Often, I think of things.  I classify them as such (as "things") because the range and magnitude of these thoughts vary.  A lot.  Where I tend to spend most of my time is in the quagmire of the application of scientific discovery.  Sure, anyone can run around and tell the world about all the cool stuff we could do if a certain scientific breakthrough occurs.

Myself though… I tend to think of what’s going to get most negatively impacted by the discovery.  My latest thoughts have been dealing with parallel dimensions and/or time travel (depending on your viewpoints of the topics, the latter probably creates more of the former).  And what do I think will be most impacted by it?

The legal system.

Just think about it.  When science proves the existence of parallel dimensions, DNA evidence is no longer set in stone and lawyers can start dragging scientists into court to introduce reasonable doubt. 

"So, your evidence is tied to my client’s DNA, correct?  But what if it isn’t really his DNA?  There are any number of dimensions where my client exists in some variation.  How can we know without a reasonable doubt that the DNA is from my client in this dimension and not from some duplicate in another dimension who’d have exactly the same DNA as my client."

And then there’d be the imminent collapse of child support… and the Maury Povich Show. 

"And the results are in.  Bubba Jethro, you ARE the father."

"Now jes’ hang on there a sec, Maury.  I gots me a letter here from one of those scientist types that says the DNA in that there boy might not be mine.  It could be the seed of one of them evil dopplemegangers from another Die-mension."

"Bubba Jethro, you lying [bleepity bleep]!  You know damn well you’re my baby’s father.  Dopplemeganger, my ass.  I seen Star Trek and I know how ta spot one of those goateed evil [bleep bleepers] when I see ’em."

Just a reminder… Seth and I will be at Chicago Comic Con (formerly Wizard World Chicago) next week at table 3712 in Artist Alley.  You can see the full AA list here.  Interesting that Artist Alley is referred to as AA… it’s like they know us.  We’ll have some copies of our Image comic books there, (hopefully) some t-shirts to sell, and as always, Seth will be doing art commissions there at the show.  We always enjoy chatting with readers and fans, so even if you’re not thinking about buying anything, feel welcome to come by and say hello.


Zuda Comics – the current competition is almost closed and my friend Jorge’s comic is in second place.  I said I’d toss a link over there… his is the violent historical piece there, and knowing the way he writes, if you enjoy stories with twists, you’ll want to see the rest of that story.  But check them out… the one that wins gets to continue as a weekly webcomic there (so the votes are meaningful).

Recently, Brat-halla was listed as a roleplaying resource at the Game Examiner website.  As a gamer, this was probably one of the best things I could find out there–that a comic I work on is considered a source of inspiration for gamers.  Some of my knowledge of mythology comes from early research for campaigns I ran… looking for ideas and inspiration. 

And even though I rarely play these days (time and my former gaming groups separated by vast distances and conflicting schedules), I still have fond memories of the games I enjoyed in my day… D&D (from Basic to early 3rd Edition), Shadowrun, Robotech, Rifts, Gamma World, Twilight 2000, TMNT, After the Bomb, Marvel Super Heroes, Heroes Unlimited, GURPS, MERPS, Star Wars, Rolemaster, Alternity, The Arcanum, my friend Mike’s modified version of D&D, and a gaming system that I developed (but never published).

I’ve also played my share of computer RPGs, but I’ve always enjoyed gaming in-person.  When you have good players and a crafty DM, the scope of your adventures is unlimited and boundaries are nowhere to be found. If the characters want to burn down the inn where all the villain NPCs happen to be staying, you can adapt and move on.  If a character wants to make a wish that sends the entire party to an alien world/realm, you can move your dungeon and change up the monsters/encounters/treasure. 

The only limit was our creativity and imagination and in the groups I played with, those traits were very much in abundance.  And it forced my creativity to grow… some of the comics you’re reading here at Brat-halla are due to my early "training" with my friends and our RPGs (Arazel and Xarenia were actual characters in our games). 

So, I’d like to do a shout-out here.  Gaming comrades of my past, it was an honor to have gamed with you:

Chris, Sean, Gordon, Earl, Robert, Kyle, Dave, Russell, Travis, Sean, the dayroom gamers at Fairchild AFB, Craig, Brian, Mike, Bob, Terry, Carlos, (another) Chris, Shannon, Mark, Darren, Carla, Chuck, Bop, Larry, Marty, James, Susan, Brock, Donnie, Tim, (another) Carlos, my wife Rayna (yes, I married a gamer), and many others who stopped in for short visits to our games.

So, this Watchmen screenwriter sent out an open letter for people to watch the movie again.  Even though I loved the comic book, I haven’t gone out to see it yet.  I was eager to check it out as the  release date drew nearer, but then I did a crazy thing… I re-read the story.  And I remembered what I loved about it so much.

The best thing about Watchmen (the comic) for me was its magical quality of discovery.  When I first read it, it took me a long time to get through the story.  I would read and read and then I’d discover something.  It would always be one of those little eureka moments where you see a connection in the story and flip back through the pages… and the story… the world of The Watchmen expands in your mind’s eye.  And as I read that previous sequence again with my new insight, it would change right before my eyes.

The power those little moments held… how they could change other parts of the story so drastically… was enthralling.  I’m sure the movie will have stunning effects and capture some of the more powerful moments of the comic, but I don’t think it can capture that kind of magic.  And even if it could, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it onscreen the same way I could in print. Maybe rewinding the DVD… nah, probably still not the same.

So, I’m still on the fence about going to see it.  I might have to go just to keep up my comic book geek cred.  Or I could just re-read the actual comic book again.

You might have been there before. A situation where you needed to trust someone else to keep you from dying or worse. You’re already a bit nervous about putting your life in another person’s hands when you hear that dreaded phrase. “Trust me.” They just had to go use one of those universal taunts, and as you can imagine, the universe doesn’t like getting called out like that.

But that isn’t the only phrase that’ll rub the universe the wrong way. You have such classics as “At least things can’t get worse.” and “This plan is foolproof.” These phrases will put you on the universe’s radar, and when you’re in its sight, BAM!

So… just be careful what you say. The universe is listening.

As part of my New Year’s promise, I’ve been tracking my time to see where it all goes. I know there’s a huge chunk of it dedicated to the job that pays the bills. But I wanted to know about my spare time. It felt like my time for writing shrank over the past year… like I wasn’t getting any writing done.

I was wrong.

I’m averaging 2000+ words a day with writing in my spare time. Yet, I don’t have the projects to show for it. Now, I know why.

For a long time, I was suffering from sleep apnea, and for a number of years before I started treating it, I was developing problems with my memory. I could still recall stuff, but it was hazy… fuzzy. It was that song where you knew only a few key words from the lyrics but couldn’t remember the title or band, and everything was right there on the tip of your tongue and drove you crazy cause you couldn’t recall it no matter how hard you tried. My mind was like that for a long time… so I got into the habit of journaling.

I’d write down stuff I thought I’d need to remember or wanted to remember and review them from time-to-time to help out. I could then repeat details back to people even if the memory itself was still fuzzy in my brain. It wasn’t a perfect system, but it helped me fake remembering stuff. It helped keep me going even though I knew there were memories I wanted to have for real.

But as I recovered from my sleep apnea, I still kept the journaling habit. The problem with that was… I was remembering more, so when it came time to write down stuff I remembered from the day, there would be more-and-more memories to transcribe… and more details to each to write down. It was taking up a lot of my free writing time, but it was second nature to me. It was such a habit, I didn’t realize how much time it was eating up.

Until I started documenting what I spent my free time on. It was quite a shocker at how much writing I was doing just for this. And I took a deep look at it. Was it just a reflection of me remembering more? Or was there something else to it? Was I hiding something from myself? Covering up for a fear or something crazy like that under the cover of writing? Keeping myself from thinking about it because I could easily see I was writing a lot?

It was procrastination through productivity. Even though it was kind of a false productivity, it was still a means for keeping me from projects and writing the things I wanted to. So now, it’s time to cut back on it. I’ll still keep it going because it’s a great means to work out issues and solve problems I’m stuck on, but I need to dedicate more time to the truly productive writing.

It won’t be an easy process. It never is when dealing with long-term habits. It’s something I’ve built up for over 10 years now, so I can’t expect a habit like that to go away without a fight. But it’s time I tried. It’s time I put up a fight. It’s time to see what I’m really capable of as a writer.

Who knows? Maybe by the time I get this all worked out, the Writer’s Guild will have their strike all wrapped up. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

For each dark day, there comes a light. The dark times will come. There’s no doubt about that. Pain, sorrow, pettiness, betrayal, misfortune, and loss will cross every living soul’s path at some time in their life. But those dark spirits can never overwhelm you… if you know the secret.

For each dark day, there comes a light. The darkness of mankind flees before the light. It lifts their spirits and illuminates the joyous things in life. But you don’t have to wait for the light. You shouldn’t have to wait for the light. Just like a darkened room, you can light it up with the flick of a switch.

And just like the light bulb in the room, the source of the light is already there. You just need to flip the switch. Sure, those dark spirits take their toll on you. They dance upon the emotional strings of your soul… wearing you out… breaking you down. It’s okay. Let those feelings out and take away their power.

They will always hold sway over you if you resist them. The very act of resistance gives them value. It fortifies their position. It gathers those feelings in greater numbers building an army to entrench them deep within. It keeps your darker side active, and it allows them to hide the light from you.

And the light doesn’t have to be anything spectacular to be effective. It’s a means for providing hope. A beacon. A reminder of what you have to be positive for. It can be a kind smile, a child’s laugh, a friend’s hug. It can be fond memories from the past, plans for the future. It can be anything that lightens your mood, anything that gives you a sign, “The dark days are done.”

You can’t be denied these things. They’re already there whether you accept them or not. There to give you hope… to give you the energy to move on. When the dark times appear to be at their worst, seek out the light. It’ll be there… I’ve had my fair share of dark times, and I’ve always managed to find the light. To get past those dark days and enjoy my life again.

Back in the day, I had notebooks filled with all kinds of writing. From stuffy research notes to poems to scientific theories to character bios to short stories… and oddly enough, a lot of lyrics. Since music always helped me focus when I was younger, I constantly found myself tinkering around with various bits of lyrics for fun…straight rock, ballads, and even Weird Al style parody pieces.

And I have a project in progress right now that I wrote some lyrics for (since music plays a part in the story). I had fun with them, so I thought I’d share (plus, I’m passing the time since I can’t get to sleep):

Search the heart… Search the soul.
Just no other place to go.
To find the love they ripped from me.
To find my joy.
To find…

Lost the fire, heated desire.
Lost and alone in a media quagmire.
Searching my dreams to pull me free
And help remake a man out of me.

Drowned the heart… Drowned the soul.
Just no other place to go.
To drown in hopes they tore from me.
To drown my woes.
To drown…

Pool of sweat, broken and wet.
Bleeding as I hit that sea of regret.
Drowning in music to pull me free
And help remake a man out of me.

Just a quickie… a story quickie that is as two former noble professions tangle with one another. Enjoy!

He peered out of the darkness to find her standing there. The woman who deserved every bit of his attention. The very reason he went out tonight. Ivory skin softened under his gaze as a light powder of moonlight dusted her features. Long legs, striking hips, powerful back… he took careful study of her athletic physique before pulling out his instrument. It wasn’t a bulky, crude piece but leaner… more precise… yet still felt heavy in his grasp. He let his fingertips glide over the length of it as his mind fantacized over the moment to come.

He could feel her heart pound as he pulled her body close to his. A gasp as he slid the instrument into her. Warm and wet, her body quivered as he drove deeper inside. He’d pull her closer still until the salty aroma of perspiration rolled off her neck and across his senses. He would cherish the moment as it builds racing stronger and faster within her. A scream at her lips… a crescendo never let loose as her intense feelings come grinding to a halt.

He tosses her aside. His job is done. He’s had his pleasure.

He’ll leave the mess for someone else to clean up.

I stand there at the edge of the world awaiting my fate. The winds at my back nudged me forward… ever closer to the edge. But they would not win for I stood my ground. The small victory fueled the reckless courage within me. I kicked my shoes off sending them sailing over the side of the precipice. I inched forward until my toes dangled over the edge. I wiggled them in defiance. I would face this obstacle on my terms. I would glare into the unknown with a fire in my heart and…

Slip and fall.

Stupid dream.