Zombie attack in Florida

The police in Florida would have you believe that the incident that involved a naked man being shot by police after he had been ordered to stop eating another man’s face is just a case of a guy in a drug induced psychosis, but you and I know the real truth.  Yes, my fellow Americans, make my words — on Memorial Day Weekend 2012 we had the first case of the Thanatos Virus reported in the US.  And zombies are like roaches… for every one you see, there are ten more, so it will only get worse!

I hope, for the public’s sake, that the victim is isolated and restrained. Perhaps it would be a mercy to put a bullet in the man’s brain — I know that’s what I would want if it were me.

I guess I better call in tomorrow. I will need the whole day to stock up on plywood for the windows, canned food and water as well as ammo.

Chuck Brown has Gone Gone

Sad news for funk lovers, Chuck Brown, father of Go-Go, died yesterday.  I wish I could claim I was so hip and smart and knew all about him for years — truth is, I only found out about him a few years ago thanks to some mix tapes that Annie plays sometimes in the evenings… I kept hearing these songs that sounded familiar, like “Busting Loose,” but I couldn’t quite place them… like a dose of James Brown with a pinch of Kid Creole, maybe…  I found out that the group in question was Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers (no relation to James) — at 75, he had lived a full life, had many hits and ups and downs… I’m just sorry it took so long for me to find out about this true talent.

Fallout 3


I seem to play video games 3-4 years after everyone else has already gotten sick of them.  Part of it is just my contrary nature; when something is being hyped, I don’t want to like it… which helps me to continue to delude myself into seeing myself as an independent thinker.  And I am in need of a tech upgrade before I can run any of the newer titles.  So, Fallout 3 (released years ago) has finally made it to my desktop.  And I love it.

If you don’t know anything about Fallout 3, look at things like this wikipedia article.  Fallout 3 is to Oblivion what Gamma World was to D&D.  Back in the Halcyon days of my youth, when I was less jaded and still liked things and video games needed you to put a quarter in to enjoy the sweet stick figures of games like Venture, we played D&D a lot.  And we loved it.  Then one day, my friend Alan picked up Gamma World, and that was even more fun, simply because the game lent itself to a certain black humor and had fewer pretensions to realism or seriousness (at least in our game group).

I really like the art direction that Bethesda used for Fallout 3.  Ruined technology and cars looked like what people in 1950s America thought the future was going to look like — lots of rivets and vacuum tubes rather than transistors and solid state.  Everywhere is dangerous.  And there is some great old-timey music in the game, including Bob Crosby’s “Good Hearts and Gentle People.”  When you shoot people and creatures, their limbs and heads tend to fly off if you score a critical.  If you use V.A.T.S. (a special targeting system), they explode in slow motion and you get to watch it in 3rd person.  And there are lots and lots of guns.  My only complaint is that the monsters and NPCs are sometimes just pretty stupid, and I wish the game had a more extensive bestiary — thus far I have fought mole rats, mirelurks (which are crab people), human bandits, bloatflies (which are giant flies that shoot larvae at you like bullets) and giant scorpions… and as I get tougher, I suspect other monsters will be encountered, but, still, I’d like more variety. D&D spoiled me because there was always a new monster.
I’m only about 5-6 hours in, but having a blast.  It is usually the simple things that make me happy.

Delayed announcement

Paolo from The Lost Pages Blog commissioned me to do a color illo for a cover for his Adventure Fantasy Game; I shipped it off to him last week but have been distracted by other stuff; I didn’t notice until today that it was up on his site so now I can share it with you.
We see a group of intrepid explorers with pistols, swords and spells fighting their way through a horde of skeletons.  Maybe they are going to that castle in the valley?


I have to admit that mirelurks (aka crabmen) are the awesome shit. I understand that one ought to shoot them in the face — shooting them elsewhere is usually a waste of ammo unless what you are shooting them with will blow them to bits.  Best served with lemon and butter, accompanied by a dry white wine. I like Pinot Grigiot, but I’ve been told my palette has all the refinement of an old boot sole, so ask your waiter.

Updates from the normal life (warning: boring)

Not my actual workplace. The plant is a nice touch.

Yesterday (or the day before?) I posted, “Too busy to post right now.” Which is completely stupid… since I obviously had enough time to log into blogger and post that I was too busy to post.

I started a new job last Wednesday.  This has caused brain overload and time management issues.  The job requires about an hour’s commute each direction and is in an office, so I have to look nice and be nice.  I am currently trying to help rewrite user policies for cellphone/wireless devices that the employees/contractors of a manufacturer use in the course of their work.  In these documents, we need to tell them things that most people should know (like “Don’t use your device to %^&$ up the company, don’t text while driving, don’t use pay-for-use services if you don’t have to, yes, you can use the cellphone to call your family, but remember that it isn’t really YOUR cellphone and the company will bill you for non-work related charges,” etc.). I have to write these things but make them sound nice and not snotty. Most of it seems to be what most of us would describe as ‘common sense stuff,’ but if my past experience is an indicator, there is always someone in every workplace who will take the fact that there is no rule specifically prohibiting a really bad behavior as an invitation to engage in it.  So, yeah, there will always be someone who will explain to HR, “I ate my co-worker because there was no policy in my employee handbook telling me that cannibalism was not permitted…”

The job provides a much needed cash infusion but interferes with things that are important to me, like sleeping late or being slovenly.


I have a new day job + a lot of other stuff going on; I am too busy to post right now.

edit: I have a new job doing writing/analysis for a manufacturer here in the Detroit area.  I’m starting with user policies for mobile devices.  In my more smart-alecky moments, I imagine myself writing things like, “If your job requires a smart phone, don’t do bad things with it that will screw up your job and get the company in trouble.  Don’t use a pay-per-use service or use up minutes on your phone or other device when you have other options that don’t cost money, like talking to the guy next to you instead of texting him.  Don’t throw your cell phone out the window or we might make you pay for it…“. I know that stating the obvious, like “Don’t set yourself on fire,” does not seem like helpful advice, but at a previous employer we had a group of employees who would do things like go out to their cars in the parking lot and take naps while ‘on the clock’ and when their supervisor confronted them with this, saying “You can’t do that,” they countered with, “Well, you never said we couldn’t so I assumed we could.”  And it worked for them, at least for a while


The Pack (movie)

Continuing my fascination with French horror cinema, recently I watched The Pack (2010), in French with subtitles, directed by Franck Richard and starring Yolande Moreau, Émilie Dequenne and Benjamin Biolay. It is a film that gets mostly bad reviews, but I enjoyed it despite a few gaping narrative holes. Spoilers abound; read no further if spoilers bother you.

The movie starts with a tattooed, chain-smoking punk rock girl named Charlotte driving across a really creepy and isolated part of the country, nursing a broken heart and listening to CDs.  She has an encounter with some bikers who harass her and picks up a hitch hiker named Max. Note that these bikers are not ‘Tour-de-France’ bikers, they are leather-clad motor cycle riders. She and Max strike up a friendship of a sort. They arrive at a greasy diner where the bikers catch up with them; the rape of both Charlotte and Max seems eminent, but the owner of the diner, a tough old woman, pulls out a shotgun and tells them to bugger off.

Max goes into the bathroom to wash up after the fight and disappears. Charlotte decides there is a mystery afoot, talks to a fat, lewd and retired alcoholic policeman who is hanging around the diner and discovers what looks like a secret door in the washroom.  She comes back that night, after the restaurant is closed, to find out what the secret door is about and to try and figure out what happened to Max. She gets hit on the head from behind and ends up in a cage in the cellar along with some other unfortunates.

Max and the old woman are, it turns out, are mother and son and have been capturing travelers and torturing them, draining their blood for nefarious purposes.  Charlotte and ‘John Wayne’ (a fellow prisoner in a cowboy hat) end up hanging from a scaffold set up in front of a shack at a nearby abandoned mine site while mother and Max watch.  During the night, eyeless goblins in coveralls (perhaps mutant miners or their offspring?) crawl out of the ground and drink their blood.  ‘John Wayne’ is torn limb from limb and a weakened Charlotte is returned to her cage.

The fat, lewd, retired alcoholic policeman finds Charlotte’s car hidden under a tarp and decides that the woman who owns the diner has been lying to him about Charlotte having moved on.  He breaks into the cellar and frees Charlotte.  They kill/cage the evil mother and declare temporary truce with Max.  Max tells them they have to take care of the ‘goblins’ and he and Charlotte set off for the mine while the fat lewd policeman gets strangled by the evil mother who isn’t dead after all.

Max and Charlotte arrive at the mine shack only to discover that the bikers have taken up residence there.  The bikers announce that they intend to rape Max and Charlotte, but then evil mom shows up with her shotgun and starts shooting at them, blowing holes into their feeble shack.  Max shows the biker that there is a stash of weapons hidden in the shack and they board the place up in anticipation of the blood goblins arriving and wanting their blood.

One of the bikers goes outside the shack and mortally wounds the mother.  As he stands over her, gloating, the evil old woman tells him he is fucked and smiles as the blood goblins come out of the ground, rip out his heart and eat it in front of him.  Max, Charlotte and Biker #2 blast away with shotguns while Biker #3 reads a novel.  Unfortunately, the blood goblins won’t stay dead and they really want blood.

The shack ends up on fire, we don’t know what happened to Max and the bikers all die messy deaths.  Charlotte manages to escape, but gets caught in a snare and tracked down by the blood goblins, one of whom starts either chewing on her thigh or giving her cunnilingus (or maybe both).  Suddenly we see that she is pregnant and running the diner with Max, but, no, that is just a dream…  The film then ends with her hanging from the scaffold, one of her legs chewed off, and she is obviously not long for this mortal coil.

I don’t think the origin of the blood goblins is ever explained.  Max says something about his mother losing it after the rest of her sons were killed in mine accidents before the mine was shut down and that the miners had dug too deep buth if this means that the blood goblins are his brothers in some undead form is not made clear.  When I saw Charlotte pregnant, I assumed we were going to find out that the blood goblins were the offspring of people in the area, but then it turned out to be a fucked up dream so never mind.  The people in the film didn’t call them ‘blood goblins;’ that’s just my name for them.

The film is equal parts “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Hills Have Eyes” with some “Frontiers” thrown in for good measure.  I can understand why it got bad reviews, but for Eurotrashsploitation horror cinema I found it pretty enjoyable.  On my personal French Horror Film scale, not as good as The Horde or Frontiers, but better than Prey.

Barrowmaze 2

Need a new cleric.

Did I mention this here at Aldeboran already?  Kiltedyaksman is using crowdfunding site Indiegogo  to help fund publishing Barrowmaze 2, the sequel to Barrowmaze, and there is a bunch of artwork by me in Barrowmaze (and will be in Barrowmaze 2). The above painting is from Barrowmaze 2. More info at his blog, Discourse and Dragons, as well as the Indieagogo page.

If you have seen the art in the original Barrowmaze, some of the above characters might look familiar.  The surprised looking dude with the rabbit ears antennae on his helmet was in an interior illustration trying to keep his buddy from falling down a pit, the dude pointing was from another illustration inside and the magic user was also on the cover of the original Barrowmaze (see below).