Friday, August 22, 2014

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey - FALL plans

Oh boy folks! Its almost time! Tomorrow Doctor Who returns after a looooong 9 month wait to see how Peter Capaldi does in the role as the 12th (13th?) Doctor. I am very excited to see how they are going to run the show. Obviously the dynamic between Doctor and companion will be greatly different now. I'm sure there will be a lot less flirting and more darker, cerebral tones with this new guy. Its always weird when a new Doctor comes along because it takes a while to warm up to him but after a time, he turns out as awesome as all the others. They put their own spin on it. Sure there have been a couple that many would cite as their "least favorite," but still, they had good stuff going on. Doctor Who always does.

I spent some time this week to watch more Tom Baker episodes like, "Planet of Evil," "Brain of Morbuis" and "City of Death." I'm really digging on Baker right now. He and Tennant are my favorites by far. I think I'm not alone in that however. I also love Troughton and Eccleston. Its ALL really good. No complaints on any of it from me!

Also coming up is WALKING DEAD. I am completely enjoying what they are doing with the series. I really look at the comic and the TV show as two seperate things now and I'm glad for that. I'm excited to see whats next.

And of course, football season has begun. Tonight I watched another Lions' pre-season game. I'm getting excited for the season. New players, new coach. We'll see!

I'm making it my goal to watch something new every week. This week I finished off my great M*A*S*H marathon of watching the series all the way through. I never have done that before. I also actually went out to the movies and saw GUARDAINS OF THE GALAXY, which I will give a B+. I have a bunch of stuff I keep putting off on my netflix cue. Time to commit to watching it. Soon the wife will be gone for six weeks, so I will be quite lonely. I plan to watch and keep up with some of the shit on my Netflix list. Been delaying shit too damn long.

I also plan to get some work done in the next 7 weeks. Scott goes back to school in 10 days and that means I can get some rhythm going at home as far as creating stuff during the day. We'll see how it rolls. But he'll be in classes from 7:30-4pm. Everything is going to be a bit of a juggle with her gone. But I intend to make the best of it. When she gets back, she starts her new job. More money, waaaaaaaay more opportunity. Its quite exciting. If everything works out, all our goals shall be achieved within 2-4 years. I will have no worries by the time I am 40. That would be goddamn awesome! I've been scraping by barely all my life. Glad shit will finally pay off for us. I'm proud of her and her hard work. She's also dropped 72 pounds and is training for a 5k. AMAZING! I really lucked out by finding her, and she puts up with me!

Anyway, I'm going to hit the bed early and get good sleep tonight. Tomorrow is another day and shit is getting brighter and brighter for my life. Glad to finally see things on the mend. Lets hope this upward trend keeps on chugging along!

Cheers, T

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Store Signing and a Busy Week

Hey all, guess what? I'm getting out of my nerd cave for a day and doing a store signing! There is a new comic shop in west Lansing, Michigan called RED FOX COMICS. 723 Brookside Drive
Lansing, MI 48917. I will be there on Saturday Aug. 30th from 11-4pm or so.

I will be selling my books, prints, cards, art and doing free sketches for kids the whole time. I'm excited to get out of the house for once and help a new comic shop open up to some potential new customers. Help spread the word and come on out on Saturday. I hope to have a fun time with some nice amount of traffic at the event. Details on the comic shop, hit their website right HERE


I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy last night in the theater. I never go to the movies for a variety of reasons but I am glad I saw the flick. Good fun. I honestly knew nothing about the characters or the comics going in, so I really had to expectations for it. But it was good fun and I'd recommend checking it out. But I think next time I do hit the movies, I'm going to wait until week three or four... because all the stigmas that happened with me going to the movies happened and it crowded my experience a bit. Last flick I saw in the theater before this was Man of Steel. Yeah, thats how frequently I go to the movies. Cause people just seem to be getting increasingly rude to other patrons in public. And movies are such a religious experience for me, that I never want my experience tainted, like it sort of was last night. But oh well. At least the flick made up for it.


I got another four shift week at the night job so it will be quite busy. I'm falling behind on doing these Marvel Sketch Cards. However I did scan all the Starslam art and digitally clean up the lines and spots here and there. I hope to toss colors on soon. The wife starts a new job on sept 8th and she will be gone out of town most of the time, Monday-Friday for six weeks. Scotty will be back in school, so my days will be free and my nights will be boring. And when I am bored, I get work done. So I plan to really get productive so I am not concentrating on missing my wife while she's gone. And then on weekends, she'll be back and I'll be working. It will be a juggle, but worth it when its all over. But when is life not a juggle?

The good news is we are catching up with bills and shit is finally getting paid. Just a bit more hard work and we'll be back to where we were before this year began. Then we can start tackling the big picture. The big goals! Those are the days worth living for.

So anyway, make some plans to be in Lansing on August 30th. I'll be at Red Fox Comics, next to Kohls, Kroger and the Outback Steakhouse. Its gonna be great!

Cheers, T

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Passion of the Clerk

That is me lately. Slummin' it as a clerk at a gas station late nights. Its helping connect the dots a bit better though. But it certainly fucks with my schedule. I knew it would. But it is a necessary evil for the moment. But good news abounds lately in our home as the wife has some great things coming up for her, which sets in motion long dormant plans and dreams of ours. So I have the light at the end of the tunnel that if we both work hard now, we will emerge waaaaaaaaay better off when the time comes. So for now, I shall choke down the poo sammich I got on my plate.

Actually, its not all that bad. The job is easy enough. I get along with everyone I think. But juggling the sleep schedule and the kids can be a bit gruesome. But its all worth it in the end, I know. Just gotta keep my eyes on the prize.

Something special happened this week. My parents came up for a visit. Last January, my dad had a heart attack, stroke and was in the hospital in a coma. Although very scary and the familiar fears set in, I just knew that he would be okay. That his time just isn't up. Also, my step-mom is battling cancer, but she certainly doesn't show it. The cancer is shrinking and she's remaining extremely positive. But its hard to make an 8 hour drive to visit all of us kids with juggling tons of doctor's visits and other things they got going on, plus our hectic schedules. But this week the planets aligned and they arrived. They showered our home with gifts for the kids' upcoming birthdays and our wedding anniversary. They even watched the house for a night so the wife and I could get out alone... a rarity in our lives! We just window shopped at a couple grocery stores and then had late night breakfast like we used to do back in college. It was nice to enjoy my wife's company, alone. Another tiny gift from my parents.

We'll see them again this next week. Right now they are up visiting my brothers an hour north of me. I am going to go up there on Thursday so we can all be together for a bit. Again, a rarity for all of us to be in one place at the same time. But when my folks left here and headed up north, Gloria sent me this pic of dad:

He's smiling while talking about the visit they just had at our place. While I know the kids can be loud and money is tight here so we can't take THEM out to show them a good time, he still had great fun and was happy to have came to visit. Its indescribable what this picture means to me. It hasn't been easy for my dad this year. He's been through some hell with his own health, but now down 85 pounds. His wife is fighting cancer. And there has been some major major major drama in the family I won't get into. But one that really has to cut him beyond deep, financially and personally. I couldn't imagine dealing with it all like he is. But here he is, smiling.... just after seeing us here, and heading up to see his other kids, enjoying every second of life he has before him. I wish I had this pic back in January when he was in the hospital. To know that very soon, I'd see my dad upright and feeling good and he'd be smiling again. The back pain is not there and his worries are melting away with his joy over his family. I'm going to get this one blown up and keep it in a great place.  Its a candid photo she snapped and he didn't know it was happening. Its as genuine a shot as you can get and I won't forget it.

Meanwhile, here's some newer pics of James and Scotty:

Scott-bot starts kindergarten this year. He's making excellent progress. James is talking non-stop and we're excited about his progress as well. Its most certainly likely that he does not have autism like his brother and we get the joy of two unique journeys of life with them. Its so early in the game and I am going to enjoy the ride. I hope one day I'll have a pic of me smiling like that at almost 70 years old, reflecting on my visit with my kids like the one I got above.

But for now, I am focusing on whats before me. Getting the medical debt gone. Saving for the dream house. Finishing all my projects. Losing weight and getting mentally healthy. Its going to take a while, I know. But I am way better today than I was a month ago. I'm enjoying life and learning to smile again. The things that should anger me, simply don't anymore. I just don't care. Reconnecting with my old self... its a great thing. Hello old friend. I'm glad to see you never left. :)

This year is starting to turn itself around, thank creation. Just wait til you see whats coming from the seeds I'm planting today.....

Cheers, T

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

My Dream Home

This is the most unrelated to comics, music or anything blog I have wrote on here in a while. Its about my own dreams and desires of owning a home. For years I've been against the idea. To think to have to pay taxes, do yardwork, etc... just NEVER appealed to me. But the reality of paying a rediculous amount in rent over the years and nothing to show for it kind of bugs me. It would be ideal to have to some place to call my own, and something to leave the kids when I go. Plus, I've always dreamed of building my own little private "Xanadu" that I'd never leave because it was so awesome there.

Renting sucks. You cannot renovate or paint things how you want. It sort of never feels like "home." Well, the wife and I decided a couple years ago that owning a home would be a great goal to have. And ever since I became addicted to house hunting shows on tv and looking up home decorating ideas.

Admittedly, a lot of the pics and plans I see never have my style in mind. But every now and then I see some idea for home decoration that really jazzes me up. I thought I'd share some of the pics I keep in a special folder that I hope to possibly one day implement in a home of my own. My DREAM HOME, if you like.

I LOVE this bedroom. Really makes you feel saucy, eh? I don't know if its right for me, but I love the velvets and darker tones. Thats a place where I could get some business done! I love color combos of red/blacks or blacks/purples/pinks... as you'll see as we move on.

This is an ideal office for making funny books and writing. All nicely organized and a black/white scheme to fit with "comics." Original art on the wall. Artbooks everywhere and a nice sturdy table to work on. Peaceful.

As I said I LOVE Purples/blacks. Silvers go good with it too. I love this room!

More of it. Tell me that velvet wallpaper isn't super dope as fuck!

In my dream home, I want a big livable basement. I'd love a media room of sorts, with game tables, pinball and a couple standup arcade games. Maybe a jukebox. Some place I'd never want to leave. Obviously me being a hardcore old school gamer, that would have to represent too. I could paint one wall something like this. That would be awesome!

This is perfect! HUGE couch, a bar to set up and watch the game at. I'd watch EVERYTHING here.

More traditional, but I love the idea of this book reading spot. Maybe some place to take a nap or daydream.

One major part of a potential home is how to display my collectibles. This person has the right idea! (I'm soooooo jealous of some of this person's aquirements!)

Another bedroom with the same colors I dig. Dig that satin and velvet on the bed! I'd never get out of bed.

A great idea for a gaming table to bring friends over to enjoy the game while we play poker or Cards Against Humanity. Or D&D or a classic board game with the family. That would be great! Again, love the purple!

This bedroom would NEVER happen in a million years for me but still I think its the most beautiful thing ever. I'd be scared that the glass would crack in the night. Haven't people seen Jaws 3???? Also, you'd be doing the nasty and look over and a fish would be watching you. That would be weird.

Lastly another living room idea. If I had a castle, I'd sooooo do this. I like the purple/grey tones to the book case. Really a neat idea.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Busy First Dayjob Week

Hey all. I started the new dayjob (well, NIGHT job... cause its overnight at a gas station). Its very very easy and laid back. Non-stressful and very quiet. There are aspects I don't like about the gig but nothing I cannot catagorize and deal with on my own. Its a welcome change, in fact. While it does torture me a bit as far as daily lack of sleep and juggling schedules, it does have its own benefits. Last night I was off and I decided to stay up a bit and use what would have been a work shift and work late into the night on a new card set I am on. It feels kind of good to be awake enough to work late into the night like I used to. I value my quiet time in order to accomplish work.

And the last couple weeks, accomplish work I have! I finished the art on STARSLAM, and I just have to color it. Today I gotta shrink and scan the art. But first I gotta push this new card set out the door. Then I will finish the porn store book and the other short stories book. Finding a publisher should be somewhere in the mix, but I am not concerning myself with anything that isn't immediate. Instead, still focusing on keeping myself right. Creatively, mentally and physically. I have good and bad days, but it seems to be on the upward drift.

Today a client I did a bunch of sketch covers for got them back from the CGC. Here's a look at one of the final products:

Meanwhile, the wife has got some EXCELLENT news. I cannot share it too much yet, but rest assured it is a welcome change and we are excited about the potential. If it works out the way it likely should, all our problems and future issues will all fall in line perfectly. Sorry to be cryptic, but its just too early right now to drop trow and reveal all. Soon... soon. Still, hard to contain our excitement! Just feels good to have some positive stuff happen now after 7 months of bad luck.

I guess thats it for now. I'm keeping shit together and I'm still breathing. Thats the important thing, isn't it?

Cheers, T

Monday, July 28, 2014

Project Updates

Since clearing my plate of commissions and declining all offers on more undesirable projects and commission work, I have fully focused on myself, my health and my creative health. It is not an overnight process, and it continues to roll on as I update you today. I start a new dayjob this week, as the first one wasn't the most ideal. This new one is a better overall choice and will work quite well as far as working on a nightly schedule of getting things done. I'm looking forward to getting back to a routine that I so severely need to be a part of. It has been severely lacking.

To be assured, it will be a massive adjustment in sleep schedule and a juggle with family life. But I stay on the path and keep rocking, not letting up or the temptations in, once the smoke clears I will be where I need to be. Health-wise, financially, creatively, emotionally and so much more. I have grand plans in my head but I am not holding myself down with them. Just chasing the mere whimsy in my mind as I just keep doing what I do and re-learning why I chose to do it. Also re-finding the joy in doing it too. Again, not going to happen overnight.

Overall, I am still at it. I am happy to say I wrote a great outline for a future project. I edited and added 10 pages of stuff to the porn store book. I have been cleaning up little things here and there around the house. I've done some writing. I spent time watching things I keep putting off, and reading authors I keep hearing about. I've been listening to albums long ignored. And I pencilled the last STARSLAM page. It is only a matter of time for these seeds to bear fruit.

But I am driven by the creativity of those around me and those I look up to. I am driven by the dreams of travelling next year to some shows to see some old friends again. I am driven to be able to better myself and to end the various worries in my head.

Rest assured, I will emerge triumphant. It is inevitable. Even now, unstoppable.


This week: I am interviewing a couple guys I look up to for a future podcast/website post for - I am giddy with nervousness about how cool it is to talk to these dudes.

I have also accepted an invite to work on another sketch card set for a big company on a big project. Seems like the less I try, the more I am getting asked! Feels good for a change and I appreciate it.

I am thinking ahead to Anna Pocalypse 2 art and rethinking a few scenes I have already drawn out. Refining. Reinventing. I got some new reference and I am going to be using it. Thats up next and down the road. I'm feeling the drive again to finish it. Thats fucking awesome!

Wheels are turning.  Be warned. When I emerge finally, I'm going to blow all of you away.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden at DTE July 26, 2014

Hey folks. Long night but I am back and I had a great time seeing NIN & Soundgarden at DTE in Clarkston, MI. I had to remember back and that I discovered NIN around 1993 or early 1994 and always vowed I'd see them live. But it took 20 years to do so!! Certainly, they did not dissapoint. I'm not a massive Soundgarden guy but I like three of their albums.

Soundgarden: Played all the hits. Some good stuff from BADMOTORFINGER and SUPERUNKNOWN. I woulda loved hearing "Pretty Noose," but I was happy with what I got. Chris Cornell still has the voice, thats for damn sure. I was especially excited to see the drummer Matt Cameron, who drums with Soundgarden but also Pearl Jam. He's one of my favorite 90s drummers.

After a nice break where my buddy Matt and I acted like idiots...

Nine Inch Nails came on and they certainly put on a show. The stage had these rolling backdrops that changed every song. There really was an onslaught of songs with really no breaks. There was only one minor break toward the end where Trent addressed the audience. His voice and the music copied the albums to a capital T and sounded great. I heard complaints from people in the lawn area of the venue that NIN was quieter than Soundgarden but I didn't experience that. We got pavillion seats, so we were in the pink.

If I had ANY complaint on NIN's set was that they neglected to play anything from "The Fragile." I woulda loved hearing "the Wretched" or "Somewhat Damaged." Oh well. They played lots from pretty much all the albums from Pretty Hate Machine to Hesitation Marks. A visual treat. If you download my Morning Show Podcast episode #262, you will hear a bit of audio from the show. I also recorded little snippets of video I'll upload to Youtube at some point.

One cool thing that happened was inbetween sets, we were talking with a couple in front of us and I didn't say much. The dude mentioned he had kids and the wife and I could take our kids to a kid friendly beer place in Lansing he knew of. then I mentioned "Well, its hard for us to get out because my five year old has autism." And he said "whoa! Our four year old does too!" So we swapped autism parenting war stories for a bit. I woulda loved to talk to them a bit more about it, because autism parents love to chat about techniques that work and what not. But Trent walked on and interrupted us! HA!!! But thats the third time I casually mention my son's autism to a couple and they say they have the same thing going on with their kids! So weird. You think you are struggling alone as a parent and no one understands what you got on your plate and all around are people going through the same thing, silently. I just thought it was a cool moment.

Most of the people at the show were around my age, mid-30s. I saw no fights and no arseholes. Everyone was getting along, reliving their teen angst and enjoying every second. And both bands put on a damn good show and sounded just as good as they did 20 years ago. I am now assured that the 90's are very much alive and I'm glad they are still around. (and me too!)

If you get the chance to see this tour, I hereby recommend it.