Dave Dorman Gets a CLUE — His Art on Milton Bradley’s New Alien vs. Predator Edition of CLUE Game

I posted this image on Facebook today, and got several back channel messages about “How much did Dave make on this deal?” The answer? Zilch. Nada. Zero dinero. It was a work-for-hire deal for 20th Century Fox, so they can repurpose this image however they so choose. In fact, Dave had to buy his own game sample for his file, since Milton Bradley didn’t send him one. It was initially $40, but thankfully Dave forgot about it, and the post-Christmas price dropped down to $13, so he just bought it on Amazon. Hopefully this has dispelled the notion out there that if you (or your artwork) is famous, you’re wealthy because of it.

Dave Gets a CLUE!

 

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Announcing My New Blog Series: COOL PEOPLE I KNOW

I found this meme on Facebook the other day, and I screen-grabbed it immediately. In one sentence, it sums up how I live. You see, as an ENFP, I believe everyone has an interesting story, from every walk of life — from CEOs to ex-cons. I’m at my most hyper-focused when getting to know a total stranger. This is why my grade school friends have christened me “The White Oprah.” I don’t mean to interview people, but it’s like breathing for me. They fuel my curiosity.

The Meme That Best Describes Me

The Meme That Best Describes Me

Cool People I Know: My friend Rohita Shah, born in Zambia, now owner of an award-winning Mathnasium in Wisconsin, with 1 new Brookfield location opening soon.

Cool People I Know: My friend Rohita Shah, born in Zambia, now owner of an award-winning Mathnasium in Wisconsin, with 1 new Brookfield location opening soon.

I have to wonder if my genuine interest in people is somehow invisibly telegraphed when I’m out in the world. My friends have all witnessed it. Total strangers love to ask me for directions, how to fix their iPhone, or whether they should buy the outfit they’re trying on in a department store. No, I’m not arrogant enough to think my opinion matters one iota, but it’s weirdly consistent that they do. This bizarre people-magnet vibration I exude might explain why, when I merely entered an empty gas station to pay for my petrol — literally saying nothing but my pump number to the cashier — she unburdened herself, sharing the story of her recent abortion. Or why, when I went to the DMV with Darlene, my BFF since kindergarten, I knew all about the DMV eye examiner man’s divorce during the 5 minutes of getting my test. Or why I leave restaurants more often than not with the phone number or email address of the waitress or waiter to follow up on some conversation. I consider it an honor and privilege that someone trusts me to listen to them. I don’t judge. I just listen. I think people appreciate that someone is actually present and in the moment with them in this distracted, ADD world where they are accustomed to getting ignored.

When I first met Dave, he was extremely nervous about exposing me to the massive enclave of fandom at his San Diego Comic-Con booth. He needn’t have worried. I thrived on it. Unlike introverts who find it a psychic drain to deal with the public, I get energized by being around people. They recharge my batteries. Today, 16 years later, those San Diego fans visit our home, chat with me at least three times a week on Facebook private messages, and have become some of my best friends. I feel blessed to have met these many interesting people from literally around the world, whose paths I would never have crossed in my ordinary, Northern Illinois life.

An apt description of ENFP's.

An apt description of ENFP’s.

As women, we all have stories of telling our spouses about their friends’ medical issues and life dramas, as our spouses look on dumbfounded, replying, “He never told me anything about that!” But I take it about three steps further. I walk away knowing about their UFO encounters, their politics, and their funniest pranks. My conversations with people are always organic. I never know where they’ll meander, but they’re always interesting. As I was interviewing a VP on Friday for a B2B article on his company, I learned all about his Chicago cop relatives, and their take on the current gang situation in Chicago. It was a counterintuitive perspective I could never have guessed, and it became fodder for my hands-and-feet card game last night on the Mag Mile (And btw, GO CUBS!!!! FTW!!!).

So…aside from the ghostwriting I do in my career, I’m starting a new series on my blog, maybe once a week, called “Cool People I Know.” These interviews will be with people from all walks of life, and you will learn things you would never have guessed, about topics you probably have never considered before. I hope you have as much fun reading them as I have doing the interviews! Let me know, okay?

So I guess my Myers-Briggs score explains my career choice...

My Myers-Briggs score explains my career choice…

#SDCC2016 Attendees – PLEASE Stay Vigilant This Year

The greatest show on earth.

#SDCC – The greatest show on earth.

I debated whether I should even write this blog. I don’t wish to plant ideas in the minds of our common enemy. However, especially in light of recent events, I just beseech and implore every one of you attending San Diego Comic-Con this year to pay hyper-focused attention to your surroundings. Be aware of everything and everyone around you. We’re living in sad times; the anxiety riddled like myself are mapping the fastest route to the nearest trauma center for any major event we attend.

My son and I won’t be attending Comic-Con this year. Frankly, I’m a little relieved. That almost throw-away comment made in the press that the San Bernardino terrorists were actually plotting to attack a much bigger event made my hackles rise. It has festered in my brain ever since. Their distance to San Diego was too close for comfort. I just hope that all of you who are attending this year remain safe. There’s no greater soft target than a convention center full of entertainment industry icons.

Watch.

Look.

Listen.

Be safe.

I hope you all have a fun con. I will be keeping you, and the families of all of the fallen in my prayers.

Are You One of the 11% Who Can Lucid Dream?

Ever wonder how writers get ideas? It’s often that random news blurb trigger that cascades into an entire story-building construction project in your mind. Like the other day, I was stopped in traffic behind a car badly in need of a wash. Written in the pollen on the back bumper were the words “Helen isn’t missing.” In a nano-second, my ADD brain sent me off on a storytelling journey from this cryptic, dusty message. Helen was abducted as a child and somehow tracked and found her missing relatives and wrote this note on their vehicle to let them know she was still alive. Or maybe one of her sympathetic captors did? And then I wondered to myself, “Does everyone do this?” At my writer’s group lunch the other day, I shared this story, and they collectively affirmed, “No…only writers think like that. Or people who should be writers.”

So with that, my NY Times bestselling author client Jay Bonansinga took this data point and folded it into his new Young Adult #horror series:

Only 11% of the population have lucid dreams. 

What does that mean, exactly? It means that 11% of us are self aware enough that while dreaming we can control what’s happening in the dream, in real time. How I would love to be in that 11%! And that is how Jay ended up writing LUCID, which launches today through Permuted Press. Here’s a link to Jay explaining more about lucid dreaming and his new book on the WGN Mid-Day Show today in Chicago:

http://wgntv.com/2015/05/20/midday-fix-author-jay-bonasinga-talks-about-his-book-lucid/

This is my favorite picture of Jay, taken by his photographer wife Jill Brazel, in his smartly bespoke garb, in this London backdrop:

Jay Bonansinga, Photography (c) Jill Brazel

Jay Bonansinga, Photography (c) Jill Brazel

Tonight Jay and I will be at the Bucket of Blood Books & Records  at 2307 N. Milwaukee Avenue at 7 p.m. for the launch of LUCID, so come on out, get your very own copy of LUCID and your WALKING DEAD books signed by Jay and have a cocktail (in college, I used to make a drink called “Bloody Brains,” and I might still be able to whip one up for you if you bring me red Kool-Aid, vodka and Bailey’s Irish creme). On your way there, be sure to stop at as-seen-on-Food Network’SuperDawg’s and commemorate the founder Maurie Berman, who just passed, but should be honored for creating Ground Zero in Great Chicago Hot Dog Institutions (right up there with Gene & Jude’s hotdogs in River Grove and The Wiener’s Circle in Chicago).

Of course, if the Bloody Brains drink doesn’t agree with you, I’m sure you’ll have the good taste to let it (and your half-digested hot dog) reappear in the alley, rather than anywhere near me…

The John Hughes Home Tour: “I Can’t Believe I Gave My Panties to a Geek…”

That headline is a quote from Sixteen Candles, lest you think I would willingly sacrifice my Wonder Woman panties. I normally don’t blog twice in one day, but I have to get this one in while everything is still fresh in my mind.

My friend Amber and I decided to squeeze in the director John Hughes‘ former home tour today before the event closed this weekend. John Hughes was behind some of my favorite movies from childhood, from Animal HouseSixteen Candles, and Breakfast Club on up. The home tour was a fund-raiser for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, but the rooms were each redecorated by different designers, so the interior actually looked nothing like it did when the famed director lived there. To see what it looked like when he lived there, click here.

The Lake Forest home of director John Hughes

The lovely Lake Forest home of director John Hughes

Before meeting Amber, I had my usual 2-hour weekly breakfast with the Sister Wives, which involves a lot of laughing and even more coffee drinking. The 45-minute drive to Lake Forest was sheer torture. All of that coffee had to go somewhere, and preferably not soaked into the passenger’s seat of Amber’s cute new convertible. That crazy astronaut woman with the diaper was actually making sense to me for a brief moment.

Once we arrived at Mr. Hughes’ palatial manse, I asked to use the facilities. As the ersatz representative of the unwashed masses, I was directed outside to some porta-potties through a ridiculous, circuitous route that involved me walking on the cobblestone street in front of the home to get to the second driveway. (I later discovered the short-cut, through a sidewalk on the side of the house. The bastards.) The absurd juxtaposition of these two porta-potties against the looming luxury of this 11,000 square foot, 21-room mansion was not lost on me.

A 70-something-year-old woman was ahead of us in line. There were two porta-potties, side by side. She informed us with a dramatic grimace that the one to the right was “not usable,” as she stepped into the remaining porta-pottie and locked the door. I waited and waited. And I waited some more. I finally got desperate enough to bravely peer into the other porta-pottie. I jumped back, as if stung. It was unusable. It rather reminded me of the river in Willy Wonka’s factory. These elite North Shore women are animals! Perhaps it was a symbolic statement or art installation–a harsh reminder of the bleak existence of the Infant Welfare Society recipients? Or maybe I just read too much into things…

Poor Amber had to listen to my bitchy observations as 10 minutes passed:

“If she spends one more minute in there, I’m not going in without a hazmat suit…”

“What the hell is taking her so long? At her age, she can’t possibly be changing a tampon…!”

As we stood there, we noticed that in the four-car garage, a rummage sale of sorts was going on. Or as they called it, a “boutique sale.”

“Oh my God!” I squealed. “Do you think this is John Hughes’ garage sale?!? Maybe we can buy a John Hughes’ ashtray for $5! Or maybe Molly Ringwald’s prop lipstick from Breakfast Club!” Could I be so lucky?!?

Finally, the silver fox emerged from the porta-pottie. I went in, got business done, and went to wash my hands. The damned faucet wouldn’t work. There I was, trying to remove the sticky liquid soap with as many paper towels as I could find. Meh. Amber finally needed to use “the facilities” as well. It was then that I thought to myself, “I know exactly the picture I am taking to memorialize today’s adventure.” And it was this one:

May God bless my friend Amber, who not only puts up with my shenanigans, she lets me post them on my blog

May God bless my friend Amber, who not only puts up with my shenanigans, she actually lets me post them on my blog. That is her “Are you fucking KIDDING me right now?” face.

Amber and I decided to check out the rummage sale, er, boutique sale, in the garage before heading back to do the tour. I was thrilled to see sleeping masks for sale. The elastic is too tight on mine and these were a nicer material. It was then that I discovered North Shore rummage sales are not like the ones in my ‘hood. The price tag on said sleeping mask? $175. Hand to God. Even I, with my wild imagination, couldn’t make up a price point like that one.

Mind you, Amber has a high-powered job and she left directly from work to join me in our “play date.” I marveled that she did the entire tour in those 4″ heels. We entered the director’s former home and the weight of the pretention was cloying and oppressive. Never one to mince words, Amber knew my opinion on every window treatment, piece of furniture, bric-a-brac, and accoutrement, which went from fugly…to fuglier…to fugliest. This was a 1929 art deco era home–and call me a purist–but it deserved to be decorated by someone who respected that. Some designers just need to surgically remove that shitty 1970s mid-century modern aesthetic from their repertoire. It’s so derivative and unimaginative. To perpetrate that style on a 1920s home is just criminal to me. Imagine watching Downton Abbey and seeing a Harvest Gold refrigerator in Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen. It was fugly the first time around, and it’s even moreso today.

Something might have been said about us not being allowed to take photos inside of the home, but I can’t be sure. I know I didn’t sign any NDAs. All I know is, I stood guard, just in case, as Amber and two other tourists happily snapped away and got their contraband images. (In our defense, the expensive book we were given for the tour had almost zero photos of the home’s newly decorated interior–just designer renderings.) We loved these clever little cocktail tables that had been created with Monopoly, Backgammon, and Scrabble boards on their surfaces.

Cool cocktail/game tables we want to replicate. The steer horns? Not so much.

Cool cocktail/game tables we want to replicate. The steer horns? Not so much. I’ll never understand Southwestern decor in a Midwestern home. The rug was like walking on a lovely, fluffy cloud. 

One of the highlights for me was the library–always my favorite room in anyone’s home–and John Hughes’ office. Call me sentimental, but to be in the rarefied air of the room where he wrote some of my favorite movies meant a lot to me. I teared up a little.

We toured the grounds, with Amber re-aerating the soil in her 4″ spiky heels, and we were both underwhelmed by the lack of flowers. I guess they literally meant grounds, since there were many bald spots where grass wasn’t even growing. I was expecting a garden resembling a Monet painting, yet this was not much different than my own back yard. Just bigger.

As Amber dropped me back at my car, I shared with her my theory on playing hookey for the day: “I’m all about the five-year plan. Five years from now, you will never remember the day you had at work. But you will remember that we toured John Hughes’ beautiful home today. With nary a moment’s hesitation, she agreed.

And so I leave Amber and those of you reading this with a thought from the brilliant pen of John Hughes:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick)

Nerd Alert: My Quest for My Beloved Groundskeeper Willie in Miniature LEGO Form

Okay, confession time. I just entered an online contest to win my must-have The Simpsons‘ Groundskeeper Willie LEGO. (I can hear my Sister Wives chortling all of the way from here.) My love for Springfield’s angriest Scotsman knows no bounds. I mean, just look at those abs, will you? I could scrub my lingerie on that washboard! He would look so hot on my desk, next to my two other Groundskeeper Willie action figures:

Missing: 1 Groundskeeper Willie LEGO action figure...

Missing: 1 Groundskeeper Willie LEGO action figure…

It’s Free Comic Book Day today and Batman Day, so hopefully there will be some Simpsons LEGOs still available at my local comic book retailer after all of those crowds. Admittedly, I’m a little nervous.

And after the weight lifting adventures with Marovich the other night, even my Sister Wives are challenging me now to wear my geeky super hero garb out in public – one of the Sister Wives who shall remain nameless had to verify it up close and personal…

Sister Wife Inspector: "Yep, it's definitely an authentic  Wonder Woman tee."

Sister Wife Inspector: “Yep, it’s definitely an authentic Wonder Woman tee.”

If you happen to see a Groundskeeper Willie while you’re out celebrating Free Comic Book Day, buy it and I’ll pay you back. I’d gladly pay you tomorrow for a Groundskeeper Willie today…

#C2E2 #Chicago 2015: A Growing Show

This Ghostbusters Staypuft Marshmallow Man was one of my #cosplay favorites this year at #C2E2 – as was the Lego Boba Fett costume (I don’t have an image of the latter). This one had to burn a lot of calories, being so onerous to lug around!

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at #C2E2 Chicago 2015

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at #C2E2 Chicago 2015 – Photo by Ken Heinemann

I heard the show was busier this year, based on the fact that Lot A at McCormick Place was full already before 10 a.m. It’s always good news to hear a fairly young show is thriving, especially one so local to us. Dave sold out of his #Marvel Issue #1 #StarWars variant covers the first day, which is always a good sign (have no fear, he brought in more).

C2E2, like San Diego Comic-Con, is a like a family reunion with our many artist, writer, publishing, and creator friends. Dave Dorman‘s table is stationed at J-1 in Artists Alley, which is ideal because directly across from us is Bill and Linda Lessman Reinhold, two of my favorite carbon life forms:

Bill and Linda Lessman Reinhold, great friends and enormous talent

Bill and Linda Lessman Reinhold, great friends and enormous talent

and behind us is Darron Jackson and Steve Howard, two more of my favorite humanoids.

Illustrators Darron Jackson, Steve Howard, and me.

Illustrators Darron Jackson, Steve Howard, and me.

I reconnected with Ken Heinemann, my cameraman for my video and TV show production projects; he was handling A/V for all of the panels. He came to visit me during the M. Night Shyamalan/Matt Dillon panel (a new Twilight Zone-style show, I’m told), which just goes to show you how non-plussed he is by all of the geeky fun. He just came off of the Soundstage tour, so this was an easy gig in comparison. I offered to be Kenny’s grip, but my non-union status precludes me from that.

I want to mention that our friend J. Anthony Kosar of TV’s Face Off winner fame has expanded his Kosart Atelier where he teaches special f/x makeup, and classes are available, so be sure to check him out at http://kosartartelier.com

TV's FACE OFF Season 4 Winner, J. Anthony Kosar with Dave Dorman & me

TV’s FACE OFF Season 4 Winner, J. Anthony Kosar with Dave Dorman & me