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mister_f July 13 2014, 12:02

My tweets

joncwriter July 13 2014, 02:51

Weekend Update Does a Bit of Tidying Up

I'd been meaning to do a bit of spring cleaning in regards to my collection of writing--mainly because I was looking for a few Mendaihu Universe outtakes some time ago and had no idea where they were--and realized it was high time I got things in order again.

For starters, I have a crapload of empty notebooks (some never used, but many where I only used maybe less than a quarter of the pages), and figured it was high time to start culling. Some of them I'll keep as I can still use them, but the older ones that I've had for over a decade and are looking a bit tatty are going to head to the recycling bin. Yes, I know it's wasteful, but I'd rather make a clean sweep of it rather than hang onto notebooks I know I'll never use again.

I've also divvied up the various projects so everything is in its right place--all the Mendaihu Universe books and their predecessors (including True Faith and The Phoenix Effect) are now in one pile. The Walk in Silence pile includes all its outtakes, the Belief in Fate and Decline and Fall stories, and so on. The music-related stuff is together, all the artwork and the poetry and the maps I've created over the years. There's a slightly smaller pile I need to go through that's a mixed bag of various dead-end projects, and a pile of to-be-sorted, much of which will probably get shredded or recycled. I believe there's also a few things elsewhere that need to be dug through and divvied up as well, and I really need to do that before I can get any serious culling done.

This is probably a much bigger undertaking than I expected, but I'm willing to go through with it because it needs it. We've been at this address longer than we've been at our old one in North Beach, and much of this stuff has only been sorted maybe once or twice since then, even when I attempted to scan some of this stuff. And to be honest, this is a hell of a lot less stuff than when I moved out of my parents' house...I spent a good couple of weeks there just digging through all the notebooks and whatnot and doing some serious shredding and recycling. I did so again after we moved to San Francisco, when I shredded a lot of my superfluous manuscripts (stuff I still had digitally, so it seemed silly to have old and useless inkjet copies taking up space).

[Update: I just dug out everything that's in that bookcase partially hidden by the loveseat--there's a lot of crap I can get rid of there, which will give me even more room to put stuff I know I won't need to look at any time soon! I'm also tempted to dig through the four Ikea file boxes I have next to the window bookcase, as I know there's a lot of crap in there as well that can go. I also have a few boxes lying around that I can use as temporary filing until the stuff gets shredded. Anything that can be recycled will of course head straight downstairs to the big blue bin.]

I'd say I could probably use a filing cabinet, but I really don't have any room for one in Spare Oom, as every available spot is taken up by something else. As it stands, most of this is stuff has been on the tall black bookshelf next to the desk. That's getting a major rearrangement as well...all the reference books are together now, and I'm planning on rearranging the bottom two shelves so every project has its own specific spot.

Lastly, and somewhat related, I'm tempted to buy a new printer, maybe a three-in-one this time out, and while doing some shopping at Best Buy today and I saw this printer/scanner there that I'm tempted to buy. My current printer works but the power button is starting to get wonky (I've had it for probably five years already--I got it while still at our old place), and I fear my scanner isn't working properly. It's somewhat bigger than my current printer, so I'm thinking it may end up going elsewhere--which isn't a bad thing, because that would free up more bookshelf space. I'm probably going to hold off until after our London trip, though, as it's not desperately needed at present. Just something I'd like to get, really.

*whew* Okay, back to the cleaning I go!
dorktowerfeed July 11 2014, 17:26

Stowe it Goes and Stowe it Goes and Stowe it Goes – DORK TOWER 11.07.14



Super Happy Stowe it Goes II Fun Hour

The kids in the strip – it turns out – are based on James Stowe’s own children, ages 10 and 8.


Thanks for the wonderful guest-week, James! And everyone else? Be sure to check out James’ delightful SIDEKICK QUESTS comic and game!


mister_f July 11 2014, 12:02

My tweets

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dorktowerfeed July 10 2014, 15:09





As some of you kids may have heard, I had an eight-month-ish period where my wonderful business manager moved on to greener pastures, and I kinda went crazy, taking on far more work than any sane cartoonist should have.

Yes, I used the words “sane” and “cartoonist” together. SHUT UP!

The end result of this ridiculously overworked period? By my estimation, between GenCon-time and very-early-Autumn, I could have six or seven new games on the shelves that I worked on, in one way or another (including, of course, the obligatory unannounced Munchkin release or two. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW EASY I HAVE JUST MADE YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING?)

I’d like to spotlight some of these games, over the course of a few blogs, to give you fair warning of what’s about to hit you like an oncoming semi driven by a drunken dwarf who can’t see over the dashboard  show off some of my work. And there’s no better place to start off with than MUNCHKIN PANIC.

Don't Panic! No...wait...I mean "PANIC!! Yes, most definitely PANIC!"

Don’t Panic! No…wait…I mean “PANIC!! Yes, most definitely PANIC!”

Munchkin Panic, published by Fireside Games,in collaboration with Steve Jackson Games, is based on Castle Panic - a game I’ve been obsessed with for a few years, now. It’s a tremendous, cooperative “Castle Defense” game (literally, in this case), where you and your pals try desperately to save your tower from the oncoming hoards of goblins, orcs and ogres. As the swarms get closer, a true, palpable sense of panic  sets in amongst the players, and it is a HOOT!

This is just SOME of what's coming at you. NO SERIOUSLY YOU MAY PANIC NOW!

This is just SOME of what will be coming at you. NO SERIOUSLY YOU MAY PANIC NOW!

Munchkin Panic will have a few differences, and they are door-kicking awesome! To quote the press release:

In this hybrid game, the Munchkin Monsters have found the Castle Panic towers and are on the rampage!

Players must balance their self-interest with the cooperation necessary to survive. If players get too greedy, the Monsters will stomp the Castle flat while the players are too busy fighting amongst themselves.

Munchkin Panic merges what you love about both Munchkin and Castle Panic. The game will include a More Munchkin Mini-Expansion for even more panic and more ways to infuse your experience with the maximum Munchkin possible!

There’s also Treasure! Of course there’s treasure – this is MUNCHKIN, after all, so there has to be treasure! When you slay a Monster you get Treasure cards you can use against the Monsters…or each other. (Look, I said this was MUNCHKIN, right?)


That’s OK because you have some very sturdy walls to protect you WAIT WHAT?

One of the many upsides to working in the gaming industry is you get to hang out with cool, creative people. And I just love everything I’ve seen so far from Fireside Games team for Munchkin Panic.

The Monster Token Bag for Munchkin Panic. MOVE OVER, Crown Royale!

The Monster Token Bag for Munchkin Panic. MOVE OVER, Crown Royale!

Another upside is you get to work on games that you can’t wait to play – and Munchkin Panic is absolutely one of those. Creating its cover was a blast, and seeing all the pieces for the game come together has been a delight. The folks at Fireside Games are terrific to work with - heck, I’ve been a fan of theirs for years – and I can’t help but hope we do it again, some day.

– John

PS: WHAT? You’ve never played Castle Panic? What are you waiting for? It’s an absolute favorite of mine, and it’s just sitting out there, waiting to be bought! Plus, it’s a great “gateway game,” which your non-gaming friends can easily pick up and enjoy. You know. As you die horribly, being overrun by goblins, orcs and trolls…

PPS: I’ve got a new and again wonderful business manager at last, now, so life is sane once more.



mister_f July 10 2014, 12:02

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bougieman July 9 2014, 12:13

New Cinema Sewer podcast: With special guest COLIN UPTON

It's our longest, veiniest, most tumescent podcast release yet, and this time we're really nerding out! Tim and Robin are going downtown with Upton!

You heard right: In this episode, renowned indie comics legend and international raconteur Colin Upton stops by to help Robin & Tim discuss some of the best comics-to-film adaptations ever. Will your favorite get mentioned? Perhaps! But probably not! Haha! Fuck you!

HEAR: Tim & Robin trying to shoehorn silly accents into every other sentence. SWOON: As our guest simulates a nasal cavity search in surround sound! THRILL TO: A gratuitous sales promo at the end! Yes, this episode is everything you ever hoped for from an overdue 7th episode, and perhaps more. Look, if loving this episode is wrong, I don't want to be right. See dealer for details. Kids, ask your parent or guardian's permission before snorting this audio.

You can listen to it at our official page:

Or you can listen to it here, at itunes:
mister_f July 9 2014, 12:02

My tweets

  • Tue, 12:32: RT @Boarhound: ready 4 dadcon http://t.co/zO5QVOmB01
  • Tue, 12:33: RT @anfael_: til the unbridled joy of @E_I_T 's "hip-hop" video thanks to #1 superfan @Boarhound and i want it played at my funeral
  • Tue, 12:54: A big Happy Birthday to my birthday brother @FilutRasiak it was awesome to hang with you at AC and have some beers! *hugstight*
  • Tue, 12:58: And yes, I'm an older Grandpa today, gimme hugs you awesome critters (&non-critters)!! :3 <3
  • Tue, 15:23: If there's a brain lying on the floor, that would be mine. @Boarhound played Everything Is Terrible, Hip Hop in particular last night.
  • Tue, 15:25: While watching Everything Is Terrible, I literally Could Just Not Even. This is worse than when I 1st watched Food Fight online.
  • Tue, 15:58: Subtweeting @anfael_ when they're 10 feet away on the air mattress OOOPS HI MUM
  • Tue, 16:04: RT @DobesCrusher: Anyone have a place to stay for a girl + friends near Pittsburgh. Her dad is like threatening violence while they're stay…
  • Tue, 16:44: RT @GlitteryAnimal: HEY FURRIES S i b e is stalking people and being abusive, this is not some on you want on your timeline or following y…
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dorktowerfeed July 8 2014, 14:40

SPORK TOWER – Soup’s On!





I improved-up a neat little recipe for an easy, tasty Moroccan soup the other day. But before getting to that, I want to post a couple of quick things that blew me away, and helped turn a relatively lousy day around.

Yesterday started out crummy, in a work and stress and shattered iPhone and getting-all-up-in-my-head kind of way. But a couple of things popped up that made me remember how lucky I truly am.


REASON TO BE HAPPY PART ONE: Andrew Shell used one of the drawings from the Embrace the Squee charity coloring book, for the nursery he’s readying. He projected the picture on the wall, and then painted it in. That pretty much made my day! 

She's got no troubles. Life is de bubbles. Under the sea!

She’s got no troubles. Life is de bubbles. Under the sea!


REASON TO BE HAPPY PART TWO: At the Origins Game Fair, Munchkin player Ron Gamble asked me to sign some cards for Australian wrestler Massive Q.


Not gonna lie. It was spectacularly gratifying, watching this!


REASON TO BE HAPPY PART THREE: Realizing your job description is essentially “make people happy,” or, at least, “happier”…and then watching folks enjoying your silly little doodles.

I’m a lucky guy, indeed.



The ZuZu Cafe, a local eatery that Daughter, Age 5 and I visit whenever we go to the zoo, serves an unassuming little soup I just love, called Chicken Jarré. It reminds me of some of the soups I had in Morocco, and it’s one of those small, delightful meals around town that simply makes me smile whenever it’s in front of me.

The Jarre at the Zu-Zu cafe seems to always be on the menu - a little gem of a soup that's often overlooked.

The Jarre at the Zu-Zu cafe seems to always be on the menu – a little gem of a soup that’s often overlooked.

I tried to make it at home yesterday, improvising a recipe, and actually came pretty close. I  had some leftover chicken breasts from a batch of  Williams Sonoma slow cooker Chicken Tagine, and realized that the flavor profiles were pretty darned similar.

This is essentially a first draft of the recipe, but I wanted to get it down before I forgot it (I tend to wing things, in the kitchen). Even if it could use a bit of tinkering, the soup itself came out great, and – along with some warmed pita bread and a salad – made for a delightful summer dinner.

JOHN’S JARRE (1st Edition)

Serves 4-6


  • 1 medium Onion, diced fine.
  • 1 celery stalk, diced fine.
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced.
  • 2 T olive oil

Saute in a gallon-sized pot for 5-6 minutes, making FREAKING sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Then add

  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t coriander

I like my soup spicier, so I tend to “heap” my measurements here. Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes, to open up the spices. Then add

  • 6 c. chicken stock.
  • One 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained

Simmer for a half-hour to 45 minutes, until garbanzos soften a bit. Taste the soup, then add

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Finally, toss in

  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup chopped parsley (I didn’t measure, here)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup chopped mint (I didn’t measure, here)
  • 1/2 cup rice (I didn’t measure, here – I used two handfuls)

Simmer for another half hour to 45 minutes, until the texture of the rice is soft, but not mushy. Finally add

  • 1 – 2 cups shredded chicken (I didn’t measure, here – it was one very large breast)
  • Zest from one lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

(Tip: Assuming you don’t have that lovely large tagine-style chicken breast on-hand that I did, simmer a chicken breast on the bone in the soup as soon as you add the stock, then remove at the end, let cool, and shred, for a nifty flavor enhancement.)

The improvised homemade version. The depth of color is lacking, but the flavors turned out terrific.

The improvised homemade version. The depth of color is lacking, but the flavors turned out terrific.

Serve in bowls,  sprinkled with chiffonaded mint leaves.

The results were great, with a surprising depth of flavor. The color of the homemade soup was far lighter than the ZuZu Cafe version (I’m assuming harissa is behind their vibrant look), but that’s something I’ll tinker with next time.

Meanwhile, I’m happy how this easy, tasty, and relatively healthy soup, full of Middle-eatern flavor, ended up. It’s just right for a light, lovely summer meal. Particularly with some Moroccan mint tea, afterwards.

If you try this recipe, do let me know your results. Next time I make it, I’ll keep a closer eye towards true measurements of some of the ingredients I simply eyeballed.

   – John

mister_f July 8 2014, 12:02

My tweets

mister_f July 7 2014, 12:02

My tweets

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mister_f July 6 2014, 12:02

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joncwriter July 5 2014, 17:36

Weekend Update Still Needing to Remind Itself It's a Long Weekend

I spent most of yesterday needing to remind myself that it was Friday and not Saturday, even though we did many weekend things such as having lunch in Japantown (and of course doing some manga tankobon shopping while there), walking, and a bit of laundry. Today is actually Saturday, last I checked. Plans for today include driving up to Petaluma to have lunch with the in-laws, and perhaps a bit of shopping at the newish Target up there as well. Other than that, not much else.

I was originally going to post something yesterday, but chose against it...I realize I'm at that point where I'll sometimes type out some kind of rant, or maybe just some longwinded blathering, and I'll just lose interest before I hit the Send button. I'm thinking a lot of it is due to my coming to terms that everyone else is going on about the same thing, so who am I to add to the noise? Either way...we all have our own thoughts and opinions, and I'm just choosing not to broadcast them anymore unless there's a good reason. That would most likely explain my low online profile as of late.

Anyhoo. What's going on in JoncWorld, anyway?

Walk in Silence is moving ahead very quickly. Not only am I already on Chapter 5 already, but I've finally broken the 10k wordcount, and I finally did more than 1k in a single sitting. Woo, go me! Heh. I've already come to the conclusion that I'll be done with the first draft a hell of a lot quicker than I expected, and that I'll be doing some serious rewriting and revision afterwards. There are a lot of points that I've merely skimmed over, and a number of points that I should make endnotes for, and will do so during the second go-round.

Not much else going on in the creative world at the moment, but I'm hoping to squeeze in a blog post or two this weekend, and maybe even a few other personal creative thigns as well. I believe we are planless tomorrow, so that should give me some time to work with.

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