Toren Falls Down (Again)

Toren Atkinson of The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets talks about what happened at Cthulhupalooza, Second-Level Wizards, Saturday Morning Cartoon Party @ the Rio, Ghostbusters 25th Anniversary + video game, Anne McCaffrey, Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, inspirations for “Theme to an Earthquake”, The World Wildlife Federation of Justice, and the big show forthcoming on February 7th with Bloodhag & The Bossmonsters @ The Bourbon.

Accompanying tracks include songs by: Ray Ellis, Dethklok, Bloodhag Three Inches of Blood, and of course The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets INCLUDING newly released “(We’re Gonna) Kill the Chupacabra (Tonight)” now available on the Child’s Play compilation CD with Freezepop & Johnathan Coulton.

All on CiTR’s “We All Fall Down” – download the entire hour of nerdly giggles at:
and visit Marielle’s blog

2008 PAX/HPLFF Thickets Tour shirts

Here’s my first pass at the long sleeve tour shirt for PAX and the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Did I miss any hilarious opportunities to throw in some Lovecraftian references? Suggestions welcome!

On A Budget For Obvious Reasons

Facebook should take “Maybe Attending” off of the list of checkboxes for Events. If not remove it altogether, they should at least change it to “I Have Problems Saying No To People But I Still Won’t Show Up.”

Here’s what’s new as of this weekend:

I moved my drawing stuff into the studio with Ed. Not much more to say about that except I’m interested to see how much more productive I am, and also that I now have more room in my bedroom now that the drawing stuff is excised.

My cat is insane. Apparently he’s a vicious bastard when I’m not home, and an affectionate suck-up when I am (sometimes a jerk then too). He’s attacked at least two of my roommates over the past 12 hours while I was out. Me spending more time at the studio is not going to help this issue, so I’m at a loss. I’ve emailed the Vancouver Feline Hospital and the Humane Society to see if they have any advice. If he doesn’t straighten out I may have to put him into Cat Therapy, by which I mean a bag in the river.

Best and I had a serious talk about our relationship. It’s going really well. Crazy good. Neither of us expected it to go this well. The scariest thing about it is that nothing has gone wrong yet. It’s like we’ve been waiting for a bomb to drop and we’re still waiting, and that in itself is stressful. Too much shellshock from previous relationships? Perhaps we need to schedule a big fight so we can move on.

Since De is losing a roommate and I have studio rent to deal with, we’ve both decided that we’re on a budget, so we’ve been going grocery shopping and cooking, which is something I’ve fallen out of practice with. Until this weekend we had cooked at home twice – that’s once a month for those who are counting. But I am relearning my old skills and it’s a lot of fun to cook together, even if it doesn’t taste as good as restaurant food and is only slightly less expensive. I’ve also decided to be generally more spendthrift as I’ve been spending money like it’s been going out of style lately and we’re both saving up for events later this year (me: PAX and World Fantasy Con and possibly other comic cons) so I’m cutting back on the internet purchases for a while. But that said I picked up Tekkonkinkreet and Justice League: New Frontier from Happy Bats Cinema this week and watched both of them. JL:NF was a little disappointing but Tekkonkinkreet was great, except for the ending which was laboured and weird. I have been trying to figure out who is responsible for the style of that movie, and with the segment “Beyond” from the Animatrix, and one of the segments for the upcoming “Batman: Gotham Knight” DVD anthology coming out a the same time as the movie. I think it’s Studio 4°C, the production studio. Anyway, I like it, which makes me look forward to at least one of the six segments on the forthcoming Batman DVD, though I am dubious about the other five.
For obvious reasons.

I'm A Stunted Half-Human

No disrespect meant in any way at all.

Birth and death – why don’t they move me like they do others?

When someone dies – and I’m thinking of someone in the public eye, not your grandpa – people like to talk about it and reflect. Myself, I think, oh that’s too bad that Gary Gygax isn’t going to be a part of the gaming community, but I don’t feel bad in the least. If anything, any sense of loss that I have comes from the fact that the person who has died will no longer be contributing to my quality of life. I felt that way when Edward Gorey died because I knew there’d be no more Edward Gorey books, and I will feel that way when Alan Arkin dies because I really enjoy watching him act. How selfish is that? It may have something to do with the fact that I personally have never experienced the death of anyone close to me. All relatives and friends with whom I had even a halfway decent conversation with are still alive as far as I know. Maybe that’s part of the reason I approach death from a cold, clinical perspective: it’s a natural and necessary part of life – millions of people die every day and if they didn’t Earth would be a living hell.

On to Part 2 of How To Lose Friends and Alienate People – Thank Gawd You’re Raising Kids So I Don’t Have To:

There is a real stigma about not being a fan of babies, despite the fact that a good number of people I know fall squarely within that group. I date women who don’t want children. I have a (childless) friend who had a vasectomy and whenever he and his wife show up to baby showers people are outraged. It puts me (or if I may be presumptuous, us) in a difficult position because as the years go by, more and more friends are having babies, and clearly this is extremely important to them. I want to support them; I want my breeder friends to be full of joy and pep and warm fuzzies; I don’t want to be a downer — but I pride myself on being an honest guy, which often means I come across as an asshole. So while I am happy for their happiness, it’s not important for me to see the baby, or hold the baby, or talk about the baby. I don’t know what the proper questions and answers are. I am a cat owner, and that’s as far as I go. I have never had a baby and I never will have a baby. I feel the same way about cars, except that I have actually owned a few cars in my life. But I don’t know anything about them and they are not important to me. I am part of a group of arrested demi-humans who are not fulfilling their biological and evolutionary function and I am more than okay with that. I guess what I’m saying is: my friends, please do have as many kids as you like – you will be as excellent parents as you are excellent people (you are my friends, after all); but I will never be a parent, and I ask that you have low expectations of me outside of my limited purview. You have friends who will fawn and gush over your baby; I’ll be here when you need a break from that.

Don’t mistake this post for a rant. I’m not lambasting anyone for not being as blase about death and babies as I am. My attitude is not more cool or correct. I’m just trying to do what I always do – express my innermost feelings to a large group of people through a computer.

Hopefully the next blog post will be a treatise on how terrible my tact is.

Addendum: I thought of someone I may actually be sad for when he dies: David Attenborough. We’ll see (if I don’t die first).

The Funny Thing About Regret Is, It's Better To Regret Something You Have Done, Than Something You Haven't Done.

And if you see your mom this weekend, would you be sure and tell her: “SATAN!!!”

I’m single again, as of Wednesday the 13th.

After a breakup, my thoughts often turn to the fallout. What does the girl tell her friends and family about what happened? What version do they get, and what are things going to be like the next time I see them? Will I ever see them? Do they even get any version at all or is it just “we broke up”, “oh I’m so sorry” *hugs*? Who is saying “I never saw you so happy” and who is saying “I never saw you so miserable.” I think that any version that either side gets is going to be biased by nature, and by time. What I would tell my friends now will be different than how I see things, hopefully a little more objectively, after a year or two has passed. And now that we’ve broken up, I think about what concerns were founded and what were not. Was I getting enough of X or Y? Did Z bother me less than I made it out to, or more? How much will I miss N vs how much I had to tolerate R?

In Other News….

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Some things you just can’t say on a blog. Well maybe you can after the appropriate amount of time has passed. But not now.

Little Mister Sunshine

I saw Little Miss Sunshine with Joyous the other day. Thereat I saw the trailer for History Boys. Richard “Withnail and I, Harry Potter” Griffiths looks like he’s on the way out. Alan Arkin could go soon too (and if you saw the movie, you have a hint at what made me think about this). Okay, okay, we all know death is sad. But I think of it this way. A person is like a ginormous library. Not just a library full of textbooks and manuals–the factbook that matter changes form when the particles heat up and move faster is in everyone‘s library–but everyone has wisdoms and insights that are extremely particular to their life. Everyone has brilliant and valuable observations about life that are unique to them. That’s the unique library inside everyone. Thankfully, a lot of smart people record their thoughts and ideas, one way or another. I will never have a chance to meet Edward Gorey and ask him specific questions, but he has a huge published volume of work that I can access at any time. So does Alan Arkin, in his films (and apparently some kids books and sci-fi tales!). But I know that the thoughts and ideas that make it into print are but a fraction of the libaries in people’s heads. And that’s the real sad part.

But who would have time to read all those books anyway? Not me. One day they’ll just download everyone’s thoughts and ideas into a giant computer that we all are connected with at all times and life will be a twisted nightmare of non-identity. Until then, enjoy!

In My Life

I went from having no dreams for months to having really weird dreams almost every night. I dreamt that I went to Chilliwack to visit Amber and her hubby and some old guy was crucifying storks out back. That’s how my subconscious works, folks.

I didn’t make a big thing about this at the time, but in June I sat Marlo down and told her that for a little while I would have to sever all contact with her so that I could get her out of my system, and she understood. Yesterday was the first time I’ve spoken to her since then. I called her to wish her a happy birthday and we caught up to some extent. I think it’s important to keep my emotional life uncomplicated until my zen reserves are 100% recharged, so the segregation must continue until my emotional ducks are in a row. You know how some relationships end with “let’s continue to be friends – I’m totally going to call you” and it’s all a bunch of B.S? I’ve been on the receiving end of that and I refuse to be the source. So I just wanted to say “Hi, happy birthday, talk to you later” and so I did.

I think I forgot to mention – but you may have heard – Pluto has been voted out as a planet by the International Astronomical Union due to it’s literal eccentricities and small size. We now have 8 official planets again. It’s just like we’re back in 1929. Let’s hope the stock market doesn’t crash this time. If they didn’t vote Pluto out they’d have added Charon, Xena and Ceres to the list of official planets instead.

We had our last session of Mutants & Masterminds last night. We defeated the big boss villain and nobody died except for many civilians thanks to silly old Deus Ex (Mike’s character), not that Zero (my character) particularly cared, being essentially neutral. That’s what happens when you throw characters from my gritty Power Enterprise powered government agents universe into a four-colour Justice League superhero universe. The more I play D&D and M&M and other d20 games, the more I like the Spaceship Zero rules system.

More Whiny Than Usual

Jordan called me on being Mr Complain-o after he read the post I did on the Thickets, and he’s right, so I wanted to post a self-rebuttal to set the record straight. Obviously, if I’ve been in a band for 14 years and made next to no money on it, I’m not staying in the band to get rich and famous. I do it for the creative process which I love, performing, which I love (as long as it’s not unrequited love), and the satisfaction of a job well done (where applicable). My bandmates are all talented musicians – more so than me – and obviously it is a team effort to make the band work. So while I’m always striving to be better, and to diversify, I’m very pleased with and proud of being a member of The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. I guess the main point of my post was that, like everything, it has its frustrations and challenges. I didn’t mean to single anyone out, we are all stupid human beings, except for Mario who is a cyborg, with our own very special shortcomings. Being in a band is like being on a sports team with no coach, which means we’ve got to identify where we’re going ourselves and work together to get there.

Just Send Me the Blow Up Dolls

I think it actually takes less time to get to work on bike than on the bus. Crazy.

My current art job is over. On to the next – pinups for Bad Girl chocolates. I spent all of my time on my computer and at my drawing board this weekend, and the forecast for the next 5 evenings is the same. Some of my time spent has been putting profiles up on stupid stupid dating sites that I hate. I registered a week or two ago on lavalife but did nothing else. Not even browsed. As soon as I filled out the few fields necessary to have an account on the site I felt so disgusted I closed Firefox. Then a couple days ago they sent me an email with free credits (enough to contact two people) so I put up my profile and poked around a bit. It’s very difficult to put up a positive “hey look at me! I’m so awesome, I’m single!” profile when that’s pretty much the opposite of what you’re feeling, and you hate the fact that you’re even on the site. There’s this one question on OKCupid – “are you happy with your life?” which is a trick question that I refuse to answer. Another way to phrase that question is “are you happy you’re looking for meaningful companionship on the internet?”

Throw up.