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