Just So Tired

40/365 Glasses
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I got my camera back today.

I went to NY and brought my camera. I brought my camera for two reasons. I wanted to get a few shots of neat stuff and maybe of my friend and her friends having a good time. I wanted to keep up with my 365 Days thing on Flickr.

The camera would not work, or at least I thought.

So I take a photo of me and a coffee cup while in Houston. I take a few shots of my friend, the subway, the view from the plane. I notice when I turn on the camera, it says something like "card cannot be used." I flip out and try to reformat the card. That works ok and I'm able to take some shots. But then I turn it off and back on and I get the same message. After I format, the card says it has no images. I'm basically frelled and figure I'll just pretend I don't have a camera.

I get home, pull the camera out and it works fine and I have about 12 pictures on it.

Mother fucker.

So of course I'm down on the stupid thing now and refuse to use it for a couple days. I start looking at new point-n-click cameras, a new battery and new cards for this one, the whole deal. I take it with me to a thanksgiving dinner and leave it there on accident. Of course my brother in law was nice enough to leave a picture of his ass on it, so now I'm afraid to even touch it again.

I overcame that skeevy feeling and finally took a 365 shot, but my heart wasn't in it. I also tried doing some drawing, but there was nothing there. I don't know why, and it's just not tonight. I need to start eating better, taking vitamins more than once a month and probably need to quit smoking. I sit all day and then come home exhausted from not doing anything and I just don't want to do anything.

But I want to write.

Seeing my friend in NY made (makes) me want to write poetry again. I tried it for a bit in college and found I wasn't too bad at it. I told Ms. A about a story idea I had and I'd love to write it as a novel. The only thing I've been doing lately is watching Farscape online and reading before bed. I've missed all the shows and movies I've wanted to see. I don't help much around the house lately. I do what I can to get the kids in bed so I can go to bed too.

I'm pretty sure it's the lack of sunlight and the cold. I'd always thought I liked the cold, but maybe it's sapping my strength. I'm warm blooded as though I were a space heater and maybe the cold just saps my energy.

Maybe I'm making excuses for being depressed.

But at least I got my camera back.


Public Opinion

The first rule of keeping a journal on the internet is knowing it's public and that anyone at any time can read it.

The second rule is not paying attention to what those people say.

Recently a site called The Advice Goddess rana small bit about how women value birthdays more than men. The author cited a post Ms. A wrote about two and a half years ago about me forgetting her birthday. It was an amusing post and actually more search results for "husband forgets birthday" hit my site than any other search, well, second only to the picture of Karl Urban I'd used for something.

So I read the post and it was harmless, just a simple query, "Why do we care so much about birthdays?" But people began reading the rest of the site and comments started to come up about Ms. A's and my relationship and the uniqueness of it. Most were fine even encouraging, and a couple were of the typical anonymous snarky variety. I believe the terms "limp wristed" and "spineless" were used.

Typically that would get me pretty steamed. I tend to get my hackles raised by such comments, but lately I just don't give two shits. I mean, who cares? I write for me and if some people think of me as weak based on just what I write here - well I feel pretty bad for them.

But of course I can't let it go at that, so I started looking at my life and wondered if I really am sort of a namby-pamby pushover with no backbone to speak of. I have to say, I don't think that's the case. I mean if we're just judging on sheer testosterone, I'm fairly certain I'm chock full of the stuff. I'm one hairy bastard and I have been known to have a bad temper. I pick causes and stick with them. I'm passionate about things that are bad in this world and equally vicious with my praise and commendations.

But if it's sheer manliness we're worried about, let's take a look at that. I've got a good jump shot. I've fired several guns including a heartstoppingly large shotgun. I know how to bar-b-que and make a slap shot. I have to shave four times a day. I know what the infield fly rule is and what it means to be down by contact. I've father two children AND I have a job to support them. I don't take medicines because I think it makes me look weak. I smoke and drink and have a love of tools. I'd rather play golf than go bowling and it doesn't take me long to take a shower.

Pretty average manly qualities I'd wager. (Wager, that's right, I can kick people's ass at poker.)

But, you know, because of this whole thing with my marriage, I can see how someone would take JUST THAT and run with it. I suppose I should maybe dress myself up a bit and talk about how when Ms. A told me this about her sexuality, I beat her up and then went and drank a case of Molson with the boys while we drove around in our El Camino smashing mailboxes. I know that may have been left out, let's just assume it happened. I probably failed to mention that I don't vote and I listen to top 40 radio and the only bit of news I know about is that Miami is still winless in 11 games. (Wait, I DO know that, huh...)

I'm sure those people have read back to my college and high school days when I was in theater and choir and wrote poetry and how I protested to bring troops home from the Gulf War and just ASSUMED I was a tree-hugging fairy...wait, I never wrote about that. Well shit. Maybe I just said I was in college and they took that as a sign of leftist elite education, you know, from my state community college years. That's probably it.

I do, I really do feel bad for those folks. I understand that what I write is public. I wouldn't put stuff out there if I didn't think that somewhere, someone might have a reaction. I'm maggoty with awareness of that fact. There are some things I won't EVER write here, some things I may not even tell my best friends. But this I thought was okay to discuss because it shows people are human and the idea of traditional anything is as archaic as loin cloths and hitting a potential mate over the head with a tree branch. I don't consider myself on the forefront of human evolution, I have the toes and forehead to prove otherwise, but I do consider myself a bit more understanding of what it is to be human and how best to interact with my circle of humans.

I didn't write asking for help, I didn't write it here first and THEN talk to my family and friends. Everyone knew what was going on well before that and in some cases before I even said anything. It's not about manliness, it's not about having a backbone. It's about respect. What happened was unfortunate, sad, heartbreaking and traumatic. Making a big stink about it and covering my ears and screaming LA LA LA LA LA, doesn't make it go away, and it doesn't make it better. Running away doesn't make it better. Ignoring it doesn't make it better. What we're doing was done after months of working out the best solution to the issue. I spoke my mind and I got some results that I'm happy with.

Manliness is looking out for your kids, keeping track of yourself and not letting anyone give you any bullshit along the way. Manliness is owning up to your problems and solving them without violence or harsh and ultimately meaningless words. Manliness is getting up every day and doing your job and then coming home and having time to play with your kids, fixing electrical problems around the house, killing scary bugs. Then you have some booze and a smoke, read a book with lasers or fighter planes and go to bed.

Manliness is not anonymously berating someone from the security of your ISP.

Carry on, men.



Here, have a regular blog post. No no, it's on the house.

The family went and saw Bee Movie. It was cute, but it felt like it was trying too hard. There were a lot of funny bits, I will give it that. My favorite part, hands down, was when the main character was flying through the cab of a truck and you hear the radio say, "From NPR News in Washington, I'm Carl Castle." I'm a giant nerd for laughing at that, but it was the best bit. I think Carl must have lost a bet.

I just finished reading Larry Niven's Ringworld. I'm on this classics kick and will probably try to find more sci-fi or fiction done in the middle of the 20th century. You know the books, the ones everyone is trying to get you to read. I blew through Forever War and it was sort of entertaining but not what people had made it out to be. Ringworld left me equally as lukewarm. I don't know if it was level of intellect or the time in my life, but I just couldn't seem to wrap my brain around the plot, or if there was one. It was like reading a bad dream, the narrative was all over the place and when people slowed down to talk it was in this technobabble exposition, as though the reader needed a degree in quantum mathematics just to grasp the basics of the story.

There was a bit in the book where the main characters travel by transporters, basically. I forget their name. Think of a phone booth that zaps you to another location. Later on an alien homeworld, they find similar modes of transportation, but no booths, just open platforms. This allowed them to basically run several hundred miles in a short time, but they missed seeing this wonderful alien world. The whole book was like this scene, it moved really fast, across ridiculous, almost unbelievable distances, but you never felt like you were seeing anything. Scene after scene I was left thinking there would be more, but it just moved on. They were in a storm, then suddenly in a floating castle, then suddenly someone was dead, then not dead, then they were being attacked.

I hate to say this about a classic, Hugo Award winning book, but it was just shit-ass writing. If I'd have writing like this in college I'd have failed. If I wrote a story like this now, it wouldn't sell. The concept was tenuous, the alien/human interactions were forced, and the scope of their travels was just stupid in its immenseness. I can't honestly recommend this book to anyone. The idea itself was interesting, but the execution was horribly amateur.

If anyone has suggestions on other classic science fiction, I'll take a shot at it.

So now I'm doing a shirt design for my mom, flushmount for Cheryl, holiday cards to mail out and I have to hire someone to stand behind me and kick my ass to get some lettering done for a couple people. Oh and the annual Penciljack holiday art swap is going on, plus I have to get my drawing done for th 100 Artists Project.

Good thing I'm super motivated to do fuck-all.

So I'm doing flushmounts and watching football and I see a commercial where a guy tricks his wife into thinking he missed picking up their son from practice. She comes outside and they're standing there with a new car, you know, with a fucking bow on top.

I hate those commercials. Has anyone got a car for Christmas? Does anyone know where to find giant bows? My guess is you get them at car lots. "Merry Christmas, honey. I got you a $400 a month payment for the next five years. Ho ho ho!" I'm sure if you tried that in real life, the honest reaction would be, "Oh jeez that's nice baby, but I hate those cars."

I'm all kinds of black coffee bitter today.

Carry on.


Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my little girl's amazing mind, quick wit, glorious gap-toothed smile and her love of reading.

I'm thankful my son is happy and loving and sweet and crazy as bat in a belfry that's on fire.

I'm thankful Ms. A is happy and has finally found a reason to accept who she is. I'm thankful we're still friends.

I'm grateful for all the times our families have helped us in the past year. Grateful for all the support they continue to offer and for all the open mindedness.

I'm grateful for being employed and having opportunities. I know that at any time that could end and things could get so much worse.

I'm thankful for the friends I have, online and off. For those readers who visit the site regularly and have to put up with the most random of subjects and the most depressing of expressions. For those fellow artists who've inspired me, who I've borrowed from and who have wanted to work together.

I'm thankful I don't take a bucketful of meds to keep me sane and healthy. Even though my joints hurt and I've been trying to lose weight for years, I'm grateful I'm mobile and still able to make a jump shot and kick a ball and run a few yards.

I'm grateful for whatever deity gave me the ability to turn muse into art.

I'm thankful things are changing and people are becoming happier, we all deserve better most of the time and it's good to see karma swinging back to the benevolent and selfless.

What are you thankful for?


Back from NY

New York was cold. But it was a cold that constantly threatened to warm up at any second. The clouds moved fast and never lingered long enough to do anything but produce a substance my friend called "snain." If you new the right places, if you knew the right people, the city and the weather would cease to chill and it would open like a well heated subway car.

I don't necessarily like seeing touristy sites. I'd rather go to a place to live as the natives. There's a reason places are popular, and most times it's not because of a statue or building or garden or event center. Popular places have all those, but there's something else that makes Los Angeles or Paris or London or Tokyo or New York destinations as they are. People wouldn't flock to these places in millions because of a statue. I never want to be a tourist, tourists are people that need help moving from block to block. Tourists pay $9 for a $2 beer. Tourists sleep in biologically and culturally sterilized environments and move around in a bubble in which the only way to see is through a lens-finder.

I didn't want to be that, I wanted to just be. I wanted to hang out as though I was just meeting up and not coming in to visit. And I got that. The majority of my time was spent on trains and in pubs. And not pubs like we have here that are run by weathered punks and hot college girls paying for their premed courses. These pubs are run by and patronized by Irish. The neighborhood my friend lives in is an Irish heavy area and it was wonderful to me. You can keep all the glitz and pageantry and chaos of Times Square, I'd be happy living in Sunnyside Village, drinking Magners (no ice, heathens) and weathering the NY winters in a small apartment with wood floors. It's the same feeling I get going anywhere, I don't want to SEE the place, I want to BE IN the place, as though it were my own. And that's probably why it's hard to leave at the end.

But that's not why I went to New York.

I went to New York to visit a friend. I've never written about this friend because there was such a distance and such a time dilation that it made my eyes fill with cobwebs just thinking about it, even if my heart and stomach traded places. This was a friend who I'd shared a tumultuous few years with in Colorado when I was in college. The details, while good for a few chapters of a dime-store novel, are not important. What's important is that I've always had these feelings and these memories. This girl was always my missed opportunity, my if I had another chance. My trip to New York was to see if there was anything left in the tank worth setting a match to.

I'd sent this friend an email a few months back detailing my current life and what a train wreck it had been. I also decided it was a good time to share some additional facts about my emotional state as it pertained to her. I had already opened the floodgates with the separation info, what would it hurt to also let her know that she was still important to me and I'd always kept that small chance alive in case anything ever happened.

Well guess what, something did happen.

So I didn't go to see Ellis Island or Ground Zero or Rockefeller Center or 42nd Street. I didn't go to get away and relax. I didn't go because I needed to find myself. I went to find out what happens when your "if ever" chance came along. Sadly I still don't know. I apologize to all those who I told I was going so I could get away from Austin for a few days and just relax.

I think I even have to apologize to this friend.

This friend invited me to visit after reading my 20 gut pile up of an email, but we did little in the way of talking about anything once I was there. I can't blame her. After so long I dump on her with a galactic ton of emotional detritus and looking back I can't exactly fault her for not having a lens with which to focus on the revelation. Her life, and I will never do it justice with simple phrasing, has been a singularity of violence, abandonment, debauchery and disdain. The last day of my trip she gave me a letter she'd written in response to mine.

I'm glad she didn't give it to me on Friday, but I wish it had a better answer. The answer wasn't, "Go away" or "What are you kidding?" or "I'll call the cops!" and I'm not stupid enough to think that it was leaving any kind of door open. I'm left with an unsure feeling stronger than when I left. Before it was just pie in the sky imagination, with lack of a strong discussion and consensus it hasn't moved much passed that, but now I'm reminded of why I had such a soul upheaval the last time we were near each other.

I didn't want to be a black cloud because it was a weekend a lot of her friends had plans as well so I did my best to not be a hindrance. It was awkward and for nearly 72 hours I held back and held my tongue and when I just couldn't anymore, well...fuck, I don't know. All I have are clichéd words to describe it and I know none of them will work. And knowing I'm talking about a poet, I don't want to use words that seem like I'm trying too hard.

Ironically, I think the gist of the letter was, "I like you as a friend." There was more to it and reasons behind it and I think that's why I'm still swirling is because I'm thick and apparently impervious to poetry. She says she's a broken person and I wanted to scream that I already knew that and it didn't matter, but I never would belittle someone's looking glass. So I said thank you and went to drink more.

Reading that letter was the only time anything I wanted to talk about came up the entire weekend. No one to blame but myself, I went out there saying I had no expectations when inside I had a list of check boxes the length of highway. And it was completely selfish, but right now I can't think of anything else. I can't think of my job, my kids, my art (laughable) my friends. This is about me and my happiness and it's been too damn long since I did that. It's probably really out of character, but there it is. I can't unthink these things, it's who I am and what my brain does. I've always wanted to be close to this person and in a lot of ways very sad I couldn't.

And it's not because I moved to Texas, she was long out of my reach before that. But things have changed since then for both of us, and yet I don't know if they've chanced too much.


This is probably more than any one person would want to hear about any vacation, but you know what, it's better than making up a story about why I can't focus at work or why I don't feel like drawing.

Plus, my camera busted and I have no pictures of the trip. Probably best I didn't.

Carry on.


Response to Suddenlink

Anonymous commenting notwithstanding, here was my response to Suddenlink.

Thank you for the information. I realize deregulation may cause some
needed discussions about what channels you have to carry versus what
channels customers actually want. I don't know how that applies to HD
versions of network channels if the affiliate is actually offering it.

If you send anything to the marketing department, send this: I'd
gladly drop half of the channels offered just to be able to watch
Heroes in HD. If anyone within your company has any power to push the
idea of a la carte programming, I'd be much happier, as I'm sure would
a lot of people.

Also, just a tip from someone who used to work in cable customer
service, next time you cut and paste pre written responses, at least
change the font so they all look the same. The answer I got looks
like it was written by a committee.

Thanks again for the info and I look forward to a continued successful

I only know enough about cable programming to know that I need to research it more. I know that deregulation hasn't worked as expected, it hasn't promoted competition and it hasn't kept media giants from creating monopolies and it seems that a new bill is introduced each year to address a lot of these nearly 12 year old issues.

That's not to say you don't have a choice. You can not watch TV (probably the best choice) or you can get a satellite dish which basically gives you the exact same channels as cable, or 150 channels you don't watch. For around $70 a month, I end up watching reruns of sitcoms, kids shows and network TV. I don't have any premium channels or sports packages. I watch hockey when it's on and football. I don't know what Ms. A watches other than The Office and Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy.

I'd be willing to drop all the channels they offered, pay the same price, but only get 20 stations, if it meant I could pick. I can understand their position, they have to offer slots for all channels, but they can only carry them if it's marginally profitable to them, which seems like a Catch 22. But here's my eternal question: Is anyone watching the BYU channel? How many more people are watching Fine Living than NBC? Does the Style network really have more viewers than Comedy Central?

But it's all about politics. Even with the Family and Consumer Choice Act proposal, it's less about what consumers want and what nanny-state organizations don't want people to see. The PTC wants a la carte, not because they think paying for Oxygen network is a waste of money, but because they don't want to see Janet Jackson's nipples. Smaller channels are worried that a la carte programming will drive advertisers and subscribers away, to which I say, if no one wants your product, the market has spoken.

It can't be easy to regulate decency and deliverable media. I don't envy the job lawmakers have. I also don't really have a position either way on even if it should be regulated. How much do we need the FCC to be involved? Is this a state or federal issue? If I don't mind the implied violence on Law & Order, does that mean you have to watch it? If you are opposed to it, does it mean I can't? Television is an odd animal. It was easy when all you had to do was buy the set, now you pay for programming but you end up getting more than you wanted and in some cases you pay a lot for it but still don't get what you want. Imagine going to the grocery store and buying $1000 worth of groceries of which you'll only use 10% and they may not have any eggs or milk. Imagine going to buy a DVD of a classic movie and paying $200 to get maybe the first hour of it, but also 10 more movies written by the same people that you may or may not like. Imagine going to a restaurant and paying $500 up front for a dinner in which they bring you enough food you could eat for a month but you couldn't take any of it home with you and they don't have any water to drink.

There are undoubtedly bigger things to worry about, which makes topics like this seem so shallow. I can't understand why offering people what they want is a big deal while on the other side of the wire someone is trying to make a living creating content and they feel like they aren't getting a fare shake in the market place. But just because your product is offered, doesn't mean it HAS to be included with the product I ACTUALLY want.

Does it?


Suddenlink and NBC HD

**There's an update to this story here, so when you finish reading this post, click on that link to hear the news about KXAN and Suddenlink. Carry on.**

So I emailed Suddenlink about a week ago asking them why they don't have NBC HD. With the realization that the affiliate station has to offer it first, and the knowledge that a block away Time Warner customers had NBC HD, I felt my question was a worth while one.

Here's the response. I had to do it as an image so you can see the five different fonts used as they cut-n-pasted their way past having to respond with anything meaningful.

suddenlink customer response

Talk about fluff. Not only did my question not get answered, I think I lost IQ points by reading it.

Vacation Funds

Cardboard Robot
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Hey viewers. I'm going to be going out of town next weekend and while my airfare and lodging are already taken care of, it would sure be neat if I had a little spending cash to buy drinks and food stuff.

To that end, now would be a GREAT time to get those holiday orders in for a robot portrait, random robot, hobo, faerie or superhero. Remember, each order is a hand drawn, custom piece, inked and colored on 5x7 or 8x10 bristol stock and each drawing is videoed and put on YouTube. If you'd like a CD of the video that can also be arranged.

I've also still got a stack of robot presidents that are needing a good home. This idea hasn't exactly taken off and I'll likely go back to doing sequentials and comic strips for my own bemusement so get while the gettin's good.




In case anyone doesn't already know - and if you don't, shame on you - the Futurama movie "Bender's Big Score" will be out in 20 days. It's a direct to DVD movie so don't go camping out in front of a theater. The show will also see a (as yet) limited run of new episodes next year. They'll be written as three movies, but then chopped up into TV length episodes.

On a related note, I had no idea the theme song (which I'd considered one of the best them songs on television) is an adaptation of a 1967 song by Pierre Henry called "Psyché Rock." Makes me a little sad that it's not original, but it also reminds me that the folks behind the show are a broadly inspired and learned crew with more general knowledge under their belt than I could acquire in several life times. If you don't believe me, watch the DVDs with the commentary on.

Take THAT, you stupid corn.


MOO.com Holiday Card Competition

So I'm getting ready to do some drawings. On my list are a faerie queen for a friend, a full sized clockwork George Washington and Christmas cards. Then I stumbled upon a Boing Boing article about MOO.com running a Flickr pool Christmas card contest. (Very meta.)

So I entered the four I had done over the recent years. If you hurry they may still be on the front page.


If not you can browse and see them in the group.


There's no need to vote or anything, the contest is handled by judges so hopefully they'll like mine.

Back to work.


Baby Jawbone

What a face!
Originally uploaded by jawboneradio.
Fellow hobo artist and "Best of Cleveland" podcaster Len Peralta and his wife Nora are again proud parents of a health baby girl.

Head over to the site and help me welcome the new one to the world.


Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat!
Originally uploaded by Cheryl Rollman.
Another Halloween has come and gone. This year was definitely a good year in that it wasn't too stressful come Trick-or-Treat time.

G-man was the cutest dinosaur in the world and Lil Miss Austin was a hodge-podge fairy princess. Her original costume was Cinderella but Super Dad washed the thing and it fell apart. That'll learn me for not reading washing directions. Who makes a kids costume you can't put in a washing machine, anyway? It probably had lead it as it is.

Anywhoosits, we were all ready to hit our street for a bit and then go see the Aunt and Uncle in Cedar Park who had decorated their house for the big night. Well, as I was putting out our pumpkins and a bowl of candy with a "please just take one" sign, the dog got out. I didn't see her get out, she must have bolted while I was inside getting a pen. So Ms. A dropped us off at the end of our street and the kids and I hit some houses while she went on a bad dog hunt.

The dog was found, my phone survived being on top of her car for about an hour and the kids had fun. Turns out, our street kicked total ass. We only had to go two blocks and we had full bags. Every other house was decorated and had people standing in driveways handing out candy. Most of time you didn't even have to knock. Even the adults walking with their kids were dressed up in some really nice costumes. And there were people everywhere. It was like a block party, I couldn't believe it. We were actually worried that because we were on a main street that's kind of busy and that because it's always been a relatively quiet subdivision that it was going to be lame. It was not.

By contrast, Aunt and Uncle CP's neighborhood was like a ghost town. They had craftily dressed up their house with webs and graves and general ghoulishness and there was another house that had apparently gone all out to create an almost Disney-like tableau of horrors, but other than that it was pretty dead. It's odd what some neighborhoods and streets will or won't do. It'll be interesting to see what kind of yuletide decorations come up.

We left their house, hit an Applebees and got some dinner and then went home and crashed. Ms. A stayed up till probably 3am working (as usual.) And that was it.

I don't have my entries from last year, but I'm sure I pissed and moaned about how Halloween is my favorite holiday but I never get as involved as I'd like. It just seems that every time October 31st rolls around, our family is in some kind of turmoil that really prevents us from going all out on costumes or decorations. I haven't been to a costume party since Houston and this spring we had a garage sale and got rid of our box of general holiday decorations. The kids costumes only came in this last weekend and one was destroyed.

I'd really like to make up the yard at the very least. I would love to make tombstones and zombies and things hanging off the roof and have spooky music piped out front with a smoke machine or a dry ice pool or something, and have it all lit up with spots or strobes. I don't want to be that house that had over 3000 jack-o-lanterns, that's just insane. But I do feel sad each time November 1st rolls around and all I have left to do is eat all the kids chocolate and throw pumpkins away.

Someone help me remember to start in August next year.

And for all you Christians, happy All Saints' Day.

Carry on.