Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where's My Slaw!

I've been talking to some people and the consensus seems to be that people want more drawings. I've got some comics nearing completion for you fine folks, but I can be quite lazy, so who knows when I'll finish. However, in the mean time here is a Facebook graffiti drawing to tide you over. If you don't understand it then you probably haven't seen "The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot" episode of Invader Zim.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Post-Postal Apocalypse

While every letter I wrote for the Extravaganza was different I thought I'd give you a little peek into one of them. The following is the opening to letter #33. While most of the letters weren't quite so literary, every once in awhile I'd go on a kick. Overall they didn't turn out too bad, which is surprising because I did it on the fly and in pen.

        “The city looked bleak. At least that's what people said. The sun would brave a quick peek from its blanket of smog and dust, illuminating the wreckage of relics that made up the former metropolis. People would gaze upon the landscape as if the light were showing it to them for the first time and they'd sigh. Then the sun would disappear, the gloom would return, and the people would mutter, to no one in particular, “what a bleak city”. Sonja did not see it that way.
        To say the city was “bleak” would be inviting the mistaken interpretation that the city was bare. Certainly there was less of it after the years of bombing, but even rubble takes up space. Sonja preferred to say that the city was doleful. Doleful. A proper definition wrapped in a bright and colorful set of syllables; the product of a rose-colored dictionary. If you can't find enjoyment in the little things you might as well lay down and try to catch an explosion on your tongue.
        These are just a handful of the thoughts running through her mind as she walked home. Miraculously her apartment building had survived, thus far. Sure the roof was gone, and sure the toilet's pipes weren't connected to anything anymore, but it was familiar and that was nice. She began to walk up her front steps when she noticed her mailbox was broken. Its lid had come right off. Not that it mattered in this post-postal world, but she picked it up and was just about to return it to its proper place when she noticed something. There was a letter in her box. She picked it out of the tattered mailbox and looked at it. As the realization of what it was hit her, she laughed.
        'Well,' she said while still chuckling, 'I guess it's better late than never.'

     Hiya Sonja! This letter is super late, but not so late as to be sent in some post-apocalyptic, war-torn future. So, in the grand scheme of things, it isn't very late at all.”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Letter Extravaganza '09: Part 7

And thus we come to the end. After putting it off for a long time I have completed the last couple of letters. I know I had said that I was doing 35 letters, but things change and thus the final count is 34. Which means that I've written about 136 pages of correspondence, drawn 34 different envelope designs, and used about $16.58 in postage.

All in all it was a lot of fun. I'm not sure why I decided to name it "Letter Extravaganza '09" and then start it in November. A really odd choice, I'll admit. But regardless it was pretty fun. Plus it motivated me to make some pretty cool art that I'm quite proud of...also a couple that didn't turn out as I had hoped, but let's not talk about those ones.

Thank you to everyone who wanted a letter, I'm sorry it took so long, you folks are the best!

Thank you to everyone who had some kind words to share regarding the project.

Thank you to the post office for handling all the deliveries and putting up with some really odd envelopes.

And special shout outs to Stacy Brownhill, Hannah Camfield-Bronstein, Kristen Crandell, Mary Davis, and Rianna Robertson for sending me letters back! You ladies are too awesome for words.

In case you want to peruse all the envelopes again, here are the links.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Any favorites?





Friday, August 20, 2010

Birthday Wrapping

It was my mom's birthday a few days ago and I got her a book. I asked my sister what she had decided to go with and she said something like, "I got her some tickets to something or other and I guess I'll get her a card to put them in."

As we have established in a previous post, I have a slight addiction to trying to win at birthdays. Therefore I obviously couldn't just sit there while my sister gets our mom both a present and a card! Clearly my sister was aware that I hate buying cards. A bold strategy indeed. Thus I did the next best thing to a card: wrote a message on wrapping paper. Okay, if we're being technical it wasn't "wrapping paper" per se, more like notebook paper. Exactly like notebook paper, actually. But still, you get the drift. So here is the wrapping-card I doodled out.

Then after wrapping the present in some blank notebook paper I wrapped the wrapping-card over the top. Which results in this:
Overall a marked improvement on what I would have done had I not been challenged. However, later that day I find out my sister was too busy and/or lazy to go get a card.

Well played, Sis. Well played.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Breadfruit 08/18/10

PeopleWatch: Jim Awesome

Imagine you are talking to a tall man with short brown hair and black rimmed indie glasses. He is witty and smart and can talk excitedly about any topic you can think of. Then suddenly he begins to pee his pants. You've just met Jim Awesome, a lab assistant living in northeast Mycity. While many would attribute the incident on a weak bladder or a mental disorder, Jim sees it in a different way: as an act of God.

“I know it sounds a little crazy,” Jim said. “I don't expect anyone to understand. I have a special connection with my God and I have to trust that he knows what's best for me.”

Jim doesn't subscribe to the idea of monotheism, instead believing that every person has their own personal God watching over them and leading their actions. Therefore when Jim wets his pants it is because his God has refused to let him go to the bathroom.

“It happens from time to time. I want to go to the bathroom, but I just feel this divine order to continue talking with my friends or to just keep working out. It's embarrassing, but that's the point. Humility is a virtue.”

It turns out many of Jim's friends have recommended that he see a psychiatrist, but Jim just laughs and tells them he isn't sure how he'd find the time. His divine orders aren't things he necessarily has to do, in fact from time to time he's disobeyed a few. However, it turns out you can't disobey a God without facing some repercussions.

“One time he [God] trapped me in my swimming pool...I nearly died.”

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Breadfruit 08/16/10

High-Pressure Fight Gets Bloody

DETROIT—Spectators at a Penultimate Fighting event were shocked last Thursday when the opening match of the season ended in tragedy. The fighters, last year's champion Jackson Briggs and newcomer Liu Kang, were both pronounced dead at the scene, both due to substantial blood loss. Spectators say that the match only lasted about 10 seconds and only 2 punches were thrown before both fighters collapsed. “It was insane,” said season ticket holder Edward Boon. “Kang hit Jackson with a left hook and suddenly there was blood spraying everywhere. Then Jackson starts falling forward but gets in a jab on his way down and the same thing happens to Kang. Next thing I know they're both lying in pools of blood and the ring looks like a [expletive deleted] horror movie.” Past studies have shown that blood will spray from wounds when an area of high blood pressure, such as an artery, is severed. However, doctors say the blood pressure required to explain such a dramatic reaction from such minor wounds is off the charts. Further matches have been delayed until investigators are able to get to the bottom of the situation.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Breadfruit 08/15/10

Sonic Needs a Ring To Survive

MOBIUS—Ogilvie “Sonic” Maurice was hospitalized on Saturday evening after experiencing heart difficulties. The famous racer, well known for holding the land speed record, was rushed from the Eggman Bar&Grill after experiencing severe chest pain. Spectators say that Sonic was trying to win his girlfriend a stuffed animal from a claw machine when he started to complain about the chest pains.

“It was so scary” said Sally Acorn, Sonic's girlfriend. “One second he was joking and laughing like usual and the next he has gone quiet and was clutching his chest . A lot of people just thought he had drank too much, but he had only had some energy drinks. He never drank alcohol because he said it slowed him down.”

Sonic was taken to nearby Green Hills Hospital. On Sunday morning doctors confirmed that the problem was not related to alcohol or drugs. The chest pains had been caused from a heart disease

“Mr. Maurice is suffering from a condition known as Mitral Stenosis,” said the hospital's head cardiologist Dr. Ivo Robotnik. “It occurs when the heart's mitral valve stops opening completely. This causes the pressure in the left atrium to increase. The increase in pressure puts severe stress on the heart and leads to even bigger problems.”

While Sonic's family members did release general information about the cause of the hospitalization and plans for recovery, they refused to answer any further specifics. If the mitral stenosis was the result of a previous condition is currently unknown to the public.

“My son's illness is a private matter,” said Bernice Maurice, Sonic's mother. “His health, however, is for everyone to enjoy. After the surgeons put a new valve ring in him, he'll be back on his feet in no time.”

The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Breadfruit 08/14/10

The Princess Is In a Different Castle

OMB, BOWSERLAND—“The princess isn't going anywhere,” said King Kametaro Bowser, the leader of the Bowserland, during a press release held this Friday regarding the detention of Princess Momomi. In which King Bowser restated his position in the matter and noted that he didn't plan on changing his mind any time soon.

Princess Momomi Peach, the prominent heir to Mushroom Kingdom, was detained by the Koopas on August 1 after straying into Bowserland territory while on a hike with friends. Representatives of Mushroom Kingdom maintain that the princess was simply enjoying a hiking trip over summer vacation and merely got a little lost. However, the Koopas insist that she was spying, having found cameras and other high-tech recording devices in the hiking party's possession.

Relations between Mushroom Kingdom and Bowserland have been tense ever since the two countries were partitioned in 1983. To this the day the borders remain ill defined, with many territories still in dispute and tempers high.

“I just pray that she'll be alright,” said Prime Minister of Sarasaland, Daisy Caddy. “I've been in her position before. I was kidnapped in my youth, so while this situation is a little different and a lot more complicated, I can still empathize. Hopefully these two countries will be able to put aside their differences for the sake of this young woman.”

There have been many cases of hikers being detained by the Koopa after crossing into their borders. Most often the disputes end quickly and the trespassers released. This case, however, is unique not only because of the prominence of the detainee, but also because of her past. This represents the third time Princess Momomi has been detained for illegally crossing into Bowserland territory. The first 2 times she was released immediately as a sign of good faith, but it seems three strikes is all they're willing to offer.

“We aren't monsters,” said Bowser. “We have a strong history of leniency regarding these accidental border intrusions. But the Princess isn't just some ordinary hiker. She's done this before. Apparently our good natured actions in the previous instances have prompted the Mushroom Kingdom to attempt to take advantage of us. We are not pushovers and we will not stand for this. As I've said before, the princess isn't going anywhere.”

The Mushroom Kingdom has sent in Ambassador Mario Martinez Mario to start up talks of returning the princess. The Ambassador is well known for his ability in unclogging the toughest of situations, which has earned him the nickname “Super Mario”.

“Ambassador Mario might not be enough this time,” said Breadfruit Political correspondent, Richard Resetti. “There are rumors that Ambassador Mario and King Bowser have had some unpleasant interactions in the past and aren't on the best of terms. It is very likely the Mushroom Kingdom will have to make some large concessions if they want to see this situation resolved.”

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Breadfruit 08/13/10

Articuno Real! Scientists Real Stupid!

PALLET TOWN—Articuno, the legendary pokémon, was captured last Wednesday by 10 year old boy, Red Ketchum. For years Zoologists have doubted whether or not the pokémon even existed at all. Ketchum, however, quickly dispelled those doubts when he stunned the operators of Celadon City Gym by using the legendary bird to win his 4th badge.

“The kid was still using a little pikachu,” said Gym leader Erika Seiji. “I thought it was going to an easy win, but then out of nowhere he whips out a [expletive deleted] Articuno! And then he acts like it was no big deal!”

Over the years many have claimed to have seen the bird, but evidence was always anecdotal at best. No one could ever track down its location. Ketchum revealed that the legendary pokémon had been nesting in a cave on the Seafoam islands.

“It’s ridiculous” says Professor Yukinari Oak, leading zoologist of the Kanto-chiho Pokémon Research Institute. “The Seafoam islands are a popular tourist destination. Yet no one ever came across this bird’s nesting grounds until today? The native island inhabitants have been telling stories about this bird for generations and no one thought to look into it? It makes us scientists look like idiots!”

The discovery has raised a number of questions for scientists, but also a number of questions for Ketchum himself. Having only gained his Trainer's license 2 months ago it seems unlikely he was able to capture such a powerful pokémon. Ketchum denies allegations that he had any help.

“The real secret to catching it was friendship,” Ketchum said while grinning.

When reporters tried to press him further on the issues Ketchum ran off and lost them in the tall grass.

Scientists of the Seafoam Island Center for Marine Biology refused to comment on the matter.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Breadfruit 08/12/10

Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” Not as Fun as Natsume’s

TORONTO—Brad Jenkins was disappointed Tuesday when he realized that his recently purchased Neil Young album “Harvest Moon” was not about the video game series of the same name. “Where were the cows?” asked a confused Jenkins after the album was over. “I mean, sure he mentioned love, but not once did he mention anything about building a profitable farm through perseverance and hard work.” The album, released in 1992, predates the video game by 4 years and has received many favorable reviews. Jenkins, however, cannot understand why anyone would want “...a Harvest Moon where no one hugs a chicken or even collects any wood?” While still upset over the mistaken purchase, Jenkins says he's trying to get over it and has high hopes for the Beyonce Knowles’ song “Halo” that he just downloaded from iTunes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

All Work & No Play

        For quite awhile the theater where I work has been showing extremely long movies. Usually in the area of 2.5 hours. Because there is usually only one person working at a time, we aren't supposed to sit down and read a book or other such activities. Instead we are supposed to find things to clean. Some things legitimately need cleaning, while other things do not.

        After about 2 hours of cleaning you start to lose your mind a little bit. Since at that point the movie is almost over it is a perfect time to find something else to do. In this window of free time I will sometimes doodle. For instance here is a little stand-up picture I made.

        I later realized that I might get in trouble for not doing any work and just doodling, even if it was for such a short time. Instead of just stopping outright I decided that while doodling randomly might be looked down upon, but doodling with purpose might be a grey area.

        Currently the theater is doing a Cary Grant series on Mondays. To advertise this they have postcard sized schedules of what movies will be shown and when for people to take. However, for a while we ran out of them. Herein lied my opportunity. Certainly taking time away from cleaning to fashion new schedules couldn't be bad, right?

        So, using the scrap paper we use for writing notes/taking messages and a ballpoint pen, I set out to create some cheap schedules. Not only would it give me something to do, but I could then use them to get people to stop asking me what all the movies were and on what days. I made my first one and then traced it for the next one, and then traced the new one for the next one. Thus like a game of telephone each successive schedule became slightly different with each added flair and with every slip of the pen. At the end they were looking like this.

I even managed to find a brilliant picture of Cary Grant in a separate advertisement flyer we had around so I cut it out and taped it onto the back.
Although I decided that disfiguring flyers would probably be frowned on...along with wasting tape. Therefore only the first two had such wonderful backs.

        I kind of like them actually. They're easy to put into pockets, they're unique, they're quirky, and they're cheap as hell. Their only downside was that they took too long to make. Although that problem would be easily fixed by making one good one, scanning it, and then fitting 6 of them onto a sheet and printing that. But obviously I wasn't about to go that far. The other obvious problem was that I never gave any out because I wasn't sure if I should and I was too embarrassed to ask.

        The theater is going to be doing a Sci-Fi series in a few months so I think I'll do another schedule for that. I want to do this almost entirely because one of the movies features a picture of a robot carrying off a woman, and another has a giant ape carrying off a woman.

        This means that there's a common theme for both these series. And that theme is pretty ladies getting swept off their feet.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Soapbox Speeches: E-books Suck

"This is probably a rant. I don't think of it that way, but it probably is. Thus I've decided that whenever I want to get on my high horse and start haranguing I'll mark the post as a 'Soapbox Speech'. Thus negating the need to start the post warning you that I'm about to rant my ass off. Consider yourself warned." -Jesse

        Take a moment to ponder over the idea of a book. Is it just a bundle of paper and ink? Or is it something more? Take another moment to think about the idea of an idea. While a book conjures thoughts of physical examples, an idea is more abstract. And yet I would argue that the image of a book works for both. Printed word is one of the most efficient means of not only capturing and propagating an idea, but of ascribing importance to an idea. It always has been yet the invention of movable type blew the doors wide open and allowed ideas to migrate at an unprecedented rate. People were able to share ideas like never before and, as is their nature, ideas beget more ideas
        The obvious argument is that e-books and data represent the next stage in evolution of the written word. I would, however, vehemently disagree with such an argument. The crucial difference is that a book exists. You can own it, touch it, hold it, write in it, claim it, trade it, sell it. These things are not merely facets of a biblophile's fetish, but actual and useful features. The printed word represents a physical manifestation of ethereal concepts. You can reach out and touch a story. You can feel the cover of an idea. Why do you think the concept of book burning is seen as a sickeningly barbaric action? Because it isn't just paper that is burning; it is ideas.
        The problem with e-books is that they contain ideas, but are not a manifestation of an idea. Data is to a computer what a thought is to a brain. It is a bundle of switches that happen to be working in such a was as to create a specific instance. It's lack of a physical impact largely negates a majority of its meaning and completely negates any sense of true ownership. You can use someone else's brain, but you can't own it. The same is true of data. Like an mp3 that people transfer to one another, it isn't so much something that you own as it is something you have access to.
        Sure a hand-held device that contains 100s of books is convenient. A whole vacation of reading without having to lug around a case of books. But when the device breaks what do you have? What did you ever have? Let's say your device isn't broken, but you have lost interest in a particular title. So what do you do? Well you just delete it. You can simply burn it from your hard drive because it doesn't mean anything at all. But a physical book always has meaning and that is the essence of what makes it important. It's constant meaning represents the concept that ideas have weight, that ideas have impact. That you can take an idea and own it, touch it, hold it, write in it, trade it, and even sell it.
        Our entire culture is built around weighty ideas: an ever increasing construction of knowledge and ideas. When we take away an idea's weight there are consequences. When we forget the elements of our foundation, things like “Knowledge is important” and “Every person matters”, we are forgetting part of our humanity.
        Books aren't the daily news which is meant to be absorbed and discarded, and yet they are being put in the same realm and we are being told that it is the future. The idea of books being lowered into a realm of consumable entertainments makes me truly sad, because I cannot help but see it as an example of our ideas starting losing their weight and importance. I'm not saying e-books don't have a place of their own in the world of literature. I'm just saying that books are different than e-books and that if we don't see the difference then we just may forget why books are so important. If we can forget something like that...well I don't really want to think about what that says about us.
     So let's just try to remember not to burn books. Okay?