Thursday, September 30, 2010

Time Off for Azeroth

Honestly, if you think about everything that’s happened, it would really suck to live on Azeroth.

For the three people out there who haven’t heard, Blizzard is releasing the third World of Warcraft expansion: Cataclysm.

To sum up: things are trying to kill you. Again.

Let’s recap the last few decades of Azeroth’s history:
• Orcs invade
• Orcs invade again
• Arthas, perhaps the greatest twit in history, tries to kill everyone. Everyone fights back and Arthas runs away.
• Much like recess in the 4th grade, sides are picked and the Alliance and the Horde declare open season on each other
• A portal opens and everyone decides it would be nice to go to through and fight in a place where you can literally fall off the world
• Someone notices that there’s an entire continent full of giants, undead, and other vicious critters just to the north. Oh, and Arthas lives there. 10 million people immediately rush there to kill things and take their stuff.

And now, Deathwing, a rather pissed-off dragon who was supposed to be dead (I think), basically blows up the ocean and rips apart the continents (though honestly, the Barrens needed a bit of a touch up).

Personally, I think Azeroth needs a break. Seriously. Just a year or two where no new ultimate evil shows up, it stops raining fire, and everyone can just, y’know, chill.

The Horde and the Alliance could get together and maybe have a barbecue, listen to the Azerothian equivalent of Jimmy Buffet, knock back some margaritas, and just not be in dire peril. And rather than slaughtering giant mutated three-headed boars for their livers, the various races could just spend some time in the garden or reading a nice book. Something relaxing.

Seriously. I work a 40-hour week at a computer and I desperately need my weekends. Spending years fighting demonic invaders who want to rip your heart out with a corkscrew and a Barney hand-puppet should get you at least a fortnight off.

NOTE: A fortnight is two weeks and comes from the Old English phrase ‘fēowertēne niht’ which means ‘cow bladder.’

And frankly, the denizens of Azeroth should really take a break while they can, because once everyone gets tired of killing Deathwing, something even worse will happen.

Oh, and I might just have to roll a Tauren Paladin. That would rock :)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jet City ’10: After Action Report

There was no fanfare that morn. No trumpet sounded a call. No sergeant yelled obscenities. It was a morning just like any other, save that men and women would clash in a convention center. A place that would henceforth be sanctified by their struggle.

I speak, of course, of Jet City 2010.

The morning began badly, as I overslept and had to rush to Leigh’s. We dispensed with the customary ‘shovel-to-the-face’ and instead leapt straight into his car and after a few minutes, back out again, realizing we were in the wrong automobile.

After a quick stop for coffee and some competitive arm wrestling, we arrived at the Convention Center, where hordes of nerds were already gathered, eager to gape and paw at the wares displayed inside.

To our right was Cari Corene, writer and artist of a book called Toilet Genie, a marvelous modern fairy tale about toilets and . . . er . . . genies. To our left was Randi Emberlin, a veteran of the comics wars, whose steady nerves kept our spirits up in the face of the impending horde.

Our back was guarded by our most worthy friends and artists Jason Metcalf, Randy Kintz, and Jason Martin of Super Real Graphics. Shane White manned a table by himself towards the rear and Beth Guizzetti of Famine Lands held the far right flank, while Chuck Messenger and Josh ‘Bile’ Cantrell of Creator’s Edge Press formed a salient ahead of us.

Just as our final book was put in place, the doors opened and battle was joined. There were nerds to the left of us and nerds to our right. There were cries of joy and shouts aplenty. Someone spilled a coke. A child cried. I cried. Leigh cried too, but he won’t admit it.

Just as our strength began to wan our colorist, Leah Rivera, appeared to bolster our line and I was able to range out to help our comic brethren. Keith Curtis of Crater on the Moon was there, along with Erik Thompson of Mad Atom Studios. The Indies were also represented and John Kantz was also seen amongst the throng. Brian Beardsley of Night Rail Press was also there.

A special mention of Brian Randolph, Sherpa Extraordinaire and local representative of the Hero Initiative should be made. They help comics veterans who've fallen ill or likewise in need of aid. Truly, a worthy cause.

Throughout the day, Brian Meredith of the Lynwood Comic Stop and co-creator of Jet City ranged back and forth shouting words of encouragement. The Knights of Solaris stopped by to lend their aid with mandolins and pointy things of foam. Scott Kurtz of PVP even appeared and said nice things to us, as did Phil Foglio of Girl Genius. Phil is true gentleman, as he always pretends he remembers me from the numerous times I've said 'hi' to him at cons. Blue Sun, a friend and fan showed up and chatted with us for a while, much to our delight.

At long last, the day was done. The booths were in tatters, their wares expended in the fray. The vendors, young and old alike, sank into their chairs, wiping the sweat of a hard day from their brow.

Books were packed away. Tablecloths folded. And then to a pub we went, where much beer was consumed and the phrase ‘huffin’ on the downstroke’ was used. No, I don’t know what it means, but it took three pitchers of beer to come up with, so it has to mean something.

This first Jet City is long over now, but its memory will linger on . . . oh, wait. Three pitchers of beer have pretty much blotted everything out. In fact, I’m not sure how I got home. Nor why I now have a tattoo of a fedora on my butt.

NOTE: I’m the designated driver, so yeah, I just drove us home. Still no clue about the tat though.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fiery, Smoky Death

I am referring to the hard drive on my mail machine. Yes, it went bad. No, it didn't actually smoke or spew flames. Things just sort of stopped working. Like my entire Office Suite, for starters. Other programs quickly joined in and I'm now left with a squarish lump that really doesn't do much.

But not to fear, I religiously back up all my data, so nothing is permanently lost. I just have to transfer stuff to my old machine and hope it too doesn't decide to bite the dust.

So, this Sunday I get to buy a new hard drive, reinstall everything on it, including three different anti-virus programs, and then get it set up so all of its parts are working in harmony once more.

Saturday, however, will be JET CITY! Yes, the first show is this weekend and I urge you all to come out and say 'hello.' Leigh and I will be there in all our pasty glory and we're looking forward to seeing all our con-buddies and fans.

Look for the usual blogs and updates next week.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Never Trust a Woman in a Mask: Part 5

“Come on back,” she said, padding down the hall in her bare feet. I followed and noticed a tangle of twisted, brightly-colored rubber in the corner of the hall, as if someone had made a balloon animal and then savagely murdered it. I didn’t give it much thought.

We went into one of three doors and I saw a sparse office that just contained a desk with a chair behind it, a trophy that showed a woman running from a zombie, and an empty birdcage.

She sat down in the only chair, placing the gun on the table in front of her.
I stood there for a moment, debating whether or not to just sit on the floor, and then decided to lean against the wall.

She smiled.

“What’s so funny?”

“Last guy that leaned against my wall didn’t do so well.”

“Why’s that?”

“Clown got him.”

I raised an eyebrow. “The outline downstairs?”


I shifted. “Why’s a guy talking to you getting whacked by a clown in someone else’s office?”

“Ask the Harlequin.”

“No thanks, I like breathing. So, you never did say how you knew about my gall bladder.”

“I have a bug downstairs.”

“I see. The beauty mark?”

“One of several.” She picked up the Desert Eagle and idly scratched her temple with it. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said, when she saw my expression. She pointed it up and pulled the trigger. A small flag popped out. It said ‘KA-BLAM!!!!’

“I thought they said ‘BANG?’

“Most do. This is a Desert Eagle. I couldn’t fit ‘OH MY GOD, THIS THING IS SO LOUD IT CAN BE HEARD IN SPACE!’”

“Good point.”

She dropped the gun into a drawer and leaned forward, her chin on her hands. “I can take out your gall bladder,” she said.

“Good. How much?” I pulled my wallet out. “I’ve got about 100 bucks, a set of floor mats, and a sweet chair.”

She shook her head. “I have something else in mind.”

“Like what?”

She rose, gesturing towards the bird cage. “Someone grabbed my bird. Left a note.”

“Really?” I looked at the cage. It was a nice model, with a swing, a mirror, a little tiny moat, and a sniper’s nest.

And then she hit me with the trophy.

Tomorrow: Part 6 – THE CONCLUSION

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Little Pacifists

So, I'm playing this game called Majesty 2. It's a fantasy-sim where you build up your town and hire heroes whom you send on quests and such. Each level has a theme or particular challenge and I've been going through them and having fun, but now I'm completely stuck on this one level.

You see, there are a couple of rival lords and my town is right between them, so I'm stuck betwixt an enemy sandwich, as it were, and their heroes keep stomping the snot out of my town.

The thing is, my heroes seem really loathe to attack the enemy. In fact, they often run away (even when they're much higher level) and it's driving me nuts. They will walk right by the enemy heroes as they're busily destroying my castle and completely ignore them in order to fight a rat or something equally wimpy.

The only thing I can come up with is that my little men are all pacifists and can't bear the thought of shedding a fellow heroe's blood. This is unfortunate, as it reduces me to screaming 'No! Attack him! Him! The guy with the sword who's murdering the peasant DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU!' at my computer. Strangely enough, this does nothing to motivate my little guys.

I'm also sure my upstairs neighbor really appreciates this.

Anyway, if anyone knows a good tactic for getting past this level, let me know.

Have a good and safe weekend. We will be back next week with the usual updates and blogs.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Never Trust a Woman in a Mask: Part 4

“Yeah,” I said slowly. “How’d you know?”

She tapped her foot on the floor. “Old building. Thin floors.”

“I doubt it,” I replied. “Otherwise I would have heard you walking around. Stiletto heels aren’t terribly quiet.”

“Good guess.”

“Not really. Women who hang around in the shadows smoking cigarettes always wear stilettos. I bet you have a little hat with a veil on it too.”

She smiled at me. Well, she showed her teeth, so I assumed it was a smile. “And I suppose you know what I eat for breakfast?”

“Lucky Charms. You say it’s just for the toy surprise.”

“Close. I’m a Captain Crunch girl.” She walked forward into the light. She was wearing a severely cut woman’s suit with stiletto heels. Dark hair framed a pale face, but the thing that drew my attention was the Desert Eagle in her right hand.

“Huh. I figured you for a snub-nosed .38.”

“It’s in the shop.” She leaned against the wall, gun held level at my midsection. “So, cowboy, you’re awfully glib for a guy with an organ trying to kill him.”

“You’re awfully well-armed for a Dame.”

She laughed. “Well, you kill a vampire in front of the Queen, it tends to leave an impression.” She waved the gun nonchalantly. “Relax. I’m not pointing it at you. I’m pointing it at your gall bladder.”

“How considerate.” I glanced around. “A chair or two would be nice.”

“I only had one left and I didn’t want you walking off with it.”

“That was a gift.”

“It was a figure of speech.”

We looked at each other for a few moments in silence. Ash from her cigarette dropped off, leaving a little clump on the otherwise immaculate floor.

“So,” I finally said. “Are we going to keep up the bad film noir parody or should we move on?”

“Oh, thank god!” she said, kicking off her heels. “Those things kill my feet.”

Next week: Part 5

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Never Trust a Woman in a Mask: Part 3

I turned, denting the wall with one of the chair legs. “Did you reconsider?”

He shook his head. “I was just going to validate your parking.”

“No need. I parked on the lawn.”

We stared at each other for a moment. Well, he stared at me. I was watching the beauty mark meander down the hallway.

“Look,” he finally said. “I know a Dame.”

“Congratulations. And I don’t think anyone calls them ‘dames’ anymore.”

“No, she’s a Dame. Like, when women get knighted, they’re not ‘Sirs,’ they’re Dames.”

“Like Dame Judy Dench?”

“Exactly.” He produced a pen and drew a picture of a frog slapping an elk on the side of my chair. “Turn it over,” he said, just as I was about to protest. It was an address. “You go talk to her. Tell her I sent you. And tell her I liked the gift basket, though brie gives me gas. And then, if you’ve got time, tell her about the situation in Prague.”

“What situation in Prague?”

“Exactly.” He nodded and turned to go back into the examination room.

I left the office, stepping carefully over the body outline and made my way back to my truck. I secured the chair into the bed with some bungie cords and took a look at the address. It was for an office on the third floor of the Palm Tree Office Plaza.

I turned around and looked at the sign on the wall behind me. I was at the Palm Tree Office Plaza. The office was directly upstairs from the one I just visited. I decided to just leave the chair there.

The door to the office was labeled ‘Mad Mongoose, Inc.’ There was a little drawing of an upset mongoose with a knife. I looked at it upside down, but I can’t read Chinese.

This waiting room was painted stark white and contained nothing but a small mobile hung from the ceiling featuring a walrus, a whale, and an albatross.

“So,” said a feminine voice. I looked over past the reception desk. A woman was there, mostly hidden in the shadows. A curl of smoke rose from her cigarette, the ember glowing brightly as she took a pull. “I hear you have a gall bladder you need taken care of,” she said.

Tomorrow: Part 4

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday, Yet Again

Hey all!

It's been a busy week as usual. I went to visit my surgeon for my post-op visit and he said everything went great in surgery and that I now (quote) 'can do anything I want.'

Several things I wanted to do immediately sprang to mind:
Eat an entire Meat Lover's pizza
Take my pants off
Make someone incontinent solely with the power of my mind
Teach a hot alien babe about this thing we humans call love
Go back in time and kick my 13-year-old self in the ass
Solve the world's problems via buying everybody ice-cream
Talk to a girl

Obviously, none of these things happened. Well, my pants were already off, so it kinda did.

Have a great weekend. We'll be back on next week with more blogs and pages.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Never Trust a Woman in a Mask: Part 2

The man shook his head, his finger going to his lips. “I’m sorry,” he said, as he wrote something on a pad of paper. “I think you have the wrong person.”

“But, Meredith-“ I began, only to stop at his glare.

He held up the paper, showing me a crude drawing of a dog, or possibly a donkey, farting. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

I pointed at the drawing and shrugged. He looked at it, his eyebrow going up at what he saw. He rotated the page 180 degrees and held it up again.

The drawing was now a sentence. ‘Careful,’ it read. ‘It might be listening.’

“Oh, that’s okay.” I said. “I stunned it with a double-bean burrito with extra sour cream at lunch.”

“Good. You’re smarter than you look.” He tossed the page to one side and ran a hand through his thinning black hair. “Gall bladders are tough,” he said. “This ain’t going to be cheap.”

“I’ve got a hundred bucks, an unused lottery ticket from 1993, and this chair.”

He chuckled. “Not even close. If it goes wrong, your gall bladder’ll come after me.”

“You afraid of a gall bladder?”

He sneered and reached down to pull up his pant leg, revealing a shiny, plastic artificial leg. “Lost that fifteen years ago.” He tapped it, letting the hollow sound reverberate through the office. “I’d taken out three gall bladders, thought I knew it all. I got cocky. Didn’t take precautions. I lost my leg. Smitty lost his life.”

He fell silent. The beauty mark landed on one of the Seventeen magazines, right on the model’s cheek. Outside, a bird warbled, sounding just like the guitar solo from ‘Teen Spirit.’

“Who was Smitty?”

He looked away. “He was my second cousin, once removed. Great kisser. He drowned in a vat of salsa twenty years ago.”

“The gall bladder got him?”

“Nah. He just didn’t listen to the tour guide.”

“So his death is totally irrelevant to the story?”

“Yeah.” He shrugged. “It sounds better when I add that in.”

I leaned on the chair on my lap. Somewhere in the building, a clock chimed four and a half times.

“I could go one-twenty and I’ll throw in a set of floor mats for an ’87 LeBaron.”

He shook his head. “No. I don’t tussle with gall bladders anymore. You got an appendix you want bumped off, I’m your man. Tonsils? No problem. Electrolysis? Well, I know a lady, but no gall bladders. Not anymore.”

“Guess I am in the wrong place,” I said, as I slipped off the examination table. “I was looking for a professional.” I brushed past him. “Thanks for the chair,” I said, as I opened the door.

I was halfway down the hall when he called out.


Next week: Part 3

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Never Trust a Woman in a Mask: Part 1

The address was scrawled on the back of a used envelope and it led me to a dimly lit corner of the Palm Tree Office Plaza. I found the door I was told about: flaking green paint and a burn mark that looked like a top hat, and went in.

The dark lobby smelled of cigarettes and bug spray. A clown nose was stuck to the wall with a switchblade and I’m pretty sure the red mark on the floor beneath it wasn’t grease paint. I ducked under the police tape and stepped towards the counter, trying to avoid the remains of a balloon animal on the floor.

There was a cough from the counter and I looked up, to see a woman in a faded blue dress watching me. Her brown hair was up in a tight bun and she was smoking a cigarette. There was a large beauty mark on her left cheek.

“Whaddya want?” she said, blowing a smoke triangle towards the ceiling.

“I need to see the professional.”

She blew a smoke parallelogram, causing her beauty mark leap off and buzz about the room. “He ain’t in.”

“Meredith sent me,” I said, laying a buck fifty in loose change on the counter.

The change disappeared. “Take a seat.”

I found the chair with the smallest bloodstain and picked it up. The lobby itself was done in the same faded green paint as the door, with only a few old pictures on the walls for decoration. A single magazine lay on the floor in the middle of a chalk outline. It had a bullet hole in it.

My arms started to get tired from holding the chair. “What’s his story?” I asked, nodding at the outline.

The receptionist shrugged. “I heard he got on the wrong side of the clown mafia.”

“It’s the greasepaint,” I said. “Makes ‘em crazy.”

There was a buzz and the receptionist glanced down. “He’ll see you now.” She gestured towards the back. “First door on the left.”

I walked past her, banging the chair on her desk as I went by. She didn’t appear to notice. There were three doors in back and I went into the first on one the left. The room was empty save for an examination table, a rack of power tools, a pair of Italian loafers on a shelf, a saddle, a large stack of pizza boxes, and three years worth of Seventeen magazine sorted by month. So yeah, empty.

I sat on the examination table, letting the chair rest against my thighs. After a few minutes, the door banged open and a heavyset man with slumped shoulders shuffled in. He leaned against the wall and stared at me with his good eye.

The receptionist’s beauty mark buzzed by.

“So,” he finally said. “What can I do for you?”

“It’s my gall bladder,” I said. “It’s trying to kill me.”

Tomorrow: Part 2

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Next Comic Will Be Late

So, as a distraction, here's a video of a cute kitten.

Honestly, this is one of the most adorable things I've ever seen and I'm not one to use 'adorable' lightly. When my niece was seven and dressed up as Tinkerbell for Halloween, I rated it as merely 'cute.' This is also when my mother declared that I was a soul-less robot.

I may have also been cut out of the will. I'll have to check.

Anyway, the page will be up as soon as Leigh's power is restored, hopefully on Wednesday.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Less of Me to Love

Hey all,

I just wanted to let you all know that the blogs will be back next week. I took this week off due to having surgery on Tuesday. Some of you may recall me complaining about my gall bladder trying to kill me, but I struck first and had the little bastard 'eliminated' when it wasn't looking.

So I spent most of this week sleeping and eating several times my body weight in soup. I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered, so look for new blogs next week.

Coincidentally, the first one will probably be about my surgery and how I had to fight a tyrannosaurus while wearing one of those gowns that opens in the back.

At least, I’m pretty sure it was a tyrannosaurus. It might have been a doctor in green scrubs. Which would also explain why I woke up with a black eye.