Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I rode over to the studio last night around 6:30 and knocked this little guy out. I was trying out a few delicate, wand-ish sumi ink brushes and a new bottle of Speedball ink. (I've always used Higgins over the years for no particular reason.) This drawing is a combination of solid black brushwork, dark ink washes and some hot dirty Micron action. Seems like a jumbled mess to me--about ten years ago, I had a graphic style that kind of worked. But I spent ten years trying to undo all of that. Anyway. I finished this drawing and went up to the roof with the camping chair for a nice if uneventful sunset sit.

Two movies yesterday. Over lunch, I finished watching part one of the Samurai Trilogy. Toshiro Mifune is edging out William Powell as my favorite actor. Part two is at home ready to go. I also managed to patch together Wes Craven's Swamp Thing over the evening. I'm not really sure if I loved this movie as a kid but I certainly watched it over and over. It's really terrible. Awful. Corny. However, you do get to see some Adrienne Barbeau side-nipple in one bathing scene so I guess that helped. (And she IS bathing in swampwater which, as you know, is the best, cleanest kind of water for bathing.)Link

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the roof with Teddy, Steve and Bradley (and Baxter) just after a thunderstorm. Mammatus clouds.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I found a pile of these steno pads while cleaning out my half of the apartment. They date from the Indy years, 1992 to 1995. (Some of the info contained in one of them indicates I was using them to take anatomy/fundamentals notes during my first semester at AAA in Chicago.) This was my poetry writing period. (I also wrote and refined these "poems" on my Brother word processor. The processor and disks (and all of the hard copies of poems) where tossed out during the Great Chicago Purge of 2004 leading up to my move here.) I went through all of these notepads over the last four or five days: yikes. A whole lot of writing and a whole lot of saying nothing. A lot of reworking of the same awkward almost nonsensical phrases--swapping out verbs and nouns until the original intent was lost. I suppose there was some potential there . . . I frequently tacked two words together that had a nice effect, I guess. But maaaaan was there a lot of dross. Mostly dross. Almost exclusively dross. Thing is? I worked really hard on this stuff, every day, for hours a day. And this was the best I could do

Still, I flipped through all of it, copying down little bits of stuff that I could possibly recycle, most likely for names of characters or titles of drawings. Here's are a few example:

saltwater skull
seven kinds of cancer
the smokeeaters
cloistered meat
innocent assassins
accidental temple, etc.

Those all sound like drawing titles to me. Anyway. The blue X on the cover indicates that this book has been picked through and it prepared for tossing. I've been quietly slipping these books into trash cans all over the city. Some in Brooklyn, a few in Manhattan, most in Queens. I've seen Found Magazine. I don't want these things seeing the light of day again.

Anyway. Got off or work and ran a few errands: picked up laundry, got a bottle of gin. Then I worked in the sketchbook for an hour or two and, at the same time, watched a terrible John Frankenheimer movie last night, Prophecy. I remember watching this movie quite a few times during the first days we had cable and HBO in 1981-82. I was really into the slimy, mutated bear. The movie does NOT hold up at all. The dialogue is terrible and the acting isn't much better (though Talia Shire is acting her little heart!) Highlights: Richard Dysart (Doc from The Thing) shows up and Maine-accents it up. Another highlight: the mutant bear attacks a trio of campers: father, daughter, son. The son is zipped up in his puffy, yellow down-filled sleeping bag so he's trapped when the bear storms the campsite. The kid gets up and hops frantically away but he's not fast enough--the bear swipes him with a slimy paw and the kid flies across the campsite and smashes into a rock and the sleeping bag EXPLODES in a flurry of down. Burst out laughing at that. I'm not sure if it was meant to be intentionally funny or what. (Frankenheimer admits that his drinking affected his performance for a period of time and sites this film as an example. Huh.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday--after the weekly Union Square appointment--I went to Forbidden Planet. I'm trying to find more graphic novelist/artist/illustrators that I like, people I can steal ideas from for this latest series of drawing. Preferably artists working in black and white, and wordlessly (although that's less of a concern.) I don't really know dick about graphic artist/comic book guys. I know for certain that I have almost zero interest in contemporary superhero stuff. (Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Fletcher Hanks--I'm still interested in those guys.) I spent about a 30 minutes randomly picking out and flipping through the non-hero books. Most of them were uniformly bad: poorly executed or juvenile and crude in subject matter, or both, or just dull panel after dull panel of people sitting around a table and chatting, filling word balloons with inane introspection. Obviously, this is just a mere sampling of the hundreds of books on the shelves there . . . but it wasn't encouraging.

I did end up getting a small Jim Woodring book, The Portable Frank. I've known about Woodring since 1998 when he created the El Oso album cover (right) for Soul Coughing. I was actually kind of crazy about his work in 2000-2001 and it had a decent (though, I think, unnoticeable) impact on the Married to the Sea drawings I put together in 2001-2002. But he kind of faded off as I started thinking I should move more in the fine art direction. Now, however, he seems ripe for purloining again. The roaming, dream-like narratives and, man, that fucking line quality! Not so much the quality of the characters but of the things in this world. The clouds, the furniture, the building . . . great stuff. Totally stealable. I'm a little put off to the cartoonish-ness of it but the disturbing nature of the stories strips the sweetness away nicely.

The other artist that struck me (unsurprisingly) is R. Crumb, post-1980 or so, when he'd matured a bit and was creating more autobiographical stuff. (This isn't quite what I'm talking about but it'll do, pig.) I'd like to get started on down that road--really digging into his work--at some point this summer.

I'm digging around on the interboogie, trying to find blogs that combine images/narrative. Not much luck finding anything so far. Of course, I've found countless artist's websites and blog--and that's very inspirational--but nothing specifically that's what I'm looking for. Which is probably why I'm going to have to make it myself. Right?

Other stuff: I watched The Point! Monday night. Never heard of it before. Music by Harry Nilsson (including a song I recognized from a Jellyfish cover), narrated by Ringo Starr, featuring the voice of Mike Lookinland as Oblio (I think), the main character, as well as voice actors whose names I don't know but whose voices I certainly do: they were all over the Schoolhouse Rock shorts. I can still hear one of the voices as some weird animated cowboy-thing, shouting at me about how to make healthy popsicles using orange juice, toothpicks and plastic wrap and sticking the whole thing in the freezer. (Does anyone else know what I'm talking about here? These weren't exactly Schoolhouse Rock things but more like public service announcement that aired near the ends of cartoon, promoting healthy foods, etc. I can't find anything on the internet about this.)

Both before and after yoga, I also managed to slog my way through Tropic Thunder (no link for you, bad movie) which was PROFOUNDLY overhyped. Funny, yes, in parts and Robert Downey, Jr. is great (but he's been pretty great for 20+ years now) but it was barely 10% above your average Ben Stiller movie. I'm not going to waste too much time on this but it was presented as some kind of parody of the explodo-action genre but it wasn't a particularly clever parody, or interesting parody, or smart in it's approach to parody. It was essentially an action movie reframed as a broad comedy with only slightly more mugging at the camera to let the audience know it was parodic. And the Tom Cruise cameos? Honestly, who gives a shit? Man.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday: worked on the apartment. Re-organized both closets, tossed out anything that I couldn't say for certain I needed. A lot of clothes, a lot of shoes, a lot of junk. Made a few trips to the Salvation Army store a few blocks away--who knew that carrying eighty pounds of books three blocks in the rain could be so exhausting. Worked until early evening and then made a run into the city to the Container Store to get bins for letter, photos, and the dozens of sketchbooks from 1990-2000 or so. Picked up some bins and got back on the train.

There was a guy on the train--older, wiry, early 50s--kind of dressed in a Road Warrior-y kind of way. Long dyed-blond hair (with obvious plugs and gray roots) slicked back into a ponytail, black wife-beater, black cargo pants, and those dumb, fingerless "sports" gloves made of some black high-tech rubbery material. All of that was odd but not particularly out-of-sorts for the city. What was truly bizarre, however, were the matching tattoos the guy had on both biceps--they looked a little bit like Kandinsky designs as copied out of a book by a nine year old. (Kind of like this but with more (and sloppier) embellishments.) The longer I looked at these tattoos--with the erratic line quality in black and the occasional red highlighted fandangle--the more convinced I became that the guy had drawn them on himself with a combination of Sharpee (black) and laundry marker (red). This is a city of tattoos and I've seen a ton of them--many of them lousy--but I've never seen a tattoo like this. The ink seemed to sit on the skin rather than in of the skin. The line quality was really wavering and erratic and where a line ended there was a feathery edge, the kind you get when you lift a fabric-tipped marker off a surface. I became more and more fascinated with these tattoos and I imagine the guy spending an hour or so on each bicep, flexing and posturing as the design progressed.

Anyway. He got of the train at Times Square unsurprisingly.

Sunday: No work on the apartment yesterday. Instead, I went down to the Brooklyn Museum to catch the Caillebotte exhibition before is closes on July 5. Apparently, I overlooked the "Paintings from Paris to the Sea" addendum to the show's title. I was expecting a larger overview for some reason. I'm not complaining about the quality to the painting--there were some fantastic works (The Floor Scrapers, The House Painters, Oarsman in a Top Hat, et. al.)--but I was hoping to see more of his still-lifes and landscapes (this one in particular) and all of that. Still a great show, lovely works. I grew to like Caillebotte after reading Zola's The Belly of Paris. There was a Caillebotte still-life on the cover and it was such a perfect match for the setting of the story--Les Halles, the huge central market of Paris. From there I started keeping my grapes peeled for his work.

After Caillebotte, I took a quick tour through the rest of the museum. Not all of it but most of it. Saw the Sun Kwak installation. Nice graphic quality but not much else other than that. Highlight: the visible-storage room of the museum had an amazing, hot-pink, Space Age bike on display. (Dig those raccoon/fox tails!) Also, discovered a pleasing Dana Schutz painting, Google, tucked away in a corner. Another highlight: in the Egyptian wing, I passed a tour of retarded (okay, developmentally disabled) adults. One of them had discovered the booming acoustical qualities of the big hall and was listlessly (but loudly!) singing Armstrong's What a Wonderful World.

Nellie K met me our front at 1 pm. We took a stroll in the Brooklyn Botannical Gardens with a linger in the rose garden where we met a remarkably tame bunny--we crept within three or four feet as it calmly nibbled clover. (This photo is for you, Calista.) Out of the gardens and a walk over to the Soda Bar for fish and chips and a few Basses. Nellie split off to see a movie and I made my way over to the studio. Teddy was there. We caught up. He left to go to a christening and I got to work drinking beer and making a little drawing. I ride home in the rain and the return of the bike to the newly laid-out room. It fits but it still takes up a lot of room. Then bed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Turquoise couch (and white table/desk) was delivered yesterday around 11 am. I ran home from the office and let the guys in. Held the door open for them when appropriate but otherwise felt useless. Tipped them and set to assembling the couch (which involved screwing on six study metal legs.) Assemble the table. Pushed things around a bit but found there was really only one arrangement that would work. So. There you go. (Do you like how some yukaluk painted my floor brown at some point? Lovely.)

I'm also thinking of getting this uncut sheet of Wacky Packages framed. I bought these on eBay back in '99 or '00 when I was drunk with the money from my first adult job.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

IKEA. Don't you mean ICK-kea.


Well, not really. It wasn't that bad. I haven't been in Ikea since 2002--and that was with Lucy in the suburbs of Chicago. I took the free water taxi from Pier 11 near Wall Street. (Walked down Wall Street from the 5 and passed some kind of red carpet event with photographers and what I guessing were some kind of celebrities. I paused for a minute to see if I could recognize someone--Sanjaya, perhaps, or Adam Sandler--but I didn't immediately spot someone so I lost interest.) The 15 minute boat ride was just about perfect--through the Buttermilk Channel separating the abandoned docks of Brooklyn and enshaded brick buildings of Governors Island with the skyline of Manhattan at my back.

I bought a couch (it's so fucking turquoise! fuck yeah!) and a table and that's it. The couch--the Kufrugenflaffenbjorgentooff--was on sale, $200 off the original price due to its turquoise-ocity. And THAT turquoise couch was $400 less than the original couch I had in mind, a hideabed called the Bjafomeinkampfengurpensku. I ate chicken tenders and fries--I couldn't bring myself to order the Swedish meatballs--in the cafeteria and watched the sunset behind Lady Liberty. I waited in line for 20 minutes to purchase my goods. Then I stood in line for 45 minutes waiting for the Ikeans to offer up my turquoise couch from the bowels of the building. Then I pushed it over ten feet to the left and waited in another line for another 30 minutes to set up a Friday afternoon delivery. (Apparently, there was a run of the turquoise couches--the guy in front of me had also purchased one and the pretty, delicate-boned New Jersey-accented ladies behind me had also purchased one. However, I GOT THE LAST TURQUOISE COUCH, BITCHES! In your face, polite ladies! So they left empty-handed.)

It was almost 10p when I finally got stopped waiting in lines. I walked out the door and to the bus stop . . . and waited in line to take the bus to Jay Street/Borough Hall. The A to the E to the R and home. A tall boy, the end of The Dark Knight and then bed.

(Oh, also: Vikingo's Dungeon is now Viking's Dungeon. Now that's an improvement.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I ducked out of work a little early to head down to Canal Plastics--I wanted to get some frosted/translucent plexiglass. I would use this plexi to block the passthroughs from the kitchen to my newly renovated bachelor pad. I left early to hopeful avoid the storms rolling in from NJ--the storm looked violent on the internet radar and seemed awful threatening in person. (See photo.) I took the N straight to Canal and hit the street--the storm still hadn't broken but the air was heavy and the light gray and watery.

(Climbing to the street gave me a shivering flashback to my first six months here in NYC when I got a work-study job at Art In General though school. Christ, what a bad job. After four or five years working as a designer and teacher and having some kind of actual responsiblity, I was an intern at an art gallery. I ran errands. Cleaned 20+ years of magazine, paperwork and promotional material from the back room. Swept. Performed some data entry. All at $9/hr. The benefit of the job was that no one watched me with a particularly sharp eye--the gallery was split over several floors so it was easy to make myself scarce. Also, most people didn't seem to care what I did as long as I didn't bother them while they were online shopping. So I would slip take 2-3 hour "lunches" on Saturday afternoon. I'd amble about up and down the weird stinky streets of Chinatown/Little Italy. I'd drop in those weird Japanese candy stores with fried, sugar-coated baby crabs, Vietnamese sandwich places, dumpling houses, odd storefront places that sell various kinds of jerked meat, etc. Sometimes I'd eat, sometimes not. Once, I even walked into Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Bridge and back into Manhattan on the Manhattan Bridge. In retrospect, it wasn't that bad I guess. Also, another pleasing thing about these long Saturdays at AIG? They had case after case of Boru vodka and club soda in those backrooms I was asked to tidy and shovel out. It wasn't unusual to pour a few throughout the course of a dirty day. Refreshing.)

Anyway. Off the N to Canal. I had to walk west from Canal to Wooster--not a far walk by any means but, of course, the streets were clotted with tourist, idiots and mouthbreathers. So most of that walk was complete in the street. Into Canal Plastics where I was promptly ignored for about ten minutes. Finally acknowledged, I put in an order for the two pieces of plexi I needed: they'd be ready in 30 minutes. And I had to pee. Do you know where you can easily pee in Soho? That's right, the Apple store. So I walked up Greene to Prince as the rain started to let you know is was coming--a few splips turned into a heavy splatter by the time I hit the front door of the Apple store. Upstairs, peed, and a wander about the store. Eh. I think I'm going to get one of those new iMacs soon . . . my machine is old (late 2004--before the Intel chip even) and it's slow, and I think the addition of the iMac would totally swank out the new bachelor pad. But I'm wondering if I should put it off until the fall when the new machines are released and then see if I can't get a cheaper, older overstock iMac at Tekserve. We'll see.

I got bored in the Apple Store so I ducked out into the rain and parked myself under some scaffolding across the street and just watched stuff. What the storm lacked in thunder and lightning, it made up for with torrential rain. The rain was absolutely unending. Until it ended about 20 minutes later. One of the street vendors in front of me packed her goods in a van and--after swaddling herself in huge Target bags--then thoughtfully scrubbed down her dirty white van with a brush, using the rain to sluice off the filth. I gave the rain another 10 minutes or so to dust off its hands and move away and then headed back to Canal Plastics. I picked up the goods and headed home. Unloaded the plexi, watched Jeopardy with the roommate and then walked to Home Depot to find some kind of fasteners to hold the plexi up. I settled of some kind of big, wingnut-type thing. Headed back home and spent an hour or so hanging the plexiglass. It's looks a little cheapo but I don't really have any kind of fabrication skills and a lot of the elements of this old apartment are ad hoc enough to not make me fret too much.

Monday, June 15, 2009

LinkUp and on the bike over to the studio, blah blah blah. Hauled the bike up six flights of stairs because I was going into the city later to meet Patricia to get a quick dinner and see a movie at IFC. Kind of finished one drawing and started (and maybe completed) another one. I guess I don't have much in mind for these drawings. Actually, I do . . . I'd like to actually illustrate a story--one with an actual plot and semi-discernable narrative arc instead of just kind of cramming onto the paper whatever images come to mind. But I don't really know where to begin. Do I write it out first? Instinct tells me I should just draw and keep drawing and let the story come out that way but things always get so jumbled and stream-of-consciousness that way. I want to make something very specific, very literal.

Anyway. Not that pleased with either drawing thought I guess I like the one with the guy riding away from the viewer better than the other. I've always taken some pride in my ability to draw objects purely from my imagination--I don't mean creating fantastic images so much at getting the physical sense of an object and then rotating it in my head and drawing it from whatever angle is needed. I'm decent at that with figures . . . but bikes? I need photo references.

Teddy came in around four and we listened to some music--Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses (animal-name bands which, as a genre, I normally try to avoid)--and we had a few Tecates. I headed into the city around 6:30, exited at W. 4th and purchased tickets for I Bring What I Love--a documentary about Youssour N'Dour--then met Patricia at Pepe Rosso To Go for a quick dinner. (Her with the chicken penne sans chicken and me with the brescola panini with goat cheese and truffle oil. Delicious food but terrible seating arrangements.) The movie--about N'Dour (ostensibly a pop singer) releasing an album, Egypt, dedicated to the glories of Sufi Islam--was okay but kind of flabby. The film could be at least 30 minutes shorter without loss in quality and narrative. The album supposedly provoked all kinds of discord and upset amongst devout Muslims in Senegal . . . but this was only shown through a series of newspaper quotes highlighted on the screen. Another problem was the quality of the performance footage--it was choppy and always seemed to focus on the introductory material of the song. Once the song hit its peak, the director seemed to always cut away to quieter interview material. It was difficult to get the sense of what an entire N'Dour performance was like. The climax of the film was apparently N'Dour winning a Grammy for the album . . . but I guess my cynicism regarding the quality of previous Grammy winners (Wilson Phillips, Milli Vanilli, Jewel, etc.) deflated the importance of that award. However, the film had a lot of warm, endearing footage of Youssour interacting with friends and family. So I enjoyed that I guess. Meh.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

After five years of lying around in bubble wrap and getting ignored due to my focus on more "important" things, I finally opened and hung this old photo. It's a series of portraits of my grandfather as a toddler. The photo dates from 1912.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Vikingo's? Vi-GONE-go!

Apparently, Vikingo's Dungeon is being redesigned (rebranded, whatever) as an Albanian tapas bar. Gone are the faux-stained glass windows and in their place are the screaming Albanian eagles which have been surgically separated. (Yes, fine, they're griffins. I know this.) I can hardly wait to visit!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Saturday: I got up early--awakened by worried, neurotic barking of Bo and Jangles, my mom's mutts--and cleaned my mom's gutters. No, not some weird, gross metaphor--I actually climbed a ladder and dug out the rotten leaves and helicopter maple seeds and the sand-like material that washed off the asphalt shingles. I then drove the remaining material down the pipes using the hose. Tough stuff. Manly stuff. (Also over the weekend, I toted some bags of topsoil and mulch around, changed a lightbulb or two, hung a plant from an eave, and loaded 200 lbs of salt into the water softener. Etc. I am essentially a mule for Barb.) When the gutters were done, I showered and drove over to the Half-Priced Books at 86th and Ditch. I spent about an hour there trying to find something of interest. Not much luck--a book of the collected poems of Rimbaud and Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus. I also poured over the DVDs but I just can't seem to bring myself to buy a movie what with the Netflix and all.

I left THAT Half-Priced Books and drove over to ANOTHER Half-Priced Books in Castleton. I took the circuitous route and passed by my childhood home--eh. Still the horrible dump it was last summer. (Oh, and the summer before . . . though the strip mall where I took some of those photos (Carriage Cleaners) had been demolished and replaced with a shiny new Kroger.) I did find some two DVD collections worth purchasing at this one--the complete seasons of Iron King, and the same of Super Robot: Red Baron (the "million-horsepower super robot!") I'd found the former poking around on Netflix but I'd never seen the latter; I watched one bizarre, laudanum-fantasy episode (here is the opening sequence) which didn't make any sense so I can't wait to watch and not understand the rest of them. The protagonists belong to SSI (Secret Science Investigation) but at least half the team's undercover gigs involved working at / owning a car dealership . . . and the delivery of this information is so pointed that I feel it must contain some kind of cultural relevance that I'm missing. The only drawback to SR:RB that I can see is that the episodes are subtitled instead of overdubbed. I know, I know--it's supposedly better this way . . . but it's the shitty mismatched overdubs that make this kind of thing even more pleasurable and silly.

Got home, had a few Speckled Hens on the deck and watched a duo of blue jays build a nest in the poplar in the backyard. Took mom to see Pixar's Up Saturday night. Great movie. Absolutely perfectly crafted movie--even the over-the-top Disney Patented Emotional Manipulation™ was textured enough to be sincerely moving without being eye-rollingly mawkish. The influence of Hayao Miyazaki was huge--certainly in the lush-y, magical quality of the imagery . . . but also with the themes of flight (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky) and starting over and all of that. Great movie.

Sunday: nothing to mention during the day. I went to a few places and looked for bargains on clothes. No bargains were to be found. Went to dinner at my step-sister's in Greenwood--an eight-course chef-prepared meal, each course paired with a wine. It started off with vodka and caviar and ended with buttermilk poundcake. In between (what I can remember anyway--a lot of wine (and vodka)): Vietnamese egg-drop soup, almond-crusted halibut, braised lamb shank, seared fois gois served on a Belgian waffle and at least one other course I can't recall. If only I'd taken the printed menu with me . . . a menu, of course, that was designed in Papyrus. Mom and I got disoriented on our way back from Greenwood. I had an excuse, however: too much wine and a total unfamiliarity with the southside of Indianapolis.

Monday: weather was gray, hot, muggy, atmosphere charged for a violent storm. Typical late spring/early summer Indiana weather. A few more chores around the house and then the long drive to the airport. Flight was only about half-full so--once the door were closed--we all scattered and got our own single seats. I completed part of another small drawing which I had to stop when we landed. It was early when I touched down--only 5:30 or so--so I decided to skip the cab and see how difficult the bus to Roosevelt Ave/train to Steinway routine would be. It wasn't bad, maybe three times longer the a 10 minute cab ride. The bus ride took a long time--we inched down Roosevelt Ave--but it's pleasant to just sit and stare out the window. Home, dinner, etc.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I can't quite get what I want. Something more graceful, lighter than this. I can see it in my head but it's not coming out of my hands.


Went back to Indiana on Friday. The morning here was cold and gray and filled with gentle squall. I got to the airport expecting to see the flight had been interminably delayed--but it hadn't. Remarkable. So I shuffled through security and found my gate. My phone rings: Orbitz with a flight status update. The robot-lady voice tells me that my . . . flight . . . has . . . been . . . canceled. Oh, excellent. Very good. I went to the Delta counter and they told me to go to the Northwest counter; the Northwest counter told me to go to the Delta counter. I refused and told them we could handle it at this counter. After a short delay, I was rebooked on a US Airways flight that was to leave in an hour. So. Out past security, down to the street, through a rainy parking lot filled with dozens and dozens of idling cabs and over to the U.S. Airway terminal. I passed through security (again) got to my gate and staked out a seat near with the windows with an excellent view of nothing.

While waiting at the gate for the plane back to Indy, I watched a squat, beefy guy with long hair and a handlebar mustache (very Renaissance Faire-looking, very much the kind of guy I became in this SGF-related dream) make balloon animals for a quartet of equally beefy women. (The balloon animal appeared to be a unicorn impaled on a sword with dual, intertwined blades--one blue, one orange--but then I heard him explain it as a "carousel horse.") On the visual evidence, I would've all pegged all of the ladies as butch dykes--short, hard-permed, masculine haircuts with the "sideburns" shaved away in a straight line that aligned with the top of the ear; cargo shorts, backpacks, denim shirts, etc. But apparently they weren't--they were openly flirty back in Renn Faire. I lost track of them once we started boarding the plane but I hope Renn Faire got to stick his sword into the stone . . . and then pull it back out and then stick it back in, etc. until such time as he was declared King of England.

The plane was a small, regional-type plane with two rows of seats on one side of the craft and a single row on the other. I was in on the aisle on the double-seat side. A woman with a precocious child ("I'm a Jedi Master!") in front of me harangued fellow passengers until one gave up the single seat across the aisle from her. Her husband--swathed in sweats and wearing flipflops--then took that seat. The plane took off and he read a book called Fingerprints of the Gods for a bit before nodding off once the flight leveled out. (He also had an om tattoo on the back of his neck and Chinese characters tattooed along the top of his right foot--I wonder what kind of stuff that kid is learning exactly.) I read the journals of Lewis and Clark for a bit and then worked on a drawing in the sketchbook. It's based on some photos I'm collecting of early 20th c. bicycles (or "velocipedes" as Mr. Burns calls them.)

The plane landed at the new Indianapolis airport (big! generic!) and mom picked me up and whisked me back to her place in Fishers. What a long, long drive. I just took forever--the roads unroll and unroll endlessly through the city. I can't believe the amount of open, lawn-y space that surrounds every single building in the city. I guess five years of living here has conked my brain. Mom whipped up some lambchops with broccoli for dinner while I took a look at the damage incurred during Tuesday's hailstorm. (The hail blew out most of the windows on the front/south side of the house (which have since been replaced), punched dozens of holes in the vinyl siding, and broke out one of her Buick's tail lights as well as denting the trunk and a few of the back quarter-panels.)

After dinner, I made a quick run over to Half Priced Books but the place was closing so I only found one book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. (I finished it over the weekend. Eh. I feel like I'd read most of these essays in the New Yorker over the last few years. Also, I guess he's losing his appeal to me. Not really sure why--I never feel like the sum of a book like Flames or Barrel Fever amounts to much. They're funny and well written but ultimately don't give you anything substantial to contemplate once they're consumed.) Stopped by the liquor store on the way home for a six pack of Old Speckled Hen Ale and sat on the back deck and killed a few. (Not a particularly good beer--kind of sour. I chose poorly.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I liked this sketch more last night. Seems a little affected in the bleary morning light--too cinematic (without any of the good qualities of cinema), too 80s music video or something. Can't put my finger on it.

Got to the studio around 7:30 last night and sat in Teddy's studio with the latest addition: fancy speakers. Got through some of the new Mastodon album, then some Miles (He Loved Him Madly from Get Up With It) and then a little Mulatu Astaq√©. Gabriel dropped in, Jim Beam was doled out, and we all drifted out eventually.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I was feeling pretty cocky there for a bit. Maybe thinking I could draw or something. I tried to create a cabin/cottage for the character in the previous post. It was based on this image I found while googling stone houses/cottages. I liked the idea of building a structure into pre-existing rock formation. I wasn't trying to replicate the image but rather improvise around it. I'd say this drawing is a total failure. I've got no idea how to render stone in this crosshatching style. (I should probably look at using brush and ink, wet on wet, something like that.) The stovepipe was a success however. Kinda.

Left work, went home and made dinner: lamb chop and some sauteed broccoli. Then took the train to the studio. Messed up a piece of bristol board with this failed drawing. Then Rose came with with drinks--Jim Beam and sprite with simple syrup and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. She's okay in my book. Leisurely bike ride home. Shower, bed.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Out early and slow, discursive ride to the studio. Work on another postcard. I finished up the last of the Nemo postcards on Saturday so now I'm working on bristol board cut to the same dimensions. (I'm going to scan the cards at work from now on . . . the photos I shoot are shitty.) Left around 3:30 and took the train into the city. I met Kempin at the totally unrelaxing Horace Greeley Park at 32nd and Broadway. Walked over to Woorijip for some goods and then a picnic in Madison Square Park. We ate on the Jessica Stockholder stage and watched kids run climb and run around us. Nasty little beasts. Small caterpillars attacked us from the tree above. We were threatened by rain but those threats were empty. (I guess the Stockholder thing is, technically, not a stage. Forgive me for thinking a raised platform was a stage.)

After a leisurely chat, Kempin and I split and I met Mira at the Film Forum to see Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. Fantastic movie and not nearly the three-hour epic I was expecting. I thought I'd seen it before but I was mistaken. Toshiro Mifune was amazing as the bandit but I can never watching him without thinking of John Belushi's Samurai Warrior--that kind of dampens the effect for me. The scene with the medium channeling the dead samurai was one-third corny to two-thirds genuinely creepy. The contortions, whirling and rictus expressions won out of the not-quite-matched lipsynching of the female medium with the shouting-in-a-tin-bucket voice of the dead, male samurai.

After the movie, Mira and I walked over to Washington Square Park (a very park-filled day) and had a sit in the late gloaming and talked. Home and in bed.