Something different.


“You have me at my word,”
Said the orphan to the bird.
“Or by Providence I swear
I will join you in the air,
To beat against the blast
And bereave the ground at last,
Scraping wisps of sun away
Before Earth can lay her claim.”

Then from tumbling time unbowed,
She turned toward the crowd,
Breathing countless ages in
Through a throat like molten tin.

The martial mass knelt cowed
As she cast her lace aloud

And withdrew her sallow shroud.


I Don’t Think I’m Ready for This Jelly

I’ve been watching Batman Beyond again. For the fifth or six time, probably. I was a few months shy of my tenth birthday when Batman: The Animated Series began its run, and my ideal Gotham can only be seen through Bruce Timm-colored glasses. I will forever say “Raysch” al Ghul, I don’t care how much money Christopher Nolan has. Couple all that with my abiding appreciation of Will Friedle, and you’ve pretty much got my measure.

The second season of Batman Beyond starts with “Splicers,” one of my favorite episodes. It involves a charismatic nut-bar of a mad scientist who’s using cross-species genetics to give angsty youths access to an endless, lamp-heated buffet of animal traits. And to make Ice-T pretty again. Naturally, all this evolutionary potpourri-ing got me thinking about which precious critter DNA I’d like to wrap my nuclei around.

If money were a consideration, I guess I’d have to give myself some platypus powers—you know, venom, electrolocation, adorable beaver tail—to get the most bang for my buck. However, I’m hoping that by the time these upgrades are available, government subsidies will cover the lion’s share of the cost. Literally. Essence of Lion is so spendy.

Anyway, here’s where I’d start:

Woolly Mammoth
— The mammoth carcass that scientists discovered in Siberia last year allegedly contained liquid blood, despite the sub-freezing temperatures. Since then, mammoth mavens have been studying the possibility of cryoprotectant properties in mammoth blood. Ever since I read early reports of this blood, I’ve been excited. Adding +20 frost resistance to my blood would mean no longer having to walk around my super-chilled local Target wearing a hoodie in the middle of August, people staring at me like I’m some sort of pariah.

— Not for the super-human cuddliness, but for the amazing color changing. And bringing up my cuttlebone could be a great icebreaker.

Grizzly Bear
— For the super-human cuddliness.

— Mongooses, or mongeese as they like to say at Merriam-Webster, don’t just hang their hats on their relatively large anal scent glands (because how could they?). No, their real real-dealness comes from the fact that they’re pretty much snake-proof! Their neuroreceptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are shaped in such a way that neurotoxins from snake venom—maybe even from venom-borne hemotoxins—can’t attach themselves to the receptors. The venom just bounces harmlessly off of the mongooses’ armadillo-like brain armor. It’d be like being a honey badger, but without everyone thinking you’re a total D-bag.

— Armor for my non-brain bits.

Rock Pigeon
— Not only can they survive by eating any ol’ garbage they find, but they can actually flourish by doing so. Sign me up!

— Despite this potentially being the pièce de résistance in my molecular menagerie, I’m not sure about it. Turritopsis dohrnii, the immortal jellyfish, has the incredible ability to revert to its polyp state, pretty much hitting the reset button on its life. But it’s that reset that’s the problem. Sure, immortality is cool on paper, but if I have to turn back into a wee bairn every time I cut one of my arms off, it might not be worth it. If I get to keep everything I’ve already learned, then maybe. Still, I really don’t want to have to not finish high school again. And I might not survive having to relearn that every single Red Hot Chili Peppers song sounds exactly the same, immortality or no.

Now to Convince Kevin Conroy to Narrate Our Home Movies.

I think it’s time I resurrected this blog. Not for the betterment of the humankind or anything like that. For myself. Without its presence, it’s become difficult for my mom to tell people convincingly that her baby boy is a writer. And that was pretty much her only talking point for me. Lately when anyone’s asked about me there’s just been an awkward pause while she looks at the ground, shakes her head a few times, and then slowly backs away. So while it may be the literary equivalent of Swinging with the Finkels (except that it’ll be PG-13-ish and have an even less cohesive plot) at least it’ll be, and it’ll be consistent.

Now, given what’s in my brain today, I have to disclaim. This isn’t turning into a photoblog. That being said, prints of all of the artwork you see here are available for sale or rent. But they’re pricey.

Anyway, my wife and I recently bought an entry-level DSLR, which really just means that we’ve been taking far too many intentionally out-of-focus pictures. Also unintentional was our adoption of an apartment/adventure mascot and all-around great photographic subject. His name is Bruce, and he’s the muse our apartment needs, but not the one it deserves right now. He’s also a pretty good stand-in for the child we’re not responsible enough to have right now.

Bruce Heroic

I love Bruce with a powerful-deep kind o’ love. And in the few weeks since we lured him out of his shadowy, lonely, rainy existence, I’ve learned a few things from him.

1) Nerdiness is highly contagious if properly delivered.

My wife is not a nerd. Well, I’m of the opinion that everyone is nerdy about something, but she’s not nerdy in the traditional sense. She kindly declines my offers to turn her into a competitive player of Magic: The Gathering, and she doesn’t lose sleep thinking about the paradoxical portrayals of time travel in movies, although she does mercifully discuss the subject with me instead of damning me to an evening of soliloquizing. Still, nerd though she’s not, she loves Bruce as much as I do. Here’s one of her shots of him from our recent trip to San Francisco.

Bruce in SF 2

I’ve just noticed that it’s weird how often he’s surrounded by plastic bags. Consumerism, right? Or maybe it’s a Wes Bentley kind of thing. You decide.

2) Taking ridiculous pictures of things is such a friggin’ entertaining way to spend an evening.

Even if only for us. The amount of laughter between us as we view the shots we’ve just taken more than justifies the expense of our camera. Bruce’s antics are just too much fun to chronicle.

Bruce Sees Errthang

Master of Stealth

The Photobomber

Reluctant Hero

The Outsider

Bruce take the Wheel

Bruce in SF

Who Am Bruce?

3) It’s okay to take some time away from the normal grind to find new hobbies and new things to love. But never disconnect completely or lose sight of the things you already care about.

Take your cues from Bruce. Make sure to keep the vigilant in vigilante. Otherwise, this could happen to you.

Beast Bested


4) If you let them, Pop! Heroes et al. will ravage your wallet and monopolize your shelf space.