Monday, November 29, 2010

What I did for my summer vacation...

Hard to believe it's been so long between posts. As usual, this particular part of the year is rough. This year has been no exception, and in many ways, much worse. Mostly from readjusting. I lost weight over the summer and it's played havoc with the blood sugar. I'd like to lose more, but at present things are "plateau'd." But I've added some exercising, and some other things, which I'll discuss in another post.

So what did I do this summer? Not a whole lot of drawing or creating. Not a whole lot of "Mike" time for that, it seems. But I'm proud of one thing in particular...the booth at Oceans of Fun. I remember Jacob, my assistant mgr at the time, and I going over there to do some recon. I don't have any pics from that time...they're probably somewhere on a disc I can't find...but I wasn't very happy. Later on, I was given the tour of Oceans of Fun by Gena, one of the photographers from the previous season, and I was struck by how pretty the place was and is. One of the WF people commented on how it needed some blowups and signage, and it did. Guess in a roundabout way, it became my "baby" of sorts. Mostly because no one really wanted to deal with it. It took all summer and was a work in progress 'til the last weekend Oceans was open, but here's how it turned out...
We added some lock boxes over the viewing stations to secure them, and to also not have to assemble and disassemble each day. Here's what it looked like open in all its glory...

I guess one thing I got tired of hearing real fast was what couldn't be done there. Some things were simple...make it look like a place people would want to approach. Get working equipment. Recognize the windows of opportunity and business flow. Add a second cash register. Lastly, we had some really good kids who worked hard. They took a lot of photos. Here's Gena in action...
She's the best at the underwater pics, and did a lot to teach the others. We had some "go-getters"...Emily, Laura, Jessica, Pat, Derek, Jake, Taryn, Kayla, Linda, Lauren, and probably a bunch I'm not remembering at this time. When it came time to pull it down for the season, I gave Taryn the power drill while I ran folks to their cars. By the time I got back, she'd taken it pretty much taken it all apart with extreme prejudice. Probably a good thing, as I tended to get too sentimental.

I'm signing off on this subject. Going to get back to what I do best, which is drawing and cartooning. But I don't have any regrets regarding how Oceans operated this season. I had a lot of fun with something "the suits" really had written off. I will miss it. And give my farewell to my time at Oceans of Fun with a pic of me there at closing time. I was really happy there.

Friday, October 22, 2010

"o give it to me..."

This week began with some interesting things, mostly the aftermath of the weekend. The last post gave a sizable hint as to Derek's "facial wound" being a bit gynecological... and it does appear that way.

Last Saturday one of my male artists got groped by two drunk men who thought him a woman. And while they provoked a certain amount of rage, indignity, and incredulity initially, upon hearing how the incident unfolded brought about giddy laughter. The quote of note being, "You are one tall glass of woman!" Thought I would wet myself, considering the artist in question is built like a linebacker. He said he didn't know what to do, that girls are better trained to handle this situation. In all fairness, I'm sure the initial shock was more profound, deadening the urge to knock the crap out of them.

This week I encountered a quirkiness of texting of receiving the last part of a message first. The message I received is the heading of this posting. And I had a "What the...?" moment upon receipt, particularly when the artist in question is a 17 year old girl who works for me. Somehow I could feel She-who-must-be-obeyed's cast iron skillet poised to smite my bald spot yet again. Later on in the day, the first part arrived to something like,"...I would like to get my paycheck...but when I go to the office there is no one t-..." Hopefully you see how this was to be, and excuse the initial kneejerk reaction of my being a lech.

Kelsey, my niece, was at the park last Saturday with my daughter, and they wanted a caricature together. Here's the first version...
Kelsey is the angel, and Rachel is cast to type. Or, as I've been like to say, "...had she come first, there wouldn't have been the other two." And in typical fashion, one drawing didn't suffice, but I needed to do a drawing for each of them. Here's the girls together...

Here's the one I did for Kelsey...

We had some equipment go south this season, and the Ford family was kind enough to come through with help. Payment for this was in the nature of me doing a caricature of the father. I don't do "parents" well when it comes to employees, finding that usually they hate my guts. And I admit that I've had a certain "creative bankruptcy" the past few years, struggling to find that energy again. It seems to take about everything I have to pull it out of whatever well reserves I have left to draw. BID.

Here's how his caricature turned out...
...and him with the drawing for comparison...

I think he liked it. He wanted the motorcycle in it and he has a Harley, which I can kind of "halfass" draw. The flag thing just seem to fit. Here he is, again, with the sketch...
...although in my psychosis I'm wondering if he just wasn't missing the machete in this pose, ready to give me my just desserts. "Ghost machete," perhaps?

I find myself restless today. Must be a weather change coming. Only 5 hours of sleep and I am wide awake. The season, like a runaway train, is speeding to a crashing halt, and I'm haunted by what I didn't accomplish this year. While there was/is a lot of positive that did happen, I'm not naive enough to say, "...there's next season." I approach my birthday this next week and the last weekend of the season. And instead of looking at it joyously, I find a sense of dread looming over it. I will be the same age as my grandfather was when he died, and a sense of foreboding has enveloped me. Not sure as to how to handle this next year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

...drinkin' homebrew from a wooden cup, the folks dancin' got all shook up!(part two)...

My pride and joy from this year's Renaissance Festival, held in Bonner Springs, KS! Some day I'll have to get my own lathe and turn my own goblets and such. But for now, got one a second year in a row. And "she-who-must-be-obeyed" didn't complain...too much...

But I really wanted the bronze satyr! Don't know what I'd do with it. Have threatened to put a patio in, but we can never agree on decor. She wants traditional and I want tikis and such...

The parades are always interesting. Didn't get any good shots as my phone/camera was doing the flashy out of memory thingy. Irritated me to no end. Nothing like most of the pics I did get were of horse's butts. But this one turned out okay...

For years, "She-who-must-be-obeyed" nagged about going to the Ren Fest. "We never go anywhere or DO anything!..."yadda, yadda, yadda... So we finally went. Then went the next year. And the next year. And the next year. Then came the " we HAVE to go this year?..." whine, whine, whine...

"But you used to complain we never went?"

"Well, we've been. Do we need to go again?"

By this time, I kind of like going and plan on it each year. And my expectations are fairly simple...drink some meade, check out the wenching outfits,...and the wenches..., eat some food(usually something in a bread bowl), and shop. This year there was a lass willing to have a picture with me. The blurry, flesh colored border at the bottom is my wife's finger, as she didn't get it out of the way of the lens...
Best to not comment past this point. The bandaid on the nose was from a biopsy. At some point I'll tell why it isn't a good idea to tell fart jokes while the doctor is either injecting something into your nose, or cutting a hunch out. Made his hands shake. Not a good idea. Tests came back benign, by the way.

At this year's event was my senior supervisor in charge of Front Gate Photo. He brought his girlfriend, Anna, and their baby. Here we are having a "Kodak" moment...

He and I rode the elephant, and it was new for him. He got guilted into it by us, and I could tell he really didn't want to do it. As he gingerly got onto the beast(her name is "Paige," by the way) he expressed some concern as to whether or not she would go nuts, having seen too many "animals gone bad" vids. As I got on I told him we should be okay, unless she decides to rare up or something. He white-knuckled through the entire ride. It was deliciously funny. And I hope Anna posts either some pics from the ride, or the video.

This past weekend marked how close we are to this season's end. Like a train wreck, it is coming to a halt. Now we have only 2 more weekends. But two things from this past weekend are the phrase, " tall glass of woman!" and this picture of one of our "monsters" for the Asylum. Taryn noticed his "wound" bore a striking resemblance to a certain anatomical part. I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but suffice it to say, he took quite a ribbing...

Hopefully I can post some drawings I did from this past weekend tomorrow, and finish up some stuff from around the studio.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Of mantras and men...

It's October, and both a feeling of relief and of sadness begins to creep upon me. In four weekends the season at Worlds of Fun will be over, plus one more to put things to bed. November will signal some changes and time to fill. I've applied to go back to school, hopefully for this old dog to learn some new tricks. I'm drawing tonight, and it feels both exciting and terrifying. Kind of like getting back up on a horse and waiting to be bucked off.

But if I've reaffirmed some things, it has been to define some sort of "credo." Or mantra, amidah, code, philosophy of life... whatever moniker to be given to it. Sometimes it's defined by certain sayings or snippets of wisdom. Harry, from "Dexter," said there are two kinds of people in the world...the ones the way we want to see them, and the what they choose to show. Certainly the "golden rule" has merit, too.

W. C. Fields had 3, and 2 of which he used for movie titles. They weren't my faves of his movies. That one would be "The Bank Dick." But his mantra was simple...
1) Never Give a Sucker An Even Break
2) You Can't Cheat An Honest Man
3) Never Wise Up a Chump

The last one haunts me the most, as I still have a nagging feeling of being suckered, or played, by a few individuals. Nothing to really discuss here.

But my simple credo is this..."Like" is generic, "Love" is relative, but "Trust" is what you can "take to the bank." More than anything else in our "commodity" society, trust in in short supply. Some would even live by "Trust No One!" Sad really.

I tend to be trusting. Which is why betrayal seems to be heinous to me. In Christian society, Judas Iscariot is generally banished to the lowest rungs of (whatever definition of ) hell there may be. After all, didn't he betray the Son of God? But maybe his crimes are worse than that. More personal. He betrayed his friend. And worse,...he betrayed his rabbi.

Which brings me to...

Here's a portrait I've started of her. I'm drawing it on coquille board, and will probably do another of her once I get more comfortable with this surface. To quantify, this is a work-in-progress...
portrait of Taryn.  Is a W-I-P.
Taryn is someone I trust. I've never had the feeling she didn't have my back. She isn't the only one. There are several people working for me this summer who are in that category and as I continue to draw, I hope to post not only the drawings, but some things about some of the wonderful kids who shared some of their lives with me at the park.

I've given different ringtones to folks in my contact book on my phone. Taryn's ironically is "Born to be Wild," as she comes across as a force of nature. Others were given ringtones based on either I just like the song, had an epiphany, or it was a favorite of theirs in particular. Of the latter, I think Kim may be the only one from the park, as hers is the Doors' "Don't You Love Her Madly." Derek got Dexter's "Blood Theme." Pat got the "Twilight Zone" theme. My daughter got Judy Garland's version of "Over the Rainbow." My wife got 2...both were popular when we were dating..."How Deep Is Your Love" for her cell, and "Baby, I Love Your Way" for her work phone. I gave Ray, my senior supervisor the Raspberries, "Go All the Way," in honor of my catharsis at Oceans of Fun. He hates it, and would prefer something "cool," but it's my phone. My tones. And there are others. It's kind of nice knowing whose calling.

Enough BS-ing and pontificating. Have some drawing to do!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I should have some stuff to post tonight, but today is a special day of sorts. It's my grandmother's birthday, and were she alive today, she would 99. We called her, "Granny."

Unlike a lot of my posts on this subject, I'd rather stay focused on how great and funny she was.

My dad was working on his master's at KSU back in the '60's, and we would travel there, staying the weekend at the basement apartment he'd rented. At some touristy place, I bought some things to booby trap cigarettes. (My folks and Granny all smoked back then.) I still get a chuckle when she lit up one of her cigarettes that I'd loaded, and the look on her face as the thing began to "snow." (I have another trip for rigging the bread wrapper so it won't open, but that's another post.)

One story she would tell was from her elementary school days. Way back when it was in a one-room school. And before lawnmowers. Back then to trim the grass, they would run sheep in to graze and keep the grass down. But when you have sheep, there will also be "sheep dip."(If you don't know what that is, I'm not explaining it.)

During lunch time, she and a friend would sit under a tree at the school and eat lunch. There was a boy named, "Grover," who would consume his lunch, only to proceed to beg from the other kids for what ever extra they might have. A bit of a glutton.

One day, Granny and her friend had a watermelon. They cut out a big slice, picked all the seeds out and replaced them with sheep dip. And when Grover came by, they offered him some watermelon. He didn't just eat it, from her description, but inhaled it. He never knew, and she never told. And I hope none of Grover's heirs are out there to read this. Awkward.

LAST NIGHT'S ADVENTURE!--I was painting on my "girlfriend" last night(that's code for painting at the Oceans of Fun booth to get it sealed up for the winter. Sorry. Nothing more racy than that.) There were a couple of coons trapped in a dumpster close by the stand. I thought one was dead, but the other one was crying out. I really hate raccoons. They are nothing but diseased ridden vermin, but even I don't have a heart to turn off the tugging at the heart of hearing an animal crying.

I put a drop cloth over the edge thinking he would climb out, but he just pulled the cloth into the dumpster. I wasn't going in after it. He'd already hissed at me a few times. So I finished the primer coat and was considering going to the Wood 'n' Leather shop at Worlds of Fun to find a plank to see if that would help him escape.

I'd also made the mistake of contacting a couple of female types--my wife and Taryn--asking what to do, as I had thought of just leaving them. But got the, "Aww, can't you do something?"

Before I could leave, WF security was buzzing through and came to see what was going on, and heard the noises coming from the dumpster. So we were in the process of trying to see what could be done when Amanda, one of the security guards, notice that one of the coons, the one I thought dead, wasn't, but had its head stuck in the dumpster drain pipe. It was sticking out from the front.

We found a plank, put it in the dumpster, and the non-stuck raccoon crawled up and out of the dumpster, Proceeding, as it were, to crawl onto one of the tikis flanking Trader Nick's. Security prodded it from there and he scampered off to the woods. But the other one was still stuck.

We tried covering the head with a dropcloth to shove the head back through. Dicey, because that end had teeth. One of the security guys, normally a tough hombre, said he couldn't euthanize it without crying. Funny and touching, as none of us wanted the option of killing the animal.

I suggested lubing the head and neck to see if that might help. Amanda drove us to a food stand and we found some liquid shortening, brought it back and coated the beast's head and neck to see if that would do the trick. Couldn't pull it back through.

It was suffering and had struggled to the point of having ruptured both eyes, blinding itself.

It didn't make it. And while I did take pictures before hand, showing our stages of rescue, it wouldn't be right to post them now with the outcome as it is.

On a brighter note, I tipped the scales this morning at 255! On my way from obesity to just fatness! Yeah, baby!!!


Monday, September 20, 2010


A few hours ago, I found myself in strange territory...having to eat something late at night. I was feeling strange and having trouble with my vision. Checked the blood sugar to find it at 68. A bit low.

Some comments in earlier posts talked of the "dragon," but now I find more concern for the "disease." At the beginning of this year, I was tipping the scales at 292. Yesterday I weighed in at 256.2. But with this comes readjusting medicine, continuing to exercise, etc. One thing I did notice was a feeling of rage. It seemed to run its course after supper, and my wife and I took a walk, and I did some nightly exercising. Couldn't really get into the new "Hawaii 5-0," but it does have Grace Park. Boo YEAH! I could see her replacing Emma Peel in my heart. BID. Then I noticed my hands shaking and my heart pounding.

The disease is going to fight back. Is fighting back. Should make for an interesting conversation tomorrow with my diabetes doctor.

If the events from this past weekend are any indication of what this upcoming year is going to be's going to suck. I joked about it being HaShem's answer to my Yom Kippur prayers, but this past Saturday was nuts. The "Halloween Haunts" were starting up. It rained at Worlds of Fun in the early evening. Then it became torrential. Then flash flooding, lots of lightning and thunder, hail--small and large--followed by a complete power outage at the park and 70mph winds. Sucked.

We shot the vampire house at the park, or tried to...that pesky power outage thing...and we had a new "queen of mean" to hail! One of the girls who works for me dressed up to be a monster for the pictures, and she really out did herself. Her name is Maren, and here's how she looked...
Marin's costume and makeup

The name of the house is "Lore of the Vampire," and she nicknamed herself the "Lore Whore," which I told her she couldn't really use that moniker. Here we are hamming it up before going to the house...
Hamming it up

Maren did a great job under very difficult circumstances. She's one of those people that the camera loves, and I saw nothing but an easy and efficient flow of park guests with her and her photographer, Patrick. I hope to add another set of "monsters" soon, including a girl named Taryn. I did this caricature of her a few years back...
Taryn in Vampirella costume

I'm working on a portrait of her. Once I get a little farther along, I'll post it. She offered to do the Vampirella costume, but I'm not sure the park could handle it.
One last thing from this past summer...we had a couple of get togethers at the park for the employees, and this is how I usually ended up...
July Kaman's party
Whipped cream in the face...ya' gotta love it! But I preferred "Splash Bash." Gena got 3/4 guys together and they tossed me into the pool. As hot as it had been, it was just what was needed, although it did make for more laundry.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

working through a likeness...

Not much to tell other than I did some doodling watching "Dexter." I hope soon to post some of those doodles in a more finished form.

In previous posts I've griped about struggling with getting a likeness on one of my artists. Gena won one of the competitions we have had at the park called "Top Gun." I implemented this program to get the photo artists to think less about how many clicks of the shutter they were getting and more about making their photos more "sell-able." It's a term we have frequently used with the other operations...caricatures, airbrush art, wood cutting, and the like...and it made sense to use it for this discipline, too. Not being a front gate photo peep, I grew very impatient and annoyed at those who came in to give me the "how to," finding that the strutting of "shot counts" and "capture rates" came off more like phallus measuring between egos.

Whose is bigger?

It also wasn't translating into per capita(aka "how much money are we squeezing?), either.

"Did you see how many shots I had today? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? 400! Oh, yeah!..."

"...but only 5 of them sold. You sure those were all legit and you weren't taking pictures of the clouds?" Or your feet? 400 pics and 200 have the heads cut off..."

You get the idea.

So instead of rewarding high shot counts, I rewarded the number of pictures sold. Top Gun. Anyone can "spray bullets," but who can hit the "targets?"

Gena did it twice at Oceans of Fun, as did Emily and Laura. At Worlds of Fun, Nick, A.J., and Michael did it twice. Emily has the distinction of being the only one to do it at both parks, and the only 3 time winner.

Gena is a comics and animation fan. Previously I showed drawings of her as "Phoenix" and "Black Widow." But my 4th try in caricaturing her, I drew her as "Medusa" from the "Fantastic Four." After all, she is a redhead, so it fits to draw her as those characters. She has been gracious enough to send me a pic of that drawing. My camera is on the fritz, and I wanted to make sure it arrived for her birthday, so I was unable to get a pic of it. Still not that happy with it, but it's closer in likeness then earlier attempts. Some caricature subjects are like that.
Gena Ford as "Medusa"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2... 5... 8...

258. Haven't seen that in a while. In fact, since some time in 1998/1999 working for Brian Miller. At that time I saw it as my weight was going up. I tipped that this past Wednesday. It felt good to finally be under 260. May be a skinny man, yet!

I get to see "Nurse Dracula" this morning. That's my own code for going in for blood work. I really hate doing it. Usually no bullet is given for me to bite down on. Not that it hurts...sometimes...I just don't like the idea of getting stuck.

It's also this time of year when I have to schedule the examination that "men doth not speak." If anyone out there doesn't know what I'm talking about...I ain't explaining it.

I met Taryn's dog, Kaden, yesterday. A really cute, but huge, puppy.

Last night, I was at the park late working on some stuff. It was raining, but not the torrential floods which identified this past summer...when it would rain. It was soothing. At one point I took a break and texted my buddy, Grant, who called me and we chatted. Some time out of town for a few days may just be what I need. And Grant's been really nagging me about getting back to my sketchbook. If George Harrison's guitar bleeds, I wonder what that makes my sketchbook?

I'd had something confirmed that had been nagging me for a while. A statement in passing from someone I trust about a situation and person, but it still cut rather deep. Guess I hate being played.

This time of year brings out my introspection, I guess because it's during the 10 Days of Awe now. In studying Judaism, final judgment for the coming year will finalize this coming weekend with Yom Kippur. My fate for the coming year will be sealed. Good and bad.

"Yitgadol v' yitkaddash shmeh rabbah"...when it is my time before the "throne," one question would have to be answered...why did He take Chris when he did? Today marks the 4th anniversary of the passing of Dr. Chris R. Bullard...

He seemed to love the "Indiana Jones" movies, and wore a fedora when conducting tours.

Chris was the best teacher I'd ever had. Nobody had ever opened up biblical things to me the way he did. It was as if a veil were lifted. Becky and I wanted to go on one of his tours of Israel, and were planning on it back then when I got the email from Chris' brother that he'd died of a heart attack.

Why I'm still here and he isn't, makes no sense. He had something to say, I spout dribble. He made a difference in the world, I watch the rain.

I miss him. And it isn't because we were close personal friends. I just loved learning from him.

Time to get ready for the giving of blood. I think that Dr. Menon will be pleased next week with my test results. Dr. Nash, however, is always a bit too cheery for me. No one should love that kind of work that much.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sometimes the "Dragon" wins...sometimes...

This past weekend found me in both familiar and unfamiliar territory. Labor Day is one of the tougher weekends usually because of its proximity to schools back in session. And staffing issues were there a bit.

It also signaled the end of the season for Oceans of Fun, and I'd have to say that I preferred its atmosphere to Worlds of Fun, for the most part. Most would try to paint me a bit of a lech because of the amount of exposed flesh there, but in truthfulness it had better music, a different excitement, a staff with a different mentality, and I felt somewhat more welcome there. We did well there this season, and I'm proud of the efforts of all involved.

It had become a habit of mine to take some time and soak my feet in one of the pools while the staff began to get ready for closing. Take some time to relax a bit before helping them wrap things up. And it was strange to find myself weeping a bit at the finality of the season's end. Last time to splash my feet around.

The weekend also provided for the usual tension that is at our household during this time. My wife goes out of town and I'm left alone and with the dogs to care for. I don't blame her as I wasn't home a lot during the season except to sleep. But the "dragon" was clawing at me, and it was capped with having to take the cat to the vet. He had been hobbling around a lot. Being 17 years old, we figured he was just slowing down, but of late he just wasn't "with it." She and I argued as to the best course. The vet said he needed to be catheterized, but might not survive the procedure...translation: "maybe you should put him down." I told her and the vet I was tired of being the one to hold down a family pet while it was being killed. It takes too much out of me. I could live with him dying while having a procedure done that might make him better. He'd always been rather tough, so I could see him pulling through. One last fight on Saturday before she headed out to her sister's, and I was just waiting on the vet to call me.

He did. And it wasn't with good news.

A mass in his bladder would just cause the problem to continue and would eventually kill him. So I, again, got to put a pet down, and it hurt. Still does. Here he is in happier times...

The "dragon" won this past weekend, and I hurt a lot. Not just the vet thing, but issues at work and personal things. Fortunately, there were enough things that needed my attention that it kept me busy.

One of the kids, one of the "Kansas Kids" as they have been identified, had been bugging me to draw him. I guess I'd shot off my mouth about WF's "Big Bash" and being a volunteer at the splash tank, and that I would give some sort of prizes to those who could put me in the water. The first year I did the splash tank I only got dunked once. Last year in a 10 minute segment, I only went in 3 times, so I felt pretty safe with the odds. But this year I got dunked about 8/9 times in 10 minutes! Sheesh!!! Where's the love?

Any way, Brendan wanted me to draw his caricature as "Superman," and I'm thankful he bugged me enough to draw. It felt good, so here is the finished piece...

One program I did this year was called "Top Gun," at the Front Gate Photo stands. The reward is an airbrushed hat to be worn while being "top gun" that week, and I display a caricature of them(not a photo). In theory, it would help to cross plug the other operations at the park, and had some success. At Oceans of Fun, the "top gun" seemed to be cursed in that virtually none of the winners were there the next week to strut their stuff, save about one.

One girl in particular, Gena, went on vacation the next week. She also is one who I can't seem to get a handle on her likeness, and it is frustrating. She's also into comics and was one of the first "body" drawings I did for "Top Gun." Of course after that, they ALL wanted body drawings. Here's my first "top gun" drawing of her. It's close, but not. Her brother said I made her look like Sarah Palin...

As it turned out, she won "top gun" again, but left for college this past week. I got closer this time, particularly with the hair color, but the face and jawline are too narrow. I drew another one of her(as "Medusa" from the Inhumans,) but my camera is jacked up so I don't have a picture and sent it on too her. Here what the "Top Gun" display looked like at Oceans of Fun with her caricature...

...and a closer view of the drawing...

If I have one gripe about my Ocean's experience it would be over a parking space. "You can park in a visitor's spot..." But I'm not a visitor...the name tag says "manager." "You're not over here often enough..." Sorry, but I'm over here every day. In fact, more than other get the point.

But I made up a sign to "claim" a spot. Here's what it looked like...

The kids seem to have a handle on things better than I. They have a purpose this time of year. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I hate being at the park by myself doing stuff, mostly maintenance and counting things. Shuffling paper. Kim came out to help me a bit the other day, and it felt good to have someone else there. Someone to talk to. Ray came out too and it made things easier. Taryn and others have all offered to help out. I really do appreciate it. They all seemed to know I was hurting a bit.

Tonight I saw a movie with my wife, and Thursday I will take my daughter to Starlight to see a "Beatles" tribute. I resigned from teaching Sunday School...time for a change. And I've pulled out some drawings that have been sitting around begging for completion. Time for me to fill the void. Keep the "dragon" at bay. Have been giving serious thought to dancing lessons and a beginner's class in Hebrew.

Some one took down my sign. No one has said anything, but I doubt they saw the humor in it.

All in all, this is what a defiant old fat man looked like from this past weekend. The "dragon" won for a time.

But not always...

Friday, September 3, 2010


Not sure how to begin this, since it's been so long between posts. The good thing is that this post will be virtually ignored. Some things should best be expressed. Maybe blogging isn't the best way to do that.

I'm reminded of the current psa on the boob tube which shows a tweener girl first enjoying the attention she is getting. But as the commercial goes, she comes to realize that lots of other folks...not necessarily the most desirable ones...are also viewing her online postings. The creepy, yet nerdy, usher at the movies who asks her her underwear color may be the funniest. (For the record, mine are briefs...whitey tightys...think "Homer Simpson" with out the "Mister Plow" jacket dancing around the house.) Hey, pervs! Doesn't quite have the same titillation when done by a fat, bald guy, eh?

I've had a rough week. Rough summer, more like it. And while others in the theme park biz are jumping for joy with full-time now done, I've felt both disoriented and rudderless. Eventually, it will dawn on me to plan out some times to do repairs and such while also putting my home studio back to order from the shambles it now is. And get back to some drawing. But this week has been more "out running the dragon."

For those not knowing my expression for that, it is code for the feeling of a wave of depression beginning to overtake me. I have to do things to stay ahead of the "dragon." Focus harder. Find things to occupy my mind and spirit. Sometimes it is tough. Some times it is inevitable that the "dragon" will over take me. And it hurts.

Of late have been the realizations of things I can't change. One of those things is the position of "outsider." My wife hates when I get this way, but I've never felt like I "belonged" anywhere. Of late, she and I aren't on the same page and I'm unsure of how to rectify that. I've been at the park so much that I don't feel comfortable at home. Stupid really.

As "boss," I will always be "outside," and should be. This smacked me hard as I worked around 3 of my folks last Friday. They are survivors. The ones who came from Kodak to Kaman's. The only ones. (I should know. I hired them, and only them.) And as they worked that night, I could tell a kindredness and kinship. Me? On the outside looking in. At the park, I'm not with the other managers because I'm not a Cedar Fair employee. There. But definitely not one of "them." The walking around from problem to problem helps me to stay ahead of the dragon.

Both Becky and I have felt like outsiders at our church. And have felt like such for years. There, just not quite belonging no matter how much we tried to get involved.

We used to talk about situations we've observed, such as those who seem to come into situations...high school, jobs, churches, etc., and immediately just seem to fit. Others never do. So in a way, a catharsis for this is the acceptance that I will always be an outsider. Maybe it helps me to see through the crap and some of the conning that goes on.

I've had some rather unique cathartic moments of late. About a month ago when it was up in 100+ degrees, I was a bit dehydrated and my knees were hurting. As I was going up the staircase to the Wave Pool, I was looking down and clutching the hand rail, but as I began to look up, I saw a magnificently sculpted female tush in a skimpy bikini bottom sauntering and swaying back and forth as she, too, ascended the staircase ahead of me. And while this might not be the best thing for a "righteous man" to post, what jolted me was the realization that, at the same time, the PA system was blaring the Raspberries hit tune, "Go All the Way." I was both exasperated and tickled. It was sensual and hilarious at the same time. And when I did make it to my vehicle, I spent some time giggling and laughing.

Last Saturday, another catharsis came when I ran into someone I'd gone to high school with. I really do hate running into people I know from my past. It was a time when I had a full head of hair, only one chin, and a waist! Later, after closing of Oceans, I took out all essentials from my pockets and just jumped into a pool fully-clothed. It felt good even though the wife complained of my making for of a mess and more laundry.

This past Wednesday I saw one of my employees off as she headed off to college. She had worked hard for me this season. A lot of the success we had, particularly at Oceans, I would give a lot of credit to her. But I also know that in the scheme of her life it(the job, other employees and friends, me, the season) were all in the "rear view mirror." And should be. What I learned was the harsh lesson that instead of being in someone else's "rear view mirror," the question is what, and/or who, is in mine? Where are my dreams and goals? Where is life taking me?

So I mark time a bit, looking to see this upcoming Labor Day Weekend to its finish. I will be bidding my "second mistress," Oceans of Fun, goodbye. And I will find it sad. I put a lot of sweat and tears into trying to make that venue a go this season. In many ways, we were quite successful. But it comes to an end. And in the scheme of things, I don't think it really mattered.

But it's time for bed, and to get up early to get some things ready for the day. Some things mundane. Some things exciting. Some things rather unpleasant, but necessary.

Good night! And I do promise to get this back to what it was intended...a sketch blog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July sucks, too...

Dear Blogspot,

I'm back. Not much to say yet because of time constraints. But eventually I'll have more to say and post. Have started my drawing of "Satan" and his minions, which I've found to be great therapy. Rhonda may not like it...unless I really have lost my abilities. And I've done some sketching to get back my chops at drawing pretty girls. Can't help at this point quoting the late Dan Decarlo..."Kid. If ya can draw a pretty girl, you're never without woik..."

I did visit my grandmother's grave July 1. More to come on that. Survived a "boss visit." More to come on that. I've lost 25 lbs!!! Definitely more to come on that. Am saddened to be losing some really fine kids going off to school. And even though it's a yearly thing, it still has a certain sting to it. One that seems worse this year. Can't work at the "carnival" all your life.

Got a package from a buddy who wants to do a webcomic. We talked about it at I-Con last November and he sent me a script. Haven't had time to really dig into it, but I have glanced at it. Hey! It's monsters and chicks! How can that be bad?

But it's now time for me to do 2 more of the 3 morning "S's"...already did one. And sweat through my clothes, again, before 1pm.
I have gone from morbidly obese to just obese. Next stop, to "fat," then to "chubby," then to "pudgy," then to "portly," then to "big boned(no obscene comments, please)," then maybe I can be a skinny old man with his pants up under his armpits.

I'm really kicking myself for not going to Comicon this year. But I probably wouldn't have come back from San Diego. Need to see me an ocean!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a long month...

I fell in love with the "Veronica Mars" tv shows when my wife and I discovered it a little less than mid decade. For some reason, there was a really good period of excellent writing for the tv media...Veronica Mars was one of those examples.

Ironically, 2010 would've been a benchmark year for the show, had it survived. Like a lot of shows, it had some "sophomore" blues in the 2nd season, but even then it still shined brighter than most of the dreck, particularly the reality gulag that has taken hold of most networks. But 2010 would mark Veronica's graduation from Hurst College, and the chance for her father to run, again, for sheriff of Balboa County.

In another post to come, I'll go into the "Worley" version of what took place. For this posting, I'll illuminate an earlier thought I gave to a friend as we discussed the show during its run. It seemed to get a bit off-track, and I wondered if it might need to return to its roots to regain footing. So, at the time, I suggested a "Dallas" style rebooting for a 4th season. Veronica awakens from a coma of 3 years having been drugged and raped at the end of school year party so prominently mentioned throughout the run of the show. Lilly Kane is still dead and her murder unsolved. Keith Mars is not a PI, but trying to just get on with his life, a broken and near penniless man. Veronica awakens to find her mother by her side, having dutifully returned upon hearing of her daughter's coma. Veronica has lost 3 years of her life and now has to, not only reclaim them, but find out what has been happening. She goes back to Neptune High, now an older student completely out of her element. Everything is familiar, but not. Also, she discovers that she, not Meg Manning, delivered a baby. She has a child, and doesn't know her whereabouts.

But that was in 2007 when we were hoping the show would be back. Alas, it wasn't to be. But ain't fan fiction great?

As for life, I've had several "body blows" over the course of the past month. Some I'll comment on later. But for now, I'm going to the movies with my wife.

"Todah!!!" And "Shalom!!!"

Friday, May 7, 2010

...gooey goodness...

The last leg of my journey last week from Cleveland to Columbus took my boss, Brad, and I to a special place with nothing but Smuckers and other Pillsbury products...
...complete with tagline...
...and the entrance to fatguy paradise...
...lard and sugar...the diabetic's best friend...

But what intrigued me was a display of "Poppin' Fresh," the Pillsbury Doughboy!...
You see, years ago I met a comic book "Golden Ager" named, Martin Nodell. For comics fans, he's known as the creator of the golden age "Green Lantern." After retiring from comics and heading into advertising, one of the accounts he worked on was Pillsbury, and he designed "Poppin Fresh." Here's a sketch he did for a fan...
...and he also created a funny animal character for comics called the "Terrific Whatzit"...

Both Marty and Carrie Nodell are gone now. They were two of the nicest folks I ever knew, and I'm proud and pleased to have been able to call them "friends." I miss them...

...but all the good memories came back upon seeing this icon, and I couldn't resist having my picture taken with the Pillsbury Doughboy. Haven't figured out yet how I morphed into a bowlegged fat man...
We ended our rambling roadtrip by pigging out at an Amish restaurant, before having to get serious about making it to the Columbus airport.

Next up...musing on my daughter's graduation from college, and "Veronica Mars"...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

...musings on the way to the Columbus airport...

In my last posting, there was a serious and "heavy" atmosphere to it. The trip out of Ohio was anything but. The stop at Kent State was sandwiched with some frivolity beginning at "Mike's Place."...
Not entirely sure what it was, but it had a replica "X-wing Fighter." No geek can pass that up...
...and my own geek moment...

And on the way to Akron, I caught a glimpse of one of the Goodyear blimps...

Before I get any further, I have to plug one of my better experiences in Ohio. I love fine convenience store stuff, and found that the chain in Ohio I liked was a store called "Sheetz." The had a breakfast menu, which featured "Shmuffins" stuffed with all kinds of eggs and pork, even a "Shbisquit," and their ultimate...The "Shmonster!!!" I even took home some "Shweets" for Becky, who really enjoyed the "no-bake peanut butter cookies." You can find them online at

Now back to more tomfoolery.


Here I am doing my best fat-QB-Sonny Jurgenson-JaMarcus Russell-imitation...except they can throw the ball more than 20 yards, and actually hit something. Guess that's why I was a lineman...

The "Hall of Fame" game kicks off the NFL season and is played in a stadium right next to the Hall. It's quite dinky...

We only had time for the gift shop, and I bought some things. A Browns retro jersey for Becky. She's not a Browns fan, but I thought she'd like the colors and the "Brownie" image from the '50's. Rachel got a Colts "Peyton Manning" jersey. I bought a Chiefs Christmas ornament. Not a whole lot of Chiefs stuff there, which really does show where they rate and rank in the league...not very high.

There was some art, which caught my eye. This is a painting of the last true warrior of the NFL, the Eagles' Chuck Bednarik...
He once hit Giants' running back, Frank Gifford, so hard the players thought he'd killed him. Put Gifford out of football for about a year and a half.

Here's some "sports cartoons" from various papers. Guess sports cartoonists have gone the way of the dodo...

That's it for now. The next post will be the last leg of our trek to the airport, which included a stop at a really "sweet" place, and a surprise remembrance of a dear friend.

Good night!