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Showing posts from February, 2013

"Lo, a rabbit."

I work at a supermarket. This might surprise you, but it's a job.

The other day, I was stocking the frozen aisle when I made eye-contact with a white haired lady who seemed like she needed help. "Hello," I said in my most professional manner.

"Am I not seeing frozen cranberries?" came her confusing reply.

I raised a finger. My mouth opened, then quickly closed again. "Why are you asking me?" I wanted to inquire. "Surely you know what you're 'not seeing'. Or were you using 'to see' as a verb of achievement, where whatever you might perceive, you cannot see it unless it is actually there? Do you think I have more direct access to reality than you, or are you checking to see if I'm psychic?" In my fantasy conversation, I let this sink in. "Either way, that's weird. I'm not sure how to address your bizarre question, ma'am."

It took me a moment of mouth-closed, finger-raised pondering to get through t…

What you don't know may bother you.

On the bus the other day, there was an older Filipino lady clad in varying shades of red, from hair to handbag, except for powder blue shirt sleeves peeking out of her crimson jacket. Seated next to her was an asian college student drowsing off, half hunched over his backpack. This inadvertent couple made a pleasing picture, so I began to sketch them.

On the other side of the Asian kid, nearer to me, there was an uninteresting, white, middle-aged business-man. He kept shifting around and looking at me uncomfortably. I didn't say anything, but I wanted to tell him, "Relax, this isn't about you." Maybe I should have. Of course, I doubt I could have kept myself from adding, "You're boring," which is why I kept my mouth shut.

My other thought was to show him the drawing, but I wasn't sure he'd understand. There had to be a more reassuring course of action. After all, not talking is often a poor way to communicate with strangers. Unfortunately, nothi…

Musings on the imbued feelings of paper, and a self-evaluation

When I was a kid, I was an angry little dude. As a teen, I struggled to translate this into my drawings.  Those efforts were exercises in frustration, both in what they exhibited and in how I felt about them. They were failures to my eyes, but plenty mad enough for others. I guess I could capture the desired emotion in a sketch, but it was hard to make my pages empathize, to burn from the inside and share their heat with the world.  In this way, drawings may be said to lose out to shots of whiskey and punches on the nose.

It's been a while since I last tried any of that--I sip my overly expensive whiskey, thank you. In the interim, I think I've done a better job of making my pages collected, bored, and aloof than I ever did of making them angry. What does this say of me? Clearly, I have become a healthy, well-adjusted individual.

Not unlike Morrissey's affinity for Joan of Arc

The other day, I was reading some misguided blathering from a young freelancer about why moustaches are staging a mostly ironic comeback. She concluded the trend (including jewelry and stickers) wasn't jocular at all, and had almost nothing to do with style, but was instead an expression of a longing for things to slow down and regain shades of 'simpler times'. No, there wasn't really an argument, not as such. Nor was there much humour, as such. I do not believe the absence of either to have been intentional. Out of a sense of charity to the author, I shall assume this was an exercise in seeing whether or not highschool journal entries, written after a bowl or three, are acceptable as paid opinion pieces in today's dying newspaper industry.

Before coming up with a poor excuse for someone submitting nonsense like this to the only daily newspaper in a major metropolitan area without dying of shame, I remember thinking, "This is all wrong," a sentiment I sti…

Why my drawings are as they are:

As a child, I had several drawing instructors.  I had a huge crush on one of them.  She was a talented cartoonist with fine arts training. Smart, cute, a no-harness and no help kind of rock climber before it was cool to go off and break your leg, she listened to early eighties metal and let me draw whatever I wanted to. I still have the sketchbook and card she made me for my birthday one year.  I pretty much hated my other art teachers. They had no interest in helping me realize my comicbook dreams.

Still, I guess I did okay under them.  In 1990, a pastel of mine sold for $125. After agent and gallery fees, this netted me $75 (which, at age nine, was still a lot).  My mom reinvested the cash into my classes. I was dismayed.

A few years later, I received some some of the most serendipitous advice I have ever been given. A family friend, who worked as an editor at DC Comics, looked over my sketches and suggested I avoid taking any art classes.  I was so pleased by this, I almost forgave…

Self Extension

In many martial arts, there is a sort of pervasive holism. The mind, body, and soul must be of a piece;  weapon and wielder must be one; it even helps to think of the bricks one is about to break as part of oneself. The studios I attended as a child all stressed the place of the student as a part of the school, and the school as a part of the community.  Each move imparts a greater understanding of the art, illuminating the self, which in turn assists in acquisition of the art. Self improvement is a duty of the student to the master, the school, and the community, whose qualities are reflected in the student. Implicitly, each thing dovetails into all things, becoming a unity.

A similar line of thought exists in behaviorist psychology and philosophy, which (to simplify) holds thought to be action, and the components useful and conducive to mindful action  (i.e. thought) to be an extension of the mind. As I understand it, Andy Clark claims this makes us all 'natural cyborgs', wh…

Overheard at a bus stop

Featuring teenagers1, 2, and 3,  playing hooky and waiting for a bus to downtown  Seattle.

1-  Is that the 31?
2- We could take the 31.
3- Where's it go?
1- Mongolia.
2- Mongolia?
3- Ha.  It says 'Magnolia'.
1- Well I couldn't--it was at an angle, so I--it looked like 'Mongolia'.
3- Isn't that a type of teriyaki?
1- I think it's a place. Isn't it some kind of place?
2- That's in, like, West Seattle.


I could have put on some music. Instead, I listened to this.  ... For those who don't know, Magnolia is a neighborhood in Seattle. Neither it, nor Mongolia can be found in West Seattle.