Thursday, November 29, 2018

Rish Outcast 124: I Get So Emotional, Baby

In this episode, I talk about conveying emotion in writing and film, and cite a bunch of examples. You'll get a few spoilers . . . and a couple of tears.

My Patreon supporters got an extended version of this episode, and heads up, either Episode 125 or 126 will be a Patreon-only incentive show.  So . . . god help us all.

Hey, why don't you download the episode directly by Right-Clicking HERE?

Or, you could support me on Patreon HERE (they got an extended version, kids!).

Logo by Gino "The Knife" Moretto.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tales of eBay Horror 3: One Who Worked The System

This, "The One Who Worked The System," is the true story of a bad eBay experience that I have told the most times over the years, because it's the one that makes me the angriest.  Hope it makes you angry too.

There may be a delay in the next episode or two due to computer problems, but by all means, keep on shuddering at the prospect of more.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rish Outcast 123: Geriatric Protagonist

Man, this episode's been a long time in coming.*  But better late than never, right?  Right?

In this show I talk about the inspiration for and the release of my new book "A Mark on the Sky."  It's a Sci-Fi/Horror story with, you guessed it, an elderly main character.  Write what you know, eh?

You can buy the text version at THIS LINK, and the audiobook version AT THIS LINK.

Download the episode HERE.

Support me on Patreon HERE.

Here's a link to the That Gets My Goat episode where Big and I brainstormed ideas that eventually became this book: TGMG 131

Logo and cover art by Gino "The Ghost Who Walks" Moretto.

Link to Old Man in TROLL 2 mentioned in the show.

Link to Abigail Hilton interview mentioned in the show.

Link to Naked Baby Photos.

*I refer to events from 2016 as happening "almost a year ago."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Excelsior! 1922-2018

It was with sadness, but not entirely surprise, that I got my traditional "Guess Which Celebrity Just Died" text from my cousin this morning, and discovered that the great Stan Lee had passed away.  He was ninety-five years young.

Stan was The Man, responsible for so much wonder and joy in my childhood, adolescence, and middle age, that I don't really have time to go into it right now.  And I CERTAINLY didn't have the time an hour ago when I typed all this, only to have it disappear when I got an error trying to save.  I think I'll just post two pictures and leave it at that.

Stanley Martin Lieber was the creator or co-creator of several of my favorite superheroes (most notably Spider-man, Hulk, the X-men, and the Avengers, not to mention She-Hulk, who it seems no one but me will ever love), and was the father of Marvel Comics.  He was also a great writer, a tireless promoter of the comic book medium, always patient and generous with fans, and a hell of a nice guy.

I got to meet him a couple of times, and until the 20-teens, he never charged a dime for an autograph.  He told the same stories, over and over, but never lost the enthusiasm of a storyteller telling it for the first time.

So, this is a happy picture for me.  It was taken at the Wizard World Convention in Anaheim, the only time I went to that particular con. 

I had a big old teenage (well, a teen in his thirties, like on GREASE!) pimple on my forehead, and I actually went to Target right before to buy some makeup to cover it up.  That too, was the only time I'd done that.

I got my picture taken with Stan, fearful I might not get another chance.  After all, he was almost ninety in those days.

Obviously, when a man is as old as Stan has reached, and is in on-and-off poor health, you know what's inevitable.  It still elicited a tear or two from me when I thought about telling my nephews about his death.  They're young enough not to really appreciate what a writer does, but are certainly old enough to recognize how many vibrant, still-relevant characters the man (The Man) brought into their life.

My love for Spider-man has been spoken of often, and I'm sure I'll wax on and on in the future too (not to mention the tribute TGMG episode Big and I will put out), and the two things Spidey and his creator seem to have are their inherent decency, and the fact that I feel like I know them, despite it not actually being so.

I wanted to do some kind of tribute to Stan today, and since I can't draw, I tend to rely on my (abundant supply of) action figures.

As soon as he was home from school and got his homework done, I grabbed my younger nephew (the ten year old had basketball) and we went to my Marvel Legends drawer.  I told him to grab all the action figures of characters Stan created and we'd set them up for a picture before the sun went down.  We barely made it in time (the sun was just dipping below the horizon as we finally got them all standing), but not without forgetting a couple and including one that didn't belong.*

Unfortunately, we missed a couple significant characters (as I don't have any Fantastic Four figures, and I'd sold the Doctor Strange figure I used for my lil Steve Ditko tribute earlier this year), but still, we were rushed, and every new one we placed made one of the old ones fall over. There are two Iron Mans, and you can't even SEE the Human Torch.  Sigh.

Plus, I remembered a bunch of Spider-man villains I figured I could pose behind everybody, but it was just too dark when I got them out (you can see in this picture of my nephew that the sun is almost at ground level).  So I ended up taking the villains picture the next morning, hoping to comp it in.

They absolutely REFUSED to stand up, even though (and it may not be visible in the picture) they all have legs.

I like how it appears the Kingpin is comforting Scorpion, and Magneto is pondering the eternities.  Even then, I forgot the Green Goblin, who has his own stand, and wouldn't have kept falling over like the other four did.

I did try to stick them all in together, in place of Patsy Walker (who I was SURE Stan had created in the Fifties, but alas, I was wrong), but the perspective, lighting, size, and color of grass all teamed up (like a group of supervillains) to thwart me.  I wasted time working on it, but at least I got to listen to a podcast while I did it.

So, I ended up sticking them in the back, which doesn't look too bad.  Still can't see Human Torch, though.

Still, I think the photo turned out pretty well.  It's remarkable that, even though they don't have emotions (or physical representations of emotions), a couple of them SEEM to be sad simply because of the position I put them in.  Thor and Cyclops look surprisingly sad, though Wasp and Black Panther seem pretty down too.

And why wouldn't they be?  Maybe because of all the happiness that Stan Lee's creations have brought to innumerable boys, girls, and kids at heart from my generation (and before) to well after we have gone. 

Thanks, Stan.  'Nuff said.

Rish Outfield

*It occurs to me now to wonder why I didn't just set the figures up myself an hour before he got home, so that everything would be r--
Oh yeah, because I wanted to do this with my eight year old nephew, and not just my sad, immature self.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Rish Outcast 122: A Sidekick's Journey V

So, we've come to the end of this Ben Parks adventure (a sidekick's journey, if you will).  But a journey into . . . what?

Then I talk about Western movies, and how they're similar to my favorite genres of Horror and Sci-Fi.  ARE they similar?

To download the episode directly, Right-Click HERE.

To support me on Patreon, go on over to THIS LINK.

Logo by Gino "The Enraged Silverback" Moretto.

Ben Parks image by Dave "The Sedated Mandrill" Krumenacher.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Tales of eBay Horror 2: Purloined Photographs

Here's the second episode, "The Tale of the Purloined Photographs." A true story, and just as scary as THE BLAIR WITCH PROJEKT (yes, with a K).

This was actually the first episode recorded, but there's not really any order to these things.* This is definitely the shortest of the shows, though.

*Except I mention in Episode 4 another story I haven't bothered to sit down and tell, and I just can't decide whether it's worth it or not.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Nothing Can Stop The . . . Wait, Who?

Years ago, my nephew used to ask me questions about Marvel comics characters.  For some reason, he really fixated on the Juggernaut, and ever since he was five or so, he's wanted to be the Juggernaut for Halloween.

If you're not familiar with the Unstoppable Juggernaut, here's an image.

But nobody makes a Juggernaut costume.  And after his appearance in DEADPOOL 2, they never will.

(Not the worst image that came up, but...)

But when the boy brought it up again this past summer, I started thinking about it, about how we might pull off a homemade version of that costume.

I figured you buy a muscle suit, at any old costume or online store, and put brown faux-leather on it.  Not bad.  But the helmet, the most iconic part of the character . . .

. . . how would we manage that?

My first thought was to get a mixing bowl that was exactly the right size, then (somehow) cut eye holes and a mouth hole in it.  Then we'd cover it with the same brown fabric, or spray paint it brown, or, if we were extremely lucky, we'd find a BROWN mixing bowl to do it with.  But no luck.

Next, we went to the craft store and found these cool foam half-balls.  They looked EXACTLY like what I had in mind, and were sort of hollowed out:

But they were unbelievably expensive (literally.  I still cannot believe they dared charge that much for one), and were only fifty cents cheaper on Amazon.  I still considered it, but the problem was, what if it didn't fit, or broke trying to carve out eye-holes?  Then the foam investment was ruined, and for what?

I went to Walgreens after that, and saw a bunch of their huge inflatable rubber balls.  Ah ha! I said, this is the perfect size and shape!  We'll have no trouble cutting eye-holes for this!  I can cover the rubber with the faux-leather, and if we ruin one, well, it's not a huge expense like the foam.

I bought one, cut it open, and immediately realized my folly.

It became, like my soul, a deflated shapeless void once there was no air in it, and though it was the right size to fit over my nephew's head, it would not keep any shape, let alone the iconic supervillain helmet one.

It wouldn't work, not as a costume, and now, certainly, as for a ball.

My sister mentioned paper-mache, and I sort of wish that's the way we had gone, but I worried that a) it would look crappy, and 2) that it would fall apart the second he took it off and put it on again.  I still wonder if that might've been a better way to go.

I kept looking for mixing bowls, going to the thrift shop down the road.  And that's when I passed the lamp section.

Hey, a couple of these didn't look half bad.  They came in varying sizes, different materials, wide ones, squat ones, and, if I squinted, they kind of looked like the Juggernaut's helmet.  Cool.

So I bought one, trying it on myself to see if it would be the right size.  I purposely picked one up that was a little too deep, knowing I could cut material off the top and/or bottom to get it the right size for a ten year old head.

I knew I had the challenge of the top of it (this one had a metal lid that I could easily slice off and throw off a busy overpass), but I figured that would not be an insurmountable problem.

No, my chief worry was that, even if we covered it with pleather, the boy would look ridiculous.  That it would obviously be what it was...


But I was committed.  I was gonna be a cool uncle--maybe not as cool as that video of Patton Oswalt making his son a Doctor Octopus costume (seriously, check that out if you want to feel deficient as a parent . . . AND a man), but one who put in a little effort.

So, first thing I did was cut off the top of the lampshade (and throw it into rush hour traffic), then sliced openings for the eyes and mouth.

We made a sort of "roof" of the helmet out of cotton gauze so his hair didn't stick out the top.

I went to Walmart and got a yard of leathery fabric, which we wrapped the helmet in.  My first idea was to have my mom sew it, but the lampshade was too breakable, so we used one of those hot glue guns to attach the material.

I used the same material to put on the chest of the muscle-suit we got him.  I forgot to take a picture of that step, and also the brown pants we got him to wear (he didn't own any brown pants--who does?--so we went to the thrift store and scooped some up).
The "helmet" was way too wide on my nephew's head, so we encased it with gauze/cotton padding so it would sort of huge his head and face more.
Lastly, to look (sorta) like rivets, I hot-glued metal buttons to the helmet, then painted them brown.

We cut off a few strips of the material to go on his arms and knuckles.  I hoped we'd find some moonboots we could also cover with the material, but had no luck, and he just wore tennis shoes.

I recognize it didn't come out great, but I thought it came out fairly well, at least.
And that was it.
ONE guy (that I saw) called out, "Hey, it's the Juggernaut!"  But that was all (my nephew said there was another dude [a grown man, like I'm supposed to be] who thought the costume was cool and took a selfie with him, but I didn't witness that).

Later, I heard that my nephew wasn't entirely thrilled with the costume (I choose to believe that it's because it was awkward and heavy), but I told him we could improve it for the next comic con we go to.  Maybe we'll try the papier-mache.

Maybe we'll try the Colossus version.