Thursday, January 31, 2008

iGot My iPod Back...

...but not without drama. The concept of "the customer is always right" is dead. Instead, the concept today must be "the customer is to be treated like the dumbest creature on the planet but not so badly that they won't continue to give us their business."
First, I have to call Best Buy because it's been longer than they said it would be before my iPod would be returned to me. They say, "Oh, it's here." I of course say, "And were you going to call me?" Then I listened to an explanation of their automated calling service instead of hearing, "I'm so sorry we didn't call you." Then they tell me that "they" (whoever they are that works on iPods...probably mutated subterannean albino lab rats) didn't fix it because they couldn't replicate the problem. My response: "Well, do I pick it up or do you send it back because it's not freakin' fixed." I am then told that they can't do anything unless I come in. Why? I have no idea.
So, I headed over to Best Buy. Well, they repeat that they didn't fix it but they probably rebooted it so it should work. They double check it and it seems to be working fine. Then I hear, "Well, since they found no fault there's a charge of $34.00." Well, I of course say, "I'm not paying Jack Squat." I got the 3 year extended warranty so that I wouldn't have to. Again, he repeats about the finding no fault and I remind him that they replicated the problem before it went to the shop. So, he scurries off to talk to a supervisor and I am left to steam in my own juices. In the end, I paid nothing. I got my iPod and left. It seems to be working so far. We'll see.
I am just so tired of dealing with this kind of crap. Best Buy has this Geek Squad that's supposed to help you with your problems. Basically you end up dealing with a kid who's voice cracks and can't grow facial hair. I'm sure they got the job because they know all the cheat codes for Halo 3 and can hack into Facebook to draw moustaches on people's profile photos. Arrrgh! If I didn't love technology so much I'd so wish for an EMP to return us to a simpler life. I'm just about ready to go live with the Amish.
If I can keep my iPod. And my laptop. And my TV. And...


The Store by Bentley Little
The premise of this book was simple enough: what if a huge store (like Wal-Mart or Target) was secretly a cult. Well, I was curious so when I saw it at Goodwill I picked it up. It was an easy read and fairly entertaining. The way Little sets it all up seems somewhat feasible but the biggest question your mind asks as you read is: Could this really happen? Hard to say. It's a weird world we live in today. The strangeness of life boggles my mind on a daily basis. I am constantly freaked out by the odd things that people get away with.
So, watch out. If a place called The Store opens up in your town...stay away. Better yet, move! But that probably wouldn't work. You can't get away from...The Store. Mwah-ha-ha.
Yes, I am very tired this week. How did you know?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Reality Check - Being An Artist

I found this over at the Art News Blog. It also links to the original story where this list came from. The 5 points below are from an article by Sylvia White called "5 Facts Artists Have To Face To Succeed In Business". She calls it her cold water splash in the face for artists. Here are the 5 points..

- You will not get "discovered."
- You will not find a gallery that "understands your work" and feels as passionately about it as you do.
- No matter how original you think your work is, it has been done before.
- Just because your work looks just like Jackson Pollock, (or, fill in the blank) doesn't mean it's as good, or that you can price it the same.
- You will not be able to make a living off the sale of your work.

These make good sense. Luckily for me I have a good deal of common sense and pretty much know these things deep down in my heart. It's nice to dream but I know that there are thousands upon thousands of artists out there competing for the measly scraps of shows and money and encouragement that are available to them. My goals are simply to continue making art because it is fun and it is something that I have to do. While I am trying my hand at making some money doing it I don't expect to ever make a living doing my art. I do not agree with the author when she says "You will not be able to make a living off the sale of your work." There are some people who accomplish this. I won't say I'm going to be one of them but it could happen. For now, I will remain satisfied that I am making good art that people enjoy and if any money comes in as a result of that, I'll count myself blessed, keep my head soundly planted on my shoulders and keep plugging away.

Marshmallow World

Even though that Dean Martin Christmas muzak fave nauseates me, I felt it an appropriate title for today's entry. We woke up to a one inch frosting of snow this morning. It's really quite beautiful. The trees are all covered and it's really awesome. It's times like this I wish we lived out in the country. A busy intersection doesn't have the same charm as a country lane.
I'll be headed out for a walk to the library later. I'll take my camera and see if I can get some better shots than what I can do out my window. It's supposed to snow again on and off between now and Thursday. Of course, that forecast will probably change a thousand times between now and then. So, for now, I'll enjoy what we've got.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Art Party at the Blue Star Cafe

Last night was my first experience with Art Parties Seattle. I'm sure it won't be my last. A vast variety of folks came out for the night. They ate, drank and took in the art filling the walls. Many had very encouraging things to say about my work and I sold 3 prints. The art will be up for the month of February so other sales could be forthcoming.
The night was pretty standard until this fellow with a video camera waltzed in and sat down with me in one of the booths. He stated that he had just gotten the camera and wanted to learn how to use it so he was going to interview me. I said sure and we proceeded. He handed me this awesome remote mic and began asking me questions about myself and the art scene in Seattle. I then told him that he should interview Sharon (Founder of Art Parties Seattle) which he proceeded to do post haste. I believe he interviewed many if not all of the other artists as well. I was told later that he and his buddy want to cover the art scene in Seattle and post video coverage to YouTube. When the videos are available I'll post them here.
All in all, it was a good night. Nice people, good art, food, drink and atmosphere. I sold a few pieces and gained more exposure. Onward and upward.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

King's X - We Were Born To Be Loved

I hate putting 2 videos up in a row but I found this and it rocks! This is my all time favorite King's X song and when they do it live, it kicks ass!


Hadn't heard of this one before but it's from the director of The Descent and Dog Soldiers so I'll give it a chance. Looks like a mix of Road Warrior, 28 Days Later, Underworld and whole crapload of other movies.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mouse at the House

We have a little tenant living on our balcony but he's not helping with the rent. He's already wiped out a small pumpkin and has started making his way thru the bigger pumpkin and Sarah's cabbage plants. We are going to try and capture him alive and release him somewhere wooded. I'm not sure he'll find better eats than he's accustomed to at our apartment. He's a fat littly guy.


Josh Howard Presents Sasquatch
"In the Himalayas it's referred to as Yeti. North America calls the creature Bigfoot. But no matter what name it's given, the humanoid legend has captivated imaginations for centuries.
Now Dead At 17's Josh Howard, along with the hottest indie creators around, reveal the secrets surrounding the missing link in Sasquatch — an anthology as big, and as interesting, as the creature itself."*

I picked this up at the library on a whim. It's a pretty cool collection of comics devoted to the legend of Bigfoot, Yeti and other hairy versions of that myth(?). Like any collection, some stories and art are good, others not so good. All in all, a nice diversion and a chance to see the work of some illustrators I wasn't familiar with before.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Art Update

I was so worried that the shows would dry up after February because I didn't have anything scheduled for so long. I needn't have worried. Here's what's brewing.

- Insurrection Vintage has asked me to hang work at their new store in Roosevelt.
- I have confirmed shows at the Edmonds Art Walk in May and Velouria in August.
- I will be one of the featured artists at Twilight in the Junction this year, probably in June.
- Tentative shows are still in the works for Trabant Coffee and Chai and The Living Loft.
- My smaller works are selling pretty well. I am hoping to add more product (magnets, etc.) as the year goes on.

It's looking like 2008 is going to be a promising year for my art. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. I hope I can keep up. For complete details on any and all upcoming shows, check out my art site.

Allan Melvin (1923 - 2008)

Not only was Melvin a great character actor (Andy Griffith Show, Brady Bunch, Gomer Pyle) but he also did alot of cartoon voiceover work. He was the voice of Magilla Gorilla, Drooper of the Banana Splits and many others. You can read more about him here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
"Barbara Ehrenreich’s non-fiction bestseller, Nickel and Dimed, is the story of an essay writer who goes undercover as a low wage worker to find out how non-skilled workers make ends meet. The experiment took place in Florida, Maine, and Minnesota, with the author finding a job and lodgings in each location. The experiment was held for one month in each location, working full time and living only off the amount of money earned in low-wage jobs. The end result sought was whether the author could both live off the money earned and have enough money at the end of the month to pay the next month’s rent."*
Guess I'm on a bit of a non-fiction kick. Interesting book. Not quite as illuminating as I had hoped but interesting nonetheless. The thing that struck me the most (and I already knew this) is how little employers care for their employees. And it's only getting worse. And if you think it's any better working for a church or a Christian organization, think again. They are the worst because they are supposed to be better at taking care of people and they will smile and speak caring words to your face but when it comes to money...geez...they are so good at spending it on anything but helping people. But I digress.
Getting back to the subject at hand, I only see things getting worse. It's getting harder and harder to make a living especially if you live somewhere like Seattle where you have to be nearly a millionaire to be able to afford a house...even in a not-so-great neighborhood. Why did I read this book? I don't know. Maybe so that I could see that I'm not alone in the vast ocean of the unwashed masses. Heck, compared to most of the folks described in the book, Sarah and I are doing real good. So, I shouldn't complain and I try not to. There are more important things than money.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Finally, a movie to get excited about!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


We just got back from the ER. I was having extreme discomfort due to gas...moreso than usual. So we thought it best to go. The verdict...more GERD issues. The good news is that I am doing a lot of what I need to do to help the situation already. We also got more information which will possibly help. Despite the fact that I have lost a ton of weight, I need to lose more and start exercising. They checked my heart again and it is fine. I guess this is just something I will have to live with. The doc said that with more weight loss and exercise, it could possibly go away in time. I hope that is the case. I'm tired of feeling bad.

Snowed Last Night...

...which lead to icy roads today. I slipped and slid all over the neighborhood as I trekked to work this morning. I really hate busting it on ice. I really hate busting my ice too. The good news is that we should see some sun this week. I'm ready. For some reason I am really sick of the rain this winter. I don't know if it's rained more or if I'm just getting settled into a "missing the sun" Seattle routine. Maybe I have S. A. D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Who knows? I just know I'm ready for spring.

Monday, January 14, 2008

iMiss iPod

I had to take my iPod back to Best Buy. It's been freezing up alot lately. They had to send it back to wherever it is they fix them so I will be without it for 2 weeks. I'm going to miss it. Luckily I have my old standby Discman to use in the meantime. The good news is I got the three year repair or replace plan when I bought it so it's not costing me a thing.
I can't wait to get it back. I'll have a lot of podcasts to catch up on.


The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
"From the bestselling author of The Know-It-All comes a fascinating and timely exploration of religion and the Bible.
Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.
The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes.
Jacobs's quest transforms his life even more radically than the year spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for The Know-It-All. His beard grows so unruly that he is regularly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. He immerses himself in prayer, tends sheep in the Israeli desert, battles idolatry, and tells the absolute truth in all situations - much to his wife's chagrin.
Throughout the book, Jacobs also embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally. He tours a Kentucky-based creationist museum and sings hymns with Pennsylvania Amish. He dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and does Scripture study with Jehovah's Witnesses. He discovers ancient biblical wisdom of startling relevance. And he wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the twenty-first-century brain. Jacobs's extraordinary undertaking yields unexpected epiphanies and challenges. A book that will charm readers both secular and religious, The Year of Living Biblically is part Cliff Notes to the Bible, part memoir, and part look into worlds unimaginable. Thou shalt not be able to put it down."*
I discovered Jacobs when I read The Know-It-All in which he read thru the Encyclopedia Britannica and told us all about what he had learned. I eagerly awaited this book and was not disappointed by it. Jacobs continues to entertain and educate as he reports what he learns thru his lifestyle emmersive journalism. As he tells his tale of diving into a life of following the Bible literally for a year, he is funny, compulsive, reverent and irreverent. He treats everyone with respect and yet, whether purposefully or not, ends up in some truly wacky and entertaining situations due to his seeming ignorance and innocence. Also funny are his wife's good natured sabotage of some of his attempts at being Biblical at home.
All in all, it's a fun book about a man who has no faith and yet is curious enough about it to try and find out what it's all about. I won't spoil the read by telling you where his journey leads him but I will tell you that, in the end, he seems all the better for it.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ballard Art Walk

"Oh, the hilarity! Collage artist Marty Gordon's weird world sits at the intersection of pop culture and deep thought. Put on your space helmet and enjoy."

This is the caption I found that described my art when I opened the map for the Ballard Art Walk tonight. I don't know who wrote it but it's really great! I'm going to ask if I can use it in the future. Sarah and I hit the streets of Ballard tonight for the event. It was kind of first. Here's a blow by blow.

- We stopped by ReMax to see who Andrew was hosting tonight. (Andrew hosted me back in October) We were met with some very nice black and white photography courtesy of Thomas Krueger. It made me long for the chemical smell of a darkroom. Good stuff.

- We wandered down the street to see my stuff at Secret Garden Bookstore. I didn't hang it so I wanted to see how it looked. It was great. Near the front they had a little display set up with some of my cards scattered about and a list of my favorite books. Nice.

- Not knowing where to go (crappy map) we finally decided to see what was going on across the street. We entered a little shop called Velouria and I found that the artist, James Caudle, graduated from the University of West alma mater. I chatted with him a bit, found out his mom lives in Milton not too far from where my parents live. So weird. Small world. Loved his art.

- We jumped back in the jeep and drove a ways to get to the next place. We had seen some art at the West Seattle Art Walk that we really liked and found out that she would be part of the monthly opening at Building C. What a great place! Fantastic studios and some really great art! We found our artist, Diane Culhane and she was really nice. Sarah and I chatted her up for a while. Sarah really loved her art and I had to literally drag her out of there. The studio space there is amazing. I was so envious. I would really love to have a studio where I can be free to express myself in any way I see fit. I really want somewhere that I can sling the paint around. One day perhaps. One day.

After that overload of art we headed home. I'm so glad we ventured out tonight. I hated that we had to miss the Twilight party in West Seattle but there was just too much going on to do both events. I've got to get out and see more art. It's essential. Gotta do it. No ifs, ands or buts. Art and music are the two things in my life that energize and inspire me the most and I feel like I don't spend enough time with either of them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Art Walk Video

West Seattle Art Walk

Last night, Sarah and I headed over to the West Seattle Art Walk. My work is hanging at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse and I also used the opportunity to drop off some new work at Twilight's new place in West Seattle. My smaller, less expensive collages are selling really well so I did 10 more. They are gearing up for their grand opening celebration on Saturday night. We hope to drop by for a moment but we need to hit the Ballard Art Walk that night since my stuff is also hanging there as well.
While artwalking, we met some very cool people. Ginomai is an art space run by a church that provides studio space for artists on a donation basis. Very cool. If we lived closer I'd be all over that. We also met someone who has a funky furniture store and they might be interested in having our art there as well.
The coolest thing of the night was running into Patrick from the West Seattle Herald. They have done a video about the artwalk featuring yours truly and Cheryl and Mary from Twilight. More exposure. I'll take it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bodacious Tata's

Have you seen this new car from India? The Tata NANO basic model costs $2500. Of course, you might want to add some things since it comes with nothing extra. But still...$2500 for a car? Amazing. You can read more about it here.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Guitar Hero

While hanging out after lifegroup yesterday, I got to play the Guitar Hero video game for the first time. Man, it's a lot of fun! Of course, I didn't do all that great because I couldn't get my fingers to work on the guitar. Another thing that hindered me was that I knew the songs too well that I was trying to play. The way you play them in the game is not necessarily how they are played on a real guitar. (not that I can play the guitar but I have a strong sense of how one is played) So, you have to get used to the little guitar controller. Steve's son Jonathon was amazing and he wasn't even using the guitar. He was just playing on the little controller that came with the Xbox. Toward the end, I played bass while he was playing lead on such songs as Pride and Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson. We, of course, lost because I totally screwed up the bass part. The two songs I did best at were Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine and Suck My Kiss by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I think I did pretty well overall considering I'd never seen the game before and I am not a video game guy. Never have been. But that's one that could hook me in. Good thing we don't have one or I'd be addicted. Besides, nothing's better than being in a real band. But because of this experience, I totally understand my upstairs neighbors obsession with Rock Band, another game that allows you to play drums or sing. They play all the time and I've had to go up and tell them to turn it down. They were nice about it. The thing about it was, part of me wanted them to be quiet and part of me wanted to go in and show them how to do it. They can't sing worth a crap.
I hope I get to play again. That was the most fun I've had since we had the impromptu jam session between performances at the Christmas musical.
What can I say? I'm just a Jukebox Hero with stars in my eyes.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Paul Stanley Paints...

...BADLY! This makes me so mad. Paul Stanley, the Starchild from the rock band KISS is now a painter and has sold over $2,000,000 worth of art. And he sucks! His stuff is amateurish and poorly executed. Take a look for yourself.
I have nothing against Paul personally. I was a huge KISS fan back in the day. But using your celebrity to hawk something you're not good at just ticks me off. I know he's not the first. There are alot of celebrity artists out there. Some are good and some are not so good. Here's a site I found that showcases celebrity artists. Take a look around. Some of this stuff is pretty awful.
Okay, rant over. Return to your homes. Nothing to see here.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Christmas in Iowa Part 7

Heading Home (12/27/07)
We got up at 4:30 am to pack and make sure we were under the weight limits. We got to the airport and our flight left pretty much on time. Our connection in St. Louis was tight but we made it. We worried that our luggage didn't make it on the plane but when we arrived in Seattle our luggage arrived with us. While we were at the baggage claim we ran into a coworker's sister who just happened to be on the plane with us but we never saw her. We then began trading airline holiday nightmare stories. It seems we're not the only ones who had it bad. In fact, compared to alot of folks, we had it pretty good.
We grabbed our luggage and went outside to wait for our wonderful friend Kary to pick us up. We had a great time visiting with her on the ride home. We really missed our friends on this trip. I think it's the first trip we've taken where we felt like we actually had friends to miss.
Once home, we picked up the boys, unpacked and started to decompress. It was so nice to be home.
Well, that's the end of my Iowan Christmas tale. Hope you enjoyed it. Tune in next year for the holiday classic, "My Butt is Stayin' Home for Christmas."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman
"Grad-school dropout Matt Fuller is toiling as a lowly research assistant at MIT when, while measuring subtle quantum forces that relate to time changes in gravity and electromagnetic force, his calibrator turns into a time machine. With a dead-end job and a girlfriend who has left him for another man, Matt has nothing to lose taking a time machine trip himself-or so he thinks."*
I liked this book. It was interesting. Even though the main character is a pretty smart fellow, he still has an everyman quality to him. You like him. You want him to come out on top. So, it was fun following his misadventures into the future. What didn't work for me was when he went so far into the future it just got really way out. It was way over my head there for a little bit. Thank goodness it settled back down and ended nicely.
All in all, a solid sci-fi story that didn't forget about the characters amidst all the bighead quantum physics talk...except for that small part near the end. That made my head hurt.


Christmas in Iowa Part 6

Malls and Malls and Goods and Goods (12/26/07)
We woke up early and got ready for a day of shopping. We hit a couple of thrift stores in Iowa City and I found some great books for collage. Sarah found an antique pin cushion for $4 that we had seen in Galena for over $300 in a consignment shop. Around lunchtime, we met Sarah’s friend Susan and her husband at the mall for lunch and conversation. They are nice folks and we had a good visit. We gave them some art and they gave me a Weird Al t-shirt (they had seen him in concert the month before) and Sarah got a scarf that Susan made. We topped the visit off with ice cream at Whitey’s (an Iowa favorite) and headed for home. Sarah's parents got us a suitcase at Goodwill so we could bring all of our Christmas loot home. He spent a little time packing, laid around watching the boob tube for a while and then her mom and dad went to Solon High School to hear Bill Clinton speak. We toyed with going but in the end chose to stay home and get to bed.
Politics vs. sleep? Sleep wins every time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Reality of Real Estate

One of the the things we took note of while were strolling around Solon, IA was how much the houses were. We found 2 houses for sale. The first was a fairly large home (pictured), 2 stories with a basement. It needed some TLC but it looked pretty decent. It was selling for 139K. Just down the street was another home that was much larger. It was a really nice home. It was obvious that a lot of work had gone into it. It was 199K. In Seattle, these homes would cost between 400 - 750K. It's a bit disheartening to know that we could afford a home in Solon, IA (where we have no desire to live) but not in Seattle where we like living and can actually make a living doing what we do.

Christmas in Iowa Part 6

Christmas Day (12/25/07)
We woke up around 9 and stumbled out into the main room. For breakfast, we had the traditional Christmas stollen, a German dessert that is very good. After that, we began to open presents. The best gifts I got were gift cards to Barnes and Noble, Best Buy and JC Penney. Sarah got me Mary Poppins and Amadeus on DVD. In addition to the purse I gave her previous to the trip (so she could use it) I got her Groovelily’s A Little Midsummer’s Night Music CD. Among the other gifts we got (her parents bought us an extra suitcase at Goodwill so we could get all the loot home) were candles, various Hot Wheel cars, cookies, candy, books, coasters, and other various weirdness. Sarah told her mom to take it easy but she didn’t listen.
After the mayhem of gift exchange, we had a great lunch of turkey and appropriate accoutrements. It was yummy! Mid-afternoon, Sarah’s mom realized that there were other gifts hidden in the closet so we had Christmas Part II.
Later in the afternoon, we took a walk back into town and explored a few streets we missed previously. Once we returned to her parent's house, the rest of the day was spent being lazy and snacking on Christmas leftovers.