Monday, August 27, 2007

Taking Revenge Upon The World!

So it was a good, good, good weekend. Cleo woke me early on sunday morning to the firey spectacle of a homemade birthday cake. It was all kinds of good. We ate some of it for breakfast. Cleo is great and makes great birthdays even greater!

At church I was greeted by many lovely friends with equally lovely birthday cheers. Justun, Danielle, Chippy and Melissa took Bethany and I out to lunch at the Iguana Grill for some awesome mexican food. After the socializing we returned home and I spent many many hours playing my birthday present, BIOSHOCK.
Bioshock is a great game, an fps for people who don't really like those kind of games. I tend to get really bored and find most first-person-shooters underwhelming, but this game had me riveted the entire way through. I took me about 15 hours or so to get through it and I plan on going through again at the hardest difficulty setting and making different choices. The interesting thing about this game is that it actually causes you to think about the morality of your actions and the actions of those around you. And really, any game that take a pretty square aim at Objectivism is A-ok in my book. Being a long-time sideline-heckler of anything Ayn Rand-ian, I ate this up. I must say, though, it is respectful enough of the Objectivist philosophy to work as an actual critique and not an out-and-out effigy burning.
The art direction may be the best I've ever seen in a game - it's steampunk-art-deco-sci-fi and no, I don't think that it's ever been done this way in a videogame. I actually spent more time than I needed to in each level just to run around and look at the posters, art and neon signage. The graphics are also most likely the best 3d I've ever played with... there were moments were I just stopped and looked around and marveled at the whole thing. Fighting mutated, self-medicating and violent archetypes from the first half of the 20th century is cool enough, but the main attraction to this game has always been the giant, lumbering bodyguards known as Big Daddies. They are huge and awesome and can destroy your sorry behind in short order. And now one is one my desk!
By pre-ordering the Limited Edition of Bioshock, we received a dandy keepsake. See if you can pick out which one!

Another piece of awesome I've been rabidly anticipating is the new album from The World/Inferno Friendship Society, one of my favorite favorite favorite bands.
They're moderately more attractive in person!
Addicted To Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century is a great concept record (oh lord do I ever hate that term), loosely following the life of the famous actor. It's great, impressive, poignant and another fantastic release from a band who hasn't really released anything bad in the past half-decade. Cleo says it's her favorite WIFS album. They're coming to town next month and we are very much looking forward to it.

And in FURTHER geek news, you'll all be happy to know that my hobbit minstrel has crested level 22 and is doing well. I took this majestic photo to commemorate my awesomeness.

That is all. More art to post this week and I'm beginning a new and hilarious project. Look forward to it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

26 Year Survival Streak!

Happy birthday to me, humanity! Happy birthday indeed.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let me be the more awesomer one...

New art! For The Taj Motel Trio! Yeah!
And this! For the Drift Alliance! Hasn't been approved yet but I like it!

I've had a productive week thus far here. I'm finally back to a semi-normal sleeping schedule (going to bed between 2 and 3, waking up between 8 and 10). Perhaps that's it. The weather has been very nice and not nearly as God-awful as it was last week.

This September is going to be the craziest month ever. EVER!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This American Hobbit

Truer words were never spoked more poorer.
Wolf and Shrew team up to fight the hobbit scourge!

Monday, August 13, 2007

T3h 3p1c Ub3r W33K3ND!!eleven!!!!!!one!!

So this weekend ended up being a great, fun weekend. Here are some notable moments, but I warn you that there is some pretty heavy geek content included.

1. $95 for a tux rental?! I demand vengeance!

2. Had a great day with the wifey on friday as we went on a wild goose chase in Monroeville where the goose ended up being non-existent. I was suffering from some pretty bad heat/sleep schedule things last week and was out of commission a lot, so it was great to spend some quality time out and about with Cleo. While doing our shopping I received from Cleo an early birthday present.

3. The early birthday present was Lord of The Rings Online: Shadows on Angmar. Now I have to preface this whole thing by saying two things.

One, I generally detest MMOs. When I play a game, I generally want to play alone. It's been one of my biggest escapes since I was in 3rd grade, long before I began to appreciate it as an artform and a darn fascinating industry. So the thought of logging on and saying something to the effect of "Hey dwarf, wanna help me kill that dragon?" and knowing the dwarf is either some 13 year old from Boise or some creepy 45 year old in his mom's basement just doesn't hold that much appeal to me. Also, I usually want games to END. I want a finite point to work towards. This changed a bit last year when I played through the still-incredible Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. I was disappointed when the main quest line was over. In the year since I beat most of it, I've been going back and playing it with different mod sets just to prolong the staying power of that game.

Secondly, and this works to counteract my first point, I LOVE the LOTR books. I liked the movies but the books are still where it's at. Since first reading them in 6th grade (and a few times after), I've been hoping someone would do them justice in video game form. So the draw of the source material, plus the promise of having a huge and faithful Tolkien-world to run all over was just too much for me to exist. So I caved.

So I've been playing a lot these past few days, between work and social stuff. It's a lot of fun and strikingly faithful to the LOTR lore. I'm impressed that I can, on a basic level, navigate based on the maps from the books. That rules. I have sadly discovered, though, that trying make myself as a hobbit leads to the overly-pudgy, rosey-cheeked sideshow performer you see below.

fig 1 ~ Portrait of the author's Hobbit at level 4.
The name is an old Vicars related joke, and it's meant to be pronounced with the distinct western PA "EOH" sound place of the long "O" sound. So I'm sure I'll be updating everyone on my progress since I've found I can take screenshots. Stay tuned for that!

On saturday we, along with Chippy and Melisa pooled our ticket stubs and got in free for a matinee of Stardust. For what it was, which is a fantasy flick whose plot and characters really belong in the 80's alongside movies like The Princess Bride, it gets a 10 out of 10 from me. It's not perfect by any means, but it's GOOD. Go see it. It has more creativity in one sequence than most fantasy films have in their entire second act. It's based upon something Neil Gaiman wrote, so that kinda sold me from the beginning. Go see it and let your inner 10 year old have a royal freakout while your outer adult for once isn't completely insulted. In a summer dominated by so much sci-fi and fantasy, it's sad to see complete CRAP like Pirates 3 outgross Europe's GDP while really great stuff like Stardust goes pretty unwatched. I think it opened to 4th place at the box office this weekend. That's sad. This is totally a movie I'll be showing to my kids and they'll love it just as much as I did.

5. Cleo and I hung out at the house today, working, hanging doors and slaying wolves as a level 11 hobbit. We walked down to The Smiling Moose (local punk dive bar) to see a friend's band who were not so much good as a good time. Afterward Cleo and I walked to Tom's Diner with Chippy, Melisa, Justun, Danielle, The Skull, Dylan and Derek. We were all tired but it was really good just to be with that group again, after a summer that saw all of us busy and scattered.

6. After 10 days of pure meteorological hell, the weather has been pretty great these past two days. It's still hot, but far less humid. The house has been actually bearable and I'm not just eating ice constantly to avoid overheating! Hurrah!

7. Down to a pants size I haven't fit comfortably into in possibly 2 years. Go me.

Some art updates are coming this week. Check back!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

or, Optimism

In the interest of everyone being happy today, you should click this video and watch it all the way through. That means you too, Mom. I know you read this.

Who doesn't love the Danielson Famile? Or Tri-Danielson? Or just plain Brother Danielson? Stupid people don't love them, that's who.

IT IS HOT HERE. SO VERY VERY VERY HOT. I took my walk today, it was well over a thousand degrees with 200% humidity and to make matters worse I got rained on during my return. It wasn't a good rain. It was hot and sticky. I got home, made some toast for lunch and sat on the couch in front of the window unit, watching really really old Felix the Cat shorts. It was good.

I've had plenty of work lately, some of it paying, most of it not. And oh, is there EVER some new stuff coming down the pipe. I've gotten more ambitious than usual... stay tuned for something new and exciting.

Summer is approaching it's final stretch, burning itself right out. I cannot wait for fall. I'm hoping this fall will be easy and good, spent with friends and full of super fun. Last year we barely took a breath from September to December, and we missed our favorite season and favorite holiday. It was sad. Here's hoping this year is different.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Hey everybody! Help us pay our rent and buy tacos!

For Tacos!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Did the leopard rob a bank?

Ack! Ack!

So I was watching the news this morning and it was the most depressing series of stories ever. C'mon, people! Get your acts together!

Yesterday we went with Justun and Danielle to the Pittsburgh zoo. We had a blast. The aquarium was super great, the sea lions were playing and wrestling and seemed really happy. Some of the other animals didn't fair so well... the Komodo Dragon, in his tiny living space, seemed overweight and ready to give up on life. It could've just been the hot sun, but he just looked absolutely miserable. The snow leopard was in an enclosure consisting soley of some rocks mimicking a cliff face that couldn't have been more than 40 feet x 40 feet. That sucks. I've never known quite what to think of zoos... some animals seem really happy there and are well taken care of. Some, however, just shouldn't be shoved in a tiny enclosure with nothing to do all day. Other than that, we had a grand time with our friends. We ate at the wonderful Lulu's Noodles in Oakland before crossing the bridge back to the south side. Chippy came over last night as well, which was a blast. I'm glad the guys are back.

I've been crazy busy for the past few days. Work work work. I'm looking forward to getting some prints and buttons in and putting them online. Stay tuned!