Taco Burger – NaNo Sprint 17 July 2015

“Eleven fifty-two,” Doris sighed. The subdermal sneer was almost overlooked by the scruffy-looking data-entry clerk. He stared at Doris with the vacant confusion of an Alaskan tourist during the summer solstice. “Eleven fifty-two, sir?” she repeated.

“How does that even happen?” he protested. “I only asked for the two taco burgers and some fries.”

“That’s the price, sir.” She didn’t even attempt to disguise her annoyance.

“Your website says your taco burger is on sale for $1.39. Add the fries and we are nowhere near $11.”

“You mean $11.52?”


The idea behind these National Novel Writing Month Writing Sprints (NaNo Writing Sprints) is to write as much as you can within a 10-minute time frame. I found out about it while ordering lunch and tried to pound this out on my iPhone as quickly as possible while my coworker attempted to drive us back to the office in my ’98 Ford Explorer with shoddy suspension. I hope you enjoyed this 90 word fiasco. I promise to do better next time 😉

Starting Over

You are not lost!  This is very likely the site you sought.  Thanks to a hiccup with my hosting company I have lost the data to all of my websites and must now rebuild.  Life gets in the way of life sometimes.  If you came here in search of a comic, story, or curious post you found out there I apologize.  New content will be posted regularly henceforth and I will do my damnedest to get the old stuff back up and running as I can.

Here are some links to some stuff you may be interested in while I get to work on revitalizing my web presence:

His Name Was Barry Buchanan


So I know this guy.  He’s as funny as he is scruffy, goofy as he is charming, and graceful as a moose.  I do not know him as well as he probably knows me, but we get along and laugh the few times a year we see one another.  He is a geek’s geek and the world would not have him any other way.

I actually met Barry on my 30th birthday – November 14, 2009.  I was so excited to meet this guy!  See, this was the opening of the first year of our show back when it was called DWEX (The Dallas Webcomics Expo).  Barry was one of the first people to book a table and meeting him made the whole thing real.  With a firm shake and a warm smile he introduced himself and I instantly felt as though I’d known him my entire life.  It was comforting, really.  He told me about the life of a legitimate cartoonist and how he thought his day job was funnier than he could ever write it to be.

I remember the second year he brought me a travel mug he made for me at his office.  It had the “DWEX” branding on it.  I cherish that thing like it was the Holy Grail.  Once again Barry had helped to cement a dream into reality.

Barry returned to our show every year it ran.  As you hopefully noticed he is booked for this year’s show, too.  It breaks my heart even type the words “Barry has passed on.”  It’s bad enough that I haven’t seen my prescription lenses in almost 6 months, but add the stupid eye leakage and it’s hopeless.  Please forgive me if the autocorrect has allowed anything inappropriate to pass onto this post.

But there it is.  Barry Buchanan died the fourth afternoon of June, 2014.  He had quite the battle with brain cancer over the last year of his life.  Things looked good for a time, but that time was short.  His wife and two daughters no doubt need our love now.  If you are a praying person, I encourage you to do so for their comfort.  If not, a simple smile and a thought of them would likely do wonders you would never know.

In light of the passing of a local funny man, I present a request.  If you are a fan, friend, or loved one with any artistic bone in your body (yes, mashed potatoes count), then I encourage you to created something special for the Buchanans.  I would like to put together a small book of caricatures, cartoons, comics, and stories about Barry.  If you need some inspiration, check out his bio on our site and visit his pages.

“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”

Let us immortalize him.

So long, Barry.  Save me a spot next to the cupcake cloud.


Word Play

Family Game Night is sacrosanct in the Moreno home.  As the family has grown and changed, so have the game nights.  When I was a newlywed it was Final Fantasy XI with my wife.  When I moved to Texas I hosted Halo parties with my brothers on Wednesday nights.  Now the ante is upped with my children with Lego Creationary and similar brain challenging trials.  I swear Jack loves to LOSE Jenga.

We learn and grow as life progresses.  Games become too familiar, mechanics grow tiresome, and pieces come up missing.  So what do you do?  Go out and buy a new game?  Or make the most of what you have and do something bold?

That’s exactly what I’ve done!  This weekend I fell in love with a game called Munchkin.  I am certain there are many of you who love the game, too.  Long after I packed up the box I found myself brainstorming strategies and thinking of things that would be cool to add to the gameplay.  After bouncing ideas off of Dustin, I decided to come up with my own game!

It really is not as difficult as you would think.  When you play a game you are really assuming a role and telling a story.  Be it a journey, a battle, or gambit, you are telling your side of the story while your opponent tells his.  Today we will do just that.  You know you have an idea for a movie or a comic book.  We all do.  Chances are most of us will never do something with it.  I challenge you to change that.

Think of your idea.  Save the princess.  Take over the world.  Explore deep space.  Marry a merman.  What drives your story?  Write down a basic overview of how the story goes.  Major plot points.  A sentence or two for each is all you need.  Figure 5-10 bullet points.

No, not Greasy Joe’s, the guy who says you have unicorns deucing in your manifolds.  Game play.  Cards.  Dice.  Plastic pieces.  Boards.  Is this a game where a player directly responds to the actions of his opponent?  Consider something with cards held in your hand.  Want to leave it a bit up to chance?  Incorporate dice and or a communal draw pile.  Don’t be afraid to look to your favourite games for ideas.  Just be sure you don’t lift the whole game in the process.  You may end up with a lawsuit on your hands.

Win the game.  Well, sorta.  You know your story.  You kinda figured what sort of game you want to play.  Now determine how one wins the game.  Did you run out of cards?  Is your life at zero?  Did the plumber fall in the lava?  Decide what it takes to win the game.  This will set the tone for the game play and establish a foundation for strategies.

Flesh it out.  Like any good book, the adventure is in the unexpected.  Throw a couple of curve balls at your players.  You don’t want it to be smooth sailing the whole way through.  Think of the game show Survivor.  The ultimate equalizer is the puzzle games.  Try to add a component to your game that levels the playing field.  Get creative.  Be brutal.

Create a rudimentary version of it to play at home.  Right now my game consists of cards written on pieces of paper and slipped into card sleeves with MTG promo cards providing stability.  It is very easy to make adjustments to the game this way.

Test, test, and test.  Then test again.  Invite your friends over to learn how to play.  Ask them for critiques.  Send a version of it home with a friend so she can teach someone else and get a review back from them.  The idea is not to convince them that yours is a truly excellent game.  You want them to tell you everything they do not like about it.  This is the only way to get the bugs worked out.  I know this is your baby, but you have to keep an open mind about this.

Test again.

If you get a great feel for this game, don’t be afraid to get a professional version of it made.  There is a company out there called The Game Crafter that does print on demand for tabletop games.  Once you have all of your artwork done you can upload it to your TGC account, set the rules, and have one shipped to you.  At this time I am in the process of creating a game for them to print for me.  It looks like the current version of my game is going to cost me $14.02 to make.  Then there is shipping.

If your game turns out to be the bee’s knees then consider publishing.  TGC is in the business of printing and selling games.  You simply set your markup and keep 70% of the net.  It really is amazing and I cannot wait to get my game up on their market place.  Once I have completed the process and make my first sale I will write up my experience.

What are your favourite games?  Have you created a game?  Has it been made professionally?  Tell us about it!  If you send us a copy we will play the crap out of it and maybe put up a review about it on the website.  Let us know if you have gone through the process.

Godzilla vs. The Ages


GODZILLA!!!  RAWR!!!  Have you seen it?  Are you EXCITED!  I haven’t and I AM!  It is no secret among my family and friends that I LOVE monster movies.  Watching people in rubber monster suits duke it out over poorly constructed miniature cities brings me unending joy!  This very concept is what brought me to watch the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers at all.  Stupid awesome.  I was just a few years outside of the MMPR target demographic.  Or was I…?  Was this their plan?  Do I really care?!  No.

So after 60 years of movies, tv, and comics Godzilla has become ingrained in Japanese and American pop culture.  You may be hard pressed to find a person who has not heard of the mighty monster.  I deemed it necessary to pass on the legend to our next generation by way of my children.  While my two young sons (7 & 10 years of age) are no strangers to daddy’s love of monsters, it occurred to me that they had not yet seen the giant classics!  Naturally, I started them off with the 1933 King Kong.  It was not long before we found ourselves watching the 1954 American adaptation of Godzilla.  And they were hooked.

I cannot keep these boys fed with enough monster movies!  We purchased one of those 40,000 Monster Movie DVD packs from Wal-Mart for, like, six bucks.  Coupled with Netflix, we are making some decent headway.  But it all comes back to Godzilla.  Clearly, he’s the King of Monsters.

I did some digging on him (or her, if you are one of the few fans of Roland Emmerich’s 1998 reboot) and found that Godzilla has appeared in 34 major motion pictures!  And you probably haven’t seen them all.  I swear I’m not a hipster.  There have been 28 Japanese films, 4 American films (2 adaptations, 1 re-imagining, and the recently released reboot), a North Korean film made with a kidnapped South Korean director, and 1 Italian re-release.  No, I’m serious!  I was first introduced to it in college in my Italian class.  Yes, I studied Italian for two years.  Failed it miserably, but I can read that menu at the Olive Garden with authority!  Luigi Cozzi is an Italian film director who took the original Gojira, added in some World War II stock footage, and colourized the whole film.  The Italian cinema goers were not particularly fond of black and white films.  Good luck finding it, though.  Let me know if you do!  Chances are you won’t find it in English, however.

One of the most noticeable changes to Godzilla over the years is his size.  In 1954 he was a mere 50 meter tall, just tall enough to see over the tallest buildings in Tokyo.  In the 2014 film he is between 120-150 meters tall.  I have not seen anything concrete, just descriptions from the film’s “eye-witness accounts.”  You can see various size comparison charts below.

Did you know that Gojira is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ) ‘gorilla’ and kujira (クジラ) ‘whale’?  I’ll leave you with this from Godzilla’s wiki about his name:

Gojira (ゴジラ?) is a portmanteau of the Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ?, “gorilla“), and kujira (鯨(クジラ)?, “whale“), which is fitting because in one planning stage, Godzilla was described as “a cross between a gorilla and a whale”,[12] alluding to his size, power and aquatic origin. One popular story is that “Gojira” was actually the nickname of a corpulent stagehand at Toho Studio.[13] The story has not been verified, however, and, in the nearly sixty years since the film’s original release, no one claiming to be the rumored employee has ever stepped forward nor have any photographs ever surfaced. Kimi Honda (the widow of Ishiro Honda) always suspected that the man never existed as she mentioned in a 1998 interview, “The backstage boys at Toho loved to joke around with tall stories”.[14]

Godzilla’s name was written in man’yōgana as Gojira (呉爾羅?), where the kanji are used for phonetic value and not for meaning. Many Japanese books on Godzilla have referenced this curious fact, including B Media Books Special: Gojira Gahô, published by Take-Shobo in three different editions (1993, 1998,[15] and 1999).[citation needed]

The Japanese pronunciation of the name is [ɡodʑiɽa] ( ); the Anglicized form is /ɡɒdˈzɪlə/, with the first syllable pronounced like the word “god”, and the rest rhyming with “gorilla”. In the Hepburn romanization system, Godzilla’s name is rendered as “Gojira”, whereas in the Kunrei romanization system it is rendered as “Gozira”.

Which Godzilla film is your favourite?  Which did you hate (if any)?  What about your favourite Godzilla opponent?  Who would you love to see Godzilla fight?  Let us know in the comment section below!