Tomorrow morning I'm running the Monument Avenue 10k here in Richmond. 10k = 6 miles, so in case I have a fatal heart attack and this is my last post, have a good life everybody!

Back To Black

One of my weekly gigs is providing suppurting illustrations for Chris Bopst's "Sound Advice" column in BRICK Weekly. This time around, he extolls the virtues of a few new CDs, one of them Amy Winehouse's Back To Black. I'd never heard of her before, so I jumped over to iTunes and previewed a couple tracks before beginning the drawing to get a better feel of what she's all about. I'm really glad I did...it's an excellent record, kinda old-timey but with a definite modern, almost rauchy twist. And it's a steal at iTunes for just eight bucks if you're interested!

Anyhow, here's the illo, complete with a look at the pencilled version for comparison. I'm glad I listened to some of her songs first, 'cause my first inclination with many female musicians, believe it or not, is to respect them as artists and play down the sex appeal angle. It was just too good a fit to pass up with Amy, however, so I went with a full-on vampy chanteuse approach. I can't imagine she'd have it any other way!


Thanks for the Rock!

Big thanks to whomever signed up for eMusic recently on my recommendation...I'm greatly enjoying the referral reward of fifty free songs! (I'd thank you by name, but they won't tell me who you are!)


The Scottish Terrier from Hell

Every now and then, The Daily Show has a guest on who's actually affiliated with the Bush administration. I tend to enjoy the sparring, and I like when Jon Stewart has someone on whose opinions differ from his own (and most of the audience's), just for the sake of variety. And, sometimes, they don't even seem like complete assholes, just people who tried to do their job amidst ridiculous circumstances. Scott McClellan comes to mind...sure, he's a weasel, but overall, he came across as not so bad a guy.

Such is not the case with John Bolton. This guy really is an asshole, every bit as bad as I could've imagined. Watching the interview, where Bolton opined that anyone who disagrees with Bush's policy of installating cronies and yes-men who share his every ideological thought into every federal position possible, is "against the democratic process, since he (Bush) was elected by the people". He really seems like a guy who'd do anything...anything...the administration asked of him, no matter how vile. Kinda like Wilford Brimley's character in THE FIRM, only not as fat. But just as ugly. And not just on the outside.

EDITED to add a quick sketch I did of the hell-hound himself.



I did this illustration recently for the Las Vegas Weekly. They've thrown me a few jobs in the last couple months, and every one of 'em has been a blast...Edgy, rewarding, and just a little bit racy! This week's topic is the sometimes questionable content of the animated Japanese programs that the local anime club shows once a month at a local public library.

As if the content of the illo isn't enough proof that Las Vegas Weekly and I share similar sensibility, take a look at this week's cover! Yowsa!


It's a Great Day for Hockey

Well, it finally happened this week...the city of Pittsburgh and the Penguins NHL franchise finally hammered out all the details for the construction of a new arena and avoided the unthinkable, the Penguins moving to another city. I say unthinkable, but recently, as the parties involved seemed to get further and further away from a resolution, the idea of the Pens moving had become quite thinkable, and at times likely. See, Kansas City has this brand spanking new areana, but no tenant, no hockey or basketball team, and was therefore pursuing the Pens pretty aggressively...pretty much offering them the whole thing (ownership of the arena, money from concessions and parking, etc.) for free if they agreed to move. I think there was realistically only a 25-30% chance that that ever would have happened, but that 30% was sufficient to keep me on pins and needles over the last few months!

But now, the Penguins are rock-solid in the 'Burgh for at least the next 30 years...which is awesome, 'cause they have an incredibly exciting roster filled with star players, several of them still south of twenty years old, and they should challenge for the Stanley Cup for years to come. There's nothing in sports as exciting as the Stanley Cup playoffs, especially when your team is in the thick of it. I love the Steelers, and love watching the NFL, but the NHL is just on another level, and a long playoff run is as exciting as it gets...a huge, exciting game every other night for a month, month and a half...and tons of overtime games...I can't wait.

And, for all of yins that wouldn't know a hockey puck from a urinal cake...relevant cheesecake!


Mo' Ladies.


Hey Ladies!



As a former Borders employee, I could really sympathize with the sentiment in this article from The Stranger, for which I produced the following illustration. In a nutshell, it's about how a plug from Oprah increases a book's demand a thousand fold, even though the books she chooses to feature are often the worst kind of self-help, flim-flam horseshit; in this case, Rhonda Byrne's The Secret.


Bloated Bimboes

I just don't understand the public's rabid fervor over the life of a woman whose only claim to fame was managing to parlay a huge set of jugs into millions of dollars. Maybe it's the fact that she did it despite being, if a mountain of video evidence is to be believed, severely retarded. But hell, there's lots about the public I don't understand.

That said, here's my only comment on the whole disgusting Anna Nicole Smith debacle, from this week's Savage Love: A guy writes in to inquire whether or not it's okay to still whack off to Anna's Playboy pictures, even though she's deceased. Short answer: No.


The Day It All Changed

Today, March 5, is the eighth anniversary of one of the most important days of my life. It was 1999, and I was working at Borders here in Richmond, having moved here about four months earlier from NC. It was a pretty miserable time...I was doing my mini-comic From the Curve at the time, and while I'd sent out a few feelers looking for freelance work, but I wasn't having much success. And, as anyone with a 40-hour-per-week retail gig knows, that kind of work doesn't leave you much energy for extracarricular job searching. I was trying hard to resign myself to the realistic possibility of working retail for the rest of my days.

Then, out of the blue, I received a phone call soon after starting my shift that morning at the bookstore. It was Griffin, a friend of my pal Jessica, who was now working at McGraw-Hill in NY. He'd seen my comics work and liked it. Now, there was a series of children's science books they were doing, and they needed dozens of full-color illustrations and they needed them fast! And the pay rate, while far from spectacular, was significantly higher than I'd make in an entire year at Borders. Could I do it, he asked, even with the ridiculously tight deadline? Absolutely, I said, even though I didn't own a computer, and barely even knew how to turn one on. He said to send in some samples for official approval, but the job was pretty much mine.

Stunned, I was barely able to get through the day for all the excitement I felt at the prospect of quitting my hourly job to be my own boss. I was also slightly petrified, what with the knowledge that I needed to not only somehow buy a $1500 computer but also learn to use it proficiently in just under a month. That night, I went to see RUSHMORE, but I could barely concentrate on the film. What was I thinking? Could I pull this off? Could I actually, somehow pull this off? Fuck yes I could. I had to.

Monday, I faxed in some samples, and landed the gig. I borrowed some cash from my parents and bought a one of the first iMacs, and recieved it on St. Patrick's Day. I got a crash course in Photoshop from my pal Eric, and jumped right in to the project. Even though the work schedule for the books lightened up as it went along, it was still a pretty madcap year, and I worked my ass off. I remember one stretch in particular about a week before Christmas that year...My roommate Sarah was in Egypt, and our landlord forgot to pay the water bill just as I had a crushing amount of pages about to be due. I was locked in the house, unable to take a shower or flush the toilet, staying up til 4 am inking, coloring and correcting pages. It was a tremendous learning experience.

So, here are a few pages from the books...I haven't looked at them in years, and to be honest, I'm a little embarrassed by how bad they are...not so much because they're bad (as most children's books of this type I see seem to look pretty bad), but because I know how hard I worked on them only to have them look this bad!

Anyhow, hope you enjoyed my little walk down memory lane. I'm gonna go fix myself a drink!