January 2009

More proof that I should not be allowed to communicate with Otter

I’m telling you, this is the next brilliant thing.

Say you’re a pirate. You’re tired of the eyepatch. You want something charming. Something fuzzy. You want love.


Dwarf hamsters, gerbils, very small sugar gliders…I’m telling you, if I had any idea where the patent office was–and if Kevin would let me leave the house when I’m gibbering about stuffing rodents in people’s eyesockets–I would scurry, not run, to said office.

They call me Gerbil-Eye, terror of the high seas…

Uf da.

Ben had ANOTHER herpes flare-up–barely a month after his last steroid shot, and it’s REALLY bad. (Sprang up practically overnight, too–Sunday he was his usual lovey self standing on the counter demanding gooshy food, Monday he’s picking at his food a little–by Thursday he was growling at his food like it was attacking him.) Apparently it’s so bad that we have to wait twenty-four hours for the steroid shot to take the swelling down before we can even give him painkillers, because if anything touches his gums at the moment, he’s shrieking like the damned.

This is not promising. Or, as the vet said, "You know, he may just be one of those cats that needs his teeth pulled."  The problem with cats is they’re so damn stoic–*I* had no idea he was in this bad a shape, he was a little grumpy but mostly just sleeping a lot, and then she tried to pry his mouth open and it was like a one-cat feline apocalypse.

So, we’ll see what happens. The shot works wonders, but he can’t get steroids every month, so if we’re back here again in a month, I’ll book the appointment and the T in Benjamin T. Cat can stand for Toothless as well as Trouble. I’ve got gel lysine, antibiotics, and painkillers for when he’s able to handle them tomorrow.


I had a dream last night that I was at my parent’s house, and we were attacked by a rabid goat.

I called 911, as one does in case of rabid goat attack, and they sent out a rookie in a tank, who proceeded to blow gigantic holes in the roof. (He may have gotten the goat as well, as it faded out of the dream at that point.) Much of the rest of the dream was spent with me stomping around trying to get someone to pay for the roof, and being quite furious–I mean, it was a rabid goat! Even if you needed a tank, you didn’t need to shoot the ROOF!–and then it dissolved into the usual nonsensical sludge of dream imagery. Ganesh got involved, and an old art gallery full of chalk-drawings by Mayan pirates, and eventually I woke up, still rather pissed about the goat.

There is no possible moral or interpretation to be gathered here, except perhaps that a hot bath and a gimlet before bed do something to my brain chemistry.

So February 11th, I’m giving this talk to a local group of librarians and teachers–the Raleigh-Wake Council of the International Reading Association. It’s a pretty big group–apparently they’ve got 150 members or thereabouts–I mean, I don’t think they’ll all show UP or anything, but still–and while it’s partly to present Nurk and hint at Dragonbreath, I think I mostly want to talk about comics, and the power and sheer awesomeness of comics in getting kids to read.

Writing speeches is bloody hard. I feel like I’m writing dialog for a character that happens to talk exactly like me, and getting her to shut up and not ramble is hard. My tendency is rampant improvisation and relying heavily on my feckless enthusiasm for random things, but the downside is that frequently ends with me drawing impaled horse-and-rider tableaux from Scythian burial rites on the whiteboard–don’t ask WHY, but I default to Scythian burials for some strange reason, which is probably something I should seek professional help about one of these days–and I’m not sure if there’s going to be whiteboard, or if the group would appreciate my departure from "How to get kids to read" into "How to put a guy and a horse on a stick for your tomb."

My question is this. I have a LOT of librarians in my readership, I know, so let me just ask–y’all are hardcore, right? I mean, I can talk about how I get through my copyedits by working for twenty minutes and then playing Resident Evil for twenty minutes and they won’t throw me out on my ear, right? I don’t want to milquetoast this up–I’m already petrified that I’ll start swearing out of nerves–but I’d like a reasonably friendly crowd as well…

ETA: While I’m thinking of it, can any of you suggest good comics–webcomics especially!–for kids?

My organizational skills are dreadful–all my sketches are in one vast folder called "Sketchbook"–but they do have one advantage. The time I spend looking for something that I know I sketched but now I can’t remember what the hell I called it–a reasonably common experience–allows me to trip over stuff I’ve totally forgotten that was half-finished. Sometimes I finish them (the Seedmage, for example) but more often I never will, but figure I’ll share what I’ve got, just to amuse any on-lookers.

Unfinished Precious Kali

I have so many sketches that when Red Wombat Studio’s new site launches–hopefully February 1st, possibly a day or two after that, depending on scheduling–I’m thinking maybe I’ll kick it off with a Month ‘O Sketches to get people used to visiting it–a new sketch every day, some of them brand new, some from the bowels of the Sketchbook file. We’ll see how it goes…

For those of your who enjoyed Kevin’s "Stages of Intimacy I" column, he’s posted the sequel!

Stages of Intimacy 2

Everything here is true, including the bit about the level 70 Lickitung and his mother’s reaction to my penis mushrooms and the fact that I will climb a goddamn clocktower with a gun if I ever have to go to Subway with his kids again, until they are thirty. At least. (For the love of bunnies, it’s "mayo or no mayo?" not "Convert or die?")

Except the foie gras. I’ve only ever had fois gras pate, and then I learned too much about geese and felt bad.

As requested, linky bit!

Stages of Intimacy 1

Not that I will ever do "Empire of Feathers," but if I did, this is what it would probably look like.

Empire of Feathers

Seriously. Don’t ask me when the rest is happening. It isn’t. If I became insanely ambitious, I might–as a sort of weird Dada-ist joke–do random pages now and again, which made no particular sense but give the illusion that if you could just arrange them all in the right order they would form a coherent narrative. Sort of like watching Aeon Flux on MTV.

That’d be a lot of work though, so probably not.

Movie review, and an excerpt of Dragonbreath 2, just to prove an unrelated point!

For the record, "Sukiyaki Western Django" is an unbelievably awesome movie.

Judging by the reviews, you either love it or hate it, so I recommend it in the understanding that you may have to be a colossal surrealist spaghetti-western lovin’ dork to enjoy it, but since my readership arguably contains a larger than normal share of those, go forth and watch this flick. Seriously. It’s a Japanese spaghetti western (god I wish I’d thought of that) and the costuming is gorgeous and it is deeply absurd and quite gory and there is a seriously hot ass-kicking grandmother* and Quentin Tarantino has a cameo as a master gunfighter and sukiyaki maker and if all this is not enough to convince you, let me just utter a phrase that you are unlikely to EVER have heard:

Anasazi bugle player.

One of these days–y’know, when I’ve done all those OTHER projects, the ones I’m getting paid for and the ones on the shelf for a million years and that one cool alternate universe of birds (this is the problem with being a writer–I had to invent a comic book in Dragonbreath 2 for one character to loan to another, and so I came up with the following:

"A comic book?" Danny rolled his eyes. "I didn’t know you read girl comics. What was it, Lizard Sparkle Princess or something?"

"It was Empire of Feathers," said Wendell, with dignity.

Danny paused. He had to admit, Empire of Feathers was actually quite respectable reading. It was about an alternate universe where birds ruled the world, and it was dark and gritty and had lots of battle scenes and intrigue and poisonings and magic, and a clan of rooster assassins that wore cloaks made of their victim’s feathers. He’d borrowed all the trade paperbacks from Wendell. In fact, if that was what Suki was reading, there was a stain on the last two pages where he had spilled root beer at a moment of high excitement.

"Is that the one with the root beer–?"

"In the back, yes." Wendell glared at him. "At least Suki knows how to treat books."

and the problem was that was a total throwaway line and now I totally kinda want to write Empire of Feathers, in all that free time I don’t have, or at least a couple of panels of rooster assassins in feather cloaks lurking under avian heroic statuary) and anyway, the point was that when I do ALL THOSE OTHER THINGS–and possibly Goatrude’s story–I have always wanted to do something in a fantasy Western setting because the old west is totally underused in fantasy and while I’m at it, I want steampunk kachinas, goddamnit, and I occasionally wish I would STOP HAVING IDEAS so I could get some of these things done.

Also, have I mentioned that they want Book 3 of Dragonbreath in May? (By the way, they’re buying book 3, if I haven’t mentioned it here. It will involve were-hot-dogs, and I am hoping to call it "Dragonbreath and the Curse of the Were-Wurst," but we’ll see.)

In conclusion, go watch Sukiyaki Western Django. That is all.

*This simply would not happen in an American movie.

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