Once, I had to write a review of a really bad Nintendo DS game, because that’s the life of a blogger.


They stopped sending me games after this.

120105-06Yes, this is a Metaluna Mutant with nipples. Photo circa 2005.

Back in 2005, I wrote a little article on All Nerd Review about ‘Resin Rosebuds’ – little resin nipples that were designed to… ahem… augment Japanese Dollfies and stuff for those doll-lovers who were especially overzealous. These were made by my aunt’s boyfriend, a talented artist and sculptor who has since passed away. I’m also positive that they were a commentary on the strangeness of modern culture, doll culture, modern sexuality, and probably, Japan.

It’s always a little strange to see the ghost-website of those who have left us. How long will they hang around? Does the indifferent hand of the registrar hover for a moment over the delete button and drop, or move on?

There’s also another website that’s being maintained by family in memoriam for his works.

I met him once, when I was very young. He came on vacation with us to NJ, and put a quick end to my sister and I play fighting with sticks lest we eviscerate each other. And at the end of that vacation, he didn’t hear me knock on the bathroom door as he was getting out of the shower. My aunt wanted to keep his artificial hip, post-cremation. I’m not sure how that worked out, but only now do I draw parallels between this and the screws that I pulled from the fire after they went through my foot.

The internet reveals interesting things about people, alive and dead. Here’s a quote from 1995, as he was apparently an early user of various current events newsgroups.

“the plague will happen sooner or later

as a result of our over population, exploitation, and

destruction of the natural world, whether we like it or

not. it is time to face the facts and make plans to deal

with the crisis when it arrives. all the soothing talk of professionals is pure denial.”

I have two of his works, somewhere around here. I used this one heavily in my bad high school photography, which was all broken clocks, old keys, things wrapped in twine, dead bugs and incredibly poor contrast. This was at the very down of digital photography being available to non-professionals. I’ve always loved this heavy, bronze thing.

In a very ironic way, this photo is perhaps beautiful.


I love MonstreHero.

I chatted with them for a few minutes when I ran into them at NYCC, while I was still writing for ToyCyte. They are a revelation about the amazing, innovative art that can be made by two dudes working with limited space and materials, and a lot of genius. I took a photo of them that I’ve never published before – they seem to be behind-the-scenes kinda guys, like many of my favorite people. I’ve still never seen a picture of Bob Conge, but was immensely honored when he actually sent me a brief e-mail to compliment my Spaceman.


I bought the PITA Intergladiator figure from them this past summer, and recently, I bought one of their Lazer Blazer Skullminions. There were six and they sold out within 48 hours, I believe.


You need to fill your life with small reminders of inspiration and beauty, not just ‘things’. You can always buy things later. Or sell them, and buy them back when they matter again. Meaningfulness is a cycle.

Addendum : Apparently, my order never went through, because the Internet is a fickle mistress and I am a disappointment magnet. Maybe next time. I really liked these, too.

A few weeks ago, I fell into a very peculiar time in my life when nothing made sense but Tom Waits.

Food didn’t taste like much, the sky didn’t look like much, the world didn’t feel like it was willing to give too much up for me but disappointment and the memory of soft, white hands. Hours of every Tom Waits album in a random playlist were the only comfort. Making awkward videos of myself playing ‘Yesterday Is Here’ on the guitar. Annoying everyone I know with ‘Nirvana’.

tom_waitsToday, ‘Orphans’ was put up for pre-order. On vinyl. Originally a three CD set divided up according to the nature of the songs that Mr. Waits tends to construct (Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards), I’ve lately been favoring the Bawlers. The sad songs of love disconnecting, or shifting irreparably like tectonic plates with the sound of broken guitars and pianos full of bones. All of these notes? They became my people. They were at least as human as I was, which was becoming marginal and pale and hirsute.

I realize that it’s disgustingly ‘hipster’ to have a turntable and use it with relative frequency. The thing is that I usurped a disused turntable back in early junior high and slowly progressed through two decades’ worth of LPs that the house had accumulated (just as CDs were becoming a viable medium for music distribution). Frayed wires hung from the back of the turntable and snaked around to dusty, brown-fabric covered speakers that were the size of a human torso, pressed up against my bed and humming. I purchased a Numark PT-01 when it became clear that the old turntable’s needle was no longer serviceable, and that the cost of obtaining a vintage stylus for an obscure make of record player would be more expensive than just purchasing a new and improved model. I also intended to use the machine to capture lost sounds from Voice-O-Graphs, Recordios and anything which had never made into a CD format. I was hunting ghosts.

That old turntable was my mother’s, and it was a relatively new gift to her from my grandparents that she obtained right before she went far upstate into the wilds of New York for college. Immediately after her departure, it was swiped by a jealous brother and abused beyond recognition in a cycle that still repeats to this day with a wide variety of objects. It had a busted 8-track, lots of buttons that didn’t perform any discernible function or illuminate any of the long, orange lights, and an enormous, dusty silver knob that would fall off fairly often.

But there’s a romance to listening to these LPs. Watching them move in a way that any MP3 visualizer could never replicate. The physical forces between two surfaces creating beautiful sounds. It’s not a hipster thing. It’s a ‘born 50 years too late’ thing. It’s a sensual thing.

I cashed in $125 from my PayPal account to pay for this set of records – money that was once all in the form of small, lead figurines of Marvel Comics superheroes that didn’t do anything for me anymore. As if Cable really did anything for anyone, ever, anyhow. Something about hearing ‘Long Way Home’ imperfectly scratching out of a record seems like heaven. But I’ve always had a very strange idea of heaven.

Part of my efforts to clear up the space around me and create a tranquil area to create in is selling old things on eBay that don’t mean much to me anymore, and as a result, I’ve sent out about 15 to 20 pounds of STUFF daily and raked in roughly $1000 over the past month. Don’t think of robbing me because it’s all gone directly into reducing debt. Seriously, it’s so bad that if you rob me, you’ll end up owing Toyota money. Because my debt shifts the natural order of things like a black hole and it will envelop you and you will scream but the air will get sucked right out of your lungs into an unknowable abyss.

But part of this effort to clear space is compacting things. If something can fit into an existing box that’s already been set aside for it in a similar theme, it’ll be torn from its packaging and collected in the box. This is related to the criteria with which I purchase things, also. At this point, anything that consumes space is forbidden.

Last night, I tore into my old C3 figures. If you’re unfamiliar, they were the precursor to Art Asylum / Diamond Toys’ DC Minimates line. Art Asylum could not yet secure a license to produce Minimates as stand-alone figures, by DC Comics / Time Warner / Jesus Christ DID grant them the license to produce Minimates alongside Lego-like construction sets. The laws governing licenses are complex. One company might exclusively secure the rights to produce a Spider-Man action figure with multiple points of articulation, and another might be able to secure the license to produce a very similar figure as, say, a Christmas ornament – as long as it’s sold as a different product. At least my years of attending Toy Fair has told me this much.

So, I decided to free up some shelf / floor space by popping these open. Of course, I’ve always been reluctant to sell these because my tiny Justice League needed a Martian Manhunter to helm it, and before the Minimates line collapsed (after about 60 really great little figures), another Manhunter was never produced. Because I have a strange urge to complete superhero teams like a meganerd.

I catalogued them on Collectors’ Quest.


I’m coming off of the end of a 5-day weekend I made for myself. I don’t know how much I got done – some comic inking, eBaying, cleaning. The struggle of the hyperproductive is that there is never enough done and there’s always a nagging sense of disappointment in yourself for not conquering the universe every day.

I’ve thrown away much, much old, bad art. I spent a lot of high school drawing disproportionate fairies and delicately penciled surrealist scenes that were weirdly violent and sexual (which I didn’t recognize until looking at them now). A period of poorly emulating Dave McKean without understanding that there are certain fundamental skills that you need to develop before you can draw mock-carelessly and have it look worthwhile. High school photography with feathers and broken wine glasses. All of these things, each one, despite being unpresentable if anyone is to take me seriously, was vital in its own way. Each thing was a step towards a greater whole, a record of a fleeting idea that was essential to the next idea, and the next, until it became something nice and moved that much closer to what it had to be.

I was pretty messed up in my grade school years, anyhow. All of this bad art is thrown in a huge garbage bag now, in the empty room where I’ve sat on the floor until 3 AM remembering and not remembering what these things were, and who I was, and what they slowly became. I know that it’s a little bit sinful to just throw out art, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that we make our own forevers. I can’t carry old ideas, pounds of old papers around with me wherever I end up. Thousands and thousands of little ideas were just spread around me on the floor and I was at the epicenter and it reminded me that I’m here for a quiet reason.

When I was in high school, I had dreams of illustrating Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know precisely what I was thinking, but I produced a whole mess of sloppy pages that are frankly embarrassing, but I remember being proud of them at the time. Isn’t this always the way. While I maintain that I’d like to illustrated anything by Lewis Carroll someday, this was not the way to go about doing it. I was still heavily under the influence of McKean and the evidence suggests that I intended to go back into these with digital manipulation (as evidenced by the ‘pool of tears’ image), though I probably realized the error of my ways.

Witness my cold humiliation, and a perfect example of what happens if you think you’re better than basic color theory.

About four or five years ago, I was contacted by a small company from Florida called ‘Dirty Microbe’. They’d seen my work on Threadless and wanted to buy some designs from me, as well as commission a few more using my madcore vector skills. They paid me about $175 bucks for a design that they never used involving sushi in the shape of a fish (which can still be seen on Threadless).

Around this time, I was also chatting with an amazing, strange girl named Psyche. There were botched plans to move to Toledo to live in a spare room that her and her husband (who was also an awesome guy) had, and general weirdness after I spent a week in Ohio one hot summer and drew ghosts and left them in cabinets. The story of how we met and how I drove nine hours to Ohio is partially accounted for here, and it involves a perfect mix of a blue-haired superhero and a dead flea market and a birthday. It’s a story for another day, but while I was in Toledo, I set up my old green iMac on their wooden kitchen table, drank Arizona tea and ate Stella Doro cookies and worked on a design for Dirty Microbe before they woke up every day. (They divorced not long after our own relationship fell apart, which makes it a good thing that I never moved to a broken home in Ohio).

Dirty Microbe wanted me to do a design of a potato for the phrase ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot‘ – something I would never normally touch, but I was experimenting in creative whoredom while trying to find a niche that I still haven’t found. I’ve never shown these images before, but I think that they’re an important testament to the process of working with a creative director, and they’re really actually kinda fun, I think.

At first, they wanted a terrified, flaming potato.


They saw this and despite its inherent awesomeness, they wanted to see a wide range of potato-emotions. And maybe make him steaming instead of flaming. I guess if I were to assign a potato a kind of anthropomorphic personality, it would be a total cliched vision of an old Irish man. That’s what’s going on up above. Oh, and I also had to keep the design limited to four colors because the shirts were being hand-screened in someone’s kitchen. First sign of disaster?


Personally, I thought that the ‘slightly concerned’ potato lacked a certain punch, but the steam was coming together. I also dug the lighting effects that I got using only two colors. But wait – maybe this potato should be hot and happy. ‘Can you make it with anime eyes?’ they asked. At this point, I actually requested that this work be published under the pseudonym of ‘RocketMantis’ (which is the name of my imaginary one-man band), to have it only tangentially associated with my work. If someone dug deep enough, they’d figure out who it was, but I didn’t want to ever be associated with anime. So, I gave them a super-cute iteration, just short of ‘anime’.


Finally, we settled on this design, which isn’t really too offensively cute.

DirtyMicrobe went bankrupt in June of 2007 and disappeared off of the face of the Earth, leaving many customer orders unfulfilled. I’m not sure if they ever paid me for my second design here, but perhaps the general anxiety I feel when I think of them is the fact that I never got the 15% commission on every shirt sold which I was promised (but which the contract conveniently cleared them of responsibility for).

I never moved to Ohio. I was secretly insanely in love with Psyche anyhow, so it was probably for the best. Dark haired, ghostly girls always get the better of me.

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” – Kerouac

My copy of ‘On The Road’ was destroyed by a leaky backpack in the Philadelphia rain. Or improved, depending on how you look at it.

I’m not into guns. Or football, or whatever it is that dudes are supposed to be into. But I love fantasy guns. I collect them, given the chance.

I collected the Go Hero Buck Rogers Disintegrator Pistol.

I won a Hellboy II 1:1 scale Samaritan. Which is gigantic.

Now, thanks to the fine folks at WETA, I’ve come upon my first Dr. Grordbort piece – the line of imaginary steampunky rayguns that turned me on to the whole raygun thing in the first place (and had me sketching my own for a few months).

I write about the Righteous Bison HERE.

I write about the mini-Victorious Mongoose HERE.



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