Sunday, November 29, 2009

A father-daughter weekend

Tana hadn't been away from Jade over night since she was born six years and some change ago.  And Jade has made a lot of big steps these last few months with reading and swimming and growing and eating and eating.  So two nights in Monterey for Tana by herself seemed a lot more doable than even six months ago.  She took off on Friday.  It's Sunday.  It's over now.  Jade's at her friend's birthday party...I'm here with a half cold pacifico and my keyboard.

So while Tana's been in Monterey getting use to not having a blond shadow, Jade and I have been having a lot of fun.  Friday we started off taking the couch apart and building a fort.

 Then when we got bored of the fort I set up the camping tent in the family room and we slept downstairs staying up "late" watching movies and wrestling.

She went to a short playdate at her friend's house down the street the next day and I got to clean it all up and vacuum, dust, shower, blink...I can see how the grind gets snowballing the more you extend yourself out.  By the time Jade got back the whole place was cleaned up.

Cuddling that little dwarf, wrestling, bathing her and brushing her hair in the tub, just chilling with this little lady who used to be a small crying burrito, talking with her at night and generally just telling the schedule to go fuck itself for a weekend was so rewarding.  And though we really don't have any pictures to show from it, (other than these) that's sort of the point I's just another turn away from fear road.  Fear that these things must go documented.  And the documentation must be good and exciting so smile, not like this, like that, now stand on one foot, now do your best Christopher Walken impression, now standing backflip...oh crap, the lighting wasn't right, lets do it all over.  I'm not like that at all, but I like to keep my memory types balanced: try to write about events, take pictures, record movies and more now than ever just enjoy good times as they are happening and soak it in like a hippie because I know these days are fleeting.  She won't always be in kitten pajamas with a head of unruly hair, grin so big her gums are stretching.

I'm at a point with life where I'm going more day by day because stress (self inflicted) and genetics (no pill for this one) don't seem to be in my favor.  The men in my family don't seem to last long so I've figured out how to cheat thoughts of an early demise by throwing "death" at the bottom of my "to do list".  And since I do great with lists until the last few items or so, well it seems like the perfect place for death to take permanent residence.  It's sorted.  Got an empty check box next to it.  Bland font...lower case "d"...So now I don't have to think about it and I'm free to tackle the more pressing matters first in the hierarchy of my "list", like laying on the bed with Jade and singing a new song we made up, or drawing cat zombies or just drifting in and out of sleep in a tent in the family room on a windy night.

...And after I wrote the above blog, Jade and I ended up taking Bart to a toy store in San Francisco.  While we were waiting for a transfer I couldn't help but take our picture.  And to make it even more hypocritical I added some fun vintage FX I applied from my iphone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Before and after Photoshop

In scanning pages in my sketchbook I came across this drawing.  Mike wanted me to try and emulate the sci-fi movie character sketch style.  He asked me to draw an intergalactic dark crystal inspired convict.  I don't think I got it.  Looks more like one of those shitty paintings on the side of an 80's arcade game.  I hear Bill Sanchez (one of my artcollege profs) telling me "it's good to work outside your comfort zone kid!  That's it, yeah!  Wrap it around!"    I did find a good use for that photo I snapped at Shay's storage locker last time he was in town.  No joke.  I added a layer over the top to make it look dirty.  I also added so much black that you PC users can't see anything at all.  Perfect!  Whatever...I will probably update soon.  It was kind of a quickie job.

So here's a look at the sketch pre and post Photoshop

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sketchbook nearing it's end...

I've got about 3 pages to go in my old sketchbook before I start in on a new one.  So I'll be scanning stuff in and posting it before it starts collecting dust on the shelf of forgotten-ness.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I got a whole bunch of dog dirt for Halloween.

The weekend started so well.  Friday was the company halloween party.  Which was nice because free long lunch, it was an excuse not to go to the gym AND a group of my colleagues dressed up as some of the characters I created for the products.

My personal favorite had to be Elebot.  The original character is on the paper thingy.

Got home and Tana and Jade and I headed over to our friends' place for dinner.  The husband, who's a pretty great guy actually and a new friend of mine, asked if I wanted to go see a show on Sunday.  I said sure, why the fuck not?  I'll go see "Skinny Puppy".  Sounds like fun.  Live music always rocks right?  Mistake number one.

The next day was Saturday.  Halloween.  Jade had a kids costume/birthday party to go to so while Tana was working out, I was in charge of doing Jade's ghost makeup.  I really think if I weren't colorblind I could do this for a living.  I went a little overboard though because when I dropped Jade off at the party, her friends were all dressed up as cute kitties and princesses and happy little fairies.  You know they're all 6 years old more or less.  And coming up to the door I can hear the girls running around inside playing etc.

Well, he he, when Jade came in she looked like this.

She wanted me to do it though.  She kept telling me to break so she could see herself in the mirror. The blood in her mouth was her idea.  And I informed her, ghosts don't bite people or drink blood, but who was I?  The ghost guru?  Here's a before and after:


So it instantly cast this dark cloud over the whole kids party vibe, which I thought was kind of funny scene after they all got used to it.  And since the party was in our "basic" neighborhood, we all sort of decided to do the house to house thing as a big parent/kid mob.  This actually ended up being quite shitty.  I felt like a fucking sheep.  And had we all been dressed in sheep costumes, that would have been perfect, but twas not the case.  And the fact that everybody in the neighborhood had their lights on but nobody was home was not only ironic, but fucking sad after about 23 minutes.  It was like Spinal Tap, when they couldn't find the stage.  I broke off and got the car, scooped up Tana and Jade and we went home.  It was dark out, still early.  We grabbed our little chihuahua Eddie, fed our big dogs and headed out closer to our house this time by ourselves.  We had a great time trick or treating with Jade.  Perfect in fact.  Later that night, Jade answered the door and passed out candy.  Tana and I drank wine and champagne and enjoyed the evening.

Sunday we took our 3 dogs to Point Isabel dog park on the bay past Berkeley marina.  Our massive brown lab Henry is a love.  He's like a horse on ecstasy and no-doze.

Our yellow lab Che is smaller and getting up there in age, but she still gives life her all.  She gives moaning groaning and licking her dog hole her all as well.

Eddie is our newest addition.  A four year old miniature pincer chihuahua mix.  Got him from a rescue.  He's built like a loaf of wheat bread with itty bitty weight lifter legs...although I must say he looks pretty regal in this shot.

So we all had a nice time, dogs went swimming, Jades swinging from trees, collecting sea glass.  I gave my first drum lesson to a 3rd grader.  It went great.  It's like I knew exactly what to do.  Granted it was the first lesson but still.  Had her playing a beat by the end of the session.  Weekend's wrapping up right, Chinese food for dinner and I'm starting to get tired.  Almost forgot...Skinny Puppy.  My friend comes and picks me up, bay bridge closed so we head over the Richmond/San Rafael bridge to Golden Gate bridge to get to the club on Van Ness in SF.  After two horrible opening acts I was ready for something...just something that resembled music.  Nope.  The sounds that I heard were like a chain smoking gorilla getting pulled apart on the torture rack with a microphone jammed in his face and the gain set to "ear stab". Loud industrial noise and screaming over distorted farts  is what I heard.  Can't even mosh to it.  My band has a song called Prepare to Scream.  We play sci-fi punk and hard rock.  But this shit didn't have anything musical to it.  No beat, no rhythm, just noisy horseshit.   I love punk, hard rock...I even dig live metal.  Prefer it.  But this shit?  The fat shot of Pete's espresso and the 2 six buck cups of bud light on a funky garlic eggplant mu shu stomach probably didn't help the claustrophobic mental raping I experienced, but fuck I have to forgive myself for pete's sake.  And the friend Don who I play music with, said he was a Skinny Puppy fan until he saw who the other Skinny Puppy fans actually were.  I fucking wish I couldn't vouch for that.  I really just wish I had my sketchbook.  I never saw such a collection of badly designed tats and vinyl pants stretched over goofy bodies.  Lots of fuzzy bearded boys with horrible eyeliner ideas.  Could probably blow up burning man with the amount of god damn hair product in there and that's still only the guys I'm talking about.  Whatever.  Art ref.  It's in the memory bank.

So the show lets all the dad haters out and we head home.  I get home about 12.  Hang out in the office and decompress.  But I remember I have to drive Jade and her friend to school the next morning so I get my shit ready for work, then I go to let the dogs out before bed.  Trick or Treat!  Henry shat 10 gallons of bay/ass water onto the linoleum in the storage room dog area.  That I assume goes into the "trick" column.

So two towels, a whole lot of simple green and I'm ready to let the dogs back in.  Place is all cleaned up, aired out, made Henry a new bed.  Che's good to go, made sure Henry got the last bits of liquid hell out of his winker and put him back in.  Mistake number two.  Hit the sack around 1:30 am.  Tana wakes me up at 6:30.  He did it again.  This time he got the mixture juuuuuust right...a little less water, more shit and a dash of fuck me.  Steamy hot fucked up dog diarrhea.  Like microwaved bowel pudding.  Demon ass gravy.  Foggy muggy ass mist all downstairs.  Thank gods of whiskey for the storage room linoleum.  But even in that little space he'd crapped in multiple spots and stepped in it and tracked butt spit all over the place.  Here's the morning shot.

So I kick Henry in the ass, clean up the shit murder scene as Tana called it, slam some tea and take Jade and her friend to school. Henry spends the next night outside.  Barking, howling, complaining.  Not a lot but enough for for to feel bad about it. Tuesday night I'm thinking he's over it.  Put him back in his area in the storage room.  Mistake number three.  Wednesday morning, shit murder scene number three.  Well we have our own skinny puppy now and his name is Henry because that dickhead's not getting any fucking food until he figures out his asshole.  I love that guy, but damn it.  And funny thing is, I didn't get close to heaving until the end of the third cleanup when I got a bit of shit of my finger, wet and runny and I said out loud to myself "alright it's on my finger" and that's when the dry heaving started.  I got it under control.  You'd be proud.  The garbage guys weren't stoked.  Last night we felt bad for him howling and barking and pissing off our neighbors so we brought him inside...that's right...and guess how I spent my morning.  Master blaster strikes again.  Will we never learn?

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I just updated this image and today is the... wholly shit it's November!  November makes me think of what it must be like turning 80.  But I feel about 80 every day.  Zombies don't give a shit about the end of the year or turning 80, or balance of emotional output because they live in the moment.  Or they "un-live" in the moment.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Everyone knows one of those exceptional cats.  That is if you like cats, otherwise there are no exceptional cats of course by default of them being...cats.  But you should only be so lucky to end up scooping the poop of an exceptional cat that you call your own.

We have a great cat right now that's going bald.  Moca.  She has kitty AIDS and she's losing fur at a time when maybe with winter rolling around is not the best idea.  When my wife gets our daughter up for school in the morning, I have about an hour before I need to leave bed.  And when that bedroom door opens, guess who runs and sneaks under my sheets.  Yep.   Which is cute and whatnot, but now that she's doing the bald thing it's like I'm sleeping next to a linty grande burrito with a tail.  I never knew cats had ass cheeks before.  Now I do and I do not wish them on anybody.  Too late for the Olsen twins I guess.

Some cats are total fucks.  I had one.  Delta.  Picked her up from this old marina in Tracy where we used to launch our boat from.  I got her because she was cute.  Stupid way to go about anything.  And she was cute taking a shit on my roommate's bed and also cute scratching the flesh off barefoot house guests in the summer.  Seriously cute, but a total asshole.  It was bittersweet though because most of the dudes getting clawed were douches.  I never really understood that if a new pet was driving me insane I didn't have to keep it.  I didn't see that as an option.  That tortoise shelled fur fuck stayed with us for a few years and saw some real change happen in that house.  It went from a peub ridden frat house to a family home in just over a year.  Man if that cat didn't suck the whole time too.  She really didn't like anything that was living.  Sort of like Grandma!

 My cat growing up was horrible too.  Fun, but a horrible cat.  He could hunch down, growl and leap straight up at your face and really fuck you up.  He'd kick your ass if you had to get up and go to the bathroom when he was on your lap.  Despite, my brother and I had a great time with him, but if I were my parents looking back I would have said, "Hey kids, the cat is spraying shit musk all over everything in the house.  He's pissing and shitting and barfing and he's kind of unpredictable.  How about you boys take a hundred bucks each, go wild in Toys R Us but say goodbye to your cat Mischief.  He's going on a top secret mission and we aren't allowed to know where."  And that would have been it.  One hour of tears and those vet they never happened.

Today, my parents' cat Lexie was put too sleep.  She was exceptional.  I feel like I lost a little sister but not that bad of course.  I bought Lexie fifteen years ago for my mother for her birthday and she's been the best little bunny furred feline.  Never an accident, sweet as pie, never pissed on your back when sleeping on you (thanks Delta).  Meowed like her voice was put through a low pass audio filter.  She got hit by a car a while back and since then she's sort of steadily lost teeth and had issues.  I guess it was the cancer that got her.  It sucks though, my mom is pretty broken up and I hear my dad had tears too.  Which usually doesn't happen without some crazy hot sauce.
Our immune challenged cat Moca had a brother Maceo who we adopted first before her.  He was great, but he ended up outside because he started pissing behind the ottoman.  About a week afterwords that gray haired idiot got hit by an idiot driving a car.  That evening I was taking out the garbage when I nearly stepped on him convulsing on the side of our house.  I brought him in and he pretty much died in the kitchen minutes later.  Which was quite odd because I did a small storyboard piece I called "hulkFish" where Maceo our cat was taunting a fish in a tank in our kitchen.  The fish turns into a "hulk-fish and scares the life out of him.  Here it is:

That night right after Maceo died, it was time for our daughter Jade to go to bed.  She wanted to read the golden book "Pussywillow".  A short tale about a cat that looked just like Mace.  Well our bedroom window faces the backyard and while Tana was reading our little girl to sleep she could hear the shovel sounds I was making digging the hole for our gray lump.  The irony of life!

Now, besides our Mrs. Bigglesworth to be, we have our outside cat Leo which looks identical to our old cat Mischief.  Here he is it must be five years ago with our dog Che and daughter Jade.

  Huge, hairy, like a cow/cat with a little Hitler stash.  He's an outside guy now.  Bites the heads off wild rats and kicks bird asses.  Hangs out with us in the music studio like one of the guys.  And as for Moca, I'm hoping we get her on some rogaine or something because, yah it's sort of endearing, but I didn't sign up for the weird little frolicking flesh bag.  Cat bits weren't meant to be seen like that I'm sure of it.

So Lexie, goodbye sweet girl.  I'll miss you.  Truly.  Tonight I'll fill a 40 ounce bottle up with milk and pour some on the street for you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My home music studio

Years ago I converted my 2 car garage into a music studio (with a little help from my friends). We've put it to good use over the years recording stuff from balls out punk to sappy ballads to sound effects and voice overs for animation. It's one of those ever changing spaces. In fact, I pulled down the whole Star Wars wall today. It's now a William Shatner shrine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tana Zombie

My wife Tana has a thing about October and Halloween. She rents nothing but horror movies from netflix the whole month. We keep a bell on Jade's door to make sure she doesn't see some cabin whore getting her head split open by some radioactive forest zombie. I have figured out a way to enjoy the exhausting experience by keeping my head buried in my sketchbook drawing zombies and drinking beer.

Tana has a thing about zombies, and so in the traditional "early as hell marketing to the masses before it's really fucking time to do so" American tradition, here she is as a zombie. She wanted me to do it. I swear. She's a vegetarian zombie, thus she would be craving a veggie substitute for brains, which would pretty much be thick noodle spaghetti, which again would make perfect sense for the Pasta Queen.

Hopefully I can post a bunch of Halloween stuff up for October. Hell, I may be able to roll the zombie theme right into Thanksgiving and murder out a turkey! They're used to murder.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Trash Bag Ninja

Still working on our bum cartoon. This is sort of a new character. I came up with him over a year ago, but just now starting to figure him out.
I'm calling him "Sinchi Sacki"...thus the "hefty hefty cinch sack" he lives in. I can't really reveal who he really is, for he's a ninja and ninjas don't like that shit. But moreover I don't want to reveal too much about what we're doing. Just know that he hides out in the alleys disguised as a trash bag. Newspapers rubber-banded to his feet for sneaking around...throws soup can lids like ninja stars...maybe he's silent, maybe he's whiney. Kind of like oscar the grouch meets someguy who is malnourished and wished he were Jacki Chan.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spockula the Vulpire!!!

Spockula was created by way of a drawing exercise I made up. Scribble drawings, random shape sketches, I really don't have a name. Does everything is this damn world need a fucking name? Anyways... pretty much I hand the pen to a friend and they scribble some wavy drunken line on it. Swirls, zig-zag, open-sided organic shapes, someone's name in Arabic... It should take about 2 seconds to do the squiggle. I then take the mess and use it as a start or idea for some drawing, building my composition and elements around it. It's a pretty fun family game too.

So my friend Meg did this one in my sketchbook and as the solution came to me I just couldn't decide between Spock or Dracula...thus...SPOCKULA!

Monday, August 10, 2009

"The Test"

Since the death of my beloved grandmother last year, my family (immediate family excluded) has been falling slowly downhill into a scary hole. My grandmother was a staple of class and good taste within our core family group. These days, since her passing, there's this growing void of excitement and overall lack of warmth at family gatherings. We're moving away from one another. And when we do meet it's not in a place we're familiar with anymore.

Through the years we've seen people, boyfriends and girlfriends mostly, weave in and out of our family events. I gladly embrace all types of people despite their perceived intelligence as long as they genuinely listen and try to take part in quality conversation. I'm no genius, but I listen and observe. Who you are and who you bring to the family table is of the utmost importance to me and my wife. And who our daughter engages with at family functions is crucial to stay on top of. It shouldn't be that way. Recently, some "relatives" we didn't know even existed came peeking out of the woods and are now attaching themselves to us, pulling us into their dirty soap opera and tainting our already crippled family energy. And these people who are complete strangers are now potentially swapping seats with cherished loved ones who have moved on in one way or another.

Music...the most beautiful and universal form of human conversation. The way seasoned musicians listen and play together is special. A drummer will play soft, hard, leave gaps or answer and call with the other musicians to better the musical vibe and facilitate the sound...the reason for playing. Here's my analogy. Imagine a pretty good band that's been playing together for a long time. The music's been kind of going a bit downhill and certain key members have left the group. Then all of a sudden the tambourine player invites a bunch of "his people" whom he met just as well, over to add to the current band session. But these guests can't play for shit, they didn't bring their own instruments so they have to borrow yours, and the whole mob is making so much noise, bastardizing and ruining your treasured instruments and killing whatever groove may have happened in that all too infrequent band night. Pretty much what's going on.

Is there any clause in the family guide to sanity which addresses dis-ownership of members? Or what's the rule about people joining your family and passing some agreed upon initiation to "get into the club"? Do we have a policy in effect that assesses incoming family members brought on through new or old relationships? And if we don't, is there any way of soaking up the crappy DNA puddle that's stinking up the tree house?

Meat has checkpoints it must clear to be deemed “OK” to go out (however ridiculous those checkpoints are). I think there needs to be something in place for humans too. A test! Yes, THE test.

Why is it that we’ve totally let go of the survival of the fittest instinct to the point of allowing idiots to procreate with other idiots? Why can any human, good or bad, make more humans without answering a series of simple questions which could easily determine viability? I mean, we’re trying to get better as a species right? We spay and neuter animals all the time. Why not people? And why not, indeed after failing the simplest of trials. I'm not saying end lives, I'm just trying to cut down on the freak count. Lets not let the silly rabbits make more tricks that we are forced to push irritably through our society's colon of life.

The sub-par sub cultures deserve no name, yet always receive one due to their all too glaring characteristics. Whole lot of people feel like they deserve to be here. And who's to say who's doing more for human kind than the next? Even playing devil's advocate, you can say well, I'm no better than that family smoking glue from a rubber apple in that half rotted double wide over there with the stained Care Bear bed sheet curtains. But the truth is if they weren't there, you'd be working that much harder to not fall under the next highest pathetic line of human decency. And because they are there, that lowers our society's bar to accommodate that culture and not only market products to it, but perpetuate it's crappiness. I'm being vague because I have to.

So getting back to the point...what is this test? What would the test be? There's no chicken and egg thing here. You remove the insufficient rooster's nuts and let him go. "The Test" would occur at puberty and only for males. And if they don't pass, they lose their balls. If they do pass, great they can procreate.

And what would that test be? How about stand there and don't look stupid. That would get rid of about 90% of men right there including myself. In fact I think that's a little rough because nearly every guy looks pretty stupid at some point going through puberty.

OK, so the test would be this: "Look at this animal. It is a sheep." And the guys that get erections, chop their nuts off and burn them. And so on with pictures and questions... "Look at this picture of this little girl." What does it make you think about?" I could likely say in sarcasm, "fleeting innocence" and get my nuts lopped and burned in misinterpretation. But some system like this in place would solve so many problems in the world. Mainly the infestation of scary douche bags. It would be like the crudest of filters. But I'm sure we could stay on the animal pictures and get rid of quite a few potential loser reproducers. Truck loads of unworthy testicles getting sent to the nut oven. Or maybe do away with their penises. Then they're left with just their useless balls hanging there for the sole purpose to be kicked in when they say something stupid again and again. Ideally, lets get rid of the whole kit, because they don't deserve the right to stand and piss, let alone do their part in bringing down the integrity of the human race.

Families are strange things. I love my family, but they are like this small home economics class you're stuck experiencing the aging process with. Some of them you like and love (I'm lucky). But some of them, and you know which ones, you don't quite get along with and you have to sit next to them and work with them in a team environment sometimes to keep your own head above water in the midst of it all, but you'd probably not be friends with them given the choice at the get go. The family hierarchy, the old rules, the new rules... throw it all out the window. If it's not a fit, don't force it. Recognize the good qualities in others and surround yourself with people you find in the world that agree on the virtues that make sense to you. Try and befriend and celebrate with people who challenge you in fun ways to think about different points of view. Congregate with your closest friends and family members in which your chemistry is sound. Life is short. Don't settle for shit. Even if that shit is blood.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mr. Werner and The Beggin' Tree

So I've got a pretty good idea of what I'm doing with Mike. I might give him a tiny clown hat or draw a soup can on his head. A burger bun? Maybe Mike has a preference of what bum treat he wants on his head. Since my last post, I've added a nail hammered and bent into my head. It adds a lot.

For the scene stuff, I thought I should start sketching things out like points of interest that may show up in the animation. I have the "F.U. towers" in there in the city scape. Notice the big window on the top floor is a finger nail. The trash barrel in which the bum fairy will pop out of, and of course...the Beggin' Tree. No dumpin' near the tree folks.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Greg bum

I'm trying to nail down the characters for our animation project. Here's a "me" page out of my sketchbook. Not sure if I look like more of a hobo in real life but I think I may go into depression when I start working on the body. Shay said I can't draw on lined paper anymore so I've moved back into my sketchbook. I feel more legit now Shay thanks!

In my previous post I didn't mention that Shay has been working all year on "The Hulk" animation for our song...The Hulk. My caricature of myself is a nod to Shay's version of me.

I'm going to go through a lot of sharpies when I start his page because of all the hair. And no my nipples are not quite that large.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Band O' Bums! Character exploration

I'm having a blast making fun of myself and my band mates. My handsome band buddies and I met in art college and have been playing music as "The Hardstuff" for years. Well, now is a good a time as any to put animation to the music...which was our original idea years ago. A vehicle for our twisted art.

So I'm working on creating us as bums (not a far stretch really) for a Broadway/Tom Waits style song I wrote on the piano which I cannot release because, well I don't want some joker ripping it off, and it's not properly recorded yet.

Mike's the bald one with the shiner. Shay's the fuzzy mad muppet and I'm the shaved ape. Oh and the guy crapping on in the chicken bucket will eventually be me. But my ass looks way better than that I think...maybe I need to refer to some "photo reference"!

Also a new take on the Bum Fairy.

More on the way!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"The Bum Fairy"

Stinkerbelle, Bum-belina, the "Homeless Helper, Cigar-Bum Fairy" (like sugar-plum fairy) whatever. Nope just Bum Fairy. Because bums don't get fancy...not even hobo pixies.

I'm going to maybe try some different things when coloring this page. Let's see how it goes.

I don't think we'll go with this character for our animation but he/she will be fun to color!

Oh and in case you didn't know, you can click on any pic and get the full size for most of this stuff.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hell's back door is at the end of a long shit maze.

Therapy. Some of us need it, some think they need it, and some people provide it and shouldn't. My wife Tana agrees. A lot of people thrive on keeping their demons in their back pocket. Artists are good at that. Especially that classically damaged fine artist. Like a lactose intolerance. You crave it, you eat it, crazy bloating and then wham...severe diarrhea. But it's the way the artist channels that creative mental diarreah onto the canvas that makes it unique. Still with me? They need this disasterous process. It makes for good art. They set up the paints and easel, then the bloating, which is the "torture thyself with liquor and drugs phase"...then the release. Brushes fly and paint splatters and who cares what is left on the canvas. It's out of the brain and into the frame. And though this example is so "stereotypical artist cliché" it's true somehow on a smaller scale for a lot of us. Just putting something creative down on paper can take a fair amount of courage. "It must be good, better than last time, something different...significant ART!" And when it's your paycheck, it's even harder.

I must admit, cheese is wicked good, but chances are good that it was squeezed from an overly hormoned sad cow's nipple by some factory farm robot. So everything in moderation right? Nah! If that saying were true, we'd be well-rounded nobodys without any particular skill. Cheese, yes maybe we could all cut back on that (and that's a whole different post), but some things are best in excess.

I think what most people need most in this crazy world is simple meditation. Fuck everything that happened in the past and what may happen in the future for just a window of time everyday. For 10 minutes, or even 5, don't do shit. Just veg out. And do it preferably sitting up. It needs to be a fully conscious, continuous brain fart and not be affiliated with sleeping in any way. I'm sure early man just instinctually stared at his balls from time to time and didn't think two thoughts about it. And it's the people today that can do this, meditation that is, that are better off.

In the end of 2007 after a long awaited holiday vacation, I was bitch smacked physically and mentally by some...thing. After no doctor could tell me what it was i was experiencing, I thought maybe it was anxiety, and when I mentioned that, the doctors were quite quick to steer that convenient direction. Where did it come from? Years of not sleeping enough? The way my Father put it, "I think you got your Mom's worry, and my perfectionism." He's right and that's made for a really mean combo I guess. Funny enough it was my father who brought this to light and not my psychologist who really didn't help me at all.

Somehow between college and now, I got the idea that I shall never be bored and every moment of my life I must be doing something productive. So add that on to the already existing "everything I do must be done to the best of my ability". OK, fine, then I mixed in that everything I do during every moment of the day regardless of what it is, must be done perfectly AND up to the standards of someone who's a professional in the field. And when I couldn't, and I often didn't, even if it was fixing plumbing under the sink, drawing BART passengers as zombies (not a far stretch in the AM), or wiping my ass, (and there are professionals at wiping asses you know), I mentally beat myself up. Always took criticism way too hard. Wondered why so many people were flopping around watching sports when they could be creative and productive. Judging. Yuck. Eventually I would catch myself zoning out on nothing and my jaw getting tighter and tighter. I was staying up late every night working on some fucking project. Started spinning my wheels when there was nowhere to go. Then an eye twitch that didn't go away, some blurry vision...then straight to hell in one day.

I'll skip the metaphors and tell you I really thought I was dying for awhile there. When the shaking and mental tension didn't go away, I hit the doc up for meds. I didn't have the time to curl up in a ball and screw my eyes around shaking like a hypothermic chihuahua. And that's how I spent my vacation really. My doc started me on some shit that was meant for schizophrenics. Zyprexa. Oh and supposedly you could die from taking this crap, slide into a nice coma, or if you're lucky you'd just put on like 50 pounds a month. No joke. This "med" was recently in Rolling Stone magazine as the one pill you should stay far way from unless you really really wanted diabetes and a drooling disorder. Well, luckily the severe nausea and intense workouts fought off most of the bulge and after 7 months of restlessness and falling asleep while freaking out, I called it quits and pleaded for a change. I skipped over to a different concoction of Klonopin and Buspar. The buspar made me feel like somebody stopped time, spun me around in my chair, tossed some shitty speed down my throat and then restarted time all in about 10 seconds after taking it. And the Klonopin made me feel like I just drank tequila for breakfast. But if you can believe it, my brain was coming back online for the first time in months. So I cut out the buspar and stuck to the Klonopin which is pretty much Hulked out valium.

Some days I thought suicide, some days I thought I'd check myself into a mental ward. And the stress this has brought on my loved ones has been the hardest pill to swallow. My wife and daughter, hanging in's been rough on them too. Thanks guys. I love you!

Today, I'm on generic Zoloft and off the klonopin. I'm doing a LOT better. Heading out hell's rear exit and I'm learning to not look back. But hell always has tricks up it's sleeves. I'm still dealing with mental and physical bullshit, but it's nothing like what it used to be. More like pigmy horseshit, which is smaller and stinks less.

Some are afraid to speak up about certain health situations because they feel it may make them seem weak. Meds and whatnot. Well, over the last year and a half, nearly everyone I've talked to about this who are going through something similar, they are some of the strongest, most creative and intelligent people I've met. And most times it's their crazy monkey brain in a time of physical fatigue that starts them down the dark path of anxiety, or depression or bipolar or OCD or some kind of mental stress. I'm stronger and wiser for going through this. Who knows what happened to me for sure. I don't, and the friggin docs don't obviously. But I'm not spending time wondering anymore. If I didn't have anxiety before I've definitely been through my fair share in the last couple years. If we could run cars on anxiety instead of fuel, LA's smog would clear up in a week. It's a vicious cycle that snowballs itself more and more. Anxiety makes for more anxiety. The best way to deal with it is to accept it and not fear it. Seems impossible when you're in it, but sometimes it's the answers that are most paradoxical that work best. So where does this leave us? Don't worry about it knucklehead! Just twist that self-loathing into self-deprecation and generously palette knife that diarrhea on the canvas without thinking too much and sell it to someone who wants to adopt that psychological bowel movement because it matches their couch....metaphorically speaking.

I wish you and your families all good health. And feel free to call me if you need to talk about something related.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New York!

Well it seems that I'm heading to New York to visit my good buddy Shay at the end of July. An early birthday gift from my wife Tana. "Happy Birthday love. Now get out of here!" I've never been to New York or anywhere out that direction so I'm pretty excited.

Here's my list of things I need to see and do as a tourist:

• Channel my grandfather through Oda Mae Brown

• Get a pizza delivered by Spiderman

• Watch the Ghostbusters drive the Statue of Liberty around covered in positively-charged mood slime.

• See King Kong's chalk outline next to the empire state building

• Get kicked out by the Soup Nazi

• Search for robot parts in Johnny 5's salvage yard.

• Get a drink in John Maclane's dive bar "The Yipee Ki Yay"...make fists with my toes.

• Play a game of hoops at the X-mansion. I didn't know they had basketball courts.

• Go through the portal to John Malcovich's brain in the 7½ floor of the Mertin Flemmer building

I'm not holding my breathe but I'll keep my eyes peeled for ninja turtles, muppets or gremlins while I'm there. Did Mick Dundee end up in New York or Australia in the end?