Archive for July 2008

Ain’t She Sweet?

July 21, 2008

I’ve been so preoccupied with preparing for my training with the University of Phoenix that I’ve had to put my superhero fiction writing activities on hold temporarily. But I thought I would post the picture that Jeff Hebert, creator of the HeroMachine software, website, and blog, drew for me as a prize for winning his weekly caption contest recently.

This is Celtica, an Irish-American super-heroine, and her faithful hawk companion Branwen.

In the fictional universe I’m trying to create for them, Celtica and Branwen have been chosen to defend Ireland and the rest of the world against the dastardly doings of Malak the Fell, an evil druid/wizard/mage type guy:

I told Jeff I’d like to see Celtica in action as if she were going into battle against Malak. Here’s what he came up with:

Pretty cool, I think. Jeff obligingly made three different versions, varying the length of Celtica’s staff slightly in each, trying to get the right sense of proportion. This is the one I liked best. Hope you enjoy it!


I Almost Have a Job!

July 15, 2008

I didn’t want to say anything until it was official, but this morning I received an e-mail from Axia College, University of Phoenix, informing me that I’ve been chosen to participate in a training session for online instructors that starts next week. I hope to be teaching courses in writing, composition, communication, and maybe even a little literature–what used to be called Freshman English or College English.

I’ve actually been communicating with U of P for several weeks now via phone and e-mail because they have a rather lengthy interview and screening process: an online form, a request for a resume, a series of written questions, a phone interview, and a set of online exercises. I’ve passed all those preliminary stages satisfactorily and about a month of intensive training (actually a pair of two-week seminars) is the next step. If I complete this core training successfully, I’ll then be student-teaching a course under the supervision of a mentor and evaluator. If that goes well, I’ll be offered the position of a junior instructor on the faculty.

It would be only a part-time gig (15-20 hours a week), but part-time is better than no-time. I’m trying to do some writing and develop some stories about original characters I’ve created, and a part-time job like this would still allow me time to write. The job is also an excellent opportunity to network with many professionals, and that networking could lead to something full-time. We’ll see.

The only downside is that after more than 20 years as a dedicated Macintosh user, I’ll have to “go over to the dark side” and start using a Windows PC. My brother Bill, a U of P graduate, and an employee of a major computer manufacturer, strongly recommended a Windows box and a high-speed internet connection. He helped me pick out the system on which this blog entry is being written. It’s nifty having a new state-of-the-art PC, but the Windows Vista operating system (ahem . . . searching for a socially acceptable word) stinks. It’s clumsy and balky and illogical to me. Despite several valiant attempts this weekend, Bill was unable to network the Mac and the PC. Using a flash drive to transfer important files is only partially successful, as many of them are somehow corrupted in transport. I’ve been e-mailing really critical files from the Mac to the PC for several days now, because this seems to be about the only way I’ve found to transfer data error-free. Steve Jobs was right: Microsoft just has no taste. My Mac seems a little forlorn, reduced to a supporting role and sitting on the corner of my desk, but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do. Honest, little Mac. I still love you!

I have about a million things to do before the online training begins, but it feels great to be busy because you’re working towards an ultimate goal. I’m grateful to God for this opportunity and I pray for the grace and strength to make the most of it.

Still More Heroic Happenings (Or, I won with a fart joke!)

July 1, 2008

I won! I won! I won! OK . . . Must . . . stop . . . hyperventilating. Breathe . . . Breathe . . . That’s it!

Every Tuesday, Jeff Hebert, creator of the HeroMachine software, website, and blog, about which I have written at great length here lately, hosts a caption contest. Jeff searches through his vast library of comics, finds a single panel rich with humorous possibilities, removes the dialogue, and invites readers to substitute their own. The author of the funniest faux dialogue wins a custom black and white illustration of whatever they like (within reason, the artist always hastens to add), drawn by Jeff himself.

This week, after many noble but fruitless attempts, your humble blog host has finally won, albeit with a joke that might seem a tad out of place on a more-or-less Catholic blog like this one. Here’s the panel with the original dialogue removed:

Here’s the panel with my dialogue inserted:

I’ve already informed Jeff about what I’d like for my illustration. It will be a drawing of my flagship character, the Irish-American super-heroine Celtica, in a combat stance, as if she’s going into battle against her arch-enemy, Malak, an evil wizard. I let Jeff choose whether to put Malak in the picture or not. Jeff says that while the drawing shouldn’t be a problem artistically, it may be a week or two before he can get it done because he’s on a tight deadline for another important project. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. I’ve created a link to Jeff’s HeroMachine blog and links to some other comics-related sites in a special section of the blogroll on the bottom right.