Dinah Sawrz!

Okay, so that title is spoken as Mr. DNA from Jurassic Park. You’ll see why in a moment.

I wanted to be a paleontologist as a kid. I can remember countless days wandering the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s paleontology wing, staring up at their T-Rex and Diplodocus skeletons. I even interviewed the head paleontologist once. I had dinosaur toys and clothes and read everything I could on the subject.

So the year is 1993. It’s a 7 P.M. showing. My dad and my grandparents and I are standing outside the local theater on opening night. They pulled me from whatever it was that I was supposed to be doing that night, to go see Jurassic Park. We go in, the lights dim, and the movie starts. We’re introduced to our protagonists, how everything works, how we got to be where we are, and then they go for a ride in the Jeep. As they cruise along, Dr. Sattler is talking about how this plant has been extinct for blah blah blah and then as the music rises, Dr. Grant turns her head to the herd of brachiosaurus. One of the beasts raises up on it’s hind legs, and as it comes down, the whole theater shakes.

For the first time in my life, I saw dinosaurs that seemed real. I was terrified and excited all at the same time.

A few days ago, sitting there in Jurassic World, I was 10 years old again. The whole time. I held my wife’s hand through the scary parts, and gasped in wonder at the amazing parts (of which there were many). For a few hours, I forgot what it was to be a grown up, and I was just some kid staring up at dinosaurs for what seemed like the first time in my life.

In short, you NEED to see this movie.


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Re-Casting the Marvel Universe

So, I do this thing where I cast actual actors in roles that I write, or that I might have a chance to write, so that I can keep their “voice” clear in my head. I’ve posted about this before, and figured I’d do an update. Most of my choices stay the same, but with the loss of some fantastic actors, I’m forced to revise my list.


Bishop, Lucas (Bishop)-Tyrese Gibson

Braddock, Elizabeth “Betsy” (Psylocke)- Rhona Mitra

Darkholme, Anna Marie (Rogue)- Emmy Rossum

Drake, Robert “Bobby” (Iceman)- Josh Hutcherson (Formerly Shia LeBeouf)

Grey, Jean (Phoenix)- Deborah Ann Woll (Formerly Rachel Weiss)

Gurthrie, Samuel (Cannonball)- Ryan Kwanten

Howlett, James “Logan” (Wolverine)- Hugh Jackman

LeBeau, Remy (Gambit)- Charlie Cox (Formerly Matt Bomer)

Lee, Jubilation (Jubilee)- Brenda Song (Formerly Kristen Kreuk)

McCoy, Henry “Hank” (Beast)- Colin Firth, motion capture performance (Formerly Robin Williams)

Munroe, Ororo (Storm)- Rosario Dawson

Pryde, Katherine “Kitty” (Shadowcat)- Molly Quinn

Rasputin, Piotr (Colossus)- Owain Yeoman

Summers, Scott (Cyclops)- Max Thieriot (Formerly Jeffery Donovan)

Summers, Rachel (Marvel Girl)- Isla Fisher

Wagner, Kurt (Nightcrawler)- Andy Serkis, motion capture performance

Worthington III, Warren (Angel)- Ed Westwick (Formerly Ryan Gosling)

Generation X

Cassiday, Sean (Banshee)- Kevin McKidd

Espinosa, Angelo (Skin)- Diego Luna

Frost, Emma (White Queen)- Kate Bosworth

Guthrie, Paige (Husk)- Hayden Panettiere

Starsmore, Jono (Chamber)- Orlando Bloom

St. Croix, Monet (M)- Sarah Hyland (Formerly Olga Kurylenko)

Thomas, Everett (Synch)- Lee Thompson Young

New Mutants

Ashida, Noriko “Nori” (Surge)- Zhang Zhi Yi

Borokowski, Victor (Anole)- Nicholas Hoult (Formerly Logan Lerman)

Guthrie, Joshua “Jay” (Icarus)- Emile Hirsch

Foley, Joshua “Josh” (Elixir)- Aaron Ashmore

Keller, Julian (Hellion)- Joseph Gordon Levitt

Kincaid, Cessily (Mercury)- Eliza Dushku, motion capture performance

Kinney, Laura (X-23)- Jodelle Ferland (Formerly Summer Glau)

Qadir, Sooraya (Dust)- Summer Bishil

Vaccarro, Santo (Rockslide)- Keith David, motion capture performance


Proudstar, James (Warpath)-Jason Frank

Sinclaire, Rahne (Wolfsbane)-Saoirse Ronan

Smith, Tabitha (Boom Boom)- Elisha Cuthbert

Summers, Nathan (Cable)- Ron Perlman

Thurman, Neena (Domino)- Selma Blair


Carosella, Guido (Strong Guy)- Kevin Michael Richardson, motion capture performance

Dane, Lorna (Polaris)- Chyler Leigh

Maddrox, Jamie (Multiple Man)- Eric Dane

Maximoff, Pietro (Quicksilver)- Dane DeHaan (Formerly Crispin Glover)

Summers, Alex (Havok)- Paul Walker


Banner, Bruce (The Hulk)- Mark Ruffalo, Motion capture performance

Barton, Clint (Hawkeye)- Jermey Renner (Formerly Sean William Scott)

Blake, Donald (Thor)- Chris Hemsworth

Drew, Jessica (Spider Woman)- Missy Peregrym

Maximoff, Wanda (Scarlett Witch)- Carla Gugino

Pym, Henry “Hank” (Ant Man)- Patrick Dempsey

Rogers, Steve (Captain America)- Chris Evans

Romanov, Natasha (Black Widow)- Rachel Nichols

Stark, Anthony “Tony” (Iron Man)- Robert Downey Jr

Van Dyne, Janet (Wasp)- Katie Holmes

Walters, Jennifer (She Hulk)- Jessica Biel, Motion capture performance

Williams, Simon (Wonder Man)- Brad Pitt

Wilson, Sam (Falcon)- Anthony Mackie (Formerly Djimon Honsou)

Fantastic Four

Grimm, Benjamin “Ben” (The Thing)- Michael Chiklis, Motion capture performance

Richards, Reed (Mister Fantastic)- Matthew Gray Gubler

Storm, Jonathan “Johnny” (The Human Torch)- John Krasinski

Storm, Susan “Sue” (The Invisible Woman)- Kristen Bell

Brotherhood of Mutants

Allerdyce, St John (Pyro)- Ethan Embry

Creed, Victor (Sabretooth)- Liev Schriber

Darkholme, Raven (Mystique)- Olivia Wilde

Dukes, Frederick “Fred” (The Blob)- Ron Lester, Motion capture performance

Lensherr, Erik (Magneto)- Ian MacKellan (Formerly Sean Bean)

Petrakis, Dominikos “Dominic” (Avalanche)- Sam Witwer (Formerly Sam Huntington)

Toynbee, Mortimer (Toad)- Doug Jones, Motion capture performance


Blaire, Allison (Dazzler)- Taylor Swift (Formerly Avril Lavigne)

Blaze, John “Johnny” (Ghost Rider)- Colin Ferguson

Cage, Luke (Power Man)- Terry Crews

Castle, Frank (The Punisher)- Peter Sarsgaard

Danvers, Carol (Warbird)- Jenny McCarthy

Hardy, Felicia (Black Cat)- Jolene Blalock

Murdock, Matthew (Daredevil)- Charlie Cox (Formerly Timothy Olyphant)

Parker, Peter (Spider-Man)- Andrew Garfield (Formerly Anton Yelchin)

Strange, Stephen (Doctor Strange)- Adrien Brody

Von Doom, Victor (Doctor Doom)- Jonathan Frakes

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Rain, rain….

….please dear sweet bouncing baby Buddha go away…

So, I live near Houston, which I may or may not have mentioned before. We’re a coastal city, and I’m fairly close to the coast at my current home. Hurricanes are a thing, but they usually aren’t that big a deal, since I’ve been living through them/prepping for them my whole life.

With that said, I experienced my second ever issue with rain on Tuesday.

We did (one of) our weekly D&D games Tuesday night, and it ended relatively early. I went to drop off my father in law and a fellow motorcycle rider at his place 8 miles away so that he didn’t have to ride in the rain, and almost made it there. We stopped at some deep water, because the SUV we were in is relatively small, and I honestly can’t afford to flood it. We pulled onto the median, and the rain kept coming. Water rose, and eventually lapped at our doors before receding somewhat. My friend got out of the car and walked the remaining 2 miles home. I turned around, and tried to find a way out of the neighborhood.

No dice.

Made it through some deep water, and almost to a dry road, but found a car literally floating up ahead, so we pulled off into a raised median to wait it out. My father in law slept most of the night, and I kept an eye on the water. When it had gone down enough to try and pass, we found that we were stuck in the soft mud.

We used our floor mats/some metal bars that were in the car to get unstuck, and made it to the intersection of the dry road home, and found a train blocking the intersection. Traffic backed up behind us, and we spent another two hours there before we could turn around. We made it home, 10 hours after we left, safe and dry. I called in to work, since I’d been awake for almost 28 hours at this point, and slept the day away.

With that said, I still don’t have much pity for those folks who wind up with their cars under water due to flooding. I’ve flooded two cars driving through deep water, and my wife flooded one of them doing the same. I’ve learned my lesson, and anybody in my area HAS to know that it floods when it rains hard.

If you find yourself in an area that is flooding, find the highest ground possible and STOP! Don’t try to ford through the water. Even if your vehicle can make it, others might not, and you might have to stop in the water due to stalled vehicles, or someone else moving faster can swamp your vehicle with oncoming water. That’s happened to me twice, and my car is just as stopped as if I’d decided to wait it out. Pull over as safely as possible, put your flashers on, and wait. Take a nap. Read, browse the internet on your phone, something. Don’t risk it, because if you get stranded, your vehicle will become a hazard to other drivers.

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Brain things…

So, I’m not sure how to word some things in this post without stigmatizing people or sounding like an asshole, so let’s start out by saying that my vocabulary in the following paragraphs is based on my experience in the medical/law enforcement fields.

Mental Illness is a thing in my family. I’ve got Alzheimers running on both sides, depression/anxiety on my mom’s side, and depression/suicidal tendencies/bi-polar or Seasonal Affective Disorder on my dad’s side. I’ve studied a lot about these things, both through my EMS training, my time working in hospitals, and my Security/Law Enforcement career movement.

The problem I have is that I can deal with folks with psychological issues on a daily basis under the role of “Caretaker”, as I do with my job, but when it comes to people I know, I’m not sure what the right thing to do/say is. When a customer comes to me and says “I’m having X issues.”, I can usually talk to them pretty freely and openly without being all awkward. When it comes to friends/family, I have a harder time.

I’m very much a problem solver, and so when people bring me their problems, I try to talk them out, figure out the underlying causes, and eliminate or minimize the stressors that bring on said issues. In my personal opinion (and I’m well aware that it’s not the only school of thought, or even the right one for every occasion), if I have a problem that’s causing bigger problems in my life, I need to solve the problem, or figure a way around it. I want my life to be stress free, as I enjoy being a relatively happy guy. I’ve got an awesome life, for which I’m very thankful, and I want to share my good fortune with everybody.

If you tell me “I’m sad”, I want to make you happy. Happy people do happy things, and then everybody feels happy and brains dump pleasure chemicals and everybody feels great and all is right with the world. If I can’t eliminate the thing that makes you sad, I feel useless. I feel like a failure. Part of my job (both as my paying job and as my job as a friend) is to solve people’s problems, or find someone who can solve them. I want the people I care for (both professionally and personally) to be happy, and if there’s an unsolvable problem, I try to find a work around. A way to deal with it so that it doesn’t cause stress.

With all that said, I realize that sometimes people just want someone to listen. I get that, and I can do that. Unfortunately, I don’t really have much to offer beyond “I understand how you’re feeling” and “I’m sorry you feel that way”. I get that therapy is a thing, sometimes someone needs to vent (myself included), but the end goal is to eliminate the problems that are making you unhappy, right? To find the source of the problems you’re having and figure a way to move past them (at least, as I understand it).

I don’t know what to say to help you and I feel horrible that I can’t make your problems go away. I’m trying to refrain from saying “I don’t know how to fix you”, because that implies that there’s something wrong with you, and that’s not what I’m trying to say. I want to help you be happy, and the only way I know to do that is to solve your problems, or help you find a way around them.

I’m very much a peace maker. I try to find middle ground in arguments, try to analyze the issue from both sides, and choose the best response. I know that it tends to make me a devil’s advocate a lot of the time, and that’s not what people want to hear, but empathy works really well for me. If I can get out of my own frame of reference and see things through other people’s eyes, I find that I connect with the problem on a personal level, and that makes me take things to heart that I might otherwise gloss over, and I am less reactionary as a result. I tend to make smarter decisions that way, which I think is a good thing, because me jumping to conclusions never helps anybody.

So, with all that rambling up there done, I find that it kinda gives a “If you don’t want me to solve your problems, don’t bring them to me” vibe, and that’s not what I intended. Bring me your problems, and I’ll help as much as I am capable. I just can’t promise any progress beyond “Huh…welp…..that sure sucks.”.

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Buckets on my noggin…

So, as a motorcycle rider (I’m not sure if I think of myself as a biker, even though I don’t own a car), I try to be very conscious of safety issues. I ride defensively, keeping an eye out for cagers (car drivers) who aren’t paying attention.

In the event of a collision, the consequences for me are far more immediate and severe than they are for the driver of a car. I’ve got no seatbelt, no steel cage around me to keep me safe, and no airbags. I do, however have a few things that work to keep me safe.

I wear an armored jacket in the cooler months, until it starts hitting the mid-high 90’s in early summer. I wear heavy duty over-the-ankle leather boots, jeans, and leather gloves.

Most importantly, I wear a helmet.

Texas law says that if you have adequate health insurance coverage ($10,000, I think) or have completed a state mandated Motorcycle Safety Course, you don’t have to wear a helmet. Both of these exceptions apply to me, so legally, I am not required to wear a helmet. My riding habits would not change without a helmet, and I would ride just as safely as I do with a helmet on.

With that said, I will never EVER ride without a helmet.

When I was 17, I became a state certified Emergency Medical Technician. I had to run on an ambulance for a set amount of clinical rotations with active EMT’s, to see what the job was actually like. One of my first calls was to the scene of a motorcycle vs car collision.

Note: I call it a collision, because if the people involved had been obeying the law and driving defensively, it wouldn’t have happened. There is no such thing as an accident.

Suffice it to say that the collision was bad. The driver of the car ran a red light and a sport bike (or crotch rocket) slammed into the driver’s side door at 20 MPH. That’s not that fast when you are in a car, driving down the road in a school zone. It’s not even that fast on a bike. However, when you go from 20 MPH to 0 MPH in the space of a few feet via an impact, it’s pretty catastrophic.

I don’t know if a helmet would have saved the rider’s life, or what specific mechanism of injury caused his death, but given the opportunity to be in the same situation, I want every bit of safety that my personal protective equipment can provide me. Blame it on my dad being an OSHA compliance officer/paramedic/biker while I was growing up.

I try to pull over and help downed or broken down riders/motorists whenever I come across them, because people have done it for me, and good karma is never not worth the time it takes to earn. Riders, please…please please please, wear your helmets. I don’t want to pull over and find that I’m not able to help get you rolling again. I really don’t want to have to stand guard over your body while I wait for EMS to arrive and pronounce you dead at the scene.

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All hail Polyhedros, may he bless our rolls…

So, I play Dungeons and Dragons on Tuesdays. I also play another Pen and Paper RPG that a friend of mine and I co-created on Mondays. I also run four separate games (mostly using the co-created system) on alternating Saturdays.

Some might say that I have a problem….

I say the problem is not enough game nights in a week….

I’ve been playing consistently for almost two years, after a multi-year hiatus after starting D&D with my wife’s family. I find that writing and world building is my favorite part of the game, though that’s no surprise, given that I’ve been writing since I was about thirteen.

Most of the co-created game, called Arcanum Planis, is based around concepts from Magic: The Gathering, what with colors corresponding to alignments, differing schools of magic, etc. A lot of it is also drawn from a world I built for a fantasy story that never went anywhere. I started writing, and then got lost doing worldbuilding, and never came back to the story.

Games I play:

Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition)- I’m Shab, the half-orc barbarian who fights without pants, seduces dragons, and has a taste for halfling flesh.

Arcanum Planis- I’m A’den, the one-eyed former dragon tamer/fighter. He lost his soul bonded dragon in an early beta test encounter that didn’t go in his favor, and it opened up too much good story to let it go. He lost his ability to control fire/go into a burning rage state, and now breathes frost and serves as the icy tank of the group.

Games I run:

Arcanum Planis- A motley crew of folks forced by a demi-god to help guide an honest monk of royal lineage to his rightful place at the head of a corrupt empire.

Avatar: The Last Airbender- A new game, where a group of bending students have just survived the Fire Nation’s initial attack on Ba Sing Se, set 100 years before the events of the television series.

X-Men: Decimated Dreams- A complete home brew in which a trio of students at the Xavier Institute are just starting their classes when a group of decommissioned Sentinels attacks the school, and they discover that a long forgotten enemy has risen again with plans to destroy mutantkind.

Firefly: The RPG- A bounty hunting ship, flying around, taking jobs as they come, mostly getting screwed over by the ‘Verse.

Also, my wife just started a blog over at heartdeathcab.wordpress.com and I promised her I’d mention it. I forget how talented she is, because she doesn’t write often, but she’s definitely worth a read.

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Still on Two Wheels…

So, I’ve been riding for several months now. Haven’t laid the bike down, only had a few close calls (all due to cagers [car drivers]).

I accepted a manager’s position at my company’s newest hospital, so now I live 22 miles from work. It’s a nice ride, and I get two hours of bike time a day. It’s starting to heat up again, and the spring rains are here to stay, it seems. Riding in the rain isn’t bad with good rain gear, but people around here get stupid when the roads get wet.

In a couple of weeks I’m riding to Austin (about 190 miles), so it’ll be my first long distance ride. I’m really looking forward to it.

Also, is it bad that I am already shopping for my next bike?

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