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Today I realized I never created an account on eBay... Because I was looking to buy a retired LEGO set from 2001, and of course, such things only exist on eBay these days. Nevertheless, I can't put in the back of my mind all the fraud I've heard about on eBay, it makes me feel like everybody on there is out to get me. Of course, that's not why I feel eBay will ruin me. We all know it's because when one starts bidding on junk they need [or want], they don't stop.

~Rick Charles
For all of you skeptics and proponents alike of the Patterson-Gimlin Film's validity (the famous 1967 footage of a female sasquatch passing through a clearing by Bluff Creek in California), veteran creature special effects artist Bill Munns has done extensive research on the validity of the subject being a real sasquatch as opposed to a human in a costume, demonstrated in his video series provided here. At the bottom of that page are links to other areas of his website presenting more extensive research.

~Rick Charles
I felt like writing a boredom rant, because I was bored and felt like ranting about something. But as I thought about what subject I should rant about, I realized there is a lot I have to say about cryptozoology that I need to spit out.

First, Animal Planet. Yet again. Okay, not Animal Planet; Discovery Channel. Big difference. Apparently Discovery Channel kicked off this year's Shark Week with a pseudo-documentary about C. megalodon still roaming our oceans. I give up hope... There is no such thing as educational television anymore.

That being said, it's easy to make fun of people who believe something that you perceive to be nonsense. Clearly I do it all the time. I scoff at people who fall for these cheap pseudo-documentaries on "educational" television. I scoff at people who post pictures of dust particles fuzzing up areas on their photographs and calling them supernatural entities, or who record low-FPS videos of moths flying through the frame and calling them inter-dimensional creatures that are invisible to the human eye. Yet I cannot escape the fact that I myself believe in things that are scoffable to other people. Atheists scoff at my relationship with God. Naturalists scoff at my acceptance of young-earth creationism. (Okay, I'm less referring to myself and more to Christians and young-earth creationists in general, who often face oppression against mainstream science... Although in some ways I am understanding of the situation because I know it's hard to respect organizations undermined by incredible frauds like Kent Hovind.) While I do have strong reservations about the whole creation vs. evolution controversy (as most of you should be aware of), that's not what I'm getting into for the moment.

As most of you may have noticed, I haven't been very active on deviantART this summer. I noticed that my last journal entry was posted in May... That's because my summer has been nonstop since then. In June, I spent three weeks at a summer film workshop in Florida. In July I want on a backpacking trip and then worked for two weeks at a summer camp. In August I went on a camping trip, as well as an expedition.

But it wasn't just any expedition.

It was an expedition to the West Coast.

It was a bigfoot expedition to the West Coast.

From August 22 to 25 my dad and I were doing bigfoot research ("bigfooting", "sasquatching", or just "squatching") on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington with an expedition team organized by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. Bigfoot "researchers" actually don't call it research; they call it "gathering intelligence", because to them bigfoot is more than just a research subject. I've always been a bigfoot proponent, but the reality of their existence is ever more solid to me after having been on this expedition and having the encounters with them that I did.

I recently heard about Irregular Books' new upcoming project, The Cryptozoologicon. Here is what one of the authors had to say about it:

"People who know John and Memo's artwork, and my writing, will be familiar with our strengths in speculative zoology. In discussing mystery animals, we have of course both reviewed existing knowledge and proffered our own interpretations of where the evidence leads (err, all to often it leads nowhere…), but we've also had a lot of fun in asking the most interesting question: what if? That is, what if these cryptids were real? What would they be like, and what would their evolutionary backstory be? And to learn exactly what we've come up with, you'll have to see the book itself, of course." - Darren Naish

While I am an absolute fan of their previous work, All Yesterdays, why was my first thought after reading this a resoundingly dull meh? Because while I respect Naish, Conway, and Kosemen for their amazing talents and contributions to biology in their own ways, I easily imagined them sitting at their computer desks slapping everyone in the face who supports the possible existence of various cryptids by saying, "We're going to presume it's all nonsense and have fun with it." I don't mean to sound offensive towards them, but that's honestly my impression of The Cryptozoologicon. It's easy to sit at your computer desk coming up with mundane explanations for everything without actually getting out there and doing some of your own research. "But it's cryptozoology! I'm not going to waste my time doing pseudoscientific research! If I don't see it for myself, it isn't real!"

I know, I'm being an ass about it. All I can say about my stance on bigfoot is that even before I had encounters with them myself on our expedition, the anecdotal (including circumstantial), historical, and physical evidence was strong enough to convince me that they are real. Skeptics always parade questions like, "If they're real then why don't we find dead bodies and bones? Why don't people see them?" What we don't know about them doesn't invalidate what we do. Hard evidence is rare, but people do see them. All the time. And people who see them or interact with them every year from all across North America report uncanny consistencies in the descriptions of the appearance and behavior of these creatures, which in itself suggests that people are seeing and interacting with something, and not making it up. I would honestly encourage anyone skeptical or on the fence about bigfoot's existence to consider attending one of the multiple expeditions the BFRO organizes every year. It isn't guaranteed that you'll actually see one (although four people on our expedition did witness a group of six sasquatch following them through the woods), but you'll more than likely have interactions with them that will at least open your mind to researching them more thoroughly to the point where you will eventually accept the reality of their existence. Evidence is out there, and you will find it if you know where and how to look. You can only uncover dinosaur fossils if you get on your knees in the field and dig for them. Likewise, you can only find evidence of bigfoot if you get out in the field and squatch for them. The existence of a bipedal great American ape is no question in my mind.

~Rick Charles
Call the cops, Animal Planet's deceiving thousands of viewers again! Anybody here remember Mermaids: The Body Found? I wrote a fumed and lengthy response to it in a previous journal entry: deinonychusempire.deviantart.c…

Apparently, Animal Planet is at it again. With 3.4 million viewers, Mermaids: The Body Found was their most popular telecast since Steve Irwin's memorial special in 2006. Naturally, they'd want to leech off of that success with a sequel. Presenting, MERMAIDS: THE NEW EVIDENCE ~ animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/…

Sane people, prepare for another wave of lunatics professing Aquatic Ape Hypothesis and government coverups. If you need a wholesome reminder that there is still unadulterated truth in this world, I'd advise you to watch this much more historically and scientifically sound documentary on the origins of mermaid legends: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=…

I'm disgusted by the overwhelming turd dump of stupid people that treat Animal Planet's mermaid gig like factual documentation. It sincerely infuriates me. How about we cut that Algebra II bullshit from high school and focus more on science and history so that society doesn't have problems like this?

~Rick Charles
I recently came across a couple of absolutely fantastic paleontographical works, and I want to know the artists responsible for them. Both are signed, but as usual the signatures are unreadable.

1st piece: fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net…

2nd piece: fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net…

There must be a fellow paleo-enthusiast who can track down these artists for me.

Thanks!

~Rick Charles
I just finished five months of generals, and during that time my artistic output has been next to nothing (evidently). Having taken such a long drawing hiatus, it'll be tough getting back into it. But that's not what this journal entry is about. I mentioned that introductory point because I have an interesting concept I've wanted to draw for some time but could never muster the mental energy to draw it, because college fries the brain like that. That concept is this entry's namesake.

Crested tyrannosaurs aren't speculation, obviously. Guanlong is the most prominent example, although other proceratosaurids were potentially crested as well. Even the structure adorning the skull of Yutyrannus can be interpreted as a crest. Most of these are all smaller and more basal tyrannosaurs, obviously. The crests are thus presumably basal characteristics as well, lost in the more derived tyrannosaurids. Or were they? I couldn't help but notice that many tyrannosaurids have rather scabrous snouts. That is, they're not smooth; as though they anchored something in life that has evaded preservation. This observation has previously been the method to my madness in reconstructing my tyrannosaurs with chicken-like combs and other such fleshy structures. However, is it feasible that as tyrannosaurs grew larger and more derived, their bony and presumably keratin-sheathed crests were reduced to scabrous anchors for lighter-weight keratinous crests (the sheaths and crests being homologous)? Presumably for sexual display, these structures might have looked similar to the crests of Guanlong or Yutyrannus, although they could have potentially adopted entirely unique designs as well.

One of my friends took the liberty of drawing this concept, giving Tyrannosaurus a Yutyrannus-like crest: dj-miller.deviantart.com/art/C…. If anybody else is interested in illustrating this concept, be my guest.

~Rick Charles
The new WWD movie looks pretty epic, although from what I've been told there are certain elements that might irk an honest paleo-enthusiast. It appears to have a plot very similar to March of the Dinosaurs, which by the way I personally feel this new WWD movie won't have anything on. March of the Dinosaurs had it's own irks too, but I still thought it was amazing. You can check out the trailer for the new movie here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7lBKB…

~Rick Charles
Not much to say about it yet, but it's certainly interesting: phys.org/news/2013-04-scientis…

They're looking for melanosomes, so despite the article's speculation the scientists most probably aren't going to find any green. We still have quite a wide color palette to place bets on, though. And it's only a skin sample too, so unfortunately we won't know the animal's entire color scheme. But whatever their findings are, it'll give paleoartists a new starting point. If it's reddish, from now on we'll all make sure to include some red on our reconstructions of this particular species (which isn't identified in the article, though I'm assuming it's Edmontosaurus).

-Rick Charles
The gaming industry has experienced a recent boost of dinosaur-themed games. However--and don't hold this against me, this is just my personal opinion--the majority of them fall short of their potential. Crynosaurs will hopefully be different. Most dinosaur games are developed by people who don't really know what they're dealing with. For example, Primal Carnage is more Jurassic Park on steroids than anything else, and the Orion franchise doesn't have any respect for dinosaurs at all (their first independent title was "Dino Beatdown"--better keep the animal rights activists away from them!). Conversely, Project Crynosaurs is an upcoming dinosaur simulator to be set in the Hell Creek Formation 65-66 million years ago where players will be able to simulate the lives of prehistoric creatures. I trust the developers with this project, because they have several knowledgeable people on the team who actually care about and respect dinosaurs not as society views them, but as paleontology knows them. Project Crynosaurs is a healthy marriage of science and entertainment, and for once I have faith in an upcoming dinosaur game.

You can support Project Crynosaurs by liking their Facebook page and keeping updated as the project develops: www.facebook.com/crynosaurs

-Rick Charles
Colin Trevorrow, the director for Jurassic Park IV, has confirmed via a Twitter post that there will not be feathered dinosaurs in the next Jurassic Park sequel.

"Among the many worries from fans for Universal's Jurassic Park 4 was the possibility that we could see dinosaurs covered in feathers, as opposed to dinos in their classic form. The last installment in the series, 2001's Jurassic Park III, featured velociraptors with feathers. However, Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow, who was recently hired to helm Jurassic Park 4, has taken to his Twitter account to confirm that there will be "no feathers" in the sequel. Trevorrow was reportedly chosen due to his love of the original trilogy and knowing how the world works. Are you happy with the decision to not include feathers?" - www.comicbookmovie.com/fansite…

As I stated in a recent previous journal entry (deinonychusempire.deviantart.c…, "In one regard, [...] I'd prefer it if the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park IV justified the Spielberg continuity. But in another regard, as a paleontological enthusiast I want Jurassic Park IV to have a positive impact on society's contemporary understanding of dinosaurs. It's a coin toss." So obviously, I'm not butthurt about it but some paleo-enthusiasts have already taken a hart hit (chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2013/…. Clearly, Trevorrow isn't a paleo-enthusiast like the lot of us. I will admit to being unsettled by the fact that rather than being a young director with fresh ideas, he's a young director and amateur Jurassic Park fanboy... Maybe even a BANDit. Nevertheless, he's making Jurassic Park IV a priority and that's more than can be said for anybody who's given the film any attention in the last ten years. The vibe I get is that even if he is an amateur fanboy and BANDit, he's not excluding feathered dinosaurs in spite of them but rather because he's an honest Jurassic Park fan who's respecting the Spielberg canon the most honest way he can. Some paleontologically literate Jurassic Park fans have attempted to explain in canonized feathered dinosaurs, but Trevorrow's decided that's not an appropriate route to take. Let's face it, the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park are theme park monsters (as Alan Grant so eloquently stated in Jurassic Park III)--and I'll add, theme park monsters that were never genuinely dinosaurian even in-universe because they were mutated with frog DNA. Trevorrow evidently understands this, and is respecting that fact. They're monsters created to appease the general public, not educate the general public. That's a major them in the original Jurassic Park novel anyway. No, Jurassic Park IV isn't going to be the break we paleo-enthusiasts were hoping for but it will be Jurassic Park IV and we're finally getting it.

Consider this as well, what would feathered dinosaurs have looked like if they were going to be in Jurassic Park IV? If any of us were expecting Emily Willoughby-esque reconstructions (ewilloughby.deviantart.com/), I'd feel safe making a high bet against that. I have a sick feeling that they'd be more like those abominations in Terra Nova. Gluing feathers on a bipedal lizard doesn't make it an accurate coelurosaur, and I guarantee that's what Jurassic Park IV would have been like if it ventured into feathered dinosaur territory. Consider Trevorrow to be doing us paleo-enthusiasts a favor by keeping it old-school.

-Rick Charles
As I announced in my previous journal entry, I finally caved and decided to watch Primeval: New World. Short version: it's not as bad as I was expecting it to be, but that doesn't mean I'm saying it's good. I hadn't expected much, anyway, when I decided to give it a watch. Already knowing it's not being renewed for a second season, I figured it's low ratings resulted from either being bad enough that nobody watched it or good enough that everybody pirated it. After watching it for myself, I'm betting on the former. Granted, this is coming from a long-time Primeval fan (since 2008, around the time Series 2 was airing on British television IIRC) who segregates the first two series of the original British show into their own fanon; so maybe I'm biased, but I feel I have a right to be.

The most severe issue I noticed was that the plot had a rough initiation. The characters weren't adequately developed until about the fifth episode, and the story-progressing episodes were struggling between several filler episodes (especially towards the beginning of the season, which in my opinion is why the entire series received such low ratings: there was too much filler too early and it was undoubtedly a turnoff to many viewers who weren't in it for the creatures). Speaking of the creatures...

No, I'm not going there.

-Rick Charles
I was bored and couldn't sleep, so I finally caved in and decided to give Primeval: New World a watch. I just finished the first episode (after scouring the internet for a decent upload), and I'm certainly on the fence. The creatures are no surprise to me, I already knew they were terribly designed (I wish they'd used the more awesome raptor and Pteranodon CGI models from the original series, these new ones look like crap). The plot seemed like a rough start too, and I would have turned my attention to other things except that THEY ENDED THE FIRST EPISODE WITH A CLIFFHANGER... So now I have no choice but to watch the second episode. Ugh.

-Rick Charles
It's finally happening, Jurassic Park IV is out of development hell and slated for theatrical release June 13th, 2014. Steven Spielberg is going to produce, but as far as I know there's no information on the director or cast yet. I'll be honest, I'd lost hope. I lasted a while, though. But after one too many hoaxes and fruitless public statements, not to mention the deaths of many notable individuals associated with the Jurassic Park franchise, I began to think Jurassic Park was extinct (excuse the lame pun).

So what does the confirmation of Jurassic Park IV mean for the franchise? Enough time has passed to where Jurassic Park IV will inevitably introduce a new generation to the franchise itself and dinosaurs in general. And in ten to fifteen years time there might be a whole new crowd of budding paleontology enthusiasts crediting their life passion to having seen Jurassic Park IV in theaters when they were adolescents. The internet will explode with a revival in the fan community, it will certainly be the dawn of fantastic new Jurassic Park fan communities. And all of that is absolutely fantastic. However, as a 90s kid who grew up with the effects Jurassic Park had on society when the first movie hit theaters in 1993, which are still evident even now nearly twenty years later, I understand how dangerous Jurassic Park IV will potentially be. The first movie was a blockbuster, and revolutionized society's perception of dinosaurs. That being said, twenty years later the paleontology of Jurassic Park is severely outdated and yet society remains grounded in 20th century science because their understanding of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in general is ignorantly restricted to what the media conveys. And everything in popular media since Jurassic Park has to some degree been a reflection of Jurassic Park's now outdated paleontology. Jurassic Park IV will cause the same effect that Jurassic Park did in 1993: it's depiction of dinosaurs will ingrain itself into society and remain so until another dinosaur movie makes it big and overwrites what will by then surely be the "severely outdated paleontology of 2014."

Let's break it down, there are three possibilities. Either Jurassic Park IV will 1) uphold Spielberg continuity by depicting it's dinosaurs the way they were depicted in the first three films, 2) attempt to convey a "revolutionized" understanding of dinosaurs by bullshitting the concept of feathered dinosaurs like Terra Nova did or 3) hire and actually listen to decent consultants and portray truly revolutionary depictions of 99% scientifically accurate dinosaurs. Despite the inevitable canonicity issues, the third possibility would make paleontology enthusiasts like me happy. We're looking forward to the day when we won't have to deal with Jurassic Park-style pseudosaurs anymore. Unfortunately, the second possibility to me seems the most likely. Paleontologist Jack Horner, who consulted for the first three Jurassic Park movies, asserted in a recent interview, "We've learned that dinosaurs were colourful, we've learned that dinosaurs were feathered. We've learned a lot about dinosaur behaviours, we've learned there's a difference in how juveniles look and adults look… Jurassic Park 4 will look very different than Jurassic Park 3." That may sound good initially, but it almost resonates what Jack Horner said about Terra Nova, which he also consulted for. And let's be honest, "Nycoraptor" doesn't cut it for a remotely accurate 21st century representation of dromaeosaurs regardless of it's feathering (spoilertv.co.uk/images/cache/a….

In one regard, as a [former] Jurassic Park fan I'd prefer it if the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park IV justified the Spielberg continuity. But in another regard, as a paleontological enthusiast I want Jurassic Park IV to have a positive impact on society's contemporary understanding of dinosaurs. It's a coin toss.

-Rick Charles
No, Oculus Rift isn't the title of a new science fiction movie (it would make a pretty awesome movie title though). Actually, it's a stepping stone from science fiction to reality. The Occulus Rift by Oculus VR (www.oculusvr.com/) is an upcoming virtual reality headset planned to support several popular games on consumer release, including many Valve titles. The prototype is a high depth-perception 110 degree range headset providing an unprecedented gaming experience, and a step closer to the virtual reality we've all been dreaming of. Development kits are available for pre-order for game developers, I'm not sure if a consumer release date is yet in foresight. If the Oculus Rift is what it's hyped to be, this is revolutionary technology right up there with jet packs and flying cars. One at a time, it seems, 1900s science fiction is becoming reality. There is no stopping what humans are capable of with imagination and perseverance.

-Rick Charles
I just got All Yesterdays in the mail, as in I literally just unpackaged it. I am really, really looking forward to reading it! Hopefully it will inspire me to draw even more awesome speculative biology; it certainly seems to have had that affect on other paleoartists in the community. It's like I'm sitting here holding a window to a new realm... I'm going to stop typing so I can get to it! Science awaits!

-Rick Charles
I was browsing a creationist archive on articles tackling the bird-dinosaur controversy, and noticed many of their titles were riddled with puns about wings, powered flight and birds in general. I thought they were amusing (in an at-their-expense kind of way):

~Which came first, the dino or the bird?

~Dino-bird evolution falls flat.

~Bird Evolution flies out the window.

~Kentucky fried dinosaur?

~Yet another flap about dino-to-bird evolution.

~Eggceptionally different.

~Ostrich eggs break dino-to-bird theory.

Humor aside, it honestly disgusts me how ignorant all of these creationists are who write these articles; capitalizing on that damn "Archaeoraptor" hoax and acting like paleontologists have yet to find actual evidence of feathered dinosaurs. What bird-brains!

-Rick Charles
Every paleontological enthusiast and their dad knows of the new book released by Darren Naish about dinosaurs. I haven't read it yet, it's on my wishlist; but from what I've observed All Yesterdays has inspired the recent bombardment of speculative dinosaur reconstructions on deviantART. Which is to say, All Yesterdays went on the market and everybody started doing what I've been doing for a while now. I'm not sure what to make of it. Though for certain, it's making me increasingly interested in this book and it's content. It just might be my next purchase.

-Rick Charles
Happy New Year, my fellow Deviants! To kick off 2013, a paleontology-related message board I'm a member on released an archosaur-themed 2013 calendar today. It features a collaboration of artwork from a few different paleoartists here on dA, including some good acquaintances of mine. If you like dinosaurs (which you probably do if you're +Watching me) then please check this calendar out, it's only $17.99 and features some fantastic paleontography: www.cafepress.com/deinonychus_…

And please check out the aforementioned Hell Creek message board as well, it's a wonderful community of paleontology enthusiasts just like you and me: hellcreek.tk/

Again, Happy New Year! I hope everyone is looking forward to 2013, I know I am.

-Rick Charles
After a long day at work all I wanted to do was go home and sleep; I had forgotten that my mom had bought us all tickets to the midnight showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I'd heard of this movie, there was a big name behind it; some guy who a few years back adapted a series of books known as The Lord of the Rings franchise into a movie trilogy. The plot basically involved a miniature humanoid with hairy feet who needed to drop a magic ring into a volcano to save the world; that's what I made of it, anyway; after weeding out all of that diluted fantasy. Dragons, elves, dwarfs, magic... I remember all that scientifically unfounded nonsense giving me a headache. And The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hailed as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. What had I let myself into?

The theater lobby was crowded, as anyone can imagine. There were several people costumed after hobbits and wizards; I realize now that before subjecting myself to the midnight showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey my perception of what a geek was had been a misguided one, like I had asserted that I knew what it felt like to be in space before having ever been in space myself--if the theater was space and the geeks were the inherent icy weightlessness an astronaut experiences when he's floating haplessly around the exterior of the ISS when there's a structural issue to be addressed.

After what must have been an hour of waiting in line my family (and the couple of friends we'd dragged along) were finally able to acquire our 3D glasses and enter the theater room. After listening to the eardrum-herniating sound of a crowded auditorium full of people laughing at movie trailers that weren't funny, the movie finally started... The theater began to project the wrong movie. We came to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, not Playing for Keeps blast it!

When they finally got the right movie projecting, everyone started cheering like a stable full of squealing pigs when the farmer comes by to fill their trough with feed. In the moment of quiet before the narrator began yapping, I was able to consciously regret not asking someone with the flu to cough in my face so I could have stayed home. My mind began to connect the dots: the inanely long waiting line, the fan cosplay, the cheering when the right movie started... This wasn't merely a midnight showing of a highly anticipated movie. This was a religious ceremony, a gathering of devout practitioners enveloping themselves in a fantasy-diluted cult. Their founder? J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. So there I was, sitting in on a Tolkienist ceremony.

For your personal safety I am going to avoid revealing explicit details regarding the nature of this Tolkienist ceremony, which is to say for those of you contorted enough to consider yourselves as anticipating seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for yourselves and don't want spoilers, I will be gracious enough to spare you of such misfortune. Of course, if by now you haven't figured out that this journal entry is entirely satirical then you really are contorted!

I experienced the midnight showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D last night and it was amazing! It will certainly be a box office record-breaker. It was honestly a beautiful experience being amongst dedicated fans, with everybody cheering at the epic moments and laughing at the funny moments and gasping at the shocking moments. Such experiences help restore my faith in humanity, when a crowd of strangers who share nothing in common but their fandom can enjoy it together in mutual exertion of dedication and happiness. Movies, man.

-Rick Charles
Will Smith. Speculative evolution. Spaceships. Anybody else highly anticipating June 7, 2013 (June 5 if you're French)?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZIt20…

-Rick Charles