This is the former blog of the former comic strip, Troubletown. Thanks for your interest. This blog is now inactive but as the one Swiss fan recently put it, “Troubletown can never die.” True dat. It will exist forever here on the internet. So take your time and enjoy the five-hundred plus posts––each more enjoyable than the last––from the last seven years that the comic strip was in existence. And don’t forget to try your luck at Offendo!
Life goes on here at the Dangle ranch. The tankless water heater is not working properly. The dishwasher is shot. We have a leak under our sink and the cheap-ass IKEA cabinet is bloated and splitting at the edges. There’s a wire hanging down from above in our front yard. There’s some kind of unexplained phenomena in the bathroom (maybe a ghost) that makes it always smell like pee. The front of the house badly needs a face lift including a replacement for a 1950’s aluminum window unit that leaks all winter. In short, we have about a hundred thousand dollars of repairs to do around here in order to get things up to a reasonable level of repair. Sometimes I wish we rented one of those characterless loft spaces where everything was poured concrete and brushed steel. Read more »
Here's a sketch of my writing teacher, Clive Matson. It's unflattering but I like the maniacal quality of it.
Hae went to Miami with her friend Jennifer for a girl’s weekend that somehow turned into a week. She went to South Beach and partied with the fashion mavens and then went to the Everglades and communed with the alligators. Was I jealous? Of course, even though I've been to Florida on drunken spring vacations in college and don't really need to go back.
Oscar and I are hanging out. He has a how-to book on making mini weapons out of popsicle sticks, pens, binder clips and rubber bands. He’s raided my office for the materials. The weapons are catapults and different types of slingshots and he’s doing a good job of following the directions and getting them to work without my help. I tried shooting one and sent a ballpoint pen flying across the room where it stuck into the wall. We’ll keep that a secret from mama. Now he's playing Minecraft with his friend, Clara. He's been asking me all day long what time she was coming over--every fifteen minutes or so. Kids will drive you crazy.
A little sketch of Mittens
There was not much work in January but this week five projects came through. Three of them with Alphachimp, who are awesome to work with, another with Imagineering Company, my favorite gals, and one on my own. Whiteboard and iPad animations, a real animated cartoon, and an infographic. Fun! I love the stress and excitement. Plus I'm going to have a kick ass video reel. I hope that the ones I'm working on now aren't so top secret that they won't let me display them.
Happy New Year! Well shit, it’s been a while since I wrote a Dose. I deleted a few starts. Ever since the end of the Troubletown comic strip I’ve been having a crisis of identity. 2011 was a year of tremendous change for me. Who the hell am I now? I always used to blog and tweet and Face to promote Troubletown. Being a cartoonist is like throwing bombs while hiding behind a wall. Just being Lloyd Dangle the Cartoonist is a bit unsettling. Maybe I should save it for my therapist.
It’s the middle of January already and I haven’t shared any of my recent exploits, my fabulous holidays, or anything. Well, let me get caught up. November and December were so chock full of work I barely came up for air. Down in Silicon Valley filming those whiteboard animations that everybody loves for the top secret internal use of big corporations. I’m not even allowed to mention their names. Confidentiality is very important, which makes it hard to build my portfolio. I can’t show anything! Potential clients just have to go by my stellar reputation. All the work took a toll on my writing, I just finally did a little work on the novel this week. The internal critic is enjoying great power over me at the moment. I have to beat him into submission before I can get back to work. Next week work should bury me again. I’ve overbooked myself, so if everything comes through I’ll be juggling like a maniac.
Over the holidays we went up to Lake Tahoe where there was no snow. Thank God I was relieved of having to ski. My body isn’t wracked with pain and the family saved a fortune on lift tickets. December 24 we went to the beach and put out a blanket in the sand. Strange. Last year at the same time there was ten feet of snow.
My good friend Simms Taback died. He was a wonderful children’s book illustrator and one of the sweetest and most decent guys I’ve ever met. He was one of the Graphic Artist Guild’s founders and the driving force behind the Guild’s Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines––that’s how I met him. When I was president of the Guild it was a rough time for the organization and the people on my executive committee were bailing and resigning left and right. Everything had fallen apart, we were out of money and we’d lost our latest executive director to a brain tumor. I hired a lawyer to come in as a short term executive director to tear the place apart and figure out what had been going on––and help get us either out of debt or into bankruptcy. I had to go to the office in New York on my own dime in the middle of the winter to help sort things out and Simms drove down from his home near Woodstock to help. He taught me the yiddish word “fakakta” to describe our situation, crazy and fucked up. We drove uptown in a freezing rain and had dinner at a place near Gramercy Park. The guy was warm and funny and, well, supportive at a time when I really needed it. He was so generous he even wrote me a check to help cover my costs, which I’m embarrassed to say, I took. So long Simms, it was a joy and privilege to know you!
My other buddy, Lee, suffered a stroke at the end of November, at the tender age of 44. Now he’s up in Vallejo at the Kaiser rehab center. I’ve been up to see him. It’s lonely and boring to be in the hospital, but Lee’s making great progress. Another friend, Kim, had a stroke earlier in the year. She’s doing well too for someone who had a stroke. All of this makes me worry about my own health. I’m on an aspirin regimen now because I know my arteries are full of cholesteral and the fat from all the ice cream and bacon I've consumed. I have a wife and kid to think about you know.
I hate new years resolutions. I don’t partake. But way before new years I resolved to get into better shape. Twenty plus years of inactivity hunched over a drawing board has taken its toll on me. My body is misshapen. Now that I have the physically demanding job of standing up and drawing for hours on end I have to improve my physique. Iggy Pop is my inspiration––always has been––but Karthik and I saw him play with the faux Stooges in December and he’s in pretty good shape for 64––to say the least. He still jumps around like a muscle on a stick. My dad is 92 and still stage diving so I figure I’ve got a few years to go. The only problem is that, unlike the Stooge, who traded drugs for weightlifting, I hate to exercise.
It's Thanksgiving school break of course and that means that Spongebob has been on non-stop around here when Oscar isn't playing Minecraft. At least Hae and I took him to the Berkeley Art Museum to see the Kurt Schwitters show. He thought it was dumb that the guy just glued stuff down but he enjoyed playing on the giant undulating sculpture installation. Climbing was allowed.
I talked to my dad. He's doing well, my Aunt Eileen not so well. She's been moved to the assisted living section of the retirement village where she lives. Last stop before heaven. My sister must've showed dad the picture of me in the little tent village at Occupy Oakland that Hae put on her Facebook page and he was shocked. He's a heavy viewer of financial news shows and the kind of media that has been deeply rattled by the protests. I told him that I completely agree with the Occupy movement.
The violence by our increasingly militarized police is frightening. Mayor Quan in Oakland said that the Department of Homeland Security helped coordinate the police crackdown here. It's federal. Hae says when they crack down on people peacefully congregating we might as well be living in China.
Full disclosure: I'm too much of a coward to go there when the pepper spray is flying. I'm a YouTube protestor. And I work for The Man now and help prop up the one percent with my doodling.
As you know, I have a new career, drawing for people on paper and whiteboards with markers, and my latest freelance feast continues. I've been taking on jobs three deep. Having become used the declining publishing industry sucking me down into the abyss for so long I can't believe I'm doing something now that's actually growing and gaining popularity. People in business have discovered that pictures are the way to innovation. Scribes like me are in demand at the biggest corporations. In my little niche the economy is picking up.
I've been on a media cleanse since April but now I'm beginning to ease back in. When you watch the media constantly you fail to see how strange, surreal, and propagandistic it is. Unplugging makes you feel doltish at times but generally saner and less troubled. Watching MSNBC or anything now is like taking a shot of grain alcohol after being on a diet of soup. I've been reading Wonkette for news. Taking the reentry very slowly.
My book is dead in the water again. I've been too busy to focus on it and now when I look at my pages I feel disgusted. There's a whole missing dimension to the novel that corresponds to an empty part in my soul. I've been skipping out on my writing workshops and everything. Terrible! I snuck out of the house the other night for a beer with Karthik at McNally's and he gave me a lecture about how you have to stop everything to write a novel and do nothing but immerse yourself. Otherwise you're a fool.