Snowfall

Another snowstorm hit the northeast over the weekend, thus successfully closing schools and granting teachers and students a five-day weekend.  Wahoo!  Teachers are not known for laziness during their days off.  No siree!  I’ve built a kickass Paladin deck in the Hearthstone Beta, leveled my ranger to level 30 in Guild Wars, cleaned my room of excess clothes, filled my room with books, watched the excellent Lego Movie, and beat ‘Ganon’ in Link between Two Worlds.  Many of my students’ papers still need . . . correcting, but considering that I’ve accomplished so much I can afford to give myself the day off.  Oh, and I also managed to engage in some amateur photography as well.  At night no less.  ‘Cause let’s face it, I’m a badass.  Continue reading

Comic Conned

“Seriously, Murph, you need a passport to come to these cons,” Ryan said, eyeing the rear of a particularly buxom Supergirl.  “Like a geek badge or something.”

“Yeah, thanks for being our guide and everything,” Shannon said adjusting his phone camera to fit a rather large Thor into the frame.  “I don’t know half of these costumes.  Who’s the guy in the red mask over there?  Cobra Commander?”

“No,  that’s Red Hood,” I explain eagerly.  “He’s a more recent Batman villain and former Robin.”

Last Sunday, the boys and I decided to visit the local Comic Convention for some much needed hero-action.  Lately I’ve been feeling rather isolated in the role as family driver. With the daily migration between home, Kevin’s school, Brigid’s school, Kevin’s school again, Chik-fil-a, grocery store, piano practice, and home again in addition to the arguments over the front seat and the radio stations, which frequently culminated in banshee-esque screaming, I felt the need to dip reality in liquid kryptonite for a day or so.

Most of the boys decided to tag along after I assured them that little to no anime or Japanese influences would be in attendance and that these particular conventions catered to superhero comic books.  They understood heroes, super or otherwise; manga and anime . . . well, I’m rather certain even the average Japanese citizen hasn’t a clue what’s going on.  In addition to siblings, I managed to rope my friend, Rodney, into visiting the convention as well with the promise that he will see things that “make a carnival side show or a Walmart queue look tame.” Continue reading

Dragon at Midnight

Last real photoshop project from me for a while.  Then I’ll get back to harping on life, the universe, and other pertinent topics for the unemployed philosopher.

I found this old log during the past week while lumberjacking (more on that in my next post) and thought it could be an interesting project for my growing photo-manipulation skills.  Anyway, I’m quite happy with the results, regretting only one or two hundred details which considering past attempts serves as a good benchmark for success.  If I can reduce my dissatisfaction to below five-hundred mistakes and errors, then I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

Thus, here’s my ‘Dragon at Midnight’ . . . Any and all criticism is appreciated unless it’s negative and then you can kindly jump off a bridge.  Thank you.

My World

I’ve been playing around with Photoshop lately, in a modest effort to tease and annoy Katie’s boyfriend, currently stationed overseas.  With Mom and Katie’s help, we’ve concocted various comic strips based on the adventures of ‘Leo the Polish Pirate’ and the rest of the family, recently transmogrifying Sean into a cynical talking parrot.  It wasn’t much of a stretch.

Since then I’ve been practicing with other tools.  My drawing skills being what they are — in short  they suck — I’ve relied on photo-manipulation for my illustrations.  The following ‘world’ is one of my better creations (at least I think so).

What do you think?

Pub Sign

Centuries ago before the advent of email, scotch tape, or gorilla glue, messages of high importance were often sealed with hot wax and then stamped with the seal of the sender, typically a man or woman of high renown. The impression of the crest in the wax would carry great weight to all who saw that distinctive seal. For example, take the following exchange at the border between two warring nations:

Guard (raising his hand): “Stop in the name of the king!”
Messenger Bob (reigning in his horse): “Indeed I cannot, for I bare an important message from the Duke of Avalon.”
Guard (smirking): “Surely you jest. The Duke and all his retinue have vanished, lost at sea since autumn’s harvest. A spy or traitor you must be! To arms!”
Bob (pulling the message from his valise): “Verily I tell thee the truth. For look I bear the seal of the Duke himself. He has returned from the halls of Death and seeks audience with his Majesty, the King.”
Guard: “By Heaven! This indeed is the Duke’s mark. Proceed, though I do not bid you well. Your presence and that of your Masters bodes ill-fortune, when the Dead breathe once more and the mark of one so mighty a man is seen once again under the sun. Go and fly fast from here!”

The story continues with the Messenger at the castle, revealing himself to be the Duke in disguise, lost at sea through the king’s treachery who in order to seize power, married the Duke’s sister and robbed the Duke of his favorite sword, Rosalita, but that’s all unimportant now as the story ends quite happily and thus lamely. However, as you can see seals and crests can come in handy at times to identify yourself, distinguish your work, and avoid being skewered by a troop of unfriendly border guards.

Thus, in an effort to keep up with current security measures as well as improve the quality of the site, I sought Dasad’s help in creating a pub sign for the blog.
den_dragon12-copy

Interesting, huh?  While in London fifteen years ago, Pat and I had the fortune to join Mom and Dad on a pub crawl.  For a bunch of underage kids, bars held little interest but it was amazing if you managed to notice the subtle atmosphere between each one.  Some felt like riverside dives, others high-class wineries.  One entitled the Beefeater felt like a theme restaurant, serving bowls of stew, chicken, and chips without any utensils.  Mom and Dad even got chosen to be King and Queen of our table, donning paper crowns like five-year-olds at Chuck E’ Cheese.  As the evening wore on these more blatent difference disappeared as the pubs melded together, each more indistinct from the next.  Boring as the pubs themselves were I anticipated each new locale, a walk through fog-drenched London and the unique names and sign above each pub door.

Though I cannot recall the names of them all, take a look at the some of the pub names I found scattered on the web:pub-signs-20050508-183447

  • The Carpenter’s Arms
  • The Dirty Dick’s Pub
  • The Slaughtered Lamb
  • Sherlock Holmes Pub
  • The Smuggler
  • Jack the Ripper Pub
  • The Golden Fleece
  • The Beehive

I wanted something similar for my digital pub, something distinctive, and personal.  Seeing as I hope to write about and slay dragons one day (at the same time perhaps), what better symbol?  All that remains is the leaves of the book where I hope to show the beginning of a story or two.  Perhaps Moby Dick?  Perhaps Sir Gwain and the Green Knight?  Pehaps the tale of a ocean-tossed Duke . . . maybe this time I will write a better ending.

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Short message today for anyone visiting the site, take a look at Dasad’s recent posts if you have the opportunity, here or at my Blogroll. I have begged him for years to post some of his art, and finally you have the opportunity to see his work. Keep visiting his site when you get the chance, leave comments, and maybe we can coerce him into posting more of his work this month.