Monday, July 23, 2012

A Long Wait for Nothing

Here's an image I did for a friend upon request. She asked for everything here but the lei necklace, so on her head be this.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Thing I Done Gone and Drawn

I figure it belongs here as much as anywhere else.

It's a take off of Moebius' Starwatcher picture (as seen here).

Looking at it now, I realize this could have been better. Oh well.

I really have no idea what I'm doing without Photoshop. Or a half-assed decent printer for that matter. Want to donate to my Kickstarter-- by which I mean give me a blank check and a run at the electronics section at Staples?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cinecult: Blade Runner


Originally run on May 10, 2010 in the Union Weekly.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe."

About a year back, BBC film critic, Mark Kermode saying about Moon that “Good science fiction isn’t about technology or special effects, it’s about ideas.” Blade Runner isn’t just good science fiction, it’s great science fiction, and it’s one of the better movies about ideas that I can think of. While many treat Blade Runner as a meditation on life and all that, I see it as a movie about our society and just how screwed up we are. Beyond all of that is a film so wonderful, so iconic, that it is hard to imagine what a world without Blade Runner would look like.

Most of what is memorable about Blade Runner is probably down to the art design. Blade Runner was the third film of Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Robin Hood), who holds a BA in graphic design, and even then he demonstrates an eye for both designing a world and filming it. Much of the Los Angeles of 2019 was designed by legendary concept artist Syd Mead, who worked on films ranging from Star Trek to Tron. Both of these men’s visions (as well as an army of draftsmen, artists, and journeymen) combine to make a vision of the future that, at the time, was utterly unique.

Read the rest on page seven of the Union Weekly!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New and Exciting Addition to the Kislingbury Dynasty

This past December my former EIC (and constant friend) started a podcast called "White Guys, Square Glasses." I guess it's in the tradition of the Union, in that, it's a fatuous take on world events, politics, and pop culture that doesn't burden itself too severly with facts.

We're both pretty happy with how it's going and it's fun to get back into collaborations with friends, as well as to try our hand at something new.

You can listen to it here (or on iTunes) and you can read our blog here (or on Facebook).

It's exciting times.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bushido: Way of the Broke Guy

Originally run on 12 April 2010.


Bushido: Way of the Broke Guy
Working Five (+) Years Towards a Degree That Doesn't Get You Anywhere

A lot of things have been going down in my life lately, some good, some bad, some confusing. As a young man more or less locked away in his parents’ attic for twenty hours a day these things haven’t so much made me feel uneasy or jealous as they have highlighted the fact that, other than writing up saucy opinion pieces and watching Blade Runner on a loop, I’m not doing a whole lot with my life.

There’s an old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young,” which was probably first said by some horrible, old cunt, but it raises a good point. I’ve been tossing away months of these golden years doing nothing truly productive. Meanwhile, outside the wire of the Kislingbury compound, my friends are off getting married and being accepted to graduate school at USC, and I cannot get work as a dishwasher. It’s discouraging.

This started, like all disappointments, with applying for a job. Or trying to apply for one. I say “trying,” because the way people receive and reply applications nowadays is akin to flying a spaceship into a black hole or shouting down a garbage chute. It makes you feel stupid and you’ve got no idea if it’s working or not.

There was quite a number of jobs open at the restaurant, everything from the CEO to the disabled guy who hangs out in the bathroom and gives you a towel. I figured, hey, I’m at least as quick-witted as most slow people I know, I am a shoe-in for this job. I was wrong, so very wrong. Despite a follow up to a well named gentleman and seventh-graders command of the English language, I received no reply. I guess I was in that perfect sweet spot between being over-qualified for many jobs and under-qualified for the rest that employment experts call “Having a Bachelor’s in the Arts.”

The restaurant in question is Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ and it is going on my Enemies List, right between “God” and “Harrison, George” (two discs of B-sides and a jam session is not a triple album, George!). If it wasn’t for their $1.50 beers at happy hour, I’d firebomb the place. It’d probably get blamed on the shabu shabu grills that all the customers use, as well. The perfect crime.

Like anything in life, though, you’ve got to find something in it that you like, rather than waste your time complaining about what isn’t there. You’re always going to find things you’re lacking and, I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to get through season one of Deadwood and I simply do not have the time for that. So I decided to focus on jobs I am qualified for.

A brief overview of Craiglist’s LA chapter reveals that I’m perfect for quite a number of opportunities, most of which either involve managing blogs for law offices (I guess even the square community likes to post uncredited Terry Richardson photos on a tumblr) or picking up piles of dirt from somewhere near Sunland. There was also a job offer for a “courier,” which I’m fairly certain was just an offer to move weight across the San Gabriel Valley. I can’t say that I didn’t send the guy an e-mail, though.

The rest are mostly gay porn, but not the gay porn you’re thinking of, with the umbrellas and snappy musical numbers, this is the kind of gay porn that involves men having sex with each other. I mean, I guess I’ve done lots of things for money that I don’t like—cleaning, being kind to the elderly, and not stealing from the cash register spring to mind—but, I’m going to be honest with you, screwing a dude does very little for me. I don’t know how the ladies put up with that. On the plus side, it seems they’ll pay for your gas mileage. I put this in the “maybe” pile.

As far as the rest of the future goes, it’s really wide open, which is fairly terrifying. That’s the worst bit of it, the not knowing when things are going to get better, when they’re going to change, but at the same time, that’s also kind of the strange hope in all of this. I know things have to change, and when they do I’ll be there, waiting, because it’s not like I’ve got a job to fill the space.

Interview with Adam Carolla

Originally run on 1 March 2010 at the Union Weekly.

Adam Carolla: Sorry, I’m eating pie.

Union Weekly: No, that’s fine. When did you figure out that you were going to be doing a podcast?

AC: Well, I didn’t really figure it out, that was Donny. He figured it out. “You should do a podcast.” When I figured out that I was going off the radio, I just told him, I didn’t ask him, what do you think I should do? He just said, “You should do a podcast.” And I was like, “How does that work?” “You just talk into this microphone, and record and throw it up the next day on the internet and see what happens.”

I’ve always looked at it as talking for free. It’s one of those things that you do. I guess it’s sort of like a porn star. You fuck for free, then you get paid to fuck, but this really was free to me. I really just always felt glad to get paid to talk, but what’s a nice evening? You go out with one of your buddies, who you really like, who’s smart and interesting and articulate and this guy’s got a good sense of humor and you go out and you sit at a restaurant, have a few beers, and you talk and it’s an enjoyable evening. Obviously, you’re not paying the guy, so to me, it’s just kind of an enjoyable evening. I just thought, let’s just do it and let’s see what happens. I don’t know if we’re going to do it every night or what’s going to happen. And we started [the podcast], but then you kind of get this weird little burden.

I was watching one of those biographies on, I think, Ben and Jerry. They started this little shop in Vermont making ice cream and the next thing you know people start lining up, and now what are you going to do? You can’t shut down. You can’t go, “Aw, no more ice cream for you,” ’cause there’s a line waiting outside the store. At a certain point for us, it was like, “Well, people want to hear it,” and you come out with a show on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and you can’t have a bunch of people on Thursday going—“What the fuck? I thought they were going to give us a show.” So, you get listeners and you get fans, and you start to get this somewhere between a burden and [being] indebted to. Somewhere between owing someone money and having them save your life.

UW: “Yeah, alright, I’ll take it.”

AC: Yeah, I guess we should not disappoint people. So, we started doing it and the next thing you know, we blinked our eyes and a year went by.

UW: It seems like so much longer and I mean that in a good way.

AC: [Eating pie] Yeah. I think it’s because the technology is so new. Like a year ago, everyone wasn’t podcasting and every TV show didn’t have a podcast. Now, it’s like, Lost: The Podcast. There wasn’t any of that stuff. There was a couple of shows on, like—

UW: NPR.

AC: Yeah, stuff like that. A couple of car shows and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and now there’s a million of them.

UW: By the way, last night I blew through two red left turn arrows.

AC: Mmm. Thank you.

UW: No, thank you. It’s great!

AC: It’s brilliant, isn’t it?

UW: It’s the best. It’s such a good feeling.

AC: It’s liberating.

Read the rest at the Union Weekly!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Liber Daemonica

Originally run on Issue 6, Volume 66 on 8 March, 2010 in the Union Weekly.

Hey there, junior acolytes! So, you’ve decided to engage in the ancient and atavistic art of demon summoning? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The Union Weekly has been summoning entities from the abyss since before you were even a look of abject fear in your father’s eye. Demons can aid you in everything from cheating on your taxes to making that girl at the yogurt shop who gave you the wrong number on purpose to make you feel like an idiot pay! Whatever the case is, the sky is the limit! Unless God is actually up there, in which case, He’s gonna be pissed!


1. CHANGE YOUR LOOK!
The first move of a nascent practitioner of the dark arts is to change your look. Toss those polo shirts and clerical robes in the garbage, you won’t be needing them in the exciting tomorrow of devil worship! Grow a goatee! Get questionable tattoos on your neck! Drive a motorcycle! Wear lots of weird, vaguely oriental jewelry! Drink Miller High Life! Just as long as you look like a three-way collision between a Russian Orthodox priest, a post-apocalypitic biker, and a Morlock, you’re set to draw monsters from the underworld!


2. SELECT THE RIGHT LITERATURE!
Many beginning sorcerers go for the obvious books on the dark arts like the Necronomicon, the Chronicle of the Yellow King, or The Fountainhead, but you should stick to the more basic books at this point in your career. Instead of buying a book bound with human flesh and written with blood, just buy Diabolry for Dummies. It’ll teach you everything, from how to perform a séance to changing blood into delicious sherbet! You’ll make a few bucks talking to dead people, plus you’ll be the belle of the next black sabbath you go to!

3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT DEMON!
There’re literally thousands of monstrosities inhabiting the horrific reaches of the outer dark, so finding the right demon for you is direly important! You don’t want to be an anorexic, baby-blood addict who binds Nurgle, Lord of Gluttony and Decay to his service, do you? That would be wacky! Sitcom wacky!

For example, these two unholy celebrities would be a dream for a beginning summoner!

PAZUZU
One of the greatest, all-star demons in history. As the god of Isuzus and of unnecessary sequels. So, he’s not only responsible for derailing John Boorman’s career into the sad parody of itself that it once was, but he is also the patron anti-saint of affordable Asian automobiles. Good for him.


KTULU
Although assailed by copyright lawyers and anti-Semetic dwarves, Ktulu has really made a comeback in the latter half of the 20th century. As Lord of Death Metal and Harbinger of Uncooked Seafood, Ktulu is a major player in the lives of countless ugly teenagers and Nordic countries. He’s bigger than lingonberries!



4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SACRIFICE!
Let’s face the facts: No demon wants a realm filled with crappy sacrifices. Like anything else in the universe, they want their homes to be full of really cool shit. So, instead of sacrificing your broke-ass Doberman with back problems, try sacrificing a puppy. Or a kitty. Maybe even a pot belly pig. The cuter the better. Try dressing up your sacrifice with a funny hat or an ironic t-shirt (our favorite is the duck saying “I’m the boss!”). So, remember, a little less blobfish and a little more hamsters with hats! Animal sacrifice is a lost art, so help bring it back by doing it right!


5. MAKE BIG BUCKS!
That should be enough to send you well on your way to becoming a rich and successful conjurer of incubi. Of course, there’s some obvious downsides to becoming a full-blown wizard, like having to listen to more black metal than you might like or having to move out of your mom’s house or being constantly burned by holy water (it is a bigger problem than you might believe). You also might lose your soul in an incident that may or may not involve music. But that’s piddly crap, really. Just as long as you can get those blood stains out of the carpet, the world is yours to shape! (Just as long as you have the right spells or some Simple Green.)

Comics Are No Good For No One


Originally run on Issue 6, Volume 66 of the Union Weekly on 8 March 2010.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Who reads comic anymore anyways?


Not me, that's for sure!

Featured on the 22 of February of 2010 in the Union Weekly.

Cinecult: The Proposition



Originally run on 30 November 2009 in the Union Weekly.

The Proposition (2005)

"Australia, what fresh hell is this?"

It’s probably telling that The Proposition is one of my favorite films, since it’s one of the most stark and depressing films that’s come out in the past decade. It’s also the single best western to come out since Unforgiven, which is strange considering the film was written and directed by Australians and takes place on the same continent. It is an unusual place for a setting, but like Sergio Leone’s comic book melodramas or Akira Kurosawa’s samurai-filled iterations, taking the western down under breathes life into the genre. It’s an odd choice, but it’s the kind of choice that keeps the western alive.

The director of the film is John Hillcoat, an Australian who recently released the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. He’s clearly a man who knows how to put together a good movie, but what elevates The Proposition above most other films is the screenplay written by musician-cum-novelist-cum-former-heroin-addict Nick Cave, who also handles the score with bandmate Warren Ellis (not to be confused with the comic writer of the same name). Cave, though an Australian exile living in England, has an excellent handle on the western and American writing, an influence that’s quite clear in both his lyrics and in his debut Southern gothic novel, And The Ass Saw an Angel.

The film takes place in the year 1880, back before Australian independence, racial tolerance, and dental hygiene. The Australia of The Proposition isn’t the place we laughed at in that one episode of The Simpsons. Instead of koalas and lame jokes about knives, this Australia is one that’s basically unknown to us and, as I understand it, unknown to even the Aussies. This land is a fly-filled hellhole rife with delusional government officials, psychopaths, wars with the natives, and miles and miles of dirt. If the entirety of the United Kingdom was shaken up, all of the loose pieces of trash and deritus would wind up in Hillcoat and Cave’s vision the Land Down Under. It’s in this topsy-turvy terminal that our protagonist, Irish immigrant Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) finds himself caught up.

The opening of the film is rather telling. It begins with the police ambushing Charlie and his youngest brother, Mike, at a brothel in the middle of the desert stocked solely with Chinese prostitutes. It’s a loud, brutal fight and ends with the two Burns brothers captured by police. But they aren’t executed or sent to prison. Instead, police Captain Morris Stanley (Ray Winstone) offers them a proposition: If Charlie Burns kills his eldest brother, Arthur who is “an abomination,” by Christmas Day, Stanley will let Charlie and his younger brother go free, absolved of all of their crimes. If not, Mike will be put to death for the crimes of the two older brothers. From there, the movie unspools into an anarchic, bloody race against time across the sun scorched wilderness of Australia.

The eponymous proposition is about as Biblical (or maybe Faustian) of a pact as could ever be made, but unlike the Bible, there’s no moral to be found, there’s no lesson to be learned, and nothing seems to occur according to any divine purpose. Things just happen and they’re incredibly ugly when they do. The world of The Proposition is deeply flawed and demonstrates just how messy things can be when humans try to do the right thing. It’s an interesting inversion on the typical representation of the western as the forces of good battle the forces of evil, and it’s what makes this movie more than just a simple piece of genre.

The film is also chock-full of wonderful acting, including a performance by one of my favorite character actors of all time: John Hurt. Hurt plays Jellon Lamb, a verbose and sadistic bounty hunter, adventurer, and “man of no little education.” Hurt’s career has spanned about 50 years and he’s acted in projects ranging from fantastic fare like Hellboy and Alien to more serious dramas such as Midnight Express and The Elephant Man, as well as the other great western of the past two decades, Dead Man. With all of these films in mind, I’d be hard-pressed to find a movie where he’s more engaging than here. He’s creepy, threatening, and hilarious all wrapped into one man.

Now, while he is my favorite actor in the film, he’s really a part of a much larger ensemble of great actors. There’s the beautiful Emily Watson (Punch Drunk Love; Synecdoche, New York), as the delicate, but frustrated wife of Captain Stanley, as well as David Wenham (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 300) as the wonderfully named Eden Fletcher, the dandiest authoritarian that ever drifted into the Victorian Outback. Danny Huston (son of the great actor/director John Huston) is also great as the villainous older brother, Arthur, who is as vicious and frightening as he is charming, a difficult combination to pull off and is entirely appropriate for this film.

It’s a shame to know that The Proposition’s unrelenting grimness will keep a lot of people from seeing it and just as many from finishing it. Their loss, I suppose, because despite the film’s bleak treatment of humanity (and of Australia), there’s still a beauty to be found in all this. Hillcoat’s film shows that as wicked as we might become, there’s still redemption to be had, if only we can find it. There’s plenty more to be sussed out of the film, but if there’s anything more significant, I’d be hard-pressed to find it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Op-Ed by Marion “Cobra” Cobra Cobretti

Originally run on 16 November 2009 for the Union Weekly's spoof issue, The Grunion.



It’s Not Easy Being a One Man Army
by Marion “Cobra” Cobra Cobretti

I know that whenever people see me in my ’55 Mercury, my slicked back hair, mirrored aviators, vanity plates, and my devil-may-care attitude, they think, “Oh, there’s a guy who I wish I could be. Thank the stars above that he’s out there cleaning the garbage off our streets. I wish I could be him, or, failing that, his on-again-off-again lover.”

Well, citizen, I’m here to tell you that being a one-man war against crime isn’t as easy as it looks.

A lot of pencil-pushing nerdlingers at Internal Affairs try to tell me that using explosive-tipped, armor piercing bullets in a mall to shoot a shop-lifter is incredibly dangerous, but I’ll tell you what’s more dangerous: Not shooting a shop-lifter in a crowded mall with bullets made to kill full grown elephants. That shop-lifter could have been Charles Manson or an NVA spy. I bet you feel stupid now, don’t you?

My chief is always getting on my case too, with a lot of nit-picking about “beating the mayor’s nephew with a tire iron” and “setting fire to the Reagan library.” What would he know about good police work? How was I to know that the low-life was picking up his grandmother from a retirement home. He was parked in a loading zone and that’s breaking the law. He should have had more respect for the statutes and amendments that make up this fine country, and nothing gets me more angry than punks with no respect. Except litter.

Not too long ago a serial killer was terrorizing Los Angeles, silently killing old folks in their sleep without leaving a trace of evidence. The morgue said it was a case of “natural deaths,” but you know what I say, I say that there’s nothing natural about death. And I have a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks, so yeah, I think I know a thing or medical science, so scramble that, you bunch of eggheads.

After about two days of investigating and twelve million dollars in damage, I finally solved the case. As it turns out it was a cult of Satanist biker communists. As I always say, “When in doubt, it’s a cult of Satanist biker communists.” That’s rule number two of the Cobra Playbook. Rule number one is “Always bring a toothbrush,” because proper hygiene is always a must.

What keeps me on the straight and narrow is my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s right, scum suckers, the king Cobra believes in a power higher than himself. “But Cobra,” you say from behind your plates of chili and your cum stained pants, “Religion is for the weak.” No! You’re weak, dirtbag! Nothing is more badass than God. He killed tons of Egyptians, one of the hardest groups of people on Earth to kill. He also made tigers, muscle cars, and me, the Cobra.

So the next time you see me throwing hand grenades from the back of a moving truck at black market pornographers, just remember that dealing out justice isn’t as glamorous as it looks.

LIBER MONSTERICUM

Originally run on 26 October 2009 for the Union Weekly.

LIBER MONSTERICUM
A People’s History of Monster Slaying

I want all of you to grab the nearest history book. Do it. You got one? Good. Now throw it out the window. Just toss that fucker. Why am telling you do to this? Well, it’s because your standard “history” books completely ignore large swathes of our past—the rad parts, mostly. Namely, the hidden history of man’s struggles with the wicked abominations that God deigned to put on this earth. Now, without further ado, here are four of our history’s greatest monster slayers.


SIEGFRIED

Dragon Slayer, Treasure Hunter, Cautionary Tale
WEAPON OF CHOICE
Spears, knives, and stabbing weapons.
HUNTING GROUNDS
The fetid hollows and squabbling city-states that were medieval Germany.
MOST FAMOUS KILL
Fafnir the Dragon, Bavarian banker.
MORTAL WEAKNESS
Gold! And lots of it!
FALLOUT
Cursed to be sung about for hours at a time by husky Italian women and proto-Nazis.


SAINT PATRICK
Catholic Missionary, Crypto-Limey, Saint of Binge Drinking
WEAPON OF CHOICE
The word of God, harsh language.
HUNTING GROUNDS
Ireland or as it was known at the time “Snake-soaked Hell-Bog.”
MOST FAMOUS KILL
Cúchulainn, a midget he mistook for a leprechaun.
MORTAL WEAKNESS
His love of God, whiskey.
FALLOUT
Every year his deeds are celebrated by hooligans vomiting on Cinco de Mayo.


PETER WASHINGTON
Zombie Killer, SWAT Team Member, Not a Ghostbuster
WEAPON OF CHOICE
M16A1 assault rifle, friendship.
HUNTING GROUNDS
Shopping malls, anywhere people hang out.
MOST FAMOUS KILL
Roger, his best friend. Stone. Cold.
MORTAL WEAKNESS
Has a tendency to shoot his friends.
FALLOUT
Despite murdering every single one of his friends, he’s still ultimately doomed. DOOMED.


LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Little Girl, Wolf Murderer, Hiking Enthusiast
WEAPON OF CHOICE
Gumption, spunkiness, dry-cool wit.
HUNTING GROUNDS
Where old people sleep (but not libraries).
MOST FAMOUS KILL
Her grandma (that turned out to be a wolf).
MORTAL WEAKNESS
Completely incapable of distinguishing a wolf from a grandma.
FALLOUT
Nothing. Children are immune to the harshness of the real world.


534 While most of the Nordic countries were busy stealing the entirety of Europe from their lazy neighbors, Beowulf was getting real shit done. After arriving in Denmark he slays the beasty Grendel by ripping off the monster’s arm and beating him to death with it, leading to the single most metal thing to happen at that point in history. This also lead to any girl’s name starting with a “G” to look that much uglier.


1572 Japanese warlord and inventor of karaoke, Oda Nobunaga, destroys the last of the oni (or “ogre” for you baka-gaijin) through a combination of mirrors, windchimes, and crooked bridges. As it turns out oni are really, really bad at doing anything besides messing up how a room “flows.”


1882 German philosopher and syphilis enthusiast Friedrich Wilhelm “Willy” Nietzsche accidentally kills the Judeo-Christian diety YHWH (known as the “King of All Monsters”) with his declaration “God is dead.” His demise is highly exaggerated, the creator of the universe returned three days later with the proclamation, “Nope.” Having been proven a liar, Nietzsche is doomed to be quoted by obnoxious college students for all eternity.


1947 In an ironic twist fit for a pulp novel, former führer Adolf Hitler’s frozen head is eaten by a member of his secret Nazi zombie army somewhere. Good night, sweet prince.


SPECIAL INTERNET BONUS Here is a mummy.

A Very Special Halloween Comic


Originally run on 26 October 2009 for the Comics page of the Union Weekly.