I'll come up with something in a minute.

Things

For years I had a Sampo, did I ever tell you that?

It’s a lot smaller than you’d think, but it worked like a charm. I misplaced it at some point, which is a shame because we could probably use a sampo right about now.

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April 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Liberty’s Child (Part Five)

Liberty’s Child

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

Day Five: Liberty and Me

 

 

            I walked into the plant room and turned to the corner on my left where she liked to stand. There was a round window that stood overhead, and the light from it fell onto her as she sat on the small stool she liked. The stool meant she had to sit up straight, or maybe she just liked sitting up, with her breasts pushing out like that. The skirt she was wearing had a long slit up the side that showed me her legs, which were strong and shapely things. She turned her golden blond coifed head towards me and smiled the smile that was insured by Lloyd’s for twenty million dollars. The sharp blue of her eyes sparkled like snow on a sunny January morning.

 

            “Hello Jack,” she said simply, and I could feel my legs wanting to go limp.

 

            Her accent was so slight you would have to know that Liberty came from France to recognize what the accent was. She exaggerated her accent when she was doing a show, but at home she might as well have just been a normal midwestern girl who had the looks of a goddess on earth. Her slightest movements were enough to make me want to go crawl up in her lap, which is what had caused me so much trouble before.

 

            “Hi Liberty,” I said looking down at her nearly bare leg, which didn’t need anything so prosaic as a pair of stockings to look alluring. She noticed me looking at her legs, and twitched the edge of the skirt to expose both knees instead of just one. “You wore that skirt again.”

 

            “I forgot you were coming,” she said, pulling the skirt back to where it had been a moment ago.

 

            “No you didn’t,” I said, shaking my head.

 

            “No, I didn’t,” she looked down at my shoes and then pushed the golden blonde hair back. “I haven’t seen you in a while and I know it’s your favorite.”

 

            “You’re not that worried about Columbia are you?”

 

            “You wore the black suit you know I like,” she said. “So let’s not pretend shall we?”

 

            “What’s going on then?” I asked.

 

            “Did you see those notes?” she asked, and I held up the envelope, which caused her to roll her eyes. “He’s been cutting those stupid things out of magazines himself.”

 

            “The major’s been making these notes?”

 

            “They look like the cover of a mystery novel,” she said and shook her head dismissively. “Who would really make something that stupid? Of course he did it, why do you think we’ve been able to keep it out of the newspapers?”

 

            “Where is she then?”

 

            “I don’t know exactly,” she said shaking her head. “But she’s spent weekends away before; she’s just spending another one away. She is an adult you know, whatever her father says.”

 

            “So, there’s nothing to worry about?”

 

            “Oh, there’s a lot to worry about,” she said leaning back and fixing her eyes on me. “My husband is insane, my eldest daughter is behaving like a little firecracker, and I haven’t had any fun in over a year.”

 

            “No?” I asked, taking a few steps towards her.

 

            “No,” she said turning her knees to me.

 

            “What a terribly sad story,” my fingers reached out and touched her left knee with the tip of my finger. “What do you want me to do about this?”

 

            “Oh, lots of things,” she said smiling at me. “Mostly though, I’d like you to find her and bring her home for me.”

 

            “But you think she’s okay?”

 

            “I need her brought home so we can explain to that stupid old man that she’s not being kidnapped every ten minutes.” She nearly spat the words out.

 

            “Okay,” I nodded while my fingers walked up her leg a little. “I can probably do that, where has she been hanging out lately?”

 

            “She was supposed to be with some friends that night, but she never really showed up.”

 

            “Not what I asked,” I said drawing my hand away for the moment.

 

            “She’s been spending a lot of time at The Flower Bed, hanging out with Tiger,” Liberty said, shifting those beautiful blue eyes to the floor. “She just goes there to hang out, she likes spending time with them. Rose and Daisy wouldn’t let her do anything, you know that.”

 

            “Sure,” I nodded sagely and then lied to a woman I’d once really loved. “I know that they wouldn’t let her do anything.”

 

            “She’s not a bad girl,” the woman I had once loved so deeply it kept me up at night said. “She’s just going through a stage of adjustment. She wants to do what her mother did at her age.”

 

            “I’ll get her back,” I said tapping the envelope against my leg. “You think the Fed and locals are really working on this?”

 

            “Not really,” she said shaking that beautiful blonde coifed head. “I explained it to them, but Tom is so very important and they all have to look like their making an effort. It’s really not a big deal you know?”

 

            She was lying to me, like she always did. If I counted up all the times I knew she was lying to me, I’d probably have to double or triple that number to get the number of times she’d actually lied to me. A woman like that can make a man paranoid, and I didn’t really need the extra help.

 

            “I understand I think,” I said to her. If she was going to lie I could do it too. “I’ll get her back for you, all intact and stuff.”

 

            “Thank you,” she started to stand up.

 

            From where I was standing I would have had to take a step back for her not to bump into me, so I didn’t step back. I wanted her to press her breasts against my chest and to feel her heat in this already hot room. She did that and I felt like a cad for making her, even though she pressed in more than she needed to. She put her arms around me and pressed her lips against mine.

 

            I sort of wanted to pull away from her, to not take advantage of her. She was a married woman whose child was missing. The problem was that her breasts felt firm against my chest and her body was strong and supple, just like I remembered. While her tongue slipped into my mouth, I couldn’t help but think of Columbia naked and handcuffed to a pipe in the basement. I tried to pull away from the kiss a little, but she pushed herself back onto me pressing her body tight against mine.

 

            “Oh, I’ve missed you,” she whispered after she finally broke away for breath. Her fingers ruffled the short black hair at the back of my head.

 

            “I’ve got to go and find your daughter,” I said, trying not to let my voice catch in my throat.

 

            “I just wanted to kiss you again,” she said hugging me. “I just wanted you to respond again.”

 

            “Well, I’ve responded now, haven’t I?” I asked as she pressed herself into my response.

 

            “Yes,” she smiled up at me.

 

            “I’ve got to go now.”

 

            “Alright,” she nodded slowly as I pulled away from her.

 

            I didn’t turn my back on her, I walked away from her and stopped just before I hit the door. I had to take my eyes off her to reach for the handle, but I figured I was far enough away that if I looked away I wouldn’t get immediately jumped. It was only a moment, but she took six steps before I got my eyes back on her. She smiled at me taking another delicate step towards me; I twisted the doorknob and yanked the door open, leaning towards her as I did. She leaned towards me and I couldn’t help myself but to kiss her again. It probably wasn’t a good idea, to keep starting this affair up every time I saw her, but I just couldn’t help it.

 

            I walked out of the room and was relieved to see that the hallway was empty. I walked down the long hall alone, and eventually came to the front hall and saw Bendis standing alone by the grandfather clock reading the newspaper. His eyes glanced over the paper, saw me, and then folded it under his arm in one motion.

 

            “Mister Collier,” Bendis said with a nod.

 

            “Bendis,” I said passing him by.

 

            “Will you need anything?” Bendis asked. “A check or other symbol of retainment?”

 

            “Not yet,” I said, not wanting to explain that Mrs. Freedom had more than retained me. “I’ll call when I need something.”

 

            He walked out ahead of me and opened the door for me, which let the heat of summer slap me in the face. I walked out into the humidity, which was like stepping into an oven. It was too damn hot, too damn humid, and just too much bull. I walked down the stairs and pulled my suit jacket off as I opened the door to my little car. I tossed it into the backseat and sat down in the driver’s seat, closing the door behind me. I turned the car on to get the air conditioning going as quickly as possible. I would have to call ahead if I was going to go to The Flower Bed, they didn’t like it if you showed up without an appointment.

 

This is part five of twenty-three, come back next week for part six and every Thursday until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The Wonderland tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

He wassss a man

I’ve got to go with what seems to be the popular opinion about the new Cobra Commander for the new G.I. Joe movie, which is “That looks terrible.”

Now you might argue that the metallic mask would have looked bad or that this is more realistic, and you might be right, but what was wrong with the hood? I don’t buy the argument that it looked like a KKK hood, and even if it did… so what? Bad guys all look sort of universal, right? We are still talking about liberal Hollywood here aren’t we?

And as for the realism argument… well I guess I can agree. I mean, when you’re talking about a super-elite military group made up of a woman who took the name of the heroin in Gone with the Wind, a black guy who always speaks in rhyme, and a ninja who are fighting against a terrorist group run by a used car salesman and a Scotsman in a metal mask who have their own ninja and an eastern European hottie as hench-people, then realism is of the UTMOST importance. We don’t want to look silly here.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kitten

Syd shot down the names Tuco, and Thelonious so I decided to call the cat Vienna. Since she didn’t even discuss the kitten with us she is bared from naming it but she announced that I had to pick something that at least sounded feminine. So… Vienna. Because I like it and you can fuck off if you don’t. We’re only supposed to have 3 cats, our lease says so. This animal will cause nothing but trouble. Fancy, Folly and Al are also not happy about this. I suspect we’ll all get over it soonish.

Most the shots turned out like these first two. She is so excited that she can’t stop running.

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That isn’t a shrewd look, she’s falling asleep, that’s the only way I could get these shots without her zooming about.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Liberty’s Child (Part Four)

Note: Sorry this is late, I was having technical difficulties all day yesterday.

 

Liberty’s Child

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

 

 

Day Four: Major Freedom

 

            Major Freedom was sitting alone in his study, a crystal decanter sitting mostly empty in front of him and a highly carved crystal glass in his hand. He looked depressed, which I suppose was understandable. A single desk lamp was the only source of light in the room, illuminating an area about eighteen inches across.

 

            “Collier,” he said, his sharp voice softened by what I deduced was a prodigious amount of booze. “Come sit.”

 

            I nodded to Bendis and started my way into the dark office. The door closed behind me and my eyes started to adjust to the dark office enough for me to make out the chair I was supposed to sit in. There might have been anything between me and it–I would have to be careful if I bumped into a tribe of pygmies along the way. I eventually made my way across the carpeted floor, expecting at any moment that I would be eaten by a grue in the dark.

 

            I sat down in the overstuffed leather chair and looked at the old man, deciding to let him start the ball rolling. He poured himself a drink, without offering me any, and swallowed it in a single gulp. Having steadied his nerves, he could start to talk to me. I wanted to light a cigarette, just to annoy him. I don’t smoke, but I wanted to annoy him because I find him to be such an annoying character. He opened a drawer of his desk and pulled out a large white envelope. He tossed it across the desk, sort of in my direction. I reached out and took the envelope, as my eyes were probably adjusted enough for me to see what was in it.

 

            “They started with just threats,” he said suddenly, pointing at the envelope, which was stuffed with papers. “Tried blackmail notes and threats and things. I had Bendis make copies of everything.”

 

            I looked into the envelope, where a bunch of copies of handwritten notes and notes made of cut out magazine letters were arranged one after another. Who the hell ever heard of anyone really doing that? A ransom note made up letters that were cut out of magazines, next thing you know I’d be describing a woman as the kind of trouble you want or something.

 

            “What do they want?” I asked.

 

            “Money,” he said, but I could tell that wasn’t it. If it was money he would have mentioned a figure.

 

            “What else?” I asked, looking up at him.

 

            “What do you mean?” he asked.

 

            “Is there more than just money?” I said leaning back in the chair. “Have they made any special requests?”

 

            “Five million dollars isn’t enough?” Freedom asked.

 

            “Sounds like a lot to me.” I said, rubbing my chin. “When did you get the first note that she’d been kidnapped?”

 

            “Saturday,” He said, grabbing the ring on his left ring finger and turning it around. “It came in the morning, right about the time we were wondering where the hell she was.”

 

            “She just didn’t come home Friday night?”

 

            “That’s right,” he said biting his nail. “Her friends that she was supposed to be going out with stayed home on Friday.”

 

            “The police and FBI were called?”

 

            “Yes,” he nodded and poured himself another drink without offering me any. “They’re working on it. We’ve got to keep it quiet though, I can’t afford to have anything go wrong right now. We’ve got a very delicate negotiation going on with our Middle East expansion, something like this could derail everything. I don’t need the extra attention.”

 

            I nearly grumbled that it would certainly be a shame if his precious expansion deal into the Middle East got derailed by something as trivial as a lunatic holding a gun to his eldest child’s head, but I knew that would get us nowhere. He was already wound up enough with his four year attempt to expand his operations into places where he clearly wasn’t wanted, and he was a little touchy about the subject.

 

            “Were they asking for money before?” I asked looking at the notes, which besides being cliché were terribly generic.

 

            “Yes,” he said, “They claimed they had some proof they could blackmail me with, but they never said what it was. Then they snatch Columbia and tell me I need to pay five million dollars to get her back.”

 

            I wanted to slap him and ask if he was aware that his twenty-two year old daughter was missing. His little girl, the light of his life as he’d once put it, was probably naked and duck taped to a pipe in a basement. Yet all he could do was worry about his deal and how much it would cost to not ruin his deal.

 

            “Who’s working on it?” I asked.

 

            “FBI, local and state police,” he waved his hand listlessly. “You know… everyone.”

 

            “Including me.”

 

            “Yes,” he nodded despondently and poured himself another drink. “How much?”

 

            “How much for what?”

 

            “How much to look into this?” he asked, leaning forward again and raising his voice. “How much do you want to get her back?”

 

            “Am I to work with the police?” I asked, remembering how he felt about compartments.

 

            “No,” he shook his head, which was a relief. “No, you’re working for me. You can talk to them, but you remember that you’re going to be my agent. They’re going to fuck around and be really polite to a lot of people and they’re not going to find her. I think it’s someone they won’t talk to because I’m not the only one around here with money.”

 

            “I understand,” I nodded. “You want me to go step on the toes that the cops won’t?”

 

            “Yeah,” he then smiled for the first time and it wasn’t a pleasant smile. “That’s right, you go step on toes. Maybe if enough people complain about their toes the police will decide someone’s being suspicious about it.”

 

            “Okay Major,” I said standing up. “I think I can get to work right away then.”

 

            “No, wait,” he said waving his hand at me, “Before you go, my wife wants to talk to you, please go see her.”

 

            “Yeah, okay,” I said, and had to wonder if he thought I was going to rush out the door and start dancing a fandango on every foot I could find.

 

            I left the old man to his dark room and his booze, wondering if he even understood that he had a family beyond that group of people who came with him when he needed to be photographed. His total lack of interest in how Columbia might be feeling annoyed me, but then I probably knew his family better than he did. I walked into the light of the hallway and found a dark-haired eleven-year-old girl facing me.

 

            “Hi Jack!” Jenicia announced and nearly tackled me when she jumped up to hug me.

 

            “Hi Jen,” I said trying to both maintain my balance and not drop her on the floor. We managed a quick hug and I set her down.

 

            “Mom wants to see you,” she said walking a few steps ahead of me and tilting her head. “C’mon, she’s in the plant room.”

 

            “How are you doing then?” I asked her as I followed her thin and somewhat gawky frame down the hall.

 

            “It’s boring,” she complained, falling into step next to me. “I can’t go anywhere because Collie got grabbed or something. You ask me she ran off with a boyfriend and they’re faking this so she can get money out of daddy.”

 

            “She done that before?” I asked, noting the Jenicia was growing into quite a beautiful and suspicious young woman.

 

            “She’s talked about it,” Jenicia said. “She’s got lots of dumb ideas like that, she’s sort of dumb like Daddy, you know? All those dumb ideas that they haven’t really thought through?”

 

            “Yeah,” I nodded, remembering some of the schemes Columbia had hatched.

 

            “And now I can’t even go anywhere because Daddy thinks I’m going to be grabbed next.”

 

            “Except you don’t think she was snatched?” I asked.

 

            “Not for five,” She said. “Anyone who knew what they were doing would ask for ten times that.”

 

            “Hmm.” I said noncommittally.

 

            We arrived at the door to what Jenicia would have called the conservatory, except I got her to stop calling it that when she was a little kid. She leaned against the door of the plant room and tilted her head towards it, smiling up at me. I looked at the door, knowing what was on the other side. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go in; it was that I wanted to go in too badly.

 

            “What’s the matter?” she asked, a smirk forming on her lips. “Shy or something?”

 

            “I was waiting for you to open the door.” I said, looking down at her.

 

            “Oh, sorry,” she grabbed the handle and swung the door open.

 

            Natural light spilled into the hall from the plant room, the sweet smell of roses and other flowers wafting towards me. The room was full of the smell of living things dependent on the attentions of others. I looked into the room, knowing that she was around a corner, waiting for me to enter but out of sight at the moment.

 

            “Well?” Jenicia asked.

 

            “Okay,” I agreed, “now I’m shy.”

 

            “Well, you can’t stand here all day,” she smiled at me, as if she knew some secret that I hadn’t been made aware of. “You’ve got to get in there, so get moving.”

 

            “Yeah,” I said, taking a step through the door, “I’ll do that.”

 

            The door swung closed behind me, leaving me alone in the plant room with what could be described as a predator. A sort of tigress was in here with me, and she knew my scent well. There wasn’t going to be any hiding. I would have to march right in and get eaten like a man. I didn’t feel like a man though, I felt like a mouse. If I was lucky, I might be able to take a thorn from her paw and not get eaten alive as a result. Of course, saying all that also made it sound like I didn’t want this particular tigress to put me in her mouth and chew me up.

 

            I took a step into the plant room and heard the door click behind me. I was trapped in here now, with no getting away.

 

This is part four of twenty-three, come back next week for part three and every Thursday until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The Wonderland tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Everyone else does them, why not me once in a while?

I remember years ago Richard Pryor had a comment about cocaine. Something along the lines of “it’s an epidemic now… that means white folk are doing it”
I wonder what he’d say about this study that says More whites, fewer blacks going to prison for drugs, and this tiny part of me wonders if that’s going to cause people to demand a change in drugs laws. Because, you know, it was okay to warehouse blacks in progressively more overcrowded jails, but now white folk are getting busted and that just shouldn’t happen. Yes, I do believe most people are more or less racist turds. It’s not really a race thing for me though, it’s just I believe that 98% of the worlds population are selfish, stupid, greedy assholes.

And did I mention violent? That’s called a segue by the way. It helps link unrelated ideas. Like I link the last story to this one where Hulk Hogan has announced “I totally understand O.J. I get it” He went on to elaborate “I could have turned everything into a crime scene like O.J., cutting everybody’s throat,” just in case you didn’t quite catch his drift. Oh sure, he tried to have his people backpeddle for him after that, but he pretty much played right into his wife’s hands with that statement.

And speaking of people who can’t catch a break, (Hey fuck you! This segue shit is harder than it looks okay?) the Marsh Arabs of Iraq can’t seem to catch one either. Saddam drained their lakes, the UN tried to restore them, and then a 2 year drought came in and bent them back over the table just as they were starting to stand up and look for some cream for their sore backsides.

I have no clever link for this story titled The dark side of Dubai unless you want to linked being totally boned and trapped in the desert or something. Yeah, I probably could have linked them like that, couldn’t I?

April 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reused Drawings

I found this story about Disney re-using… I guess reference drawings interesting, but not for the reason intended. What I find interesting is that the video isn’t at all what I would have used. They talk about re-using animation, which Disney does, but the drawings they show in the video require a more subtle eye. The animation in the video seems to be several pieces that use the same reference art. This isn’t taking cells from an old movie and putting them in the back ground to create a livelier city scene (watch Robin Hood and then Mickey’s Christmas Carol* one right after the other and you’ll see what I mean) or inserting old animation into a scene because you want to re-use a character but don’t feel like making fresh drawings (Mickey’s Christmas Carol again) or anything like that.

What you have in this video are shots where characters were animated the exact same twice, sometimes right down to the waggle of a head or flicker of an ear. That I find very interesting. The scenes still had to be drawn, inked and painted by hand, but they clearly follow the same reference sketches over which I find interesting. I’m not sure pointing out the dance at the end of Beauty and the Beast is fair though, or at least it’s no great discovery, since it was intended.

Like I said though, it seems sort of petty to point these out the way the story does. Calling them lazy or stupid when they were merely trying to save money during a difficult time. Particularly in the 70s and early 80s Disney, as a company, got its ass handed to it. There almost was no Disney after Walt died, so they did a few things to cut a little bit of expense while trying new techniques and trying to tell different kinds of stories. I find it interesting that while those days had some questionable animation, the stories they were telling into those dark days were some of the company’s more diverse and interesting. Hell, one of the end results is that it got us The Black Cauldron, which is still one of their most underrated films.

It really makes me bristle since I know of far more direct ways they really reused drawings and cells (really, watch Mickey’s Christmas Carol with a careful eye, half that thing was reused animation) to mind a few sketches being drawn over again. They did have some lazy days, but for the most part they tried like crazy to make a product that would let them spend their dwindling resources in an interesting and innovative way.

And that’s really strange coming from me because I don’t even like Disney Features that much. I’m more of a fan of their strange little experimental bits that came in the form of shorts like The Truth about Mother Goose (here is part two of that cartoon), Pigs is Pigs and Jack and Old Mac to the full length stuff that had to rely on stories and less nuttiness.

Hey look! I can embed the video directly! The video is interesting, but I wouldn’t use it as a comment on laziness so much as a comment on how one can creatively reuse source drawings in a way people won’t notice for 30 years.

See more funny videos and TBT Videos at Today’s Big Thing.

Only it doesn’t seem to embed in WordPress, so you can follow the link here and see the video if you like.

*I’m not saying Mickey’s Christmas Carol is bad because of that, I’m jsut saying they do reuse a lot of animation. I say it’s bad for other reasons which you can read here.

April 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Easter

Enjoy your pagan symbols of springtime fertility!

This is a bunny movie right? Hippity Hopping in the meadow and doing all sorts of bunny things, yeah?

I’ve never actually seen it myself, but it’s a cartoon about rabbits so I assume it’s full of cute and cuddly bunnies.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last one for a while













April 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Hope you don’t mind…

I am sort of bleh because I am very tired…

So I might as well post more pictures!

This is the big version of my first attempt
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Tried to see how much I could get out of changing the contrast, tried to make it darker.
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Just went crazy
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I tried to make it lighter and then even lighter, I think this one really turned out well. In fact, this one is probably my favorite, which probably mean it’s the only one that’s even acceptable. If I create 10 things and discard nine of them, I’ve still got one really good piece. One good piece is better than no pieces at all.
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Then I faded this one out as well, it didn’t do as well
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This one looks more manipulated than some of the others, but then this wasn’t a great shot to begin with. I thought if I took a sort of crap shot I might make it better.
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I ran this one back and forth through the blur and sharpen filters as well as all the other stuff, jsut to see what I’d get.
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It’s a wheel! In high contrast!
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What happens if I just turn the blur filter on and leave it?
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I’ll end with a kitty, everyone likes kitties. Except total bastards of course.
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April 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment