Monday, December 17, 2012

What Happened today in History!

December 17, 1903: First Airplane flies

Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.

After exhaustively researching other engineers' efforts to build a heavier-than-air, controlled aircraft, the Wright brothers wrote the U.S. Weather Bureau inquiring about a suitable place to conduct glider tests. They settled on Kitty Hawk, an isolated village on North Carolina's Outer Banks, which offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly. Their first glider, tested in 1900, performed poorly, but a new design, tested in 1901, was more successful. Later that year, they built a wind tunnel where they tested nearly 200 wings and airframes of different shapes and designs. The brothers' systematic experimentations paid off--they flew hundreds of successful flights in their 1902 glider at Kill Devils Hills near Kitty Hawk. Their biplane glider featured a steering system, based on a movable rudder, that solved the problem of controlled flight. They were now ready for powered flight.
In Dayton, they designed a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine with the assistance of machinist Charles Taylor and built a new aircraft to house it. They transported their aircraft in pieces to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1903, assembled it, made a few further tests, and on December 14 Orville made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged, and they spent three days repairing it. Then at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, in front of five witnesses, the aircraft ran down a monorail track and into the air, staying aloft for 12 seconds and flying 120 feet. The modern aviation age was born. Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur and Orville alternately flying the airplane. Wilbur flew the last flight, covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Post for Halloween

Normally Halloween isn't really a holiday I celebrate (though the candy is good, and the scary movies), but I just discovered the (fantastic) artist Bernie Wrightson today, and his artwork fits with the day so I thought I would share it with everyone. Enjoy!

If you enjoy his art, google-search Bernie Wrightson images for a lot more!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

After a slight delay...

Chapter 3 is up - not on schedule, but I was working on changes, and the story is so much better for it! It's all up on the Advent Chronicles page (and fyi - work has been resumed on Book 2 in the series, after a bit of a break, like all summer).
Have a great rest of the week! I'll post Chapter 4 next Monday - October 1st (yes, you read that right - October is fast approaching!)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Next Chapter posted!

As promised, I've added Chapter 2 to the Advent Chronicles page. It's entitled Signs of Passage, and thickens the plot with a complication that blindsides everyone! Head over there and enjoy, and let me know what you think...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Doing the Bad Guys some Justice

It's interesting how we find things we need in places we don't expect...As a writer, I'm always working towards improving my skill and my stories. I'm also a fan of the game Space 1889. I follow the game creator's blog, and was pleased when he posted on how to write villians better. Stories need a good great antagonist to drive the motivation and plot forward. I love it when my hobbies and my writing intersect! So if you're a writer, I have a link to his very helpful post here.

On Villians

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Steampunk Batman

With the new Batman film riding a theatrical high, now's a good time to highlight artwork by artists that have imagined the Dark Knight if he lived in the 1800's...(and some Batgirl as well - equal time, after all)
Make your way to The Steampunk Hallway!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Overhaul complete!

Welcome! I'm a writer, but have taken a couple days off of writing to re-do my website. My novel (soon to be self-published) has undergone so many changes that this site needed to reflect that as well. The novel, long entitled "Mortar & Pestle", is now the first in a series that will encompass a much larger scope. It's called "The Advent World Chronicles", with Book 1 entitled "The Nightmare Plague". Click on the link above to begin exploring! My plan is to start including a new chapter every week until it's published. If any artists out there want to maybe design the book cover, let me know! (Or if you're a comic book artist and want to collaborate on my other project "Tempesttt", contact me)

Advent: defn: The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Last Negative Rant, I Promise (at least for the foreseeable future)

I know I was rough on the Spider-man movie. Sorry. I'll try to be more upbeat...after this.

The Hobbit will be out this December, and Peter Jackson with New Line Cinema have just announced that it will now be a 3-parter.
I should be excited, but I'm scratching my head.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy were the very definition of epic, and The Hobbit was meant to be a nice, fun prequel to "warm-up" to the world of Middle-Earth (I don't know if that was ever Tolkien's intention, but that's how it feels in retrospect). Of all Tolkien's works, The Hobbit is my favorite, just for that reason; a wonderfully succinct story that succeeded in creating an entire world in less than 300 pages. Not many High Fantasy novels can claim that distinction. Then why must it be dragged out into 3 complete films?
I grumbled a little when they told us it would be 2 parts, but now it will cost me between $25 and $30 to see this book brought to the screen.
And I'm not going for it.
Yep, instead of now feeling like they needed 2 movies to do the book justice and be true to the subject matter (which was okay), it now feels like they want to pump the paying public for every dollar they can. They crossed the line from honoring a great literary writer and his work to pure commercialism.
Don't misunderstand me - I hope it's great, I hope it's true to the book. But now I will wait for the DVD release so I can watch the whole thing at once. My family will probably disown me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review - the Amazing Spider-man

Turning wristwatches into web-shooters so you can know exactly what time you snagged the bad guys

There have been numerous movies that have been remade within a year or two of the original, but they have always been foreign films re-imaged for their domestic audience. With Spiderman, we have something new; the retelling of a story for the same audience a mere ten years after the original (Sam Raimi’s Spiderman was released in 2002). You’re bound to have comparisons.
(Actually, one remake movie beats this timeframe, but you have to go back to 1940 when Waterloo Bridge came out 9 years after its previous incarnation in 1931. So there you go.)

It must be a sign of how fast our times are changing, but the new Peter Parker is edgier and more angsty than Toby Maguire’s Spiderman, driven by a sense of ill-executed vengeance. I also had a harder time swallowing Andrew Garfield as the geeky science nerd that Maguire nailed to near-perfection. Maybe it was all the skateboard shredding in a hoodie, I dunno. I felt like the poor writers were forced to sit down and come up with a different way to tell the same story, and that’s exactly how it felt - forced. How Peter Parker decides on a costume, the crime he sidesteps which results in the death of his uncle, the moment in time when he realizes he must use his abilities to help people - they’re all there, just tweaked a little - and lacking heart.

And apparently everyone but Aunt May has worked for OsCorp somewhere in the past; Peter Parker’s father, a smarter-than-Peter-Parker Gwen Stacy (um, what?), the Lizard and ultimately Peter himself (selflessly without a paycheck, too, I noticed. Nice to know this new Peter doesn’t have the financial worries the old one did). I know you’ve got to pull the cast together somehow, but this was the easy way out. And where was Norman Osborn? At home with the sniffos. Note to the writers: if you’re going to give the future Green Goblin an incurable deadly disease, take a few minutes and explain it, please.

Although, here's a universe I want to live in: a weak, unpopular kid stands up for a fellow victimized schoolmate, gets beat up for it, and for that one act earns the undying love of a stunning beauty. Sign me up.

Oh, and a quick word about webbing (small rant here) - one strand of this new stuff can pull a Boeing 747, but the Lizard can tear through ten of them at one time. Move over Hulk, there’s a new green guy in town. Now that I mention it, the display of super-strength throughout the film seemed wildly inconsistent and a vehicle for worn-out laughs (yes, flimsy bathroom, I’m talking about you).

People complained a little that The Avengers took a while to wind up and get started. Prepare yourself for what feels like about twice as long at the crank. We’re tided over by some sleuthing as Peter tries to track down the disappearance of his father, but about halfway through the story this thread vanishes faster than the webbing around Gwen Stacy’s waist, never to return. I take it back - it does pop up in the little bonus sequence during the credits that we’ve now come to expect in all superhero movies, but this super-short tidbit does nothing to build on the mystery or even cause us to care about it anymore. Oh, well. Thank goodness they didn’t make us sit through the entire credits to see it. I can’t shake the feeling that a Disney executive board was behind all this. Why else are we seeing something so similar so soon? Marvel has a rich universe to draw from - Disney, broaden your gaze and share the wealth.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Watch Out! Oh, never mind...

Being that I love Calvin and Hobbes, and am a Spiderman fan, I found this artwork by Timothy Lim and just had to share it! I found it on a site called Comicsalliance, which assembles top comic artwork every week.

Calvin vs. Venom - hmmm, I wonder who would actually win...

Monday, January 16, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different...

For you writers out there - if you’re working on a project and get stuck, or hit a brick wall, try this; jump to a different project - either something new or one you haven’t touched in a while. This may help in three areas.

One - many writers have said to continually write, almost every day if possible, to keep the gears oiled. If you find you can’t write one story, write another, and this way you’re still writing something.
Two - giving your brain a break from a story may help solve the problem. It’s believed that even while we’re not actively working on a problem, some part of our brain is still chewing away on it, and when we come back to it, the answer is sometimes just waiting to pop to the surface. This has worked for me on more than a few occasions.
Three - You may find that the “interim project” you pick up actually has much merit and may end up being your next great novel. Who knows? At the moment I have three different story ideas currently in the works. This way, if I “dry up” on one, I have two others that inspiration may strike for.

Now, all this is to lead up to one of my “interim projects”. While I’m trying to fix issues with “The Nightmare Plague”, my daughter told me that an acting troupe she has performed with wanted to bring some gothic horror to the stage. My mind immediately jumped to the scariest stuff I’ve ever read; the works of HP Lovecraft. Now, most of his stories could never be depicted on a stage (if you’ve ever read his stuff, you’ll know what I’m talking about, or just look at the picture),

so I took this as a challenge. Could I turn one of his stories into a stage play? As I perused his stories, one stood out as a possibility. I dove into it, and as a result, ended up having a great time adapting it. There were inherent problems, the result of the difference between the framework of a book and the limitations of a stage, but solving them was a fun mental exercise. And I think I succeeded. Writing it took about 6 months, and the script is right now in the hands of one of the lead actors. Hopefully the play will see the “light of day” on the stage (or more fittingly, perhaps I should say the play will see the “gloom of night” on stage!). Anyways, the play is based on Lovecraft’s “The Thing on the Doorstep”, and since other acting companies may want to perform it, I am posting a portion of Act I in a link on the right side. If a group is interested in performing it, contact me and I’ll provide the script. It’s a full-length 2-act play, a labor of love, and I humbly think it’s one of the best stage adaptations of an HP Lovecraft story. Enjoy!