Wish List

There are things I'd love to be doing with my time. Geeky things usually, but things I either don't know how to start, don't have the money to start them or don't have the time to invest without compromising my family's well being. Everyone has these. Everyone wants to write a novel or act on stage or learn that language they started in high school, but I would say the lion's share of people settle for a day job because it pays fairly well and they push the rest of these dreams into the realm of duffer, hobbyist, tinkerer.

So let's hear it. What would you love to be doing with your time? What hobby are you doing that you'd love to turn into a business? What shot do you want to take?

Given the right timing, hours during the day or sudden inheritance here's a list of things I'd love to try.

Learn Mandarin or become fluent in French. I took French in high school and one semester in college. Too me it's one of the most beautiful languages on Earth with the possible exception of Italian. I did fairly well at it but where I fell short was being fluent in conversation. With all language, the easiest first is to read, then write, then speak. Not being an ambassador, I have little opportunity to use other languages. Which brings me to Mandarin. China is a superpower, like it or not. With 1.whatever billion people, it makes sense that we learn a little bit of their language. Plus, on one of my favorite shows Firefly they used Mandarin to swear and that was just cool. I've always admired polyglots and I realized most of my online friends are people from Finland, China, Argentina, Germany or Malaysia who know and speak both their native tongue and American English. It makes me feel less of a global human to only know my solitary, yet seriously complex, language.

Be a Lego builder. I've been collecting Lego sets going on 25 years but I've always kept the sets separate. I had a childhood friend who was an only child and had a lot of toys. He had a bag full of Lego pieces that we used to make all manner of space ships. We'd pride ourselves on creating Hatchet Fighters from Buck Rogers, giant space battleships, X-Wings, mecha, etc. My finest creation was a Gunstar from The Last Starfighter. Nowadays my Lego sits in boxes or Ziplock bags in the garage, unmingled and virtually unused. I watch the builders on Flickr create wonderful models of popular and original space vehicles and I get really jealous. But this kind of hobby takes time and a fairly large account to purchase bulk pieces. It also requires a large, undisturbed area of a home where the thousands of pieces can be stored, accessed easily and kept out of reach from little hands.

Be a voice actor. Some of my favorite big and little screen performers are those that provide the voices. Maurice LeMarche, Billy West, Frank Welker, John Dimaggio, Tress MacNeille all lend powerful and complex talent to any production. I'm sure it stems back to listening to Mel Blanc to a million Looney Toon voices. Having grown up a bit of a class clown, impersonating video game noises and cartoon characters, as well as having above average vocal control, I'd always thought I could be a decent voice actor. Draw backs to this currently include the facts that I don't know anyone in the business, I have no agent, and I know so very little about it all. I just watched a behind the scenes video about Dragonball Z: Bodukai 3 and the voice sessions they did for the game and I have to say I'm both inspired and more than a little scared at what it would take to get into that industry.

Narrow my artistic drives. The problem anyone with a 9-5 job that doesn't involve doing what you want to do is that the things you DO want to do get about 1% of your time and effort. It's all a conscious choice and the willingness to take a leap. You never know what awaits you if you take a chance on something and as countless success stories have shown, it's never too late. I'd personally like to find a focus for all the creative impulses I have running through my brain. I know I could be a good writer, illustrator, graphic designer, even web developer if I put my mind to it. What I have in creative "genius" I lack in motivation and focus. I burn through ideas like cigarettes and if a notion doesn't reach fruition in a short time, I leave it by the wayside. Because of that, in the last 15 years, I've done such an array of projects that I couldn't tell you what I'm really good at. Recently I had a guy posting about a lettering position tell me my work over the past couple years lacked variety - in lettering. I took it okay because I know he was right, but then I applied that to everything I draw, write or otherwise create and I realized it all looked the same. From the robot drawings to the way I color comic pages to the way I do cartoon hoboes, everything seems the same. Given time, I would love to explore more media, more challenges, in short be a true freelance artist.

Those are my big dreams. I have smaller ones like getting back into shape enough to play soccer, teaching myself piano or guitar, joining a band and playing drums or singing, getting involved in theater or do stand up, writing a sci-fi novel and going back to work on the comic I never finished. And here's where the dreams fall apart. I'm currently doing ALL these things, but I get about two hours a day where I'm not working and those two hours usually end up doing creative financing, mucking with daily problems about the house or cars or playing with and caring for the kids. It's not an excuse, it's a reality. At some point, I want to take a chance at something. I want to be able to say, "You know what, I'm going to do it. I'm tired of the grind and getting little in the way of enjoyment out of it." I don't know what I'm waiting for, a break? To be recognized? To become independently wealthy?

There's no advice anyone can give you, there's no tips or tricks to make it work better. The first step is to take the first step and the rest will either roll right along or fall apart, it's typically out of your control after that.

To that end, I'm going to go take a shower and then draw some robots.

Carry on.


Another Year, Another Pack of Supplies

The long walk to school
Originally uploaded by Cheryl Rollman.
It's that time of year again. Time for Ms. A to spend the morning in tears as her baby goes off to school.

Lil Miss Austin started second grade today - same school and a few of the same friends. The whole family went to see her off after a nice breakfast of waffles. I can understand Ms. A's emotions but I'm the opposite. I'm excited for LMA to be going back because I'D be excited to go back. Think about it; new supplies, new clothes, new friends and during an 8 hour day you get to eat lunch with people you like, run around outside, learn new things about math and history, maybe play with an animal. Who wouldn't want that?

So I'm excited for her.

Besides that, I apologize to the readers for not writing in so long. To use the tired excuse that life is crazy right now is both an offense to language and an insult to the obvious. Ms. A now works for four news papers and a couple of them she's actually doing reporting. It's funny to watch her try to write about sports since she's not a sports person. I keep offering to help but she requires journalistic integrity apparently.

The 100AP is in full swing again and I'm spending a lot of time promoting that, finding ways to promote it and changing things on the various sites. I haven't drawn so much as doodle in weeks and I'm starting to wonder if I ever will again. I had a robot a week distraction with an online acquaintance and that lasted 1 week for me. I've told Ms. A this, I'm in a funk. I'm a bit lonely and blue and I don't have a lot of outlets or people to talk to who are close.

Eh, pity party. And those get old, don't they?

Ms. A's having problems of her own, but I won't go into them here. You can read all about them in the autobiography she's currently writing. There's bound to be spills, chills, thrills, pills and ills a plenty. Let's just hope she doesn't have to write about that time she played any sports, might trip her up.

Cars are becoming a problem, back door shattered for some reason we're not sure of, got bit by fire ants and jammed my finger playing ball. Broke as folk but otherwise doing ok. Just a suck of a summer in an otherwise lame year. Hoping it gets better, hoping I have something better to write about next time.

Oh, my brother is at the DNC this week. We hates him, tricksy he is.


100 Artists Project - Round Two!

After many months of promises and false starts, the second round of the 100AP is underway. Please visit the main site for all the details.

What's New?

I've broken up the original projects and have added a few more. The mail in 100 now ties in to the CBLDF and the sketchbook goes to Hero. The new ones are the 25 piece youth project supporting the International Child Art Foundation, the 50 piece digital art supporting the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education and the Moleskine book supporting the Center for Cartoon Studies.

The sign up page is active and I'll be sending out emails to the charities as well as some studios to drum up interest. If you're part of this community already, you've probably submitted work for volume one and all I ask is that you help talk up the relaunch anywhere you can.

Thanks for your continued support.

I'd also like to thank Ms. A's brother for helping me with the sign up page. Much appreciated.

Happy Birthday Ms. A

Dang it.
Originally uploaded by Cheryl Rollman.

A brain not yet wrinkled
Flooded with light and noise
Forced to breath
The air is cold and sharp
And you cry.

Time speeds up
Ambles along
Teeth, puberty, drinking, children
Twenty, twenty five, thirty
Each day is a miracle, each night is a forgiveness.

Each year is a blessing
Covered in chocolate and served
By friends holding a silver dish.
Each new experience
Leaves a new wrinkle, a new scar, a new neuron

And the lights fade
And the air is warm and friendly
And the noise is comfort
And you cry.

Happy birthday


Wrapping It Up

Summer is about over for the Pfolks in Pflugerville. Ms. A's work with the photo company is coming to an end so she's looking for employment elsewhere. LMA will be starting school in about two weeks and G-man will likely go into day care for at least half day. He needs friends his own age and size. It's been a good run for him at home and Ms. A has done great with him and has loved being home with him, but it's time for him to make little people friends and get started learning.

I didn't have a summer. Like most grups, I worked. I worked hard this summer and it sucked. Since May, every day ended by saying, "Ah crap, I didn't get everything done today." I haven't had that before. And it's not like there's more work to do, but somehow I've actually wanted to get the work done sooner. I think I've lost my mind. I need a vacation that doesn't involved taking the kids to Colorado. (Sorry mom and dad, those aren't vacations for me. They're babysitting my own kids in a different place. Love you guys to death, and we will visit, but nobody better call that a vacation.)

Still, the summer isn't completely over if you can still go fishing. Ms. A's been taking LMA to P-ville lake to go fish. For whatever reason, Ms. A's picked this up this year. Just when I think there's nothing new left to discover about her, she surprises me with this crap. I know her dad fishes a lot and she's gone with him a few times. I think that's what's causing it. I haven't gone yet. I fished a bit as a kid and just don't have a desire to now unless I'm camping by a lake and have a day to kill. So today, the kids went and each caught their first fish! I think G-man caught three. How cool is that?

(FYI, no one's going to eat these fish. Ms. A has a drying out/ink project she wants to try.)

The kids seem to love it and Ms. A gets positively shouty when they catch something. It's a nice cheap activity and it gets everyone out of the house.

Just a reminder I have some shirts for sale. Some new ones lately so get them before they get taken down for whatever intellectual rights reasons they might be infringing upon.

Also, I have another Charlie Jade review up. Television Zombies has a few other items reviewed and recapped as well, plus their one year anniversary show, in which you'll hear me and other TVZ contributors, should be up as soon as the editing is done. Stay tuned to that!

Carry on.