Bison Bros!

Summer of 2001 was 20 years ago at this point, and now I feel really old. Then again, I’m now married with three kids, a mortgage, a career, and all that stuff, so I haven’t exactly been sitting on my hands.

That particular summer was a year of transformation for me, as I spent months practicing on the varsity Cheer squad at my high school. I had visible six-pack abs for the first time in my life.

Anyway, since I’m trying to teach my sons that they can physically level up if they keep trying something, we’re doing a workout program this summer of my own invention. It’ll be tough, but that’s the point. They’ll go into the fall with the confidence of someone who can run and do pushups and all that with ease. We call it “Bison Bros” because the bison is the official animal of America, and we’re Americans. #legit.

We just finished our first week. It wasn’t easy, because hey, that’s life these days, but we got it done.

Are you getting in shape this summer?

Pay attention to what you feed your brain

Once upon a time there was a huge dude in Kenya who played rugby for their national team, and ended up getting signed to a linebacker position by the Indianapolis Colts for half a million dollars.

He never really dialed into the position, but he was pretty cool to watch during the offseason when I had nothing better to do, kind of like now. Anyway, several years ago when I was still hype on the Grigson-era Colts (mistake), Daniel Adongo said the above stuff in an interview, and he’s right.

The bad music you listen to, the snacks you allow yourself to have, the nonsense you read on the Internet, all of it matters when you’re trying to make yourself improve. Even if it doesn’t seem like a lot.

Inversely if you listen to good music and read good books and follow good people online and I dunno back Graham’s Patreon so you can access his more gooderly things, you’ll do better. You’ll probably even look jacked like Adongo up there. Worth a shot.

Make Awesome Summers Again

Last year doesn’t really count because the WuFlu screwed everyone out of a traditional awesome American summer. I’d really like to remedy that in ’21.

There’s plenty of stuff out there telling you to be miserable and grumpy and angry at the world, and you know what? It’s horse crap. All of it. Humanity’s problems are largely a matter of scale because A) there has never been a higher population of people on Earth before, and B) those people have never had global access to one another’s thoughts and impressions, making them C) susceptible to manipulation by faceless entities on the other end of a digital screen.

So don’t feed bull crap to your brain. Get out and have an awesome summer like you did as a kid. Get stuff off your slate. Simplify. Go outside. Hike. Eat watermelon. Have fun. Single peeps? Fall in love. Married peeps? Go on dates and shoot the breeze for a change. Get in the pool. Get the grill going. Change jobs, read books, watch movies, whatever. Just…have a damn good summer, ok?

Progress report

For those who’ve been following the release schedule for Adventure Hour, you know I’m currently working on GUILD. The cover art is underway, just slow going.

As you can see, I’ve got the basic poses down and stuff. The detailing takes longer and the coloring is relatively quick.

Episode 1 is already up, and I’ve got 6 more scheduled.

After that I’ll do a short story that doesn’t have a title yet, it’s just a spoof of a certain YA paranormal romance that you’ve probably heard of and did not enjoy. You’ll enjoy mine. That’s why you’re here.

That’ll just be one episode, maybe as long as two hours, and then the next serialized adventure will pop up, called ENGINES OF MERYKA: HOWLING WILDERNESS.

Stay tuned, from now until the end of time.

Could always use another backer or two though. www.patreon.com/dreadpennies

It’s not too early to plan the menu…

…for the 4th of July. So I am. Just consider Engines of Liberty to be my overwritten culinary blog, and this is the menu that you skip ahead to read.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got lined up for 2021. It’s gonna be an all-day thing. Links are for the recipes I’m using.

Garlic Balsamic Brown Sugar Steaks!

Grilled Balsamic Brown Sugar Steaks

Grilled Shimp on Skewers with lemon wedges

A little bit of Grilled Shrimp

Elote recipe on a white dish

Mexican Street Corn

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Cake

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Cake (This image is from someone having made it themselves, the actual post is a video on Pinterest.)

The usual staples of fries and fruit will be on hand, as well as the weapon of choice, Dad’s Root Beer.

DAD'S ROOT BEER (@DADSROOTBEER1) | Twitter

I web-searched this image and it came up as a Twitter account image that got suspended…so you can search it, but you can’t see the tweets. LOL AF. Remember that Twitter is un-American and you shouldn’t be on it unless you’re a GA reaching out to the people who need it.

Anyway, what are you having for ID4?

On the 1-year anniversary of this prompt…

…give me something to draw “in my style.”

May be an illustration

This one was fun. I don’t think I finished every one of them that was sent in (I still owe someone a Phantom, and I think a Harry Dresden too). I’d like to do it again though.

So if you’re reading this and you aren’t a spampornbot, comment below with a character you’d like to see me draw In My Style.

Vintage Tunes: An Aural Time Machine

This is just one of many videos put together by Jake Westbrook on YouTube. I found his stuff back in the fall, he has awesome Autumn tunes, Halloween tunes, Thanksgiving music, Winter tunes that aren’t Christmas, Christmas tunes that are old school awesome, and more.

Dunno what he went to college for, but I’m glad he did, because he keeps finding excellent music from the past. Check it out.

If ONE PERSON comments on this, I’ll do an entire artbook.

May be an image of 1 person

Last year I drew puns of all 45 presidents, from Washington to Trump. Here’s just one of them.

I’ve considered doing a whole artbook of the elections from 1789 to 2020 and if there’s literally any interest in it at all, I’ll greenlight that beast.

Just one comment. One comment that isn’t a spambot or porn virus from India. Do it. I freaking dare you to do it. You yella? Bet yer yella. Comment on this post for Graham’s take on each American election, illustrated with punnery and punditry in unequal measure.

Hoc quoque transibit (This Too Shall Pass)

No photo description available.
No photo description available.

I started trucking in 2013. One of the worst days I had that year was in May, when I got stuck in the dirt in California, just over the border from Arizona. Can’t remember the town, I think it was Blythe.

The guy who loaded me told me to drive into the field, but I got stuck in soft soil and ended up needing a tow. He also rammed into the back of my trailer with his forklift, damaging the doors so I couldn’t close them properly. Then when I went to refuel the truck in Ehrenburg, I spilled diesel all over my good gym shorts.

I’ve definitely had worse days in trucking, but that one was still pretty bad. Nevertheless, I set it aside and did what had to be done in order to finish the job, because that was the only way to get away from all the BS that happened to me. Sometimes that’s all there is to it.

Humans are emotional creatures. That can be a delight, and it can also be a hindrance. You’ve got to know when to just…be a computer and not care, because you can’t feel better until you’re away from what’s making you feel worse.

Simple and plain, yet we lose sight of that. Because we’re emotional.

Get back to work.

My Top Five Movies

Everyone is dying to know (in my mind) so here’s the list. No real order, and it may surprise you that there’s only one superhero flick, but it’s there to represent the genre at large.

MEMPHIS BELLE

In WW2, before there was a US Air Force, you had the Army Air Corps, along with the Army draft. But if you flew 25 successful bombing missions, you got honorably discharged and could go home.

This ought to tell you something about the mortality rate on bomber missions.

The crew of the Memphis Belle flew 24 successful missions. This is the story of their 25th. It’s perfection.

Solid cast, too. Sean Astin, Billy Zane, DB Sweeney, and John Lithgow, just to name a few. Incredible flick.

A GOOD YEAR

Shoot, I remember renting A Good Year from Blockbuster in 2007. Why? Because back then I’d make a list of all the movies I wanted to see in a given year, and it was on my list from 2006, but that was a rough year for me and I didn’t make it to the theater. I like Russell Crowe so I grabbed it and WOW.

The story, the setting, the scenery…all of it is a blaring, glaring question that demands to be answered: WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR TIME? What is most valuable to you? What matters most, and are you doing anything to secure it?

The book is wildly different from the movie–and fine on its own, but inferior by comparison. I love Max’s arc in this one. It’s too bad the Lance Armstrong jokes aged like a fine milk though.

FINDING FORRESTER

“You’re the man now, dawg” was made famous by this movie from 2001, about two literary writers who are both missing things in their souls. They come from distinct backgrounds but are united in their drive as well as their suffering. One has experience and the other has vision, and together they build a friendship that fills the gaps in each other’s lives.

This is a story about mentorship, but on its plainest level, it’s a story about friendship, and a damn fine one at that.

SERENITY

This was the movie that concluded a cancelled TV show back when cancelled TV shows were doomed to the ashbin of cinematic history. Firefly should have never gotten the axe, but it was a Western on FOX, so it was doomed from the start.

(Brisco County Jr. looks on and nods knowingly.)

The writing is tight, the pacing is fast, the dialogue twists are abundant, and the script is infinitely quotable. This movie is a clinic in characters and story, riddled with pain and loss as well as triumph against incredible odds. Just awesome.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

Why this one, and not Endgame? Well, because Endgame HAD to be good. And it succeeded. It also did so on the shoulders of nearly two dozen movies before it, only two of which really sucked.

TWS could have been a vanilla stepping stone between Avengers and Age of Ultron, but the Russo brothers decided to swing for the freaking fence by blowing up S.H.I.E.L.D. and putting Cap front and center, having him shake off the confusion of 70+ years in the ice. Here’s a man who had every excuse in the world to quit, and instead he put it all on his back and stood even taller.

The chemistry between the actors, the thrilling action scenes and combat sequences, as well as Cap’s example of undying friendship and loyalty to his own principles…I could go on and on. This movie changed the superhero genre and raised our expectations for it all going forward.

Anyway, that’s it, that’s my five. What are yours?