Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Herbie road-trip

We're leaving the cats with a sitter tomorrow and headed off in Herbie for a long over-due road trip. Good for us, good for the car (diesels really need to be run out, and we do far too many short trips). We're headed down to Lake Elsinore in California to visit our son and his family, with a side-trip to Las Vegas for a couple days.

I'll try to take some pictures, and possibly check in during the trip if anything of note happens.

See you in a few days.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New book out (and Minion guest-appearance)

I realized that I have announced the arrival of my new Mechwarrior book in stores everywhere but here. Duh. Well Chris loved my in-character announcement over on my Minions at Work cartoon blog so much, that I've decided to repost it here (and save my self a few minutes in the process).

So, let's turn things over to Minion No. 1 (he hates it when you call him "No One.")

Greetings, comrade-dudes!

I am totally cutting into my vital pretzel-break time to bring you the important news of a new novel just released, written by Minions creator J. Steven York! Is called "Trial by Chaos," which pretty much describes the morning I've, I will tell you! This is his second novel in the Mechwarrior Dark Age series, set in the ever-popular Battletech universe.

I am totally urging you to run right out and buy this book on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Powells, or ask for it at your local book retailer.

No. Wait. I must totally be thinking like management if I am ever to be promoted. Do not ask. Demand this book.

You will be all like: "if you do not order this book from the nearest distributor, I will use my orbiting solar-death-mirrors to reduce your world to a blackened ball of carbon!" And they'll be like: "But we have it on the shelf right over here." And you'll be like, "oh, I never know if books like this are shelved according to series or author name." And they'll be like, "yes, different stores do it different ways, but there it is." And you'll be like, "well thanks for your help. Sorry about the solar-death-mirrors thing." And they'll like rip off their rubber disguise mask and shout, "but we've tricked you into revealing your evil plan! Now you can never succeed, Minion No. 1!"

I have just been busted in my own, imaginary scenario. That is so lame.

Just buy the book, because Steve pays the bills here, and without your support, you know what this means: mustard-cutbacks. Buy it for me. Buy it for my pretzel.

Later, dudes. Salty-buttery goodness totally awaits.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Did you get your Monday Minions fix?

It's Monday, and I just posted a toothsome new Minions cartoon over at Minions at Work. Check it out. Tell your friends. Alert the media. Lock your doors.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Peace at last!

Well, not in the middle-east, but here on Tsunami Ridge, where our big tom-cat Oz has decided to accept the new kitten, Sydney. Not only is he putting up with her, he's actively encouraging her to play.

This is great for everyone in the house. Oz, because he was lonely, lethargic, and neurotic without his buddy Banzai (our 3-year old cat who passed away several months back). Sydney, because she was lonely too, and at just under six-weeks-old, still much in need of a cat role-model. Us, because it's keeping Oz happy and distracted for the first time in forever, and because it's helping to burn off a lot of that kitten energy and aggression that's been wearing us out.

These two are great to watch together. What's most amusing about it, is that Oz is usually content to let Sydney be the aggressor, leading her on wild chases around the house. Despite superficial appearances, these are his idea.

If he doesn't want to be bothered, there will be hissing, and a swat or two if she bothers him. But when he decides it's play-time, he makes his intentions clear. Sometimes, he'll hide and ambush her, but when he leaps out and surprises her, he'll immediately turn and run so she can chase him.

But it's the relative size-difference that really makes it a hoot. Sydney is growing rapidly, but she's only about two and a quarter pounds, and a lot of that is the pot-belly he has from his constant eating. Oz, on the other hand, is 14+ pounds of athletic muscle and fur. To watch that tiny dark kitten chasing a streak of orange fur many times her size is just something to see.

That's why I decided to post some pictures today that include both of them, just for a sense of scale. Here's Oz in one of his favorite spots, sitting on top of Chris' beading tool-box, watching the front yard for evil birds or bunnies. Sydney is creeping in from the right, watching Oz "hunt," and maybe seeing if she can interest him in a game of tag. (Remember you can click on the thumbnails above for the full-sized pictures.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A "Generation X" movie?

Some of you may be aware that a few years back I did a couple of novels, "Crossroads" and "Genogoths," based on a now-canceled Marvel Comic called "Generation X." The comic, which had a troubled creative and editorial history was great in concept. Xavier's School for mutants had become so focused on the X-Men and their agenda that a new school, the Xavier Institute, was formed elsewhere to carry on it's original mission, to locate young mutants and teach them to use and control their powers. One of the headmasters was Emma Frost, the White Queen, a reformed evil-mutant with her own troubled history of dealing with young mutants.

I loved doing those books, I'm very pleased with how they turned out, and I came to love the characters. And because so much of their development in the comics was vague or contradictory, I've always had a somewhat proprietary feeling about them.

This is based on nothing what-so-ever of course. The characters belong to Marvel (one of the wages of writing tie-ins, discussed elsewhere), and neither of my novels is considered "canon," that is, part of the "official" history of the characters. But I love my little dead-end stub of Marvel's X-Men, and I'm still proud to have been associated with them.

But despite the worthy concept (there was even a Fox network pilot for a TV series, aired as a TV movie but never picked up) and some sound characters to work with, the comic was ultimately doomed. The creative staff changed again and again. Various editorial hands pulled it this way and that. Jay Farber (who I had the pleasure of meeting just as he was taking over the book) did his best, but I think the editors never let him run with his ideas. Larry Hamma, best known for updating GI Joe back in the 80s, had an infamous run. If ever creator and subject matter seemed a bad fit, this was it. There were brief moments of glory, but Marvel never seemed to understand what the fans clearly did, that this was a gem in the rough.

The comic was canceled just as it seemed to be finding its legs, and most of the characters passed into oblivion. In fact, most of the characters are dead (as dead as anyone gets in the Marvel Universe) now, or changed almost beyond recognition. I expected that Generation X would never live again.

Well, that's still probably correct. But I was given a ray of hope today by an article in USA Today. Given the huge success of X3, a number of possible spin-offs are in the works. Here's a brief quote from the article:

"We've also talked about doing something on the kids in (Professor X's) school, focusing on their lives, and less of a global adventure for the team," says Hutch Parker, production president of 20th Century Fox.

Hey, I have an idea? Why not put them in a motor-home and take them on a cross-country trip where they fight injustice? Okay, okay, there will be ice-skating in hell first...

Actually, this is likely not the Generation-X that I knew. It could also be adapted from the "New Mutants," comic, or (this is probably most likely) be "X-Men Junior" featuring some of the younger character from the movie like Ice Man, Shadowcat, and Angel. (But there's former Generation-Xer Jubilee, who has appeared briefly in all three movies! Go Jubilee!).

Ironically, in addition to the previously discussed Wolverine and Magneto sequels, they have one more on the table:

The studio is also exploring a movie with Three Kings director David O. Russell based on the character of Emma Frost, a sexy mutant telepath who can transform her skin into diamonds. She is an X-Men comics regular but was not featured in the movies.

Maybe four is two many. Maybe if you guys just combined two of your ideas...

Yeah, dream on.