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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good (unique) blowoffs.

Well, the first one is pretty standard, but I hadn't heard it in a long while:

"No one here would be interested." Now, the presumptiousness of the statement is pretty self-evident: she's talking not just for herself, but "(every)one." She probably knows them all pretty well, so, it's pretty certain it's true, however, maybe not...Why not just say "I'm not interested," rather then chiming in with the opinions of folks not present?

The next was the classic "graphic illustrator" thing I've spoken of before. The man looked at me and said, "No," then he continued, "I guess (my italics) I'm a cartoonist too."
"Oh really?" I said, a bit skeptically, since he didn't even look at my stuff.
"Yeah," he said, " I worked for Disney/Pixar."

Yeah, right buddy. You're a cartoonist. NOT. What that dude was was a derivative illustrator, nakedly enhancing someone else's work. I seriously doubt that he even came up with a single original character, joke or gag. More then likely, his technical ability landed him the job, his actual lack of creativity probably served him doing it!

The word "guess" sums it up. Here's a guy that got paid to do illustrator work, yet, he still is "guessing" about whether or not he's an actual cartoon artist. Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, if you have to guess, you aren't one.

New Year's Resolution

Well, I actually am living pretty much the way I had resolved to two years ago, but I've decided that I'm going to change it up. I am going to work longer hours, and, if all goes really well, I will ratchet this up to another level entirely.

I'd just like to thank everyone who has supported me through this evolving cartoon/career experience.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good luck (and good riddance)

Of course, most of the time that I knock on a door, I get rejected. No problem. If everyone said yes, there would be a million cartoonists selling door to door. I make about 13 an hour, maybe a little less or a little more, but I'm a special case, and I'm not clear how well others would do with such an esoteric job.

One of the things that really gets me is when folks who have said "no," then follow up with "good luck." Now, in some cases, this might be heartfelt, but, way more often, it really isn't. For time I've been doing this (which is creeping up on a year and half now), I have heard folks saying "good luck" so many times it became like chinese water torture. I literally heard it 10 times an hour from folks that had no intention of ever helping me, and, logically, from my perspective, hoped that either a.someone else would (which is a cop out unless you are under extreme financial distress since I'm only asking a buck!) or b.Someone else WOULDN'T. I think in 9 out of 10 cases, when a person says to me "good luck," what he or she is really saying is "Rude &*&%," and is really telling me that he or she does not respect me enough to help or even look at my work. Fine. I'm not that upset, just making a point as to what it started to sound like to me hearing "good luck" every 7 minutes 3 hours a day.

Finally, I decided to counter this euphemistic blow off (which i determined was often designed to despirit me and my intention). Now, I say GOOD LUCK first! I always tell everyone "good luck" who says "no." Often they desperately attempt to "wish me luck," but, like a dog that has tried to startle you and who fails, this "good luck" they come back with is weak and useless against me emotionally. You can see it in their eyes sometimes: they are bummed that I wished them luck first, that they can't twist the "I won't help but 'good luck'" knife in. They are neutralized.

Sometimes my good luck is even more then a counter, and can become sort of nasty (though I would never reveal this to my rejecters). My "good luck" might be "good luck...in hell, where SUV'r's who don't have a dollar "anywhere" go. Or, "good luck..in the upcoming depression, where what you gave is what you will get.(a fantasy, but satisfying)." Or, "good luck..with that lousy lying attitude you have." Other times, if the person is unemployed, I really mean "good luck," and hope that they are soon able to feel financially set again.

More cartoons soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

San Leandro is a very interesting town with a lot of nice folks

I'm sometimes amazed at the little pockets of heaven on earth, and I'd have to say that San Leandro is way up there in terms of places where a lot of good folks live who have at least some sense of humor. I know my gig is a little weird, and I really appreciate folks that have made this life happen.

I did think, that with maybe one or two exceptions, that is was funny how the folks with the biggest christmas displays were the least likely to even look at my work so far.

I like the quaint, unique nature of each little house in SL, it's a lot like Boulder, where there are many houses of different designs in the center of town and extending out about a mile.

Certainly, at least at some point, there must have been some sort of art/architecture competition of some sort going on, because a lot of the houses are extremely interesting compared to houses in say, Albany. I mean, sure, there are a lot of similar houses in SL, but there are quite a few daimonds among the coal, so to speak.

Well, it may be a little while before I can post toons again, as I have to do another set of inking sessions, and that is a taking a bit of time with some of these complex lines. A lot of folks don't realize how much time all of this takes on the creative side. I'd say, to be conservative, it takes at least 40 minutes from four box strip concept to fully realized four box strip. Sometimes it takes two hours. so, each page of two has at least 80 minutes, others 4-6 hours on them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The artist experiences poverty and a slashed state budget

Well, I went to the emergency room, and they were quite nice. They gave me a prescription, but the medicine is very expensive. Due to my condition at the time, I was unable to work to make any money. They gave me some stuff at the emergency room that calmed down my asthma, which was exacerbated by my cold, but, unfortunately, the clinic to get the stuff cheaper (or free), was closed! When I finally could get to them, I had, luckily, somewhat recovered, though my condition is still dicey. Now, I've lost the 'scrip, so I couldn't go in when they were open, which is only two days, in the morning, a week!

How many poor folks die of this condition I don't know, but the state of California's medical system is in a shambles, and clearly, some die due to this. I'm lucky so far, but I do have a dangerous condition, and, due to the economic times, I'm under a lot more pressure then I was before.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Artist gets Sick

Well, despite having taken both an H1n1 and a seasonal flu shot, I'm still sick as a dog. Living outside, in a tent, while coughing and fighting a fever is no picnic, especially with the ice rain the other night. I imagined that the droplets were the jackboots of storm troopers, trying to get into my tent. I stayed warm, but I kept thinking: what if I get sicker? I can't really leave the tent under the present conditions..... My heart actually started racing a few times while I lay there, contemplating the rain getting in, maybe a cop appearing to make me get out of my tent (highly unlikely, as I am situated in the deep woods), etc.

I generally like my present lifestyle, but this is one situation that I am not especially pleased with.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

More toons
















Doing doors

I'm ok with doing doors, it's my job. But I often blow off certain doors. Sometimes I wonder if I'm being a bit of a racist, because I often blow off doors whose outside exterior makes the folks inside look either chinese or black, and I don't do well with those groups overall. I'm not saying that some folks from those groups don't buy my art, but overall, these two ethnic groups, at least in this city, are hard to communicate with as a door to door artist. The chinese often don't speak english, and the blacks are very suspicious. I'm NOT saying that all blacks are like this, nor am I saying that there are no suspicious whites, what I AM saying is that these two groups have a disproportionate amount of either suspicion or non-english. Even the hispanics can usually speak a little english, but not being able to speak it makes communicating very difficult. If I see the markings of a probably non english speaker asian, or a house that is surrounded by detritus in a poor neighborhood, with a big iron gate on the door, I will avoid it.

I also avoid, among other things:

Angry dogs in yards,
steep stairs,
people talking outside their house to others,
Old people watching tv next to walkers,
Houses where I can hear the baby crying,
Houses where I can SEE the folks eating dinner,
Houses where there is a dinner party of some sort,
Musical recitals/practice,
Ominous looking apartment buildings,
Long walk driveways,
Hard to figure out front gates,
Dark houses at night,

and a few other things.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New tactics




I used a slightly altered pitch today, and got better results. I added "maybe a dollar or two" to the end of my rap, and started getting more ones and twos. A woman told me that I was "missing three things" to become a household name, and if I just diid them, all would ensue. Hmm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cops stopped me again, but it was all good.

I was in Oakland the other day, and the nice cop stopped me. He's just protecting the neighborhood. It's only the third or fourth time I've ever been stopped, and it played out the same old way: "I'm not going to cite you." was the upshot of the conversation. He told me to come back to the neighborhood "another day," and took off. He was right: i'm skirting a fine line between "soliciting," i.e., asking for money, and my "you decide" schtick, but, whatever works, you know?

Monday, November 16, 2009

San Leandro is a lot like Albany

It's interesting how different cities are so much the same, while the inbetween cities can be so different. If you look at the demographics of the area, San Leandro had 50% whites and 20% asian, while those numbers are reversed in Daly city. Each city has a feel to it, with it's own sort of culture. But, in a way, there are only a few major cultures, so, each city falls into one of them. I'm not going to do a really lengthy analysis of ethnic and cultural differences here, but it is interesting how people react to the door to door thing in different neighborhoods.

The other day someone couldn't get the cel I had shown them. I try to always have them on hand, but it's hard while travelling to keep my file in perfect order. I felt sort of bad, but it was the first time in a year anyone had made any mention of it, so, I'm not going to get all bent out of shape. Feel free to email me for the one you liked, and I will send it to you as soon as I can.

I will post more cartoons soon, sorry I can't find a cheap scanner at this point, but I'm closing in on another scanner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Daylight savings is really weird

Aside from the fact that it get's dark really early, the whole Daylight savings thing really alters my time frame in the job. I worked today in off hours (2:30 to 4:50), when most folks aren't home. I still managed to come out with 27, or 13.50 an hours, so, not too bad.

This brings me to another thought I've been intending to mention. That is the concept of "missed doorways." I sort of got into this job, at least in part, because I have a bad leg, and usually can't walk for more then two or three hours before my sciatic starts acting up. As a result of this, I often skip certain doorways, because either the stairs are too high, or there is too long a walk down a driveway. I figure, I'm my own boss, so, i don't have to contact every person in every doorway, although I do feel like I'm denying those folks access to my work, but, i figure a neighbor might tell them.

Being on the road, sometimes i fall behind in inking my work, so, please forgive me for not getting more out quicker, but, if you want to see some of my older stuff, you can email me and I'll let you look at it. Owlk@hotmail.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Berkeley Hills are nice

I saw some of the coolest views of the bay today, looking through the upper middle class's windows today on the top of the East Bay Hills. Most of them were quite nice of those that were home, and two of the college kids and I talked about medicine, and it's effects on sobriety. A very interesting conversation.

One dude said the oddest thing. "I'm sorry, I can't help, but I do pity you," he said, as if commiserating with me. "Pity me," I smirked as I responded back, "I make 25 an hour doing this." (well, that's sometimes...mostly I make about 17 an hour, though today I made 14, but why not get hyperbolic in such a situation, eh?) I think that sort of floored him. It's sometimes hard for folks to put their head around the idea that i'm in my own business, selling my own stuff, making about what other folks make an hour. The irony of this was that this gentleman was overweight, in a mishapen sort of way, to be generous he was not very attractive, and he dressed like a baboon!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Well, mission failure but with it, new possibilities

I scouted out Santa Cruz, only to find that the town is sealed off from campers. I could have camped way out, but it seemed like too much of a struggle, so, I'm continuing to reside in the Berkeley hills until May, or until something else comes up.

I'm considering creating a new business, loosely based on what I'm doing now, but that would help local businesses as well. I will keep folks posted.

New toons soon, presently I'm in the process of inking a new set of drawings.

Something else interesting about Brisbane: most houses sport an inverted pentagram star. I wasn't there long enough to hear the story as to how they came to be the town symbol.

Thx to Jim and Emily for their hospitality, and thank you Brisbane for being so nice a town!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cops treated me well in Brisbane

So, Brisbane is a small town, on a 78degree hill to the south of SF. I am visiting a friend here, and went into town to sell some toons. It's a long walk down a very steep hill. The town itself is pretty, each house is unique and the people inside the houses are all quite friendly.

About ten minutes into doing my job in this small town, a police car rolled up. "Can I talk with you a moment?" Asked the young officer. I was of course happy to talk. "Do you need a license to do this?" he asked. I told him I didn't think so, since I have no set price on my wares and (as many readers of this blog know since I changed tactics a few weeks ago) I don't ask for any money in my pitch. He smiled. Another officer arrived as we waited for my ID to check out. I told them how I've been doing this a year or so and doing well, and I'd only been stopped two other times the whole time.

My ID checked out, and they said they like my toons and told me others might call, but it was a small town after all. I just smiled and told them that they were just doing their job, which they were (and doing it well I might add). How's this compared to the "neighborhood of the damned" I was in a few weeks ago?

Friday, October 30, 2009

The best laid plans...

Well, things did not go well in the North, so, I'm now considering my next move. I could stay on in SF, but I'm sort of interested in the South part of the state also, some place like either Santa Barbara or SLO. At this point, I'm tossing around ideas of exporting this business to other artists, but with a local business twist. My greater dreams are, to be generous, fantastical. I would like to organize a new business around getting a voting holiday, so that everyone has at least a few days off from Halloween to voting day. I would also like to create an international peace force that ends war on earth, but, like I said, I'm someone that is prone to fantasizing a bit too much.

I'm considering throwing more about other parts of my life into this, such as my social experiences, but I'm not sure if I will. So far it has been studiously about my business experiences and cartoons (save that last one about the desert).

I welcome any comments on that subject or any others.

Monday, October 19, 2009

on desert experiences when off work.

The other day, I had a very interesting time in the Mojave desert. I was attending a dance party in the far out desert, and decided to walk to a crag of rocks far off in the distance. When I got there, I found a pile of old rocks in the crag. Now, many of you may not know this, but in the ancient times, men used to carve rocks with faces and stories, and deposit them at certain locations. It turns out, this crag was one of them. I picked up one rock, and found delicately etched into it a mayan face, complete with an earring. Another, I found a seal. I found one rock, covered with dust, and withdrew it from the pile. I wiped the dust away to find the image of a frightening creature (which I will someday transmute into a figure in my cartoons) looking like he was crawling out of the dirt. I imagined a whole story of the creature attacking a sleeping bear (which was cleverly etched above the image). I decided that I had to replace the stone exactly as I had found it, but, when i looked, I couldn't find any dirt in the pile! How had the monster on the stone gotten covered with dirt when there was no dirt amongst the rocks? Then it hit me: the creator of the rock had gone down off the crag, gotten some dirt, and poured it on the rock long ago. So, I did the same thing. I went down to a snake hole and found some fine dust, brought it back to the crag and, while thanking the original sculptor, I poured the dust onto the 1.5 inch rock in the middle of nowhere in the desert and thanked the Great Spirit (or God or whatever) for creating the earth, the rock, the dust and myself to honor this ancient art piece.
Afterwards, I was walking back to the dance party, when I espied some movement on the ground. It was an ant colony. Then, low and behold, I saw a beetle, about the size of two adult thumbnails, digging with the same motions a dog would into the pile around the anthill, obviously either eating something, or getting moisture. I saw that many of the ants were carrying tiny little twigs into the hole. I began to impute personalities to the little creatures, when, suddenly, a tiny desert spider leapt out of the ground and snatched an ant about a third larger then it was! the hairy spider, which was about the size of a grain of rice, if not smaller, immobilized the ant in a tenth of a second, and then casually walked off with it's humongous prize.
Amazing.
I highly recommend staring at the movements on the ground: they can be a lot more exciting then you might first imagine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Blog may be slower soon for a few weeks

I'm getting ready to travel north, to a job near Mt. Shasta. I'll probably be incommunicado for several weeks, if not months. I will try to load pictures from where I am, but I'm not sure they will have a scanner. I will probably be able to load a bunch of pictures every few weeks, so, if I can't do it regularly, I will at least do it bi or tri-weekly. I'll still be on for a few more days at least, and I hope you all enjoy these little comments and the cartoons. Have a nice day.

When did you stop being creative?

The other day, I was out and about, doing my work. 2 hours, only five bucks. But, the last few houses each gave me five bucks each totalling me to twenty. A few days earlier, I was walking some other streets, and I ran into a friend of mine, Owen, who suggested I don't ask folks for any money at all. This idea intrigued me. I started doing it immediately, and found that I made the same amount of money I had made earlier. So, as a few of you know, my new rap is only about my art, and I don't mention money anymore. Anyway, I was walking by one house, and the woman of the place was gardening. I started doing my rap, and she said no thx. Then she added, "I was an artist for many years." I immediately responded: "i'm sorry." She was taken aback. "why are you sorry?" I smiled, "because, i was hoping you would say you WERE an artist NOW." She smiled, "I AM an artist," she corrected her language. Or did she?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Different neighborhoods and how the class system works

I'm not socialist, though some socialist ideas are interesting and possibly applicable to our society, but, it would take a moron to not see that there is distinct class divisions between neighborhoods. A glaring example is the the "frontage road effect." Lets say you are in a very wealthy neighborhood. Generally, the houses are on between 1/4 to 1/2 acre. But...if there is a road that is frontage road to a larger thoroughfare, usually houses right along that road are on 1/16 lots, smaller and more cottagy. I'm imagining that the rich people won't live near a road, but the town wants the property tax money, so, instead of allowing one house to build itself way in and have a large lawn, instead, the city zones that street for folks with less wealth, acting as a sort of bulwark from the road for all the richer folks in the interior streets.

favorite blow off recently: "We don't have enough money to do anything special at this time."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Do not try this at home




Today was a good day cash-wise, and reminded me of a glaring defect in our entire system. I made double what I usually make, 75 bucks. I sold all my books, and had delightful conversations with most of the folks I talked to. I even bought some art from another artist, in a manner of speaking. But, the very fact that my emotions are in any way affected by money, whether it be depression because it is not there, or elation that I have made a great deal, makes me a slave, at least in some sense, to the idea of money as a "bringer of good things."

I've recently been reading about collectivism, which, as far as history has shown has led to all sorts of gross inequities, but has resulted in some interesting things, albeit in ways that so far are morally indefensible. In a collectivist state (so far only achievable in a state that is on a war footing), labor is more important then immediate profits, or, in the case of the fascist and communist models, more important then the pursuit of knowledge itself. However, the one benefit of collectivism is a very healthy and well fed population. So far, the nations that have collectivized have treated their workers like gold, making them into sort of quasi-soldiers, that attain rank and distinction along the same lines. They are always well fed and well cared for, as long as they tow the party line, whatever that is. Most collectivist states, during a war economy, have a SHORTAGE of workers. There is work for all, and then some.

I think one of the great "questions" of history is this: is it possible to create a "benevolent collectivism" that will not matastisize into a political and social cancer and a vehicle for military expansion? The biggest problem with the fascist and communist labor model is that, because labor is an actual commodity, like cows, they can be butchered with same sort of emotionlessness. Corporatism is not far behind this model. Thus, losing a "few hundred" men to bad plant management is no big deal, and complaining is punished by death. Only in a regulated democracy, so far, can workers protect themselves through legislation from these sort of practices.I think that mankind, forgetting for a moment the dichotomies of left and right, would be wise to analyze what was RIGHT with the enemies of freedom's models of organization, while at the same time continuing to attack the moral bankruptcy of what they led to. Even failed programs have kernels of useful information.

As a little digression, at one point I was in an apartment buillding today, and a knocked on the door of a large family, probably celebrating the football game. One of them, seeing me, became very agitated. The hostess said "no thank you," and shut the door. However, the other man was yelling, and quickly raced out the door. "What are you DOING HERE?," He said in a huff, with a very unhappy and aggressive tone. "I'm selling my cartoons." "YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST COME IN HERE AND DO THAT? WHAT, YOU JUST OPENED THE DOOR??"(he was referring to the metal door at the bottom of the apartment complex) "The door was unlocked," I replied serenely, "and there was no "no soliciting" sign present." I smiled at him with a lot of love. He suddenly looked sheepish and said, "well, I'm sorry, we have had a lot of trouble," and he started apologizing. "No problem brother," I said, "I'm taking off." He thanked me and we parted company. A slight tear came to my eye, I'm not exactly sure why. I know it was at least partially for him.

San Rafael and the Oakland Court story

The other day i was referring to San Rafael, not San Leandro.

the other day, I told a vagabond that had had his dog taken by the police based on what I believed to be a misunderstanding, that I would help him get his dog back. I had promised to do this 2 weeks earlier as well. I woke up very early and got to the train station at 7:30 AM, after about a 35 minute walk. My friend, who is generally coherent, had always treated his dog well, and it was friendly, well fed and loving to his master at all times. He arrived at about 7:40, telling me he had had to get some medicine.

Although he had expected six different people to show up, only me and another woman, who I recognized as a person who was "there" when things are going bad for the destitute of spirit (and sometimes mind). She had her own problems to deal with that day, but was taking some time to help this genleman, who I call "the Rev," because he sometimes babbles about the bible and has introduced himself as the "the Reverend ____ _____," using his real name, which I won't be publishing.

So, she gives the Rev a 20 to buy a breakfast, takes his papers and says she has to take a bus and "she'll be right back." It is 8:30. At 9:25, at my instigation, we finally leave, realizing she is not coming back with the papers we gave her to copy. We had told her that we needed to meet someone at 10:00 at the Ashby station, so, we took off. Luckily, she was there, and so was the other person, the owner of a local nightclub, who had a note also guaranteeing the Rev's ability to take care of his dog.

We go to the Oakland courtroom where the Rev has to address charges of animal cruelty, in the opinion of all of his friends unfounded, about some nonsense about him "forcing the dog to drag a cart," which is utter tripe.

Unfortunately, the Rev has a "bullet" in his lung, from some former shooting incident 2o years earlier, and he starts wincing in pain, muttering about the "transmission waves" coming from the top of the building. We sit in the pews for about 2 hours. He practically keels over in the court, and, when finally ready to deal with the judge, is limping along, moaning in pain, and talks incoherently to the judge. "receipt, paper, dog," he says with no connecting language. The judge, a grey haired woman with a sense of humor yet at the same time a surly and "no poppycock" personality, immediately tells the Rev to sit down in the jury box.

After another few minutes, we are escorted outside, where in the corridor, the Rev is informed through his anxiety hyperbole that he has to get finger-printed before any other action can take place. You can see the wincing nature of the DA informing him of these facts in his face. He is trying to be nice to the crazy, incoherent man.

As soon as we get outside, the Rev becomes totally coherent again, and, when we suggest he go into the police station and get his fingers printed, he says, "i will do it on Monday, right now, my stomach hurts too much." We are both at this point exasperated, and finally, I throw up my hands and take off.

The Rev is totally coherent, the courtroom actions in no way reflect on his capability as a person who can take reasonable care of himself and very good care of his dog, and the level of fear that he had that caused him to react in this anxious way is solely due to the harsh nature of the building and the charges leveled against him. On the other hand, I have only so much time to give to folks that won't help themselves, and i'd say it's more than most.

Later, the Rev bought me a lemonade and thanked me for showing up and showing the DA that others besides himself respected his ability to take care of himself and the dog. So, I hope I helped.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

they stole my bike!



Sadly, my nice bike was denuded of it's wheels last night. But, a good friend from the street built me another out of parts. Berkeley can be a tough place, but also a very friendly one.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A lackluster day

I Only worked an hour today, but here are some new toons.
I'm fast running out of territory in this region, and I'm considering either moving or at least traveling to Menlo Park or Alameda or maybe San Leandro. I could probably bike on over to the El Cerrito bart and catch a bus for a few bucks over to SL, which I'm sure has many of the same sort of folks as Albany and the El Cerritos. I've been in this area about a year ago, and I'm pretty familiar with it, and I'd like to check out some new scenery. On a more humanistic level, I'm not completely happy about seeing new things, or change, but I am happy once it happens. I sort of enjoy not knowing and the after effects of knowing what I did not know before.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not everyone is a stereotype, but some folks actually work towards it.


yesterday was a hard day. I was directed to a very posh community, in what turned out to be a semi gated community. Now, i don't want to disparage everyone in this neighborhood, but the neighborhood itself was painful, weird and unfriendly in a way that no other part of the city even comes close to.
First, the first house I went to had a nice woman who full understood the connection between art, business and hippy-traveller/entrepeneurialism that I was driving at. I'm on my pal's computer, so, I'm not sure I spelled that last one right, but whatever. Anyway, the very NEXT house, the lady looked at me sort of coldly and said, "we require tags for this part of the city. I was like, fine, good luck, as I always say. Three more houses down, a 17 year old comes to the door, I say, "are your parents available?", and before he can even say yes or no, he catches himself, actually lies to my face, says no (yes, I see them) and says, "what's this about?" I said, "If I can't get a straight answer, I'm leaving." he actually apologized for lying and shut the door! Next, I stop at another house, the lady says the same thing, "you need a tag in this part of the city. I say, well, I'm a traveller, and are the other folks creative, doing their own thing, or just selling magazines? She tells me they aren't, but it doesn't matter. Fine, good luck! And I move on.
I have to add here, I have NEVER heard this before in SIX MONTHS of working in Oakland and Berkeley.
I'm at a final house, on the corner, a women comes to the door, a woman that appears to have some class. I give her my short spiel, which takes at most 15 seconds, but she cuts me off in the middle and says "no thanks." Ok, Great. I say good luck. I'm walking away, and this woman takes the time to come back out of her door, and call down to me, "excuse me sir, sir..." I spin around, "let me guess, " I say, "I need a tag?" She nods. I look at her and I say, "I've been doing this for six months in the city, and I have never heard this before, yet I have heard it three times in this neighborhood. Do you know what that tells me about this neighborhood?" She looks at me and says, "no, what?" I respond: "I'm not going to tell you, you figure it out." At which point she ran inside, probably to call the police on the surly itinerant artist in her midst.

There are many wonderful, lovely folks in Oakland, and a little later, I was down by the Grand, talking with an old black lady. I told her I had been in this specific, though it shall remain nameless, neighborhood. She rolled her eyes. "The rich," she said, and told me where there were more mixed neighborhoods where, despite any other form of rejection, people treat each other with decency and don't lie to avoid conflict as a family value. I don't have a problem with rejection: I do have a problem with people who lump a 46 year old scholar/musician/artist with 16 year old ghetto youth that sell crooked magazine subscriptions. On the way to a neighborhood that looks clean, where did so many residents lose all their class? The other neighborhoods, with all their good people, struggling to get by and good, even if they reject me, to a humble artist, makes this one, despite all it's fancy lawns, pretty houses and clean children, look bad, filthy and dirty.

Some places may look nice, have pretty lawns, even have access to good schools, but the class of people in them is so low, that I think it would be an embarrassment to raise one's children there, for fear that they might become as crass as their neighbors.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'll probably upload tomorrow, but today I want to talk about "street mentality."

Something I've noticed as I walk streets and talk with folks, is that different neighborhoods have different ways of saying no.

Like, in one neighborhood, everyone says, "I'd really LOVE to help, but I can't right now." In another, "I can't help." is all they say. In some it's "I WISH I could help," in others, "I won't be helping you." Oddly, often the same basic comment is made through a certain set of streets, but then on other streets, very nearby, folks are in a totally different space. My theory is that folks take their subconscious cues from some maven in one of the houses nearby, and use whatever lingo that person uses.

The interesting thing about this is the "mood" of the response. I really don't have that much of a problem with someone saying, "I don't like art, I don't like cartoons, and I'm not going to help you." Ok, fine. Or, "I don't read cartoons, but good luck." Also fine. But, I feel genuine pity for someone who tells me "I can't." How disempowering. A total stranger has knocked on their door, offering some item, and the person inside feels, at least on some level that they CANNOT help, even if they want to. This is very similar to someone who says, "it's my policy not to do any business at the door," which is all good and fine, except that if you create a policy, you have the right to break it, especially if it's worth ten seconds of your time, and sure, if that's your "policy," whatever...but, if you say, "I'd like to help/look at/buy your stuff, BUT I have a no sales at the door policy," now you are living by the letter, not the spirit of your own laws.

When I was a kid, I read a funny Mad Magazine cartoon that sort of sums up this "I can't, I have too many rules" type of thinking. A husband and wife are trying to decide wether to get a subaru or a volkswagon. Finally, they decide to flip a coin. It comes up Subaru. Both of them angrily throw down their car description books, "Darn it," says the husband, "I really wanted a Volkswagon." "Yeah," agrees the wife, "me too." In other words, because they pretended to themselves they didn't care, they feel they have to invest the decision in some coin, despite both of them disagreeing with its result!

I always wish everyone who rejects my pitch "good luck." With such disempowering ideas, many need as much luck as they can get!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Art vs Commercialism

I've been thinking about this awhile, and today I decided to talk a little about it. Often, when going door to door, people support me for a variety of reasons. Because i'm and artist, because i'm a comedian, or just because they are philanthropic. I really don't care that much. Supporting myself with my work is a job in and of itself, so, I don't really concern myself with the "why" of everyone's purchase.
There is one group, however, that is particularly interesting to me, and that is the group of folks that I meet who self-identify themselves as artists. As I was telling one of my customers today, I usually do not do well with this group. I have a few opinions as to why.

First, "artists," like actors, are catty people. They generally crave attention and criticize other's work if it threatens them. I have heard endless tales of the gallery scene, which I have not yet participated in, about artists not allowing artists into their shows, art galleries playing favorites, artists playing favorites, etc., etc. Thus, when I, as an artist, come to their door, they are threatened.
But this brings me to my second point: what is an artist? Is an artist a "designer?" Because, any savant can learn to draw a horsey, or a pretty little girl in a pink dress. Sure, it might take them longer then someone with a natural eye, but, that can be developed. In fact, when it comes to "photographic" art, many would argue that that is not art at all, but merely copying with technical principals, like the concept of negative space. Just because someone can design a house, paint a nice painting or create a piece of pottery, does that make them an artist? I think not.
I think that an "artist" is someone that understands his or her place in the cosmos, opens their mind to new things, and always has a place, in some way, for those that are creative. Now, if these "artists" at the door said something like "well, I can't afford to help you, but, how about an exchange of a photo of one of my pieces for page of one of your cartoons," or "how about an apple," Then I would percieve them as an artist. However, when a self-identified artist ("Oh, I'm an artist also") has no interest in

a.Looking at what I've produced for 20 seconds
b.showing me anything they have produced
c.Not even trying to do an exchange of SOME sort if they like my work,

Then I do NOT consider them artists. What they are, in fact, are "Commercial Designers." In other words, their "art" is really nothing more then some sort of economic display, like a peacock, to gain approval. In many cases, these "artists" have bought into the idea of peer review, as if "art" was like history, and was only valuable when judged so by some committee of elders. As far as I'm concerned, they have completely lost track of the "why" of their craft, and have instead decided that art is a dry, technical field that is judged by people that are better then them, or at the very least, more influential.

Are some commercial designers artists? Of course. But not all artists are commercial designers. Art is something that is intrinsically diffused through culture, and the Beatles, Elvis, Patch Adams and Wavy Gravy are "artists." They live for their work, took a lot of guff about what they were doing when they were doing it, and ended up breaking the mold and creating new ones. Someone, however, that has never suffered for their work, works downtown at some graphic design studio doing derivative art and not even investing their own opinions into the mix is NOT an artist, they are a commercial or a graphic designer. That's it.

So, when someone identifies themselves as an artist, I think to myself: did this person do something original? Did they actually make something new, or do something new within their own genre? Maybe I'm a bias narcissist, but I think that just the act of reading a blog from a cartoonist that sells his booklets and works door to door is a unique twist on cartooning and the entire profession, and I think that when I make cartoons about my work, or subtly make references to experiences I've had or thoughts I've had while working, I am breaking new artistic ground. I do not think that most of the "artists" who give me nothing or don't look at my stuff have ever created or done anything new in their field, and certainly have never engendered any sort of mass social criticism, either positive or negative, related to their field.

Is my definition of "artist" too stringent? Perhaps, but, when you ARE an artist, you have to have a big ego, and I might as well hold myself above the "average" artist.

:-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life is always a surprise, yet, it is predictable...go Figure

It's amazing how I will always make about 12 to 14 dollars an hour. Lots of time might go by where everyone I talk to is not interested, not able to, etc., but I always end up with 25-30 bucks after 2 hours and 40 bucks after three. I don't actually like going door to door, but, considering I have worked for many sales and fundraising, I don't mind it. I like the fact that I can share my art, and a good conversation sometimes as well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kudos to Hammid

My pal Hammid let me scan a few toons today. I worked for 2 hours and made nothing, then made 40 in the last 20 minutes. I have to go farther afield i think, since i was just here a year ag0.

New Cartoons!!



Here are a few toons from the times just before I left for the gathering. Some are rehashes of my older work.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A little bummed out at the lack of cheap downloading services in Berkeley

Howdy folks. Well, yesterday I met a man with a very bright orange shirt, and today I saw flowers that were decidely purple. I had a interesting discussion about the reason for banking practices with a banker, in which I described how fees are a direct burden on the working poor, because, those with a few hundred in the bank at all times ( I guess the lower middle class), don't have the problem of the gauging via fees in their life. In my case, the bank had numerous purchases "still on hold" when I went over my "balance," which was not, apparently what was printed on my online account. In one case, I had a 75cent purchase held back six weeks until I went over my account balance, at which point it suddenly was released: for a 35 dollar surcharge. my point: the bank profits more from negative and positive accounts then it does from zeroed out accounts. If you HAVE money in the bank, they can get a loan out of it, if you OWE money, they can SELL the debt to someone else. If, on the other hand, you have just "no money," or a few pennies minus or plus in the account, it's useless. Thus, those living on the edge financially are particularly burdened by these fees, which are simply imaginary income for evil banks, because they kick in Usuriously, in a way that is unexpected. For a 200 dollar overdraft, i'm being charged 890 dollars! Supposedly because I overdrafted "before" all the other purchases went through, even though my overdraft was the last thing I ever did in the account, over a week past any other purchase, all the other purchases rack up 35 dollar fees. If that is not illegal, it is certainly immoral.

Stay tuned, I will print out new cartoons in a few days.
If I do not soon meet up with a scanner, I will go to a Kinkos.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So far, Berkeley seems to Judge me well.

Well, Berkeley has been treating me well. I've made enough to enjoy life, and most folks have been very friendly. I was thinking I'd share different blow offs, since they can be pretty funny. The weirdest one in Berkeley so far: a man comes up to the door with a bird on his shoulder, looks at me with a forlorn look and says, "I can't help, my bird is sick."

Other good ones that I hear more regularly:
1.Oh, my daughter/son/cousin/best friend is an artist, I help him/her.
2.I'm working at home, and I haven't got ten seconds to look at your art.
3.(I love this one): "I'm out of work also." No, I'm not out of work: I create my own work and I make 15 bucks an hour.

I'll try to add more blow offs as I go along. :-)

unfortunately, I can't upload, even off the web, at this internet cafe. I will upload some images in the next few days at a Kinkos.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Whose losing what to whom?

The other day, I was walking on the mall, telling a friend about an amazing job I'd had, where I was well paid and helped people. Lo and behold, the owner of the company walks by. I see him, smile, we talk. He's with his beautiful daughter. He starts telling me about how he's friends with Stan Lee, how his daughter, who is truly a gorgeous woman, is going to be a film star, and how his life is going so great. Fine. I smile and enjoy his success. Later, he sends me and email, and says "stay in touch."

I respond, "it was a pleasure to work with you, although the job sucked. :-)." That's it. Here's the response:

"Unfortunately for you with all of your assumed blessings and responses, lose my number because you Still do not have the first clue as to what accounts for helping people. Go find yourself"

At first I was dumbfounded, hurt and confused. I thought about how this dude seemed so nice the day before, and how he was going to hook me up to Stan Lee. Then, I realized something. First off, I took an oath a few weeks ago to be "detached and amused" at everything. This was certainly a test. Second, the whole Stan Lee thing is poppycock. Not only would it have never panned out, but I doubt the bro would have even put in a good word for me if I cooked his supper every night. Third, I haven't seen this dude for years, he's been nowhere for me and the job ended when his incompetence got us raided by the federal government.

What was particularly odd was the whole Stan Lee thing. It was almost as if the Spirit was testing me with irony. Considering that this year I: a.oversaw the supply council at the Rainbow Gathering,b. made close to 30k for a buddy's family, c.gave away close to 2000 dollars in stuff to people this year, I think saying I "don't have a clue" seems sort of radical.

I will someday be wealthy, famous and loved by millions, but I still cry and weep for lost souls like the one I just described.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Is this for real?


Well, this is an older Version of Max, but since I'm sort of having some problems (read, I don't feel like paying for scanning right now), this is some fun from the past.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Not too perfect, but just so.

Well, I'm not sure we can see this picture all that well. in fact, I just realized, it's not fully done, but, being at Kinko's, we'll have to live with it. Life in the tent is going ok, and sales of cartoons are good.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The life of an itinerant cartoonist

Well, again, not able to send pictures, but the day has been interesting. I broke my bike, walked all over town, and played some music this morning. I've pretty much spent every available dime on my bike, but it didn't stop me from drawing two new cartoons today. Hector has been becoming more and more of a main character. I had him talking with Oscar, without Max present.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Business not as usual

Well, I can't load a picture today, But I thought I'd relate my present situation. I've moved out of my house, into a tent, where I have my keyb0ards, guitar and art pad. I'm still working, and I'll probably take off for Burning Man at the end of the month. I've been enjoying Boulder, with all its different circuses, and I might return for September and October, but I will eventually go to California I think. Soon I will go to Kinkos and load a few 'toons, but that will be in a few days.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's over when it's over

Great. No apartment soon, but at least I got my tooth pulled. Sheesh. They say that toothache was the leading cause of suicide in the middle ages. I'm not surprised. I'm going to do some parts of North Boulder tonight. Looks like my deposit is going to be gobbled up with all sorts of minutae, which is pretty unfair, since I've only been here 2 months! I've lost $570 in deposits in the last few months due to unscrupulous housemates and renters. That sort of sucks. Well, in the worst case scenario, I will go to the west, live in my tent, and scan these into some Kinko's machine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Life isn't Easy


What a lousy three days. First, I hurt my back sitting wrong! Jimininies! Then, my toothache has gotten really bad, so, I have to go the Dentist and spend another 140+ dollars on saving my face from extreme pain. Then, yesterday, I took a major spill on my bike! Needless to say, I haven't been out since Saturday, and I'm hoping to work tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Same images, slight alteration


Well, tonight was a good one. I made a lot of folks happy, walking in an easy section of the city with very close doorways. I have to find more neighborhoods like this!
These two cartoons are the same as 8 & 9, but with slight alterations...I'm experimenting with maintaining characters as "occupationalists," so, the rabbit becomes the sherriff. I might make Hector a deputy, but that's not certain yet.

A drunk follows me to my bike

Not a great day. I worked for 2 hours, made 9 bucks, and my last door was a dangerously aggressive drunk accusing me of "plaigarism." The guy accused me of stealing from R. Crumb (he neglected, of course, to even look at my work) and then acted more and more belligerently, following me around and over to my bike, asking if I "paid royalties" to R. Crumb. He was pretty drunk, and I told him so, telling him that he was acting crazy because he was too drunk. He did mention that "his own" stuff was original, so, I guess he might have been trying to communicate he was an artist, albeit in a weird, violent, offbeat sort of way. I simply walked away from him as he followed, he made a threatening comment about my bike, and then I left, sort of in a huff, but also feeling alive in the moment. I'm getting a little worried about retaining a place to live, but I will try to keep new cartoons coming in any case once every few days, although I can't promise anything if I end up out on the west coast again, living in my tent.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Building Bridges


Had a pretty good day. I only worked for about an hour, but made good cash. I heard the weirdest sounds in one of the buildings I was in, like a weird sci fi channel sound coming out of one of the air conditioners. It had a deep, rumbling tone, but a wavy sort of nature as well, like a mechanical cat that never took a breath.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

If you can remain calm while others are going crazy: maybe you just don't get the situation.

Second day out, I have to remember that I'm not all that healthy legwise, and I have to work from around 4:45 to 8:30 to make it. Otherwise, the sun and the pain tire me out. I did make 22 bucks in 1.3 hours, so, even at the hot part of the no one is home part of the day, i'm doing ok. I met a sweet school teacher and a nice woman who had my cartoon from last year still up on her refrigerator. The latter told me that she loved the cartoon, and happily bought one of my booklets.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We must be right and honorable

I'm spoofing the ex-VeeP's profligate hunting style here. I mean, c'mon, shooting pheasants in a cage? That seems no better then little Timmy torturing cats in the old lot on the outskirts of town......

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Being over appreciated is important

I'm about to take off for the gathering, so this blog will be sort of slow for the next 25 or 30 days. Then, I'm not sure what my living situation will be come Aug 1st, so, this blog will be affected by these events. I need an active scanner and an internet connection to continue this blog regularly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Judges have hard jobs

Whenever I read anything about judges, I get the sense that most folks don't like them. In fact, judges seem to have almost as low a place in the blogosphere as lawyers do.

The night went ok, made 36 in about 2 hours, spoke to a few very nice folks. two different people offered the possiblity of an "illustrator" job, but, I take all of that with a grain of salt. The first one seemed plausible, but the second was a classic sales blow off: first, she starts off with some compliment about how great I am, then she starts "asking for my card," and "if I do this as a professional," as if what I'm doing right there isn't as professional as it gets. Then, she starts implying that if I "give her my card," she's "needs an illustrator." I smile and comment that while I'm not denying the verismilitude of her offer, I make more money with 1 and 2 dollar pops for my signed copies than I have ever made from the endless "offers" I hear at doorways for jobs. She then says that my illustrations "aren't what she was looking for," I'm like "huh???" it's not like I'm opposed to offering up my cartoons for commercial use, but I was not offering them up for her project, whatever that was, so, the idea that they "wern't what she was looking for," seemed sort of goofball. Then, after all these compliments, her mentioning her own connections to the art community, she says she isn't going to buy anything. I had a hard time not laughing right there. The main reason I found it amusing was her nonsensical implication that if I gave her something for nothing, there might be something in it for me, which she then clearly kiboshed. I guess the thing that gets me in all this is not so much that she said no, but that I was selling something, she tried to get me to give it to her for some promise that she KNEW was a lie, and she KNEW she was not going to act on, yet she walks back into her home thinking she is an artist and is part of the art community. To me, that's a bit of a deception. She is not an "artist," but is instead a "producer of commercial art," and she has those sensibilities, which are NOT, at least imo, the thoughts or conceptions of a true artist.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Max Career challenges, plus a changed second ending.

I'm trying to maintain character here. The key is to make it so that the characters all conform to certain parameters. I don't like the idea of Arthur being angry. i want him to be more of a ponderous, thinking character that can't be riled. If you look at the one preceding this, it's really the same exact figure with the same lines, but with a slight tweek, and his anger is hidden by a mask of questioning.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Max has career issues


Well, it was a lackluster day. I only worked about an hour and a half, made about 18 bucks. My leg was killing me, so, that sort of slowed me down. Otherwise, I had a good time, and met some very friendly people.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

To much Defense can blind you to your opportunities

I learned that lesson again today when I was playing Starcraft. There were many opportunities for my superior comrades to attack our enemies, but they did not take them. They were much better at creating a complex economy then I was, but they lacked the pizzazz to know when it was time to "strike while the metal is hot." We finally won, but only after I embarassed them into attacking by questioning their cahones.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Another good day, I made 40 in two hours and talked with a few very nice people. I ran into my friend Kate and said hi. I met a nice woman named Sue who is an old Dead Head. Hope to continue the acquaintance.

These Cartoons are general slapstick, although I am poking fun at the commecialization of society in the first one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

business and pleasure!

Another great night. I made 50 bucks in two hours! Yay! I'm happy that my ability to make folks happy and make money is working out. I ran into two friends along the way, and one of them "enlightened" me.

Here I'm riffing on the fact that most folks don't really like judges, and the second joke is an old favorite.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Out and About

This panel is mostly about puns, but I'm also riffing on the higher status judges experience in society. There is a subtle reference to Sotomayer, in that she is a minority judge, as is Max.

My first day out and about was good. I made 22 bucks in about 1 and 1/3 hours. It was crappy turf, filled with empty houses and students. My leg was killing me, but I had a good time anyway, and lots of folks smiled at my art.
Howdy Folks. Today I'm exploring my cynicism concerning the state's intense desire to hide everything, and to call anything that makes it seem immoral "classified information." The second panel is a classic joke that I reworked for my little fellows to participate in.

I'll be going out for the first time in a while to sell cartoons, but it's time to get my business flowing again. I'll let everyone know how it goes.