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.