Monthly Archives: March 2015

Dragon and the Urban Jungle Gym

The work of the child is to play.

The work of the child is to play.

As threatened, this day was spent in taking a commuter train into a big city for no particular purpose except to entertain children. The children were entertained. They very much enjoyed the train ride. When we arrived in the big city, the children wanted to eat. Although this big city, like all big cities, is known for offering a wide variety of excellent cuisine, we ate at the food court in a mall. It was an upscale food court, but it was a food court. We walked past some very interesting food trucks and a few famous restaurants in order to eat at this department store food court.

Then we walked on to what is possibly the finest urban playground $55 million can buy. When completed, this playground will cover an astonishing twenty acres land. Even in its unfinished state, its structures are too many to easily count. We didn’t even visit every section of the playground, let alone use every piece of equipment. The slides are without number, and some of them are sort of ridiculously fast. Above, you can see a good chunk of an actual tube slide, on the inside of which I hit my head the first time because it’s hard to navigate that sort of curve while protecting a small child on your lap. You can only see a fraction of the climbing structure you need to maneuver through to read the tube slide. The structure is deliberately designed to make it fairly difficult for full-size adult humans to reach the top. I am a good bit smaller than a full-size adult human and it was tight.

In the picture, Dragon and a trio of dragonets slide down one of the more conservative slides. In the picture, Dragon and a trio of dragonets have the entire park to themselves, which, as you can imagine, is not the case with the actual park, which is filled with hundreds, perhaps thousands of children and their parents.

Dragon on the Town

These things are all extremely important.

These things are all extremely important.

Here, in the cold part of the world, on a journey that I would not in any way describe as a vacation, we have some missions. Mission number 1 (tomorrow as I writing this, yesterday as you’re reading it), we must drive to an outlet mall and obtain a small Goofy plush at the Disney store. This is crazy important. My niece obtained all the other small Disney plushies but they didn’t have Goofy. She explained this, plaintively, over Skype, and my dad told her he would buy her Goofy. That was like 9 months ago and she didn’t forget. She’s 4.

The next day, we must take the train. We don’t know where we’re taking the train, or why. The train is pretty much the goal, just to ride a train, because my nephews didn’t get to ride the train last time. Hopefully the train goes somewhere interesting.

It’s very lovely for the kids, and, as any adult with kids and a good relationship with their parents knows, there’s something very special about having a grandparent. Here are these people who will just give the kids whatever they ask for, all the time, most particularly stuff you couldn’t have gotten from them when you were a kid. Drive to an outlet mall and buy me a toy so I can complete my collection? My dad would have laughed his head off 35 years ago.

I’m sort of worried about what happens if we get to the outlet mall and they don’t have Goofy.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get a pair of pants that fit.

And that is a great journey for a kid: getting that toy so you have the whole set? Golden. Adults don’t get to experience that kind of joy, by and large. My parents presents to me are like: a month’s mortgage payment. Which–don’t get me wrong, that’s great stuff–but it’s not fun. It just reminds me about how much the mortgage is. And also that I will never again be as excited about anything as my niece is about obtaining this $5 doll.

Personally, I always found Goofy sort of creepy.

The third item in this image is a cheap racetrack, where Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles are racing Dragon. It’s a lame track–the pieces don’t hold together and the cars run on batteries, and without batteries the back wheels don’t turn at all. But when you’re 4, you don’t care. You just keep pushing this thing in circles, and you force other to push too.

Let’s take a moment to reflect that the character Knuckles got his name apparently because he wears gloves with spikes on the knuckles. It’s sort of like the monkey in Dora the Explorer being called Boots. Presumably because he wears boots. So…what did they call them before they obtained these articles of clothing? What if he takes off the boots? Who is he? Does he has an identity crisis without his footwear of choice?

I seem to be extraordinarily tired.

Sshhhhh…Dragon Sleeping

Travel just turns your whole world on its ear.

Travel just turns your whole world on its ear.

This morning, I woke up many hours earlier than usual and went to my local airport, only to learn that my flight was delayed. Could have slept a little longer. Eventually we got an airplane, but for some reason it was frigid inside, like an actual refrigerator. There were no blankets and we were all curled into the fetal position trying to maintain our core temperature (they gate checked my bag so I couldn’t get another hoodie; I had my arms inside my shirt and a canvas bag over my knees). Then, we started to land, actually got to the runway of the next airport, descended to right above the tree line, bounced up and down in the air a few times, then suddenly ascended steeply and banked hard to the left, after which we circled the city and came down on the same approach again, landing normally the second time with no explanation offered. It was a really surreal moment, particularly because I had just been reading all the conjecture about the co-pilot deliberately crashing that Germanwings plane.

Of course I missed my original connection, but I got booked on a second flight, which, of course, was also delayed. When the plane finally showed up and we boarded it, it was one of those sitting on the tarmac for all eternity situations. At least this plane was heated and the seats were nominally nicer than the ones on the first plane (it was one of those skinny numbers with only 3 seats in each row, 2 on one side of the aisle and 1 on the other and you almost feel like a veal cow in a box) and they claimed they gave me the extra legroom row to make up for the inconvenience, but if that was extra legroom, I don’t know how normal sized humans fit into the regular legroom, because I am fairly petite, and I was smushed. Also, they gate checked my bag so I had to hang around to get that back afterward, breathing carbon monoxide fumes the whole time. And the place I had to fly to is one of the cold places of the world.

Anyway, that explains why I didn’t draw a comic today, but not why I spent 45 minutes drawing a Boeing 747 and a sleeping Dragon. I cannot explain that. Must sleep now.

My First Digital Mandala

If you squint, it's practically perfect.

If you squint, it’s practically perfect.

Here’s my confession: it was time to upload Thursday’s mandala, except the crayon series is, of course, hard copy, and we’re caught up with the scans. I would have had to get up off the couch, turn on the scanner, plug it into the computer, open the scanning software, find the next mandala in the series, pull out the scanner from the shelf and then get the paper into it without hurting the scanner or the paper, scan it, refile the original, uncouple and turn off the scanner, close the software, and then upload the file. And this all seemed like an unconscionable amount of work. So I drew this one instead, because the tablet was already plugged in; the stylus was already in my hand.

I have not gotten off the couch in nearly 4 hours.

This is really not something to be proud of.

Up close this design looks pretty amateur hour, especially compared to some digital work you see, but if you shrink it down or look at it from far away it’s not bad. I still did it freehand so it feels like mine but I think I can get more impressive results with better technique and more knowledge.

Today I have to go to Chicago, so I’ve uploaded this mandala in advance. It’s uncertain how regularly I’ll be able to update while I’m away; I’ve got a bunch of other commitments and work on which I’ve fallen behind, and I’m not likely to sleep well on this trip, or have much free time. There will be something, but I’m not sure what.

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In the short term, though, it seems to work out pretty well. Blood to the brain and all that.

In the short term, though, it seems to work out pretty well. Blood to the brain and all that.

Inversion is good for the spirit. A lot of yogis will tell you that every minute you spend upside down adds a minute to the end of your life, but don’t repeat this information in a room full of military dudes, because they will tell you how long a person can reasonably be suspended upside down before it kills you. So, I would say that, in theory, time spent upside down under your own power may improve your health. Or not. I have no studies on the subject.

When I taught a lot of yoga, I did a lot of handstands. These days, my wrists are not as reliable as they used to be, so I don’t do as many. Instead, I have an inversion table. My friend found it next to a Dumpster and, knowing my affinity for inversion, grabbed it for me.

Another fun fact about inversion is that it can decompress your spine, effectively making you taller.

But being upside down is just fun.


The artist and the fighter

The artist and the fighter

These are the pictures from Boobapalooza, the event celebrating my friend’s recovery from breast cancer and the well-heeled social circle who helped crowd source her reconstructive surgery after she lost her insurance in the middle of the procedure.

At the party, someone asked me if I realized, when I designed the shirt, if the “Boobapalooza” part would end up directly over the rack of any busty girl who wore it. Well, obviously! It’s actually sort of problem with some of my designs, which are primarily directly at little girls, but still find an audience among grown women. This shirt doesn’t mind if it calls attention to the female figure.

This party took place in a bar downtown called the Dusty Monk. It’s a small space within a much larger complex, a very Tucson sort of space where there is indoor and outdoor dining, live music, and even some little shops. The room was very loud and the food menu was kind of limited, but The Man told me they had all his favorite beers on tap, so I guess that makes it a serious bar. I spent the majority of the party sitting in the corner with some other introverts, even though I actually knew probably 30% of the people in the room. There were a lot of people in there, and it was very loud.

Yep, they took half a dozen photos and only posted the one where my eyes are closed.

Yep, they took half a dozen photos and only posted the one where my eyes are closed.

It was nice to see a lot of folks all wearing my work in one place. This picture shows some of the people who bought the shirt, but clearly not all, because I sold about 15 of them. I love that my friend Cindy, in the back on the left, did a classic mod on her shirt, cutting the sleeves off and then (look close) fringing the bottom. It’s so completely retro. I never learned how to do that sort of thing because the last expression I wanted to transmit in the ’80s was girliness, but it’s adorable here. Too bad I didn’t bring the good camera. You can only capture so much light with a cell phone, so the picture’s not as sharp as it could be.

In case you’re wondering, I did get some of those Mardi Gras beads later in the night. It was Boobapalooza, after all.

Boobapalooza is still available from my shop: T-shirts, stickers, and more.

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Some people smell what they want to smell.

Some people smell what they want to smell.

Hooray Friday! This one seems to have been a long time coming, but it’s here at last. Finally, I’ll be able to catch up on the rest of my life. Anyway, it’s 1:30 in the morning. I have drawn a comic and now I am tired and I don’t have 100 words to describe this comic, my process, or anything else concerning my art or my life. Happy Friday.

Damselfly Mandala

You might think these were dragonflies, but you'd be anatomically incorrect.

You might think these were dragonflies, but you’d be anatomically incorrect.

Dragonflies have dissimilar front and back wings, and keep their eyes close together. Damselflies have wings of the same size and keep the eyes on opposite sides of their head. Those are lily pads, though, with rippled water forming the outside edge of the mandala. It’s a cool shape, too. I’d like to do something that maintains the angles and proportions of this form as it expands, with the points and curves alternating and expanding.

Today was rather unproductive for me in general. After biking 3 miles to try West African food (goat soup and fufu cooked by a dude from Benin) for lunch, I took a salsa dance class and then ate chicken and waffles with The Man the Misseses Cat. Now it is very late and this blog still hasn’t been updated and nothing related to visual art will be accomplished today.

I wasn’t a complete waste of brain, at least. In between lunch and the salsa class I spent a lot of time working on my 4th essay for, so I did write for a couple hours, but not with the focus that used to consume my writing. Still, I’m pretty excited about this one. My 3rd piece, “I’m Gay, Who’s My Dad?” came out today but did’t seem to get as much traction as the previous 2 pieces. I thought it was a pretty catchy title, but nothing. No comments, no likes, no tweets. But this next one should get a little more attention, I think. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because I write for myself, of course. The only person who needs to approve of or get excited about my work is me.

But, you know, I do have meaningful things to say, to anyone who wants to listen.

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Can't we just agree to disagree? No, we can't.

Can’t we just agree to disagree? No, we can’t.

Monday was the first day of spring break. This scenario, more or less, took place at approximately 1 p.m. The Girl really did say something along those lines, too. Sometimes I can’t tell if she is funny on purpose or by accident, but we all had a good laugh. I wasn’t feeling funny today, and she said it was all right to use her gag. I had to change it up a bit to make it work as a comic, though.

Today, in addition to not feeling funny and drawing this comic anyway, I also put up a new T-shirt design, in addition to yesterday’s peacock. It’s the ’52 Ford Bus! Maybe I should do a whole series of rusty classic cars. They’re a lot easier to draw than birds.