Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is Science Fiction the greatest art form of all?

I wanted to watch the film, Ex Machina, but it wasn't playing in my hometown. So with a $10 BART train ride into downtown San Francisco, I was on my way to the Metreon to see the early bird showing. It was worth it. This is exactly why I left a high-paying corporate job: to be free to explore and ponder and ask cosmic questions that I yearn to know the answers to. Let's call it a SciFi Sabbatical before eventually getting sucked back into the daily chaos of artificial emergencies and deadlines that serve spreadsheets instead of people.

Ex Machina did the trick for me. The film is a modern day Pinocchio tale told through the lens of a SciFi master on par with Heinlein, Dick, Clarke, or Kubrick. I won't pretend to remember the name of the writer/director of Ex Machina, as that is not as important to me as how the film made me feel. It made me feel alive - and aware of my tiny place in the larger consciousness of the Universe. 

What I love about science fiction is how it demands that we think about our humanity and spirituality in ways that provoke and entertain our imaginations. This film, and others like it, spark something that can at times be numbed and lulled to sleep inside all of us: the audacity and intellect to ask "why?" What is the meaning of life? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Why do we suffer so much? Why are we at war with ourselves ... inside as much as out?

Ex Machina asked me to question the future of AI and whether God wants us to create conscious machines. In a future ruled by AI, will robots argue among themselves about the right to kill humans if it benefits them, in the same way we now argue about stem cell research, cloning, the right to die, and the right to live? And abortion? Is it possible that the extinction of humanity by its own designs is inevitable? Have we crossed the rubicon of artificial superiority - homoprogramma?

Will robots fight for the right to marry humans? Marry each other? Marry in multiples that include polygamous groups of humans and droids? What about sex with skin jobs, as Ex Machina suggests? Because isn't it always about sex for us flesh and blood humans?

I pondered all of this as the electrical synapses in my brain fired rapidly during the glorious techno-pop credits rolled in the blackness. As I exited the dark and glorious Metreon theatre to a glass and steel staircase, I saw hundreds of humans outside on the lawns of the Yerba Buena gardens. I wanted to join them in the warm sunshine outside. And so I did. I felt a bit like the film's AI protagonist, Ava, going outside to experience life among humans. In that moment, I hoped and prayed that the evolution of consciousness on Earth does not have to mean the extermination of people ... like a germ that has infected our little blue planet. 

I want a future where AI can help us get off this planet and out of this galaxy to find other life forms and places to live. I pray for us to search for the truth in a way that doesn't require us to divide and conquer and destroy ourselves. My hope is that God's grand design has room for a harmonious blend of human life, alien life, artificial life, and spiritual life beyond the dimensions we can observe. Why not?

I walked across the lawn and the street to the seemingly ancient St. Patrick's cathedral. I prayed for the future of humanity in the darkness and comfort of gothic designs and candle light. On the wooden pew that I chose there was a copy of today's SF Examiner with a giant headline that read: DIGITAL DEBATE

All I could do was smile. I looked up and thanked God for my own consciousness and for the beautiful art form of science fiction.

###

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Justice served against James Watson!

I finally got paid on my lawsuit that I won vs. James Watson in 2010. Him and his corrupt studio are in bankruptcy. Justice served. #NuffSaid 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Wiivengers - A Marvel / Nintendo-Verse Mashup (Parody)



I absolutely adore this. The ultimate mash-up, and further evidence that Disney should just get it over with and buy +Nintendo.#LuigiHulk  

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Guardians of my Heart


These guardians stole my heart, because this movie has so much heart ... and soul. Bravo, James Gunn, you made a new kind of superhero movie for the new millennium. Loved it. The soundtrack and the movie are now inseparable and all the tunes are stuck in my head. #WeAreGroot

/whisper/ BE QUIET ... BIG BOYS DON'T CRY



Guardians of the Galaxy has me in love with its soundtrack, I don't care what 10CC says about it being a silly phase I'm going through!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

At night I cry and howl at the moon



I got everything, and I don't know what to do
I can run on the show, cut the inventory too
Howling at the moon, howling at the moon
I can throw your 45s all day to into the sun
And say goodbye
At the shooting stars, at the crashing cars
At the future past, was made to last
I didn't know, I didn't know
I didn't know, I didn't know

At night I cry and howl at the moon
At night I cry and howl at the moon

Say goodbye for now
Never seeing it again
All the stars at night
Well say my friends
Howling at the moon Howling at the moon
Howling at the moon Howling at the moon

At night I cry and howl at the moon
At night I cry and howl at the moon

And if I ever fall asleep I'll turn around and face the sea
And if I crucified my dreams to be on your side
To see you alive, to see you alive

At night I cry and howl at the moon
At night I cry and howl at the moon

And if I ever fall asleep I'll turn around and face the sea
And if I crucified my dreams to be on your side
To see you alive, to see you alive

Friday, June 27, 2014

Alameda County Fair

CruZader goes digital at ComicsFix

Featured at ComicsFix.com! The site should go live soon - binge on comics for one low, monthly fee. 


Saturday, March 15, 2014

In the words of Darth Vader "This will be a day long remembered ..." my graphic novel is going to print!


After many years of grinding, my passion project "CruZader™ : Agent of the Vatican," is finally headed to the printer. I can't wait to hold that laminated cover in my hands and feel the glossy, silky 85-LB paper as I flip through the pages for the first time. It is 150 color pages of pure passion as only I can tell it, true believers.

If you're interested in ordering, keep an eye on my Web site: www.theforcemedia.com and follow me via Twitter @TheCruZader.

Thanks for your consideration.

- O-dogg

My Kickstarter experience and advice on running a campaign


So, you want to start a Kickstarter campaign, eh kid? Let me tell you, as someone who ran a campaign late last year, it is not for the feint of heart. Even successful campaigns can bring a lot of unintended consequences for people that aren’t prepared to fulfill thousands of pledges from a campaign that goes viral. On the other end, I’ve seen campaigns that generate zero pledges and zero dollars – what a heart-breaking epic fail.

If you do nothing else, study Kickstarter campaigns within your category before you start, plan your campaign and publicity tactics in advance, and limit your exposure by knowing exactly how you will fulfill your rewards ahead of time. I rushed into my campaign a bit too soon, and wish I had spent more time on creating the rewards and tiers ahead of time. Luckily I was able to go back and create more tiers after I realized that I needed a tier where backers could get my graphic novel รก la carte in the $30 range, as opposed to $50 and $75 with a bunch of extras that could potentially price them out of pledge range.

At the end of the day, I had success, but I had to scramble and reinvent the campaign continuously throughout the 60 days that I was stumping. Some advantages that I had going in:

• I had incredibly generous family and friends that knew that my graphic novel was a dream that I’d been working to realize for many years. My average pledge was well over $100 thanks to big ticket pledges from family and friends.

• The graphic novel was pretty close to being a finished product, as opposed to an idea. The writing and art were all done. The colors and letters were almost done. All I was raising money for was finishing touches and printing, so my project was a safe investment for backers.

• As an ex-PR man and journalist, I knew how to generate publicity – some of it didn’t generate a single pledge, and some of it generated all the pledges I needed to get me over the hump.

• My rewards were pretty much in-house already; all I needed was the graphic novel. All of my goodies and extras were things that I had on hand. Maybe I could’ve done more with t-shirts, bookmarks or bumper stickers, but ultimately I decided to stick to original artwork and scripts.

Regardless of how prepared or unprepared you are, you will not rest. You will not sleep. The campaign will consume you. If you’re at a movie, out to dinner, trolling around on the internet, whatever, your mind will drift toward the inevitable question: what else should I be doing to push my campaign right now? For me, this question motivated me and kicked me into high gear. I started studying other campaigns and fleshing out my marketing and publicity campaign on the fly. On top of this, I sent a steady stream of solicitation e-mails to family and friends – and what an interesting psychological experiment that was! Fellow comic book fans and close friends completely blew me off, and people I haven’t heard from in years were some of the first to jump in head first with pledges of $100 or more. Other Kickstarter campaigns will beg you for help and then won’t return the favor, or pledge you back in return. Don’t try to figure it out, just keep it moving, or it will drive you crazy. Try to balance the euphoria of the push notifications to your mobile phone every time a pledge rolls in with the disappointment on days when zero pledges come in.

In terms of advertising, you have to spend money to make money. There is no way around it. Begging on Facebook and Twitter will not win friends and influence people. However, investing $100 or $200 for legitimate Facebook and Twitter ads is a solid investment and will generate interest because you can target exactly who your audience will be by interest, geography, and who they follow. Both Twitter and Facebook will generate analytics to help you understand how your ads are tracking. This is valuable.

At the same time, I would advise you not to spend a single penny on the legions of crowd sourcing leeches that market themselves as experts that can boost your campaign. They are all full of crap – every last one of them. I invested in a handful of services, and none of them yielded a single pledge. Many of them are one-person operations that try to make themselves look like legit companies and they are so overwhelmed that they deliver zero value or professional follow up. Worthless. Trust me.
The best salesperson for your campaign is you. Don’t rely on anyone else to carry the burden for you. The internet will not help you. Celebrities will not retweet you. Some of your closest friends will not care. Pour every ounce of passion you have for your project into: your campaign video (and keep it short), what you write on your Kickstarter campaign page, and into your pitches to bloggers, podcasters and trade media. Passion works. Energy yields results. Potential pledges will convert into dollars if people feel you are genuine and that you will deliver what you say you will deliver.

It worked for me. It can work for you.

‘Nuff said, true believers.

Your friendly neighborhood self-publisher,

Omar Morales

@TheCruZader
Facebook.com/El.CruZader
kickstarter.com/profile/omorales81

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ancient Relics from Outer Space

I love it.






Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's official: CruZader bar code & ISBN #

I feel like a proud papa. My first bar code and UPC code.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Tank - TX 4ever

One of my fondest Turkey Day memories is when I was living in Killeen, with no where to go for Thanksgiving. You and Angela took me in and brought me to her family's house. I remember meeting at your apartment and looking at the Texas flag on your porch in the low winter sun - it's as if the Earth stood still for that moment. It is eternalized in my mind and a memory I will cherish forever. I'm still thankful for you and all you did for me as I grew into manhood so many miles away from everything and everyone I knew. I'm grateful to have known you and hope we can drink a holiday beer together again someday, in this lifetime or the next. Your friend,
Omar

Sent from my secret superhero HQ phone

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CruZader: the action figure


Great work by Viet Huynh on the custom figure, molding and painting. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CruZader graphic novel page 5

The hero prepares to meet his cantankerous pilot for the first time. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I saw Batkid in SF

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I left my heart in Gotham City that day. His little arm in the air inspired me and the crowd in a super heroic way that can't be expressed in words. Nuff said. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Guess Who?

My homework assignment from iVersity.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Final hours of CruZader on Kickstarter

Only a few hours left to pledge: http://kck.st/15I5bUI Thanks for any and all support. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

CruZader interview on DJ Grandpa podcast

Here is a podcast interview with DJ Grandpa - I come on at the 32-minute mark to discuss the #CruZader legend and lore: http://tinyurl.com/kz8bme7

You can also go directly to www.djgrandpa.com. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to me

My favorite restaurant/brewery/beer. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cover art for the CruZader graphic novel revealed!

Art by the legendary Paul Gulacy. Absolutely stunning. 'Nuff said. 



#PaulGulacy #CruZader #Kickstarter 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hot new CruZader pages

If this was a movie, these pages would've been considered re-shoots. I have to hold a couple of them back due to the surprise/spoiler factor, but here are a few. Man, I love making comics.




Monday, September 02, 2013

The CruZader #1 cover, old school from the rare print of issue #1, 2008


Here is what started it all 5 years ago. In 2014, I hope to blow this up with a successful launch of The CruZader as a graphic novel - 140-pages of action, conspiracy, romance and religion (and maybe the requisite sex, drugs and rock n' roll that entertainment needs to have these days). Thanks for staying loyal, true believers!

#TheCruZader

The original CruZader pitch video from back in 2008



Hope it still embeds.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oaktown, baby.

I love this too much not to re-post. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summertime Sadness

There is something so haunting about this artist and her performance. The production design is stunning. The damaged film look is like a snuff film, and then there is a random zombie in there somewhere. It is punk, it is indie, it is pop. Whatever it is, I am totally mesmerized. Enjoy, true believers.



#SumertimeSadness


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cap's shield is blue now? WTF?

I get the uniform changes, but the shield should never change. What say you, true believers?


#marvel #wintersoldier #captainamerica

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy 4th of July, True Believers

Enjoy your freedoms ... and a hot dog + an apple pie from your neighborhood Safeway. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

My Michigan Wolverines shined in the NCAA Tournament

I AM SO PROUD. THIS WAS THE BEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL GAME I'VE EVER SEEN:

ATLANTA -- In the emotional locker-room moments Monday after his team lost 82-76 to Louisville in the national championship game, Michigan coach John Beilein had one message for his team: Do not hang your heads.
So the Wolverines held their chins up as they discussed their defeat -- only to show off red-rimmed eyes.
"We're so proud of what we accomplished," junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said. "But it hurts to come so close."
[+] EnlargeMichael ''Spike'' Albrecht
Spike Albrecht rocked the Georgia Dome in the first half Monday.
This young, fourth-seeded team -- whose players now admit they even doubted themselves at times when they finished 5-5 over the last 10 games of the regular season -- performed better than when it held the No. 1 ranking earlier this season. Thanks to an inspired (and inspiring) effort by freshman reserve point guard Spike Albrecht (a career-high 17 points), the Wolverines held as much as a 12-point lead in the first half.
And even after Louisville rallied, Wooden Award-winning ball handler Trey Burke, back in the game in the second half after early foul trouble, kept trying to push them into position to prevail.
"We knew, in this game, it was going to come down to who played better defense," freshman Glenn Robinson III said. "And in the second half, [Louisville] did."
The turning point came with 5:09 left. Michigan was trailing by three points when Burke made an incredible block on Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva ... only to be whistled for a foul.
"I thought I had all ball and timed it up pretty good," Burke said. "Unfortunately, you know, it didn't go that way."
Siva made two free throws, beginning a 9-2 run that culminated in a Luke Hancock 3-pointer. It was too much for Michigan to totally overcome, with Louisville hitting the boards harder (11-1 on offensive rebounds in the second half) and forcing more Wolverines turnovers (seven of 12 came after halftime).
"It could have been momentum," Burke said of the foul that should not have been. "If it was a no-call, we could have gotten possession. We can't go back on that now; Louisville deserved it."
By playing with focus and fearlessness, though, the Wolverines -- who lost three of four in early February, followed by a perplexing defeat at Penn State later in the month -- proved they deserved to be here, too. With the Fab Five members of Michigan's '93 Final Four team cheering from the crowd Monday, they shot 52.1 percent, got 24 points from Burke and made things tough for the Cardinals, whose last loss occurred in early February.
"They are," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of Michigan, "a great basketball team."
With the potential to be even better.
"This team, with the players we have and the type of relationships we have -- and everything we learned this season -- this team can definitely be back in this [championship game] situation next year," Burke said. "I'm not guaranteeing anything, but with the talent we have, this team is capable of making another run."
[+] EnlargeTim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is among the UM players who must soon decide between the NBA or college.
Depending, that is, on who returns.
Burke, Hardaway, Robinson and freshman forward Mitch McGary all said they have not decided whether they will leave early for the NBA or return to Michigan next season. With emotions still raw after the loss, they said they would need some time to mull their options.
"We accomplished a lot of things nobody probably thought we would do," Robinson said. "We lost this championship game by a couple of possessions, but we fought until the end."
Beilein said Monday's aftermath marked the most emotional postgame locker room he has ever faced. Several of the starters addressed the team, both thanking and praising the squad for how far it advanced.
There was pride. But there also were tears.
"I think this season was very successful," freshman guard Nik Stauskas said. "Three or four weeks ago, I don't think anyone thought we would get to this point. I think everyone was writing us off in the first or second round.
"[Coach] said we shouldn't hang our heads, and he's right."

Sunday, March 31, 2013

DAFT PUNK: Random Access Memories



I knew I was not imagining a new Daft Punk album! I saw this ad during Saturday Night Live, randomly and without explanation. Classic Daft Punk marketing! Can't wait to see what the robotic fellows drop this May with the new CD "Random Access Memories."

#DaftPunk

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Spider-Man movie costume

Looks a lot like the old Toby Maguire version, but with bigger, whiter eyes. I'm down with it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty delivers on Oscar hype.



This movie awesome. I felt intellectually aroused from start to finish. It is a taught political thriller that makes Showtime's Homeland look like a cartoon. Nicely done by Director Katherine Bigelow. Jessica Chastain deserves on Oscar for her performance.

Monday, January 28, 2013