Friday, December 22, 2006

IF: "Help" final

And here it is, without a "making of" movie:


Thursday, December 21, 2006

IF: "Help" - sketch

My original intention with this illustration was to record every step of its creation and post it along with the final image so you could see how it was made.

I got it half done.

You see, until I have my home computer upgraded – which should be sometime in the next two months – I have to do the recording on my computer at work during "my time". That worked great for the sketch because it took all of 3 minutes and 17 seconds and I was able to get it done during lunch on Tuesday.

Then yesterday we were hit with a blizzard.

I arrived at work about an hour late and then two and a half hours later we were told that we could go home as soon as the ads we were working on were approved and sent on their way. So, I didn't have time to finish and film the final illustration and I forgot to bring the sketch home in my rush to get out of there so I can't even just finish it here without filming it. Yeah, that's right. I'm writing this from home, in front of a window, watching more snow fall. I'd planned on trying to go in to work around noon if possible. Now I don't know. It just keeps snowing. There's over a foot of snow on our patio table right now.

Luckily on Tuesday I uploaded the sketch film to youTube and I also sent a slightly better quality version to my public dotMac folder that you can download and watch if you want, so all is not lost.

You'll notice that I do a lot of hovering with the cursor. During that time I was deciding what direction I wanted to take the sketch. I had a vague idea of what I wanted when I started, but that can change as I go. I considered editing it out of the final movie, but that made it even more jerky so I just left it in. I hope in spite of that you enjoy it.

You can download the .MOV file from this link.

I'll try to finish and upload the final illustration by Christmas, although there likely won't be a movie.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Toys, toys, wonderful toys. Dolls for the girls and guns for the boys.

Well, here it is again. That time of the year when we help keep the economy strong by buying oodles of stuff. Being the owner of two rug monsters, and having been a former rug monster myself, I've seen many kinds of toys.

For the first nine or so years of my son's life he could be sure of receiving a selection of Hot Wheels and at least two LEGO sets at Christmas in addition to lots of other crap-of-the-moment. Now that he's almost 13 he no longer has an interest in Hot Wheels and he has so many LEGOS that they fill a huge bin, so I've decided to find some different things to add to the pile this year. Since he reads this site occasionally, I won't go into details. Neener-neener boy.

The girl has always been difficult to shop for. She's just now showing an interest in things she got half her life ago. This year everything she's getting from me came from an "educational" store. Going to make one last try to build her brain up before it's too late. I'll let you know how that goes.

Anyhow, the point of this post is that while reading an article about "The Ten Most Dangerous Playthings of All Time" I was reminded of more of the crazy/stupid things I did as an adolescent.

I personally never owned a set of Jarts. My albino friend Mike had two sets. While we would play with them, we were never crazy enough to play "Dodge the Jart". At least not that I remember. We did get a bit carried away seeing how high we could toss them though; a game that stopped when one hit the roof of Mike's mom's car. They were taken away right quick that day. So we switched to darts. See, we realized that it would be insane to play "Dodge the Jart" but apparently "Dodge the dart" was fine. I've probably written about this before, so I'll be brief. The game consisted of one person standing out in the yard while the other person threw a dart in a high arc above the yardie (i.e. "target"). The yardie would then decide to stand or run. I'm pretty sure at one point the yardie had additional safety equipment called "a small piece of wood" that he could hold over his head, or try to catch the dart in if he was so inclined. That earned extra points. It wasn't a game we played often, but it was a game we played and something I would yell at my own kids for playing. I may be a hypocrite, but so be it.

I also remembered that for awhile in my childhood home we had a room in the basement that only had one small, high up window that led to a window well, an overhead sealed lamp fixture, a small heating vent in the ceiling and nothing else. No furniture at all. Four walls, a ceiling and a floor. And they used to chain me in the middle of the room and feed me live kittens while beating me every third hour with barbed wire. Oh wait. No. This actually leads to a happy memory.

One day I was bouncing around a superball outside, popping it off the garage door, chasing it into the street, etc, when I had a stroke of inspiration. I could toss the ball in that room and I wouldn't have to chase it into the street! And I could invite a friend! And turn it into a game! "Bob", the kid with the lazy eye, was up for it. The game was on!

So we went into the room, closed the door and then took turns throwing the ball as hard as we could, trying to hit the other person after the second bounce without getting hit yourself. You would be amazed the number of times you could bounce a superball in a small room. It was loads of fun until after one throw the ball vanished.

It bounced once and then nothing.

There wasn't any furniture for it to be behind. It didn't smash through the tiny window. It didn't smash into the light. It couldn't have gone through the crack under the door. I'm sure it didn't help that it was a clear ball. Finally after looking everywhere twice we found it. It had wedged wedged tightly between two slats in the heat vent that was in the corner of the ceiling. We had to drag a chair into the room to get it.

A week or so later the room was converted into a bedroom for my reviled half-brother after his mom kicked him out of Texas. So there went that bit-o fun.

Many years later I would discover a hint of my lost love of bouncing a ball in a closed and empty room when I started playing racquetball while in the Air Force. I say "while in the Air Force" because that meant I had free 24-hour access to the courts. After the Air Force the fun stopped because that shit's expensive.

Of course it wasn't quite the same. I was larger, slower, the ball was bigger as was the room and my opponent wouldn't stand still and get hit like I wanted him to. I probably wouldn't enjoy "Dodge the dart" as much these days either.


Yeah, I said I would do "mask" for Illustration Friday and I didn't. I've had too much on my mind lately. Mainly what I had on my mind was the idea of getting a new car and saying goodbye to my 10-year old KIA Sephia. Sure, it was bottom of the line. You couldn't buy anything cheaper that didn't run on pedals. It was entirely manual; windows, steering, transmission. It didn't have a radio. It didn't have air conditioning. It was teal. However it was also amazingly reliable. The most expensive thing that I had to have done to it was get a tune-up and change the break pads. Well, as long as you don't count fixing the big deer dent in the front, and I don't 'cause I didn't. It was a good car. For the last six months it had been making a clanking noise when turning and occasionally when accelerating. I knew that was going to cost some cash to fix, and I really needed to decide if it was worth fixing. Then there's the matter of my ginormous teen-boy who is now at least three inches taller than me. It was starting to make me sad seeing him all scrunched into the KIAs front seat with his knees up on the dash.

So all last week I was researching various Saturns that are available. On Saturday I went in to test drive the Aura. Today I picked it up. If the boy outgrows that he'll have to start walking to school.

All that said, I have what I think is a great idea for "help"; this weeks word. I will try to get it done by Thursday. In the meantime, have a wonderful week.

4 out of 5 bloggers tasked with listing five things came through, with the exception being Pat Angello. I hope he likes licking strangers. He lives in a populous area and a mile can be pretty long. Everyone else, I've been assured that your monkeys are in the mail. Thanks for participating.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wow. Thanks Mark.

Mark Maynard, the only blogger I've read consistently for the last five years, decided to repay my loyalty by tossing a chain letter my way. You can read more about it and his own answers here.

Five things you (probably*) don't know about me.

1. My name, when I was born, wasn't "Collin Burton". That name originally belonged to a vagabond who was passing through our town when I was a wee child. He traded it to me for a bottle of whiskey and one of my dad's guns. It has served me very well in my long and torturous climb to fame and glory. Thank you, now-nameless vagabond.

2. I remember when I was 10 telling one of my cousins not to eat the paint chips on her windowsill. She just laughed and ate more. When I told her mother she got a spanking. Yes, they were actually lead paint chips. They were bendy. I haven't seen her in many, many years. She has children of her own. I hope they're okay in the head. I had a argument with this same cousin around the same age about smoking. All of our parents smoked and she told me that I would smoke too when I got older. I told her I never would. She laughed and said, "Just you wait." So far I've never smoked. I can be quite stubborn. I hear she smokes though. I'm pretty sure she's laid off the paint chips though.

3. The first time my mom and dad broke up, he took the distributor cap out of her car so she couldn't leave. It was a huge screaming match. She waited until after midnight when he was asleep then we snuck out of the house to her sister's car waiting down the street. We went to my grandmother's house. I stayed in one of my aunt's rooms. I have two aunts younger than me. They were out of town. The next day mym mom, grandma and older aunt wanted to go out for breakfast. The only clothes I had were the pajamas I'd been sleeping in when we made a run for it. I was given some of my younger aunt's clothes to put on. I was told nobody would notice. Shorts with frills and a girly t-shirt. And panties, because the pajama bottoms didn't go with the shorts and something was needed to contain my "junk". I was mortified. We went to a brunch buffet. I did not feel pretty.

4. I spent my early teen years surrounded by drugs. Reefer mainly. Weed. Mary Jane. Not "on" drugs though. Just surrounded by them. I probably did get a fair number of contact highs though. I was once tasked by a relative to pick all the seeds out of big pile of ganja that was on the coffee table. I was told that I'd better be thorough because nobody likes to be smoking a joint and have a seed pop. Someone I didn't know who was sporting muttonchops and a pornstar mustache was told to go out into the hall and keep an eye out for the cops. There were a few guns about as well. I also recall riding in the back seat of a car with two of my relatives in the front seat on a trip from Denver to Colorado Springs. It was a big old car. Like a 70's cadillac. The driver had the speedometer pegged at 110 mph. He and the passenger were passing a joint back and forth. When I expressed concern I was told by the driver to shut the fuck up and enjoy the ride. There were no seat belts in back. I thought I was going to die.

5. I used to shoplift with a friend who I'll call "Bob" when I was very, very young. Like (wait for it Heather) 9. "Bob" had a lazy eye. You could never really be sure of what he was looking at. But he was a good guy. He wasn't allowed to eat sugar. His mom said it made him hyper. Seeing as he was normally hyped up anyhow I often wondered what would happen if I fed him some. "Here boy, have some sugar!" I never did though. Shoplifting was a compulsion that I couldn't shake. I didn't need the stuff, but I couldn't resist snagging it. It was the devil that started me stealing, but that's a story for another time. My shoplifting days ended with me being busted in J.C. Penney's during a solo job near Christmas with a coat full of toys. One of them was a 14" Darth Vader-esque knock off toy. "Lord Klung" or something. I knew it was too big for the coat, but I couldn't resist his dark charm. I realized after he was in the coat that the store dick was on to me, but I couldn't shuck my loot before being nabbed. My dad was called in and I was expecting a serious beating because he was a strong believer in hands on parenting. However, after we were out of the store he just looked at me like he was horribly disappointed and told me he could never trust me again. That actually shook me to my core and I convinced myself that any time I stole anything, something bad would happen. That actually worked. The compulsion was gone and has never returned. I was banned from ever going into J.C. Penney's again. I have gone back in a couple times as an adult, but I always feel nervous and try to avoid it whenever possible. If I have to shop there I remind myself that they would be looking for someone shorter than me with a different name. Thanks again, now-nameless vagabond.

Some of what I've said is true, and some isn't. That's just how I roll here at Fizzle & Pop.

Now I'm supposed to pass this along to five other bloggers. You'll no doubt thank me later. Heather, of course. Derek. Justin. Pat. And Debra. I'll be kinder than Mark was to me and give you a deadline of Monday. I'm also going to change up the penalty/reward. If you don't do it you will be compelled to walk for a mile, licking every fifth person you see on the forehead. If that person's a cop you'll have to lick him twice and give him a wedgie. And for a reward you will eventually receive a monkey that has been trained to fling poo at salesmen and other door-to-door undesirables. Those who have been struck-thru have continued the chain and the link is now directly to their post. The monkeys are in the mail.

Have fun. Blame Mark.

* If you are either Heather, Derek or a member of my family you may know some of these.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

THAT'S what that sounds like.

Not a sound I want to hear in person. Ever. Thanks for the demonstration Moon Knight.

I'm giving a program a shot that'll allow me to record the crap I draw AS IT HAPPENS!

More or less.

So far the only program I've tried is iShowU for the Mac. It's $20 and seems to work rather well. I'll probably need to pick up a $199 video card at some point so I can actually record in full screen rather than in "follow the cursor dizzy vision". But that's down the road. Here's my first shot at it (as of this post the movie still isn't available, but it should be eventually):

I also plan to do requests. Tutorials. That kind of stuff. So. Plans. Big honkin' plans.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Stick it where the sun shines.

I was behind a car this morning and, as usual, I was reading the bumper stickers. I find it fascinating what some people like to put on their cars and share with the world behind them. I don't have any, but that's because I don't like to share. Don't believe me? How many times have I posted in the last month? See?

There were only three on this car. One was for the band "Tool", the second was too tiny for me to read – even at a stoplight – and the last one read, "It's a nice day. Please don't f#ck it up!"

I thought to myself, "That might be put to better use if it was stuck on the driver's sun visor." And that made me laugh.

However I started wondering if there was a market for visor stickers. Or, perhaps better because it doesn't rely on the sun, dashboard stickers. I thought that could be quite handy for some people. Have a low-tac sticker that could be replaced as needed and used as a reminder for forgetful drivers.

"Got your wallet?" I can count the number of times I've driven off without my wallet on one hand, but that doesn't mean I enjoyed it. Especially when lunch time rolled around and I'm forced to eat whatever I can find in my desk drawers. Six month old Cheetos! Yum!

"Get milk." Or bread, or condoms. Bullets. Whatever. Perhaps have a sheet of stickers to stick to the sticker depending on what you need to remember that day. For those with really specialized needs; a sheet of letters and a pocket dictionary. Nothing would be more embarrassing than having someone look in your car and see that you've misspelled "hemorrhoid cream".

"Signal, dumbass!" Now, this one is probably not something people would use for themselves. I'm pretty sure that those who don't signal on a regular basis aren't forgetting. They're just dicks. So THIS sticker would have to be printed on the sticky side and could just be slapped across a serial offender's windshield in a parking lot or during a stop in traffic as needed.

"Your child is in the back seat." Some parents just need to be reminded. Especially in the summer or if they are in a hurry.

"You aren't driving, so shut up." This one would go on the passenger's visor or on the back of the front seat headrests, as needed.

"Slow it down, zippy!" This one would have to be court ordered. And if you were pulled over again and didn't have it, the cop would be allowed to flick you in the forehead while you recited the alphabet backward. In a Russian accent. Why not?

"Change your oil" I need this one.

"Are you wearing clean underwear?" Your mom wants you to have this one.

And that's all I can think of right now. If you can think of any, feel free to add them to the comments. And have yourself a wonderful week whether you want to or not.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Must.... not... laugh...

I wasn't going to write about this originally, because it's about my son and he's in those awkward teen years. The last thing he needs is his dad making fun of him. That and being sent to school in a unicorn patterned tutu.

So I've decided I'll compromise and leave out the tutu and just tell the story.

Now, I will say, this wasn't his fault at all. He was just trying to help and a teen who desires to be helpful is a wonderful and rare thing. If anyone can be blamed it would be his sister.

It happened this morning as we were getting ready to leave for school and work.

Heather and my daughter, Jordyn, had just gone out the back door and had passed the gate when I saw Jordyn's backpack on the kitchen table. Justin was between me and the door so I told him, "Quick! Stop them before they go!"

He panicked for a second, pivoted and ran two steps – waBAM! – right into the sliding glass door. He was wobbling a bit and I asked if he was okay. He said, "Yeah..." so I ran out to catch Heather and Jordyn and I heard Heather ask as I opened the gate, "What was that?"

As soon as I said, "Justin ran into the door," while holding up the backpack I just started laughing.

I couldn't help it.

Then Heather and Jordyn were laughing.

Everyone was laughing except for Justin, for some reason.

I gave them the backpack, ran back inside – making sure I opened the door first – and found Justin sitting at the table with his head in his hands. I should probably point out that at 13 he's at least three inches taller than I am and a little heavy for his height so it's a miracle that he didn't go through the glass. That's what I was thinking when I asked again if he was okay. But it took me a few tries before I could ask without laughing. I think the laughter was caused by both relief that he wasn't broken and the image of him pancaking against the glass.

I felt horrible for laughing, but I couldn't help it.

I almost told him, "They say that comedy is tragedy that happens to someone else," but that wouldn't have helped much since he was the "someone else" at the time.

As it was I checked his pupils and felt the growing lump on his head, and reminded him that he wasn't the only person to walk into a sliding glass door. Heather and Derek's mom did it. I'm pretty sure I did too when I was a kid. It happens.

Have a great, accident free weekend everyone. And I WILL be illustrating "Mask" for Illustration Friday at some point. I can't let that one go by.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sweet Jebus, he's talking about his lunch again.

Heather came by my work today for lunch. We decided on Schlotzsky's.

Neither of us ever eat the pickle spears that come with the meals, and this time Heather tossed hers onto my plate before I could form an adequate defense. That's okay though, because I love her and it's not like I had to eat it or anything.

Across from our table, sitting by himself, was a guy that looked like a biker. His large arms were plastered in tattoos, he had a grizzled face and was dressed in a biker fashion with his jean jacket over the back of his chair. I noticed that he didn't eat his pickle either as he got up to toss his wrappers in the garbage. Then he walked off into the bathroom, leaving his jacket over his chair. All alone.

I looked at it, and started smiling. Heather said, "What?"

"I was just thinking about putting a pickle in his pocket," I said and she just laughed and laughed.

I didn't of course. For one thing, I had no idea how fast he could eliminate his wastes. Some people are pretty speedy and we were only a few tables from the bathroom. I also realized that someone would likely see me do it and spill the beans, and then I would have to deal with a biker annoyed about his pickled pocket. Or, assuming nothing else went wrong, it would be my luck that his keys would be in that pocket or something.

We were still talking about it as he came back from the bathroom and I watched him as he put his jacket on. I guess it was a bit of a struggle to squeeze his large arms into the sleeves and I'm sure he would have found it at some point. And there we would have been, right next to him. I could just see me telling him, "Some guy walked over and dropped a pickle in your pocket and then ran off. I was going to tell you, but I was worried you wouldn't believe me. It wasn't me. See? I still have my pickle!" and then I would show him the remaining pickle on my plate. "She ate hers," I would say when he looked at Heather's plate. This would no doubt have been followed with, "Not the face! Not the face!" and cops and stuff.

No. That wouldn't have ended well.

Later, as we were driving back to work, Heather asked me what made me even think of putting a pickle in his pocket. I told her that when I saw him get up and leave his jacket like that, it made me think about how I could never do that. I would be too worried that someone would take it or mess with it. And then I saw the pickles on my plate and the whole plan came together. In my mind I saw him finding the pickle much later and thinking, "What the...?! I thought I threw this away!" and that just made me smile.

Have a great, pickle free weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Whatcha been up to, you non posting fool?

Working, sleeping and occasionally watching movies for the most part. And a bit of game playing here and there. And trying to come up with something for everyone on my Christmas list. Tis the season to be poorer.

I did do one artistic thing in the past few weeks, and that was create a background for Heather's new MySpace account. You can see it here.

Their ads sure are annoying. Can't be something unblinking or out of the way. Of course not. If they did that the ads wouldn't work. As it is now I can't stop myself from clicking on them. clickity-click. Genius.

Heather wants me to start up a MySpace account as well. I'm of the opinion that it's the Debbil's work and I'm having none of it. Not to mention that I already have –what? – five blogs that I don't update worth a poop as it is. Still, I'll bet that I cave at some point. Nearly everyone has one. Even dead people. So yeah, expect to see me there sometime in the future. The shiny, shiny future.

To be honest I'm only posting today in order to push down that Dora "toy" because I'm sick of looking at it. I had hoped I would have an IF post to really eat up the space, but no such luck. Maybe next week.

So, is that toy off my screen yet? Not quite.

This ought to take up some room. An old "Half-Assed Comic" from days of yore. Click it to make it readable:

annnnnd one of my favorite PoE comics (also clickable):

And that should do it. Have great weekend everyone.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Isn't that interesting.

I wrote a post back in June about how a certain "Dora" toy looked kind of phallic. [Read it here]

That post upset one of my readers, who chewed me out for twisting innocent things. That led to a lengthy follow up post. [Here]

Now I'm sure that I've lost Don as a reader of my site forever. So it goes. However, I just saw this today over at BoingBoing: Phallic toy alert: Dora Aquapet.

For those of you not inclined to follow links, here's what it looks like:

So my question is, what is up with the Dora toy designers? Sure, sure, I bet they did not mean to make that toy look like a cock any more than they did the other toy. But come on! Get someone on staff in either QA or RND with a dirty mind and a willingness to point out the absurd, would you?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What a couple of weeks.


It doesn't feel like it's been that long, but I guess it has. Being both sick and busy can certainly mess with your sense of time. A major holiday even passed, I've been told. The above illustration was taken from a rather cool site called "Historical Anatomies on the Web". A place with images both cool and gruesome, especially if you realize that much of it was drawn while looking at actual cadavers in stuffy rooms and possibly against the law of the time.

Speaking of cadavers, I just tossed out the kids' pumpkins this morning. They weren't quite rotten, but they were well on their way. Here are a couple of photos of them "in their prime" (all photos are clickable):


We had a lot of fun carving them, although we had to rush a bit at the end.

And here they are lit:


AND, I may as well turn this into a photo-post since I also finally have the pictures of my knees that Heather took after I messed them up by falling off the ramp of my U-Haul back when we were moving:



They looked a LOT worse in person. I'm actually disappointed at how the first one came out. It just looks like a wee boo-boo – although it also wasn't the knee that took the most weight on impact.

And finally I share with you my daughter; rock icon:

TheWall2.jpg jordyn-wall.jpg TheWall1.jpeg

Believe it or not, she wasn't imitating cover art on purpose. She was just being her normal, goofy self when Heather snapped the photo. When I saw it, the Wall was the first thing to spring to mind.

As of now there isn't a ghost #5. I will make one and post it when I can, as well as resume playing along with Illustration Friday. Hopefully by next week.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

IF: "Ghost" Series #4

Illustration Friday:

Yeah, it's an old one, but I still like it. I really didn't want to post any of my older artwork for this series, however I'm just too busy today to come up with anything new. Plus, it might be new for some people.

I originally did this illustration for a German based video game company called 'Mac-Yun-Soft' (at that time – they are now 'Zhang Games') for a sequel to one of their games, 'The Big Quest'. This was going to be one of three bosses that you would face at some point.

I illustrated all three bosses, plus their room backgrounds and various texture sets. Then I fell out of contact with the developer, partly because they kept wanting more and more without offering me anything tangible for my work, and partly because I was far too busy to continue with it.

The last time I emailed them, a few months ago, I was told that the game's still "in production".

They are currently using one of the backgrounds that I did on the page for the original game. You can see it here. My illustration is the one at the bottom of that page, but it's also being used as the game image on the main page. I was assured that, in spite of this, the game being sold is a slightly modified version of the original and not the game I'd been working on.

So, as much as I would love to break into the gaming industry, either video or traditional, I've certainly learned my lesson on offering up my art for nothing more than "future shared royalties" and without a contract of some sort. I don't mind doing work for free as long as we all know going in that's what it's going to be. For example the cherry pie illustration I did for Looney Lab's upcoming game.

As for Ghost #5, we are supposed to be hit by a blizzard tonight so there's no telling if it'll be done before Friday or not. We'll see.

Click the pictures below to see the earlier ghost posts:

1: ... 2: ... 3:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

IF: "Ghost" Series #3

Illustration Friday:

This is a ghost that almost didn't happen. I'm feeling a bit under the weather today and I had no idea what I wanted to do for the third ghost – which isn't a good sign as I still have two more to do – so I started doodling. Then, when I had something I kind of liked I refined it a bit. I'm still, once again, not entirely happy with it. But really; when am I?

Have a great day all.

Click the pictures below to see the earlier ghost posts:

1 of 5: ... 2 of 5:

Monday, October 23, 2006

IF: "Ghost" Series #2

Illustration Friday:

Here's the ghost of the day. I'm still not completely satisfied with it, however if I'm going to stick with the idea of getting a new ghost up each day until Friday, I just can't keep dinking around with them.

Now, although this might look like a few of the characters from a hugely popular Namco video game by the name of Pac-something-or-other, for all intents and lawsuit purposes it isn't. See, in "reality" these two ghosts went to a party and the one on the right ate damn near all of the cheesecake and marshmallows, and now he's pink with embarrassment. Ignore the 'x's on the cheesecake. My stylus slipped.

See you tomorrow.

UPDATE: Too much looking has lead to a slight modification (still not sure I like it), and a new version of Ghost #2.

Illustration Friday:

I figure it's only natural to want some relief after so much cheesecake.

Click the pictures below to see the earlier ghost posts:

1 of 5:

Friday, October 20, 2006

IF: "Ghost" Series #1

Illustration Friday:

Like the title says, I plan on posting a series of five ghosts for this week's Illustration Friday theme. I'll also be placing them all in this post and then submitting the whole thing next Thursday, so be sure to refresh. I changed my mind about that. Instead I'll do a new post for each one and just link back to the earlier posts.

The first ghost is a whale ghost. Why? Because the first ghosty sketch I did looked a bit like a whale, so I went with it. So it goes.

Have a great weekend everyone. I should have the next ghost up sometime on Monday.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Game Art

Andy Looney – of Looney Labs, makers of many fine games including one of my all time favorites "Fluxx" – put out a call-to-artists back in June for a new game they are developing called "Just Desserts". I tossed my tablet into the ring and offered to illustrate either 'Cherry Pie' or 'Gingerbread' andincluded a link to my Style Portfolio Flickr set.

He wrote back telling me I could do the 'Cherry Pie' which was kind of a shame because I really wanted 'Gingerbread'. Oh well.

This took place on July 29th. I then got involved with buying a house and totally forgot about it until I'd finished moving.


I went back to the site recently to see if he'd replaced me, but he hadn't, so I finished it up the other day and sent it off to Andy today.

Anyhow. Here's my cherry pie:

Cherry Pie

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Am I a sociopath?

In this boing boing post Cory Doctorow writes:

"Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath."

Now, that's not the point of the post. It's basically an addendum wrapped around an opinion. However it really got me thinking about the scenario that he presents. He didn't provide many details, so I'm going to flesh it out a bit based on "I sent you to a desert island". Also, keep in mind, Cory Doctorow is a published author who is paid to write and think, and I'm not.*


So, I've been approached by a guy who tells me that I'm going to be sent to a desert island forthwith and I can either choose to take my friends with me, or my movies. This will be a one-way trip. There are secure structures on the island with electricity and water, and there will be a once-a-month food drop, although at times foraging may be necessary. They might also forget about me after a few years and I'll have to be prepared to go full-on Robinson Crusoe. What's my choice?

Here is what I'm thinking:

- I have over 600 movies and TV shows on DVD, many of which I've seen only once and some I haven't found the time to watch at all – mainly the TV shows – and a fair number of VHS tapes as well.

- There are around 20 people, including close family, that I would consider "friends".

- At a guess, I could live another 15-20 years tops on a desert island if nothing goes wrong and I'm lucky.

- Do my friends have any say in the matter? Or do large men in black coats load them in a cargo van at gunpoint, bundle them onto the plane/ship/whatever and off we go? Let's assume they have no say, lucky little pumpkins.

- Do they know that I'm the reason their lives have been disrupted?

- Assuming they don't, can I live the rest of my life on that island with those 20 people and the knowledge that it's my fault we are all in this situation?

- And if they do, how long will it be before they exact their revenge? Can I spend the rest of my life sleeping with one eye open?

- Or can I count on my friends being forgiving and understanding?

- Do my friends have the skills and knowledge to build a boat or a raft so that we can get off the island and back to civilization?

- If they did, and they blamed me for being there – since it IS kinda my fault and all – would they leave me on the island, friendless and movie-less, laughing the laugh of the avenged as they paddled for freedom?

- Can my friends bring movies?

That all said, my ideal answer is that I would bring my friends AND my movies: "Yeah, I know, this is my fault and you all hate me, but look! I have three seasons of 'CSI', three seasons of 'Monk', two seasons of '24', the full set of 'The Prisoner' (huh? huh?) one season of 'Lost' (c'mon now, that's funny!) and a ton more! I have comedy, drama, horror AND I even managed to toss in some last minute "survivalist" DVDs before they were able to finish packing! It's movie time! ...please don't hate me."

But, if I had to choose one or the other, I'm afraid I would have to choose the movies simply because they won't blame me for being there.

Does that really make me a sociopath?



A person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior.

* If you're ever told, "I'm not paying you to think!" believe it or not, the best response isn't, "Consider it a perk." That just gets you labeled "not a team player" and "smart ass" if not outright fired.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Illustration Friday: "Trouble"

Illustration Friday:

This is another one of those "I didn't wind up where I thought I would" illustrations. I'd planned a looming guy, but there was originally going to be a knife and an unsuspecting victim to be loomed over as well. And then when I'd finished, it didn't. All-in-all I like it, although it might have been interesting the other way too. Perhaps I'll do a second version at some point.

Two posts in two days! Could this be a comeback?!

Tune in tomorrow to find out!
(although the Magic 8-Ball says "not likely".)

Monday, October 09, 2006

I've got some 'splaining to do.

That photo I showed a couple posts back isn't from a stalker or anything interesting like that. A couple weeks ago I ordered the three DVD set of "The Darrel Show: 5th Anniversary Spectacular", and that picture came with it.

The first I'd heard of The Darrel Show was at the website Movies Made Me Do It, and if you follow that link you can read their whole review.

I had planned on watching all three discs by the end of this weekend so I could include what I thought of it with this post, however I forgot. Oops. I did watch the first disc earlier last week, however, and I must say that it is one of the most awkward shows I've ever seen. Yet it also had some really good bits that kept it from totally sucking. And the whole thing only cost a penny plus shipping. And you get the penny back.

I think if it had been given a chance, and it had aired on something like MTV rather than Arizona public access stations, it might have been able to develop into something quite entertaining.

The whole set has been lovingly burned to three DVD-Rs and are individually sealed in collectable paper sleeves. And it's topped off by a disturbing personalized photo of Darrel himself.

Or is it?

I'm wondering, because I also decided to spring for the self-proclaimed "Worst Movie of All Time": Anus Magillicutty for $9.99. It might be that they only include the personalized photo for the really big spenders.

Is "Anus Magillicutty" the worst move of all time? I don't know. I haven't watched it yet, either. But I will, and when I do I'll let you know how it ranks against my current Top 5 of Suck:

1. The Astro-Zombies (1968)
I got this movie for free and I still felt ripped off. It was also created the same year that I was, which is quite annoying to me.

Best/Worst memory: The flashlight powered zombie stumbling up the sidewalk, trying to get back to the lab.

2. Laser Moon (1992)
Derek and I will have more on this one and three others at some point on "the pod".

Best/Worst memory: When former porn actress and lead, Traci Lords, says out loud, "This movie sucks."

3. Frogs (1972)
I've seen this for sale at a local used DVD place for about $3 and I still can't force myself to get it.

Best/Worst memory: They were FROGS. Not even frogs with machine guns or fire breath. Ordinary FROOOOGS!

4. Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972)
The director/co-writer of this gem, Bob Clark, also brought us "Porky's" 1 & 2, "Baby Geniuses" 1 & 2, "Turk 182!" annnnnnd "A Christmas Story" plus many others. I also just found out that he's remaking "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things". Color me agahst. No word yet on "A Christmas Story 2".

Best/Worst memory: If the two gay characters vamped any harder Dracula would have shown up and smacked those bitches.

5. The Burbs (1989)
Hahahah! Just kidding Derek. It's not in my top five of suck.

5 (really). Pokémon: The First Movie (1999)
Said like it's a promise AND a threat. I actually saw this in the theater. My son was massively into Pokemon when this movie came out and he really wanted to see it. So I took him thinking, "How bad could it be?" #5 is how bad.

Best/Worst memory: Near the end, when all of the Pokemon have paired off and are beating each other with no end in sight because they are too evenly matched, the lead character starts whining about how all this fighting is wrong, blah-blah-blah. IT'S WHAT THEY ARE FOR! IT'S WHY THEY EXIST! IT'S WHY THERE'S A MOVIE! AND A GAME! I wish I could remember exactly what it was that was said, but not nearly enough to watch it again.

So there you go. I'm pretty sure that "Anus Magillicutty" will fit somewhere in the top 5, but I'm not sure if it will take the top spot.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I'll explain this later. For now let's just say it arrived in the mail a few days ago. Let your imaginations run wild. The truth isn't going to be nearly as interesting as whatever you come up with, I'm sure.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Finally, a drawing... of sorts.

Illustration Friday: "Phobia"

Illustration Friday:

Very fast and very dirty.

Special thanks to: The Phobia List

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Freaking out the boy

My son and I were eating pizza for dinner last night. My daughter was at her mom's house at the time. After dinner I was going to be heading down to the basement to work on assembling the computer desk for the "library/craft room", and I didn't want to forget the screwdriver so I had it sitting next to my plate.

Son (with pizza halfway to mouth): Why's the screwdriver there?

Me (smiling an evil smile): In case I need to kill you.

Son (frozen, mouth open, eyes big): ... uh.

Me: Hahahahah. Just kidding.

Son: You're just not right.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Today's silliest sentence award goes to...

Chris Roper, of IGN, for his review of 'Okami' for the PS2:

"In fact, the game will surprise you in ways that you hadn't expected..."

As opposed to the things that surprise you in the "ho-hum, I totally expected that" way.

Yeah, yeah, I know what he means, but it still amused me. So why did I single this sentence out, when I had all of the internet to choose from? Because I needed to post something and I happened to be reading the review. I haven't posted anything in a week. And I haven't drawn anything in even longer. I did so much cleaning of my old apartment on Saturday and Sunday that my fingers are still too weak and stiff to hold a stylus. At least not well enough to draw anything.

A bit further through the review I ran across this sentence: "... the game's events feel much bigger then just you and Orochi (the game's 8-headed protagonist)..."

From what I know of the game – I haven't played it yet, but I have read quite a bit – Orochi is an evil demon that you are up against. I'm reasonably sure that would make him the game's 'antagonist'.

And a weeeee bit further: "Some are as simply as talking to someone...".

Do you not have an editor? A proofreader? Any help at all?

With that, I'm done. Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It was moving

Practically everything was moved from both Heather's apartment and my apartment last Friday. Only a few things were left behind because we were short on boxes. Nothing that we can't toss in the cars when we go back to clean up.

We started around 9:30 Friday morning, and finished at 7:30 that night. It was a long day that felt like it was never going to end. But it did end. With a bang as I slipped off the ramp of the truck while helping take off the final item. A bookcase.

It had been raining off and on throughout the day and the ramp was wet. Kevin – my step-dad whom it would have been impossible to do without – had the other end of the bookshelf and was at the bottom of the ramp as I was walking down.

I turned my head to answer a question my mom had asked and my left foot came down on the edge of the ramp. My foot slipped and shot up as the bookcase pushed me down and then the next thing I knew I was on my back on the ground next to the ramp.

I rested a second, trying to tell just how badly broken I was. I got up slowly and my right hand and both of my knees were aching. Both knees were bleeding and starting to swell up and there was a small chunk missing from the knuckle of my index finger. For a fat, old guy I really lucked out.

I'm pretty sure that I insisted on helping get the bookcase to the house before I went upstairs to change clothes and clean and dress my injuries.

According to my daughter who saw the fall, I did a summersault on my way to the ground. I must have taken most of my weight on my right knee, because it's by far the worst off. I have pictures that Heather took for me on Monday morning that I will post once I find where we packed the card reader.

So. That was a hoot. With luck the next time we'll have to move will be many, many years from now.


Apparently this is my 700th post. Go me.


Also, you can check out the latest SoC:HHPH podcast made fresh, last night, here: Episode 14

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Stupid Person Sighting (SPS)

On the way in to work I saw a woman driving a Lexus next to me almost smack into the Infiniti in front of her after the light turned green. She didn't notice the traffic pause ahead of her. Why?

She was looking down while dialing her cell phone.

It wouldn't bother me so much except I realize she's not the only person doing this. There are thousands of them out there. All around those of us who don't do it. It's scary. And yeah, I realize I blew a stoplight a bit ago and almost got myself killed without the help of anyone outside my car... not counting the poor bastard who almost ran into me. But here's the deal: I've only done that once in all my years of driving. She makes, what? Let's say 10-20 calls a day. And how many of those from her car? There's no telling for sure, but let's guess half because the math is easier. That means that 5-10 times per day she's looking down at her phone instead of at the road ahead of her. Scary.

I place some of the blame on the new cell phones. They keep getting smaller, and smaller. Meanwhile fingers aren't getting any smaller. If anything, they get fatter. So it takes more concentration from the caller to hit the right numbers, so that's less attention they have to spare on the things around them.

I've tried owning a cell phone twice. Once when I bought my car in 1997. It was part of a deal they were offering and I thought it would be a great idea. I never used it and payed way too much. Then a couple of years ago I bought one of the Virgin pay-as-you-go phones. I used it a bit more, but not enough. They required that you buy a minimum of $20 worth of time every three months. I had stopped using it, but kept paying. When I finally stopped paying I had around $90 built up which is now lost to the vaults of Virgin. Oh well.

I guess cell phones just aren't my thing. I'm starting to feel like my dad, so I think I'll stop now before I really get depressed.


I thought I would have something artsy by the end of the week for the few of you who still bother to check my site. I forgot that I'm going to be busy the next four days with moving. A silly thing to forget really, what with having the whole "buying a house and moving" thing occupying practically every waking thought I've had for the last month. I guess I was still viewing it as something down the road, rather than something almost on top of us. I have, at best, half of my family's possessions boxed and ready to go or already gone. So... nothing this week. Hopefully next week.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Illustration Friday: Run

And oldie, but... an oldie.

Having no time for something new, I thought this would be a good old drawing that fits the topic well enough.

Needless to say, since this was drawn about 12 years ago – and it isn't terribly complex – there will be no breakdown of how I made it.

And, even though I haven't had time to create anything new*, I did manage to find a few moments here and there to color some line art that a few people submitted to the Flickr group "Zombie Army". I feel they also go with this weeks IF topic as being something to run from:

Zombie Kid-color




Again, I didn't draw any of those zombies. I just rosied up their cheeks a bit. And that's nowhere near as difficult as making something from scratch. Heck, since you all were kind enough to visit, here's the adventurer in color:

That took about 13 minutes but you guys are worth it.

Oh yeah, before I forget to mention it, all of the images are clickable to view at a larger size.

Have a great weekend everyone.

* Okay, I probably COULD have made something new, but I just didn't. I have too much on my mind right now to design new thingies. But I can still color. There should be something new in a bit over two weeks.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The "hard" part is done...

Now all that's left is the easy bit of moving and combining two apartments into one house. I'm tired and sore right now just from the small amount of moving that we've been able to do so far. A huge thanks to Derek, Squatchy, Jess, Karen and Kevin for all their help this past weekend.

Anyhow, I'm now a home owner. Eventually (I expect by the end of the month or so) I'll be able to return to being an "artist" for my site. Until then, mind the tumbleweeds. They have sticky fingers and a taste for expensive women and cheap wine.

My internet connection at my apartment decided to crap out some time yesterday. After 37 minutes on the phone with tech support this morning (I love now having a home phone that lets me know how long I've been talking) we were able to determine that something is wrong. Perhaps the modem has crapped out. I don't know. They don't know. Nobody knows. Is it going to be fixed? I don't know. They might know. I hope so.

Utilities are straightened out for the house, but I still have to call Qwest, inform Earthlink once I know if my phone number will be accompanying me on the move (and once I have internet again), arrange a truck for the 8th & 9th, get change of address forms for the post office, notify my bank, notify my credit card companies, and God knows what else. I'm sure there is more, but I'm just too tired to really think much beyond that. It's going to be a busy lunch.

Have a great week everyone! I will at least have something "old" up for this weeks Illustration Friday topic "run". Probably on Thursday.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Changes #3... 4? I don't know.

Once again, as you've probably noticed, I've changed my header. I was tired of the old one and felt that it was time for something new. So, there it is. I apologize to anyone viewing it in a tiny window, because it will cut into the sidebar. As time goes by I'll try to find out a way that it can be auto-scaled, or perhaps change it to a template that uses the whole top for the header.

I've also dug deep in my archive and found the first post (I think) where I mocked some spam. I pulled it up, dusted it off, corrected a few errors, and added some new bits to it. You can find it at Spam-A-Polooza, our new community-style blog that explores and makes fun of some of that unwanted, unsolicited email that goes by the popular name of "spam". Right now the content is a bit lean, but we have four contributors so far so it should improve before long. We are also open to anyone else that might be interested. Just let me know in the comments or send me an email.

And, if everything goes well, we should be closing on our new house this Friday. With luck that'll mean the migraines will stop. Or at least lessen.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A wee tidbit of info, yet still no art.

My interview is up at Bella Rossa's home on the web. You can go directly to it here: Interviews With Bloggers Part 19. Afterwards check out her site. It's pretty cool.

Here's a story from this morning. I was zoning too much after dropping my son off at school, thinking about how he's in his last year of middle school and about moving. Basically thoughts about the future. And I passed right through a red light. Not fast. Just moseying along at about 30 mph. Out of the corner of my left eye I saw that a truck was barreling toward my driver's side door. I guess he didn't have time to honk because I never heard anything, but he also didn't hit me. When I wasn't hit by the truck I was expecting to get nailed on my right side because I hadn't even looked that way yet.

I got real lucky.

So the lesson there kids is don't give too much thought to the future or you might not have one. Also, look both ways before crossing the street, even if you are in a car. If you see a vehicle that isn't stopping, hit the brakes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Of sorts.

The house buying proceeds. I just got past the inspection and there aren't any major problems. My realtor is going to put together a list of things that need fixing and he will pass it along to the seller's realtor. The closing is still set for the 25th. Whee.

The downside is I've been more stressed than usual, and I haven't been sleeping that well lately. So I'm starting to feel really run down.

Also in the pot, I've created something that might be great, or it might flop like... something very floppy. My mind isn't working well right now.

Anyhow, it's Spam-a-Palooza, and while there isn't much of anything there right now, with some time, sunshine, water and manure it just might blossom into something wonderfully stinky, like that corpse-flower in New York. To really make it grow though, I'm going to need help. Thats where you people come in, if you want. Be my manure! Or water. Sunshine? Whatever. My head is thumping in a bad way right now.

Until later, take care.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Now why can't I get spam like this?

Spam for weird bottle opener.

But no, I just get the same old spam about penis enlargement, mail-order viagra, replica watches, hot stock deals and bargain software.

Oh, and spam for fatties. Some of you who know me might be thinking, "Well that one is pretty well targeted" and I'll admit, I can stand to lose some weight. But really, who in their right mind would buy diet pills over the internet?

Diet pills like these (my additions are in red and I changed the names because I've gotten enough cease-and-desist letters, thank you. All typos not in red are theirs):

Flab-B-Gone -- The newest and most exciting fat loss product available - As scen on Oprah

The show? Or the woman? We'll let you decide.

Did you know obesity kills more and more people every year? It's the massive killer that moves on surprisingly nimble feet. We know you hate the extra pounds, the ugly look on your stupid face and the social stigmata attached to fat people. Not to mention the occasional candy bar you find wedged in one of the many crevasses that criss-cross your gigantic bouncy self. Moreover, you can barely do anything about the addiction to high-fat foods. Just shutting your mouth doesn't work because, let's admit it, you have the self control of a locust in a cornfield. This all sounds familiar, fatty-fat-ball-of-lard? Then we have something for you!

Introducing Flab-B-Gone, the ultimate product for weight loss. Nothing works better at shedding the weight except death, and that's an option best saved for later. The greatest thing is that Flab-B-Gone improves the quality of your life, making you crave food less, giving you better mood lighting and eliminating the extra weight. It will also do your taxes, walk your dog, read to your children, take out the garbage, satisfy your spouse, overthrow a neighboring country, turn your feet green, slay your enemies, hide your cocaine, talk to the animals and so much more! Read what real people really say about this real product:

"This is wonderful! Instead of watching TV and stuffing myself with food I became more interested in exercise. I didn't actually do any, but now I can enjoy watching it for hours on end. Flab-B-Gone got me on the right track. Amtrak. I am more fit now, and there are lots of men around me! Where the hell did all these men come from and why are they eyeing my goodies?"

Big Mac, New York

"I tried some passive weight losing, you know, like thinking myself thin, but with little result. This terrible appetite for destruction would just kick in and spoil everything. Once I heard about Flab-B-Gone in the media, and I rather liked the information. I thought to myself, "Gosh, that information sure is spiffy. It would look great on the wall next to my paintings of sad clowns." I tried using it although it was a bit hard to open. I finally had to gnaw through the plastic. Luckily I'm pretty good at gnawing. So I started taking the things, and my wife said I'm a different person now. Apparently they alter your DNA. Now I look like Ross Perot and I think I'm lactating. Here it is, 4 months later. 30 pounds off and I keep losing them! At this rate I should be dead by Christmas. And you know, the bedroom thing is cool, too."

Some Guy, San Francisco

Flab-B-Gone helps your brain understand you don't need that much food. Some times your brain just needs a bit of help with these things. It improves your mood, gives you energy and attacks obesity with teeny-tiny flamethrowers. All thanks to its combination of natural ingredients like iron, plastic and petroleum!

UPDATE: I just recieved this spam again today. Almost the same, down to "scen" in the headline. The only things different were the names attributed to the quotes. Hmmm.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Why I'm not posting

I've had this week off and I decided to find out if I could buy a house. Turns out that I can. Most likely. So I've spent the last several days going through the financing, consolidating my student loans and checking out houses in my price range. We looked through 10 today and are going to see another 13-15 tomorrow. We've found three we like so far, with one narrowly in the lead. So, needless to say, I've been far too busy to draw. I'll be back at work on Monday, but I still have no idea when I'll have time again for drawing.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Boing Boing Thursday

This isn't (likely) going to be a weekly feature or anything. It's just something that I thought I would mess around with. Basically, I'm going to offer an observation or three about recent posts at since they are good at digging up the "news" and I'm not. Also I'm going to base my comments entirely on what they've presented without following any links because it's Thursday and I don't want to. I'll also provide quotes as well as links so you don't have to follow them either. If I'm not going to link hop, I'm not going to make you do it either. Unless you want to.

Starting with this: Corn plastic may not be as green as you might think

Quote: Wal-Mart’s (VP of private brands and product development Matt) Kistler says the company isn’t about to take back used PLA for composting. “We’re not in the business of collecting garbage,” he says. “How do we get states and municipalities to set up composting systems? That is the million-dollar question. It’s not our role to tell government what to do. There is money to be made in the recycling business. As we develop packaging that can be recycled and composted, the industry will be developed.”

That Wal-Mart. I love the Veeps reaction: “We’re not in the business of collecting garbage,” I can almost picture a sneer crossing his face at the mere thought of it. "GARBAGE?! FUCK YOU! We're WAL-MART, nut-tapper!"

Then he goes on to say "There is money to be made in the recycling business." Wow! Wal-Mart turning down an opportunity to make money? Can it be true? It's almost like he's borrowing a move from Tom Sawyer: "Garbage recycling can sure be profitable. Why I reckon a man with gumption and foresight could really rake in the dough. Heck, if we weren't tied up selling all of these products we'd be all over it! Oh well. SOMEONE'S sure going to make a fortune."


Next: Soy sauce made from human hair

Quote: The 'secret ingrediant' is amino acid syryp, a concoction consisting of 'human hair ... gathered from salon, barbershop and hospitals around the country' which is then filtered to remove unhygenic matarials such as '... condom, used hospital cottons, used menstrual cycle pad, used syringe ...'

Gah. GAH! So there you go kids. The next time you are in China, sitting down to nosh on some noodly nummies, give the sauce some thought.


Next: Trove of Bob Ross videos on YouTube

Quote: Sweet Fancy Moses, what a 'fro. It's something to which all great artists should aspire, I think.

Nothing bad to say about this. I never watched his show much but I do respect his work and style. While I don't think I could ever get a 'fro like Bob had, my hair does some amazing things when I leave it alone for awhile. I know that Heather and Derek's dad is getting into painting now and I think he might find the YouTube videos interesting.


Next: Dabbler - rate/recco/discuss videos, no matter where they're hosted

Quote: Dabble, a site that makes it possible to search, recommend, rate, discuss and be sociable about video hosted anywhere on the the net, has come out of private beta and launched for public use.

This sounds quite awesome to me although I can imagine that it's going to give members of the MPAA strokes. Unless they use it themselves to find new people to sue.


Next: Bandwidth of the eye

Quote: The researchers at the University of Pennsylvania came to that number by measuring spikes of electrical impulses from a (disembodied) guinea pig retina "looking" at movies of biological motion, like a salamander swimming.

And the opening credits of "Baywatch". Meanwhile, somewhere there's a one-eyed guinea pig bumping into stuff that has NO idea what he's missing.


Next: Better illegal foods

Quote: ... men 70-80 years old, on death’s doorstep anyway, would cease to eat food, instead partaking solely of honey. Pretty soon, they would be mellified, that is, “he excretes honey (the urine and feces are entirely honey).” Soon he dies and is placed in a honey-filled coffin which is then sealed for 100 years. At the end of the 100 years, the goop is eaten up.

Needs soy sauce.


Next: Tampon gun

Quote: Inspired by marshmallow shooters, this air-powered tampon gun turns your feminine hygiene products into high-flying projectiles.

I believe that we have now come full circle since, I'm reasonably sure, the first tampons were marshmallows.

Continued: The tampon shooter has a range of 10 to 20 feet depending on your ammo and lung capacity.

That's all well and good, but what about accuracy at those distances? And lung capacity? I don't know. This is sounding way more complicated than just letting her handle it herself.

Continued: The matching bandolier lets you carry a full “clip” (i.e., box) of 20 tampons...

I will give real, folding cash money to the tune of at least two American dollars for a photo of Derek wearing crossing tampon bandoliers and chomping on a cigar. I'll toss in an extra buck if it's taken in a little Cuban village.


Next: Boston installs solar compacting public trash-cans

Quote: They need emptying only once or twice a day, not the 15 or more sanitation worker visits required by some downtown trash cans. They don't spill. They smell less. And, they hold some 150 gallons of trash, about five times more than a standard city receptacle.

Any bets on when they'll first be used to dispose of a body?


Last: Monopoly replaces play-money with fake credit-cards

Quote: Players will instead use a Visa mock debit card to keep track of how much they win or lose. It is inserted into an electronic machine where the banker taps in cardholders' earnings and payments. Parker said replacing of cash with plastic showed the game was moving with the times.

Some of my fondest childhood Monopoly memories were of skimming money from the bank. I even remember us changing one of the cards to read "Rob the Bank! Quickly grab as much cash as you can and run for the front door! If you make it without being tackled you keep it! If not, go to jail!" Where's the fun in a card reader?


Well, wasn't that something? Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I've got mail!

Subject: Your future, nut-tapper

And the rest of the email consisted of the average spam about penis pills and how they are oh-so-useful to have at hand during your next 36 hour sex-a-thon.

Still, the subject line was worth it. I think I'm going to start calling people I'm not fond of "nut-tappers".

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

IF: "Opposites"

I'm still suffering from a bit of creative block. But I managed to get something done for "Opposites".

Illustration Friday:

What's more, I took extensive screenshots of the process. The downside is I tracked so many stage that I don't have the energy to write out what I did during each one. Especially after setting up all of the images and putting together the code for the page.

It has so far taken me at least twice as long, if not longer, to just get the breakdown to the state it is now than it did to actually make the completed image. Ugh.

And to top it off, around stage 26 I noticed something that I'd never noticed on the Flickr image page before. Apparently, it's in the "Flickr Terms of Service that if you post a Flickr photo on an external website, the photo must link back to its photo page. (So, use Option 1.)"

I never use Option 1. Mainly because when I link a photo that is smaller than the original size, I want it to link to the original size when it's clicked on. That seems to be frowned on now.

By that point in the breakdown there was no way I was going to go back and change every one of the photos for all those stages, so for now I'll let it be. I have a feeling that I'll be migrating my site's image hosting back to SmugMug if Flickr tries to enforce this. For most stuff it won't matter too much if I use Option 1, however some things, like my header, would look stupid as hell linking back to Flickr.

Also, using Option 1 would keep me from doing nifty things like:

Click on the sketch to go to the breakdown for "Opposites".

At some point this week I'll try to add in some text that explains just what you are looking at in the breakdown. Those of you familiar with Photoshop can probably figure it out.

Have a great week everyone! Comments are always welcome.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Random thought...

... while driving home last Thursday: "Is my car on fire?"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

IF: "Sacrifice"

Yeesh. I started off the week without an ounce of creativity in my body and ended it too busy or tired to finish anything. I did have an idea at the beginning of the week, but I was totally unable to capture on paper/computer screen. Not even a sketch. So I tried out a few other ideas as the week went on that I could sketch, but I didn't take any of them further. Rather than have nothing to show this week, I'll display the sketches in all their sketchy glory.

I made this sketch while trying to snap out of my creativity funk. It didn't quite snap.

This one was done a little further along. I liked the idea, but when it came time to start adding color and fixing it up I either lost interest or got distracted. Not sure which.

This final one I wasn't able to capture the feel I was going for. If I'd taken the time to finish it, it might have worked better. But then again, it might not.

That's it for this week. Everyone have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Funniest thing this week:

This video.

It also reminded me of a Darth Vader electronic talking bank that Heather and I saw at the now defunct Media Play months and months ago. The one thing it didn't say that I felt it should have was:

"I find your lack of savings disturbing."

Thank you, thank you. I should be here all week.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Illustration Friday: "Skyline"

As often happens, the day after I finished this one I thought of a better way of doing it. Oh well. That's the problem with being on a deadline coupled with a slow brain. Here's my contribution to this week's topic:

Click the pic to make it even bigger and more horrific. Ooooo.

Also, you can see a nine step breakdown at this link.

Comments are appreciated.


Once again it's Wednesday. That means yet another podcast over at Derek's site featuring the two of us and his dad. You can get to it here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Post-Apocalypse Shopping Tip #1

If you happen to find yourself, sometime in the future, surrounded by the undead, all slavering for a taste of your juicy, juicy headmeats, the Xtrema2 is without a doubt THE shotgun with which to thin their numbers.

Illustration Friday - "Sticky"

Once again I decided to try my hand at ArtRage 2 and see what I could come up with. I have also included some of the stages* that it passed through. Click the pic to see a bigger versions.

Once again I stuck with the pencil tool for the most part. The only exception is the background that I made with the roller. I tried to work with the oils first, but – much like real life – paint just isn't my friend. I'll try working at it as a side project and see if I can make something decent out of it however for something on a deadline like IF I think it would be wise to stick with what I'm "good" at. One thing I can't remember about oils though: do you work from light to dark, or dark to light?

*I've decided to start up a new "blog" where I will be posting the steps of the drawings that I do, starting with this one. It's called Visual Breakdown and it can be found near the top of my sidebar. Here's the direct link to some of the steps that went into "Sticky".


Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention it again this week. Our weekly podcast is up and you can get to it from Derek's site: Son of Cheese. I haven't listened to it yet, but I have been assured that it isn't one of our best. So there you go.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Illustration Friday - "Rain"

My plan was to do "cut paper" acid rain. Plans change.

The other day I tried out the free demo of "ArtRage 2" (link) and within the first ten minutes of playing around with it I decided to buy it. Not a huge investment – only $19.95 compared to $199 for "Autodesk (formerly Alias) Sketchbook Pro" – but one that I think will be well worth it. The interface is fantastic and easy to use and while it might not be as configurable as "Sketchbook", there's still a LOT you can do with it. And, while it's nice to have a tablet to use with it, it isn't necessary. It's not going to replace Photoshop for me, but it'll make a very nice addition for when I'm in a "natural" media mood.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Answering a comment.

I love to receive comments, mainly because I enjoy finding out what my viewers/readers think of what I'm doing or have done. That said, I don't actually get very many. I also used to be a lot better at answering each comment "back in the day." Not so much these days, but what can I say? My interest in blogging has been waning for some time now.

However, my previous post about the Dora plug-and-play video game generated a comment that I felt I really needed to respond to. My comments, for a change, are in blue. It's going to be pretty blue and I didn't want my normal red to be overwhelming. Take it away Don.

Don said...


Having kids, we are familiar with these characters as well as being aware of what is being implied.
I have kids as well, although I haven't watched Dora. My daughter watches daytime TV at her mom's apartment while I'm at work, therefor I've never actually seen the show. Since she is familiar with the Dora character, I assume that means she watches it, and she also seems to enjoy it. I'm not down on the show, I just feel that this particular product wasn't well thought out.
To answer the implied question, this whole "discussion"...
Actually, it wasn't a "discussion". It was an observation. Specifically "my" observation. Now that I'm replying to your comment it's a "discussion". Of sorts.
... is based on a combination of not knowing what things are ...
Which I admitted, when I asked "I really want to know if that stick is a character?". Although apparently not enough to hit Google. And, thanks to your comment, now I know.
... and seeing what you want.
I wouldn't say "want". I'm not one of those people that prowl the toy section looking for things to offend me. And, to be totally honest, I'm not offended. Merely shocked that nobody at any stage of the development realized how that might look to someone unfamiliar with the Dora "universe". I also admitted that "Maybe I just have a dirty mind", however I'm not the only person in the world who would see something potentially wrong with the presentation of this product. Heck, Amazon only has two pictures of it and both were taken either "straight on" or "high angle" in an apparent attempt to minimize the – no doubt – unintended aspect presented from a side on view. That's also just speculation on my part since I don't work for Amazon and don't know where the photos came from.
It has nothing to do with what things actually are or even look like to someone not looking for it.
Again, I wasn't "looking for it". I just "saw" it. I'm also really good at those Magic Eye pictures, and "Spot the Differences" puzzles. And I kick ass at tangrams. I like to look at things in ways that other people might not. This, this and this for instance. Some people find my observations funny, others might find them in bad taste – I might have a better idea of the ratio of "funny to not" if more people commented. Ahem. I do realize though that absolutely nothing will ever please everyone.

1. It's not 'fleshy pink.' It is a yellowish tan, the color of the character: a rolled up paper map.
You are correct. It's more of a yellowish tan than a pink. However, I still say that it is a color that could pass for a flesh tone on a toy. And I would never have guessed that was a map, given all the time in the world, since I have never seen the show. It's silly if they expect that everyone who sees this product will also have seen their show. It's even possible there are still people who have never seen an episode of 'The Simpsons'.

2. It is curved because the character's cartoon style has a curve no matter what angle it is drawn from. If you've ever tried to convert a 2-d character to 3-d, this would be more obvious.
You are right. Strange things can come about when converting from 2D to 3D. That still doesn't make deciding to go forward with that design when this point was reached a "smart thing". For starters, "joysticks" have been perceived as phallic since the days of the Atari 2600 (not a work-safe link). Making one that is yellowish tan and curved DOESN'T HELP allay that perception. Why go with a joystick at all? Why not use a directional pad? My daughter has been comfortable with using a Playstation controller to navigate simple games since she was three, well within the age range for this game and something tells me it's not that complex a game. Apart from "retro" Atari plug-n-play game collections and flight stick game controllers for the computer, where do you see joysticks used anymore? Small, analog thumbsticks, sure. But "full on" joysticks? I still feel that this was an ill conceived and poorly executed design.

3. The 'ridge' is simply the rest of the rolled up map.
Okay, that convinced me that I needed to seek out a screenshot or something of "Map". Here's what I found. Seeing it reinforces what I've been thinking since you revealed that it was a map. Where's the seam? The end of the roll? As it turns out, on the actual Map it's even more than a seam. Judging from the pictures, he has an entire flap hanging open, which makes sense if he's meant to be rolled up paper. So, in the conversion from 2D to 3D they managed to keep the curve and the face, but not the flap. Of course, if the flap were there the joystick might not have been very comfortable to hold, however there could have been a slight seam down one side and something could have been done with the top to make it look more like rolled up paper. Basically, if it had to be made this way, it could have been done better.

4. You're reaching -most cartoon characters have 'happy' expressions.
I really don't think that it was reaching to imply that monkeys, real monkeys, enjoy self gratification. At least the ones at the zoo that my children have witnessed "spanking the monkey's monkey" certainly do. And I'm not the one that decided just where the monkey should be looking. He COULD have been looking out at the player, like Dora is, but he isn't.

5. The Map character has a face on the show.
Right. But I didn't know it was a map. I thought it was a pencil, to be honest. Or a pen. By having a face I was sure it was a character of some sort.

6. This is definately an interpret-the-way-you-want observation.
More like a "What else can I say about this thing? Why not make fun of the face on the character I don't understand?" observation. I will stick to my opinion that it looks different when viewed at an angle than when viewed straight on, and that difference isn't flattering. Again, a peril of going from tame and controllable 2D to wild and wooly 3D.

7. The 'bush' is made of giant green leaves -not very suggestive unless that already on the mind... even then it's a stretch.
That's why it's 7th on the list. Also, it WAS on the mind because of nearly everything I'd already mentioned. I never said it jumped right out at me. It was just something I thought of on further reflection. I thought, "It's coming out of a bush... why a bush? 'bush'... heh." and that's all it took. Ultimately, it wasn't my most compelling observation, nor was it the driving point behind the post.

Not trying to be "preachy", but there's not a child out there who would interpret this product the way it is descibed here.
I don't know if I agree with this. There may not be a child out there who watches Dora and is already familiar with the characters who would interpret it the way that I have, or a child under the age of nine or ten, however I'm reasonably sure that there are some children not "into" Dora that might make that connection, particularly boys. You need to remember that children generally find things of a biological nature to be most humorous. They are the kings and queens of ca-ca humor and they are always on the lookout for new material.
It's not a marketing issue, it's an interpretation issue.
You don't think that people marketing something need to consider how their product might be interpreted? Particularly if the one holding the money might not know the key players that are present on the product? Not the exact same thing – beyond odd design choice and parental interpretation – but do you recall hearing about the vibrating Harry Potter broomstick? If not, head here, here and here. Interpretation is very important, particularly at the parental level.

I've only responded because I get tired of inocent things being twisted in the name of humor.
That's just a part of humor. In fact, something almost HAS to be twisted to be funny, and if it is something normally perceived as "innocent" the comedy impact can be even greater. It's difficult to be funny about things that are intended to be shocking, because then you are just competing for attention. It's more effective if it catches the observer off guard. As for this being an "innocent thing", if they had considered their design a bit more and perhaps went with something more like this:

I never would have said a thing about it. I'm not out to get Dora, nor do I have any driving force behind posting what I did beyond sharing something I found to be strange and funny. I haven't written an angry, indignant letter to the manufacturer, nor would I. It just tickled me funny and it's my website. Like milage, humor varies and I understand why this wasn't amusing to you. So it goes.

I originally linked here to see some artwork, which I have always found to be quite inpressive, whether I agree with the subject matter or not. It just seems there is less and less of that recently.
Actually, there has been pretty much the same amount of artwork since you first visited. Since I started participating in Illustration Friday I've only missed two words, one which was recent. Admittedly, I've been posting fewer personal projects than I used to, but that's mainly because I haven't been doing any. If you had visited "back in the day" when the art was a rare event I imagine you would never have been back. Thanks for the compliment though.

Take care!
You too!

Delete away... ;-)
Mmmm. Not quite. ;)

4:02 PM
"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."