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Monday, December 27, 2010

Weird blow offs and other things

So, today, I was in a housing complex that had some homes owned by elder ladies (some probably in their 80's). One lady, probably over 80, looked at me and said, "OH, I'm an artist too,a COMMERCIAL artist" (we've heard this one before)...cue in me saying, "well, etc." and she says, "O, we're too old for that."

One nice lady said, "Oh, you sweet boy," which, despite my being 47, was very nice.

Two other very old women bought my book with a huge smile on their face and one said she was giving it to her grandkid.

I think it is very interesting how these different old women had such different takes on the totality of their lives, and I saw it like a prism telling me how they are in this stretch.

I sometimes wonder when an elderly person is a real sourpuss how they managed all through their lives with such an attitude. Is it just related to me, are they always that way? Did something change them when they were old?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

Well, I have been remiss recently about writing posts, and I've been blanking a bit on cartoons, so, sorry about that. Just wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday and a merry new year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

my computer is working again.

I try to remember the weirdest situations I get into, but since it's been a month since I had a home computer, the little markings I make to remind myself of situations don't jog my memory. I'll try to get back on it. I've been motivating more towards sales recently, but a whole new cartoon series (with the same characters) is bubbling up.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Best blow off in a while

Well, I've been doing this so long that I rarely hear a new "get lost." But, here is the best one I've heard in a while:

"I'd love to, but I'm not interested."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Well, my hard drive is on the Fritz, so no images

My computer has died, so, I'm presently unable to conveniently download images. still, there are a lot here, so, enjoy while I spend the next few weeks fixing my computer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's not only Freedom that isn't Free.

My computer is once again running!

I can once again download my newest stuff. I've been drawing awhile now, while taking a hiatus from door to door for the last two weeks. I got a job at a warehouse for a little while, which is intermittent, but with my low rent all is good. I've been imagining in my mind's eye all sorts of weird positions for my characters, and also I've been thinking about the world they inhabit. They are, after all, mostly professionals, and mostly connected to either the courts or politics. I try to have some characters that have other jobs as well, and i'm beginning to experiment with different personalities and their opposition to each other. For example, Hector the Gopher is laid back, while Oscar the Elephant is concerned with bureaucratic propriety.

Representation without Taxation!

Ignorance is Bliss

Friday, September 24, 2010

More drawing, less working, more thinking

I've gotten a little side job for a few weeks working in a warehouse, and i've been drawing new toons in the time slot i used to sell them. As you can see, my style is changing, and I hope for the better. I am presently looking for the intrinsic "relationship" between characters and the audience. This semi-mystical aspect of the cartoon art is what makes the difference between a series of Family Guy jokes that have little or no relationship to each other or the situation that exists, and a powerful cartoon that creates situational humor not humor of the absurd or the violent. Which is not to say I am above creating humor using the aforesaid methods, but still, I'm searching for something that is a cross between Vaudeville and Mary Worth, The Three Stooges and Pogo. One aspect that is still lacking, but soon to arrive: the higher authority having say over the forlorn hero. How do I engender a "higher authority" over my Judge? I have to be careful to both Maintain his own air of both self-assured over the top foolishness, and his sense of loss and failure, while creating a greater power over him that has personal power as well as legal power. His wife, Maxine, is a good foil, but I'm still searching for that something. As I think of it, i'm envisioning a Supreme Court filled with sour looking creatures. I will do studies of a Supreme Court bench, from internet pictures, and a few weeks from now I will have a Supreme Court episode.

Things translate too well

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

My computer is on the Fritz

Well, I'm typing right now from a public library, as my computer has fritzed out. Hopefully it will be repaired shortly. Things are going well, but now I am in the first month where I have rent and bills and I'll have to raise all the money to pay them. I took a three month hiatus from selling, and now I'm in the crunch. Hoping it all goes well, and so far it has: I've been doing okay financially.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cartoons are flowing, living situation is good, and I'm doing well with sales

It's been a while since I wrote a blog. Boulder is a nice town, and i've found a place, hopefully long term. I'm healthy, no back problems, pneumonia, etc. I go to social events in town, and I'm hoping to ramp up my cartoon meta-world online, but not sure what steps to take. I'm working on a new approach to my characters, trying to create a "relationship" between my characters and you, the readers. I've been reading Calvin and Hobbes, Pogo and Bloom County, trying to shuss out the character driven nature of the main characters. One gnosis I came to recently: successful cartoon characters have a relationship with the audience.

Less and less to give

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

A new room in a new house

Well, I've found what looks to be permanent digs in Boulder. Hoping it all goes well. I'll start posting toons in a few days, once I get set up to draw them again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Artist Moves Inside

Well, I have officially started renting a place in Boulder. So, I should have my scanner up soon, and be able to share cartoons again. Right now I'm subletting, but I will move to my new place shortly. I've worked a little bit and I think I will start commuting to farther away and save the town of Boulder for the winter months.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A lull while I try to get my bearings

Well, I'm in a sublet, which is a step up from living directly on the creek in a tent, but not really "housing," exactly. Still, I have my computer up, and I have a bed/room. However, I doubt it will last much longer, and I have to steel myself to the reality of maybe not getting a place. What a hassle.

Meanwhile, I got a job but the job itself ended, at least for me. With 1 job available for every six people, I guess I'm glad I had any work at all, and I got laid off, not fired, so, even though I didn't make enough for unemployment insurance, I did make a few bucks and I'm about half-way, on paper, to that universe. I'd rather be working, and I'm going back to cartoon sales, which I've let slide a bit in the last month or so, while I adjust to the environment again.

I've been doing sketches in notepads for my cartoons, but haven't really had easy access to an inexpensive scanner as of yet. My latest characters are lawyer/vultures.

I'm hoping to be back to tooning and sales in a week or so, with stories about my door to door and other art related tales. In this new sequence of events, I'm hoping to move from beraggled street salesman of quirky cartoons to internationally famous raconteur and artist/cartoonist/musician.

Wish me the best, and feel free to right down ideas in the comments section of my cartoons.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Change of Priorities

Well, I've moved into Boulder, though I'm still looking for a place. I will be posting more toons and less "life stuff" soon, since I will be inside with all my stuff, like a comp and a scanner. I'm taking a new tack in my drawing/storytelling style, so, I hope you all like my next cartoons. It will still be a few weeks, but then they will be coming regularly.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rough seas in a good boat

Well, the last few days I've been doing well. But I did run into one old coot that told me I was a "long hair," and to get away from him and his apartment building. (I did). To be honest, that is a fairly hackneyed version of the story, but suffice it to say, the old guy was unforgiving, unfriendly, and bigoted. I seem to run into those types in Boulder apartment complexes (see last year). On the other hand, a lot of folks in the same complex, before I ran into Mr. Snoopy Pants, loved my work and my whole presentation, and I made pretty good money. Thx.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

creek is getting a little too high, hoping rain will end soon

Well, the nice little grotto I live in is becoming a lake, and I walked in ice water last night. Not cool. I'm hoping the the dry season is going to get here soon, as I waited a while to come out here, and now the weather is acting a little kooky.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Boulder is doing me right so far

Well, I've run into old friends and new, been making ok money, and I'm situated, so far, safely (in the sense of safety as I understand it, which is, granted, a bit unusual, as I live in a tent, illegally, on some private property somewhere). Everyone is friendly, the Mall is hopping, and I hope soon to scare up enough to get a place in the town.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The artist gets his tent and stuff ripped off, only to get it back in a few minutes.

So, I landed in Boulder, set up my tent in the usual place, and took off to sell cartoons. I had a good day, made about 30 bucks in a pretty short amount of time, and then saw Iron Man II. When I got back to my tent, around 1AM, it was gone! I had a weird feeling, like, "it's no big deal, so what if I can't play piano or guitar, see, or have any blankets on this cold night.

Then, out of the darkness, a drunk guy pops his head through the woods and says, "was that your stuff?" I'm like, "yeah, did you take it?" He's all apologetic, tells me he thought it was abandoned, and starts apologizing profusely. "I wouldn't want that to happen to me, I'm real sorry," etc. It all worked out, as I got all my stuff back, and actually, taking this as a sign, pushed my tent farther back into the woods so as to be harder to see from the fence it's behind.

I finished my book this morning, The Last of the Just, and I've got to say that it was awesome.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Google doesn't like my ad campaign: oh well.

Well, turns out folks clicking on my ads too frequently got my account shut down. That's ok: in the two years I had it, i made about 4 dollars, then, in one week, i made 75, but it wasn't "acceptable." No big deal. I make most of my money the old fashion way: I work for it. Along those lines, I have arrived in Boulder, with a lot of new fresh doorways to knock on. I hope to actually get a place in a month or so. I will be hard-pressed to post cartoons for about a month, but I will try in the next two weeks to get at least my latest portraits and other stuff on line. Thanks again to everyone who has supported me!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The artist takes the plunge, and buys a ticket for the interior.

Well, I'm going to try to get a place and sell cartoons in the Denver-Boulder Corridor for a while. I'd like to thank everyone in the Bay that supported me, and when the earthquake comes, I hope all of your homes are spared. ;-) I'll still be posting toons and blogs of my experiences in the Boulder area and beyond, so, stay tooned. Recently, I've been doing a bunch of portaits of friends and faces from newspapers, so, at some point I'll probably post those as well. Otherwise, I've been a little remiss in my cartooning due to other situations in my life, but I'll try to get something on here in the next few weeks.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Weird signs of the times

So, if you read my blog, you know I've experienced some harsh reality in my travels and business. The last few weeks have been pretty calm, but sometimes things get pretty hairy when you're an itinerant cartoonist with health problems in the heart of the city. Today, before I started working, I saw a sign that said something like: "Avoid getting robbed. Robbery is known to happen here. " and then went down a list of things to do to avoid robbery. It was printed by the police department. Really, sort of scary. Obviously, some parts of our city need some help.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dicy and Icy

Well, I'm getting over my pneumonia, and hoping soon to leave for Colorado, although the weather there is still a bit rough. I think I will wait a few weeks. Today I looked at prices and found I can leave for 122 bucks, if I make a ticket a week in advance with Amtrak. I like the train, it's a lot nicer then the bus, and cheaper then the plane.

In the meantime, I may visit some old friends, or just keep selling toons, now that I've gotten a little stronger.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guess I was wrong: things got worse, and I'm ok!

So, last week I thought things couldn't get much worse, but I was wrong. I got pneumonia. I just spent five days resting in a hospital, coughing up blood and wondering when it was all going to end. My nursing staff was fantastic, and I just want to say that Alta-Bates nurses are the best! I've actually dealth with nurses my whole life, due to my asthmatic condition, and I can honestly say these doctors and RN's and aides are particularly pleasant. I found myself on the Oncology floor, and just want to once again thank them for their diligence, timeliness and service!

I think at this point, I am finally going to be getting better, but it was certainly no picnic walking door to door with a 102 fever selling 'toons last week, and my creative spunk is at a major low due to my health issues. I believe that I will soon be returning out east, as California has so much pollen that I have a hard time breathing even when I am fully healthy.

I'm Almost ready to start a new book of toons, but still inking in my other stuff, and I will post new toons in the next week or two.

Friday, February 26, 2010

If things get worse, I'll be dead

Well, I went into SF, and worked the Noe Valley. Basically a disaster. 12 bucks in and out, 3.5 hours of travel, for 18 bucks. Not pretty. I guess I'm going to start retreading streets I've done in Berkeley, since the costs of travelling so far are enormous. Add to that that the houses in Noe Valley are all up very steep steps, it's like ascending a mountain. Considering my back, and the fact that I have a bad cold, life can't really get much worse. Oh well. Any suggestions are appreciated. I hate the idea of falling back on the state, but with all my health problems, not sure what else to do. I guess I could just sell toons on the street, but frankly, it doesn't seem professional enough. I do play instruments, but cartooning is my first love. If anyone knows any publishers/newspapers etc., please foward my cartoons to them and tell them how great I am!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things get rough as the economy and the social fabric unravel

Well, The last few days have been a bummer. Cops stopped me in two different towns, and I heard from multiple sources first and second hand from cops, that there is a crime wave going on, and that the city is reeling from a lot of house breakins. Of course, the irony is that while I'm stymied from working in towns like Alameda and San Leandro, the criminals don't care a whit, and won't be stopped. What do we expect when everyone in every house knows none of their neighbors, and 6 people are looking for every job (according to NPR). As an earlier post here indicated, there are dangerous elements in the city as a matter of course, and now they don't even have a job! I'm going to either start commuting to SF, where there is too much going on to bother an itinerant cartoonist, or maybe I will just start selling directly to the street.

This has NOT been a good week!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The artist breaks up with his girlfriend on a somewhat sour note, after a long string of dire events.

Well, it seemed inevitable with all the stuff I've recently been through that I might break up with my new girlfriend. It's hard keeping a relationship going in any case, never mind my transitory travelling situation. Added to that was that she was from another culture, and it was definitely getting harder all the time. I really love her though, and hope she is doing well. Probably what broke the camel's back was when I told her about how a highly misunderstood brother came up to my tent in the middle of the night, and was somewhat obstreperous. This following on the heels of my last post, might have been a bit too much. That dude, who I will call the King of Sweden, is trying to protect the forests on certain properties above Oakland, and keep them, in perpetuity, uninhabited from a legal standpoint. After confronting me, and realizing that I was cool and was a help, not a hinderance to his pursuits, he then went off to confront some other tent dwellers (I offered to help but he refused my aid) who were not as friendly, threatened him and apparently sicced a dog on him, as he had recieved a bite on his left calf. He showed this to me when he came back to my place. I consoled him for a few minutes, and concurred with him that, whatever the circumstances, the actions of the other folks was inappropriate. Anyway, that was all a little too much for my last girlfriend. :-(

Friday, February 12, 2010

The artist gets jumped by predatory goons in the ghetto when he gets off the wrong bus

Well, this week was a doozy. It started out with me leaning over just after seeing my girlfriend off, and pulling/re-damaging my sciatic nerve. For any with back pain, you know the drill. Extreme pain, hard to get up and down. First I went to the Berkeley Suitcase clinic to see if I could get them to help me refill an old muscle relaxant I used before to kill the pain. The doctor, however, was not there. I went over to the Berkeley Free clinic, but they only dealt with STDs. I also found myself running low on asthma medicine, and decided it was time to drop into the Highland Hospital emergency room and figure things out.
When I got there, I was surrounded by insane amounts of senseless harm: boys with bullets in their legs, boys coughing up blood, literally, in the waiting room. Apparently it was a long night for cardiac arrests, so, I was relegated through triage to the last position, which I unhappily, but resignedly accepted from the ordeal of having to ask for help from the state to stay alive.
One woman, who's actual job was to sell hotdogs, told me about how a pimp had rushed her, head-butted her eye, and then ran off, for no reason really, other then that whores of his worked the street that she had had a home on for 30 years. When someone called an ambulance, an officer tried to stop it from helping her, and another blew her off, telling her with unruly words that she "wasn't in trouble." Well, she was very much in trouble. When I saw her eye was puffed to the size of a potato.
I was finally able to get out of Highland, which I had entered at 8PM, at 11:30 AM the next morning with some relieving drugs. Thank you Highland hospital and the city of Oakland for not letting me die!
Anyway, I'm a little tired, so, I'm not thinking too clearly. I'm on a lot of Ibuprofen, and hydrocortisone to deal with a dang rash i've been suffering. I decide that i will work, however, and I further decide, somewhat adventurously, that I will go to Emeryville, which I have heard is a bit like Alameda.
Well, I get on the bus, and go down what I thought, looking at a map, was Emeryville, but actually is West Oakland. It's still daylight out, and I tell the bus driver, "hey, I'm looking for more upscale housing, more mixed with whites, blacks, asians and latins all combined." She says I should go back to 40th, and that I should catch the bus back. She's about to tear off a transfer when I show her a pass.
I get off, and realize that the bus isn't coming, it's about 8 blocks to 40th, and i might as well just walk: maybe it will help my back. But, as I'm walking, I see a bus stop, down a side street and think, "well, why not wait." Clearly, anyone from Oakland knows where this is going.
Three kids walk up to me, down this side street, in the middle of nowhere, and the youngest, about 13, says, "you got a dollar?" Me, being ignorant of the ways of this part of the city, but realizing suddenly that I'm sort of in a bad situation, generously give him a dollar, with a few cents left in my hand. "Gimme the rest of it." I'm sort of grieved here, trying not to make a scene, so I comply, after all, it's just a few more cents.
The kid says, "I bet you have more money. You got more ones, or else, how you getting on the bus?"
I show him my bus pass. Probably not the smartest move, but I'm not a genius at being always on the ball, especially when I'm in pain, tired, and just spent the last day awake in a hospital all night. "I don't have any more money," (I did, had a five), "but I have a cartoon book." At this point I saw someone sweeping above me and got that Clint Eastwood feeling of impending doom.
They took and started laughing. "I bet you got more money." I said, "no, just that book, it's real funny," and I started walking away. I came back up to the more travelled road, but they followed me anyway, and surrounded me, trying to corral me to a wall, I ran out into the street and they jumped on me, but suddenly a woman stopped and spirited me away.
I was full of adrenaline, and thanked the woman profusely. The moral?
Don't get off in West Oakland if you are a stranger and wish to live. Sort of sad, but kind of important to be aware of.
I lost my glasses in the fracas, but i think my girlfriend doesn't like them anyway. :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A commission job

Well, I made a piece for doorway customer for the back of his business card. It actually took a bit longer then I expected. Coming up with the ideas for how folks would look in the cartoon, what the effects of heat and cold were and the then actually putting it all down took a week of mental cogitating. While I was talking to the gentleman, he informed me that thermostats' symbol was not a thermometer (which I as a layman had incorrectly associated with a thermostat), but the letter "T," apparently the blueprint symbol for the device.

I sold it to him as an original, with a signature on paper, as opposed to scanning it, which, since I don't have the proper equipment, would not have been efficable in any case.

I'm hoping to get around to publishing cartoons again on this blog in the next week or so. As a traveller with little access to inexpensive scanning (it's a dollar a page at kinko's, on top of other costs for using equipment) I have to find opportune moments to do it. I have just met someone who might have a scanner, which will make this easier. As it is, I have been borrowing a scanner from a friend at the coffee shop I frequent, but he has lent it out to someone else for a bit. Also, my latest work is far more line intensive, and takes longer to ink in.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cartoons in the next week or so

Sorry about the long waits sometimes between cartoon postings. I live outside, and it's hard to get it all together, from thinking to drawing to inking to scanning.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Artists among us

Some more of the "who's an artist?" and what does that mean philosophizing:

The other day, I came up to one door, and the lady says, "I already have two graphic designers in the family." That's awesome. At this point, these folks in the family actually recognize they are not "artists," but instead "designers," yet the grandmother does not understand the distinction! She is confused and thinks that I am a "graphic designer." No...I am an artist. I create not only my own designs, but, I create content. In my mind, "design" is a dead, non-expressive form of communication, which is defined by creating imagery, in almost all cases for someone else's ideas.

Along the same lines, one fellow told me that he wasn't "comfortable" supporting an artist he "didn't have a relationship with." Well, ok, but, from my perspective, this creates a great deal of classicism in art. Why? Because "having a relationship" demands being in the same social circles as said patron, and that is dependent on a host of economic and social forces. How can I "have a relationship" with, for example, a nuclear scientist that spends most of his days working on higher math? Or with a plumber who lives in Sacramento? Or with folks that make 100 times my income working for IBM? Will they invite me to their parties? Probably not. No, I think that art demands support irregardless of the "social dynamic."

More toons soon!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Cartoon fan explains the 20 + C + M + B + 08 inscription over the doorway

Well, one mystery is solved. A friend of mine, and a cartoon fan, found this explination on the internet: (I'd like to add that I am not advocating this I am simply communicating it's meaning).

"Epiphany Inscription Over the Doorway of the Home
20 + C + M + B + 10

The letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat. May Christ bless the house.” The letters recall the day on which the inscription is made, as well as the purpose of blessing.

The crosses represent the protection of the Precious Blood of Christ, Whose Sacred Name we invoke, and also the holiness of the Three Magi sanctified by their adoration of the Infant Christ.

The inscription is made above the front door, so that all who enter and depart this year may enjoy God's blessing. The month of January still bears the name of the Roman god Janus, the doorkeeper of heaven and protector of the beginning and end of things. This blessing "christens" the ancient Roman observance of the first month. The inscription is made of chalk, a product of clay, which recalls the human nature taken by the Adorable and Eternal Word of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

To bless your home this Epiphany, first read the Prologue of Saint John's Gospel, followed by the Our Father, and the Collect of the Epiphany; then write the inscription for this year above your front door with blessed chalk.

Blessing of Chalk

V. Our help is the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, O Lord God, this creature chalk
to render it helpful to your people.
Grant that they who use it in faith
and with it inscribe upon the doors of their homes
the names of your saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar,
may through their merits and intercession
enjoy health of body and protection of soul.
Through Christ our Lord.

And the chalk is sprinkled with Holy Water. "

Which leads me to wonder, what do they do with the old chalk chips?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

some more awesome blowoffs

Every once in a while I list the best rejections I've had in the last few weeks:

1.No one here wants that.
2.I'm probably not interested.
3.(I'm asking about the letters 20+c+m+b+08, which is written above many doorways in Alameda) "That's something you don't have to worry about."
4.Oh no, we have an uncle that's a cartoonist (yeah, tell your uncle that a cartoonist stopped by, you didn't look at his work and you didn't support him in any way, I'm sure THAT will go over real well at the dinner party.)
5.I'm not going to support you, but I support your project, have you checked the houses across the street? (Can you believe this, they tell me that I should tap their neighbor, but THEY won't help!)

The folks I feel the sorriest for are the poor folks that figure out, an hour or so later, that they SHOULD have bought one measly cartoon from me. Poor people. Pablo Picasso shows up at their door, and they are mostly "eating dinner" and can't be bothered, or are "busy" watching TV!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fear in different districts

Something that I think is sort of amusing is the attitude folks have about "criminals" in the different neighborhoods.

For example, when I knock on doors in the "ghetto," or "lower income, dangerous youth" areas, a lot of the doors are not only gated, but there is a second outside front step gate, with an inside lock. You have to pass through three doors to get into the house. Often the response from behind the door is an acerbic "Who is it?" like it's the tax man coming to an old Still in the south. It's a very "you git off my land" kind of tone. I begin to tell them about my art and they mostly say, from inside, "not interested," and it's over.

Meanwhile, in the upper middle class districts, the situation is so much more "amusing." I come up to doors, and little old ladies blithely open the door, scowl at me and say, "I don't open the door for strangers at this time of night." Then they look at me imperiously, as if I'm a criminal, and they have "seen" through me, and then they shut the door without another word and lock the door. This sort of behavior just shows, at least in my mind, the delusional need of the upper class, in some cases at least, to believe that they are "living dangerously," when, in fact, they don't even understand fear, as those in fear DON'T OPEN THEIR DOORS TO STRANGERS.

What these upper middle classers are living in is ANGER at being disturbed, and, rather then just saying, "no, I don't like cartoons," instead they turn it into some sort of "dangerous" situation, despite the fact that their door is wide open, a large stranger is standing there smiling, and they are being dehumanizing and insulting to them and nothing is occurring.