Alara

Lately, I’ve been watching a new show called The Orville, a comedy version of Star Trek: the Next Generation. It’s one of my favorite shows now. The other night, I drew a picture of Alara, a character played by Halston Sage.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Dear Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

I loved the computer-generated special effects when I first saw Terminator 2. For a long time, I thought computer effects looked spectacular and impressive. But something changed over the years. Maybe the digital material became too surreal and cartoonish. Or maybe I got older and lost my sense of wonder. Whatever the reason, I’ve reached the point where I cringe every time I see digital effects. It looks as if someone sprinkled pieces of a PlayStation 2 game into the movie.

The artists who create these effects are obviously talented, brilliant people. I respect them. I admire their skill. I’m not trying to insult their work. But I’m tired of “video game movies.” Can we please go back to practical special effects now? I want to see something that looks real and solid again.

Thank you for reading.

Matthew

Jodie Whittaker is amazing, but why do you have to ruin the surprise?

I’m excited that a woman will be playing the Doctor. Jodie Whittaker looks like a perfect fit. Her eyes are intelligent, mysterious, and otherworldly. She’s so Doctorish. I’m glad the show is moving in a new direction.

I’m also happy Chris Chibnall is taking over as showrunner. The program has grown a little bit stale over the last few years. Steven Moffat isn’t a bad writer, but his episodes feel like reheated leftovers to me. And most of his season finales left me more confused than satisfied.

(But I did love the 2015 season, especially the finale. Heaven Sent and Hell Bent were solid gold masterpieces. My heart rate surged when the Doctor finally returned to Gallifrey. He stood the desert, squinting his eyes. He bent down and told the little boy, “Go to the city. Find somebody important. Tell them I’m back. Tell them I know what they did. And I’m on my way. And if they ask who I am, tell them I came the long way round.”)

I don’t have a problem with a woman playing the Doctor, but I do have a problem with the BBC announcing the new actor ahead of time. Don’t tell me what’s going to happen. Don’t tell me who the next Doctor will be. Surprise me. That’s what good TV shows are supposed to do.

I was nine years old when I first saw the Doctor regenerate. I had no idea who the next Doctor would be. I didn’t even know he was going to regenerate. In fact, I had never even heard of regeneration. I was sitting in my dark living room floor on a Saturday night, staring up at the TV screen. I watched the Doctor run through a bleak wasteland carrying Peri in his arms. He staggered into the Tardis and dropped her. He slumped over the console and hit a few buttons, wheezing and panting. Then he collapsed on the smooth, white floor. He closed his eyes. Then his face began to glow. Psychedelic colors and lights flashed and swirled around him. Visions of his old companions appeared in the air and circled around him.

When the Doctor sat up again, he had a new face. And curly hair. It wasn’t Peter Davison anymore. It was Colin Baker.

I ran into the kitchen and told my mother that the Doctor had just turned into someone else. She laughed. The next day, a friend of mine explained what had happened.

It would be nice if the Doctor’s regeneration still came out of the blue with no warning at all. It would be nice if the BBC didn’t ruin the surprise for me.

***

You can click here to check out my latest book on Amazon. Drake Novak is a malevolent alien who draws his energy from the pain and suffering of other life forms. He comes to Earth in a stolen ship, takes over a factory, and keeps all the workers in abject misery. He soaks up their sadness the way a plant absorbs sunlight. Then the Galactic Precinct sends a young rookie cop to arrest Drake Novak. But when Malpheus Mallock arrives on Earth, his tracking device stops working. He lands on the front lawn of an elderly couple named Carl and Christine. They feed him fried chicken and mashed potatoes. They show him baseball games on TV. The whole time, Malpheus struggles to find Drake Novak. 

My latest drawing binge…

I spent my early childhood in Tampa, Florida. The local TV station, WTOG, aired a show on Saturday afternoons called Creature Feature. Dr. Paul Bearer was the host. He played “horrible old movies,” as he called them. He introduced the movies and made jokes during the commercial breaks. Dr. Paul Bearer’s real name was Dick Bennick. He passed away in 1995, but I still like to watch him on YouTube.

The Noid

Here’s a pencil drawing I just finished this morning. It’s a picture of the Noid, a character from the Domino’s Pizza commercials back in the 80s. The Noid was a creation of Will Vinton Studios, who also brought us the California Raisins. I was fascinated with the Noid when I was a kid. Still am.

My encounter with Conan O’Brien

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I was in my bathroom the other day, cleaning out the cabinet under the sink. I noticed a little green door in the back of the cabinet, a little door I had never seen before. I opened it and crawled through … and I entered a magical shopping mall filled with frolicking unicorns and dancing leprechauns and Lionel Richie music. In the food court of the magical mall, there was a KFC. I went inside it and (behold!) Conan O’Brien was sitting at a table. I asked if I could sit with him and (behold!) he said I could.

Then, as we were eating, he leaned over and whispered something to me. He said he was a risk-taker and a rule-breaker and a cake-baker and a yard-raker. I was amazed! And then he confided in me further and revealed that he was a smooth-talker and a fast-walker and a Facebook-stalker and a bathtub-caulker! While he was telling me all this, I discreetly reached over and stole a chicken wing from him.

Filled with rage, Conan O’Brien transformed into a pterodactyl and flew away, spraying me with dung as he flapped out of the restaurant. I was sad because I had failed to get his autograph … but I happily scarfed down the rest of his coleslaw and mashed potatoes.

So it goes, so it goes.

Some drawings from 2013

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I’ve taken a break from drawing lately, so I decided to post some pictures I drew earlier this year. The first is a caricature of my blogger friend, Myla Laurel, who lives in Dubai. She takes mouth-watering pictures of food. The second is Spock from Star Trek. (It’s supposed to be the Leonard Nimoy version.) The third is G.E. Gallas, a talented writer/illustrator/blogger.

Like I said, I’ve stepped away from the sketchbook. I wanted to remove the clutter from my mind and spend the rest of the year relaxing. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve reflected on 2013 and kicked around some ideas about what I would like to do in 2014.

I’ve also watched Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas over and over and over again. It’s almost 30 years old now, but I never get tired of it.

***

I’ve tried to get into the habit of visiting the park regularly and walking around the track. Since the park is so close to my home, I don’t bother to drive. I just walk over there — past the old storefront buildings and all the small, quaint houses with Christmas trees twinkling in the windows.

Each time I make my way to the park, my neighbor’s little dog eagerly scampers along behind me. I call the dog Regis, because he reminds me of Regis Philbin, the TV icon. It’s difficult to explain why. I think it’s because of the way he grins. I see the essence of Regis Philbin in his happy little face.

Whenever I walk through town, trudging toward the park, Regis always accompanies me. But he doesn’t move in a straight line, like I do. Instead, he makes one detour after another, waddling away from me and waddling back to me again, exploring each lawn with his twitching nose.

I’m usually deep in thought during these walks, brooding about my job and worrying about life, but Regis is always happy. He’s just a high-speed ball of joy … with the face of a game show host.

Sometimes, I look over and see Regis tinkling on a garden gnome. When this happens, I clap my hands and shout, “Regis! Come away from there at once! You don’t have any business urinating in that person’s yard! Get back here! Right now! I command you!”

And he happily trots back to me, wagging his tail and smiling. I half expect him to say, “Is that your final answer?”

Once we arrive at the park, and I begin to march in circles around the track, Regis continues to come and go, sniffing and peeing everywhere, as if he has some kind of quota. I enjoy his company, even though he makes things more complicated. I’m always afraid his little antics are going to get me in some kind of trouble.

But so far, everything is fine. And if I stick with this regimen, I’ll probably slim down in 2014.

Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas.

(Both of my e-books are available on my Amazon page. One is a science fiction story aimed at young adults. The other is a Southern gothic novel filled with dark humor.)