Sunday, January 07, 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Puptuals

While you're all watching washed-up Jenny McCarthy bring in the new year, we've tuned in to a much classier joint. #ThePuptuals #nye #sheltiesofinstagram #shelties #mbop

The Puptuals

Instead of a sparkly ball full of Swarovski crystals, we decided to hitch up Maeve for our final countdown. #nye2018 #nye #thepuptuals #mbop #sheltiesofinstagram #sheltie

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Puptuals

It was late in the year, but my Nigra and Maeve illustrations are my #bestnine. I feel like they help convey what it's really like living with these two. Their personalities are massive, they communicate and talk to us, and apparently, they're my employers. #ThePuptuals

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Puptuals

Coming to a manger scene near you! #ThePuptuals #theholidarian #mbop

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Puptuals

#ThePuptuals...just hanging out on some sassy orange chairs. #mbop

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Puptuals

Starry Starry Maeve by Vincent Van Gofetch #mbop #thepuptuals #starrystarrynight #vincentvangogh #sheltie #sheltielife #sheltiesofinstagram

The Puptuals

The Nigra Lisa by Leobarko da Vinci #thepuptuals #mbop #painting #monalisa #sheltie #sheltiesofinstagram #sheltielife #cartoon

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Puptuals

Meet Winnie. She's Nigra's llama. She may be showing up a time or two with Nigra and Maeve as they continue their adventures as The Puptuals. #thepuptuals #theholidarian

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Puptuals

My mom just had minor eye surgery: a lens replaced. I sent her a little card with the help of #thepuptuals. Maeve looks so good in red frames, do you think? #sheltie #sheltiesofinstagram

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Puptuals

The Nigra with the Pearl Earring by Jodoggas Vermeer #thepuptuals #mbop #painting #girlwithpearlearring

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Puptuals

American Dogthic by Grant Hound #thepuptuals #mbop #americangothic #art #painting

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Puptuals

Maeve's Scream by Edbark Munch #thepuptuals #mbop #thescream #edvardmunch

Thursday, November 09, 2017

IT by Stephen King

I bought the paperback for $1 long before I knew they were making an updated film version of "IT." it "It"?

We find the writer of My Bucket of Parts outside in the rain. It pours, relentless. The budget for such rainfall is expensive, but somehow MBoP has found the funds to keep the water going. The writer wears the classic yellow raincoat found in all variations of Stephen King's "It."

The writer squats down in the pouring rain. He gets down on his hands and knees, facing a storm drain. It's obviously a bad idea, but he needs to talk to that creepy clown, Pennywise. The clown's secretary said he would be in his office, thus the storm drain.

Um, excuse me?

Silence from the drain.

Mr. Pennywise, are you   
there? I was told I could
find you here.

Yellow eyes on a painted face appear in the storm drain. The yellow eyes switch back and forth between cat eyes and human eyes. The writer jumps back a little. He almost pees himself, but just a little. He read the book. He knows what he's getting himself into.

Oh, there you are.

I'm answering emails, kid. Whaddya want?

[Recoils and covers his nose] Your breath, Pennywise. When was the last time you brushed your, um, fangs?

Is that anyway to speak to a great evil?

It's all about presentation, sir. How are you going to find more places to haunt with terrible breath?

That's sort of what we great evils use to torment the living. There's visions, blood, decapitation, but sometimes it's nice to just breath on a person to make them uneasy.

Good point, sir. I'm definitely not at ease.

[Holds out a boat made from newspaper] It seems you lost this. Stick your arm down the drain and reach for it.

We both know that's not mine.

It could be…

It's not.

[His voice begins to get more childlike and a red balloon
appears next to his face] Do you want a balloon?

Can I suck the helium out of it?

Only if you stick your arm down here to get it.

The gas in that balloon is probably poison.

[Takes the balloon, uses one of his fangs to cut the knot, and sucks in all the helium. The balloon flattens in seconds. Pennywise's voice is now like that of a Chipmunk.] I'm floating too.

It's the helium talking. The lack of oxygen makes you dizzy.

[Another balloon appears next to his white face and yellow eyes.] I've got another.

I just need to ask you a question. You can keep your balloon

[He holds a paper boat in his hand, next to the balloon.]

So, I know you usually go by Pennywise, but when you're just the purest form of evil and we don't have a good name for you are you It? Or are you IT?

[His voice changes to that of a bored New Yorker.] I don't get what you're asking, kid. You just said the same word twice.

Sure, yes, I see what you mean. It sounds like I said the same thing, but I didn't. Would you rather go by Capital "I" and lowercase "t" or are you more of a capitalize-both-letters kind of evil clown?

[He rubs his chin with his long-fingernailed claw and thinks for a moment.] You're the first kid who's ever had the decency to ask me. You must be a reporter.

I've had some training as a journalist, yes. It's the first thing we should ask in an interview. 'What's your name and how do you spell it?' do you spell it?

If you stick your arm down here, I can write it on there so you won't forget.

[Moves his arm close to the drain, stops.] Gotcha! You know I'm not going to stick my arm down there.

Can't blame me for trying.

It's honorable, but would you please just answer the question?

I think I like both of the letters to be capital. It's like it's being yelled.

Duly noted. Well, I need to write about how I felt about you as a book. I'll be seeing you.

Wait! Before you go! There doesn't happen to be any kids playing out in the rain, are there?

Not today. I think they all know to avoid the storm drains.

But, I'm hungry.

You look like you're not fitting into that clown costume like you used to. Maybe you should lay off the children for a while?

Before he will listen to Pennywise's response, he gets up off his hands and knees and walks back to his house in the rain.

While it was nice talking to Pennywise, the MBoP Writer has a book review to write.

I won't go into all the detail, but I feel like I've read King's strongest books so far -- at least from earlier in his career.  I divide his work into three stages: early, before he got hit by the van, and after he got hit by the van. 

His earlier works that have been incredible include "The Stand," "The Shining," "Salem's Lot" and most recently, "IT." 

Clocking in well over 1,000 pages, it rivals "The Stand" in length, but where "The Stand" goes for scope -- "IT" goes for depth. 

We learn about where and why Derry is so evil. We get to have a history lesson about how the unease just seeps into the residents of the town, and while the people (namely the adults) aren't necessarily wicked, they don't help by turning a blind eye to what goes on. 

Every 27 or so years.

Whatever the evil thing feeds. Children go missing, and for the town, it's just one of those things. 

But of course, a bunch of kids are going to turn the town upside down figuring out where all the nastiness comes from. A ragtag group of friends become each others' saving graces for one summer and bond over bullies, uneasy home lives, and of course, IT. Each character confronts the evil in different ways, during the summer of 1958, and while most people think of IT as Pennywise the Clown, that's just his most infamous guise. 

Because, seriously, clowns are creepy. 

And IT uses the form of Pennywise as a way to lure kids in to eat them. 

King uses familiar tropes in this novel, his 22nd, that I've come to enjoy: a group of friends, a great evil, a small town. And while Pennywise the Clown is disturbing, I found the scenes with the bullies and one of the characters' dad to be more unsettling. 

King does such a nice job of weaving the supernatural into the true horrors of the real world. Sure the evil that lurks beneath the city is gruesome, but the leader of the group of bullies is just as terrifying. 

The reader travels between 1958 when the main characters are kids, where most of the action takes place, and we meet up with them again while they are adults in 1985. As a group of kids in the the 50's, they somewhat defeated IT down in the sewers, but it seems to have awakened once more in the 80's. One of the characters who has remained in Derry, almost like he was on look-out, calls all of his friends back due to a blood-bond promise they made on that final day during the summer when they thought IT was dead.

And while one of the adults doesn't make it back, the rest of them brave the cold terror under the sewers once more. 

To me, the book wasn't necessarily scary -- but I'm immune to fear when it comes to reading. I've been reading the genre for too long -- but it doesn't make these types of books any easier to put down. As of late, I've come to enjoy longer novels. They may take me quite a while to read, but they are like watching a TV series. You get to know and care for the characters. You become familiar with the settings. You don't want the book to end. 

So go ahead and challenge yourself with a book that's over 1,000 pages. You won't be sorry. 

Oh, and if you drop something and it goes down the storm drain...just leave it. I wouldn't bother sticking my arm down there if I were you. 

IT won't end well. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Baltimore by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

I used to scoff at comics. 

Well, maybe not scoff per se. Perhaps I was just intimidated.

That was before I realized they weren't just about super heroes, and while I like super heroes, they have so many different story lines and variations of the same characters that it's all very difficult to keep straight.

Is Superman dead? Did he come back to life? Is he a zombie now? Did he eat Lois Lane, then?

And what about Batman? With all the variations out there, will the real Batman please stand up?

There's Batman and then there's the Dark Knight. Are they even the same person?

What about Spider-Man..does he work alone? Is he an Avenger? I mean, I've seen the movies -- it looks like being an Avenger is more of a part-time gig, but's all too much.

Don't even get me started on the X-Men...there's one billion variations. Thinking about it gives me a headache -- even if I were to start reading these comics, where do I even begin?

I'm one for chronology, so should I start reading the first issue from 1963? I mean, that's 50-plus years of X-Men story lines. It's almost as old as "Days of Our Lives" and the plots are equally as twisted.

The room is beginning to spin.

Do you have a glass of water?

Let me sit over here where there's a comic that started while I was actually alive.

Ah, "Baltimore." A tale of a scorned man searching for a great evil that killed his family. He met this man on the battle fields in Europe during the first World War. There's history. There's old world Europe, and Baltimore fears nothing. Let me flip through it and see what it's about...

Why, isn't this a dark comic. The artist uses mostly grays and browns to paint the panels. There's some kind of plague, it seems, and evil, like vampires, have started spreading like wildfire throughout Europe's country side.

This comic has promise. Let's flip through a few more pages...

Goodness, that's a lot of blood. I mean, besides the gray and browns, the only other color the artist uses is dark red.

And there's so much of it...

So. Many. Bodies.

The body count is high within the world of "Baltimore," but when you're fighting the evil that started all other evil -- well, no prisoners are taken. This comic series, with which I've only read five so far, is pure horror -- of the classic fare. We have an anti-hero fighting the grotesque evils looking to find justice for his murdered family. Eventually, he realizes he is connected to the great evil that has ignited throughout Europe because of the World War...and dying isn't an easy task for him.

It's almost as if he can't die...

Baltimore is on the search for his nemesis, the vampire Haigus, whom he met on the battlefield. Due to some spat, I can't remember what, something about accidentally eating the wrong lunch or whatever, Haigus goes after Lord Baltimore's family, killing them. Baltimore, at some point, loses his leg, so he's walking around on a wooden peg, which is kind of badass all on its own, and decides to hunt down Haigus. Baltimore ain't turnin' no cheek.

He is going to make Haigus pay.

The first few comics regale the trials of Baltimore as he traipses through Europe, searching for Haigus. Like any story, the authors don't allow for him to make a b-line to Haigus. I mean, that would be too easy. Instead, we join Baltimore as he fights evil, after evil, after evil. It's exhausting, and the food looks terrible, and there is barely any sleep.

The bread is stale. The water is stale. The air is stale.

Regardless of how I feel, Baltimore is on the lookout for his enemy, but he can't let the sad, bewildered people of small European villages die, either. They know something is up, but zombies and vampires? That just can't be...can it?

It doesn't matter because Baltimore will save them. Baltimore, the anti-hero's hero.

It's also a comic series I will read through to the end. It honors classic horror, and while I haven't read all those tales of terror, I respect the generous nods the writers and artists of "Baltimore" are giving them.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

2 Sentence Terrors, Season 4

Tis the end of the most successful season yet! Now it's time to hunker down with novel edits and some website updating. #amwriting

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

2 Sentence Terrors, Season 4

Extended Cut 2 #2sentencehorrorstories #mbop #amwriting #horror #halloween #october #scary #fright #frighnight

2 Sentence Terrors, Season 4

Extended Cut 1 #2sentencehorrorstories #mbop #amwriting #horror #halloween #october #scary #fright #frighnight

2 Sentence Terrors, Season 4

Day the Thirty-First #2sentencehorrorstories #mbop #amwriting #horror #halloween #october #scary #fright #frighnight

Monday, October 30, 2017

2 Sentence Terrors, Season 4

Day the Thirtieth #2sentencehorrorstories #mbop #amwriting #horror #halloween #october #scary #fright #frighnight