Friday, August 31, 2007

If Brett Ratner got a hold of the JLA movie

I can see his vision:

"These guys are boring. We need more pathos! I've done a little research and here's what I've got: Forget Bruce Wayne/Christian Bale. Too dark and moody. Bale wants too much on the backend. Besides, he's Nolan's bitch. Let's use this Azrael guy when he wore the batsuit. That psychopath angle is great for building tension.

"And Wonder Woman? After Joss cocked it up trying to pick somebody to fill Linda Carter's boots, I say we throw all that out the window and go with this Artemis chick instead. She wore the outfit for a while, right? Besides, she hates men so we get more CONFLICT!

"Throw the Aquaguy out, nobody cares about that dude. Green Lantern should be that Kyle Rayner guy. (Rainee? Ranier? Sounds French. You know I just finished a film set in Paris, right?). He's supposed to be some kind of artist guy so we can play him all sensitive and get the little girls to slide off their chairs.

"Finally, and this is brilliant of me, I have to say, forget Clark Kent and Barry whatsisface Flash. Regular old Superman skews too 'Norman Rockwell.' And nobody cares about a cop scientists; CSI has done that crap to death. I'm thinking we go with Kon-el, Superboy, and the Bart Allen Flash!

"We can get that teen buddy action going like I had in X-Men 3 between Iceman and Pyro! Then set up Batman and Wonder Woman as their parental units and Greenie as a big brother that they always play practical jokes on. It's like a twisted nuclear family! This is going to be box-office Boffo!"

~ groan ~

Thursday, August 30, 2007

When a survey raises more questions than answers

An acquaintance of mine posted a survey to MySpace recently. Normally I pass over most surveys as they are trivial and mostly nonsense (to be perfectly honest, it depends on my mood), but her introduction caught my imagination:

“I would like to explain that I developed this survey because I am tired of the typical Surveys that ask questions like ‘Have you ever gotten drunk before?’ or ‘When is the last time you kissed someone?’ I have failed to see a MySpace survey that is in the slightest bit adult. The ones that are not totally childish seem to be geared towards people tooting their own horns or trying to sound witty.

“I want to know how many of my friends are in the same boat as me. I did not make this survey easy. In fact, you will probably be offended by most of the questions. I am curious about how people are living. In the Real sense.

“Please repost this. If you are so shy that you could not possibly be real to your ‘MySpace’ friends then and only then send to me only. I look forward to your answers:)”

I glanced over the questions and thought it would be interesting to fill out taking the time to really think about what she was asking. As I was going through it, an interesting thought came to me. Being that she was the person who formulated the content of the survey in the first place, one could assume from the questions that this is a very bitter, unhappy woman. It seeps through in the words and phrases that she chooses, e.g. “Do you feel that you are just Surviving every day” and “What makes you want to wake up in the morning and Not want to kill people.”

Either that, or she wrote this survey with intent. That is to say, many of the questions are rather pointed about the behavior of others and, to me, carry the air of someone who already assumes something about the respondent and wants to be proven right.

Her open reply to everyone who took the survey fairly confirms the second assertion for me: “I just want to say ‘Thanks’ to everyone that filled this out. I felt like I cleaned house a little bit with this moody survey.”

She did, in fact, fill out her own survey and I have to admit that many of her responses don’t sound genuine to me. Then again I haven’t been around her much in the past two years so how am I to know for sure. I find it difficult to believe that someone who says that they are, “too hippy-like and happy to be miserable” replies to the question, “Is getting drunk the only way that you have fun at clubs?” with “Well, considering I have been on a steady diet of Tequila and Cigarettes... Pretty much.” There’s a cognitive dissonance going on there that I’m not sure she’s aware of.

Here is the survey and my answers:

1. Are you Miserable?
Not in the least. Are there things I might like to change about my life? Sure. But that’s human nature. For myself, I live comfortably, if close to the bone, but generally I am content.

2. Do you feel that you are just Surviving every day?
Not at all. If you aren’t working towards something, whether it be as simple as redecorating your home to writing your ‘War and Peace’, then you are just stagnant. I have my personal projects and aspirations that I work towards bit by bit, day by day.

3. Does anything make you happy?
Many little things every day make me happy. I enjoy spending evenings and afternoons writing, when I can. Discourse with friends that I have made all over the world from Tasmania to the U.K. I’m happy getting out and walking everyday to and from work and for errands. It allows me to see people on the street and say hi instead of breezily passing them entombed in a car.

4. Are you o.k. to be alone?
I get uncomfortable and annoyed if I don’t get enough time alone in a day. I enjoy the company of others but I value time alone to collect my thoughts or take in a book or write.

5. Name three things you hate about yourself?
I am easily distracted. I would really love to lose that last ten pounds I have in mind (I’ve already managed to drop 20). It would be nice to give up smoking as well.

6. Name three things that you like about yourself?
I am very good at working out solutions to problems. I am very loyal to those that I care about. I am an autodidact.

7. Do you complain.... all the time?
Not anymore. I used to all the time. I’ve realized that most of those things that I complained about fell into one of two categories: Things that did not affect me/weren’t my responsibility or things that I could actually change if I just shut up and did something about it. When something like that comes up I ask myself “Does this affect me? Is this worth getting upset about?” Most of the time it’s not worth getting upset about and a waste of time for both me and whomever I’m whining to.

8. Is getting drunk the only way that you have fun at clubs?
I don’t find clubs to be fun anymore. It got to the point that I did have to be drunk to have fun there. Although I have some fond memories and I know that there are things that I miss, I find the club scene saddening.

9. How many close friends do you have? And who are they?
This is a loaded question. I wouldn’t quantify or make a qualitative judgment on my friends. My brother is certainly the closest friend that I have, mostly because of our familial relationship. Beyond that, there are friends that I have known for 32 years all the way to something like 10 years or less. I’m still in contact with all of them and they are very dear to me. There are others that I’ve only known a year or more that value their opinions and friendship. So, I’ll sidestep making a list and leave it to them to know of whom I’m speaking.

10. Do you trust anyone?
Yes. There is a small group of people that I would trust with my life. They’ve always been there for me. Surprisingly, some of them are outside of the group of “close friends” I referred to above.

11. Is there something that you have said in the last week that you regret?
No, not really. While everyone is prone to the occasional faux pas, I try to choose my words, inflection and tone carefully. Better to be silent and thought a wise man than speak and prove yourself a fool.

12. Have you cried this week? If yes, Why?
Yes while watching a documentary on alcoholism and intervention. It made me think of my late mother.

13. Does anything bring you joy?
Didn’t we already cover this with “Does anything make you happy?” I’ll assume that something “making me happy” means something that I enjoy doing. I’ll define something “bringing me joy” as anything that I find uplifting for my soul. It’s the smallest things that force me to smile. Just last Sunday I was at the Laundromat and there was a father with his wheelchair-bound teenage daughter and he was making her giggle and hide her face in her book because he was tickling her. My niece’s giggle. Giving directions to someone on the street who is lost. The authenticity and humanity of these moments fill me with joy.

14. Do you use sex as a tool?
You far overrate my attractiveness if you think I even have the opportunity to use sex as anything, much less a tool. I have always viewed sex as fun. Whether it’s in a romantic relationship or just between friends, sex should be relaxing and sensual. The only goal should be enjoying each other with no ulterior motives.

15. Does it make you happy when others are in pain?
Quite the opposite in fact. I try to take on or take away others’ pain if I can. I can help in any way I try to although I find that I’m somewhat ham-handed at knowing what to do I many cases.

16. Have you ever consciously hurt another human being? Why?
Not that I can remember. I don’t even recall ever having thrown a punch in my lifetime. (Fights with my brother don’t count). ☺

17. Do you find yourself repeating relationships? i.e. Dating or befriending the same kinds of people over and over.
The women that I have been attracted to and dated have all been pretty distinctive from each other. I have made the same mistakes in past relationships, but as I haven’t been serious with anyone in over 10 years I’d like to think that I’m over those immature foibles. As for friends, I can see some common threads. The same traits can actually bind us closer together or, in many cases, ended up driving us apart.

18. What sort of self-destructive behavior do you have?
I have a strong tendency to always being the contrarian. I like to do the opposite of what I’m told or expected to do. Putting myself in the position of being the Black Sheep in my family did nothing but mess up my life for the longest time and leave me with a smoking addiction, two D.U.I.s and a jail record.

19. What are your short-term goals?
Uh, finish this quiz? Okay, seriously. I want to finish two stories that I’m working on. I’d like to lose those extra 10 lbs. I mentioned before. I’d also like to read ‘Screenplay’ by Syd Field (at Mikey’s insistence) and get back to drawing and maybe painting.

20. What are your long-term goals?
Publish my graphic novel. Write a prose novel and have it published. To own a home, invest in a Roth IRA and settle down in a long-term relationship (not necessarily marriage).

21. What makes you want to wake up in the morning and Not want to kill people?
I don’t generally want to kill people. If they are vile or just plain stupid, I just feel sorry for them. I try to treat every morning as if something unexpected, strange and new might happen. Sometimes it actually does.

22. Name something that made you smile today?
Joking around with Mikey.

23. Are you constantly running away from your problems?
No. I like to face my problems, put them in a headlock, wrestle them to the ground and then rub their face in the dirt.

24. When was the last time you did something selfless?
I open doors for people, pick up things they drop or help them out every day. I guess the last big selfless thing I did was to ship some comic books to a friend in Tasmania that I’ve never actually met in person for his birthday.

25. When was the last time that you told the person closest to you that you love them?
Saturday two weeks ago. And then I poked his nose and said “Boop.” You had to be there.

26. Do you feel in touch with your emotions?
I’m so much in touch with my emotions they’ve filed a complaint with ACS.

27. Are you socially inept?
I think I’m pretty deft socially, when I’m not drinking that is. I can get along with just about anyone. If I don’t get along with someone it’s because I just don’t like that person and don’t consider it worth my time or effort. Of course, I may just be daft socially and completely oblivious to it. Other people can answer this about me better than I can myself.

28. Do you hurt the ones you love the most?
Only through carelessness and ignorance if I do. Never on purpose. What would be the point of that?

29. Do you find yourself making excuses for your poor behavior all the time?
No. I’ve got a lot of poor behavior in my past that I could certainly try to excuse away, but since I was 15 years old and first read ‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus I’ve always believed that you have to take responsibility for your own actions, good or bad. To my memory, I’ve never excused away poor behavior, just apologized for it.

30. If one thing could make you happy what would it be?
To be in love.

31. If you were stranded on an island and you could pick one person to be there with you... Who would it be?
My best friend Patrick. We can have a great time hanging out talking or just sitting in the same room quietly doing our own thing without interacting.

32. Do you feel rejected? If yes, by whom?
Oh geez, how long can I make this list? How about the girl who turned me down by saying, “You’re nice guy. I don’t date nice guys.” Or “I don’t think of you that way,” Or “I’m a lesbian, but if I were straight…” Or the girl I went out with a couple of times and then introduced me to her new boyfriend at a club the next week. Or the one who was talking with me at the bar and then leaned across me to hit on the stranger on the stool behind me. Or the one I took out on a second date to a club and spent the entire night making out with some guy she just met and then begged a ride home from me. I could go on.

33. Are you so consumed by your own issues/depression that you don't see the people around you?
I am acutely aware of the people around me. I try to evaluate what I say and to whom and gauge other’s moods and emotions. In general, I try to practice pro-social behavior whenever possible.

34. Do you feel the world owes you?
I get out of life what I put in to it. If I don’t put in the hard work, then there’s no reward to reap. It’s the Puritan work ethic and Catholic guilt at work there. People who feel entitled have an over-inflated sense of self-worth.

35. Do you depend on others for monetary or emotional support?
I lean on my friends and family at times and I have a therapist that I see once a week. I guess you could say that’s my emotional support, but I think everyone needs that. No one can or should exist in an emotional vacuum. Financially, I pay my own way. I hate to beg, borrow or steal. I’d rather go without than ask for any fiduciary help.

36. How would you change your life, if you could?
I would spend less time at work and have a studio area that I can use for writing and artwork.

37. Is winning the lotto the only way for you to get rich quick?
Or an inheritance.

38. Can you envision yourself as an elderly person? If so, how would your life be?
Yes, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch. Judging by my dad, I’ll still be active and youthful-looking at 70. Of course, judging from my grandfathers, I could just as easily die in my forties from a heart attack or cancer. It’s a crapshoot.

39. Do you find yourself constantly blaming others for your faults?
My faults are mine to own and work on fixing. You have to take responsibility for yourself before you can do that. If you blame others for your fault, you cede power over to them for your life and that idea is anathema to me.

40. Do you have challenges with yourself that you fail to do anything about?
Not sure what you mean by this.

41. Can you imagine your spawn?
Like the guy with the big red cape, hood and all those chains? He’d be a short one, probably blond. That’d also describe my kid, too, if I ever had one, but I don’t really plan on that ever happening.

42. Who is the last person that broke your heart?
The latest, though not greatest, heartbreak would be the woman who I went out with a couple of times and then introduced me to her new boyfriend at a club the next week. I really thought there might have been something good there.

So, there you go. Feel free to steal this one and answer it yourself, if you're so inclined.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

8 Ways To Drive A Graphic Designer Mad.

Gakked from

8 Ways To Drive A Graphic Designer Mad.

As everyone knows, graphic designers are the reason there are so many wars in this world. They get inside our heads with their subliminal advertising, force us against our will to spend money on the worst pieces of shit, and eventually, drive us to depression and random acts of violence. And of course, most of them are communists.

So to do my part to save the world from them, I made a list of things you can do when working with a graphic designer, to assure that they have a burnout and leave this business FOREVER.

1-Microsoft Office
When you have to send a graphic designer a document, make sure it's made with a program from Microsoft Office. PC version if possible. If you have to send pictures, you'll have more success in driving them mad if, instead of just sending a jpeg or a raw camera file, you embed the pictures inside a Microsoft Office document like Word or Powerpoint. Don't forget to lower the resolution to 72 dpi so that they'll have to contact you again for a higher quality version. When you send them the "higher" version, make sure the size is at least 50% smaller. And if you're using email to send the pictures, forget the attachment once in a while.

If the graphic designer chooses Helvetica for a font, ask for Arial. If he chooses Arial, ask for Comic Sans. If he chooses Comic Sans, he's already half-insane, so your job's half done.

3-More is better
Let's say you want a newsletter designed. Graphic designers will always try to leave white space everywhere. Large margins, the leading and kerning of text, etc. They will tell you that they do this because it's easier to read, and leads to a more clean, professional look. But do not believe those lies. The reason they do this is to make the document bigger, with more pages, so that it costs you more at the print shop. Why do they do it? Because graphic designers hate you. They also eat babies. Uncooked, raw baby meat.

So make sure you ask them to put smaller margins and really, really small text. Many different fonts are also suggested (bonus if you ask for Comic Sans, Arial or Sand). Ask for clipart. Ask for many pictures (if you don't know how to send them, refer to #1). They will try to argument, and defend their choices but don't worry, in the end the client is always right and they will bow to your many requests.

If you have to send a graphic designer a logo for a particular project, let's say of a sponsor or partner, be sure to have it really really small and in a low-res gif or jpeg format. Again, bonus points if you insert it in a Word document before sending it. Now you might think that would be enough but if you really want to be successful in lowering the mental stability of a graphic designer, do your best to send a version of the logo over a hard to cut-out background. Black or white backgrounds should be avoided, as they are easy to cutout with the darken or lighten layer style in Photoshop. Once the graphic designer is done working on that bitmap logo, tell him you need it to be bigger.

If you need a custom made logo, make your own sketches on a napkin. Or better yet, make your 9-year-old kid draw it. Your sketch shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to make. You don't want to make something that's detailed and easy to understand, because the less the designer understands what you want, the more you can make him change things afterwards. Never accept the first logo. Never accept the 9th, make him do many changes, colors, fonts & clip art. Ask him to add a picture in the logo. Bevels. Gradients. Comic Sans. And when he's at his 10th attempt, tell him that you like the 2nd one the most. I know, it's mean but remember: graphic designers are the cause of breast cancer among middle-aged women.

5-Choosing your words
When describing what you want in a design, make sure to use terms that don't really mean anything. Terms like "jazz it up a bit" or "can you make it more webbish?". "I would like the design to be beautiful" or "I prefer nice graphics, graphics that, you know, when you look at them you go: Those are nice graphics." are other options. Don't feel bad about it; you've got the right. In fact, it's your duty because we all know that on full moons, graphic designers shape shift into werewolves.

The best way for you to pick colors (because you don't want to let the graphic designer choose) is to write random colors on pieces of paper, put them in a hat and choose. The graphic designer will suggest to stay with 2-3 main colors at the most, but no. Choose as many as you like, and make sure to do the hat thing in front of him. While doing it, sing a very annoying song.

When it's your turn to approve the design, take your time. There is no rush. Take two days. Take six. Just as long as when the deadline of the project approaches, you get back to the designer with more corrections and changes that he has time to make. After all, graphic designers are responsible for the 911 attacks.

8-Finish him
After you've applied this list on your victim, it is part of human nature (although some would argue weather they're human or not) to get a bit insecure. As he realizes that he just can't satisfy your needs, the graphic designer will most likely abandon all hopes of winning an argument and will just do whatever you tell him to do, without question. You want that in purple? Purple it is. Six different fonts? Sure!

You would think that at this point you have won, but don't forget the goal of this: he has to quit this business. So be ready for the final blow: When making final decisions on colors, shapes, fonts, etc, tell him that you are disappointed by his lack of initiative. Tell him that after all, he is the designer and that he should be the one to put his expertise and talent at work, not you. That you were expecting more output and advice about design from him.

Tell him you've had enough with his lack of creativity and that you would rather do your own layouts on Publisher instead of paying for his services. And there you go. You should have graphic designer all tucked into a straight jacket in no time!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I want one!

MyCuppa Tea / MyCuppa Coffee

Mugs to help you mix your favourite brew to just-how-you-like-it by matching the colour guide on the inside. Available in Tea or Coffee styles.
design by SUCK UK

A real post coming soon. I promise,

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

5 Questions. 5 Answers.

A little more than a week ago, my mate Al tasked me with answering his “5 Questions.” As he put it:

"The rules dictate that I tag a few more so... eeny meeny.. I pick Blanco, Scott and Squeezy and set five random questions for you to answer. Pookie, you didn't think I'd forget you huh? Jump on board poppet ;)"

As is typical for me, I could not let it stand with a couple of dashed off answers, instead spending too much time in reminiscences and contemplation for thoughtful and deep answers. Well, at least I think I did. I’m happy with them. Without further ado, here they are.

1. What’s your signature dish when cooking?

Actually, I’m a pretty crap cook, but I am a mean baker. For most family occasions, I am the appointed pie-maker. Though I am known best for my pumpkin pie [the secret is Allspice], it’s not my favorite pie to make.

Glazed Strawberry-Raspberry Pie

3 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup or more ice water (or not, I’ll explain later)

  • With knives or fingertips, cut batter into dry ingredients as quickly as possible until mix resembles coarse bread crumbs.
    NOTE: I prefer to make a spicier crust. To achieve this, add about 1/2 a teaspoon or more of freshly grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon, cloves, or ginger to the mixture.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup of ice water over mixture and combine with fork or fingers just until dough holds together.
  • If dough seems too crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
    NOTE: I deviate here. I was advised once by my father’s girlfriend’s mother, a blessedly wonderful baker, that more water leads to harder crusts whereas less water makes the crust lighter and fluffier.
  • Turn half of the mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper, gather into a ball, and press into a flat disk about 5” in diameter.
  • Bring the paper around to enclose the dough and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to relax the dough
  • Remove from the refrigerator and place in the middle of waxed paper about 12” square.
  • Cover with a second waxed paper sheet.
  • Allow to soften for about 5 minutes.
  • Roll dough from center towards the edges, reducing pressure as you near the edges, to form a circle about 1/8” thick (Use an empty pie pan as a guide; the dough should be 1-2” larger than the top of the pan).
  • Discard the top layer of waxed paper. Invert dough into pan and peel away waxed paper.
  • Beginning at the center of pan, work toward edges and up sides, pressing dough lightly into pan with fingertips.
  • Cut the edge of pastry so that it hangs about 1” past the outer edge of pan.
  • Roll overlap back over itself so that it is even with the edge of pan.
  • Chill in refrigerator or freezer for about 30 minutes before baking or filling.

  • Brush the inside of the chilled, uncooked crust with lightly beaten egg white to seal the pastry against softening from the filling.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Cut a sheet of baking parchment or foil 2” larger than the diameter of the pie.
  • Press the sheet into the pastry shell and fill with pie weights, dry beans or rice (I prefer rice because its provides a flat, even filling).
  • Bake until the rim feels set to the touch, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Remove and carefully lift sheet and filling from crust.
  • Prick bottom and sides of crust in several places with a fork.
  • Return to oven and check crust several times during baking, pricking with fork if crust puffs up.
  • Cook until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.
  • Position strips of foil around the edge of crusts, if it begins to get too brown.

Filling: 3 cups strawberries
2 cups raspberries
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Place 2 1/2 cups of berries in a large heavy pan and mash with the back of a wooden spoon
  • Sprinkle with the lemon juice and stir in the cornstarch and sugar.
  • Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens (about 8 minutes, give or take).
  • Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
  • Slice remaining strawberries and fold them and the remaining raspberries into the cooled berry mixture.
  • Spoon into the cooled pie shell.
  • Serve at room temperature.
    NOTE: It is best when served with unsweetened hand-whipped whipping cream.
Makes on 9 inch pie.

2. If you had a time machine, but only the ability to jump forward or back 5 times, where would you go in time and why?

01. 1960 Las Vegas, NV during the heyday of the Rat Pack and the filming of the original Ocean’s Eleven. I have a love affair with the Rat Pack and this period of American history. It was a heady mix of entertainment, politics, organized crime and Cold War intrigue. Growing up, I watched nearly all of the Rat Pack movies; Robin and the Seven Hoods, Ocean’s Eleven, 4 for Texas as well as many of their solo efforts.

At that time in Las Vegas, you could go to any of their individual shows and most likely the rest of the crew would show up. The marquees of the hotels at which they were performing as individuals might read “DEAN MARTIN - MAYBE FRANK - MAYBE SAMMY.” They ran the Strip and were instrumental in making Vegas the destination that it is today. Besides, I’ve always thought I’d look sharp in a cerulean blue shark-skin suit with a thin black tie.

02. 1927 Berlin, Germany; Paris France and New York, NY, USA. The world was in a flux of creative energy and economic wealth. In Berlin, the Weimar Republic led to a flourishing of art, music and film. Fritz Lang produced Metropolis in 1927. Two years later, Alfred Doblin published Berlin Alexanderplatz. The Bauhaus movement was in full swing and such luminaries as Carl Jung and painter George Grosz dominated the cultural scene.

Meanwhile, Paris was seeing the rise of the Lost Generation. Writers such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, and T. S. Eliot were inhabiting the Left Bank and producing their seminal works of fiction.

Which leads me to New York and the famous, perhaps infamous Algonquin Round Table. Can you imagine being able to sit at a table in conversation with Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Harpo Marx?

03. Roughly from 461 to 429 BC, the “Age of Pericles.” This period in Ancient Greece lasted roughly from the end of the Persian Wars in 448 BCE to either the death of Pericles 429 BCE or the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BCE. Pericles fostered arts and literature and gave to Athens a splendor which would never return throughout its history. He executed a large number of public works projects and improved the life of the citizens creating the Athenian Golden Age.

To see a society crawl out of the depths of war and rebuild itself into a shining achievement of civilization that would cast a shadow down to our modern day would be a sight to behold. Also, to meet an historical figure of such stature and legend as Pericles would be life-changing.

04. June, 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Lou Rawls, The Animals, Simon and Garfunkel, Steve Miller Band, Moby Grape, Hugh Masekela, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Ravi Shankar, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, The Mamas & The Papas; need I say more? I spent most of my twenties around new and old hippies and I’ve often regretted not having been born early enough to experience the Summer of Love.

05. 1721. To have sailed the Pirate Round at least once in my lifetime would be an enchanting idea. Specifically, in 1721, John Taylor and Oliver La Buse reaped the greatest prize in the history of the Pirate Round with the plunder of the Portuguese East Indiaman Nossa Senhora Do Cabo at Réunion, netting diamonds and other treasures worth a total of about £800,000. I’m sure the celebration that evening was out of control.

3. What’s the most attractive feature, physical or otherwise in a person?

Well, though the question says “person”, I am going to take that to mean someone you are attracted to which, being straight would mean a woman. I’ll admit to my head being turned by an impressive chest or shapely bum, but I think those are just deeply ingrained responses that are innate to our species.

The things that I find enduringly attractive though are features that make a person unique. I’m a bit weird in my preferences, from what I’ve been able to glean from other people. For one thing, I’m absolutely entranced by women with short hair. The shorter, the better. Bald women especially are insanely attractive to me.

Also, I love it when a woman has that distinctive aquiline bump in the bridge of their nose. There is something so antithetical in it to the generic pug nose that the media glorifies. The Roman nose actually serves to make a woman stand out from the crowd rather than blending in to a blurred canvas of blond-haired, blue-eyed monotony.

Lastly, I have a fascination for a woman’s thigh. I suppose it might border on fetishistic. I like a well-developed, muscular thigh; the kind that you might find on a female athlete. Perhaps it’s because I’ve dated collegiate swimmers, softball and soccer (football) players that I’ve been impressed with this preference. Perhaps it is that, in addition to being attractive, this feature evokes a sense of strength and solidity of character.

4. When at high school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer. Growing up, I was always was always told that my brother was going to grow up to be the artist in the family and I was going to be the writer. It’s a myth that continues to this day. I’ve always had a facility with words and a natural affinity to books and reading so I suppose it was an easy supposition to make. Throughout high school I wrote for, edited and published an underground newspaper with a friend. Because we did all the work ourselves on a Mac, I developed skills with layout and design as well as writing. As it is, I ended up falling into a career in Graphic Design working with my brother. Now, though, I am back to pursuing writing.

This year I joined a group of comic book creators, I am a member of the Comicbook Artists Guild and have been working on several story pitches for comics and graphic novels as well as pursuing more personal writings like this blog. I guess it might still happen. Only time will tell.

5. Where in the world are your 5 all time favourite places and what makes them so special?

01. Lucerne, Switzerland. In 1988 I went on a senior school trip through Europe and one of the stops was in Lucerne. I almost immediately fell in love with the city, the scenery and the pace of life. One of the days that we were there a group of us rented a couple of paddle boats to peddle out to the middle of Lake Lucerne. Before setting off from the dock, we bought some cheese, a round of bread and a bottle of red wine. When we were far enough from shore, we threw our legs over the sides of our two boats, linking them together, and had a picnic lunch as we drifted lazily in circles. It’s a moment of tranquility that stays with me even now some 20 years later.
Part of it may also be due to the looming presence of Mt.Pilatus. I had heard that Mt. Pilatus was supposedly the home of the nine Muses of Greek myth. Though I later found that Mt. Helicon in Greece holds that title, the romantic notion of those legendary women peering down from on high still persists in my imagination.

02. Santiago and Pucon, Chile. In 2000 I spent a month traveling through Chile on a summer ski/snowboarding trip. Since I speak Spanish, getting around and communicating was not a problem. I found that by my second week in Chile I stopped speaking English almost entirely. The trip itself was a guided 10 day affair, but I had befriended our guides. After the last day asked if I could stow some of my gear at their apartment in Santiago and continue exploring the country. I crashed on their floor and passed a few days exploring the city.

Then I hopped a 14 hour bus southbound to Pucon. Pucon is a sleepy little resort town that is dominated by an active volcano close by. The volcano actually has a ski resort on its slopes. There’s nothing quite like slaloming downhill while the crater above you is puffing out steam. For this leg of the trip I was accompanied by Brenda, the girlfriend of our guide Aaron. He had to take the next tour group out, so she was alone in Santiago. Brenda and I got along famously and, if she hadn’t been with Aaron and I didn’t like him so much, I could have easily fallen head over heels for her. One of my fondest memories is of the two of us eating lunch and having a beer at a sidewalk café and practicing our Spanish with each other.

03. Vancouver, BC, Canada. In 1994, I decided on a whim to take a road trip from Los Angeles to Vancouver for a week. This trip was seminal in my life. So many good times, so many great stories came out of this trip. I can’t even begin to recount them. Suffice to say that, though I am a skeptic with most things mystical and spiritual, too many a lucky happenstance and improbable thing happened to completely ignore. In addition to being absolutely gorgeous, there is a mood and a feeling to the city that invites you to settle down. All those things combined lead me to believe that there is something inexpressively important about Vancouver for me.

04. Paris, France. Ah, the City of Lights. I’ve visited Paris four times in my lifetime and each time has been special for me. The last trip was the Fall of 2003. I feel completely at home there, despite not being able to speak the language. I never experienced the fabled rudeness and dismissive attitude for which the French accused. Quite the opposite in fact. Several times I was mistaken for a native and had to embarrassingly stumble through my memorized phrase, “Je ne parle pas francais.” There is a sensuous quality to the city that speaks to my artistic side.

05. Las Vegas, NV. I love Las Vegas. I don’t think I could ever live there, but it is a great getaway. Unlike most, I revel in the utter plasticity and artificiality of the town. Vegas is whatever you want it to be. It’s always in a state of flux. My friends say that there is a definite “Vegas Scott” that comes out whenever I touch ground at the airport. I stand a little taller, lift my chin a little higher and square my shoulders more. I always dress my best when I’m there. In Las Vegas, everyone is a celebrity. If you carry yourself well and treat the locals decently, you can get and get away with almost anything. It’s delightfully dirty to wallow in sin for a weekend and not have to worry. Get a massage. Drink top shelf liquor. Visit a strip club. Eat in a fine restaurant. I like a little spoiling once in a while. I NEED a little spoiling once in a while. Plus the fact that it runs 24 hours a day is a bonus for a night owl like me.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Tehachapi, CA. I could not make a list like this and not include my best mate Patrick’s cabin. He and his wife own this little cabin in the mountains 2 hours outside of Los Angeles at a bout 12,000 feet. I often take weekends off to trek out there with them and just relax. For all intents and purposes, they have no phone, no Cable of Satellite television and very few distractions. We stay up late, sleep in and lounge around. Most of the time we’ll make some cocktails and play cards or backgammon on the deck. In the evenings we cook dinner and will watch a movie or two on DVD. We walk their dogs through the neighborhood and have a cigar or two. Every Winter I head up there with the two of them and his mother-in-law (a fantastic woman in and of herself who has become a good friend). We usually leave the day after Christmas and do not return until after New Years Day. In direct contrast to the jet-set activities of a Las Vegas trip, going up to the cabin is like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. It helps me unwind and get my head together. They even refer to the guest bedroom as “Scott’s Room.”

I hope you enjoyed that, Al. I would inflict this on another group of people, but I’m afraid that I don’t have the readership (yet!) to make it worth while. I’m toying with the idea of posting this as a MySpace blog as well, but I rather like the idea of keeping the two trains of thought on different tracks.