Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Insect post No. 1

I was taught how to draw people for the most part at school. Animals (specifically mammals) were secondary. But attempting to even do gestures of insects is difficult. They are alien to mammalian form. At least six legs for most, segmented bodies, wings, bulging eyes, crowbar-shaped feet, pincers, sleek exoskeletons, etc. They have amazing camouflage and defense mechanisms. They live practically everywhere, and yet we only take notice of them when they're in our house, eating our food, or sucking our blood.

So suffice to say I difficulty pulling off any forms. I didn't know where to start. You'd think it'd be easy. They're divided into three parts -- head, abdomen, thorax. But I don't just want to put shapes together. I want to understand how these insects move and fly. The top left sketch was me trying to see what a leafhopper bug would look like if you gave it more human qualities. The top right is a wasp that has some sort of needle or tube it sticks through wood to lay eggs. And bottom left is the face of a cicada (which are the ugliest things on earth).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Last daily post

Spent most of the day cleaning and coloring. Here's a pic I'm working on from a photo.

Original photo is here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zoey & Milly drawings

Watching Daria inspired to do some Zoey & Milly sketches. Hopefully more come of this.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A new year alive and a new challenge

Today was my wife's 27th birthday today, so we invited a bunch of people and dined at a local seafood restaurant for lunch. So far we've had two different types of cake today. I didn't get much sleep last night, so with two meals with fat slices of cake involved added in, I'm feeling pretty tired. We got a free meal at the restaurant for dinner.

Anyway, my two-week pledge is almost up. I like that I've been making constant updates, and I've noticed the visitations have bumped up since doing this. Now that I've almost fulfilled my challenge, I may not be doing another daily post after this. However, my new challenge is to draw at least five sketches a day. And for no particular reason, I've chosen bugs. So from the 15th to the 21st, I will be making some drawings. They don't have to be posted every day, but they have to be done and posted before midnight on the 21st.

Well, the wife just got the complete series of Daria on DVD, so I'm off to watch some episodes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where I was on 9/11

In September of 2001, I was in 10th grade. When I first heard about the attacks, I was in Geometry class. A teacher poked his head in, and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. This will probably sound callous now, but my class started to joke about how pilots can't fly these days. It sounds horrible, but the last thing on our mind was that the plane was used as a missile to kill people within the tower -- or that there would be three more of these planes.

After class ended and I walked to Biology, a student ran past me and told my teacher that there were several planes that had attacked buildings, and that it was done by terrorists. My teacher got so riled up, he made a long rant followed by a pro-USA speech. I was just so flabbergasted by all that was going on, and that I didn't have any info on the attacks, that I didn't react much to his message. I just wondered if we would be able to get out of school.

There was a little buzz about it in my next class, English. But again, everyone had little info. It was a terrorist attack. The Pentagon had been hit as well as the WTCs. But that was it. Was this a nationwide thing? Would we be sent home? Were we in danger? Would the terrorists target public schools? I lived in central North Carolina, away from any iconic or important structures, and yet nothing seemed safe now. Are we at war now? The principal got on the intercom at this point and confirmed that there were attacks that had been made on several buildings, but at this time school is still in session. Remain calm. That was it.

It wasn't until my next to last class, World History, that I was able to see what had happened. My teacher had driven from his home and brought a TV in, and we sat quietly, some of us sobbing, as we watched repeated footage of the attacks. I know at some point I had tears in my eyes. What really got to me was an interview from a distraught survivor who had just come down from the tower. He had passed by a man in a wheelchair on the staircase who was calling out for people to carry him, but no one would. The man, now safely away from the ruins, was shattered emotionally. "I can't believe I didn't help him! Why didn't I help him? Oh God, I hope he got out! Oh Jesus!"

When I got home I saw the footage of people jumping out of the towers. That really put me out of it. I had just never seen anything like that before. This wasn't a depressed person bent on suicide. This was someone desperately trying to escape the burning insides of the tower. And it wasn't just one person. Firefighters had reported they kept hearing thumps in the lobby of the bodies hitting the ground. This was all new and horrendous to me. This wasn't the movies. This wasn't in some faraway country you could just forget about. It was home.

I was in a daze for a week or so, determined that this was some sort of nightmare I would wake up from. But I think I snapped out of it after seeing a special report where they interviewed some of the NY firemen. One of the fire chiefs stepped outside with the cameraman and the interviewer, obviously a day or two after the attacks, and pointed down the street.

"Everyday the towers were there. Now there's nuthin'. They're gone."

It was that image-- the image of something you see everyday, take for granted because it had always been there, and now was gone. Gone forever. And it shakes your reality.

After that, I tried to join the ROTC but because of my asthma I wasn't admitted. I'm grateful for that now because of the way things in my life went after high school.

If kids some day down the road find this post, hopefully this video will kind of help show how these attacks took a lot of America by surprise.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Movie Time

To get the requirement out of the way, I did see something new: I'm about a quarter of the way through Season 3 of Dexter. I really like that show. It's one of the few I go, "Ooh! What's gonna happen next!? Gotta see the next episode!"

To add some meat to this post, I'll add in some of my favorite scenes from my favorite movies (in no particular order).

John Carpenter's The Thing Blood Test scene

I love horror movies. And I don't go looking for the crappy movies that are made pretty much just to show people getting killed in various ways. I LOATHE the slasher flicks. Same formula, different killer. They all have some schtick, but they all love to kill stupid teens. In theory, it sounds hilarious and entertaining. But in practice, it gets old quick. Why? Because it's obvious the writer/director didn't have any new ideas to contribute to the genre, other than how someone can be killed using a paper mache doll.

You just don't see tension in horror movies nowadays that you do in this scene here. In this scene, Kurt Russel's character Mac has discovered that the alien not only disguises itself as other beings, but it can separate yet act as a singular being. This prompts his forced blood test.

Coraline - Clip Bug Room
Uploaded by ohmygore. - Check out other Film & TV videos.

I couldn't find any of my favorite scenes from Coraline (one of my favorite movies in recent years), but this clip at least represents the color and style of the movie very well. Word of warning: it's not really a kid's film. It looks innocent at first, but there were scenes that freaked me out. And I watched The Exorcist unfazed.

Again, wasn't able to find any of my favorite scenes from this gem, but nobody doesn't like Die Hard. Even my wife, who usually just rolls her eyes over steroid-pumped heroes mowing down badguys with their giant guns, loves this movie. All the characters are involved in the plot instead of just being there to make a joke or look good. The whole Die Hard series is great, but the first one shot Bruce Willis from rom/coms into action hero stardom.

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at

This was my favorite movie in middle school. It's not my favorite anymore, but it has great action scenes. It also has one of the best rallying speeches in film history- and that's saying something. I would vote for Bill Pullman as President.

Another great frightening scene with tension. Unfortunately, the added music drowns out some of the sound, but you can gather that Jake Gyllenhaal's character does NOT want to be there. He's invited to the man's basement RIGHT after discovering that his #1 suspect for the Zodiac killer is this guy. While inside, he hears movement upstairs, previously thinking they were alone.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dinosaurs and scary movies

Dinosaur Puppets

When I was young, my parents were pretty strict on what I could watch. I wasn't allowed to see the evening news until I started grade school. So it was a very long time (at least when compared to most kids) before I saw any kind of movie that was remotely violent.

My friend Phillip had gotten the movie Jurassic Park on tape and, probably knowing the scariest movie I had seen was Ernest Scared Stupid, put it in the VCR, saying something along the lines that it was an awesome movie.

Now don't get me wrong. Jurassic Park is an awesome movie.

I don't know how I got through the first scene, but I do remember the part where the T-Rex tries to eat the kids in the jeep. Phillip's mom spots me trying to claw my way backwards inside her armchair, eyes wide open, and decides that the movie was too much for me.

Phillip protested and said that I didn't mind. Did I?

No words came out. Just a slow shake of the head. "No? What? I don't care. Oh my God. That dinosaur was going to eat those kids. They were screaming. I will never curse dinosaurs again."

Now, of course, I'm the one watching the movies with the jump scenes and my wife is repeatedly asking me, through a wad of fingers, when the next scary part was going to come up. And my sister blows through scary movies like nothing. It took me years to build up an immunity. But while I was watching "The Mummy" for the first time in our living room at age 13, she was six.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Man, I love caves. Not that I want to do the hardcore spelunking. I'm a bit claustrophobic. Heck, when my wife and I went with a friend to the Atlanta Aquarium, there was a section in the penguin area where you could crawl in and stand up in this glass tube in the middle of the exhibit. You could be in the midst of penguins! Well, the tunnel happened to be full of loud kids and their loud parents speaking over their kids, so it ended up being this hot, dark, enclosed space full of writhing tiny bodies and screaming. There was also a line inside the tunnel (which was about 3' tall) to get to the glass tube. Needless to say, the penguins weren't worth it.

And I'm terrified of the cave exploring that requires you squeezing your body between rocks and spending a few days in an area with no sunlight and sudden drops into the abyss. I'm perfectly okay with the guided tours in caves with the nicknames for all the stalactites and such.

Deer Cave in Borneo has been shown on one of my favorite documentaries, Planet Earth. In fact, the whole cave episode is my favorite. You have a cave full of bat dung and covered with cockroaches, one full of a river of sulfuric acid, and another that has giant gypsum crystals you can walk on.

When we visited my in-laws in Alabama, it was suggested we go see the DeSoto Caverns. I was excited about it, as it also had some fun activities you could do - like panning for minerals! I hadn't done that since I was 10! Not only that, but the caverns had a laser light show! Neato!

When we got there, we found out the laser light show was about how the creation of the cave was made. I was a little disappointed it wasn't going to be a recreation of the Tron story or something, but I wanted to check it out anyway. We get inside, and they turn off the lights. Pitch black. I start getting excited. I'm expecting the narrator to start talking about rivers of molten lava barreling through crust, and iron and oxygen mixing and blowing up or some sort of epic science like that. Instead, it was a direct reading from Genesis chapter 1. The narrator would say, "And God said, 'Let the land and waters teem with life, and give the sky the birds in the air," and behind me would be this squawking speaker that would etch out animal noises.
"Let the land -"
"with life and-"

They also had toilet racers.

Yes, this is real.

It's as exciting as it looks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Dangerous" USA

I don't want to get too political on a blog where potential employers can check out, but I just finished reading World's Most Dangerous Places. It's a little outdated now (published in 2003 -- a surprising amount of things have happened in seven years that just doesn't reach the news), but gives a pretty honest look at the going-ons of the world without getting too political or preachy. It's mostly, "Well, there's a lot of this going on there and this awful crap going on here; but, you know, what can you do?"

It has the USA on there, and statistically (at least when compared to some western European countries) the streets of your typical average US city sound like a haven for bad things waiting to prey on unsuspecting visitors. But, of course, when living in the nation itself, you know better. It's probably not smart to dress very fancy and walk around by yourself at night in isolated areas of Detroit or New Orleans. Heck, I'd advise against traveling by yourself after sundown anywhere close to downtown Savannah. Lord knows I was just asking to get mugged, being a stupid freshman with all my "HEY! I'M NEW IN TOWN!" gear and checking out the city park at 2AM.

For the most part, however, almost anywhere in America can provide a good time or a good story. Stay aware and use common sense, but be adventurous too. I've just started to like Hilton Head after a year of living here, and that's because I've started to explore the island on my own and avoid the usual places that draw crowds in.

Anyway, I didn't really have a point to this post. I just wanted to fill my quota for today. But I'm glad you all are stopping in (my statcounter has been climbing up quick since I started this post-every-day challenge to myself). Thanks again, and I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick comic because nothing happened today

Past 11 PM, my art skills become depreciated, and everything with a poop joke is humorous to me. This is a fact.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hugs from a fan

Yesterday, I got an unusual request at the restaurant. One of the servers told me a girl at her table wanted to get a picture with me. Flattered, I crossed over to the dining room where I discovered a seven-year-old girl who looked at me like I was a superstar. I never seen her before, but apparently she was infatuated with me. Not only did she want a picture with me (which her mother took), but before she left she hugged me.

It was quite a nice day.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weird Science

Create solid ball water
Uploaded by SupraPitchu. - Sitcom, sketch, and standup comedy videos.

This is the kind of science I wish we did in school. I loved science as a kid, but my science classes pretty much took any kind of interesting aspects of it, hid it from view, and the only thing I remember from science class is that chlorine in gas form is not something that you want to inhale. Chemistry was probably my least favorite class in grade school, and unfortunately it was due to the teacher, not the subject material. Other chemistry teachers were having fun experiments in their classes (in one, they somehow turned a gas into a pillar of carbon). So while I didn't have the greatest experience in science, I haven't given up on it yet. I hope that when I have a kid, I can teach them some elementary physics and/or chemicals in an interesting way. I really can't wait for one of them to participate in a science fair.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rube Goldberg

Okay, so I'm a sucker for those Rube Goldberg-style contraptions. Remember that part in The Goonies where they have this whole process set up to open a 5' tall gate door? Well, this music video was pretty amazing, and judging by the paint stains on their suits, they had to do several takes, which means they had to set everything back up again. Amazing. I think this outdoes their treadmill dance video. I never attempted anything like it, but I do remember making little dioramas in shoeboxes.

Nicole's birthday is a little over a week, and I'm still trying to think of an idea to surprise her with. She, unfortunately, is an over-planner, and has kind of already planned out what we're doing for her birthday, so I have to come up with something she hasn't thought of yet. Any ideas?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An epiphany of sorts

Today I was cut from work early (we've been slow at the restaurant since school started), so I decided to spend the hour or two waiting for my wife to get off work by reading somewhere. Usually I browse at Barnes & Noble for a few hours, but lately I've been feeling guilty shuffling up and down their corridors of books, only there to kill time.

The past few days I've been able to get out of work early enough that I can sit on the beach (it's about five minutes from work) and read until sundown. If I get tired of reading, I can put the book down and cloudwatch. Today, however, I wanted to read somewhere new. I drove to Shelter Cove (where Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort is located) and sat on the grassy embankment of the inlet there. It was very quiet, and I was able to park in a remote lot (it said "Executive Parking" but I figured it was okay as there was no one there).
I've been living near and working on Hilton Head Island for over a year now. And until this week, I never really appreciated the island. Most people probably consider if you live on or close to an island, the beach is just part of your day. And for at least some of my coworkers, that's true. But not for me. I live only 15-20 minutes from a public beach, and yet in a year I've visited it less than ten times. The beach itself is not on my way to work. I have to dress up nicely for work and I live half an hour away, so I don't go to the beach prior to my shift. And I don't go afterwards because by that point it's too dark. And I don't go on my days off because, well, I drive to the island six days a week, and the last thing I want to do on my day off is drive back to it. But I've been able to appreciate Hilton Head this last week. I was able to watch the sun set and listen to the tide rush to the shore. To see the waves of sand glide along the beach in the wind. To witness the seagulls scan the shore for food from tourists. And, funny enough, it finally occurred to me how lucky I was. How lucky that I'm able to walk barefoot in my work clothes in the sand and witness beauty. How often does one get to do that? I live in an extraordinary time in an extraordinary place, and I thank God that I can do that every day.

The above paragraph sounds a little hokey when read aloud to myself, but I really did feel that way, and maybe you all can get something out of it. I spent a whole year paying attention to only what's along the way to work: gas stations, chain restaurants, a failing mall, annoying tourist shops. But when I went off the beaten path, took a wrong turn, and decided "What the hey? I'll check this place out," I discovered why people choose to live here.

Now do I want to live in Hilton Head for the rest of my life? No. I want to be in a college town. I want to be around arts and the liberal sciences. I want to walk in coffee shops with people talking about the latest music or debating philosophy. I want to go to shows in dank studios, and be able to choose between having a paella or Chicago-style pizza (instead of burgers or subs). My place is not here in HH, but now I get it. I understand why people choose to live here.

Drawing I did of this creepy girl you meet in Ocarina of Time. She's not as weird looking in the game as she is here, but I still remember her freaking me out. If you want to see what I'm talking about, check out the video here at 2:46.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New post, every day. For Two Weeks.

Well, I spent the last hour writing up a new post, but for some reason Gmail had logged me out at some point, so my whole post was lost. So instead of typing it all up again, I'm going to give you the short version.

- I realize my blog is lacking in content and so I will be posting once a day for the next two weeks about a new experience; a new song, a new movie, something I learned, etc. It has to be unknown to me prior to the day I post about it.

- Today I saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World in Savannah

- My critique: A fun movie. Awesome battle scenes. Memorable lines. Still a little dizzy from all the quick cutting that is frequent in Edgar Wright movies, but that could just be a personal thing. Could've been a little bit more condensed. Enjoyed for the most part, but felt like they Hollywooded the ending, and went with the obvious. I heard it ends differently in the graphic novel, but have to say I enjoyed the movie a lot more than the comic. Michael Cera seems to be one of those actors you love or hate, but I'm drifting into the grey zone. Almost all the ex-boyfriends were hilarious.

- It's three in the morning, and I'm still up. Curse you Crush Grape soda!

Also, I'm still posting art today, but it's . . . how shall I say -- risqué? So if you're viewing this at work or are just checking to see what your grandson learned in art school, be warned. There is a butt in the link.

Wonder Woman just chilling