The Making of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland

Man dressed in post-apocalyptic clothing with an atomic explosion in the background. Text: Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland. Who knew the end of the world could be this much fun?
Man dressed in post-apocalyptic clothing with an atomic explosion in the background. Text: Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland.


Welcome Wastelanders behind the page of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland!

With a title like Cinematic Wasteland, you might ask if I’m a movie geek. Yes, without a doubt I am, as I’ve got to imagine a bunch of you are, too. I loooove movies (which I’m sure you’ve figured out by now). So much so, that not only do I enjoy watching them, but I love every aspect of them: I enjoy reading books and watching documentaries about the making of them, I listen to director’s commentaries and I love making them, and I even managed a movie theater for nearly a decade—along with a short stint running a video store. So yeah, I dig movies.

As for this series, let’s take a peek behind the page.


Some of you might be wondering if Post-Apocalyptic Joe is me… Well, yes… and no. He looks dead on like me, talks and sounds like me, and we both have the same name. Some of the things he talks about are pulled from my life, but there are some key differences, too. I don’t want to get into most of that just yet. I will gradually reveal the truth behind the fiction as we progress in the story.

As for the birth of Post-Apocalyptic Joe… or at least his outfit, he was born from a costume I made for the Kinetic Grand Championship in 2018. The team I joined, which consisted of my pals I made from filming the Beyond Geek episode about the race, had a Mad Max meets plants AKA something akin to Little Shop of Horrors’ man-eating plant Audrey II inspired theme. So, I created an awesome persona around that aspect. I found all the elements I wanted on my leather jacket and enlisted Odin Abbott to attach them while we drove to Humboldt. He gave me killer goggles, lent me his fake shotgun—which you can watch being built on his YouTube channel, Odin Makes—I added some shin guards, and Post-Apocalyptic Joe was born.


If you reached this point, you know I may have mentioned The Terminator once or twice… okay, like a lot… I know, I know, a ton. Well, here’s a story I haven’t shared anywhere yet. It’s about to get Cinematic Wasteland After Dark in here, so skip down to THE DEAD MILKMEN if you’re sensitive to that.

Okay… I’m not sure if you know this, but there are boobs in The Terminator! Yes, you read that right: 80085 for those playing with calculators.

Well, I didn’t know anything about the boobs. The reason I think I love the first Terminator over the second—yes, I know, I am probably the only person in the world that thinks the first movie is better—well, part of that might be that I saw it a bunch when I was something like 12 years old. But here’s the kicker… I didn’t know my dad had cut out the nudity or anything.

Yep, my dad would record from one VHS deck to another and cut out things he felt we shouldn’t be watching at a young age. Lucky for me, he didn’t feel like some of the violent stuff was too much for me, so it might have only been the boob shot that was cut. I didn’t even know there was a boob shot until I was watching it at a team sleep over for one of the guys on my baseball team (which was where I saw Basket Case for the first time).

All of us wanted to watch The Terminator. I was so down for this, since I already loved that movie. We were watching and we were cheering everything on, you know like young boys do, and then everyone seemed to get quieter, so the adults didn’t know what was going on, and then I found out why…

I still remember it vividly, all the other boys were super excited for the love scene between Kyle and Sarah. I couldn’t understand why until all of a sudden I saw more of Sarah Connor than I ever knew existed. My jaw dropped as my eyes grew wider and wider: “What the—?” I could not believe what I was seeing: THERE ARE WOMEN’S BREASTS IN THE TERMINATOR!?!

I’m pretty sure I uttered something like, “There are boobs in The Terminator?” out loud because I remember having to tell the other guys that I didn’t know that that scene was in there.

Did it make a difference to how much I liked it? Nope, and if I’m being honest, it didn’t need to be there in the first place. You might be saying, “But that’s how John was made!” Yes, Kyle and Sarah do need to hook up, but I got all that without seeing the boobs.

This whole experience might be deep down the reason why there were so many references to making a John Connor. I mean, that and I thought it was funny.


So with all this talk about movies, let’s switch to the subject of music. One thing you might ask is if I listened to The Dead Milkmen while writing Chapter 1. While I do love writing to music, I like it to be music without lyrics, like movie scores. So for most of Season 1, my music of choice was Juno Reactor.

I do love The Dead Milkmen, and yes, Bitchin’ Camaro is the first song on Side 2 of the Big Lizard in My Backyard cassette tape. Yep, kids, we used to have to flip our music over to continue to listen to an album.

As for the song itself, my friends and I would always sing that song whenever we would ride in a Camaro—or if I’m being honest, pretty much any time we saw a Camaro.


I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There was another punk reference hidden away in Chapter 2. They only have how long to get from behind the van and inside the store? That’s right, 7 seconds… Yes, I’m a lifelong fan of the punk band 7 seconds, so I made it a point to have that be one of the timeframes.

Kevin, eat your heart out! And no, I’m not going to retire that saying, even though I have to agree with Sanjay, it is a little gross.


Okay, so obviously I didn’t start an awesome tech company with my friends… well, at least, not yet. However, I did work for a software company called Serious Magic back in the early 2000s. I was mostly on the marketing side of the company, but I also was the Product Manager over a couple of our programs.

As for the last chapter when Joe’s life is turned upside down at the end, I got to experience that first-hand years ago when the Serious Magic Board of Directors removed its President (who was one of the three founders). Nothing about it was like what I wrote here, but it was interesting to see how things work with a Board.

Of course, I had heard stories about Steve Jobs and whatnot, but seeing it in person, with people I knew, made it different—more real, if you will. I know, I know, I’m pretty darn sure Steve Jobs would feel his ousting was real, but I’m sure you get the drift.

And just like Steve Jobs, things worked out for the former President of Serious Magic who helped negotiate the purchase of the company by Adobe.

As for me, that’s when my tech career ended. For some reason, Adobe never interviewed me, and I was one of a few people left without a job.

Now that might sound bad, but it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for me. I finally was able to focus on working in the entertainment industry, moving into making and writing television shows.


Some of the people I worked with at Serious Magic are the inspiration behind the genius that is Sanjay. As for Maya, she’s actually based on a couple of friends I had. One I’ll share more about later; the other, who really is a lot of the personality, was my friend, Jackie Taylor. Sadly, she passed away a few years back, but she was the fun-loving person that Maya is derived from. Tough, smart, and caring—not to mention, funny.


In Episode 1, I introduced the MECHA tech and the whole idea of MECHA/Humans. I don’t know about you, but this sounds both awesome and scary at the same time. I would love to have the MECHA implant if there wasn’t any chance of it causing problems. Another thing I introduced was ALFINA. I think everyone could use an ALFINA. Truth be told, my only problem is that I’ve always been skeptical of having my mic on at all times, so I don’t turn on any of those options on my devices. I totally want to… I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to be talking to Computer like on Star Trek. Right? How awesome would that be? Well, for me, not awesome enough to allow big companies to possibly listen in to my conversations, even if it’s to “serve”—yes, I air quoted serve—even if it’s to serve me better. I know, I know, paranoid much, Joe?

Hey, if it was Starfleet however, I’d straight up be asking Computer all sorts of things. But I don’t know how many times my wife and I were talking about something that she never searched, and is 100% a me thing, yet she’s fed ads. I’m going to stress the fact that these are things she would never be interested in. So, is it me being paranoid, or the rest of the world not being paranoid enough?


ALFINA is short for Artificial Life Form Interactive CompanioN Assistant. I did like ALFINA more than ALFICA, and that’s why there’s a cheat on the name. I was inspired by the name for the AI-based assistant, CIMON AKA Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN, on the International Space Station. Hey, if NASA is cool with doing that, then why can’t I, right? Plus, CIMON was meant to reduce stress and had somewhat of a personality, which is sort of like a very early version of ALFINA.


The story about Joe nearly drowning really happened to me. That experience and the movie Jaws helped shape my fear of the ocean. But I had to overcome it for my television series Beyond Geek. I joined a group, or pod as they like to be called, of real-life mermaids to become a merman. This meant that I had to learn how to swim like a mermaid. I even got my SCUBA certification so I could swim with sharks for the episode (even though COVID put a kibosh on that adventure). I’m not gonna lie, I still fear the ocean, but I gotta say that it is mighty beautiful under the sea.


Maya held up a ‘V’ with her hand and placed sideways against her temple and cheek to let Joe know she wasn’t playing around. This was inspired by my buddy Karl Miller, many of you might know him as Captain Karl Miller from the Star Trek band, Warp 11. Well, Karl likes to joke around—like, a lot. And I mean, a lot. So much so, that we needed an unbreakable signal that he was telling the truth. That ‘V’ was the symbol of truth.


Just in case you’re wondering, yes, brain organoids are a real thing. And scientists think that the organoids have even hit the point of reaching consciousness. So, that brings us to the philosophical question of whether or not we should continue to conduct experiments on them if there is even a chance they may have reached consciousness. You now know Joe’s feelings about it all, but it is a real thing that we have to decide on. It’s a tough thing to answer because those experiments have the potential to do so much good. But what if the brain organoids have reached consciousness? Is it just like testing on an animal or human? Or is it something different? I leave that for you to decide.


Yes, I really am that guy that cracks jokes at all the wrong times—and yes, it has gotten me into a ton of trouble in the past. Did I tell funny stories about my sister while people were standing in line to pay their respects at her funeral? Yes, I did—well, it was her viewing, not the actual funeral. I was pretty much holding back tears or crying at the funeral. I’ll admit it was super hard to deal with the fact that I lost my sister at such a young age. It was sudden and had only been a year or two after our mom passed away from cancer, so it was tough. But do you know what my family does during times like that? We share funny stories or happy memories about our loved ones.

So yes, if she was alive, I had no doubt she’d be joining in with me. Heck, we had just experienced it with our mom, so I know she would. I do know that other people might find it disrespectful, but that’s just the way we were, or should I say, are.


Well, for Episode 1, but don’t fret, because this was just the beginning of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Season 1.

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