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I’m Still Alive: Status Report

Is an update in order after months of silence?

I haven’t been able to apply much energy towards social media these past couple years in part to many things. Even preparing the wedding last May was a relatively simple task compared to all the anxiety following my job, the flooded home, our battles with the insurance companies and the ongoing renovations that forced my wife and I to change apartments seven times last year. It took so much out of me, I’ve long since abandoned karaoke, geek debates and blogging just to take time for myself whenever I can get it.

The good news is that this year, we found ourselves a nice new home. We got married, took time out for Paris, have frequent board game nights, and in a week’s time, I’m leaving Nerdcorps and starting at my new animation job at Icon Creative. While I knock on wood as I write this, I feel like my brain’s been spending 2015 slowly recovering from the trainwreck that was 2014. I feel like Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill” finally wiggling her big toe.

It’s not to say I have given up my ambitions, but I approach a lot of my projects at a much slower pace now for sanity’s sake, even at the cost of going dark for extended periods of time.

weeddingcakeMarriage in May
Marriage-wise, Ning and I didn’t do anything too fancy, just a combination wedding/reception in an Italian restaurant with 40 friends and family members in attendance back in May. My aunts were kind enough to make a cake (pictured right) and set up treats and we even got a bilingual commissioner to translate for my Chinese in-laws.

Honeymoon in Paris
Honeymoon in Paris went well enough. We ticked off all the essential must-sees, visited the countryside, and had lots of croissants. I also learned that, despite being bilingual, my French still sucks enough that no one in France wants to hear it.

Novels in Progress
My sequels to “Ancients’ Royale” were meant to come out over the course of last year, but I found the problem with releasing books is waiting for the editors who don’t have time to read them. So for a year and a half, I’ve had two nearly-finished books sitting in Google Docs waiting for proofreads. I’m tempted to release both as-is and suck up any criticism over my grammar.

New Game in the Works
Life might be a little easier if I stuck to AGS for all my game design needs (Wadjet Eye Games gets along with it great, so why not?), but part of me just REALLY wants to learn Unity so that I can get all those extra perks that come with 3D animation (camera angles, higher frame rate, choice of hats, etc.) I’ve been prototyping a small game since the summer to learn Unity for demo purposes. With luck, my three room game “Chester Cornfield: Old Timey Detective” could be out later this year (or halfway next year at this rate), and if public interest allows, could be expanded into a full-sized commercial game. Which then begs the question…

Do I need a new company name?
Something that’s been bugging this past while is the future of “Box of Mystery”. To me, I feel my personal brand hit its stride with the “Ducktalez 7” finale and SQInc’s “secret” ending. To work on commercial games like Cornfield requires either a new brand name or a complete overhaul of the site, which I’m not too keen on. Does “Mystery Sandwich” or “Socks of Mystery” grab anyone as a good game company name? Ning insists the name include “Ramen” or “Monkey”. “Ramen Monkey Games?” Sorry – don’t mind my textual rambling. Just brain-farting here.

Anything else important?
Yes. We made pumpkins.

November 06 2015 | Daily Life | 3 Comments »

New Game: Late Last Nite!

A group of us teamed up to make a game for 2015’s AdventureJam. It’s a comedy about a girl retracing her steps through a series of bizarre fantasy worlds in search of a few things she dropped. The development team consists of myself (as lead animator and background artist) with fellow adventurers and developers including Jess Morrisette, Gareth Millward, and Troels Pleimert (concept and design), Natalie Juhasz (art), and SQInc co-developers, Akril (programming, art) and Frederik Olsen (music).

It’s free-to-play, so come check it out at GameJolt and leave a review! Hopefully, we can do a special edition soon…


April 18 2015 | Stuff I Made, Stuff Other People Made, Video Games | No Comments »

“But they’re my only pants!”

Here’s some work I did for our upcoming Slugterra movie, “Slug Fu Showdown”. I’m especially proud of this one because making a turtle eat pants is one of those things I can’t wait to put on a resume.

January 22 2015 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Let’s Destroy Halifax Again!

It’s been quiet on this front for a while, so here’s some artwork I’ve been developing for my next book!


UPDATE: Also made a new cover for the last one as well!


November 08 2014 | Art, Books | 3 Comments »

Weird Al News: Mandatory Fun!

There’s something about a new Weird Al album that makes me want to get off my butt and update.

July 15 2014 | Awesomeness, Music, Music Videos, Stuff Other People Made | No Comments »

Five Favorite Films of 2013 (and then some)

It’s been a couple months since the year ended and I’ve finally caught up with most of my movie-watching. Save for a few Oscar-bait films here and there, I’ve pretty much watched all the major buzz films. And I’m happy to report that this year’s list isn’t swimming in sequels like previous lists. So what made my favorite film picks? Here’s my top “five” along with a few honorary mentions.

5. Gravity
There’s not much left to say about “Gravity” that people haven’t already said, so I’m just going to pitch my sequel idea: “Gravity 2: The Quest for Clooney”. It’s like the first movie, but backwards. Sandra Bullock needs to go back into space to rescue George Clooney, but her rocket explodes mid-flight and she has to parachute down onto a passing plane. But the plane explodes, so she has to hop onto a passing balloon. But the balloon explodes, so she has tie a bunch of eagles together. The whole movie is just her in the sky breaking all our nice sky things.

4. Thor: The Dark World + Star Trek Into Darkness
I was trying to decided which of these I liked better, and then realized they’re basically the same movie. Both are fan-service-packed sequels to films I’ve previously favorited, both are packed with goofy sidekicks, both involve flying through space, both involve sticking the villain in a prison cell for a short time before needing to let him out, and both involve a spaceship wrecking a city shortly following an inevitable betrayal. Basically, this is the “Save the Cat” category.

3. Frozen
LET IT GO, LET IT GOOOOO, FLIP THE TABLE AND SCREW YOU ALLLLLLLLL, I DON’T CARE IF I HEAR THIS NINE TIMES A DAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY, PUT THE SONG ON LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP – Hakuna Matata, biznitches! I still can’t figure out how it took Disney two decades to write a soundtrack this good. Sure, “Hunchback” and “Goofy Movie” have their moments, but it’s like between now and “The Lion King”, nobody at Disney had any idea what qualified as a good musical. Even the deleted songs from “Frozen” are pretty dang good.

2. Pacific Rim
Once upon a time, Zack Snyder made a dismal, mean-spirited and unnecessarily dramatic Superman movie that made me ashamed to enjoy mass destruction in movies. Then Guillermo Del Toro came along and reminded me that destroying cities can still be fun. The movie’s not without its problems: the Russian and Chinese Jaegers deserved more screen-time, the story over-complicates itself, and there’s a full 40 minutes between giant robot fights that I’ve been skipping through on airplane flights. But in the end, it’s still a wonderful smash-up movie with a theme song I can wake up to.

1. This is the End + The World’s End
This was the year we got two great movies about drinking and the apocalypse. Both were loveable and surreal for very different reasons. One explored a real-world setting with the actors playing themselves in the middle of the Rapture, and the other was about a guy dragging his friends through a pub crawl while being attacked by aliens. No matter what the heroes were aiming for, I found myself equally invested in their attempts to escape the apocalypse while they came to terms with their insecurities. As a personal pick, I’d lean more towards “The World’s End” just because I like seeing Nick Frost playing the furious ass-kicker for a change.

Favorite Underdog: The Lone Ranger
In the vein of “John Carter”, Disney clearly spent way too much money on this 150-minute cowboy comedy based on a radio show without any solid marketing strategy. But that aside, it’s a good goofy romp with carnivorous rabbits, a magical tree-climbing horse, a mentally deranged Tonto, and all the LSD-inspired fun you can have with a western without resorting to giant spider robots.

Favorite Oscar Bait Film: Her
While I’m sure most people would love to have Scarlet Johansson seductively whispering in their ear all day, I think I’d rather have that video game Joaquin Phoenix plays where you just sit around yelling at that trash-talking alien.

Favorite “Almost Had It” Movie: A Haunted House
This movie was actually way better whenever it wasn’t trying to milk terrible jokes or be a parody of “Paranormal Activity”. If you just drop the ghost angle entirely, you’re left with a decent satire about a young couple moving in together and learning to put up with each other’s bed farts and PMS.

Best Movie in Theory: Sharknado
We live in a strange world where a movie about filling a tornado with sharks somehow falls disappointly short of being “so bad, it’s good”. Still, I feel we need to preserve the idea of this film for future generations, so that in 20-30 years, we finally get the tornado-filled-with-sharks movie we deserve.

March 07 2014 | Movies | 1 Comment »

2014: Another Year, Another Update

Sorry for the extended silence, everyone. Thanks to work, life, and my new-found appreciation for napping, it’s been hard to keep up with my blog and I really wanted to provide some updates on future projects.

For starters… I’m getting married! I know this seems out-of-left-field since I rarely blog about my personal life these days, but for anyone following my Facebook, you were probably well aware that the last year of my life featured a lot of pictures of myself and a special someone being that disgustingly cute couple so many people love to hate. Sorry, folks, I’m a hopeless romantic. She’s a wonderful woman, sings like an angel, cooks like a pro, and was patient enough to let me stay up until three in the morning every night working on “Ducktalez 7”. And when that was done, she kept encouraging me to make another, so I’m 99 + 1% sure she’s a keeper.

“Ducktalez 7” opened well, got a lot of positive reviews, and then the buzz died down. A lot of people have been asking if this is going to be my final episode and quite honestly… I want to say yes. It’s been a ride, and I really wanted to make thirteen of these in total, but this might have to be where I cut the line and set it free. My voice has been giving out and constantly rerecording the voices for this episode was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. It would be nice to revisit this series every decade with a couple new episodes, but if that ever happens, expect shorter stories. For now, I’m almost inclined to retire the “Box of Mystery” brand on this episode so I can move on to original work.

Speaking of original work, a lot of this year will be devoted to writing. Since I already spend eight hours a day animating at work, I’ve been burning out a lot more frequently at home. Writing is more relaxing, so I’m going to continue my “Ancients’ Royale” series with two more installments. I also want to get some design documents together for a few games ideas I have and see if any are worthy of a Kickstarter. I really want to get a team together for my next project, so when the time comes, I want to make sure I know what we’re all getting ourselves into. I don’t know what that project will be yet, but something in the vein of “Final Fantasy” wouldn’t be too far off.

Otherwise, the rest of this year will be renovations, wedding planning, and a few trips (including Vegas and China). I’ll keep you all posted on developments as they come. Thanks for sticking with me all these years! More to come.

(And I’ll post my Top Movies after I finished going over a few more of them. Too many good ones come out in December!)

Quick additional update: Sometime last year, I got to storyboard and animate my own solo “slug-isode” for Slugterra. The company just put it up on their channel, so watch and enjoy!

January 19 2014 | Daily Life | 1 Comment »

Ducktalez 7

December 15 2013 | Cartoons, Stuff I Made, Videos | 7 Comments »

Ducktalez 7 Trailer

December 10 2013 | Cartoons, Stuff I Made, Videos | No Comments »

Progress on Ducktalez 7

23 minutes and 43 seconds complete. All assets built. All voices recorded. Everything else should be downhill from here providing I keep it simple and don’t have a history of over-scoping my finales.


I’m in trouble, aren’t I?

August 31 2013 | Stuff I Made | 4 Comments »

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