Archive for December, 2008

So Long 2008

December 31, 2008

Probably my last post of the year 2008 — which I’m not necessarily sorry to see it go. The last year was less than stellar in regards to my “writing career” and being able to support myself by doing just that — writing. Though, it was by far my most lucrative year as far as receiving checks for payment as a writer, just not enough to get by on.

The highlight of said “writing career” had to be when I got my first check from one of the “big two” comic book companies. In this case it was from DC for the Zuda entry Skullgoyle that I wrote. Of course, I had to split the payment with my collaborator, artist Daniel Thollin, but it was a thrill nonetheless to come home from my recently acquired day job to find the check waiting for me with the day’s mail.

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Hopefully 2009 will be sprinkled with a few more checks as of the results of my writing endeavors. Mind you, I’m not particularly picky about having them all be from the “big two” either.

Upon having to admit defeat in my pursuits of writing for a living and having to land a regular civilian gig I sort of took a bit of a sabbatical from writing for the last two months of ’08. (Including posting somewhat regularly here.) There were a couple of setbacks besides just not finding enough work as a writer that sort of soured things for me (some of which I’ll cover later), but not enough for me to give up completely — I just needed a break.

With the new year comes new optimism. There are a few irons in the fire, and with any luck, I’ll be able to forge them into quality products that will see the light of day. So, here’s the deal, 2009… You do your best not to let me down, and I’ll do the same.

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Testdriving The New Vans Out In The Snow

December 26, 2008

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I took the new pair of Vans Sk8-Hi Classics (the unofficial shoe of choice for comic book creators) out for a testdrive in the snow this morning.

December 19

December 19, 2008

The following events all occurred on December 19th throughout the years…

324 – Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor.
1154 – Henry II of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey.
1490 – Anne of Brittany is married to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by proxy.
1606 – The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who, at Jamestown, Virginia, found the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.
1776 – Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in the Pennsylvania Journal titled The American Crisis.
1777 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington’s Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
1828 – Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun pens the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, protesting the Tariff of 1828.
1835 – The first issue of The Blade newspaper is published in Toledo, Ohio.
1875 – Carter Woodson, American historian and author, founder of Black History Month, is born.
1902 – Sir Ralph Richardson, English actor, is born.
1907 – A group of 239 coal miners die during a mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.
1912 – William H. Van Schaick, captain of the steamship General Slocum which caught fire and killed over 1,000 people, is pardoned by U.S. President William Howard Taft after three-and-a-half-years in Sing Sing prison.
1916 – World War I: Battle of Verdun – On the Western Front, the French Army successfully holds off the German Army and drives it back to its starting position.
1920 – King Constantine I is restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander I of Greece and a plebiscite.
1924 – Gary Morton, second husband of Lucille Ball, is born.
1924 – The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London, England.
1927 – James Booth, English actor and screenwriter, is born.
1929 – Howard Sackler, American screenwriter, is born.
1932 – BBC World Service begins broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service
1933 – Cicely Tyson, American actress, is born.
1935 – Barbara Bostock, American actress, is born.
1941 – Maurice White, American singer and songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), is born.
1941 – World War II: Adolf Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.
1946 – Robert Urich, American actor, is born.
1958 – Limahl, English singer (Kajagoogoo) , is born.
1960 – Mike Lookinland, American actor, is born.
1961 – Reggie White, American football player, is born.
1961 – India annexes Daman and Diu, part of Portuguese India.
1963 – Jennifer Beals, American film actress, is born.
1966 – Chuckii Booker, American singer, musician and producer, is born.
1966 – Robert MacNaughton, American stage and screen actor, is born.
1967 – Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt is officially presumed dead.
1967 – Criss Angel, American illusionist, actor, and musician, is born.
1967 – Dan Taylor, American would-be comic book writer, is born.
1969 – Kristy Swanson, American actress, is born.
1969 – Villano IV, Mexican professional wrestler, is born.
1971 – Tiffany Towers, Canadian adult film actress, is born.
1972 – Alyssa Milano, American actress, is born.
1972 – Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.
1972 – Warren Sapp, American football player, is born.
1974 – Jake Plummer, American football player, is born.
1975 – John Paul Stevens appointed as a justice of The United States Supreme Court.
1980 – Jake Gyllenhaal, American actor, is born.
1981 – Sixteen lives are lost when the Penlee lifeboat goes to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star in heavy seas.
1983 – The original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, is stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro.
1984 – The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People’s Republic of China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 is signed in Beijing by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.
1985 – Lady Sovereign, English musician, is born.
1986 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev releases Andrei Sakharov and his wife from internal exile in Gorky.
1994 – Rolls-Royce announces its future cars will feature V12 engine which will be produced by BMW.
1995 – The United States Government restores federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indian tribe.
1997 – SilkAir Flight 185 crashes into the Musi River, near Palembang in Indonesia, killing 104.
1997 – Titanic is released in theaters. This movie would become the most financially successful movie in U.S. history, grossing approximately $1.8 billion worldwide.
1998 – Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives forwards articles I and III of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate.
2000 – The Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attack a Nationalist Movement Party office in Istanbul, killing one person and injuring three.
2001 – A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia.
2001 – Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots – Riots erupt in Buenos Aires after Domingo Cavallo’s corralito measures restrict the withdrawal of cash from bank deposits.

Kristy Swanson (you’ll always be “Buffy” in my book), Alyssa Milano (we can talk baseball — even if you are a Dodgers fan), and Tiffany Towers (we need at least one Canadian with cerulean eyes) are all welcome to join me for drinks in celebrating our birthdays. Chriss Angel — you’re not invited.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry 1932 – 2008

December 18, 2008

mbr-chapel-mccoyI got home from work today to find that my recently repaired DSL service working for for the second straight day in a row and was thankful to once again decompress while surfing the web. Unfortunately, my surfing brought me news of the passing of Majel Barret Roddenberry. Known to Star Trek fans like myself as Nurse Christine Chapel from the original series, Mrs. Roddenberry was also featured as Number One in Star Trek Original Series‘ pilot “The Cage,” as well as Deanna Troi’s mother, Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the voice of most of the onboard  computers of the ships of Starfleet — a voice that was often heard on a number of the various computers I’ve owned upon booting up.

Somewhere, someplace, I’ve got a copy of the picture accompanying this post that Majel Barrett Roddenberry autographed for me when I had the pleasure of meeting her at a Star Trek convention years ago. She was always a great ambassador for Star Trek fandom. It was recently announced that she would be  participating in the upcoming J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie — once again as the voice of the onboard computer, a steady and reassuring aspect that has remained a constant throughout the various incarnations of Star Trek over the past forty plus years.

Season VIII: Return Of Scrubs

December 16, 2008

Alright, I’ll admit — even as a card-carrying die-hard fan — the seventh season of Scrubs didn’t necessarily end on the highest of notes. There were a few monkey wrenches thrown into the show’s gears last season. There was the writers’ strike, and there was the fact that NBC pretty much treated the program as an ugly red-headed step-child. (No offense to red-headed step-children that are clearly not ugly.)

But, in three weeks — a mere 21 days — Scrubs returns to the airwaves on their new network, ABC. Scrubs is, and has been for the past seven seasons, my favorite television show, and I am eagerly awaiting its return. Sure, I’ve got six of the last seven seasons on DVD (had to leave a gift option open for Christmas), and I know when and where to find syndicated reruns enabling me to watch it up to five times a day on Comedy Central, WGN, and KCAL. But, the anticipation of an all-new eighth season of Scrubs beginning less than a month away is definitely the highlight of my ’08-’09 television schedule.

So, on January 6th at 9:00 PM there’ll be only one place that I’ll be — in front of my television returning to the cast of irregulars at Sacred Heart hospital.

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Time Again For “My Charlie Brown Christmas”

December 13, 2008

A Charlie Brown Christmas aired earlier this week, and for the first time in some thirty-eight years or so I missed it. Now, I do own the holiday special on DVD, so I can technically watch it whenever I want — but there’s something just more better about catching the program when it airs.

But, I can always fall back and enjoy My Charlie Brown Christmas — Voiced by the cast of Scrubs.

I Will Forever Crush On Bettie Page

December 11, 2008

For as long as I can remember I have been enamored with Bettie Page — like so many others. The impact that the sultry, yet sweet, Miss Page made on the world as a pin-up phenomenon cannot be denied. Perhaps it was her seclusive nature over the past half century that added to the mystique of the raven banged beauty. Regardless, she raised “cheesecake” to a bona fide art form with a mixture of innocence and flirtation.

According to her Obituary Press Release posted on the official Bettie Page web site

Los Angeles, December 11, 2008 – Bettie Page, sweet-smiling legendary 1950s pin-up queen with the killer curves and coal-black bangs, died today of pneumonia at a Los Angeles area hospital. She was 85 years old. She suffered a heart attack one week ago and never regained consciousness. Her popularity as an underground, guilty pleasures phenomenon has continued to soar despite the fact that the reclusive Page disappeared almost a half century ago, leading many to believe that one of the most photographed individuals of the 20th century was already dead.

I can honestly say that Bettie Page served as one of my muses on many occasions. Often when writing female characters, especially strong-willed and sultry femme fatales, I would often imagine Bettie Page in the role of the character. While her hair might be a different color and style the character of Alpha Bettie was created with the pin-up queen in mind — right down to her name.

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Hopefully, someday artist and Alpha Bettie co-creator Chris Noeth and I will be able to share the adventures of Bettie Swift of Alpha Squadron with the world. And, when we do it will surly be dedicated to the muse, Bettie Page.

Thank you, Bettie. Gone, but not forgotten.

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A New Look — Or Lack Thereof

December 10, 2008

If you happen to be one of my few regular visitors you’ve probably noticed that the ol’ blog looks a little different. In anticipation of returning to blogging on a somewhat regular basis I figured I’d mix it up a little bit with a new look. Admittingly, it’s not a whole lot different than before — a little less on the blue and framed widgets to the right. I reviewed my options regarding various WordPress themes available and decided to stick with a basic white — my reasoning being that most projects, such as writing, drawing, painting, etc… start off on a blank piece of stark white paper or canvas (or Word screen).

Speaking of “stark white,” the all new title header at the top of the page is just that. The narcissist in me retained the image of yours truly sitting at the bar with my trusty notebook and even trustier mug of beer — drawn by artist D.J. Coffman (who will draw anything for two bucks). I’m not sure what to add to the header. A “title,” maybe? I mean, “Dan Taylor Blog” seems appropriate, but it’s not floating my boat. Being rather “blank” seems somewhat appropriate seeing how I haven’t blogged much, nor have I written much of anything over the last couple of months. I’ve been on a sort of sabbatical.

But, the creative juices are beginning to peculate once again — and I miss by blog.

Hmmm… An All New WordPress…

December 4, 2008

So, I shy away from posting to the ol’ blog for awhile and the folks at WordPress decide to mix things up a bit and change things around. Maybe learning all the new bells and whistles will bring me back to posting on a more regular schedule.

Actually, to be honest, I’ve missed posting. It’s just that I haven’t had a lot to post about lately. Other than the rare pimpin’ of my webcomic in Zuda’s October competition and the two issues of my comic book that recently came out the posting around here has been rather slim.

You know… maybe the whole site could use an overhaul.

Pirat Tales Issue 2 Out December 4th

December 3, 2008

Hey! It’s a new post! That must mean I’ve got something to plug. And, if that’s what you’re assuming, then your assumption is right. The second issue of Pirat Tales: The Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails hits comic book shop shelves tomorrow — Wednesday, December 4th. If you’re new to my blog, I am the creator and writer of Pirat Tales — the comic book about swashbuckling rats setting sail upon the high seas.

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While it’s great to see the second issue come out, it is bittersweet. More on that later. But, if you did pick up issue one I hope that you seek out and enjoy issue two. Thanks for the support.