Free Piano

Mrs. Austin found a piano on FreeCycle Friday and today we went and picked it up. This is the first song she played.

Something to do with her school in Odessa or something, I have no idea.

Let me reiterate, this was a FREE PIANO! It plays fine, needs a little tuning but it's otherwise great. For a FREE PIANO!

We've had it in our house for about 2 hours and the kids have been fighting over it non-stop.


Yes, we checked for a dead body inside, we're ok.

Carry on.

Birthday and Vacation

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I think the funniest part about the birthday of someone who spends a lot of time online is the amount of emails you get from all the message boards on which you've signed up.

I was up till about 1am hanging out with Mrs. A and reading and stuff and at about 11pm I started getting them.

"Happy Birthday from all of us here at WhateverTheHell.com"

The best one was from Penciljack. Five other guys and I run the site and so basically I wished myself a Happy Birthday. It was pretty funny.

Next week LMA and I will be going up to Denver. Transformers opens Tuesday and I'll be seeing it Wednesday with my brother. Plus I haven't seen my family in a while and it'd be nice to go see them for a change instead of them coming to us. I could use a bit of time away as well - I don't remember the last time I had a vacation, I think it was the cruise before G-man was born.

I'll take pictures and update the site for all my readers, although I'll be seeing most of you while I'm on the trip, so I guess it'll be like wishing yourself a Happy Birthday.

Carry on.


Summer Movies

My Inner Simpson
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I've been reading and heavily commenting on a new blog that's primarily focused on the discussion of movies. Marcus Varner, the author, openly invites discourse as long as it's at least thoughtful if not completely scholarly.

It's still very new, maybe five entries, but all of them discuss movies from this year and movies coming out soon. In all my discussion I've been trying to bring back some points that there have been other movies made before 2007 and it's unfair to constantly give movie makers the "what have you done for me lately" attitude.

One of the latest points for debate, and this has come up repeatedly on message boards and other blogs, is that Hollywood - which I use here as the all encompassing, non-independent film making entity - is out of ideas. So many remakes and adaptations are set to be released that many wonder if we've well and truly exhausted not only all available ideas for stories, but also every permutation of how they are conveyed.

And while there will be movies made from past franchises like He-Man, Thundercats and Clash of the Titans, I don't think it's because the well has run dry. I agree with Varner that film-makers are being run by studios now and studios just want money. I think very few people expect both quality and quantity from movies any more. It's either a blockbuster or an award winner and I think the times have changed from when a single movie could be both.

My best example is Lord of the Rings. Undoubtedly the biggest franchise in the last decade; three movies in tight succession, earning several billion dollars worldwide. The trilogy was based on arguably the most successful and recognized fantasy story of all time. The movie stared screen and stage legend Ian McKellen among other stars of today. It won a ton of awards, even AFI has it listed among their top 100 movies of all time, and yet I know people still say it wasn't a great film. The Matrix, which was a cultural and technical wonder was a box office dark horse. It came out just weeks before the (devastatingly horrid) Star Wars prequels, and yet it packed more innovation than all three of Lucas's recent offerings combined. Had the movie been left alone and not had three tacked on extensions, I think it would have seen more favorable consideration.

Now recently we've had a slew of comic book movies. Comic book movies are to the 2000's what disaster movies were to the 1990's. Looking back, almost every year we had a comet or asteroid head to earth. We had volcanoes and earthquakes and floods and hurricanes and twisters. Disaster was the new black, but did anyone back then say, "Hey, didn't we see this already in Towering Inferno?" So now that we're all patched up and nature isn't trying to kill us, we're focusing on what else can kill us; namely, super villains. Over the past few years we've seen more spandex then an Olympic swim meet. We've seen returns and beginnings, we've seen unitings and last stands and risings. We've even seen a few cult offerings. Not all of them have been good, but one thing was made perfectly clear; movie goers love to go see them.

Why? Why would more people rather see Sin City than Brokeback Mountain? (Aside from the obvious reasons.)

If you were to look at 2005's top grossing movies and compared it to 2005's nominated movies for best picture, there's not one of them that's both. Why is that? Star Wars: Return of the Sith was the top grossing movie and it wasn't even nominated for a special effects award. Have you seen Munich? It's a GREAT film! It makes Return of the Sith look like a commercial for Six Flags.

Which is what they all are. In the end, big movies are big vehicles for merchandise. Films like Munich and Capote and Walk the Line can't sell action figures or dinosaur play sets or t-shirts. I'm fairly certain studios make films like War of the Worlds so they can afford to make films like Good Night and Good Luck, but does that make sense? War of the Worlds made a metric shit-ton of money. It cost $132m to make and it brought in $234m in it's first year. By way of comparison, Good Night and Good Luck cost $7m to make and brought in $35m. In terms of profit percentage, it blew War of the Worlds out of the water, but who saw it?

This has gone on longer than I wanted it to, and I'm sure no one is left reading. My long winded point was, there's going to be a lot of crap coming out this year and most of it is either an adaptation, a reimaging or a sequel. A friend of mine said about the Simpson movie, "If it had come out 10 years ago while I still watched the show..." I'm still enjoying Battlestar Galactica and I'm excited to see what they do with The Bionic Woman and I'm so excited about Transformers that I'm flying up to Colorado to see it with my brother, the person with whom I grew up watching the show and playing with the toys. Even Pixar's Ratatouille isn't as hyped as Incredibles or Cars, are they worried it won't play as well? That their magic is gone? (I doubt it, it's Pixar after all.)

Trust me, though. Come February of 2008, there will be a large portion of us dumb yanks who will watch the award shows and say, "I wish I'd have seen that movie."



Just when you think you've reached the last tube and the intarweb has nothing left to offer, you find something truly amazing. Amazing in this case means utterly horrid and perplexing.

I bring you, Jowling. The fine art of taking a picture of someone or yourself while vigorously shaking your head in order to capture a moment in time where your face flaps jarringly from side to side.

Thanks, Dan!


Odds and Ends

Bed Time
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Oh I have so much to talk about and so little to write. This will be a segue-less entry.

The 100 Artists Project is going along fine. I lost someone art the other day and it's killing me. I know exactly what happened to it, but it doesn't bring it back. Aside from that we're up to 50 pieces and 4 people have done the big sketchbook. At this rate we'll be done when LMA graduates college. But it's going so I can't complain.

Austin was recently given the dubious honor of having the worst drivers in Texas. The study was based on number of claims, so it's just as possible we have good drivers that are more responsible about reporting accidents and more drivers with insurance. There could be a lot of ne'er-do-wells in Houston leaving the scene.

But driving on the roads here, I can appreciate the sentiment. It's not the 3 accidents I see on the way home that clinches it for me, it's the lack of turn signal usage or the following too closely or the merging with traffic across the double line and then not letting anyone else in. In general, and this may be world wide, there's a definite lack of courtesy in our driving. We're in too much of a rush to get where we're going. I wonder if anyone takes the time to understand that it doesn't matter if you pass that one guy or go 75 instead of 70, over about 10 miles, on average, you're not going to get to your destination any quicker when compared to the risk you take by driving like a fucking idiot. You giant F-150 type pick up truck drivers are the worst of the lot and can suck my left nut. I'm pretty sure signals are installed on those behemoths just the same. You must be rushing to a gas station.

I want to thank my brother and sister in law for buying a shirt, that was neat. I'll still be putting up more playground games shirts so if you see one, let me know if you like it. I'm pretty sure you can customize any image you see for any shirt they have.

Mrs. A had her first wedding in a month last Sunday. There's been a dry spell in weddings so far this year. She's taken a hit on advertising and has been able to do much of it, so she's relying on word of mouth. Next year she wants to get back on the circuit. It's good money as long as it's constant, like everything else.

So we were watching the Closer last night and there was a whole underlying story of the detectives having to sign out and there was no over time and budget cuts and what not. Which got me thinking, do detectives get paid hourly? I'd think a job that requires you to be available almost all the time would by default be a salaried position. I mean, if I were running a police department, I'd make all my detectives salary and bump their pay to just under what they'd make in a given year of time plus time and a half. It'd save me money and make my people feel good for having a raise. I don't get why television shows like that aren't smarter and feel they have to force something like this. Unless of course detectives DO get hourly pay, in which case I'm sad for our men and women in plain clothes uniforms.

It's been raining here for almost two weeks, and it's going to rain all week. This is fun. My hair has exploded, I look like a circus performer.

Lil' Miss Austin's been eating bowls of powdered sugar, playing computer games, staying up late and sleeping in. She's saying "duh" and rolling her eyes a lot. She's acting more like a teenager than a six year old. I'm wondering what happened in the last year. I blame the slew of teenage soap operas she watches on Discovery Kids.

I'm going up to see my brother on the 4th and go see Transformers with him. LMA is going with me and we'll be seeing most of my family, but the main purpose is to see this flick. We grew up on Transformers and both our birthdays are coming up so I thought it'd be cool to reminisce together.

Oh, and thanks to all none of you who commented on the cartoon thing. That was helpful. I'll just do whatever whenever I have time, which I don't have so it doesn't matter. Yes I need to draw more. I'm working on a faeire portrait for an old friend, but I've some how stopped everything else. (By stopped I mean for this week, I'm sure next week I'll be complaining about something else.)

I've started doing my Production Manager duties over at the Awesome Storm Justice 41 web comic. I'm basically a target asshole. My job is to push people until they either get the job done or quit because they hate me. It's a glamorous job. I hope to gain many online friends that I'll never meet and will never order a shirt or by any art. Like always.

I've been reading Wampters, Foma & Granfalloons by Vonnegut. Mrs. A got me the book. She did a bit of research and thought I should read more classic stuff and Vonnegut did write science fiction so she thought it would be a big hit. Well, it was. I mean, Wampters is a collection of speeches and interviews and essays and the closest thing to science fiction he gets to is a few comments on sci-fi writers and how they are an admirable but weird group of self congratulatory optimists. He doesn't know why he's considered a sci-fi writer. He basically says all you have to do to be a sci-fi writer is write a comedy or a drama or horror or suspense story and throw in some technology. It's a good read, I'll be getting more by him. It's sad finding good work by a dead author, you know the pool of reading is limited.

I think that's it for now. Honestly, not a lots happening around the house with the kids. They're cute and smart and devious and growing up too fast. Like kids do.

Carry on.


Link Back

Hey folks. If you're a reader to Life In Austin, spread the love. Add it to your link or blogroll.

If you do and you aren't already listed, I'll gladly add you as well. Who knows, I may become a new reader for you.



New Shirts

I threatened it, now you have to go look. I've done two, I will try to have a few more before the end of the day.

Here are the games I'll be doing, if you don't see one you'd like, tell me.

Heads Down/Thumbs Up, Duck Duck Goose, Hide-n-Seek, Tag, Freeze Tag, Red Light/Green Light, Red Rover, Crack the Whip, Dodgeball, Four Square, Grapevine, Hopscotch, I Spy, Horse (done), Marco Polo (done), Sharks-n-Minnows, Simon Says, Statue, Thumb Wrestling, and a generic Base.

Go get one dangit! I gots kids to feed!

Best Five Seconds Online

I have to do this. This was too awesome.

(originally seen on Boing Boing but the College Humor video link was rife with popups. Looking out for my readers.)



Hey LIA readers! I thought I'd run something past you.

I'm seriously planning on doing a cartoon for the site. Something I could do semi-regularly, like once or twice a week. I'm a bit stumped for material, so I'll tell you what I think I'd be good and working with each week and you tell me what you think.

In no particular order:

  • Parenting - It's not glamorous, but I have two kids and they provide a lot of material.

  • Art - I am an artist, if you haven't noticed. I figure there would be a lot of industry humor that could be exploited.

  • Computers - I do work as a Network Admin, though the title is somewhat ambiguous as I don't administer the network so much as the machines on it. I know some things about computers, but I'm no Alpha Geek.

  • Politics - I'm interested in world events, one of my favorite shows is The World from PRI, but I admit I'm no Aaron Sorkin.

  • Comic Books - Again, I know enough of this area to say I don't know enough to be considered prolific. But, I don't know a lot of comic book centered strips.

  • All of the above, general life - All things considered, I think a strip centered on a few people doing all these things might be the best. Eventually the characters could interact more and I wouldn't have to worry about industry specific ideas.

So, what do you think? Any other ideas? Remember, anything mentioning robots, hoboes, pirates or odd super heroes is automatically given a gold star.

Also, I'm going to be designing some shirts in the next couple days/weeks centered on playground games we played growing up. They'll be similar to the caution signs with the androgynous stick figures but involving games - tag, hide n seek, duck duck goose, etc. I've got a list of about 20 right now, if you'd like to see one let me know and I'll do my best to include it.

Carry on.

Not Fark

I've been reading Fark for about five years now I guess. My "membership" says 2002, but I was pretty sure I was reading it before that. Doesn't matter. Over the last few years, I've done my part and submitted dozens and dozens of headlines. Some repeats, some I thought were both topical, timely and clever, but for some reason didn't make the cut.

Here are the last three months of missed opportunities. (These numbers are how many TotalFark people commented on it before it was axed.)

2007-06-15: Hamas dissolves Palestinian government (5)
2007-06-14: Let the Summer of TB Scares begin (2)
2007-06-13: " All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination. " (0)
2007-06-12: Not News: Soldier goes missing. News: During a training exercise. Fark: At Fort Hood, TX (1)
2007-06-11: Texas governor passes bill reminding people that there is an amendment to the Constitution. You know, that first one (0)
2007-06-11: Scratch-off tickets sell better in poorer areas. Match three Romero heads for $50 (0)
2007-06-10: Napolean's sword sells for $6.4 million. It would have been more but it was a short sword (0)
2007-06-10: An eye for art; Austin artist has first show after battling eye cancer (0)
2007-06-08: This story of Machete Man versus Ten Bullets brought to you by Corpus Christi, Texas (0)
2007-06-07: The true origins of the LOLCats (7)
2007-05-17: The Matrix of Leadership has passed to Michael Bay (1)
2007-05-17: Flickr member finds her photos being sold illegally. Fights company, writes about experience and has subsequent blog photo deleted by Flickr. Do you Yahoo? (0)
2007-05-11: Austin City Limits Festival line up announced. Weird Man, White Stripes headlining (0)
2007-05-08: Reminder, USPS postal rates increase on Monday, May 14th. Also on that day, the cost of stamps will go up (0)
2007-04-09: Laptop thieves' images uploaded to Flickr. The MacBook was brought online on August 4th, 1997 (0)
2007-04-05: Coach G now with the Lady Longhorns, when asked for comment she responded, "Duke sucks." (2)
2007-03-27: ...and you do get the artwork (0)
2007-03-27: Austin slowly turning into Houston. Your dog wants culture (2)
2007-03-27: Texas Gov. Perry (R - Ick) signs bill ensuring citizens don't have to retreat before defending themselves. French signatories absent from legislation (6)

Why am I posting this? Because I'm weird and so far no one has tried to stop me.

Carry on.

Good News for Bad News

If any of you haven't read Bad News Hughes, you should be ashamed of yourselves. If you like funny, you should read it. If you don't like reading jarringly depressing, semi-gory, moderately unstable rants and walks down drug hazed memory lane, might I suggest the phone book instead.

Mrs. A turned me on to BNH a few years ago, I don't know where she found him, it doesn't matter. What matters is he's the kind of guy I wish I had been in college or later. I'm somewhat ok with who I am today, but reading some of his stuff makes me simultaneously wish I'd lived a more punk life and glad I made the choice back in about '95 to get a job instead. I don't know what that feeling is called. I want to have that past, that experience. I want to be able to tell stories like that. It's hard coming up with stuff to write knowing your past isn't very interesting and your present is average.

For instance, I think the hardest thing I had to go through in college was when I moved out of my dad's house to go live with an ex-girlfriend (who earlier had used me to come out of the closet) in a studio apartment. I didn't have a car; my mode of transport was a BMX Mongoose I'd had since I was 12. That bike was later stolen outside a McDonalds. I had to come up with about $150 a month in rent so I had to get a job. The only place that would hire someone with green hair was Ticketmaster. So I lived in downtown Denver for a while, riding my BMX to school and then back to work and then back to school. In the evenings I would walk down to Colfax and find a place to drink or see a band.

But that's about it. I found out early I didn't like the taste of beer, I experimented with but never got hooked on drugs of any kind. All I really liked doing was smoking, scowling and listening to music. And really, not much has changed. Sure I don't have my 20 hole Docs or my studded leather jacket, but my desires haven't changed much. Which makes me think I was never very punk to begin with. I didn't skate much and frankly, good and true punk music drives me crazy. I think certain songs are ok, but for the most part it's junk to me. I was Faux Punk.

And looking back, I was Faux Everything. Faux du Jour. I faked waver to be in a band, I faked punk to try to get in with a girl, I faked art to get noticed by some greater artists, I faked athleticism to be included with who I though were the cool kids, I faked musical ability so I could get a scholarship and, more than likely, get in with a different girl. I faked a lot of things over my formative years and I think looking back on it, and reading Bad News Hughes, it's the reason I wish I'd done more things like drive 5 hours to see a buddy's dead girlfriend, smelling of beer and piss and smoke and mud. It seems more real and more gritty and worldly than what I did growing up, which wasn't much. I stayed out of trouble for the most part and followed a lot of different leaders.

I guess some people need to be sheep or else the leaders wouldn't have anyone to govern.

I'm also not knocking the benevolent experiences some folks may have had. I'm sure the bible retreats or 4H summers or those finding yourself trips to Europe held their own. I didn't have those either. I went to French Camp once and that was singularly horrible. Outside of that, I have some mildly interesting stories about dinging up my parents' cars, almost getting into trouble with the law and travels I've taken to the mere handful of states in the US and the one trip to Mexico.

However, lately, in the past couple years, things have been interesting, but they're interesting in more a private, how-fucked-up-is-that? kind of way. I'd love to write about it, but there's a level of privacy involved, and a level of civility. You don't dump your burdens on to others, no matter who those others are. In the long reach of time, and after much of this has passed like a spiked kidney stone, I may consider relaying the events of the past couple years. But until then I hope everyone is happy reading about my kids, my art, Mrs. A's photography and some rants about health care, law and politics. It really is all I have to talk about right now.

Carry on.


Sibling Love

Yesterday afternoon, Mrs. A and I took the kids to the pool. They'd behaved so well on our recent drive out to Houston that we thought we'd reward them.

There's a place on the other side of our village that is less a pool than it is a watery playground. I'm sure you've seen them - brightly colored, fiberglass rocks, teeming with all shapes and sizes of children and adults. Single people and Child Free people like to call them, "Hell."

We've been there once before and it was crowded but not frighteningly so. LMA isn't a great swimmer and at six years old she just may never really get the hang of it. I'm not a great swimmer so she must have got those "sink or sink" genes from me. She loves playing in water, but she gets panicky. G-man, however, is like a small sea monster. He loves jumping in, splashing around, floating. Half the time his face is mostly below water and he's spitting and blowing bubbles and smiling. He got that from his graceful and water loving mom.

While at the water park, LMA starts gravitating toward girls her own age and begins running off with them to slide and splash and turn the overhead sprinklers on. Well, G-man is constantly trying to follow her. He does his own thing from time to time, but most of his day is spent trying to find her and do what she's doing. As it got toward "leaving time" he began to get really bent out of shape. She was playing with this other six year old girl and they would take off and we was too slow to follow because of his size. He just couldn't keep up. And it was making him cry.

We'd never seen that before. The two of them are basically each other's best friend because they spent all day every day with each other. G-man has only been in day care for a short time and we've been wanting to get him back into something for the sole purpose of having him interact with other kids. And the pool incident is a perfect reason why.

Of course as parents we made that "Aww" face which, if you haven't seen it before, is where someone is trying to stifle a laugh by sticking out their bottom lip. We want to laugh because of what's happening but it's sad at the same time it is sweet. He loves his sister and wants to play with her and is a bit heart broken by her playing with someone else. It was heartbreaking for us to watch too and we made sure LMA understood that she could play with other kids, but she has to make sure her little brother is there too.

I see this getting progressively more interesting as they get older.

Carry on.


Stupid Sappy Stories

Well dammit if this didn't make me blubber like an emotional old lady.

I'm glad I saw this. I don't watch any talent search shows, and I know this is an anomaly, but it was so nice to see the smug judges completely befuddled and awed over this inauspicious and richly talented human being.

Good for you, mate.

Carry on.

Time to head for Sears.

As father's day approaches, I'm reminded of all the weird things my dad did for us as kids to try and make our childhood memorable. My brother and I never truly wanted for anything. We always had food, shelter, A/C in the summer, heat in the winter. We always had someone to take us to school or pick us up or take us to the doctor.

Going through what Mrs. A and I are now with our financial...challenges, it occurs to me as I hearken back through the perpetually disappearing cotton candy strands of memory that my parents suffered - no, grew through the same situations. The height of this love bonding frivolity came one Christmas when my dad, who is not a carpenter or engineer, decided to build us some space ships.

For months we were not allowed into our basement. At the time the basement was used for storage and I hadn't moved into it, so there was little reason for us to go down there anyway. My mom would do laundry and we'd occasionally be sent to the freezer to get some meat, but that was it. The basement was a foreboding place, well avoided by small people. So why we had been told to not go down there was kind of like trying to tell a cat not to jump on the TV. The cat may have never wanted to jump on the TV until you tried to make it off limits. We were terrified of the basement, but now that something is apparently down there that is cool enough to require a stern warning - well, you bet your ass we're going to go try and peek.

The months went by and we were unable to get into the basement, but lo and behold on Christmas morning we were treated to one of the oddest and most loving gifts I think we had ever received as young children. You can hang all the video games and Transformers and Lego and Star Wars toys, this was a dad (and for all I know a mom too) doing something he thought was cool and he made it by himself. He really put his neck out there because as almost teenage boys, you can really be hit or miss with gifts. There's a fine line between utter joy and devastating disappointment, all because you got Ratchet instead of Jetfire. (Who the fuck wanted Ratchet anyway?)

My dad had put together what amounted to a couple cockpits. They were made simply with some plywood, a few brackets, some Plexiglas and a shitload of silver spray paint. Inside each cockpit was a small block or chair and when inside you had a 270° view through the plastic. The whole thing was maybe 6 feet long and maybe 3 feet tall. Imagine the cab of a tractor screwed onto a ramp a 9 year old would use to jump his bike. Put a red lightening bolt and your kid's names on it, and that's what he made. I don't remember a joystick but there were also these little consoles he must have got from a department store or something that he mounted on the "dashboard" of the space fighters. They had dials and lights and made noises. The gift also game with spaceman helmets with built in walkie talkies so we could sit in our separate ships and still talk to each other like we were on a top secret scouting mission around the rings of Saturn.

I have to say, of all the things we had as kids, nothing fueled the imagination like this. I'm sure as a kid I was a jerk about it. It didn't say Kenner or Hasbro or Atari on it. It didn't change into a giant fortress. It wasn't made of Nerf and didn't come with collectible cards. But the older I got, the more I realized that we DID play in them a LOT. They succumbed to the rain and the snow over time and eventually had to be taken apart as they were becoming a warren for rabbits and stray cats, but there was a time when we would both run outside and clamor into the cockpits of our space fighters, ready to blast off into the unknown depths. We would use the ships as part of larger stories, integrate them into our play. They were our escape craft, our ejection pods, our long range scouts. We would run around the backyard with our helmets on and our sparking or battery powered laser guns, evading capture from giant robots or 12 eyed alien dictators, finally ending up in our warm and wood smelling space ships, making our escape.

This was slightly before the age of video games. It was probably the very next year that we got our Atari 2600 with Pacman, Combat, Space Invaders and Missile Command. I don't even remember what year it was, but I can promise you that was the best Christmas I had as a kid.

I may not ever be able to find anything to give to my dad on Father's day that's as heartfelt as that gift was. It's hard enough buying stuff for a guy who, when growing up, seemed to have everything he needed. My dad hated cars and hated working on them, but he always had a lot of tools. He always seemed to have nice clothes for work and he always had some things he held dear like records and memorabilia of dead cowboy movie stars.

My only hope is one day I'll do something like that for my kids and I think the best present I could give my dad would be to let him know the reaction they give me when I do it.

"Yeah, it's nice I guess. Thanks dad. Are there more presents?"

Have a happy Father's Day.

Carry on.



We all know at this point something about music companies. We all know at least a little about the RIAA. If you've read the news on the BoobTube or the InterTube you've certainly come across it. People share music and take music because they like music. There are still people who buy CDs, lots of people actually. There are also people who buy music online, more and more.

Music enjoyment and our relative interaction with music and the monetary attachment we give music - I think entertainment in general - is really skewed and depends mostly on distribution. The idea that you can see a blockbuster movie for $8 or a major stand up performer for $40 doesn't go by without notice. "Sure," you may say, "But the movie is in 2,000 theaters. The single performer may only got to 20 venues on a tour."

Let's look at that. If you have a movie costs $200 million dollars to make, and on average, people buy movie tickets for $8, you have to have 25 million people go see your show to break even. That's a rough estimate because theaters take some out, distribution companies take some out, etc. The number of patrons is probably higher.

If you're Jerry Seinfeld and your show is $60 a person and each theater seats let's say 300 people, and you do 30 cities, three shows a city, you just made 1.6 million dollars on ticket sales. Yes, 10% goes to your agent and then the venue gets some and the ticket sellers and then you have travel costs.

The point is, even if Seinfeld charged $8, a stand of thirty cities (which you could do in what 3 months?) would gross you over 200,000 dollars. That's not too shabby. Plus movie, TV, speaking gigs, commercials, etc. I don't think these guys are hurting.

So would you rather spend $8 for two hours of entertainment in a theater or $40-100 on two hours of entertainment in a theater?

I went on a bit of a tangent with that, and there is no means a good answer for the question because some would view the value of the entertainment from a celebrity performer bigger than just a movie, to which I would answer, would you pay $100 to watch Johnny Depp talk about stuff for two hours or go see him perform in a blockbuster movie for $8? Just saying.

Any crap, with the idea that we assign interesting values to entertainment, why does this shock me so much? For those linkophobes, the White Stripes have a new album out and you can get this album on a custom USB drive for $99. That's right, $1 short of a cool hundo. No, you don't get 150 songs. No, as far as I can tell you don't get any special content for your PC like videos or interviews. You get thirteen songs on basically a key chain.

These are limited, 3,333 of Jack and 3,333 of the Meg figures. Total that up, that's almost $660,000, which isn't a lot for a musician of the White Stripes stature, considering they could sell the album itself into the millions. But what shocks me is the audacity that they think people would pay $99 for something so inauspicious. You're basically paying for the limited availability, not the music, not the craftsmanship of the unit, but the fact that out of 6 billion people, only 0.000001% of those will have this. I guess that's worth $100 to some people. I guess that's why we pay $100 to see Seinfeld or Cosby.

I tell you what, though. If you really wanted it, but maybe only had $50, I'd buy the album for you, and a nice USB keychain/thumb drive with 2GB of space (4x that of the one mentioned) AND I'd custom paint ANYthing you'd want onto it. I'd put the music on it for you and then give you the CD as well. Plus I'd throw in a comic book and maybe a robot, pirate, zombie, faerie, hobo, super hero drawing. YOU CAN'T BEAT THAT! I don't have any doubt that this blog is so small that no one would even care if I did a single one of these. Would you?

Carry on.


What Fame Brings You

In 20 years I want to be able to randomly look on internet auction sites and see something I drew for someone is fetching $14,500.

Ironically, Crumb either drew this for fun (as it was never used for the magazine) or if he was commissioned I'm sure it wasn't for $14k.

This brings up a lot of emotions for me. I've done simple one-off drawings like this for people and have never seen anything after I send it. I don't see the book it goes in and the person stops replying to emails. It's kind of sad to think that either I'm being taken advantage of or the project only lived long enough to get one artist.

So my hope is that some day, after drawing robots and hoboes and seemingly meaningless little toons and ash can comics that some day they'll be worth something to someone. I suppose that would mean I'd have to be famous first, but that's just details.

Carry on.


New Do

New Do
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
LMA has had black hair since late summer of last year. It was temporary dye, the kind that is supposed to wash out after a couple months. It never washed out and despite several efforts and dying her hair her normal color, she retained the black.

What this meant is that over time, she developed a head of hair colored much like a badger; top brown, bottom black.

Now after about nine months, Mrs. A has decided she's had enough of it and had it cut. So today she's sporting a cute little flip do that's a bit layered. There's still some of the black, but her color is more prominent now.

Just a little tidbit of how life's going on right now.

Carry on.


Classic Tees

I'm a sucker for tee shirts. If they look like someone wore them while watching Sigmund the Seamonster, all the better.

So when I found a few of these shirts on CrazyDogTShirts my love for them was rekindled. If I suddenly hit it big with some kind of artistic endeavor and had lots of disposable cash, I'd do nothing but shop for tee-shirts online. I love them and I haven't the slightest idea why. I can't wear them at work, I tend to wear one tee-shirt all weekend because I'm at home most of the time. It's an irrational craving but dang it if I won't find a way to quench the need to have a shirt that says, "I'm trying to be cool by spending too much on shipping."

Carry on.



Bit of a mention over at Drawn!

Summer of the Monkeys and Zombies and...

Jump The Cats

Jump The Cats
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Living in a cyber world is really quite interesting. Things move so fast that before you know you've been left behind, something else has started, peaked, faded and left you behind.

But on the tubernet, things can somehow take on a life of their own and if you're careful, you can jump in early and....well nothing really. Internet memes are the online equivalent of knowing the popular bands, wearing the cool clothes and speaking the cool words. Only this time, you can be cool without having to actually BE cool. Complete nerds and washups and hacks and creeps can be Online Cool just by being at the forefront of the next fad.

Which is wear I usually come in. I could be considered a nerd or hack or creep but I would never consider myself trendy. I've never bought clothes because other people did. When I was little, my parents bought clothes they could afford and that might last. When I was older I never really bought clothes, I just wore clothes I had from high school. Now I just buy clothes that fit and won't get me fired from work. (Actually, that's not true, Mrs. A usually buys my clothes.)

I don't buy music I hear from Top 40 stations. I could tell you almost nothing about current music trends. I listen to old stuff; 80's, Big Band, 70's rock. I follow a few artists when they release new music, but I don't know who's the biggest/latest thing.

So when things like All Your Base or LOLCats come along, I'm usually left clueless until all the cool kids have had their fun and moved on to the next thing. The 700 Hoboes is a great example. The idea was made, a few cartoonists did it and it was clever and neat but people moved on. Then six months later, I come stumbling into it and think it's the next big thing. Meanwhile the original people involved have done other things leaving me to pound the deceased 700 horse until it dissolves into its elementary molecules.

Understand, these things are fleeting. They have little meaning at all if you were to step back and really take a look at it. I mean, who cares that a girl made a parody of a guy who had made a parody of two guys who made a music video and put it online? I certainly don't.

The trouble I run into is that Newsweek does. And Rolling Stone, and Wired and G4 the Times and I'm sure very soon NBC or Paramount. This isn't about being cool anymore, it's about being seen. When a fad hits, you want to get your name in there and show people what you can do. You want post up a picture of a cat with its head in a bag with some poor grammar caption so that more people may look at your other stuff (photography, art, writing) and then maybe become a fan or a part of your network.

It's schmoozing web style. You want to be where the cool kids are so that when cool things happen to them you can be involved too. But persistence pays off so it's not as if you can get away with being lazy. You have to work hard at not doing anything important.

Or, you could hope to get lucky and have your real skills seen by the right people.

Fame is something a good percentage of us crave to differing degrees. I'm sure some will argue with this, but "fame" can be boiled down to just a high level of recognition and in the end we all want to be recognized for the work we do. Whether you're a volunteer worker at a social outreach center or a struggling painter in a small town or a mid level data integrity consultant, you want to be recognized for the hard work you do. You want a raise, a bonus, a contract, funding, a showing, etc. You want someone else to say to you, "Oh, I see what you did there."

Carry on.


A Bright Day

Too often on here I talk about things that are bad, things that upset me, things that have gone wrong. Every once it a while, though, you run into things that at least for today make you smile and make you feel better about your world.

70 Year High School Reunion.

Laughing Video

Also, over the weekend, my friend Nate and his wife had a lovely baby boy. Congratulations and welcome to the world, Lucas.

Carry on.


More Robots

22. Hauler MAT
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
This is going to end up like the hoboes; lots of drawings that only Mrs. A and I see, a fact about which I'm sure she's insanely happy.

I like this one because it's got that construction vehicle/worker feel. He'd talk with a Brooklyn accent. Done for this weekend I think. I might get a few more sketched out, but if I look at my markers any more right now I'm going to throw them across the room.


700 Robots

11. The Fourth Edition
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Just letting the readers know that I'm up to about 25 of the first 100 of the 700 Robots. The scans are kinda crap because I'm leaving them in the book so you get that nice fade on the spine side.

This one is one of my favorites. Some of these are going to be a bit odd to try and draw (as seen by #18) but so far nothing completely undrawable.

Again, the finished sketchbook will be auctioned on eBay and I'm sure to receive several hundreds of cents for it.

Here's the complete set. Keep an eye on it, and remember that if you like these, you can get a Robot Portrait.

Carry on.