Wednesday, April 15, 2015


After a couple of episodes of Marvel's Daredevil -- obligatory, "Now available on Netflix!" -- one thing that really stands out to me is just how hellish life is when you're not on SHIELD's helicarrier. Throughout the Avengers/Marvel Universe movies, we get a sanitized version of the results of the kind of violence that meta-humans and gods can unleash (not to mention the aliens) on a city. Those gargantuan Chitari flying whale-things in Avengers easily topple buildings and the Hulk is smashing everything that is and isn't moving but you never get a sense of the human cost behind all that destruction. Thousands must have died in the "Battle for New York." Never mind that "The Council" was going to nuke Manhattan, there must have been massive causualties on the ground.

Daredevil doesn't really get into that aspect of the Battle for New York, but it has featured the aftermath as a boon for organized crime to rebuild sections of the city and swindle huge amounts of cash into their bank accounts. What Daredevil has done is bring the Marvel Universe right down to the streets, grime and garbage included. (And at the end of the second episode, we go under the streets in one intense round of combat.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fat-Man & Burger

I think I was 7 or 8 -- somewhere around that age -- when I got hold of a mechanical pencil for the first time in my life. I loved the fact that the tip never blunted, which is still a problem with modern pencils, so I spent and afternoon/evening drawing "Fat-Man & Burger."

The ending lacks a punch, but I'm fond of some of the illustrations, particularly the panel where Fat-Man is sweating profusely.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

TV Theme Songs

Something about TV theme songs really appeal to me. It might be because they're short, usually have memorable lyrics, and conjure up whatever good feelings I might have associated with the show. Bojack Horseman (on Netflix) features an instrumental opening that is currently buzzing through my brain. Here's an extended version:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

This Headline

A number of days ago, this headline had me laughing every time I thought about it. Even without any context or knowing what the rest of the story is about, it just sums up what a couple of 12-year-old boys would come up with on a hot summer afternoon and it somehow becomes news.

Intentionally or not, it also has the cadence of a headline from The Onion.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Excerpt from Chapter 12 – Why Couldn't It Have Been Tequila?

The text below is from a novel in progress. First draft so there's still plenty of editing that will need to be done before it's "ready."
“This leak, Roy, you gotta do something with it,” his mechanic had told him. “I know you keep topping it up but that ain't gonna keep you going for much longer. I'll give you a break on the labour. Or how about you pay me in instalments?”
Roy cocked his head, winked at the mechanic. “I'll be just fine, mon amis. Not to worry.”
As he leaped out of the car to snap the hood open and restart the car with force of will and a wave of profanity, Aloysious muttered, “I knew we should have stopped at that last gas station to get some water.”

A large semi-trailer zoomed passed them and the pair were left in an eerie wake of silence.

Well, silence as allowed by Roy's incredible barrage of profanity.

It was close enough to noon for the sun to be almost directly overhead. And it was hot. Not the kind of swimming humidity of Toronto, but hot. Baking hot. Humidity or not, suddenly stranded in a desert wasn't how Aloysious thought this trip was going to end. Maybe something spectacular, like a blood-red mushroom cloud and a shockwave of energy blasting out nearby windows, but not this.

“Mechanic told you to get that leak fixed,” Aloysious reminded him, unnecessarily.

Roy paused. “You want to try doin' something useful, boy?” He shouted. “Get up on the road and get us a ride to the next gas station. Tow truck or something, maybe.” He trailed off, popped the hood, and strode out to bellow at the engine block.

Aloysious stowed the camera in the trunk, next to a stack of Reds. His eyes narrowed just slightly.

He peeled off some of the plastic wrap and pulled out a six pack.

There was a muffled, “What the hell, boy?” from the front seat of the car as Aloysious snapped open a can.

“Maybe this'll help,” Aloysious said. “Get the camera ready, I guess. Maybe I can get us outta this with some Red power.”

Roy stood beside the car now, looking at Aloysious. “Leave the naming and catchphrases to me. Red power? What the hell. That's almost as lame as Shazam.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Little from Chapter 9: Things Begin Horribly Wrong

The text below is from a novel in progress. First draft so there's still plenty of editing that will need to be done before it's "ready."

It was like some kind of spilled gold that coated his mouth, his throat; he could feel his skin begin to unfurl. The basement lit up and Aloysious could see the skeletons of Sal and the Raspy Man; he could see beyond the walls and floor and saw more bones tangled together. Amid the sudden cool power of being three cans in, there were voices twisted together. Cries of pain, anguish. Sobbing.

Aloysious dropped the empty can.

The walls started crumbling and something cracked along the floor. The bones started vibrating.

Through a veil of mist Aloysious missed the finer points of what happened next, especially every fax machine, cell phone, television, and computer within a twenty kilometer radius spewing out an address. Even car radios were affected. A reassuring feminine voice intoned the address over and over, no matter what station was playing. He also missed the skeletons reassembling themselves and pushing aside poured concrete like a shower curtain and climbing from the earth like voles. The past victims of Raspy Man and Sal grabbed hold of the stunned pair and dragged them to the main yard.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dad Tip #31

The best way to embarrass your teenage daughter will take some planning and possibly aerobic exercise.

The first step is to learn what music she listens to and memorize the lyrics, especially the refrain because those are the moments you'll want to sing loudest.

It's especially relevant to note that volume is of higher priority that being able to carry a tune or knowing every single word to the song. In fact, it might be best to intentionally make up some phrases that are close enough to the words to sound correct but are completely wrong. Or random insertions of "LA, La!" and clapping.

This should bring about an embarrassment level of a 6 out of 10. You know, for those times when you're driving your daughter and a group of her friends to a movie or soccer game or wherever. Whatever song comes on the radio you must be ready!

For true mastery, you'll need some space to execute specific dance moves that more or less (go for "less") ape the dance moves from the video as you sing loudly to a song that you only know 3/4 of lyrics to. This is where the aerobic exercise comes into play.

If you've ever wanted to see your daughter actually phase-shift to another dimension -- dimension 22 where there is no Time and only Embarrassment exists -- a properly executed (i.e. fumbled) dance routine in time to the latest Miley Cyrus tune (or whatever tunes your daughter enjoys) will allow that kind of inter-dimensional travel.