Friday, December 12, 2008

Newsflash: The Lobotomist's Dream Shall Be Known as "The Lobotomist's Coma" for Now

Okay, so I thought I would make it official. In case you haven't noticed, TLD hasn't been, as some would lately. This has been partially due to laziness, but majorly due to lack of time.

However, I refuse to say that TLD is dead, because being dead is an unpleasantly permanent thing.

So, we'll just go with "in a coma". That sounds much better, doesn't it. And then, if and when I get the time to continue, there will be no "Oh, I thought he killed the blog" nonsense.

So, anyway, there you go. Keep on trucking, boys and girls, and always forget that the webcomic artist in me is more reliable, and so you will always find an update on Elderly Apple.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hi there! Here's That Video I Promised Two Months Ago! >_>

Question: Is TDL dead?


Well, not really. It's just at this point, I'm having a hard time doing both this and Elderly Apple, and for the moment, that is taking priority. Also, my primary computer is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

However, it would be really jerkish of me to feed TDL to the dogs, especially before my 300th post (which is this). So, to celebrate, here's something I've promised for quite awhile now: my video tour of my apartment. Huzzah!

Sooo, if you're still reading after all of my truancy, here is your reward. Aren't you lucky?!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stuff I Should Have Been Blogging About, But Haven't, Part 2

Comic-Con (Again, This Time With Video)

There's a couple things I forgot to mention the last time with regards to Comic-Con, both of them relating to video.

The first is that I was interviewed by the video game publisher EA and was used in one of their online community videos. You can see that video here. There's a number of people speaking in the video; skip to 0:42 to see seven seconds of me discussing the magnitude of Comic-Con, as well as the economic impact of said magnitude on the availability of tickets.

Secondly, I wanted to share this little video that I made with the former MST3K/current Rifftrax members Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, and Mike Nelson. In case you don't get the reference, it's too the movie 300, which was one of their most popular riffs. Forgive the fumbling in the beginning; for some reason, I couldn't edit that out without losing the last 4 seconds of sound.


So, how has François been doing since his misfortune?

Pretty good, as it turns out. He has a new home outside my apartment. His center limb has begun growing strongly, he has developed a lovely shade of red...

And he's made some new friends...

On a weird side note, one of my professors' first name is François. A little awkward, but I was sure to tell him - on the first day, no less - that he had the same name as my houseplant.

Speaking of professors...

School, So Far

Not bad. A little busy (of course), but not bad. Between class, Security Coordinator work, and my work in the Undergraduate Marketing Association, I'm definitely not for lack of things to do. And the classes themselves?

UGBA 103 (Finance): While I'm still not into this side of business (and thank God, with the financial market like it is), I must say this is marginally more enjoyable than accounting. So that's good.
UGBA 105 (Organizational Behavior): This seems like it can be a good class, but it doesn't feel like I'm actually taking it, mainly because it's had the least number of sessions so far. However, I'm still getting a good idea of exactly why working with the University sucks so much.
UGBA 161 (Market Research): This is really the one I'm here for. Interesting, relevant, and the professor (François) is a very nice man. The gem of the semester.
History 127 (History of California): The professor is hilarious in a bitter-professor sort of way, and this is one of those classes I would love to just sit in on. I'm sure it would make a great podcast, but the professor won't go near the Internet. The real problem with the class, though, is that I've been trained in Business to read books and papers a certain way, a way which is the polar opposite of how you should read them for a history class.

But, all things considered, I'm doing fine.

My Eating Situation

Okay, well, I don't have a meal plan in my current position. Right now, I'm fighting to be able to purchase an employee plan. In the meanwhile, I've been reduced to making my own food.

But y'know, sometimes it turns out all right...

I'll be back with more...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stuff I Should Have Been Blogging About, But Haven't, Part 1

Because I'm bad.....:(

Well, I'll be making up with a multitude of posts that I can complete in the dead of the night! That way, I'm at least somewhat active!


Comic-Con went great. Am I going to create a huuuuuge creation about it this year like I did last year? No. Will I create a smaller version? Possibly. In the meantime, here is a slideshow of the majority of my pictures, with mini-comments.

Also, I was able to apologize to Randy Gallagos. If you don't know why, read this post, after the first sketch of me. Then read the comments. You'll understand. I needed to let that off my chest, so I walked up to Randy and apologized for my words. He accepted it, and now we're square. :)

My New Apartment

I might actually be creating a video tour of the apartment this weekend. In the meanwhile, here is a single picture of my room to whet you appetite.

Though note, there is currently a wonderful poster of a polar bear family in that blank spot on the wall.

More to come...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I don't like having things to do. Then you never have enough time to tell anyone else about those things.

Well, here's a couple things:
-I'm in my new apartment. Video tours will commence once everything is finalized. I'll give out an address soon. In the meantime, don't send me any mail.

-I've started my new job, and training is sooo inconvenient.

-School begins in a week. Huzzah?

Hell, at least I keep Elderly Apple updated, eh?

Catch up with you (for reals) later!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tact and Diplomacy

I think I've just found my way to deal with all the weirdos in Berkeley...

People's Park, here I come!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Random Scenes From a Horror Movie I Thought Of

The crew is inside the haunted shack-mansion. Phillipe is dead on the ground. Tyler walks in.

Tyler: "Hey guys, I-" (Sees body) "Whoa! Aiech! Yeesh! Muahhh! Eewww! Yeeoo-"
James: "You know, those noises aren't going to exonerate you."
Tyler: "I guess not, but sheee..."
James: "Well, now we need to figure out which one of us killed Phillipe."
T.B.: "Could it have been the neighbor? The one that threatened to murder us all if we didn't leave before moonrise?"
James: "Now, now. Let's not jump to any conclusions."
Shawn: "Dammit, James, you never let us jump to conclusions!"
James: "I think we should establish our own alibis first. For example, at the time of the murder, I was in town shopping for food. Anyone in the store can vouch for me."
Kyla: "I was doing my video journal. The time stamp on the video should prove me innocent."
Lester: "Erica and I were debating about having premarital sexual relations. But after consulting with the Bible, we determined that going through with it would be morally wrong."
Erica: "So we can vouch for each other."
Tyler: "Well, I was having that same discussion with the local farmer's daughter. We came to a different conclusion."
Steve: "I'm twelve years old! If I could kill him, he deserved to die."
Shawn: "I was in the can. You can go in there if you don't believe me."
T.B.: "I was on the porch swing having a conversation."
James: "With who?"
T.B.: "The porch swing."
Everyone: "..."
T.B.: "Yeah, the porch swing was trying to convince me that I need to kill everyone in town - including you guys - before you all try to kill me."
Everyone: "..."
James: "And did you decide to acquiesce?"
T.B.: "Oh, Lord no. I was actually trying to convince the porch swing about the value of human life. In fact, I was just up in the library upstairs doing some research in one of those old grimoires about what the ancient philosophers believed was the worth of humanity. Here's a brief outline."
T.B. hands James several sheets of paper.
James: "Well, it's quality research, but still..."
T.B.: "...Oh, wait, you think I did it? I...I suppose that did all sound pretty suspicious."
Tyler: "You know, I think T.B. may have been right saying that it could have been a neighbor."
James: "Now, hold on there! I know these people may not be the smartest people in the world, or the most welcoming, but this town is their home! How would you like it if I came in to your home and starting calling you a murderer?"
Tyler: "If I murdered people, I wouldn't be terribly offended."
Lester: "But I've seen these people go to church. That means they worship God! And any God-worshiping folk wouldn't murder. It's against the 10 Commandments!"
Shawn: "Unless they're lying about being religious."
Erica: "But lying is also against the 10 Commandments!"
T.B.: "We could always ask them."
James: "No, no, I don't want to offend these simple folk. I say right now, we give Phillipe a decent burial. Tyler, T.B., Shawn: get on it."
Fade to scene of Tyler, T.B., and Shawn digging. The grave is barely a couple inches deep.
T.B.: "This digging job isn't as fun as I was hoping."
Tyler: "Yeah, but we need to bury Phillipe's body."
Shawn: "Do we really?"
Tyler: "River?"
Shawn: "River."
Tyler and Shawn throw Phillipe's body into the river.


The crew is eating dinner at the witch's house. What they don't know is that the witch (in the guise of a beautiful young woman) killed Tyler and is feeding his remains to them.

James: "Thanks for inviting us to dinner, Ms. Starlight.
Witch: "Oh, it's my pleasure."
James: "I've noticed Tyler has taken quite a liking to you. It's a shame he couldn't be around for this dinner."
Witch: (Looking deviously into her large pot.) "Oh, I'm sure he's around here somewhere..."
James: "...I'm...I'm not sure I follow."
Witch: "Oh, nevermind. Let me serve you your food."
The witch begins pouring soup into everyone's bowls.
Kyla: "I have to ask, how do you keep your boobs so perky."
Lester: "Kyla! That's not approriate dinnertime talk."
Witch: "Oh, it's alright. I guess you could say it takes a little...magic."
The witch pours T.B.'s bowl of soup. One of Tyler's sneakers sticks out of it prominently.
T.B.: "..."
Witch: "Well, dig in, everyone! Eat, and grow plump and tender and...succulent!"
Shawn: "Hell yeah!"
Everyone eats their soup, except for T.B., who contemplates the sneaker for several moments. He then turns to the witch.
T.B.: "Um, there's a shoe in my soup. I'm not sure if that's part of the recipe, but..."
Witch: "Oh, I'm sorry, my dear. How did that get in there. Let me get it for you."
The witch comes over and pulls the sneaker from T.B.'s soup. A big toe falls out into the soup, splashing some of it onto T.B.'s shirt before floating in the concoction.
T.B.: ".......I think I'll just have a roll." (He picks up a roll and takes a bite from it.) "Euagh."
T.B. lets the food fall from his mouth. An eyeball comes out and rolls around the table.
Witch: "Oh, how did that get in there."
James: "You have an unusually high amount of body parts in your cooking, Ms. Starlight. Is this a Welsh recipe?"
Witch: "You know, sometimes when you cook a feisty animal, a few unexpected things will end up inside. Think of them as hidden surprises."
Erica: "Like Cracker Jack prizes?"
Witch: "Uh, yeah."
T.B.: "May I have some water?"
Witch: "There's water right in front of you."
T.B.: "Yeah, but it looks like there's fingernail clippings in-" (The witch looks at T.B. harshly. A small pendant comes our from her blouse.) "Hey, isn't that Tyler's sacred pendant?"
Witch: "Um...yes. He gave it to me the night we fell in love. He said it's a symbol of our love."
James: "Actually, it's a symbol of mankind's wickedness. Tyler's grandmother was a Polish Jew, one of the lucky ones to survive through the entirety of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and through it all, she saw her family and friends all killed in various horrible fashions. That pendant originally belong to one of her best friends. She was able to sneak it in when they were first imprisoned. However, one day the friend tried to ask guard for medical attention. A dog had bit her. The guard beat her to death on the spot. Tyler's grandmother went to her aid, but she was too late. Her best friend was dead, her pendant hanging limply from her neck. Tyler's grandmother took a small lock of her friend's hair and put it inside the locket attached to the pendant, where it still remains."
Shawn: "Unless it's in the food."
James: "She did this because she knew that whenever she felt the lock of hair, she would remember how she felt when she was holding the lifeless head of her best friend. So she would never forget the kinds of horrible things one person could do to another. Now, about 10 years ago, Tyler's grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Tyler was the last person she spoke to before her death. She wanted him to take the pendant to remember not only her, but all the millions who had died before her, not surrounded by family in a warm hospice bed, but surrounded by laughing, spitting guards, beating and kicking them until they stopped breathing. And Tyler took that to heart. He has never removed that pendant, and said he would never do so until he had to pass it on to his own grandchildren, because to do so would be to forsake the memory of his people, his faith, and his grandmother."
Witch: "..."
Erica: "But he gave it to you as a present? How romantic!"
T.B.: "Ow, this salad bit me."
Witch: "Alright, this dinner is over!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Special Presentation: "The Day," A Novel From 12 Years Ago (Part 4)

And now, the exciting non-conclusion to my first attempt at a novel! And it's a doozy of a cliffhanger!

(P.S. In case you haven't seen it already, today is my 200th Elderly Apple strip. Check it, yo!)


Washington D.C., home of the White House, the Pentagon, the Washington Monument, and other American landmarks. It is also a place where people would go to get money for specific reasons. Unfortunately, the person looking for money this time doesn't deserve a penny of it.

It all started with the ringing of the White House doorbell. A skinny, dark-haired woman with glasses opened the door. She looked at the man in amazement. She was looking at Mocknock. Or was she? This man was at least six feet tall, complete with fancy clothes, a washed face, a neat haircut, and even pennies in his dress shoes!

As he talked, she could see his pearl white teeth, "Hello, my name is Mocksona Nockooly. I would like to see the President. It is very important."

"I'm sorry," she said, “The President is extremely busy. I have to . . . how did you get past the guards?”

He had a smirk on his face “What guards?"

The lady became confused, but finally she said “Anyway, YOU couldn’t see him even if he had free time. You need to have an appointment scheduled-And if I look on the list here, "she looked on a clipboard with about ten pages full of names. She looked up again. “I don't see your name anywhere on this list, Mr. Nockooly. Now please get off this property before I call the National Security."

Mr. Nockooly’s face was getting red, “Well 1'11 make it get on the list you slowpoke, cheapskate, overweight, butt-ugly ignoramus."

The woman gasped, “That is the rudest thing I have heard from a man of your stature. I have never been so insulted in all my days. I think that someone should teach your big butt some manners."

Right then Mr. Nockooly lifted his hand and then, like a fancy ray gun, an energy beam shot out of his hand, hitting and evaporating the woman instantly. He never even got a chance to take her name.

He walked inside the White House, laughing. He said, “I disapprove of your theory."

Meanwhile, at the base in Los Angeles, the three were drinking coffee and having a conversation with the others. "So," the chief of the Los Angeles base said, "What brings you Washingtonians here to L.A. Did you come to see the sights or somethin' like that?"

"Actually we didn't mean to come here. It just sort of...happened." John said.

Zach finished what John was going to say, "To tell the truth, some freako named Mocknock or somethin' changed our course to go here. Now this guy, whoever he is said. . .wait one measly second. Now I know where I heard that name before. That freak of nature murdered my brother."

John and Cindy now remembered, too. Cindy remembered how sad she was when she heard her brother was dead. And John remembered how much he wanted revenge against the killer of his father. They now remembered, and they weren't happy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Special Presentation: "The Day," A Novel From 12 Years Ago (Part 3)

"This tran ... ission ... ot ver ... lear. I ca ... ly hear ... ou. Flu ... s no ... aething. If yo ... an hea ... e respo...ikly." The message from the other trailer on the two way radio came in with lots of static. Even the rest could barely be heard over the hum of the motor.

"What is wrong with this freakin' thing! I went through hell to get it to work and I still can't understand what they're saying!" John was flaming mad. He was pounding on the transmitter so hard that the table which the radio was on broke one of it's legs. It fell and the microphone was disconnected from the transmitter.

Zach was tilting his chair in the back corner. He was really calm. He talked to John smoothly. “Ugh, I keep telling you. The radiation from the explosion fried some of the circuits. And you probably just destroyed everything else in that puny, little box. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. Sure, you may have to be one to understand it, but. . .Well, anyway, try to remember that."

"Grrrrrrrr. You bett-" Before he could finish his sentence John was flung into the air and hit the front wall of the trailer. Zach fell to the floor face first. Cindy's chair fell on her. The trailer stopped. John was pounding on the window that separated the drivers cockpit to the back of the trailer.” Hey, what the heck's going on here!”

A skinny teenager opened the window and stuck his head out. He had red hair and a face full of freckles, "Wow, I never knew how cool it was back here. Oh, um, we, urn, uhhh, had to stop because, um, mum, mum, oh, yeah, because we don't think that this is the way we came.”

John grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him through the window. He was so mad he was talking without moving his teeth. “What do you mean you don't know?! When I get hold of you I'm going to slap that smart little expression off your face."

Zach spoke up, "Hey John, don' t get too mad. That causes high blood pressure and high blood pressure will kill you. That's why hippies lived to be so old, cause they just wanted peace. No heart attacks for them, baby-"

"SHUT UP!!!" Right after he said that, John gasped and fell to the floor.

"JOHN!" Cindy yelled in horror

"Oh, dear," said the driver while rubbing his head from falling to the floor. “I wonder what happened to him."

When he opened his eyes, John found himself on a bed with a respirator hooked up to him. There was a man in a white robe getting a syringe ready to give someone a shot. He knew that he was in the backup trailer because that was the only trailer with a medical area. The white robed man must be a doctor. He saw Cindy next to the doctor.

"Look who' s awake. You're lucky you only had a slight heart attack. Your blood pressure was a smidge too high. Everything will be fine if you just stay calm,” The doctor talked softly, “Now we'll give you a special treatment right out of our science lab from back at the base. It will keep you from having a heart attack again. But it will take me about five minutes to get the serum ready." He started making some mixtures.

John pulled the respirator from his mouth. He pointed to the doctor, "You're the mutant on the team who lives in the magic fairy land, aren't you?"

“Don' t worry,” the doctor whispered to Cindy, "He' s just has some delirium in his head."

He faintly heard the middle-aged drivers voice. “We're out of cave finally.”

"Cave?" John asked.
“Yes,” Cindy replied, "When the driver said we didn't think we were going the way we came is because we got to the mouth of a cave we didn't see before but we took it anyway after you had that heart attack. And it took us about four hours to get out of it.''

"Hey, what does that sign say?" he heard one of the backup men ask.

He heard the drivers voice again, "Urn, Welcome to. . . San Francisco!"

"-GGGGHHHH!!!!!" John yelled so loud you could hear him miles away then he gasped and had another heart attack.

The doctor looked surprised, "And I never gave him the shot yet."

Again, John awoke. Yet this time he was on the floor of the trailer. But it looked different . It was darker, damper, and the only source of light was a dim bulb on the top of the trailer. It was smaller than he saw it before. He turned his head and saw a busted up radio transmitter next to a broken table. Then he saw two pairs of legs walk by. He knew where he was now. He started to stand up.

"Why am I down here?" He asked, "Why am I in this trailer, anyway?”
“Because,” Cindy answered, “the doctor already gave you the treatment while you were asleep. So because you didn't have a chance of another heart attack, we wouldn’t need you in the medical section of the other trailer, we put you here."

"Two heart attacks in one day," Zach added," You're making history, here, preppie." He turned to the front of the trailer, "Hey driver, what ' s wrong. I thought that San Francisco was a little less pure white. That's the only color I can see out the window. White. Are you sure we're not in the south pole or something. I mean, where are we?"

The dorky teenager stuck his head out, "Hey, just because I'm a driver doesn't mean I have to know anything about cars, anything about the land, or anything else that you learn after the third grade." He looked back to the windshield and continued his driving. Then he closed the window that separated the back of the trailer to the drivers cockpit.

Zach turned back to John and Cindy, who was holding John's hand firmly, "Where do they get these people. I think they made a wrong choice with this one even though he was a better driver than the others that volunteered.”

One hour later, the driver opened the window again “Uh, Mr. Terllingerian, I think you need to take a look at this. It is pretty interesting. But I would put on a jacket first."

“For one thing, my last name is not Terllingerian, it's Lecon. For another thing, call me Zack. And finally, this better be important." Zach turned toward John and Cindy. “Get your jackets."

"Oh, it’s very important, Mr. Terllingerian. We've come up to one of those thingies with trees and, uhhhh, rope." The driver replied.

"Your mind, perhaps?” suggested Zach while putting on his jacket.

"Yeah, I think that's what it's called." replied the driver, who was scratching his head.

"Yeah, it's a plank bridge. A pretty sorry looking plank bridge, at that ." was the first thing that John said when he saw the cheap looking bridge. It was just a bunch of wooden planks held together by a few ropes. Underneath it, there was an enormous gorge covered with icy-white snow.

Cindy looked confused, "Why the heck should we cross that bridge? Why didn't we turn back in the first place? Our main headquarters is in Washington State, and there are only three others in the country. I thought California was one of the most populated states in the U.S. So far there hasn’t been a single person for fifteen hours. How do you know that the bridge might not lead us to some magic pool that a dragon lives in. We don't know if that heads to a place with people in it. We don’t know where it heads at all. California doesn't ever have this much snow, ever. We don't know where the heck we are. We don’t know where we’re going. We’re lost,
for crying out loud."

"Duhhh, no we aren't. I saw a sign at the other end of the gorge." Buck-tooth Barry's words drove curiosity through all the guys there. He passed his binoculars to Cindy, who passed it to Zach, who passed it to John, who passed it to everyone else. They all looked at the ice covered sign at the other end. It read: Los Angeles-20 miles.

"Twenty miles to Los Angeles means twenty miles to the second headquarters- Finally, some good luck!" John’s words were fresh and excited.

"One problem," Zach saidIWTo even have a chance to get to Los Angeles and the other headquarters we have to have precise modem accuracy and speed to get to the other side of a dangerous-looking structure that could not sustain the extreme weight of our vehicles that obviously weighs more than the largest pachyderm ever times two.”

John was really confused, “Please explain that in English."

Zach sighed, “To get to Los Angeles we have to cross this gorge. And that bridge does not look too promising.”

After everyone huddled into the trailers, they started to the bridge. The backup trailer went across the bridge before the other one because if it went second it would fall because the other trailer loosened the boards. It (surprisingly) went across safely without even breaking one board. But the boards looked wobbly now. The teenage driver had to go across slowly and steadily (two things he couldn’t do well).

As they went across, one by one, the boards began to crack, break, and fall behind them. The bottom of the gorge seemed to take forever to get to. All around them there was a eery silence and nothing but the nothingness of white snow.

They were about half across the gorge they heard the driver's voice, “Uhhh, Mr. Terllingerian, I saw something in the air, and I think you might want to see this."

"Fine. Zach, bust the window." John said as he looked toward Zach. Zach nodded, cracked his knuckles, and made a fist. On both sides of the trailer, there was one foot by one foot windows that two pieces of glass with chicken wire in between. Zach got ready, flew his arm in the direction of one of the windows, and shattered the glass (both layers), leaving just the wire. He grabbed hold of the wire and tore it out. John stuck his head out to the icy chill.

Outside he saw a little robot flying with two pairs of mechanical wings flapping like crazy. One of its two hands had lots of sharp claws and the other one was like a built in laser gun. It was only about two feet tall. It's laser gun hand started shaking, and a bright red beam of light shot out of it, ready to slice through anything like a hot knife through hot butter.

"You guys should see this." John said to the other two. At the back of the trailer there were two steel doors. They were both stuck but if you could get the right door opened they would both open. So with all his strength, Zach kicked the right door. Not only did both doors open, but the right door was knocked out of it's sockets and fell to the ground way below. Zach and Cindy couldn't believe what they saw. The laser beam was almost touching the rope. The robot was going to slice the rope with them on it!

Immedietly Zach pulled out his PP7 gun and shot the robot. It's laser gun hand turned off and it spun wildly. "Gide that grappling hook and tie it somewhere.” Zach yelled. John threw him the hook and tied the other end to a bolted down bed. Zach twirled the hook over his head like a cowboy and threw it toward the front. It hooked on to a wooden plank about six boards away from where the others were. He just hoped to God that this would work.

"Okay, guys, hold on to something!” John yelled. Everyone grabbed something and held on tight.

"The door!" Zach yelled as he ran to close what was left of the two doors. But he was too late. The robot already sliced all the ropes and the whole bridge went falling in two pieces. Zach would have almost dropped to his death if he wasn't so big. He stretched his arms and legs so they were in all four comers, saving his life. His face was looking to the inside of the trailer, so he could see John and Cindy dangling. He also saw the transmitter almost about to hit him except for a small peg.

"John, the transmitter is about to hit me. Grab it!"

"I can't! It's too far away. Can you get it, Cindy?"


The transmitter fell ... right toward Zach’s chest!

"Ohhhh. . .shoot!" That was the word Zach said right before the transmitter hit him and he fell toward the bottom of the gorge. . . if he hadn't grabbed on to the corner of the remaining door. He held on for deer life. The door broke from it's first hinge. He started climbing up with a strong grip. He was halfway up when the second hinge broke. He kept on climbing. He was almost at the top, ready to climb inside when the third and final hinge broke. He was falling to the bottom of the gorge with nothing to save him. He let go of the door, which flew to one side of the gorge. He was falling, falling until he reached his top velocity speed and hit the bottom of the gorge. Instead of hitting solid ground an dying, he hit the snow, and went down three feet from the top.

Back up at the trailer they all thought that Zach was dead. But they had problems of they're own. You see the weight of the trailer was pulling down the grappling hook, and the boards were just breaking. And it was just going down faster, until the last board holding them up broke. They fell down straight for Zach, who was still alive and could still feel pain. Zach tried to move but the walls of snow were so thick he couldn't move. The trailer came racing down strait for him. He said a quick prayer when the trailer hit the ground. Just to his luck, the open part of the tailer where the doors had been is exactly where Zach was. John and Cindy lost their grip and fell to the snow, but not as deep as Zach.

"Zach, you're alive!"

"Yes, now get me outta here!”

John and Cindy both pulled him out. Just then the trailer tipped back over. They got up and walked toward the driver's cockpit (which was tough because the snow was so deep) to see how the driver was doing. When they got there they were disgusted. Unfortunately, the teenage driver was not wearing his seatbelt.

When they turned away they saw the little robot that caused them to be down there. All of a sudden it's circuits seemed to go haywire. It s screws seemed to be coming looser. Then it just burst into flames. There was a big cloud of dust and when it settled, all three of them seemed to gasp in unison.

"No. could it be? That's impossible!” John yelled in half surprise, half terror.

In the middle of the smoke they saw Irwin Pilo (a.k.a. Roboshmo) with a gleam on his face. Irwin was Zach’s arch enemy. They used to be comrades in mechanics until Irwin was kicked out because of his killer robots. He decided to get revenge so he killed Zach's girlfriend, the only woman Zach ever loved. Then Zach, out of anger, threw Irwin into a piece of his own machinery. He thought he got rid of him for good this seemed to discourage him.

"Hell, o you three, He turned to Zach and snarled, "Hello, Zach."

"You evil demon!" Zach jumped to Irwin, and went right through him! He landed face down in the snow.

"A hologram,” Cindy said, shocked.

"That's right. Can you do something for me? All you have to do is," he started to shrink into a bright, shining sphere about 1 foot in diameter, “look into the shiny ball.”

The sphere just hovered in the air. Then it cracked like an egg and out from it popped a big man. He had a black, tight-fitting costume and a red cape. His teeth seemed to be that of a sharks. His eye had a red glow. Half of his hair was in spikes and the other half was in a buzz cut. He had black and orange stripes on his face.

"Not you, again." John said.

Zach looked up at the man, "Who in bloody blue blazes are you?"

"I am Mocknock, lord of all Econick. And I'd like to congratulate you. No one has ever survived my hologram trap."


"Well, you see, you are in Los Angeles right now. It is not winter, either. It is summer. You're not only in the midst of Los Angeles, you're also in the midst of the freeway. Have a nice life.. .whatever is left of it.” Mocknock snapped his fingers and there was a bright light that flashed before there eyes. Then, like Mocknock said, they were in Los Angeles and on the freeway. Mocknock disappeared and in his place there was a big rig heading right for them. They jumped to the side of the road where the other trailer was.

"Are you all right? " One of the other guys said, "Do you know how we got here."

"I don't know," Cindy said, “but I think we should go to the headquarters.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Special Presentation: "The Day," A Novel From 12 Years Ago (Part 2)

It's 1999, 20 years after the one museum got robbed of all it's diamonds. The strange thing was that no one, including the people and the police, had ever seen any person that looked like Mocknock. Some of the government thought that there was no such person, or thing as Mocknock. They thought that the police were making it up. But about 99% of the government believed them.

On one moonless night a 30 year old, a 29 year old, and a 36 year old going by the first names of John, Cindy, and Zack were on their way to a big warehouse according to there assignment. They were in a secret agency that fought very evil bad guys. But where ever they went, they weren't alone. They were almost at the warehouse and they were getting their "stuff ready in their special trailer. Their backup was in another trailer. Everyone was all ready to go. They have driven half across the state of Washington to get here and they wanted to have a good fight.

Each of the three had their own special abilities. John was the leader because he. . .well. . .was the best one to be the leader. He had good aiming skills and he never backed away from a good fight. Cindy was good at adapting. She could change from one weapon to one she never used in her life in a snap. Also, John and Cindy were boyfriend and girlfriend. But other than that we still need to find out what Zack is good at. What he is good at is mechanics. He could build a mini spy camera from scratch in about 15 minutes. He also is the team's bulky strong man. He could make a hole in five-inch,solid steel wall with tree blows.

The only thing that they weren't happy about was that they were assigned with Flud Memon. Flud thought that he was the best person on the force. He's always trying to impress Cindy. He even likes to call himself "Flud the Stud.” He did not like the fact that John was Cindy's boyfriend.

When they got to the warehouse they were all ready. John had two one handed machine guns. Cindy had a automatic shotgun. Zach was not exactly going to be in the heart of the battle, but he always had his trusty silenced PP7 handgun just in case. Flud, who was with John and Cindy, had a laser cannon that strapped onto his shoulder.

“All right, Zack said, "I've noticed that people have noticed that other people have noticed strange activity coming from this building. And just recently I have picked up these blueprints that show that there is like a missile that has a forcefield around it."

"You fool.” Flud said, “Can' t you see that it's a government conspiracy theory." He paused for a second. “Or have they gotten to you too." All of a sudden Flud leaped into the air, as if he was going to pounce on Zack. But before he even laid a finger on him, Zack held his arm out in the direction that flud was jumping from. And of course, Flud's chest hit Zack's fist.

"OOF! " Flud hit the ground right when he hit Zack’s fist. Flud was strong, but Zack was always stronger. Flud disliked that it was that way. He also did not like that George Washington was so famous, that schoolkids had to tuck in their shirts, that the Swiss wasted cheese by putting holes in it, and that you can't go swimming in a pool full of JELL-0.

"All right," Zack said, ''I need you guys to shoot down the four forcefield generators and 1'11 plant the bomb right under the missile. Go in through the roof. Be careful, who ever is doing this must be a evil genius of some sort. But remember, you go in and you get out in fifteen minutes. That's when the bomb will explode."\

John, Cindy, and Flud went to the top of the building. They cut out some glass panels from the skylight and put a rope down the hole. They climbed down onto a high-up, empty storage space instead of going to the ground. They thought it would be safer.

While they were doing that Zack was moving under the whole warehouse. He looked on the blueprints to see where he was going. It was completely dark except for the light of a dim lantern that he had. When he found the place that was right under the missile he strapped a bomb that he made himself onto the main electrical source. He set it for 15 minutes and when he set the bomb, the time before it explodes was on a special watch he gave to the others.

Once Cindy saw that they had 15 minutes she aimed at one of the forcefield generators. But before she shot it something appeared out of nowhere. John and Flud saw it, too. It was like nothing they ever seen before.

It sort of looked a big, red tube that looked as if it were made of cloth. What amazed them more was that it opened up, like a curtain at a theater, and a strange looking man that had a cape (the red tube was part of the cape) came out. He had a big leather bag in his hands. Can you guess who it was?

It was Mocknock, alright. And he looked weirder than ever. His eyes glowed brighter than before and his hair was more gelled. And in his hand there lay a huge diamond.

"After twenty years I have finally done it! I've melted the last of all the power diamonds I have stolen. Now there is nothing that can stop me and world destruction!" He said in a sort of yell. He put the huge diamond down on a little table.

"Nothing that can stop him, eh. Flud said in a voice low enough so that only John and Cindy could hear him,ttWellC,i ndy, I'11 show you how a real man gets into the fight." And then he started to go down to the floor.
"Flud, get back here! Flud, you idiot!" Cindy yelled in a loud whisper, "Ugh! Will he ever learn?! She got ready to shoot the first generator (again) .

"Hey you! Do you want to make trouble?! Well, if you do, you found it right here 'cause I'm the worst trouble you could get into." Flud yelled strait to Mocknock. His fists were high in the air. As he yelled he walked toward Mocknock. He had a mad-type expression on his face.

Mocknock seemed to move his lips in a smile until you could see his pointed, razor-sharp teeth," Very well. HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!" he said in a chanting voice. His smile turned into a pure evil grin. His red eyes glowed brighter than ever.

Flud looked really confused, "But it ain’t . . . Flud couldn’t even finish his sentence before Mocknock’s fist flipped him over in a powerful uppercut. As he laid motionless on the floor something appeared in Mocknock’s hand. What was it? It was a joy buzzer.

Mocknock raised his hand high, and then slammed it down at an uncontrollable speed. Flud seemed to light up right as the joy buzzer hit him. Sparks seemed to circle him just like sharks will circle a boat. Mocknock raised his hand up a little, and Flud went up too! The electric force was so strong to pick up something with it!

Mocknock circled Flud around his head for a while and pounded him on the floor for a while. John and Cindy stared in amazement, but after a while Mocknock got bored and threw Flud against the leg of a storage rack. Unfortunately, it was the one that John was on. The storage rack leg broke, and John fell strait to the floor.
He got up to see Mocknockws glowing eyes and pointed teeth. He was scared to even move. He didnw t usually back out of a fight, but he'd just seen this freak twirl Flud around like a dog on a leash with some crazy owner. He backed up to the wall still laying down.

"Well, well, well, what have we hear?" Mocknock began. An electric ball seemed to form in his hand, "You’ve made the biggest mistake of your life. I think I'll pulverize you...right after I give you the biggest shock of your life. And not only that, I'11...what the?" He looked up to see that Cindy had shot one of the generators when she found out that they only had 8 minutes left until the bomb set off.

"Good job, Cindy. Keep up the great wor . . . oooof f f f f f ! " John held his chest after a powerful punch. Mocknock ran toward the ladder that would get him up to Cindy but before he did John took out his mini machine guns and shot at some chains that were holding alot of oil drums. After the chains broke all the drums went flying and one hit Mocknock in the head right when Cindy destroyed the second generator.

Mocknock let a lion's roar come out of his mouth. Then he performed an uppercut in Cindy's direction. A replica of his arm that was made of complete energy came - and hit Cindy through the wall!

"I got you, Cindy!" Zach yelled as he caught her in his arms, "That was a huge fall. Did you destroy all four generators?"

"Um, not quite. But I did destroy two of them." she said.

Zach looked at her with blank eyes, No...No...NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

"Yes ...yes ... and, um ...yes."

Zach was getting serious, "Things couldn’t be worse. Half the generators to the missile are still running and the bomb is going to go off in four minutes and fifty-two seconds." Cindy looked at her special watch and, indeed, it pointed out 4.52, "And to make matters worse," he continued, "John and Flud are still in the warehouse!"

Cindy began, "I don't even know if Flud is alive." Zach didn't say anything for a few seconds. Then he hit a computer so hard it flew about ten feet and hit the trailer.

"I want complete backup,” Zack was now yelling at the people in the other trailer. “Half of you go through the front and the other half go around to the back door. Make sure John, Flud, and any hostages that are in there get safely out!" While he was yelling the backup team was getting their gear and other stuff ready.

Meanwhile, inside the warehouse, John was busy with Mocknock. He shot the third generator and aimed both guns at Mocknock, who was sprinting right at him. He closed his eyes, said a quick prayer, fired his guns, opened his eyes, and saw Mocknock with about 25 bulletholes in his chest and stomach area. With torture like that, he was surprised that there was not even a squeak of pain. In fact, he thought he saw a smile. Mocknock let the blood flow all over him. And flow it did! It covered his whole body from head to toe. It turned from red to silver, which ended up as liquid meatal (which is the meatal that can morph into different things).

John backed up slowly but tripped over Flud’s motionless carcass. While he was lying on the floor, the metallic Mocknock's hand turned into a huge mallet. John fired both of his guns, yet only two bullets came out of one of them and one came out of the other. He was out of ammo.

Just as the giant mallet reached the tip of John's nose, the meatal shattered off Mocknock like glass. Both John and Mocknock turned around to see the half of the backup group that went through the back with electric ball cannons. Then the front door busted open and in came the second half. John looked at his watch. 0.57. Time was running out.

Two guys picked up Flud. The half from the back were running toward the front. One guy pulled a grenade pin with his teeth and threw it at the last of the generators. The last generator disappeared in a small explosion and a puff of smoke. Then the guy ran out of the warehouse. John looked at Mocknock who grabbed the huge diamond and looked into John's eyes.

"You may have won the battle, but the war has just begun. He twirled his cape and turned into the red tube and disappeared. Just then Zach grabbed John’s arm and pulled him into the trailer with ten seconds left. All the trailers left and when they were about two hundred yards away the bomb (and the missile) exploded, leaving the group with alot of unanswered questions.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Special Presentation: "The Day," A Novel From 12 Years Ago (Part 1)

So, while I was visiting my home, I was going through some old papers of mine, ranging from drawings to school report cards. Interestingly enough, I had no qualms getting rid of the report cards, certificates of achievement, and other things of that nature, but when it came to my crappy little drawings, I couldn't let go.

Well, one of the things I found in this pile of stuff was a printed manuscript of my very first attempt at a novel. Yes, well before I was actually publishing books, I was trying to make the great American novel. Truth be told, I actually remember (vaguely) writing this, sitting at my dad's computer, type-typing away at some blue-screened, DOS-based word editing program.

And I was nine at the time. I want to stress that before you read any more.

Well, I was so tickled by finding this that I decided to share it all with you. In the next four posts, I will be showing off my creation in its completion (which is to say, its nowhere-near-completion).
Marvel at my use of surnames like "Mrufoon"!
Laugh as I use jokes ripped, word-for-word, from The Simpsons!
Gasp at how minor characters literally throw themselves at certain death!
Cry at the fact that my main character's personalities are as fickle as a quark!

Now, I wanted to keep this as true to source material as possible. Meaning, it reads as though it were a terrible fan fiction. So, instead of transcribing the piece (which would have been painful in and of itself), I scanned it using Adobe's text-reading features. It's not perfect, but I tried to iron the mistakes. Unless, of course, the mistakes were supposed to be there. In which case, you can just imagine a giant "[sic]" at the end of each of these posts.

Remember, I was nine. Don't judge me.

And now, if you can keep from ripping out your eyes, enjoy!

The Day
By: Andrew D. Schnorr

On the rainy night of March 26,1979, a police officer had a strange feeling that something very bad was going to happen at the museum he was in. Something very bad did happen. And it happened without warning.

All of a sudden a red cloth the size of a human in the shape of a tube appeared out of nowhere. It turned into a man wearing a red cape, but he was not a superhero. He wore black, tight-fitting clothes (with the exception of his cape).He had razor sharp teeth. Half of his hair was shaped like spikes and the other half had a buzz cut. He had black and orange stripes painted across his face and his eyes glowed red. All the policemen stared at him in amazement, wonder, and horror. They all thought their heart had stopped beating, or skyrocketed to an extremely high beat. No earthy thing could have done that. And no earthly person could want that hairstyle.

"Time to grab the goodies,” he said in a regular human voice. Then he started breaking the glass cases, stealing small diamonds, and putting them into a large, leather bag. In not very long he had every diamond except for one and it was the biggest one. He looked very pleased that none of the policemen did not attack him but he did not look surprised. Just when he was about to break the glass case of the diamond the museum doors swung open and a bunch of policemen came running in. Two of them that were around 21 came in before the rest of them. When they almost got to him he threw two small leather bags on the floor. They quickly expanded into one big sand pile. Two huge hands made out of sand came out! It grabbed the two policemen, took them under the sand, and the sand shrunk and disappeared.

"I'm going to kill you!" A much older man yelled. He had a mad look on his face.

"Kill me? I...don’ You don't know who you’re dealing with. I am Mocknock, lord of all Econick. And you cannot defeat me." so said the man with the wild hairdo.

"OK Mr .Mocknock, the man who thinks he is so hot, C 'mon. Try me. I dare ya." the man said.

"Very well." Mocknock said. Something appeared out of nowhere; It looked like a titanium tube that was one foot long and two feet in diameter. It had a handle on one end and an opening on the other end. Inside the opening it was pitch black-"You chose your fate."

"And I chose it well!" the man yelled. He reached for his gun and was about to fire, but before he could Mocknock pushed a button on the handle of the thing and it sucked the gun inside of it!

"I see you are interested in my Suck-0-Matic," Mocknock said over the rumble of the vacuum-type tube. Then the man felt his feet move, but he was not moving them. He was being sucked into the Suck-0-Matic!

The man ran to the bathroom and shut the door behind him when he got inside, He locked the door and thought that he was safe, but then the door started rumbling, and popped out of its sockets! It flew into the Suck-0-Matic, and even though it was too big to get inside of it, it still went in and disappeared! The man stood in amazement for after the door disappeared the Suck-0-Matic devoured a seven foot tall lamp! And might I remind you the Suck-0-Matic tube was only one foot long!

But the man was not standing still anymore-He was being sucked up the Suck-0-Matic again! He held onto the doorframe to keep from getting sucked up. He held on as tight as he could. His shoes got sucked right off his feet! Then his socks, and then his ...

"All right! All right ! I give up. You have proven me wrong,” Mocknock said. The man calmed down. He let go of the doorframe. He still could not believe that he had beat this thing.

"Well.. ." he started to say, but before he could finish his sentence he heard only one single word.

"NOT!!!" Mocknock said. He quickly pushed the button on the handle of the Suck-0-Matic before the man could do anything about it. He was sucked into the Suck-0-Matic! Inside, it was like a slide that went nowhere.

"Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!" the man screamed as he slid down the long slide. That was why everything that went into it disappeared. But the man did not worry about that now. He had his own problems.

"Well that is taken care of. I might as well finish the job,” Mocknock said. He squeezed the Suck-0-Matic so hard it began to shrink & shrink & shrink. Before long it had vanished. Then Mocknock headed for the big diamond again. But one policeman tried to stop him.

"Oh, no you don’t!” the policeman said as he jumped on Mocknock's back holding on by putting his arms around Mocknock's neck.

"Oh, yes I do ! " Mocknock said. Then he started changing in a way that no one could imagine. It looked like there was fire inside of him and that it was coming out of him. In a short while of time he looked like one big statue of hot coal.

"YEEOW!!!” the policeman yelled as he jumped off Mocknock's back. Mocknock headed for the case. He put his hand on the glass, and it went right through! Wherever he put his hand it melted the glass! He cooled off his body before he grabbed the diamond so it would not melt.

After Mocknock took the diamond he walked toward the wall. He grabbed both sides of his cape. A policeman ran at him, ready to ram Mocknock into the wall.

"Sorry, but I'm in a hurry." Mocknock said. He took his cape, whirled it around him, turned into the red tube of cloth, and disappeared. Instead of the policeman ramming Mocknock into the wall, he slammed into it himself.

The only thing that Mocknock did not know was that the two 21 year old cops that were dragged under the magic sand both had younger siblings. But they were not brothers themselves. And the older policeman who was sucked into the Suck-0-Matic was a father. The one policeman who jumped on Mocknock's back while he was becoming very hot knew what he had to do. He told 10 year old John Mrufoon, the son of the policeman who got sucked into the Suck-0-Matic, about his father's fate. He also told a 9 year old girl, Cindy Flaco, a sister of one of the 21 year old cops, about her brother's fate. And last but not least, a fairly dark skinned boy, 16 year old Zack Lecon, the brother of the other 21 year old, was told about his brother's fate.

All three of the kids had something in common. They were all going to have the biggest adventure they ever had.

Friday, August 1, 2008

So, I'm Back...

More to follow...

In the meantime, enjoy something totally different.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Q&A About My Tattoo

Hey, Andrew!

Emboldened disembodied voice! Hello again!

Hi! I thought I needed to come around to make you talk about your tattoo.

You mean this old thing?

How old is it?

....A week.

Whatever. First question.


Why didn't you tell us beforehand? Why did you keep it a surprise?

Well, I didn't want to make it a complete surprise. That's why I made those little teaser posts. I didn't just want to come out and say "HAI GUYZ I GOTS TEH TATOOO LULZ!", but at the same time, I wanted to keep it fun and surprising.

Fair enough. But what about your parents? Were you doing this behind their backs, as an act of youthful aggression?

Actually, they were the first people I told, er asked for permission. I respect my parents more than you think, Voice. I wasn't trying to be rebellious, just expressive.

That brings me to my next point: why the Hell would you want a tattoo?

*Shrugs* I've wanted one for a while now.

What's a while?

Seven years, roughly.

You lie!

No, it's true. In fact, my early rendering of the design was drawn in my freshman year of high school.


Yes. In fact, I still have it.
Wow, so you really have had this in your mind for seven years?

Yep, and I've done multiple variations of the idea over the years. Such as...

(That one was done in crayon, if you can't tell.) Other variations had the Chinese/Japanese symbols for "Faith," "Hope," "Love," and "Will" in each of the four quadrants.

But you ended up going with angel wings...?

I like angels. And wings go well on the back.

So you were always planning on having this on your back.

From the very start. And I always meant for it to be big. Quite big. If you're going to go for it, I thought, go for it.

And the back?

Well, the back is a place that I can look at when I want to, and not look at when I don't want to. Should there ever be a day I totally regret it, I just need to make sure not to buy a three-way mirror. Plus, unless I have one of the most awkward interviews ever, it can't possibly hurt my ability to get a job.

Okay, back to the design. What's so special about this symbol? Does it mean something?

Indeed it does, and indeed it always did. Here's my description:
"It's basically a combination of symbols of unity and balance.
The Ankh: Itself a symbol of unity/balance between the male & female, masculine & feminine, this was a symbol used by the ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago. Since then, it has been adopted into other belief systems, most prominently Christianity, which I see as a union between the Old and the New.
The Yin-Yang: Obviously, a symbol of the balance between light & dark, good & evil, passive & aggressive, and every other pair of opposites you can think of. The fact that it is at the crux of the ankh is to show a union between East & West.
The Wings: I am a big fan of angels. And I've always thought that this kind of perfect balance and unity is what separates the angels from humans."

Okay, truth be told, the very last line on there was a retrofitting of the description. The wings began mostly as a flourish, but in the end, they make it look better.

Well, you couldn't have made the final design yourself. No offense, but your early drawings aren't exactly...good.

Right you are!


Oh, yeah. So, I hired somebody online. There are plenty of resources out there for people to make custom tattoo design requests. I happened to come across an artist who was trying to build her rating on one such website (she was an established artist, just new to the site). So, I was offered a discount as an incentive. I then gave my description, and was later told I gave some of the best instruction of any client she's worked with. From this step one, I ended up with the following:Well, we played art tennis and volleyed ideas back and forth over the course of a week. Of these initial sketeches, I had the following thoughts:
-I did not like the first wings; or rather, they wouldn't work for my purposes. They look too much like faerie or even demon wings (which was the exact opposite of what I was going for). The second pair of wings was much more too my liking.
-I'm a symmetry whore. I looooove symmetry. That's why the first ankh stood out to me so much more than the second one. However, I wasn't much too fond of the head/hoop. Too busy; almost looks like a lion's mane. And when you combine it with the wings, it definitely doesn't work.

So time when on, and I got another version of the "final" sketch, but there was something I wasn't too hot-to-trot about: the wings were too enclosed, too relaxed. I felt they needed to be spread out a little more. The artist tried various ways (I didn't like the second one; looks too much like claws), but in the end, we finally settled for what was essentially a final design (minus some ever-so-slight adjustments). And that was that!

Okay, so you then got it done!

Not so fast, buster. This is a major thing; I wasn't going to do it immediately. I actually waited a month before even telling my parents, and then an additional month before I got the tattoo in henna.


Yes, henna. It's really useful for getting a good idea of what the final product is. And when you live in Berkeley, there are several henna artists around campus. So, I went to one. And I ended up with this:Because it was made with a goop, it ended up kinda scabby. But you have to admit, this looks pretty good for being done by hand. And after a week with it (and after the scabby goop fell off and left me with a birthmark-like impression), I decided that I would get it.

And you did right then and there?

Nope, it took another two weeks before I even made the appointment.

Where did you go?

I went to a place called Zebra. It's a pretty famous, popular place. It had also been named "Best of the Bay" by the SF Guardian one year, so it's pretty legitamite. I ended up choosing a tattoo artist named Sonju, who had over 11 years of experience. So I was in good hands.

So, how long did it take to get it done?

Three and a half hours.

Ouch. Did it hurt?

Yes. I'll be honest; it hurt quite a bit. It felt like someone was pinching me with their sharp fingernails, and then dragging it along the skin. But the thing was, it was a very ephemeral pain. When they took the needle off my back, no problem. But when it was on (especially for the fill-in), hoo-boy!

What did you do to cope with the pain?

Most effective: breathing. Focusing on my breathing, and nothing else.

Did you bleed?

A little.

Do you have any pictures?

I do. Here's me with the outline but not the fill-in. If you look closely, you can see some blood in the arm on the left.
Here's me with the bandage on afterward. I'm not exactly sure if that red stuff near the bottom is blood or just the goop they put on afterward.
Here's the first picture with the bandage off.
And here's the picture of the bandage itself.



Soo, how are you feeling about it now, a week later?

Good. It's healing pretty nicely so far, and I've been taking good care of it. And I still like the look of it. So that's good. And the majority of reaction I've gotten has been positive. So that's good.

Okay. How much did this good tatoo cost?

It was hourly, so it ended up being around $350. But when you're dealing with your body, you should be willing to pay the monetary price now to avoid the non-monetary price later.

Good point. Now last question: you've gotten one; are you going to get any more?

If I ever did, it won't be for a while.

I see. Well, that's all I have.

A pleasure to see you again, emboldened disembodied voice! Bye bye!

Monday, July 21, 2008

2 Minutes of Giddiness

I saw The Dark Knight the other day. (Great movie, by the way.) Between trailers for such drivel like Death Race and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2!), I managed to see one of the most exciting trailers I've seen in a long time.

Don't fully understand? Well, the book is some of the best $11 you'll ever spend.

Hey, Andrew, this has nothing to do with your tattoo.


Friday, July 18, 2008

$$$? >:(

You know, I was hoping on my Community Coordinator stipend to help me with some out-of-pocket expenses at Comic-Con.

...However, absolutely nobody knows how to pay me this stipend. They just keep bouncing the responsibility around from division to division.

Well, it's better than it was before, when absolutely nobody (except me), even knew I was supposed to be paid a stipend.

Remember, kids: read your contracts! And make sure everyone else does!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Well Now...

Okay, I've been giving you little teasers, little oddities, but I suppose I should just show you the final product...

(Note: This picture is completely unrelated. I just thought it would spoil things.)

I'll be explaining later, but you can just digest this picture for now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

François! NOOOO!!!!

He grew too much for his own good...

He couldn't support his own weight...

Not even my pencil-turned-brace solutions could help...


The other arm didn't last much longer. And he was this close to blooming beautifully!!!


I'm sorry, François. I tried to take good care of you, to keep you watered, to keep you growing. In the end, I may have killed you.

R.I.P. François Schnorr
June 13, 2008 - July 16, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Button-less Shame

Oh, I forgot to mention this.

Remember how I was going to have buttons and postcards for Elderly Apple at Comic-Con?

Well, long story short, it ain't going to happen.

Short story long (or maybe medium length), I sent in my finalized designs several weeks back to be approved as family-friendly, and to receive the address to which I would send the materials to be put on the freebie table. I had no doubt that I would pass the family-friendly test, as I don't use profanity, don't have graphic violence, and would be completely lost on kids, save for the pictures. So it was just a matter of them looking at my pieces so I could get some confirmation.

As such, I waited.

And waited.

...And waited.

And heard nothing. Not one word. Neither one way or the other. Days, a full week passed. I was becoming concerned. So, I decided to call their Press Relations department (who were in charge of the approval).

Him: "Hello?"
Me: "Hello, I was hoping I could speak with Christopher Jansen, please."
Him: "May I ask what you're calling in regards to?"
Me: "I had sent an application out a while ago to put some promotional materials on the Comic-Con freebie table, but I hadn't heard back."
Him: "Okay. Your name."
Me: "Andrew Schnorr"
Him: "And your company?"
Me: "Elderly Apple Comics."
Him: "Ebony Apple?"
Me: "Elderly Apple."
Him: "Okay, so you have a question about the freebie table?"
Me: "Yes."
Him: "Okay, you're going to want to speak with our press relations department."
Me: "Yes, I know. I was hoping to be patched through to them."
Him: "And you're going to want to speak with Christopher Jansen."
Me: "Um...yes. That's who I asked to speak with."
Him: "Okay, give me a second."
[Three minutes later.]
Him: "Sir, I'm sorry, but Chris is currently busy. Would you like to wait, or would you rather me take a message."
Me: "I'll wait."
Him: "It may be a while."
Me: "I'm willing to wait as long as necessary."
[Ten minutes later.]
Him: "Sir, I'm afraid Chris is in a conference meeting."
Me: "I can wait."
Him: "Sir, a more expedient method of contacting Chris would be through email. He answers immediately."
Me: "I sent Mr. Jansen an email regarding this situation well over a week ago. He has not responded in any way."
Him: "Oh. Well, you see, Chris is currently backed up with email. It may be some time before he responds."
Me: "My promotional materials publisher has a strict turnaround period, and I need an answer soon."
Him: "You may want to call again later."
Me: "Will he actually be available?"
Him: "He should be."

And so I called back later that day. Another conference meeting. I called again the next day. Twice. Two more conference meetings. And again and again for seven days! I'm pretty sure Christopher Jansen is a Patrick Bateman-like slacker in the office, always making excuses to get out of phone calls and meetings.

So, after a full week of calling, I finally get hold of one of Christopher Jansen's underlings. After a lengthy conversation, I was basically told that it was pretty much too late at this point, and if I didn't get an email in the next couple days, there was no chance (needless to say, I didn't get an email within a couple days). My favorite part of the conversation was the end:

Him: "Sir, you really can't blame us. You should have sent in your materials at least a week ago."
Me: "I sent my materials in two-and-a-half weeks ago."
Him: "Oh. Sorry."
Me: "...Thank you." [Click.]

So...yeah. You're not going to see people walking around the Con wearing buttons of a bar of soap slipping on his own residue. It just wasn't meant to be. On the bright side, I don't have to pay the hundreds of dollars to get it all printed, right?

...Am I right, folks?

My Back...

You know, I have a pretty okay back.

Perhaps a bit too freckled for my taste, but for the most part, it's nice, clean, and untainted.

...Just, um, just throwing that out there.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Well, It Took 5 Months...

But it's finally over! I have an apartment! A nice one! And as of today, I can walk into it! It's all done.

(Yes, my roommates and I still have to get utilities set up.
Electricity, cable, internet, etc.
And I have to buy/borrow/steal furniture.
And move it all in.)

...But still! I've got the room! Drinks are on me!*

*No drinks will be provided.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Need to Make Sure No Agents Knock on My Door

On July 5, 2008, at 2:03:52am, I received a message on my cell phone. Sender? No name. Sender's phone number? "3729". The message? As follows: / / just take a look at this smallcap
Symbol-chgy, China Energy Corp
Hand off

After some searching... - Jill FeinBaker is a licensed clinical social worker in Skokie, Illonois. - No hits, recomends "" instead. Still, no hits. Why don't I ask Jill herself, you say? Well, Mr. Smartypants, I actually did that. Her response: "I am sorry, that address is not affiliated with me." However, I don't believe it's a completely bogus email, because I actually sent a message to it, and though I received no response, I also didn't receive a Mailer Daemon response.

jmagok - By itself, the only hit seems to be a misprint in some book written in God-knows-what.

smallcap - Either referring to a typography type or a company which has less than $2 billion of market capitalization. My guess is it's the latter.

chgy - A legitimate stock symbol.

China Energy Corp - The name is pretty self-explanantory. I looked up CEC to see if there were any recent news articles relating to it, and found one. The article is an investment one which suggests that oil prices will continue to rise, and any speculators calling their stocks now are mistaken.

Hand off - This one really gets me. We all know what "hand off" means, but in what context? Perhaps it has to with cellular communications...(I'll admit, most of that article went over my head)...or perhaps it has to do with a stock handoff...though I don't entirely know what that entails...

Now, I was thinking back to the number that sent the message to me...3729. Could it mean something more? So, I downloaded this numbers-to-words program. In the end, I ended up with 81 different jumbles of letters, the only two words being "draw" and "fray". But the rest, they looked so much like...stock symbols?

Hence, I took all those 4-letter messes and pasted them into Google Finance. I found that some were indeed ticker symbols.
DRAX - "Drax Group plc is a United Kingdom-based company that is principally engaged in the power generation business operating in the commodity markets of power, coal, biomass and carbon." (!!!)
DRAY - "DrayTek Corporation is a provider of network security, remote access and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) solutions for residentials and small and medium-sized enterprises."
DSCY - Discovery Oil Ltd. (!!!)
EPAX - "Ambassadors Group, Inc. (Ambassadors) is an educational travel company that organizes and promotes international and domestic programs for students, athletes and professionals."
EPAY - "Bottomline Technologies (de), Inc. is engaged in providing electronic payment and invoice solutions to corporations, financial institutions and banks around the world."
ERCX - E.R.C. Energy (!!!)
FRBW - "Frederick Brewing Co. is a specialty brewer that brews, kegs and bottles at its brewery in Frederick, Maryland, for wholesale to its 140 independent distributors, more than 20 styles of flavored beers under the brand names of Blue Ridge, Wild Goose and Brimstone."

Three energy-related companies! Now we're getting somewhere. The latter two are small potatoes (in fact, Discovery Oil Ltd.'s company profile on BusinessWeek says "Discovery Oil, Ltd. does not have significant operations."), but Drax seems to be on its feet, with a stock price of over $760 (or are they pounds?).

In fact, according to some news articles, it looks like Drax is growing, and is even thinking of expanding.


I think I may have figured it out. Now, bear with me...

In order to extend Drax Group's growth, China Energy Corp will "hand off" much of its stock to the British company. Being a smallcap company, they can more easily do this, and by doing this, their stock price will increase dramatically! This J. Magok, even if they're not associated with Jill FeinBaker, is one of the few people who are willing to go and put this information out there.

What does this mean for me?

It means I sure know how to waste an afternoon.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Worst. Fireworks. Ever.

Damn you, mother nature!

You and your clouds have ruined America!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

30-Minute Therapy

All related videos have been taken off of YouTube. All that's left are parodies.

Any attempts to find episodes is either prohibitively expensive or questionably legal.

It airs on TV, but only once a week (and, inconveniently, in the middle of the day).

Still, one way or another, I will watch my Bob Ross/Joy of Painting relaxation session!

...Even if I have to watch this one episode every time!

(Ed. Note: Here's a bonus clip, for the hell of it!)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Final Paper - "Behold, the Magnificent Phonograph"

So, we have a final paper in my summer class on technology and interactivity. I wasn't terribly worried. It's only a "final" paper in that it occurs after all others. In truth, it's only worth about 4% of our grades, and I get 2% just for turning it in. Still, I somehow managed to make mine twice the required length. There's two reasons for this. First is simply because the required length is only 1000 words (remember, this is a discussion-based class). Second, I actually had a lot of fun writing it. You see, we had a choice of three different questions to respond to, and the one I chose was, basically, to write a "scientific/logical explanation for the layman that outlines the particular interactivity with a technology we have not discussed. You can be creative, humorous, and a little absurd but must also be intelligent, articulate, and well-informed." We had to also show that we did the readings in the class, but instead of needing to cite them, we could be allusive or imitative.

Anyway, I chose to write something like this for the phonograph, mainly because I felt we didn't spend nearly enough time talking about audio technology, focusing heavily on visual technology (also, I really like this recording). I decided to write as though I were from ye olden days, and I feel I'm more than a bit imitative of Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote our first reading.

Anyway, I kind of let loose when creating this, but I actually enjoy the results. I hope you will, as well. And I hope you'll come to the realization, as I did when halfway through, that this must have actually seemed like a frickin' big deal at the time.

(P.S. While I kind of muddle with timelines in this piece, this is an excuse to use my "1890s" tag for a second time. Score!)


Like a fine perfume, spoken words, carried by the talented voice of Len Spencer, seeped out the glass panes of the appliance shop to my ears as I was taking a stroll downtown. People casually walking by turned, to perhaps glimpse the man that the sound must have come from. One person even looked at me, as though I were some sort of ventriloquist.

But no; the voice may have been projected, but it was not by my lungs. Instead, it was by a small box, no taller than my chest. This box was the phonograph, a most wondrous invention. Created by Thomas Edison, it may prove even more influential than his electric lantern. With this mechanical device, you can do what one would think is impossible: you can capture sound. What’s more, you can then repeat this captured sound whenever you please. With such an apparatus, we have the opportunity to interact with family, with ourselves, and with the world in an entirely new – and beneficial – way. If you don’t believe me now, or if you’ve never heard of one of these phonographs before, then give me a few moments of your time to explain myself.

I think it prudent to discuss the technical aspects of one of these contraptions. After all, without a proper understanding of the mechanics of today’s technology, it is no better than some possessed trinket. You can just imagine good old Aunt Mabel claiming it to be a work of the devil, can you not? But no, it is not some infernal handicraft, but rather a precisely-tuned instrument. Yes, I said “instrument”. Because, you see, the phonograph works in exactly the same way as any flute or drum.

Let us consider the humble mandolin. When a musician plucks at one of the strings, that piece of catgut would move back and forth. These vibrations disturb the air, much like a well-thrown stone will cause ripples in a pond. However, once these disturbances reach your ear, they then vibrate the inner recesses of your ear, acting as a tiny drum. This, then, causes you to hear the sound in your head. The same holds true with a piano (the vibrations being on the strings inside), the drum (here coming from the skin you beat) and the flute (the very body of the instrument being the tool of the vibrations). And so it is true with the phonograph.

Of course, the phonograph does not use strings. Instead, it uses wax cylinders no larger than a jar of peanut butter. This cylinder is placed on what can best be likened to a spit over a cooking fire. In this way, a crank allows the user to turn the cylinder like a suckling pig. A needle then rests on the cylinder, and attached to this needle is a large cone, similar to a horn or trumpet.

What makes this apparatus so extraordinary is that it can perform dual functions; recording sound and playing it back. When one fastens a small attachment onto the needle, it allows you to speak into the machine. You can input whatever you want, from a friendly greeting to a song to a dramatic reading of Melville. When the large cone catches the vibrations of your voice (themselves created by the movement of the muscles in your throat) it will itself vibrate slightly, enough to move the recording needle up and down. Like a master sculptor of miniscule stature, the needle digs into the wax cylinder, forming small grooves. Within these grooves is magic. Not real magic, mind you; otherwise Aunt Mabel would get her torch ready. No, it is a modern magic, one which captures the sound, exactly how it is, and stores it, as though frozen in time, ready to be played back. And to do this, you simply remove the recording attachment and turn the crank as normal. Now, it simply works in the opposite way; the grooves bump the needle up and down, causing the cone to vibrate in a way which will replicate whatever sound was frozen on the cylinder.

What are amazing about these cylinders are their authenticity and their longevity. A parrot, for example, can “record” a speech, but when you ask it to speak the speech back to you, it will do so in its own voice. The speech may be accurate in its contents, but it is not authentic in voice. A phonograph cylinder, on the other hand, will remember and present you with the speech exactly how was first said. Were you in another room, you’d think speechmaker himself was the one doing the talking. Additionally, while one’s memory of a speech can fade with time, a cylinder will reproduce it with as much accuracy one year from now as it does today. Think of it as an entertainer who will perform unlimited shows after only one payment.

But the use of the phonograph goes far beyond that.

People speak of photography as though it were the second coming of the Lord. I can’t go anywhere without seeing a picture print or stereoscopic image. People flock to these devices, saying that they will revolutionize the way we perceive the world. They will make travel unnecessary, and they will allow family on different sides of the country to know each other as though they were next-door neighbors. All through the “power” of images.

Well, of course people are attracted to this concept. Of all the senses, sight is our primary one. Before all other information is gleaned from a new object or situation, we evaluate it based on what we see. Unfortunately, this also makes sight our most superficial sense. Even though we are told never to judge a book by its cover, that is exactly what we are forced to do with photography: judge something solely by its appearance, rather than its merit.

I hear tell of people putting together moving pictures. They take a number of photographs, all taken in close sequence, and display them as quickly as possible. The effect is to create movement. Currently, the closest we can get to something like this is the zoetrope, but the thought it that we will eventually reach a point where a single pane will be able to display the moving pictures, without any spinning. Personally, I’m not waiting with very much excitement. I’ve seen chronophotographs; I know how systematic human beings work. But what good is it to know that humans move? Animals move. Machines move. And that’s what these moving pictures show us: that we are mechanical as a steam engine.

Sound, on the other hand, is what separates us from the machines, and places us closer to the pantheon of the angels. For it is in sound that the soul comes through, be it through the heavenly voices of a church choir or through an inspirational speech by the president. We may not use sound as our primary sense, but it allows us to pierce deeper into the very core of one’s being. Hence, once the phonograph is ubiquitous, we shall engage in a new culture, one in which we judge others not on the trifling appearances of their clothes and face, but on the very sound of their soul.

But these philosophical ramblings mean nothing if the phonograph ends up serving no palpable purposes. Which indeed, it does. In fact, I dare say that the phonograph shall be the creation which, more than any other man-made machine, shall serve to change the way people around the world interact with each other.

Consider the opera. While an opera can be an uplifting experience, the practice of attending one can be less than pleasant. The modestly-paid enthusiast must attend a show by himself - or at best with his wife - as he cannot afford to purchase tickets for his family and friends. When he reaches the theatre, he must find an uncomfortable chair in a sea of strangers. Later, when his hunger arises, he must get up and leave the performance to purchase refreshment. What a needless hassle! With the phonograph, he can purchase an opera cylinder for half the price of an individual ticket. He can then invite his dear ones into his living room, where he can sit in his favorite recliner. The opera can begin and end whenever he desires. If he takes a break, so does the performance. He may repeat a particular concerto if he desires. He has access to limitless encores. His house, not the big house, becomes the local center of attraction. What a marvelous situation, when a man need not leave his house and still has the choice between “Carmen” and “Madame Butterfly”.

This also presents new opportunities for musical artists. Because one phonograph may record off of another, a musician need only complete his piece once, and it can be replicated as many times as his heart desires. No longer need he perform on every street corner and evening café. He may simply sell cylinders for 50 cents apiece to the general store. In this way, we may need to add a course in our music lessons about proper salesmanship!

And yet, it does not end there. This technology will eventually make written letters obsolete. After all, why should one wish to waste their time writing – or reading – page after page of correspondence, when they may simply place a cylinder in their phonograph and communicate the way it was meant to be done: with voice. Say I wish to send a romantic note to my sweetheart traveling across Europe. I could simply write down a poem, put in the post, and hope she understands its meaning. Or – and I sincerely prefer this – I could actually recite the poem to her, to inflect the important points, to punctuate what needs be punctuated. And in hearing my tender tone, she will feel as though my arms are enfolding her. A slip of paper cannot do that. Should she reciprocate, sending me back a cylinder with her delicate voice, I could close my eyes and imagine her very presence. Indeed, communicating with the phonograph is just like having a conversation with your eyes closed. It is the closest two people on opposite sides of the world will ever come to be.

In fact, once one thinks about it, the phonograph becomes the perfect tool for people to interact with each other. But is it only a means to this end? Certainly not! Should you choose it to be, the phonograph can be a character in and of itself. As Len Spencer’s advertising recording states, “When your wife is worried after the cares of the day, and the children are boisterous, I can rest the one and quiet the other. I never get tired and you will never tire of me, for I will always have something new to offer.” If only every houseguest could offer as much! You’ll notice how it speaks, though, referring to itself in the first person, as though it were a living, breathing person. I have yet to see a camera do that! And it couldn’t, because nobody would believe it. But the phonograph, with its ability to use sound, the foundation of the soul, actually has the ability to pass as a contributing member of the household – one which never needs to be fed.

But was Aunt Mabel correct this whole time? Is the phonograph actually insidious? Shall we lose ourselves in this machine? Not at all; in fact, we shall discover ourselves! We shall go past the superficial details of photography and understand what it is to know the world with our eyes closed.

I think that within a few years, when the phonograph becomes as omnipresent as a bedspread, you will not have to read this piece again. By that time, I will have recorded it on a cylinder and distributed it to all of my readers (who, ironically, wouldn’t be reading anymore). In doing so, all the tones, the inflections, and the passion that I’ve lost in transcribing my thoughts to paper will be regained. Your experience would improve tenfold. This discourse could continue for an infinite number of pages, but I believe you should have a decent understanding of the workings - and the merits - of the phonograph. If not, then I urge you to go to your local appliance store and experience the phonograph for yourself; I think you will be hard-pressed to hold onto that stoicism. Steam power may make travel across the world easy, but it is the phonograph which will actually bring us all together.