Saturday, October 27, 2018

Headless Horseman Jam

All Hallows Eve is on the horizon, and that calls for ever better music! Now, I grew up with the Disney combo Ichabod and Mister Toad, and like everyone else I fell in love with that wonderful spooky jam about the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow. But this rendition by Thurl Ravencroft is sheer brilliance. He is the absolute king of bass! 

Hope ya'll enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I can't breathe!

I like learning about self defense, and there is some great advice out there, but there's a lot more that don't know what they're doing. And this takes the cake! This makes me laugh until I can't breathe!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Cowboys and Dinosaurs of Shaun Keenan

Friends, I have committed a great sin. I not only found some fabulous art, but I dedicated a fair chunk of my time, money and love into an amazing book with said art which was absolutely worth every cent and hour of time I spent on it. But I didn't speak of it here. I was swept up in the tide of life, and didn't feel the impulse to spread the word. That is my grave sin.

Well, I'm fixing that now. The Cowboy and Dinosaur art of Shaun Keenan is some of the best of this micro-genre that I have ever seen. Take a glimpse of this tiny sample.

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Art by Shaun Keenan

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More by Shaun Keenan

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And one more before I get art diabetes

Just look at that. The rough yet beautifully honed rustic style with hints of the fantastic. It's stylized, but not grossly exaggerated. Nor does it have the super sleek anime vibe that has infected lots of art today. Nope! This is gritty. You can almost feel the trail dust on your tongue. Just the way I like it! And that's just the tip of the iceburg. He did an entire kickstarter for a hardback book chalk full of this theme. Well over two hundred pages. Before I knew what I was doing, my pledge was made and I awaited the day of delivery like an impatient child counting down the minutes to Christmas morning.

Yeah, I effectively regressed and lost all semblance of patience during those long months, eagerly checking my email and mailbox for any word of my expectant delivery. And at last, long after I expected it, I found it! Awaiting me on my apartment table. A humble brown package. Unassuming. So mundane. And yet within was a treasure beyond price! (To me)

I squealed like a young girl, snatched the parcel and ran to my room, eagerly tearing the packaging away and behold! A visual feast for my famished eyes! True, I saw many of these images already online, but to have them in my hands? In solid paper? And signed by the brilliant artist no less? Nirvana. Sheer nirvana. I poured page after page, drinking in the glorious scenery and painstaking detail. My delight was that of a child as my imagination was given physical form. Oh how each had its own soul and story to tell!

Please forgive my gushing, but wow, I don't see this everyday. For one as delighted with prehistoric saurians and the Old West, this felt like a Godsend.

I heartily encourage you all to take a look at his page and his magnificent art! And if you somehow can, grab a copy of the hardback.

Please do yourself a favor and have a look.

Dino Beasts Comic

Well folks, I stumbled across something very... interesting today. I like dinosaurs, and I like pulp adventure. The two have been combined often of course, part of why I like them so much. But I've never actually seen the characters as dinosaurs themselves! It's called Dino Beasts. A bit generic, but not misleading. I admit, seeing anthropomorphic dinosaurs and other critters engaging in an epic journey across a strange and alien land with swords and sabers clashing is a pretty awesome concept and although this comic is new, it seems decent so far.

I've seen a few things somewhat similar, one was a dino mil-scifi and the other was Adventures in Dinosaur City.

Wow, typing that last one out kinda made me feel something akin to shame. So for now I'm just going to pretend this is the first I've seen of this.

Go ahead and give it a look. The art style has some soul to it, and the landscapes are awesome. You can find it for free online here:

Monday, October 15, 2018

Blog pic tips?

Okay, I've been trying my best to ignore this elephant in the room, but the white border on whatever picture I upload on my blog is starting to bother me, and it makes me look like I'm doing a crappy scrapbook. But I'm also tech illiterate. I'm more like a caveman with an antelope femur smacking the keyboard when it comes to software problems, or what have you.

So, for those of you who can digitally tie their shoelaces, any tips for solving this? I'm sure it's something simple, but it is far beyond my ken. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I want my blog to look halfway decent and not like Baby's First Blog.

Thanks in advance!

EV Miniature Coolness

Stumbled across this on FB. Very cool little crafts!

Tiny magic staffs!
Baby Necronomicon!

Table Sets
Desk for Borrowers

I probably can't afford any of this stuff, but man, I can dream. I love this sort of talent and creativity. Check out this creator's stuff here:

Also, no, I wasn't asked to talk about this stuff if any of you are wondering. I just want to spread the word of good stuff. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Diving Into La Brea Tar Pits!?

Now this is something special. The La Brea Tar Pits have long been known for housing all sorts of paleontological goodies, and it's not unreasonable to think that other stuff is in there. It's been around for a good while. All sorts of junk is probably hiding down there. Which of course makes it a convenient spot for folks of less charitable nature to dispose of incriminating evidence. But evidently the Devil's Swimmingpool isn't enough to stop the LAPD from sending someone in with a swimsuit and goggles to try and recover some of that evidence!

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Here we have a brief description from the diver of what it was like down there. He isn't as detailed as I like, but honestly, if I were in his shoes, I wouldn't want to remember any of that. Going into a pit of goo known for having held and killed mammoths and heaven know's what else doesn't inspire confidence. It has to be one of the most claustrophobic things imaginable this side of being crammed into a shotgun press. Whatever they paid this guy, it wasn't enough.

Hats off to Sergeant David Mascerenas of the LAPD!

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Fly

Gosh I love binging old horror movies. Almost seventy years ago movies were a fresh frontier of storytelling, rife with new and radical ideas. They left their stamp on culture like nothing else ever could. Certain lines, shots or actions are universally known. Even if you don't know what movie it's from, you know the bit.

Which brings us to The Fly, with the infamous line, delivered with that eerie high pitched voice, "Help me! Help meee!"

Don't worry, the place is clean! Otherwise I wouldn't even be bringing it up. So if you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself. And hey, even if you don't like horror, you've still got Vincent Price in here to add some class.

Monday, October 8, 2018

How to break your Dungeon Master

Few things can frustrate a Dungeon Master more than when he or she knows you're very intelligent, but you choose not to actually use said intelligence. Don't get me wrong, it's wise to not upset your DM or your party, since it's remarkably easy to fix a problem player by virtue of falling rocks if he's unimaginative, or far worse if he has a good imagination. But now and then if the DM is giving you a hard time, there is much you can do to cause chaos, and the best part is, it doesn't even have to be in game!

Case in point, my last session. Everyone knows I'm smarter than I sometimes let on. But I need to cut loose now and then during D&D and actually feel the sensation of joy in the void that is my life. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a sadist when it comes to playing the idiot, which I am remarkably skilled at.

We hit a minor lull in the session, and I sit for a time with patience, but it swiftly runs out and I need to devise some means of staving off boredom. I glance up at the wall and narrow my eyes at something suspiciously.

"That clock is really slow," I murmur thoughtfully.

"It's about 9:30," my party member next to me informs me.

"Oh, I know. But that clock, up there. It's way behind. Just look." I gesture up at the wall. All heads swivel where I point, no doubt confused since there wasn't a clock there.

"Cowboy, that's the thermostat!" the DM declares, sanity straining like over-taut piano wires.

"Oh, that explains it!" I cackle gleefully.

He and fellow party members all simultaneously facepalm in delicious despair for what felt like a full minute, not daring to look upon me whilst I sit there smiling impishly.

"Why do you hurt me?" the DM asks, his tone betraying his utter despair.

Now, lest you think I was out of line, I paid dearly for this sanity insubordination. Fun fact, being the scrawny wood elf in water combat and getting into a wrestling match with a shambling mound does not build confidence. It only makes you wonder how fast you can print off a new character sheet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

An Empty House Full of Adventure

This might sound profoundly strange to anyone reading this, but one of my happiest memories in my entire life took place in an almost completely empty house. No couches. No beds. No nightstands. No bookshelves. Nada. All we really had there was a working refrigerator and washing machine. Probably a dryer too, but that's besides the point. Now, you'll be wondering, and quite reasonably so, why a month or two in a place like this would spawn such fondness in my memory.

Well, it was moving time for my family. We were moving from our old house to our new house, and during that time we rented this small, quaint place with thick brown carpet that could swallow a quarter, you know the kind I mean, and I vaguely recall dark walls. Almost everything we owned was stowed away in cardboard boxes inside of moving trucks. The only things we managed to have with us there was a TV, a VHS player and some sleeping bags. But instead of it being a boring and vacant place, for my childish mind it was an open canvas. There was no school for us, so it was our small budding family in this little place. But that's really all we needed.

My parents had purchased all three Indiana Jones movies and a few toy plastic pistols, I distinctly remember them being a German Luger and classic 1911 fittingly enough, and that alone was to fire the imaginations of my brother and myself. See, without any furniture, there was almost nothing for us to worry about breaking in any of the rooms. So we ran back and forth, shouting, mimicking gun noises and stabbing our pistols at each other, then rocking as imaginary bullets tore through us, gagging as we fell to the ground. Sometimes we'd team up and take down entire platoons of enemy bad guys! Poor little brother, his body count rarely exceeded fifty in a single engagement. I had to do all the heavy lifting!

Good old Indy! Square jawed, charismatic, charming, armed with his hissing whip, pistol, knuckles of cast iron and most importantly, his hat, he was everything I wanted to be as a sprog. Getting into fights with bad guys, escaping dangerous traps, going to exotic locations and finding epic treasures. All perfect things for a young boy! Although it wasn't until I got older that I understood how women fit into the daydreams. Perhaps it was for the best that I was blissfully ignorant of what happened off the screen in those stories!

Night and day we would binge watch these and other movies while gorging on junk food. And my mom, dad and little sister were always around too. I can't recall too well, but I don't believe my dad had work at that time. Maybe he did, but it didn't feel like he had to go off to work. So he was with us there too. He and mom would spend time together peacefully, telling us to quiet down a little if we were killing too many Nazi's and to share our guns and stuff of that nature. In our defense, even back then we were American to our core and preferred the 1911 to the Luger. The latter was a clunky weapon with a poor trigger. Then again, maybe Matel hadn't polished the plastic squirt gun trigger correctly.

Nevertheless, it was amazingly peaceful having everyone around together, camping out in the living room together. I recall this also being the first time I was exposed to caffeine. That special stuff that keeps you from sleeping now matter how tired you are. Poor kid though I was! I didn't realize the sodas I was chugging like a child dying of thirst would curse me that night with the inability to get even a single wink! Insomnia in a can, truly!

Ahhhh but the joys didn't stop there! When my brother and I winded ourselves from constant combat, my mom introduced us to those quaint movies that women love so much, musicals. My dad was the outdoorsman and iron worker in the clan and taught my brother and I how to be tough and self reliant, but my mom kindled in me the love of softer and finer things in life, higher culture in the form of nuanced songs, music, dance choreography and romance. Honestly, even now my occasional craving for a decent musical movie is the result of her sowing the seeds during that small period. That was the first time I watched Singing In The Rain with the hilarious high pitched voice of the villainess, Lina L'Amont. The voices being knocked out of sync for the premier of the new sound picture in the movie forever burned itself into my memory and I suspect greatly influenced my sense of humor.

Ahhh and what's more, one of my favorite movies of all time, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was introduced to me in that fine little den! Laying on my stomach so I was level with the screen, my mom drew me in with the big fist fight at the barn raising. What a glorious battle! Big red-headed men in colorful shirts trading blows with loud pops against all the stuffy bad guys in the black and brown shirts, bashing in walls and cracking beams as if they were made of balsa wood! What great men they were! Taking on three times their number and triumphing brilliantly! So great was their prowess in fisticuffs that they literally broke down the barn they had almost finished raising!

Well, that's what she used to lure me in. As an adult I can far better appreciate the other aspects of the movie besides strong men bashing each other in the face. Those seven fellas had voices that made angels weep with envy and choreography that leaves me spellbound. Truly a classic that I cherish watching even now. If I watch it at night with the lights low and tune out all the other extravagances I've surrounded myself with, I feel myself being pulled back to that empty little house and those fun evenings.

The Sound of Music never quite rubbed off on me though. Not sure why, but my mom could never get me to drink the Kool Aid on that one.

There were a hundred smaller adventures in that little place. My memory is terribly fuzzy about it now, which makes me sad, but the warmth and joy of that time is still with me. Good movies, fun with family, eating popsicles for all meals like a barbarian, all rolled up into the course of maybe a month. Only a drop in the pond for even my comparatively short life, but it's one of the sweetest memories I have. I miss those simple times. But I'm glad I got to enjoy it then and remember it now. Hopefully, with some luck and effort, I can relive it with some kids of my own. All I need is a small place, some movies, a few family members and imagination.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Halloween Monster Movie Madness!

October is one of my favorite months for the sole reason that it gives me the perfect excuse to binge watch creature features, from the corny 50's black and white classics like The Black Scorpion and Creature From The Black Lagoon to the awesome 80's epics with horrifying makeup and effects that even now make people recoil in disgust.

Ohhhhhh yeah, I've got all the classics lined up! Some days I'll do originals and remakes side by side, like the 50's The Thing From Another World and immediately after watch John Carpenter's The Thing remake. Very very different movies based on the same source material, but both stand wonderfully as their own thing. John Carpenter's version is the best, of course, but still, the original is darned fun too! Then of course there is the 50's Invasion of the Body Snatchers which was my first taste of paranoia as a child, and the later remake with Donald Sutherland and the chilling performances and effects. I wish I had both versions of The Fly on hand, but man, I'm not sure if even now I can truly handle the Kronenburg version. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Jaws, Tremors, Them, Arachnophobia, The Blob, Army of Darkness, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist and plenty of others.

Ohhhh ho ho ho yes! I'm going to do my darndest to enjoy plenty of cheesy and horrifying flicks with junk food and soda, and in between those I will be reading HP Lovecraft to candlelight while listening to spooky music.

Bring on the fear for October everyone! Also, if you have any of your own suggestions for 70's and 80's horror movies feel free to make suggestions. I know there are still some epics hidden away that I haven't come across yet.