Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Young and Uninsured

Hi, Internet,

Prepare to be depressed. Time magazine has done a series of videos called "Young and Uninsured". The one I am posting here features the cartoonist Julia Wertz. Ms Wertz is best known for her web strip and book, Fart Party. Ms Wertz also has lupus and is, as the title of the series implies, uninsured.

This feels like an amazing injustice to me.

I suppose I am putting this video here to highlight her plight and to hopefully direct people to her site and to buy her books and maybe help her out a little. She faces her disease, in the video, with great humor--and please don't think that her comic is only about her disease. She addresses her day-to-day life and she makes it all very funny. Her books are some of my favorite autobiographical comics. Seeing this makes me want to go and buy everything she's done even though we already own a lot of it. Anyway, I hope you watch the video and then check out her site and her store.

It's my two-day, two-city world wide tour!

Gear School II is being released today and it seemed like a good time to remind everyone that I'll be doing a couple of signing's this weekend.

Saturday, October 2, 12-5
Keizer, OR
(503) 463-1142
In addition to me signing and straining the limits of my interpersonal skills, the Corrosive Comics gang will be there; the local 501st Stormtrooper garrison will be on hand; we'll be collecting food for the Keizer food bank and we'll hold a drawing for Shiner's hospitals.

Sunday, October 3, 1-3
Portland, OR
(503) 517-9050
This time you just get me, but if you rub my belly and offer me a treat I'll do tricks!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moore's Law

I'm going to post this and all I'm going to say is that I would take the future I live in over one with jet packs any day.

(Image found here.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

From the Land of Ice and Snow

You owe it to yourself to listen to this. NPR's "All Songs Considered" posted this song of their show a week or two ago and I forgot to write about it until just this moment. The song, "Hey Hey What Can I Do", is from an album of Led Zepplin covers called From the Land of Ice and Snow. The album is being released by Jealous Butcher Records and it features bands from Portland the Northwest, which means that I have several friends and people I know on the record. If this song is any indication, this record is going to make me very happy when it shows up in the mail.

I remember when I was a teenager, Led Zepplin was a big deal at my high school but, like so many things that were popular then, I rejected them out of hand. I dismissed them as just a blues band. I was, of course a jerk. They may have been a blues band, but they were a good, maybe even a great blues band. And I know now how difficult it is to be a good anything. Good blues band, good pop band, filmmaker, writer, artist--anything. I think I now have a healthy appreciation for their music.

Back to From the Land of Ice and Snow, I would encourage you to listen to the following song and, if you like it, pre-order the record. Thirty-three songs for a paltry $15, available from Jealous Butcher Records.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have been thinking a lot about digital comics. That is, making digital comics. A little more than a year ago I was gearing up to take one of two paths. I thought that I would either do what was necessary to create and sustain an online comics anthology. Four stories with four different artists. Or I would go to grad school and work toward an MFA. Well, I got accepted to one of the best creative programs in the country so I decided to put the digital comics idea on hold for a while.

But now I'm wondering if it would be possible to do something a bit more limited in scope. What about doing a single story that would update once a week. Say, four-to-six pages every week with a few skip weeks built in. I'd need to find an artist who could handle that production load. And who wouldn't mind working free for a while. The way I see it, one could post free weekly updates and then either try and attract a publisher once enough material was extant, or one could try and self publish. Or, hell, maybe even use a direct-to-print service like Lulu.

Others have done it. Warren Ellis has been writing FreakAngels for a few years now. Though, to be fair, he's fucking Warren Ellis, and I am not (it should be mentioned that it was a post on Ellis's site that made me start to once again consider this ill-considered path). Let's see, the guys over at Penny Arcade do it, R. Stevens does it with his Diesel Sweeties. And those are just the few that come to mind, I know there are others doing it, too. So why not me and whatever poor schmuch who decides to hitch his wagon to my nonexistent star?

Tempting, right? But wait, we could also share copyright and any profits this project would generate. That's something, too, right?

I know this requires more thought, but I feel like the bare bones are there. And I know that I've been threatening this for a couple of years now, but I really do feel like the next comics project I work on will be published to the web. It feels like the right thing to do.

William Gibson speaks clever

I found this this morning on, an interview with one of my favorite living writers, William Gibson. Hell, he may be my very favorite living writer. In this lengthy interview, he talks about his newest book, Zero History, the importance of objects in his fiction, and lots lots more. Anyone interested in SF specifically, or writing in general should read this one.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Designed to make you happy

OK Go have a particular talent with music videos, which are an artform I've largely ignored since MTV stopped playing them on a regular basis. But, I've recently discovered that YouTube is the new MTV except that you get to program the channels yourself.

Anyway, OK Go's videos: they have been, since the band's 2002 video for "A Million Ways", been fun, quirky, inventive, and unlike anything I've ever seen. Each one can be described that way. What they lack in special effects bombast, they make for in originality.

Below is their latest, "White Knuckles". Enjoy.

And you can see more of their videos on their YouTube page.

Josh does BART

A buddy of mine, modern-day raconteur Josh Ellingson, was commissioned by the Bay Area Rapid Transit to produce posters to that both celebrate BART and enhance the physical appearance of their stations. Josh nailed the commission. You can see some of his designs at the BART blog. And please check out more of Josh's work on his personal site,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gear School short Trailer

Below is the trailer for the Gear School short film produced by Bamf! Prodecciones. Bamf! are a subsidiary of Estudio Fenix. And Estudio Fenix are the studio that handled the art on the comics version of Gear School. Bamf! are getting ready to start submitting the short to film festivals around the world. I'll be watching with interest to see how the film does.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Patton Oswalt speaks truth

“I think a lot of the problems we’ve been experiencing come from the fact that no one embraces the miracle and amazement of the present. So many people—steampunks, fundamentalists, hippies, neocons, anti-immigration advocates—feel like there was a better time to live in. They think the present is degraded, faded, and drab. That our world has lost some sort of “spark” or “basic value system” that, if you so much as skim history, you’ll find was never there. Even during the time of the Greeks, there were masses of people lamenting the passing of some sort of “golden age.” But I’d never go back and live in any other time than teetering on tomorrow; this is the greatest time to be alive.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My new Internet obsession

I've mentioned Miss Allison Weiss on FaceBook and Twitter a few times, but I thought I should bring my obsession (okay, let's just call it a crush) up to a wider audience. Weiss is a singer/songwriter who is a wizard at self-promotion. She's on every social networking site available and even raised money to record her new album by tapping her Internet audience. Also, I have a soft spot for cute, smart girls in glasses (just ask my wife). You can listen to all of her albums on her web site and download her live album for free as well. I'd recommend you to do all of those things.

Here's one of the many videos Miss Weiss has uploaded to her YouTube channel:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The same spirit

Originally posted 12/09:

I'm thinking back on the year, which is not something I'm prone to do--the end of December seems a relatively arbitrary to for self-assessment. I guess I prefer to keep a running tab on my successes and failures. But after talking with Todd Demong this week, I looked back and discovered that it was sort of a crappy year professionally. Todd assured me that this was fine, and that one only really grows and learns when one fails--that successes teach you almost nothing. Viewed in that way, this year must have taught me a ton.

The same day I talked to Todd I was reading some poems by Walt Whitman (yeah, I read poetry, wanna make something of it?) and I came across these lines:

Have you heard that it was good to gain the day?
I also say it is good to fall—battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.

And Whitman knew a thing or two about losing the day, you know?

I'm attempting a few things in the new year. I suppose I'll have more opportunities to succeed or fail.

I know which I'm hoping for.

UPDATE: It seems like things are holding steady since I first posted this, nearly a year ago. Successes and failures and things I'm doing to improve myself and make the successes happen more frequently. I'll write more about all of this soon, I'm sure.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Don't Let Us Get Sick

Another old post:

I seem to have rediscovered Warren Zevon. And, perhaps because of my darker mood in this dreary season, I am fixated on his later albums, especially Life'll Kill Ya and The Wind. I have to admit that I feel like I'm punishing myself a bit when I listen to these albums. While I love them, they make me sad thinking about Zevon's premature death, about my own impending mortality and those of my loved ones.

So I figured, Why not share the joy? Below you'll find another Warren Zevon video. This one is made by a fan and is a slide show of photos of Zevon from throughout his career. The song is Don't Let Us Get Sick, a song I can't seem to get out of my head lately. I find myself singing it to Oscar when I'm trying to get him to sleep. I am already saving for his future therapy bill.


Because I never met a meme I didn't like

From my defunct blog:

I found this on Karen Healey's LiveJournal. I decided I wanted to play along.

Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity. (NB: until I get bored.)
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.

Here are Karen's questions to me:

1. What was the best movie you saw this year?

Hands down, the best movie I've seen so far this year was The Hurt Locker, Katherine Bigelow's film about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. Beautifully acted, gorgeously shot and a powerful script. As near perfect a movie as I've seen in quite some time.

2. Who do you count as family that you're not actually related to?

A childhood friend with whom I grew up, Aaron Billingsley. No matter how long we go without contacting one another, we always fall back into a very easy relationship. In a lot of ways, my relationship with him is easier than my relationship with my actual family.

3. Who do you most admire?

That's a good question. I don't know if I have an answer. I'm afraid I'm too cynical to admire anyone, but if I can think of someone, I'll edit this post and add it.

4. What's your wildest ambition?

That I might be able to support my family with my writing.

5. How have you been awesome lately?

I feel like I'm finally taking my life and my career seriously.

Quotes on comics

Another post poached from my other, now defunct, site:

Apparently I only have the strength to occasionally show up here and point to something of interest I found on the Internet. So be it for the time being, I guess. Someday I'll get enough sleep and have the energy to make real posts. Someday.

For now, I stumbled upon the site Quotes on Comics, which is exactly what you might imagine. Here's one of my favorites, and one that resonates for some reason:

"Breaking into comics is like breaking into a high-tech military compound. The first thing they do after discovering you got in is go seal up your entrance so no one can ever break in that way again."

Devin Grayson

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oddly compelling

This is a repost from my now-defunct website:

This sort of this is usually not my bag at all, but I find something oddly compelling about this video. A re-working of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" done by a band called Pamplamoose. It's cute and catchy and I've been singing it over and over again for a few days.

"All the single ladies... all the single ladies... all the single ladies... all the single ladies..."

See. I was doing it again!

You can see more of their videos on youtube and learn more about the band on their myspace page.

UPDATE: Pamplamoose's latest video is a collaboration with Ben Folds and Nick Hornby. You can see it on their YouTube page. Just follow the link above.

I wish I knew how to quit you, Blogger!

Nearly a year ago, I left the confines of this blog to start up my own personal website. That didn't go so well. I actually posted about a dozen entries there and never felt like I could justify having it. I certainly couldn't justify the expense of maintaining it. So I'm going to let it die. When my subscription runs out this month, I will not be renewing it.

But I will be coming back here, tail between my legs, to Blogger. And I think I'm ready to start blogging again, too. Lucky you, right?

I'll be posting some entries to catch up on what's been going on the last year. I'll also be copying a few of the entries from that other blog here so that I can keep track of some stuff. Because, really, that's what this blog is--a repository of stuff I want to try and remember.

So, I'm back, and I've missed you. Let's talk.