Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gabby & Chewie Comic Strip #5

With the holidays here, it's been kind of hard to put anything together for the blog. Luckily, I was able to scrounge up an old Gabby and Chewie comic to share.




Chewie loves rolling around on the stairs:


Especially when I'm trying to walk down the stairs. 
She has no fear of being stepped on and yet that is what I fear daily:

I'm sure, one day, I will step on her and slide down the stairs with her underfoot:

Leaving us both in a bloody and dead mess:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Whut Up Wit Dat?

I was in the store the other day and was astonished by this new book:

 Apparently the only thing that Crichton believes in less than global warming is death.

So in response to this book, I've written and published a companion book:


Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Was a Weird Kid

Surprised, are you? Neither am I. I mean "weird" is probably relative, but I think there were probably only a handful of kids growing up in the 90s and 00s (unless we're talking 1890s) who thought it would be cool to wear spurs to school. I never did wear spurs, so I guess I was a reluctant weirdo, but I still thought it would be awesome to hear the ching - ching - ching of the spur as I walked the halls.


I also realized though, that I would probably accidentally slice my own shin with the spur and then bleed and cry all over the place.


So along with wishing I was a cowboy,


my overactive imagination also resulted in (and still does to this day) worst case scenario fears. If that didn't make me a really weird kid, then I don't know what make kids really weird. Seriously.

As a kid I also wore a lot of flannel.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ryj
Okay, so it was "in fashion" at the time, but I probably should not have worn it every day. I just really liked flannel, and once pj pants became "fashionable" in school I could match my flannel shirts with my flannel pj pants. I don't think schools should have ever let kids wear pj pants, but it definitely made my school days more comfortable!

Either way, wearing a flannel "suit" (essentially) probably made me look like quite the lumberjack.


Eventually, all the flannel in my wardrobe made its way to the Goodwill store and I lived free of flannel dreams and spur nightmares. That doesn't mean that after all these years I don't still wish I was a cowboy and a few flannel shirts haven't made it back into my closet.

I guess some weirdness just can't be escaped. Then again, wanting to be a cowboy and looking like a lumberjack is probably only the beginning of my weirdness...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dialogue Between Books

I read something really interesting lately that suggested that all books written, all books being written and all books that will be written in the future are in dialogue with one another.  I think this is very true. When I write my own novels I see how stories I've read before help craft my own stories. I see how I respond to characters I've read about either positively or negatively with my own characters. I see myself combat similar scenarios and find new outcomes. I mean, where would literature be now without the classics to learn from and to build off of? And where will books be in the future without the work people are coming up with today?

Consider the books you've read and see if there is a bit of a "call and response" there. And consider the stuff you're writing, what are you saying about what's come before and what are you saying to what will come in the future?

Monday, October 31, 2011

200!

So I've made it to 200 posts. I wanted to do a photo blog, but instead I settled for a comic. It's actually 2 for the price of one (since one only makes sense with the other and since the second is more applicable than the first). Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Trendsetter Pt. 1:

     


Trendsetter Pt. 2 OR How No One Will Confuse Me For Maurice Ravel :


Oh, Poe, how I hate thee. You and your teletubbie alter ego...

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Good Museum Is Hard To Find Pt. 2

On September 24th, the Smithsonian hosted an event, country wide, that would allow for free admission to any participating museum.

 While this was an exciting opportunity, the problem of finding a good museum came up again. I started with a search of nearby participating museums, but eventually had to search in a larger radius from my home. Even though it would be a three hour ride, the South Carolina State Museum looked like the obvious choice. Surprise, surprise.


With four floors, thousands of artifacts and multiple exhibits, this museum was just begging for visitors.

The first floor we started on delved into the history of South Carolina, with a dated but interesting and unbiased video to begin the tour. It was a very refreshing and informative take on the history of the South unlike the stupid movie at the Savannah history museum. After the video, you tour the halls in chronological order, exploring South Carolina's vast history through colonization, wars and societal changes. The next floors were dedicated to science and technology, natural history, and art.

Some highlights:

They had an exhibit on dueling. Who isn't excited by that? Not only were there dueling pistols but there also were dueling rule books (like books about the rules for dueling). The only thing missing was a guy standing at the exhibit that would remove his glove and smack you with it.

I challenge you to break the glass and take the historic pistols so we can have a duel!
I don't want to break the glass, the alarm will sound.
I don't want to either, I guess we should move along and duel some other day.

There also was a replica Revolutionary War gun that you could hold. It was chained to the wall so I couldn't flee with it, but that doesn't mean I didn't try:

Why yes, I am wearing my I heart History shirt from the Henry Ford Museum.
Thank you for  noticing. ;)

And last but not least, there was a giant tire. Unfortunately I got lost within its rubbery depths for about a half an hour, and then finally came back up for air just in time to go explore more of this massive museum.

I wonder if I'll remember my life beyond this rubbery prison...


The entire museum is housed in what it calls its "largest artifact", the former Columbia Mill, this massive museum left me with little to complain about. Although I do have at least one complaint. Since the museum is housed in the Columbia Mill, the history of the Mill is explored, and while the exhibit on milling has photographs of children, there is nothing about child labor discussed in the exhibit. It kind of felt like how Savannah avoided discussing slavery at their museum. It's probably a general oversight since SCSM didn't seem to be avoiding anything when relaying history but I was surprised to see it left out. I guess I'm always on the lookout for things that I think people want to avoid when relaying history, and I'm sure that there are other people who have been through SCSM and found things they thought were missing too.

Unfortunately we were unable, during our visit, to also see the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room which is attached to the museum. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see it next time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Good Museum Is Hard To Find Pt. 1

So after visiting Savannah and being terribly disappointed in the Savannah History Museum, I wasn't sure where to go to find a good museum. Technically, I've been to Andersonville, and I think that's a good museum, but I wanted to find one closer and one I hadn't been to yet.

Upon a unplanned jaunt to South Carolina, our exit on the highway boasted of also being the exit for people who were interested in the John C. Calhoun house. Why yes and thank you (I said to myself and the sign I guess).

(Picture of a painting of John C. Calhoun)
So in the lovely little town of Anderson, SC (where we got off the highway), we were first treated by viewing the historic Calhoun lofts:


I wasn't aware that Calhoun owned, lived in or operated any lofts while he was alive, but they looked pretty fancy from the outside, and anything that says historic probably means it (because who would claim that if it weren't true?) Okay, so maybe the lofts actually used to be a hotel in the 1920s so they can be considered historic, but somehow I don't think they have any link to Calhoun (although I could be wrong).

Anyways, after our business was complete in Anderson, we made our way over to Clemson, SC. Apparently Clemson is a city built around a university, or maybe it's a university built inside of a city. Either way, Clemson is home to Calhoun's home (if that makes sense). So his house is the center of campus but unfortunately he had a son-in-law who started the college and now the place is much more well known for his son-in-law than it is for him. When we went through the walk through of the house they didn't share a whole lot about Calhoun as I expected, but that's okay, I probably know more about him than I'd care to admit anyways.

(Fort Hill: Calhoun's and later Clemson's Home)

That brings me to my final point, so why seek out Calhoun's humble abode? Contrary to popular opinion, while Calhoun was a crazy mo-fo, I'm not really anti-Calhoun. Frankly, the enemy of my enemy should, in theory, be my friend, and since Calhoun and Jackson were enemies, Calhoun and I should be friends, but Calhoun had a lot of enemies, so it would be hard to say who I should be friends with or who my enemies are. Either way, history is wonderful to explore and historic homes always enchant me, so I was down with seeing Calhoun's digs even though I might not have agreed with all of his political and personal beliefs. 

So this venture into South Carolina proved eventful and when it came time once again to search out a good museum, to South Carolina I went a callin'.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Can Happen In A Month?

Absolutely nothing.

It's true, I spent a month away, for no good reason other than it was hard coming up with things to write about and then as the time passed I felt even more awkward about coming back. It's like that friend you were supposed to call but then you wait too long and then you feel like a jerk and think maybe they're mad, maybe they don't want to talk anymore, how are you going to explain why it took you so long? And then you just keep sitting on it, knowing you're supposed to call but feeling worse and worse about not doing it and anxious about the conversation that will happen if you do call. And so you don't call and then years pass, lifetimes pass and then one day you're walking around the supermarket and you see them and they're all like: "Weren't you supposed to call me?" and you're all like: "Who are you? I'm 70 and I have dementia!" And then you try to run away as fast as possible with your bum knees and walker decked out with yellow tennis balls.

Well, my blog caught my elderly self at the supermarket, and I was too slow to run away so here I am, blogging again. Not that I would ever leave for that long, but it's hard showing up when you feel like you have nothing to talk about. So back to the title of this post, What Can Happen In A Month? Pretty much not a whole lot (if you're me). Got a few job interviews, got an awful, awful cold, had a couple of birthday celebrations (yes my birthday was in September - sorry you missed it ;p) and then did a whole lot of nothing. Well not nothing, I'm in school, job hunting, having visitors and holding down the fort but it feels like nothing because it's just the same old, same old.

I still don't think I've got a whole lot to share here, but the blog keeps haunting my dreams (and my supermarket visits) so I figured I had to come back. Even if we haven't chatted in a while, once I finally break the cycle of silence it's easier to get back to where things were and to see things into something better.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gabby & Chewie Comic Strip #4

I know I should post something other than a comic, but I can't help myself. There's a lot of comics waiting to be posted and I'm not up for thinking up something complex right now so here goes.


People wonder why I get so weird about the cats being in the bathroom so I've created this comic to demonstrate.

Even when I do my best to shut them out, given the tiniest opportunity, Gabby will rush in at top speed just to be in the inner sanctum which is a bathroom.

At times, the only way to get her out is to use the toilet plunger to poke her enough that she comes out from hiding behind the toilet.


Speaking of toilets, nothing says this is a fun time than jumping in the toilet and having the lid shut and break your tiny cat neck (I truly feared this would happen to my cats for many years).


But if not for her safety, then for the safety of my belongings which sit on the counter and appear to her to be toys or "sink candy" (items to be knocked down the drain never to be seen again).



 And speaking of candy, what happens when she breaks into all the medicine and eats it thinking it's candy? The last thing I want is to wake up in the middle of the night and trip over a dead cat on the way to the toilet. 


So no cats in the bathroom for as long as I can manage it, which will hopefully be forever as I don't want their tiny deaths on my hands.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More Q and A!

I get lots of questions from readers and on occasion I like to share the answers to those questions. Here are a few of the more recent ones:
Let’s say one day you decide to go swimming in the ocean. A hungry shark is coming your way, an angry grizzly bear is on the shore and a gigantic pterodactyl is flying above you. What do you do?
What I would do is entice the pterodactyl to fly low enough that I could catch it and toss it to the shark which was diving in mid air towards me. Then I would collect the pterodactyl’s severed head and swim to shore and use the bird’s beak as a weapon against the grizzly. Once the bear is sufficiently blinded through a series of stabbing and slicing with the sharp beak I would then throw his body to the shark and claim the land as my own. Isn’t that what everyone would do?
I tend to enjoy the books you mention on your blog. What are you currently reading?
Well, not to disappoint, but right now I’m nerding it out with the book called “The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War 1848-1861” by David M. Potter. Okay, so the book is for school but I’m enjoying it way too much for any regular person. If you really like learning about the Civil War and haven’t read this book, it’s a pretty interesting read as it explains a lot of the aspects that led to war.  Other than that, I can recommend some good books I’ve enjoyed in the past. I’ve really enjoyed the Lee and Taro series by Moira J. Moore. It’s a very good series of books about a fantastical world with a strong female and an equally strong male lead character. I also really enjoy the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. It’s an urban fantasy series with werewolves and vamps but it has an amazing lead female and the stories are very engaging. I know there are more books out there that I like but I’ll have to think about it and get back to you with more titles.
You’ve been drawing a lot of comics lately, what’s up with that?
It all started when I had a joke I wanted to tell but it would be better in images than in words. I guess technically I started drawing a long time ago, and I’ve made comics before, but the comics for this blog are new and stem from the first one that I felt was a joke that was better “seen” than “heard” – if that makes sense. I guess after the first one got some good responses I started thinking of more and more ideas that were better as comics. I don’t think the blog will ever be just posts or just comics but a nice blend of the two.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Georgia Update

I've stolen a camera (okay, borrowed and then returned it) so I could post some decent pictures for everyone. Things are going okay here. The temperature doesn't bother me and I've steadily been unpacking and organizing my new place.

In case I forget where I am, the sewer systems is kind enough to remind me:


 Here's a picture of the front of my place. Inside it's too messy to share at this point. 

Here's Gabby enjoying the air conditioning:

Chewie has just finished her lunch, apparently it was delicious:

All in all, we're getting along as well as would be expected. More updates as more things happen (which is rare).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Novel Paralysis

Everyone has heard about writer's block. Some people say it doesn't exist, others say that it ruined their writing career. Either way, you know what I'm talking about when I say writer's block. It's like you've run into a wall when writing and can't easily move past it to continue writing.

For a long time I thought I had period writer's block, but recently I realized that my condition is worse than that, I've definitely come down with Novel Paralysis, to which there may not be a cure :( But I'm not giving up, I'm going to fight it, and maybe by sharing my condition others will learn from it and perhaps be able to protect themselves from this airborne virus.

I used to force myself to get one project done at a time. If I had a bought of writer's block I would take a break and then force myself back into writing. This behavior wasn't helping my cause, as I was finding myself going months of the year with little to no writing. So then I thought, when I fizzle on one project why not work on the next until I feel compelled to return to the first one? Great idea, right? Wrong. Now I have five unfinished novels and little to compel me to finish them. So that's where my Novel Paralysis comes to play. My inability to finish a novel, to literally come to a completely immovable spot in my fiction, has now become a larger roadblock than simple writer's block used to be. But I haven't given up hope. Because I want to finish these novels, I'm going to keep working forward and find ways to compel myself to work on them.

One way to re-invest myself in my stories is to review old material. By reading from the beginning I can sometimes be excited about the characters again and continue their tales.

A second way, at least for me, is to revisit the soundtracks I made for each book. Yes, as I'm writing I find music that fits key scenes and I listen to it when I need to. By re-listening to these specific tracks I can sometimes get in the right frame of mind to see the story and to want to write it out.

A last way, that I've come up with, has to do with the characters more than anything else. By connecting with characters, I'm more invested in their outcome. I've been doing a lot of drawing lately and I realized that one way to jump back into a story is to sketch out characters. While my drawings are pretty awful, if a character can come closer to life with a visual representation then I'm more excited to write out their story. That being said, after sketching these pictures of my character Dorian from No Rest, I actually sat down and wrote four pages for this story which unfortunately I haven't wrote on for months.

(Dorian deals with a lot of guilt and I tried to show that here. I also show that she has a gun and we assume she knows how to use it. I know that her proportions are awkward. She should be short as malnutrition affects height, but I think this doesn't really look right. I also know the gun is horrible in its representation.)

(Here Dorian looks a little like a child. Okay, a lot like a child, but we can attribute that to my poor drawing skills. Proportions still seem off, but this is a good first attempt and later attempts will look better.)

Hopefully these tricks will help me finish this book because it wants to be finished! I know it is true because I can feel it in my bones...