Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seperated At Birth

Take a close look. This guy is Vlad Taltos. He's a character from a book. He's a real bad ass. People fear him.

Now look at this guy. Are they related? Are they the same person? You decide.


Back in 1984, I was introduced to what would become one of my favorite hobbies, role-playing. At the time I was a tried and true comic book nerd. This was about 7 years before "fanboy" became the word to describe the nerd nirvana of waiting in the First Edition, crushing on Holly, the girl working behind the counter, and deciding if your budget (re: allowance) can afford both X-Men and Batman this week.

I used to sit and draw pictures (okay trace was more accurate) that I thought were amazing and redesign my own superheroes. Like everyone my age, I wanted nothing more than create my own comic book, become famous, and have people drooling slavishly over my work. Hey what's the use of fame if it doesn't get you drool?

So imagine my joy when I heard that someone was offering a free "How to Create a Comic Book" class at the local library. I signed up as soon as I could. An event that had a profound experience on the rest of my life. I met others just like me, crazed and fanatic. I discovered I was never going to be an artist. See tracing and doing line copies of other peoples artwork is not a talent (DO YOU HEAR THAT MR. LEIFIELD. YOU HACK.) Gone was the dream of creating comic books. Granted I still hoped to be a comic book writer, but all the fame and fortune went to the artists.

It was at one of these "classes" that I met Paul. He was everthing you imagine a gamer should be. He also had a copy of Champions, the Superhero Roleplaying Game. My prayers were answered. I could create an unlimited number of costume clad, do-gooders. I could delve into the angst and grist of being a night stalking vigilante, determined to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. I could be the last cousin of a dying planet, teleported to Earth and imbued with powers to protect the mortal man. The possibilities were endless.

My forst character was a teen-age girl, cheerleader with the ability to shot energy from her hands. Top that Tim Kring.

Years followed, every weekend gathering at John's house, gathered around a small table, a pile of 6-siders before me, stopping villain after villain from robbing the bank. It was amazing. I also learned something about myself. I had a talent for telling a story. I've recieved complements on how well I draw a person in, on how fun I make the story, all the things a person likes to hear. It just took me until recently to be proud of that fact. For too long I was sef-depricating, resisting any complements and ignoring any critques. I became defensive.

It's time to stop being defensive and start being offensive. Or whatever.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Admit it, you've always wanted to fly. It's got to be incredible, the wind rushing past your face, the feeling of speed as you slip through the air, flying higher than the clouds.

I dream about it a lot. But mostly I want to be Nova and not only fly but be strong and damn near invulnerable.

So if you know of any alien empires looking to imbue an earthling with superhuman powers, send them my way. I'd appreciate it.

An old Dream

This is a dream I had about a year ago...

So I just woke up from a dream. One of those dreams that seems so real until you look closely at the details and realize "Hey I'm fucking dreaming."

So I'm rocking out and partying with some friends, pretty much having a good time, but nagging me in the back of my head is the fact that the girl I'm with is acting all cold and distant. (Okay first off the girl in question in my dreams is never a specific girl, either real of fictitious, she's always sort of an amalgamation of women I know, it's kinds creepy and it makes all kinds of sense at the same time.)

Needless to say her distance isn't too much of a problem at first after all it's a cool ass night hitting the bars, just acting rockstar.

But things start to mellow out and get to that point in a night when a guy likes to have a special someone give him a hug or snuggle against him, not like end of the night, but sort of that "hey I know you, we're going to leave here together, let me get a kiss" kinda time. But no, she's acting like shes got better things to do, and i get that distinct feeling she's playing games. (BTW: I hate women who play those little "jump through my hoop" games. It's so tacky. It's like rewarding a dog for doing a trick and smacks of reward for payment. I can get that from a hooker.)

So I turn to Jonny Rotten and Sid Vicious (see I told you it was a dream), and they start laughing at the whole situation and Sid punches David Bowie in the face.

Anyways I realize that she (the girl I'm with) is playing these games because it makes her feel all gooey inside knowing that I'm frustrated. It also dawns on my dreaming mind that women have this habit of doing things (all kinds of things; some smart, some stupid) in an attempt to get any visible emotional response out of a guy. Some women start fights with their guy just to know that he can be angry. Some will get melodramatic to get their guy to show some form of caring. (Note: Remember this was all in a dream so I'll plead insanity on anything held against me.) I then realized she wanted me to make her feel special the whole night, not just rock out.

And that's when it dawned on me, why the fuck should I have to treat her any different they I had been? I mean hell she was with me how much more special does she need to feel? Doesn't being with me count for shit. Fuck making a girl feel "more" special when I'm around. I'm not there to build up her self-worth and self-esteem. I'm there as proof that those things do exist in her.

Once all this hit me (and it hit the dream me and the real me at the same time), Jonny and Sid quit beating on Bowie and they all started singing "fat Bottom Girls" (thats what I get for leaving my music running while I slept).

So I think the moral of this dream is not really as harsh as it came across. But a cautionary warning to myself. I think I understand it and maybe, just maybe it will help me out in the long run.

To any ladies I may offend, get over it! It was a dream.

Peace!!! (I'm going back to sleep.)

Pretty weird.

Monday, July 28, 2008

10 DVD "Must Owns" - TV Shows

One of the greatest inventions of the last 20 years has got to be the DVD. Granted that would mean DVD players would have to be on the list too, but I really don't want to count it. I mean without DVD players we would still be using VCR's (VHS because I'm an American and not techophile enough to be a fan of Beta), and we'd be reminded to be kind and rewind.

Those little silver disks are a reminder of advancing technology and really bad Dolph Lundgren movies (if you haven't seen "I Come In Peace" you are missing a classic in aliens and cops and why DVD's are awesome weapons).

So I watch a lot of television and there have been some amazing shows out there for everyone to enjoy. I know we each have our favorites and sometimes tastes do not cross very well, but I think that there are some shows that could appeal to any audience, provided they can overcome the initial resistance of "genre" love.

I mean how many NFL football players will admit that they watch "The Gilmore Girls"? Actually I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that Terrell Owens is all about Rory's love life. I've watched a few episodes myself and found them interesting. Maybe I need to make that a thing to get into. Besides the mom on that show is kinda nice to look at.

Okay so here are my Top Ten TV Shows to own. Some of them are "genre" shows but I think the quality and writing transcend those barriers.

1) Babylon 5
J. Michael Straczynski created a show that was intended to run for 5 years then end. In a day of television uncertainty, Babylon 5 made each episode important to the story that was being told throughout those 5 years. Everything effected everything. Amazing sub plotting, plotting, foreshadowing and exposition. And it had space battles, weird aliens, mysterious cults, and psi cops. Also no one gave a speech like John Sheridan. Except Ivanova's "God sent me" moment, but who's keeping track. I can see how having to wait 5 years may have driven several people insane (Braun I'm talking to you). Watching them back to back is easier on the soul and sanity.

2) Angel
I didn't add Buffy to this list for two reasons. One I think that Angel was a far better show overall and two, I find it hard to still publicly admit I watched every episode of Buffy and like everything except Season 1 and Season 4. (Season 1 was the show was still learning what it was going to be. Season 4 just plain sucked.) Angel on the other hand, got it right and kept it going that way. Joss Whedon caused an intense session of "man crying" with the Season 1 episodes "I Will Remember You" and "Hero". Talk about kicking a guy in the gonads and then stomping on them when he's on the ground throwing up. I love you Joss. Really, I do. So guess what? At the height of this show's success, it being one of the highest rated shows it was canceled by FOX. I just hope Angel got to fight his dragon.

3) Firefly
Cowboys in space. Gritty science fiction. Ron Glass as a preacher. Joss Whedon proving once again that he should be made a saint. There is no word that can describe the awesomeness of this show. Maybe I'll make one up. How does "fanfriltastiawesomazingohmygawdarn" sound? Hey if Walt Disney can make up words why can't I? Anyway the show is about flying around in space, doing your own thing, while avoiding the totalitarian regime in charge. Hey maybe that's why FOX canceled it. They were afraid that people would see the Bush Administration as a bunch of "purple bellies" trying to take away individual freedom in exchange for false hope and utilitarian thinking. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it, maybe somebody at FOX is simply a retard.

4) Space: Above and Beyond

How can you go wrong with space Marine pilots battling alien invaders? It had all the workings of a typical sci-fi t.v. series. Characters that were heroes, but not superhuman. Bad guys that were Evil (note the capital "e"). Romance, mystery, suspense. And they weren't afraid to rip your heart out and kill a main character. Pathos the likes of Shakespeare. But alas, poor Horatio, the show was canceled in its second season. A casualty of the FOX programing genius'. You may begin to notice a trend.

5) Dr. Who (the new series)
I was never a big fan of the original run of Dr. Who even though I watched pretty much every tom baker episode. There was something unbelievable about the show, but not in that "amazing" way. The special effects were horrible, the stories were too simple. I wanted more. Jump forward two decades (I write things like that and realize just how old I am. Not good) and along comes the new Dr. Who series. It is exactly what Dr. Who should have always been. Yeah, part of it is the special effects budget grew from $12 to millions of dollars. I'd like to think that the writers of the show understand that the fans they are writing for aren't stupid and instead create a show that appeals to our intelligence. It also doesn't hurt that the good Doctor has some rather attractive companions in Rose and Martha. I mean the last time he had a cute girl as a sidekick his name was Adric.

6) Heroes
My biggest weakness is all things superhero related. There is something reassuring about people who risk their lives to protect normal people. Besides I wear glasses and so does Clark Kent. No, Lois, I'm not Superman either. Heroes is like a comic book written by Chris Claremont and Kurt Busiek, in other words, beyond amazing. There are so many great characters it's hard to know who is better. I identify with Peter and Hiro in a geeky, outcast sort of way. Emo and Geek, does that say something about me? Oh no, time for therapy. Watch the show, understand that you will be left wanting more every second, own it on DVD and you can do without the commercials. They are evil.

7) Stargate SG-1

Indeed. I could stop right there and assume you're hooked, but somehow that would be a cop-out. This show originally appeared on Showtime based on the movie "Stargate". It took a while to get into stride, a lot of good shows needs some room to run. Remember that FOX Programming Director. Once underway it became a thing of beauty. The great thing about the show was that it never took itself too serious, like some sci-fi shows tend to be. Ten seasons of action, excitement and adventure.

8) Law & Order (all of them)

This show has been on for around 100 years. It's so good it pre-dates television. Between the four shows (yes there were four shows, one of them lasted only one season because of the death of Jerry Orbach). The cast list is huge, the stories intriguing, the acting always above the expected.

9) Scrubs
I had never heard of this show until a young lady who Rocks! clued me in on the utter hilarity that ensues every episode. Everything about the show is done well, from the music, the stories and just plain silliness. And it handles the seriousness of hospitals very well. I'd rather go to Sacred Heart and let J.D. be my doctor before I let Dr. McDreamy and the staff of "too-busy-diddling-each-other" get their sexy hands on me. (Really i wouldn't want either near me because they're both fictional. If I had a real hospital emergency I would want a real doctor, though I will admit Sarah Chalke could take my temperature anytime she wants to.) They even have a musical episode. How can you deny the greatness of Scrubs. A. Musical. Episode.

10) Coupling
Anyone with half a brain knows that British comedy is typically better than American comedy for several reasons. One because they actually aren't afraid of being raunchy for the sake of a joke. Two because they don't care who laughs. And three because they have accents. Anyone with an accent is just plain funnier. (This is a truth understood by anyone from Michigan, the lower part, where accents do not exist. We can, however, hear everyone else's very clearly. I mean everyone else, even you dirty people from Ohio.) Coupling is about six attractive friends and their interactions with dating, sex, drinking, sex and sex. Sort of a "Sex in the City" for both genders. The show was so good they tried to make an American version that lasted for 3, count them, 3 episodes before being canceled. (NBC this time. FOX dodge a bullet.) And for you "Pirates of the Caribbean" fans out there, a certain non-pirate actor plays the main character in Coupling. (No not Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp you drooling, crazy women!) Learn about "the Sock Gap", "the Giggle Loop" and "Crazy Jane". It's Brilliant!


Everyone has at least one. Some us have dozens, the really cool ones have hundreds.

Be it smoking, drinking, drugs, strip clubs or comic books, addictions take over your life. Throughout my life I've stared the addiction monkey square in the face and sat by while he cleanly tried to scratch my eyes out and eat them like snack food.

I didn't drink until my 21st birthday, were I let some friends ply me with mass quantities of beer and liquor. They made me "Drink the Alphabet", a daunting task even though I made it the the letter "M" before the bar closed. After that I did a lot of drinking, heavy drinking, the kind of drinking that leads to blacking out and waking up in bed with unknown women.

Yeah I know some of you might be saying "How is that bad, you moron?"

I woke up between to cute girls, neither of them completely dressed and I still had my clothes on. Something might have happened, something fun, but I was still clothed. So nothing REAL fun happened. Damn the vodka!

During this heavy drinking I engaged in another addiction. Let's just say it was very herbal in origin. I was in love. I was able to get silly, eat all the pizza and potato chips I wanted and still be cool. What was not to like? It was a social icebreaker.

It was also a gateway.

I tried a a lot of other things. A lot. Now fortunately I'm terrified of needles but those options were open to me. I got wild, did some crazy things, and don't regret a single moment of any of it. I do regret the days after. Hung over, confused, sweaty and wondering if I made a jackass out of myself. Definitely the best way to spend a Sunday morning. Or Tuesday afternoon. Or the month of May. Or pretty much 1992 to 1997.

Then one day I had a revelation. So it wasn't so much a revelation but an irrational bout of paranoia and dread. I stood waiting for a cab to take me home early one morning, heavily dazed by the amounts I had just smoked, when I swear that everybody was looking at me. The problem was I was on the street alone. Nobody around at all. That was when I decided to stop that little habit. That was 11 years ago.

I stopped drinking after waking up one to many times, feeling like I had just fought eight rounds with Randy "Macho Man" Savage. I realized I was getting to old to hang like I had when I was in my 20's. I hate headaches. So drinking became a thing of the past. That was 8 years ago. Now I will admit that I do occasionally drink, but no where near the level I once did. I've also discovered I now have the alcohol tolerance of a twelve-year old girl (provided of course her name isn't Drew Barrymore). Yep I'm a cheap date.

One of the things I discovered as a replacement for these addictions, a plan that doesn't involve Twelve Steps, but does have a very strange support group, is Live Action Role-Playing or LARPing.

I've given up drunken nights of bar hopping for dressing up in clothes that went out of style back in the 15th century. I've set down the bong pipe so I can pick up a sword, ironically made of PVC pipe and foam padding, so I can whack the hell out of someone dressed pretty much the same way. No more hang overs and hallucinations for me anymore. Now I have bruises and sprains, torn ligaments and dislocated fingers, mosquito bites and broken pinkie-toes.

I'm just glad I became worried about my sanity and well-being.


First Timer

I've been contemplating starting a blog for a while. I read about a dozen each day, enjoying the ramblings and thoughts of others, while remaining silent in my own mind. Enough is a enough.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm argumentative and opinionated. Of course I counter with I just like to debate, thus proving them right.

So here I am, hopefully each day, with something interesting to say or talk about or maybe just plain share.

I've got views on everything so we'll just see where it goes. Hopefully the ride will be more like a roller coaster and less like a trip in the back of van driven by a guy in a ski mask.