GEA Chapter 5 is live on the pod.

My apologies for the numerous delays on Chapter 5: The Caribbean Conflict. I wanted to get it right, and there was a lot to cover in terms of transitions and transportation.

The final two segments should come together better than this one did. If they don’t, I’ll let you know here, and I won’t post them if they aren’t ready.

I’m tempted to get started on the next Adventure but I’ve really got to buckle down and finish this one.

Here are the links:

Anchor

Google

Apple

Spotify

7 years later: my tirade against “Age of Extinction”

Okay so hey, it looks like the Transformers movies are going to do what we expected instead of what we hoped, and they’re making sequels in the vein of the first 5 (terrible) movies instead of following the soft reboot of Bumblebee. The next one is set in the 90s and will have Maximals and Predacons in it.

Transformer: Rise of the Beasts Movie Details Released

I’m not going to get excited for this. There’s just no point. They should have done an Optimus sequel to Bumblebee, and then concluded the trilogy with a Megatron finale. Let it come to the present, erase the other five movies from the timeline, and then go from there.

There was even talk of a CGI Beast Wars movie trilogy on a streaming platform in the coming years, likely Netflix. Now I don’t know what to think. They just casted Ron Perlman to be the voice of Optimus Primal. Solid meh from me.

I didn’t realize that I was part of the problem by making these movies successful until I sat in the theater for the 4th one, got halfway through, and slowly put it all together.

These movies were never going to be good with Michael Bay at the helm. Bumblebee was good, really good, perhaps not great, though it had moments of greatness. (I mean, it did have John Cena in it, so there’s a ceiling on this thing.)

But as I was a month away from turning 30, and I had one kid in the world, and we were planning on our second, something must have clicked for me in the Maturity Department and I saw what was going on. I was being taken for a ride, for my nostalgia, at the cost of my bank account, but worse, at the cost of the legacy a beloved franchise from my youth.

It could have been great. Instead it was this.

Bored at the new transformers movie. It’s pretty bad.

They could have made a wonderful apology for the last three, but they made this. No Dinobots yet. 90 mins in.

I actually want Shia back. I am rooting for the human characters to die. (If memory serves, this was right when the Irish adult explained the law that allowed him to bone a teenager in Texas)

Oh look, they are wrecking Chicago again.

Do they just hate the idea of properly executing the Galvatron/Unicron story?

Hey hey, the plot showed up! Let’s see how long this lasts.

Thirty seconds of plot after fifteen minutes of pointlessness and awful dialogue on a spaceship. No reason.

John Goodman as the voice of Hound is the most defensible thing about this so far. The soundtrack is good though. (Author’s note: I meant the score. The soundtrack had Imagine Dragons on it, which is like having Nickelback but with herpes.)

If they had cut out the last thirty minutes and gotten right to this we would be in good shape.

I don’t know why I expected any different.

And F-bomb. Greeeeeeat.

Kelsey Grammar was wasted on this script.

Why in the hell did I think this movie would make sense?

Anyway, there it is. I still haven’t seen The Last Knight and I promise you, I never will. I’m not excited for this. I’ll have to wait until I see a trailer, and if I’m enticed, then I’ll wait until I can get the DVD from the library, but dammit I am not paying for this movie. Not happening.

Pieces Of A Superhero

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I’ve been reviewing THE HERO NEXT DOOR so I can get the fine details right for future books in that series. Haven’t set a date for it to happen but it will, and in the coming years. Nick Stavros has a big role to play in the DreadVerse.

Here’s some of the stuff I looked up for him when I put the visuals together for him in 2017.

1971 Dodge Demon

Nick’s has the hood scoops, and an all-black paint job.

Padded motorcycle shirt

Troy Lee Designs Kids UPL7855HW LS Padded Shirt at MXstore

Hard knuckle motorcycle gloves

Best Motorcycle Gloves 2021 - Reviews & Buyer's Guide | JohnBurrCycles

Ballistic pants

Obermeyer Synthetic Ballistic Pants in Black for Men - Lyst

Hard-toe side-zip boots

Black Composite Toe Side Zipper military boot - Thorogood 804-6191

Parabolic microphone

Hearing Aids, Parabolic & Shotgun Mics

Rapelling hook

New Stainless Steel Rock Climbing Hooks Outdoor Mountaineering Climbing Claw Grapple Hook Travel ...

Hardest image to find was the mask, I basically had to make that up, but you can see it in the illustrations.

Anyway, that’s all, I had fun doing it.

Doing Just Enough To Be Good

I’ve been rewatching Beast Wars with my boys, remembering what it was like to get into it as a kid, even though I was one of maybe three kids I knew who cared what it was.

Like any kids show, each episode is elaborate 22-minute commercial to sell toys. Companies figured that out in the 80s once Star Wars figures started selling like hotcakes. (T0 date, Star Wars toys have grossed roughly double the amount of money that the movies have at the box office. Think about that.)

Since I was in the business of buying those toys when the show was on, the show worked on me exactly as it was supposed to. Now I have twenty-plus years of writing under my belt and I can see the story for the mess that it is.

That’s fine though. It’s still cool to check out clips of the ‘bots and let my imagination run with it. That’s what good toys do. You shouldn’t be restricted to what it was “made for,” you should be able to goof off in your mind and do whatever you want. That was why I ended up becoming a writer.

At the end of the day the show was good enough to sell me toys, and great enough to entertain me when I was sitting in math class, refusing to pay attention.

Good stuff.

Bison Bros!

Summer of 2001 was 20 years ago at this point, and now I feel really old. Then again, I’m now married with three kids, a mortgage, a career, and all that stuff, so I haven’t exactly been sitting on my hands.

That particular summer was a year of transformation for me, as I spent months practicing on the varsity Cheer squad at my high school. I had visible six-pack abs for the first time in my life.

Anyway, since I’m trying to teach my sons that they can physically level up if they keep trying something, we’re doing a workout program this summer of my own invention. It’ll be tough, but that’s the point. They’ll go into the fall with the confidence of someone who can run and do pushups and all that with ease. We call it “Bison Bros” because the bison is the official animal of America, and we’re Americans. #legit.

We just finished our first week. It wasn’t easy, because hey, that’s life these days, but we got it done.

Are you getting in shape this summer?

Pay attention to what you feed your brain

Once upon a time there was a huge dude in Kenya who played rugby for their national team, and ended up getting signed to a linebacker position by the Indianapolis Colts for half a million dollars.

He never really dialed into the position, but he was pretty cool to watch during the offseason when I had nothing better to do, kind of like now. Anyway, several years ago when I was still hype on the Grigson-era Colts (mistake), Daniel Adongo said the above stuff in an interview, and he’s right.

The bad music you listen to, the snacks you allow yourself to have, the nonsense you read on the Internet, all of it matters when you’re trying to make yourself improve. Even if it doesn’t seem like a lot.

Inversely if you listen to good music and read good books and follow good people online and I dunno back Graham’s Patreon so you can access his more gooderly things, you’ll do better. You’ll probably even look jacked like Adongo up there. Worth a shot.

Make Awesome Summers Again

Last year doesn’t really count because the WuFlu screwed everyone out of a traditional awesome American summer. I’d really like to remedy that in ’21.

There’s plenty of stuff out there telling you to be miserable and grumpy and angry at the world, and you know what? It’s horse crap. All of it. Humanity’s problems are largely a matter of scale because A) there has never been a higher population of people on Earth before, and B) those people have never had global access to one another’s thoughts and impressions, making them C) susceptible to manipulation by faceless entities on the other end of a digital screen.

So don’t feed bull crap to your brain. Get out and have an awesome summer like you did as a kid. Get stuff off your slate. Simplify. Go outside. Hike. Eat watermelon. Have fun. Single peeps? Fall in love. Married peeps? Go on dates and shoot the breeze for a change. Get in the pool. Get the grill going. Change jobs, read books, watch movies, whatever. Just…have a damn good summer, ok?

Progress report

For those who’ve been following the release schedule for Adventure Hour, you know I’m currently working on GUILD. The cover art is underway, just slow going.

As you can see, I’ve got the basic poses down and stuff. The detailing takes longer and the coloring is relatively quick.

Episode 1 is already up, and I’ve got 6 more scheduled.

After that I’ll do a short story that doesn’t have a title yet, it’s just a spoof of a certain YA paranormal romance that you’ve probably heard of and did not enjoy. You’ll enjoy mine. That’s why you’re here.

That’ll just be one episode, maybe as long as two hours, and then the next serialized adventure will pop up, called ENGINES OF MERYKA: HOWLING WILDERNESS.

Stay tuned, from now until the end of time.

Could always use another backer or two though. www.patreon.com/dreadpennies

It’s not too early to plan the menu…

…for the 4th of July. So I am. Just consider Engines of Liberty to be my overwritten culinary blog, and this is the menu that you skip ahead to read.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got lined up for 2021. It’s gonna be an all-day thing. Links are for the recipes I’m using.

Garlic Balsamic Brown Sugar Steaks!

Grilled Balsamic Brown Sugar Steaks

Grilled Shimp on Skewers with lemon wedges

A little bit of Grilled Shrimp

Elote recipe on a white dish

Mexican Street Corn

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Cake

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Cake (This image is from someone having made it themselves, the actual post is a video on Pinterest.)

The usual staples of fries and fruit will be on hand, as well as the weapon of choice, Dad’s Root Beer.

DAD'S ROOT BEER (@DADSROOTBEER1) | Twitter

I web-searched this image and it came up as a Twitter account image that got suspended…so you can search it, but you can’t see the tweets. LOL AF. Remember that Twitter is un-American and you shouldn’t be on it unless you’re a GA reaching out to the people who need it.

Anyway, what are you having for ID4?