Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Surviving Sandy

One of my co-workers finally gets a hurricane named after her, and it's a frankenstorm that shuts down the east coast. We lost power for almost ten days. Yet despite those really cold nights, we never lost sight of how fortunate we really were. Our house survived fairly unscathed, and we've only had to clean up a stray branch or two from the yard. I've been out of work for two weeks, but the office finally opened back up yesterday. Normalcy is slowly creeping back into our lives, and I am beyond grateful for that.

My temporary new commute route into New York yesterday was dreadful, though: Yesterday's Commute. Luckily, I was not involved in any of those accidents, but I was caught in the "after shock" of them. I didn't make it into work until 10am. >suckage< ~ >major suckage< Today's commute, was thankfully uneventful... a normal day... in a normal life.

Now to get some coffee...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I was tagged by fellow artist, author and Cuban, Narcisse Navarre, to participate in "The Next Big Thing Blog Hop". One of my previous blog posts, The Lady Navarre, talks about Narcisse and her first two novels. Be sure to check it out!

Once upon a time, there was a wicked witch who wasn't. One could say that was simply because her green just wasn't exactly the same shade as all the others in her family. It seemed to be just a little bolder, and a little brighter. She decided one day, for whatever the reason, to change her story and rewrite its ending to her own liking. Her world, however, would never ever be quite the same again when the full telling of it was done...

1. What is the title of your work in progress?
Book One of The Mhandrake Chronicles:
The Perfectly Mundane Life of Mhagdhalia Mhandrake (facebook page)

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have always been an enormous fan of the fantasy and gothic horror genres, so I really wanted to write a story from the other side of the looking glass, where princesses aren't always cookie-cutter pretty damsels dressed in pink with sparkling tiaras adorning their heads. I love the idea of taking familiar fairy tales and completely turning them upside down.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Dark Urban Fantasy

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Initially, I had envisioned Miranda Cosgrove playing the role of Mhagdhalia, but Chloë Grace Moretz would be able to channel the main character's slightly roughened edge to perfection. Michelle Forbes must be Maeve, the divalicious villainous matron of the family, and Sofia Vergara as the fairy godmother, Carmen would be nothing short of divine. The perfect choice to fill the role of Michael, however, Mhag's gay best friend and comrade-in-arms has, as of yet, eluded me.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?
The Perfectly Mundane Life of Mhagdhalia Mhandrake is a journey of self-discovery for a young and magical green-skinned girl whose truth has been twisted up and locked away by a family desperate to keep her in the dark.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-publishing is an option. In fact, I have just recently (re)self-published Starlight Starbright, a full-color horoscope book showcasing my original Zodiac designs, but I would like to try a more traditional route for The Mhandrake Chronicles.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I'm not sure how to answer that. The full manuscript is still in my head. I have a point A and a point Z, but I write as I go, allowing the story to remain organic. The characters tell me what they need where and when to have their stories told properly. I'm about two chapters and another round of editing away from the end of the first book, though. It's taken me about three years to get to this point, mostly due to a full time job in the way and quite a bit of miscellaneous personal chaos.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
The Child Thief by Brom, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A little bit of this. A little bit of that. The Brother's Grimm. Poe. Anne Rice. Rice & Beans. Harry Potter. The Wizard of Oz. And Vodka. Definitely Vodka.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The Mhandrake Chronicles is the fairytale survival guidebook for misfits. Despite being full of heart, and a fair dose of my sarcasm, it's a dark world and the perils faced by the main characters both physically and emotionally are very real.

Be sure to check out Narcisse Navarre's The Next Big Thing Blop Hop over at Khajj.com, and Rick Gualtieri over at the Poptart Manifesto. Also be sure to hit S. Conde's Idols of the Tribe and pick up The Red Speck!

The Mhandrake Chronicles on Facebook

There's An App For That: City Planning Games

Perhaps it's due to my over-compulsive need to organize the things in my surroundings (and in my head), but city / village planning games get me hooked pretty quickly. I remember spending many an hour watching the little mob riots take to the streets, or the giant robot from space come down and destroy my town in the original SimCity back when I was a kid.

As a homage to those early pre-gamer days of mine, here's the quick and dirty on some of my favorite city builder apps currently out there:

Cosmic Colony
Next to Fantasy TownCosmic Colony has got some of the best designed buildings and town decor around. A lot of creative thinking went into the look of some of the available shops, homes and alien relics. There's a space exploration mini-game available about once a day that rewards a random little somethin' to help spruce up the colony. Space pirates can be a problem, though...

Fantasy Town
Fantasy Town has some of the best art direction I've seen yet, giving the game a really unique, and very beautiful look. It's worth checking out despite the fact that earning money in the game for the land expansions can take a really long time. That, coupled with the unfortunate need to occasionally spend gems (which cost real world money to acquire) just to complete quests eventually turned me off altogether.

Another absolutely beautiful game, Forestville's charm resides not just in its buildings, but in its citizens as well. The village is full of adorable little foxes, bears, birds, rabbits, frogs, beavers, hedgehogs, and deer (and the list keeps going). It's Furry Fandom Heaven! Each species has special, unique characters and rare versions such as the occasional crow, polar bear or blue frog that will randomly pop up and add even more variety to the mix! I'm all for diversity! ~wink~

Kingdoms & Lords
Kingdoms & Lords
, ironically, suffers from the reverse issue effecting Fantasy Town. It's pretty easy to earn enough money early in the game to buy a great amount of land, but... you have nothing to put on it until much much later. Even then, most of the buildings you can add (which are exquisite, by the way) do nothing unless you log into a social network with the game (something most people might not feel comfortable doing). Kingdoms & Lords has a great deal of potential, however. It just needs to be fleshed out a bit more in its earlier levels.

Oregon Settler
Oregon Settler
 is a very fun, frontier-flavored city game full of covered wagons, head-bobbing farm animals, and malaria. Not kidding.  

Pyramid Valley
In Pyramid Valley, you get to choose between being either Ramses or Cleopatra (either avatar is decenlty customizable) and begin building your very own dynasty. Egyptian, Nubian, and Greek-styled architecture, and a complex trade route system make this particular city builder a very unique gem well worth playing.

Smurf Village
Filled with almost every memorable character in Smurfdom, Smurf Village delivers a very addictive gaming experience whether you grew up watching these little blue guys or not. The mushroom homes are very customizable (balconies, chimneys, etc.), and there's even a tropical island and mountainside to explore and build on now too. It's unquestionably Smurfberry Crack!

The Simpsons: Tapped Out
After an explosion at the power plant, Sprinfield gets turned completely inside out, and rebuilding it, as well as locating all of its lost citizens becomes a brilliantly scripted adventure! Each character you rediscover has their own unique jobs (quests) to fulfill, and the new Springfield is completely yours to redesign. This became an instant favorite for me! As a big fan of the show, the fun-factor is insanely high!

Tiny Village
The prehistoric-themed Tiny Village is frequently updated with tons of new content, as well as holiday events and quests. You can harvest resources, build houses and shops, or raise a multitude of dinosaurs. Unfortunately, many of the really great items require gems (which are purchased with real world money), and they're costly. My only other critique is that I wish there was a little more variation with the games' citizenry, or at the least a few unique ones walking about. As you can tell from the screenshot below... they all look alike.

Friday, November 9, 2012

LEGO: Zombies

If you're a horror fan and haven't checked out the LEGO Monster Fighters series yet, what are you waiting for? Though it's been ages since I've played with LEGOs, the Ghost Train (set 9467) was an instant "must-have" on my wish list once I saw it! Amazing! I've seen it fully assembled at a local toy store, and, honestly, the pictures over on LEGO's official site do not do it justice.

Zombie Bride
Anyway, in keeping with the theme of my previous post... I thought I might as well give a little shout out to LEGO's Zombie Bride. The Zombie Bride and her gruesomely handsome husband are available in LEGO Set# 9465 Monster Fighters: The Zombies.

There's An App For That: Zombie Café

There's a lot more than just brains on the menu over at beeline's Zombie Café. In fact, many items on that menu are fabulously grossified versions of popular dishes. Yes, "grossified" is a word. Your café starts out rather humble, but you soon have the opportunity to grow, remodel and hire up some more waiters. There's quite a selection of available themes for your café's look too, so you can pretty much put together anything from a roach-infested hole that should have been shut down ages ago by the Health Department to a classy, high-end five star restaurant... staffed by zombies. My only negative critique is that you're allowed a maximum staff of 10, and depending on the size of your restaurant that may or may not be enough.

Zombie Café is not your typical diner game. In fact, where it really shines is in its ability to eliminate the competition... literally. You can send your zombified staff out into the neighborhood and into other restaurants to make minced meat out of whatever and whoever they find within. If victorious, your zombies return with some cash, some extra food and hopefully a new recipe. Brilliant!

Anyone that walks through your door is fair game! Zombify them and make them
a permanent part of your staff, or serve them up as tomorrow's lunch special!

Monday, September 3, 2012

There's An App For That: Breaktime Studios

I've flittered away so much of my precious time on iPad apps recently, that I figured I might as well dedicate a few short and sweet posts (and reviews) to some of my more favorite ones.

First on the list are three games from Breaktime Studio.

Dream Dresses allows you to own your own fashion boutique stocked up with clothing and accessories that are very reminiscent of a trip through Disney's Magic Kingdom (though with enough differences to be legally ambiguous). You can stock up on sparkling fabric bolts while unmanned sewing machines (no third world slave labor here!) magically stitch together your merchandise. Your "boyfriends" (yes, you can have more than one...) give you money and a smile several times a day, while they otherwise stand around and do... nothing.

My "boyfriends" have a eerie resemblance
to George Clooney and Edward Cullen.

Pocket Potions allows you to own your own magical potion shop stocked floor to ceiling with strange herbs, and literally dozens upon dozens of different types of potions (each with their own unique special effect when drunk by your customers). Magically unmanned cauldrons do all the work once you plop in the ingredients and click the stirring spoons. If you're having trouble keeping your inventory fully stocked... try taking the door off and temporarily putting it in your inventory. That way you are free to stock the place up at your leisure and open the doors only when you're ready for business! Same trick will work for all three of their games.

"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."

Sweet Shop allows you to own your own (you guessed it...) candy shop. The decorative items are really cute and colorful, especially the gummy-themed tables and animated bears (not pictured).

My store clerk is a bug... a very big, and hungry bug... who likes lemons.

Canto a Yemaya

I've spent most of this morning cleaning up the house, both physically and spiritually (candles and sage). The drums of my people have been playing in the background as I've gone up and down the house stairs, trying to find a place for some of the things I slowly keep bringing home from my parents' apartment. My sister and I have until the end of the month to completely clear out the place. The task seems a little overwhelming at times, as though we haven't even touched the surface of what's there. Bags upon bags of garbage have gone out the door, and even more bags have been donated to charity. We're being very careful though, going through everything as thoroughly as possible, but the more we move aside... the more of yesterday we seem to find.

Once all is said and done, I intend to gather up all the photos and letters we have found into a book to honor our parents' journey.

Yemaya is the universal mother. From her waters flowed all life. She washes away all sorrow, grief, and anger with her tides, leaving behind beautiful pearls exposed in the sand. May she wash me away too... and find the pearl that I hope dwells within my soul.

Azodnem on Imagekind

Monday, August 6, 2012

Diablo 3: That Old Black Magic...

I have always proudly embraced my nertitude. Yes, "nertitude" is a word. From my early days of classic Dungeons & Dragons pen and paper role-playing games to far more MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Games) than I would ever care to mention, my geekdar has led me from one massive time and money-sinkhole to another. Yes, "geekdar" is also a word. Blizzard Entertainment is a ruthless crack dealer, and I am that poor little street whore turning trick after trick just to get one more fix. It took about five years to wrench myself free of Azeroth (and I still occasionally twitch), and while Diablo 3 does not (yet) possess the same obsessive lure for me that World of Warcraft did, I do find myself running into that all-too-familiar pattern of "Oh, OK... I'll just play for a little bit more." Poor, poor little street whore... she should have worked some other corner.
Is it really any surprise that I would be playing Diablo 3 as a Witch Doctor
(a.k.a. "The Crazy Voodoo Bitch")?

The Witch Doctor's opening sequence is one of the best in the game. I absolutely love the look and art direction of the avatars and the armor progression for this class. The creepy little shrunken heads and/or voodoo dolls they can carry, along with the crazy tribal masks they wear add a truly unexpected vibe to an otherwise very traditional fantasy setting. Just the fact that they can summon up spiders, locusts, toads and zombies throws it right into that old classic B-movie horror genre. Brilliant.

If anyone's interested...
here's my quick & dirty on the other character classes:

The Barbarian
~ The female Barbarian's avatar makes the She-hulk look anorexic. She easily towers over the other classes, as well as most of the in-game villagers and common enemies. The thunderous sound effects of this class' combat swings make even the simplest fight feel epic.

Red Sonja's been workin' out.
The Demon Hunter ~ Both the male and female avatars for this class look absolutely amazing, and very sexy. I love the gothic "Van Helsing" vibe this class possessed right off the get-go. Even though I've never really been a fan of playing ranged combat classes, the accompanying graphics for the Demon Hunter's skill sets are great, and made experimenting with this class a very fun little side-step.

Metrosexual Demon Hunter strikes a pose. Vogue.
The Monk ~ I can't really say very much on the Monk class, unfortunately. I only gave it a brief run before deleting the character altogether. Just wasn't for me.

The Wizard ~ The design for the Wizard class, its spells and armor progression is probably one of the best in the entire game. I love that they're Asian, and their gear and garb reflect that. It's worth noting that the Wizard class in every chapter of the Diablo franchise has had a "Blizzard" spell in their arsenal... an obvious shout out to the company behind the endless tragedies that keep befalling the poor town of Tristram.

"If ever oh ever a wiz there was..."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

YouTube Treasures: Fotoshop by Adobé

"Fotoshop by Adobé" is perhaps one of the most (if not the most) brilliant faux commercials I have ever seen put together yet!

Youtube Treasures: Awkward Kristin

Poor, little "Awkward Kristin". I have to confess it though, this one just doesn't ever seem to get old for me. Probably, because she kind of reminds me of my friend, Gail. LOL.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Journey Closes...

My mother is dying. I've been slowly making my peace with that statement for some time now. After all, the destination for all of us is the same. We all eventually end up as ash and someone's memory. It's no secret to those who know me personally, that my mother and I rarely ever saw eye to eye on things. The few times we did, however, were pretty nice. Unfortunately though, most of the time we were worlds apart in our thinking. I think it would be an injustice to both of us to say it was just due to me being gay. Though that was, of course, definitely a factor. We were in so many ways, polar reflections of each other. So very different... and yet so very much alike. I find myself lately often wondering how different her life, my sister's, and my own would have been if her eyes had just been capable of looking at the world a little gentler.

This morning she was taken to the hospital from her nursing home as "unresponsive". Her breathing is very labored. I'm not sure if I will ever hear her voice again. Probably not. Even after having all the olive branches I ever extended burnt (and burning a few of hers), I will still miss her very much. I honestly hope that she soon finds the peace that so sadly eluded her in this life.

The Lady Navarre

It's hard for me to be unbiased when talking about Narcisse Navarre and her work. After all, we've been best friends for just over two decades now. (Did I just really admit my true age out loud?) It goes without saying that I have always admired her talents, but it's the unshakable strength of her character and that damned Aries' determination to never be outdone that truly make her a creative force to be reckoned with. To be completely frank, I have very often wished I had the ability to captivate a room or a conversation the way she seems to so effortlessly be able to do. Her grace and charm can be quite lethal to the heart of an unwary man... Gentlemen, you've been warned.

I have always considered myself a "vampire-purist". Bloodsuckers should not sparkle. Ever. "An Endless Hunger" by Narcisse Navarre harkens back to the time when the literary genre of vampires was indeed about the monster within and not what they wore. "An Endless Hunger" is, unquestionably, the bloodthirsty tale of a monster, a predator, and the madness that has consumed him for a blur of innumerable nights. 

Narcisse Navarre's controversial erotic novel, "The Olive Grove" weaves a seductive dreamworld that few authors are bold enough to give their readers. Narcisse takes you on a sensual journey full of satyrs, sex and forbidden desires, as Gia, the unwary protagonist, surrenders herself to the pleasures of one juicy taboo after another. Pick up "The Olive Grove", and get ready to toss aside whatever fragile inhibitions you may have possessed. After all, you're going to lose them all anyway...

(On a side note, I honestly never knew there were so many words that meant "vagina". Reading "The Olive Grove" pretty much answered all the questions this gay man ever had about heterosexual sex.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


So, am I the only True Blood fan who did not know that Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Woll) had an in-character vlog? Fucking Fangtastic...

If I was straight or a lesbian, I'd so be Pam's bitch. Just sayin'...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

LEGO: Vampire Bride

I used to adore LEGO when I was a kid. Honestly, who didn't? Their "fun-factor" was irresistible, even for the most stubborn and malcontent little brat. I'll even confess to still having a few scattered LEGO minifigures decorating one or two of the nooks in my office. Though I must say, my inner girl scout shrieked with delight when I saw this...

Vampire Bride
The Vampire Bride is available in LEGO Set# 10228 Monster Fighters Haunted House.

I should mention, however, that Firestar Toys is among one of the best places online to shop for official and custom LEGO minifigures, as well as enough random pieces and bits to bit and piece together a little LEGO version of pretty much anyone you know.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Horoscopes: 07.23.12

Aries: March 21 - April 20
When the road ahead of you is finally clear and you find yourself moving up and onward, be sure to pause and reflect with gratitude on all that has propelled you forward.

Taurus: April 21 - May 21
Being stubborn isn’t always a bad trait... when you’re right. Be open to the perspectives of other people, however, because sometimes... they’re right too!

Gemini: May 22 - June 21
You’re used to being in a chaotic environment. So much so, that when things inevitably slow down, you’re often at a loss for how to react to that. Enjoy the silence.

Cancer: June 22 - July 22
Being there for a friend in need, and being their doormat are two completely different roles. One serves both of you, the other serves neither.

Leo: July 23 - August 22
You possess instinctive leader skills that those around you have always been naturally drawn to. You just need to cultivate your confidence.

Virgo: August 23 - September 22
One will often find that if they stop struggling against the wind, they will be able to fly. Not everything that crosses your path is an adversary. Somethings are teachers.

Libra: September 23 - October 23
Tipping the scale in your favor every so often, doesn’t hurt the balance of things. It might actually be restoring it. Put yourself first once in awhile. The Universe will forgive you.

Scorpio: October 24 - November 22
A Scorpio’s first instinct is too lash out at something that annoys it. That may not always be the best solution. After all, you’re not the only one in nature with a stinger.

Sagittarius: November 23 - December 21
Dreams are magnificent healers for the soul. Taking the steps that would make them your reality can be frightening at times, but oh... what sweet magic you can make.

Capricorn: December 22 - January 20
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a quiet evening at home. The humble comforts of a familiar sanctuary can do wonders for rejuvenating a tired heart. Curl up with yourself.

Aquarius: January 21 - February 19
Your ability to find the positive in almost any situation is a skill that, sadly, not enough people possess. Share it, and spread some of the happiness that seems to come so naturally to you.

Pisces: February 20 - March 20
Truth is one half perception, and one half practice. Don’t just believe you are a beautiful and worthy soul, act like you are.


I officially retired my Bravenet.com blog on July 6th of this year (2012) with the entry, "Where Have All The Good Men Gone...". Though I had tried once before to start another blog here at Blogspot, I don't think I ever actually gave it as much of an effort as I truly could or should have. Or perhaps I did, and life's little random bits of chaos just got in the way... again. Regardless, I have begun to miss the occasional arrogant spewing of my tendrils into the blogverse (that sounded a little dirty).
Although I have, as of yet, no true goal or direction set in stone for this new little blogling, I can promise that there will be horoscopes (on occasion), book, movie and app reviews (on occasion), my usual crude level of sarcasm (fairly often), and a lot of shameless self-promotion, to be sure.

In fact...

Shop Azodnem
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Please be sure to visit my website: Azodnem.com, and/or
follow the lovely links up at the top to stalk me on Facebook and Twitter.