More Fun Stuff - Imperial Chronicles Star Wars Fan Fiction

Yeah, yeah - I know. "Fan Fiction" brings to mind ridiculous visions of silly romance pulp, usually involving awful pairings and/or weird fetishes. Or, it's just poorly written tripe that disembarks from the source material in ways that make little sense.

I can't judge the writing quality, but I can communicate my intent - I wanted to tell a story in the Star Wars universe that is true to the spirit of Star Wars, while exploring a side that has not been delved into as prolifically - The Imperial forces.

Set between the end of the Clone Wars and Return of the Jedi, Imperial Chronicles follows Star Destroyer The Absolute and her crew as they attempt to maintain law and order on the Outer Rim of a war-torn galaxy. The first post is up, with new story posts every Saturday. Like the pulp that inspired it, Imperial Chronicles will  deliver short, action packed episodes in serial form. So if you are so inclined, please do read and share.


PS - As for GI Joe - There is more to come! The story I started in Invictus will be completed, but I find it necessary to take a step back and tell the story of Colonel Korso. More on that soon!

Thanks for reading!


24-hour Comic Challenge - 2015?

This year, my main aim - aside from cutting off my dependence on Facebook to validate and inform my existence - is to draw and improve my ability to draw, working towards the creation of a comic-story I've been burning to see realized.  As in, the story is something I feel like I have to do, and I've waited too long to really dig in and buckle down (and other hyperbole).

And maybe, I'll never see it realized.  Or someone will beat me to the punch.  Hey, it's happened before.  But if it's meant to be, and meant to be from me, I'll do it, but I need to take some steps forward anyhow.

To that end, I'm considering taking on the 24-hour Comic Challenge as a way to jump-start the process.  You can read details and inspirational platitudes here. Essentially, it's exactly what it sounds like - Create a 24-page comic in 24-hours straight, but with zero pre-planning regarding plot or story or design.  Seems doable - which may be because I'm naive, but perhaps that will work to my advantage.

However, to get it done, I think I need to sequester myself from all distractions.  And that takes more planning than the comic itself is supposed to take. I'm considering finding a cheap hotel with a desk, and close to decent food.  Some place quiet, but close to home - Do a two-night rental, check in as early as possible to get set up, and start in early morning the first day, working through until checkout the next day, which is usually about 11.  So, I could go from 9 to 9, which gives me two hours to clean up and wind down and check out after the challenge, done or not.  And then the wife can pick me up, and take me home...

OR - I do it the weekend of Comic Con.  Turns out, I didn't get passes for Friday or Saturday this year.  Maybe I get a room at the Santee Hotel down the road on Friday night, work through Saturday to Sunday morning, and then finish up the weekend at Comic Con Sunday.  Maybe I can get an early check in Friday, and do it Friday to Saturday morning, which would allow me to rest Saturday, then go to the show refreshed on Sunday, with something to show - to those still around.  I like that idea more.

I have six months to plan the logistics, but that might help turn Comic Con weekend into something more memorable than it's been in a long while.


2014 - A Few Words, and Then Drinks.

So...2014.  Ran my first 5K with Shandree. Then ran another, because why not? Said goodbye to the house I grew up in, because mom had to move.  Then she had to move again. :-/ Played a lot of shows, and opened for Weezer! But failed to write anything of substance. Had some great internet conversations.

Had some moments of absolute panic and existential dread.  Removed a chunk of skin from my back.  Turned 40.  Probably unrelated.

I realized (As I do every year) that I worry too much, and act too little.  Dreaming is great if it leads to doing, so I resolve to dream and do, in close-to equal measure. I resolve to play well, and enjoy the chances I get, while abstaining from lamenting on the chances I don't. I resolve to be an actual friend, rather than an internet friend, which feeds into my desire to leave FB behind. I resolve to make a concerted effort to be present.  To pay attention, and see needs, and try to fill them if I am able, God willing.

I will read more books.  I will read less rumor.  I will try to gossip less, and be forthright with all. I will work as if it's a gift, because it is. Basically, grow up.

I will draw pictures of giant robots and cowboys and airplanes and monsters.  I will play drums with my son, and games with my daughter, and everything in between.  I will not take myself so seriously. Basically, stay young.

And all these intentions mean nothing if I don't have love.  So I will pray that God fills me with love, and washes out judgement and vindictiveness and prejudice.  I aim to love as I have been loved. Not just in words and wishes.  How do I do that?  We'll see.

So Happy New Year, friends.  May you live and love.  I hope we see each other soon. Nothing changes tonight that can't change anytime, but I like the thought of a clean slate.  Or at least, renewed enthusiasm.  Peace and Grace, friends.


Original "G"

I made this the other day, and thought those who like what I like might like this.  I recorded the song years ago...just a sample, some garage-band, and an enthusiastic friend, with some help from our ladies.  I think it came out pretty good.  The video, too.  Just a Movie Maker jam.  Easy.

I'm REALLY looking forward to the new movie!


Playlist, or; Loving Music

Hiya.  Here's a link, for those who FB, to an essay I wrote and performed for local San Diego group So Say We All.  I did three pieces last year, and this was the third.  Please excuse my somewhat dry delivery.  I was a bit under the weather that night.  At any rate, enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Playlist, by Nas Helewa


Book Review - Mike Baron's Skorpio

Full disclosure - Mike is a friend of mine.  We connected online over a shared love of pop-music and pop-culture, so take that as you will.  However, I stand behind this review, and want to thank Mike for sending me an advanced copy to read a couple months back.  It took me a while to get this review, as I wanted to give it the praise I think it deserves without gushing like a fanboy.  Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

            There is something about the printed word that appeals to my personality.  The feel and smell of paper and ink add a sense of importance to almost any writing. Truth be told, I’m a bit of a Luddite, and have had a hard time adapting to the “new media” practice of reading book-length text on a digital screen, so it speaks to the compelling nature of Mike Baron’s “Skorpio” that I blazed through it over a weekend in October of 2013, reading from the screen of my work-issued Galaxy Note 2.
            It is fitting, actually, that I’d prefer to read from a codex, as it helped ingratiate to me the primary protagonist of “Skorpio”; Vaughan Beadles is an anthropology professor of ancient Native-American cultures, a man’s man blessed with good looks, a good reputation, a beautiful wife, and the envy and admiration of his students.  He seems, at first blush, to have it all, and exudes the kind of self-deprecating humility that is easy to maintain when one is privileged and looking down from the top.  However, when things go south, as they invariably do when dealing with cursed artifacts of questionable origin, Beadles character is revealed to be less than pure.  His selflessness turns to selfishness, as he seeks to justify and magnify his standing, and regain the reputation he’s fought hard to maintain, even as we learn part of it was based on a lie.
            In fact, all of the characters in “Skorpio” are like broken decorative pots, at once beautiful and flawed, but clearly capable of good if just subjected to a little repair.  There is Summer; the stripper with the heart of gold, whose poor choices are quickly catching up to her in the form of Vince; her former boyfriend/pimp whose life is a mess of thuggery and drugs. But still, if only he had been able to break into MMA… Then there is Ninja, the tweaked out hacker whose exterior belies a hidden genius.  At various times, I found my sentimentalities both drawn and repulsed by each of these figures, and I appreciated that these juxtapositions kept me questioning each character’s fate, even to the last page. Mike Baron’s strength is certainly in character construction and dialogue, as it is in his comic-book work, and “Skorpio” flows because of it.  Even where events seem unbelievable, the characters react believably, which kept me connected to the story as a whole.  There are few horror cliché “dumb-ass” moves, and those that exist are punished appropriately.
            Make no mistake, this is a ghost story, and terror lurks throughout, though it often bares its claws, or rather stingers, in unusual ways.  The title character, and star of the cover art, is exactly what the jacket details – A ghost who only comes out in the sun.  The mystery and fear comes from trying to understand the motivations of this ghost, and the source of its power.  After an introductory chapter that serves as a demonstration of Skorpio’s methods, the reader is subjected to a kind of slow burn, as we learn the lore of the missing “Anasazi” tribe Professor Beadles is seeking to discover, as well as the circumstances that lead Beadles, Summer, Vince and Ninja into Skorpio’s realm and influence.  The payoff is well executed, though with any knowledge comes understanding and even a bit of sympathy.  By the time the final confrontation had reached its apex, I wasn’t really sure who I was rooting for.  However, I was still satisfied by the denouement, though there is a tonal change presented in the last paragraph which was at once exciting, but also a bit jarring, turning “Skorpio” from a ghost story to a cliffhanger adventure story, with unresolved futures waiting to be explored.
            I’ve tried to remain vague on plot points, as the fun of “Skorpio” comes with the shifting changes, like a desert in a windstorm.  I do recommend digging in, and not just for the plot twists and surprises.  Despite the slow-burn I mentioned, “Skorpio” is gripping and dripping with character. It’s a great choice for a hot day stuck in air-conditioning, or a cold night wishing for a blazing sun – sans ghosts, of course. 


I Played with My Toys, and Then Wrote Something.

Click-r to Flickr

The description of the picture says it all.  I put these figs on a shelf, took some pictures for posterity, then wrote up a description for context.  It's all very simple and nerdy.  Plus, it was fun to play with Word a bit.  Neat little tools.

Maybe I'll do an Invictus shelf someday.  Or just do more pages...