Sunday, September 30, 2012

Month in Review: September 2012

After two months of minimal e-mail contact with my blogging partner and one brief collaboration to reiterate that this is still our blog, I gave up on new content and just let other people write for Exfanding instead. Guest posting saved the day, as September was quite possibly my weakest blogging month in Exfanding's history: emotionally drained from the holding pattern I'm in until Alex returns, and focused more on other creative projects, I really didn't have much to share.

Still, I did have something to share, and there were the aforementioned guest posts:

- Sunday Spotlight on guest posting and The Backloggery

- A guest review of Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City, discussing how the Dark Knight saved licensed games
 
Forty-six ways Star Trek changed my life, in honor of Star Trek's 46th anniversary

- A guest review of the film Enemy Mine, as told through the lens of a Star Trek fan

- An honest update of where things stand and where they're going with this blog

- Rumination on how my late nights have changed since college and high school

- A collection of humorously honest movie trailers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Honest Trailers

If you're any kind of movie buff and don't mind a little adult language, you'll probably get a kick out of these: Honest Trailers, which parody the teasers of popular movies and tell the world what they can really expect to see:







If you liked these, there's a whole playlist of 'em on the Screen Junkies YouTube channel for Twilight, Titanic, The Dark Knight, and other movies that start with T.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wake Up, It's Time For Bed

As I write this, it's 2:18 AM. At this point in college, if I didn't have an early morning class to wake up for, I'd be heading to bed about now; this would be the kind of night where I'd be playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic until not even another Zebra Cake could help keep me awake. At this point on summer break--any summer break, in high school or in college--I might be coming home about now from an especially long night of bowling and movies with my friends.

At this point, where I am right now, I should have been asleep three hours ago. However, I'm still on college time after all these years--realistically, it's only a little over an hour past my bedtime, given that I do have something to wake up early for. Amazingly, I function quite well on this schedule, even without being a coffee drinker.

I think about how active I was throughout school: choir, theater, anime club, video game club, and all that D&D, for starters. Now I'm supposedly a grown-up; the only real commitments I have are the practical ones that keep food on the table and clean laundry in the hamper. I've still got a social calendar and an extracurricular activity or two, but nothing I'm doing now compares to what I did in school--which makes nights like tonight feel all the more baffling.

In college, I'd be writing this post as a personal journal entry after a day comprised of catching up on webcomics over breakfast, three classes, walking all over campus, lunch with friends, a few hours of homework, an hour of D&D prep, choir practice, dinner with friends, twenty minutes of last-minute D&D prep as the players are filtering into my dorm room, a three-hour game session, a trip down to the cafe for a milkshake, and the aforementioned cooldown with SW:KotOR. As things actually happened today, I had breakfast at work, went to the grocery store after work, had leftover chicken and rice over an episode of Saturday Night Live on Netflix, read a chapter of a book, and accidentally took a three-hour nap when my body physically shut down on me in utter exhaustion, waking up just in time to go to bed.

What happened to me?

I suppose I can blame my collapse tonight on a particularly busy weekend: attending a wedding on Saturday that had me socializing or on the dance floor for about six of the eight hours I was there, driving across the state to get home by midnight, waking up early enough to be across state lines for a local fair by noon the next day, spending about six hours pressing through crowds of people to buy fresh apple cider and see the unnaturally large vegetables on display, making a detour to stop for dinner, driving home in the dark, and coming home just in time to go to bed for work the next day. Don't get me wrong--I had a blast. I also spent roughly ten hours in the car this weekend, and was on my feet for half of the rest of the time. So it's perfectly understandable to want to take a nap after all that.

What makes being an adult so much more exhausting than being a college student is that I spend more time driving than I ever spent walking across campus, more time maintaining my home than I ever spent maintaining my dorm room, and more time working than I ever did attending classes and doing homework, save for when midterms and finals rolled around. I'm spending more time doing fewer activities; that, I think, is why I feel so much more drained on a regular basis than I usually did in school. I'm just as busy and am having just as much fun as I was at certain points throughout college, but now I'm only juggling a few big activities instead of the bevy of smaller ones that, collectively, were equally heavy.

Still, eating leftover chicken and rice and falling asleep before you can put the dishes away is a pretty pathetic way to spend an evening.

That's why I'm still awake right now: There were too many things I still wanted to do with my evening for me to go straight to bed after my nap. My mind was abuzz with all the things I'd have to put off for another day if I didn't tackle them tonight. I stared at the ceiling for about five minutes before getting back up to do something with my evening. Now it's 4:30 AM (egad), which, when adjusted to take my nap into consideration, is just past my bedtime.

Perhaps one day I'll look back on this period of my life, and say, "Ah, 4:30 AM. You know I sometimes used to stay up until then writing blog posts?"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weathering the Storm

I can already see the intro to this month's Month in Review post: "After two months of minimal e-mail contact with my blogging partner and one brief collaboration to reiterate that this is still our blog, I gave up on new content and just let other people write for Exfanding instead."

Look at what's been posted so far this month, and you'll see what I mean. Two guest posts, a post about guest posts, a list post I'd expected to be quick and easy (which, of course, took longer than expected), and the kind of sad filler post I swore I wouldn't be writing anymore. I am grateful for Joseph and Daniel's enthusiasm to contribute this month, because otherwise, I'm not sure I'd even be writing a post today.

Alex and I always used to marvel at how long this blog has lasted compared to the vast majority of other blogs out there. I've come to realize that the driving factor behind our successful self-perpetuation has been collaboration, plain and simple. Yes, we love to write; yes, we've got plenty of things we want to write about. There are so many other forums for us, though--message boards, social media, other websites we contribute content to, personal journals, even regular conversations independent of a digital medium allow us to express ourselves. We can geek out anywhere, and we can write in so many places. Exfanding never had a monopoly on any of that, but what has always set it apart is that it's been our place to geek out. Not mine, and not his, but ours. The fact that we have anybody reading our material is just a surprising bonus.

That's why blogging has felt so hollow to me as of late--I'm still treating this as our blog, not my blog, which after two months of writing solo is like eating alone at a dinner for two. At an empty restaurant, no less. Last week, I put up a Facebook poll about what I should do for the next Sunday Spotlight--91 people saw it; only three people responded.

It's not about the numbers. It's never been about the numbers. But the numbers still matter. And in the midst of my other side projects, among other places to direct my creative energies, after weeks of not even knowing if my own blogging buddy was still reading what I wrote, the importance of this blog had begun to slip for me--and the numbers were merely confirming that nobody really cared.

I realize that's unfair to the people who do care. It's unfair to the valiant three who did vote on that silly poll. It's unfair to Alex, who, my wife assures me, is still reading the blog (or who's planning to get caught up once things settle down next month).

I was already in a "nothing really matters" mindset after dragging myself through the last several episodes of Madlax, an anime series that starts off with guns blazing and exciting action, quickly slows down (oxymoronic, isn't it?) to explore some mysteries and political intrigue, picks up with the action again, and then throws everything that matters out the window because [spoiler] nothing really matters. Having my wife frown at me for feeling less than exuberant over yet another anime series she liked didn't help the situation.

On top of all that, everything I've been working on for the past several weeks has been a long-term project--playing through the Tribunal expansion pack of The Elder Scrolls III; trying to complete my gargantuan episode guide to Star Trek: The Next Generation for the show's 25th anniversary this month (which I ain't gonna finish in time); picking up the pace on recording and releasing Space Quest 0 videos for YouTube so I can return to my Mega Man 7 playthrough; compiling staff responses for each huge installment of GameCola's Most Essential/Influential Games list; writing more of the quest for my GameCola D&D group--and the completionist in me feels like I'm not doing anything with my life if I'm only chipping away at tasks instead of finishing them, no matter how fun they may be to chip away at.

Especially when the only comments I've been getting on my YouTube channel as of late have been, "wen next video b dun?"

Yet all it took was a successful D&D session and a guest post or two to rekindle my enthusiasm for writing here. Some legitimate collaboration to break me out of my lonely solo side project mentality. Some in-depth human interaction to validate my efforts and remind me how much I love sharing these side projects, regardless of how many people I'm sharing them with. I swear I've written about this same kind of circumstance at least once before on the blog, but even if I haven't, the lesson is a familiar one.

I think I've weathered the storm. The dark clouds are parting, and I can see the sun peeking in again. Though we've got only half a crew yet, the waters are calm, and it's looking clear all the way to the horizon...and in the distance, I think I spy a castaway with a self-published children's book in hand. Whatever the future may bring, for now, we're still sailing.

Thanks for hanging on, Exfanders.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Enemy Mine: A Star Trek Fan's Look

And now, a guest post!
 

You are, perhaps familiar with (and if you read this blog, shame on you if you aren't) the franchise Star Trek. But, I ask you, I urge, I bid you if you are not familiar, to become familiar with a science fiction movie entitled Enemy Mine. So let me, Joseph Belle, bring you up to speed; maybe you'll give it a watch.


The beginning of the film is quite simple: you have the humans and the Dracs, two vastly different races who can't even talk to one another, vying for control of a mineral-rich area of space. Both believe the area belongs to them, and neither is willing to try and even communicate. So when they see the other, they just send out fighters and blow each other apart. Now I call this a review from a Star Trek fan's point of view because it's not what happens in the beginning that matters so much; because, soon into the film, one of the human pilots goes after a Drac ship, and in the dogfight, both ships are damaged.

They crash to the ground, and you find that the human pilot (one Willis E. Davidge played by Dennis Quaid) is now alone, as his gunner died in the crash. Not knowing if the Drac pilot survived, Davidge tries to radio for rescue, only to find his radio is out, so he starts making his way towards the downed Drac ship, only to find that the Drac pilot survived.

I don't want to go into a complete play-by-play of the entire movie, but in the end, Davidge is faced with living alone, or living with an enemy. Choosing to live with his enemy (The Drac pilot Jeriba Sherigan played by Louis Gossett, Jr.) the two learn to speak each other's language and find that they are not so different.

The story is a heartwarming adventure of how two people can be so different, but so alike at the same time, culminating at the midpoint of the movie, in which Davidge is forced to make a decision that will potentially make all of humanity turn their backs on him.

It's worth a watch, if you can find a good copy of it, and it's based on the story written by Barry B. Longyear. Despite the book being so short, the movie is an exception to the rule of the book always being better than the movie. But I believe both are worth attention and time, especially if, like me, you feel that warm attachment to the hope that humanity can move beyond our petty disagreements and become something greater. If nothing else, it's a good, classic science-fiction movie.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: The Backloggery, 3 Years

Wow! Three years on The Backloggery, yet it feels like I've been there forever. It's neat to see how much headway I've made, despite continually growing my collection, and it's been great to connect with friends and random strangers alike. It's also been interesting to constantly be playing new games I haven't beaten, rather than periodically returning to the ones I know and love.

If you haven't seen it yet, or if it's been a while, I invite you to swing by my Backloggery, and if you're interested, join me there! It's totally free, pretty customizable, and also acts as a great resource if you need to quickly skim back through all the games you own for some inspiration when coming up with a blog post.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Forty-Six Ways Star Trek Changed My Life

September 8, 1966. It's been 46 years since the very fifth episode of Star Trek went on the air. (Not the first one; the fifth one--"Where No Man Has Gone Before" didn't actually air until September 22, assuming my time-traveling sources are correct.)
To celebrate this awkwardly numbered anniversary, I've compiled a list of 46 different ways in which Star Trek--not just the original series, but the entire multimedia franchise--has changed my life, or at least influenced it in some way or another. Strap yourselves in, kids--I'm about to get sentimental, ridiculous, and incredibly esoteric all at once.

1.) I occasionally refer to human beings as "ugly bags of mostly water."

2.) I occasionally wear cologne, making me an ugly bag of mostly scented water.

3.) I masqueraded as Geordi La Forge one Halloween. It was awesome.

4.) I was an avid fan of Reading Rainbow growing up--in no small part because the show was hosted by LeVar Burton--which helped foster a lifelong love of reading.

5.) I know more about fictional technology than I do about my own car.

6.) Much of my time on the playground in elementary school was spent running around pretending I was a starship captain.

7.) I got it into my head that "Spot" is a perfectly acceptable name for a cat.

8.) It is incredibly easy to shop for calendars for me every year. "Do you have Ships of the Line? Yes? Beautiful. Done."

9.) For several months, I was engaged in geeky, philosophical, and religious discussions and debates with the author of "Star Trek by the Minute" that challenged me to think more critically and logically in my arguments.

10.) I missed about an hour and a half of festivities during one of my last cast parties with my theater group to catch the series premiere of Enterprise.

11.) I missed a sizeable chunk of the festivities at PAX East 2010 to meet Wil Wheaton.

12.) My now-wife and I had the perfect way to geek out with the invitations and table markers for our wedding.

13.) I paid a visit to the 24th century.

14.) I bought my first movie tie-in comic book in 2009.

15.) I got a lot of inspiration for blog posts, apparently.

16.) Riverside, Iowa is on my list of places to visit if I ever get the chance.

17.) I chuckle a little bit whenever I hear John Tesh on the radio, knowing he once played a holographic Klingon.

18.) I've learned that the best explanation for irreconcilable continuity errors is usually, "time travel."

19.) Where (in)appropriate, I refer to nudity in terms of Betazoid weddings and dressing like a Ferengi female. Yes, I'm terrible.

20.) I own a Star Trek: The Next Generation mug, which is my mug of choice when having toast and hot chocolate.

21.) On the rare occasions where I drink tea, there's usually only one choice, and it's the beverage that prompted me to drink tea in the first place: Earl Grey, hot, of course.

22.) My phobia of crawling around in ventilation ducts (a phobia that started with Space Quest V, which was also very heavily influenced by Star Trek) got slightly worse thanks to those squeak-burbling Parasite creepy-crawlies in Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. (Yes, I just used the expression "squeak-burbling." It's incredibly accurate.)

23.) I am computer literate: After haphazardly tinkering with things I knew little about and accidentally destroying my family's Star Trek screensaver, I vowed to teach myself enough about computers to never let such a thing happen again.

24.) The exploits of Captain Proton encouraged me to watch Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, further expanding and deepening my knowledge and appreciation of vintage science fiction.

25.) I giggle anytime I hear the phrase "recipe for biscuits," which, admittedly, is not nearly as often as I'd like.

26.) I possess a sizable collection of action figures, toy props, and model starships, all of which contribute to the already overwhelmingly geeky d├ęcor of my home.

27.) My bedroom ceiling was once decorated with various tiny Star Trek (and Star Wars) ships suspended from it, amidst glow-in-the-dark stars. Going to sleep at night was about the coolest thing ever.

28.) "The Picard Song" is proudly featured on one of my many mix CDs, and I've developed an unexpected fondness for "Blue Skies," as well.

29.) I've started paying attention to the names of writers, directors, and music composers in film and television. It's so much easier to understand the ups and downs of a franchise once you know the people involved behind the scenes.

30.) I have an improved understanding of the general structure of languages thanks to a crash course in Klingon.

31.) My friends, family, and I have spent countless hours bonding over the episodes and movies we've watched together.

32.) My friends, family, and I are collectively around $3000 poorer for buying me every Star Trek movie and series on DVD.

33.) I managed to turn a hand injury into a training exercise at a young age and learned the Vulcan "live long and prosper" salute while two of my fingers were bandaged together.

34.) Though I enjoy Star Wars, I never got into it the way other people have, in part because it differed from my expectations that Star Trek had set for sci-fi. That's not a "Star Trek is better than Star Wars" argument; Star Trek simply beat Star Wars to the punch.

35.) When my computer starts acting up, I occasionally employ a hint of a Scottish accent and address the computer by name, picking up the mouse and speaking directly into it if I feel so inclined.

36.) I've seen more episodes of Hawaii Five-O than I'd ever expected to.

37.) I've learned how to better analyze difficult situations and see multiple sides to a problem or issue, seeking a greater understanding of a situation before jumping to conclusions and solutions.

38.) Despite all the problems and troubles of our world today, I've been reminded time and again that we can overcome our differences and shape a better future for ourselves.

39.) When I have to suddenly shut off my car's cruise control to slow down for traffic, I refer to it as "dropping out of warp."

40.) When I'm struggling to keep awake while driving, I frequently ask my wife to talk to me, and she'll often ask whether I've heard the story of the three brothers who go to Jo'Kala to sell a giant kava root. (Silly us; we usually mess this up and say "Kalto Province" instead. Duh.)

41.) My wife and I also do our best bug-eyed Gowron impressions at one another sometimes to cheer ourselves up. My wife would like to inform you that she is much better at it than I am.

42.) I've gained an appreciation for clever reuse of props, sets, and archive footage, and have developed a keen eye for spotting such material. Like the cave that's in every episode of Deep Space Nine.

43.) On more than one occasion, I've thrown open my flip-phone like a communicator and started talking with my best "Kirk on a landing party mission" impression.

44.) Beyond the real people I knew, I had a series of role models throughout my youth thanks to Star Trek--intelligent people who had a passion for learning and exploration, loved their jobs, showed compassion to those in need, and sought peace with their enemies.

45.) I think space is incredibly cool.

46.) Growing up, my Saturday nights were always a family event--homemade pizza and an episode or two of whichever Star Trek was on. Even after Voyager and Enterprise went off the air, the pizza tradition continued, and something feels wrong with the universe if I go more than a weekend without it. (The pizza, that is; not the universe, though that's important, too.)

47.) OK, so this list was supposed to stop at 46. But you've gotta have a 47 in here somewhere.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What the Caped Crusader Did for Videogames

Today's guest post comes from fellow GameCola staff writer Daniel Castro, who has successfully captured two of our favorite topics on this blog: videogames and Batman. And it's actually more relevant to modern society than most of the games we talk about! Note that this post uses slightly stronger language than you might be used to seeing here, so feel free to put the kiddos to bed before proceeding.

 
Possibly many of you already know this, but I’ll say it again, the latest Batman games developed by Rocksteady are truly awesome. For those still unaware of this, you don’t have to take my word for granted, there are plenty reviews over the ‘net, and most of them will tell you just that.

But still, every now and then I get to talk about videogames with some of my students. Everyone has played Battlefield or Call of Duty, and the conversation always veers toward the latest Halo, Grand Theft Auto, or whichever other sequel is coming out this year, but anytime I mention Batman: Arkham Asylum/City, I always hear the same old, “I’ve heard it’s great, but I haven’t tried it yet.”

Part of the blame is probably this multiplayer-obsessed era of gaming we’re currently living in (we can discuss that later), but still I know there’s a lot of people not trying any of these games just because they're based on a superhero character, and licensed games have a tendency for sucking.

And while both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City aren’t exactly underrated or unappreciated, I still want to talk about the things these games do great, because I consider them to be a great contribution to this gaming generation, and they’re already influencing the way some games are shaping up to be.

A licensed game done right

Since the early days of videogames, licensed titles have mostly sucked, and those based on a superhero license have been some of the worst offenders. This seems almost a general rule, since licensed games are commonly rushed and underdeveloped in order to meet an irrational deadline.

I can see why there are still some people not trying Arkham Asylum/City; many of them must have grown skeptical about superhero games; I know I did, and I know that I was a hell of a lot more skeptical the first time I tried Batman: Arkham Asylum.

And thanks to you, guys.

Batman: Arkham Asylum wasn’t being developed in order to be released during the hype surrounding the newest blockbuster movie; it was created and conceived in order to serve as Rocksteady’s interpretation on how a Batman game should be experienced. Speaking of which…

A game done right

Rocksteady actually worked their minds to create these titles; as the game industry is actually going, they could’ve just reskinned the game on top of something already made. While it takes some obvious inspiration from other games and genres, the final result feels like a game utterly different from anything this generation has thrown at us.

It just doesn’t look and sound awesome; way more importantly, it plays awesome, and that’s the part where these games really stand out.

I hate to say it this bluntly, but they did everything right! While the game is focused to be played in a stealthy approach, it also gives you freedom to tackle every situation any in way you want, and it works that way too!

That’s my biggest issue concerning sneaky games, like Splinter Cell, Tenchu or the previous Hitman titles; they play perfectly while you remain undetected, but the games utterly break down the moment you’re caught; then is when you realize every single fault their control scheme has.

But it doesn’t go that way for Batman. In fact, your enemies eventually will realize they’re being pinned down and will react accordingly, growing more desperate as their numbers start growing thin.

And when you have to fight your enemies in a face-to-face situation, the game actually feels more awesome. I can’t help but admit that the combat mechanics in these titles are the thing that really got me all over them. I can play these fights over and over and still amaze myself of all the crazy stunts Batman is capable of doing in order to beat an always more numerous foe.


By the way, it brings me odd memories of the old Adam West’s series.

An exclusive plot for the game

Now this is the thing that truly marks how different the Arkham games are compared to the rest of the crowd. Every superhero game being made has always been tied in to the events of the newest movie or loosely based on another publication.

Rocksteady’s take on the Batman franchise tells a story that, while based on the lore of the series, is also not afraid to create and go further than any videogame ever has. Up until now, every superhero game has played safe and sticks really close to the material it tries to represent. But after the events of Arkham City, we all know that these games just don’t walk the same way; they have the nerve of killing some major characters of the series, creating a whole new continuity exclusive to videogames.

Do the Batman!

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, and maybe time will prove me right or wrong, but I’ll say it anyway: I think Batman: Arkham Asylum has created a new milestone in videogames, the same way Ocarina of Time did for adventure games and Halo: Combat Evolved did for first-person shooters.

Batman: Arkham Asylum has set a new standard for new games to come; superhero games especially are trying to be like Batman, and you can’t really blame them… I mean, who wouldn’t want to be The Batman?!
The comparison bar is now higher than ever before, new superhero games can’t stumble into our consoles and expect to make a dent into the industry now that Old Bats has shown everyone how it’s done.

Captain America: Super Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man games feel heavily influenced by Batman’s fighting and general gameplay; they’re both not that good, but they’re not as bad as superhero games usually are, their main flaw remain being tied-up to the newest movie and rushed in order to meet a crippling deadline.

Now here we are, while there is a Deadpool movie in the works booked for a still unspecified release date on 2014, next year there’ll be a Deadpool game hopefully not tied-in to the movie, but being crafted only because someone had the great idea that the character deserves to live on videogame glory, and people are possibly working on a plot and a gameplay tailored specifically for the “merc with a mouth.”


I know that trailers are not always accurate... but so far, it looks awesome.

Of course, the game that I’m really waiting for next year is the sequel to Batman: Arkham City, because this game not only had a lot of momentum going on its own, but it managed to let us know that it wasn’t quite the end of the story; if you’ve investigated enough into Arkham’s world, you’ll know there’s something huge coming to Gotham.

See you next year, you creepy bastard.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Guest Posting for Exfanding Your Horizons

As you may have noticed--assuming our content and layout haven't changed dramatically between when I'm writing this and when you're reading this--we've got a "Submit a Guest Post" link at the top of the blog, alongside some other neat stuff that we recommend you at least skim through. Little did I realize how much trouble such a simple link would cause.

If you're been following us long enough, or if you've been digging through the archives, you're almost certainly aware that we get excited about occasional guest posts, which have traditionally been written by close friends, family members, superfans, and coworkers. We like guest posts because they give us fresh perspectives, greater reader participation, and a day off when we don't feel much like writing. When we started having trouble meeting our regular, self-imposed posting deadlines, I began to publicize the fact that we do accept unsolicited guest posts, if anybody would like to participate and help us out.

Guess who responded? Two freelancers, within minutes of each other.

Now, we've got no problem with freelance writers. We're freelance writers, or at least we have been at one time or another. But we wanted fans, not freelancers. Our guest posting guidelines, as they were originally written, only conveyed the letter of the law, not the spirit; it simply hadn't occurred to me that anyone outside of our readership would care about posting with us.

Yet there it was, an e-mail request from a complete stranger with a beautiful prewritten post that followed our directions to a T, plus a hyperlink to some discount furniture website. I was not comfortable with posting this, but there was nothing in our directions that forbade it, and the freelancer was an honest-to-goodness person who responded tactfully and eloquently to my requests to establish credibility as a legitimate freelancer and not some spammer.

Revisions were made to the guidelines. Three more freelancers responded. Freelancers who, from the sound of it, didn't look too closely at the updated guidelines. Perhaps I was being too subtle. Also, looking back on it, my annoyance with how this guest posting plan was persistently backfiring was clearly visible in my writing. Another update.

Now, our guidelines look like this, which more accurately conveys exactly what we do and don't want out of a guest post. Assuming we haven't updated them again, in which case I have no idea what I'm linking to.