We’ve all probably hit that cliché of getting a song stuck in your head. Whether it be the ol’ Green Acres theme or some emotional lyrics from an Anna Nalick song or even some crazy tune from my childhood friend, the Dr. Demento Show… it’s something determined to get in the way of all those other thoughts rattling around in your mind. It clings to the surface of your consciousness and takes annoyance to new levels. Like an old friend paying you a visit and wearing out his welcome after not taking any of the four thousand subtle hints to leave.

But it doesn’t have to be a song. Any thought can get stuck in there. Movie quotes get to me quite a bit. They’ll churn in my brain taunting me cause I can’t figure out where they’re from or who said them. The rough ones to deal with are those strong memories from the past. Stuff you spent months or years putting behind you, and without warning, a casual meeting or a sentimental song or a random conversation will force them to the surface.

Why are those the rough ones? They have an emotional sting to them that worsens the longer the thoughts stay in your head. You know it’s all in the past. You know it’s best to leave it all behind. You know those thoughts shouldn’t even phase you any more. But they do. They become the bouncer with the big-ass Mag flashlight standing in the doorway to your other thoughts. You can see all the other thoughts just inside the doorway dancing it up and having a good time, but bouncer boy’s not gonna let you get to them without inflicting a little aircraft aluminum-based pain first.

I’ve run into this situation a few times in my life, and I’ve tried different methods to exorcise those pestering demon memories. I’ve tried drinking them out. I’ve tried sweating them out with lengthy runs. I even remember trying drastic measures in my youth like pounding my head against a wall for an hour to maybe knock the thoughts loose or sitting in the snow in my boxers staring up at the night sky hoping to freeze the thoughts out of my skull. And after all that crap, I eventually found out how to get past them… acknowledge those memories.

Ya see, those memories and thoughts are attention whores. They just want your time, and they’ll harass you until they get it. If I don’t write them down or talk to someone about them, they’ll linger in my mind for as long as they possibly can and constantly be in the way. In the past, I learned to push past them to get stuff done. Sometimes I still do that until I can find time to acknowledge those thoughts… until I can find time to get them out of my system.

Lately though, it hasn’t really been a song or a distant memory hanging out in the cozy little lounge in my brain… it’s been a story. “Hey, you’re a writer. That’s a good thing.” It is… and it isn’t. The problem with this story is I’ve been afraid for years that I couldn’t write it. Well, not really that. I was afraid I couldn’t capture the beauty and tragedy and emotions of this story with my writing. I was afraid I’d ruin it if I tried to write it. And all this time, I ignored its calling and just pushed past it. I forced my way through it to get to all the other thoughts I needed to access for work and my writing. In a sense, this one story’s been holding me back.

That changed earlier this year. I finally found the courage to put the story to paper. The fear’s still there, and I catch myself scrutinizing every thought and word associated with this story. It’s taking a lot longer than it normally takes me to write a story, but at least I’m plugging away at it when I get a chance. And tonight I hit a milestone with it. I’m up this late because I finally got enough of the story down to make a difference… to clear out all the mental clutter and make it easier to pull out all those other thoughts.

Except now, I just caught myself humming the damn Green Acres theme song.

Working late on stuff and just letting a few thousand mp3s run on shuffle when I start thinking about the names of some of these bands. That has to be half the challenge of forming a band… coming up with a memorable name. Here are some of my favorite band names…

  • The Fratellis — I saw this name pop up on the satellite radio display, and it was probably the easiest time I’ve had remembering a band name. It’s those damn Goonies references. They stick with ya.
  • The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — Is it an apparatus for a red jumpsuit or is the red jumpsuit the apparatus (or is it something different altogether)? Does a jumpsuit even need an apparatus? If you’re wearing a red jumpsuit does that make you some kind of de facto crazed red jumpsuit apparatus? I like names that make you think. Wait… driving you crazy counts as “making you think,” right?
  • Death Cab For Cutie — If I weren’t a Beatles fan, I’d be scratching my head wondering how this name came about. It could almost pass for one of those casual conversation things. “She’s a cutie. In fact, she’s so annoyingly cute, I just want to cram her into some hell-bound death cab and only tip the driver a nickel so she can fully enjoy the experience.”
  • Skinny Puppy — Hehe, I know the origin of this band name, but unfortunately, the reality is much more boring than thoughts of these industrial bastards running into some wild event that inspired this name.
  • They Might Be Giants — Don Quixote quotation or George C Scott movie?
  • Tangerine Dream — I guess ‘dream’ denotes a better impression than ‘nightmare’. Tangerine Nightmare would just promote unhealthy images of tangerines with chainsaws, machetes, and hockey masks going on a rampage through a token camp/sorority/isolated cabin in the woods. But then, certain dreams could be bad too… tangerines rolling around your dreamscape in lingerie, French maid costumes, or sporting corsets and whips.
  • Sum 41, Front 242, Apollo 440, Blink 182, Eve 6 — Is there a rhyme and reason to the numerical madness or is it one of those, “It’s gotta be unique… hey! Let’s add a number to it to make sure it’s different.” And yes, all you X Files fans… I’m actually geeky enough to know who the eyeball-chomping psychopath Eve 6 is. ^_^
  • Ego Likeness — “An ego? Us? Nah. You’re just imagining things. Maybe it’s got the likeness of an ego, but it’s not actually an ego. Or maybe it is and it just wants you to be confused.” They’re one of the few bands on MySpace (aside from some local Austin musicians) I’ve added to my friends list. Their name actually caught my attention (and their samples sent me off to purchase their music). Might have to drop them a line sometime and see if they’d share the origins of their name.

And now for some fun. Whenever I get stuck with a title for a story I’m working on, I just start adding “of Doom” to the end of random words/phrases until something serious hits me. I wonder how that’d work with band names…

The Fratellis of Doom, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus of Doom, Death Cab For Cutie of Doom, Skinny Puppy of Doom (ooo, I like that one), They Might Be Giants of Doom, Tangerine Dream of Doom, Front 242 of Doom, Eve 6 of Doom, Ego Likeness of Doom.

And Seth and I will be there. Seth’ll probably be participating in the art frenzy (so you’d be able to get some of his artwork in the auction), and I’ll more-than-likely be downing tequila and giving him crazy ideas for stuff to draw. “No, no. Yoush needs ta draw one a’ dose mutant teenie ninja-y turtley thing… ies. But make it a shexy female ninja-y turtley… thingie.”


“Yeah, you.

“Come a little closer.

You want some sun? High quality. No waiting. Get your fix right here.”

Look at those scientists in action. Wow, who could have guessed that exposure to sunlight could cause endorphin release. And that does what now? Oh yeah, it makes you feel good and even provides pain relief. Hmmm… no wonder it takes so long for people to figure out they’ve been fried to a crisp under the sun’s rays. That sun, he’s a tricky one–deluding everyone into thinking he’s good while he’s really out there building up his vast following of sun junkies.

So now, they’ve show the sun’s all addictive and causes cancer. It’s like smoking without the bad breath, work authorized breaks, and tobacco companies to blame.

It’s a crazy, mixed up world out there. Next thing ya know, they’ll tell me spiders like to cuddle.

Wanted to write up a quick overview of the New York Comic Con, and I’ll finally have the time for it… tonight (needed to finish up some pitches to send out).

I did want to share one quick story from the convention. After watching the Fantastic Four trailer, a girl asked her boyfriend about the Silver Surfer (and how he could fly through stuff). He went into this explanation about the Power Cosmic and manipulating molecules. Standard comic book stuff. You could see everyone in the crowd around him nodding their head in agreement with all he said. The girlfriend looks him in the eye as serious as can be and says, “I don’t get it.”

By nature of my day job, I’m a traveler. By nature of my passion, I’m an observer. In recent days, I’ve stumbled upon a number of evil things I must warn the waking world about. Beware…

The Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins Store. Far be it from me to fall victim to the temptation of triple sugar-glazed pastries smothered under layers of chocolate. I’m strong. I can resist the temptation. But you give me 31 flavors of ice cream to dip it in, and my will crumbles. It’s a devastating one-two punch capable of striking down even the most serious of dieters. People should ramp up to at least DEFCON 3 of evil readiness before driving past one of these. DEFCON 2 if anyone ever gets the crazy notion to toss together a Krispy Kreme and a Cold Stone Creamery.

Puddles. Yeah, that tiny body of water mussing up your shoes, making your socks all squeaky and soaking the cuffs of your pants. It lures you into its false pretense of innocence by sitting there calmly and letting you see your reflection on its surface. What could be less harmful to yourself than… yourself? Don’t fall for it. Especially you writers and students. They see us coming and those puddles, they get a mile-wide grin. They see us carrying notebooks and papers, and they can feel our fear. We place a tighter grip on our important documents and notes as we approach these evil, little water traps, but they’re patient. They’ll wait for us to slip up. And when we do… 40+ pages of notes, dialogue, pitches and plots doomed to a smeared eternity of illegibility.

DateMovieAlyson.jpgBBW Alyson Hannigan from “Date Movie”. Even with an extra 100 lbs, she still managed to provoke sinful thoughts. I wanna say it was because I could see the “beauty within”, but I’m leaning more toward her being a real witch (maybe she didn’t just play one on TV). And now I’m aware of her magically charmed ways, so I can resist her soul-shivering eyes… and that fiery red hair… and the cute little pouty thing she does with her lip every now-and-then. Plus, she’s married. That gives me +5 to my resistance. And I’m married. My wife’s beauty, personality, and crippling body checks give me +150 bonus to my resistance to other redheads.

I wanna play video games for a living...I was flipping through the TV channels after my mom grounded me from playing games on my Xbox360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS, cell phone, and the computer, and I caught a special about video game testing. They were having a blast! How can I do that for a living?

Leia O., Polis Massa, AZ

Dear Leia,

Wouldn’t that be the life? Game controller in hand, sitting on your butt in front of a large screen TV. Month in and month out getting to play the same game and the same levels over-and-over-and-over until you start puking up polygonal figures and lines of code.

Read the rest of the article over at Pop Syndicate.

michelob_ultra_heart.gifWith the New York Comic Con right around the corner, I started finalizing my preparations for the show. What does it take to get ready for a comic book convention. Here are some of the things I do to prepare:

Drink. Gotta build up that tolerance, right? Well, you’ll need a lot of that boring water drink as well… so you don’t get too dehydrated at the bars at night. Trust me, working a show after surviving the late night tequilageddon is gonna hurt if you start the night off dehydrated.

Hooker Cards! Discount coupons to end the lonely nights or a tiny piece of your personality plunked down onto a 3.5 by 2 inch billboard designed to hook people’s attention? Either way, you might get lucky… I’m sure you could get lucky without the help, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure you have to enough handy to swing with some professionalism.

Double the Sock Puppet Fun! Except wear them on your feet, so when they start badmouthing you in public again, you can stomp on their faces. Plus, the double layer of socks will help prevent the blisters on the feet caused by standing in nigh-endless lines and hours and hours of cutting your way through the crowds like a running walking back.

Put The Credit Card on the Rack. Call the bank. Ask them to stretch that credit limit as far as they can. You don’t want to deny yourself that life-size Bomb Queen figurine impulse buy (or Catman… depending on whether your hormones karaoke in soprano or baritone). Plus, they have comics at these shows! And $250 guest meet-and-greet VIP package addons! And… ummm… after the show, you might want to drink a little.

Give Me a Shot of Honey… Straight Up. Shouting for three days straight can be tough, but suck it up and wear that hoarseness like a badge of honor. You do want to be heard over the noise of the crowd, don’t you? You’ll need to speak up (and up) unless you know the secret comic creator convention sign language.

Drink. Just because… well, you can never be too prepared. Call it the Boy Scout in me… and my inner Boy Scout doesn’t like to be caught Frenching the toilet in public.

You going to the New York Comic Con? You ready for it?

Nearly got crushed by a fire truck last night.

Just gotta love this winter weather out there. The snow. The ice. I was driving home from the current work site on the East Coast and played it safe at a slower speed considering the slick road conditions. As I make my exit, I see emergency vehicle lights behind me also signaling for the exit, so after I get off the exit ramp, I pull off to the side of the road. The car right behind me pulls off to the side of the road as well. Everything’s good. End of story.

That wouldn’t be very exciting now, would it? Yeah, there’s more. Apparently, the car behind me only followed me because they couldn’t see the lines on the road. They begin honking like crazy and flashing their brights at me (obviously thinking I’m stopped in the middle of the street even though I’m on the shoulder). They finally get frustrated enough by my inaction that that pull out to go around me.

Remember that fire truck exiting? Yeah, the jerk cut it off and it slams on its brakes. Its backend starts to slide in my direction on the slick road, and I’m thinking, “I’m gonna get killed by a fire truck.” (except I’m sure I thought it with a bit more colorful language) The other car finally notices the emergency vehicle about to slam into it and floors it sending that car spinning over into the next couple lanes, which, luckily enough, were empty. This gives the fire truck just enough time to accelerate and straighten itself out before getting to me.

Moral of the story? I’m a lucky bastard, and I’m treating myself to a lottery ticket.

Through the GraphicSmash creators group, someone passed on a link to an article by Alex Ness about ComicMix.com.

While Alex went the creator route to find out more details… I embraced the other aspect of my geektitude and followed the techie trail. Here’s what I’ve been able to dig up.

Whois information shows that the registrant for the comicmix.com domain name is Blue Canary, Inc via GoDaddy.

Blue Canary, Inc. is the corporate face of web developer/blogger Brian Alvey who was a co-founder of the Weblogs, Inc network (a blogging network made up of over 90 blogs including Engadget, TV Squad, the “Fanboy” gaming blogs (Nintendo Wii Fanboy, Xbox 360 Fanboy, PS3 Fanboy, etc), Joystiq, and Cinematical. One of the money men behind Weblogs, Inc was Dallas Mavericks owner (and tech geek billionaire who I met once at a database performance conference) Mark Cuban. This conglomeration of sites was said to be generating an outrageous sum of Google AdSense revenue (I think it was dealing with millions of dollars) prior to being sold to AOL who retained Brian as a prominent blogger (ooh look, a Time Warner/DC Comics connection). Prior to that, Brian was just a simple web architect who developed or worked as a senior architect on a team that did development for such sites as the first TV Guide website, BusinessWeek, Intel, JD Edwards, McGraw-Hill (ooo… publisher connection), and even the website for the Kansas City Chiefs. Right now, I believe he’s the chief architect for Netscape.

That’s a whole lot of developer talent to put into a website… and I have reason to believe Brian follows comics, so it would be a project he might show some interest in. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of all this.