Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Saturday Evening Post

Inequity?

First scenario: Download music MP3s from a file sharing service, get sued by the RIAA, owe upwards of $1,000 per song downloaded if it goes to court and you lose, or settle out of court for around $3000 - $4000. (I'm pulling these numbers from memory. Actual amounts may vary, but are still silly high.)

Second Senario: Be Sony, a member of the RIAA, put out multiple CDs that contain DRM that damages your customers' computers and leaves them vulnerable to hackers, settle so that the customers effected are reimbursed by allowing them to download three albums from a pool of 200 as DRM-free MP3s for free OR receive a cash payment of $7.50. Never mind what it cost the customer to repair their computers and fix whatever other problems that may have come from your DRM. (link)

It looks to me – if you are the corporation who owns the copyrights on the music – three albums worth of songs, say 33 songs, are worth $7.50 total, or 22¢ a song. If you are the citizen who downloaded the same number of songs from the web without permission, you could be held liable for $33,000 in damages if you go to court, or $121.21 per song if you settle out-of-court. If my math is correct, that's 551 x what they've established as the value of their music with this settlement.

How the fuck do they figure THAT is just?

As of 29 days ago, 14,800 people have settled with the RIAA out-of-court and more than 3000 have paid the settlement amount according to this site. Using the middle range settlement amount of $3,500 that means that with these lawsuits the RIAA has potentially made $10,500,000. Just from suing their customers.

I'm now stating that, as of this moment, I will never again purchase new music unless it's from an independent label who is not associated with the RIAA. Instead I will limit my music purchases to used CDs. They don't get a dime that way and it's perfectly legal.

Addendum: Check this boingboing story out.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Because fur is a bitch and it's Friday

My, what a busy week. I did find a bit of time to work on Heather's drawing for my "Great Redraw Project of 2005... er. 2006!" Unfortunately, she drew something furry. Drawing fur is not easy. At least it's not easy for me. And this is a big furry bugger. Heather did say that I could draw it without fur, but that would kind of defeat the point of this project. So, instead, I've limited myself to just the head. I know, loser, giver-upper, whatever. The point is I did some of it and I'm posting it for your enjoyment, as opposed to not posting anything until I finished it some time next week and going crazy drawing fur. You takes what you gets. Click to gets bigger.

Here is the portion of the original that I re-drew:



and here's the result:



Next on the plate is a drawing by Jared von Hindman that is... strange. Oh, and Pat, did you have something for me, or did you really want me to draw that mascot you linked to? Let me know.

Have a good weekend everyone and a great New Years Eve! I'm off to lunch!

---

Unrelated, but if anyone knows where I can host – for free – .mov files up to 30 megs in size, I have a few movies of some of my "Sand" projects that I would like to share. If not, no biggie.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

If your computer is fast enough...

You might want to give this Java "Toy" a shot: Sand.

You can follow the links for explanations. Also, on the Digg page you can download the program for off-line tinkering. It's loads of fun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

All The News That I Care To Share - Tuesday Edition

Thanks again to all who were concerned about my health. I now feel as though I have a minor cold which is quite preferable to the flu. I hope it stopped with me and doesn't continue to pass around to everyone I work with and mutate into something that wants a 401k and benefits.

Hey! Guess what? Tricia and Jenn are trying to breathe life back into the Fizzle & Pop forum! Who knows? It worked for Jesus! Although He wasn't dead nearly as long. Not that I'm saying the forum is anything like Jesus. For starters it won't heal anyone and would sink like a rock in water. No loaves and fishes for any of you out there who might be hungry either; just, you know, words.

I've made both of them full Admins so they can help keep things running smoothly and Tricia has already posted "the words" for a new round of the Storytelling Game. You have far more than a week to participate if you would care to; submissions end on January 16th. Head on over and check it out if you don't have any idea what I'm talking about.

Hey! Guess what else? You remember that video game 'Rez' that I might have mentioned awhile back? The game that I regretted having traded years ago and was selling on eBay for $59-$199? Yeah. That one. Well, I was in Rhino yesterday looking for a unique way to blow my $50 Holiday Bonus and there it was, sitting on the "New PS2 Games" rack. I wish I could have seen my face. Heather wished she'd had her camera. It was $49.99 new. So, yes, it's back in my collection and it won't be leaving without some sort of massive tragedy. And it is every bit as fun and hypnotic as I remembered.

Let's see... I've covered health, forum, Rez... what am I missing?

Oh yeah! A big thanks to Pat Angello for having the contest that led into my possession a 4-disc CD set of his favorite tunes that arrived while I was all flu'd up! They're awesome! And that's not just the flu talking!

Also big thanks to Jared over at Head Injury Theater for having his "Name that obscure movie" art contest at the end of October! The original paintings of my children's Halloween costumes also arrived while I was flu-ridden! Same day in fact! They look great! Still not the flu talking!

Annnnd a pre-emptive big thanks to the Retropolitan for the three prizes he's sent to me that should be arriving by tomorrow! It was going to be one and turned into three! Sweet! I have no idea what they are even though he sent me an email letting me know. He was kind enough to put in a "spoiler warning" and I decided to keep it as a surprise. I'll let you all know what they are when I find out.

Anything else?

...

Christmas was a lot of fun, even though the last week has felt like a month. I believe it has something to do with sleeping 20 times in a day for awhile there. The kids seemed happy with their haul, Heather enjoyed her presents and I'm pleased with everything I received. There's still debris about the apartment that will need tending to at some point, and there are two new super-fuzzy rodents that will be loved with great gusto until they either die or escape. My money's on "escape". I'm half expecting to come home to a sad little girl with impulse control issues: "I just wanted to pet them and *spoing!* they were out!" They've already been plotting their route over the last couple days during their ball jaunts; I can tell.

Have a great week everyone! I'll try to have a drawing up at some point, depending on how busy I am. There's a big annoying project that is due by Friday and I have half of it, so we'll see.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My state of health.

On Tuesday around noon I felt something coming on. By 8 p.m. I had a horrible repeating cough. The next morning, around 4 a.m., I woke up due to having vomited a tinch in my mouth. It was orange juicy, but otherwise not at all pleasant. I managed to get in to work and held on until shortly after lunch. I just couldn't concentrate at all. I figured I would go home, take some cough medicine and sleep it out. When I got home I was barely under the blankets before I was shivering with severe chills and sweating like a huge sweaty thing.

My doctor isn't open on Wednesday and even if he was I hate going since it nearly always turns out to be something that I just have to wait out and I feel like I've wasted my money.

That night I had a fever of 102.2 degrees. I really felt like I was going to die and I couldn't sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. The fever broke around 11 p.m. and I felt as though everything was going to be fine.

It didn't feel so fine when it came time to get ready for work. When I was finished with my shower I'd decided I would go to the doctor after all. Heather drove me.

After the doctor heard my symptoms and checked me out he said that it seemed as though I had bronchitis and he prescribed a z-pac, however he felt some of my symptoms made it sound like I might have a respiratory flu so he wanted me to take a lab order to a company called LabCorp that was about a block away and have a flu swab done. He said they might not do it, in which case I would have to go to a hospital to have it done.

They didn't do it.

I went to the hospital.

I felt like utter Hell by this point; all the walking around was doing me in. After what seemed like a half hour in the hospital's waiting area I was taken into the lab and was given the pleasure of having a feathery swab stuck up my nose about as far back as it could go and wiggled around a bunch. Once in each nostril. In case the flu was hiding or something. I swear my brain gleeked. Then Heather and I went to Walgreens to have my prescription filled. The lady said it would be an hour wait. Bah to that. We went home and I laid down for a half hour.

I started the z-pac and hoped that would be that. This morning I got up, still felt a bit like Hell, but I also felt I really needed to make an effort to go to work. Yes, I'm that dumb. Heather drove me to work so that I wouldn't crash during a coughing fit or just pass out on the highway. Fortunately she stuck around to talk with Derek because everyone, including my supervisor, felt I should go home. They weren't at all busy which surprised me and would rather I not be around all oozy and coughing and such. Heather drove me home. She's been so patient through this all. I do love her so!

At about 11 a.m. I got a call from the doctor's office. The test result was in. I'm the dismayed father of a lung shredding baby flu! Cigars all around. He wanted me to stop the z-pac and start on some new med that they phoned in to Walgreens for me. It's a twice a day thing so unless I wanted to get up at 1 a.m. for the next five days I had to hold off taking the first dose until 7. Which is in about 7 minutes.

Oh and the kids? The wee girl had to have a tooth pulled on Monday; a baby tooth, thankfully. And she has been on antibiotics since due to an infection that had set in. The not-so-wee boy went to the doctor on Tuesday (or maybe Monday) for his cough and his doctor determined that he has croup, then again on Thursday because of ear infections and he is now on antibiotics as well. Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas to all, and to all some germ warfare.

I hope everyone else has had a better week and has a wonderful Christmas weekend, whether you celebrate or not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One down, five to go.

I decided to re-work the drawings that I've been given in the order that I received them. That means that Derek is up first.

Here's his original drawing (click for bigger):



I took the drawing, scanned it in, made a trace of his original main lines on a floating layer, then added my "stylistic touches" on a layer above that.

This was the result (again, click for bigger):



And that's enough of that for one day. My fingers are cramped.

Will I be done in time for Christmas? Ho ho no!

Oh, and Derek, if you want me to make the PDF of the final, let me know.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I'm busy.

Yep. That pretty much says it all. But what the heck? Here are the details: I have a full page, full color ad that turned into a half page, full color ad when I was nearly finished with the shell* – AE: "I'm glad I found this out before you were too far along." Me: "Grrrrr." – and it's due tonight at 5. Nothing is being dropped from it despite having half as much space as before. I just got back to where I was before the size changed and I'm STILL waiting on half of the vehicle information. So. I'm eating my lunch.

I have six drawings to rework; one from Heather, one from Derek, one from Jared and three from my daughter. I obviously didn't get to it on my time off last week, although I DID get some of the house cleaning done that I'd been putting off and all of my Chrstmas shopping and wrapping finished. Not so good for you, but good for me.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

---

* That means I had everything laid out where it needed to go and was just waiting on the details.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the tablet.

I heard back from the publisher of Dark Recesses this morning. The news is good so far. She said: "Fairly impressive overall." and "I would definitely be interested in having you do something for issue three once the stories start rolling in." So, yay me I suppose.

Now I'm nervous.

The thoughts that are doing laps around my noodle are "What if I screw this up? What if, when I have the story in my hands, I can't draw a damned thing that is worthwhile? Or they just don't like it?"

It's been said to me before; I have a fear of success. Because somehow, in my mind, personal success is linked with imminent catastrophic failure. Ugh.

Enough thinking about this. The first step has been taken, my artwork was good enough to get me to the second step and now I need to just relax and see what happens next.

Well, okay, perhaps not just relax and wait. What I really need is more practice drawing.

That's where you come in.

Yes, you.

I want to try out a new drawing exercise. Well, new to me at least. What I need for you to do is draw a monster, even if you "can't draw", and email it to me. Or post a link to it. Or, if you know me personally, hand it to me. Whichever. I will then redraw whatever you give me in my own style and post the results. If you don't want anyone to know that you drew the original, just tell me and I'll leave your name out.

I got this idea from Dave Devries, the artist who makes awesome paintings from children's drawings. At his home site you can see what he's doing. It will also show you the level of art I'm looking for from you for this exercise. It does not, however, reflect the quality of the artwork that I expect to achieve. I'll just be happy if this helps to kick-start my dormant creativity.

For further incentive to get you to submit monster drawings for this exercise, I'll send you a print quality electronic version of my drawing once it's finished. Probably in PDF format.

I'm taking Wednesday through Friday off from work this week, and with luck I'll have a bit of time to draw then. So the sooner you can send me something, the better.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Reworking old work

A long, long time ago...

Back when I first started working in the art department at The Gazette, eight or so years ago, and had my hands on a Macintosh and Photoshop for the first time since college I did a wee drawing just to see if I could draw using the mouse. This was the result:



I decided at that point that, no, I can't really draw with a mouse. Not really. That's why I asked for a Wacom tablet for Christmas two years ago. I'm finally getting around to actually drawing with it, as you've seen from my last few posts.

While browsing through my online archive of stuff I've drawn, looking to flesh out my Style Portfolio set at flickr, I stumbled across this drawing once again and decided to redraw it. I've always liked the creepy look of the guy and wanted to finally do him justice. Here's the result (click pic for larger version):



So, what do you think? Better? Overworked? Let me know.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Okay.

If you notice my artwork looking like this, please don't keep me swaddled in canvas in a cushy room. Thank you.

Keep your whats'ums* crossed...

*Fingers, legs, eyeballs. Whatever.

John Hubbard, the author I did the cover illustration for awhile back, sent me an email on Monday with a call to artists attached. The business requesting art is a recent horror e-zine called Dark Recesses Press. While they only pay for cover art, they do accept interior story illustrations for which they offer exposure. Something my illustration (haha) "career" could certainly use. I figure at the very least it would offer me some practice which I need, and it would be interesting working with an art director from the standpoint of an illustrator rather than a graphic designer. It'll also be interesting to see if they consider me "good enough".

So, I sent off an email letting them know that I could be available, asking if contributors get a free copy of the zine and sending them a link to my newly constructed Style Portfolio set at flickr. It's some old and some new, several styles represented in the hizzouse. Word.

One thing I've known about my art for quite some time. I'm shyte at drawing backgrounds. I'm too focused on the foreground. Several of my instructors at RMCAD mentioned that as well, "Great job on the character drawing, but you need to develop your background drawing skills to anchor it in place." I suppose I should start sometime. That and hands. And feet. And hair and motorcycles and cars and horses and... and... man. I still have so much to learn.

Anyway, I'll let you know what I hear from them, good or bad. In the meantime, if you want to follow the link to their page and check out their premier issue I won't stop you. They're just finishing up the second issue, due out January 1st, which will take the place of the first issue and the only way to get it after that point would be to order the CD.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

2 Drawings

Here are two of my most recent drawings. You can click on the image to view a larger version.



I drew this as a surprise for Heather. For those not "in-the-know" it's a drawing of the character 'GIR' from the short run cartoon series 'Invader Zim'. He's her favorite character. The title doesn't refer to the piggy that GIR is holding; rather it's a line from the episode 'Rise of the Zitboy' when Zim asks GIR why there's bacon in the soap. If you haven't seen the series, do yourself a huge favor of funny and check it out.



And this is the start of a header design that I was making with Monkey in mind. It wasn't turning out like I wanted, so I stopped before completing it. I sent it off to him anyway and he said he loved it. So. There you go.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Evelyn is a nasty, nasty woman.

A warning, and I'm not kidding: If you don't like discussions involving sex and the attendant fluids you should skip this post. If your name is "Mom" or "Karen" you should skip this post. If you are squeamish you should skip this post. If you aren't amused by unsolicited spam offering penile enhancements you should skip this post. Odds are, even if nothing else applies, you should skip this post. I will be getting crude and unpleasant. There's just no avoiding it. Now on with the show.



Spam so fresh you can taste it. But I wouldn't advise it.

Here's how it started (my comments in red):

From: Evelyn Ambrose
Subject: Mt Hood Hosting Recurring Update Confirmation
Date: December 3, 2005 3:38:28 PM MST
To: collin

So far, so what. I knew it was spam of some sort. I was quite sure I'd never been in any agreement to host Mt Hood. Why, I barely know the geography. But what the heck. I enjoy some spam now and then. Let's see what's inside...

-Increase Your Sexual Desire and Sperm volume by 500%
500%?! Good lord! It would be like being a teenager again! Without the curfew. I could see the marketing value of offering increased sexual desire, but sperm volume? Why? Do they figure guys really want to be thirsty afterward? When "all" is "said and done" you would feel like you'd just crossed the desert, losing that much fluid in one go. And the clean-up... I'm not even going to go there. I just don't see the appeal.

-Longer orgasms - The longest most intense orgasms of your life
Yeah, like I want to be making THAT stupid face any longer than I have to.

-Rock hard erections - Erections like steel
Which is it? Rock or steel? It's helpful to know in advance so you can choose proper nicknames. "Howdy! Name's Flint and this here's my little pal 'Rusty'!" Or, you know. Vice versa.

-Ejaculate like a porn star - Stronger ejaculation
What? Mostly out of frame for minimal pay? And when is strength an advantage? Is it something you could use to defend yourself from a mugger?

Mugger: "Gimme your wallet!"

Man Armed With Penis: "Okay. Just a second. It's in here somewhere. Any minute now. It might help things along if you said something sexy."

-Multiple orgasms - Cum again and again
This too could be helpful against a mugger.

Mugger: "Oh Jesus! Dear Lord! Please! Stop! I can't breathe! God as my witness I'll never mug again!"

MAWP: "Wheeeeeee!"

-SPUR-M is The Newest and The Safest Way of Pharmacy
Hahahahahahah! "SPUR-M". Heheh. The rest of the sentence is nonsense, but how's that for a product name? Would you trust the ingredients of a product named that?

-100% Natural and No Side Effects - in contrast to well-known brands.
Especially when the contents are supposedly 100% natural? "Chocolate Milk" contains chocolate and milk. SPUR-M contains... something 100% natural. And no side effects, except a possible chance of gagging while swallowing. But that's natural the first few times. Totally natural. It gets easier the more you do it. And what brand could possibly be more well-known than "SPUR-M"? Ask your grandma. I'll bet even she's heard of it.

-Experience three times longer orgasms
Now it's time for FUN WITH MATH! (5 x volume) = (3 x time interval) = Ouch! It would be like trying to hang onto a fire hose. God help anyone on the street if you've left the window open.

-World Wide shipping within 24 hours
That's not bad. The waiting period on a handgun is three days. With same-day shipping you could be on the street, fighting crime in a way that is guaranteed to make the news in under 48 hours. Just remember to pace yourself and keep hydrated. The war against crime has never been so sticky.

Click here (web address removed because the whole idea is stupid)

Let the holiday beggin' begin.

Okay, close friends and relatives, if you are at all curious about the things I would like to have for Christmas I made a web wish list with links and everything. It's broken into three parts according to where it would be best to order from. The way I see it, making an online list is no more tacky than asking for money and a lot more helpful than my usual answer of "I don't know. Whatever will be fine." If you pull something from this list I guarantee I'll enjoy it. If you have something else in mind that's fine too. Heck, Derek did made a net list and I totally ignored it since I'd already ordered his gift two weeks earlier.

The list is here: F&P: Christmas Wishes

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ho-Ho-Holy Crap! - Part 1

Recently I had reason to hit our ClipArt collection again in search of a Santa. Some of you may recall, way back "in the day", when I used to take some of our more horrid clipart and turn it into CliparToons.

I don't do that anymore.

I will, however do this to you.

I mean "for you".

Below, you will see the first five "Bad" Santa clipart images that amused me. When looking at these, remember, someone did them on purpose AND might even have earned cash money for their efforts:


Here we have an image that would go
GREAT on any company's newsletter.
Unicef perhaps.



"Be good or I will break you."



Now we finally know what Santa
does with the bad little boys and girls.
Well, the boys at least.
"Don't worry Father, they'll be under your tree
Christmas morning as promised. With bells on."




"I AM SANTA CLAUS!
And I've got a bug stuck in my schnoz!"




Judging from the expression on the pig,
this is Christmas in the DEEP South.
"Squeal like a Santa Piggie!"


Others will surely follow throughout the season since I have a pool of over 200. No need to thank me. Don't try to stop me.

Have a great weekend everyone! Remember, you might think that bleach will get the images out of your head but that will just ruin your eyes. You need a drill to really get at them.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Gamer Geekery Alert

This post is likely only to appeal to you if you are a gamer or know a gamer. Sorry. It happens.

Through digg.com I found this link: Joystiq’s top 10 hidden gems of this generation

It's actually 11 games, but who's counting?

Personally, this list is of interest because, out of the 11 games listed, I have owned – and in most cases still own – all but one of them. Be warned, I will slip into gamerspeak throughout the rest of this post as I talk about my feelings for each of these games. Now on to the geekery.


10a. Stubbs the Zombie

Yeah, obviously I bought this one. I'd been watching it develop from the first rumor I heard of its existence over a year ago because, deep down, and this may shock most of you, I like the zombies. This was the first game that I can recall where you get to play the zombie and build a hoard. Every other game that I've played that had to do with the walking dead, from 'Zombies Ate My Neighbors' on the SNES to the 'Resident Evil' series, had you fighting your way free. This one promised the ability to BE the menace and it sounded great on paper. It was still good in execution, but not great.

A big problem is you move slow. Slow, slow, slow. You move faster than the other zombies that you create, but slower than the living that you are trying to kill. They can even walk backwards while shooting at you and remain just out of reach. Also, it's on rails. Those of you not familiar with gaming terms (assuming you are even still reading this) know this means there is basically only one path to take. They aren't tight rails, it doesn't move for you, but there's still pretty much just one way to do everything all the way through the game.

Ever since playing Grand Theft Auto 3 on the PS2 I've been aching for someone to turn that engine into a zombie game. My original thought was that it would play like the RE series only with GTA3 openness. You would start the game with the majority of the people around you as the living, only as time goes on the dead spread and the game get darker. Set the game clock to an actual 24 hour schedule with your ultimate goal being to survive for three days. As night falls and chaos increases you would try to stock up a safe house. You can still use vehicles, etc. only the later the game gets the more hazards there are to deal with. Missions would be to reach certain locations, try to rescue family and friends and get them back to the safe house to help with the defenses, to make ammo and medical supply runs, etc.

I know there has been a total conversion made for the PC version of GTA3 that runs something like this, but I have a Mac so I'm shown no love.

With the announcement of Stubbs, I was hoping for similar gameplay to what I've just described, only flipped. You would be trying to take over the entire city, root survivors out, build an undead army, etc. But no. Stubbs is tightly scripted with you locked into the area of the moment. No progressing backward unless it's in the script.

If it had been that type of game I would have held onto it for as long as I could. Instead about a week ago I traded it, while it still had a decent trade value, in order to pick up Half-Life 2 for the XBox. My intention is to pick it up again, used, in a few months for $15 or so. As you will see in a bit, that can be a bad gamble. I did beat it at normal difficulty before passing it along so if I never see it again at least I'll have the memories.



10b. Indigo Prophecy

This one looks cool, is very engaging, clever, and creative, but moving around will make you INSANE! It suffers from cinematic camera angles and abrupt control changes when those preset angles change.

There's a point early on when you have awakened in your apartment after having escaped from the murder scene and a cop starts knocking on your door. You have a limited amount of time to hide all evidence of the crime you committed and answer the door before he breaks it down and arrests you. I got arrested the first two times through because of the damn camera shifting too much as I passed through the rooms.

I took a break from playing this one just past the stage where the giant bugs are attacking you among the cubicles in your office building. I haven't returned, but not because it's not a great game. It is, in spite of its flaws. I just got distracted by Stubbs the Zombie. I will return to it someday. In the meantime, my son beat the game. He's warned me that I'm going to hate the ending. This is one that I will not be trading, even when I do beat it and I'm hoping very much for either a sequel or a whole new game with this level of depth and BETTER CONTROLS.



9. Rez

Rez was cool. It was like an interactive album. You got to play around in the music while blowing stuff up. Every shot you made or didn't make changed things up a bit, as I recall. I miss Rez. See, this is where really wanting a new game can get me into trouble. I traded Rez, and I can't even remember what game I got in its place, but whatever it was, it wasn't worth it. Rez is next to impossible to find now. If you can find it, it sells for over $70 used. This wasn't the first time I've traded off a game that later became rare. The other one that sticks out in my mind was Final Fantasy Tactics on the PlayStation. It was another situation, like Stubbs, where I traded it thinking I could pick it up cheap later only to have it go rare on me. I finally did re-purchase it used for close to what I paid for it new. Around $50. Then fate nudged me in the ribs, smirked and said, "Watch this." Sony re-released it as a "Classic" title that cost only $20, new. Bastards. This wasn't the last time that fate worked against me. Keep reading. In the meantime, I miss Rez and would like to play it again. Here's hoping for a sequel or re-release.

minor update: I checked Amazon for Rez for the heck of it. The prices ranged from $59.99 to $199.99. The odd thing was, the people who were offering it still new and in the wrapper were on the low end of the spectrum.



8. Killer 7

THIS is the only game on this list that I've never played and never owned. Why? Because, in spite of the fact that both of my children have watched me play, and/or have played, probably every game I've owned, this is one I can't risk them watching or playing, no matter how much I want to try it. The reason is because from all I've heard about it, it is a sick and twisted game. Beyond anything I've ever owned. So until they are grown up and it shows up as a retro title I'll have to do without. Pity me. You know you want to.



7. Alien Hominid

This one is also sick and twisted, but it's funny and cartoony so I can forgive it. It's also difficult which tends to keep the kids away. I got it for the heck of it and it turned out to be surprisingly good for a retro, side scrolling, shooter ala. Metal Slug or Contra. It's also the only game I've owned where you can jump on an FBI agent's back, ride him around for a while as he's screaming and then bite his head off. It's the little touches that make this game fun. It's even more fun with two players. I think I might dig this one back out and play it again this weekend. Maybe make Heather play it with me. She likes when I do that.



6. Ikaruga

Hard. Hard, hard, hard. Difficult, you might say. But gorgeous. Ever since my arcade laden teen years... actually, ever since getting the handheld Super Cobra game for Christmas when I was (wait for it) nine-ish... I've had a soft spot for shooters. Mind you, with the exception of that handheld Super Cobra, I've never been that good at them, but I've always liked them. And this is a pretty and clever one. Have I beaten it? Hahahahahahahah. No. Will I? No. But I still hang on to it because it's one of the best I've ever played.



5. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

This wasn't on my gamer radar until the news came out that it wouldn't be published on the Nintendo 64 and would instead appear on their next-gen system, the Game Cube.

Eventually.

Then I forgot about it for awhile.

Then, as the release date approached I started to see more and more about it, and the more I read the more I craved it. CRAVED I SAY! I bought it as soon as it was released. Now, I'll admit I don't finish every game I buy. Either the game gets too difficult or I get interrupted for an extended period of time and would have to start over, so I set it aside. I'm not the kid I once was. I can't game all the time.

Eternal Darkness was deep and dark. You play the game throughout many time periods as different people with different abilities and you have to battle creatures out of a Lovecraft universe while maintaining your sanity. It gets hard. I gave up about six hours in. For at least four months I didn't touch it. Then, one Summer I started it up again because Justin was begging me to. He wanted to see what was going to happen next, but he hates playing "scary" games. He would rather watch. That's been true for the whole Resident Evil series, the Silent Hills and Fatal Frames.

I didn't start all the way over though, I just jumped back in at my last save point. I got killed a lot, regained what skills I had and finally beat it. On the first color. See, early on you choose a colored idol that represents a certain elder god. There are three to choose from, each with it's own power. Each color is stronger than one of the other colors and weaker than the third. The catch is, when you choose an idol, you are really choosing the enemy god that you are going up against.

I chose red the first time through. It turns out that's the hardest one to fight. Red is strong magic. So I finally beat it. Then played again, this time choosing green. Beat it. Again. Blue. Beat it. AGAIN. Why? Because once you have beaten it on all three colors you can gain access to the purple idol. I'm pretty sure it was purple. I've seen someone say it was orange. Either way, it trumps all colors. Everything else is powerless against it.

That's probably enough babbling about this game. Suffice it to say, I got my money's worth out of it and I still own it. It was fun.



4. Ico

This is another game that I stopped playing because I was stuck and then returned to finish later. It's a great, expansive game. The scale can be boggling at times. Essentially, you have been imprisoned in a mammoth castle, you find a princess in a cage, and you have to drag her around – minus the cage – while trying to find your way out. You have to fight off smoke demons who appear from time to time and attempt to snatch the princess from you. If she gets taken, you lose. It's hard to explain why I like this game so much, but I do. Just thinking about it makes me want to play it again as well. Good choice for the list.



3. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

This is a tactical role playing game with attitude and very clever writing throughout. The problem is, it's HUGE. The only way I'll be able to beat this game is if I'm bed ridden for several months. It's just too deep for me to be able to play through without interruptions. This game has convinced me that I can no longer play RPGs, no matter how much I love them. I just don't have the time to commit. This one has also gone rare, and while I DO still have my copy of it, there's a scratch on it that came from a time when I'd loaned it to someone. I buffed it out for the most part, but I'm not sure if it'll play past that point and it will suck mightily if I do manage to find the time to play it again, reach that point, have it crash and then be unable to replace it. Time will tell.



2. Beyond Good & Evil

This is yet another game where I got stuck, quit and then returned to, actually starting entirely over, and beat it months later. Turns out that I had the wrong mentality the first time through. I tend to prefer the scorched earth style of game playing, even in stealth games like Splinter Cell and this one. That means if I had any way to take someone down, I took them down. I hate the thought of a mobile enemy at my back. Makes me itchy. Well, there's one part in Beyond Good & Evil where it MIGHT be possible to take out the three guards, but it's far smarter to just sneak on through, grab what you need and then sneak out. When I realized that the rest of the game went pretty smooth. It's a bit short, but it's top notch gaming all the way.

This is also the other game that fate shafted me on. I bought it for $50, new, a month or so after it came out. A week and a half later they slashed the price to $20 because it just wasn't selling. At the end of it all though, it was worth the full price and is certainly worth the $10 you can find it for now.



1. Psychonauts

This game was already firmly on my radar when XBox pulled the plug on it. They decided they weren't going to publish it and it looked for awhile as though nobody was going to step up and get it finished. I was seriously bummed when that happened. Fortunately, Majesco picked it up and released it.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most creative games I've ever played. The basic idea behind the game is that you are training to become a "Psychonaut"; someone who travels into the minds of other people to dig out information. Something bad is going on behind the scenes though and it's up to you to stop it. While you are in another person's mind, you are in another world.

The trip that stood out to me the most was when you enter the mind of a man who was a descendent of Napoleon. You start off in a tiny room with the guy whose mind you're in and Napoleon. Between them they are playing a board game. The guy has given up and he's being berated by his ancestor for being a quitter. It's up to you to help him win. So you climb on the table, and then climb down into the board game. You are now a giant standing on a hexagonal field, yet smaller than you were originally. You find the spot you want to be on the board, press a button and you shrink down until the board is the whole world. If you look around the houses that are on the game board you can find one that has windows you can see inside. What you see is the man whose brain you are in playing a board game with Napoleon in the room you started in. If you go all the way back out of the board game to the original room and look out the window you'll see the terrain of the board game. It's much cooler to actually experience than I've described it and that's only one of the many heads you'll enter.

SO. Have I beaten it? No. But I came sooooo close. I got pissed off.

Here's why. Later in the game, as you travel along, you are looking for the brains that were stolen from the other children who were in training. You gather some up and then return them to a lab to be reinserted in their proper noggins. This makes you more powerful. There are also cards and cobwebs that you gather and trade in at the same place for more cards to also gain power. Great so far. However, there is a point where, once you've passed, you can no longer trade them in. I passed that point and didn't have a saved game within several hours of there with my pockets full of brains, cards and cobwebs. I lost it all. Color me mega-pissed. Will I return to it? Probably. Just not yet. Not yet. Still pissed. What I won't do is get rid of it. In spite of the frustration it's a wonderful game.


And there you go. Sorry for all the geekery, it shouldn't stain you permanently.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

News Flash!

Okay, not really "news" per se. Just, you know, stuff.

Awhile back I posted about how I was submitting artwork to possibly be used for a zombie chapbook being co-written by John Hubbard. Well, it's been printed and is available here: Wandering Flesh.

While my artwork didn't make the front cover due to the amount of time I took to finish, it did make the back cover and I'm told by the author that it looks quite good. I haven't read the book yet – I should have my copy before Christmas – so I have no idea as to the quality of the stories, but if you like zombie stories check it out.

From the co-author, John Hubbard himself (ATZ link):

"It features 4 all new scenario based Zombie short stories, 2 Undead poems, and 3 pieces of gruesome artwork. At approximately 70 pages, it is very long for a chapbook and well worth the $6.50. I should know because along with Ron Shiflet, I wrote it!

I will personally refund your $6.50 if you think it sucks, and you return me an undamaged copy, with a receipt. Please give it a shot!!!"

And no, I don't make a commission or royalties on any copies sold. I just think it would be cool if it sold well.

Well, look at that.

Ed Gein wasn't a psychopath after all. He was just ahead of his time.

Yeah. I know. I blame Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A cool read

Gamasutra - Designer's Notebook - "The End Of Copyright"

Opinions?

Another Vintage Poster Mod

Okay, this one is crude but every time I look at it I smile. I guess I just have one of those brains. A crude brain. Lucky Heather, huh?



I thought of several other captions as well, but they were too wordy. If you can think of one you like and have an image editing program, feel free to click on mine to get a blank template. Have fun and share a link to your creation in the comments.

Now on with Tuesday.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Holy crap!

This apparently happened in Denver although it's the first I've heard of it:

BoingBoing: Woman charged for refusing to show ID on a public bus.

Having been in the military I probably would have shown my ID before really thinking about it. Old habits and such. As I recall Lowry AFB in Denver had a road that passed through it that city busses would drive down. This was many years back, but I'm pretty sure there was a sign at each gate that informed the passengers that they could not leave the bus while it was on the government property without proper military ID. As the bus came in the gate an MP would board, ask the passengers if anyone would be getting off and, if so, to present their IDs. That was it. Nobody not in the military had to worry about it.

What happened to this woman just seems very, very wrong and I'll be very interested in the outcome of the case.

Spam virus out the Yahoo

This is getting silly. Who falls for this stuff? What's with the sudden surge of this crap? It seemed like it was ramping up before Thanksgiving and today I had 50 of the things waiting for me. One made me laugh though. You've probably already seen it, but in case you haven't, here it is (minus the virus part).

From "postman@hotmail.com" to "3Dcollin":

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

SMTP_Error []
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

The full mail-text and header is attached!

Hahahahaha! "I've given up." I love it! Made me smile on a Monday, so that's worth something. Poor little Hotmail postman. I must remember to leave him some cookies in my mailbox as a holiday bonus.

Most shocking – so far since I have 48 more to go through – was this virus mail from my good friend "Musplswebha.2493395@usplswebhb36.imrsvcs.com":

hey its me, my old address dont work at time. i dont know why?!
in the last days ive got some mails. i' think thaz your mails but im not sure!

plz read and check ...
cyaaaaaaa

and it has the same attachment as the other one.

Mulsplswebha! How could you do me like this after everything we've been though?! I even stood by you at your wife's bris! And even though I kept my mouth shut at the time, I must say that wasn't pretty. Well, no more! You are OFF the Christmas list!

And finally, to round out the virus mail experience, I appear to come to the attention of the CIA due to the multitude of illegal websites I've been frequenting these days:

Dear Sir/Madam, (that's a good sign. I'm still cloaked in mystery! OooOOOoo!)

we have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites.
(What can I say? I can't get enough of "goats on boats".)

Important:
Please answer our questions! (well, since you said "please" in such a forceful tone how can I possibly refuse, except by saying "no."?)
The list of questions are attached. (Silly CIA. List aren't attached. Virus are. It even has the same name as the one found in all of the other emails. You would think they would change the name to hide the guilty.)

Yours faithfully, (me love you long time)
Steven Allison (poor Steve. I wonder if he's being punched in the face by a random stranger right now?)

And that will do it for me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nancy Reagan says: "Remember kids, just say 'Cool Graphics!'"


Don't bother clicking as it doesn't lead anywhere.

I have seen many XBox 360 tie-ins lately, but this is – so far – the funniest yet. Especially the "Huh?" option. Oh, and remember "details apply." They always do.

Yep, it's busy.

In the meantime, enjoy this:


Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday Things.

Seen on the way to work today:

An old man with an oxygen tank waiting to cross the street while smoking a cigarette. My twisted little mind started flashing through various scenarios as I turned past him. Primarily, I was wondering: If someone were to hit him 'just right', perhaps with a bit of bumper English, would he explode? And wouldn't that be something to explain?

"Hey Bob! How was your drive in?"

"Pretty good up until I blew up a little old man. How was yours?"

-

I have a story that I wanted to write and post today, however it's a three day work week so we have a lot of ads that are trying to squeeze on to the schedule and Derek is on vacation in Las Vegas so we are down an artist. *Mayday! Mayday! We're down an artist!* So far things don't look too crazy, so we'll see. If I can't get back to this, have a great Monday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Good news!

Derek already knew this and just didn't bother telling us, but it would seem that Monkey's posting again. He's very good at the machine gun funny. Check him out if you've never visited. You'll probably enjoy it.

Others* give you 'Phrickin' Photoblog Phridays'...

I give you...

an applehead.

So now who loves you, baby? Click the pic for bigger applehead love.

Someday applehead may have a body. Someday.

---
* The "Others" that I mention would be Derek and at times Heather. And probably "others" that I'm unaware of. Still, at this moment I'm the sole source of appleheads. Look at me! I'm on the cutting edge of Friday entertainment.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Now for something not so gruesome...

I took one of several "cute animal" photos that Heather sent to me and set about drawing it in (simulated) pencil. Here it is in its early stage:


Click it for a larger view.

The cat is mostly grey with a bit of white. Not one of the easier things to draw and it would have been a challenge even when I wasn't rusty. Now... I'm not even sure I'll finish it. So for now I present it as an unfinished sketch.

A story...

One of my two aunts who are younger than I am was getting married way back when. I think I must have already been in art school at that time. In fact it would probably be be around the time that I drew the Brahminy kite.

For a wedding gift, at my mother's insistence, I drew a picture of a kitten yawning using black and white charcoal pencils and a photo reference. We had it framed and she seemed to love it. I told her that I wanted to get a photo of it to add to my portfolio (such as it is), but I kept putting it off, like I tend to do. When I finally made time to get the photo taken the drawing had been "misplaced". I've never really been able to get a clear answer on what happened to it, nor have I ever gotten a photo of it. It really bugs me because I would love to see it again, just to see how my current drawing skills compare to then.

I love tangram games.

This one is a bit different though. It uses all of the standard pieces but you can't rotate them. In some ways this makes it easier. Also, in this Flash game there are a series of 7 random puzzles, each with a point value. If you finish them fast enough you get the point value plus a time bonus.

My challenge to you: Get as high a score as you can on the first try WITHOUT using the "allow cheats" button or the pause button. Make note of your score. Then try again, still without cheats or pausing. Note that score. Post both scores in the comments.

My scores:

1st = 1065
2nd = 1126

Click here to play the Tangram Game

A few things about the stitched-up head drawing:

  1. Overall I don't like it. This isn't unique however. I dislike a lot of what I draw.
  2. The only bit of it that I used any reference for was the eyebrows. The ones that were there before looked even worse.
  3. Since I was having trouble pulling a drawing out of wherever it is that I keep them, I decided to sketch a lame-ass head and experiment with technique. While I like the idea of the stitching, it needs work. Specifically the entry points. I have ideas for "next time".
  4. Part of the motivation behind the end result was the "zombie pimp and whores" drawing that I said I would do for Trashman months ago.
  5. Another part was to see how creepy I could make it. There was more that I was thinking about doing, but I didn't have time.
  6. Man, I hate the nose. Steeeenkin' nose. I re-drew it twice and still hate it. It's tough drawing a face from your imagination if you haven't done it in awhile.
  7. The top of the head is a bit squashed because I fell into my old habit of starting too close to the top of the "paper". In this case I was using the program Alias Sketchbook Pro and, unlike Photoshop, it's not easy to resize the canvas to suit your needs. At least, I haven't found an easy way.
  8. Ummm. Yeah. That's about it. I'll make a "nice" drawing next to balance out the forces of light and darkness.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I blame the full moon...



And the monkey.

Mental Monkeys Flinging Poo

I'm trying to draw something, anything, and nothing is flowing. My brain is clogged. Ugh. I can't even draw a freakin' zombie. Is that sad, or what? I need to figure out some kind of routine to break this horrible mindset that I keep falling into. Derek can draw anything at any time. Me? I freeze up. Why? I can draw. I've seen me do it! But at times it's like I'm seized by a mental panic monkey that ooks to me behind my eyes, "You can't do this. You suck. Look at that line! It's rubbish!" and it doesn't take long to convince me that it's right.

Grrr. Stinkin' monkey.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Another short one.

I stopped off at King Soopers on my way in to work to pay a couple of bills and pick up fluids for my stuffy head. On the way in the door I was passed by a tall, skinny, grey-haired Lurch looking guy with glasses who was on his way out. Since he looked a bit odd I watched him for a second as my door was cycling open. He took three steps, stopped and said, apparently to the parking lot at large, "Bong!"

I walked on in without looking back.

Monday, November 14, 2005

So the boy doesn't feel left out.

A few weeks ago the kids and I met up with Heather for dinner on a Tuesday night. We decided to dine at the lovely Wendy's on South Nevada Ave. If you are unfamiliar with South Nevada Ave., let's just say it's a colorful part of town, but it's also close to Heather's work which is a necessity since she only has an hour to finish eating and be back to it.

After eating, on the way back to her work, we were driving through the alley that runs behind Wendy's, Taco Bell and KFC. Justin suddenly piped up from the back seat: "Hey look! Real graffiti!"

I suppose all the years of video game graffiti – from Jet Grind Radio to GTA: San Andreas – still hadn't prepared him for his encounter with 'the real thing'.

Did we laugh? Oh yes, we did.

Sleeptalkers say the darndest things.

This short story is similar to the time my son, Justin, may or may not have eaten a bug off of the floor while he was sleeping. Except this time it involves the girl.

I was up late – really, really late – Saturday night. Jordyn came in to my room where I was working on the computer to talk with me and wound up falling asleep on my bed. Around 3 am her eyes popped open and she started talking:

"Toys. Toys. Toys. Toys. Toys. Toys. Toys. Toys. Toys. Toys..."

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Never stand between a zombie and his nacho money.


Mad for NACHOS!


I found this at a fun webpage called Stupid Comics. It's just a wee part of something bigger, but it's a pretty good wee part.

To the best of my knowledge, this is all I have for you today. I'm sorry. Try to soldier on and have yourselves a merry little weekend. Me? I'm going to do my best to avoid death by head cold. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Have you the brain worms?

I really am not sure what is wrong with me. Is it this cold I've had for a week now? Is all of the built up bubbly mucus infringing on my grey matter? Or is it something more simple, like the fact that I'm getting old and stuff is just getting lost in there?

Here's the deal. I had an ad that was supposed to go out last night at 5pm. 5:30 rolled around and there was still no final approval. At 5:45 the AE (account executive for those "not in the know") made the decision that it could go out the next morning. All well and good. I was just happy to be able to finally get clear of here.

Morning rolls around as ususal, and at about 9:20am a different AE comes up to me and says that she needs me to email a PDF of the ad to her so that she can get the client's approval. It seems the first AE isn't going to be in and the ad has to go out to the paper absolutely no later than 10am.

I say "sure thing", the whole time I'm staring at her. I know her. She's been here longer than I have. I've worked on many of her ads in the past, although nothing recently since she's taken on more of a supervisory roll. Here's the thing: I COULDN'T REMEMBER HER NAME!

I swear, I was drawing a blank. I SHOULD have known her name, I just DIDN'T. I didn't even know what LETTER it started with. I felt the stirrings of a panic party inside my head. I was about to jokingly say, "And you are...?" and try to laugh it off but I KNEW that by then the panic inside my noggin would have emerged from my tear ducts and settled over my face and she would realize that I'd lost my mind. So I just smiled and stared at her all wide-eyed and stupid looking as she turned and walked out of the room.

I sat there for a few seconds and concentrated very hard on recalling her name with no luck. It was like trying to superglue a water balloon to a greased monkey. So I turned and consulted the phone list. I didn't see anything that looked like the vague idea I had of how her name should look on the first pass and the panic surged to an unprecedented level. In that moment it occurred to me how extra stupid this was since I'm the one responsible for updating the phone list.

During the second more careful look-through I saw a name that SEEMED like it SHOULD be hers, but it still looked wrong. However the more it settled into my head, the more correct it seemed to be. By the time I sent the email I was finally confident that was, in fact, her name.

And I don't drink heavily or take copious amounts of drugs. I know! Surprise! Not even small amounts. Probably a good thing too, if this is how bad I am sober.

Oh, and this isn't a new development in my head. In the past week I've forgotten Heather's work number and my ex's phone number, and no doubt other things that I've forgotten that I forgot.

At this point I should probably be grateful that breathing is autonomous.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I might be trying to tell me something.



This is one of several ideas that I had for this 50's era motivational poster. Others were "On the death train with you.", "Verrily, the Archangel Uncle Sam cast the Adam family from the Garden of New Jersey", "I will grind your bones to make my steel.", etc.

If you have some ideas of your own, click here for the template. If you use it, please leave a comment with a link to what you made.

Update:
I couldnt resist.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Tough Zombie Quiz

Guardian Unlimited Film | | Zombie film quiz

At least it was tough for me. I got 5/10. I would hang my head in shame if it weren't for the rigor mortis.

Observations and a glimpse into my dirty, dirty mind.

I found this story via boing boing. These are my observations on the situation:

  • The pervert in me regrets the lack of photos. Seriously. When in your life are you going to get to see a towering wall of boobies? For that matter, does it actually tower or is that just wishful thinking on my part?
  • I wonder if they are located near a train station or on a fault line? That would be something to see. You know. Because of the vibrations. Never mind.
  • Leave it to a Dutchman to come up with the idea. Do you think it might have something to do with growing up surrounded by dikes?
  • Talk about a generalization: "They know all about their car, but never seem to know their wife's bra size." First, I know very little about my car. It's blue and has a deer dent in the front. It runs on a combination of gasoline and my deepest wishes that it continue to do so. There you go. Second, I didn't even know I was married. Just kidding. I'm not. Not yet. I think the real reason we men don't recall our significant other's bra size is because we don't wear the things. Most of us don't at least. I'll bet those that do, remember. Normally, our sole bra concern is how to remove it all stealthy like. Size? "Off" is usually a good size, but it's difficult to wrap.
  • While I do think this is a nifty idea to help men shop for their special someone's frilly lacy knocker rockers, I really hope they are filming the men as they determine the size they need. Those are movies I'd like to see. Personally I get embarrassed just walking through a lingerie section more than twice. I can't even imagine how much worse it would be to have people staring at me while I cop a feel off a wall.
  • I wonder if they make you form a line, or is it every man for himself? Has there ever been a free-for-all at the booby wall? I just wanted to say that.
  • Do you have to agree to the purchase of a bra before they'll allow you to touch the wall? Is it legally binding?
  • If you are really short and your wife's size might be near the top, do they provide a stepladder?
  • I hope it's well secured. As funny as it would be, I wouldn't like to have my epitaph read: "He was killed by a falling wall of breasts due to forgetting to let go before walking away".
  • I wonder if you could stick a group of babies to them? It could be like a Japanese game show event. Or performance art.
  • Seriously, there needs to be a photo. For instance, are they just the silicon inserts slipped into ziplock bags and nailed to the wall, or has some effort been put into making them realistic? Are they mannequin dead white or does the tone change across the wall? What is the maximum size and is it positioned closer to the floor? I imagine there must be some realism to them since it states: "By look and touch, male shoppers can work out the right size ..."
  • And that's another thing. It says "male shoppers". Does this mean that women are prevented access to the booby wall? What if you are a lesbian out shopping for your someone significant? Do all lesbians know the cup size of their lovers? Do I really even want to know the answer to that question?
  • Are they arranged in pairs, or singles?
  • Does it say something dirty in braille?
  • Have they considered making a breast column that you could turn like a sunglass rack? They could call it a rack rack.
  • Are they planning on making a climbing wall?
  • How about a wall of willies to help women chose the right sized boxers for their men?

... and that's probably more than enough of that.

Ooo what fun.

I've been busy, and today God has apparently seen fit to try to blow us away with wind. We also lost power for about a half hour or so. Of course, it couldn't just go out and stay out. No. It had to go out for a few seconds then come on long enough for us to try and reboot our computers. Then go out again. Twice. It's not like I had a 10 am deadline or anything. Needless to say, deadline missed.

What else?

Oh yeah, I was going to mention yesterday – except I was too busy for my own good – that Jared over at Head Injury Theater was once again awesome. For October he was offering to paint any photo you sent him of you in a costume. Since I don't wear costumes, earlier this month I sent him photos of my kids in their costumes from last year. He did a great job. A couple days ago I sent along the photos that I've posted here, not expecting him to actually paint them as well. Not only did he paint them, he did it quick as hell ( I don't think he really ever sleeps) and it turned out quite wonderful. Justin laughed for at least three full minutes after seeing it.

You can see it and a lot more Halloween goodness here, including a contest that he's running: Identify the monsters and win a prize. When I get some time I'm going to give it a shot.

Also, I've decided to play with comment spam, at least until it rises up and threatens to engulf me. Don't worry, I wash my hands when I'm done.

I think that's it for now. Have a great Thursday.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

If you haven't seen this movie...

You should. It's fantastic. Here's what Orson Scott Card thought of it: Serenity - Uncle Orson Reviews Everything

My Little Monsters

Well, one little monster and one big monster. Would you believe, my son is only 12 years old – 13 in March – and he's within an inch or so of being as tall as I am? I'm 5'10". Not a giant, but still. He's huuuuuuge! I'm sure that more than one adult passing out candy last night thought he's too old to be trick-or-treating. Poor kid. 12! Here he is in all his Halloweenie glory this year:


You talkin' to me?


Gotch'yer face!

Then there's the girl. She's going to be tall early too. She just started kindergarten and she looks like she should be in 3rd grade. I guess they both managed to unlock the giant gene while they were floating in the birthin' fluid. Oh well, too late to do anything about it now. Heeeeeere's girlie:


But daddy! Nobody's going to think I'm cute!

Okay, the original plan was for her to be a Killer Queen, like the song, but her girl genes kicked in at the last minute and she decided she would rather be cute. So when it came time to actually do the door-to-door candy beggin' she passed on the mask:


That's better!

The candy donors at quite a few of the apartments we stopped at told her she was cute and/or gorgeous. Her answer? "Yes, I am."

And a final Halloween bonus for me, over at the Retropolitan's little patch of the net I seem to have won a contest. This is the first thing that I've won since art school. To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. I'll let you all know what the surprise prize is when I get it.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. I really, really need to do more with it next year.

Monday, October 31, 2005

It's flat and rushed, but...


You just made my list.

Not you. The woman driving in front of me this weekend. She made the list of things that annoy me. As opposed to the "List of People Who Would Disappear If I Gained Absolute Power", although there's likely to be some overlap. I don't have an actual, written out "List of Annoyances". At least not until now. Now this woman is on my list. At the top of it in fact, until I add more. Which I will. Eventually. Here's the list so far:

---
The woman in the big ass, brand new SUV that slowed down for a speed bump more than I did in my 8-year old Kia. I mean, come on! Your land barge isn't made of porcelain and the bump isn't that large! Unless you are hauling something far more unstable than your children, I think you can manage that wee bump at a speed greater than 2 mph. While you're puttering along my tacos are getting cold, dammit!
---

More to come, I'm sure.


Bonus content:

The funniest thing my daughter said this weekend.



"I wish I was the first one to come out of mom!"

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Monkey Tribute Post

As some of you know, Monkey has been basically retired for some time now. To help keep the memory of the always funny Monkey alive until his promised return I've decided to start a major religion. Wait. No. I'm going to do a "Monkey Tribute Post". However instead of a bunch of random things as he tended to do, I'm going to stick with just one because I'm lazy and I'm not Monkey.

_________________________________________________________
Favorite confession from today's Grouphug:
"i am using J to get to his friend, K.
then once i get with K, it will make S jealous.
once S realizes my hottness, he will dump that slutty hoe bag C and get with me.
then maybe if i'm lucky i can have K and S at the same time because that family sure has hot genes.

yep. that's the master plan. "

(Trouble's a-brewing in my bowl of Alpha-Bits. I think it might be the work of a rogue Cheerio. - Collin)
_________________________________________________________

Hmmm...

On the way in to work I found a "street person" who looked like Jesus. I wonder if the Golden Palace Casino will buy him? I suppose it could have been a costume*, but the resemblance to all of those paintings that were done by people who never actually me the Man was uncanny. He was even more lifelike than the tree bark or wall mold Jesii.

---
* I hear that's the big thing on the streets these days. One "street person" dresses up as Jesus and then jumps about shouting "Look at me! I'm jumping Jesus!" until the tourists gather around to gawk. Then his associates wander among the crowd picking pockets and leaving behind little business cards that have a cross on them and read "Gotcha! Your Friend Jesus". Later, when the tourist goes for his wallet to pay for something kitschy for the folks back home, he pulls out the card, reads it and exclaims, "Hey! Jesus got me!" then everyone laughs. It's a hoot.**

** the addendum was longer than the post. I hate when that happens.

URGENT UPDATE!

I am, at this very moment, wearing both my new zombie peanut butter t-shirt AND my zombie CareLess band that Heather made for me. Plus I have a half decayed skull on my desk that I don't have a picture of. Indeed, it's a Halloweenie Friday.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lunch

I joined the group of artists today for their weekly "Sushi Thursday" lunch. I was debating between the white chicken bowl and tacumoshosho*, something that was recommended by both Derek and Ray. I was still waffling back and forth between the two when the waitress came by to take our order. In the end the tacodoohickey** stuff won out. It was tasty. It consisted of breaded and fried pig meat with a side bowl of rice and a sauce that I'm reasonably sure starts with "k". The only problem I had with the meal is the same problem I always have when there's too much of one flavor in any meal. I get tired of it by the end. Still, it filled me up.

Now, on to the interesting bit. I'll bet you didn't know there was an interesting bit. Well hah! There is! Around the end of our meals we were being harassed by a fly. One single, stinking fly. With all of the restaurant to travel around it was consistently buzzing our table and being a nuisance. It was a Leguizamo fly. Derek suggested that I pull a Miyagi move and catch it with my chopsticks. I reminded him that earlier he was pointing out that he would be able to kill me with his chopsticks much easier than I would be able to kill him with mine, so logically he was the one that needed to go Miyagi on the fly. Yeah, it was that kind of lunch.

So the fly kept buzzing us and we were all trying to ward it away from our food and drinks. Finally, the wee bastard managed to land on my glass and poke its wiggly fly head into my straw. I said, "well, that's the last I'll be having of that" and swung my hand its way to try to shoo it toward Derek's drink. Instead it did a side barrel roll and landed on the inside of my glass, so I slapped my hand over the top and it was trapped. But now I was stuck with my hand over the top of my glass, feeling the nasty thing tickling my palm. My glass didn't have enough liquid in it for me to drown it in a Coke hurricane so I looked around the table for an alternative solution. I noticed that the base of my rice bowl looked like it would fit nicely in the mouth of the glass. So I slid the straw out of the glass, and in a move that would have made Harrison Ford proud, I swapped my hand with the rice bowl. I still couldn't do the Coke hurricane though because the bowl was still half full of rice and it would have gone everywhere... unless I covered the rice bowl with one of the sauce bowls... mmm. no.

However, now there was a different problem: what to do with the fly when it was time to go? Should I lift the lid and give it the freedom to resume annoying the other customers? Or just leave it that way for the waitress to find when she cleared off the table? It would be bad enough that she would have thought I was "one of those" customers that do nasty or stupid things with the table leavings, but when she lifted the bowl and had a fly pop out in her face... well, let's just say I wouldn't be remembered fondly. Especially if it flew into her eye and began feasting on her mucus membrane as they tend to do.

I decided that I would tell her about the trapped fly when I went to the register to pay my bill, and then settled in to watch it do laps around the rim of the glass where it met the bowl until everyone else was finished.

When I went up to pay, however, I noticed that the sushi chef had come around and was helping bus the tables. Setting a fly on an unsuspecting waitress would have been bad enough, but a sushi chef? No good would come of that. He had knives.

I quickly went back to the table since he missed the bowl/cup prison tower on the first pass, picked it up, walked to the door to the restaurant and let it go outside. At least it didn't fly back into the restaurant when I closed the door. I was amazed that nothing was said by any of the staff.

And that's how I spent my lunch.

---
* not the real name.
** still not the real name.

Parody Design

Some of you might be offended by this and I want it to be known up front that I have nothing against PETA. They put naked women in cages out in public and I can respect that.

Still.

When I saw this design:



it spoke to me and what it said was "I need you to make fun of me!" Kind of a Wonderfalls moment, really.

I held off as long as I could. Seriously. I first saw it a few weeks ago. But the voices win. They always win. So here it is:



Since they have theirs on a thong I figure I should put mine on boxers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Yesterday

... I had the almost overwhelming urge to put up a post that read:

----
That's it.
.
.
I quit.
-----

Why? Eh. Who knows. Most bloggers seem to go through that every once in a while. Some more than others. Some quit. Some take extended breaks. I decided that I would do a bit of revamping. "A change is as good as a rest." To be honest I'd become mighty sick of looking at my site. It probably started way back when I changed my header, but over time that change wasn't enough. We'll see if this is enough.

Currently I'm reworking my "assload" of links, since they all got cleared out when I changed templates. I'm trying to make the list a bit slimmer. It's not a good sign when you links extend between three and seven pages past your last visible post. It's tacky.

As you can see the two main categories of links so far are "They Link Me" and "They Link Me Not". If you find yourself missing from "They Link Me", and you do in fact link to me, leave me a comment here and I'll add you to the list. The same goes for anyone who might be on the "They Link Me Not" list when you really belong among the cool kids in the better and far more popular* "They Link Me" list.

*With me at least.

That leads me to comments. I've disabled HaloScan and will only enable commenting through Blogger on certain posts. Again, you may be wondering why. When I told Derek why he laughed at me. Dick. Anyhow, the reason I've disabled comments for the most part is because I love to get comments. Stay with me now; it should make sense shortly. I am a comment junkie. Sometimes I'll put up a post with great anticipation of reading what my visitors would have to add to it, only to get somewhere between none and one. It's depressing. So, by eliminating the possibility of comments I should eliminate that depression. Stupid, huh? Anyhow, I figure it's worth a shot, and if I'm not writing in a misguided attempt to generate comments, I might start to come up with more interesting posts. We can certainly hope.

For the time being, in the posts that will have comments open, I've turned word verification off because, even though it seems to work, it's annoying to have to mess with as a commenter. I'll leave it off until I start to get a lot of useless spam.

That's all for now. Back to link weeding.

Turn and face the strange.

Changes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My Blog Worth

Just to let everyone know, the repenting is going along swimmingly. Between sessions of confessions I found this at boingboing. I went ahead and tried it out and this was the result:


My blog is worth $18,065.28.
How much is your blog worth?



In many ways this is sad. My blog, my leetle imaginary spot on the interwebthingie, is apparently worth more than my student loans and credit cards combined. Heck, it's even worth more than everything in my apartment, excluding the children but including the fish and frogs. However I'm nowhere near the $9 meeeeelion that boingboing is worth, so there is room for improvement.

Be sure if you give it a shot that you click on "take the test again".

Now, back to the repenting. It's not a good sign if your priest starts to drink the blood of Christ straight from the bottle, is it?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cue the Choir.

Sure, it looks good, but will it stop a vampire?

To really make it perfect it needs a little Jesus attached to the cap like a pen clip wearing His own little iPod. Pressing His feet would trigger the play/pause button and light up His eyes. Yes, I'm probably going to a hot place some day. Not Florida.

On a tangent, is there any word not in Welsh that is pronounced any less like it looks than "choir"? Kwyer vs. choerr. Change one letter and you have "chair". Heck, I've looked at it so long now that it's taken on that non-word quality that happens when you... um... look at a word too long.

Look at that. Three posts in one day. I may take tomorrow off. Perhaps do a bit of repenting.

This Just In

I was on my way upstairs to buy a soda from the machine in the break room at lunch. In our lobby by the stairs we have a multi-tiered water fountain. It's one of those things that accumulates coins at some point during the day. I have no idea if the coins were tossed in by actual people or if they were seeded there by management in an attempt to boost profits. Regardless, there's coins in that there fountain.

This time there was also a toddler in that there fountain. Well, from the elbow down at least. He was around three years old and he was coin fishing. What's more, his mother was right there with him, chuckling and cooing at him , "Awwww. You're going to get wet. Yes you are!"

That's my idea of bad parenting.

Not only was she encouraging her child to take money that wasn't his, when he finally had a penny in his pudgy mitt she followed up with, "Now, make a wish and throw it back in."

Maybe it's me but that's just wrong. It goes against the whole spirit of making a wish on a coin. It's not as though you can go in to a bank, walk up to a teller and say, "Could you pass me some coins? I've got some wishes that need wishing. You'll get them right back."

Seriously. What the Hell is she thinking? Lady. Crack open your own wallet and give your kid a penny. You might avoid looking like an idiot and your child might avoid learning that it pleases mommy to engage in petty theft.

The impression I had as I rounded the top of the stairs was that the wee little coin snatcher wasn't too keen on tossing back his shiny. Mamma had to extend his hand out over the fountain and apply pressure to get him to drop it. I'm betting he wished she would make up her damned mind.

Time sure flies

I hope everyone had a wonderful last four days. True to my word I goofed off for the most part. I didn't even think about my site until last night and the thought was, "Well, now what?"

Now this, I suppose. How about a random thought post? That's always fun, I'm sure.

Let's see...
-
We had a mandatory semi-annual 401k meeting this morning that I was 15 minutes late for. Judging from the glazed expressions on the people about the room as I ninja'd my way in, I'd already missed oodles of wonderful information that would have guided me to a future full of riches rather than burger flipping. Darn. I did manage to take away the impression that I might be well served to invest in 419, and possibly the lottery.
-
I actually had a reason for being late today. I stopped off at my dentist on the way in to pay the $100 that my insurance didn't cover and get a receipt so I could be reimbursed blah blah blah. I mentioned to my dentist that the tooth that was filled is very sensitive and he made me stick around for an "adjustment". I hadn't planned on that. I was hoping the answer would be "give it a bit of time and it'll be fine". But no. Soonish I found myself in THE CHAIR with him poking at my tooth. He then shaved the filling down in a couple of spots that didn't seem to be aligning right and told me to let them know if that didn't fix it. Apparently, even though it was a minor amount that it was off, the repetitive pressure on those spots had bruised my tooth over time and if I'd left it untreated eventually my mouth would have exploded. So, yay.
-
When Heather came over last night we watched some of the Bronco game until she had to go to work. At one point when the Broncos were still doing well the camera panned over the crowd and one woman was jumping up and down and clapping her hands because the opposing team (the Giants, I think: look at me showing off my manliness.) were doing something spiffy at the time. I said to Heather, "They're her little dumplings." and that amused me for a bit.
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There was much movie watching this weekend. We saw 'Stay'. It was an interesting film, however I had a reasonable idea of how it would end by the middle. It reminded me of another movie I'd seen but won't mention the title of because I want Heather to see it and I don't want the end of that film spoiled. Or this one for that matter. The only annoying thing is the trailer made the film look like it would be creepy and it wasn't. I hate when that happens.
-
The other film we saw was 'Wallace & Grommit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit'. That was very enjoyable. A veritable onion of funny. Just as it was starting to feel a little bit overlong it got fun again. Well worth seeing. It really sucks that Aardman's storage unit burned down.
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I bought the new game 'Stubbs the Zombie' for the XBox. Surprise! First off, very fun. It's so satisfying to creep up behind a cop who is firing at other members of your undead hoard, hoist him up by his armpits and take a big bite out of his melon. It might get old after awhile, but give it a day off and it'll be fun again. Now the downsides: Too short. I beat it the same day I started playing it. That's rare. Annoying controls. You have to remain still and facing your zombies to be able to call them to you because it uses the same button that you push to bite heads. It should have been mapped to the black or white button instead. Too linear. I was really hoping for something along the lines of Grand Theft Auto: Zombie Edition. Instead you have a linear level progression and no randomness to your enemies. Obviously this is due to it being made on the Halo engine rather than the GTA3 engine. Hopefully someone at Rockstar North will push for a zombie themed game at some point. In the end, however, I don't regret getting it because it was fun while it lasted. If you like zombies and have an XBox you might want to give it a rent to see if it's for you.
-
That's probably enough for a Monday. I hope everyone has a good week. I may – may I say – give another go at one of the creative things I've done in the past. Possible a PoE cartoon. It's been awhile since I've visited them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It's Friday!

No, really, this time it is!

For me at least.

I'm taking off tomorrow to take delivery of my new (rental) washer & dryer. Yeah, I know, renting is stupid. In my defense it's not through Rent-A-Center and it works out to $1 a day. In one week at my complex's laundry room I spend $6.75 so that means I'll be paying an extra 25¢ a week for the convenience of being able to wash what I want when I want. It's worth it for now.

I'm also taking off the REAL Friday because I realized that I wanted to. Awesome, huh?

"Does this mean that you are going to work on something awesome for your admittedly pathetic-as-of-late site?" you ask. Of course not! I'm going to get my laundry caught up, do a little house cleaning and organizing and then goof off like a crazy person. You just KNOW that crazy people goof off. They have to. They even get special clothing because of it. With buckles. Shiny, shiny buckles.


"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."