So I am having a WordPress/PHP problem…

So, I am trying to build a WordPress theme for conventions, which I am calling CONtemplate.

So far, the project seems to be progressing well, but I have hit a sticking point.

Now, some conventions only last a day, some last a weekend or more. Of course, I want the user to be able to select the length of their convention, so I give them the option.

When creating an event, they can choose between ‘One Day Event’ and ‘Multiple Day Event’. Selecting one of these opens up fields you can fill out with relevant dates (using a date picker).

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.33.11 AMScreen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.32.57 AM

Pretty straight forward huh? I thought so too.

So, it saves this information in YYYYMMDD format, for example: 20140116.

So whats the problem?

The problem comes when I want to use this information on the site. So, here’s the scenario.

I want to display the events in date order, by ‘one_day_event_date’ and ‘event_start_date’.

I want to filter the events (so that past events do not get displayed) by comparing ‘one_day_event_date’ and ‘event_end_date’.

Here is the code I am using so far:

$currentdate = date(“Ymd”,mktime(0,0,0,date(“m”),date(“d”)-1,date(“Y”)));
‘meta_query’=> array(
‘key’ => ‘one_day_event_date’, // name of custom field
‘compare’ => ‘>’,
‘value’ => $currentdate,
‘type’ => ‘DATE’

‘post_type’ => ‘event’,
‘meta_key’ => ‘one_day_event_date’, // name of custom field
‘orderby’ => ‘meta_value_num’,
‘order’ => ‘ASC’

Jocks vs Geeks, are Geeks as sad as Jocks say we are?

My name is Paul and I am a geek.

That’s not much of an Earth shattering confession as anyone who knows me is well aware I tend to wear my Geek pride on my sleeve (that and the Portal wristband and Star Trek wallet I carry around).

But I have lost track of the amount of times I have had to defend my love of things Science Fiction and Fantasy, and have been branded as ‘sad’, a ‘weirdo’ and ‘pathetic’ because of it. Many there has been a time when someone has asked what I am into and they have laughed openly in my face at the answer.

The people who tend to quiz me about such things, on the whole, sports fans.

Well, I just don’t “get it”.

This is a common phrase I hear. After my interrogation (usually followed by mockery), they claim they “just don’t get it”. The best example of this was DragonCon 2011. Me and my wife were waiting outside Hard Rock Cafe for a table to come free. We were dressed in our street clothes rather than costumes. Suddenly, we were descended upon by two older women who proceeded to quiz us on what was going on around them. They sneered at costumers walking past, asked why people would do such a thing and looked at me and my wife with disdain when we informed them that we costumed too. And then came “well we just don’t get it”.

But what really got my goat from that whole conversation was the fact that these two women were adorned from head to toe in Georgia college football clothing and merchandise, had travelled from the other end of the state to watch the college football game and recited most of the plays the team had made. When I informed them that I “just didn’t get” what the fuss about college football was about, they looked at me like I had slapped them across the face (I must admit, the temptation to actually do that was there).

Can anyone say ‘pot calling the kettle black’?

So, for shits and giggles, lets take these two fandoms and put them head to head. Let’s judge them by the criteria that sports fans usually reserve for labelling geek fandom as ‘sad’.

Round 1: “You wear those silly costumes”

Yes, yes we do. People costume for a number of different reasons, to garner attention, to show their support for what they are interested it, but on the whole, because it looks damn cool.

But sports fans never do that do they?

Yeah right!

There you go sports fans, you really are no better. Although, it’s worth pointing out that people are more likely to want their picture taken with Iron Man, Batman or Spiderman than say some overweight dude in an England bra. Just saying.

Round 2: “You waste all that money on costumes, toys and going to conventions”

Well, partly true. Some costumes (like IronMan armour) can cost a pretty penny. But at the end of the day, the owner has something that stands out and kicks ass. Also, the majority of costumes can be made on a budget. For example, my Tusken Raider from Star Wars cost under $100, and my Zapp Brannigan costume cost even less. Cosplayer Nicole Marie Jean likes to put out ‘costumes on a budget’ tutorials every now and then.

Same with props and collectables, some are expensive, most are not. Depending on time and effort, people can make some pretty cool things cheaply.

But sports fans don’t pay silly money for football shirts and merchandise do they?

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 12.48.00 PMYUP! So, just a quick search on Google for ‘Official England Football Shirt’ pulls up these prices. So that’s $80-$110 for a tshirt, double that if you want the ‘away’ kit too. And these things change every year, so you have to buy new ones. To quote Mackelmore:

They be like, “Oh, that Gucci – that’s hella tight.”
I’m like, “Yo – that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant bitch

As for sports collectables? Check out this little number from Alabama’s store…

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 12.52.34 PM

And let’s compare that to the Spatcave replica Pulse Rifle from Aliens:

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 12.57.09 PMI know which one is cooler in my book.

Now, let’s talk about convention prices. Admission to conventions can range from free to $200 (that’s if you are going for the really big conventions that last 4 days). Pricey huh? Wouldn’t see a sports fan paying that now would you…


Again, I took to Google. NFL game, Chicago vs Dallas at Soldier Field. $55 gets you a spot in the parking lot. The cheapest seat (way up at the back of the stadium so that you end up suffering from altitude sickness) is $112. Want a piece of the action, maybe in the club section perhaps? Be prepared to hand over $1213 per seat.

So even factoring in travel, hotels, food and other stuff, the geeks are getting a pretty sweet deal.

Round 3: Geeks are so obsessive, we live and breathe it.


So, popular opinion is that Geeks live in their parent’s basements, surrounded by collectables and toys left in mint condition in boxes, trawling the Internet for pictures of Seven of Nine topless and have Captain Picard tattooed on their left buttcheek. When we do interact with other humans, we are supposed to bore them to death about every tiny detail in Xena Warrior Princess, how Lucy Lawless had one button missing in one shot that reappeared in another and blah blah blah blah.

Here’s an experiment for you. Next game day, find the guy in the team shirt who is shouting the loudest and ask them how the season is going for them. Then ask them who their favourite player is and how their career has been. An hour later, if your eyes haven’t glazed over, ask how you think their team will do next season. You might want to prop your eyes open with toothpicks at that point because you will be in for the long haul.

OK, I will admit, I am pretty bad. I absorb useless Sci-Fi trivia like… like… something very absorbent, and I occasionally still hunt for a sneak peek at Jeri Ryan’s nipples (even if it’s just one). But I am not one to ram my fandom down people’s throats.

Both Geeks and Jocks have their extremists, the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy. Whether it’s Star Wars or the Atlanta Braves, these people wrap themselves up in their fandom like a blanket.

Round 4: Geeks never get laid / married

I met my wife at DragonCon. Every year at DragonCon, people throw around engagement rings like it’s going out of fashion. A particular favourite is during the costume contest. Some even pull out the stops and go all out awesome, like dressing as Batman and Batgirl and getting Dean Cain (Superman for those who didn’t know) to do the honours.

As for getting laid. At DragonCon, you have the chance to see more ass than the benches at New York’s Penn Station during rush hour.

As for the sports fans, I honestly wouldn’t know, but you generally don’t see couples banging on the Jumbotron.

So, in conclusion.

Truth be told, I could probably keep writing a great deal more about this subject, a LOT more. But, not even I have the patience for that.

Ironically, Geeks and Jocks are almost identical. Both sides have their extremists, both have ‘casual’ fans, both spend time and money showing their support for their chosen team/genre.

What’s more, Geekdom is now becoming more and more mainstream. Walmart now sells a large selection of geek shirts. Guys who used to beat people up for wearing Batman shirts are now wearing them. There’s always going to be people on either side who “just don’t get” what the others are into. But, they best way to deal with those folks is ignore them.

At the end of the day, we are all geeks about something.

Now, can anyone tell me what ‘the Blitz’ is in American Football? K, thanks, bye.

Time for an Escape from New York Prequel/Remake

So, trawling through, I stumbled across a few posts about Escape from New York and some of the aborted projects that could have breathed a bit of life into the franchise.

The ‘anime’ Snake Plissken and video game

So, with Hollywood rebooting as much as possible, could it time that one of the best anti-heros of cinema returned to the silver screen? I say ‘yeah’ (in the worst ever Snake Plissken impression possible).

Now, there’s one of two ways this would be done, prequel or remake.

Why not a sequel you may ask? Well, let’s do a quick refresher. Sadly, there was a sequel to Escape from New York called Escape from LA, and the story was just as unimaginative as the title.

Derp Face Snake Plissken was never going to work

Derp Face Snake Plissken was never going to work

LA has become a dumping ground for anyone the authorities don’t like, one has lured the President’s dumbass daughter in there with some mcguffin that allows you to disable all electronic devices in a targeted area, basically reducing it to the stone age. Yup, he has been given a poison that has a time limit, meets folks along the way who die. So Snake saves the brat, turns out the poison was fake and hands a fake device to the President, then in a ‘twist’ to the plot, targets the whole planet with the device and sends everyone back to pre-electric era.

Yeah, so where would a sequel to that go? Snake Plissken meets Mad Max probably. And if you are thinking “hey, that’s kinda cool!”, please go and boil your head for about 20 minutes.

Back on track, we are in prequel or remake territory.

An Escape from New York Prequel

See, this would be the way I would go. Escape from New York vaguely alludes to Snake’s back story, a decorated veteran who eventually turns his back on law and society. So the question stands, what happened to him? Now that’s an interesting avenue to explore.

America on the brink of change, things like the Occupy protests, corrupt Government steered by corporations. This could be the backdrop to the story of how Plissken became Snake.

Not really relevant but 'meh'

Not really relevant but ‘meh’

With civil unrest rising, armed forces could be deployed to the streets, unaware they are being used by corporations to serve their best interests. Plissken, a second in command of a military until is sent to a protest hotspot. Orders come through to his commander to use lethal force to subdue the situation. Plissken refuses to pass the order on and is beaten and thrown in the stockade while the rest of his company mows down the public. Internet backlash of the incident is immense and Plissken falls into the scapegoat role, whereas his commander, and the politicians running the show get away free as a bird. Plissken winds up in the big house (the New York penal colony not being established yet).

If the first bit of this story sounds like the intro to The Running Man, you would be right.

Although I won't steal the spandex idea...

Although I won’t steal the spandex idea…

Turn the clock forward, Plissken (now called Snake after his time in the slammer) emerges to a different world, more controlled, subdued, a nightmare utopia run by money. What’s on Snakes mind? Revenge of course!

He is out to get those who put him away, his former commander and the people who pulled his strings. So, Snake falls in with the resistance fighters who want to overthrow the system. Get’s revenge etc.

But, I don’t think that would be quite enough. Snake is supposed to be an anti-hero. In Escape from New York, he was basically out for himself, but had a hint of ‘honour amongst thieves’ about him. So the resistance fighter thing just wouldn’t compute. This is where we want to throw in a bit of an Orwell ‘Animal Farm’.

Towards the end, Snake would need to be betrayed, shown that the resistance was no better than the system they were trying to fight. Maybe the leader of the resistance takes a bribe, maybe sending the resistance force to their death. Snake exacts revenge against that person too.

But at the end of the day, Snake loses all faith in all authority, causes and Government. The movie ends with him as the bitter man that is walked into Liberty Island at the beginning of Escape from New York…

BUT, that’s a prequel and not…

An Escape from New York Remake

Yup, dust off the script, change a few things and throw a new cast at it!

Now, I can see this being the way it would go, a remake has more money earning potential than a prequel. Personally, I think this is just as bad as a sequel. We know the story, this would just be a sloppy retread of a film that has been done better.

But, doesn’t stop me from doing a fantasy cast list!

Snake Plissken – Gerard Butler

Butler’s name has already been mentioned around the block for a possible remake, and I scratched my head when trying to think of an alternative, so I will go with Butler.

Gerard Butler Wallpaper @

The Duke – Jamie Foxx

10 years ago, I would have said Samuel L. Jackson straight away. But the Duke would need to be someone old enough to have the know how to rise to the top of the New York prison food chain, and have enough muscle to stay there. Ergo, Jamie Foxx.


Hauk – Bruce Willis

Hauk was a veteran like Snake, but chose the desk job over a life of crime. Willis in his younger years wouldn’t have made a good Hauk, but with age behind him now, he would fit this role rather well.


Cabby – Omid Djalili

Now, no one is going to be able to replace Ernest Borgnine, so better to go a different direction. Cabby is Snake’s right hand man in New York, but Cabby is not the strongest guy out there, so he drives the cab to be useful, but has to be able to talk his way out of a sticky situation. Omid Djalili is a stand up comedian by trade, so he will have the talking side down, but also would play a good funny man to the rather serious and hard nosed Snake.


Romero – tentatively Guy Pierce

I like this guy (apart from Prometheus). This is my ‘wildcard’ pick as I am not overly convinced he could pull off the part, but I am giving him a chance because Mr Pierce has pulled a few surprise performances in the past.

Brain – Alan Rickman / Maggie – Summer Glau

First, Rickman, simply because it’s Alan Rickman, enough said. Now, Summer Glau, she is a good looking lass, but also has a hard set to her jaw, she looks like she can be both sexy and deadly, and Adrienne Barbeau was certainly both of those in the original. Plus Glau has experience with physical parts.


But there is a reason I grouped these two together. A change to their back story. Rather than Maggie being a ‘gift’ to Brain, what if they came to New York together? An older man and younger woman Bonnie and Clyde, with him as the mastermind and her as his muscle. Just a thought.

The President – Kurt Russell

This was a no brainer for me. I really wanted an original cast member in the movie, so who else other than Kurt Russell? And it’s a nice spin for Russell to play the guy Snake has to rescue.


To Wrap Up.

So there, that’s my thoughts on possible big screen outings of Snake Plissken. I would rather seem them doing something fresh with the franchise rather than some half baked retread, but I already know which way it’s going to go. But I can dream can’t I?

Paul Maitland

October 4, 2013

I honestly am not liking the direction Bootstrap 3 is going. Version 2 had a simplicity to it that I liked, now it looks like it is over egging the pudding.

Paul Maitland

August 7, 2013

Dear web designers, please stop using tables for the layout of your site. It has been considered poor practice for 10 years now.

It also wouldn’t hurt to read the Google Coding Guidelines and Search Engine Optimisation Guide now and again either.

Adventures in Airbrushing – Clothing Edition

It’s safe to say that after airbrushing the Aliens head, I have pretty much become an airbrushing addict.

I have been wandering around the house looking for things to airbrush, and I mean literally anything. It’s probably a good thing that the only pet I have is a lizard (named by wife as ‘Eddie Lizzard’) which is definitely too small to airbrush any sort of decent design on. Now, if I had a horse, it would be covered in Despicable Me minion pictures by now.

But as I wandered aimlessly, eyeballing anything large enough to paint on, I stumbled across an old pair of jeans hanging in my wardrobe (I might have moved to America, but I will be damned if I use the local lingo for anything other than a last resort). Looking at these jeans with what the wife calls my ‘furious art concentration face’, I thought to myself; “you know what those jeans need? A bloody great picture of the Predator on them”. I snatched them up and two and a half hours later:

Predator Airbrushed Jeans

Predator Airbrushed Jeans

So giddy was I with excitement that I text a picture to my wife. It took all of five minutes for the phone to ring. It was the wife saying I needed to paint a pair of her jeans… NOW. Being a good little husband, I set at it with gusto.

Lord of the Rings Frodo Airbrushed Jeans

Lord of the Rings Frodo Airbrushed Jeans

So, then I noticed a tshirt…

Batman Joker Airbrushed Tshirt

Batman Joker Airbrushed Tshirt

YAY! Airbrush-gasm!

Enjoying a post spraying cigarette and admiring my handing work, it got me to thinking that as I improve, I might start taking commissions for painted jeans, tshirts etc.

Only thing I am currently concerned about is the paint fading, but I believe there is a top coat you can buy that will seal the finished product.

Hopefully I can sort that soon as I am thinking of dragging the airbrush to DragonCon and maybe drumming up some trade.



Minimalist Japanese Alien Posters

Minimal Japanese style Alien postersBrowsing PSDTUTS a few weeks back, I came across a ‘show-off’ post about reworking movie posters. Browsing through the entries, I noticed a quite distinct lack of Alien related ones. Now I couldn’t be having that now could I?

I liked the minimal styles of the Alien and Aliens posters, and I was also drawn to the Japanese versions of the posters because they numbered the movies (Alien, Alien2, Alien3, we won’t count Resurrection because my eyes erupted blood at that atrocity of a movie).

So I decided to marry a even more minimal style with the Japanese text. It might be a bit poncy (and anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of poncy stuff) but I think they came out well in the end. After the Alien poster, I did struggle with the idea of what to use on the others, something iconic perhaps? A pulse rifle? The Queen’s skull. Nothing seemed to fit. Then I hit on it, lets do the life cycle, egg, facehugger, chestburster… ta-da!

Oh, and did I mention you can buy them on my DeviantArt profile? No? OK then, you can by them on my DeviantArt <— click it, you know you want to!


‘Aliens’ Head Paint Job – Part 2


So, got round to finishing the Aliens head.

All said and done, for a first attempt with an airbrush, I don’t think it came out too bad.

It’s safe to say that I am now addicted to airbrushing and will definitely be looking for more things to spray paint on in future.

‘Aliens’ Head Paint Job – Part 1

Well, first of the little projects I have been meaning to do has just got underway, painting up an Aliens style head for the USCM fan table at DragonCon this year.

The raw resin skull was knocking around in my friend Greg’s spare room (along with an Alien style head, about 6 Predator bio masks and two sets of marine armour), so the weekend before Memorial Day, he unloaded his alien related bounty round at my house.

Along with this mass of props came an airbrush, and seeing as I never used an airbrush before and always like to take on projects that are way too difficult for me, I decided the paint up this Alien skull.

My ‘reference’ for this project is going to be the Sideshow Collectables Alien Warrior Bust. If I get to within a long stones throw of how it looks, I will be happy.

OK, enough rambling, technical bits coming up.

First, I sanded down any seem lines I could find (or at least the ones that would stand out), mainly on the front lobe, cranium, whatever it’s called. Unfortunately, I don’t think the resin on that part of the head had cured properly, as even when painted, it’s slightly stick to the touch and causes some discolouration, but, to hell with it, I ain’t got time fo dat!

Then blasted the whole thing with Krylon grey primer, then Krylon gloss black (matt or gloss didn’t really matter which for reasons that will become obvious later on).

Then I had at it with the airbrush. Was a bit tricky at first. I mixed Tamiya paint XF-59 ‘Desert Sand’  with 70% rubbing alcohol isoprophyl, I am sure the airbrush experts will scream at me for doing that, but what the hell, it works.

So here it is so far:

Aliens Head Paint Job

Next I will be making a trip out for more Tamiya paints (black and a light blue if I can find them).

Once the base painting is done, then I will see about attaching the rather solid resin lower jaw to the skull.

For the facial tendons, I might try a trick with some hot glue, but I will post up details of that later.

Once everything is in place, I intended to give the whole thing at least two coats of car laquer to give it that nice slimy, glossy look.

Well, thats enough from me for now.  Laters.

BIG changes coming this year

First up, I will be marrying my partner of nearly 4 years Amy Jo Kimbrell (she has been very patient) on 16th March 2013, and… I will be moving to the USA on 4th March 2013. Columbus in Georgia to be exact. It’s going to be a HUGE change for me, there will be a enormous amount to do before then and I will have to get used to a pretty different way of life. But, saying that, it will be an interesting challenge. See you on the other side!