Life is like a grapefruit

The Big Blue C

I was fine when he said it was cancer. I was still fine when we discussed different types of cancer and the prognosis for each. I was even fine when we discussed the relative merits of compassionate euthanasia. What got me was this line in the printed client instructions:

Indulge him in whatever he wants. Do not hesitate to take him to the park in the sunshine.

Posted on 2010/08/24 in personal | Tagged eddie, pooch | 1 Comment

Outside Lands

A really quick post between bouts of caring for Eddie with short reviews of bands I saw at Outside Lands last weekend.

Gogol Bordello
Everything I’d hoped that a Gypsy Punk band would be. Thick accents, an accordion, charisma, and tonnes of energy.

My Morning Jacket
I just kept wishing it was Radiohead up there as they do the same thing only much better. Clearly talented, but painfully insincere.

A near perfect incarnation of a late 60s rock band. The covers of Teenage Wasteland and Riders on the Storm were fun, and I’m sure the drummer is a young Keith Moon.

The Devil Makes Three
Not quite Bluegrass and not quite Skiffle. A three-piece of banjo, acoustic guitar and stand-up bass who play the most infectious country grooves with smart lyrics. A perfect start to Sunday morning.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Having read the story of this band, and seeing them get set up, I was fascinated to hear what they sounded like. The stage was full of instruments and I counted at least eight musicians. The sound that many people create is incredible to hear live, and I just wish the music had been compelling enough for me to stay past the first song.

Slightly Stoopid
Drifting between reggae, punk, surf rock and hip-hop, Slightly Stoopid were another great bit of scheduling for Sunday afternoon in the sun. Laid back grooves and a fun time for all.

Social Distortion
Why, oh why, have I not been seeing these guys live every time they play anywhere near me. The quintessential punk rock played with the attitude and swagger that only comes from knowing how good you are and loving every second you’re on stage. Awesome to experience, and one of the nicest mosh pits I’ve every had the pleasure to fight my way through to get to the front.

Posted on 2010/08/19 in personal | Tagged live music, music, outside lands | 1 Comment

What a guy! Makes you cry. Und I did.

Eddie is ill. This should not be a surprise; he is, after all, fifteen years old which is a fair stretch for a dog. What is a surprise is the suddenness with which his illness has affected him.

We always knew about the  swollen liver, the heart murmour, the chronic ear infection, and the hardening retinas, but when he stopped eating and started being visibly ill every day, it was clear something else had gone wrong. After a spate of blood tests, it seems he has liver/gall bladder disease, pancreatitis, and cholangiohepatitis. If that sounds scary, well it is.

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Posted on 2010/08/12 in personal | Tagged eddie, oliver, pooch | Leave a comment

Droid Love part 2

Part 1 is here.

It took a little more than an hour to end up with this. It was so much fun to get all the details right on R2, but I’m not sure I like it as much now that it’s complete. I think when I ink it, I will simplify him a bit and try to get back to a more cartoony feel.

Speaking of inking, I haven’t inked anything before, and I’m not sure if I should go with pen and paper or switch to digital. I guess I’ll try both and see what works best for me. If anyone has any hints or tips for inking, I’d love to read them.

Posted on 2010/08/09 in personal | Tagged drawing, star wars | Leave a comment

Droid Love part 1

Katie Cook, the expert in all things in the intersection of the sets Star Wars and Adorable, asked via Twitter for ideas for one of her mini paintings. Side note, I picked up one of her mini paintings of Yoda at SDCC and loooove it; if you get the chance to get one, do so. And the “Fuck You Box” book. Anyway, I suggested R2-D2 falling in love with a flip-top garbage can, and immediately realised that I wanted to draw it myself. Now, to put this into perspective, I haven’t drawn anything for something like twenty years so this was a giant step into the unknown for me.

First, I needed to plan what I was going to draw:

Ground-breaking stuff, right? Watch out, Caravaggio, I’m coming for your crown.

I needed to get my idea down on paper, and this was the quickest, dirtiest sketch I could do. Actually, I quite like it and was tempted to leave it at this stage. But I didn’t, and I’ll post the next step another time.

Posted on 2010/08/04 in personal | Tagged drawing, r2d2, star wars | 1 Comment

SDCC part 2

I’ve been planning a relatively long post detailing my weekend at San Diego Comic-Con but there’s just far too much to write about. Instead I’ll just give an overview of all the bits that were in between my favourite bits.

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Posted on 2010/08/02 in personal | Tagged sdcc | Leave a comment

My favourite moments of SDCC

Disclaimer: These are my personal favourite moments. There were almost certainly more interesting and exciting things going on at SDCC, and I certainly saw more and did more than is in this post, but I wanted to boil it down to the moments that meant the most to me.

Milo Manara

Mirto introduced me to Milo Manara shortly after we moved in together. He is an Italian artist and author who creates graphic novels of a provocative, even erotic, nature. I was surprised, given his usual work, to see a spotlight panel focusing on him at SDCC, and even more surprised that the man himself would be there. It turns out that he is working on a series of The X-Women and that Dark Horse are republishing his older works, and in some cases digitally recolouring them.

The Saturday spotlight panel, however, was so much more than just what he’s up to, and I am planning a whole post on that panel.

What was special was that on Sunday afternoon I had the chance to meet him, shake his hand, say “Grazie”, and have him draw on and sign the inside cover of Mirto’s favourite Manara book.


Ben Templesmith, artist, writer, and tentacle-lover, has been my favourite graphic novel artist since I first stumbled across Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse in my neighbourhood comic store. Being of a somewhat shy nature, I merely watched him paint from afar during the business of Saturday on the exhibition floor. I did, however, marvel at his clean shirt cuffs and tweeted as much.

Sunday morning on the exhibition floor is a welcome relief. With many of the attendees nursing hangovers, or steeling themselves for an afternoon of bargain-hunting, the floor was empty. I took this opportunity to have a nice chat (but sadly no cup of tea) with Mr Templesmith, and he remarked on having read my tweet from the previous day. I grabbed a copy of Fell and surprised him by telling him that I had read the Wormwoods but not Fell. 

Just being able to have that one-on-one time with someone whose work, and dress sense, I admire without a crowd around me was a great way to start a Sunday.

Brian Froud

Around the time Labyrinth was released, a book named The Goblins of the Labyrinth was also released authored by Brian Froud and Terry Jones

Each double-page spread has a painting in Brian Froud’s unique style, all coffee stains and watercolour, of a goblin. Or several goblins. Or some sketches of parts of goblins. On the facing page is a description of the goblin as written by Terry Jones, with all the surreal humour you would expect.

I think I was about nine years old or so at the time and it rapidly became my favourite book. It still is a book that I go back to every few months. I remember filling page after page of drawings of goblins and, while I don’t draw as much now, the combination of fantasy art and humour stuck with me and is one of the cornerstones of my taste spectrum, if there is such a thing.

I had the great fortune to speak to Brian and Wendy Froud on Sunday afternoon as they signed a Dark Crystal poster, and had the opportunity to thank him for the book and for inspiring me all those years ago.

Posted on 2010/07/29 in personal | Tagged sdcc | Leave a comment

SDCC part 1

I arrived in San Diego!

The last couple of days at work have been agony as my twitter feed kept reminding me about all the awesome things I was missing. Finally today I got out of work and jumped on a plane. Two hours of listening to the two chaps next to me (an IT consultant and a hard-drive salesman) incessantly natter on about, well, hard-drives was irritating, but the flight could have been much worse.

I am now in my hotel room, which is enormous, a midnight and have spent the last thirty minutes trying to decide if i should hop downtown on the offchance that I can find a party to crash. I think I’m going to play the sensible card and skip tonight. I’m really sad that I missed the @geekgirls tweetup as i seems a great time was had by all, and they had a fantastic turn-out. 

My plan is to get up early, figure out the light rail system, and get my convention badge. Then walk in to the convention center before being stunned and overwhelmed by it all. I will then proceed to miss all the panels I planned to see before finding somewhere to have an adult beverage in the evening.

Oh, and I will get a voodoo doll from LucasArts, dammit.

Posted on 2010/07/24 in personal | Tagged sdcc | Leave a comment

Please excuse this funk up

For a while now, I’ve been running on autopilot: Get up, see Mirto off to work, walk and feed the dogs, go to work, come home, sit with Mirto while she animates, go to bed. Rinse and repeat. Today, I’m taking back some control. “But how?” I hear you both cry. Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you.

But first, the “why”. I read this post at Hyperbole and a Half today. It rang true for me as it did for many people on my twitter feed1 and it inspired me to get on with the things I keep reminding myself that I should do. The first things I did were simple take-control-of-your-environment things; cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the bathroom, insert boring adult responsibility here, etc. The next thing is sort out the work area of the apartment. For the third time in as many months. It’s an area of the apartment that never seems to come together until the month before we move out of an apartment. I thought that I had sorted it out once, but then we made the desk bigger so the two of us can sit together like the dorks we are.

So, once that is sorted out, I’m putting myself on a schedule to cover all the things I want to be doing but never quite get around to. I call it my “all the things I want to be doing but never quite get around to” schedule, or the ATTIWTBDBNQGAT schedule. My theory is that by putting it here, I’ll feel some sort of responsibility to see it through instead of just watching the reminders pop up before closing them without thinking. So without further ado, and I know you’re dying to see it, here it is:

I reckon I can do this for at least a couple of weeks, right? Right?!

1 Not a representative sample of the population, I know, but it’s the best I have.

Posted on 2010/07/15 in personal | Leave a comment

Old Jersey

Link: Old Jersey

This is where I was born and grew up. It’s also why there’s a New Jersey. Thank you to @mental_floss for ensuring I have somewhere to point to when asked to explain.

Posted on 2010/07/13 in personal | Leave a comment

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