Goodbye, Dummy

I’ll be brief.

Things change. The internet changes. Life changes. This blog no longer holds anything for me, and I’ve decided to officially close it down. I’m sure anyone who came here regularly saw it coming through the slowing of posts, the shifting focus to my MARDL pulp writing blog, my YouTube channel, etc.

Plus, it’s really hard for me to like this blog anymore… I hurt someone I love through it by accident, and I’m eager to cut ties with it. I admit that what I did was wrong, and want to continue the healing process.

I’ll keep it up, as kind of a time capsule or archive. I appreciate anyone who came here and commented and / or enjoyed what I did here.

Thank you.

Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Dave Stevens, RIP

Dave Stevens has passed away.

Forgive me if this seems odd, but his death has definitely affected me. His style, dynamic and yet so classic, was one of my all-time favorites. But more than that, The Rocketeer comics were one of my prime initiations into the world of pulp-style adventure. Stevens’ “good girl” art introduced me to the classic pin-up style of days gone by and Bettie Page.

He’s been a part of my pop-culture life since it crystallized… I drink coffee from a Rocketeer mug, for cryin’ out loud.

Look, I could write volumes about Dave’s work and his passing. I’ll just leave it at this: he will be missed, and there won’t be many more like him.

Confessions Of An Indy Whore

Have any of you heard about this movie coming out, I think in May or something, it’s called “Illinois Jones and The Kindom of Crystal Gayle” or something like that? Looks cool, but I dunno… it might suck…

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Return Of The Bassman

Guess what I got?

Me and my bass

Betcha didn’t know that I used to play bass guitar, didja? I did, and for a long time, too. Took lessons and everything. At one time I had two basses, plus a sequencer, drum machine, a 4-track recorder, a keyboard, and a mess of effects-pedals, too. I’m not going to say I was great, but… if you were scouring the suburbs of Florida in the late 90’s looking for a third-rate New Order rip-off, you could do a lot worse.

Anyway, financial strains forced me to sell off my equipment about 4 years ago, and I hadn’t picked up anything with strings in that time period. I had been putting off buying another bass for the last couple of years. This year, with our bonus checks hot in our hands and with my wife’s encouragement, I got this sucker.

And it’s a 5-string, too. So, not only do I have to get used to playing all over again, I have to get used to that big-ass B-string at the top, which gives it an extra low-end sound.

But I don’t mind, because it feels so narcotically good to play again. You can probably see the grin from here.

Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm  Comments (4)  

Professional Dummy: Year One

It’s a gala event!

The sky is crossed by searchlights!
Searchlights!

The paparazzi are out in force!
Paparazzi! (is that a Baldwin?!)

The stars are on the red carpet!
Stars!

(more…)

Published in: on December 5, 2007 at 7:11 pm  Comments (3)  

Why I Don’t Watch Letterman Any More

Letterman… (sighs, lights a pipe and stares into the distance with old eyes)

First of all, my name may be listed here and elsewhere as Don, but my first name is really William… I’m Bill Gates, dammit. Think about all the crap I get for this. Anyway…

In the summer of 1999, I was at my parents house one day when the phone rings. The girl on the other end asks to speak to William Gates, and my mom asks “Which one? There’s two here, father and son.” The girl says “Whichever is available”, so my mom puts me on the phone, as my dad was away.

She identified herself as calling from the offices of “The Late Show With David Letterman”. I’m freaking out quite a bit, but soon realize it’s the real deal (she gave us several numbers, and we called them all- they were legit). It seems that Dave and his writers have cooked up a little routine where famously named people are selected from random phone-books to come on for some kind of routine (I think it was a top-ten list, but can’t remember now). I have been selected to be “Bill Gates”, and if I was able to Fedex and fax criteria to them (photo, proof of ID, etc.) they would fly me to NY to tape the show. We double and TRIPLE checked the authenticity- everything was on the level.

I got this call at 4:00, they needed to have the fax by 5. My parents lived in the woods, so I proceeded to bust my ass getting to town to do this stuff.

I got it done, then waited by the phone in my apartment. No call that night. The next day, there still hadn’t been a call, so I called them after work. They had received the faxes and overnighted stuff, but had no definite word for me. They would call tomorrow.

The next day I had to call them again. Dave had been debating over whether to use “Bill Gates” and “Steve Forbes” or “Mark McGuire” and “Sammy Sosa”. Dave, being the sports-nut he is, chose the sports-duo instead of the millionaire-duo, leaving me and a “Steve Forbes” crushed and devastated.

I still have the paper, with all the addresses and phone numbers `and names pertinent to this… the word “FUCK!!” is written across it. This was done at the exact moment of letdown.

I was a big fan of Letterman until then. I haven’t seen a single minute of the show since.

Published in: on August 7, 2007 at 2:33 pm  Comments (4)  

Time-Bomb

When I was a kid, my walls were plastered with posters. As I grew older, my tastes changed and these posters reflected that. My parents were…quietly understanding when it came to puberty, so when I put up the occasional babe-in-a-bikini poster, there was no uproar. My mom just didn’t mention it, while my father tended to linger if he came into my room for something. These posters, along with the others, were packed up and forgotten when I left home, destined to sit, forgotten, in a sealed box in the attic of my parent’s home.

When my folks moved to Canada recently, it came time to get all those boxes of toys and various junk out of that attic and into my house, where I’ve been going through them, throwing some toys away while keeping others. I had a huge toy collection, so it’s been a slow- and surprising- process. I had a Chuck Norris action figure? Really?

Anyway, when we got to the poster box, the Mrs. and I went through it with the usual interest reserved for the other boxes. Each poster was a different walk down memory lane.

Here’s a poster of a Lamborghini Countach, a car that seemed so futuristic in the ’80’s.

Tick.

And here’s a poster of an Sr-71 Blackbird. Man, weren’t they neat?

Tick.

And here’s a poster of The Tick, bought shortly before I moved out.

Tick.

And here’s a poster of a busty blonde bimbo.

BOOM!

I held it in my hands, my wife behind me gazing upon it. It was from the late 80’s I guess, a blonde girl in some kind of ridiculous bikini-shorts-mesh shirt-fingerless glove combo. I probably got it at Spencer’s or somewhere like that.

It was during puberty, dammit! Who are you to judge me?!

Anyway, this photographic time-bomb opened that classic Riddle of The Sphinx that females since the dawn of time have been asking of us men (and most of us here at this blog are men, or something close):

“Do you think she’s pretty?”

(There are variations, but it’s all the same question essentially… a question which has no un-booby-trapped answer. Hehe… “boobies”.)

The sweating started. “No.”

“You liar!”

“Well, I thought she was pretty, back when I got the poster.”

Silence.

“Well, I guess I thought she was pretty at the time, but not now. Look at her, she’s got feathered ’80’s hair. She might as well have been in Whitesnake.”

“You thought she was pretty? Look at her. She’s hideous.”

Truthfully, she wasn’t attractive to me, not now. My tastes have matured. I prefer redheads and brunettes over blondes now. I grew to prefer character and personality in the faces of who I’m attracted to (this leads to an ongoing thing between my wife and I: how could I have ever found Gillian Anderson sexy? My answer:

Giggity!)

Anyway, it could have turned into a full blown thing, with many variations: “If you think she’s pretty, and she’s ugly, and you think I’m pretty, then I must be ugly too if you find ugly women attractive” (got that?), or “How could you find me pretty when you like girls built like that and I’m not”, etc. It’s a classic male-vs-female struggle that will rage until the earth falls into the sun.

But it didn’t turn into that. I defused it. I told her, with all honesty, that without a doubt no one is as beautiful to me in the world as she is. She’s the new measuring-stick for beauty in my eyes. I didn’t know what beauty was before her, and no one is as beautiful in the world as she is to me, and no one ever will be. For once, the argument didn’t rage and go on for a while, and that poster, and the others, are in the garbage.

(Thank God I threw out the Playboys years ago.)

Published in: on July 6, 2007 at 8:57 pm  Comments (4)  

Into The Future

Well, I finished The Shadow’s “Malmordo”. It was the best of the later Shadow novels I’ve ever read, with some truly surprising twists along the way. I’m still having a hard time with the villain chewing through wood like a rat, but the novel was FULL of rat imagery, so it totally fits.

Why is it every time an inspector or scientist shows up to help the police in those Shadow novels, they always turn out to be the main villain?

Anyway. Moving on, I’ve begun reading the latest issue of the High Adventure pulp reprints. It’s “Captain Future’s Challenge” this time (from the third issue of “Captain Future”, Summer 1940). It may be a bit juvenile in it’s wide-eyed innocence and optimistic futurism, but it’s fun. I can remember my grandfather (the one that built the rocket) and I making paper airplanes in his front yard early one evening when I was a kid. While he was showing me how to add rudders and flaps to make them turn and dive, he was telling me about the old Buster Crabbe “Flash Gordon” serials, how the rockets would swoop in on wires. He got a far-away look in his eyes, and I always wanted to read something from those old-school “space opera” days.

Zoom-zoom!!

High Adventure 94

Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 3:53 pm  Comments (3)  

My Own Private Mission -Control (or, “Ground Control To Major Don…”

While we were driving home from work last night, my wife pointed out to me a huge tree-house in a nearby yard.

“Wow, that’s pretty cool. I never had a tree-house when I was a kid.”

“Neither did I,” I said. “But remember what I told you before? I did have a rocket.”

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Published in: on May 17, 2007 at 7:27 pm  Comments (6)  

‘Ol Shellhead, Revealed

As a kid, my friend Derek and I would bicycle up to the local 7-11 in our neighborhood, pockets bulging with allowance money. And we’d blow it all on Hubba Bubba bubble gum, Slurpees, Charleston Chews, and comic books.

I wasn’t a “comic fan” yet. I had yet to develop a fondness for tight plotting, crisp artwork, character development. What I was a fan of, though, was characters who were, to my 11-year-old brain, “cool”. I liked Daredevil a lot, but my favorite at the time was Iron Man.

There’s a movie coming out, of course, with a big budget, critically acclaimed cast, yada yada yada. My thing was: What’s the damn suit look like?

Here’s the answer, and I’m pretty damn happy. (That’s a suit, by the way, not CGI.)

Published in: on May 2, 2007 at 6:30 pm  Comments (3)