The Twilight Limits

On my way to London Thugs to get the photos I took of James, Norm and Shawna developed, I found a bottle on the sidewalk. The bottle was filled with gas and when I opened it this big blue Indian appeared out of nowhere with the voice of Robin Williams. He said I could have three wishes. For my first wish I wished that whenever someone hit or was in some other way violent to another person, the injury and the pain would be felt not by the victim, but by the attacker. I haven’t decided what I would do with the other wishes. I wonder how that would affect the world, though. It might not end violence altogether, but it would probably abate it to some degree. I’m sure it would make a startling and ironic episode of The Twilight Zone or it’s little cousin, The Outer Limits.

On a completely different topic, Frank Roberts, who works at Relic and is known to me, brought my attention to this Japanese video of two ping pong players experiencing ‘bullet time’ (as seen in The Matrix and other films) live. It will make you go HA! and OOH! and you should see it while it’s still up. You’ll need a competent media player and a decent internet connection speed. It was pretty jumpy on mine, and of course I have this weird ongoing problem where some video files play super fast, others play super slow, sometimes just the audio has the problems but not the video, &c, &c. But I got the gist of it. Enjoy!

Incidentally, Frank’s sister Rachel starred as S1m0ne in the film of the same name with Al Pacino. Neat, huh? Embarrassingly now I admit that I haven’t seen it.

Birthday Auction

I’ll have a birthday party some time in the next couple of months. I’m not sure whether or not I should do another auction this year, or go for something a little more “traditional”. Maybe one of my good good friends will make the decision for me and throw me a party, hint hint. I like having my birthday auctions because they’re always a lot of fun, and it’s a very communal thing: The deal is, the party gets arranged with food and cake and all the rest, but instead of the guests bringing me gifts, they bring stuff from their homes that they’d like to get rid of, and put it in a big pile on the table. I do the same – take a bunch of crap I’ve accumulated over the years and we have a big auction. Once the auction is over, people hand over their cash which (hopefully) pays off the party “expenses” and the remainder serves as my birthday present! It’s a neat little system that I came up with a few years ago, and everyone seems to like it. People who want to can purge their homes of clutter, others who want to add to their clutter can do so, and proceeds go towards my heroine habit. But this year, there’s a bunch of very specific goodies out there in the wide world that I’d love to get my hands on, CDs and books, particularly, and since I’m more hard-pressed for cash than usual these days, the old stand-by “birthday party with hot dogs, cake & ice cream, maybe a movie, with gifts readily accepted” starts looking better and better. Of course substitute hot dogs for something edible, and cake & ice cream with a DQ ice cream cake. What kind of CDs and books am I looking for? I’ll start an ongoing list soon, most of which will likely be culled from my ebay search favourites, if you have any idea what that means. If you don’t I can explain it later.

In the meantime, here are a couple of birthday presents for YOU:

You’ve probably heard of Don Hertzfeldt. He’s the guy who did the indie animated series “Rejected” which toured with Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Animation Festival a year or two back, in which a poor little fellow was heard to say “My spoon is too big.” Well, here’s one of his cartoons that you can view online:
It will take a minute to load, but it’s very very amusing. I just read on Don’s site that there will be a tour of Don’s stuff this year. That’s exciting, it really was far and above the highlight of Spike & Mike’s the last time I saw it.

Your other present is Harvey Pekar’s blog at
Harvey is a writer whose been publishing his own comic book American Splendor for years. I was first introduced to him on the David Letterman show – he’s quite a character and a movie starring Paul Giamatti (you’ll remember him from The Negotiator, Saving Private Ryan, Planet of the Stupid Apes, and my personal favourite “Veal Chop” from Safe Men) as Pekar is coming soon to theaters, it looks not-to-be-missed. It’s called…are you ready? American Splendor. Anyway, have a look at Harvey’s blog, I personally find it fascinating.

The US dollar is up today – I should really go to the bank and transfer some cash from my US to my Canadian account. But I’d much rather finish working on this drawing of gnomes and then get ready for D&D tonight.

PS – Sam, my friend who works at Videomatica, tells me that Paul Giamatti recently got an account there. I love this town!


This is something I wanted to post as a comment to a recent entry from Yvonne’s blog. But it wouldn’t let me because it “exceeded 300 characters.” I should have known better. Luckily I did save some of the text before I sent it – so I’ll just try to remember the finished product based on what I had:

I usually refrain from talking about my philosophy (even though in the short time you’ve known me you’ve probably learned just as much about me as many of my old friends) because it leads to FIMS (Foot In Mouth Syndrome) and also because very few people share my views (that I know of). In fact the last time I ventured my half-formed opinion one of my feminist friends barked rather loudly. But…

Parenthetically speaking, I’m not really going to answer questions (like what is feminism) so much as raise them.

Ideally, I would like to believe that feminism is a struggle towards having women treated equally to men. Now in many ways, I think that many women have just as much as men have, although perhaps not in the same exact ways(1). Some women get hired, especially for jobs that deal with the public, simply because they are women. Is that good, is that bad – it goes both ways. Men have the same advantage in other fields. So if some women have as much as men, how did that happen? Because of the work of feminists, I dare say. So don’t think that the value of feminism is lost on me. This CAKE CD is making it hard for me to coalesce my thoughts succinctly. Nevertheless: I would think that most everyone would agree that it would be great if some day feminism were to become obsolete – is that not right? Is that not the goal to which feminism strives – to put a cap on (not in) the campaign (if I can call it that)? To say “hooray, we eliminated sexism”?

But feminism can be defined millions of different ways. And even if we all agree on what feminism is, like you say, there are diffent levels of feminists – from middle of the road to extremist. When Ms X says “women are better than everyone else” that to me is sexist, and as such is completely counter to what I think feminism stands for. And I think that’s part of what men see as a stigma to the whole feminism ‘movement’ is that some people use their -isms to bash(2) on others, whether it be men, women, nerds, jocks, Americans, the French or whatever.

And as a woman (which of course I have vast experience in) even if and when you get what you deserve, socially, politically, and economically, women will always have burdens, biologically, that men don’t have. They will have the burden of childbirth and the burden of being physically weaker(3) – and all that that entails in a world shared with men. Whereas the only burden that men have to deal with is the burden of being an asshole 90% of the time. So won’t women always have to, to some extent, bind together to stick up for their needs?

Are women superior to men? At some things, I think it’s safe to say yes. Are men superior to women? Again, yes, in some ways. I hope that in a few years, when women get paid as much as men in the same position, all we’ll need to come to terms with is the fact that men and women will always be different, and be satisfied with that. Optimally, I would like to believe that in the not too distant future, we won’t have women’s, gay, or black’s rights movements, but we’ll recognize that we needed them to get to where we are, in as close to a utopian social standpoint that we can muster as fallible human beings.(4)

(1) – of course this varies widely depending on geography, and in what facet of equality you’re talking about.
(2) I’m not saying this particular woman is bashing anything, per se, I’m just, you know…extrapolating.
(3) I don’t need to remind you I’m speaking in generalisms here.
(4) Am I coming across as a total man-o-centric git yet?


I got a birthday present in the mail today from Tom Kalichack, my Cthulhu-lovin’ artist chum on Vancouver Island. He sent me some miniature props from a company called Dwarven Forge. Basically they’re little barrels, sacks of grains, pots, crates and beds in 25mm scale, to go along with one’s D&D figures. So that was great – thanks Tom! I’ll try to slip them in tomorrow night when we continue with our Freeport adventure. I also got a copy of Hellboy the roleplaying game from Scott Allie. It’s not a birthday present, just a gift between industry friends. I told him I’ll send him a Spaceship Zero CD when they’re reprinted. Which for the love of gawd should be any day now. It’s overdue, and I’m a little worried. Anyway, I have to go to acting class now, so I’ll type up some more (if I have more to type) later tonight.

Emails sent to me have been indiscriminately not showing up, I’ve come to understand, but I don’t know why. Sunspots?

How's Your News?

I had a fantabulous night tonight with Yvonne. We went to see “How’s Your News” at the good old Blinding Light Cinema!!! – how I will miss it when it’s gone. What other theater will take your money and when you say “do I get a ticket or a stamp or something?” they say “No we’ll just remember your face.” Plus you can get a feta-spinach samosa on an honest to god porcelain plate from their cafe and you can bring it into the theater with you. It’s that kind of service and homey atmosphere that makes me clean up after myself in the theater – now that means something! But no, the BL will be closing down in a little while, and it will be the end of a memorable era in Vancouver. I’m glad you got to experience it, YH, before it all goes away! It will be missed.

Anyway, after the film, which was much less exploitative and generally better than I thought it was going to be – if you have a chance, see it – we walked along the streets of gastown and up to Canada Place, strolling along at a leisurely place and discussing anything and everything. We even saw a blue heron at the misnamed Lookout Point – there were hardly any points to look out for, in fact everything was rounded off for our safety. Then a walk up to Blenz for a cookie and handedly averting an offer from Mr. Sketchy Bus Pass Dude on Granville sadly brought the evening to a close.

How much does it suck to be Kodos the cat? Plenty, when your pa forgets to buy you food. When I came home tonight I realized that I had meant to buy food, but it was quarter past midnight and the Sunshine Market was closed. So I heated up some cheese and potato perogies, which I gutted like a fish and fed him the entrails. Chris, being the best roommate in the world, offered me a burger from his spoils from the BBQ he went to this evening, and I accepted, not only for myself, but to supplement the crappy dinner for Kodos with some actual meaty tidbits. It’s been a bit since I’ve had beef but it was quite tasty and more importantly Kodos is happy….
for now.

Lord Give Me Context

There is some confusion about dates on my blog – and here’s the secret: I usually write this, as I am now, early in the morning – so when I say “tonight” and it’s 2:40 am on July 6th, I actually mean last night as in a few hours ago.

Be that as it may, “tonight” I went to the “premiere” of Graveyard. It was well received – the audience laughed at the funny bits, and at the unfunny bits too. In fact they laughed over top of a couple of funny bits so probably missed them. Kier-La (cinemuerte ghore whore) introduced Ed (the director) who introduced Thor, who promoted his new album and bent a steel bar in his mouth for all of us. It was quite endearing. After Graveyard of course, was Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat. I don’t know why they didn’t spell “You” properly in the movie title. Maybe they forgot. See entry on the new modern language below. Anyway, there were some technical difficulties in the film that had it stopping and starting a couple times, and someone from the audience yelled at one point “Lord help us!” which reminded me of the time on Futurama when Fry was watching a horror movie about humans on the robot planet and he shouted “God help us!” and it was all funny ‘n’ stuff. Maybe he – this unknown yeller in the audience – was trying to capture that moment. If he was, I wonder how many others knew the reference. In that crowd, probably 10%.

Today I spent most of my time pretending to draw, that is…drawing for 5 minutes and then watching 15 minutes of Superfriends, and then repeating the process. I did manage to get one illustration done.

Here’s another tip from my patented “Toren’s Tips” column. Which isn’t patented at all (you can’t patent a column, unless your name is John Doric or Faustus Corinthian (yes, the same guy who invented the leather)…and who could forget Marty Ionic, not to be confused with Therese Ionic who of course invented Ionic bonding in charged particles?)

When you send me a link, either by email or messenger of some kind, don’t just post the link out of the blue and leave it at that. You’ve got to give me some kind of introduction or context. I get enough ‘floating’ URLs throughout the course of a day that they become a hindrance and I don’t even click on them.

For example, instead of just sending me this:

You can and should send this:
this is the episode of Strong Bad with the techno music

It’s not so hard. That was only 45 extra characters – would it kill you? Well maybe it would, I don’t know – but do it anyway.

Here’s another slightly different but still very proper way to send Toren a link:
Incredibly hilarious Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974

So, there you have it. Please take it to heart. D&D is in less than 8 hours so it’s time for me to cuddle up with Kodos for the night.

(by the way, if you haven’t visited the above sites, do so!

D&D Is So Cool

Tonight I went to the gala opening of the Cinemuerte International Fantastic Film Festival. ‘Fantastic’ as in ‘fantasy’ as in ‘horror’. I got there late – at about a quarter past ten. I was committed to playing Mutants and Masterminds at Theo’s which of course I quite enjoyed, but it meant I missed the screening of Viva La Muerte, the documentary about the past and present of the Cinemuerte film festival. I would have liked to have seen it. James introduced me to the girl who filmed it, and I expressed my misgivings about missing the damn thing. She brought up that it was playing again on Sunday at 2pm, to which I replied that again, I would miss it, since I would be playing Dungeons and Dragons at that time (after a 2 week hiatus, no less). Her reply to that was “that’s not cool.” Then I poured my drink down her shirt.

Well, no, I didn’t do that. But I was put off by her manners and I thought she was out of line. I’d still like to see the film, despite her trying to take me down a peg. Or I’m just reading too much into it, and feeling defensive about being a D&D nerd. Nevertheless, I’m an out-of-the-closet D&D player and I’m glad I was proud enough to bring it up at a party. Ed and James were really the only people I talked to at the party. I only stayed for about 45 minutes – then I hopped on the #50 before my bus pass expired. Ed showed me the article in Terminal City about our film Graveyard – I didn’t read it fully but I’ll pick up a copy – and so should you.

I talked to Kirsten tonight and we have concensus: although her visit was good times for both of us, we will continue our relationship as friends – close friends to be sure, but nothing more. She is a fantastic chick but I just don’t think the cards are right for us at the moment. Kind of sad in a way, but I’m glad both of us feel more or less the same way and that nothing has happened to ruin our friendship.

Oh and did I mention? Spaceship Zero the RPG was nominated for an Ennie Award (that’s a roleplaying game award – there are really only two such awards, the Ennies and the Origins awards). Jeff says that 4 out of 5 of the judges voted for it to be nominated in the category Best Non Open Gaming Product. Now it’s up to the fans to start voting. Let’s hope we win because we could really use the notoriety to boost sales!

It was Canada Day yesterday.
“What’s your favourite part of living in Canada?” Nobody asked me.
“That we’re not as patriotic as Americans”, I didn’t reply with some irony.
Now don’t mistake me for being anti-American. I have many good American friends. In fact, I can’t think of a single American that I know who I wouldn’t describe as an upstanding, likeable person. But someone once said “There can be no world peace while patriotism exists” and I think that’s 95% true for every country.

On one hand, the melding (some would say loss) of “independent” cultures due to globalization is sad. Wouldn’t it be neat if there were still headhunters in New Guinea? (Heck maybe there still are). But on the other hand, how long can we go on, technology advancing as it is, with those pesky dotted lines on the map? I would much rather have a peaceful racially and culturally integrated (read: mongrel) world than a constantly warring world of segregated cliques.

But then even if we were all exactly the same mongrel race, we’d probably still find things to kill eachother over, wouldn’t we.

Speaking of Canada, Vancouver won the 2010 Winter Olympic bid this morning. My first clue was being woken up rather rudely by the clarion call of over-zealous and inconsiderate commuters at 9:00 this morning. The good news is that all the money we sunk into the bid turned out to be an investment that paid off. The bad news is I can expect a lot more whooping and infantile behaviour from local jocks. The other good news is that it’s 7 years away.

In other news, my out-of-town visitor has gone back to being out of town indefinitely. So it’s back to work for me.

Don’t forget, people who may be reading this, that Graveyard, the movie with me and James, is showing this Saturday at the Pacific Cinematheque at 11:40, opening up for Blood Feast 2. I’ll be getting a sneak preview of the film at Ed’s tonight. Please gawd let me not suck. Or at least let James suck more than me!

Oh that was mean.


So yeah…I spent several months on quite a few online dating services: Lavalife (which is actually probably the best of them), (also reasonably good),,, personals, and some others that are barely worth mentioning. I guess it was about 3 years ago I was introduced to them. I got onto when they had an unlimited membership trial period, basically. That’s how I met Tinessa. So, I would say in general that it worked out. The dating service, not the relationship. I got a girlfriend because of the dating website. The relationship lasted almost 2 years, which is as good as any of my other relationships.

So basically since last September I’ve been trawling the dating sites. I even went on some dates. Nothing romantic ever came of them but I met some really cool girls that I consider pretty close friends: Sheri, Ang and Yvonne, met in that order. Sheri ended up dating one of my friends, although that chapter is recently closed as well, I hear. C’est la vile (That’s a pun).

What’s my point? Well, I closed all of my many dating accounts, and my buffer hotmail account. It’s actually pretty brutal going online week after week, reading completely trite profile essays from girls who “love to laugh”; So when Kirsten created the opportunity for me to walk away from all that, I did not hesitate. And what else can I say? All those girls who didn’t take a chance with me when the chance was given – well poop on them. Poop I say!

Thickets Hollywood

We played D&D tonight. Fun stuff. Not so many Christopher Walken impressions tonight as in the past 2 sessions. Oh well, what’s a DM to do….

Joe, the Thickets webmaster and all around Nerdsman, pointed me to the Hellboy movie website. I’ve had this CD I burned of the Thickets’ Hellboy song “Ogdru Jahad” sitting on my computer for a while. Scott Allie, the editor at Dark Horse who edits the Hellboy books (and who writes The Devil’s Footprints), said he would pass on anything I wanted to send to the director of the Hellboy film, Guillermo del Toro (Blade 2, Devil’s Backbone, Mimic). So I’ve been procrastinating on sending it to him. Well tonight I visited the forums for the movie, and it turns out that del Toro has been amazing at answering fan questions on the message board. So I introduced myself and asked if “Ogdru Jahad” might be considered for the movie (assuming that del Toro liked it). So now I await a response. The best response? “I have heard of the Thickets and I’d love to put it in the movie.” Here’s to hoping.

In other Hollywood news, I got a phone call today from Stuart Gordon (director of Re-Animator, Dagon, & From Beyond, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you). He called to say he got the SpaceCorp shirt I sent him and the copy of Spaceship Zero the RPG. It was super of him to call, and he tells me that he’s just finishing up his new film “King of the Ants”. He wants the Thickets to provide a song for his next Lovecraftian foray – an adaptation of “The Thing on the Doorstep”. Naturally we will provide. Once the film is closer to production he’ll send a script that we can work from, lyrically.