Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One-Night Stand #1.2

Brett Williams was with Chris in his bedroom as he was getting dressed. "So this will be you guy's first date?" he asked.

Chris smiled as he attempted to find the right tie. "Yep. I'm looking forward to it. She seems nice and she is going to be the mother of my child."

"You do realize that you're doing all this backwards, right?" Brett asked. "You're supposed to date first, then sleep together then have babies."

"We're not doing it backwards, we're just doing it...out of order," Chris said and held up two neckties. "Which tie?"

"Why wear a tie? Who are you trying to impress? You've already bagged her."

Chris shook his head, wadded up a tie and threw it at Brett.




"The Date"
Chris helped the pregnant Heather out of his car and they walked hand-in-hand into the restaurant. "I have reservations," Chris said to the hostess. "Two for 7:30 under Gaelan."

She glanced at her book and smiled. "All right, right this way."

Chris helped seat Heather and then sat down himself across from her. "You look really nice tonight," he said but couldn't help noticing how Heather's pregnant breasts were pressed tightly against her dress.

"Thanks. This was my only nice dress that still fit enough for me to wear it. I really hope this baby is worth all the trouble," Heather joked and faked a laugh.

"It will be. Look at the great stock it comes from," Chris said.

"That was a joke. I'm going to love the baby no matter what," Heather said. "What are you going to order?"

Chris looked at Heather--mainly at her eyes behind her glasses. "I don't know yet. Everything here is good."

After they had ordered their food, they sat in silence for a few more minutes until Heather spoke. "So are you going to go to school here?" she asked, referring to the local community college.

"Maybe. I don't want to but I want something more than my high school diploma. What about you?" Chris asked.

"I would like to but that's not for a few years. I'll have a baby to take care of first," Heather said.

"You'll have me to help you out. Maybe you can take a class or two. Hopefully my credits from U of Mass can be transferred," Chris said.

"You didn't have to stay," Heather reminded. "I gave you a choice and it was your decision."

"I know. I'm just saying. I want to help you out. It's my duty as a father. Besides, how great could college be knowing I have an illegitimate child halfway across the country?" Chris laughed. "So, you know the purpose of this date, right?"

"Yeah. To see if we have what it takes to be in a relationship."

Chris nodded.

"I don't think it would work out," Heather said. "We're too different. We want different things out of life. I want a good, healthy family and you want...what you wanted in high school."

"What? Why can't I have it all? A good education, a good job and a good family?"

"Because me and the baby will always come in last. I appreciate the attempt made here but I think we should just remain...oh, let's just call it friends."

"So I got dressed up and am paying all this money and I'm not even going to get anything out of it?" Chris asked.

"You weren't gonna get any anyway," Heather replied back. "And I know most of it was probably the hormones of a teenage boy but you wanting to sleep with me in my condition makes me feel better about my body. So, thanks."

"You are very attractive, Heather. Any man who doesn't see it is a fool."

"The answer is still 'no', Chris."




The Round Corner Coffee Shop was the only locally-owned coffee shop in the city and was located in the old downtown district. It was so named because the building it was in was more rounded on the corner than the other buildings. It was also 24 hours so it was constantly looking for additional help which is how Chris got a job there so quickly.

Chris came in and went behind the counter where a girl already was. Irene Marshall greeted Chris and showed him where the aprons were. Irene was a short girl with blond hair. She had a slight pointy chin and a big smile and her green eyes seemed to set just right on her face. Chris found her mildly attractive but liked her personality more.

"I am so glad Johnnie finally hired another person to help out," Irene said. "It can get really busy in here sometimes. Did you got to school here?" she asked Chris.

"Yeah. I graduated back in May. Up until a couple weeks ago, I was in Boston going to college there."

"Wow! I've always wanted to visit the northeast. New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. I bet it's amazing there."

"It was nice. I liked it there," Chris said.

"Then why are you back here?" Irene asked.

"I'm going to be a father so that's why I came back," he revealed.

"Oh my God!" Irene smiled big. "Congratulations. When's it due?"

"In a month and a half or so."

"Do you know if it's going to be a boy or a girl?"

"I don't know," he shrugged.

"Are you and the mother going to get married?"

"No, we're not even dating or anything," Chris said.

"Oh, that's so sad."

"Why is that sad? We're still going to be loving parents. We're going to live together," Chris said.

"Oh, Chris. That's so sweet," she touched his arm and then walked away.

Chris nervously looked around. "What? What's sweet?" he shouted.

Next:
Chris goes to his first doctor's appointment and finds divorce papers in Kim's desk.

Then What Does She Do All Day?

Born Loser 09-30-09
Spirit of what season? Autumn, I assume but does that really qualify for a nice, baked apple pie? Even a store bought one. But in Gladys' defense, if she put the pie in the oven for five minutes to heat it up then she did, in fact, bake it. She said nothing of homemade.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oak Island

Near the coast of Nova Scotia, in Mahone Bay, lies a small island dubbed the Money Pit and it is believed to have a massive treasure buried on it. Numerous excavations have taken place trying to find the treasure but so far, nothing has yielded any results. In 1795, 16-year-old Daniel McGinnis discovered a circular depression in a clearing on the southeastern end of the island with an adjacent tree which had a tackle block on one of its overhanging branches. McGinnis, with the help of friends John Smith (in early accounts, Samuel Ball) and Anthony Vaughan, excavated the depression and discovered a layer of flagstones a few feet below. On the pit walls there were visible markings from a pick. As they dug down they discovered layers of logs at about every ten feet. They abandoned the excavation after 30 feet. About eight years after the 1795 dig, according to the original articles and the memories of Vaughan, another company examined what was to become known as the Money Pit. They continued the excavation down to approximately 90 feet, finding charcoal, putty and coconut fibers at 40, 50 and 60 feet. At 80 or 90 feet, a large stone was found bearing inscriptions of symbols. Several researchers are said to have deciphered the symbols, one translating them as saying: "forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried." The pit subsequently flooded and the excavation was abandoned.

Another attempt at mining occured in 1849 but nothing was found. Yet another attempt was made in 1861 by the Oak Island Association which resulted in the collapse of the bottom of the shaft into either a natural cavern or booby trap underneath. The first fatality during excavations occurred when the boiler of a pumping engine burst. The company gave up in 1864 after their funds were exhausted. Further excavations were made in 1866, 1893, 1909, 1931, 1935, 1936, and 1959, none of which were successful. Franklin Roosevelt was a part of the excavation team in 1909 and kept up with the Oak Island developments through most of his life. Gilbert Hedden purchased the southeast end of the island. He began digging in the summer of 1935, following excavations by William Chappell in 1931. In 1939, he even informed King George VI of the United Kingdom about developments on Oak Island.

Around 1967, Daniel C. Blankenship and David Tobias formed Triton Alliance, Ltd. and purchased most of the island. In 1971, Triton workers excavated a 235-foot shaft supported by a steel caisson to bedrock. According to Blankenship and Tobias, cameras lowered down the shaft into a cave below recorded the presence of some chests, human remains, wooden cribbing and tools; however, the images were unclear, and none of these claims have been independently confirmed. The shaft subsequently collapsed, and the excavation was again abandoned. The shaft was re-dug 181 feet but was stopped due to lack of funds and the collapse of the partnership. In the mid-1960s an account of the excavation of the money pit was featured in Reader's Digest and in 1979, the island was featured on an episode of In Search Of....

During the 1990s, further exploration was stalled because of legal battles between the Triton partners. As of 2005, a portion of the island was for sale for an estimated US$7 million. A group called the Oak Island Tourism Society had hoped the Government of Canada would purchase the island, but a group of American businessmen in the drilling industry did so instead. It was announced in April 2006 that partners from Michigan had purchased a 50% stake in Oak Island Tours Inc., for an undisclosed amount of money. The shares sold to the Michigan partners were previously owned by David Tobias; remaining shares are owned by Blankenship. Center Road Developments, in conjunction with Allan Kostrzewa, a member of the Michigan group, had purchased Lot 25 from David Tobias for a reported $230,000 one year previous to Tobias selling the rest of his share. The Michigan group, working with Blankenship, has said it will resume operations on Oak Island in the hope of discovering buried treasure and the mystery of Oak Island.

It is unknown who, if anyone, occupied the island prior to the first excavation or if there really is any treasure buried there. The stone supposedly reading "forty feet below lie two million pounds" disappeared around 1912 and it's whereabouts are unknown. The treasure is rumored to be pirate treasure, specifically either Captain Kidd's or Blackbeard's treasure. Other theories say that the treasure is either from a Spanish galleon or from British troops during the American Revolution. Another theory says that the treasure is really Marie Antoinette's jewels and even stranger, some theories say that Oak Island is hiding proof that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays or that the pit contains the Holy Grail. Of course, all theories remain undocumented and in dispute.

The most common belief now is that the money pit is just a sinkhole and that there is nothing special about it.

The location of Oak Island, just off of the coast of Nova Scotia.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why?

About a week or so ago, Bill Sparkman was found hanging naked in the woods in Kentucky. The word "fed" was spraypainted across his chest. Now, normally, I would just glance over this story make a sarcastic comment about Kentuckians and go about my day. But this story made me stop and think. Mainly because Sparkman was a census worker.

Starting in the middle of April, I began working for the 2010 Census and it was pretty cool work. Essentially I went door to door throughout Lawrence verifying that the address actually existed and I mapped it. It was pretty decent work and it was honest work. When I got out of Lawrence that's when things changed. In Topeka I met people who feared I was with ACORN or that I was pushing some sort of Obama-ian propaganda on them. We've been doing the census since 1780 so I think that's really out of the president's hands by now. But it was really interesting the huge difference of people I ended up meeting. The more rural I got the more people looked at me very cautiously and I'm pretty sure they thought I was there to cause harm. I actually had it pretty easy compared to some other people who were doing the same job.

One person said that when they drove up someone's driveway (which we are legally authorized to do) the people on the property told her "you sure are lucky that gate was open or else we would've had to shoot at you." What? Shoot? Why? Because they had an oil pump on their land. Another person was told by several nearby neighbors not to go onto this one guy's property because "he's always blowing something up on his land" and that "even the police won't go down there." What? Is this new epidemic of crazy new or is it something that has been around for awhile? We census workers were also warned about deadly animals, snakes and other stuff that could cause harm.

I just find this horrible that someone took their hatred of government (or probably more accurately, Obama's government) too far and killed an innocent man and then humiliated him all to...what? Send a warning? Prove a point? I don't get it. And I probably never will.

On the plus side, the census will know if he was working, where he was working and other things because all that is on the computer we workers were given and those computers have GPS.

You can read a full article on the death of Bill Sparkman here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What a Bitch

Born Loser 09-26-09
I would be so pissed if my significant other did this to me. She knows he lost 12 pounds but the look on Gladys' face in the last panel proves she's just doing it because she finds it fun.

Damn you, Gladys. Damn you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Whole Strip Is a Joke

Born Loser 09-25-09
If you have to say that it's a joke, it's probably not a joke.

In other news, either Brutus has a new therapist or his old one shaved off his little beard.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Well, What Was He Going to Do With Two Shiny Nickels Anyway?

Born Loser 09-24-09
Ok. I don't have any money so the last place I would go to eat is a fancy restaurant. Why did Brutus come here if he didn't have enough money. You don't want to go to your regular diner but you can't afford a fancy restaurant--there has to be a happy medium like a fast food place or something.

Also, how much money does Brutus have? He's the only one eating. Even if you're only looking at an appetizer and a main dish I would say Brutus has spent, at most, $15-20. Maybe the waiter did make a mistake.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Most Awkward Arm-Around-Shoulder Ever

Born Loser 09-23-09
Why does Brutus admire and respect Veeblefester? Veeblefester isn't exactly the best role model for, well, anyone. Now I can understand admiring someone who worked hard to get where they are today. Someone who pulled themselves up by the boot straps and trudged onward. I know Veeblefester is supposed to be like that but Veeblefester seems like the kind of guy who got where he is today but violating numerous SEC regulations and accepting massive government bailouts.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Devil's Tree

Standing alone in the middle of a field just off of Mountain Road near Martinsville, New Jersey is a solitary oak tree with a few dead limbs. Looking at the tree there is nothing special about it except that local legend says that the tree is cursed and is owned by the Devil.

One of the first stories about the tree is that a farmer who owned the land way back in the day killed his entire family and then hung himself from the tree and according to the locals there have been other murders and suicides around the tree. There is evidence around the trunk of the tree that people have went out there and tried to cut it down and it is said that anyone who tries to cut it down will meet an untimely end.

The tree is supposedly a gateway to Hell and that a sentinel guards it at night. The sentinel apparently drives a black pick-up truck and will chase you down if you come near the tree, damage it or even talk bad about it within earshot of the tree. There is a better explanation that says that the KKK used the field for their meetings and the tree for hangings of African-Americans. The area was more secluded than it is now so it was away from the prying eyes of the police.

The tree continued to stand, at the intersection of Mountain Road and Emerald Valley Lane, although it has been damaged enough to require the erection of a chain link fence around the trunk of the tree to prevent more damage. Bernards Township planned to develop the area and cut the tree down but decided to preserve the tree instead despite neighbors in the area saying it is a nuisance. The township even went so far as to post hours for the tree. In May of 2009, the tree's branches were trimmed or cut down so the tree doesn't look the same.

The Devil's Tree in 2006.


The Devil's Tree in the summer of 2009, after getting it's branches trimmed.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

!!

Born Loser 09-19-09
Oh my God! Continuity! Can't...comprehend...Brain popping...eyes bleeding. Oxygen unable to enter lungs......................

Friday, September 18, 2009

Brian Rants About a Touchy Subject

Born Loser 09-18-09
God Dammit, Chip! First Brutus's birthday was in March, then it was in August now it's in May? Make up your mind! Either come up with a static day or month for the birthdays or don't even mention dates when you talk about birthdays. I hate when birthdays in stories and comic strips bounce around the calendar. It's annoying. Especially when you read every single strip for the past two years.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eww, Squishy

Born Loser 09-17-09
Nothing about the name of this dish sound good. Sauteed fillet of squid. The look on Brutus in the second panel is completely justified.

No More

My book is available for all to order on Amazon.com, BN.com and among other places. You could also call PublishAmerica directly and order copies of my book. When I finished Harter Union back in late 2004, I was proud of myself and sent the manuscript to any publishing company that seemed like a good fit for it. I got quite a few rejection letters, which I have all saved, and then I came across PublishAmerica and, being young and stupid, didn't quite look into it as much as I should have. Even I thought PA was kind of skeevy but I went with them anyway. Looking back, I'm not exactly sure why. I had to do my own promotion, I got a crappy signing bonus ($1) and it seemed as if no one actually considered PA a normal publishing house.

Maybe I was just excited to actually see my book in "print" but I received and signed the contract and was excited to receive my dollar. I even received two free copies that were mine to do whatever I wished with. I received several emails helping out with editing and cover images. The first draft of the cover featured a scantily clad woman sitting on top of the title. I immediately told them to get that off of there. I don't even know why they put her on there. I'm assuming for color or something because otherwise the cover is kind of dark. I liked the cover although I look at it now and think of what could have been. I don't know what I would've done for a cover but not something like this--maybe similar, but not exactly like this.

On the plus side, I have spent a whopping fortune of zero dollars and zero cents in getting my book published. That is something that can't be said for authors submitted to PA now. PA now charges to edit ($49), redoing the cover ($99) and any last minute changes ($99, possibly more). One thing that hasn't changed is that PA will offer to frame your bonus, the dollar, for $19.99. I bought my own frame for $6 from Wal-Mart. Shortly after signing, I began reading around and saw all the commotion. Undaunted, I figured I may be able to recoup my losses of what I spent to photocopy and mail out the rejected manuscripts but to date I have only received $10 ($8 from one check, $2 from another). I didn't even cash the $2 one. My book has been out since February 2006 and PA authors receive a royalty check every six months. My first check was for $8, my second for $2, my third $0, my fourth $0.02, my fifth $0, my sixth $0 and I have yet to receive my latest one (for $0, no doubt). I have no idea where that $0.02 came from but I was shocked they wasted the paper for two cents. I didn't cash that one either.

I decided to never tell people to go the PublishAmerica's website or call and give their information to them. I told people to go to Amazon, it seemed like a safer place to give out your credit card number to. I was stunned at the cost of the 228 page paperback creation that was my book: $19.99 plus whatever it is for shipping. Well, thankfully, PA has changed their prices over the years and now my 228 softcover creation is only $24.99. However, you can get it in hardcover for $29.99. I bought Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union brand new in 2007. It's 415 pages, hardcover $26.95. I bought Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh in the last year or so (it's from 1988) for $13.95 and it's over 300 pages in softcover. And yes, the price of a PA book goes up if it has more pages. But I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my life, advertising my book less frequently because I don't want to gyp anyone--friend or stranger--out of $25 for my P.O.S. book.

PublishAmerica began this promotion thing where authors would email their website links to PA and PA would create a page on their website listing their author's websites. That I decided to do so I sent them my web address (this one) and waited. Soon the pages were up and I went to check them out. Most people sent in their MySpace accounts, a few had sites on free hosting sites like freewebs or geocities, some just had blogs that talked about the book they had written and published through PA (those I found really sad that you had to create an entire site for your piddly book) but only a few actually had their own website, URL and purpose. A majority of site with their own URL still only talked about their PA book and what they were currently writing or something like that. Only a few that I saw actually was a site worth going back to every day. PublishAmerica chose not to include "Watch This Space". My guess is that they ran each website through some sort of search to see if the person bad-mouths them. If they do then the website isn't included. Seems fair to me. They also regularly edit their own message board, Tweets and anything else they can to rid the world of people who back sass them.

And through all that, I did nothing. Now, I have read that they are discontinuing their 301 area code phone number to take orders. Instead, they are urging people to go online and buy the book or to call their new number. A 1-900 number. That's right, 1-900, as in phone sex. Yes, for just (maybe) $0.99 a minute you can order multiple copies of a badly edited and printed book for only $25 (plus s&h). That was the final straw. I now disavow any knowledge that I have a book out there. Maybe soon I will talk with PA to get my book back from them but I shall never submit it again. I will reuse the characters in my book 87 but Harter Union is dead to me.

For more PublishAmerica bashing, you can view the Absolute Write threads or you can go here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brutus Is Trustworthy

Born Loser 09-16-09
Veeblefester is like me. I don't fall asleep next to just anyone. I rarely, if ever, fall asleep in the car when someone else is driving but if I do then that means I really trust you. I'm glad Veeblefester is the same way. It makes me feel as if someday...I could be like Veeblefester...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One-Night Stand #1.1

"The Party"
Christopher Gaelan and Brett Williams stood next to each other in the massive house of Congressman Roger Vanacor. It was three days after the class of 2009 graduated and twins Lana and Michael Vanacor were throwing a huge party while their parents were away. Chris was marveling at the random acts of drunkenness and debauchery that were running rampant.

"That's the ninth nipple I've seen tonight," Chris said as Kenna Rodgers ran past.

"Hey, I am all for huge, sex-driven parties like this. I'm not going home until I get laid!" Brett said.

"Aim for the sky, Brett," Chris took a drink of his beer. "I honestly don't know why I'm here. I should be home packing. I leave in two days."

"I can't believe we're gonna be separated for the first time since Kindergarten," Brett said.

"I'll be back to visit," Chris said.

"Ooh, Kenna's forming a line. I better get over there," Brett noticed and left Chris alone.

Chris continued standing where he was and looked on at the festivities. A tall girl appeared next to him. She had shoulder-length brown hair, glasses covering dark brown eyes but what she was wearing made her look frumpy.

"Hey," she said.

Chris glanced at her confusedly. "Hey..."

"Enjoying yourself?" she asked.

"Yeah, I guess," he shrugged. They were silent again. "I'm sorry. Were you a senior?" he asked.

"I get this a lot. I'm Heather Marsh. Just because I chose to study and work hard at school and not do that..." she pointed to Kenna who was letting boys suck her nipples for a dime a piece, "I'm invisible to a majority of the student body."

"Sorry, Heather," Chris said. "I'm usually not so shallow."

"I know. That's why I like you even though we've never spoken before," Heather said.

"Are you going to college or...?"

"I am taking a year off. I'm leaving in August for eastern Europe to travel around then I'm off to New York in January then in the following August I'm starting at UCLA," Heather said.

"I'm going to the University of Massachusetts in Boston," Chris said, feeling deflated.

"At least you're leaving town. This place is a stinkhole. I feel so sorry for the people who are staying in this town. Sitting around, raising ten children with someone they don't really love and counting the minutes until the Grim Reaper takes them away."

Chris looked at Heather, taking a quick glance at what little cleavage was showing. "Great big ball of sunshine aren't you?"

The door next to where they were standing suddenly flung open and a guy wearing nothing but a condom and covering his mouth came running out. "Gotta vomit!" he said in a muffled voice.

"And on that note, I'm out of here," Heather said and began to walk away.

Chris bit his lip then went after her. "Heather, wait! This house has plenty of rooms. This may seem kind of forward but what do you say we take a bunch of beers to one of those rooms, lock the door and...see what happens?" Chris gambled.

Heather smiled at him. "You're on, Gaelan," she said.




An hour and six more beers had passed in the room where Chris and Heather took up residence. She was laying on her back and Chris was on his side with his arm across Heather's stomach.

"Do you remember when that hole was found in the wall between the locker rooms showers?" Heather asked.

"Of course. A week's worth of running the track. Worst week ever!" Chris giggled.

"What the higher-ups never revealed was that they brought in a forensic officer from the police to look at the hole and he discovered that it was made from the girl's side so that means..."

"A guy sneaked into the girl's locker room or..."

"A girl made the hole!" they both laughed.

Chris kept chuckling as he spoke. "How do you know that?" he asked.

"My best friend's dad was in the police force and was friends with the officer who did the investigating."

"God, I hate this school," Chris said and held Heather closer to him. "I'm glad it's over." He looked down at her, their faces close to each other.

"Me, too," she said hesitantly.

Chris slowly lowered his head and placed his lips on hers. Their eyes closed and Heather raised her hand and rested it on the back of his head. Within moments they were removing each others clothes. Heather found it odd that Chris still wore tighty-whiteys and Chris noticed that Heather was wearing a sports bra.

"Do you have a condom?" Chris asked.

"This is kind of a spur of the moment thing. It should be fine," Heather reassured, doing to counting in her head.

The two commenced making out and then making love while the party continued outside.




During the months Chris was gone, his parents, John and Kim, tried their best to stay the couple they were before Chris left. It wasn't really working out too well.

John was currently on the roof of a house he was contracted to patch and reshingle. John was almost finished when the wife of the owner of the house called him down.

"It's getting dark," she said. "You should quit for the day and just come back in the morning."

"I need to finish this by tomorrow at five, though," John said. "I'm trying to get as much of it done as I can."

"Well, how about this? You can either continue working and tomorrow I'll show you something else that needs nailing or you can stop right now and I can show you now and tomorrow you can do it over again," she said.

John blushed. "That's pretty graphic," he said. "Look, Brenda, I am really flattered by the offer but I am still married and there's still a chance it could work out. If you want, I can still keep your offer, though," he smiled at her.

"Okay," Brenda said.

"I'm gonna go now but I'll be back first thing in the morning," John said and climbed back on the roof to collect his stuff.

John drove home in a better mood then he had been in a long time. He pulled into the driveway and saw another car there besides Kim's. He didn't think much about it until he walked in the house and no one was in the front room or kitchen.

He quietly walked up the stairs to the master bedroom and threw open the door. Everything went silent as John witnessed his wife in mid-coitus with a stranger. They both looked at him in astonishment. John left the door open but went back down the stairs and sat at the kitchen table. Within five minutes, the man had left and Kim was at the table in her robe.

"I'm sorry you had to see that," she sighed. "I thought you'd be home later."

"Me too but the customer's wife hit on me so I left early," John said.

"She hit on you?" Kim questioned.

"So what do we do?" John asked. "Divorce?"

"I guess so. Both of us are clearly unhappy. The only thing is that Chris comes home in two weeks for winter break. We should let him know and do it gently."

"So we act as if everything is normal?" John asked.

"Yes," Kim said.




Chris returned to open arms with his parents. "It's a long drive from Boston to here," he said. "I'm gonna go take a shower. I got up this morning and just went out the door."

Chris got in the shower and was in for about ten minutes when his mom knocked on the door. "Chris? Heather Marsh is here to see you."

"Who?" Chris asked himself and he quickly finished and turned off the water. He dried off quickly and threw his clothes on. He bounded downstairs and saw Heather standing in the doorway. "Oh, yeah. What's up?"

"Can we talk outside for right now?" she asked.

Chris looked at her confused and shrugged. "I guess so," and they went outside, Chris closing the door behind them. "What's up?"

Heather unzipped her jacket to reveal a small but protruding stomach. "I'm pregnant," she said.

"Well, congratulations," Chris said. "But why are you...? Oh. Am I?"

"You were the first guy I slept with and the first in over a year and a half so I'm pretty sure," Heather faked chuckled. "Just so you know, I'm not here to make you take care of me or it or to make you feel guilty. I'm just telling you. I can take care of it myself. It's your choice if you want to be around for it."

"So you're gonna keep it?" he asked.

"I'm at seven months, I kind of have to now," she smiled.

"I wanna be there for him," Chris said.

"You sure?" Heather asked.

"Positive," he reassured and placed his hand on her stomach. "I won't go back to school when break is over. I'll be here you."

"Okay," Heather smiled, sniffed and started to cry. "Ooh, damn hormones," she cursed.

"Come here," Chris took Heather's hand and opened the front door. "Mom? Dad? I have something to tell you..."

Next:
Chris gets a job and he and Heather attempt a date.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze 1952-2009


Patrick Swayze, star of such films as Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Donnie Darko has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Changes, They Are A-Coming


First, just letting you all know that Beyonce is one classy lady. After uber-douchebag Kanye West stole Taylor Swift's spotlight last night at the MTV Video Music Awards during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video and saying that Beyonce had the best video of all time, Beyonce allowed Taylor to give her acceptance speech during her acceptance speech time after Beyonce won for Video of the Year. Congrats to both talented ladies on their wins.

Second, I will be implementing some changes to the site over the next few months. I'm not sure what changes will be happening but I would like to do some minor format changes and some changes to the layout. I am also working on developing a logo for Tauy Creek and I am still looking for additional contributors if anyone is interested. You can also help by joining the Facebook group or by donating money. Both buttons are located near the bottom of the sidebar. Thank you to all the readers and advertisers who keep reading this thing for some reason.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

An Unbelievable Weekend

Born Loser 09-12-09
They are some that do come with a string that you can use to keep the phone on your wrist. Or you can buy those cell phone covers that attach to your pants. And I know people who immediately come home, put the phone on a charger and leave it there the rest of the night so it is as useful as a phone with a cord.

Born Loser 09-13-09
I find that hard to believe that no one thought to prepare themselves with a coin. And don't pull that economic crap on me. The economy could be worse. It's not that bad like it was towards the end of 2008. At least companies and banks aren't going out of business all around us.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summerwind Mansion

Summerwind was built in the early 20th Century as a fishing resort for West Bay Lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin. In 1916, Robert Lamont renovated the building for use as a summer home for his family. Lamont would actually serve as Secretary of Commerce under President Hoover but life was not simple at Summerwind for the Lamont family. Legends of the house say that Lamont actually fired a pistol at a ghost that he believed was an intruder. The bullet holes in the basement door from the kitchen remained for many years. Upon the death of Robert Lamont, the house was sold ... and sold again. It seemed that nothing out of the ordinary really happened there, save for Lamont’s encounter with the phantom intruder, until the early 1970's. It was in this period that the family living in the house was nearly destroyed...supposedly by ghosts.

Arnold Hinshaw, his wife Ginger, and their six children, moved into Summerwind in the early part of the 1970's. They would only reside in the house for six months, but it would be an eventful period of time. From the day that they moved in, they knew strange things were going on in the house. The Hinshaws, and their children, immediately started to report vague shapes and shadows flickering down the hallways. They also claimed to hear mumbled voices in darkened, empty rooms. When they would walk inside, the sounds would quickly stop. Most alarming was the ghost of the woman who was often seen floating back and forth just past some French doors that led off from the dining room. On one occasion, Arnold walked out to his car to go to work and the vehicle suddenly burst into flames. No one was near it and it is unknown whether the source of the fire was supernatural in origin or not, but regardless, no cause was ever found for it. The Hinshaws decided to do some renovations and hired a crew to do them, unfortunately the workers stopped showing up because of the strange occurrences. The Hinshaws decided to do the work themselves.

While painting a closet, they found a shoe drawer built into the wall and pulled it out to paint the drawer. Arnold found a large, dark space behind the drawer. Upon searching the dark hole, they found a human corpse. Instead of telling the police, the Hinshaws apparently left the body where they found it and things just got worse for them. Arnold soon had a mental breakdown and Ginger tried to commit suicide. Arnold was sent away and Ginger and the kids moved to Granton with her parents, where she soon divorced Arnold and married a man named George Olsen. Things were going well for Ginger when her father announced that he was going to buy Summerwind.

Raymond Bober was a popcorn vendor and businessman who with his wife Marie, planned to turn the old mansion into a restaurant and an inn. He believed that the house would attract many guests to the scenic location on the lake. Ginger hadn't told him what had happened at the house. Bober announced that he realized the house was haunted, but this would not deter him. He claimed that he had spent time at the house and knew the identity of the ghost that was haunting the place. According to Bober, the ghost was a man named Jonathan Carver, an eighteenth century British explorer who was haunting the house and searching for an old deed that had been given to him by the Sioux Indians. In the document, he supposedly had the rights to the northern third of Wisconsin. The deed had supposedly been placed in a box and sealed into the foundation of Summerwind. Bober claimed that Carver had asked his help in finding it.

When Bober and his family, including Ginger and her new husband, went back to Summerwind, they began exploring the house and Bober began pulling out drawers to see if anything was in them (which is weird considering his daughter and former husband were the previous owners and inhabitants). Ginger finally told everyone about finding the body and Bober went to investigate but the space behind the drawer was empty.

The plans to turn the house into a restaurant did not go smoothly. Workmen refused to stay on the job, complaining of tools disappearing and feelings as if they were being watched. Marie Bober agreed with their complaints. She was always uneasy in the house and frequently told people that she felt as if she was followed from place to place whenever she was inside. Most disturbing to Bober however was the apparent shrinkage and expansion of the house. Bober would measure rooms one day and then find that they were a different size the next day. Usually, his measurements were larger than those given in the blueprints of the house...sometime greatly larger. At one point, Bober estimated that he could seat 150 people in his restaurant but after laying out his plans on the blueprints of Summerwind, he realized that the place could seat half that many. Finally the Bobers abandoned the house and it has remained empty ever since.

After that, many people have come forward trying to poke holes in the Bober's stories. The big one being that Jonathan Carver died more than 130 years before the house was built. In 1986, the house was bought by an investment firm hoping to renovate the house but again, that was not to be. In June of 1988, Summerwind was struck by lightening during a storm and burned to the ground. All that remains is the stone fireplace, foundation and stone steps.

Seven #2.8

Cassius and Seven continued heading north away from Ransomville and away from where Tara and Nicholas were. "Where are we going?" Seven asked, panting.

"We're going to Smallwood," Cassius said. "While in jail, I got a vision. A friend needs our help there."

"Why? What's wrong?"

"I don't know."

"Okay. I've never heard of Smallwood," Seven said.

"That's because it doesn't exist," Cassius said.




Nicholas and Tara were given jobs in Indianola in exchange for living with the Vieux's. Nicholas was placed in the massive Robideaux General Store and a part-time toll collector on the bridge. Tara was placed in the hotel working part-time and also helping Samuel Vieux's wife, Mary.

Nicholas was working in Robideaux's Store when Vieux and another man, Ernest deBoissiere, entered the store. "George? Have you noticed a decline in consumers over the past couple of days? Ernest here has noticed a sharp decrease of bridge travelers," Samuel asked.

"I have," Robideaux said, "and it's because of Uniontown."

"Uniontown? Never heard of it," Samuel said.

"It's a new town ten miles to the south. The government started it so military personnel wouldn't have to pay to cross the river," Robideaux explained.

"That can't be. The government promised that Indianola would have the only crossing on the Legionnaire River," Vieux said. "It was part of the treaty."

"The government broke the treaty," deBoissiere said "and that means war!"




"A Town Called Smallwood"
Years ago, Smallwood was organized by three men: William Horner, A.J. Mowry and J.S. Cox. Horner and Mowry came up with a plan to swindle the state out of money. Mowry got 240 names out of an old Westport city directory, made sure they were all registered voters in their fake county and held an election where Mowry and his friends were easily elected to all the county offices. The county seat was located at a town called Smallwood.

To make everything look official, Mowry, Horner and Cox appointed a census taker, who was easily persuaded with a bribe. For two weeks, he walked and rode several hundred miles on the prairie gathering the names of 600 people which he sent to the governor's office. The governor then declared the county organized.

The county commissioners then issued over $126,000 in bonds to start building a courthouse, bridges, roads and schools. The government decided to investigate and found no people and only a wooden shack near a small pond. The organization of the county and of Smallwood was declared to be a fraud.

Several years later, after the war, Major Lorimar Beam was inexplicably drawn to where Smallwood was located and it was here Major Beam settled, building a huge stone house and using the old shack as a small barn.

Cassius and Seven approached the stone house, which stood out from the prairie. The house was miles from civilization and Seven was uneasy about being here.

An old man was out front of the house, chopping wood. Cassius raised his hand and shouted, "Major Beam!"

The old man looked up and smiled. "My Lord! Cassius? It's been years!" the man stopped chopping wood and began walking to meet them. "What are you doing up here?"

"I had a vision that called me up here," Cassius said. "This is Seven. I met up with him and a couple of his friends in Cassoday."

"Where are the friends?" Major Beam asked.

"They should be in Indianola, waiting for us. How is everything here?"

"Everything is fine, why?"

"My vision showed me a battle--or an attack. In this area," Cassius said and looked around.

"Everything's peaceful here. My closest neighbor is twenty miles on each side, except for Ransomville to the south. Maybe it has something to do with the Lady," Major Beam said.

"The Lady?" asked Seven.

"The Lady of the Lake. She's the one who told me to move here," Major Beam smiled.




A small crowd of business owners had now gathered in Robideaux's store. All were complaining of the government's usurping of business and travelers.

"What they did is an act of war!" shouted blacksmith shop owner Jebidiah Lundgren.

"I hear they're gonna receive money from bonds to build a stone bridge!" Rome Klaxton, a stonemason, said.

"We need to think this through calmly," Samuel said, raising his hands in silence. "They may not even realize what they are doing. The treaty was signed over thirty years ago. We should get a team down there and talk to them. I'm sure they will listen to reason."

"Well, who should go down there?" shouted one man.

"It has to be someone powerful!" shouted another.

"I will go down," Samuel reassured "and if they'll go with me I would like to have George Robideaux and Ernest deBoissiere accompany me."

"Yeah, we'll go," they said simultaneously.

"We should leave now. We'll still have most of the day when we get there," Samuel said. "Don't worry. We'll get this figured out."

Next:
The Lady of the Lake and a war begins.

POtW: John Baldwin Mill Site

Before we get onto this week's picture, I have some news. I love Kansas and I love sharing pictures of the place where I live and driving around to get those pictures. I have received numerous praise for this feature and am glad that so many people enjoy looking at the picture and maybe learning a little something. This will be the last Picture of the Week for a while. I enjoy doing it but I am starting to focus on my short story writing and continuing with my novel that I really don't have time to drive around, take pictures, choose a picture and write about it. I don't know when it will be back but I will be sure to let you know and I post pictures on this site all the time so it's not like this site will be pictureless until then.

Today's picture is from my pseudo-hometown of Baldwin City. This is the site of John Baldwin's mill. Baldwin came to Kansas from Ohio and settled in Palmyra, just north of present day Baldwin. Baldwin built a mill along the banks of the east fork of Tauy Creek where Fifth and Indiana are now. Baldwin donated the land for both Baker University and Baldwin City. In 1867, Baldwin moved to a plantation in Louisiana. He also donated money to establish a school for boys and a school for girls in India. Baldwin died at his home in Baldwin, Louisiana (another place named for him) in December of 1884.
John Baldwin Mill Site

Baldwin-Wallace in Berea, Ohio was also named for him after he took up the cause to start the university in 1843. The mill no longer exists and the redwood sign marking the location of the site (the redwood sign was next to the street sign) has been taken down.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tappa-Tappa-Tappa


I wanted to do a Born Loser posting yesterday but I just never sat down and actually did it. The main reason I wanted to post yesterday was because of the hideousness of the man Brutus is talking to. I mean, he is God-awful. None of the men look "normal" like Brutus or Veeblefester. Take a look at the old Flintstones cartoons of the 1960s and take a look at the men who are not Fred, Barney or Mr. Slate. They look like they are drawn more janky. Look at any of Wilma's old boyfriends like Boney Hurdle. They are supposed to be drawn to be more handsome than Fred but because they are drawn differently and possibly more realistic they end up looking uglier and badly drawn.
Born Loser 09-10-09
After looking at both the taxus and the hyacinth, is it really possible to cross-breed them? I'm assuming Master Gardener Chip Sansom knows they can't cross-breed and only did this as a joke, which isn't funny. But the guy is fun to look at.

Born Loser 09-11-09
And I'm going to assume Brutus is at work. Then why can't Veeblefester just walk down to Brutus's office to yell at him? Also, Brutus has worked for Veeblefester for the last 30 years, you'd think Veeblefester would learn not to give Brutus any responsibility.

Tomorrow we got the return of Seven and a Picture of the Week coupled with an announcement that you may or may not like. One-Night Stand will premiere on September 15th.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

DC Is Dead...Long Live DC.

Since 2005, DC Comics has been trying to rebrand itself and become a leader in comic book properties. For years, DC has lost out to Marvel in both comic books and movies--although television is one thing DC tends to get right--and Warner Bros. is apparently sick of it.

It has been announced that the woman, Diane Nelson, who oversees the highly popular (and profitable) "Harry Potter" franchise is becoming President and Publisher of DC Comics and that DC Comics is now going to be called DC Entertainment Inc. (although I think they should've called it DC Media). So what all does this mean and where does DC go from here?

Paul Levitz, the now-former president and publisher will be retained as an executive consultant and Dan Didio will stay on as Vice President and Executive Editor. DC has constantly been criticized for being too slow to get new movies and other properties out unlike Marvel. DC tends to pick and choose which characters to use in their properties over-saturating the population with Batman and Superman stuff while generally ignoring properties like Green Lantern, Flash and Captain Marvel. Yes, people want to see the more popular characters but there are a lot of unused characters out there that could definitely hold a movie or television show (Resurrection Man).

I'm hoping what this means is that Warner Bros. will now use DC to it's full advantage and not treat it like the bastard child it's been in the past. Warner Bros. has a full slew of properties they could use for televisions and movies if they'd been willing to spend the money. Currently DC/Warner Bros. has Jonah Hex and Green Lantern green-lit and scheduled to come out. Next will be another Batman movie, Superman movie and possibly a Wonder Woman movie. DC needs to quit pickin' and pawin' at their franchises and begin writing these movies so in a five years or so there can be a massive JLA movie. They also need to start using some other characters to begin selling as pilots for TV networks.

Television is a place DC has done a better job than Marvel. From the very beginning you had The Adventures of Superman, then Wonder Woman, Shazam!, Isis, The Flash, Lois and Clark, Birds of Prey, Smallville and now two incarnations of The Human Target. Not to mention all of the animated series DC has had over the years. DC needs to use that medium to bring different characters into the foreground and introduce them to a new generation, unlike in the comics where you now have to know decades of history to know where they come from and why they haven't been seen since 1997.

One thing I notice in the comments about this story is what will really happen to the comic book production side of DC, will it remain independent or will Warner Bros. begin sticking their fingers into the pie? I honestly hope they begin going through the comics and forcing them to make major changes. Who honestly thinks having 5,000 different Earths is a good thing? "Crisis on Infinite Earths" changed everything to make it simpler. And it was simple: Everything before 1985, except for the Justice Society of America, never happened. I'm going through the comics now and wondering why are there four different Batmans? That is just stupid and it turns me off from reading. At least with Marvel, the 1960s Spider-Man is the same Spider-Man. DC, unfortunately, needs to have another "Crisis" to fix everything that they have broken--which may be what they are leading to--and I would actually read that and maybe get back into reading DC comics.

Another aspect is that Warner Bros. got tired of the PR that Disney/Marvel had been receiving as of late and basically did this to get their name out there. Back in 2005, when DC changed it's logo, it was to brand all of the DC properties under the same logo which is essentially the same thing as renaming DC Comics to DC Entertainment (note that Marvel is called Marvel Entertainment). DC has the potential to make Warner Bros. a lot of money and Warner Bros. has finally realized that. People should look at this like Warner Bros. is finally starting to give a damn about DC and that is never a bad thing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kewpie and Marmaduke Just Gang-Raped Snoopy

Born Loser 09-09-09
Brutus, you really shouldn't give your dog alcohol. No matter how much he begs. Now when Kewpie comes to he's gonna poop and vomit all over the place and you can be damn sure that Gladys won't clean it up.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Boston Corbett

On April 14, 1865 President Abraham Lincoln was shot in Fords Theatre by John Wilkes Booth. Booth then leaped onto the stage below and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis" then escaped despite having a broken leg. Booth escaped on horse back toward southern Maryland and across the Potomac River into Virginia. Pursuers of John Wilkes Booth tracked him to Richard Garrett's farm in northern Virginia. The soldiers found Booth in the Garrett's tobacco barn. The soldiers set the barn on fire and Boston Corbett, saying he saw Booth raise and aim his gun, shot Booth through the neck piercing three vertabrae and partially severing his spinal cord. John Wilkes Booth died three hours later.

Corbett was born in London, England in 1832 and migrated to New York in 1839. Following his wife's death in childbirth, Corbett moved to Boston where he became a born-again evangelical Christian and changed his name from Thomas to Boston. In 1858, in order to avoid the temptation of prostitution, Corbett castrated himself with a pair of scissors. Corbett joined the Union army at the start of the Civil War and re-enlisted three times eventually being promoted to sergeant. In 1864, Corbett was captured by the Confederate army but was exchanged and send back to his unit. In 1865, after shooting and killing John Wilkes Booth, Corbett was arrested for not obeying orders but the charges were dropped.

Shortly after being discharged from the Army, Corbett went back to his original trade of being a hatter in Boston, then Connecticut then New Jersey. In 1878, he moved to Concordia, Kansas where he lived in a hole dug in a gully. In 1887, he was appointed assistant doorkeeper at the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka. Overhearing a conversation where the opening prayer was mocked, Corbett rushed in brandishing a gun. Corbett was arrested, declared insane and sent to the Topeka Asylum for the Insane. In 1888, Corbett escaped the asylum and went to Neodesha, Kansas and said he was going to go to Mexico.

It is said that Corbett instead took up residence in the woods near Hinckley, Minnesota. In 1894, the Great Hinckley Fire broke out due to a dry summer . The fire burned 420 square miles and it is known that Corbett was last seen in the area although it hasn't been proven that he died in the fire. "Thomas Corbett" is listed among the dead and missing. In Concordia, a local boy scout troop constructed a roadside monument to Boston Corbett and erected a sign marking the location of the hole Corbett once occupied.

Thomas "Boston" Corbett, circa 1860-1865. Picture from the Library of Congress.

Suum Cuique

Born Loser 09-08-09
Is it just me or does "One for all, all for one" not sound like a good business motto? I understand the phrase is used for solidarity but it doesn't make for a good business motto. Maybe something like, Labor omnia vincit or Non pro nobis laboramus.

However, Brutus' personal motto would be Ad astra per alia porci.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What the Eff?

Well, I probably would've had a post either yesterday or today but the Comics.com website is on the fritz apparently. For some reason my browser cannot find the server at Comics.com and luckily it seems that no one else to access it either. Hopefully it will be back up soon. I'm kind of starting to miss my Born Loser. Oh, Brutus Thornapple, where are you?!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

POtW: Fallen Trees at Colyer Cemetery

Today's picture is a bit weird. I went out to one of my favorite cemeteries a couple weeks ago and saw that a huge evergreen tree that stood in the middle of the cemetery (as seen here)...

...had fallen down. I immediately looked to make sure there were no stones or anything underneath that mess and it didn't look like it but as you can see from the POtW, it came close.
Fallen Trees at Colyer
Colyer Cemetery was established in 1868 and is located atop a scenic hill just southeast of Lone Star Lake. It became one of my favorite cemeteries do to its location and privacy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Drood: A Review

Charles Dickens died on June 9, 1870 which left his novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished and a mystery itself. What Dan Simmons does in Drood is take real life accounts of what happened during the last five years of Dickens life and place a mystical and surreal character named Drood in the middle of it.

Dickens is nearing the end of writing his novel Our Mutual Friend when on June 9, 1865 he, along with his companion Ellen Ternan and her mother, were involved in the Staplehurst rail crash. It is there Dickens meets the strange character known as Drood--who Dickens becomes somewhat obsessive about. The novel mainly focuses on Wilkie Collins, a contemporary of Dickens and fellow author, and him slowing being driven insane by Dickens and Drood.

Collins is thrust into Drood's lifestyle because Dickens wants to research Drood for possibly a book. Soon, Charles Frederick Field, a former police chief, begins harassing Collins to follow Dickens into Drood's lair deep beneath an old cemetery and to show him how to get to Drood's lair. Collins begins by taking all this with a grain of salt and a slight sense of humor about it until he comes face to face with Drood himself. Collins is then infected with a scarab that begins moving around his brain and both Collins and Field determine that Drood wants Dickens to write a kind of biography about Drood and his teachings.

Dickens continues to live his life his way, uninterrupted by Drood or Inspector Field's persistent harassment. Dickens begins meeting Drood on every anniversary of Staplehurst and touring England and America giving readings of his novels. While Collins seems to be near death throughout the novel, Dickens seems to be getting younger.

Drood finally takes it's toll on Dickens and Collins decides to rid himself of Drood by killing Dickens. Collins plans the whole thing but on the day he decides to do it, Drood's minions stop him and tell him that they will take care of Dickens.

We never see Drood and we are given several explanations as to Drood's exsistance--ramblings of an insane Inspector Field, a story idea for Dickens, the effects of Collins constant laudanum usage, a real yet mysterious figure--but none are ever firmly established as the true Drood. The mystery of Drood is forever buried in Westminster Abbey, known only to Dickens himself, just like his unfinished novel.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

HI, BILLY MAYS HERE!

Born Loser 09-01-09
I don't really have anything to say about today's strip but I feel it's a good way to introduce this video which is a real commercial and it's slightly disturbing.