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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.