Category Archives: Crossposted

Serendipitous Departure

I really like it when I get the chance to properly say “thank you.”

On Thursday I discovered, after walking around the Phoenix Convention Center, that my barely-bruised-but-no-seriously-I-smashed-it finger was swelling up just enough to put pressure on a nerve. This was resulting in severe hand pain, plus a pulsing conduit of fire that played merry hell with the neurochemicals I depend on in order to be happy.

With my slightly swollen hand hanging by my side I was miserable and depressed to the point of being almost non-functional.

My friends suggested that maybe I should get a sling, and this seemed like a great idea, except that I was in an unfamiliar place, in a hotel, and was deeply depressed. I scraped up just enough presence of mind to talk to a hotel staffer who was doing crowd control around the elevators. Her name was Erica.

Erica put out a call to see if the hotel had any slings. When they did not, she hailed a cab for me, and handed the cab driver a voucher that would get me to CVS. She handed me another voucher which I could use to summon a cab to get me back to the Hyatt once I had what I needed.

The cab driver, a very friendly man whose first name I can’t remember the spelling of, and whose last name was Singh, zipped me over to the CVS pharmacy, and told me exactly what to say when calling for pick-up.

At CVS I found what I needed, strapped my arm into a sling, and began feeling better inside of about two minutes. Rather than call for pickup I walked the four blocks back to the hotel, and I arrived happy in spite of the blistering heat of the Phoenix afternoon.

I left a thank-you message for Erica at the desk. One of her aides (apparently she is a staff member with an office, and aides) left a message for me the next morning, but I didn’t get it until late Friday night, and Erica had gone home for the weekend.

Monday morning, before I hailed a cab to Sky Harbor, I checked at the desk to see if Erica was back in the office. She was, and she very enthusiastically greeted me, asking if we could get a picture together. I agreed, and then I took it up a notch by drawing a picture of Erica as an airborne, first-aid-kit-carrying superheroine. It kind of made her day, but really *I* was the one whose day was being made. I like getting to properly say “thank you.”

I collected my luggage and hailed a cab. The cab driver looked familiar.

“Did you drive me to CVS on Thursday?”

“You are Mister Tyler?”

(close enough.) “Yes!”

I shook his hand in both of mine and thanked him. Once aboard I said “this time around I will get to pay you for the ride myself,” and he laughed. I may have overpaid him a bit upon arrival ($40 for a $15 flat-fare ride,) and that’s no substitute for being able to draw a picture, but it would have to do.

I don’t like being injured, and I don’t like needing to ask for help from complete strangers, but once the crisis has passed (my hand no longer hurts my brain now) I very much DO like being able to express my appreciation for that help to some new friends.

It is Monday, and the serendipity of this morning’s departure has set a pretty high bar for the rest of the week. I got to say “thank you” to Erica and to Mr. Singh, and I’m still smiling about it.

Find Me at Phoenix Comic Con

I’ll be at Phoenix Comic Con this weekend. My schedule is pretty light, and I don’t have a permanent seat in the exhibition hall, so I may be difficult to catch up with.

Difficult, but not impossible:


  • Writing Excuses Signing: 4:00-6:00pm, Booth 1378


  • Writing Excuses Podcast, 12:30-2:30pm, West 301a
  • The Lighter Side of Sci-Fi, 6:00-7:00 pm, North 128a
  • Booth 1378 (Brandon Sanderson/Writing Excuses): See table for schedule


  • Where are My Aliens? 1:30-2:30 pm, North 128b
  • Official Signing, 3:00-4:00pm, in the author autographs area
  • Booth 1378 (Brandon Sanderson/Writing Excuses): See table for schedule

Like I said, it’s pretty light. My merchandise can be found at the Brandon Sanderson/Writing Excuses booth, #1378, through Saturday evening, and I will be there from time to time to sketch in your stuff. My schedule will be posted there, and will include the times when I’ve promised to brave the madding crowd and return to the table with my sharpies.

I need to get a lot of work done this weekend, including penciling and inking strips for late June. It’s possible I’ll be doing some of that in places where I can be seen. If I’m in public, I’ll tweet my location. Follow @HowardTayler on Twitter for that information, as well as for random noise, some of which might be pretty entertaining.

X-Men: Apocalypse

XMenApocalypseAs much as I enjoyed this movie, I am very much ready for a superhero movie in which the story is not about how we react to the existence of superheroes. Apotheosis makes for a good story, and that’s why we have gotten so very many films that deal with it, and quite a few of them have been excellent, including this one.

X-Men: Apocalypse clears my Threshold of Awesome (no shaky cam! Not even during the scene where all but the pure in heart would have said it’s okay to shake the camera) and as far as I’m concerned it is a worthy successor to X-Men: Days of Future Past in pretty much every way.

Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy all turn in stirring performances, and the newcomers (new to me, anyway) held up their end of the stick with the sort of heroic aplomb that is required when a story about actual absolute power is being told.

The Angry Birds Movie

TABMThe Angry Birds Movie is better than it has any reason to be. Lots of movies pull this off, but this movie manages to turn a mobile puzzle game into delightful cinema. That divide is huge, the chasm that must be cleared is—no, I’m not going to use that metaphor. The slingshot joke is low-hanging fruit. You can all see it coming, and the film deserves better than a metaphor pulled from the bottom branches of the tree.

That principle, “don’t settle for the low-hanging fruit,” is what makes The Angry Birds Movie so delightful. The story follows a predictable form, and there are tropes that simply must be present for the story to flow, but the filmmakers were not willing to settle for simply filling out the forms and making it pretty. And I’m not talking about “exceeding low expectations.” No, this film is what happens when a storyteller who takes pride in their work seeks to exceed their own expectations.

For me, The Angry Birds Movie is the second surprisingly enjoyable video game adaptation this year. It gives me hope—actual hope, complete with giddy anticipation—that the Warcraft movie can clear the “better than it has any reason to be” bar with the same amount of air.¹

The Angry Birds Movie clears my Threshold of Awesome, and yes, if you look at my list, I did, in point of actual fact, have more fun during that film than I did during Captain America: Civil War.


¹If there are pigs in the Warcraft movie, I want that movie to clear the bar, then sail across the screen and knock down their houses­².

²THERE I got it out of my system.