Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Whatever Happened to Mary Lou?

I was talking to my buddy Ron today and as is typical for men of our advanced ages, we waxed nostalgic about a variety of things from our youths, from music to games to fads, back to games, a quick segue into movies, and then back to games for the finale.

Yes, we like our games.

However, as we talked, a thought occurred to me. No, not the one about tying a rope to a monkey and then giving the monkey a brick so you could make a ‘monkey-brick flail.’ The thought was ‘whatever happened to Mary Lou Retton?’

Note: If you gave the monkey two bricks, you could then have a ‘dual-wielding monkey-brick flail.’ I do realize that this would be impractical. You would probably need to put little handles on the bricks so the monkey wouldn’t drop them.

Some of the younger readers might not remember Mary Lou Retton. She won the individual Gold Medal in the ’84 Summer Olympics in gymnastics, the first non-Eastern European to do so. She was, to put it mildly, ‘America’s Sweetheart’ and was all-over the place for about a year after the Olympics. She then slipped off the national stage (not literally) and became an answer in the Trivial Pursuit Sports category.

Anyway, whatever happened to her? According to Wikipedia, she got married, had four kids, and seems to have a pretty normal life. I must say, I was a little disappointed. In all honesty, that’s just too normal. She was a Gold Medal winning Olympic athlete and the first woman to grace a Wheaties box, something amazing and totally improbable should have happened.

I prefer to think that after the Olympics, she was whisked away by a race of cute, slightly nerdy aliens who needed her to lead them in battle against another, tyrannical alien race who’s name probably contained a lot of ‘x’s and ‘z’s. Though confused and bewildered at first, she rallied and used her unmatched gymnastic ability and gratuitously placed uneven bars and pommel horses to lead them to victory and teach them a lesson about friendship and proper nutrition. Though offered the position of ‘Queen of the Universe,’ she turned it down to come back to Earth and just be a normal girl (who happens to be able to backflip at speeds that would make Superman dizzy).

Actually, that might have happened. If ‘80s movies taught me anything, it’s that pacifistic alien cultures always need an Earthling to come save their bacon.


Monday, June 29, 2009

3D Zombies

Some students at Georgia Tech and the Savannah College of Art and Design have made something really special.

Watch it here:

This is really something. It could have fascinating applications in medicine, science, and all sorts of fields. Or, granted, it could also be used to kill tons and tons of zombies.

One day, my kids'll be whining about 3D games being boring and I'll say something to the effect of 'In my day, we had Atari 2600s! We had tanks made out of 17 pixels and we were happy to have 'em!'

Technology is a wonderful thing :)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Most Things Do Not Explode Without External Help

The title of today's blog has nothing to do with the actual blog, it's more a public service announcement.

Why I felt I needed to make such a public service announcement is a mystery, even to me.

So, another long, yet curiously fast, week is over. I accomplished a lot, but don't really remember much of it. I'm pretty sure I called my boss a 'fiend from hell' at one point, but I'm also pretty sure he took it as a compliment.

On the home front, issue #6 is rapidly coming to a close. I believe we only have five or six more pages to go and the first 6 issue arc will be done. This, of course, means one thing:

Graphic Novel.

Yes, we will be producing a graphic novel of the first six issues. We're not sure exactly when that will be available, but rest assured it will come out.

Also, the San Diego Comic-Con is coming up!

Leigh and I will be there and ideally, Leigh will also be accepting the '09 Russ Manning Award. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.

Have a safe and fun weekend!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pillow Talk

Okay, first of all, get your mind out of the gutter. This blog is not about that kind of ‘pillow talk.’ This blog is actually about pillows. The thing is I fear I’ve done something wrong.

You see, I purchases new pillows a month or so ago. I had been using the same pillows for pretty much my entire adult life. They were flat and hard and that’s just the way things were. I then stayed at a hotel and much to my surprise the pillows were fluffy and soft, not unlike laying one’s head down on a curiously immobile sheep.

I should point out that I’ve never actually slept on a sheep. Not a live sheep, at any rate.

So, anyway, I decided to buy some new pillows.

NOTE: No, I’ve never slept on a dead sheep either. That was just there to see if you were paying attention (it was undead).

I made the trek to the ‘Linens’ section of the department store, a forbidden place to one such as myself, seeking pillows to buy. There I discovered that pillows range from amazingly expensive to dirt-cheap. Not knowing what else to do, I bought mid-range pillows and took them home.

They were all fluffy and comfortable for a while, but now they’re just as flat and as hard as my old ones.

This makes me wonder: Am I doing something wrong? Is there some sort of pillow maintenance I need to do? Do they require fluffing? Washing in cold with a tumble dry? The sacrifice of a white chicken every full moon?

Somehow, I don’t think I need to buy new pillows every few months. That just seems odd. Wait, maybe that is what I’m supposed to do? Maybe everyone else is buying pillows regularly and silently judging me for not doing so?

To sum up: my new pillows are flat. I don’t know if this is normal.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Two Things

First of all, I would like to rectify the situation from last Tuesday.

If you recall, I mentioned our Super Fan who traveled by bus to see us at the Olympia Comic Con. She mailed us after my blog and actually told us her name:

And so, without further ado, our Super Fan #1 is:

Oh, carp.

Wait, I know this.

Just kidding. Diane is her first name (I'm witholding her last name for privacy's sake). Here's to you, Diane! Thank you for being, well, you. Thank you, as well, for braving the wilds of Washington Public Transit to come and see us.

NOTE: 'carp' is not a typo. I originally mis-typed it, but then thought it was funnier that way. So, yes, it's on purpose. I also habitually spell (and say) 'voila' as 'viola' for the same reason. Eventually, I'll use 'Viola, carp!' in a sentence and my life will be complete.

The second thing:


This went around work the other day and is amazingly cool.

I totally want to do this. I realize I will probably hurt myself (a lot), but 'wow.' I hear there's a class in Bellevue. I may have to check it out.

What am I saying? I will check it out. It looks like too much fun to pass up.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Hell of a Week

It's been a long, long week. I've been so busy that I literally sit down in the morning and don't get up except to eat, go to the bathroom, or chase someone down. No screwing around. No inane conversations. Just a constant stream of things to be done.

I even said a bad word today (it rhymed with 'duck'). There was this thing that I proposed doing that, if I say so myself, was brilliant. Just as it was coming together, reality decided to butt-in and make it completely non-viable. It was then that I said the word I mentioned earlier.

I ended up glaring at my computer for a minute while I thought furiously about how to salvage my wonderous plan. I think I said another bad word (it mostly rhymed with 'fit.').

Nothing came of my glaring and I ended up saying a third word (which rhymed with 'tartar sauce.')

However, I eventually did figure out a solution, so my plan was saved. Now I just need to get through tomorrow and I can have a nice relaxing weekend of killing stuff in WoW.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fire Bad!: Part 2

So if all it really takes is dying by violence or extreme negative emotions at death, the list of possible triggers for ghostly behavior would be massive.

You have:
Extreme Anger
Heartbreak (if the romance novels are to be believed)
Daytime Television
Political Ads
Car Wrecks
Someone ninja-looting your epic during the big Ulduar raid
Calling tech support
Tax Season

It just seems like it would be far too easy for haunting to occur. And as long as we’re exploring that line of thought, how come you never hear about caveman ghosts? People have been dying violently for thousands of years, yet you never hear about ‘that cave in the hills where a ghostly voice wails ‘Fire Bad!’’

In the US, it’s always Civil or Revolutionary War dead or the odd Indian Burial Ground. In Europe (as far as I can gather) it’s haunted castles. Yet caveman, who by definition lived short, brutal lives, never seem to become ghosts.

It’s puzzling. You’d expect every other cave or rock outcropping to be haunted, but there you go. And I have yet to hear of a haunted shopping mall. People probably die there every year, but you never hear about the ‘Cinnabon of the Dead.’

I would totally visit the Cinnabon of the Dead.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fire Bad!: Part 1

I happened to run across a show the other day about ghosts. Specifically, a house in the east was being haunted by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers. The bit I saw wasn’t really specific about which side the ghosts had been on, but apparently they were rather upset about something (possibly about being dead) and created a lot of mischief and generally just creeped everyone out.

The family seemed kind of embarrassed about the whole thing, but they did allow a film crew to camp out in their living room for three days as they tried to get footage.

I can imagine it went something like this:

Director: Quick! What was that!!!?

Father: Ummm, pretty sure that was a squirrel.

Director: Oh. A ghost squirrel?

Father: No, a regular, alive-type squirrel.

Director: Damn. Wait, what’s that noise?

Father: My wife’s hair dryer.

Director: A ghost hair dryer?

Father: Pretty sure, no.

Director: Shoot. Wait! Oh my god! What is that thing!!!?

Father: That’s my daughter.

Director: An undead-

Father: No! How long are you going to be here again?

Director: Until we get some decent footage.

Father: Oh, my bad. Yes, that’s the ghost of my poor, dead daughter.

Daughter: Daddy!

I’ve seen a couple of these shows and inevitably the announcer must make a somber announcement about how ghosts are created. Something like: ‘And when people die by violence or with a strong, negative emotion like anger, they can become ghosts.’

Well, duh.

But that seems to be rather broad criteria. I mean, if I died while watching a Barney video, I’d probably come back pretty pissed off as well.
Tomorrow: Part 2

Monday, June 15, 2009

Olympia Comics Festival: The Revenge

So, Saturday was the Olympia Comics Festival. Leigh and I attended (naturally) and were once again right next to our good friends and con-buddies Beth and Maria from Famine Lands. We had a lovely time chatting about what we were going to be doing at Comic-Con coming up in July.

Olympia was a very nice, small con. There were only about fifteen tables, but attendence was surprisingly high. We talked with a lot of people and as is the case at most small cons, people were much more prone to stopping and chatting for a while.

Special mention needs to go out to our 'wonder-fan' who rode the bus down from Seattle just to see us. However, because Leigh and I are complete idiots, neither one of us can remember her name. Seriously. The poor woman rode public transportation down to see us and we can't recall her name. We are bastards and apologize profusely.

Hopefully, she will show up again at one of the local cons and we can get her name and enshrine it in a special place (or she can email us, hint hint).

On another note, Lukas Ketner, a fellow 2009 Russ Manning award nominee was not there, though his writer was. We had a nice chat and discussed getting Leigh and Lukas together for some sort of 'art fight' to determine who gets the award. We got as far as discussing selling tickets before we realized no one would pay to watch two artists draw angrily at one another.

Anyhow, we wish Lukas the best of luck and congratulations for also being nominated.

Overall, it was a very pleasant day and a very pleasant con. We will definately go back next year.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Olympia Comics Festival

Just a quick reminder: Leigh and I will be at the Olympia Comics Festival this Saturday. It's free to attend, so come on by and say 'hi' and/or shower us with money.

Seriously. We'll accept cash, checks, dinari, pounds, rupees, and Euros. Bullion and gold kugerands are also acceptable.

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Will Create Doomsday Weapon for Food: Part 2

You could try and sell your wares to established dictators and tyrants. The problem, though, is that by the time they’re established, they’ve probably already got an evil scientist or two already on staff. You’d just end up being the new guy who’s probably going to get blown up in an ‘accident’ involving a prototype gun that shoots monkeys-tipped sharks.

Ideally, you would find an overlord who’s just staring out. The question then becomes where, exactly, do you find them? Bars would be a good place to start, as would bail bondsman, mortuaries, or grocery stores (even overlords need to do their shopping). Once a likely candidate was found, you’d just need to introduce yourself and casually mention the whole ‘evil’ thing.

For example: a university mixer.


‘Uh, hello.’

‘Nice goatee.’


‘I’m Dr. Manfred von Doom. I specialize in creating extremely large freezing rays and various other cold-based weapons.’

‘Umm, Bob Smith. I’m in insurance.’

‘Really? Evil insurance?’

‘No. Just regular insurance.’

‘Ah. Have you ever considered evil as a career? I mean, you’ve got that whole ‘evil look’ going.’

‘Are you hitting on me?’

Granted, you’ll probably get beaten up a lot, but it will all be worth it in the long run when you have a nice, shiny lab, a suitably deformed assistant, and access the most advanced brain melting technology on the planet.

Frankly, it would all be a lot easier if Monster just had a proper ‘evil’ section.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Will Create Doomsday Weapon for Food: Part 1

As someone who works in the computer game industry, I’m sometimes forced to ask the tough questions. How many hit points should a pink ponysaurus have? If one were to fire a cow from a cannon, how many pieces of cow would hit the target? If an alien spacecraft leaves Rigel traveling at Warp 4 and a spacecraft leaves Omicron Persei 8 at Warp 6.7, how much of the Earth could the spacecraft that arrived first vaporize before the other got there?

Yes, my lot is a hard one.

One question that occurred the other day was a much simpler one: how do evil scientists find work?


Let’s pretend for just a moment that you’re not yourself. You are, in fact, a scientist of the ‘mad’ variety. Yes, you can merely be ‘eccentric’ if you prefer, though you’re the kind of eccentric that likes to bolt bits of things to metal tables and then wave them around in thunderstorms, just to see what happens.
So, anyway, you’re a scientist sufficiently mad enough to want to build a doomsday weapon (or three). Now, you don’t really want all the tedium of having minions, building an empire, fighting off the forces of good, or doing your own laundry, so you want the next best thing: you want to get hired by an evil overlord and build doomsday weapons for him. That way, you get the big, flashy lab and don’t have to bother with the details.

There’s only one problem: how do you find an evil overlord to work for? I’m pretty sure Monster.com doesn’t have an ‘evil scientist’ listing.

NOTE: I did a search for ‘evil’ on Monster.com and only found one listing for a Parking Enforcement Officer. Not terribly evil, as far as I’m concerned. I did get 93 hits for ‘lawyer’ though (3204 for ‘sex’).

You could, of course, do something sufficiently evil to get noticed, but that might land you in jail with a lot of people much bigger and stronger than you. It would be like high school all over again (and nobody wants that).

Tomorrow: Part 2

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Well, the current news from my corner of the Pacific Northwest is: it’s hot. It’s frickin’ hot. I actually saw a small dog explode from the heat. Well, it was either that or cats have developed advanced missile technology, either is possible.

NOTE: I didn’t actually see a dog explode. I did see some sort of critter go off, but I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was a dog. It might have been a marmoset. Or a chupacabra. I dunno.

The joke is that I used to live in Fresno, California (The Raisin Capital of the World). It routinely got to 110° in the summer. Anything below 100° was ‘warm.’ Anything below 70° was practically sweater weather. Ice did not naturally occur in Fresno, it was something you got out of a soda machine.

Anyway, it may be just me, but the weather has been ‘mad scientist crazy’ lately. We had serious, deep snow several times during the winter and now it’s hotter than . . . well, not hell, but definitely much hotter than it has any right to be.

I would normally blame ninjas, but they’re worse off than most, what with the black, full-body pajamas. I could also blame Canada, but I already blamed them for the cold snap we had, so that would be redundant.

Therefore, I choose to blame the guy in the red Honda that beeped at me for no reason at the stop sign today. I rolled up, stopped, and was letting another car go when be ‘beeped’ at me. It wasn’t an angry honk, just a quick tap, but I don’t know why he bothered, as it was going to cost him maybe ten seconds. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to warn me that there wasn’t a psychopath in the bed of my truck, preparing to assault me with a pair of salad tongs (I check for that every morning).

Obviously, his beep was some sort of code for ‘ha ha, I made it hot.’ So damn you, red Honda guy, damn you for making me uncomfortable and slightly sticky.

Okay, really sticky.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Rat City Rollergirls

So, this weekend I went to see the Championship match for the Rat City Rollergirls, the Seattle area women's roller derby league.

I'm not normally one to watch sports (I vastly prefer to play), but this was a lot of fun. The players are volunteers (I think everyone associated is) and pay for their own gear and expenses. They obviously love the sport and it showed, as they looked like they were having a great time despite (and perhaps because of) the bruises. There were no egos on display or tantrums like you often see in so-called 'professional' sports. They just had fun.

Anyway, if you want a fun afternoon some time, I heartily recommend checking out one of the matches.

And congratulations to the Derby Liberation Front, the season champs!