Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blitz Post #8: Have I abandoned my readers?

Short answer: NO!

As you may have noticed, I have not done a long form post in a while.  Rest assured they will be coming back.  Life has a funny way of making me very busy.

There have been a few of changes around here.  First, I've updated the logo, let me know what you think.

Second I have a new SECOND blog at COFFEEBRUIN.COM  That's right, the Coffee Bruin blog is live!  The web comic goes live 1/1/2013.  I was finding that I was spending so much time on webcomics and drawing that it needed its own blog.

Third, I am still writing this blog.  In fact I have about 6 articles in the pipeline.  The one I was working on this evening got sidetracked when I finally finished the new logo.  The next post, "The Italian Feast" is coming.  It is a major post, not a Blitz Post.  I am editing it and selecting graphics and these things take time.  This week is going to be very busy for me.  I have a major project at work that I have to complete, a Toastmasters convention, a possible snow event, and all of the normal stuff with life.

Wow, can you pack any more excuses in a paragraph?
So you crazy, wonderful people out there that have stuck with me over time, thank you. Until next time my friends, I wish you peace, love, and Hollandaise sauce!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blitz Post #7: INTERVENTION CON recap

Where do I begin?  This weekend was a blast!  Intervention Con really was my best con experience ever, hands down.  As a “panel junkie”, I was over whelmed:

  • Creative Marketing 101
  • How to Survive as a Writer in the Business of Webcomics, Comics and Other Visual Media
  • Juggling Geek Life and Parenting
  • For the Love of Cartoons
  • There Is A Line-Handling potentially offensive topics in webcomics
  • How to find the Doctor throughout Time and Space

The Charity Auction to benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation was really funny (human trafficking is funny?)

But what was the highlight for me?  It was the amazing artists/vendor room.  Over the past several years I have made several friends in webcomics, people like the amazing Chris Flick, who have given me advice and help.  Intervention introduced me to a number or other wonderful artists who worked with me and spent time with me.  They talked to me as a FELLOW ARTIST, not just some shlub they wanted to sell a book to.  I learned so much!  I also spent more than I ever have because of it.

I want to send special shout outs to: 

Onezumi Hartstein –  -  Oni puts on one HELL of a great show! I am clearing my calendar for August 2013!

Matt Blum – the Managing editor of the Geek Dad blog over at who handled with grace and style my case of being star struck (I have all 3 of the Geek Dad books)

Elaine Corvidae (Riven Sol) – either I am stalking them, or they are stalking me.  I've seen them in Wilkesboro, Charlotte, and now Intervention.

Travis Surber (Hainted Holler) – a fellow resident of Appalachia, we swapped stories and marketing ideas.  Funny stuff!

Tony DiGerolamo (Super Frat)-Wow, just wow.  Tony was probably the most successful writer in the room!  With credits including the Simpsons, he was extremely approachable and fielded lots of questions.  He also was on a ton of panels.

Check out his vlog:

(psst... I make a brief cameo at 4:06)

Megami Jadeheart – You spent a half hour working with me, talking about light, and shadow, and many other things.  Your art is phenomenal and I was truly awestruck!  Check out Annie!

Danielle Corsetto – a.k.a. The PRO! Girls with Slingshots.  Danielle, this is your day job and you do what I think everyone is striving to do.  I really appreciate the work you’ve done and a big thank you for the future cameo.

Alfredo Torres – I need to add you to my Zombie Survival Kit, which is remarkably shaped like a TARDIS.  In all seriousness, having a fellow parent (or parental unit) to discuss the trials and tribulations of this geek life and Aspie kids is very important.  Go subscribe to his podcast at

Ben McCormick - "Reality Amuck", "Playing Doctor Podcast" – Your panels were great, but then we got to talk Sunday afternoon.  Being able to discuss our common issues as parents and the possibility of future projects based on this is exciting.

Chris Flick - Capes-N-Babes, Web Comics Alliance Podcast.  Damn.  Where can I start?  Chris, thanks for answering my questions over the past several weeks.  You have been generous with your time and your talent.  Plus you put up with my hovering around too, that takes serious patience!  And a huge thanks for the artwork too!  I’m hunting frames now.  

I’m also looking forward to talking more with you, Ben, and Al and maybe some future projects.

Folks, if you are not reading these strips, start NOW.  If you are not listening to these podcasts, subscribe TODAY.

Finally I have a couple of announcements...

My first web comic is in pre production.  Scripts are being written, panels are being drawn, and software is being installed.  The new website is purchased but not up, but the email is running.  You can now reach me at

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blitz Post #6: Thinking Sideways in the Corporate World

*A safe place to fail.

We should always strive to succeed in everything we do, every day.  But at the same time, it is good to know the culture of the American workplace is beginning to embrace the spirit of THINKING SIDEWAYS.  If we are in constant fear of trying things in a new way, we will never innovate, we will never grow, and we will never expand.  We will stagnate and die in the sea of sameness.

*Make mistakes, learn from your mistakes, and EVOLVE!

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”  Thomas Edison is a great example of someone that personifies this idea. Every time you try a new idea, you learn from that experience.  Be courageous, because your new idea may be the one that saves the sale, or streamlines the process, or fixes the issue.

*Get involved! Do something creative!

"Gee, all of this sounds great, but I have no ideas."
"I don't want to rock the boat"
Corporate America has realized you can’t keep doing the same things the same way and has begun to embrace a culture of change.  But if YOU are still afraid, start outside of work.  There are some great hobbies and organizations you can get involved with.  Get creative and try new things.  Do things that challenge your status quo.

Consider becoming part of the Maker movement.  Repurpose old items, take apart broken equipment, learn what makes thing work.  Will you be the next great inventor?  Maybe not, but you may learn why something works, why it doesn't, and why MAKING A CHANGE MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

Look into your local or corporate Toastmasters Club.  I joined the Wilkes Toastmasters two years ago.  Toastmasters is a group where it truly is A SAFE PLACE TO FAIL.   Toastmasters Clubs are very supportive, offering a friendly professional environment to improve your leadership skills through public speaking.  Every meeting includes evaluation which gives all members the opportunity to improve.

Download GeoCaching software onto your smartphone.  What is GeoCaching?  It is a FREE, real world GPS treasure hunt.  Using your smart phone's GPS, you can IMPROVE YOUR PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS by trying to locate hidden containers all around the world.  This is great alone or with a family as you get to explore the world around you.  GeoCaches usually have a logbook for you to sign and often have little prizes for you to swap. (GET REWARDED!)

Those are just three things you can do outside of work to help you motivate yourself to evolve and help your company to EVOLVE!

-Denis Lachapelle, ACB, CL

And until next time my friends, when I will try to bring you some really cool recipes of been stock piling, I wish you peace, love, and Hollandaise sauce!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Blitz Post #5: Live Long and Prosper

I have a passion for public speaking.  Or, maybe I just like the sound of my own voice.  Either way, I am a member of the Wilkes Toastmasters club.  We meet every Thursday at 6PM at the Addison Inn in Wilkesboro, NC. Please check out our website:  We'd all love for you to join us!

Every week our meetings have a theme.  Tonight's theme was, "Star Trek".  Star Trek is a pretty gutsy call if you are not sure of your audience.  To start off with, many people still roll their eyes and laugh at you if you make the odd "Spock" or "Captain Kirk" reference, to say nothing of DS9, Voyager, the Borg, the Dominion, Quark, "Q", Holo-decks, 10-forward, Jefferies Tubes, mind melds, and Orion slave-girls.  However, if you can pull off Star Trek, and do it well, Star Trek has a lot to teach us.

What does public speaking have to do with Star Trek?

At Toastmasters we like to say it's a safe place to fail!  But seriously, There are several key points you can learn about making a good presentation from the Starfleet Captains:(1)
  • Make an Impact
  • Do no Harm
  • Celebrate Diversity
  • Entertain a flair for the Dramatic
  • Engage... [your Audience]
  • [Seek action and commitment] ...and make it so
  • You will return to the Alpha Quadrant someday [this, too, shall pass]
  • You canna break the laws of physics! [the equipment WILL break]
  • The Away Teams [first ones to a situation] take the most risks and get the most praise
  • The Red-shirt dies first [Be a permanent and contributing member of the team.]
  • When presenting as a team, use everyone’s strengths to your advantage
  • Maintain your Ethics
  • Dress appropriate to your audience
  • Keep your phasers on “stun” [Be prepared for difficult situations.]
  • Boldly go where no one has gone before [Challenge yourself and be the one in front.]
What can we learn about leadership from Star Trek?

This boils down to which Captain you prefer.  Do you like Kirk's style: a shoot-from-the-hip, cocksure, arrogance, that would cheat death and cut corners but never violate his principles?  Do you prefer Picard's style: aloof, administrative, and over-analytical.  Taking a more positive viewpoint, both captains earned loyalty and trust from their crew by being 100% committed to the crew and their mission.

There are several key elements that you can take away: (2)

Never Stop Learning
Have Advisors with Different World Views
Be Part of the "Away Team"
Play Poker, not Chess
Blow up the Enterprise [Do whatever it takes to forge a new path that is fulfilling.]

But what about tonight's meeting?

Tonight was FUN!  Joyce was our Toastmaster and she did an excellent job of weaving the theme through the entire meeting.  Many of the members who had roles, and some of the speakers, even incorporated the theme.  Our word of the day was "Prosper", and all three of our Table Topic questions had a Star Trek theme to them.

Joyce also provided refreshments, in the spirit of the day - it was Green.

If you enjoy Star Trek, and Science Fiction in general, and you are in the Hamilton, Ontario area you may want to check out the new Galaxy Toastmasters club.  Galaxy Toastmasters is unique from other Toastmasters clubs in that this club is a science fiction, science fact & fantasy themed club.

For Information: OR
Phone: 289-696-3167

If you haven't checked out Toastmaster's head out out to the Toastmaster's International website to find a club that meets near you

Finally, thank you to my followers who have been patiently waiting for my return.  I have been here, but a new position at work has forced me to temporarily reallocate some resources.  There will be more blogging to come.  I have a major project to come and I'm counting on YOUR help!

Until next time, I wish you peace, love, and Hollandaise sauce!


(2) About Leadership and Lessons from Star Trek;

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blitz Post 4: Meditation Reflections

You can call this procrastination and not wanting to get out of bed this morning.  As I sit here in peace and quiet, I have been quietly meditating.

Meditation is one of those "things" I have always outwardly scoffed at at but on occasion do.  My problem with meditation is that for me it quite often turns to sleep.  This time was not the case.

I am reflecting on the direction of my life, my health, and my goals.  Several weeks ago I posted a rather ominous post, Crossroads.  Today's meditation provided me a lot of insight and may provide it's follow up post.

Photo Credit:
When you do too many things, you "wear too many hats".  Do you do that?  Check out my page to see my hat collection. I wear too many hats.  It's my choice too.  What is the result?  I don't sleep enough, I don't eat right, I don't exercise, and I don't appreciate the people around me.

This is not a post about being sad!  I said earlier, I had insight into what was going on.  I believe I had an epiphany of sorts.

Photo Credit
Before everyone panics, let me assure you I will continue to blog and maintain my presence on Twitter.  In fact Social Media is very important to my future, so I'm not going away, but I digress.

My meditation led me to nine simple guidelines, which I believe if put in practice would lead to a happier world:

  • Put others before yourself 
  • Laugh
  • Slow down, focus, and observe
  • Cherish the people around you 
  • Walk
  • Live simply 
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Meditate and Pray

These all seem to intertwine in one way or another.  Slow down & Walk.  Cherish the people around you & Put others before yourself.

I'm very interested in any comments you may have.

No recipe with this post.

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Blitz Post 3: Popcorn blog, supplemental

I thought I said everything I could say about popcorn last week, but I was wrong.  WAY WRONG.  I have gotten a tremendous amount of feed back here in the blog, on Twitter, even at work regarding Popcorn.  I'm beginning to feel like a regular Orville Redenbacher!

First things first, let me clarify things.  If have microwave popcorn use it by all means.  It convenient, inexpensive, and darn tasty!  But, if you want to save money, avoid excess packaging, and avoid potentially harmful chemicals, when you run out of your current supply of microwave popcorn, try the Brown Bag method.  I really think you'll be impressed.

Second, Recipes? We don't need no stinking recipes!

Recipes are guidelines.  Let me repeat that in a larger font.

Recipes are guidelines.

Tonight, the Wilkes Toastmasters Club hosted our International Speech Competition.  Since I was organizing it, I was responsible for filling all of the roles: judges, counters, timers, contest master, sergeant-at-arms, participants, and getting snacks and drinks.  Time was of the essence, and so was budget.  I am also the President of the club so I have an idea of what the finances are and I didn't want to spend any of the club's money on the contest.

Dilemma:  Very little time, and money for snacks are coming out of my pocket.  Solution:  Dollar Tree!
For under $15, I purchased several packages of cookies (including very good fudge grahams), a popcorn bowl, a serving scoop, aluminum trays, bottled water, microwave popcorn and chocolate covered pretzels.  WHAT?  MICROWAVE POPCORN!?!  Remember, recipes are guidelines.

When I got to the contest site, I microwaved two bags of popcorn and while they were still hot, I mixed in two bags of chocolate covered pretzels.  The chocolate melted and MELDED the popcorn with the pretzels and made a nice sweet and salty snack.

Was it fast?  Yes!  Was it cheap?  Not as cheap as brown bag, but it was fast!

The Contest was a lot of fun!  Debbie won the Table Topic competition and Wendy won the International Speech competition.  Both will be advancing on to the Area competition.  If you are interested in more information on Toastmasters, please contact me or check out

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Popcorn: Too much is TOO much, but a little over the top is A GOOD THING

WARNING: This is a long post.  A very long post. You've been warned.

I was watching TV on a quiet Sunday, waiting for the Daytona 500 to start.  It was stuck in the middle of another rain delay.

My wife was sleeping and my kids were doing other things. I wanted a snack just for me - popcorn.

Popcorn and I have a relationship that goes way back.

I can remember walking the hallways of Margate Elementary School after school raising money for a trip to the Kennedy Space Center.  My mom bagged up pretzels and popcorn in sandwich bags and would shout "Popcorn! Popcorn! 15 cents a bag" to anyone that would listen.

These days, I volunteer at the local high school's concession stand on behalf of the Band Boosters.  I sling hot dogs, nachos, candy, and popcorn.  Popcorn is now a dollar a bag, but I don't have to shout about it.

Corn is native to the Americas and popcorn is thought to be one of the oldest forms.  Evidence of early cultivation of corn has been found dating back to 3600 BC in New Mexico (and possibly as early as 4700 BC in Peru).
Traditional Peruvian Canchita (Popcorn) Cooker (4)
Enter the Spanish Conquistadors.  Cortez invaded Mexico in 1519 and saw popcorn for the first time.

When the English arrived in North America, they also learned about popcorn from the Native Americans.
The English who came to America in the 16th and 17th centuries learned about popcorn from the Native Americans.
Moving forward to the late 1800’s, Popcorn gained popularity throughout the United States with street vendors following crowds around with fresh poppers at parks and fairs.

By the time of the Great Depression, popcorn was considered inexpensive at 5 to 10 cents a bag.  With its popularity growing, the popcorn business thrived while many other businesses failed and growing corn became a source of income for many struggling farmers.

During World War II, many products including sugar were rationed for the war effort.  Candy production dropped causing Americans to increase their consumption of popcorn by over 300%.

Our story takes two directions here.  With the end of Wold War II, Raytheon Corporation had a surplus of magnetrons (a type of vacuum tube used in radar).  In 1946 Dr. Percy Spencer began experimenting with a magnetron when he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted.   Out of curiosity, he placed some popcorn kernels next to the magnetron and turned it on - the popcorn popped.

Meanwhile, popcorn consumption had slumped in the early 1950s, when television became popular.  This caused attendance at movie theaters to drop and with it, popcorn consumption.   Yet it was at this same time that the first microwaves became commercially available.

It wouldn’t be until the mid to late 1970s that the microwave became a staple in most households.  With the microwave in the home, many foods could be quickly and cheaply prepared, including popcorn.

The Amana RadarRange was the microwave of choice in the 1970's.  These things were powerful and nearly indestructible.  You could cook almost anything in these things: popcorn, hot dogs, canned ravioli, oatmeal, but you might want to avoid the Legos.  I melted a friend's set of Lego's when I put them in (the wheels had a metal axle)!

I had better results.

That was a lot of information, I imagine you may havea lot of questions

So, why does pop corn pop?

  • Spirits with anger issues?
  • Nitro Glycerin extract? 
  • Water trapped in the kernel?

How can "I" make popcorn?

My advice to you is, don't.  Drive to North Wilkesboro, NC and go to the Liberty Theater.  It's not the prettiest movie theater, and it only has two screens, but for a Saturday matinee you can get 4 adult tickets for $16 dollars.  They play first run movies, and they serve the WORLD'S BEST POPCORN.  It's still cooked in coconut oil, and it's cooked FRESH.  The large bag with one free refill is $4.

If you are still going to make your own popcorn then you have several methods:

Air Popper.  I'm not a fan of using a device just to make popcorn, especially when that device doesn't bring any flavor to the party.  You can use a popcorn for roasting coffee (8), which gives it some merit, but much like a spice grinder, once you've used coffee in it you can't use it for anything else .

Jiffy Pop.  To me this is old school fun.  An aluminum pan, oil, and un-popped kernels covered in foil.  Ready in eight minutes from the stovetop.  And I burned it every time.

Microwave Popcorn.  Walk down the snack aisle in any supermarket and you'll find scores of different brands and flavors of microwave popcorn.  They all break down to the following:  a special bag with a metal film laminated to one side, popcorn, solidified cooking oil, and one or more seasonings (usually including salt), and natural and artificial flavorings.  Recently there has been some concern that a chemical used to give microwave popcorn its tasty butter flavor, diacetyl, may pose a health hazard.

Personally, I prefer The Brown-Bag method

Take 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Place in brown lunch bag

Fold over the top

microwave for 2:30

sift out unpopped kernels

Cookie Sheet/Cooling Rack (3)

To put over the top do the following:

Spartacus Popcorn
(thanks Jenn)

Melt 3 tablespoon of butter


  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • sprinkle of salt

What do you get?

I want to thank you for making it through this INCREDIBLY LONG blog.  As a treat, one more POP for you!

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce.

(4) Photo Credit:
(5) Photo Credit:
(6) Photo Credit: Rockwell Museum or Western Art
(7) Photo Credit:
(8) for more information on using Air Poppers for roasting coffee, check out: