Man Will be the Death of Man

Oh my fatalisticly fantastic followers, we are taking a chapter out of my childhood in Pennsylvania today.  The year is 1979, just two years after the glorious life shattering experience that was Star Wars.  You might know that I am a fan.

Well, in this year a little event happened just outside of Harrisburg Pennsylvania at a power plant on Three Mile Island.  I would not be surprised if a large number of you do not get the reference.  Not only does mankind collectively have a short attention span and memory, but also an infinite capacity to blind themselves.  We love to convince ourselves that we have learned our lesson and will do better.

Last night I watched Meltdown: Three Mile Island on Netflix and was shocked by how callously people with power and money involved will assume risks for the general population they have no right to speak for.  Besides the corruption at the NRC and the utility company, the democratic party was focused mainly on hiding the truth.  They were more concerned about the image of the nuclear power industry than protecting the people it served. I think the Catholic Church has had a similar misguided sense of priorities.

Sadly, this was during the presidency of one of the few presidents I still had some respect for, Jimmy Cater.   The truth is that time after time regardless of party, the powerful lubricant of wealth takes precedence over humankind.  In this case in my own back yard.  What really caught my attention was the actual severity of the disaster.   After Chernobyl and Fukushima, I was under the false impression that, while we had had our accident, we had handle things better.

From watching this show, I can see that it was only luck that kept us from being the first Chernobyl.   Three Mile Island’s core had started to melt down and only the realization there was a stuck valve that needed closed saved us from that fate.  It they had not figured it out, even where I live might have been a wasteland. 

Worse, just like Chernobyl, the people making the money from nuclear power showed that they really had no plan to deal with the problem and its aftermath.  What gets lost in the narrative is that they intentionally vented the radioactive hydrogen to avoid the Chernobyl scenario because they had no other solution. Radiation venting that was not properly monitored for reasons similar to Chernobyl, lack of proper testing equipment. Who bore the long term cost of the that, the residents. My guess is they still do not.  For one thing, it is easier to hide your head in the sand then do the right thing. For another, doing it right means it costs more and you might not be able to pass all the costs on to the customer. When it threatens to cut into profits, the morality of the activity breaks down.

So once again I have had to bring Atomic Joe out to remind us how stupid we really are. We, as a race, seem to have a terrible ability to separate wealth from wisdom, knowledge, and morality. We seem to perpetually equate wealth with the cream of our society no matter how many times it has been proven to be utterly false, no matter how many times we tell ourselves they are human too. It is simply mind boggling.

Here is a corollary idea that I have come to understand. The reason we are now as a nation having to pay higher prices for everything is not because of gas prices or war per say but because of all the mistakes the wealthy have made and not paid for. What I mean is this, the clean up of Three Mile Island was I believe stated as one billion dollars in 1983. Who do you think actually paid for that? The CEOs of the company owning the plant? No, if I am correct, they paid nothing. All the costs associated with this disaster were borne by the customers and the tax payers, of which, the middle class carries the highest burden. Especially now with the Republican tax breaks to the wealthy. Worse, this is true for every man made corporate disaster, national corporation bailout, and economic bubble brought on by Wallstreet. They make the blunder and the middle class pays for it. The FDIC backing of your accounts at your local bank isn’t the government, it is you. That is why we had to bail out the banks in 2008. Simple truth, the Federal Reserve is nothing more than the blood, sweat, and tears of the American Worker. It banks on our ability to cover their mistakes. The question is, have we learned anything? Answer, No.

Ta Da!

Good evening lovely followers. Well, here it is my little surprise for you. It is titled “Convocation of the Eloquant” and is just a fun little painting I wanted to do. There was no pre-planning or even a drawing to work from. All I had was the idea for the three foreground beings, not even in this form, but the transition from black to a red. I just made a black background, splashed some red on, and let the image create itself, since I was needing a break from the heavy projects that were getting bogged down by work. I had a lot of fun with this one and hope you enjoy it too.

Sniff … They Grow Up so Quickly

Well frolicking followers here is a quick update on story mascot. This has been the first time in a few days that I was able to work on this beauty and I went straight for the eyes. They are the most fun to do and can really change the look if you get them right. I am a lot happier with their appearance now that I softened the darker areas behind them, adding some texture around the face as well. The stare is really starting to kick in. I can’t wait to be able to insert this into the story to make a unique offering for my fans.

Bet You Did Not Catch That One

Good stormy evening from Pennsylvania, USA easter egg loving followers. I just remembered an egg I laid in my first collection of short stories “Mystics and Misfits” in the Dragon Dream trilogy. In the three connected stories the lead character, Jason, ages from the beginning of each story to come out older at the end. Basically, each story starts out with him at one age in our world going into a dream that connects him to the dragon realm. When he emerges from the dragon realm he is older than when he went in. The next story then ages him some more as he enters the dragon realm only to see him emerge again at an even older stage of life. The final story finds him deep into a satisfying career as a fantasy artist until he unravels the mystery of the dragon dreams and looks back upon his deceased body. I really don’t play up the idea in the prose but the idea is there when you look at the stories closer. I used it as a subtle nod to the changes in his life as he experienced the dragon dreams. I don’t believe I had any further thought on the matter, such as the specific dreams lasting for years until the next one took over, but more as a fun little unexpected quirk in a series of stories already filled with unexpected quirks. I hope this little insight to my collection will bring additional pleasure to those who have had a chance to read it.

Well Hello There

Good evening fantastic folks. I have decided to share with you the surprise part of the four page story I am preparing for you. The story I am preparing for you as a reward is “A Word in the Hand is worth Two in the Bush”. I believe I have talked about it before but as part of the project, I will be adding this little fellow at the end of the story. He is pretty far along but not finished and needs a few more props as well. I am creating this as a gray scale image so I can keep costs down. This little fellow is a Peregrine Falcon and plays a key roll in the story so it is only fitting that he should accompany it. My plans are to place the completed image at the end of the story and to send this off to those interested in a unique story telling format. The first twenty five to sign up will have theirs signed/numbered by me. I hope to have the project done soon so stay tuned for how to capture one of these beautiful birds for yourself.

Personal Revelations for a Saturday

Morning amazing people. Today is a working Saturday unfortunately, work has fallen apart again. That means progess on projects will be slow. So, today I give you more of how my brain works.

The first revelation concerns the first two Diablo computer games and why I liked them so much. The thought came to me recently that playing the Diablo games felt like playing D&D. Yes, like Skyrim and other open world adventure games is basically the same; however, they do not feel that way.

Of course, any such game removes all the dice rolling at the core of D&D but Diablo managed to maintain the feel of the board game. I feel the 3/4 perspective had a lot to do with that. First person games like Skyrim and Oblivion, while fun, are too emersive. Diablo on the other hand felt like moving miniature figures through dungeon layouts. That is all I really had to say here.

The second revelation deals with one of the many reasons I was so disappointed in the Star Wars prequels, bad writing. I know there is a whole generation out there that grew up on these films and have no problem with them, but I will never consider them worthy installments.

The current revelation goes to the changes in George Lucas and those around him when he started the prequels. One of their biggest problems was a lack of a clean and consistent universe bible to keep poor writing and fan boy ideas from over taking the films. Another was a lack of basic continuity checks.

Today’s revelation centers around the final fight between Obi Wan and Anakin. In the end Obi Wan wins because he declares boldly that he has the high ground and Anakin cannot be victorious. It was an extremely weak declaration given the movie set up and their abilities but that is how they played it.

My problem is that a consistency check, not even to the original trilogy, but to The Phantom Menace could have made them rethink this plot point. If high ground was such a game changer than how the hell did Obi Wan beat Darth Maul in the first prequel. Check it out. All I can figure out is that evil characters are extremely stupid in the Star Wars universe.

So there you have it, two revelations on how I look at the world. Have fun.

Careful, I Have an Idea

Hello wonderful followers.  I had an idea the other day, kind of good and kind of bad.  The good is that I will have a story ready for you to purchase as a one shot like I mentioned doing with Corpse Eater.

As I said, I chose to take Corpse Eater in a different  direction and Mist and Memories still needs a lot of filler.  However, what I had not thought about is all the other stories I have that did not go in the first collection and do not fit the new one.  Turns out that I have the perfect story.  It is only four pages long, which will be great for mailing.  Only a few tweaks are needed plus a bonus, which I will hold as a surprise for those who decide to get the story.

So, very shortly I will have an idea of cost for the whole package and be ready to impliment once I get the orders.  Now for the bad side.  While this story and maybe a few others will work this way, I think stories like Mist and Memories will not.  I am anticipating $0.15 cost per page.  At four pages that will be $0.60 for the package plus maybe $0.20 for me then shipping.   In the US the shipping could probably just be a stamp so all told, less than $2.00. With a longer story, say 30 pages, you are looking at $4.50 just for the print. Not what I was hoping to do for you guys. There are some things I could do but it still would be expensive for a single story.

I will try running this story and see your response, which will let us see if you like the idea. To end on a good note, I am very happy with the bonus I am working up and that, after seeing a recent Youtube listing, the story is a very relevant one. Stay tuned and let me know what you think.

Minding the Gap

Good afternoon extravagant followers from an unexpectedly snowy Pennsylvania.  For as long as I have been an artist I have gone through period of suffering where I cannot face putting effort into anything creative. 

The causes are legion, lack of support or encouragement, general ugliness of the human race, too many ideas and not enough time, or washed out from the fight for survival.   In the end, I just close down from anywhere from a few months to a year or more.  These are hard times for me, especially now as I grow older and see the lost time I can never get back.

One bright side; however, is that I usually come out taking my works to another level.  After one of my earliest lockdowns I came out doing pencil work much better than before.  This is when I became comfortable using gradient pencils.  From this I did a portraits of Pat Benatar and Cher.

After I spent time in the hospital for a stress breakdown, I came out and made some of my best colored pencil works. I also gave oil painting a try. Lately, I have been in and out of these dead zones where you can see the jumps in quality in my computer paintings. Paralleling the improvements in art have been similar gains in my writing skills. Corpse Eater and Mists and Memories are much more rounded stories than my earlier works.

So, I guess I have to say that the time off is well spent, but I would be a lot happier to get more art and stories produced.

And the Number Shall be Four, of Which Four There Will be, Being Four in Number

Hello for the third time today, being the third time of today … but I don’t like SPAM!  Ahem.  Anyway, good evening amazing followers.  Just another quick post.

I have managed to put some quality time into Mist and Memories today, letting Jack Carson meet the team he would be babysi … I mean watching on the planet Erindi.  There are four of them, three men and a woman.  They are Roger Hadley, Peggy Russell, Carl Mentz, and Jeff Conrad and Jack can already tell they are going to be an issue.

Not being in control of situations is not a good place to be when your job is security.  Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of Jack’s problems with this expidition.