Thursday, December 30, 2010

Zombies zombies zombies

Recalling the Accident

I'm laying here with her in my arms, looking to the clock that's not plugged in and ticking back the seconds minutes hours to where my hands were on the wheel. The sidewalk is skipping by now, a normal pace, average speed and I can see the light turn red. My foot eases to quell my speed and instead meets the dirt soaked matted floor. Panic. I can feel my foot moving up and down, attempting to pump the brakes on a line that won't yield, but my mind is on the road in front of me throwing up desperate hands at my bumper, pleading with it to slow. the. fuck. down. My mouth is racing streams of "SHIT!" as my heart thinks burrowing out of my chest is the only reasonable escape route.
I blink and I'm in bed, looking at the back of her head, the scent of her japanese cherry blossom lotion and shampoo bringing me back to the dark room. I kiss her head and the relief sets in. Today could have been worse.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Overdue Journaling

The Night of the Party
A few scrawled lines dash across the page:
Our Journey Begins in Covington, KY
Exit 192, toward Covington, 5th Street Exit
West 5th Street, LEFT onto Greenup Street, LEFT onto East 4th Street
Find a parking place
Between the directions there is time, and in that time actions occur.
One drink, two drink, three drink, floor.
It's not a chronological night by any means. There's a drawing of supposed-to-be Julie's head, underneath it "Andre showed up"
Before that, there was a bar with the Suicide Girls glamored over a wall. The white stucco-looking paint made a makeshift screen for the film projected from somewhere in the room I couldn't bother to look. "Mike" keeps looking at me, asking with his eyes how familiar, how much effort he should be putting towards getting to know this drunk girl beside me. I shrug as best my eyes can and order myself another Long Island Iced-Tea. The smoke in the room is deafening and unwelcome, but it's broken for a few instances by the arrival of others.
Justin is Fabio.
Mary being carried.
We're outside, down the street, and there's maybe six of us in total. Mary can't walk, not because she's incapable, but because her shoes are disagreeing with her feet. They won't stay on and we can't have the birthday girl walking about in clean socks on the dirty broken sidewalk. Justin and Cory carry her. "Mike" and Justin switch out occasionally. We're not even on Panda's street before Mary decides it's a good thing to walk.
Drinking game.
Higher or lower.
Bladder of a peanut.
Mary requests I remember she challenged Julie to a drinking contest this time next year. I write it down, because if I hadn't there's no way I would have remembered.

Four Hours Early 10-2?-10
It's a Monday and I awaken to the sounds of a screeching alarm clock. It's not the first time today I've been awake, but it's the one that rattles my senses to some form of alertness. Jess has to work today, early, so we have to be out the door and on the road by 8AM.
It takes about fifteen minutes to get from the parking lot beside our building to the sparsely occupied I-75. A host of idiot early morning drivers, trying to sip their coffee, shave and maybe do that line of coke off the steering wheel, make the journey from our humble exit to Jess' grandmother's an ordeal of great annoyance. Ultimately we arrive somewhere close to 9am, after Jess threw up in a cardboard box.
We sat at Granny's for a while, entrenched in small chat, mostly about health-related issues. Granny makes a point to appoint me in charge of keeping Jess healthy. I really don't need the reminder, but I take it in stride. It's good to know she trusts me enough to look after her grand-daughter. By the time forty-five minutes have rolled by, Jess is ready for work and I am fully awake.
It's 10:03AM and I am four hours early for work. If I had a credit card I'd drive back to Cinci, take a shower, read a comic and drive all the way back before my shift starts. If I had a car with better gas mileage, I wouldn't have to count every penny so meticulously. If I got paid every week, my bank account would have more than five dollars in it.
But instead, here I sit now twenty minutes early, jotting down stray thoughts as they bounce off my brain, wishing I had more time to listen to Death Cab for Cutie and maybe draw a sunrise.

Two Hours Left 10-25-10
I find that journaling at work helps maintain my sanity.
Doug has visitors. He normally does. At least three a day. He's a pretty stand-up guy as far as I can throw him. Polite, curteous, informative. Living up to the boy-scout code in most every feasible aspect. I bet he was an Eagle scout. He wants to be a teacher.
His girlfriend looks like a young Julie Benz. They seem like the All-American Dream kids. They probably had their parents meet each other on the third date., something to look into 10-26-10
I've been sitting in this Barnes and Nobles' for nearly four hours reading art magazines and dated science fiction news. There's torrential rain pattering against the windows and pavement outside and I keep hoping that Zeus will smite the power to this town like he did to Touch-Down Jesus. Then maybe I won't have to work.
The water bottle (nearly empty) in front of me reads "Pete" below the recyclable symbol. I wonder if all water bottles have names that I haven't bothered to look for before, or if this one is some sort of ambassador or representative of thirst quenchers everywhere. I realize I'm already being wasteful, in that I didn't write on the back of the page previous to this one. Someday a panda is going to sock me in the jaw.
At least I completed a drawing today. Seems I haven't lost the knack just yet. I need to make more of a habit of this drawing thing.
On a final note, "The Virigin Suicides" was a sweet, sad movie.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I've been doing some by-hand-journal-ing lately, as I haven't had much time to be on, near or look at my computer lately, so I hope to update this with that either tomorrow or Friday.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Walt Flanagan is a severely under-rated artist, and a friggin awesome human being overall.
The dude overcame being born in Jersey (only a slight from a New Yorkers perspective), runs his own business and has drawn comics that have been published. Additionally he's been in movies, been interviewed and been to all sorts of comic book related conventions and other shit. And now (well probably for a few years now) he's doing friggin hilarious podcasts. This man has THE life.

In recognition of his awesomeness, I'm gonna do a drawing of Mr.Flanagan. I hope to have it up in a few days. Fingers crossed.

Moving on:
I can't stop listening to SModcast. For those not in the know, SModcast is a podcast show by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, where they shoot all kinds of shit and it is crazy-entertaining to listen to. I should probably be working on some writing or drawing instead of sitting around listening to this stuff, but it's not a good day. Feeling very sick all day long. Gotta put it off for a day.
Despite this sickness setback, I still plan to adhere to this new schedule I set up for myself. I have a countdown I'm working against. Hopefully should be very productive, and I hope to have somethings out very soon.
Back to my sickness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A drawing of my friend Amy. I screwed up on the face some, methinks, but she liked it. Huzzah.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I ran 8.25 miles in an hour and fifteen minutes! A new personal best!
Here's a bit of art I did a while ago, as I have nothing new finished to show just yet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I have a creeping feeling that if something horrible ever happens and I need to escape, I'll probably end up in Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sleep is an elusive beast.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I really want to go to grad school.

For the past few weeks this thought has been kicking me in the base of the skull daily and nightly. I graduated from college in May, and I relished in the freedom from schedules and expectations of homework, tests and financial aid bureaucracy. But as the days draw closer to the time when I'd typically be gearing up for "back to school," I find myself wanting that rush of excitement for new challenges that a semester can bring. New projects, new writing and artistic opportunities, new things to learn from art instructors... I am far from done learning, and I am nowhere near where I want to be artistically.
Additionally, over the course of the past few months, I have done nothing but job hunt every day and night to try and find something, anything, to secure my financial situation. I've had a few job interviews that built up my hopes. I've had return interviews that made me think something was sure to come of it. I haven't landed a damn thing. Instead I've eaten through all my funds and my beloved girlfriend has been relegated to a position of house supporter. And I Hate That. This is supposed to be an equal relationship, a partnership, and I can't hold up my end.
I really wish I could go to grad school. I can't though. I can't go to grad school because my little brother and sister need to finish college themselves. I can't go to grad school because I can't get any loans on my own, and my artistic portfolio is lacking. My parents can't help me financially anymore, as their bills and their medical expenses and the needs of my siblings are far too much for them as it is.
I need a way out.
I need a job.
This constant stress and worry is making me sleepless. I'm finding it harder and harder to relax and appreciate all these little things that make life awesome, that remind me that things could be worse.
I'm hoping on a wing and a prayer that this last job interview calls me back, gives me back some of the security I previously treasured.

This has been a venting exercise.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I had been meaning to do this drawing for about 2 months now. Just did it tonight in about... 5 hours.
Time for bed. Donating plasma in the morning.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm running on no sleep, just watched very inspiring Comic Con videos of Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams, and I'm going to have something up on here when this sugar rush ends. Be back shortly.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm somewhere else

Hey, just checking in to link to another blog in which a bit of writing I did was published on the 5th, and I'm wicked honored to be featured.

In the mean time, I've been toiling away writing other things, designing my next tattoo and attempting to work on my comic. I hope to drop some preview art in here soon.

Stay cool

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Emotive Drawing

I got a haircut recently.
Job hunting sucks.
Trying to get back on track with writing and drawing more often.
Oh, and Against Me!'s new CD "White Crosses" is fantastic despite not having Warren on drums.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bryce's Book

I started reading my friend/ former spiritual mentor's memoir today. My friend Bryce was fifty-five, maybe fifty-six years old when he died of complications (aka tumors) as a result of struggling with bladder cancer. I've had the book in my possession since a week after it was published, though I'm not entirely sure when it went to print. Bryce died in December of 2001 with aspirations/hopes to make it to June. I can't even remember what I did that summer.

I hadn't woken up today thinking I'd take a look at Bryce's book. I woke up as I often do: before Jess, much earlier than I'd like, and not as comfortable as I was when I first went to sleep. There were things I planned on doing today, and I only have a few more left to do, but reading Bryce's book wasn't part of the plan.

I have been reading a new series by two of my other idols, brother storytellers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, called "Daytripper." So far in most every issue, the protagonist, an everyday guy and writer named Bras, dies every issue at different points, different ages in his life. I'm not fully certain what the overall narrative of this story is yet, but each issue is so succinct, so full of emotion and life, I genuinely could care less what the overall narrative is when I'm immersed in the story of this life. Every issue is beautiful. And I look to Bryce's book now and think: Bryce is Bras. He was a newspaper writer just like Bras, he was a thinker, just like Bras. And looking at these two writers together, one fictional, one now gone from the world for a spell, and at the lessons I've learned from both, I have to wonder: Did Bryce ever know that I respected him as much as I do? Did I ever make it clear I appreciated the time and patience he took with me?

I put together a new, small book-shelf with frustration and urgency. As I was lining up my graphic novels to file in the shelves, I held Bryce's book in my hands. I thought, "Why haven't I read this yet?" I've had it for nearly nine years now, and I've barely glanced through it. All I could think to justify not reading it was at the time, I didn't think I'd get everything he was referencing, or maybe it was just too fresh to try and read it. Maybe I wasn't ready to know the guy I spent a few hours with every other week for three odd years more than just the memories I recall. I don't know for certain. But I think I'm ready to read it now.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Okay. I'm a hypocrite. I've had a very busy week and then some though. Many apologies. Expect something soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Trials of Moving

So my old apartment was wiped out in a flood, and over the past three days I've been moving in to a new one, while settling from graduating, and generally dealing with chaos. Which is cool with me, I thrive on chaos. But all this hullabaloo has really hampered my posting time. Henceforth: I shall be making this solemn vow: I will post once a day on this here fine blog from here on until I am gainfully employed.

Tonight, I will be gracing this fine blog with a picture of a painting I did not too long ago, enjoy!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Working Hard on Hardly Working

Here's a quote that's been plaguing me lately, making me want to do a lot of art, a lot of writing, and soon I'm sure I'll have something to show for it here.

"It's just like a cigarette/ it's something that I do/ once in a while/ but between me and you/ it's just like a cigarette/ nobody's really fooled/ I don't want the truth, I want to feel fuckin' cool "

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rememberances While Listening to a Song

No the doctors didn’t tell you that you were dying
According to the statistics plainly stated on the bone-white webpage for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an estimated 139,800 Americans were diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma in 2009. In 1997, Adam was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia while I was worrying that a girl at school didn’t like me.
Adam was the eldest of my cousins, my favorite cousin, a social studies teacher and quite the role model for my younger siblings and myself. He was a lifegaurd, a wannabe musician, a motorcycle enthusiast (against the wishes of his Mom) and very briefly, a husband.
They just collected their money and sent you on your way
For years I imagined what he did when he found out about the leukemia. He had been teaching at a school in Rochester, New York for about three or four years before he started feeling sick. Adam wasn’t the type to take medication, or get sick easily. That was his younger brother’s job. I remember getting phone calls occasionally from him in the weeks before. Well, actually it was more like my Mom would call him up and see how the weather in Rochester was, and then we’d get a turn to talk to him, if he wasn’t too busy grading papers. Or we’d talk to Jen, his longtime fiancĂ©e, who always vaguely smelled of apricots.
But you knew all along, pretending nothing was wrong, You said “I will keep my focus, till the end”
I’d imagine this long, lanky fellow that was my cousin, sitting in a doctor’s office with his wide black brimmed glasses and typically wider grin would be sitting on the edge of one of those gurney things, looking down at his feet. He might’ve been humming a Sublime song, considering what he’d pick up for Jen for dinner on his way home when he got the prescription for whatever medicine would knock out the ammonia he figured he had. He might’ve been thinking about the kids in his class, how to ensure he was making the downtrodden kid feel just as respected as the jock kid who was probably bullying him. He’d smile to himself that there had never been a gurney in the history of medical tables tall enough that Adam couldn’t touch his feet to the floor while he was sitting.
And in the journal you kept, by the side of your bed, you wrote nightly in aspiration of developing as an author
He’d be surprised that the doctor would ask for a blood test. He’d joke about the needle size. He wouldn’t cry or make any sort of noise when the tip pierced his vein. He’d relax when the doctor mentioned to him it was probably nothing. He wouldn’t feel any better for a few days afterwards, but he wouldn’t complain unless pressed by his lovely, tan, wife to be. He wouldn’t be able to deny those dark brown eyes, her straight, flowing hair, or her model-perfect smile. When the doctor would call, he wouldn’t tell her the news until she could sit down. Adam wouldn’t tell his family until a day later. He would sound sure he could beat it.
Confessing childhood secrets, of dressing up in women’s clothes, compulsions you never knew the reasons to
I never understood his fascination with donuts. Or with wearing wigs at seemingly inappropriate moments. There was a lot I didn’t know about him, that I always thought I’d get a chance to know later on.
Will everyone, you ever meet or love be just a relationship based on a false presumption?
I don’t think any of us knew Adam as well as we would have liked. Even in such a "close" family, everyone needs distance and privacy. I think maybe the only people who ever really saw Adam fully were Jen and Adam's brother Brian. For that, I'm jealous of them.
Despite everyone, you ever meet or love, in the end, will you be all alone?
A little while before he died, during a time when a bone-marrow transplant was in the works, Adam was alone in his room fading in and out of pain medications and vomiting from chemo. In the morning when his mother, my aunt, came to visit him and tell him of his grandmother’s condition he responded: “But I saw her last night. She was sitting at the foot of my bed, tapping my toe, and she told me everything was going to be fine.” His mother let Adam know his grandmother died the morning before.
As the disease spread slowly through your body, pumped by your heart to the tips of your arms and your legs. Your greatest fear was that your mind wouldn't last. That coherency and alertness would be the first things to fade. As your hair thinned, as your teeth blackened, as the weight fell off, as the lesions spotted your skin. As you fell to your knees in the center of the stage, as you offered witness your humanity in exchange for the ticket's price. As the lights blended into the continuing noise, as all hope was finally lost.
Adam never stopped smiling. He always found a positive way to look at things, even when he knew he was dying. He didn’t want us to remember him as the sickly, paper-thin, attached-to-dialysis, hospital garbed man he was in his final days at the hospital. He wanted us to remember him as he was in real life. How he took center stage at his wedding, and danced with his wife, and could make any and all of us laugh at any given instant.
Adrenaline carried one last thought to fruition. Let this be the end. Let this be the last song. Let this be the end. Let all be forgiven.
I can only hope that someday I’ll be half the man my cousin was.

credits-Song lyrics taken from "Searching for a Former Clarity" by Against Me!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Beat That My Heart Skipped Sounded Like This:

A laughing library on a Wednesday night. Spot-lights arranged to mimic a stage the floor lacked. The towers of high-school level reading swirled around the smiling faces. Coffee and cookies at a breathable distance. The first in the lime-light.
Doing stand-up comedy wasn’t my idea. I was a bargaining chip to get Wayne to do stand-up. As long as I did it, preferably to open for his set, he would show. I agreed, because he should be doing stand-up. I had seen him studying the routines of comics like Dana Carvey, Daryl Hammond, Mitch Hedberg and Pablo Francisco for years. If there was ever a time to get him to give it a try, the Coffee House would be such an opportunity.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought Wayne was destined for comedy. He could make the most awkward of instances a laugh-riot with a well timed pun, or an irreverent reference. He was the illegitimate son of Sam Kinison, Dave Attel and Patton Oswalt. In those days he lived and breathed to make other people smile. He still does, though his audience has shrunk to a specific few.
That first night, there were a crowd of wooden chairs filled with poets and musicians who naively believed this was their first step to greatness. Mostly. There were just as many kids and chaperones (aka parents who wouldn’t leave their kids alone for three hours) who were just seeking to be entertained. The total sum of the audience was approximately thirty people. Seven percent of that population were friends of Wayne and myself.
I wasn’t expected to do anything magical or particularly impressive. I was the warm-up, the guy meant to remind people that comedy was another feature of this open-mic occasion. And I wasn’t afraid to bomb like Hiroshima.
My approach to stand-up that first time was somewhere between Andy Kaufman and Mitch Hedberg, with a healthy dollop of Todd Barry somewhere in the middle: I didn’t care if I made other people laugh as long as I enjoyed myself; I was awkward and visually unprepared; I read from a notebook for all my jokes. That first experience of standing in front of an audience and having something expected of you would have been daunting if I had expected anything of myself. I should have been trembling behind a book case for that first half-hour before my set. I should have been downing cup after cup of red-hot, steaming java to ease shaking limbs; I should have at least taken some sort of lozenge to ease my throat before my voice cracked in an awkward Drive-Thru-Kid from The Simpsons- kind of way. Instead, I repeated lyrics from that Pepsi Blue commercial in my head over and over again in between other acts until it was my turn to get a crack at the floor.
The mic squeaked and crackled with electricity that tickled my fingertips. I gripped it one handed, leaving the other to hold my precious green index-card-sized notebook that contained directionless scrawled notes about jokes or things I thought could be funny to talk about. When I moved my mouth closer to the rounded steel head, I could taste the electric reverberations of my own voice as it thudded from the speaker beside me.
“Mic check, one two one two,” cracked my voice.
Crowd expression: It works, dumb ass.
“How’s everyone doing tonight?”
Blank faces. Jesse stands up, “YEAH RYAN!”
“Yeah Jesse! Woo!” I reply in an overly excited tone, pointing at him. Smiles light around the now dark non-stage area. I didn’t imagine being in the light would make everyone so dark. The smiles are just about all I can see. Everyone apparently loves Crest.
“ So, I’m here to tell some jokes. With the funny, and the ha-ha. I’ve got this little notebook here, that I’ll be reading out of, because, that’s how I do this.”
Awkward laughs. I’m off to a good start in my book.
“So, it seems to me that entertainment devices are getting smaller and smaller. We started out with giant reels of film, and big clunky projectors. Then there were tapes. Beta came somewhere in-between there. Yeah, I don’t know what that is either. Now we have DVD’s and I hear Mini-Discs could be the next big thing.”
Scattered laughter. I turn the page, smiling, and drop my book. I reach down to get it, and knock over the mic. With Spider-Man-like reflexes, I grab the two and pull myself up the mic like it was a life-line rope.
“Close call eh?”
I hear Wayne stutter some laughter behind a stack. I’m still good.
“ Well, if everything is just getting smaller, I think I know what we’re going to have next in the entertainment biz: Movie Pills.”
Laughter. I get excited, start talking a great deal faster.
“ Movie pills! Lemme explain how this would work; cause I’m sure you’re dying to know. See, movies would stop coming in discs or whatever. We’re a junkie economy, and there’s few things junkies like to do, primarily: take drugs, eat shit, and watch movies. Movie pills would combine all three activities into one trippy experience.”
More scattered laughter. I can tell from Wayne’s stifled laughter that he can’t believe I’m actually using this material. But it’s working. Kind of.
“ See, if you wanted to watch a movie, you’d get a bottle of pills for that movie. Like, if you wanted to watch ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ you’d get a bottle full of little black and white pills, and on the back of the bottle would be movie-watching instructions. For ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ you’d take the movie pill with a cup of orange juice, cause orange juice looks like piss, and that one cop drinks Lloyd’s piss accidentally in that one scene.”
Laughter and ewws.
“Oh grow up, it’s just piss. Okay, a better one: For a movie like, “Blue Crush,” you’d get these little white and blue pills. Just like a wave… And then you’d down those little suckers with Turpentine. This wouldn’t help you see the movie, but it’d kill you. Because you’re better off dead than seeing that piece of shit movie.”
Genuine laughter, to my surprise. Mission accomplished. A few even more awkward jokes followed, reveling in my nerdiness and inability to understand women. I doubt anyone expected I ever had an understanding of women at that age. I probably didn't. A smile was plastered to my face for the remainder of my time in the light.
When I stepped away from the mic and introduced Wayne to the awaiting audience, I recall titling him the Funniest Kid in the School. Immediately I could see his face flush with concern and embarrassment. An awfully high pedestal to place a person on. I’d argue to this day that he holds that title.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tablet Drawing

Learning to draw with my new tablet

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The First: A Day Less Marked by Netflix

As an assignment from my Professor and mentor Crystal Wilkinson, I was asked to read a short (non-fiction) story and then write my own in a similar style. This is what I've come up with:

A Day Less Marked by Netflix

You failed to remember to turn your phone alarm to 'Ring' so instead of jogging on a treadmill at the pace of a bemused dog on a beach, you dreamed of accidentally causing a multitude of car crashes and explosions while trying to drive an old man you barely knew to a doctor's office. The sleep was welcome and comforting, and you vaguely recall smelling jasmine amidst those car-teetering explosions in your mind.
You wake up briefly to adjust your numbing arm and realize the source of the scent. Her hair rests perfectly parted, keeping her face clear, and you can't help but smell the faint, sweet aroma of whatever brand of oriental shampoo she used the night before. You smile to yourself and let the sleep take you over once more.

9:45am No Waffles
You always wake up first. This morning was no different than the last eight or so: You woke up. You woke her up. You both delayed getting out of bed for a half hour or so. You finally get out of bed first to turn the heat on. She has waffles.
This morning there are no waffles and your tired girlfriend has to go without. She mock-whines, though you know deep down she is disappointed there is no Waffle Fairy to make them appear for her daily. You think that would be an interesting drawing.

1:15pm Nightwatch
The ridiculous cost of computer programs is lost on you as you witness a vampire's head crumble in to chunks of ashen sandstone all over a bathroom sink. This morning you had gone from pauper to near-nobility, from cave-man to space cadet, and all those revelations mean nothing in the site of a vampire crumbling to dust at the whim of a flashlight.
You remember when you were younger and vampires died by a stake to the heart and beheading. To see a vamp go down by a flashlight speaks volumes of the degeneration of worldly imaginations, you mention to her. She shrugs. She is enjoying the movie.

8:02pm Invincible
You are a terrible student. You stay up too late doing petty drawings, reading comic books, cuddling with your girlfriend watching horror movies and laughing at dismemberment. She sits on the opposite couch, diligently reading Sir Francis Drake's atrocities on Native People. You laugh a private reference to a video game. There is a knock at the door. You will not get your homework done tonight.