Posts Tagged ‘blog: things you should check out’.

Free short story on Kindle: “The Druggist” by Todd Croak-Falen

My friend Todd Croak-Falen has written a creepy short story for Halloween! It’s called “The Druggist”:

It’s been five years since Eric Halman’s young daughter was drugged and kidnapped by a man who stalks his victims only on Halloween. Since then he’s made it his life’s mission to do what the police can’t seem to do — capture this predator.

Dark and disturbing, “The Druggist” will infect your psyche and stay with you well after you’re done reading.

The story is available right now for FREE Kindle download! It’s only free through Wednesday, October 23 — after that it goes back to the regular price of 99¢. Download it, read it, be creeped out.

BONUS LINK: Max Mitenkov did the cover art! Check out more great artwork on his site.

BONUS BONUS LINK: Longtime readers may recognize Todd’s name — he was also the co-writer and producer of my spy film Expendable. Which, if you haven’t seen it, IS RIGHT HERE:

And which is available on DVD, with bonus features, here.

We made this film…geez, almost six years ago! Before the Stallone movie(s) of the similar names. Anyway if any HOLLYWOOD BIGWIGS want to buy our feature-length screenplay version of the same concept (it’s basically a James Bond movie from the perspective of the supervillain’s anonymous henchmen)…just, y’know, email me.

Check out: Max Temkin on values

A few weeks ago I was pleased to attend XOXO in Portland, which bills itself as “an arts and technology festival celebrating independent artists using the Internet to make a living doing what they love.”

It was a really fun time, and I got to meet great people and demo the Machine of Death game and eat from some good food trucks and even have pizza too! All around I recommend it as a cool way to spend a weekend.

The first speaker (of many) at the weekend was Max Temkin, one of the creators of the game Cards Against Humanity. Among other things, he talked about the genesis of CAH, and how he and his colleagues have managed its growing complexity as a business as well as a creative endeavor.

Sometimes I feel bogged down trying to figure out what to do — how to run my business, how to be creative, how to spend my time. Max’s answer is to focus on developing and heeding your values: because having a core set of values will make your actions in a given situation clear or obvious, since you will always have a true north to align to.

The talk (as well as the other XOXO talks) is well worth watching, and it also includes a performance by The Doubleclicks, performing an absolutely gorgeous song about the Mars Curiosity rover.

Max Temkin at XOXO 2013 – YouTube

By the way, if you’re into creating custom Cards Against Humanity cards, here are some good ideas, these are free from me

Check out: Sam Bosma’s dungeon-sports comic FANTASY BASKETBALL

At SPX the other week I picked up this comic by Sam Bosma and I really loved it! FANTASY BASKETBALL is a 40-page story about “teamwork, dungeon-crawling, bosses, ancient tyrants, and the greatest sport in the world.” You should read it!

Sam sold out of his first printing of physical comics, but he’s got a pre-order up now for the second printing. The books have screenprinted covers and risographed interiors for a slightly pulpy, authentic comics feel.

The cover is a two color screen print on French Paper’s Speckletone line (I think the exact color is “Madero Beach”. Sort of an off-white with little dark specks in it. The covers were printed by Jimmy and Dan at Pizza Party Printing in Baltimore. The pink and indigo inks were mixed by the printers. They also scored the covers and made a couple cuts to crop them pretty close to size (though I trimmed the books once they were assembled).

The interiors were risograph printed by my pal Kris. They were printed on sheets of Staples’ brand cream pastel paper. It’s pretty thin (20lbs), but it has a nice rough texture and takes the riso ink really well. I toyed with printing the things digitally, but in the end, I’m really happy I went with riso printing, since it adds a really nice textural quality to the work. (from Sam’s tumblr)

Or, you can get the digital version right here on Gumroad, right now!

Either way, I recommend you get a copy! I really liked it and I hope you do too.

Check out: Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style

Greetings from above the Pacific Ocean! I’m on my way to Hong Kong to visit the factory where the Machine of Death games are being produced. I’m very excited to visit a new continent…see many new things…experience a new culture…But so far I have seen the inside of an airplane. For a really long time.

This does, however, remind me of one of my favorite things ever: Nina Katchadourian’s photo series “Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style”:

While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror using my cellphone. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style.

I cannot express how much I love these pictures. Here’s the full gallery.

I also think it’s interesting to explore what makes them so great (in my opinion):

• It’s a funny concept at heart

• It’s well-executed — the limitations (cell phone camera, bad lighting) are part of the charm, and in fact, contribute to the aesthetic. They are germane to the central idea.

• It’s a novel concept. I don’t know if anyone did this before Ms. Katchadourian, but even if they had, I think it’s fair to assume that her unique body of experience, throughout the course of her life leading up to this moment, led her to have this idea in a way that nobody else in the world did.

I think that, as a concept, is really interesting. I talked about this and related topics in podcast interview with Glenn Fleishman for his show The New Disruptors. You can listen to it here.

I think this it was a pretty good interview — it goes into a lot of detail about my background and education and things I did before I got into comics (if you’re interested in that). I don’t know that I have a lot of Big. Profound. Ideas. about art or entrepreneurship or the Internet or whatever, but I do have anecdotal evidence just from doing this for a decade now, and I do have guiding principles that have become so simply by being consistent elements in the things I end up finding myself doing. I guess I’ve backed into having a set of principles by holding up all the things I do anyway and seeing where they overlap. That, I suppose, is the core stuff I believe in.

One example is the idea that everyone, every single person, has a unique suite of skills and experiences. We’ve all had different jobs, different types of education, different upbringing, different interests, different media consumption. You and I may overlap in some of those areas, but not in all.

So you will naturally be led to do certain types of things. Your skills will alchemize in ways unique to you. You are thus qualified to do certain things — new things, unique things — that other people are not.

Similarly, you may have trouble trying to do exactly what someone else is doing…because their experiences, the variables they plugged into the equation of life, produced a certain answer, and your variables may be different.

I find this is a helpful way to think when I look at my friends and colleagues, or people I admire, and marvel at something they do well. I’m blessed to have a lot of talented, funny friends, and sometimes I wish I could do some of the things that they do — and sometimes I try, and I stretch myself, and I experiment. Which is great.

But I also find myself drawn, enthusiastically, magnetically, to the things that only I could come up with. And those are the things I will execute best, because they are made for my set of skills. This is not a coincidence: I only even considered them, invented them, conceived of them, realized they were possible, because that thing clicks in my head. I have built, over the course of my life, a receptor for that specific idea to land in. We are all radio dials, and over time, we learn to tune into the stations, the ideas, that are transmitting to us specifically.

We can try to tune in other stations too — by imitating other people, who are doing things suited to their set of experiences — but those signals may not come in as clearly, and the result will have less fidelity. I’d never, ever have thought of Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style, but I’m super glad that Ms. Katchadourian did, because I got to see it, and got to add “seeing that” to my own set of experiences. It will jumble together with my experience in Hong Kong and my experience making a game and my experience doing comics and my experience writing this post, and something new may come of it all, later.

When it does, it will be a thing of my own, just as your things will be things of your own, speaking specifically to you. And we will share them with one another, weaving a web of our creations back and forth, and in this way, we will break down and rebuild and create that ghostly thing called “culture.”

New video premiering next week at the Web Show Show!

Here is a special message for my Los Angeles-area pals! I have a new Wondermark animated video premiering as part of a comedy show NEXT WEEK — TUESDAY AUGUST 27.

You may remember about a year ago, when I played around with making some Wondermark-styled puppet videos. For example, this one.

(Which is an adaptation of this Wondermark strip.) Or, this video

Which is about GHOSTS!!!

NOW. I have continued to play around with this technique, and I’m pleased to report that I have a NEW VIDEO that will be premiering as part of a video showcase called The Web Show Show at the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica on Tuesday night at 8pm!

Here is a sneak peek:

I’ll post the full video online afterward, but it’s so great to see stuff like this with a crowd! Come join us for the show in Santa Monica, if you can.