Now It's Kind Of Silly...

It's been a while, have nothing to write about, so thought I would post this drawing done for March Modok Madness last year. Modok was a bad guy created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for Marvel comics in the sixties. As a kid, I always found the character pretty disturbing.

But there is still a few months until March, so if you would like to draw the character, you can submit it here.

It Wasn't My Original Intention

One place to keep all of my songs was why I wanted an iPod. Until then, no matter what tape or compact disc was put in the car or brought to work, I would usually want something else after getting there. What you enjoy listening to in one location may not be what you want to hear in another.

I never figured that one out.

After getting the device and loading it with everything I had, it was strange to find that I only listened to the same twenty or thirty songs. Even when choosing something else I liked, I would eventually go back and listen to my favorite twenty.

Not being a fan of talk shows, it seemed even stranger to find myself listening to a lot of them on iTunes Radio. Soccer, comic books, music, artists, design and other sorts of media. The only thing that mattered was that they were talking about things I was interested in. I think it was in 2005 when I started filling up the iPod with podcasts of these shows. These days the majority of my listening time is spent on podcasts.

So of course, I started making one as well. If you have any interest in listening non-professional discussions about comic books, then give us a listen.

Latitude Zero

During 1969, for a few weeks after school, a movie was advertised on television that showed people in gold jumpsuits, jet packs, giant rats and a submarine. Being eight years old at the time, there was nothing I wanted to see more than this. So one night my parents took me to to see it at the drive-in. I only saw it once, but since most of the kids I knew had seen it, we talked about it a lot.

As time went on, and that part of my life became a distant memory, there were certain elements from the movie that I never forgot. Jet packs, fingertip flame throwers, and an operation that put a human brain in and condor wings on a lion. Every time I go by the site the drive-in used to be, I think of this film, even if I forgot the title.

Forty-three years later every visual detail clearly unfolded in my mind when I listened to episode 26 of Slow Robot A Go Go. It seems that many ideas I've drawn on paper seem to have at least some vague root from this movie. Funny how the mind works.

Now I just need to find the DVD, after I thank my parents for taking me to see this without any complaints or eye rolls.

The Volume Was The Same

Fourth grade was easily my least favorite year of academic life, but like everything else, there were good things mixed in with the bad.

On the first day the teacher pointed out three prints she hung by the pencil sharpener. I don't remember the other two, but the one in the middle was Picasso's Three Musicians. The teacher didn't say anything after pointing them out. Everything on the walls changed throughout the year, but those three prints never came down.

Even though the piece didn't appeal to my tastes at the time, I would hear odd, distant woodwind music play in my head whenever I looked at it. Everything seemed to turn inside out when trying to figure out exactly where each musician started and ended. It wasn't until I went to college that I realized that I liked it.

Everything came into perspective while visiting The Museum Of Modern Art, seeing the staggering amount of work displayed there and being more exited to see this than anything else.


Even though it is much larger than the small print I saw as a kid, the music still plays at the same volume.

The Other Place


On a movie I watched as a kid, a rocket ship flew through the Lincoln Tunnel. Since the tunnel was mentioned several times and everyone seemed to know what it was, I thought I should too. Asking my parents, they replied with New York City.


Even though I didn't know where it was, you couldn't help but be aware of the place. People always talked about it, showed it in movies and television shows, even King Kong went there.


It was the place where people lived in tall buildings, kids played in parks instead of backyards, and schools and baseball teams were named after streets. Very alien to someone who grew up in the southwest of the United States.


I was always being told how lucky I was to grow up where I did, because New York was made out of concrete and the kids there never got to see trees. After joining the Navy and meeting people from NYC, I learned that was never true. Central Park is full of trees, and Upstate New York has even more.


During 1982, it was hard to believe writers and comedians on Late Night with David Letterman talk about being able to get any kind of food 24 hours a day in New York, while everything closed at 9 pm where I lived. They would even take the camera around the city, pointing out that no matter what you wanted, you could find it in NYC.


Hearing these things all your life still doesn't prepare you from being staggered when you actually see it. Massive, towering buildings that cover Manhattan Island, and an impressive subway system that catacombs underneath it that takes you anywhere you want to go. So many people and so much stuff crammed into one place. When it gets to be too much, you can go into Central Park and get away from it all. Really amazing place.


Even though I was led to believe that New Yorkers were rude and overbearing, I found them to be pretty nice and extremely tolerant. Having a sea of people moving around with little space to maneuver, seems to make them the most compliant people I've ever seen.

One thing I can't get past, is that no matter how many times you hear how much there is to do there, it will always be an understatement. The museums alone are incredible. We got to see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the American Museum of Natural History. When we had to leave the last one, my daughter said "why does this place have to be so awesome? You can spend forever in here." To me, that applied to every one of them. The people there are so lucky to have access to places like that.

But I can't help wondering that if I lived there, would I actually take advantage of what the place has to offer, or just get into a routine of getting off work, going home and watching TV.


It didn't matter where I was living at the time, New York City has always been the other place.

Now It Seems Like An Understatement


At the end of the nineties I listened to a guy stating that his new computer had all the space he would ever need. Asking how much, he replied with 8 gigs. At the time, it did seem astounding, but I couldn't help thinking it wouldn't be like that for long.

The reason why was at the end of the eighties my company bought fifty Macintosh computers and converted to desktop publishing. The consultant stood in front of everyone and said that the work would process faster and less hours would need to be worked. Unfortunately, we ended up paying out a lot more money on equipment and support compared to the conventional process, yet less work was getting done. The hours increased, the system was slow, everything had to built from scratch, and the level of aggravation people went through was the highest I've experienced in my life. At one point I talked to one of the engineers, and after listening to my concerns, he replied with "as technology improves, this will no longer be an issue."

At that point the rate of technological change was pretty constant. You could buy a television set or record player and know that you could use it for at least ten to fifteen years. Even the format changes like eight track, to cassette, to compact disc took a while to occur. So this answer seemed like a cop out to me.

But as we progressed into the nineties I watched computer hard drives go from 40 mb to 100 mb, then 500 mb, and the gb came in to being before the decade was over. Along with DVD, mp3 players, zip disks and flash drives. System software got stronger and more versatile (and took up more space) applications were more sophisticated with every upgrade, and it is now at the point were things are almost obsolete as soon as you purchase it.

So, it did seem like a cop out at the time, but it ended up being true.

Bold Lines On Paper, Blurred In Real Life

We moved to a new state when I turned six, and in the middle of unpacking and buying groceries, my mom let me get a comic book. The one I chose had a guy on fire, another made of rocks, and like everything else around me, unfamiliar.
When Saturday morning rolled around, my dad woke me up with the words, "that comic book you got is on TV," which started my routine of watching The Fantastic Four for the next two years.
The parts that really stuck to my mind were Victor Von Doom being thrown out of university for conducting forbidden experiments, then taken in and armored up (with a hot face mask) by a mysterious order of monks while wondering Tibet. Meeting The Watcher on the blue area of the moon while fighting The Red Ghost and his super primates. Going to the Micro World, learning that Rama Tut of ancient Egypt was actually a time traveller, and especially Galactus coming to devour the Earth with the Silver Surfer. It seemed like witnessing ancient things that no one was aware of.
As much as I loved the cartoon, it would be six years until I bought another issue of the comic. An older kid let me read some from his stack, and it was a surprise to see what had gone on. They went broke, were almost captured and made slaves (very bewildering to my nine year old mind), two of the members got married and even had a kid.
The words and pictures were strong, bold, and contained images and ideas that seemed stange, yet familiar in the back of your mind, but you didn't know why. The work was credited to Stan Lee as the writer/editor, and Jack Kirby as the penciller, but the contributions were not that well defined.

I tried to write about it, but this guy says it better. So does this one. Or you can listen to Dave Gibbons and Gary Leach discuss it here.

But They Said It Might Happen


One day in 1984, my brother and I went to see 2010 while it was showing at the theater. Sitting there waiting for the film to start, we talked about an article I read where Tom Petty punched his fist through a wall during the mixing of Southern Accents. The article went on to say that he may not be able to play the guitar again.

Now the actual 2010 just passed a little over an hour ago, Tom Petty continued to play guitar, and we still haven't gone anywhere close to Jupiter.

Go figure.

Was It Us?

"I will tell you something else, King, which may be a surprise for you. It will not happen for hundreds of years, but both of us are to come back. Do you know what is going to be written on your tombstone? Hic jacet Arthurus Rex quondam Rexque futurus. Do you remember your Latin? It means, the once and future king."

"I am to come back as well as you?"

"Some say from the vale of Avilion."

The King thought about it in silence. It was full night outside, and there was stillness in the bright pavilion. The sentries, moving on the grass, could not be heard. "I wonder," he said at last, "whether they will remember about our Table?" Merlyn did not answer. His head was bowed on the white beard and his hands clasped between his knees. "What sort of people will they be, Merlyn?" cried the young man's voice, unhappily.

The Once And Future King
by T. H. White

Even though it has been thirty years since reading the book, two small things that were said in it have never left my mind. This was one of them, and I never stopped wondering what the people would be like. Would they be survivors of the nuclear holocaust that we always lived in fear of, or some kind of mutants that lost their humanity? For some reason I always imagined people with no hope.

Of course, now I think they must have been talking about all the people I see with their heads down staring at smart phones, not paying any attention to what is going on around them. And I joined those ranks last week when I found myself waiting in a public place, and out of boredom, pulled out the phone and went online. After a couple of minutes I looked up to see people passing by me with a look of distaste.

But King Arthur didn't show up, so it must not have been us that Merlyn was speaking of.