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    • WITCH DOCTOR Workblog 3: Lukas Ketner rocks your flip-flops, all winter long.

    • Posted by Brandon Seifert on 29 Jan 08
    • Witch Doctor is a forthcoming medical horror comic from writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner. Witch Doctor combines horror archetypes and really sick shit from the real world. This is the book's workblog. For more information, read the first entry.

      Lukas is working on a pin-up of our protagonist Dr. Vincent Morrow, the eponymous Witch Doctor. He's been spending a lot of time on it, and wanted to show my how the figure looks before he finishes the background... and the drawing stunned me so much I just had to share it.

      Lukas Ketner's third take on Dr. Vincent Morrow

      A few words about Lukas. Like me, he's an Alaskan expatriate currently based in Portland, Oregon (although I'm from Fairbanks and he's from Anchorage). He's a professional illustrator whose work graces the covers and interior pages of Portland's two alt-weekly newspapers almost every week. Because he's AWESOME. Go look at his portfolio. Or just the album art he did for Portland funeral folk band The Builders and the Butchers:

      I am incredibly lucky to have Lukas illustrating my first comic.

      Next Entry: 4: The Red Queen War | Previous Entry: 2: I eat you
    • WITCH DOCTOR Workblog 2: I eat you.

    • Posted by Brandon Seifert on 29 Jan 08
    • Witch Doctor is a forthcoming medical horror comic from writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner. Witch Doctor combines horror archetypes and really sick shit from the real world. This is the book's workblog. For more information, read the first entry.

      Last night I turned off the lights and lay down for a little before-bed reading about cannibalism.

      New Guinea is really rather fascinating. It's the second-largest island on earth (after Greenland), and it's home to more than 800 distinct languages -- around half the total languages in existence. And of course, there used to be cannibals there.

      When people think of cannibal societies, they're thinking of what's called exocannibalism -- eating people who aren't part of your social group, often as part of warfare. But the Fore people of Papua New Guinea were endocannibals -- them ate their own dead as part of the funerary rite.

      The North Fore would just cook the entire body whole in a steam pit with vegetables. The South Fore liked to cut the body up instead, and cook the pieces inside bamboo tubes along with vegetables, ginger and salt. They ate the entire body, everything but the gall bladder. Even the bones, which they'd char to soften them up and then crumble them up in the cooking tubes. Even the feces. They'd cook that with vegetables.

      It was something you'd do for your loved ones. A sign of respect. (Fore women would also carry the severed heads of their dead husbands in a bag on their backs for months, showing how much they mourned by putting up with the worsening stink.) One of the Fore's greetings translates as, "I eat you."

      It was actually a pretty new custom when white folks showed up on the island. The Fore told an anthropologist their first reaction after eating person:

      "This is sweet! What is the matter with us, are we mad? Here is good food and we have neglected to eat it. In the future we shall always eat the dead, men, women, and children. Why should we throw away good meat? It is not right!"

      Mortuary cannibalism was something women and children did; the men got to eat pork instead. And that's why the women and children were the ones who got kuru -- a condition that started with tremors and weird emotional responses, laughing and frowning at random, and ended with paralysis and death. The Fore thought kuru was a curse put on the women and children by male sorcerers.

      But no. Kuru was a prion disease, like Mad Cow. And the women and children got it from eating the brains of dead kuru victims. They didn't eat people who died of other diseases -- but since they thought kuru was caused by a curse, and because kuru gave body fat the nummy texture of pork, kuru dead were fair game.

      Did you know raw human brains have the consistency of soft scrambled eggs?

      (The book was Richard Rhodes' Deadly Feasts.)

      Next Entry: 3 - Lukas Ketner rocks your flip-flops, all winter long | Previous entry: 1 - Introductions and Inseminations
    • Daily mortification run amok

    • Posted by WaxPoetic on 29 Jan 08
    • yesterday - Monday - very unseasonably warm - someone let the crazies out before their time. hid much until toted along like a stress-koosh for shopping. bought pickles. am insanely happy. also - lychee body butter. ooooo.

      today - it is blowing cold wind from the north very fast with snow. the temperature is very cold. it hurts to breathe cold. it hasn't actually hurt with cold all winter. i begin to believe that sensible winter dressing is the realm of the rebel as i have seen (this is true) women in high heels walking on ice. i saw a woman with no gloves, scarf, hat or proper coat walking outside in open-toed high heeled shoes. on ice and snow with the blowing. i have seen men with no gloves or hats or scarves and with their jackets OPEN!

      it's not the mother in me, it's the how dare you walk around my world with your stupid inability to maintain some decency in the face of ludicrous weather and then get sick and expect me to breathe the same air as you you fucktard slave to fashion or your hair products in me.

      i grew up in chicago in the 80s. you could (and i think still can) tell the secretaries who would always be secretaries and the bosses from their shoes - nothing do to with manufacturer. people who are going to move up in the world wear walking shoes or tennis shoes on their way to work and change into fancy shoes when they get there. any woman who can present herself in public in tennis shoes, bobby socks and a wool suit will make more money than i will.

      i work at a university. you would like to think that somewhere the brain cells of these cloned corn cobs would suddenly flash to life and patterns would be realized and acted upon in rational i don't like being uncomfortable ways. alas. it is a dream.

      but i get to eat shepherd's pie tonight. unless we can't find a shepherd, which is fairly likely. we'll probably see if we can scrounge up one of the cowboys from the rodeo last weekend. i'm fine with that. i like 'em stringy.
    • Random Geek: Legacy Hero (1)

    • Posted by TechnocratJT on 29 Jan 08
    • Ok I have a longer post planned for latter. But I wanted to get my foot in the door and say this before tonight's Colbert Report airs.

      Joe Q is coming back on. Captain America 34 is out tomorrow. My bet? Joe is coming to take back the shield to give it to the new Cap as a bit of publicity for Bucky.

      Latter this week, probably after I read Captain America 34, I will explain, why not only is this the defining run on that book (including the Secret Empire story), but why Bucky should remain Cap after Brubaker is done, and why Steve should stay dead.
    • Caffeine Consumption

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 29 Jan 08
    • Today's fun? Looking up records in peer reviewed journals to find out if Caffeine is still thought to be as dangerous as it used to be. The stuff commonly cited on the internet is old news, and several years ago there was a paper by the national geographic society that refuted the dangers of caffeine- if taken in moderation.

      The latest findings on coffee suggest that it even staves off disease. Caffeine reduces the risk of Parkinson's disease, for example, by blocking receptors for adenosine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motor function. It is now being tested as a Parkinson's treatment. Caffeine also heads off migraines by contracting blood vessels in the brain.

      And probably because coffee, like blueberries and broccoli, contains potent antioxidants, it appears to reduce the risk of colon cancer, gallstones, and liver cancer, among other illnesses. In 2005, Harvard researchers found that drinking six cups of coffee or more daily cut the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by half in men and 30 percent in women. One study of 80,000 women showed that those who drank more than two or three cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of suicide over 10 years by a third.

      Alas, that glorious rush of energy isn't entirely benign. Numerous studies have found no link between caffeine and cardiovascular disease. But it can cause anxiety, jitters, and heart palpitations, particularly in people who are sensitive to it. It also can cause stomach pain and gastrointestinal reflux, may make it harder for a woman to get pregnant, and may increase the risk of miscarriage or a low-birth-weight baby. Doctors advise pregnant women to give up caffeine, or keep consumption down to a cup or two of coffee daily.

      -Shute, N., Ewers, J., & Go, A. (2007, April 27). Over the Limit?. Us News and World Report 142, 14, 65-8.

      Other studies show that in low doses it may reduce perception of muscular pain;

      -Motl, R. W., P. J. O'Connor, L. Tubandt, T. Puetz, and M. R. Ely. Effect of Caffeine on Leg Muscle Pain during Cycling Exercise among Females. Med. Sci. Sports Exert., Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 598-604, 2006.

      -Turley, K. R., and J. W. Gerst. Effects of Caffeine on Physiological Responses to Exercise in Young Boys and Girls. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 520-526, 2006

      -Stuart, G. R., W. G. Hopkins, C. Cook, and S. P. Cairns. Multiple Effects of Caffeine on Simulated High-Intensity Team-Sport Performance. Med, Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 37, No. 11, pp. 1998-2005, 2005.

      Although a study by others casts doubt on the affect of caffeine on speed in athletes (sprinters in this case).

      -Paton, C. D., W. G. Hopkins, and L. Vollebregt. Little effect of caffeine ingestion on repeated sprints in team-sport athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 33, No. 5, 2001, pp. 822-825.

      So what's this all mean? I believe it means take it in moderation. Don't panic, don't over-do it. Drink your caffeine wisely, and if you start to feel some of the negative side effects, STOP.

      There's a LOT of peer-reviewed studies on the substance out there; don't be afraid to do your own looking, and come up with your own opinions.

      And you know what? Even if the publications had been negative, I would still drink my coffees, and have my mountain dew.
    • Z: TBH: Morning, Day 2

    • Posted by Z on 29 Jan 08
    • Dreamt I found a stash last night.

      What this translates to: not good. It translates to backsliding.

      Monday- yesterday- was nerve rattling and exhausting in a number of ways I can't begin to get into right now. My brain gears have completely stopped turning on their own. I've had to start grabbing every cog and turning it by hand, forcing the rust to flake and dust down on my face and choke me.

      Yeah, fine, call me dramatic. But that won't give me back six days of not posting, or the several days before that. Another way of putting it, I'm in the center of a frozen lake barefoot, scrambling to catch my balance, freezing my ass off, and the sound of cracking ice has made me keenly aware that spring is coming, and that my lazy complaining arse has become a lead weight. No one should have to carry me, but I have no idea how the fuck I'm going to get back to shore in time.

      Spent the morning whipping up some HTML code for my project, in case I have to go dark and give up. Who knows how long it takes for them to take those pages down. Until they did, blackness. That's all folks. Nothing to see here.

      That'd be a relief, actually. Sure, it'd be a drag at first listening to people tell me I gave up too easily, but then again, their disappointment would fade. Something else would certainly grab their attention. How long could I disappear without anyone noticing?

      It's a good question.


      You know what? Blogging is fun. I see why people do this, it's just like shouting at a wall until your throat hurts. Except I probably won't have to make as much tea, and my voice will sound less gravely.

      My wall will be so lonely now.

      - Z

      Today's question: Do you like Mondays? How was yours?
    • Random Geek: He means black costume..I hope?

    • Posted by TechnocratJT on 28 Jan 08
    • Ok I promised someone I would explain a comment I made that Mark Millar is comics PT Barnum or Andy Kaufman.

      And I will.

      But until then.

      “The kind of characters he runs into is like Spider-Man’s granddaughter, who is called Spider-Bitch and she is this black Spidey-Girl type of person that runs around in Utah.”

      This way to the great egress.