabled me to have the courage to step out into the unknown to do this, which I love, full time. Without some level of confidence in my own ability to control expenses, both business and personal, I would never have the guts to take a crack at this full time.

From your experience, what would you say are the most common mistakes people make with their money?

The most common mistake people make with their money is not knowing how their actions affect their finances. It’s not wrong to buy a cup of coffee, nor is it to use a credit card because those are just personal choices. If you can afford it and doing so makes you happy, then go ahead. People get into trouble only because they repeatedly allow their ignorance drive their behavior.

Thanks for your time David!

Image by bdjsb7

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Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs

Posted on 02 November 2009 by Tim

Understanding, controlling and improving my personal finances has always been an interest of mine. So much so, that for a couple years I ran a personal finance blog. Although I no longer write exclusively about personal finances I do want to share with you my Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs.

My list is a reflection of my preferences and thus is wholly subjective. You’ll find that there are many great personal finance, investing and money saving blogs out there written by talented and friendly people. So, I encourage you to use my Top 20 as a starting point to find other great sites. If you’ve found one that warrants some attention please include a description and a link in the comments below!

The Top 20 Personal Finance Blogs

  1. My Money Blog – This is the first personal finance blog I ever read and it’s still one of my favorites. My Money Blog answers reader questions, conducts interviews (travel Asia for $9/day?) and gives tips on how to make or save money. Jonathan shares his personal net worth, over $248,000 as of August, and his investment portfolio.
    [Stats: PR3, 11,491 Subscribers, 7,998 Compete, 6,743 Quantcast] Find MMB on Twitter.
  2. Bargaineering – Over the years, Jim Wang’s Bargaineering.com has been featured in The New York Times, Business Week, Smart Money, and many others. Jim’s grasp of financial issues has even earned him appearances on ABC News. With an MBA and an understanding of economics, Jim provides fun and insightful articles that will help you develop your blueprint for financial prosperity. Two Recent Posts: Should you consider pre-paid cell phones? Maybe you’re looking into a Netflix subscription?
    [Stats: PR3, 11,031 Subscribers, 8,585 Compete, 8,469 Quantcast] Find Jim on Twitter or Facebook.
  3. Bargain Briana – This mother of four works as a Controller for an HVAC & Plumbing contractor by day and a blogger by night. She rounds up and shares great deals on all sorts of products. In addition to sharing great deals with us, Briana also does giveaways! “Because Bargains Don’t Find Themselves
    [Stats: PR3, 6,732 Subscribers, 14,218 Compete, 30,267 Quantcast] Find Bargain Briana on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. Budgets Are SexyJ.Money, an under-30 blogger from the DC Metro, runs a surprisingly entertaining blogger showdown, shares his net worth and makes personal finance topics enjoyable to read. Budgets Are Sexy is written with the kind of playful style the name suggests.
    [Stats: PR3, 1,488 Subscribers, 69,486 Compete, Unknown Quantcast] Find J.Money on Twitter and Facebook.
  5. I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich (the blog and book), focuses on personal finances and a healthy dose of entrepreneurship-focused lessons. Learn how to negotiate like an Indian and learn how to DO instead of simply KNOW.
    [Stats: PR3, Unknown Subscribers, 32,836 Compete, ~153,253 Quantcast] Find Ramit on Twitter.
  6. Get Rich Slowly – “Most inspiring money blog,” according to Money magazine. J.D. Roth, author of Get Rich Slowly and co-host of the Personal Finance Hour on BlogTalkRadio, is devoted to a sensible personal finance philosophy.
    [Stats: PR5, 67,914 Subscribers,7,076 Compete, 5,986 Quantcast] Find JD on Twitter or Facebook.
  7. Money Saving Mom – “Helping You Be A Better Home Economist.” Coupons, deals, freebies…pinch those pennies in style with the Money Saving Mom. Crystal Paine, mother of three, shares a ton of great ways to make the most of your money.
    [Stats: PR5, Unknown Subscribers, 4,461 Compete, 13,323 Quantcast] Find Crystal on Twitter or Facebook.
  8. Consumerism Commentary – Features: frequent personal net worth updates, awesome tips and articles and one of best personal finance podcasts. Flexo writes great reviews, like his recent update on ING Direct. Consumerism Commentary is great because Flexo tends to write really meaty articles. Even if they’re short, they have a lot of substance.
    [Stats: PR6, 9,417 Subscribers, 20,252 Compete, 14,379 Quantcast] Find Flexo on Twitter or Facebook.
  9. No Credit Needed – NCN focuses on becoming, and living, debt free. Looking for ways to become debt free? Read about how NCN used a little experiment to help him destroy his debt! You may remember me mentioning No Credit Needed in my awesome personal finance podcast review. One more cool thing – NCN wrote a free debt reduction ebook!
    [Stats: PR3, 5,538 Subscribers, 91,482 Compete, 72,373 Quantcast
  10. Money Ning - This is one of the newest personal finance blogs I've started reading on a regular basis. David Ning is an author, entrepreneur and blogger. David also runs PF Buzz, a social networking site for personal finance blogs. To get an idea of what Money Ning is about, check out the latest monthly review. From the serious to the hypothetical, like "what would you do with lots of money?", you're going to learn a thing or two about money.
    [Stats: PR4, 3,072 Subscribers, 23,022 Compete, 34,456 Quantcast]
  11. Man vs. DebtAttention! Join the MvD Militia! Or just read Adam Baker’s awesome personal finance blog Man vs. Debt. You’ll get a look at Adam’s budgetary ups and downs, learn how to kick butt like Rocky, and hit the battlefield in the War on Debt.
    [Stats: PR5, 2,917 Subscribers, 49,199 Compete, 73,194 Quantcast] Find Adam on Twitter or Facebook
  12. Free Money FinanceFMF explores a variety of personal finance and money topics including interesting topics like how intelligence is linked to income but not wealth. Not only is the site informative but all the revenue generated by FMF is donated to charitynearly $200,000!
    [Stats: PR5, 13,931 Subscribers, 22,057 Compete, 19,762 Quantcast]
  13. Bargain Babe – The Bargain Babe finds many ways to save money, sharing the savings with her readers and having a great time while doing it. Thinking of using layaway for Christmas this year, you’ll want to read this.
    [Stats: PR3, 2,317 Subscribers, 59,482 Compete, N/A Quantcast] Find Bargain Babe on Twitter and Facebook
  14. My Two Dollars – Recently, I interviewed David about his blog and personal finances. He’s a real cool guy and he writes great stuff like where to find green jobs!
    [Stats: PR2, 3,044 Subscribers, 65,226 Compete, 59,420 Quantcast] Find David on Twitter or LinkedIn
  15. The Digeratti Life – Looking for a place to squirrel away some cash? Check out what The Digerati Life has to say. Known only as Silicon Valley Blogger, this secret agent…er, writer…contributes to many different sites including WiseBread.
    [Stats: PR2, 5,028 Subscribers, 21,361 Compete, 15,569 Quantcast] Find SVB on Twitter
  16. The Simple Dollar – Following a financial meltdown in 2006, Trent Hamm decided to get things squared away and learn how to manage his money. Now, Trent mostly stays on track despite the occasional stumble. Along with frequent blogging, Trent has written several books including 31 Days to Fix Your Finances. Or you can download his free ebook – Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page.
    [Stats: PR6, 67,990 Subscribers, 8,919 Compete, 8,185 Quantcast] Find Trent on Twitter and Facebook
  17. Dual Income No Kids (DINKs) Finance – Both Miel and James are from Oregon, near where I live, and have been writing DINKs Finance since 2005. Recently, attitude towards savings was discussed, “…savings accounts can serve purposes larger than just emergency funds.” James wrote about how to avoid the 6 common investing mistakes. Their articles are thoughtful and useful. It’s interesting to hear from a married couple who doesn’t have kids.
    [Stats: PR4, 846 Subscribers, 271,443 Compete, 302,160 Quantcast] Find DINKs on Twitter
  18. Mapgirl’s Fiscal Challenge – “Single, attached, Korean-American (yes, I prefer the hyphen), nerdy, liberal, and freaked out about my financial future.” With a playful, casual style Mapgirl shares her personal finance experiences, money saving tips and investing strategies. Like many other personal finance bloggers, Mapgirl shares her personal net worth.
    [Stats: PR5, 293 Subscribers, 489,736 Compete, 484,087 Quantcast]
  19. Mighty Bargain Hunter – Reading MBHunter will not make you a stingy scoundrel. But you will find one thing you can count on in this economy. MBH was among the first few personal finance blogs I ever read. It’s still a great blog all these years later.
    [Stats: PR3, 3,114 Subscribers, 92,204 Compete, 100,590 Quantcast] Follow MBHunter on Twitter
  20. All Financial MattersJLP has been writing about personal finances since 2005. You’ll find updates of his investing portfolio and 30 jobs that pay $80,000 per year! JLP’s commentary on financial news makes his site one of must-read blogs.
    [Stats: PR5, 5,381 Subscribers, 43,891 Compete, 62,607 Quantcast] Find AFM on Twitter

Want more? Check out these three Top 100 Personal Finance Blog rankings:

Thanks for droppin’ in!

Image by NeoGaboX

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