Happy Birthday Willie

Today is Willie Nelson's 75th birthday. I've had the honor of seeing him twice in concert. The man still tours, doing roughly 100 shows a year.

In 1965, Nelson moved to RCA Victor Records and joined the Grand Ole Opry. He followed this with a series of minor hits and then retired and moved to Austin, Texas. While in Austin, with its burgeoning "hippie" music scene (see Armadillo World Headquarters), Nelson decided to return to music. His popularity in Austin soared, as he played his own brand of country music marked by rock and roll, jazz, western swing, and folk influences. A lifelong passion for running and a new commitment to his own health also began during this period.
Happy Birthday, Willie.


Colleague in Small Press Idol

A wonderful and creative writer D Cox (friend of LIA) has entered Small Press Idol. Here's some information:

I'm in a Small Press Idol competition on Dimestore in the US and could
do with some support.

The project is here

if you like the look of it, or just hate the other entries, and would
like to support it
you can register here

and then every day you remember up until May 4th click on this link
and post 'YES'

you may if you wish customise the YES with a 'goddammit' or an
'indeedy' or whatever takes your fancy but a clear 'YES' is important.

Also if you do like the project could you forward on to anyone else
you know who may be interested.

End of schpeel.

I've done some work for Dan and his work is really amazing. It's wild and trippy and fun and fanciful. Definitely worth some support.

Carry on.


Remember Hoboes?

Someone does.

I haven't drawn a hobo in a long, long time. I wish I could find what happen to my artistic motivation. If you see it, could you let me know? I sure miss it.


Guilty Pleasures - UK Slang

I admit it, I've used a few words that have made people cock their heads like dogs hearing a whistle. I don't know what it is about slang and colloquialisms from the UK, but I must use them. I must insert them into emails and IM chats and every day conversation. I feel it's my duty to bridge the gap (one language separated by an ocean or whatever) and impart some notions of foreign communication on my fellow Americans.

I can't say what it is that appeals to me about it. I watched a lot of Doctor Who as a kid, listened to Hitchhiker's Guide radio shows and later became a fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway. Now that I've got comic/art acquaintances in the UK, I do my best to use it. I guess as a way of showing that I'm not a Bush-loving cowboy or whatever stereotype they may have of us.

So if you hear me use words like "sussed" "dodgy" or "nackered", please realize I'm not trying to be fancy or purposefully odd. I just like their words better. I mean really, which would you rather say: "I've got it sussed" or "I've got it figured out." I'd rather say "cheers" than almost anything else to end correspondence. Nothing I say, however, makes it sound as good as when it is said by native purveyors of the language. In speech it sounds like I'm trying to hard. I'm sure in writing it makes me look like a nutjob.

But even if it wasn't UK slang, it'd be something else. I'm the only one I know in my circle to say "groovy" or "ciao" or "dag nabit." I've substituted sci-fi swears where possible, but I'm not John Creighton or Lee Adama so it still sounds wrong. Doesn't mean I won't try. As a plus, it's better for my kids to hear "that's frelling ridiculous" instead of any alternative. LMA has some imprint that doesn't allow her to say "shut up" or "stupid" without asking for a bad-word-pass, so while I slip up more than most, I'd still like them to understand that slang and curses are more about emphasis and how you feel saying them then the actual word. Odd that it's the actual word that gets you in trouble. I can promise you that a first grader saying "frak me" will still draw attention, but guess what, it's not against the rules.

On the other side of the coin, none of the guys I know across the pond use that much slang in forums or on chats. Frankly I try to use their words because I feel bad that their using mine so often. I can't hear a Brit actually saying "awesome" but I know they type it. I have a friend in Finland who I'm sure has fantastic words for "cool" and "that sucks" but he seems to have a better command of English than I do and doesn't seem to want to change that.

I need a bumper sticker that says "I Heart Polyglots."

Carry on.


Greatest Five Seconds

Picked up from Club Jade.

It was electrifying, seismic, a bombshell. Looking back it was as though two hundred million movie-goers all audibly gasped at the same time. Certainly, everyone in the theater I was in did. And the next time I saw it and the next time after that. It was an ultimate story-telling moment in our ultimate story-telling medium; absolute, perfect, completing a perfect circle that made pure emotional sense.

If you don't want to read the full article (which you should, it's very well written) it basically says that in The Empire Strikes Back, the scene where Darth Vader tells Luke, "I am your father." is the best five seconds in movie history.

I was going to respond in the comments, but like all internet arguments, I could either be the little girl or the donkey. Rather I'll subject you fine readers to my inane blather.

Bobby B. hit the astro-droid on the head with this one. For a while now I've been trying to think of movies that I've seen that had the same impact as that five seconds. It was such a bombshell that the actor playing inside the Vader costume, David Prowse, didn't speak that line during filming. Mark Hamill was told was the last second change was so he could react, but Prowse didn't know about until he saw the film at its release. (Prowse hasn't had the best of times with Lucasfilm; his voice dubbed, lines changed, actors brought in for unmaskings and finally no offer to reprise the role for Episode III. For one of the greatest villains of all time, he was treated like a stage hand.)

So what did this do? What kind of impact did it have? Let's consider a couple things. First, until Star Wars, there was a gap of several decades where movies didn't do sequels, not with much success. (I'm sure a film buff will prove me wrong.) The days of serials had past and Hollywood made a switch to single big budget movies, but it wasn't quite the blockbusters we know today. These were still very good movies, but marketing movies hadn't come to prominence yet and I'd hazard a guess that in the late 60's and early 70's was about making a critically acclaimed film and not a money grossing flick.

Second, by the time Empire was finally released, the world was Star Wars crazy. You can call it bad movie all you want, but it was a cultural juggernaut. Even if you'd never seen the movie, by sheer force of the collective, you knew about it. It was in the news, papers and magazines. There were toys and lunch boxes and bed sheets and albums. You couldn't get away from it. I'm sure other things happened in 1977, but in the entertainment world, Star Wars was it.

It was a perfect storm. A media darling that came out with a second installment at a time when America (and probably the world) needed a bit of pure escapism; entertainment distilled to its base elemental and mythical forms. We needed to cheer for good and throw fruit at evil. But what we got was a twist no movie had done with such skill up till that point. And I don't mean film making skill, I mean media skill. When you've captivated the world then hit them with something they either didn't think possible or only toyed with as a guilty fear, you've effectively blown the world's mind.

No one saw it coming. I don't care how studied you are in mythology or film making. This was big. Take any other classic movie and put in a twist like this and tell me it wouldn't have made a giant impact.

At the time, movies were still the king of entertainment. There was no world wide web or consumer internet. Cable TV was just starting and wasn't in a majority of homes and even then it wasn't the glut of senselessness we have now. This was it for entertainment. Honestly, the biggest moment around that time that I remember was the TV buzz around who shot J.R.

So I'm open to comments about this. It wasn't my article, but it's obvious I'm defending this position. I completely agree that this moment is the greatest five seconds in movie history. Give me some others, tell me sequels were big in the 60's and 70's, even say why you thought the movie was junk.

Carry on.

Apologies to Michelle

You're gonna hate me for this.


How Old Is She?

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Yesterday the kids and I met up with a friend and her son at a park for an afternoon of wearing them out. Her son brought his bike, LMA brought her scooter and G-man brought is big wheel.

I don't remember when it exactly happened, but my friend and LMA had started riding around on the two wheeler. I was shooting hoops at the time, but I look over and LMA is cruising around on two wheels. I feel bad that I wasn't the one that helped her learn it, but it doesn't matter. She was having a blast and spent most of the rest of the day riding around the park.

Of course that meant today I had to take the training wheels off her bike. It's a little small, has sat in the backyard for years and needed to be cleaned and oiled, but she was off like a bolt when it was done. Well, a bolt that's a bit wobbly and tends to squeak and squeal when it gets a little out of control.

This also means that I have to go shopping before her birthday.

I've never seen her go away from me so fast. I was laughing to keep from tearing up.

Carry on.


Because I have nothing better to write

1) Do you like blue cheese? Nope

2) Have you ever smoked heroin? nO.

3) Do you own any guns? Squirt and rubberband.

4) What flavor do you add to your drink at sonic? I get root beers and chocolate malts

5) Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not generally.

6) What do you think of hot dogs? They're delicious with chili and cheese.

7) Favorite Christmas song? The Christmas Song

8) What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Orange juice.

9) Can you do push ups? Yes, maybe about 40-50 before I have a heart attack.

10) Can you do a chin up? Not really.

11) What's your favorite piece of jewelry? I don't have any.

12) Favorite hobby? Drawing robots.

13) Ever been in a car wreck? Not a major one - just fender benders.

14) Do you have ADD? Yes. Wait, what?

15) What's one trait that you love about yourself? I'm quick witted.

16) Middle name? Michael

17) Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? Pillow fight. Office is chilly. Cramp in my calf.

18) Name 3 things you bought yesterday? Pack of smokes, texmex for lunch, coffee.

19) Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Water, coffee, juice.

20) Current worry? That it's going to end.

21) Current hate right now? A project I'm working on is pretty dead in the water.

23) How did you bring in the New Year? With my kids. Well...we were all in the same house.

24) Where would you like to go? Japan.

25) Name three people who will complete this? I can't name three people who'd read this.

26) Do you own slippers? No.

27) What shirt are you wearing? Blue collar shirt.

28)Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Not really.

29) Can you whistle? Yup.

30) Favorite color? Blue.

31) Would you be a pirate? Probably not. Romantic view of pirates aside, I'd make a lousy pirate.

32) What songs do you sing in the shower? Whatever is on the radio.

33) Favorite girl's name? Genevieve

34) Favorite boy's name? Keegan or Logan

35) What's in your pocket? Box of cigarettes, two sets of keys, lighter, phone.

36) Last thing that made you laugh? Jawbone Radio podcast.

37) Best bed sheets as a child? I think I had Star Wars sheets. Those were cool.

38) Worst injury you've ever had? Broken jaw.

39) Do you love where you live? Yes. I love Austin.

40) How many TVs do you have in your house/apartment? Two. But I've got three computers.

41) Who is your loudest friend? Siobhan. Sorry, hon. But you are.

42) How many dogs do you have? One, and that's enough thanks.

43) Does someone have a crush on you? I hope so.

45) What is your favorite book? Imajica by Clive Barker.

46) What is your favorite candy? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

47) Favorite Sports Team? Colorado Avalanche

48) What song do you want played at your funeral? Daily City Train by Rancid

49) What were you doing 12 AM last night? Calming kids down during a storm.

50) Do you believe in love at first sight? No, but I'm not that kind of a person. I'm glad other people believe in it.


Another Missed Opportunity

RobotJohnny cartoonizes 1968 yearbook.

He's made a book of it too. It's a good idea. I'm sure it'll sell well, now that Boing Boing listed it.

Unlike the all the other things I've tried to do for the past two years. I guess any more you need to do more than 500 of something to get noticed. It's not the idea, it's the leviathan effort put into it.

Don't get me wrong, RobotJohnny's on my Flickr contact list and I constantly look forward to and am inspired by his work.

I don't know. I'm still a bit cheesed that the 100AP isn't selling well. Got an email today that said they put in an order for it the day it came out and still haven't got their copy yet.

Pity party, table for one.

Chicken Lady

I know it's been a while. Have some Chicken Lady to hold you over.


It's Been Such A Long Time...

Guitar Hero
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
...I think I should be going.
Time doesn't wait for me,
It keeps on rolling.

I've got so much to talk about and so little I think I can actually say for reasons I'm not at liberty to discuss.

Is it all clear now?

Let's put it this way, Ms. A got Guitar Hero on Saturday and that wasn't the high point of my weekend.

Did you ever have a weekend that made you question what the hell you were doing again on Monday? Have you ever gone from quitting time Friday to punch in on Monday just talking and drinking and laughing and playing? I'm going to be completely spoiled now because it was so good I'm going to try to recapture it and it's not going to happen, so I spent Monday trying to accept that and allow myself to appreciate the memory.

I'm happier now than I've been in a long, long time. I've met new people that are fantastic and seen old friends that were fantastic to begin with. I was given very little responsibility and I felt free and loose and ready to do anything. It was a great jump start. I just have to get back into finishing a few projects, hopefully this won't distract me too much.

And if it did, that wouldn't be a bad thing either.


Carry on.


Life At Three

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
G-man (known to his parents as Gregory) is a boy. He's just a little boy. He plays with dinosaurs and cars. He chases bugs, digs holes in dirt and runs around sometimes only mostly dressed through sprinklers and sunshine alike. He eats Mac-n-Cheese and drinks milk. He loves Spiderman even though he's never seen a cartoon or read a comic book. His hair is shaggy and fun and his eyes are bright and mischievous. He loves to kick is little green ball.

G-man has a sister who he loves. His big sister is his whole world. He loves to be around her, loves to play with her and loves to pinch her and run away. When he dreams, he dreams of her. She's telling him what to do and he doesn't like it. She's giving him cookies and he loves it. Every little shout when he dreams has her name in it. He loves his sister.

G-man paints and plays little video games and he's a better Wii bowler than his dad. He loves to count things and will stop you long enough to let him count in his own unique way. When you call him a sweet name like "stinker" or "tough guy" or "noodle head" he says, "I'm not Noodle Head. I'm Gregory!" When you tickle him, he has the best giggle in the world.

G-man can eat a full bunch of bananas in one day.

G-man likes punk music, but not rock-n-roll. He likes Cars but not Finding Nemo. He doesn't the movie Aladdin because of the giant cave cat, it's scary. He likes throwing things, like rocks, by flinging them and seeing where they land. His head sweats when he sleeps and he loves his Ka-Chow! (Cars) pajamas.

G-man isn't in a daycare or school yet. He stays at home with mom while she works. We want to soon get him into a preschool so he can make some friends because I think he's got a lot of friendship rocks to throw around. He doesn't sleep in but he falls asleep fairly quickly.

G-man loves water as though he has an innate communal tie to the element.

It's not a birthday, he's not feeling poorly. I just realized that I don't talk much about him outside of what kind of trouble he and his sister get into (which is quite a lot). He's a wonderful child. I couldn't ask for a better son. I'm constantly entertained and....enwondered? by how magical he is.

Carry on.


Guilty Pleasures - Dragonball Z

I'm what you'd call a casual anime fan. My early experience with the genre was filtered through whatever early American cable TV channels were available in the early 80's. At the time of Robotech and Voltron, Speed Racer and even lesser known shows like Tranzor Z, there was no Cartoon Network. There wasn't the Manga Entertainment distributor and wouldn't be until 1991. (Oddly enough manga is the japanese word for comics. Anime is an adopted term for japanese animation. For a while it was japanime. To this day there's a confusion between magna and anime and having a movie company named thusly is akin to calling an American film company "Reader's Digest.")

Even before mainstream cartoons in the US adopted so many anime shows, we knew what it was. Young writings and discussions debated why these new shows had characters with big eyes and pointy noses and sharp chins. We noticed that all the robots looked like they wore cowboy boots. For us, it was a kung-fu movie. It was foreign and the dialog soundtrack didn't sync. It was fast moving and a little more grown up than we were used to. There was an attention to detail and emotion we hadn't seen in many shows before. When you've grown up on Tom and Jerry, Looney Toons and Smurfs and suddenly you see Robotech and its themes of love and growing up and war, the world changes. I'm sure everyone has their moments when they realize that just because it's four colors, doesn't mean it's just eye candy - that there can be more to what you've assumed as entertainment.

But my guilty pleasure isn't anime. Movies like Akira, Ninja Scroll and Macross Plus do not make me feel bad about watching them. No one gives me a hard time for enjoying those movies. They are skillfully made and hold up very well over time.

No, my guilty pleasure is a sh┼Źnen (teenage boy) show called Dragonball Z.

Dragonball is one of if not the most successful magna (re: comic) in Japan. It's print run was from 1984-1995 and it was later adapted into a long running TV series. Dragonball centers around a young boy named Son Goku who is from world of warriors. He's sent to Earth while an infant to be a sleeper agent. His race conquers planets by sending warriors early to avoid suspicion. At the right age, they turn into giant apelike berserkers with enormous power. They wipe out all life on the planet and then put it up for sale. Goku bumps his head coming to Earth and his amnesia prohibits him from completing his mission.

But that's not the main story. The main bit is there are these mystical artifacts called dragonballs that when all collected call forth a wish granting dragon. Most of the stories involved Goku learning to fight and trying to find all seven dragonballs.

Dragonball Z shifts to Goku as a child-at-heart adult and his continued adventures with his friends. I knew nothing about the original or the magna when I started watching it on Cartoon Network in the late 90's, but I was immediately captured by the idea of a bunch of super powered martial arts experts fighting aliens to save the world.

Unfortunately, it's not even as cool as I try to make it sound. DBZ suffers from a lot of posturing. Each episode is only 20 minutes long and in that 20 minutes there will be MAYBE 90 seconds of actual fighting. I'm not a violence junkie, but I do love me some super fast martial arts and chi powered fireballs. The problem with this show, and the reason I feel guilty about watching it, is that while it was popular in Japan, it's sort of ridiculed in the US as being a pointless, horribly written piece of junk. And it is fairly puerile and shallow, but sometimes you need that. You can't always watch the technical brilliance of Lost or the insightful wonder of Arrested Development. Sometimes you need an escape from your escape.

There was one moment when I knew DBZ and I would have a long and blissfully colored relationship. The story exists in long arcs and round about the third arc (the Frieze Saga) there's a bit where Goku transforms into this ultimate warrior, this Super Sayjin of myth and legend because he let his anger and frustration at the death of his friend push his power beyond the limits he knew. The love for his friend and the rage he felt at his death caused a change in him that was almost cathartic and being someone who suffers from anger, frustration and control issues, I instantly identified and almost idolized this character. He reached a point by letting his anger blossom to where he was stronger but also more confident and in much more control. A mental barrier had been breeched and all it took was an enormous amount of stubbornness to break through to that area of his mind that held his true power.

In the same vein, I also identified a bit with Mister Furious from Mystery Men. "No, anger REALLY rising!"

It's the Dark Side of the Force, really. It's the idea that your anger and hate can make you powerful. But in Goku's case, the anger and hate brought him the power, but also a sense of right and goodness. All he wanted to do was avenge his friend and save Earth, and if that meant getting pissed, then I say more power to him.

If I could find a way to condense all the DBZ episodes down to just the fights, I think I'd be very happy. I don't care about his friend the pig or his wife or the various side story wrestlers and fighters they run into. It's such a dichotomy because I really like half of the show and really detest the other half. But I keep coming back to it like a whipped pup. I don't expect it to be different, I guess I expect me to be different.