Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year’s Eve At Impossible Kisses

This is a drawing of Beethoven I made a long time ago. It’s 2009 now so in the tradition of the modern world this picture has been photoshopped just a little bit to make Beethoven happy.

This is the Tascam Girl from the GT-R1 ad. That little red thing on her leg is one of the coolest products I’ve ever bought. I use it almost every day and I still love everything about it. It does everything great. It’s one of those rare products about which I can’t find even a single bad thing to say. Great stuff. It’s a cool product. But it’s not as cool as the Tascam Girl playing the Fender. She stole Beethoven’s heart and got him to be all modern and photoshop away his past.

This is Jennifer Connelly as Emma, the lounge singer and the obscure object of desire in the great film “Dark City.”

This is New Year’s Eve at Impossible Kisses.

Beethoven is taking the Tascam Girl to the lounge where Emma is singing beautifully without dancing around and the musicians are playing beautiful jazz slowly. Beethoven and the Tascam Girl are going to have a nice evening and a nice New Year.

Meanwhile in the “real” world the marketplace is saying Lady Gaga’s show in Miami is getting the highest ticket prices for people going out. The “real” world is totally fucked up and is going to have a totally fucked up New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lunar Halo/Eye Shadow Girl Sketch

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are coming up but right this second I don’t have anything special planned for the blog.

I feel I should have something special but I don’t. New Year’s Eve this year will be a full moon, and it will be a blue moon—the second full moon of the month. (And as I type this it is very early Wednesday morning, late Tuesday night, and I just took out the garbage and looked up and saw a lunar halo. Lunar halos aren’t rare, but they’re still cool to see. If you extend your arm and spread your fingers your whole hand fits inside the circle which is I think 22 degrees wide. Sometimes you can see colors because it’s really a rainbow but I just saw a white glowing circle this time.) So with all this moon stuff going on I feel I should have something special but I’ve been a slacker and I just don’t have anything special ready.

I might have a guitar video ready to end the year or start the year but I might not.

Mostly I’ve been thinking about graphics lately. I’ve been experimenting with quick sketches. I want to be able to sketch people quickly when I’m in public and I want to be able to sketch a lot of images quickly at home to do simple animation projects.

Next year at the very least I want to do a lot of stories illustrated with colorful, quick sketches.

Here’s one I made today. I did this in about five minutes. It’s a scribble sketch in pencil, scribbled over in black ink ball point pen, scribbled over in inexpensive highlighter makers.

This kind of stuff is fun to do and—if you’re able to get reasonably good at it—can be expressive. I don’t know if I’m the kind of person who can get good at it, but I’m going to try and get better.

Sometimes “better” is good enough.

So I’m sorry I’m not going to have anything special. But I will have something.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Talking Back To Galileo

If she were a telescope—
and she is a telescope
but I’m pretending she’s not—
if she were a telescope
far away things would look close
when I look at them through her.

Some telescopes use lenses.
Some telescopes use mirrors.
Far away things do look close
when I look at them through her
but she doesn’t use lenses
and she doesn’t use mirrors.

I don’t see the Moon through her.
Or the phases of Venus.
Or comets. Or double stars.
I see things like volcanoes,
animals like dinosaurs,
UFOs shaped like donuts.

Without lenses or mirrors
she shows me far away things
up close when I look through her.
I am pretending she’s not
a telescope. I won’t look.
Galileo go to hell.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Witches: A Present Of The Past

The red witch said, “The grail stories
are vagina metaphors. Please.

The grail’s round. It receives liquid.
The idea is that avid

worthy knights seeking it will come
to possess a magic kingdom,

either in this world or their heart’s.
It’s a quest that drives all the arts.”

The green witch, silent, just watched me.
I said, “By that thinking we’d see

Bermuda triangle reports
as failed vagina tales of sorts.

It’s a triangle. And it’s wet.
People get very passionate

when things disappear into it.
But the metaphor doesn’t fit

into the vagina pattern
since no great good comes in return.”

The green witch shrugged, tilted her head.
“I’m not sure no good comes,” she said.

“Sometimes,” she said, “myths are cryptic.”
“Something hidden?” I asked. “A trick?”

“Something hidden,” she said, “but seen.
What crafty call the naked queen.”

“Things disappear,” I said, nodding.
“Disappearing, to the plodding,

is a bad thing. But to the wise,
to the crafty ones who despise

this world as a base, corrupt realm,
to vanish means taking the helm

and going to a better place,
with an open heart, a pure face,

the magic kingdom the knights seek.”
The red witch nodded, didn’t speak.

I said, “I never thought this through.
This Bermuda triangle view.

As a vagina metaphor
it could be a grail myth, but for

us modern types, crushed, bored, lost, glum,
looking for a magic kingdom.

I never thought this through before.
This is like opening a door.”

The green witch said, “Cryptic riches
come from intercourse with witches.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Christmas Witches I Mean Wishes

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Witches I Mean Wishes

I reached into the witch’s hood
and removed a glass that I stood

on a table. A second witch
poured white wine. Each witch had a niche.

“I reached into her hood,” I said,
pointing at the first witch in red.

“You, in green, filled the glass with wine.
I’m thinking the colors are fine.

Christmas witches. I get the look.
And it’s a pun too though that took

me a moment longer to get.
I don’t want to make you upset

but I’m stuck on this metaphor
of reaching in a hood-thing for

a cup-thing. These are grail echoes
and I’m guessing everyone knows

what both the grail and the wine mean.”
The witch in green played out a scene,

using both hands to hold her glass,
raise it, take a sip and then pass

her glass to me. I took a sip.
I said, “If we make the whole trip

around this metaphor, this schtick,
it’s ‘the body and the blood’ trick.

The ‘body’ part means things get wild.”
“We’re witches,” she said. And she smiled.

“Metaphors,” she said, “free the id.”
“I get it,” I said. And I did.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Christmas Witches: A Present Of The Past

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All The Little Drops

All the little drops of water
wash against her when she showers.

All the little drops of rain
wash against the city in a storm.

But even after a storm
with a rainbow glittering
the city is still the city.

All the little drops of water
wash against her when she showers.

All the little drops of tears
wash against his face when he cries.

The colors of the rainbow glittering
are like children outside playing
playing among themselves laughing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In Kimberly’s Game Vampires Don’t Count

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Why this cartoon appears on a Tuesday:

Lost (For Brittany Murphy)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lost (For Brittany Murphy)

Brittany Murphy
November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009

Rest In Peace

Brittany Murphy appeared in this blog a few times. She had what I think of as an “idiosyncratic” kind of beauty. To me it’s the most striking kind of beauty, something almost hypnotic, something magical. When I look at her I have a hard time taking my eyes away.

Back on my birthday in 2007, I wrote about an extraordinary movie Brittany starred in, “Cherry Falls,” in my post The Rate of God.

Also back in 2007 Communication Arts magazine singled out a GAP ad that featured Brittany and I talked about it in Communicating The Arts Of Brittany Murphy.

Although I didn’t mention her by name, I just talked about one of her movies last week. She recently was in an awful earthquake movie called “Megafault,” where she played a scientist. Unfortunately the production people on that film did nothing to acknowledge the idiosyncratic nature of her beauty and she looked terrible throughout.

Beyond her beauty, Brittany was an amazing actress. The movie “Cherry Falls” presents itself as simply a teen slasher film, a “Scream” rip-off, but Brittany’s incredible performance of being confused and torn between her stumbling boyfriend and her troubled English teacher turns the film almost into something like an art-house project. And Brittany’s haunting performance as the disturbed young woman in “Don’t Say A Word” is the very heart of that movie.

I never followed gossip stories about Brittany but apparently she lived a turbulent life, getting involved with odd, manipulative men.

Brittany Murphy is beyond the turbulent grief of this world now. She is with God and now she knows what we don’t, now she knows what’s really going on. I’m glad she is free from the wretched sadness this world inflicts on so many people and I’m glad she is in the place where all questions are answered. But I wish she was still with us, still here, still trying to figure out everything the hard way with us, and still sharing what she could with us through art and entertainment.


I was drawing a cartoon
about a woman who played
with monsters, monster games made
to play out under the moon,

not described in word or rune,
where blood is black, colors grayed
by full moon light, blood is trade
by new moon dark, death a boon.

Real monsters took a woman away.
I didn’t know her. I knew her art.
She tried. Played what no one wins. She lost.

I wish more than anything today
we could help each other win our part.
We can’t. We’re alone with monsters. Lost.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Normally on Monday I put up a cartoon or some kind of artwork
that’s an attempt at something amusing or silly. On Sunday
I was almost done with a cartoon for today when I saw the news
about Brittany Murphy. I’m glad I was almost done
because I completely lost the desire to try to be funny or silly.
Tomorrow I’ll put up what I had prepared for today.

Tuesday’s cartoon:

In Kimberly’s Game Vampires Don’t Count

Friday, December 18, 2009

Polka Dot Goodbye

I did this to try out the inexpensive water-soluble wax crayons I talked about Monday.

I like this, but I don’t think I’ll be working with these crayons again. For the trouble and all the paper crinkle I might just as well use watercolor.

And I think I’ve gotten used to the intensity of ink. I may try some drawing inks with a brush at some point, but I don’t think I’ll be going back to “stick” color.

I mentioned Juli once before in a cartoon, back in The Renaissance In Public And In Private

It was fun seeing a Renaissance girl in polka dots. Maybe she and I will talk again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Memory, Two Lessons, Three Bad Movies

I’ve watched some bad movies lately. Not good-bad. Just plain bad.

I watched a bad science fiction movie about earthquakes destroying much of North America. I watched a bad monster movie about a giant octopus destroying Tokyo. I watched a bad murder mystery about a school principal killing young girls in Mexico.

These movies were so bad I don’t even want to type their titles.

The only good memory I have from these last three movies is from the giant-octopus-destroying-Tokyo movie: The two American women who ran around acting stupid the whole movie were wearing low-cut sexy tee shirts for the whole film so at least it was fun to watch.

I take away two lessons from this one good memory from the three bad movies.

First, most movie-making books stress the importance of always starting the movie-making process with a good script. Fuck that. Hire a good costume designer. Work out a dynamic plan to make your actors and actresses fun to look at.

If I ever make a film, animated or live action, I’m going to spend as much effort, or more, on costume design as I do on plot and character development.

I had started to suspect this back when I watched “Anaconda 3” and “Anaconda 4”

Monster Snakes And Sexy Tee Shirts

The Sexy Herpetologist Returns! (Sans Sexy)

(And The Girl In The Canadian Negligee)

These last three movies confirm my suspicions.

Second—and this is a real-life lesson for me not a film lesson—I’m going to start up-grading my wardrobe.

Even if I’m a worthless guy to spend time with, maybe if I’m interesting to look at I can go out to dinner more often.

I’ve got to start moving this project forward. Spiffing up my clothes isn’t much, but at least it’s something.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Walking The Circle

Walking the circle is a phrase
from the world of Spanish fencing,
that is, the historical world.

There are people alive today
who know exactly what it means
but they don’t post it in their blogs.

It’s knowledge that doesn’t get lost
although it’s never in a book.

If you want to walk the circle
in the classic sense of the phrase
you must be perceptive enough
to recognize someone who knows
and you must be skillful enough
and sufficiently civilized
to persuade the person who knows
you’re worthy to know what they know.

It’s said that there are just two ways
to see someone walk the circle.
One is to attack somebody
who knows how to walk the circle.
Then it is the last thing you see.
The second is to find someone
who’ll teach you to walk the circle.

You will not see demonstrations.
You won’t see it on video.
And you’ll never see it in books.

There is civilization and
there is real civilization.

It’s good to keep your eyes open
and to think carefully about
to whom you speak and what you say.

Evasion is raised to an art
among those walking the circle.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

“Watching T.V.”

Nine billion years ago, i.e., around 1975-ish, there was an obscure British pop group named Charlie.

They had some really good musicians play with the group and they wrote one or two really cool songs but they never made the transition from obscurity to not-obscurity and eventually they just disappeared.

But like a lot of obscure British guys these obscure British guys somehow remained alive. The main guy and one or two others from Charlie are still alive and have put out a new album.

They have a website: Charlie Music

Their old songs are on iTunes.

And some of their stuff is on YouTube.

Among most people who knew about Charlie they’re mainly famous for their album covers, which tried to be sexy and interesting and almost all of which looked like these two:

Just a little before it became popular to be post-modern and “deconstructionist” about modern media, Charlie put out my favorite song about modern media. It is post-modern in a very relaxed way and I’ve liked it very much these last nine billion years, even before it became available in digital form.

It’s called “Watching T.V.” and it’s available on iTunes and YouTube.

Here is the YouTube version and the lyrics:

Watching T.V. - the American shows
Watching T.V. - with those superheroes
Watching T.V. - and I'm gonna be someone just like them someday

Well, I like T.V., 'cause it shows me what the world's all about
And I watch endlessly, every car chase, every fatal shoot-out

I wanna be like Starsky & Hutch, and those
Sweet Charlie's Angels say 'Look, but don't touch'
I wanna be in Hawaii-Five-O, I say
'No way, McGarret, let's go!'

Watching T.V. - the American shows
Watching T.V. - with those superheroes
Watching T.V. - and I'm gonna be someone just like them someday

And I like cop shows, all that action and the life on the street
And I dig Harry-O and Steve Austin, well, he's never been beat

I wanna be like the Bionic Man
And break down iron doors with one blow of my hand
Run like a cheetah - fight with such flair -
Jump thirty feet in the air

Watching T.V. - the American shows
Watching T.V. - with those superheroes
Watching T.V. - and I'm gonna be someone just like them someday

I live each day just waiting for the time
My heroes come to me ... on my T.V.

Watching T.V. - the American shows
Watching T.V. - with those superheroes
Watching T.V. - and I'm gonna be someone just like them someday

Oh, I love Star Trek, Captain James Kirk, he's the Master of Space
And there's Scott's flight deck, beams the crew down to another strange place

I wanna travel the aeons of time
Speed through the cosmos at warp factor nine
Beat off the Klingons with phasers on stun
Killing strange people is fun

Watching T.V. - the American shows
Watching T.V. - with those superheroes
Watching T.V. - and I'm gonna be someone just like them someday

Watching T.V. - the American shows
Watching T.V. - with those superheroes
Watching T.V. - and I'm gonna be someone just like them someday

Watching T.V.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Bull, Hershey’s And A Woman Yawning

Cartoon-wise this weekend was a fail. Sadly, it wasn’t even an epic fail, just a plain old run-of-the-mill fail. But I do have a little story to tell about it.


The weekend started out with promise. Friday I bought a small set of water-soluble wax crayons and I was going to use them to render the color for whatever cartoon I drew this weekend. I like using crayons. The first color images I put up in this blog used Crayola crayons for color.

I also like Prismacolor markers. The last few cartoons I’ve put up have been all Prismacolor. So Friday and early Saturday I was kind of conflicted, wanting to try out the crayons and wanting to stick with Prismacolor.

So I went out into the real world and just wandered around a bit trying to think of an idea for a cartoon and trying to see if I could think of a way to decide what to use to draw the cartoon.

Then came a moment around which my whole weekend pivoted.

I saw a remarkable-looking woman. She was just kind of standing around. She wasn’t hanging with anyone or doing anything special, she seemed to be just standing around killing time. I don’t believe she saw me looking at her because she glanced at her watch and then looked off into the distance and yawned.

She didn’t cover her mouth and she didn’t make any effort to keep her face presentable. She just in a lazy way yawned and then looked again at her watch.

I thought, “Wow. I want to draw that.”

J. D. Salinger wrote about a moment something like what I experienced in one of the short stories included in his “Nine Stories,” the story “The Laughing Man.” It includes this paragraph I’ve always remembered:

Offhand, I can remember seeing just three girls in my life who struck me as having unclassifiably great beauty at first sight. One was a thin girl in a black bathing suit who was having a lot of trouble putting up an orange umbrella at Jones Beach, circa 1936. The second was a girl aboard a Caribbean cruise ship in 1939, who threw her cigarette lighter at a porpoise. And the third was the Chief's girl, Mary Hudson.

Watching that woman yawn was like that for me. I was hooked.

It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to draw anyone and I instantly wanted to draw that woman yawning.

I’m a pretty talkative guy but I didn’t get a chance Saturday to talk to the woman. Sunday we didn’t bump into each other. So I was pissed off. I could try to draw her from memory or I could find a photograph that kind of looked like her or I could put off drawing her. My memory drawing skills are almost non-existent so I couldn’t do that. I don’t like working from photographs, I just didn’t want to do that. So I had to postpone my drawing idea.

But it was really the only thing I could think of. I had two or three caption ideas for the yawn and, once I decided to postpone the yawn drawing, I couldn’t get myself to think of anything else to draw or write about.

So I had nothing.

At some point Sunday I was sitting around trying to come up with an idea and I looked over and saw a Hershey’s bar next to a can of Red Bull and in the light the combinations of blue and silver and brown looked pretty cool. So I thought I’ll just draw that, a kind of commercial still life about sugar. I couldn’t think of anything funny to say but I liked to combination of blue and brown and I thought with pens I could approximate the two colors.

Before I draw a cartoon I use a little 4" by 6" sketch book to test out my idea. So I sketched a small version of the Red Bull and Hershey’s idea, then used two or three different brands of colored pens to do the red, blue and brown.

The trouble is, then, when I looked at the little sketch I didn’t really think a larger version would look much better.

It was exactly like what happened with my little sketch of Mathilda And Nicole. The little sketch wasn’t finished in any way but I didn’t think my limited skill set drawing-wise would make that much difference when I enlarged everything. I still liked the colors but I didn’t really feel any energy to create a larger, full-page version.

So I just scanned the little sketch.

And I had this little story to go with it.

This is like a down payment. Someday in the future I’m going to chat up that yawning woman and I’ll see if I can get her to pose. Either I’ll get her to pose for me or I’ll see if I can talk someone else into re-creating the scene.

Until then, right now, this sketch is all I got. It’s not much but it’s a step up from nothing.

At least the Salinger quote is cool.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Becoming Forever

When the movie “Scream 2” opened
many horror film fans got mad
that the writer and director
made Sidney a college student
rather than the high school student
she was when the series started.

Everybody likes high school girls—
so the consensus thinking goes—
but everyone knows college girls
are girls-gone-wild nobody likes.
“Halloween 2” picked up right where
the original film ended.

I think there’s philosophy here.
High school is law. College is choice.
High school is about becoming—
Children are becoming adults.
College is about partying
and angling for a better job.

When high school kids confront horror
it’s tragedy, it’s bloody life.
Horror to a college student
is a bummer career set-back.
When we watch, suspend disbelief,
we can feel the metaphysics.

“Halloween 2” picked up right where
the original film ended
and even though most horror fans
don’t feel the sequel was as good
as the original most fans
think Carpenter tried the right thing.

Rumors are Craven in “Scream 4”
will deal with Sid as an adult.
Craven missed Carpenter’s genius.
Art is not life. Art does not age.
Sidney Prescott is in high school,
fans too, becoming forever.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

White And Blue Spirals Over Norway

What were the white and blue spiral lights over Norway?

I strongly suspect the light show was exactly that, a laser show of some kind projected from the ground up onto clouds.

I’ve witnessed lasers projected onto clouds and remarkable effects are possible. The demonstrations I saw were many years ago and I believe modern computer-controlled lasers nowadays can reproduce—literally—anything a person could imagine.

That having been said, I want to report the wildest explanation I’ve seen.

The very fringe people at ZetaTalk point out that there have been similar displays recently over Russia and China. The Zetas explanation—to the extent I understand it—is that an astronomical body from the outer solar system they call Planet X is moving through the inner system. As this Planet X passes near the Earth, the Earth’s atmosphere becomes contaminated by debris from Planet X and some of this debris sometimes reacts chemically and electrically with Earth’s atmosphere.

This is pretty crazy stuff, but it is not inconsistent with the odd spiral effects. Components in plasma reactions spiral around lines-of-force and if some odd plasma reaction were taking place in the atmosphere and “grounding” to the Earth it is not too weird to suspect spiral motions would be involved.

But, of course, all that is beyond speculation and in the realm of science fantasy. I’ve been interested in astronomy my whole life and I’ve never seen natural effects like what occurred over Norway in any context.

I strongly suspect it was a laser light show. It looked very much like what lighting designers conjure up at high-end rock concerts.

But of the various oddball explanations I’ve read—LHC effects, wormholes, alien contact—I think the Zetas description is the most interesting.

The best introduction to plasma physics I’ve ever seen is the book, “The Big Bang Never Happened,” by Eric Lerner.

Eric Lerner has his own website: The Big Bang Never Happened Home Page and Summary

Here is the ZetaTalk statement on the Norway event. The statement at the website, linked below, contains embedded links which I’ve removed here:

A dramatic cloud swirl, with a blue neon cloud in the center, was sighted and videotaped over the skies of Norway on December 8, 2009. This was sighted over a range of 250 miles, so was not a local affair. Struggling for an explanation, the Norwegian media proffered that perhaps a Russian test rocket had caused the display. The center of the cloud swirl had a neon cloud, also swirling. This neon cloud was similar in appearance to one captured on videotape in China on June 6, 2009. Both were sighted and filmed at night. Russia likewise had a swirling halo cloud overhead above Moscow recently, much discussed in their media.

The display over the skies of Norway are not noctilucient clouds, which are ice crystals in the clouds catching the light, nor are they earthquake lights. They are also not the smoking and curling light towers caused by methane gas released during Earth movements, suddenly catching fire while aloft in the sky. The Norway display is akin to the neon clouds seen on occasion since Planet X arrived in the inner solar system in 2003 and the grease in the tail of Planet X has polluted the Earth's atmosphere. The neon appearance is caused by a chemical reaction, akin to man's familiar light sticks. Up until recently, such neon displays required a light source in order to be seen, lit in the dawn or dust by sunlight or the lights from a city. What has occurred over Norway, and recently in China, is a neon cloud, a grease cloud, lit by the electrical charge from the tail of Planet X. Why the great swirl in the clouds around the swirling neon display? An electrical charge in the sky is not a static matter, as the path of lightning shows. Lightning is an accumulation between moving air masses that suddenly builds to the point where a torrent of electrons is on the move. But what if the charge does not accumulate in one place, but is constantly present over a broad area? As with all swirls that develop in nature, they start with a small movement in one place that creates a vacuum pulling matter behind it, and thus builds. Galaxies swirl. Water going down a drain swirls. And these large charged atmospheric swirls are chasing after some part of the tail waft that is more or less charged than the surrounding atmosphere. What occurs at the center of such a charged swirl is more electrical charge than the surrounding swirl, thus the center becomes a neon cloud that can be seen even at night, and wants to discharge, ground, in the Earth.

ZetaTalk: Neon Swirls

ZetaTalk: New Comments

ZetaTalk: Main Website

12:30am Addendum: I do not discount the semi-official explanation that this was a missile test gone haywire. There would be a number of effects interacting. As a missile spiraled up and out of control, fuel might spray out in a spiral pattern. Also missiles are sometimes launched with chemicals which are designed to glow like high-level clouds. Either fuel spray or chemical leaks would explain the blue spirals. The large white/gray spirals could have resulted from the contrail of the missile above low clouds as the sun, which is below the horizon to observers, casts the shadow of the twisting contrail down onto the low clouds. None of these effects, in themselves, are too unusual at rocket launches. I have seen video of all of these effects coming one or two at a time. I’ve never seen a sequence like the display over Norway result from a missile launch gone bad, but it would not be very hard to believe a bad launch could—under a particular set of cloud-and-sun conditions, result in exactly what everyone witnessed.

4:15pm Update: Mystery solved? Norway's spiral light display 'was down to a failed Russian Bulava missile test'

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Foothills Of Olympus

“There’s a rip in your stocking,” I said.

She said, “Yes, the gods will strike me dead
if I’m perfect. The gods get jealous.”

“I thought,” I said, “Zeus just gets zealous,
turns into a swan and then rapes you.”

“Hera finds out,” she said, “right on cue
and turns me into a flower or fish
or constellation as if my wish
was to get fucked, get raped, by a bird.”

For a bit we didn’t say a word.

I said, “Can I, umm, buy you dinner?”

“Are you Zeus looking for a sinner?”

“I can honestly say I’m no god.”

“Mortal’s good,” she said. “You get my nod.”

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Unhappy Jazz Dog

The dog wanted to run away

so badly he would have stolen

a row boat and rowed night and day

but the dog-in-a-boat escape

reminded him of a screenplay

Pixar had in development

and he’d rather suffer and stay

than embrace the Disney ethos.

Monday, December 07, 2009

“Because I Couldn’t Trust You”

This is a cartoon of a scene from a television show about an actress pretending to be a cartoon character.

Back when I first became interested in Karen Kilimnik I put up a post about the odd trend in contemporary art to copy one medium in another. To “use” or “re-interpret” an existing image. At the time I was very conflicted about the practice. I liked—very much—some of the images but I couldn’t see any point to the practice and I couldn’t come up with much of an esthetic justification either for the practice or for why I liked the images so much.

I called my post, “The Abandonment Of Meaning.”

I stayed interested in the issue and a short time later I tried it myself, doing a colored pencil sketch of a scene from Mythbusters in a post I called, “Kari Loses An Underwire From Her Bra...”

I’ve done a few other cartoons based on still images off DVDs but I can’t say I’ve made any progress at all with the philosophy of this issue. I still like such images. But I still haven’t worked out any esthetic theory that makes sense to me.

So I’m going to keep doing it and keep thinking about it.

Today’s image comes from 23:07 into the season three episode of Smallville called, “Truth.” I’ve talked about this scene in another post where I used a cartoon image from Smallville, “What Is It About You, Lana?” Here is a chunk of my earlier post:

* * *

In this little scene, Lana is talking to her best friend Chloe. Lana’s parents died in the meteor shower and when Lana’s aunt left Smallville, Lana was able to remain in town by moving in with Chloe. They are good friends, but as we see, Lana has secrets even from Chloe. In “Truth,” Chloe is exposed to a failed LuthorCorp experiment [do they ever work?] and discovers that everyone feels compelled to tell her the truth. At first Chloe is thrilled. She’s a proto-reporter and getting the truth from people is her dream. But she starts to experience the downside of the truth during this talk with Lana:

CHLOE: Is it just me or did I completely clear out the lunch crowd?

LANA: No, it was you. Ever since you turned the Torch into your own gossip column no one can stand being around you.

CHLOE: Well, at least you’re still talking to me, right?

LANA: For now.

CHLOE: Okay. What’s that about?

LANA: I applied to the Paris School of the Arts. They have a full-time high school program and if I get accepted I start in the summer.

CHLOE: Wow. I guess I’m out of the loop. When did you decide this?

LANA: I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Everyone has their families, you know, and I’m not sure where I fit in.

CHLOE: But I always thought we were your family.

LANA: Oh, come on, Chloe. I know what you and everyone else thinks of me. That I’m driven and self-involved. I just can’t wait to get out of here and go somewhere where people don’t judge me.

CHLOE: I never said anything like that.

LANA: You never had to.

CHLOE: Why have you never talked to me about this?

LANA: Because I couldn’t trust you.

Chloe, in tears, turns and runs out of the room.

That’s a pretty cool scene.

* * *

I still think that’s a pretty cool scene. In my earlier post I spoke about this scene in the context of how the writers treated Lana’s interesting character. Today I wanted to draw this cartoon because I was thinking about the interaction of these two characters, Chloe and Lana.

They are both smart, cool characters. But they both have issues. Lana has trust issues. Chloe is a writer, a reporter, and she always puts reporting first to such an extent that she doesn’t see how her work shapes her personality, shapes her interactions with her friends and shapes how they think of her. When Lana, pushed by Chloe’s exposure to the truth gas, tells Chloe the truth, that she didn’t share a big part of her life with her because she couldn’t trust her, it comes as a huge shock to Chloe—it was something she never would have imagined because she is so wrapped up in her own concerns—that a friend of hers wouldn’t trust her. Chloe runs away in tears.

Chloe, seeing herself as a writer, thought her exposure to the truth gas was wonderful. What reporter wouldn’t dream of people being compelled to tell them the truth? But then Chloe experiences that same truth compulsion causing her friend to break her heart.

I like this scene because of the complex interactions between these two friends. But also for personal reasons.

Like Lana I have trust issues. It doesn’t happen all that often, but once I become convinced I fundamentally can’t trust someone I shut out that person from my life. I find it hard to even talk to such a person.

Like Chloe I often find myself surprised to discover that something I’d regarded as wonderful, something I’d regarded as purely positive, ends up breaking my heart in some way that—in hindsight—would have been obvious to me if I hadn’t been interpreting my own life in some one dimensional way.

I know not much of this background thinking gets captured in a cartoon image. I still don’t see any existential point to creating images like this. But subjectively anything that drives this kind of introspection can’t be bad.

This is one of those topics I’ll be coming back to if I ever make any progress thinking it through. Or the next time I do a fun image.

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Typically when someone in the fine arts “uses” an existing image they copy the image in a photorealistic technique. They copy the image using computer software or a digitizing tablet or, more traditionally, they project the image onto a support and then work directly on the projected image.

Although I don’t know that Karen Kilimnik works that way. Her work is typically what critics call “painterly” which means less slick.

But I don’t do tracing at all not even of any kind.

When I do a DVD image I simply pause the image on my TV and then draw the image, freehand, on a sheet of paper. So this isn’t photorealism. There is the endless lack of realism from the limitations of my drawing ability and, more to the point, I specifically don’t use a drawing rectangle with the same aspect ratio of a TV screen. I approximate the aspect ratio but I don’t copy it.

I still don’t have an esthetic theory to support this stuff, but I do have some practical thoughts that I keep in mind when I work.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Elevator Gothic #3

I think some people are afraid

to ride up in elevators

because they’ve heard the expression

“Hey, I can see my house from here!”

and the last thing some people want

is a bird’s eye view of their house

especially if we’re talking

not about real elevators

but metaphors inside our head

and the heads of people we love

that let us look down at our self

and see our self in perspective.

“Hey, I can see my house from here

and look, dinosaurs, volcanoes

and UFOs shaped like donuts.”

Elevators can be monsters.

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Elevator Gothic

Elevator Gothic #2

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Elevator Gothic #2

Words take an elevator from up in our head

down to our mouth and become things we’ve said.

Sometimes words get off at the wrong floor

and we’re left speechless wishing we’ve said more.

A girl can’t be afraid of getting on elevators with me

because upstairs words don’t get lost. And there’s music and tea.

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Elevator Gothic

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Elevator Gothic

This is all just so damn sad. I feel bad for the wife.
Look at those nasty ass ho's he was banging on the side,
she's way better looking than them. Those girls
are so skanky looking I'd be making an appointment
for an AIDS test right about now if I was Elin.

Comment about
Tiger Woods
on a gossip site

One time a girl told me she’d never
get in an elevator with me.

At the time I thought it was simply
a weird thing for a woman to say.

I’ve never known if she meant the phrase
“get in an elevator” with me

as a trust thing, or a metaphor.
And she wasn’t Elin Nordegren.

But in an Elin Nordegren way
I’m fucking glad not to know some things.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Devo And Kim Kardashian

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ugly And Beauty

What’s the ugliest part of your body?

What’s the ugliest part of your body?

Some say your nose

Some say your toes

But I think it’s your mind . . .

I think your mind is the ugliest part of your body . . .

Frank Zappa