Monday, October 14, 2013

W.I.P. of the Day 10/14/2013

Saying one is nonplussed seems to becoming back into style. I have noticed it lately in several TV shows and in recent novels. To be honest I thought at first it was what I call a designer word because it is trendy to say so and really that still may be the case. However, because it has not been over used, as of yet, I am not yet offended and actually kind of like it.

Nonplus means that a person is surprised, bewildered or dumbfounded to the point that they are actually speechless.

"I am nonplussed, honestly I don't know how to respond to that"!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

W.I.P. of the Day 10/12/2013

I am going to introduce a new type of post for this blog. It is called W.I.P. of the Day which means word, idiom or phrase of the day. One of the things that I find fascinating is the Etymology of words, idioms and phrases. Some of this type of speech will be language that we use a lot, falling out of use or have become extinct.This is language that I find interesting and would like to re-introduce in our speech.

So with out further ado.

Hobson's Choice

We actually use this phrase still to this very day but we use the more familiar "Take it or leave it"! It is when you have an illusion of choice but you really have only one choice to make. This expression orginated with Thomas Hobson back between 1544 and 1631. He had a stable of 40 horses, but he would offer his customers the choice of either taking the horse nearest to the door of the stable or none at all. This was so that his horses would get rotated enough so that go plenty of exercise.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Who — Are — You?

Who — Are — You?
Tobias White

         He came back to consciousness, racked with pain, weak, disoriented and unable to move; he tried to grasp his environment. Everything was dark, either he was trapped underground or he had lost his sight; he couldn’t be sure. He heard the muffled clink of metal upon metal, the shuffling of feet, and a murmur of voices, but for the life of him he could not understand what they said. He tried to move, but found that his limbs and even his head were restrained with — something. Then the pain was relieved, the world stopped spinning, but this only allowed him a panicked epiphany that he was being cut open and probed — my god he thought, “I’m being vivisected” — and there was nothing he could do about it.  Then a clear but eldritch voice, asked him a question, but his paralyzed vocal cords failed any reply; he was asked, “Who –  are – you!”

         A long ear piercing whine and then — explosion, the displacement bomb brought him back to awareness. Running for cover, while more screams tore the sky, he headed toward and under the remnants of an overpass and behind a SUV, studded with years of blast holes and carbon scoring. In the distance he could hear the cacophonies of worples and automatic fire.  He grasped to get his bearings, what just happened, where was he just then, is this some kind of new attack or was he just suffering some new form of PTSD?

           Up ahead in the scorched clearing, emerged an enemy scout from behind a battered, rusted, and pit marked green sign that read — “L– S Ang –ls ——  Next Exit”, but this time things were different. He thought, “What the? — They’re  never outside of their creepy mechs! —  If I can bring him in alive I am sure to get promoted!” and then he proceeded to sneak towards the being, to get within melee range, for he did not want to waste ammo, let alone accidently killing the S– O –B. He thought with horror, “My god is that them, the Abalieno!?  He is makes my skin crawl!” He closed the distance, just ten yards more to go, then like a dropping anvil, a large mechanical foot from a Abalieno mech slammed home just inches in front of him as he barely rolled backwards, thus avoiding injury. The enemy scout whirled about, shouted some strange alert that grated the ear, then fired repeatedly with his rifle, causing the air to ripple with that peculiar sound that one could only describe as a worple. The turrets on the Abalieno mech whirred and started to home in on him, but he scrambled to his feet and kept running with all his might, —  he wondered if — no he prayed — to still have the luck that has kept him alive thus far. Another displacement bomb knocked him off his feet and created a long dial tone ring in his ears — and then — with dimming vision — he saw them running towards him, comrades-in-arms, with automatic fire blazing — maybe — just maybe,  he has some luck left after all.

          He came back to consciousness, the room lit dimly red, and found his vision terribly blurred which is always distressing, but gave hope for his vision to return fully. Although he felt sore, he did not feel the pain as before, but instead felt a new pain, one of sutures that ran the length of his abdomen and forked out toward his shoulders. Soft approaching footsteps alerted him to a blurry figure emerging from the dimmest section of the room. Cursing his vision he could only tell that the figure was gray violet in color, had a slight sheen, was roughly humanoid in shape, gainly to almost gaunt, and long multi-jointed limbs that walked with an odd gait. The figure said with it’s eldritch voice, “ You should now have a chance to live. — Who are you?”,  like a knee reflex test and with a torn voice he replied quickly, “Corporal Victor Rebus, serial number 4 6 2 1 9 7 6 1 9 8 1!”
“That is not what I asked! Who – are – you?”
This confused Vic for a moment and then replied again, “Corporal Victor Rebus, serial number 4 6 2 1 9 7 6 . . .”
Sharply interrupting, “Stop it! — Again,  Who — Are — You!?”
“I – I — don’t understand what you want!”
A murmur of hushed voices behind a wall, like a bunch of people saying, “walla walla walla” overlapping over and over again, echoed throughout the room. The figure leaned very close, it’s head long and wedged shaped, it’s spittle hitting Vic’s face as it yelled, “Who — Are — You!” Clamps pressed down hard on his temples and forehead and he felt a tingle, a current, a euphoria and then . . . blackness.

          He pulled his face out of the mud, which might have explained the blackness, but then Victor thought, “Did I just have another fugue?” After restoring some of the dignity to his uniform and himself, what little there was, Vic continued to go an enjoy his time off. The area of course was secured, so everyone was relieved to finally drop their guard for a while. However, even though he enjoyed the break he also always became aware of his constant hunger pains during these times. He couldn’t remember the last time he ate,  the infrequent rations they did receive, never seem to fill one up and most of the time they tasted like cardboard, well — you were lucky if they tasted like cardboard.

          He walked around the blasted wasteland searching the ruins for anything useful, when he spotted Jessica, that is to say Lance Corporal Hendrix, bereft of her uniform and her weapon, which was leaning against the wall three feet from her. She was bathing herself in the kitchen of a half collapsed restaurant, where the sinks had all filled up from the recent rain. Although the others didn’t see it, Vic knew that Jess was actually quite attractive, damn she was down right hot, but because of how tough and constantly filthy she was from the drudges of war, noone ever noticed, well all except Vic. She hadn’t noticed his act of peeping tom yet, so he wanted to get a better view for the — “show”.

          Near by was an old building with rubble on all sides and decided to climb on top for a better view of Jess, but as he crossed the roof the rotten structure gave way and of course he fell straight through. Sputtering, coughing and hacking up the plaster dust, he felt a growing bruise on his left buttocks, thankfully this was to be the extent of his injury. He got up and started to dust the plaster off his uniform, but slowly he abandoned this task as he saw it; his jaw fell open. Before him was a closet of canned goods; somehow this treasure had been missed. Frantically, while spilling others in the process, he snatched a can off the shelf, he lifted and pulled on the ring tab and was rewarded —  he couldn’t believe it — peaches in syrup!

           He wolfed down half the can, slowed down, took a breath and began again to leisurely eat the peaches by using his combat knife as a fork; . . . he savored every bite. He wandered around eating and found, frosted with age, a window of which he gazed out of. He saw to his right  a still intact motel building, then to his left the restaurant where Jess was still bathing, and then back at his new treasure trove of canned delight. Taking another bite, he remembered, with a fond smile, at how Jess thanked him that time when he shared his neuro-stimulants with her, she had been grateful — very — grateful.  Quickly he did a double take at all three sites once again, scrambling toward the closet and filled his pack as much as it would allow. Kicking at a weak wall he created a door, then with a spring and a skip in his step he walked out and  toward Jess’s building; he hefted the pack and with a wicked smile quoted an old song, “I could eat a peach for an hour!”       

          His needs and pleasures satisfied, Vic came back to consciousness wearing an indecent grin on his face, but this quickly vanished as he realized where he was! His sight had improved and could see with detail again, well — he could have, if it were not for all the glaring high powered lights. Of what he could make out, at least what he thought he could make out, were rows of diagnostic machines, monitors, and adjustable operating tables; many of which . . .   seemed stained with blood. Past the tables he could see shadowy figures moving about, these figures had  the unusual form and gait, but no more detail would present it’s self.

          Once in a while, they would pass by the table he was strapped down to, but leave just as quickly as they arrived, so Vic couldn’t get a good look. Swiftly, one of them injected him with — something —  and this caused his muscles to relax and his vision to blur into and out of focus. When he could see clearly in between his bouts of blurriness, he saw one of his captors standing over him with it’s odd body proportions and wedge shaped head; he couldn’t decide if it was reptilian, mammalian, or even insectoid.  Each time his vision blurred, his captor’s form seem to change to a more human visage, the head however, seem to retain it’s wedged shape. Victor’s captor, again with it’s eery voice , said, “Now Victor, — that is what you like to be designated, correct? — Let us begin where we left off, — Who — Are — You?”  and groggily and almost slurring his reply, “ Really, I — I don’t know what you want me —  to say — when you ask me this.”
“Well zen, letz  us — try a different approach, — zhall we?” This was said as it whipped out what appeared to be a note book while sitting down into a leather padded chair. Was it Vic’s imagination, was his captor now speaking with a really bad German accent? His captor continued, “Where you were just now, this other place, did it so to zpeak, provide you with zome of your needz?”
“What? — how could you know tha — “ . . .
“Pleaze, — just answer zee question! Did this make you feel zafe, zecure perhaps — even fulfilled ?”
“ I guess, well, at least —  for a time.”
“Why for only a time?”
“I have often wonder that my self”, he sighed with regret.
“ I zee, and now, again I ask you, — who are you?”
“I told you, I don’t know what you want to know!”
His captor raised his voice, “ Who - Are - You!” and Vic yelled back, “ I don’t —  know  — what —  you — want!” With each bellow, the captor’s voice became louder, “Don’t you have respect for yourself — for others?”
“What? — yes — no — I don’t know — what the hell are you talking about now?”
His face once again dangerously close to Vic’s own, eyes bulged, veins popped, and spittle flying, “Victor! — Who — Are — You!” and this seemed to echo out through the room; victor just gawked in fear and confusion. The captor recovered his composure, smoothed out what appeared to be a white lab coat, turned his head and said with some regret and resignment, “Apply it again.” Victor felt the pressure, the tingle, the surge, euphoria and then. . . blackness!

          Shaking his head to restore consciousness, Vic unsteadily got up and swore, “Man — that asshole hits hard!”. He scanned about to see where Johnson went and spotted him heading over to Vic’s pack with his back turned; the very pack that contained the last of the food cans he scored. With a wild charge, Vic rammed Johnson haphazardly into the small of the back, sprawling both into the mud. They traded blow after blow, however, because of the mud, half of these missed each other. They leapt at each other’s throats, both squeezing with  murderous intent, and totally unaware that half the camp had formed a ring around their debacle, all of them hooting and hollering with savage delight. Vic broke free of Johnson’s grasp by sharply yanking back his head and snapping it back down smashing the hardest part of his head into Johnson’s nose, resulting in a resounding crack. Two soldiers on Johnson and three on Vic, pulled them struggling and kicking apart, Johnson slipped free and sucker punched Vic squarely in the jaw, which resulted in Johnson getting dog piled by seven other soldiers, this finally ended the fight and the crowd slowly dispersed.

         After everyone went their separate ways, Vic’s shoulders were slammed hard into the wall of an old building, he started to  raise a protest, but this was cut down by the irritated gaze of his Sargent who stood in front of him, arms akimbo. “Mind telling me what the hell that was all about Vic?” Sargent Anderson demanded, but then he softened his demeanor to elicit a better response, but tempestuously Vic replied, “ It’s just that — well it’s that son of a bitch Johnson! He — well — you know how it has been —  between us ever since — .”
 Anderson nodded, “Ya,—  I know how it’s been, — but shit man you can’t be doing that out here! — You hear me?”
“Ya, I hear you Sarge.”
“Good because I am not done with you yet!  Damn Vic —  you are a good fighter and I have always been proud to have you at my side, but you can’t be pulling this shit, even when we are not in combat.” Vic was massaging his jaw, damn it felt like a tooth was loose, when he heard the flare of a match. He looked up to see that Anderson now had a lit cigarette and was offering it to Vic. Vic accepted the proffered cancer stick, but only a after a little pause of resistance, and after taking a long drag, he gave his thanks; Anderson then lit up one of his own, leaned up against the wall next to Vic and said with compassion, “Look man . . . we have been friends for a long time. I want you to be straight with me. Can you do that?”
“Ya Paul,  I can do that.”
“Good, because — shit man — you got to start learning to respect others more.”
“I do! Well not everyone, I of course respect you and —  Jess, — but . . .”
“But what?”
“Well —  how in the hell — can I respect people when I have so little respect for myself?”
“Is that really how you feel?”
Vic slowly nodded,  Paul took a long drag and thought for a moment; when he exhaled he said, “ You know I have known you ever since before the war.” Vic gave Paul the look “Oh ya! When the hell was that?”  and Paul continued, “ Ya, — you’re right, it does seem like this blasted war has always been going on, but lets not get into that right now.  Ever since I have known you have always put these really unreasonable expectations upon yourself — not to mention on others. You just can’t maintain that crap.”
“Man I don’t do . . .“
“Don’t deny it, you have always done this!”
Vic relented and gave him the “so what’s your point” look.
“My point is this, if you can’t fulfill your own expectations, let alone the ones you set for others, you are never going to have any respect — for anyone!”
Vic thought a long moment with one hand in his pocket and the other one flicking off the growing snake of ash. Giving Paul a helpless look of frustration he pleaded, “ Paul, — it’s just that — I — you — everything”, but Vic was cut off when the sky was torn screaming in half and the resulting explosion heralded a new act for the chaos of war.

         Victor screamed awake, he cried, “ No Paul — No!”, but instead of the battlefield he realized  he was now curled up in the corner of a single, dingy, white, tiled room; — not where he just saw his best friend had died.  Above him was a single hanging lamp, the kind of lamp that could be adjusted in how it hung. The lamp swung back and forth, intermittently flickering on and off while only dimly lighting the room. Below the lamp were two chairs; the one closest to Victor was knocked over in his direction. Victor got slowly up, filled with horror and sadness, and proceeded to walk staggeredly  around the room. As he passed the middle of the room he detected the movement of a figure to his left, this startled him, but he realized he was staring at his own reflection in a wall mirror. Over what sounded like announcement speakers he heard the eldritch voice ask, “Hello Victor Rebus, would you now please mind telling me, who you are?” Confused and scared shitless, Victor replied, “I, don — don’t — know!”
A little louder, “ Who – Are – You?”
“ I told you I don’t know!”
Louder still, “ Who — Are — You?”
The light flickered on and off while a light from behind the mirror did the same. Victor realized, it was one of those two way mirrors, he approached it. “ Who — Are — You?” Victor could see a man in a white lab coat, he was holding a clip board. “ Who — Are — You?” Victor screamed over and over again “I don’t know, I don’t know!” Once again, but with echo reverberations
 “ Who — Are — You?” The lights went all off and then back again and the man in the lab coat was replaced by the wedge headed thing, resplendent in it’s horrible visage. Victor screamed and kept screaming and he felt he would never stop.

           In a hallway, two men in white lab coats, holding medical clip boards, stood staring through a little window into a padded room. Inside the room, curled up on the floor, and bound with a straight jacket laid Victor; who whimpered and drooled in despair. The first doctor reported from his clip board, “Corporal Victor Rebus, serial number 4 6 2 1 9 7 6 1 9 8 1, from Athens Ohio, birth date unknown, but approximately twenty four years of age. He has so far been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Syndrom, Post Traumatic Syndrom, and possibly Selective Amnesia.” The second doctor asked, “Why do we have him in this room?”
“Why Sir, — that is so that he doesn’t disturb the other patients.”
“What do you mean? I mean, yes, he is a sad sight and a poor soul, but that is no reason for the restraints and the isolation.”
“Well you see he is only in between one of his episodes. In a little while he might start up again. He really gets quite wild you see.”
“I see, well that explains that. However, what is this I see here about him being on highest priority for rehabilitation?”
“Well that is the interesting bit Sir, it seems he is currently not only an escaped P-O-W of the Abalieno, but is also the only one to ever seen one actually in the flesh. The higher ups are hoping that he could provide some kind of insight to Abalieno physiology and psychology.”

          Both doctors, nearly jumped out of their skins, as Victor’s face slammed against the small window in the door screaming. With face pressed against the glass, then slowly sliding down the door, over and over again he screamed, laughed, and cried,“ I don’t know who I am, — don’t know who I am, — know who I am . . . . . . who — am —  I!”

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hurricane Lovecraft

Many of you that follow my art blog or who are my friends, know that I am a nut about Lovecraft. Even though the long strangle hold over the copyrights of his work was released many years ago, Lovecraft is still sitting in a niche of small loyal fans. However, there is a storm brewing, and a media hurricane about the mythos that Lovecraft created is coming!

Recently I have been doing research to see where the popularity of Lovecraft's work was doing. I began with flexing my Googlefu. If you do a basic search for Lovecraft or names from his mythos you get between 12 million to 15 million results. There are over thousand different Lovecraft works or related works in books alone and over 100 different films that are directly Lovecraft or related to Lovecraft's work. Writers and directors such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ridely Scott, John Carpenter, and Del Toro just to name a few all have been influenced heavily by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Lovecraft's work is also picking up a lot of steam in foreign countries. For years I have known that Lovecraft's work has been very popular in Mexico, but because I am an artist who does a lot of Lovecraftian illustrations I have often been approached online, by groups in other countries to feature my work on their Lovecraftian sites. Some of the other countries that are becoming Lovecraftian Hotspots include Japan, Germany, Ireland and that is just to name a few in which Lovecraft's work has slowly metastasized to.

Lovecraft  has influence many mediums such as books, movies, music, and all forms of games, but if you mention the name Lovecraft to a random person on the street they may not know what you are talking about. However, I feel that there is going to be a dynamic shift soon in that general knowledge. A good portion of what is deemed popular is determined by the large media companies because when they produce something they have the ability to reach more of the general public than do individuals, but often is the case that they won't take a risk on what they consider an unknown. However, that is going to change sooner or later because the pressure is building  and then the hurricane named Lovecraft will be on us before we see it coming.

At the moment, there are two major forces that will bring Lovecraft into main stream media. The first force will be from the efforts of Del Toro the hottest director out there in the name of horror. Del Toro has already made a huge success with the Hell Boy movie series as well as a bunch of other successful horror films he has made over the years. When you watch his films it is easy to note how Lovecraft has effected his work. Right now he is now in his second attempt to get started on a movie based on Lovecraft's In the Mountains of Madness. His first attempt was push aside by the movie Prometheus because of the similarities between both stories, but after finally watching Prometheus I found that there was only a small similarity between the stories. Del Toro's version of Mountain of Madness is already confirmed to star Tom Cruise and with such a big name in the movie industry new Lovecraft fans are soon to generate.

 The second force will be coming from Alan Moore who was the creator of the Watchmen and Batman comics. He is in the works to create a Lovecraft comic called Providence which is such an awesome Lovecraft comic title since it is what is inscribed on Lovecraft's grave marker. I am really excited about this prospect because Alan Moore's style is really suited for the dark worlds of Lovecraft. So with just these two forces, I predict there will be a huge media hurricane surrounding Lovecraft's work and then everyone will jump on the band wagon to create more.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this and to help expand knowledge of the of incoming storm. Please feel free to comment.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Change of Protocol "part 2"

 Change of Protocol
Tobias White

Despite the fact the new ritual stated that the Witching Hour did indeed account for
daylight savings, Henry wasn’t so sure if it also accounted for different times zones, so once
again he waited until it was 1am before starting. As beads of sweat formed on his forehead,
Henry nervously knelt down in the center of the triangle of protection, not liking that the
protection diagram was centered in the summoning circle. With his arms outstretched in
supplication, Henry began the new incantation, “Iä, Iä, Parallax Fhtagn — the forms have been
met — Iä, Iä mass tu vita — the time has been allotted — Iä, Iä mass tu vita — the service is
required — Iä, Iä, Parallax Fhtagn — I petition you — I requisition you — I contract you
Parallax appear” . . . nothing happened, Henry became confused, but then his eyes lit up and he
said, “Oh ya, — Ticket 42!”

Henry’s eyes widened and his hair stood up on end as he felt the room charge with heavy
static and filled with the smell of ozone. Arcs of blue white energy crackled the air as it
randomly traveled out from the arcane circle to the walls of the room, but would linger now and
then on metallic objects. Henry felt a phantom breeze which transformed into a maelstrom with
the arcane circle as its vortex. The maelstrom created a rushing wall of Henry’s papers and
books which in turn obscured the rest of the room. After what seemed like an eternity from
within his whirlwind prison of literature, the wind abruptly stopped, the books fell with broken
spines, and like leaves in autumn, all of his loose research papers slowly drifted down; what was
revealed, was shocking.

Henry, while still kneeling within his diagrams, found himself no longer in his apartment,
but in what looked like a dimly lit, musty and peculiar looking office. There were no windows to
be seen, but on the walls were hundreds of pretentiously framed documents and portraits. The
walls seem to be a combination of stonework and hard wood but it was hard to tell as it was
covered with soot from years of smoking and neglect. The towering walls led up to a vaulted
ceiling that sported brass lamps at its summit. Up against the left-hand wall was a couch
upholstered in expensive dark leather. Along the right-hand wall were rows upon rows of giant
filing cabinets, each standing forty feet high. Above and below these cabinets were rails, on
which, a wheeled ladder would glide upon; . . . it all smelled very republican. From behind,
Henry heard a loud tick, a rusty crank, and then an echoing stamp. Henry looked behind him to
see a door that opened up to a hallway perpendicular to the office. In this hallway, he saw an
antique punch clock, at which, aged time cards were continuously being punched by a cue of
zombies dressed in tattered business suits. Henry exclaimed, “Well I’ll be damned — ” and then
an antediluvian voice, old, dry, slightly nasal and with an odd accent was a reply,
“Not quite yet Mr. Beechcroft . . . not quite yet.”

Henry whipped around to be surprised by a figure at the opposite end of the room —
which was strange . . . no one had been there a few seconds ago and there was only one door to
the office. Up on a two-foot high platform was a cluttered business desk that was a perfectly
normal size and shape. Sitting cramped and crouched over this desk was a perfectly normal
looking old mouse like man. He sported perfectly normal coke bottle glasses, a striped long
sleeved shirt, old world shirt armbands, a vest that hung open with a gut that would prevent it
from ever closing, a comb-over of thinning hair and a look that spoke that he had been defeated
by life. Well, he would have been perfectly normal if it were not for one simple fact . . . he was a

On the giant’s desk, in the clutter, was a name plate that read: M.C. 2nd Class Parallax
Esquire. Parallax was indeed the name of the demon he was trying to contact, but this was all
wrong; he was trying to summon Parallax to his apartment . . . not to be summoned to . . . to
wherever this was. With a nervous delay Henry spoke up, “Um, excuse me? With all due respect,
I — I think there has been some kind of mistake here.” On the other side of Parallax and along
the back of the wall was a complex system of pneumatic tubes that all funneled into either an
“in” or “out” substation which was just in arms reach of Parallax. One of the tubes vibrated
furiously as a shuttle descended down its intricate path and then stopping at the “in” substation.
Parallax plucked out the shuttle tube, opened it up, rolled out a parchment, made a few tick marks
with a long, clawed, and liver-spotted hand. Without lifting his gaze, Parallax said, “There has
been no mistake Mr. Beechcroft. Didn’t you get the memo? — There has been a change in

“Oh . . . I see — ” said Henry confusedly as Parallax made a few more tick marks, signed
the bottom, released the scroll, which then promptly bounced off the desk and back into the
shuttle tube. Parallax placed the shuttle into the “out” substation and this time turned to Henry,
while smiling just a little too broadly, said, “Oh — you see huh?” Parallax turned back to his
paper work and then said impatiently, “So, Mr. Beechcroft . . . what kind of service can we
provide you . . . hmm?” The shuttle in the “out” station vibrated vigorously then shot up the
pneumatic tube while another one shot down to the “out” station. Parallax continued, “Will it be
for power, for glory, perhaps — a woman — for revenge maybe . . . or would it just be for a
change in gender? As it seems you are already a little pussy to begin with! Hurry up Beechcroft
— my time is precious and you are wasting it!” Parallax snatched another shuttle from his “in”
substation, whipped out its contents, snorted at what he read, laughed out loud which caused ram
horns to sprout from his head, looked at Henry, smiled like a shark with far too many teeth and
laughingly said, “Man, I just love those Gary Larson comics, don’t you?”

Nervously Henry said, “Ah . . . yes — yes I do, he is very funny. Um — It — it was the
second to — to the — last one I wanted.” Pretending to mishear and with a smile Parallax
replied, “Huh, the last one? — Bob, get the number nine scalpel.”An imp wearing a green visor, a
vest and spats but no shoes jumped out of Parallax’s desk, scampered over to the ladder and
rapidly searched the file cabinets while scattering an assortment of odds and ends on the floor
when a cabinet drawer failed to have the scalpel. Henry’s eyes widened in horror and quickly
said, “No — no I meant — the second to last one — you know the — the revenge one!” With
great disappointment the imp returned to the desk drawer, but just before disappearing into the
drawer the imp stuck out his tongue and gave Henry the raspberry.
With a sigh, Parallax withdrew three parchments from a shelf and said, “Very well Mr.
Beechcroft. We have three different contracts for you to choose from. The first is the standard
contract for your soul in which we will handle all the details, no fuss or muss, quick, clean, easy,
and without a trace. The second requires you to murder a virgin woman for every three acts of
revenge, but we handle all details and with the same great coverage. The third is rather banal if
you ask me, but it only requires you to perform little deeds of anarchy on our behalf now and
then, but while the results are guaranteed, satisfaction is not. It has almost no coverage at all.”
Nervously and a bit agitated Henry said, “I think I will go for the third contract.” Parallax leaned
really close and said, “Are you sure — that you don’t want to consider the first or the second?”
“Yes — yes I am sure. I have never killed anyone before, which is why I performed the
summoning and I think it is wise to avoid losing my soul.”
“Really, are you sure you will not consider the first? — You wouldn’t miss it for the
world, it is such a small thing, such a diminutive part of who you are, a mere mote of your
essence. Why, you wouldn’t even know that it had gone missing. Besides, my dear Mr.
Beechcroft, it provides the best coverage with . . . no messiness to clean up afterwards.”
“Well . . . let me think . . . no I think I want to keep my soul for now.”
“Really? Is that really your final choice?”
“Yes, yes it is.”
Parallax sighed and said, “Well I tried my best. Please read the contract and sign with the
pen provided.” From somewhere above, a vellum parchment dropped heavily before Henry. Soon
afterwards a pen fell and bounce off of it to land right into Henry’s hand; the pen felt strange to
the touch. Henry tried to read the document, but his head began to ache from the confusing
legalities, protocol changes, escape clauses and the fact that the small print seemed to get smaller
and smaller toward the end of the page. He gave up trying to understand the contract and decided
just to sign it since he had already come this far. As Henry signed, he saw a pentagram form on
the skin of his wrist for every stroke of his name. After the last stroke of his name, the room
began to spin, Henry’s vision began to darken, and as he slowly passed out he heard Parallax

Henry found himself outside of his apartment, he didn’t know how he got there, but he
knew he was dead tired from his ordeal. He walked into his apartment, locked the door, fell like a
tree onto his bed and was instantly asleep. The nightmare returned, Henry saw himself as a
monestrous wolf that was ravaging each and every person that ever did him wrong. He saw
himself tearing out the throat of Jenny, gouged the eyes of his landlord, stuff one Lorenzo brother
into the other and numerous other horrible acts of savage murder. The dream both thrilled and
horrified him to the point he couldn’t tell one from the other. The nightmare repeated over and
over again, seemingly forever.

Henry awoke to the horribly annoying jingle of the channel three news; despite the fact
the TV set had been broken for two months. Groggy and full of bed sores Henry sat up and began
to focus on the date shown on the news. Three days . . . had he really been sleeping for three
days? The chipper newscaster was talking about something important, but he just couldn’t figure
out what she was saying just yet. Henry ran his hands over this face, trying to rouse himself and
was surprised that his hands felt wet. He looked down at his hands, and they were covered in
blood. Henry rushed over to his sink mirror and gasped as he saw it covered with small cuts and
streaks of blood . . . someone else’s blood. Henry spun around in panic, slipped on something,
came crashing down and then saw it; they were bloody wolf prints that led from the front door to
his bed. Henry slowly turned his head and focused on what the pretty newscaster reported, “. . .
including Jenny Terrence, Jake Thomson, Mike and Vic Lorenzo, coach Phillip H. Kerrigan and
Terrence Charmurs, just to name a few, were killed within the last three days. They were
savagely mutilated as if an animal had attacked them.” Henry heard a knocking on his door and
heard, ”Mr. Beechcroft will you please come to the door?” The newscaster continued, “Police
have now narrowed their suspect to adult book shop owner Henry A. Beechcroft. If you know the
whereabouts of this man, you are to notify the police immediately.” Henry’s head spun back to
the door as he heard more knocking and shouting, “Mr. Beechcroft, we know you are in there!
We have a warrant! . . . Alright knock it down!”

For the first time in Chicago’s history, judicial paper work was moving fast, his Judge was
to be Clarence “Hang Them All” McClancy, his defense lawyer only just passed his bar exam and
there wasn’t a jury in the city who would ever give him the benefit of the doubt. Alone in a single
jail cell, Henry sat in stunned silence. How could this ever have happened and how could he ever
get the blame for something he didn’t do. A janitor wheeled a cleaning cart slowly passed
Henry’s cell and then, after a small pause, tossed in a length of rope. The janitor said with a
mouth filled with far too many teeth, “You could always take the escape clause.” Horror-struck
Henry at the sound of the voice and then said, “Parallax, what did you do. I signed the contract so
that I wouldn’t have to kill anyone but still get my revenge. You cheated me — you were
supposed to do the job!” and Parallax with feigned sympathy replied, “And so I did Henry . . . I
killed each and every person for your revenge.” Henry grabbed the bars of his cell and yelled,
“Then why am I in here?” With devilish glee Parallax replied, “Well . . . probably because I
possessed your body to do the job.” Henry squeaked, “Why — why did you do that?” and fell to
his knees sobbing. Parallax’s grin got even wider, showing even more teeth than ever before and
said, “Why Mr. Beechcroft — I am shocked — I am very sure it was mentioned several times . . .
there was a change in protocol!”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Change of Protocol Part 1

Change of Protocol
Tobias White

Change of Protocol was a short story that I wrote in college and some day I may illustrate what I wrote, but in the mean time I thought it would be nice to share with everyone.

Appraising his handiwork, he wiped the blood from his knife onto his jeans; she was his
victim; she was his . . . sacrifice. He had stolen, or it is better to say that he appropriated, the
female goat from the Chicago petting zoo and nearly got caught in the process by a Hispanic
security guard. The security guard never reported all the details of the incident, for he thought
that Henry Beechcroft was the ill-famed chupacabra and of course he wanted to keep his job.
Henry drained the goat’s blood into a shallow bowl and brought it to a circle filled with arcane
runes. Carefully he placed the bowl into the center of the circle while being sure not to spill any
onto the diagram lines. With a squeal of giggling expectation Henry exclaimed, “I will make
them pay — I will make them suffer — they will pay the price for all those years.” With a
sudden epiphany of forgetting something important, Henry shuffled through scores of old tomes,
high school note pads, and yellow sticky notes, all filled with incomprehensible scribbles.
During his search, he whispered with venomous spite, “I think Jenny shall be the first, the way
she scorned me . . . the way she ignored me . . . the way she humiliated me in front of everyone!”
“Ah, — here it is,” Henry said with relief as he grabbed a chunk of chalk and then proceeded to
fill in a few more symbols in his arcane circle.

Henry wiped the sweat from his brow as he sat back on his ankles while looking about
his small apartment and at years of effort. The room was actually quite large but it was a
bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom all rolled into one room, thus it had a
claustrophobic effect; of course this was all he could afford if he wanted to exact his revenge.
The room was a mess, littered with stacks of old tomes, idiot-guides to demonology, do-ityourself-
magic-kits, dozens of pizza box empties, and a computer that was hooked up to a
tripod mounted video camera. The camera automatically swerved and focused on Henry’s every
single move; if this was going to work, then he wanted to record it. A burst of giggling and then
with a near failure to repress another fit of the same, Henry said with a gleeful whine, “Then I
think it will be Jake Thomson next — Mr. BIG SHOT QUARTERBACK — I will never forgive
how he and his cronies would torture me in the school’s men’s bathroom . . . the worse part —
was the toilet bowl.” His preparations were now complete and Henry was happy to see that he
was ahead of schedule by a whole hour, so now he just needed to wait between midnight and
3am, the witching hour.

Henry waited an hour past midnight; you see he wasn’t really sure if the witching hour
accounted for daylight savings, so it was better to be safe than sorry. In an arcane triangle of
protection, just outside the circle, Henry knelt with his arms outstretched in supplication. In a
mere whisper he invoked the incantation, “Hey, hey, what do ya say, come on down for some
time to play — Iä, Iä mass tu vita — Hey, hey, what do ya say, accept this offering to end my
suffering — Iä, Iä, Parallax Fhtagn — I summon you — I invoke you — I command you Parallax
appear!” He waited, waited and he waited a little longer til then finally . . . nothing. Louder this
time, Henry began chanting again, “Hey, hey, what do ya say, come on down for some time to
play — Iä, Iä mass tu vita — Hey, hey, what do ya say, accept this offering to end my suffering
— Iä, Iä, Parallax Fhtagn — I summon you — I invoke you — I command you Parallax appear!”
He waited, waited some more, and then . . . nothing. With anger and frustration that all his
efforts would be in vain and that he may never get his revenge he rapidly shouted, “Hey, hey,
what do ya say, come on down for some time to play — Iä, Iä mass tu vita — Hey, hey, what do
ya say, accept this offering to end my suffering — Iä, Iä, Parallax Fhtagn — I summon you — I
invoke you — I command you Parallax appear!” He waited only for a short time when he heard
it, it was a pounding, the floor below the circle was shaking as if something was trying to break
through the paneling. A gruff and very irritated voice boomed from below the circle,
“Beechcroft, is that you who has awakened me!” Henry’s spirits rose, it worked, he couldn’t be
his ears and replied loudly, “yes, yes it is I oh evil one!” The voice boomed back, “Evil one? Oh
you are pushing your luck Beechcroft and if you don’t keep it down — I will kick your sorry ass
out on the street and sell your shit to the local pawn shop — you’re still one month past due!”
Henry sighed, he recognized the voice; it was his landlord Mr. Charmurs who was pounding the
ceiling with his baseball bat from the floor below. Under his breath and with teeth clenched
Henry said, “Just another asshole who needs to pay.” “ I just can’t figure out what went wrong.”
Henry poured over his note book, leafing through every page saying check, check, check
for each thing he did right. Then he notices the last page was actually two pages stuck together
with sauce from last night’s pizza. Prying these pages apart with embarrassment, he said, “Oh,
well . . . that will definitely be cut from the recording.” Clearing his throat he read aloud the
single word on the page, “Kabara-futa!” The air became charged with static and the room
dimmed into darkness. Henry thought he was passing out , but instead he saw the arcane
markings illuminate the floor with unearthly blue light. Henry’s skin crawled with goose bumps
and his ears rang like a victim of a KISS concert. The room echoed with a clicking, a whirring
and a metal like cranking as a plastic tube emerged from the center of the circle, rippling the
floor like water. It emerged from the circle at an angle that pointed right at Henry’s head.
Vibrating furiously, the tube began to emit a thumping and thwoomping sound. Before Henry
could react, like a fraternity potato gun, something blasted out of the tube and smacked him
squarely on the forehead, knocking him out.

Henry came back to consciousness, the light in the room had return to a normal level, the
tube from the circle was gone and he saw that all of his papers, books and pizza boxes were
blown helter-skelter. Henry sighed, for over in the corner he saw that his video camera had
tipped over and was now smoking with an untimely death. Henry winced as he rubbed at a
large, red and slightly skinned circular mark on his forehead. He then picked up the object that
struck him, it was an odd tube. The tube was made of clear plastic, was about a foot long, with
greased black rubber caps on the ends and lastly along the side it sported a catch release door. It
dawned on Henry that this was an old pneumatic tube shuttle, once used in old business
buildings long ago before e-mail, fax-machines or even intercoms became the standard; it used
an inverted pressure system to zip these cartridges back and forth through a complex system of
pipes, in which the shuttles, commonly containing messages or documents, would then end up at
specific floors or offices. Henry popped open the catch release and withdrew an old parchment
scroll. The scroll was tied with hemp and at the end of the string was a manilla tag; the tag read
— change in protocol.

Henry frowned at the tag while untying the hemp. There were actually two scrolls rolled
into one another. The first scroll was a new summoning diagram which showed the old
summoning triangle of protection resting within the summoning circle; this made Henry feel a
bit confused and nervous. The second scroll had a header that read — “Change of Summoning
Protocol, effective year 1942 AD.” Below the header were instructions for a new ritual and
incantation. Henry looked at his clock and saw that it was already 4:30 a.m., too late to begin the
new ritual . . . he would have to wait. Henry tried to get some rest, but simply couldn’t; he was
close, oh so very close. He gave up trying to sleep and decided to clean up his hovel of an
apartment. He threw out the pizza boxes, mournfully gave his video camera a dumpster funeral,
sorted through and stacked all his loose research papers, old tomes and other guides. Still he
couldn’t sleep, he was too excited because he knew that this time everything was going to work
out, because he had made contact, well of a sorts. He cleaned up the old summoning markings
and then drew the new markings from the first scroll. He checked and double checked, he wasn’t
going to foul this up, this time everything would go according to plan. About 11:30 a.m. Henry
felt exhausted and fell into his only chair, an old high back with floral patterns and a build up of
stains from since the 60's, he was sound asleep within moments.

Henry awoke screaming and nearly catapulted from his chair; the nightmare was so
utterly horrible, uncomprehensible and yet so vividly real to be, but a mere dream. Looking at
the clock, with groggy and bloodshot eyes which were encrusted with sleep, he saw that it was
1pm. With a hoarse voice Henry said, “Damn, only an hour and a half of sleep? I am so very
tired, but I simply can’t go back to that — dream.” Henry thought, perhaps a change of scenery
would help calm things down, besides Henry still needed to study the new ritual and incantation,
so he headed down to Vinnie’s coffee shop. As he walked down to Vinnie’s he muttered, “Who
else, who else . . . oh yes . . . how could I forget coach Kerrigan — that righteous bastard would
never let up and was always demeaning me, every — chance — he got!” . . . “Oh yes, he is
going to pay dearly as well!”

Henry was only a block away from Vinnie’s when he saw them approaching. Ducking
into an alley, Henry hid between a garbage can, a filthy dumpster and under a drapery of refuse
as he watched nervously while Mike and Vic Lorenzo sauntered on past the alley. The Lorenzo
brothers were chuckling about today’s agenda, which of course was nothing good as they were
cheap muscle for the local mafia. Slinking out from the gallery and brushing off the refuse he
muttered under his breath, “I still remember my long stay in the hospital . . . oh you two are so
on my list as well — I wouldn’t want to make you feel left out.” Henry grinned wickedly and
continued on to Vinnie’s.

At the coffee shop, Henry felt he could finally relax, he felt safe here and he liked
Vinnie. Vinnie was that straight up kind of guy, who seemed to know everyone’s name and was
well liked by the entire neighborhood. Henry ordered his cup of coffee, a 16oz house blend
spiked with Irish cream, and when he looked up to pay Vinnie for the cup of joe, Vinnie was
shocked with concern. Vinnie asked, while pointing at Henry’s forehead, “Hey Henry, what
happened there?” Henry reached up and winced as he touched his forehead and said, “huh,
what, oh this?”
“Ya that, where and how did you get it? Was it from the Lorenzo boys?”
“Haha, no it wasn’t them — at least not this time.”
“Then how did ya get it?”
“Well it was sort of an accident.”
“Accident huh? And what was this, accident?”
“Haha, well would you believe I got hit in the head by a pneumatic shuttle cartridge?”
Vinnie just gave Henry a stare that said, “Ya I am not going to believe that for an instant.”
“Look Henry, even if it wasn’t the Lorenzo boys this time, you can’t keep letting people
push you around like that.”
“I know, I know Vinnie — but you know things just might change.”
Vinnie raised his eyebrows at this and then scowled a bit.
“Well Henry, whatever trouble it is — I don’t want to know about it but just do one thing
for me, OK?”
“Ya sure, what is it?”
“Keep your wits about you and don’t doing anything stupid like rush into something you
don’t understand.”
“Sure, no problem.”
Henry gave Vinnie a weak smile and then sat down at his usual table, rolled out the scroll and
started to study the incantation. After only five minutes, he looked up and said with a
disbelieving chuckle, “Is this serious — it has to be some kind of joke, — but how I got it was
real enough.” Six hours later and wired from twelve cups of coffee, Henry headed back to the
Arcadia, the apartment high rise where he lived. Henry slowly sneaked past Mr. Charmurs’s
office, made his way up to his apartment, went inside, locked the door, stared down at the new
summoning circle and said with determination, “Now, time for the main event.”

Part 2

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bad movies and their signs/ Plus my first review

For a long while now I have had a couple of theories about bad movies. These are signs that I high suggest that you should pay attention to before seeing a new movie. In addition, I will being doing a review of Silent Hill Revelations.


1. The Movie is being presented as a 3D Movie.

This is a big indicator of a bad movie, because odds are the movie was not designed to be a 3D movie which is it's own beast. Do not get me wrong, there are some 3D movies out there that were designed to be 3D, planned as a 3D movie and are a enjoyable 3D experience. However, a good majority of the time you will see a movie converted into 3D or the 3D is added on at the last second because the bigwigs in the movie industry thinks it will sell big. This sadly isn't so, because they do not treat it as an art form but a fad and thus it cheapens the experience.

2. It is a sequel with different directors, writers, and cast.

While there is always an exception to this rule, this is often another indicator of a bad movie. If the first movie was a success then it was due to the hard and creative efforts of the original cast, director and cast.  If the director is different, the cinematography maybe wildly different or a pale copy of what made the first movie strong. If the writer is different it also becomes a gamble because the script may not have the flavor of the first. If the movie is suppose to happen almost directly after the first successful movie then the audience that enjoyed the first movie will be expecting that cast because of continuity and they generally enjoyed their performance.

3. The Director and Writers are not fans

When a movie is based off a book, an old television series, or video games, it is vitally important that the director and writer have been exposed thoroughly to the original material. The first reason is that they get the content correct because all the fans will expect it to be held somewhat true to the original source material. The second reason is that the writer and director need to care about the source material because only then will the spirit of the movie be true to the spirit of the original source material. A movie these days are almost always written or discussed during its production or inception; this is especially true these days because of the internet. It is easy to find out about the lives of the directors and the writers and especially true to find out about the actor. So keeping this in mind it is easy to find out if they are fans or not.

4. The Preview is a lot of Razzle Dazzle.

Now don't let me mislead you, razzle and dazzle is a fine technique and it can help sell a product well, but if you see a preview of a movie that is nothing but razzle and dazzle without making you intrigued then this is a bad sign of a band aid approach for a bad movie. Some of the best pre-views you can ever see are the ones that don't try so hard to make you interested, they tell you just enough information just to make you interested to discover what the movie is about. The bad previews are super transparent and super flashy which often is most enjoyable aspect of that movie.

5. The movie relies too heavily on CG special effects and not content

Just like everyone else, I enjoy good and spectacular special effects, but a good movie relies content than it does it's special effects. Some of the best movies of all times had very little or bad special effects and yet they are more enjoyable. If you are going to have special effects then having a mix of both good CG and good old school special effects that are blended together. The reason that you need to blend it together is because it often makes it more believable.

6. A short time between the screen to DVD

Lastly this can be a big indicator of a bad movie. Often I can't get to or afford to go to the movies and I have to wait to the DVD release. If the movie didn't last long in the box office and it comes out to DVD in less than three months after it leaves the screen then indicates it is a bad movie. I can only speculate of the reasons why this is true but the biggest one is that they are trying to make up for money they lost in the box office. If they don't clear what they paid into it through the theaters then they need to make up the difference through DVDs and even streaming. Often these DVD will contain tons of coming attractions to the screen and DVD to help make up the difference. However, if it was a good movie odds are you won't see the movie in DVD form to much later because they have the money to make them extra special with extra features and you will see very little previews of coming attractions or none at all.

Enclosing, I am not an expert but these are signs that I have figured out to hold true and I also think they are all related to greed and not for the art of making a good movie. I am sure there are more signs of a bad movie and I would love to be informed about them from everyone else.

The Review!

            Silent Hill: Revelations 3D
This image is property of Davis Films and Konomi
 To be honest I am a big fan of Silent Hill back with the first one because it was truly scary and interesting. When the first movie came out I was interested but skeptical, but when I found out that the writer and director studied the games to become fans I took the chance and was rewarded to what I think is the best video game to movie ever. To me Silent Hill both in game and its first movie felt like a cross between the Twilight Zone and the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

So, of course, when the sequel to the first Silent Hill came out I wanted to see it but when I saw the 3D part, it made me nervous and then I started hearing bad reviews, not only from critics but from everyone that watched it. I also found out it was not made by the same people, well that is understandable  since one of them is in or was in jail.I stayed away from going to seeing it in theaters and only recently did I view it on DVD. This movie was horrible and hit just about every single bad sign that I mentioned in this article. The movie felt rushed and tried to do too much in too little of time. The script was really horrible and made Sean Bean look like he never acted a day in his life. The concept work of new monster were horrible and not in a good way, because they didn't fit the world of Silent Hill.