The Rumors of My Demise…

I am NOT, as many of you have suspected, dead in a ditch somewhere.

I HAVE been essentially without internet for almost two weeks. Between traveling for work, hurricane Ike, more traveling for work, and the complete lack of internet at client sites and in hotels (SERIOUSLY?!?! who doesn’t have internet in their hotel in the 21st century???), I’ve been pretty much absent from the internet and the blog-o-sphere and the webs and whatever else comprises the interconnected communication habits of the human species.

Can you tell I’ve been without an outlet for creative writing for days???

…Anyway, I’m alive, I’m working hard, and I’ll be back next week or so. Never fear, Dead Charming isn’t dead yet.

p.s. The Apple iPhone 3G is the single coolest device ever invented. Email, Web, Phone…and now WordPress…I am LOVING this thing.


Comments (4)


What I want to be when I grow up?

In 1983 I saw “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” for the first time.  It was on HBO, I was seven-years-old, and I was NOT supposed to watch HBO without my parents permission…which was a rule that got suspended about the moment I discovered “Fraggle Rock” for the first time.

I’d been going to Sabbath-school for long enough to know exactly what the Ark of the Covenant was and why it was important.  I had a reasonable grasp on Nazis, and Egypt, and submarines…and pretty much no idea about sea-planes,  Peruvian idols, Russian drinking games (I remember wondering why that guy fell over from drinking water…what a wuss), or that REALLY cool flying-wing-thing that chopped up that German boxer/mechanic like a giant blender stuck on “puree”…and DAMN did I want to learn about ALL of it after that!!!

From that moment on, I KNEW what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be Indiana Jones.  While my family environment, my parent’s interests, my education, and my other entertainment choices all contributed to my eventual love of history, and ancient cultures and far away places…I really just wanted to be Indiana Jones.

I remember the moment, when I was probably eight or nine years old, that I learned that my grandparent’s generation had already defeated the Nazis.  I actually felt gypped. The Russians just weren’t as “cool” as the Germans as “bad guys” (although Firefox was awesome). 

In fact, I remember being very confused by the whole East German/Russian connection as a kid, until a member of our church told my fifth-grade class about the day (August 12th, 1961) he, his wife, and their two-year-old daughter went for a Sabbath afternoon walk away from their home in the Soviet Authority Region, and past the border zone to the American Authority Region, almost exactly where Checkpoint Charlie would stand in future years.  Away from their possessions, their family and friends; away from everything they had ever known, and into freedom. 

They took that walk eleven hours before Walter Ulbricht’s order closed the border from east to west Berlin.  Exactly ten years to the day before his brother died in the “death strip” after failing to escape the watchful eyes of East German boarder guards, or the bullets from their automatic rifles.  I will admit that his very personal story, and the way that he told it, has haunted me all of my life.

As does the knowledge that he died of a heart attack at a school function two years before the Berlin Wall fell to crowds of Germans from both sides of the iron curtain and the march of history; and three years before German reunification and his family’s return to their homeland after three decades of exile in America.

His father had fought in the Wehrmacht on the Eastern front, specifically in the Siege of Leningrad; and died on the steps of the Reichstag during the Battle of Berlin.  A little bit of time on google will lead you to a picture of a uniformed twelve-year-old boy clutching his dead father under the rifle and leery supervision of a member of the Soviet 3rd Shock Army.  It will also lead you to a picture of Hitler shaking hands with uniformed children in the Hitler Youth corps before the battle, and another of uniformed Hitler Youth being taken as prisoners of war.  Same boy in all three photos.  It’s hard to reconcile Soviet atrocity with German atrocity when both are painted on one child’s face.

One child who eventually survived war, indoctrination into a brotherhood of hatred, five years in a POW camp in Siberia, returning home to Soviet institutionalized poverty for the German people, escape to a foreign country, the death of his sibling in front of the world, and three decades of exile and penitence for the sins of his youth and the sins of his father.

But he didn’t survive high cholesterol long enough to see his country restored, his family reunited or peace and tolerance overcome a half-century of very personal pain.

History hurries for no one, and the reaper doesn’t care what any man deserves.  What the Soviet sickle couldn’t cut down, cholesterol and the grim scythe did.

And, to be honest, THAT haunts me more than anything else that he taught me…

…Anyway…so, no Nazis.

I took Latin by correspondence in high school because it was closer to my future goals then Contemporary Spanish.  I student taught world history because (and I’m quoting my mentor and favorite teacher EVER, who had me teach the class for him) “[I] knew it better than [he] did.”

My parents have degrees in Communications (dad) and two in Art (my mom, one in Fine Art, and one in Design), and two minors history, two in English lit and one in theology and one in philosophy between them.

By the time I was in high-school I had read most, if not all, of their college text books.  Some of those books remain in my personal library to this day.  I LOVED history.  I loved philosophy.  I loved art.  I LOVED literature.

I had already been through a LOT of theology, but I still learned classical and koine (biblical) greek so I could understand exegetical concepts directly, rather than rely on other people’s translations.

High school was entirely dedicated to my goal of being Indiana Jones an archaeologist.  I studied for the ACT (32) and the SAT (1280, 800 Verbal/480 Math) tests PURELY with the intent to get into the schools that would further my quest to be a professor.  I applied to (and was accepted at) Reed College and Amherst College SPECIFICALLY because of the number of Rhodes Scholars each institution had produced (and damn it, I WAS going to spend two years at Oxford).  I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do and EXACTLY how I intended to get there.

Of course, as with all great plans, this one had it’s little bumps.

First, there was the day I spent on a “job shadow” with the director of the Anthropology department of Boise State University.  He was cordial, honest, open and without a doubt the best dose of reality I could have ever had.

Conversely, the reality of hearing about what life is like as a perpetual student working up to a doctorate and a chance to be an assistant professor for 10-15 years while waiting for one of the 150 employed archaeologists in America to DIE and create a job opening that the other 500 assistant professors (who are all waiting for the same thing) will all compete with you for…it was all sounding a bit grim.

He left out the parts where you gallop around the world, finding treasures, seducing women, and generally saving the free world from the Wrath of God…which seemed like important details.

Hell, the fact was you only ran a dig once every five years at best, and even that was unlikely until you were an established voice in the academic community.  I didn’t want to establish my academic voice, I wanted to shoot Arabian swordsmen and steal religious icons from indigenous Peruvian tribes…for the greater good and posterity of course.

Beyond all that, there was another major bump in the road…no matter how much you plan.  No matter how hard you research, and map out, and plot your course, you can’t control something as simple as the human heart.

By the end of my Senior year of high school, I’d given mine to someone else and I really didn’t want anything to come between us.  Not even my dreams of being Indiana Jones.

By the end of my Freshman year of college, our marriage was just a few months away, and we decided that both of us being in college just wasn’t financially viable…so I got a job.  Well, we both had jobs, I just focused more on “a career” and less on short term goals.

Before long, that COBOL programming class came in handy and I ended up working in IT for state government.

I never set foot on a college campus again, except for the occasional sporting event or musical performance.  While I have considered going back to school and getting a degree or two…I’ve given up my plans to be Indiana Jones.

My “day job” path has gone far better than I could have ever hoped.  I have a great job with a great company.  I’m a “Senior Technical Consultant” and a “Project Manager” and a “Primary Knowledge Expert” and a “Systems and Business Analyst and Solutions Designer” depending on the needs of the project(s) I happen to be working on.

Let’s be up front, I get paid very well, the benefits are great, I like the people I work for and the people I work with, and above all I like the work I’m doing.  But it’s also not what I wanted to be doing when I grew up.  I realize that shouldn’t matter, but I think about it at night when I’m driving home.

See, there’s one other thing I wanted to be when I grew up…I wanted to be an author like my mom.

My mom wrote almost twenty novels for Pocket Books and St. Martins Press from the time I was seven until I was twenty seven.  She won awards, had genre bestsellers, spoke at conventions and went on book-signing tours across the pacific northwest.

When I was in high school, the fact that my mom wrote historical and/or fantasy romance novels wasn’t always a conversation I wanted to have…but as an adult I can’t begin to tell you how cool I think it is.

I didn’t really identify it as a kid, but since I was seven I’ve always believed that was the coolest job ever.  Cooler than Indiana Jones.

I’ve always written.  It’s something that’s simply a part of my physical make-up.  I can’t just “not write,” even if I wanted to.  I make up stories in my head constantly.  Plots and characters and driving factors and motivations and places and things…I wish I could turn it off sometimes, but my imagination isn’t under my control.

I wrote my first novel when I was in the eighth grade.  It was about 55K words, and it was HORRIBLE.  I still have it.  Think “The Mummy” meets “Time Bandits” meets a very thinly veiled “Star Wars” via the writing skills of a twelve-year-old.

I didn’t write another novel for almost two decades, but I spent many MANY hours laying the groundwork.

I also wrote shorter pieces that have since been published.  For money and everything.  And while at one level I know that makes me “a writer,” I just won’t feel it until I can hold a book in my hand.

And here’s a little secret, I’m horribly self-conscious about my writing.  The greatest challenge of my professional life was the moment I wrapped up a synopsis and three chapters and stuck it in the mail…off to the slush-pile and a brief chance at life.

What do I want to be when I grow up?  I want to be an author like my mommy.

Because she’s cooler than Indiana Jones.


Comments (8)


Gelato, Salman Rushdie, Phad Thai, and Pushing Through

[EDIT: Several people were curious why I would be so depressed this weekend, so I will direct you back to the final paragraphs of "He Knows the Hour and the Day" where I discuss my daughter moving away with her mother.  On Friday evening, I dropped my daughter off, gave her a hug and a kiss, and then cried with the kind of grief I can't put into words once I was out of sight. The following morning, before the sun came up, my daughter flew out of my day-to-day life for the foreseeable future.]

Twice in the last seventy-two hours I’ve started writing up a new post, only to eventually discard and DELETE them because they were so friggin’ depressing that unleashing them on the internet-at-large would very likely cause a depression singularity, collapsing all happiness in the universe in on itself, thus creating an actual swirling black-hole-OF-SUCK right here in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

As I don’t want to be remembered as the man who stole the smiles from all the children in the world and made all the chocolate taste like charcoal…I’ll do my best to keep this a bit less doom-and-gloomy.

It’s funny, when I know something really suck-worthy is coming up, I never actually plan for the time period when things are actually sucking.  Somehow I think I expected to just get up on Saturday morning, throw open the curtains, smile at my neighbors, realize that I was naked, and spend the morning laughing about the whole thing with the nice policemen that showed up to explain “decency laws” in the Municipality of Keizer…

I did NOT wake up on Saturday with a smile.  In fact, I gave serious thought to just not waking up on Saturday at all.  Fuck Saturday.  Hell, fuck any day that ends in “y” or is recognized as a state or national holiday (because I don’t want to give Thanksgiving or Christmas a free ride here).  Father Time can go shove sharp objects in his favorite orifice and call it macaroni for all I care.

I know depression.  I can smell it on my skin and in my clothes.  I can taste it in my mouth.  I can hear it’s trademark absence of sound everywhere and nowhere.  I know this dragon.  I know him well.

At first I was almost incapable of acknowledging him.  I almost just turned my back and went back to sleep.  “Let him have me” I said, “I. DO. NOT. CARE.”

“Really?” he asked.  “Not even a little?”

“NO” I replied, squeezing my eyes shut.

“That’s too bad.  You’ve always been too tough to really devour easily and you’re a bit too bitter for my tastes anyway…but a job’s a job and a meal’s a meal I suppose.” And with that the gloomy thing wrapped it’s cold coils around my throat.

I didn’t really fight it.  I just slowly, gaspingly, stumblingly lurched from menial task to menial task as the weekend wore on.  Slowly suffocating under the thing’s horrible weight.

Until today.  Today, I went to work.  And at lunch time, I decided to get lunch.  This is noteworthy because I NEVER get lunch.  Unless there’s a team activity or a customer engagement, I never eat lunch.

I drove down to Bridgeport Village, which is a sort of open air shopping center where people with six-figure salaries (and more often the spouses of people with six-figure salaries) go shopping for the books, baobabs, over-priced designer label clothes, even MORE overpriced one-of-a-kind designs, tech toys (an Oregon Scientific AND an Apple store, natch…), and everything else that the upper-upper-middle and lower-upper classes waste spend bestow their ridiculous amounts of discretionary income on.

As I qualify for the Bridgeport Village’s target audience, I guess it’s just natural that I gravitate to a place where the open air piazza and the surrounding architecture look like the Disney interpretation of an Italian village populated entirely by people who drive Range Rovers, Hummers, Mercedes Benz’s, Porsches, and more pristine late-model Harley Davidson Fatboys than you can possibly believe.

Hollywood would never include a place like this in a movie about semi-rich people.  They’d assume everyone would think it was just too fucking pretentious to exist.

I love it. I don’t know why, but I love it.

It has shops I just can’t find anywhere else within driving distance.  For example, there’s a paper store that carries the largest selection of fountain pens ON EARTH.  Ok, probably not ON EARTH…but for at least 300 miles in any direction from here.  AND THEY LET YOU TRY THEM OUT!!!!!

COME ON PEOPLE!  You know you want to use a $400 fountain pen on $12 a sheet paper with ink that’s sold BY THE GRAM.  OMG…squeeeeee…ahem…anyway…

So, I start my adventure with a trip to Zao Noodles, the best noodle bar in Oregon.  Period. And I ordered my favorite, Phad Thai with Shrimp and Deep Fried Tofu.

While my order was being prepared I wandered over to Borders and found two things that simply HAD to be purchased.  First was “The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie and second was “The Court of the Air” by Stephen Hunt.

People, if you title a book “The Enchantress of Florence” I’m gonna buy it.  If it’s by Salman Rushdie and it won the Booker Prize, I’m gonna pay full price in hardback.

If you write a book in the style of Dickens but use steampunk and gloom-fantasy tropes…I’m gonna buy that too.  If it’s from TOR and I know who the editor was, I’ll pay full price in hardback for that too.

Eight minutes (six of them in line) and fifty bucks later…I’m now really excited to read something.  Excited is good.

After fetching my lunch, I decide to grab something to wash it down with and some dessert at Tutto Bene.  They had my Orgina beverage and “Chocolate Birthday Cake” flavored gelato.  OMFG.  Chocolate.  Cake.  Gelato….Oh HELL yeah.

So now, I’m sitting at my desk, stuffed full of Phad Thai, consuming frothy ice cream flavored like cake batter with the smallest spoon EVER and reading the first few pages of the first good book Salman Rushdie ever wrote (oops…did I say that out loud???).

“Turn the page,” the dragon says to me, “I want to know what she says next!”

“Fine, but I need you to lighten your grip a little, you’re making it hard to swallow.”

“Deal.” he says as he readjusts on my shoulders. “You were always too bitter to taste any good anyway.  So, does that really taste like Birthday Cake?”

As a little aside, to those of you who sent emails over the weekend out of concern that I jumped off a bridge or just needed a shoulder…your emails were sometimes the difference between my giving a shit and my just not giving a shit anymore.  Ever.

You will never know how much that meant to me.  I love you guys.


Comments (12)


Radio Silence

Starting a blog isn’t supposed to leave you feeling MORE stressed then you felt before you started it…but such is not the case for me recently.  I currently have five posts in my Live Writer queue (all of them about 80% done) and the mental outlines for at least two more rattling around in my head.

The problem for me right now is two-fold.  First, it’s been a busy time at work.  Simply stated, earning a paycheck > writing for free.  Yet, I still feel like I’m falling more and more behind on the things in life that I LIKE to do, and just keeping up with the things that I NEED to do.

And second, Sarah and her mom fly away in just four more days.  About ninety-four hours from the moment I write this actually.  It’s the kind of dreaded moment that just seems to drag down my very existence.  It makes my blood run thicker and my mind dull out whenever I think about it.

So I have some Wii games to play, some pictures to draw, some stories to write down and some favorite foods to cook…all with a little girl who means the world to me.  Everything else is kinda secondary for the time being.

As a teaser, I’ll leave you with the titles of the posts to come in the near future:

  • “A Blush, a Crush, and a Sympathetic Rush”
  • “How Sweet Life Is”
  • “My Last 50 Dates”
  • “The Lesser Angles of my Nature”
  • “Always Late to the Party”

I hope to at least finish the first one, as it’s semi time-sensitive and I’d like it to see the light of day.

I’m also putting together a few posts on the process I go through when I write fiction “for money” and highlight what an anal-retentive self-editor I really am.  I’ll probably use something I was thinking about “workshoping” this year.

I would love to go to Clarion West or Viable Paradise someday, but the money or the time never seem to present themselves when needed.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, “more will come, please bear with me.”


Comments (7)


Where the Magic Happens

I’ve spent the last week struggling to finish ANY of the four drafts I now have in Live Writer.  At some point earlier today I finally gave up and decided to go a COMPLETELY different direction.  My Love has been running images from the random places in her life, and I decided to follow her lead and post up something I’m sure ALL of you are dying to see: my home office.


As you can see…I like my workspaces BUSY.

Equally important to a writing and drawing environment is a great source of reference material…so I also have a bookshelf full of some of my favorite things:


I also have two 6′ x 5′ bookshelves full of history, fiction, literature and reference works…but they aren’t out of storage yet so the books are sitting in boxes just out of sight to the right of this picture.  Eleven of them.  They look exactly like the one to the left of my desk:


Yes, I am a geek.  Yes, that’s a Sun workstation.  Yes, it’s running Solaris 10.  Yes, I am a BIG geek.

Alright, so what exactly IS all this crap on my desk???

First, we have my favorite books from the last century.  At least the ones that aren’t by Robert Jordan or L.E. Modesitt Jr. or Daniel Keys Moran or…


Starting up the left-hand side we have “The Oz Tales” in two volumes and “Wonder Tales” in one volume by L. Frank Baum.  Then we have “The Works of Jules Verne” and “The Works of H.G. Wells”; and then “The Looking Glass Wars” and “Seeing Redd” by Frank Beddor.  Those two aren’t really on my “Favorites” list…they’re just recent reads.  Then we have “The Gormenghast Novels” by Mervyn Peake, “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien, Hassain Hadaway’s translation of “The Arabian Nights”, “The Call of Cathulhu and Other Stories” by H. P. Lovecraft, “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” and “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, and the venerable “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman.

Then from left to right I have the exceptional “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” and the utter magnificence called “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” by Susanna Clarke.  Then two big omnibus collections by Glenn Cook in “Chronicles of the Black Company” and “A Cruel Wind: A Chronicle of the Dread Empire” which were both very dark and yet surprisingly entertaining.

Then we get to two of the utter high points of my library…my ENTIRE 5000+ book library…the delightful “In the Night Garden” and the sheer pleasure that is “In the Cities of Coin and Spice” which comprise the two books in “The Orphan’s Tales” collection by Catherynne M. Valente.  Mrs. Valente has a very entertaining blog and a few wonderful short stories here and there, as well as a couple of other books that I haven’t yet found, but have every intention of owning simply as soon as possible.  I really can’t recommend these two books with mere words that do them justice.  The language, the imagery, the very tone and texture of her expression of thought…it’s simply transcendent literature.

From there we progress into my “pulp classics” horde…First we have four collections of stories by Robert E. Howard in “The Coming of CONAN The Cimmerian”, “The Bloody Crown of CONAN”, “The Conquering Sword of CONAN” and “The Savage Tales of SOLOMON KANE”…which really cover so much of Howard’s work.  I need to get the collections that cover Brand Mac Morn and Kull of Atlantis, but there are always more books to buy.  Next we have three volumes collecting several books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  “Under the Moons of Mars” collects the first three books in the Barsoom/John Carter of Mars series.  “The Moon Maid” collects all of the books in that series and “Pirates of Venus” collects the first two books in that series.  I have every book by Edgar Rice Burroughs in electronic format, and they are readily available from Project Gutenberg…but as with so many books, there’s something visceral about holding a book in your hand.  I have to admit I greatly prefer these particular reprintings by Bison Press, and I wish I’d bought more of the books in the series when they were available.

Next we get some short story collections by one of my more recent discoveries, Charles de Lint.  They all revolve around his remarkable city of Newford, and I’m utterly entranced by some of the recurring themes and storylines. “Dreams Underfoot”, “The Ivory and the Horn”, and “Moonlight & Vines” are the only ones I’ve picked up so far, but I’m sure I’ll have spent at least a hundred bucks on his books by the end of the year.

Finally, we get to my favorite author who isn’t a British woman or a dead southern gentleman.  Neil Gaiman is, in my opinion at least, the greatest living mind in fiction; prose, poetry or script.  As far as I know I have all of his readily available prose and poetry on this shelf.  “Stardust” is perhaps as beautiful a novel as it is as an illustrated story (which is over on the bookshelf), “Neverwhere” was a BBC miniseries before it was a novel, “American Gods” and it’s semi-sequel “Anansi Boys” topped the NYT and are mind-bending perfection, “Smoke and Mirrors” was his first short fiction collection and “Fragile Things” was his second. I have to point out that “Fragile Things” is probably my favorite collection of words in print.  It includes his poem “Instructions” which I consider to be the most moving words ever strung together.  The final book in the lineup is “Good Omens” which was co-written with Terry Pratchett.

You can also see the two sourcebooks for the Tactical Strategy RPG “Cadwallon” which I will admit I bought totally for the artwork.  The setting is a sort of dark fantasy Napoleonic Europe meets Robert Howard on a bad acid trip.  Did I mention the artwork is friggen STUNNING???  Sadly, there won’t be any further output from the creator (Rackham) as the company has gone through an executive and artistic “reorganization”…i.e. they fired all the people that made their products worth buying so they can drift into the obscurity of being just another Games Workshop/Warhammer wanna-be.

Also sitting on my desk is the leather-bound journal I bought last year, my Schaeffer fountain pen and a bottle of Schaeffer “Azure” blue ink.  All three of these were acquired when I was considering a road trip from Tumwatter, Washington at the start of US 101 and then out along the coast all the way to the Mexican border and from there take Mex-1 to Land’s End at the southern tip of Baja California near Cabo San Lucas.  I haven’t given up on the trip, but I haven’t decided if I’m gonna save the journal for that or re-purpose it for something more likely to happen in the next year.

OH!  Also visible in that picture are my four fuzzy friends:


From left to right we have my Mariners Rally Monkey (which is apparently utterly and completely exhausted of rally mojo), my Pink Ichiro Bear (It’s actually my daughter’s) wearing my shark tooth necklace (which helped me win more than $200 at the craps tables in Vegas), my daughter’s Dragon “Fantasy” who is keeping my bookworm “Munchums” (which I actually had to argue for in the divorce) company.


Moving left we have my PSP, twenty one PSP games (wow, looks like I have a couple RPGs…) and two PSP movies (they were two dollars each), two bottles of Knappogue Castle Irish Whisky 1994 hiding behind the speakers, my BlackBerry, wallet, passport, keys and a stack of CDs I just imported into iTunes (I think I see White Stripes, Raconteurs, Alanis Morrisette, Dave Matthews Band, Cake, Pearl Jam and The Goo Goo Dolls), and below that the notebooks and sketchbooks related to my fiction.  Yep, my deep dark secret is that I draft all my fiction longhand.  The old fashioned way…with a pen on paper.  I realize that costs me all my geek cred, but oh well, now you know.


Here you can see the Mac Mini (iTunes and iPhoto and Photoshop and Painter X), my Wacom Intuos 3 6×8, three Hotoi figures and a Fu Dragon.  The Keyboard and the Griffen Powermate are for the Mini.


This is the “vice” side of my desk.  You have my green tea-set hiding behind the speaker, my Eddie Izzard DVD, my Train concert DVD, and every DVD of Sting that money can buy.  Next to that is my Nintendo DS (my daughter picked the pink alligator case) and 13 games.  My Painter X manual and a book that should have been entitled “Painter 8 for dummies” and “How to Paint People in Painter”…but they went with the much less descriptive “Digital Character Design and Painting” just to confuse people.

Below that is my cigar box for my all time favorite cigar, the Playboy by Don Diego Double Corona (sadly the box holds my pipes and pipe tools and NOT the 25 tubes of tobacco heaven) and on top is my pipe/cigar lighter and a couple of cans of butane and my “pipe boot”.  Next to that is my humidor, which currently has less then twenty cigars and about 4 oz.’s of pipe tobacco.  On top of my humidor is my bronze reproduction of “Pan Consoling Psyche” which I LOVE.  And behind that is my bottle of Glenmorange Quanta Ruban Single Malt Scotch Whisky, still in the box.


This is the semi-random side of my desk.  Ordinarily my drawing desk is somewhere close by and my sketch pads and sketchbooks have their own home, and my drawing pencils and inking pens are over there.  Right now the Drawing Table is in storage, so I’m “making do” with what I’ve got.  You can see my three html/css reference books next to my humidor and my drawing stuff next to them.

From there you have my Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition, two marginal books on writing and submitting fiction, and then Lynn Truss’ marvelous “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” which should be mandatory reading for every English speaking child on earth.

Next to that are three photography books, “Lyrics by Sting” (by Sting obviously), a leather-bound and silver-leaf copy of “The Complete Frank Miller Batman” (by Frank Miller), and my birthday gift to myself, Volume One of “The Absolute Sandman” by Neil Gaiman.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that I haven’t yet even unwrapped the plastic.  I have this desire to pour myself a glass of scotch, light my favorite pipe, and experience the Magnum Opus of my favorite author from beginning to end on a perfect evening.

Lastly I have my “art bookcase” which is supposed to hold most of my art related books.  It doesn’t actually hold ANY of my Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Baroque, Renaissance, Second Empire, Romanesque, Romanticist, Realist or Impressionist books.

So basically, this is my “Fantasy Art” and “Comic/Manga Art” bookshelf.


Charles Vess, Roy Krenkle, Rodney Matthews, Frank Frazetta, Windsor McKay, Masamune Shirow, J. Scott Campbell, Ben Dunn, Jeff Smith and Kazu Kibushi would be the highlights here.

Well, that’s it.  If you made it this far, I’m very impressed…or a little worried…


Comments (14)



Help me blog-o-sphere…you’re my only hope!

I need some advice.  Let me paint the background of my day a little clearer:  I’m having one of “those” days.  I love my job, I love the place I work, I love the people I work with.  I don’t love not bringing my lunch on the last day before payday.  I’m broke, and I can’t just run to Chili’s or Stanford’s and grab lunch.  Hell, I don’t even think I can afford Taco Bell after buying gas last night.

So I’ve got twelve minutes until a customer conference call which is my first time “flying solo” and while I’m comfortable with it…it’s just a bit nervous for me.  I spent three minutes gathering up all the change I can find in my jacket, desk and pockets and walk to the break room with exactly the sixty-five cents I need to buy a Snickers bar.  Sadly, I press “C3″ instead of “C4″ and end up with a tiny bag of M&Ms.  Not even Peanut M&Ms, just the puny little regular ol’ M&Ms.

Walking away frustrated I forget to grab a Dr. Pepper, so I turn around half way to my desk and walk back into the break room. As I walk up to the pop machine a co-worker steps up to make her selection.  I step back so as to not “crowd” and give her enough room to bend down and retrieve her can of carbonated-caffeinated-liquid-sugary-goodness without having to put her face directly next to my crotch.

As she stands upright I realize it’s Ms. C…now, I’m smart enough to know that you shouldn’t “shit where you live” and I wouldn’t date a co-worker…but if she left the company she’d be pretty much at the top of the list of people I’d like to take out for dinner and drinks.

Sadly, I’m pretty sure I just ruined ANY chance of that.  EVER.

As she rights herself, she makes a small joke about Diet Dr. Pepper and I notice her necklace matches the color of her eyes. I chuckle softly and make some lame response as she walks away.  To make it worse, I realize that I never once made eye contact with her.  Not at all.

I am now the creepy guy who stares at a woman’s chest when he talks to her.  WHICH IS SO NOT ME!  I Swear!

I’d really like to rescue myself from my own boorish behavior, but does it make it better if I walk up later and engage her in conversation while ONLY making eye contact?  Or does that just make me creepy over-intense guy?

I work with this person and respect her; and frankly, being discussed in the lady’s room as “that jerk who never looks up during a conversation” isn’t really something that I EVER want.

So, I ask you, oh great blog-o-sphere, what should I do?  I don’t think a direct apology is in line, “sorry for staring at your chest in the break room” seems more likely to be actionable than helpful.

This is NOT what I wanted to be thinking about before a client call…*slaps forehead*…D’oh!


Comments (9)