Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shopping Cart Art

I forgot to tell you about another weird experience I had on the street this week. I was raking leaves in front of the theatre when a guy I've talked to before stopped to chat. I don't know his story...whether he's homeless or not...but he hangs out at the Green Bean (non-profit coffeehouse) some. In front of the Green Bean this morning is a shopping cart with a few items in it. This guy (I really should find out his name) proceeds to tell me that it belongs to a lady who collects garbage and junk in shopping carts and then leaves it in front of a home or business. Supposedly she calls it art and only does it to people she likes but this guy was not happy about it and it seemed like, on this particular day, he was on a mission to spread the word about this woman. He also told me that she had many carts stashed in nearby places and, sure enough, when I went around to the back of the building, there they were right where he told me they would be. Later on, someone came by and gave the shopping cart a glancing look while asking me, "Does this belong to anyone?" I said, "Yes" and they moved on. A second later here comes the shopping cart art lady out the front door saying, "I guess I'm going to have to start sitting by the window." To protect her carts and her art.
If you ever thought your life was boring and that you never seem to have a story to tell, move to Seattle. If you hang out on the street or ride the bus long enough, you'll have a story...or two...or a dozen.

The Quiet Man

I was just sitting here thinking that I haven't had a good rant in a while. To be honest with you, I just don't care enough to rant anymore. We all know the church does stupid stuff on a daily basis and you don't need me to point that out. Heck, you'd think I could muster a little bit of energy to fuss about Ed Young Jr. and his 7 Days of Sex campaign. I've read a few articles about it and watched a video and have even read some snarky rebuttals but I just don't give enough of a crap about it to work up a rant. Either the church is at an all time low right now or my attitude is. Probably my attitude but the church is continually doing stupid stuff and the dumb sheep are still eating it up. The church is trying so hard to be relevant that they couldn't be more irrelevant. It has become a huge joke with no laugh at the end.
Uh oh. This almost turned into a rant. My bad.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer
Jake Sullivan has cheated death: he's discarded his doomed biological body and copied his consciousness into an android form. The new Jake soon finds love, something that eluded him when he was encased in flesh: he falls for the android version of Karen, a woman rediscovering all the joys of life now that she's no longer constrained by a worn-out body either. But suddenly Karen's son sues her, claiming that by uploading into an immortal body, she has done him out of his inheritance. Even worse, the original version of Jake, consigned to die on the far side of the moon, has taken hostages there, demanding the return of his rights of personhood. In the courtroom and on the lunar surface, the future of uploaded humanity hangs in the balance.
Like many of Sawyer's other books, I really enjoyed this. It's true that sometimes the science is a bit over my head but Sawyer never let's science overshadow story or character. And boy, Sawyer's stories almost always make you think and this was no exception.

Invincible by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker
Invincible is the teenaged son of Omni-Man, an extraterrestrial superhero of the Vilitrumite race, recently revealed to be more than he seems. Invincible inherited his father’s superhuman strength and ability to fly and he has sworn to protect the Earth. He has had trouble adjusting to his newfound powers and coping with the reality of his origins.
I grabbed this at the library before I had to hop on the bus to go pick up the jeep. I finished it on the ride there. It was an okay story with okay art. The art could be much improved if they got an accomplished inker to work on it. The basics are there. I guess I just don't like the way the artist finishes his art. Story-wise, a couple of things bothered me. First, how matter-of-fact everyone is about everything. Second is how easily every problem got wrapped up. I suppose this is the way it was designed. It was a nice diversion...nothing more.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Gall

I had to take Sarah to Urgent Care this morning at 5:40 am. She had been in extreme pain since 2am thinking it was gas and that it would pass. Turns out it was her gall bladder. They let her come home (we got here about 2:20 pm) but she has to see someone in the next few days about the possibility of having the gall bladder removed. She is resting comfortably for the time being.
We've really been hit with a lot of junk lately. The jeep's been in the shop 3 times this month and we had to take Mickey to the pet ER a couple of weeks ago. We hope all this junk will abate soon. We're kinda tired.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee, Scott Williams

Hush is a 2002-2003 comic book story arc that ran through the Batman monthly series. It was written by Jeph Loeb, and penciled by Jim Lee, inked by Scott Williams and colored by Alex Sinclair. The story depicts a mysterious stalker, head wrapped in bandages, called Hush, who seems intent on sabotaging Batman from afar, and utilizes a large number of guest appearances by Batman villains. It also emphasizes the romantic feelings between Batman and Catwoman.

I really, really liked this graphic novel. In the book, Batman is dark, moody, haunted, and pissed...the way I like my Batman. The writing is top-notch. I've never read anything by Jeph Loeb before. This won't be my last. I've always regarded Jim Lee as a talented artist but after he arrived on the scene too many people started emulating his style and it got old fast. I was hesitant to read this because of Lee. I'm glad I overcame my bias. This is the best art I've seen him do and Scott Williams inks over Lee's pencils is perfect. I also liked the watercolor art that is used to show flashbacks. I think I would eventually buy this graphic novel for my collection. It's that good.

Batman: Harley and Ivy by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and others

The sexy, madcap super-villain duo of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy plan to take down Batman once and for all in this uproariously funny volume. But first, Harley has to convince Ivy that she has what it takes to be a villain in Gotham City!

Yes, it seems I've been in a Batman mood of late. I've just lucked out and found some graphic novels that I've actually wanted to read at the library lately. That said, I also enjoyed this book but especially the stories illustrated by Bruce Timm (or in his style). Timm is the main guy behind the visual greatness of Batman: The Animated Series. I love the retro/modern look of his art. Besides that, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are great characters especially when teamed. I wasn't as big a fan of the Joe Chiodo illustrated story. He is very talented but I can sometimes be a purist when it comes to comic book art. Most of the time I prefer the penciled/inked look over a painted one. This time that proved to be the case.

"Jesus Told Me To Tell You That"

I was riding the bus home from the mechanics a bit ago and I happened to hear a rather rambunctious conversation at the transfer station. Two young black men, one an apparent gangsta/crack dealer(?) and the other friendly but possibly a little nuts, were discussing spiritual issues. I couldn't hear both sides of the chat because gangsta didn't talk very loud but I did hear everything the nut said. He was preaching Jesus big time, trying to convince gangsta to give up his bling and live a righteous life. Eventually, gangsta moved on and the friendly nut got on my bus. He got off a few stops before me. As he exited, he said something to bus driver that I didn't catch but once he hit the street he shouted back, "Jesus told me to tell you that." As we drove off, he waved and smiled.
Riding the bus in Seattle is never boring.

Friday, November 21, 2008

White Building Pics

Well, they done it. They tore down my history. Sad but inevitable. Those buildings were not going to last forever. I'm sure they were looking pretty rough.
I got these pics from the Olive Baptist Church site.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Light Brigade by Peter J. Tomasi and Peter Snejbjerg
"There's a war in Heaven and Earth is the battleground!In the cold, dark days of December 1944, as World War Two rages, Chris Stavros - an Amercian soldier - has but one goal: getting home safely to care for his son after learning his wife has died. But in the midst of battle and trying to stay alive, he finds the stakes raised as heavenly warriors emerge from the skies - resulting in an impossible task given to Stavros and his platoon: recover the lost Sword of God before a troop of arcane, unkillable German soldiers locate it and storm Heavens Gate! These American soldiers, this "Light Brigade," will now begin a supernatural crusade that will determine the fate of the bullet, and one soul at a time!"

I really loved this graphic novel. I'd never heard of it but I saw it at the library and decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did. It's like Saving Private Ryan with zombies and angels. You can't really go wrong with a combination like that.

Knightfall parts 1, 2 and 3 by various artists and writers
I also found this at the library; the story arc chronicling Bane's defeat of the Batman and the rise and fall of Jean Paul Valley as the new Batman. I never read this when it first came out so I figured I'd give it a chance. It was okay. The story was interesting but most of the art left me cold. A story has to be some kind of fantastic for me to overlook so-so art. It had it's moments. I'm glad I read it...probably won't read it again.

Pushing Daisies Cancelled

This is why I refuse to watch network television. If I don't get attached to shows then I don't have to get mad when they get cancelled.
But I'm still mad. Sarah and I just watched season 1 on DVD and it was great! Figures it would get cancelled. It has a great cast, great scripts, and an awesome visual style. Yeah, let's cancel that puppy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The White Buildings

I just read on my cousin's blog that they are tearing down the white buildings at my home church, Olive Baptist in Pensacola. Back when I was a tyke, the white buildings and the sanctuary (now Rousseau Hall) is all there was. I attended kindergarten in those buildings, played on the playground behind those buildings, went to Sunday School in those buildings. As I sit and think, there are so many memories connected with those buildings. Here are just a few...
- In the nursery, I fell off one of the box/benches that ran along the wall and cut my chin open. I remember my Nana coming to get me to take me to the doctor. They sat me up on the counter and Nana offered me a cracker to try and calm me down. I still have that scar.
- Going to Sunday School as a kid. One year, I was actually in the same room where my Nana taught for many years. She wasn't my teacher though. If memory serves, my teacher was Doris Martin and to this day I still remember Proverbs 17:17 from that very class.
- During another year of Sunday School, I remember sitting in a semi-circle singing songs while Aunt Nellie Parazine played the piano. We used to sing "Do Lord" all the time.
- One year during Vacation Bible School, we had these plaster Lord's Supper's that we painted gold. I remember thinking that was so cool.
- We had most of our rehearsals for the puppet ministry out in those white buildings. Those were really fun.
- On the second floor of one of the buildings, you could jump the rail and get up on the roof. It was like another world up there. In high school, you can just imagine what we used it for.
- On many a Wednesday night, after supper, we would steal the remaining bowls of pudding, sneak around between the white building and the Simmon's house and throw those bowls at passing cars. We also did some other juvenile things but I'll keep those to myself.
- I won't go into details but I also had some romantic encounters with some young ladies in some side rooms in those white buildings.
From kindergarten to grown man, I spent a lifetime in those white buildings. It's a shame I'll never see them again. I wish I had a picture to post but I don't. But I can see them in my mind's eye. I can see my friends as they were back then when the church and those white buildings were almost our entire world and not a bad world at that.

Addendum: I found a picture in a book about my church that I forgot I had. This was taken before Rousseau Hall was built. The white buildings were the sanctuary at that time. That was before my day. I also neglected to mention that the church is not only important in my history but in my family history as well. My mom grew up there and I believe our family started with the church in the 1920's. I don't know all the details...I just know we've had family at that church for a long, long time. My parents are members elsewhere now but I still have aunts and cousins and the like roaming those hallowed halls. I am 99% certain that I'll never attend there again but Olive will always hold a special place in my heart.

Monday, November 17, 2008

An Afternoon in Ballard

Sarah and I spent a nice afternoon in Ballard on Sunday. We went mainly with the intention of seeing Quantum of Solace at the wonderful Majestic Bay Theater. We saw the movie first. Despite disappointing reviews and so-so comments from friends, we liked it quite a bit. The story was weak but the action was great. I still think the title is stupid though.
After that, we scooted thru the Farmer's Market to get some honey. There were lots of street musicians around. The one in the pic caught my attention so I had to take a pic. We then went down to the Lockspot Cafe for fish and chips. My cousin Chris would love this place because there are autographs of all the fishermen from Deadliest Catch all over. The fish and chips were okay (certainly not as good as the ones we had in Friday Harbor) but the atmosphere was pure Ballard fishing community. After lunch we went over to the Locks for a minute, then headed back thru Ballard stopping at Archie McPhee's and a couple of consignment shops. On the way home we stopped at Larsen's Bakery because we had been curious about it. We bought a delicious dessert (cherry cream cheese twist) to take home.
The jeep was acting up so I took it in this morning. Our mechanic is Russian or something similar and he's a no nonsense guy. He called a while ago to tell me it's fixed. He's quick, dependable and reasonable. You can't ask for more in a mechanic these days. Guess I'll walk over and pick it up in a bit. I'll probably go by the bread outlet and the library on my way home. I had hoped to get some art done on my day off but I just don't think it's going to happen today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I let the guys in Midlife Chrysler know tonight of my intentions to quit the band after our December worship gig. It was hard but I had to be true to myself and fair to them. The simple truth is I just felt like a hypocrite singing those praise songs. I can't sing love songs to God right now because I don't love him. I feel like a phony singing those songs and I have to stop. There are other issues but none as important as a worship leader who has no business leading worship.
The guys were, I think, shocked. I didn't think they would be. I figured they saw it coming. Guess not. They were kind, said a lot of nice things about me and reassured me that our friendships would not change. I knew that because they are good people. They are concerned about me and hurt for me because of the spiritual battle I am going through. We talked some about it and perhaps we'll have the opportunity to have more conversations. It would be nice to have someone to talk to about all this even though I don't know how to explain how I feel.
So, unless there's some intervention from on high, I will be stepping down as lead singer for Midlife Chrysler at the end of December. I will miss it. I love singing, music and performing. It's a great creative outlet for me. I guess that means I'll have to work that much harder on my art.

The Real McCoy

My friend Marshall and I went to see the McCoy Tyner Quartet last night at the Moore. He was accompanied by Marc Ribot on guitar; Gerald Cannon on bass; and Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums.
The music was good but the sound wasn't. It was very muddy. Another annoying thing about the show was that every instrumentalist had a every song. I'm all for soloing but...c'mon! Also, I know Ribot was positioned so he could see McCoy but he had his back to the audience. He's a guitar player. I want to see his hands while he plays.
There was a funny moment when, after 4 or 5 songs, McCoy got up, said something in the mike (again, terrible sound plus he has one of those raspy, jazz voices) and walked off the stage. None of the other guys said anything but based on the bass players face his inner monologue had to have been, "Where the hell is McCoy going? McCoy, get your ass back out here. We've gotta play some more songs." In a few seconds, McCoy strolled back on the stage, mumbled something in the mike about a broken watch then sat back down and played some more. I guess if you're 70 years old and a jazz legend, you can do whatever you want.
There were some interesting folks at this concert but none more interesting (my way of being nice and not saying annoying) than the ones directly in front of us. It was 2 couples; a dapper yet nerdy looking black man accompanied by a large white woman who wouldn't look out of place in a bowling alley and a white man (think bowling alley again) accompanied by a black woman who looked like she was going to church and apparently McCoy Tyner's biggest fan...sorta. The two women were slathered with perfume which caused my sinuses to rebel in a big way. McCoy's biggest fan sat thru the whole concert talking back like she was at church. She'd clap her hands and bob her head up and down, laughing and saying stuff like, "Yeah. Uh huh. That's right." But I suppose even McCoy Tyner's biggest fan has a limit. About an hour into the concert, they all just got up and left. Well, let me rephrase that. They made a big show of leaving. The concert only went on another half hour but I'm not complaining. My nose was thankful that they left.
All in all it was a good evening full of good music, good conversation with a friend and more than a healthy dose of people watching in Seattle. I won't even tell you about the transvestite on the bus. (think Fred Flintstone trying to look like Jackie Kennedy and you'll be close)

Friday, November 14, 2008


Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez
The wizard Margle the Horrendous takes special pride in never killing his enemies. Instead, he transforms them into various accursed forms and locks them away in his castle. His halls are filled with his collection of fallen heroes and defeated villains, along with a few ordinary folk who were just unfortunate enough to draw Margle’s attention.
It’s Nessy’s duty to tend this castle. It’s a lot of work, but she manages, taking pride in housekeeping talents that keep the castle from collapsing into chaos. But when Margle suddenly dies, everything begins to unravel. Nessy finds herself surrounded by monsters, curses, a door that should never be opened, and one very deadly dark wizardess.
Nessy doesn’t have might or magic on her side; she’s just a kobold: short, furry, and sensible. Her allies aren’t much better: a voice without a body, an angry fruit bat, a monster under her bed, a wizard in a jar (or some of him, anyway), and a one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple, people eater. It would be smarter to walk away, but taking care of the castle is Nessy’s job, and that’s just what she intends to do.
If only she could find time to polish the silver while beating back the forces of darkness.
I have read all but one of Martinez's books. I have liked them all except for A Company of Ogres. I liked this one pretty well. It's not my favorite of the bunch but it was entertaining. I loved all the crazy characters that live in the castle and the fact that, even though they dwell under a curse, there's a family bond between some of them. The whole time I was reading this I could picture it in my head as an animated feature. So, nothing deep, a fun read.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Mickey Scare

Last night around 10 we had to take our cat Mickey to the ER vet. We gave him his meds which he vomited up and then he couldn't walk straight. We called, they said come so we did. Turns out he had a vagal episode which is, basically, a fainting spell. It was rather scary though. Mickey's a trooper though. He's been on chemo for 1.5 years now for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He's also anemic despite having a pretty good appetite. To see him you wouldn't know he was sick. But he is and we know we will lose him eventually but it's still hard.
The doc told us she thought his thyroid might be enlarged so we will make sure our vet checks that during his next blood test which is in a couple of weeks. Today, he's been sleeping a lot. When we got home last night he wouldn't come out of his carrier. When we got him out he hid in the closet. We let him be and this morning he got in bed with me. A little while ago he curled up on the couch next to me and went to sleep. He's still not eating great but his chemo ends today so we hope his appetite will pick up in the next day or so.
Sick cats are tough. I can't imagine having kids.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Is It Fine Art?

I had a short discussion with an artist friend at the opening the other night. We talked about the stigma certain groups or galleries have against a certain type of art. With me, it's collage. For him, it's that he's an illustrator. I've been turned down by galleries that tell me they don't show collage. He has been rejected from shows and other opportunities because his work was considered illustration and not art. He says he's even been lumped into the craft category which is usually reserved for baskets, jewelry and the like. I've run into thinking like that in the past with my cartoons. In college I was asked by a teacher if there was a way for me to use my combine cartooning and fine art. I understood where she was coming from but now I have to ask the question: Why isn't cartooning a fine art? Why aren't my friend's wonderful illustrations considered fine art? I do think the lines are more blurry than they were when I was a younger man. Urban, lowbrow, street art (whatever you want to call it) does a lot to encorporate any and everything into fine art. That's why I love it so much. They are pushing the edges out even further...breaking the rules.
For what it's worth I do understand why some people don't consider collage an art. I probably had some of those feelings myself before I actually started doing it. All I can say to all you naysayers is: Try it sometime.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

What's the Rush?

I get tired of the pace that is set by our society. Everything is so rushed all the time. Living in a big city like Seattle only makes me doubly aware of it. People here rush everything...even friendships. No one has time to just sit for a while and chat or just spend time together cutting up and having fun. Call me old but I sometimes long for simpler times when we didn't have cell phones (I still don't have one) and Facebook and such. Facebook still baffles me. I love that I'm in touch with some old friends but I still get friend requests from people that are not friends nor do we have any business being friends. Are they trying to get their friend count up? I don't get it. I also enjoy my iPod and my computer but I sometimes just wish I could be sitting on the porch with a few friends doing nothing but being with one another. It's especially hard out here on the West Coast. People here don't do friendship like they do in the South. There's no time to cultivate deep relationships because everyone is in a rush to get to their next thing. We are still perplexed by the fact that no one goes out to lunch after church on Sunday. That used to be one of the best times I had to catch up and chat and laugh with friends. I know I'm not insane because our other friends from down South feel the same way we do.
I don't have enough brain power today to make this into anything profound. I guess I'm just mourning true, deep friendships. Sarah and I both miss that a lot.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Opening at JA

Tonight's opening at Johnston Architects was very nice. There wasn't a huge crowd but some great folks stopped by and I had some very nice conversations during the evening. This was the first reception I've had where people asked good questions and there was an opportunity for some dialogue about the art. I enjoyed that a lot. I wish more people would dialogue with me about it. It actually helps me make sense of things when I'm able to talk to others about these crazy little collages and what they represent and don't represent.
As you can see from the pictures, JA is a very unique and beautiful space. The walls are curved which throws a unique perspective on the show. I don't think my art has looked better in a space.
After the show, we stepped across the street for a quick shot of the Seattle skyline. Contrary to what the sign says, Seattle has not been a dead end but an opportunity for me to grow as an artist. There are some things I don't like about this city but it's a great place to be an artist.

Water Water Everywhere Redux

So, I was complaining about the water situation at work this week. We've had blocked sewer pipes, water seeping into the server room, broken pipes, etc. This morning I went in and found water dripping onto the IT desk. Fortunately we know what causes that so I went out and swept the water away from the front door...problem solved!
The great guys from Fox Plumbing came out and fixed the broken pipe under the Green Bean. They had to break thru the concrete to get to it. They were almost done when I left a while ago. Really friendly, dependable guys. I liked 'em.
Now, onto the server room. I showed that to the guys and they told me how to build a dam around a drain with asphalt patch to temporarily fix the problem. Once I swept all the water up and built the dam, the puddle along the wall in the server room dried up. I hope it's taken care of. I am going to check in on things over the weekend and see if it stays dry. We are going to have a metric buttload of rain over the weekend.
It doesn't rain in Seattle as much as they tell you it does but it's still a problem. Yuck!


I had to delete my last post because some idiot snuck a porn ad into my comments. I hate that crap! I'll redo the deleted post. It was something about water and flooding and...well...just water.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Band Name Meme

I got this from my friend Mark's blog. Sounded fun so I thought I'd participate. Here goes.

Here are the rules:
1. Band Name: Random Wikipeda Link
2. Album Title: Random quote generator (take the last four words from the first quote on the page)
3. Album Art: Flickr Interesting Photo (pick one)

Here's mine:

Band Name - Kobylinka
Album Title - How Little You Have
Album Art - (the pic in the post)

If you're reading this, it's your turn now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton: 1942 - 2008

Not only was Crichton a good writer but he also directed a few films. I really loved this one back in the 80's.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Take On Me: Literal Video Version

I saw this a few weeks ago and just had to post it. Funny stuff.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

More Trunk or Treat Pics

Trunk or Treat

Thanks to my wife and crew of volunteers, Trunk or Treat was a great success. It rained all day but tapered off as the afternoon progressed. Then, as the start time approached, we got another downpour with a sunbreak which produced a rainbow. A sign that ToT would be a success? Perhaps. More likely just typical Pacific NW weather.
As you can see in the pics, folks went all out. Sarah herself was the queen of ToT as Marie Antoinette. She kept her head but did eat some cake. (a cupcake anyway) No pics of me this year. I wimped out, put on a smock and beret and went as an artist. One person said, "You're not in costume. You ARE an artist." Oh well. Sarah and I went whole hog 2 years in a row with our trunks (winning 1st and 2nd prizes) This year, I took the day off and spent the day doing what she needed me to do to get ToT up and running. It was a rough day but, in the end, it all came together.


Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
This first book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series finds our Louisiana waitress heroine Sookie falling in love with vampire Bill. Of course, lots of folks don't approve and there's been a series of murders that seem to have been perpetrated by a vampire. Or were they?
I've known about these books for quite a while now but I avoided them because I figured they were geared more toward a female audience. I was right but my curiosity got the better of me because HBO and Alan Ball has created a series (True Blood) based on the books. So, I figured if I was going to eventually see the series, I should see if the books are any good.
The book was good but, like I said, totally more appealing to women. Way too much sitting around making goo-goo eyes, drinking each other's blood during sex, and that kind of stuff for me. I can see why the series is popular but I won't be reading any more of them.

Thanksgiving Countdown

Just joking. I'm not doing that. The Halloween Countdown was difficult enough. Sometimes it was struggle to come up with stuff to talk about. This next week may find me blogging less. I have a show to get ready for on Friday night. I've got around 24 new pieces to frame. Hopefully I'll find time in the next day or so to share a few Trunk or Treat photos with you all. It was a big success. The day was difficult, frustrating and exhausting but my wife raised the bar a mile high and I hope the church got a vision for what an event like this can be if you don't wait 'til the last minute and half-ass it. I heard more than a few people say they were thrilled to see it be so successful because it had been so skimpy in years past.
Sarah, you done good.