Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

#2 Ad Designer portfolio part 1

 This ad was designed in October of 2009 for a Christian organization advertising their seminar.

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November 18, 2010 Posted by | Ad Man Portfolio | , , , | 2 Comments

You can remove the boy from Iowa…

A lot has happened since I last wrote anything for this blog. Where do I start?

The Pirate and I moved all of the important stuff (except #48 fan and his belongings) to the Ozarks right at the end of October. I’m discovering that enough of Springfield Missouri (ca. 1985) remains that I’m not completely lost. It’s strange seeing trees out my window instead of cornfields, but I’m getting used to that.

Ashya and I got married on Oct 29th. We’re realizing that there are more differences between us than Coke vs. coffee, but that’s not a bad thing. Things like how I fold laundry, sort the DVD collection, wash the dishes (yes I do laundry and dishes) are all foreign concepts to the new members of my family.

The Pirate has been enrolled in school. He’s liking the new environment and is making new friends. His reservations about moving down here are lessening each day. He’ll be ok.

We’re all adjusting to the new reality. But we are working on it.

The biggest thing I’m facing is still no job. It’s not like I expected the Ozarks to open wide it’s doors and say “Here Stev, take your pick of employment.” I’m just not used to sitting at the computer in a Library looking for work and calling it a productive day.

We can’t seem to find anyone who can give us unlimited net connection at the house. Plenty of companies are willing to hook us up but with three boys wanting to play internet games and me looking for work, we need unlimited DSL.

I’m on ye olde Book of Face when I’m at the library. I’ve still got plenty of posters in the works, but job hunting comes first. I’ve got an invitation from members of the old gang for a game night. I’ll be taking them up on that in the near future.

I will get back to regular posts. I promise you that. Life just hasn’t allowed me much of an opportunity to do so.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Which Direction Do I Go?

It’s no secret.  Ashya and I are planning on getting married sometime in the near future (ie within twelve months).  There are too many indicators that she and I are destined for each other.  She meets each and every one of the criteria I had prayed about that my next wife should have (including the bonus ones that I could live without).

We’ve been wondering about the time table for our eventual nuptials.  We’ve been concerned with the melding of two families, who’d have to move, which school system the boys would attend.  Typical stuff to be sure in this day and age, but we want to make sure that we do this right.

I had a good job here in Iowa.  She has a good job in Ozark country.  Soccer Dude and First Mate enjoy the schools they attend, likewise #48 Fan and the Pirate.  We weren’t entirely sure which direction the we were headed.

I make no secret about the fact that I believe prayer works.  We began praying for direction.  Today I got a shock.  My boss informed me that due to rising costs and falling revenue, my position was being eliminated.  I didn’t take it too well at first.  I packed my desk and left.

I notified family and friends.  There were tears, questions about what I’m gonna do, and promises of prayers and support.

The more I talked with my Ashya and my Dad, I began to realize that this piece of bad news has a VERY large silver lining.  I left on good terms with my boss.  He was very sorry to let me go.  I really liked my job and really didn’t want to leave.  God replied by having the job leave me.

So I will be looking for work in the Ozarks.  Why?  Ashya already has a good job and there is no reason for her to leave it.  My house in NE Iowa is to small for the combined family.  We found a nice house big enough for all of us in her neck of the woods (literally woods). 

So, I’m updating my resume and portfolio.  If you have any freelance graphic design work you need done don’t hesitate to give me a holler.  Things are gonna be a little tough but we’ll make it.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Whatever happened to Stev’s Database?

Stev’s Database is described as a place where Stev talks about his games, movies, and anecdotal stories about his family. So why are we getting a demotivational poster nearly every day?

There’s a few reasons for this: I’m still getting a handle on the new shift in schedule of being a single dad. The family still watches movies, I’m just finding it difficult to sit down and write. We still play our games, I’ve got an article in the works about Munchkin. Again, I’m finding that my kids take priority. I’m also in the planning stages of my future with Ashya, that takes precedence over writing.

I didn’t want to let the blog go away, so I began sharing demotivational posters that I found entertaining as a way to provide some quick fresh content. I discovered that there’s a lot of demotivational posters out there but not a lot of them that are family friendly. So I began to make my own.

Wouldn’t you know that these are becoming popular in their own right. Yesterday’s search statistics indicate that 50% of my traffic comes looking for the posters. So I’ll keep them coming. I’ve got three original ones scheduled for this week.

I’ll also keep the other articles coming. But I want to know from my regular visitors, what subjects would you like to see in my original posters?

More D&D? Genre Movies? Politics? Classic Cartoons? Leave your votes in the comments

Do you have a specific idea for a poster? drop me a line vulcanstev ‘shift2’ hotmail ‘dot’ com Demotivational idea in the subject line.

Since the posters are popular, I want to make the ones you’d like to see. Today’s Van Helsing poster came about because that happened to be the number one search term to find my blog yesterday.

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters | , , | 1 Comment

Random Musings that Keep Me Awake at Night

Why do we drive on the Parkway and park in the driveway?

Why is it called cargo when it ships by plane, ship, or truck?

Why does it seem like the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers only ever used one script?

Would Firefly had done better if it had used the word Star in it’s title?

Why does the death of a Super Hero last less than 12 issues?

Have you ever read the signs hotels post to entice you stay? I’d really to try the Free HBO-Sauna-Pool with Continental Breakfast.

Why is it the older I get the smarter my father becomes and the same decisions my son is making when I was his age seem woefully naive?

Am I the only person who thinks that my favorite TV shows growing up do not necessarily make good ideas for movies but then I still go see them anyway?

Why do they need a professional driver on a closed course for a car that’s being driven into a parking space?

Can we all just agree to skip the next thing after Blu Ray? It gets expensive to keep re-buying my collection.

Do soda manufacturers really think that I belive my drink is colder because it comes in a blue can?

Why do male enhancement products, free credit reports, or auto insurance seem to be the only things advertised on TV?

September 25, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield | , , | Leave a comment

Who am I? Where am I going?

It’s currently raining outside.  I’m listening to Toby Mac on the new iPod I bought for the puppet team. #48 Fan is standing over my shoulder reading this as I type.  The Pirate is being a tween and is outside running around in the rain.  I’ve been looking over some links that Ashya sent me.  We’re making our plans for the future.

I am a father to six kids.  The only thing preventing me saying I’m husband once again is a ceremony and a piece of paper.  I’m gainfully employed as the ad man for a small-town Iowa paper.  I enjoy my job.  I am a son, a brother, an uncle.  I have lots of acquaintances and am blessed with the friends I have.  Are these who I am?  Are any of these my defining characteristic?

I used to spend my evenings sitting in my chair watching whatever was on the tube.  More recently, I’ve been spending my evenings on the phone (thank you whoever invented unlimited calling and unlimited texting).  I don’t miss the TV I’m not watching.  I can’t wait for next spring when Ashya and I are no longer separated by 400 miles.

I’m a geek.  The Wierd-Al song “White and Nerdy” could’ve been written with me in mind.  I’ll be playing D&D on Saturday with my homies.

I just realized that I’ve been rambling.  Who am I?  I am the sum total of my experiences.  I believe that God has a plan and purpose for the man known as Vulcan Stev.  Where am I going? I don’t know but I do know that its gonna be an interesting ride.

September 24, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev | , , | Leave a comment

Introducing the NEW clan.

I’ve received a number of requests for this after my posting Meet Ashya T’Sai. Yes there are wedding plans for the future and no we’re not publicizing the date as yet. Ashya is a single mom with two boys. Since they will be showing up in posts from time to time, I thought it best to introduce (and reintroduce) the whole clan.

Vulcan Stev – yours truly. An ad man for a local paper, I was married for 21 years to Mrs. Vulcan Stev who recently passed away due to complications arising from breast cancer. I am a movie buff, enjoy comic books, science fiction on the big and small screen, role playing games and renaissance faires.

I am also an avid puppeteer and have preformed “Goober” at many shows across north central Iowa.

Ashya T’Sai – my better half. We actually graduated from the same high school at the same time. Ashya was a member of the same science fiction literary club that I was in high school. Her interests and mine mirror each other so closely, that the only thing we disagree on is how to ingest caffeine. I prefer mine cold and carbonated, she prefers hers hot with two sugars and cream.

Pvt. Black Spartan – serves our country by working for Uncle Sam. She’s my oldest. She’s a chip off the old geek block. She’s a better D&D player than I am and has traveled more than 400 miles just to attend a Renn Faire.

I asked her once what she did in the military. Her reply was “I could tell you Daddy but then I’d have to kill you.” Since she’s a qualified sharpshooter with the rifle and black belt to boot, I believe her.

Jazz – my adopted daughter. Pvt. Black Spartan asked Jazz to stick around the house after she went back to base. The reasoning was that with mommy gone, Daddy and the younger brothers needed a female around to make sure we didn’t kill ourselves doing something “bachelor stupid”. Jazz did what her friend asked and hasn’t left.

Soccer Dude – Ashya’s oldest. He’s a nice kid and fine young man. But he’s the kind of guy Ashya and I didn’t associate with in high school. As a junior he’s captain of the soccer team, has lettered every year. Seated number four on Tennis team his first year playing, consistently finishes in the top three in 5K’s that he runs for fun. Then to top it off, plays more musical instruments than I thought one person was capable of playing.

48-Fan (PIT #2) – my oldest son. He is also a junior and your typical teenager with a driver’s license. He’s a member of the school’s Academic Decathlon team and was the only Freshman in school history to qualify for state. He’s earned a significant number of metals and has lettered every year. Participates in school theater productions and provides a considerable number of voices for various characters in our puppet shows.

The First Mate – Ashya’s youngest. He and the pirate are two little peas in a pod. He plays bass guitar and seems to think his primary mission in life is to sneak up on either his mother or I and attempt to scare us half to death. When he doesn’t have his laptop up and running to play online games with the pirate, they are outside shooting their air rifles.

The Pirate (PIT #3) – my youngest. The Pirate enjoys his laptop and Wizard 101 MMORPG. When he’s not on the laptop or out getting in trouble with the first mate he is actively avoiding household chores. He is of the opinion that Ashya and I are getting married for the sole purpose of his and the first mate’s budding friendship.

September 14, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Meet Ashya T’Sai.

Demotivational Poster, Vulcan HumorAs most of my regular readers can tell you, I am a widower.  My wife, Mrs. Vulcan Stev passed this past spring after a battle with breast cancer and then liver cancer.  Rather then rehash what I’ve already written just click here.

One week after I wrote the I’m not fishing post, I broached the subject with my pastor and my church.  I wanted them aware of the fact that I was not looking at leaving the church but rather looking to go to a place where single women my age attended.  I wasn’t about ready to start dating someone I didn’t know.  So in order to get to know the women when I was ready to start dating, I had to go to where they were.

The members of the church all agreed this was a reasonable thing for me to do (though there was gnashing of teeth over “It’s too soon to be dating”).

Two days after I asked for prayer that God would illuminate my path towards “Single, Ready-to-Date”, I got an e-mail from an acquaintance from High School.  She was now a single mother and her children had questions about Renaissance Faires and Role Playing Games and how both of those activities can fit into a Christian worldview.

I make no secret about the fact that I am a Christian.  I make no secret that I believe that Role Playing Games are not Satanic in nature and can be enjoyed by Christians.  With those things firmly in mind, I honestly answered her questions to the best of my ability.  I was no more thinking about my recent prayer request than I was thinking about supper two weeks from then.  Here was a friend from High School asking my opinion on a subject that I know pretty well.

One e-mail turned into two.  Two e-mails turned into many.  E-mails gave way to text messages.  Text messages gave way to phone calls (Thank God I have unlimited texting on my phone and we’re both on the same network so we’re not paying for all the additional calling and texting).

I’m not going to bore you with the all the details and some of the details are highly personal, suffice it to say that over the course of these conversations we not only renewed a friendship but we sparked something more than that.  I journeyed to the wonderful land of the Ozark mountains to meet her family this past week.  After meeting her family, asking her parents permission (I know I didn’t have to because we’re both adults but I did anyway) to date their daughter, Ashya T’Sai (vulcan for Lady Love) and I officially began dating.

What? How could you? Isn’t this too soon?

Ashya and I are friends from high school.  She and I share the same faith (not just Christianity but the same subset).  I don’t blog much about this but I work with kids in the church.  My main form of doing this is with a puppet team, Ashya and I were on the same puppet team in high school she still works with the Wednesday evening children’s stuff at her church.

My last request was that the next woman in my life should understand me.  Mrs. Vulcan Stev and I loved each other very much.  We did not share many interests and once the kids were gone from the home we were going to have to reconnect.  I did not want to start dating again at age 43 and have NOTHING in common with the woman I dated.

Ashya, not only gets my sense of humor, she’s as bad as I am with puns.  She not only likes movies but our DVD collections are nearly identical.  The only reason we don’t watch the same TV is because I have dish and she doesn’t.  The only major difference between the two of us is that she likes coffee and I have to get my caffeine cold and carbonated.

I’m not going to question God’s timing.  I asked God where the pond was and he responded with the fish.  It’s like he was telling me that I didn’t have to worry about this because he had everything under control.  I loved Mrs. Vulcan Stev and I always will.  However she is now a treasured part of my past.  Ashya and I are the future.

Just to give all my geeky buddies an idea of her geek cred, her son, PIT #4, (not sure about that nickname yet) was given a whole slew of ducklings.  I suggested that she name one of the ducks Howard.  Not only did she get the reference but she laughed for a minute or two before saying, “That’s perfect.”

Ashya and I are not playing the dating game.  We’re not in this just for fun, she still lives in the Ozarks and I live in North Central Iowa.  We’re in this for the long-haul.  She’ll be showing up in these posts, I just wanted to introduce her to everyone.

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Top Secret: Why I haven’t been updating this summer

Please pardon me in advance if I ramble through this post.  My thoughts are jumbled and I’m trying to make some coherent sense of everything that is running through my brain.

My wife of twenty-years passed away in May.  I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of her passing.  Paying off the debts left by her passing, coming to terms with being a single parent, and realizing just how big a gaping hole in my life was left by her passing.

I went back to work two-weeks after her passing.  The small-town paper where I work was entering its busy season with local fairs, the local high school softball team winning a second-straight state championship.  Needless to say I was running into a lot of working late.

With PIT #3 playing summer baseball, my schedule was even more fragmented.  I finally got the last bill related to Virginia paid off in late July.  I began to work on my 2009 taxes.  All this while I began to realize that my social circle did not include any single females that I might consider dating once I was ready to start dating again.  I’ve covered this all in my I’m not fishing post, so I won’t rehash that all here.

I began asking God where I should go to find single women who shared my faith and my call.  Two days after I began praying in earnest about what to do, a friend of long acquaintance sent me an e-mail.  We graduated from the same high school and went to the same church 25 years ago.

She had a question about my involvement in Role Playing Games and Renaissance Faires.  At this point I was thinking all about answering her questions as honestly and openly as I could.  I was not thinking about my recent prayer request.  After 200+ text messages, 50+ e-mails, and a phone call or two, I began thinking about my recent prayer request.  Sometime into our fourth or fifth day of talking with each other we began to realize just how similar our faith, calls, and geeky interests were.

I have promised her that I will not change my facebook status, or mention her name until I have met her parents and informed them of my intention to date their daughter.  Am I old-fashioned? yes.  Am I being a gentlemen?  yes.  Does she appreciate this aspect of my personality? in her own words, yes.  Are there other reasons for this requirement? yes, but I’m not at liberty to spill those beans.

So to sum up, spring and early summer were spent working and dealing with Virginia’s estate, mid-summer I spent finishing up my 2009 taxes, late summer through now I have been communicating with my girlfriend.  I have been living life and accomplishing things that need to be done.

Will I be introducing her to my friends and readers here.  Yes but, I need to introduce myself to her parents.

She’s been teasing me because I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time.  Every time I sit to write I get writer’s block because all I can think about is her.  I’m heading to her part of the country over Labor Day weekend to introduce myself to her family

I’ve got more original demotivational posters in the works, some rpg related posts, and some movie stuff that I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around.  Now that work is back to normal, I’ve finished off taxes and the estate, and the PITs are back in school, I should be getting some writing done.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, News, Reviews and Culture, Vulcan Stev, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , | 3 Comments

I’m not fishing yet.

Chilly WillyRegular readers of this blog are aware of the fact that two months ago my wife passed after an extended battle with breast cancer.  I’ve been coping with the aftermath of her passing (paying off her debts, hospital bills, incurred expenses, etc.).  While I’ve been doing this, I’ve also been back at work during one of the busiest points of the year.

Because I’m back at work I’m left with one day during the work week to get the 9-5 M-F stuff done.  Yes my boss would gladly give me some extra time to accomplish these things, but I’m the ad man for a small town Iowa paper.  I have deadlines to meet and if I don’t get my job done the paper has no advertising.

In the past two months, I have been coming to grips with the fact that  my wife is not coming back home.  She has been healed of pain and has finished her fight.  As much as I’d like to pretend she’s away at a conference and will be coming back, she’s not going to walk through the door.

It’s tough.  I don’t have anyone to snuggle up against at night.  I don’t have anyone to sit listen to how good or bad my day at work was.  Yes I’ve still got my boys at home, however there’s a very large difference between one’s partner and one’s offspring.

I’m only 43.  I have to realize that PIT #2 is closer to leaving home than I care to admit.  PIT #3 will be home for a while longer but eventually (despite his protests to the contrary) he’ll go off to college, find a girl, and settle down somewhere (hopefully) other than Daddy’s house.  Even if both of my boys decide to attend local college and live at home during that time, they’ll still be gone before I’m 60.  I’m not spending the rest of my life alone.

This brings me to the title of this post.  I took stock of the number of (known) single women in my life.  Including my writing partner and baby sister, I came up with five.  As I said, one of those is my sister, that leaves four.  My writing partner lives in California and has made it clear she’s not leaving the state of the Governator, down to three.  One of these is a co-worker and good friend.  Aside from the fact that she has a boyfriend moving to Iowa later this year, we are neither’s particular cup-of-tea. Two.

The other two are nice enough but after talking with both of them and going on a few dates, it’s quite clear that there is no future for me and either of them.  One of them keeps bringing up a past boyfriend in EVERY conversation and makes it quite clear that he holds the strings to her heart.  The other expressed an interest in pursuing a relationship but since that pronouncement, she has hooked up with not one, but two different guys.  OK, I’m not stupid.  I don’t need to have it spelled out for me.  That leaves me at zero.

Now, I have a lot of meatspace acquaintances.  They are all either married, children, or well past retirement age.  In my social circle, aside from the previously mentioned women, there are no adult single females in my life.  Four months ago that wasn’t a problem.  It’s still not a problem but left untouched it will be.

I’m looking for some specific traits that the next Mrs. Nibbelink should have.  She should share my faith.  She should like children as my puppet team and volunteer work deal primarily with children.  She should also understand my geek factor.  I’m not saying she has to like the same movies, TV shows, gaming choices, or even like going to Renaissance Faires (those would be a nice bonus but the first two are the deal breakers).

So where do I go to find said person?  The local bar? no not if the first two are my primary conditions?  A singles club? possibly but there aren’t any locally and I still have my boys to look after.  A church that shares my faith? well yes that’d be the first place to start looking.

Therein lies my problem.  My current church has NO singles group.  So I need to find a church that has what I’m looking for.  I’ve been asking around, checking out local church websites and basically shopping for another church to attend.

Oh my.  You’d think I announced the apocalypse.  This is causing more furor than my looking into getting a tatoo.  I’m getting lambasted from all sides for everything from disrespecting my wife’s memory to leaving a church home for no good reason to being in mourning long enough.  *sigh*

To put it into the metaphor.  Just because I’m trying to find the pond where the fish are does not mean I’m planning the fish fry for this weekend.  I’m not ready to go window shopping yet, I just want to know where the mall is located.  I’m not ready to start dating, but when I am I need to know where to go looking for single females that meet at least the first two conditions.

Gals, I’m not yet ready for any sort of a serious relationship as I’m still grieving my departed wife.  I am lonely and I am looking to meet some new people.

Thanks for listening.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Vulcan Stev, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , | 7 Comments