Thursday, December 18, 2008

Instruments of Chaos

oh shiii---I've discovered that I am incredibly bendable in regard to catching flying fish one-handed in the dark... Yet another reason to fear the darkness.

Today's fake recipe: Clove-Riddled Cow Hearts

Stick some cloves in a cow's heart and set on broil for 90 minutes. Saute lightly with chopped onions, and serve with a slice of lemon. (Serves 4.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Running on Idol

another distractionI've got to stop building these models. They are infinitely fun to make, and therein lies my problem. I'm afraid they snare too much of my time and energy. So while the end result is something very cool and unique, it still manages to somehow turn in on itself.

I find myself being coaxed into an ever-narrowing channel with each new project. Every time I embark upon some new feat, a little granule gets left behind and I fear I'm losing touch. Devoured by mediocrity: the worst way to go. And it's not about finding fame and fortune. Nor the praises of peers. This is about the talents we bury in the backyard. Things like true compassion, patience, sacrifice, and integrity. And that's just for starters, kiddo.

Remember that we are surrounded by idols to small gods.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Smell of Success

successFeeling good today. Someone bought my piece at the Ohio Art League's annual Thumb Box Exhibition. I've been running around all day trumpeting this minor victory.

Hopefully I can get into the gallery to snap some pictures before the buyer takes it home.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Operation Spaghetti Freedom

operation spaghetti freedomI thought it'd be fun to start writing about the meals I've been preparing. The idea is that I will have a nice little archive documenting my culinary successes and failures in a place that I can access from anywhere. And this is, after all, a blog about "Eating Small Things". It's high time I did the title some justice.

Tonight I made spaghetti. It went fairly well. Next time I think I'll double the amount of tomato sauce and switch out the organic spaghetti for some rough and tumble whole wheat pasta.

Appetizer: Salad

  • Field Greens
  • Garlic Croutons
  • Ranch Dressing

  *This is as basic as it gets. We buy bags of salad from the grocery store, bust it open, throw on the croutons, and hit it with the dressing. Could use some tomatoes in the future.

Side: Garlic Bread

  • French Baguette
  • Butter / Spread
  • Garlic Powder

*Cut the bread into halves, spread butter and garlic powder on the face-up side, place on cookie sheet, and toss in the oven and bake at 350˚ for 5 minutes.

Main Course: Spaghetti

  • Organic Spaghetti
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Lean Hamburger Meat
  • Onion
  • Parmesan cheese

*Yep, everyone knows how to make spaghetti.

Wine: Pinot Noir

*Good compliment to all the other junk I cooked. Picked up a nice bottle down the street for only $4.

And that's spaghetti. I find a good compliment to this classic meal is none other than a classic SNES game. For this particular occasion you'll want to treat yourself to some Super Mario World to complete the evening.

Mmm, Italian.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cocoa Redux

IMG_4456So you thought I'd take some time out today and go on about my life? Maybe I'd take a break from endless cat posts to share something meaningful, and daresay, artistic with you to possibly enhance and enlighten your day?  WRONG! More pics of Cocoa riding around on the back of the computer chair like freakin' Genghis Khan is all you get. It's all you really need or want. Want to know more about Genghis Khan? Click the highlighted text right here! Go ahead! Click and be informed! Exclamation marks all around!

Cocoa the Slayer was a character based loosely on Conan the Destroyer from the 1984 film of the same name. The philosophy that drove the life of Cocoa the Slayer departed from that of Conan in that she never actually hurt anyone. While historic records place this diminutive barbarian at the site of many bloody conflicts, eye-witness survivors would always claim to see her fleeing on the back of her trusty computer chair before any of the real fighting began.

More info about Conan the Destroyer can be found here. Clicky!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Closet Raptor

cococlosetSo as I went to grab my gym bag this morning, I was attacked by some sort of creature from the Triassic Period. Apparently this little dino, long thought extinct, survived several ice ages by hiding out in our bedroom closet. An impressive feat in all regards.

Here I was, eye to eye with one of Nature's most dangerous predators from eons past. Only my wit and extensive knowledge of raptor behavior stood between me and a messy end. I remember reading somewhere that most dinosaurs cannot strafe or dodge very well. Good thing I played Turok with my buddies in high school.

I took a deep breath and then leapt, hurling a phonebook at the ancient trespasser. Success! One K.O.'ed dinosaur. On closer inspection I realized that the small unconscious form was covered in fur. Fascinating! This specimen would require some in-depth research in the crime lab.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I is Pwning Noobz

cocoapwningCocoa logged into Battlefield 2 yesterday and brought the pain. She gets out all of her aggression by spawn camping with a sniper rifle. All in all, I find cats understand very little about sportsmanship. It's simply not in their vocabulary.

So if you happen to be running around on one of the BF2 servers, beware a player with the handle "l33twh1sk3rs" because you are seconds away from getting strafed, bombed, and stabbed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Horrible Election Cat of Doom

cocovoteBe thankful those of you who cast your votes this day, for it is one more election year that you have staved off the hungry appetite of the Horrible Cat of Not Voting-ness. For those of you who did not vote, woe be to you for the Beast hungers for the blood of the apathetic.

She comes in the night, devouring all who do not wear the sticky badge. And what is the sticky badge, pray tell? Well, I'll tell you, little friend. It's a holy relic, a testament to show you stood in line for 1-2 hours, listening to your wife's bad puns, finally to ascend and cast your vote in the hallowed sanctum of democracy and good feelings.

Also, I got a free cookie and coffee on the way out of the polling station.

So heed these words, young mortals, else The Cat find you this evening... 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Smushing Daisies

dummyIt's been a good week is all I can say. A good month too. Let's give a warm congratulatory hand to October 2008, a warm, exciting, and productive month.

"Pushing Daisies." What can I say.  Watched the first three episodes and it is an amazing show. It's like a refreshing summer breeze compared to the festering garbage of reality t.v. and the "Shmerican Idle" Ideology.

So I'm a television elitist? Sure! I don't watch television anymore, so when something unique comes along that catches my attention you'd better believe I sit up and take notice. And here is our winner: Pushing Daisies. Just watch it. Give it a try. You'll feel better.

I'm avoiding telling you anything about this show because you just need to see it. There's a crash test dummy shooting people with tasers in the second episode. And a car chase involving an electric "green" car running from a giant HumVee. Wonderful. Colorful. Go watch. :D

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Cars That Ate Paris

cars that ate parisI stumbled across a reference to this movie today. Am I hallucinating, or is this real? The Internet Movie Database tells me I'm not hallucinating. But even so, I stand agape.

After some in-depth research, which constitutes typing the movie's name into a Youtube search, I was rewarded with this gem, a whopping three and a half minute movie trailer that showcases some folks dressed as the Amish talking quietly in what appears to be a town meeting, interspersed with scenes of cars driving. Occasionally some of the cars are shown falling off of cliffs in a mountainous region.

I've been to Paris. The one in France. Without watching the movie, I can tell you it was not filmed there. I'm guessing it's Paris, New Wales, if one exists.

So yeah, I know it takes a big man to make fun of a movie that was made in 1974. Really I am just shocked I've never watched this. It looks delightfully terrible.

Mainly it's the reviews that have gotten me so choked up. From the trailer, wait and watch for these:

  • -Nation Review, "Run, don't walk, to this remarkable film."
  • -The Sun (Sydney), "An exciting film."
  • -The Sun, "A film to be proud of."
  • -The Australian, "A film that grows in your head for days afterward."

Yes, you've read correctly. The Sun is used as a reference twice (sorry, Sydney). A film to be proud of? And at this point I think it's safe to assume that The Australian is not in fact a publication at all, but more than likely An Australian who saw the movie.

I'm going to have to see this before I say anymore. Movie night anyone?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Way Back When

yaaay!I've been neglecting the Eater Blog due to the endless number of hoops that require jumping, climbing, and crawling through this month. In the absence of any new content, I've decided to raid the old hard drive for some nostalgic jpegs from "Way Back When." Hey, it's better than nothing.

Anyway, today's pic is back from when Photoshop was my baby in ole 2003. It's an excerpt from a larger project I did for a painting class that involved collecting memento "avatars" from each person I knew, and several heated discussions with the employees at Kinkos. ("You will print this out for me, young Skywalker." "Noooo!!! Never! I mustn't!" and so forth.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


good evening Don't forget why you are here

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Random Photoshoppery and Deadlines

nervous tick I'm not sure how most of you choose to deal with deadlines, but for me it's a mix between procrastination and bursts of manic labor. I am not consistent, though I have always been in admiration of those who are.

Anyway, I've just gotten back from the store with the two items I need most: hot glue sticks and razor blades.  I'm due for a shave. And those glue sticks are the precious ammunition I need for the Spaghetti Western.

The project's coming along in leaps and bounds, albeit staggering here and there. Sometimes it's tough getting started. I'm finding it useful to start the day by removing or changing an element that already exists on the table, rather than adding new objects. It's getting pretty tight in some places, but no longer feels like a party where no one's talking to each other. Updated pictures to follow.

Today's lunch: dinosaur-shaped pasta and meatballs in spaghetti sauce. Followed by coffee, ice cream, and curried chicken. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Backseat Driver

IMG_3223As of late I've noticed some tendencies from Cocoa, mainly the need to assist whenever we are working at the computer. She's always there, guiding each action with gentle nudges. It's a bit chafing to have a backseat driver though. Even as I write this, the feline has actually managed to squeeze in behind me on the chair, and now she is slowly pushing me off with her bulk. She's made herself quite at home.

It was a different story this morning. Around 6am I realized she was trapped outside in the rain. She was pathetic, and damp to the point of soggy.

In other news, I've got a pile of e-mails to send out. That's most likely why I'm suddenly fascinated with the cat's antics.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Spaghetti Western

the spaghetti westernHere's an update for the installation that I'll be showing at Agora V later this month. It's a meaty 80"x 54" and sits about 31" off the floor. As I said before, this will be an ongoing project with more panels added over time. The name Spaghetti Western popped into my head the other night, and it stuck.

I'm having a good time working on this one, and the silly movie genre reference for a title seemed appropriate. Good times.



spaghetti western (detail 1)







spaghetti western (detail 2)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Machine, Machine...


Come to life

Cogs grind, sweat, and drip condensation

A singular drive to move

The promise of progress, that kinetic agony of motion

Somber metals screech to life

Inert, Alert

Nothing quite like seeing those rusted works in motion


So yes, I wrote a poem today. It's a shorty, but I didn't spend much time on it. The point is that there is much work to be done next month. Exciting, yes. The landscape piece I've been working on is going to be in an exhibition in a few weeks. I thought by submitting it to Agora V, the deadline will get me working double-time to finish.

I'm also taking courses to nab my Certified Internet Webmaster cert. A prestigious-sounding title, no doubt. It's my doorway to the next certification in line, which is Java-scripting. A less prestigious-sounding, but more insanely useful title. It's the only way I can learn the software programs I need. (action-scripting, yum!)

Once I get a working grasp of Flash software, there's also a myriad of side-projects currently on the back-burner that need some addressing. (wink, wink, Brent)

Speaking of back-burners, Jeff has stopped asking me, "How's the Manta coming along?" Are there enough hours in the day for all of this?

We're bound to find the answer to that question come November. Jeff's thrown the gauntlet down, and we're going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Care to join in the tradition of procrastinating for years, and then suddenly trying to overcompensate by doing the impossible? Sure you do! Come write the great American novel... in a month. Click here.

Get to work!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Landscape Life

fallsNothing much to share today.

I am surrounded by a landscape that continues to reshape itself into new configurations.

The familiar and nostalgic reemerge time and again, combine with some previously unexplored terrain feature, fade into the distance.

Paradox: There is no reason to take a step in any direction because the world moves of its own accord. Or adversely, you wish to remain close to a significant landmark, in which case it is your prerogative to give chase.

Hopelessly, vigorously, I leap up a waterfall like a deranged salmon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Bathroom Fox

bathroom readingI found one of my housemates in the bathroom this morning. She was doing a little light reading. I was impressed to see she had found a copy of Time-Life's "The War in the Desert."

I never would have pegged her for a World War II buff, but it seems that she is a great admirer of Erwin Rommel. And not just because he was a skillful military commander. She likes him because of his nickname, the "Desert Fox." More than likely, she may believe that he was a literal desert fox, and is more interested in thinking about the sorts of rodents he ate.

Read to your pets to keep history alive.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eldritch and Gibbering

some cthulhu As it stands, I did not get any work done on the table last night. We were busy for most of the evening ferrying people from the airport to various residences throughout the city. When I got home, I was alarmed to find the studio taken over by some malevolent force from Beyond.

The two Lovecraftian adjectives that most closely describe this extra-dimensional beast are are eldritch and gibbering. And horror. I suppose you could just call it an gibbering horror that was eldritch. Or a horrible gibbering eldritch. Or just maybe just some combination of the letters. GEH.

And that's why I didn't get the chance to work on this project.

I noticed that I was lifting weights while drinking a beer today. It was a reflective moment. The internal forces that govern my person continue to wage war in this manner, vying for time and resources as they are doled out. Multitasking is an art. Oh yes, I am the eye of the storm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

'Ere We Go! ~ part 2

some boxesSo things look much different after an evening of work. My cardboard supplies are low at the moment, so only some basic structures have taken shape. Not much to report yet, but I promised myself I'd be dutiful about documenting each relevant phase.

The little irregular wooden cubes were left in the closet of my old studio by Philip Brou, the previous tenant. Phil, by some weird quirk, was also fascinated with building miniature dioramas. We had that common ground to base our relationship, but circumstances caught us at odds. He, having just completed his M.F.A., was on his way out, while I was just getting started. So like ships passing in the night, we never got to have more than a passing conversation about our shared aesthetics. (I'm writing this now as a reminder to look him up sometime soon)

Either by design or inadvertently, Phil left me a whole closet full of supplies and art materials when he moved out. Worthless to anyone but myself, these odds and ends have dispersed throughout every "miscellaneous items" box in our house, and the bag of small wooden cubes is just one example.

boxes02I actually got tired of working on this sometime in the course of the evening. I found a card game on the Newgrounds site that had me hypnotized for hours. The Necronomicon is a game that is based on the short stories of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.

Even as a single player online card-gaming experience, the AI of the opponent proved to keep me challenged. Sometimes it would made weird mistakes that swung the game in my favor, but there were no big, glaring weaknesses that I saw. It's a simple little game to pick up and learn-- and free to boot.

Alright. Back to work.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

'Ere We Go!

a table

I'm starting a new project tonight, sort of a close relative to the fragments from Sludgetown that are floating around in our basement. I'm showing you the bare door panel as a starting point because I want to document every stage of this as it develops.

I've tried working out sketches of what it is I'm going to do with this door panel, but it looks like I'm shooting from the hip tonight. I have no real clue where this is headed, albeit a vague idea of landscape that's been batting around in my practice for years now. Maybe start with some little cardboard houses and walls, and then see where we go from there.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Operation Haircut Freedom

oandcocoaThe haircut was successful. It took about seventeen minutes, which adds up to about a dollar a minute plus tip. Now that's out of the way, I won't have to worry about it for a few more months. Mission successful!

Now if only I could have equal success in Operation Enduring Paycheck, this month would be off to a great start.

Current developments:

-I've managed to secure an infinite supply of old wooden doors on which I plan to build a huge diorama. Should be fun, and I look forward to getting started. Woo! May have to work in the basement for this one, which means organizing the space to handle a project of this magnitude.

-Today is a good day for music of any sort.

-If you're reading this and you are human, treat yourself to something special today. The sheer miracle of existence and conscious decision-making is yours for the taking!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Haircut Paradigm

haircut time I dislike the growing of hair on principle, but ultimately find it to be an unavoidable paradigm of existence. And now it's that time again: I need a haircut.

Haircuts aren't that bad, but I put them off until the last minute when I can. Usually I wait to the point when my wife is saying "Wow you really need a haircut" many times a day. That's when I know it's time to stroll down to Saturday's and shuck out $20 plus tip for a haircut that takes less than 5 minutes.

The horror...

Monday, September 1, 2008






I just need to hear you say it.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ghosts Walk the Pavement

citylifeBesides the snazzy title and gothic artwork, I have little of insight to offer this afternoon. I was just feeling the itch to break out Photoshop and spend time working on something. Despite the sombre, confused-looking wraith drawing, I'm not in a bad mood; quite the opposite actually. I tend to lean towards darker subject matter when I'm feeling good--figure that.

We got to watch our friend Brent play Dead Rising on his Xbox 360 last Sunday. It's a fun game to watch-- loads of zombie-smashin' goodness. It makes me look forward to Halloween this year. I think there was some mention of a zombie-walk parade last year. I may need to look into that. There's nothing quite like dressing up as a zombie and shuffling down the street in public. Except maybe dressing up as Ash from the Evil Dead movies and pummeling said zombies.

Musing on the Past

China 2006 385It's been two years since our last trip to China. Sometimes it feels like longer. I was browsing through our photos from the trip and found this instance where we're perched on the edge of a cliff with the monstrous hills of northern Yunnan Province looming beyond. My green-on-green earth-tone garb fails to camouflage me here (seeing as how the boldly-dressed lass at my side announces our location from miles away, but that's another matter).

So yes, I'm digging out old photos, feeling nostalgic, and getting a headache trying to remember the specific locations represented by these images. It's funny that I feel I've actually blocked out or forgotten a lot of this trip already. The pixels nudge me along, and I'm thankful for their existence. I don't take many relevant pictures on trips these days. Maybe I should get back into the habit.

On the tangent of habits, I've noticed that I could use some serious discipline in my life. I've always been too sporadic an organism-- like an amoeba on a sugar rush or some other equally random thing. It's a mode that served me well back in school: wake up early on Monday, go to school for twelve hours, come home, sleep; wake up late on Tuesday, go to school for two hours, come home, eat large burrito; wake up on Wednesday, go to zoo, ect.

Unfortunately, we humans get squeezed into all kinds of odd schedules. I worked for the company Randstad as a temp a couple months back. For that brief stint I was no longer a sporadic organism. I was mostly domesticated and on-time. I clocked in every morning at exactly 8am, save for one day that I was 3 minutes late and forced by a small-dwarf-type-supervisor-thing to fill out paperwork explaining why I was 180 seconds tardy. Interesting that the tardy forms took much longer than that to fill out.

No wonder those trips to China feel like they were so long ago. I think God's trying to break my pride with this exercise. 'Here, try some humility for size,' he says. 'It builds character.'

Hmm... I'll keep working on it. As things stand, I'm human.. and quite fallible-- a work in progress.

China 2006 311

And so the open road beckons.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Queen of Sheba

IMG_4107Just a quick update today. Our primary PC is up and running again thanks to help from several different sources. We still need to buy a new video card and a Y-splitter for the CD-ROM, but I have access once again to my lovely Windows Live Writer software which makes writing this blog so easy.

We inadvertently watched the original Alien movie on an Imax screen yesterday. The theater had listed it as a showing of Aliens, which is actually the sequel. No worries though-- It's still one of the greatest sci-fi horror flicks of all time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tales from the Stoop

During a bible study meeting this week, we were asked to name something in our lives that we were satisfied with. My immediate thinking was how much I enjoy sitting on the stoop in front of our apartment. No matter what time of day it is, and no matter who I have for company, this is the spot I have staked out as my happy place.

The truth is, I love living in this corner of Columbus. I've moved six times in the past seven years, and frankly I'm satisfied with our current locale-- and relieved that we're staying put for the time-being. It's quiet, private, and interesting here. And since there's not a lot of road traffic, we're content to let the cat roam far and free like some kind of natural predator.

More or less everything we need is in walking distance. Grandview is right down the block, with a bevy of Italian bistros, coffee shops, and cafes. Granted, the walking can tough-going in bad weather, but it's not a big deal.
I believe that once our financial situation is upgraded to allow for "moderately comfortable living" we may settle down here. Until then, we take the cards as they are dealt and hope for the best.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Our PC has been having trouble for the past month or so. While our friends have been trying to fix it for us, I switched to a backup computer. PC #2 immediately contracted some nasty virus-worm-jigger nonsense and has been effectively incapacitated. I'm writing today's entry on PC #3, which is a loaner from another friend. Unfortunately, I do not have access to my beloved Photoshop today, so it's time push MS-Paint to its limits...

No less than seven different people besides myself have been trying to get our home PC situation cleared up. I am impressed.

In other news: my friend, Jeff has moved away to North Carolina. Our first long-distance collaborative project began yesterday when he decided that we will create 'do-it-yourself' templates for the Forgeworld Tau Manta. The idea of building this model entirely from scratch is a bit daunting, and coming up with plans that any average Joe can follow should prove to be quite a challenge. The difficulty is due primarily from all the curves on the ship's hull.

Filling out the third leg of our long-distance brain trust is another creative guy we found on Warseer who goes by the handle Tommygun. So far we've e-mailed a few images back and forth, and Jeff's come up with a spiffy template that shows the correct size and scale of the Manta. Next on the agenda, we'll be testing different templates using polystyrene foam as a base. Should be exciting, and quite messy. I think the particles from polystyrene are harmful to breathe when sanded. May need to double check that.

Here's a pic of the initial Manta template with Jeff in front of it for scale.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Big Jonathan and the Shortcuts

This is one of the characters from yesterday's comic. Drawing him is fun so I decided to follow up with another brief adventure. His newfound superpower is the gift of flight, but since he's overweight and not very speedy, I gave him a gun to balance out the handicap.

Today was one of those days where I woke up extra early for no good reason. Unable to fall back asleep, I walked over to the grocery store to pick up some lunch and snacks. And who should I expect to run into at 6:30am on the way to the store? Today it was the Electric Grandmother, the one-man lo-fi electronic sitcom-nostalgia band. I must say, I was shocked. I actually asked, "You... Are you the Electric Grandmother?"

"Yes I am, lad," he struck a pose to prove his words.
"Well," I stood, mouth agape, "You look much taller on stage."
It was then that he did the most wonderous thing: The Electric Grandmother grew ten-stories tall, as if by some magic spell. I looked left and right for some other witness to this amazing spectacle, but I was alone.
"Wow, that's pretty neat," I suggested. A knowing grin on his face, the Grandmother tilted me a nod and walked on. I watched him dissappear over the horizon, gingerly stepping over townhouses and telephone wires. It was pretty cool.

At the grocery store I bought some yogurt, sphaghetti dinosaurs in tomato sauce, apples, bananas, pop tarts, cereal, and milk. At the self-checkout I eavesdropped on a woman throwing a fit because she had to check herself out. The attendants shrugged. They looked tired.

I always buy more from the store than I can carry, but I found a new shortcut in a wall adjacent to our apartment that kills some time. The gap is only two feet wide and about 30 feet long, but a skinny guy can traverse it. It's a gauntlet of cinderblocks, logs, aluminum cans, and an errant waterhose, with walls pressing in on both sides. Makes me feel like a deviant for skulking through it, but it's a great shortcut nonetheless.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

You Just Can't Get Good Help These Days

The Long Way Up

I need to console myself on the difficulty of pursuing a career in art, which means exercising (exorcising?) some demons. As such, this isn't a happy blog entry. It's another critique of the higher education system, and a small amount of feeling sorry for myself and all other creative people who are struggling right now.

That's the disclaimer. This one's for all my chums with English, Creative Writing, and various other humanties-related majors. Good luck, guys. Keep doing what you love.

"Hung-Over and Educated"
Today feels like one of those bad mornings after the fact. As a matter of course, I was out all night earning art degrees. I woke up today with a pile of them beside the bed and a skull-splitting headache. I vaguely remembered my friends trying to cut me off, but once I got going, there was no stopping. When it came time to close out the tab, I thought I had misread the bill.

"Ha, ha. There must be some mistake here," I slurred. "This bill is for thousands of dollars."
"Yep. Those student loans will getcha," soothed the bartender as he idly cleaned the counter.
"Well, I don't have the money to pay this. I don't even have a job," I cried out, on the verge of panic.
"That's alright, mate. Use that pile o' degrees to get you a good job," he winked, tapping the side of his nose.
"Oh. Sure, good idea, Mister. Can I have a job here?"
"Maybe. Do you know all the right people?"
"Well, no. But I'm really driven to succeed, sir."
"What!?" He bellowed, breaking a glass. "Times are tight these days, son! It's not about some shim-sham drive to succeed! It's about working the inside track!"
"Golly," I whispered after a stunned moment's silence.
"What's that now?" the bartender asked.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Master of Jobs!

Okay, so the title may be a slight exaggeration, but I been applying for a lot of jobs lately that all sound pretty cool. There's a sense of euphoria I've been getting every time I send in an application because I know I'm well qualified for these positions. Being able to afford to pay rent and buy groceries are exciting prospects as well.

Come to think of it, did you know that my initials form an anagram of the word JOB? That's right. Evil beware, because BOJ is on the JOB! Gainful employment is nigh!

Onto another topic, I pose the question: "Is simulated evil still evil?" This question came up when we were recently discussing the fact that Games Workshop recently released a new Chaos Demons army for its popular Warhammer 40k tabletop game. Demons are nothing new to Warhammer, but this is the most they've ever been pushed to the forefront in the game. Is it troubling that teenagers can construct armies of demonic forces aligned to the evil chaos gods? These are some of the most amazingly-detailed miniatures that GW has produced to date, but is there a subtext we should be concerned about?

It is important to stress the fact that there aren't really any good guys in the Warhammer 40k storyline. It's a game that is a hodgepodge of every "bad dude" in space, including mutants, witches, alien bugs, killer robots, pirate raiders, inquisitors, space marines, monsters, rebels, and yes, demons. All of this is set in a gothic future where the prospects for survival are grim, and each of the aforementioned armies has its own agenda.

Personally, I think it's an epic marketing ploy by GW to get people to buy as many of their products as possible. The biggest danger may be to your checking account.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Scuttle Me Timbers

My friends and I have been playing a lot of Axis&Allies Naval Battles lately. Board games are fun, especially when they involve battleships and rolling dice.

My resume should actually look something like this:

-Taught six quarters of college art classes at OSU - 2004-06

-Worked as a special event assistant at an art center - 2007-08

-Commanded the battleship Yamashiro during the Battle for Leyte Gulf - 1944

-Adept at assessing tactical situations in the heat of battle

-Works well with children

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Umbilicus, part 2

After some more brainstorming, I came up with a quick roughdraft for the gameboard. Nothing is concrete at this point, but I like the idea of a hex-based grid. It's been used by a lot of different systems successfully, and has an aesthetic appeal that I find to my liking.

Truthfully, I need some help. I don't have any experience writing rules for games. I may ask around and see if anyone I know has a knack and/or interest for this sort of thing.

At present the score is Sea Monsters: 1, Deep-Sea Miners: 0

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


My friend Jeff and I discussed the idea of developing our own original game system tonight. A hodgepodge of different ideas were thrown around, and we talked a bit about the sorts of things we'd like to see. I threw out the idea of miners working in a hostile environment to claim resources. I like the idea, especially if the miner was attached to an umbilical hose that kept them alive. Enter the threat of the Leviathan, a deep-sea creature that roams the ocean floor looking for things to chomp. Players would have to be crafty to protect their hapless miners from this and a variety of other obstacles. Sound like a fun board game?

The pros: Jeff has taught himself the basics of mold-making and casting metal figures. He's an AutoCAD wizard and engineer. I'm an artist. We're both prolific model-builders and we both love games. With our pooled abilities I am led to believe that there's an outside chance we could market our own tabletop games. We would be doing what we love-- unfettered creativity, and beyond!

Despite the pros, there is a looming mountain of cons casting a shadow over this plan. For one, we would need a pile of money for start-up costs. Secondly, as entrepreneurs in a risky venture, we would be shunned by society as weirdos until real returns on our investments were made. I'm not sure how we'd get our foot in the door with this one either, nor where said door is actually located. I guess we don't have much to lose at this point. Starting at the bottom is easy when the only way to go is up.

Monday, July 14, 2008


marcus rothcowitzFor the past few days I've been reading up on Mark Rothko, the painter. I'm not really interested in giving a rundown of his biography which is already to be found in great detail in other corners of the internet; I am more interested in asking the question as to why art critiques consistently describe his later paintings as "achieving an expression of transcendent spirituality."

Spirituality? As in non-corporal? I checked the dictionary to be sure. Webster's describes spiritual as "Of or pertaining to the moral feelings or states of the soul, as distinguished from the external actions; reaching and affecting the spirits."

So what's the big deal if someone paints spiritually transcendent paintings? In truth, I'm trying to figure out if art critics are throwing this phrase around as a two-cent word, or are they actually attempting to say that Rothko's paintings have made them aware of an invisible human soul divorced from all physical matter?

Granted, Rothko concedes that his later paintings were meant to bypass our vocabulary of recognizable symbols, but I believe this was an attempt to create a visual counterpart to that of music. Music bypasses visual contexts and reaches the brain through entirely different avenues. Why can't a painting attempt to find alternative routes as well?

Friday, July 11, 2008

No Man is an Eyeland

eyelandEsther had to watch the movie "Red Dawn" for her Cold War class, so we set aside the evening for some serious movie-watching. Some friends also came over, and we ended up throwing an impromptu Communist party to mark the occasion.

It was a night that would have made Lenin proud. Our neighbor, Ken, managed to scare up some Eastern Bloc beer that wasn't half-bad. I did my part by constructing a small ready-made sculpture out of a tack hammer and sickle that would have given Marcel Duchamp reason to pause. And then there were the grilled cheese sandwiches-- lots of grilled cheese sandwiches. As a matter of fact, I was still eating them after all our friends went home. The People are thankful for Comrade Brandi and her amazing quadruple-buttered technique. But I digress. The real star of the evening was the movie...

The movie was horrible. We probably wouldn't have been able to sit through it if not for the company. I alternated between shushing people and talking loudly throughout, earning myself a special gold medal for hypocrisy, but we had some good laughs all the same. And here's the primary reason to watch: Red Dawn is all about the hats. If you ever sit down to watch this movie, get a pen and notebook and start jotting down descriptions of all the headgear that pops up. By the end you'll have a specimen catalog to rival any serious ornithologist.

I was thinking about going on at length about how important it is for a person to have good relationships with friends and family, but the grilled cheese and beer have left me bloated and fickle. I'd be easy pickings in a life-or-death situation, like say, Communists parachuting into my backyard with ill intentions.

My vote for the next ridiculous Cold War-inspired movie from the 80's that we need to watch is definitely Rocky IV.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Clever Invention

googcatfinderOur cat, Cocoa, is a headstrong little empress who is the self-styled ruler of our household. She's also a notorious coward. Combine these two traits, and you have an animal that likes to go outside, but grossly overreacts to such mundane characters as the mail carrier or a squirrel. This may be the sole reason we never got cable. We sit on the porch and watch the cat for entertainment. She explores the yard at length until something freaks her out. Her instincts for flight take over, and a manic episode plays out where she runs to the front door and begs for her life (For surely today is the day that the mailman will destroy her).

Recently, Cocoa has taken to spending nights outside. This is fine since I have developed an ingenious system for finding and retrieving her every morning. In collaboration with Google Maps and Skynet, I have produced the Cat Finder application. This technology allows a person to track and locate any feline in the solar system. Since the assets were already in place, I only had to coerce the sponsors that it was a worthy investment. Google asked that we call it the "Google" Cat Finder for consumer-user-brand-awarenessiosity. Skynet was aboard for this project on the sole condition that an "air-strike" option be included in the interface, with future updates to give users the option to  teleport cat cyborgs into the past to eliminate John Connor.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sick Day

selfI managed to contract a stomach bug from my dear wife this morning. I'm trying to figure out whether sitting with a blank expression and vacant thoughts is one of the symptoms, or if it's something I've developed on my own. I'm half-expecting some horrible consequence from my inaction. There is a high probability that Future Orion will barge out of a temporal portal to scold me and put me to work. For all I know, he already came today.

On the subject of time-traveling, I could also easily believe that some Orion from the Past will jump out of the hall closet and recoil in horror at what he will become. I paint the scene as he sees it: A dim room, with sunlight filtering through slats in the blinds, filled with clutter. The floor is covered with tarps and monstrous creations lay unmoving and half-finished on work tables. Two chairs in the corner: One holds a ball of sleeping fur. The other is filled with a long, skeletal figure tapping away on a keyboard. His eyes stare vacantly into a PC monitor. He's writing a blog. Oh God, no.

"Go back to your own time, lad. Stop this from happening. There is still a chance," I say as he backs away, hands covering his face in horror. He returns to the past and redoubles his efforts. Good boy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Career in the Arts

drainedEver since I was a wee lad, barely old enough to hold a pencil, I have never stopped making artwork. It's what I was made to do, otherwise I would have given up long ago and pursued a career in boxing or some other respectable life dream.

Intent on seeing this art thing through, I went to college for six years, collected a B.F.A. in Art (Painting) in 2004 and my M.F.A. (Painting & Drawing) in 2006. Give me a paintbrush, charcoal stick, glue gun, or video camera and I could make you something nice.

So where am I now? Mostly unemployed, scrambling to make ends meet. I calculated today that it would take me selling a new painting or sculpture every month for $5,000 to break even with the costs of living. How, you ask? Galleries that provide shows for artists typically take a cut of anywhere between 50%-60% of each sale made. That would leave me with $2,500 to $2,000 per piece sold, not even factoring in the taxes taken out. My family's total monthly expenditure is in the ballpark of $2,200 a month. That's still cutting it close.

Even if it was possible to sustain such a remarkable turnaround rate as $5k worth of art a month, where does one find a market? I'd need to look in several cities. When a gallery and artist form an alliance, you can expect to see exhibitions by that artist once a year at most. Any gallery worth their salt would also prohibit the artist from showing in any other gallery within 50-100 miles of their location to prevent others from capitalizing on their investment. Fair enough, business is business.

Next, we look at the cost of exhibiting in other cities. Shipping artwork is expensive, and increases the likelihood that a piece will be damaged en route to a location. I imagine this is where it pays to have dear, true friends working in these gallery positions. I wouldn't have the time to drive the work cross-country since I'll be busy meeting studio deadlines and mailing out slides to new cities.

A person capable of showing and selling their work to such a degree has the potential to build a market for him or herself. With notoriety, one can expect natural cost increases to reflect demand. Here is where artwork prices are buoyed to ridiculous heights, and the wistful dream of hobnobbing within the high, dark bastions of New York City's art elite is realized. And who wouldn't like to be bourgeois? Most likely, this brief flare of popularity and its subsequent passing would be far too damaging to a human being. The rise and fall of an ego is a great and terrible thing. It may be better to live in obscurity than be contorted by such forces.

Another option available is to simply make the artwork and let everything else follow. If you could look into the future and tell me I'll never sell another painting, would I stop making artwork? I don't think so. Making stuff makes me happy. It sucks that I can't make a real living off of my work, but there are worse things out there.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Junker: Demagogue


I built this thing tonight. It's the first in a series of sculptures that I'm planning. The overall theme involves combining a variety of materials into new objects that are both anthropomorphic and mechanical in nature. This one is named Demagogue and it is a scale model of a fictitious war machine that is so large it could crush a building underfoot. It is made from a flowerpot, plastic bottles, and wooden craft sticks.

Usually, I try to paint everything that I build. I've always painted things, and I usually feel inclined to cover things up as force of habit. I'm not going to paint this one though, because the materials are interesting enough on their own. No point in trying to disguise what is already there.

I felt positive about this piece while I was working on it. It is a machine of death bristling with toy guns, whose purpose is to deal with warfare on an absurd level:  This is war as I see it, filtered through the video games that I play, the tabletop miniatures that I collect, and the science fiction novels that I read. Absurd because it is so disconnected from the true realities of war. Why do I insulate myself from what I should fear? 

demagogue02Here's a close-up shot. I've still got some work to do on this. Some details need to get filled out and there are a few more layers of material I want to add.

More to come.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Shape of Things

claudeWhile it's fresh in my memory I'd like to recount the story of an exodus I undertook two weeks ago-- to visit Les, a good old friend who just got home from his second tour of duty in the Iraq War. Les lives in D.C., but had come back to Ohio for the week to see his family. I had a couple of free days, so the timing was perfect to drive down and visit.

With my wife's blessing, I packed my bag and left behind the urban comforts of Columbus, making my way down into the mess of rolling Appalachian foothills that came to be called Meigs County. The three-lane highway changed into two-lanes, which turned into a county road, and finally settled into a winding back-road that was so familiar I could have probably driven it with my eyes closed. This was home.


I pulled my car up to a house that looked like it hadn't changed since the last time I left it. There were hugs all around and people I haven't seen since for years. The weather was sunny with a steady breeze; not too hot.

We spent a good portion of the day sitting on the porch, catching up on life, and eating our weight in grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. Occasionally, we would waddle down off the porch to play corn hole, which was really just an excuse to walk around in the grass barefoot and be a kid again.

We went to the local American Legion post that evening to shoot some pool and drink an assortment of beverages. Every stranger that I met at the bar that night ended up being the brother or cousin of someone I used to know. Small world. Not much had changed in this place. Had we changed? Maybe. I think we got a little older.

Later that night, we watched The Matador. We ran out of things to drink. I laid on the couch, very still. Blanket over my nose to filter away the fog of cigarette smoke. Room spinning. Nursing a beer that came out of nowhere. TV off. Darkness. TV back on. Snoring. Blackout.

Morning. Devastation. Barren wasteland of ashtrays and carpet. Breakfast is sausage and pancakes. Orange juice is heartburn so I pour it back into the jug when no one's looking. A neighbor comes by. I think his name is Dan. He's raising honey bees on his farm and we talk about that for awhile. I try some honey and it is delicious. Eating honey from the area where you live nullifies any allergies you might have to the local pollen.

More corn hole and hot dogs. This is a happy place.

We walk through woods and cow fields until we come upon an old car covered in mud and manure. The tire is flat but we attempt to drive it anyway. The flat is directly under me. I feel every rock and divot we pass over-- it's a bumpy ride and I am slightly terrified, but then as quickly as it began, the venture ends.  We walk home. Soon I realize it's time I must be getting back to Columbus. Goodbyes and hugs all around. Sheepish, I realize I was having so much fun I neglected to take any pictures until the last minute. Partings are awkward when the distance measured between friends is in hours, but they are no less heartfelt.

Safe travels, and until next time.