Monday, May 31, 2010

Hawksley Workman tabs | play I'm not working on

Three items today. 

Item 1) 
if you want to play the Hawksleys Workman song I linked to the other day called Worhall's Portrait of Gretzky on your guitar, it's a simple 4-chord progression, though the lyrical timing requires some practice. It's all yours now.

Simply play the Em, G, C and D chords in progression to the tune. Do some palm muting, some barr chords, some plucking, whatever makes it sound a bit different between the chorus, pre-chorus and verse to satisfy you, but ultimately, these are the chords that work while you're playing. No doubt, there's a more complicated and pretty way to play it, but for suckas like you, me, and Rampage Jackson, this is the simplified version. Have fun. 

p.s. I am having a load of fun playing this song. Perhaps too much fun. 

Item 2) King of the Road for today is: 
a comic I had no way to relate to while I was in Grade 6, but
 wrote anyhow. Virginity conceded, I'm pretty sure a normal sex life would be defenestrated after something like this.

Caption: Joey's sex life was ruined

For the record, I knew no Joeys at that point in my life, believe it or not. None. 

Item 3) 
There's a play that's going to be performed in Windsor in December for World AIDS Awareness, and I am hoping to participate in some of its development. While I never got a chance to see the play that I advised on (S_eedy Ca$h would have been very funny, I only needed to actually find a performance that was playing to confirm it) I am hoping to be even more involved (cough - buddy, I want to help! - cough) with this new play. [For the record, no matter what the organizers say about the title, I still want to help you make this into the best it can be, pal. Let's make some magic!]

The premise: a former hockey pro now lives in a condo in Windsor, adjacent to a homosexual hockey fan (Calgary Flamer) and in the midst of coming to terms with each other's character and characteristics, they learn how the HIV/AIDS virus has affected both their lives. 

It's a comedy, and if you ask a professional comedian why they do comedy, it's to make a social difference, which a play like this has the tremendous potential to achieve. We were going over titles for the play the other day. We wanted something that had relevance to the play, importance to our characters, and most importantly caught the eye of anyone passing by. It was implicit in the title that we wanted to use a marquee NHL player's name to make the show noticeable. 

Ovechkins and Crosbys aside, I have put all my influence (which isn't much) behind the title "Bobby Orr Knees." The title has arguably the greatest NHLers' name in it, and it is a bit jarring - shouldn't there be a possessive "S" in there? The answer is "no," even though we will be talking about Bobby Orr's Knees. 

Ultimately, the play is about afflictions that prevent people from being all that they can be, and one of the running conceits throughout the play is intended to be the concept of having "Bobby Orr Knees." The idea that someone could have been the greatest at what they do, but they were afflicted with something that they simply couldn't overcome, an impenetrable barrier that prevented them from achieving legendary status. In short, it's about every single person who can't have a family or a long-term relationship with others because they've contracted one of the most devastating diseases in the world. 

A long time ago I wrote down, "the important things in life are the things written on your tombstone." Loving father, beloved wife, father of eighteen, etc. These are the things in your life that make your life meaningful, and the HIV/AIDS virus jeopardizes all of that - I'll bet Bobby Orr won't want "8-time Norris Trophy winner" on his tomb-stone. But to be remembered as a valued member of his community and beloved member of his family will certainly be on there.

It's an incredibly apt concept, conceit and title - unfortunately the programmer's with the money to back the production think that "Bobby Orr" rhymes too much with "Bobby Whore." 

I'll leave it at that - except to say that my back up title was going to be "Slut McCrackenwhore's Diaphragm is Full of Herpes." Which undoubtedly would have been shot down as well.  Here's hoping the play is as moving and meaningful, and funny, as I know it CAN be, including the title. Stay tuned for more information.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Artistic afternoon

We didn't get up to much this afternoon - chilling out mostly, however I spent some time listening to Internet radio and some podcasts while doing some more artwork on a project I expect will be finished in the next little while. I've got the first page posted here.

this is only the first page, but I've got nine of them. I finished the sketches last week, then went over some of the pages to finish the drawings. I've since begun inking them. I'm almost done with page two, and I'll scan it in and then do the necessary photoshopping to make it appear as a finished product.

That should be ready for tomorrow. I should be able to post a great deal of it shortly (before the end of next week, anyhow). So that's exciting.

As well, here is the today's comic for the King of the Road series:

Caption: 1 Frame Before

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spring Lambs and other assorted video links

My sister wanted to get a sheep - I don't know if she'd get it while it's young or not, but they look like they can be a lot of fun, according to this. Hilarious.

Also, here's a clip of moose playing in a sprinkler, Old Spice guy on Ellen (he recites his lines, and it's good), Soccer players faking injuries (while a recorder -like from grade school- plays the Darth Vader marching tune), Craig Ferguson can't figure out a computer (in any other job, this man would be fired for not knowing this), Phobia workshop (this is a good one),

This comic is a bit more macabre than the others ...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hawksley Workman - ever heard of 'im?

Me neither - that doesn't mean that this song isn't awesome! It is called Worhol's Portrait of Grezkty and it's catchy, wonderful, and I was fortunate to be listening to CBC Radio 2 at the right time to catch it!

Here's some fellow who is covering the song, indicative that this song has been out longer than I thought it has been. I don't know. Anyhow, awesome song!


A Mink, not The Thing, ending forward flashes

Among all of the King of the Road comics, this one still makes me laugh. The only reason it's based in England, if I can recall, is because the car wound up being too far over on the wrong side of the road while I was drawing it. The facial expression along with the caption make this comic for me. Again, spelling is left woefully uncorrected.

Montauk Monster just a mink

As I linked to earlier in the month, there was a frightening animal that washed up somewhere here in Ontario. It has been concluded that it was a mink with a decomposed and hairless face, and not a sea monster of any kind. You can find more information here.

John Carpenter's The Thing ...
... was one of his make-a-name-for-yourself films that helped catapult him to the frontier of horror films. What would be more exciting than to recycle an old script idea (which has been the fashionable thing to do for the past five years in Hollywood) and release a prequel to The Thing?

I've have a whole theory about the popularity of familiarity and I think it's evidenced most precisely with the longevity of The Simpsons. The basic premise is, we (as a society) don't want new and challenging things, but rather familiar and comfortable things. What caused this (see Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 911 for some of Michael Moore's theories on why society is intimidated by the unknown) is still up for debate, but there's a reason why new shows and programming struggle to stay on the air, and why movies made out of old familiar characters (whether they're from old movies, old tv shows, old comic books, or wherever) are the only things that achieve financial success in theatres*.

*Of course there are lots of films that make lots of money, but there are a huge amount of sequels, remakes and prequels these days. And many films based on popular comic book characters, too.

Flash Forward
This show is a good example of a program that failed to be picked up for another season, so it actually had its "series finale" in the same week as Lost, only after one season. A failure, if you ask most people (although an honest year's work if you ask the cast and crew). How was it received by the singular blogger who bothered to comment on it? Not well.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Layover from Lost

Next King of the Road comic

Caption: On the road again (with music notes floating around)

I may actually owe Willie Nelson royalties on this one.

Lost Stuff
Lost stuff - this is winding down - I'm probably not going to be posting much about this anymore, since it's over. Here is a pretty solid rundown of what happened on the show if you're a viewer and you're still really confused by it all. It's a fair review and makes perfect sense to me.

Some have reported that Lost's ratings were pretty good, around 13.5 million or something like that. That's good for the network, but what's not good for the network is the 1 million people who downloaded it on BitTorrent for free breaking the single day record for downloads. But frankly, this is ABC's fault for not broadcasting internationally on their website. If they streamed shows internationally, they could tap into that extra " 4 and 5 million [downloads]" that are "expected that by the end of the week."

More network problems arise in the closing images that appeared during the credits of the finale. While I myself didn't see it, because the screen shrunk down to a tiny blob and an ad for the evening news was broadcast across of it (for a good example of how to do this, see below*) so we didn't see the still shots of the Oceanic 815 wreckage.

These images weren't to influence your interpretation of the ending, or to imply that Ajira 316 crash landed before they could leave the radius of the Island. Instead, the network put the images there because:
An ABC spokesperson wrote to the LA Times, “The images shown during the end credits of the Lost finale, which included shots of Oceanic 815 on a deserted beach, were not part of the final story but were a visual aid to allow the viewer to decompress before heading into the news.”
And if you think that Lost got out of hand with its fame and fans got a bit wacky about the situation, consider this:
The series finale of Lost was all about letting go and moving on, a message not picked up by the Rock Band Network. Community members have approved two songs that fans of Lost should know well. First, there’s “You All Everybody,” the hit single by castaway Charlie Pace’s fictional band Drive Shaft. Geronimo Jackson’s “Dharma Lady” is also available.
I haven't heard the full version of You All Everybody before. Technically, I still haven't.

* Spike will use the moments while the credits are running to squeeze the screen and actually begin to air the next episode of CSI, keeping you glued to the screen. Those CSI marathons are like Crack-Cocaine some times.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dinosaurs in the garden

Well, not really dinosaurs, but some kids found an icthyosaurus in their garden at school in Australia.
A school student and groundsman have unearthed a giant dinosaur-like sea creature in a vegie [sic] garden, 100 million years after the ancient inland sea it once roamed dried up. Year 10 student Raymond Hodgson and groundsman Ben Smith were digging corner posts for a vegetable garden at the Richmond State School, in western Queensland, when they made the find.
It would appear that veggies are spelled vegie down under, and apparently their news reports are happy to use slang and abbreviations for things like vegetables. Good for them.

Clear explanation from Bad Robot on Lost finale
Lost fans still unclear with what happened on the show - well, you can review this link. Someone from the production company, Bad Robot, has taken a moment to explain how things were from the writers' perspective. Why this is unclear is why Lost is great: they would have an explanation, but try and show it to you, rather than say it to you, which is the fundamental difference between a hit show like this, and a stale, awful show like Heroes.

Hope this helps make sense of the entire show for you.

Latest King of the Road

Caption: Desert Road

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Job search

Normally I like to browse the Internet for pleasure - and looking for work online is definitely not all that pleasurable. It's interesting to see that there are literally 600 jobs in the area, but disheartening to see how very, very few are anywhere close to what I envisioned my career in.

In any case, it is with some hope that I look forward to finding something that will make me both happy and comfortable. I imagine those jobs come along once in a lifetime. I hope you don't have to wait a lifetime to find it.

In any case, attached is the latest version of the King of the Road series. Garth was a friend of mine's pet cat that would be particularly vicious while playing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Unresponsive uploading

I've got today's King of the Road ready for upload, but my browser isn't being cool with me. So I'm going to use my patented* cure for electronic errors - just turn whatever's not working for you off, leave it for a while, and turn it back on later. Far more often than not, this will solve whatever problem you were facing.

I'll edit this post after the shut-down/restart and hopefully have today's comic up - but don't get your hopes up too high. Not because it might not work, but more because the comic just isn't that good.
EDIT: I still can't upload the comic scheduled for today - but am able to upload other ones, so ... here is "A Bad Marching Band."
*Not actually patented.

Lost Finale
There was a lot of ground to cover with the finale for the show - and the writers were never misleading to suggest that all the mysteries on the show will be answered (or even all of the major mysteries, either). And whatever the finale was (it was a pretty straightforward linear plot line from point A to point B with a bit of action and some sci-fi thrown in - nothing too complicated) it featured a conclusive five minutes that summed the show up with incredible sincerity and finesse. It was touching, and encompassing - two things that a finale should have.

But don't get me wrong, it was like an episode of Scoobey Doo where they get the right bad guy, but Velma died and they never figure out who the bad guy is, what they were up to, or how they pulled off all the illusions. So ... all in all, it was pretty good, but far from as conclusive as we might have expected.

That's all for now - today we're going to see MacGruber!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lost finale

I'm really looking forward to the Lost finale tonight. There's a lot of programming that's going into this - and I'm really interested to see what it will all boil down to. My expectations aren't too high, but I hope that it's not lame or weird or full of tired old lines from earlier seasons.

I've concluded that the first three seasons were exceptional, and the fourth was the worst, followed by a strong fifth season and six has been ... troublesome mostly because of this flash-sideways. I hope it all comes together nicely and meaningfully and with a lot of awesome, and most importantly, it returns the John Locke who died back at the end of Season 3. If Locke comes back I'll be most happy - that and the canoe chase from season 5, I'd like to see that again, too.

Here's today's comic:

Caption: Try to keep your car clean after going through a car wash

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Golfing today

... and it went pretty well. It was my best round ever. We golfed a few weeks ago and we were averaging a bit over six strokes per hole. Today I managed 5.4 strokes per hole, and shot a 97 (which is breaking 100 for the first time)! So that's awesome (for me).

Granted - it wasn't a very honest 97, but ... it was on par with the rest of my golfing experience. Now, my best golf score is pretty much the same as my best bowling score.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The playoffs are more interesting with Philadelphia in them

33I'm not going to say that the Philadelphia Flyers are going to win the series against Montreal, nor am I interested in picking them to win the Cup, but I can't deny that the playoffs are much more interesting with Philadelphia in them.

Second - while I liked Vancouver to take it all the way - it gave me a good chance to watch some Chicago games, and boy, those guys are assholes, which is good. Chicago has a mean team with loads of scoring and speed, and hypodermic players that really get under the oppositions' skin.

So - a Chicago v. Philly finals would be more entertaining than anything, on paper. Yet, following Montreal and the weirdo fans of theirs burn and overturn everything in Montreal, would be interesting, too. Montreal is like the Los Angeles of Canada. Granted, if the Leafs ever win the Cup, I have it on good authority that the CN Tower will be torn down in the celebration.

San Jose - I really don't know what it would be like for a successful team in San Jose. I can't even imagine it. I would imagine it would be as lack-luster and forgettable as Anaheim winning - but ... it's just so hard to envision them as winners.

KOTR4 - Psycho path

Caption: Psycho Path

Remarkable New Findings Support Man and Dinosaurs Lived Together

Again, nothing would excite me more than to know that dinosaurs and man lived together, but the odds aren't in faith's favour. That being said, a new documentary will investigate the lore of dragon's from around the world, and posits, hey, these were dinosaurs, not dragons. The Bible is right!
An explosive new 90 minute documentary from Cloud Ten Pictures will provide just that - DRAGONS OR DINOSAURS? explores shocking evidence for the controversial theory of creation, by delving into the exciting lore of dragons and dinosaurs.

For centuries, dinosaurs have been used to discredit the Bible - but DRAGONS OR DINOSAURS? will present new, clear, and stunning visual evidence that uses them to actually verify the Bible's history.

"If you say you think man lived with dinosaurs, people look at you funny. After watching this documentary, they'll be saying the same thing," declares Cloud Ten director AndrĂ© van Heerden.

Presenting major proof for Biblically-based creation while exploring the fascinating history of dragons and dinosaurs, this is one DVD that is perfect for any home school lesson, and will have kids glued to the screen the whole way through. 

Loosely based on the book by Darek Isaacs, DRAGONS OR DINOSAURS? finds truth behind the sensationalized dragon tales that exist around the world. Isaacs says that the facts presented throughout the documentary are so compelling that people may begin questioning their other beliefs, as well: "And hopefully, they will ask the next question: What else is the Bible right about?" 
I'd love to watch this - however, the press release is a bit far-fetched.
For centuries, dinosaurs have been used to discredit the Bible 
First, Richard Owen originated the term dinosaur in 1842, which was only 168 years ago - NOT even two centuries. The earliest at which the plural form of century could possibly be used is in 2042. So, there's the film's first failure. Let's hope their research is better than their math (however, I'd be surprised). 

Second, paleontologists aren't theologians. They are geologists/zoologists - they really don't have any training or interest in influencing how people interpret religion. I can say this with incredible certainty. So paleontologists (people who build their career on researching dinosaurs) definitely aren't using dinosaurs to discredit the Bible. 

There's one thing this film's press release indisputably gets right, though: 
...this is one DVD that is perfect for any home school lesson, and will have kids glued to the screen the whole way through. 
I think home-schooled kids are the only ones who are going to believe any of what this film has to say, anyhow. 

Bizarre white-faced monster washed up

That's right, right here in Ontario, someone took a picture of this. As far as I can tell, it's a bald-faced bear or seal, maybe a wolverine or badger, something like that. There were apparently a bunch of picture, but I haven't found others. Is this a sea monster or an undiscovered bald-faced monster? ... well, is it? 

[insert creepy X-files music]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Here's the latest King of the Road - the title was worn off, so I had to type it in for you. These aren't always funny, or gory, but there sure are a lot of them. There are 50, right pat, which is pretty impressive. Some of them are pretty awful. 

Looking forward to baseball tonight, the first soft ball game I've played in about a year and a half, courtesy of the muthufukkin' strike in Windsor last summer. Thanks for nothing, strikers. Anyhow, I'm very, very excited for baseball tonight. It should be awesome. 

We watched "Beer League" with Artie Lang (I think that's how you spell it) last night - which was on Chex. Now, I'm no censor for television or anything, but that film was about as R-rated as they come, and it was on channel 11 (not a cable station, per se) with hardly any commercial breaks. It was basically cussing, baseball, drinking, more cussing, a scene at a strip club, and then a happy ending. Pretty cool for network tv at prime time. 


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Should I run my own festival in Windsor?

Should I run my own literary festival in Windsor? If I get four comments on my blog that say "yes," I'll do it. Otherwise, ... no way. Enjoy the latest King of the Road comic.

Watch out for 96
Nice - you can see that the paper is terribly warped - and that's fine with me. It's all finished in black and white, but you should see the finished files - they're this awful burned yellow colour. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

King of the Road series begins | KOTR1 - morning

I'm not sure what else to call this, other than The King of the Road series. I've finally got my hands on the old road kill pictures I drew back in Grade 6, and I am ready to start posting them. So, without further ado - here is the premiere King of the Road comic.

The caption reads: "Why you should never leave your mourning star on the road."

The beauty of this series is I'm going to leave it entirely as is, no censoring, editing, none of that. Just the images as they were drawn back when I drew them. This comic makes perfect sense, if you were to leave a medieval weapon on the street, it would likely ruin a car pretty quick.

Other news:
For my wife | Super Scribblenauts announced

That's right - the classic DS game that lets you literally type in anything into the screen, and then use that item on the board to complete your task is coming out with a sequel. What's going to be different about this version to improve upon the concept of the earlier episode?

You can also create objects with adjectives now, determining your creation's size, color, behavior and other such details.

Multiple adjectives can be combined together to produce incredibly creative objects, such as gentlemanly, flaming, flying zombies and purple, obese, winged elephants, allowing the player’s imagination to run wild for an even more inspired and individual experience than ever before.

Possibilities are even closer to infinite now. We haven't got a specific date for Super Scribblenauts just yet, but you can expect the game some time this falls.

If you liked the first version, which you undoubtedly did if you played it, then you should be super-psyched for its sequel. Sounds awesome.

Fox announces fall lineup | and it sounds better
According to Fox Entertainment head Kevin Reilly, the network will also debut a new family/action series called "Terra Nova," which will chronicle a family's adventures in the time of the dinosaurs.

In addition to the new shows, Fox has confirmed that it will cut the length of "American Idol," trimming the performance shows to 90 minutes and the results shows to 30 minutes. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Reilly revealed that they made the decision based largely on fan feedback.
A show that will have dinosaurs in it AND less American Idol. Sounds much better!

I'm making pizza from scratch tonight for me and friends while we watch Lost. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tee Time: 5:45

Yeah, going golfing shortly. I used to totally hate golfing, but now it's more fun ... when you get older the ranger that putts around making sure everyone is behaving yourself leaves you alone more. When we were like 17, 18, etc, they'd be all over us, telling us to shut up, quit drinking, and stop yelling. They don't seem to care if you're older, only if you're an idiot kid.

Thank goodness I'm not a kid anymore. ....

Looking forward to getting a few holes in this afternoon - it was supposed to be rainy and cloudy, but this morning has been sunny and warm, with suggestions that this evening might be the same. I can only hope. 

As for Lost - there are still a bunch of neat things popping up every day for the show. The Executive Producers Damon and Carleton have released a new podcast on the ABC site, which doesn't really answer anything, but you get to hear how stupid some Lost fans are. You can tell when they're trying to be clever, but they really just sound like idiots. Normally they're clever people, but they try too hard, and it ends up coming out sounding self-referential and loathsome. I know all about it.

I generally dislike most of the Lost pod-casts out there - they seem to be hosted by people with absolutely no instinct for broadcasting, and they all sound like the "Hardly Boys" from South Park, except they use 'gangsta slang' as often as they can. It's the most excruciating thing to listen to. And most of the time, they merely "promote" their other projects that have nothing to do with Lost and then pretend they listen to hip hop because they like it, and not for the catchy phrases they can use later in their podcasts. (I looked for a YouTube video of the Hardly Boys, but turns out YouTube crashes my browser - so not doing that anymore). 

In any case, if you're having trouble keeping up with the answers and questions from the first five seasons of the show, they have been handily included in this list for you to review. You will find that many of the questions from Season 1 have already been answered, which is convenient. It would also suggest that most answers from the remaining seasons might be left by the way-side. 

Zombie stuff
In the same vein as the Jane Slayer, Pride & Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer, there is a new book out there that submits: What if the Beatles were zombies, and they had a British invasion? 
Find out in Paul is Undead

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Old Lost news

The last episode of Lost (I  mean the most recent Across the Sea, not the finale) was an interesting one that went back a long ways in time that wasn't necessarily addressed on the show (though some believe was close to the first century AD) - which coincidently is when much of the story I'm currently working on takes place (very cool). 

I'm here to simply let anyone who cares to know that the finale of the series to air on Sunday May 23 has had its time extended by 30 additional minutes. This wasn't extended until after the filming was complete and I guess the editors and producers looked at all that they had shot and concluded that they needed more time. Does this mean the finale will appear rushed when we watch it? Does this mean (like all epic-length movies) that there will be lengthy action sequences? We only have to wait a few more weeks to know conclusively. 

It is exciting to think that they required an additional 30 
minutes to air on the show (which probably means that there will actually (after commercials) be about what, 44 min+22min=66 minutes of programming on that evening. If we discover that 20 minutes isn't all that interesting, we'll know that they could have used more time to consider whether to put that material into the show or not. 

Anyhow - I've also dug up an interview with Michael Emerson who plays Benjamin Linus for your reading pleasure. 

But that's not all - Evangeline Lilly, who plays Kate, was on Letterman, which you can watch the video for, even though we're not in the United States. You can find the link to that interview here. Evangeline, traditionally, has felt that Letterman doesn't watch Lost and doesn't know much about it, though, for the sake of his show, must feign some interest in it. She's absolutely right, but takes it very personally that he might joke about the show, its mysteries, or her character. I guess I would be a little upset if someone know who knew nothing about my work was making fun of it in front of millions of people, to my face - but ... I think it's meant to be more playful than how she takes it. 

I guess this means I don't like Kate, AND I don't like Evangeline. (I sure hope that character dies) if she's one of the survivors at the end of the day.... geesh.

Hope all is going well.  

Monday, May 10, 2010

What to do with myself?

yup - this is where I'm at right now, just wondering what to do with myself. I've done a lot of "prep work" on the Zombie Dinosaurs project, which I've retitled "Tomb of the Undead" and have about an Act and a half of settings to draft into the Scene Capsules before digging into the actual writing. I definitely want to take some free time (which I have plenty of now) each day to make some progress on this front. My mom was watching something (on television) and a writer (I think Michael Creighton) said that a writer has to write at least one page every day - and if they do that, they can be successful. 

This could be true - obviously this compulsive requirement would sit you down for at least one page of writing, and that would certainly serve as a "gateway" page that could lead to writing many more pages in that day, which is even better. I think I also read that Creighton would wake up at 5 in the morning to write before the day even started. Not sure if I've got the gumption at this point to pull that off.

That being said, I'm certainly going to have the time to write at least one page so long as I'm just puttering around wondering what to do with myself. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Two exciting things

First, I'll be getting my second look at our new house this afternoon. I basically saw it once, was under tremendous pressure to get a house, figured this was the best one we'd seen in weeks (almost a month of looking) and it would have been taken off the market in hours if it weren't purchased by us. 

Anyhow - that was way back in late February, and I haven't seen the place since. That first impression was all there was time for. But today we get a chance to see it all over again, and I'm excited about that. 

Second, if Leggett is correct, he may have uncovered an old tome of single-panel comics written while we were all back in Grade 6 (I think). How old are you in Grade 6? 12? Is that right? Anyhow - he says he revealed about 50 of these things. Basically, from what I can remember, it was a single paneled comic strip that was all about road kill (I think). It was stylistically inspired by Gary Larson's The Far Side, and I don't really recall why I was so interested in roadkill (but I was - it was like an anatomy lesson at random moments on the road). 

I remember our teacher, Mr. Phillips, had a stock of old, low-grade paper that he didn't want or need, so we got our hands on them and I made (in the matter of two days - or something like that) a few dozen comics. I don't know why I didn't want them anymore, but I do remember giving them to Leggett. How he found them now, I have no idea, but it's still very cool news. 

With Mother's Day this weekend, everyone is on the road, busy travelling and celebrating what is basically a very localized version of Thanksgiving where you only give thanks to your mom. BUT once all that is done (not to rush it - I like to celebrate Mother's Day - I'm just excited about what comes afterward!) Leggett and I can rendez-vous and (after hitting a few buckets of golf balls) scan those images and post 'em up here on the blog*.

*I haven't seen these things in years (like, since I was 12 - we're talking over half a lifetime ago) so perhaps I'll wait and see if I should censor these things or not. I hope that they're every bit as rewarding to post as they will be to reread. 

Until next week - look forward to "The Roadkill Series"

Friday, May 7, 2010

What the boss really means

Today's lesson: If your boss says; "Hang in there, things are tough, and they're not as bright as we expected them to be. But hang in there - keep working hard, and stick it out. We'll pull through this together" what he's really saying is; "Looks like we're going to have to let some people go." 

Laid off - it's not how I imagined it. On Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock sharp, my supervisor at work and the lady from human resources sat me down and told me that due to restructuring at the office that my position had been eliminated - and thus, so had I. 

They called it being laid off, but ... in my mind (and this is probably from  my too many years in a union town) I had always imagined being laid off as "there's no work right now, but we'll bring you back when we get more" whereas this was more like "we aren't keeping your position - there won't be work anymore." 

To be fair, they were very formal and tasteful about the situation - and while my particular department was doing rather well, they make these decisions as a whole, and many of the other departments were struggling financially. My department wasn't specifically doing well because of me, personally, we should be clear on that, too. I was the junior guy around the office, and it was last in, first out. I became like a piece of inventory.

So - they've given me about six week's pay and access to a career developing program and I'm back to the job search. I was getting good at my job, and I was under a lot of pressure for many of those weeks to get up to speed, get on topic, and to basically not make mistakes ever. A lot of pressure - reminders every week that the publishers and editors needed to trust me and ensure that it was all coming together on time. I did that as best as I could - and I wouldn't have done it any differently, but ... I guess I just expected a better result for that effort.

I can imagine there are at least a dozen things I could think about and worry about to find injustice in it all, but that won't really help: I'm taking this pretty well, and I can only imagine it's because I'm not raking the coals to try and stir up a fire. 

The only real thing that sticks out after this experience are the team meetings from our boss. He'd bring the entire production team together and tell us to hang in there, that things aren't progressing as positively as they expected, but if we all worked hard and stuck it out, we'd succeed. He called it a family and told us all to work harder, and do the best we could so we could succeed. I suppose that should mean, "we're not making money - if you're low in seniority, beware." 

So that's the lesson for today - if the boss pulls everyone together to say that they're not making money, what he's really saying is that they're planning to lay people off. So ... there you go.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Second round preferences

So - after fairly quite preferably in the first round of the playoffs - I'm eager to see what the second round has to offer. I'm a bit late in doing this, as the second round is already two games deep in some instances, but ... I know who I'd root for no matter what the scores were/are.

Western Conference
San Jose defeats Detroit
After watching the first round, I didn't think that San Jose had it in them to win anything. The first few games made the Sharks appear anemic and weak - but they really came on strong afterward and won handily. They dominated over their opponents, BUT didn't necessarily require the strength of their first line in Thornton, Marleau and Heatley. Joe Pavelski has been their unexpected saviour. Yet, Pavelski is only able to work his magic BECAUSE Thornton's line is drawing the attention of the top-two defence from the opposition. While Thornton's line might be shut down due to the gruelling efforts of the oppositions - that dedication to the Thornton line leaves opportunities to the other Shark lines. Pavelski has taken advantage of those opportunities and it's brought the Sharks success.

I don't care for Detroit. While I think Detroit is fully equipped to win this series, especially if the Thornton line isn't scoring/dominating - I will always prefer whoever is playing against the Red Wings to the Wings themselves. Suck it, Detroit! Once the Red Wings are eliminated from contention, your city will literally have nothing left to be proud of. Not a single thing. Shame on you.

Vancouver defeats Chicago
I cannot deny that Vancouver is my pick for the Cup - so it's a shame that the young, but talented BlackHawks have stumbled into their crosshairs. I like the Hawks - but the Canucknuckleheads are going all the way!

Of course, this "preview" being late, we know that Vancouver already disposed of Chicago handily. Be prepared to watch the Hawks lose three more games and succumb to the destiny of the Canucks!

Eastern Conference
Philadelphia defeats Boston
Man, this was a really hard series to choose. I've really liked how Boston and Philly have played in the post-season. I'm not enough of a Savard fan to hop on the bandwagon and cheer him to the finals ... I like the mean bastards that the Flyers have put together.

It might not be the right pick, but it's my fan-favourite pick. Go Flyers! Watching the Flyers is like watching a demolition derby - there are a ton of crashes, one winner, and somebody might get hurt. I like it.

Nothing against Boston. I've really, really liked how they've been playing. They've been incredible. And while I won't pick it to be really great - I think a Boston v. Montreal conference finals would be outstanding!

Pittsburgh defeats Montreal
Again, to reiterate - if Montreal and Boston meet in the eastern conference finals - that will be a dream come true. I think Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are more likely to meet in the finals (and that would be an outstanding series, too). In fact, there are no losers for the fans if either of these combinations come up - only if some terrible combination of Philadelphia vs. Montreal (what?) or Pittsburgh vs. Boston (awful!).

I'm rooting for the battle of Pennsylvania - although the Original Six showdown - leading to an All Canadian finals would be truly unworldly.

So - how do I prioritize my pick for the eastern conference finals? Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia seems like the "most likely" pick - but Boston vs. Montreal would be the fan-favourite pick.

Let's just say, we're all winners in either of these situations - and we'll all lament "what could have been" if we don't get either of those matchups.

Until the third round!

Western Conference review pt. 1

San Jose defeats Colorado (4-2)
I was really hoping to watch the super-stars on the Sharks kick some ass, but it would appear that their marquee names just aren't into that sort of thing. When I watch their games (which is rarely - they are west-coast teams, let's remember) their super-stars just aren't living up to the hype. I want them kicking ass and scoring goals. When they're not putting it in the net, their sticking it up the other team's ass - but that's not the Sharks.

In any case, they dominated the last few games with buckets of pucks on net, and beat the Avalanche fairly well. Let's recall that the Avalanche were overachievers, and it was remarkable of them to have the season that they did. But ... they are what they are, a team absent of bonafide mature talent, and they were hard-up against a big team like San Jose. Colorado's best years are still in front of them, though.

Happy to see the Sharks move on - but ... not happy with how they did it. Again, knowing that they've started the second round with some great hockey is comforting. I'm happy to see that.

Chicago defeats Nashville (4-2)
Well duh! But let's consider that they didn't only defeat Nashville (and all the Predator's old Leaf fan favourites) but they also beat them with some incredible over-time heroics. The game 5 where they scored short handed to tie the game, and then won in overtime as the penalized Hossa came out of the penalty box: that was just amazing.

Chicago has an exciting and ambitious crew of players that don't know when to roll over and die (mostly because they're too inexperienced to know better) and that's a good thing. They have pulled wins out of places where there are no wins to be had - and that's awesome. I picked Chicago because I know that they present the most exciting and interesting storyline out of these two teams - and damnit if I wasn't correct.

Good for Chicago. Nothing against Nashville (and Belak and Sullivan) but Chicago has more first-round finery than the Preds. Nice!

Detroit defeats Phoenix (4-3)
Who cares? Despite being the heavy favourites, the Red Wings were the low seeds in this playoff round because their top 6 forwards each spent considerable amounts of time on the injured reserve list. This meant that, even though they are perennial challengers for the Stanley Cup, they were able to come in as "under dogs" against a team of players with no playoff experiences over the last decade. Well, Detroit won, good for them.

I don't care - I don't like them, I'm tired of their players, and I'm thrilled that the inexperienced (though challenging) Coyotes were able to stretch the series out to seven games. It gave me three more wins in my overall prediction schedule than I would have had if the Wings had swept the series. I'm tired of the Wings always winning - it's the same old thing all of the time. It's boring. I will bet against the Wings, however unwise it is, for as long as they are a good team.

Let 'em struggle for a year or ten (or however many the Leafs missed the playoffs for) and perhaps then I'll regain interest in their escapades. Otherwise, go for a hike, HockeyTown.

Vancouver defeats LA (4-2)
Remember, the Canucks are my Stanley Cup picks. They've got the top scorer, career seasons out of their second line players, one of the best goalies in the NHL (regardless of his season stats) and a solid defence. They've got right team at the right time to go the distance for the Stanley Cup. This is the formula - you can't design it, it has to come to you, and when you've got it, you've got to take it all the way. They've got lightning in a bottle - this is their time.

That being said - I like the LA Kings, despite my history with them in hockey pools. I like a lot of their players, and it's a bit of a shame that they don't get to have more success in the playoffs. What Drew Doughty achieved in his first time through the post season was really impressive. He scored more goals (3) in the playoffs over six games than Dion Phaneuf (2) had as a Maple Leaf this season (26 games).

And how were my western conference predictions/preferences for winners? Three series, to one. Not bad. I am happy with the progression of the Western Conference teams. Their overall stats in terms of wins and losses even further pleases me: 15 wins and a measly 10 losses. Very cool.

This would make my overall total for the first round: 5-3 in terms of series predictions/preferences and 28 wins and 21 losses. A very good result, if I say so myself!

To be honest, though, I would have preferred Ovechkin in my hockey pool of Sidney Crosby, if I were in a hockey pool. With great luck, I'm not. Put it this way, if you get 20 points in the playoffs, you've had a helluva a good time! Crosby has 14 in one round alone. That's incredible!

Eastern Conference review pt. 2

Pittsburgh defeats Ottawa (4-2)
The Ottawa Senators got wiped out by the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that's just fine with me. I don't really care for the Sens, and I really like star hockey players who score lots of points. So, Sidney Crosby was great in the first round, and it was a good series to watch. I personally owe the Senators an apology - I honestly believed the Pens would walk all over them, but Ottawa was strong and resilient - much more so than I would have believed.

In the end, they were injured and out-classed, but they had plenty of punch and push, which has been their historic downfall in the past. This year, they were just missing too many regulars and obviously the scoring finesse that Heatley served them.

So, credit where credit is due. A real hard-working first round exit for the Senators. But I'm happy to see the Pens move on.

Philadelphia thumps New Jersey (4-1)
This should be a moment of pause for New Jersey, who would appear to have their best years behind them. That's kinda scary - but seeing as how they made a big move at the trade deadline to pick up Kovalchuk - it might also indicate that their GM, Lou Lamoreillo might also have known this was one of their last shots. You don't package prospects for a short-term super-star for one last hoorah and think that you've got a long future ahead of you (although Pittsburgh pulled it off after trading for Hossa, failing, then winning - so ... refuting myself aside) I think New Jersey knows (just as we all know) that Jersey is done.

Philly, on the other hand, is a team of flawed heroes (the best kind of heroes). They're good scorers, they're talented players, but they've got short tempers, broken noses, mean streaks and are basically Charles Barkely on skates when it comes to being role models. A whole team of guys like that is unpredictable (thus awesome to follow along with). I picked this win as a preference because the character of the Flyers is more important than their value as a team. I want to watch this ticking time bomb keep on ticking. Every game they play is another interesting game.

I have nothing good to say about New Jersey.

Boston defeat Buffalo (4-2)
I picked Buffalo over Boston because I believed that Ryan Miller (because his first name is amazing!) was an outstanding goalie who couldn't be beat by anything other than a gold-medal calibre team of all-star power-forwards who were competing at the Olympic level. Turns out, a low-scoring crew of injured Bruins can beat him, too.

This is too bad because Buffalo is a surrogate Canadian team (so we Canadians like to say). A small-market team that is far enough north that the rest of the NHL envies that they get to play while there's actually snow on the ground. Or something like that. I really respect Lindy Ruff and Mr. Regier and all that they've done while sticking to their ideals of not overpaying their talent and keeping the team competitive. Ruff especially.

Granted, Boston was very, very good. And again, I've got some Second Round action to evaluate their team leading further into the playoffs, but they've been very good moving forward, too. It won't be easy, but the Bruins have done some good work. Nothing wrong with rooting for an Original Six franchise (and especially one who could sure use another Cup win).

Eastern Conference hockey was awesome, as were basically the whole play-offs so far. How were my predictions?

Me: 2-2 (though, if you break it down to wins [Mon.v.Was=3-4; Pit.v.Ott=4-2; Bos.v.Buf=2-4; Phi.v.NJ=4-1] I was 13 wins and 11 losses, which is pretty good, right? Above 500, anyhow.)

How about that Western Conference?

Eastern Conference review pt. 1

This will be the first post in a series on the 1st round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. I realize that I watched a lot of the games and have more than a few thoughts on a bunch of the series. It would be far too long to post it all in one threat, so ... this is part one of ... I don't know how many.

Well, first of all - I owe a few teams some credit. The first round was a lot of fun to watch (and it's too bad that I'm behind the ball on this, considering most series have already had their Game 2 in the second round by now). While my first-round match-up preferences weren't perfect, the second round is shaping up to be awesome.

So - Washington was defeated by Montreal (not what I would have preferred). However, if the Capitals weren't going to be dominating scorers, then I don't want to watch them anyhow. Montreal demonstrated great tenacity in the final few games of the first round, and deserve allot of credit as a whole. What this WASN'T however, was the greatest upset of all time, the greatest goaltending of all time, the greatest series of all time, despite what TSN seems to be encouraging.
There are a few reasons: 1) Halak was actually pulled in one game and didn't start the next game. Meaning, there are two games that he wasn't great in. It would be hard to argue that he was anything but great in just a few of the games (and of course, the four wins required to win the series). That's all it takes, four great performances - and in this instance three in a row - but he wasn't great all series.

Second, though this is one of the few times the 1st seed has fallen to the 8th seed, isn't is much, MUCH more likely now that there's a salary cap? Sure, a few years ago, having the highest paid team with the most star power who was the first seed of the conference being defeated by another team who struggled to make it to the playoffs (with what I can presume would be a much smaller pay roll) would be a far greater upset than one where the two teams have an equal opportunity on the payroll scale. In baseball, a wild-card team defeating the First seeded NY Yankees would be a fantastic upset, but not if the wild card and Yankees had the same payroll. That's not nearly as impressive.

Plus, this series has gone to show that reliable and consistent goaltending and team play (with dedication to defence) wins series - not superstars. This would explain why a tandem of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr could play together for a decade and only win twice.

It is interesting to see which teams with unproven goaltenders advanced, and how many star goalies remain in the playoffs. Halak has been on par (and this season, greater than) the blue-chip prospect of Carey Price, which has been a surprise. With Montreal's need for a big forward and a surplus of RFA blue-chip goalies - they are in an excellent position to trade Price away for something significant ... like a Kris Versteeg out of Chicago (or possibly even Byfuglien?). Now is an important time to watch other franchises to see who's in the market for a star goalie and has a surplus of big forwards - then it's time to make a swap. This will be Price's greatest value to the Canadians, and they should be happy and proud to have drafted him, and used him to bring in such a great asset, especially considering how happy they should be with Halak's performance in net, especially in the playoffs. It would be nice if they could trade to the Western Conference, too - so Price can't really come back to bite them in the ass.

Montreal has been outplayed most games this year, but they're playing on borrowed time, with desperation and determinism - the kind that people didn't really think a team of their size could achieve. So good for them, they'll surely be the under-dog/Cinderella team that Russell Crowe can beat up a stewardess over in the future.
Good for Montreal - they earned a big shot at the second round, and of course, it being May 2 - I know that they'll split the two games in Pittsburgh going back to Montreal, so they've got a great chance already in the second round. If they can keep playing to their strengths, they could go far. That's not what I'm going to predict, though.
I gotta run - my cousin (newly engaged, it is rumoured) will be guest starring in the Murdoch Mysteries tonight. Exciting.