CT returns this week along with frequent Fourth Chair Soldier Robert Zerbe from To the Escape Hatch. In their first ever "Nerd Lunch Theater," the crew puts on a show as CT takes on the persona of Ned N. Lurch, the idiot stepson of a famous movie studio executive. Ned has managed to convince ol' stepdad to give him a shot at producing a big budget movie. In an effort to make sure this project fails, Ned is set up with three consultants who have been instructed to feed ideas into the project that will turn this into the "worst movie ever." Nerd To-Dos this week includes a whole bunch of stuff, but most importantly a rather lengthy sidebar about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

ComiXology announced today that several of their existing apps would be defunct and no longer contain an in-app storefront. Also, a new app was available that stripped out any existence of a storefront and would now be (sort of) the only app available in the Apple store. Purchases will now have to be made at their website and then reading the comics on the devices will require syncing them.

So, here are my thoughts:

1. First off, let's take a breath and calm down. I am not 100% elated about the changes at this point, but let's try to be reasonable in our discourse about it. Even with ComiXology. Yes, they are available via social media and clearly have the PR army going full-time today. Let's treat them with respect. Oh and also anyone whom you don't agree with on this issue. I know it's asking for a lot, internet, but I ask anyway.

With that, making your public and knee jerk declarations that you are done with ComiXology, Amazon, Apple, etc. isn't really adding much to the discussion. Maybe you are done, but I'm guessing most of the people who are making such declarations will still be spending that $5 account credit and be back to buying comics soon.

So anyway...calm down.

2. This will likely be more beneficial to the creators. I have been meaning to make this change in my purchasing habits anyway. There are probably numerous factors in why ComiXology made this change. However, the primary reason has to be the fact that Apple takes a decent cut of the in-app purchase amount, 30%. Now, given that the in-App transactions are handled through Apple, I can definitely see them wanting to take a cut. But if I spend $1 on a comic book, 30 cents of that is going to Apple, leaving ComiXology 70 cents to distribute appropriately. Now, I have no idea what the breakdown after that is, but I imagine that the publisher gets a cut of that and from that cut, a portion goes to the write, penciler, inker, etc.

Again, I have no idea what the break down is, but let's say the publisher gets half of the leftover amount and the creators get 25% of that. And for purposes of easy math, we'll assume we have someone like a John Byrne who wrote and drew a comic.

I spend $1.
• Apple gets 30 cents.
• ComiXology gets 35 cents.
• Publisher gets 26.25 cents.
• Creator gets 8.75 cents.

Okay, so let's say I buy through the site rather than through the Apple site.

I spend $1.
• Apple gets 0 cents.
• ComiXology gets 50 cents.
• Publisher gets 37.5 cents.
• Creator gets 12.5 cents.

I know we're talking pennies here, but in the bottom scenario, the creator gets more. This isn't to say I'm anti-Apple, but rather, I'd prefer my pennies go to the comic writers and artists. HOPEFULLY, this is in fact the case and proves to be more beneficial to these guys and gals we all love so much.

3. We are lucky this isn't worse. Those of us who have been purchasing comics through ComiXology, we have to know we're on borrowed time. It wasn't today. It may not be for another year, five years, or ten years, but we all have to realize that we've purchased these comics but do not own them in any tangible way. Amazon purchasing ComiXology reminded us that these companies are not permanent in their existing form. Companies are bought and sold or go out of business all the time. The Amazon purchase of ComiXology was going to change things. Fortunately, we all still have access to our existing purchases. For now.

4. My biggest disappointment in the changes is the loss of the kids comics app. I hope ComiXology thinks through how they handle the management of comics for kids. My daughter now has an iPad and while I can put up and deal with the changes, this change will be a serious impediment to how we handle buying and loading comics for her. And while she will be unable to purchase anything through the app now, she would still be able to search the library and be exposed to mature content. I'll certainly play an active role in my parenting for her in this, but I'd prefer a different solution than this.

5. I hope the new app is updated at some point to at least share what the sales are. Up until now, I mostly knew about sales via the app since I was already going there every day or two anyway, not the website or social media postings. I cannot, nor can ComiXology rely on me seeing postings about sales on social media, especially with Facebook throttling content. It would be to their advantage to incorporate a blog or announcement feed into this app letting users know about sales and include links to go get them. Hopefully that's a plan they intend to incorporate soon. (And yes, I know I can subscribe to their newsletter and have done that.)

6. This isn't the only change. We're likely to see more changes that will either make us more upset OR, hopefully show us the trade off we're getting for losing some of the convenience of in-app purchasing. I doubt prices will change as a whole, but they've already stated that they can do more cost-effective bundling by getting away from the in-app model. Let's hope for the best and enjoy the comics in the meantime.

Happy reading.
Sex in the City 2 - real poster
CT is away once again this week, but luckily Pax and Jeeg are able to contact Jay from The Sexy Armpit on the Sludgephone. On the docket for this week is a discussion of some of the worst things the nerds have been subjected to by their significant others. The gang is all here: rom-coms, costume dramas, boy bands, quaint weekend destinations, and regionally popular card games. Our Nerd To-Dos include Captain America 2, the Bates Motel, and more Veronica Mars.

For the past several months, I have been working on a tremendously huge project that was finally released earlier this week. Our podcasting brethren in Canada, and namesake of the podcasting network we are a part of, The Atomic Geeks (TAG), dropped their 250th episode onto the public Tuesday. It more or less marked their five year anniversary. And I had the good fortune to be the one who produced this two hour and twelve minute epic. It was a clips show that recapped their five-year history and it was an all-consuming project for several months.

Listen to the show here:

I figured some might have a few questions about the "making of" the project. I present to you the A.N.R.A.T.F.A.Q. (Actually Not Really All That Frequently Asked Questions).

Okay, so right off the bat, this was a ton of work...why did you even do this?

There are two main reasons. First, I really enjoy The Atomic Geeks podcast and feel they are of a caliber show that if anyone should have a clips show, it should be them. Second, I have enjoyed audio/video production for years. I've never put together a "clips" show and thought that would be a good project to tackle to add to the list of things I've done. While it might have made more sense to do it for Nerd Lunch, my own "baby" as it were, I think a clips show is better put together by an outside and objective person and I don't think Nerd Lunch is the type of show that will merit a clips show.

Did they ask you to do it?

No...I volunteered. Sometime before their 200th episode, I was on as a guest and suggested to them the idea of me taking on the task of a clips show. But things being the way they were at the time in real life, it was not something I could commit to at the time. I later said I'd consider it for 250 if things calmed down in real life. Fortunately, life did calm down and I was able to take on the project. Although, that meant 50 more episodes to go through.

Did you listen to all 249 of the previous episodes?

I have listened to every show before, but since the Fall, I have been re-listening to old shows and paying extra attention to the shows that were newer. They actually have a total of 270 episodes if you count their "TAG Extras" and videos. In the end, I managed to listen to 135 episodes for this. Some in their entirety and some I just listened to portions as I spot checked for bits I wanted to include.

I have a somewhat annoying ability to be able to retain memory of mostly useless things. So I knew of several bits going into the project that I knew had to be a part of the show. It was just a matter of finding them. For the most part, I knew which episodes contained those bits. For some things I couldn't remember the specific episode, I could remember a range. I had a huge list of things I wanted to find and I found most of them. Other things surprised me as I listened again and rediscovered things I had forgotten.

How did you find the time to do this?

I honestly have no idea. About 90% of the listening, I did in my car while driving to work and back. I used the Apple Podcast app and was able to listen at the 2X speed. Plus I generally skipped Atomic Picks. So I could get through an episode or two a day. Of course, I can't take notes in the car, so I would take screenshots as I listened and those screenshots showed the time code for where I was in the episode when something happened I wanted to pull.

My photos app on my phone would have dozens and dozens of screenshots and I'd periodically upload those to my Dropbox account to a special "TAG250" folder I set up. After I had a good number of screenshots and had been re-listening for a few weeks, I then started sorting the screenshots into folders for each episode. Then I spent hours going back and pulling the shows into Audacity where I would then use the screenshots to located the earmarked clips. I would select the clip I wanted to use, export the selection and save that clip in the episode folder. Once I did that, then I would delete the screenshot.

After pulling all the clips and organizing them by episode, I then reorganized them by themes that I had identified. So Christian's crazy phrases got its own folder, the singing got a folder, and so on. Once that was done, I was able to build the outline of the show based on what I had. Each set of clips had to be edited together, then new framing content had to be recorded and edited and then the entire thing had to be edited together.

I have no idea how much time it took. But, for the most part, it was all really fun to do. Admittedly, it was getting wearisome by the end, but it was all worth it.

How many clips are used?

I pulled over 600 clips from 125 shows. Not all of them made the cut. The clips I didn't use were cut for relevance, length or they just didn't wind up being as funny. And some I just didn't have room for and that's why there were four bonus sets of clips for episodes 246-249 plus a set for Nerd Lunch 125. As for how many clips made it in the show and how many episodes were represented? I have no idea. You're welcome to count them and try to figure it out. If you do, let me know.

Where did the music come from you used during the guest segment and at the end?

Andrew Bloom supplied me with some music that I used in two parts of the show. I wanted to focus the show on the four guys so I decided to parlay the guests to one segment. While some guest moments made it into the show, I felt like giving all guests shout outs in that one area was the way to go. I don't think I forgot anybody (though Jeeg and Pax are not represented in this set except just being mentioned)! The final piece with music was hopefully emotionally charged and gave a nice recap of the entire run of the show, showcasing historic moments with stereotypical ones.

How did you convince Mark Dury to join you?

Mark really just jumped at the chance to spend two and half hours with me on Skype. It's been his lifelong dream.

What's your favorite clip?

It's hard to say, but if I had to pick one that cracked me up every time I listened to it, it was when Downs started talking about the "longification" process for beers. There was actually more to that clip that I wound up cutting for time. It was a classic moment and really captured the essence of the show. Their relationship and how they were able to so quickly come up with jokes was really displayed in that segment.
Week 37 of Snipes by Bill Wiist…

CT is out this week so Pax and Jeeg invite Jon Cross from the After Movie Diner to come discuss the Donnie Yen Ip Man movies.  We talk about our favorite fights and favorite characters.  We even discuss all the other Ip Man movies that have come out due to the popularity of the Donnie Yen movies.  Nerd to Dos include the new Captain America movie, Arrow and Fringe.

Week 36 of Snipes by Bill Wiist…

Thanks to Tom McAuliffe for this awesome graphic
Stephen Colbert will take over as host of The Late Show in 2015 replacing the long-running David Letterman. I will miss Dave, but honestly, I haven't really watched him much in recent years. I have really enjoyed The Colbert Report and look forward to him taking over. I would like to have seen Conan have another shot at replacing Letterman, but his network ship has probably already sailed.

A few random thoughts and predictions of mine (none of this is for sure, just what I think will happen):

1. Colbert will not keep his ultra-conservative persona for The Late Show. I think we'll see him continue his very dry and satirical approach to comedy. I assume a few bits will translate over (like "The Word" or "Tip of the Hat…"). I also think he'll keep his narcissism.

2. The Late Show will stay in the Ed Sullivan Theater (EST). CBS owns this building. It is historic and I would guess there's no need to dump it and set up shop elsewhere. The Colbert Report already records in NYC. There might be some appeal to move the show to LA, but I just don't see that happening.

3. Dates for Letterman's departure have not been finalized, but I would guess he'll wrap up in May of 2015 with Colbert taking over in the Fall to give them time to overhaul the theater. Or, Colbert sets up shop in a temporary studio for the summer and then moves to the EST once it's complete.

4. Colbert will stick pretty close to the typical format of a late night talk show. There'll be a band (as unlikely as it would be, Ben Folds comes to mind as an idea for this gig), monologue, comedy segments, he'll sit behind a desk, and there'll be guests. I can't see him bringing in a sidekick though.

5. Not only will Letterman have a year to say farewell to his television audience, but The Colbert Report shutting down also means it gets a year to say farewell. I fully expect a lot of great shows from each of them over the next year or so as they wind it down.

6. When all is said and done, Colbert will not be the ratings leader in that time slot. He'll have his audience, but his humor is too dry and he himself is not generally endearing enough to have the mass appeal he'll need to win. But, I think he'll do well enough to have a good run.

In the early part of March 2014, Atlanta was shaken to its core when the Nerd Lunch Podcast crew all met together in person for the first time. Also joined by Shawn Robare (Branded in the 80s) and Jaime Hood (Shezcrafti) of the Cult Film Club Podcast, the fearsome five recorded a podcast. Hear a report about the escapades of the crew during the visit in Atlanta and then follow that up by listening to them talk about what they are looking forward to seeing, smelling and doing this summer!

Week 35 of Snipes by Bill Wiist…


Michael DiGiovanni wraps up our Atomic Weeks theme month by joining us for a drill down on breakfast cereals.  As part of our balanced breakfast, we catch up with DiGio a bit and get details on the upcoming 250th episode of The Atomic Geeks podcast. Then we cover our all time favorite cereals, highlight some of weirdest and worst, discuss the best and worst cereal mascots, and then pitch a pop-culture themed cereal for a property that never had one. Along the way we make copious use of the awesome resource that is Mr. Breakfast. Our Nerd To-Dos feature The Wire, a double helping of Fringe, the Clone Wars cartoon, and the New Adventures of He-Man.