Monday, June 27, 2011

Your Weekly Dose of Dangle

I’ve been working for a big silicon valley client on a project, no, not graphic recording, but a series of two-page comic strips. Anyway, the client is making all the wrong decisions. It started out as a series of slice of life stories about employees having interesting or unusual work-related experiences. Nice idea. But then the client decided it would be better to add some gratuitous superhero characters to the stories. Just superheroes who pop in here and there for no reason. I did one comic with the superheroes included to make the client happy and they came back and said, no, we don’t want the superheroes to be drawn like your cartoons, we want them to be drawn in the superhero style! I sat on that for a little while, wondering how to respond. Then I told them that I can’t draw in the superhero style but if they want to find somebody who can, no problem, I’ll drop the heroes into my cartoons. (obviously by this time I’d given up hope that the final cartoons will be good.)

Should I have been more of a pain in the ass, more of a prima donna? On jobs like this my motto is, “Ours is not to wonder why, ours it but to do or die!”

I’ve had some down time from graphic recording (no work) so I have been working on Unpalleteable. I’ve been writing at least an hour in the morning and sometimes all day. It’s like sticking reeds under my fingernails and scalping myself with a rusty sardine can. Writing sucks! I hate doing it and having to live with my own words, but I really want to finish this book and I want it to be funny and good.

Review of Peter Gabriel at the Greek Theater

Hae and I went to see Peter Gabriel at the Greek Theater. I’m not a Peter Gabriel fan but I’m so goddamned old that I don’t know any new bands and have to go see ones from the 80s that I at least recognize. Peter Gabriel took the stage at exactly eight o’clock while Hae and I were still looking for a parking space on the streets of Berkeley, which is next to impossible among the mad aged hippies everywhere choking the streets with their Volvos and bumpersticker-laden Subarus. Finally we paid the big bucks for event parking and made our way up the hill to the amphitheater. When we entered the Greek Peter Gabriel was singing a melodic ballad with a full orchestra backing him up. I usually find an orchestra for a pop star to be a bit––what word am I looking for––idiotic? And this was no exception. As we found our slab of hard concrete to sit our old asses down on, Gabriel went into another slow dirge, the strings ever so delicately rising and falling in accompaniment with the singing. Then came another slow tune, another, and yet another. There was to be no toe-tapping that evening at the Greek. And Peter Gabriel is completely earnest. He believes that his singing is saving people in Africa and that people should listen to it because it’s very important. At intermission a drunk college student said to his pals, “That was the sleepiest music I’ve ever heard.” He was exactly right. A large panel descended in front of the orchestra and I thought, at least he’ll bring out the band and play a smoking second set (well, at least as smoking a Peter Gabriel gets), but it was not to be. The orchestra played the first tune behind the screen with some translucent effects that were lame. By the end of the concert I was lulled into a stupor as if my whole body had been shot full of novocaine. The only sensation left was the pain my ass felt from the long hours on the concrete slab. Pluses: at least the fog didn’t come in so the temperature remained sufferable.

In a nutshell, I give Peter Gabriel zero stars.

I got tickets to see Iggy and the Stooges for sometime in October. If he comes out with an orchestra I’ll slit my own throat with a sharp piece of a shredded plastic beer cup.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Your Dose of Dangle

It’s been a couple weeks since I wrote a dose, so I’ll catch you up on my endeavors.

I’ve been working on my novel non-stop almost, the working title of which is Unpalleteable. It’s going to be a humorous book, so I keep having to go back and pump up the funny. The narrator is the main character and I’m having trouble giving him the right presence.

Here's a fake cover Pat Broderick made for me.

I’ve joined another writers group to workshop pieces of the novel. The last one I was in with Clive Matson was mellow. My inability to talk about other people’s writing was accepted and people were cool with me chiming in only occasionally. This new group works differently. They go around and each person must speak. I become tongue-tied and intimidated, and this group is very intimate and everybody sounds very intelligent when they speak. It’s just like college, which I hated. The point: it’s good to do things that are painful and difficult. It makes you stronger.

I went to New York and led the executive committee of the Graphic Artists Guild through a strategic planning workshop using my graphic facilitation skills. It was good practice for me since I want to be able to do that kind of work. The Graphic Artists Guild is very special to me, some of you might know that I’m a past president. Despite what you may have heard from some dickheads the Guild is a terrific organization with wonderful people. I hope they win that lawsuit against those dickheads.

Saw a Giants game with my friend, Karthik, the next mayor of San Francisco. I forgot my glasses but I could still see enough. Baseball games have sure changed since the days when I was a maniacal fan. The constant flashing of the lit up scoreboards almost puts you into a epileptic seizure. Some things are the same though: two beers––nineteen dollars.

Karthik is practically a professional cheerer. He’s the guy who starts those clapping cheers that go LET’S GO GIANTS clap-clap-clap! and then the rest of the ballpark picks up on it and joins in. Pretty amazing and another reason to vote Karthik Rajan for mayor.

I’ve read a couple books that I’ve forgotten already. Now I’m rereading Alan Black’s, Kick the Balls, which is unforgettable and hilarious. Last night I watched the movie Smoking Aces. If you haven’t seen it don’t waste your time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Today's Sketch

I've been on the road a lot.